Home > 2022/09 - YCS Niagara Falls, ON, Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series > Serialized Prize Cards?! And A New Top Cut Game Mat!

Serialized Prize Cards?! And A New Top Cut Game Mat!

September 10th, 2022

Serialization is a staple of the sportscard world, where cards are often numerically stamped to make them more fun to open, and more attractive to collectors. A cool looking basketball or hockey card is one thing, but a rare card stamped “1/75”, denoting the first card in a limited series of just 75 copies? That’s even cooler. Some incredibly rare variant cards may even have a “1/1” stamp, meaning the card’s entirely unique. 

Serialized cards aren’t just a fad; they’re a standard in non-gaming collectibles, and they’re often some of the most coveted cards in a sports or entertainment release.

Lately that trend of serialized cards has been slowly making its way into the world of Trading Card Games, and this YCS season marks the first appearance of the concept in Yu-Gi-Oh: not as a foil number stamp, but as actual printed text on the Ultra Rare version of the new Prize CardAnotherverse Dragon. Here’s what the new Prize Card monster looks like, as it appears on the new Top Cut game mat that’ll be given out here at YCS Niagara.

The new Top Cut game mat, featuring Anotherverse Dragon!

Historically speaking, Prize Cards are a sticky issue. On one hand, winners and collectors want Prize Cards to be desirable, which has always meant exclusive and playable. Years ago, Crush Card Virus was a tournament-defining card that often functioned as a kingmaker. If you had a copy of Crush card in the era of Dark Armed Dragon’s dominance, you had a huge advantage over your opponents. 

Later Prize Cards like Gold SarcophagusDoomcaliber KnightMinerva, the Exalted Lightsworn, and Chaos Emperor, the Dragon of Armageddon were all highly sought after, because they were useful in actual competition. A powerful Prize Card’s always encouraged players to compete, and they were a fitting reward for the game’s greatest Champions.

…But on the other hand, giving the game’s winningest competitors a distinct advantage is tricky for everyone who doesn’t have one. Lots of Duelists would rather see those playable cards in booster packs so they have a fair shot at opening one, especially those who can’t travel to big events. So for years, there’ve been two very vocal camps about Prize Cards: one group hoping to see immensely powerful cards offered as Championship exclusives, and another hoping for Prize Cards that are solely eye candy for collectors, instead of playable game pieces.

And until this season there was just no way to please both. But now, thanks to serialization? The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG’s arrived at a spectacular compromise.

Truly one of a kind

This is the Ultra Rare copy of Anotherverse Dragon, which will be awarded this weekend to the 1st Place finisher in the YCS main event. Sure, it’s just a Normal Monster. But check out that extra sentence beneath the flavor text: “This card was awarded to the winner of the 1st North American YCS in the 2022-2023 Season”

Since there’s only one main event winner here at YCS Niagara Falls, the 1st North American YCS of this season, the card pictured above is completely unique. Anotherverse Dragon will never be awarded again with that text. When the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series rolls into Minneapolis next month, the winner of that main event will earn an Ultra Rare Anotherverse Dragon with text reading “…the winner of the 2nd North American YCS…” And so on and so on, with the text changing at every successive tournament in the series.

Every Ultra Rare prize card is uniquely tied to the event it was won at; it’s a piece of Yu-Gi-Oh history with no parallel, and each one will be drool-worthy for collectors. At the same time, this Normal Dragon-type monster with 2500 ATK and 2000 DEF, clocking in at Level 8, isn’t going to be overpowering anybody in tournament play. 

It’s a clever solution that breaks the boundaries of Yu-Gi-Oh! card design as we knew it, and it solves a problem that’s lasted almost two decades.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what the Super Rare copies look like? The ones awarded to 2nd Place and 3rd Place in the main event, as well as to the winners of the Public Event Playoffs? Take a peek…

2nd Place, 3rd Place, and Public Event Playoffs will receive this Super Rare Prize Card

The Super Rare copies of Anotherverse Dragon are still awesome, but they’re serialized to the 2022-2023 season. The specific event callout is reserved solely for the Ultra Rare winner’s copy (at least for now). That makes the Ultra Rares even more desirable, so they’re going to be amazing keepsakes for any winner who decides to hang onto theirs. They’ll also be huge grails for any collector daring and determined enough to chase one for their collection.

The Prize Card game has changed. The time of Duel Link Dragon, the Duel Dragon has passed, and the era of Anotherverse Dragon has begun. Thanks to serialization these could be the most popular YCS Prize Cards of all time, and in a little more than 24 hours the 1st in the North American series will be awarded to a deserving Champion.

Right here, at YCS Niagara Falls.