A Guide to Spotting Fake Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards.

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I have seven years experience playing the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, two and a half years experience as a retailer working for my local hobby store, buying and selling individual Yu-Gi-Oh! cards as well as a year and a half experience myself selling Yu-Gi-Oh! cards on eBay. Hopefully I can share some of my knowledge with you in spotting the tell-tale signs of a fake Yu-Gi-Oh! card(s) for sale on eBay, especially more sophisticated fakes.

Please note: Images shown are examples of real Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and are used as a guide on where to look for typical signs of fake cards. It is highly advised that you compare a real card that you possess to one you see on eBay that may be fake if you are unsure.

It should also be noted that not all of the issues fake cards have appear simultaneously. The judgement between whether or not a card is fake should consider all potential factors provided in this guide.

Note: All pictures used in this guide are examples of real cards and thus can be used as a comparison.

Cosmetic Signs:

1. Name and card text:
One clear sign of a fake Yu-Gi-Oh! card can be seen by looking at the name and effect/description of a card.

Often, fake cards have a different name than which the manufacturers Konami (the creators of Yu-Gi-Oh!) originally printed. Very often, the name will not make clear grammatical sense or will have, sometimes slight, spelling errors in the card name. The card name may also be printed in a different font to a genuine Yu-Gi-Oh! card, or may be a different size. If the card name overlaps the edge of or does not fit within the box, this is also another sign that the card may be fake.

Another clear sign of a fake card can be seen by the language used in the card text effect/description. Fake cards may not use the correct terminology and words that are used in real cards. Words such as "Destroy" "Graveyard" "Normal Summon" "Life Points" "Banish" or "Remove from Play" are examples of correct card terminology used on real cards. If a card uses words that are different from those normally used on a real card, this is a sign it may be fake. Also, be sure to read the spelling and grammar of the card. If a card does not have correct spelling, bad grammar or does not make sense when read, this is another clear sign of a fake card.

2. Set Number

The "Set Number" is used to identify which card set or "Booster Pack" a card has come from, every single card printed in the TCG (Trading Card Game) is given a set number. In the picture shown, the code "TU01" tell us that the card is from "Turbo Pack 1". The "EN" tell us that the card is in English (If the card is German it will say "DE" or French "FR" etc.) and the "000" is the number of the card in that set. Firstly, if the set number is missing entirely, the card is almost certainly a fake. Secondly, if you type the set number into a search engine such as Google, you will usually get search results showing the card that you typed the set number in for. If, when the set number is typed in and a different card shows up, or does not correspond to any printed card, this is another sign of a fake card. 

3. Hologram and edition.

Every card printed also contains a hologram printed in the bottom right of the card. If the hologram is missing or is not shiny, this is normally a sign of a fake. There are only ever two differences in the hologram, if a card is "1st Edition" or "LIMITED EDITION", which is found below the card picture and above the effect to the left, the hologram in the bottom right will be coloured gold. If the card is not "1st Edition" or "LIMITED EDITION"  there will be no text in that section of the card and the hologram will be coloured silver. If the edition and hologram do not match, this is another sign of a fake.

With the release of the Super Starter: Space-Time Showdown starter deck, the edition has now been moved from between the picture and the card effect/description to below the card between the 'Eye of Anubis' Hologram and the card number.

4. Rarity, card colour and quality.

If a card looks to have very faded colour, poor picture quality, poorly defined edges or the foil seems of very poor quality in comparison to other shiny cards, this is a good sign of a fake, this is probably the most common and obvious sign of a fake along with poorly written names/card text. It is IMPERATIVE that you compare a real card to a potentially fake card in order to spot the difference. 

Cards printed have a corresponding colour for what type of card they are:

Yellow for Normal Monsters

Orange for Effect Monsters:

Blue for Ritual Monsters:

Purple for Fusion Monsters:

White for Synchro Monsters:

Black for XYZ Monsters: 

Green for Spell Cards:

Note: Spell cards  do not share ATK/DEF like monster cards do, if a trap card is printed with ATK/DEF on it, it is likely fake

Purple for Trap Cards:

Note: Trap cards do not share ATK/DEF like monster cards do, if a trap card is printed with ATK/DEF on it, it is likely fake

Grey for Tokens: 

Note: Tokens do not have attack or defence printed on them, nor do they have effects. If a card that is marked as a token and has attack, defence or an effect, it is likely a fake.

Half Orange, Half Green for Effect Pendulum Monsters:


Half Yellow, Half Green for Normal Pendulum Monsters

If a card is not one of these colours, or the colour is different from what it should normally be, e.g. A monster card coloured purple. Then it is most likely fake.

4. Card Backing:
Every card in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has the same picture on the back of the card with the exception of the three Egyptian God Cards, Slifer the Sky Dragon, The Winged Dragon of Ra and Obelisk the Tormentor printed in either the Legendary Collection 1, or the Gameboy Advance Promotionals.
On the back of each Yu-Gi-Oh! card there are two features you should note, the "Konami" name printed in the top left and the "Yu-Gi-Oh!" logo printed in the bottom right. If any or either of the two are missing, the card is probably a fake.

If the Konami Logo on the back of the card is misspelt or misplaced, this may also suggest a fake.

Sometimes the back of a fake card does not match the back of a real Yu-Gi-Oh! card. It may have different colours on the back or the pattern may not match that of a real Yu-Gi-Oh! card.

Features of eBay listing for fake cards:

Note: Not all people who list fake cards do so intentionally, frequently sellers post items that they have little knowledge about. 

When searching through eBay listing for cards take note of several factors on a listing where you suspect there to be a fake card:
  • Price: If the price of a card is significantly lower in price than listings of the same or similar items, this may indicate that the seller has posted a fake card(s)
  • Picture Quality: Some sellers attempting to sell fake cards may try post a poor quality picture for their item, so that the flaws in the fake card(s) cannot be seen by buyers
  • Item name: Most sellers should provide the name of the card they are selling, if you are unsure whether or not it is real, try typing the name or set code into a search engine, the results should come up with the same card.
  • Description: Some sellers may describe the card they are selling as a 'misprint'. Misprints do occur, when producing the cards, there may be a manufacturing error causing issues such as, the wrong name being printed or the name being printed higher or lower than it should have been. However, this does not necessarily mean the card is actually a misprint and may be a fake, again check visual factors and if you are still unsure, contact someone you know with extensive knowledge of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game. 
Some inexperienced or unsure sellers may know little to nothing about Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and thus may unintentionally post fake cards, do not accuse seller of trying to trick you, instead follow the standard eBay report procedure to report fake cards. 

This video by a well known YouTuber may assist you in showing some of the points I have made in this guide in practice.

End Note:

I hope you have found my guide useful and I appreciate the time you have taken to look at it. If you are still unsure if any cards you own are fake, or if any eBay listing you wish to buy is advertising fake cards, please feel free to contact me via eBay or email and I will try to help in any way I can.  

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