Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Characters in Yu-Gi-Oh GX
Despite some issues, Yu-Gi-Oh GX improved on many aspects from the original show. Rules were clarified, fusion monsters really took off, and multiple characters share the spotlight (rather than just Yugi, Kaiba, and the villain of the week).
Protagonist Jaden is strong but not unbeatable, and he faces several powerful rivals and villains—which reign supreme? These are the ten strongest duelists in Yu-Gi-Oh GX! Only those who actually dueled at some point count, so we're excluding brief cameos from characters like Kaiba, although we do see his spirit...
Seto Kaiba never duels in GX, but his spirit's manifestation does. Sadly, we only get to see him engage in one fight (against Jaden), but he wins it, meaning his record is technically flawless. And beating Jaden is no easy feat, something only a handful manage throughout Jaden's many dozens of battles.
Kaibaman is also an official card supporting his favored theme, able to sacrifice himself to play a "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" from your hand without tributing.
9. Maximillion Pegasus
Returning character Pegasus has some nice cameos, but he gets his own duel against school officials Crowler and Jean-Louis. Despite them mostly teaming up (they though start back-stabbing each other later on), Pegasus defeats them, showcasing his impressive skills.
8. Aster Phoenix
Archetype: Destiny HERO
Professional duelist Aster comes in swinging, quickly racking up impressive wins against both Jaden and Zane. He remains a fierce rival throughout the show's run, but he does start losing more as the series progresses, being defeated by Jaden, Sartorius, Adrian, and even Chazz.
7. Zane Truesdale
Archetype: Cyber Dragon
Regarded as Duel Academy's top student before Jaden, Zane proves his skills by being the first character to defeat Jaden, who only manages a draw in their rematch. Zane also has impressive wins against characters like Syrus, Atticus, and Chancellor Sheppard.
However, his win record falters once he joins the pro league, racking up losses against Aster and Jesse. And in his final match with Jaden (which is called off before concluding), Zane points out Jaden would have won if he weren't hampering his own plays (he'd been through some trauma). Still, Zane's undoubtedly one of the show's best fighters, and in real-life, his monsters remained a competitive staple for many years after the show.
6. Adrian Gecko
Archetype: Cloudian (later Exodia)
Adrian's one of the most underrated characters in not only GX, but all of Yu-Gi-Oh. He's not really a villain or a hero, he's kinda always doing his own thing, sometimes it lines up with the heroes, others the villains. He's also one of the only duelists to actually settle a conflict with a fistfight rather than a card game, challenging Viper to a physical battle.
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Though Adrian only duels a handful of times, he's scored several impressive victories, defeating Chazz and Aster and only ever losing to a Yubel-possessed Jesse. Speaking of which...
5. Jesse Anderson
Archetype: Crystal Beast
Though not appearing until later in the show, Jesse quickly becomes Jaden's best friend and rival, sharing similar optimistic personalities. He also shares Jaden's talent for dueling, racking up many wins, especially if you count his victories while possessed by Yubel against Zane and Adrian.
Plus, although Jaden beats him in their first match, it's implied that Jesse would have won if he'd has his best monster ("Rainbow Dragon"), who hadn't yet been made into a card. And though their final match is called off part-way through, Jesse had the advantage and probably would have won if they continued.
Archetype: Arcana Force
A fortune-telling villain who later redeems himself, Sartorius earns many wins while scheming to brainwash the Academy, defeating Chazz, Tyranno, and Aster, only ever losing to Jaden.
But as impressive as defeating Aster was, perhaps Sartorius's greatest achievement was his "zero-turn" win against Prince Ojin, managing to defeat the Prince during Ojin's opening turn (using instant effects from his hand).
Archetype: Sacred Beasts
Like Kaibaman, Yubel actually has her own real-life card, but in the show, she's a spirit obsessed with Jaden. After he ultimately shows her kindness, the two fuse and she becomes his partner (similar to Atem with Yugi), offering him advice throughout his final battles.
But before she does, Yubel wrecks many opponents, vanquishing threats like Zane and Adrian. Plus, she only loses once, and even then, it's only because she had to fight Jesse and Jaden simultaneously (and she still manages to beat Jesse before losing to Jaden).
2. Jaden Yuki
Archetype: Elemental HERO (with Neo-Spacians later)
The protagonist himself. As the series progresses and turns darker, Jaden's initially-energetic personality grows more jaded, but his skills remain sharp throughout the entire runtime. Jaden duels far more than any other character, winning the vast majority of his matches, and he's usually the one to defeat the various villains. He also beat Yugi's deck, though it was wielded by the thief Dimitri rather than Yugi himself.
Although he's not invincible, Jaden's versatile fusion monsters (and some would say plot armor) make it a very rare occurrence for him to lose.
1. Yugi Moto
Archetype: Dark Magician
Yugi appears at the very start of the show to give Jaden "Winged Kuriboh", resurfacing at the end to have Jaden duel Yugi's past self from the original anime.
Their battle is a climatic one with no clear winner (though that's a hotly-debated topic), but some evidence suggests Yugi might have won. And of course, he's got an amazing win record in the original show, very rarely losing a fair fight.
Other Duelists in Yu-Gi-Oh GX
Despite some flaws (especially in its poor English dub), GX presented a diverse cast of characters who constantly challenged each other. Narrowing today's list to just ten was surprisingly difficult, and other duelists like Chazz, Bastion, Jim, and Alexis deserve mention.
Fans of GX will enjoy seeing some of its characters re-emerge in the Arc-V anime, but for now, vote for your favorite duelist and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill