So I've decided to look back at the greatest cards in the game's history, those from the first American released set, Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon! There was even a time when you could get a box of Spanish BEWD for about $20 - not that you can now. In fact, you can still find unlimited versions of the set in packs included in various Legendary Collections. Still, the cards are timelessly awesome! A lot of them are banned in competitive play now, but whatever. They're still old school Yu-Gi-Oh and far, far superior to the white and black cards they play now!
There are a few good rares in the set: Fissure and Pot of Greed are among the notables. But we're going to look at the SHINY stuff, because hey, that's all we really care about!
The greatest card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh, Blue Eyes White Dragon has 3000 ATK and 2500 DEF, making him virtually invincible in battle. Unless you had some tricks up your sleeve, like a Man-Eater Bug (also in this set) or a Two-Pronged Attack (also in this set), you were pretty much done for. That is, of course, you were lucky enough to pull a Dark Hole, or maybe even a Raigeki. But yeah, this guy wins games. And if you have two, you win more. If you have three, you're practically Seto Kaiba! Just an all-around awesome card that you should play in every single deck ever!
This guy is one of the greatest monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh history! Never mind that Neo the Magic Swordsman can murder him in one-on-one combat, or his defense can be beat by any common monster with 1300 ATK. He's one of Yugi's signature cards, and his picture is SHINY! He's AWESOME!
Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon Super Rare
One of the most powerful monsters in all of Yu-Gi-Oh, Curse of Dragon is a beast at 2000 ATK... Wait, Summoned Skull is way better? Why is this is a super rare again? Who cares, it's SHINY, and it's a DRAGON! It's awesome! And if you combine it with Burning Land, you can destroy Fields! Oh wait, that was just on the show…
Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon Super Rare
Destroy all monsters on the field. Even after all of these years, you can still play it in your deck. It was banned for a while, but now it’s back. If you play Yu-Gi-Oh, use it. That is all.
Dark Magician is so awesome, except for the fact that he is easily outclassed by Blue-Eyes White Dragon. You have to have a devious plan to win against a Blue-Eyes if this is the strongest monster in your deck. Honestly, you're better off just playing Summoned Skull. He's one less tribute. But if you just have to have Yugi's favorite monster in your deck, I guess you have no choice but to play him.
Who doesn't want to win the game just by having five cards in hand? This card lets you do that. All you need are this guy's head, left arm, right arm, left leg, and right leg. Then you win. You just attack for infinity. No way to stop it. Game over.
Actually it's more likely that your opponent plays Card Destruction when you still don't have your fifth piece. And then you draw your fifth piece... FML.
Some kid told me that Instant Fusion makes it really easy to bring this guy out. But then you have to sacrifice him at the end of the turn. What gives!? Why not just use Polymerization? I mean, it's not like Flame Manipulator and Masaki the Legendary Swordsman are hard to get. They're commons! All people want to do with this guy is throw some other Level 5 monster on top of him and throw another card on it that's BLACK! What is this? Or they use this Tuner thing to make a Synchro Monster? Seriously, what has happened to this game!?
As it turns out, there IS a reason that you play Curse of Dragon in your deck. Yes, you can sacrifice a guy for him to beat somebody's face. You could discard him with Graceful Charity and bring him back later with Monster Reborn. But the best possible use for Curse of Dragon is to use Polymerization along with Gaia the Fierce Knight (still to come!) to make THIS GUY! I must say, 2600 ATK and 2100 DEF is a definite improvement over Curse of Dragon. So I wonder what Gaia the Fierce Knight has to offer, since if this is a fusion, it must have a lot more ATK and DEF than one of its materials!
OK, Gaia the Fierce Knight isn't quite as awesome as Gaia the Dragon Champion. It only has 2300 ATK. But hey, just like Curse of Dragon, you just sacrifice a creature to summon it... wait, it needs two? Wow, this card is...underwhelming!
Like many older cards, apparently they tried to remake this guy into something playable. Apparently, they sort of succeeded from what I understand. I don't think that anything competitive ever came out of it, though.
Every deck should run three of these! It's so good! You flip it over, and you blow up a monster! It doesn't get better than that! And if you flip him face up on your turn because your opponent was worried about it being, I dunno, a Giant Soldier of Stone... you can ATTACK with him! Wow, 450 damage to the face! Better yet, you can SACRIFICE him for something awesome, like a Curse of Dragon! Woo-hoo! Such an awesome card!
Perhaps one of the best cards in Yu-Gi-Oh for the longest time, Monster Reborn let you get back any monster from any graveyard. There were absolutely no drawbacks. Powerful and universal as it was, it was limited to one copy per deck in competitive play for a long time. Seriously, you just played it. No questions asked.
So yeah, eventually, it was decided that since everyone played at least one copy in every single deck that it needed to be banned. It was just too simple and too good.
It's really too bad that the Mystical Elf doesn't do anything but have 2000 DEF, but hey, that's going to be more than enough defense if they can't bring out their bigger monsters that require a sacrifice. Even the mighty Swordstalker can't get over our little blue friend. She's certainly more deserving of super rare status than Celtic Guardian. But if only she only had some mystical powers...
Make a brand new monster out of two old ones! Seems good to me. Really shiny picture, too! It's a shame that at the time this was released the best we had to make was Gaia the Dragon Champion, and not too many people had those. We didn't have the B. Skull Dragon yet, sadly.
Destroy all of your opponent's monsters. That's it? Really, no downside at all? Oh, it's banned? It was for a long time. But not anymore! So yeah, you want seventy billion of these. There’s even an Ultra Rare version from Dark Beginnings. It's shiny and has gold lettering! Even better.
Joey Wheeler's boss monster, Red-Eyes Black Dragon, is so awesome that his whole name doesn't even fit in the card title; they had to abbreviate Black so it would fit. Unfortunately, Red-Eyes only has 2400 ATK and 2000 DEF, meaning that Summoned Skull, Dark Magician, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon just eat this guy for breakfast. Honestly, they should've made this guy so much stronger. He does look pretty sick, though, doesn't he?
And later on, he would get a bunch of support for some reason so you could actually build a Red-Eyes deck. No kidding.
If you've been playing Yu-Gi-Oh for some time, you've probably played Swords of Revealing Light on many occasions. Stopping your opponent's attacks for three turns sometimes is all you need to turn the duel around. Maybe there is far too much spell card removal in the game these days for this card to be much use anymore, but at the time, you could almost guarantee you'd have this out there for three whole turns. All the while you'd be building up your defenses and drawing cards, hopefully getting the answers you need. Such a great card, and it's as classic as you get (it was the card that saved Yugi long enough to draw into Exodia in the very first episode of the anime!) You just have to pimp out your deck with a couple of 1st edition copies of this card!
You kids these days and your Solemn Warnings... back in the day, we didn't even have Bottomless Trap Hole! We had good old Trap Hole! Honestly, it was pretty darn good, too. It was one of the few ways we could stop the summoning of the Blue-Eyes! Really, this card can take out anything over 1000 ATK when it's normal or flip summoned. Honestly, why waste a trap card on anything weaker? The only problem is that this card didn't stop Special Summons like Monster Reborn or Flute of Summoning Dragon. So if you were facing a deck with Blue-Eyes in it, you had to hope that he had to Tribute Summon it. Nothing like an instant plus-two for you! Amazing card, and still good against those silly pretty little Tour Guides you kids these days love so much.
The last shiny card left to review in this set is a very special one. You could only pull this out of a certain kind of pack back in the day. Many of us bought packs from big box stores like Wal-Mart that sold them out of boxes of thirty-six packs. Well, you could only get Tri-Horned Dragon out of the twenty-four pack boxes sold at game and hobby shops. I've heard rumors that it was meant to be an ultra rare in English, but they ended up making it ridiculously rare by only including it in the less accessible box. That's right, most of us only could hope to pull a Gaia the Dragon Champion. So how awesome is Tri-Horned Dragon?
It isn't more powerful than Blue-Eyes White Dragon? No, unfortunately, it's not. However, it does have 2850 ATK, making it more powerful than any other non-fusion monster in the game for quite a long time. He also has 2350 DEF, which isn't bad, but like you'd ever have this in defense position! True, they could Stop Defense it, but still, it's going to take at least a Red-Eyes B. Dragon to take this down. And imagine facing an opponent with three Blue-Eyes and one of these! If your opponent was rich enough to have 3 Blue-Eyes AND 3 Tri-Horned Dragons, you just stood no chance at all. It's still the rarest card from this set, even though it's been reprinted along side Gaia the Dragon Champion in the newer version of the Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon that comes in the Legendary Collection as well as in the alternate language versions like Spanish and Portuguese.
So chances are, if you want this guy now, he'll only cost you like $5. But back in the day, this was the rarest card you could get. It might not have been Blue-Eyes, but it was the next-best thing!
So for the first set ever of Yu-Gi-Oh, how does it hold up today? Well, Blue-Eyes White Dragon is still very powerful and still played in some versions of competitive Dragon decks. Trap Hole is still playable (especially with the recent change in priority rules making some monsters that could previously still do something nasty even if you could stop them from being summoned can't anymore!) Dark Hole and Raigeki are deck staples. Most of the other shiny cards in the set aren't really playable anymore, especially Monster Reborn, which is banned in tournament play. Tri-Horned Dragon is out-classed by a few of the newer Dragons.
But overall, considering how old this set is, it has aged pretty well. I wouldn't go and spend hundreds of dollars on a box. But if you find a cheap Spanish or Portuguese box, since you can play those cards in many tournaments, it's worth a shot to see if you can get some of these awesome shiny cards. It's the best set in Yu-Gi-Oh history even if the only reason for that would be is this is where it all started.
DISCLAIMER: I've done these reviews entirely for fun and the enjoyment of others. If it sounds like I don't understand how the competitive game works, that isn't the case. I've done my best to make very clear what the game was like at the time, and man, it was a heck of a lot simpler back then!