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DARK ( (やみ) Yami "Darkness") monsters are perhaps the most favored of all monsters. Many well-known monsters are of the DARK attribute, such as "Dark Armed Dragon", "Jinzo" and most of the "Red-Eyes" series. Fiends and Zombies are usually of the DARK Attribute, and so are many Spellcasters such as "Reaper of Prophecy", "Dark Magician", and "Endymion, the Master Magician". Although LIGHT is the polar opposite of DARK, neither side has a true advantage over the other in general, although there are cards such as "Luminous Soldier", "Penumbral Soldier Lady", "Hoshiningen" and "Witch's Apprentice" which lower the stats of the opposing Attribute. The "Ally of Justice" archetype focuses heavily on DARK monsters that power up by destroying LIGHT monsters. DARK monsters have their own Structure Deck in the OCG, Structure Deck: Curse of Darkness. "Consecrated Light" also plays against the DARK Attribute by preventing them from being summoned or attacking at all while it is face up, as well as being unable to be destroyed by battle by any DARK monster.

Being one of the most versatile and common Attributes, DARK monsters and the cards akin to them can work with many different Deck Types, and rarely does a typical deck lack at least one. Because they are so widespread, DARK monsters have themes comparable to many other Attributes (for example, there are enough burn-damage DARK monsters to rival FIRE monsters). However, the one thing that DARK monsters specialize in more than any other Attribute are card effects relating to the Graveyard, often by using it as a resource in some way (though the predominately-DARK "Gravekeeper's" Archetype notably prevents the use of the Graveyard as a resource). Most other DARK monsters like "Blackwing" monsters have swarming abilities that allow you to summon monsters to your field to overwhelm your opponent by numbers in battle.

In terms of lore, a large number of "evil" and demonic monsters are DARK, but the attribute itself is not strictly associated with evil. For instance, every protagonist in the anime uses at least some DARK monsters, with all but one of them having a DARK monster which is a key part of their Deck ("Dark Magician", "Dark Magician Girl", and "Kuriboh" for Yugi, "Junk Warrior" for Yusei, "Gagaga Magician" and "Gagaga Girl" for Yuma, "Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon" for Yuya, and "Decode Talker" for Yusaku).

Along with demons, wicked gods, and evil individuals, DARK is usually associated with things which are mysterious or hidden, black magic, death, ghosts and spirits, the moon, and, of course, with literal darkness. Archetypes which are anti-heroes, or are used by anti-heroic characters, are often DARK ("Destiny HERO", "Raidraptor", "Phantom Knights"). Lastly, some monsters are DARK for little reason beyond the fact they are colored black ("Blackwing") or purple ("Junk Warrior").

DARK-based archetypes include: "Archfiend", "Ally of Justice", "Blackwing", "Burning Abyss", "Codebreaker", "Dark Magician", "Dark Scorpion", "Destiny HERO", "Darklord", "Dark World", "Flower Cardian", "Ghostrick", "Gorgonic", "Gravekeeper's", "Infernity", "Inzektor", "lswarm", "Lunalight", "Predaplant", "Raidraptor", "Reptilianne", "Shaddoll", "The Phantom Knights", "Tindangle", "Umbral Horror", and "Vampire".