"Espa Roba - The ESP Duelist, Part 1", known as "Esper Roba - Terror of the Psychic Deck" in the Japanese version, is the fifty-eighth episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. It first aired in Japan on June 5, 2001, and in the United States on January 25, 2003.
Wanting to find a worthy opponent to defeat, he arrives just in time to watch Espa Roba, a Duelist claiming to have psychic powers, defeat Rex Raptor. As per the Battle City Rules, Rex had to give up his "Serpent Night Dragon" to Espa as it was his rarest card. Espa, knowing Joey was the runner-up in Duelist Kingdom, challenges him to a Duel and Joey accepts.
In the hospital, Tristan visits Serenity and brings a laptop with him, so he can watch the Duel online and tell Serenity how it is going. However, he has trouble figuring out how to make the computer work and has to get a nurse to help him.
The Duel does not start off very well for Joey, as he still does not know some of the Battle City rules (including Tributes) and is intimidated by Espa's psychic powers.
Yugi is watching the Duel from a rooftop and sees Espa's brothers spying on Joey's cards, revealing that Espa is actually cheating. Yugi decides to just watch and let the Duel take its course.
When Joey draws, Espa's brothers see the card and tells their brother it appears to be another "Graceful Dice". Espa, using his "psychic powers", then claims this to Joey. Joey however sees that something is up as the card he drew was "Skull Dice". Joey decides that this is his chance to turn the Duel around in his favor. Joey sets two cards and summons "Swordsman of Landstar".
Espa, assuming that Joey has two set "Graceful Dice" decides that won't matter for his next move. Espa summons "The Fiend Megacyber" and uses it to attack "Swordsman of Landstar", but Joey activates "Skull Dice" and "Graceful Dice" when Espa thought he had 2 "Graceful Dice" set. This allows Joey to surprise Espa and make a comeback.
At this point, Joey points out to Espa that due to how he held his cards, Espa knew he had two "Dice" cards, but he couldn't tell which ones. Joey then states this means that Espa is cheating and someone is telling him what cards are in his hand. Espa becomes shocked he figured that out. Rex realizes that Espa must have used the same cheating method on him too. Espa's brothers realize they're busted for sure. Yugi congratulates Joey on his efforts as he is now in control of the Duel.
Mokuba soon finds out about the cheating, dashes in and tackles the wicked accomplice up on the roof. He threatens to expel Espa from Battle City, but the brothers talk him out of it after telling him their sad story about being orphans and having no one but Espa to protect and care for them.
Mokuba, having been in a similar situation, is convinced to let the Duel continue as long as they stop cheating. His decision is also influenced from seeing Yami Yugi watching the Duel from a different roof during his conversation and thinking that Yugi would give them a second chance as well. He stands by to be sure they don't start doing it again.
Rex Raptor vs. Espa Roba
Duel is already in progress. Espa controls "Jinzo" (2400/1500) in Attack Position while Rex controls "Serpent Night Dragon" (2350/2400) in Attack Position. Espa Roba has just activated "Mesmeric Control" to negate the attack of "Serpent Night Dragon" and reduce its ATK by 800 ("Serpent Night Dragon": 2350 → 1550/2400).
Joey Wheeler vs. Espa Roba, Part 1
Turn 1: Joey
Joey's opening hand shows "Swordsman of Landstar", "Skull Dice", "Battle Warrior", "Giltia the D. Knight", and "Flame Swordsman". Joey attempts to Normal Summon "Giltia the D. Knight" in Attack Position. However, since the Summoning Conditions in Battle City are different than those in Duelist Kingdom, a Level 5 or higher monster requires at least 1 tribute. Since this is an illegal move, "Giltia the D. Knight" is removed from play.
Turn 3: Joey
Joey draws "Graceful Dice". Joey's hand contains "Swordsman of Landstar", "Graceful Dice", "Skull Dice", "Battle Warrior", and "Flame Swordsman". Joey Normal Summons "Swordsman of Landstar" (500/1200) in Attack Position and Sets two cards.
"The Fiend Megacyber" attacks "Swordsman of Landstar", but Joey activates his face-down "Graceful Dice" to roll a die and multiply the ATK of "Swordsman of Landstar" by the result. Joey gets a three ("Swordsman of Landstar": 500 → 1500/1200). Joey then activates his face-down "Skull Dice" to roll a die and divide the ATK of "The Fiend Megacyber" by the result. Joey gets a five ("The Fiend Megacyber": 2200 → 440/1200). "Swordsman of Landstar" destroys "The Fiend Megacyber" (Espa 4000 → 2940).
At this point, Joey points out that Espa Roba was cheating and Commissioner Mokuba catches Espa Roba's brothers helping him. Mokuba is about to expel Espa from the Duel and Battle City, but Espa's brothers explain to Mokuba why they were doing this and after a little argument, Mokuba decides not to cancel the Duel. Espa Sets a card.
Turn 5: Joey
Joey draws "Alligator's Sword" and subsequently Normal Summons it (1500/1200) in Attack Position. "Alligator's Sword" attacks directly (Espa 2940 → 1440). "Swordsman of Landstar" then attacks directly, but Espa activates his face-down "Mind Control" to take control of "Swordsman of Landstar".
Turn 6: Espa
Espa draws. He then passes.
Turn 8: Espa
Espa draws "Jinzo". He then Tributes "Swordsman of Landstar" in order to Tribute Summon "Jinzo" (2400/1500) in Attack Position. Due to the effect of "Jinzo", Joey's Set "Chasm of Spikes" is destroyed. While Jinzo is on the field, its effect prevents the activation of Trap Cards and no Trap Cards can be Set either.
- Rex's most Rare card after losing "Red-Eyes Black Dragon" was "Serpent Night Dragon". Oddly, these are not Dinosaur monsters; in Rex's last full Duel of the series, he also plays "Tyrant Dragon" as his ace card.
- In Episode 11, Rex states that he won "Serpent Night Dragon" from the Finals of the Regional Tournament in Episode 2, which would also explain why it's so rare. As for "Tyrant Dragon", it's likely he took the card from Dartz's lair when he (Dartz) offered him the choice of cards, thinking he could work a good strategy around it.
- Shouldn't Rex have found it suspicious that Roba didn't change where he was standing to Duel?
- Roba is the first Duelist to have any kind of psychic themed Deck, years before the actually Psychic type monsters were created.
Differences in adaptations
- A close-up of Honda with a big sweat-drop on his forehead is cut out from the dub.
- Cut from the dub, Joey thinks about Yugi, saying that he doesn't know the future but he knows that somewhere in the city someone is waiting for him. He has to keep going until he finds him.
- In the dub, Joey's first hand of cards includes a "Graceful Dice", although that becomes an error and changes to a "Skull Dice" when he draws another "Graceful Dice". However, in the original, his first cards have the correct "Skull Dice" instead. Also, "Skull Dice" is a Trap card in the dub, but a Magic card in the Japanese.
- Several Japanese words on billboards are painted over in the English Dubbing. You can see this clearly when Espa falls to his knees after Joey destroys "The Fiend Megacyber", as the paint goes over Espa's hand.
- When Joey draws his first cards, he has "Graceful Dice" in his hand. However, when Espa Roba's younger brothers see that Joey draws a "Graceful Dice", the first one in his hand has changed to "Skull Dice".
- Joey has "Battle Warrior" and "Flame Swordsman" in his hand, however in the next episode, one of those two cards are replaced with "Time Wizard".
- When Espa Roba states that the top card in Joey's hand is the "Swordsman of Landstar", all five of Joey's first cards are back in his hand, which also causes "Giltia the D. Knight" to not be on his Duel Disk, even though this was an illegal move.
- Although the monster could not be Summoned, "Giltia the D. Knight" should still have been seen on Joey's Duel Disk until Espa Roba attacked him, just like it was shown on Tristan's laptop, but "Giltia the D. Knight" is not seen on his Duel Disk after Roba's statement about Joey's top card. However, after Cyber Raider directly attacks Joey, "Giltia the D. Knight" incorrectly reappears on his Duel Disk for a few moments as he falls down, but finally disappears as he stands up.
- In both versions, when Cyber Raider is Summoned, its DEF is shown incorrectly.
- When Cyber Raider directly attacks Joey, for a few moments in the close-up both his Duel Disk is not on his left arm and he is not holding any cards. As Joey is seen falling on his rear, his Duel Disk is back with "Giltia the D. Knight" incorrectly on it, but he still is not holding any cards.
- In this episode, Joey didn't know about Tribute Summoning, but in a previous episode, he performed a Tribute Summon against Seeker, creating a small continuity error.
- It's possible that his excitement got the best of him during this duel, whereas he was more focused during his duel with Seeker so he could go see Serenity.
The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 This card can be seen in Joey's hand.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 This was played as a Normal Monster. It is a Fusion Monster in the TCG/OCG.
- ↑ This was played as a Magic Card. It is an Trap Card in the TCG/OCG.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 This was played as a Normal Monster. It is an Effect Monster in the TCG/OCG.
- ↑ This was played as a Trap Card. It is a Magic Card in the TCG/OCG.