"Forbidden One", known as "Sealed One" (
While many people refer to the "Forbidden One" cards as "Exodia" cards, the "Exodia" archetype is a separate but related archetype, and the only "Forbidden One" card to be a part of it is "Exodia the Forbidden One" (the head).
The "Forbidden One" cards are some of the most iconic cards in the franchise, being well known for their automatic win condition and Yugi's use of them in the first episode of the anime.
Notably, "Exodia the Forbidden One" and the other "Forbidden One" cards were the only monsters ever specifically mentioned in the rulebooks (other than as an example), due to "Exodia the Forbidden One" being the only card with an alternative victory condition at the time. "Exodia the Forbidden One" is no longer mentioned in the rulebook, as its card text suffices to clarify its effect.
Originally, the complete "Forbidden One" set was extremely hard to obtain, with all five pieces being Ultra Rare; they have since been reprinted in lesser rarities, making a complete set easy to obtain. Often "Exodia the Forbidden One" is printed as an Ultra Rare and the limbs as Commons. Yugi's Legendary Decks prints all five pieces as Fixed Rarity Ultra Rares.
"Exodia" was, at first, a beast of such incalculable and intimidating might that he was split up into five distinctive parts, each one of them chained and sealed away by magic from all the other monsters (hence "the Forbidden One"). That would have prevented his power from ever being used again.
Shimon used Exodia against Zorc Necrophades, against whom he was equal; however, "Exodia" was defeated because he drew his power from Shimon, a single mortal man, whereas Zorc had his own power source.
As a result, in the Yu-Gi-Oh Card Game, there are five distinct "Forbidden One" cards, each one symbolizing a part of the complete "Exodia". In order for "Exodia" to regain his tremendous power, all of the five cards must be reunited in the player's hand. This brings the parts of the "Forbidden One" together, allowing "Exodia" to break free, his strength being so great that he guarantees the player an automatic win, regardless of the situation.
The effect of "Exodia" makes it one of the most godlike monsters in Duel Monsters; unlike most monsters, "Exodia" doesn't rely on ATK and DEF, instead causing an immediate victory when all five cards are assembled in the hand. Holactie the Creator of Light is the only other monster in Yugioh that has a duel winner effect just from her summoning.
Exodia's backstory and pharaoh-like appearance seemed to be a reference to the famous Egyptian legend of Osiris. Osiris was the god Egyptians believed brought them civilization, such as the knowledge of architecture, farming, and establishing the line of pharaohs. However, Osiris was betrayed by his jealous brother Set and was cut into several pieces, which were then scattered across Egypt. Osiris' wife Isis recovered the pieces and brought Osiris back to life long enough for them to bear a son, Horus, before Osiris departed to the Land of the Dead where he became its ruler.
While the primary purpose of "Exodia" is to declare an automatic win through having all five pieces, there have been other methods to using it. The first of these was "Exodia Necross", which had to be summoned via "Contract with Exodia" and possesses the near-invulnerability of the anime version of "Exodia" as long as the actual "Forbidden One" pieces remain in the Graveyard. It gains 500 ATK during each of the player's Standby Phases and cannot be destroyed in battle or by Spell and Trap effects. It is automatically destroyed if any of the five "Forbidden One" pieces do not exist in the Graveyard. Due to its near-invincibility and increasing strength, it serves as either a trump card that cannot be defeated or as a backup plan if too many "Forbidden One" pieces end up in the Graveyard.
The next such incarnation was "Exodius the Ultimate Forbidden Lord", which provided an alternate method of winning with "Exodia". "Exodius" can only be Summoned by returning all monsters in the Graveyard to the Deck. When "Exodius" attacks, a monster must be sent from either the hand or Deck to the Graveyard. "Exodius" gains 1000 ATK for each Normal Monster in the Graveyard. Should all five pieces of "Exodia" exist in the Graveyard as a result of being sent there via the effect of "Exodius", the player automatically wins the duel. Since the "Forbidden One" limbs are Normal Monsters, they power up "Exodius" when sent to the Graveyard by its effect, allowing field presence to be maintained, while also contributing to the possibility of an automatic win. Since its Summoning condition puts monsters from the Graveyard back into the Deck, it allows the possibility of an automatic win even if "Forbidden One" pieces are sent to the Graveyard, and in fact makes it beneficial to send them there again.
In addition, there is "Exxod, Master of The Guard" which greatly resembles "Exodia", though without an automatic win effect. In the same vein as "Necross" being the Zombie counterpart of "Exodia", "Exxod" resembles a completed, though still sealed, "Exodia".
In the second anime series, the "Forbidden One" cards were notable for never successfully played until Yugi Muto was able to assemble all five pieces during his duel against Seto Kaiba during episode 1. "Exodia" appeared in that duel when Yugi gathered all five pieces in his hand, after which it launched an attack, that was prompted by the line "Exodia, Obliterate" ("Hellfire's Rage, Exodo Flame!" in the original) from Yugi. The attack wiped out all three of Kaiba's "Blue-Eyes White Dragons" and Yugi won the Duel.
However, Yugi never used the "Exodia" cards again in the series because Weevil Underwood threw them overboard during the boat trip to Duelist Kingdom to ensure that Yugi couldn't use them for the tournament; despite the best efforts of Joey Wheeler, only two pieces were recovered.
In the Battle City Arc, Seeker of the Rare Hunters used "Exodia" to defeat Joey in a duel and also took his Red-Eyes Black Dragon. In the duel against Yugi that followed, the Rare Hunter almost won, but was defeated when Yugi was able to wipe out every single copy of "Exodia the Forbidden One" in his Deck using "Chain Destruction." Following that, Yugi ripped up the "Forbidden One" cards as they were counterfeits. However in the dub, he did that since the "Forbidden One" cards were marked with invisible ink so the Rare Hunter knew when he would draw one.
In the Virtual World Arc, Gozaburo Kaiba used an Exodia Deck against Seto Kaiba, and believed that since Yugi had defeated Kaiba with "Exodia", Kaiba would fear it. Instead of collecting the various "Forbidden One" monsters in his hand, Gozaburo sent them to his Graveyard so he could Summon "Exodia Necross". However, Kaiba was able to overcome his fears and saw the weakness in "Exodia Necross", and so removed the "Forbidden One" monsters in the Graveyard from play using "Soul Demolition", and thus rendered "Exodia Necross" powerless.
"Exodia Necross'" effect was marginally different in the anime. It gained a different effect for each "Exodia" piece in the Graveyard. It was immune to Spells if the Left Leg was in the Graveyard, immune to Traps if the Right Leg was in the Graveyard, immune to Monster effects if the Left Arm was in the Graveyard and gained 1000 ATK each time damage that involved it was calculated if the Right Arm was in the Graveyard. Having "the head" in in the Graveyard granted it the effect of not being destroyed in battle.
Exodia vs Zorc Necrophades
Exodia made one final appearance during the Dawn of the Duel Arc, in episode 216, as the Ka spirit of Shimon Muran. Shimon had sealed "Exodia" a long time ago away due to its godly strength but released him to engage in battle with Zorc Necrophades. Despite a strong effort, "Exodia" was defeated by Zorc, because "Exodia" drew his power from Shimon, while Zorc used the power of the darkness. Initially, though, both of them seemed imperishable, but as The Forbidden One's life force was drawn from a single human, any damage caused to "Exodia" was also caused to Shimon himself, and Shimon, a sole mortal, wasn't able to stand up to the power of Zorc, which thus allowed the Dark Demon to easily cleave "Exodia" in half, and killed Shimon in the process.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, "Exodia" was used by two separate duelists. The Yubel-possessed Marcel Bonaparte used an Exodia Deck, which he discarded after he obtained the three Sacred Beasts. He gave the five "Forbidden One" cards to Adrian Gecko as part of a deal.
Later in the season, Adrian discovered the seal of "Exodia" in the third alternate dimension and realized that he must sacrifice the Duel Energy of someone close to him in order to free "Exodia". Adrian decided to sacrifice Echo, whom he loved, but was opposed by Aster Phoenix. The two Dueled and Aster was able to block Adrian from achieving the victory condition of "Exodia" using "Force of Four." However, Adrian was able to make a comeback with "Exodius the Ultimate Forbidden Lord". Echo willingly sacrificed herself to release "Exodia", and despite Aster coming close to victory, Adrian was able to Summon "Exodia" by using the victory condition of "Exodius".
Adrian used his Exodia Deck against the Yubel-possessed Jesse Anderson in order to become King of the third alternate dimension. Adrian was defeated when his opponent Summoned "Yubel", whose effect defeated him as she attacked "Grinder Golem". Had that not happened, Adrian would have won, as he had four different "Forbidden One" monsters in his hand and was about to draw the fifth, which was placed on top of his Deck by using "A Feather of the Phoenix".
In the anime, the effect of "Exodius" effect was marginally different. It needed be Summoned via "Ritual of the Ultimate Forbidden Lord" and was immune to Monster, Spell and Trap effects controlled by the player's opponent. Rather than gaining ATK for Normal Monsters in the Graveyard, it gained ATK only for "Forbidden One" monsters in the Graveyard, and it could only send "Forbidden One" monsters from the Deck or hand to the Graveyard when it attacked.
In the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Yusei Fudo compared the "Earthbound Immortals" to "Exodia", though he was likely using the size and similar body shapes of "Exodia" and "Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu" as his main comparison.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum
In Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum, the player could fuse the five pieces of "Exodia" to Summon "The Legendary Exodia Incarnate", the complete Exodia, (but it will be only like a normal fusion piece) with an ability to cause massive damage on the monsters that was in range, that was known by "Obliterate".
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists of the Roses
In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists of the Roses, "The Legendary Exodia Incarnate" could be unlocked in the Library when the player successfully Summoned Exodia, but it was impossible to see him in 3D, and the only available statuses were his Type, which is Spellcaster, and his Attribute, which is DARK.
- The chance of drawing all 5 pieces of Exodia in the first five cards out of a 40 card deck is 1/658008, if there is 1 of each piece, as there is (5/40 * 4/39 * 3/38 * 2/37 * 1/36 = 1.52*10^-6 or 0.000152%).
- In the TCG artwork, the seal behind the "Forbidden One" pieces of "Exodia" is "Spellbinding Circle".
- It's likely a reference to the Egyptian god "Osiris". Both share similar aspects, and Osiris was also shattered into pieces by his enemy to contain his power; only to be reassembled.