Friday, September 29, 2023

Friday Creature Feature - Dark Magician

I recently finished my trek through the original Yu-Gi-Oh anime (including the subpar Dark Side of Dimensions) and I keep debating within myself how much of the story held up and how much of it is nostalgia… but I guess if nothing else, the nostalgia was powerful enough for me to start watching GX again. But before I get into the story of Jaden and Duel Academy, I wanted to spotlight one of my favorite Duel Monsters. He was Yugi’s trademark monster right from his first duel with Kaiba. Yes, I’m talking about the Dark Magician.

Makings of a Magician

Featured in the "Dawn of the Duel" story arc, we see a version of the Dark Magician's backstory (though it might be slightly altered because of the time travel). As one of the Pharaoh's childhood friends, it shouldn't be too surprising that Mahad grew to become a member of the Pharaoh's court, wielding the Millennium Ring. So when the Thief Bakura started campaigning against the Pharaoh, Mahad tried to put a stop to it early on. 

In confronting Bakura and Diabound with his trusty Illusion Magician, Mahad nearly defeated Bakura, entombing him. But as the Thief King got the better of him, Mahad fused his soul with the Illusion Magician. The newly formed Dark Magician was the Pharaoh's faithful servant through the battle against Zorc and would be featured on the Pharaoh's Tablet for millennia to come.

The Return of the Shadow Games

As mentioned, Dark Magician was Yugi's most iconic card, right from his first duel against Kaiba, right through the Ceremonial Duel between Yugi and Atem (and onward into Dark Side of Dimensions, but I don't want to discuss that movie again). He appeared during major battles against Kaiba, Joey, and many other rivals. In addition, Yugi utilized him against villains the like of Pegasus, Marik, and more. As the journey continued, we got different variations and evolutions of the Dark Magician, like Dark Magician Girl, Dark Paladin, and more. I'll discuss some of my favorite variations at the end. 

Why I Love the Dark Magician

I entered Yu-Gi-Oh as I was still early on in my obsession with Harry Potter and was immediately hooked on spellcaster cards as a result. So when the protagonist of the anime had a wizard as his trump card, it shouldn't have surprised anyone that I'd gravitate to the "ultimate wizard". I even made up some cards for a fan fiction that involved Hogwarts characters and spells. My love for Dark Magician has only increased new support cards have been released. In my humble opinion, my spellcaster deck on Duel Links was phenomenal and could take enemies down like nothing.

Favorite Dark Magician Evolutions

As I mentioned earlier, the Dark Magician has a number of different "evolutions" and "variations" that have appeared throughout the anime and the card game. And the list has only grown over the years. It was hard to narrow down my list, but here are a few of my favorites. Other notable mentions include Dark Sage, Skilled Dark Magician, and Sorcerer of Dark Magic.

Dark Magician Knight

When Yugi and company are captured by Noah and the Big Five, Dark Magician was the easy choice for his deck master and he took three new forms against the Big Five. After Dark Flare Knight and Mirage Knight fail to finish off the Big Five, we got Dark Magician Knight. This has been a favorite variation of the spellcaster ever since I first got a copy of Reshef of Destruction. Something has always appealed to me about the warrior magician… that energy must have carried with me onto my mission when a companion nicknamed me “Warrior”.

Dark Paladin

During the Battle City Finals, it was only natural (as it was foretold) that Yugi and Dark Magician should face off against Kaiba and Blue-Eyes White Dragon. As Blue-Eyes took the form of the three-headed Ultimate Dragon, Yugi unleashed his latest Dark Magician form: Dark Paladin. And it was with this warrior magician that Yugi defeated Kaiba’s dragons. Again, we've got another warrior magician. 

Amulet Dragon

Taking a detour from the Pharaoh’s mission, Yugi and the Pharaoh gained possession of the Legendary Dragon Timaeus. With his power to fuse with any monster card, it should be no surprise that the two monsters Yugi fused it with: Dark Magician Girl and Dark Magician. The Amulet Dragon (Dark Magician + Timaeus) was used against Raphael and gained massive strength by clearing the graveyard of spells. Just like the Dark Magician Knight, there was something that drew me to Legendary Dragon cards, so to see them fused with my favorite card was wonderful (I once made up a fusion of Hermos and Dark Magician).

Dark Magician of Chaos

While the ritual monster Magician of Black Chaos first appeared in Duelist Kingdom, he was never "technically" a Dark Magician card. Though, when he appeared alongside Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl in the Virtual World against Noah, I flipped out. Later, after Yugi retired from dueling (probably) his deck was on display at Duel Academy. Some punk stole his deck and pretended to be him. But at least we got the Dark Magician of Chaos, who doesn't just look as cool as Magician of Black Chaos, but he's easier to summon and he has an awesome card effect.

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