In 1996, the world was launched to a juggernaut.
That unstoppable pressure was the Pokémon sequence, and its international recognition gave rise to what can now be dubbed the “Monster Accumulating” style. Valiant challengers comparable to Beyblade, Medabots, and Monster Rancher tried to swipe as a lot cash because the Pocket Monsters did from dad and mom in all places, however had nowhere close to the identical endurance. But among the many competitors, two staunch outliers, the Yu-Gi-Oh Buying and selling Card Game and the Digimon sequence, have managed to outlive — and even put up a very good battle — towards the undisputed king.
One everlasting query spans all of popular culture: “Who would win?” That is why we’re dedicating a whole week to debates which have formed comics, motion pictures, TV, and video games, for higher and worse. Put together your self for Polygon’s Who Would Win Week.
Pokémon, Digimon, and Yu-Gi-Oh at the moment are the worldwide “Massive Three” of the monster-collecting style. As such, every sequence’ mascot has garnered fame of their very own: Digimon’s Agumon, Yu-Gi-Oh’s Darkish Magician, and Pokémon’s omnipresent, effortlessly cute Pikachu have all stepped as much as the plate. And followers, as they do, have lengthy debated which mascot would take dwelling the W in an old school slobber knocker.
So, within the spirit of Polygon’s Who Would Win Week, we determined to place that hypothesis to relaxation. Let’s begin by breaking down the monsters and their skills.
Darkish Magician is a spellcaster who was made well-known because the ace monster of the unique (and hottest) Yu-Gi-Oh protagonists, Yugi Moto and Yami Yugi. Darkish Magician can remodel into a number of highly effective variants, together with the Darkish Magician of Chaos, Darkish Magician Knight, Darkish Eradicator Warlock, and Darkish Sage. Nevertheless, every of those transformations requires objects that aren’t usually outfitted with the bottom character within the card game, anime, and manga. For the needs of this battle, we’ll abide by the identical guidelines. (We’ll additionally keep away from the blatant rule-breaking the Magician typically does within the anime.) So, whereas Darkish Magician does have some transformational methods up their sleeve, they’re simply that: Methods that received’t and might’t issue into this explicit battle.
Yu-Gi-Oh playing cards don’t go too deep into the precise skills of monsters, so it’s exhausting to know their actual stats. Nevertheless, utilizing the anime and manga, we will compile a couple of helpful particulars. Darkish Magician has many skills he can use to utterly blitz anybody in fight, together with his Thousand Knives capability, with which he throws an extreme barrage of actually 1000 knives at his enemy. He may also fireplace black-magic blasts and open black holes to redirect incoming assaults. These offensive powers, together with pace that would dizzy even the monster Diabound, who was highly effective and quick sufficient to defeat six of the Pharaoh’s Sacred Guardians, make him an ample menace. On the flip aspect, Darkish Magician isn’t very sturdy — he takes large injury from robust power blasts and, within the Yu-Gi-Oh manga, acquired knocked by way of a pillar by Diabound. He’s mainly a glass cannon with historic Egyptian powers, and whereas which may be badass in its personal proper, it won’t slide right here.
Subsequent up, there’s Pikachu, who’s a pressure to be reckoned with, even in its base kind. The electrical rat has proven varied cases of going Mach pace, firing quick electrical bolts, wielding robust energy in its tail, and the power to leap a number of tales excessive. None of that is to say its nice sturdiness towards even legendary Pokémon. It might probably additionally (apparently) dispel darkish power with its Thunderbolt assault, as seen towards Mimikyu within the Solar and Moon anime, when it blasted a Shadow Ball assault into nothingness. It sounds very dumb, however once you consider the truth that we’re speaking a few rodent with electrical powers, it makes as a lot sense because it ought to.
Regardless of all of its strengths, Pikachu can be simply caught off guard by surprises — comparable to when it was caught by its personal deflected thunder bolt in The X and Y anime. It can also’t break something as exhausting as diamond, as seen in a battle with Golispod within the Solar and Moon anime, and it’s tremendous susceptible whereas it costs Thunderbolt (one thing a lot of it’s possible you’ll know from spamming down-b in Tremendous Smash Bros.).
Lastly, there’s Agumon, wthe preliminary weakest of the three. Agumon is mainly a cooler (sure, I mentioned it) Charmander, and possesses a small Pepper Breath fireblast, quick jab, and sharp claws. The catch? Digimon have the latent capability to Digivolve into new kinds, however aren’t at all times restricted in the way in which that Pokémon are. These transformations can happen by way of age, coaching, a Digivice forcing the change, or, most related to this argument’s functions, the anger and can to outlive in a troublesome battle — say, towards Pikachu and the Darkish Magician.
This makes it potential for Agumon to rework into its stronger Greymon kind, together with extra highly effective subsequent kinds comparable to Steel Greymon, SkullGreymon, or RizeGreymon. For this battle, we’ll deal with the most definitely transformations to happen: Greymon and SkullGreymon.
Agumon’s first evolution, Greymon, is an aggressive but clever dinosaur Digimon, which is frightening sufficient by itself. It’s additionally large, has a protecting shell on its head, and might shoot warmth blasts that flip no matter they contact into ash. None of that is to say Greymon’s extremely sturdy physique, which permits it to tank varied assaults from different highly effective Digimon.
What’s extra, if Greymon begins to lose footing and cling to life, it’ll most definitely shed all non-combat intelligence — together with its literal flesh — and turn into SkullGreymon. This ultimate-level Digimon can shoot monitoring missiles from its spinal twine, transfer at excessive speeds (why wouldn’t an enormous skeleton be fast on its toes?) and tank planet-buster stage assaults. It might probably additionally paralyze and poison opponents. Is that not damaged sufficient for you? Properly, don’t fear: SkullGreymon can remodel as soon as extra into BlackWarGreymon. This Digimon has much more pace, sturdiness, intelligence, and energy. No marvel it’s the sequence’ mascot!
Now, to the motion: The battle begins with Agumon getting washed, whether or not by Darkish Magician’s vast assortment of assaults, or Pikachu’s overwhelming pace. And whereas Agumon undergoes its first determined transformation, the battle mainly turns into a one-on-one between the electrical rat and the purple-clad magician.
The 2 are evenly matched at first: Pikachu simply weaves by way of the Magician’s Thousand Knives, because of fast reactions and lightning-fast pace, and the Mage takes a bit of harm each time Pikachu lands a success with its Iron Tail. Darkish Magician can reply again with darkish power assaults, however as we’ve lined, Pikachu can dispel darkish power with its bolts, making them a non-issue. Regardless of Pikachu’s valiant efforts, although, it’s clear that Darkish Magician dwarfs Pikachu in energy and sturdiness, seeing as how he’s fought with a lot stronger foes than a starter Pokémon all through his martial tenure. Ultimately, Pikachu has to dodge volleys of blasts, always leap to Darkish Magician’s airborne peak, and decrease his defenses to cost his Thunderbolt assault. Ultimately, it’ll exhaust itself, and Darkish Magician will emerge victorious.
Although Pikachu is out of the way in which, the battle is way from over. Agumon would have reworked into Greymon by this level, who may have simply put down Pikachu like I may an ant on the sidewalk. Nevertheless, whereas Greymon is an especially highly effective Digimon, its may isn’t fairly on that stage of a spellcasting monster that’s taken on near-god-level enemies. The end result? A 6-Four matchup in Darkish Magician’s favor ending with him standing, battered and victorious, over a sleeping dinosaur. This all brings us to the following transformation. (See the place that is going?)
SkullGreymon’s live-for-combat mentality and heat-seeking missile barrage would end what his earlier kinds began. Even when it was unable to paralyze or poison his goal, its near-unbreakable sturdiness and gigantic dimension would clinch the victory, regardless of costing is thoughts. And naturally, if this all by some means wasn’t sufficient to earn the dub, it may well maintain evolving. Agumon’s capability to rework into so many damaged messes rivals that of your favourite Dragon Ball character. And we weren’t even near its ultimate kind.
The battle of the large monster-collecting three ended with the preliminary underdog of the trio profitable. Pokémon, for all of their grandeur and ubiquity, misplaced their mascot first. That’s acquired to rely for one thing, proper?
Pikachu could also be laughing its approach to the financial institution every single day of the 12 months, however Greymon is stomping on that financial institution and utilizing the leftover rubble as a makeshift mattress.