One of the oldest trading card games still in print, Yu-Gi-Oh! has thousands upon thousands of cards, the majority of which have their own individual effects, design, statistics and type combinations.
As the game matures and struggles to stay fresh, Konami continues to introduce new innovative summoning mechanics and card types which help revolutionise the game.
These new, often fast-paced game mechanics have warped the game into something almost unrecognisable to fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh of the early noughties. However, a number of iconic monsters from the early episodes of the anime have endured, remaining staple creatures and mascots of the franchise to this day.
Before cards started getting bogged down with text, vanilla beatstick monsters with high ATK values and sleek designs flourished, their popularity aided by their presence in the anime. With each successive generation of Yu-Gi-Oh, characters brought their own brand-new signature cards and ace monsters into the fray, these creature designs often being personifications of the characters who wielded them.
While a few monsters on this list are from later instalments during Yu-Gi-Oh's heyday. A number of these monsters have transcended the limits of a card game franchise, becoming pop culture staples in their own right.
Here are the ten most iconic, powerful and playable ace monsters from the Yu-Gi-Oh anime.