Retro Rewind: Ritual Cards

Alright, let’s take a moment to talk about Ritual Cards. One of the oldest Special Summoning methods, it seems to once again be making a comeback. In the real-life game, Ritual Cards were conceived fairly accurately, but there’s still some strangeness. Fusion Monsters are actually perfect in the real life game; there were no physical cards when Duelists fused their monsters in the manga/anime, so giving us a placeholder card as a guideline for what can be fused and what the Monsters stats/effects are is very helpful. Ritual Monsters were the same way; these were not physical cards, but base Monsters affected by a Ritual Magic Card. The Ritual procedure itself was a little more complicated as well in this original form; in addition to specific Monster to perform the ritual on, two Monsters with 1500 or less ATK were required for tribute.

In the actual game, only the stars of the Ritual Monster were considered in the tribute; no base Monster required. But the biggest difference? The Ritual Monsters go into the main deck. The chances of drawing the right cards are still technically the same, but the real life game leaves an otherwise useless Monster in your deck. In a perfect world, this could have been incorporated into the Extra Deck. It would be perfect, but the only problem was that the Extra Deck was exclusively used for Fusion cards at that time (hence the name Fusion Deck). Which perhaps accounts for how Ritual Cards were given the treatment they were. Moving forward, it’s good to see different conditions aside from just stars to perform a Ritual Summon (see Lord of the Red).

Still, I liked the idea behind the original Ritual procedures. It’s cool to think that certain normal Monsters could be retrained into a far superior being via the tribute. Fortunately, early video games (from Duel Monsters II to Reshef of Destruction) followed these rules. The only minor difference is the two tribute Monsters don’t have to be 1500 ATK or less. The Ritual Monsters are also playable as normal monsters if you want to bypass the process completely. As an interesting part of the Yu-Gi-Oh! mythos, here are the proper Monsters required for each respective ritual (obviously, many of these Ritual Monsters are Normal/Effect Monsters in the real life game).

Ritual Monster Ritual Offering Ritual Spell
Black Luster Soldier Gaia the Fierce Knight Black Luster Ritual
Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon Blue-Eyes White Dragon x3 Ultimate Dragon
Chakra Versago the Destroyer Resurrection of Chakra
Cosmo Queen Queen of Autumn Leaves Cosmo Queen’s Prayer
Crab Turtle 30,000-Year White Turtle Turtle Oath
Dokurorider Temple of Skulls Revival of Dokurorider
Fiend’s Mirror Fiend Reflection #1 Beastly Mirror Ritual
Fortress Whale Mech Bass Fortress Whale’s Oath
Garma Sword Succubus Knight Garma Sword Oath
Gate Guardian Sanga of the Thunder, Kazejin, Suijin Gate Guardian Ritual
Hungry Burger Bio Plant Hamburger Recipe
Javelin Beetle Hercules Beetle Javelin Beetle Pact
Magician of Black Chaos Dark Magician Black Magic Ritual
Mask of Shine & Dark Mark of Darkness Construct of Mask
Millennium Shield One-Eyed Shield Dragon Curse of Millennium Shield
Performance of the Sword Water Omotics Commencement Dance
Psycho-Puppet Mysterious Puppeteer Puppet Ritual
Relinquished Dark-Eyes Illusionist Black Illusion Ritual
Sengenjin Hitotsu-Me Giant Revival of Sennen Genjin
Serpent Knight Dragon Darkfire Dragon Revived Serpent Knight Dragon
Skull Guardian M-Warrior #1 Novox’s Prayer
Super War-Lion Leogun War-Lion Ritual
Tri-Horned Dragon B. Dragon Jungle Curse of Tri-Horned Dragon
Yamadron Mountain Warrior Yamadron Ritual
Zera the Mant Ryu-Kishin Powered Zera Ritual

Lines up with the show as well, since the same tributes were required for Black Luster Soldier, Relinquished, and Magician of Black Chaos. Some things to note as well, Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon and Gate Guardian are obvious exceptions here since the games’ form of fusion could only be done with two Monsters at a time. In these games, Ritual cards are great because it’s an economic way to quickly beef up a weaker Monster. Some times, it really pays off, like going from 1600 to 2800 with Zera the Mant, or simply giving more of a winning edge from 2500 to 2800 with Magician of Black Chaos. Anyways, Ritual Cards were a cool addition to the game (real or otherwise), and I’d always love to see more done with the concept.

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