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Knights of Hanoi

Knights of Hanoi


ハノイの () ()


Hanoi no Kishi

Japanese translated

Knights of Hanoi

Appears in (anime)


Appears in (episode)

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"

The Knights of Hanoi (ハノイの () () Hanoi no Kishi) are a mysterious hacker group that hacks via Dueling inside LINK VRAINS. They appear as the main antagonists in the first season and then as anti-heroes in the second season of the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime.

Their goal is to destroy the Ignis and their home known as the "Cyberse World" that exists somewhere in the depths of the Network, believing that their continuous development will cause them to supervise and eventually destroy humanity.

After Ai's demise, a main Knights of Hanoi became the observants expanding LINK VRAINS in order to atone for their crimes.


The Knights of Hanoi are an organization of hackers founded by Kiyoshi Kogami and led by Varis, with the top-ranking Knights consisting of researchers who played a part in the Hanoi Project. The Knights all use a mostly white uniform with lines of differing colors in some parts of the uniform. On top of it, they wear a hooded white coat that covers their body and reaches the back of their knees, with the rank-and-file members of the organization also wearing masks. This is probably just their preferred Avatar on LINK VRAINS, used to hide their true appearances. The organization's higher ranking members do not wear hoods, revealing their faces, but wear clothing similar in style to the rank-and-file. Additionally, the Duel Disks used by the members are differentiated between the ranks, with the grunts using Duel Disks that are silver-bordered and green, the lieutenants using those that are silver-bordered and yellow, while Varis uses one that is gold-bordered and red.

The Knights of Hanoi utilize "Cracking Dragon" to assault the digital world with its power. Individuals who fall victim to this mechanical dragon while in LINK VRAINS have their accounts deleted from the system.[1]



Five years before the start of the series, Varis assaulted "Cyberse World" with "Cracking Dragon" with the intention to destroy it. The different Artificial Intelligence programmes that protected it were restrained by Varis and thus unable to stop the destruction of their world. However, the Dark Ignis, Ai appeared and forced a disconnection of the Cyberse World from the rest of the network, thus forcing Varis out of Cyberse while keeping its location known only to him. However, Varis, furious by Ai's interference, ordered his "Cracking Dragon" to capture Ai, which led to the AI to be dismembered by the monster's jaws. This made Varis and the Knights of Hanoi spend the following years searching for Ai's parts in order to find the location of Cyberse.[1]

At some point, the Knights of Hanoi hunted down the Cyberse monsters and destroyed a significant amount of them to the point Varis was confident they were extinct.


Five years later, the Knights of Hanoi continued their search of Ai; but had many of their operations interrupted by the mysterious Duelist Playmaker, who defeated their agents, earning a name for himself. Specter, the Knights' second-in-command, informed Varis that a trace of Ai was detected and that SOL Technologies was in pursuit. Knowing that if SOL retrieved Ai, they would be able to restore Cyberse and ruin the Knights' efforts, forcing the Knights to act. Specter informed Varis about Playmaker, who had interfered with them before. Varis wondered if Playmaker was a member of SOL, but dismissed the possibility as they would act more publicly. Specter added that Playmaker erased every trace of his activity and eluded the Knights' searches, concluding that whoever he is he must be a skilled hacker. Varis became interested in Playmaker, but decided to leave him for now as Ai was their priority.[1]

While SOL Technologies performed a city scan in order to search for Ai, the Knights of Hanoi decided to attack as the defenses of VRAINS would be left vulnerable at that point. Varis ordered his men to search for Ai, assaulting the digital world with their "Cracking Dragons" and ravaging the users in their way, deleting their accounts in the process. Ai's remnants in the form of an eye was swiftly cornered by the Knights until Yusaku Fujiki and Cal Kolter used the lowered defenses to create an alternative path for Ai, who used the newly made escape route, but ended up in Yusaku's Duel Disk as a result. Yusaku entered VRAINS using his persona Playmaker, saving the Celebrity Duelist Blue Angel at the nick of time before she was deleted. Yusaku then confronted a Knight of Hanoi who told him that the AI they were looking for was on his Duel Disk and threatened to delete it if they did not cease their attack. Since Ai was bonded to Yusaku's Duel Disk, the Knights must defeat Playmaker in a Duel in order to obtain it. Varis, watching from afar, was amused at Playmaker while the Knights' agent accepted the challenge.[1]

Ai estimated that Yusaku's current Deck was not enough to defeat the Knight's "Cracking Dragon". He caused a Data Storm and instructed Yusaku to ride the wind and enter a Speed Duel.[1] Ai taught Yusaku the rules of Speed Duels. The Knight of Hanoi quickly Summoned his "Cracking Dragon", which he used for the remainder of the Duel, exploiting its abilities to avoid destruction and inflict effect damage, and further exacerbating his advantage through the Skill "Double Draw" which let him draw two cards during his Draw Phase. Ai realized they must have hacked the system as the Skill was not known to him. Although Yusaku fared decently against the Knight of Hanoi, his LP was on critical state so Ai instructed him to take a path where he was engulfed in a massive storm. Inside the tempest, Ai told Yusaku that his LP was low enough to use the Skill "Storm Access" to gain a powerful monster. Yusaku did so and was able to acquire "Decode Talker" and Link Summon it. Through a combination of "Cyberse Wizard" and "Decode Talker", he was able to exploit the low DEF of "Cracking Dragon" and inflict piercing damage as a result of "Decode Talker" gaining ATK through its own effect, and due to being unable to be in Defense Position, it bypassed the Knight's "Pulse Mines", defeating the Knight.[2] Playmaker subsequently attempted to interrogate the Knight, who started a self-destruction mechanism in response before Ai suddenly deleted him from the system to protect himself and Playmaker.[3]

Specter and Varis discussed the events of the Duel with Playmaker. Varis preferred Playmaker having his hands on Ai for a while over SOL Technologies having him, but added they should not leave him with Playmaker for too long. He them summed up a list of characteristics of Playmaker's that might help discover his true identity, one of these being that Playmaker would eventually want to Duel him. Varis briefly logged off VRAINS to visit his father, Kiyoshi Kogami.[3]

The Knights of Hanoi eventually turned their attention to the popular Celebrity Duelist, Blue Angel as she openly challenged Playmaker to a Duel in public. Specter, confident they could use her, approached her claiming to be a fan. He gave her "Dark Angel" and disappeared, with Blue Angel having a vague recollection of what happened. Ai lured Playmaker into facing Blue Angel after sensing Hanoi's presence on her. Playmaker accepted her challenge intending to investigate her.[4] The Duel began and Blue Angel punished Playmaker repeatedly with the effect damage combo from her "Trickstar" cards forcing Playmaker to the defensive, although she later discovered it was his plan all along in order to use his Storm Access Skill. Varis watched from afar, confident that once Blue Angel used "Dark Angel" she would be unable to disobey them. Blue Angel attempted to defeat Playmaker using her Skill "Trickstar Fraud" in order to force Playmaker to draw cards and inflict game-ending damage, but he prevented this by using "Defect Compiler" to nullify the damage. With little resources left, Blue Angel resorted to using "Dark Angel", which had a severe effect on her. Playmaker rapidly used a combination of "Encode Talker", "Defect Compiler", and "Frontline Disturbance" to increase the ATK of "Encode Talker" and weaken that of "Trickstar Holly Angel" in order to defeat Blue Angel with a single attack.[5]

Playmaker Dueled Varis for the cure to Blue Angel's Virus and had a DRAW in their first encounter. However, a rematch occurred afterwards which Playmaker won. He obtained the cure and freed Blue Angel.[6][7][8][9]

At a later point, Kogami dropped a "seed" into a well-like environment somewhere within LINK VRAINS to begin their next plan. [10]

The Deleted

Hanoi then started a phenomenon known as The Deleted to find Playmaker. A virus which takes people inside of LINK VRAINS unwillingly and makes them unable to log out. They use the same parameters as Playmaker to hunt him down. Each one uses an old-style Duel Disk, they are all talented Duelists and they are all hackers. Once taken into LINK VRAINS, Dr. Genome puts them in a coma. Varis later appeared in the Knights base and showed annoyance that the data on the Hanoi Project data would be erased and Varis would never know Playmaker's identity. Kogami appeared on a holoscreen and said that the plan was coming together and questioned Varis "long face". Varis said he could not move on until he beat Playmaker. Kogami seemed to understand his desire but said his plan couldn't wait long.[11]

Three Knights of Hanoi attack innocent Duelists.

Hanoi later attacked LINK VRAINS and some duelists who refused to Duel them. However the Knights used a program to force them to duel. Each of the Duelists were defeated by Hanoi. Varis, who watched the action nearby, stated that over a thousand joined the Knights but they were mostly "hoodlums" and that they only joined Hanoi for self-promotion and their opposition to LINK VRAINS. Faust and Baira then appeared and stated that the "hoodlums" were tarnishing their reputation and said that it was time to carry out Kogami's wishes. After the Knights had attacked the Duelists, Go appeared, disguised as Playmaker, and easily defeated them without needing to Duel. Dr. Genome later appeared and knew that Go was in disguise, the two then commenced a Speed Duel with Genome using another program, the Data Gale.[11]

Go defeated Genome eventually and gained the Removal Program needed to resuscitate Makoto. Playmarker and Go defeated various Knights of Hanoi. After defeating another Knight of Hanoi Playmaker and Ai then interrogated him and asking him about the removal program that can revive the victims of The Deleted. Before the Knight could explain, he was erased by Baira. Kitamura unleashed his army of AI Duelists onto an incoming wave of Knights. The AI Duelists took down several Knights but Baira and Faust turned up to turn the tide. They quickly dispatched the AI army.[12]

Blue Angel Dueled Baira after she threatened LINK VRAINS. Baira was able to counter Blue Angel's deck but eventually Blue Angel won the Duel. As Baira was about to lose, she was reminded of her past thanks to Blue Angel. This prompted her to release The Deleted cure and wake up all the Duelists who had been rendered comatose.[13][14]

Naoki Shima made his debut in LINK VRAINS as Lonely Brave after being frustrated by the lack of commitment to help from his Duel Club. Inside, he was impressed by LINK VRAINS but was quickly challenged to a Duel by a Knight of Hanoi. Lonely Brave was able to win the Duel and changed his name to Brave Max. Faust then kidnapped Naoki in real life to get Playmaker to Duel him inside the network.[15]

Faust and Playmaker Dueled with Faust saying that the Ignis couldn't be trusted. Regardless Playmaker defeated Faust, freeing Naoki in real life. This now left all three high-ranking members of Hanoi in a coma inside the Knights base.[16]

Ghost Girl reached the Reprocessing plant and her "fireflies" pointed her to a platform. Emma used the rope on her Duel Disk to swing to the platform and Varis was waiting for her. Varis blocked all exits and also stopped Ghost Girl from logging out. They begun a Speed Duel.[17]

Ghost Girl lost to Varis and was sealed away to become part of the Tower of Hanoi. Varis mocked Playmaker before departing. Afterwards Hanoi's plan begun as a giant tower emerged inside the network.[18]

The Tower of Hanoi arises.

LINK VRAINS was shut down by SOL upon the tower appearing. It emerged that the tower was connected to the underground erasing plant, which in return would allow Hanoi to erase the entire internet which would have catastrophic results around the world. They would also have only six hours to stop it as each hour, the tower would gain a ring and would be complete once all six are set. Inside users were turned into data along with LINK VRAINS beginning to be erased. Kitamura entered the network and discussed about joining Hanoi with Varis as he feared since Hanoi took complete control of LINK VRAINS, he would no longer get a promotion. Varis referred him to Duel Specter to see if he was good enough to join. Specter beat Kitamura and despite his pleas, Specter turned Kitamura into data. Yusaku, Gore and Skye all logged into the network and the three united. Playmaker told them to leave as it was too dangerous but the two refused as they wished to stop the Tower of Hanoi. Blue Angel met Specter and they begun a Master Duel as the Data Storms had vanished due to the tower.[19]

Specter begun to mock Blue Angel as they Dueled despite Blue Angel trying to understand Specter through their Duel. A young boy avatar dressed as Playmaker fooled Pigeon and Frog due to his likeness. The boy was saved by the real Playmaker from an attack and was told to log out as he told him to trust him. The boy agreed and wished Playmaker luck. Despite a brave battle, Blue Angel was defeated by Specter and knocked out upon landing on the ground.[20][21]

Blue Angel's data.

As Playmaker made his way to the tower, Specter and Playmaker met on a bridge and begun a Duel with Specter announcing he was apart of the Hanoi Project, just as Playmaker had been. Elsewhere Akira entered the network to save Blue Angel upon finding her body unconscious in the real world. Akira was trapped by Kogami in a cage and was told if he touched the bars, he to would lose consciousness. The two spoke about Kogami's past and once Kogami left, Blue Angel was turned into data. The data emerged with Specter as he used it to prove his threat to Playmaker.[22]

Varis then faced up to The Gore who had arrived at the tower. Varis was able to defeat and The Gore turn him into data, Playmaker thanked The Gore for showing off Varis' Mirror Force. [23]

Playmaker and Varis begun a Speed Duel which resulted in a DRAW. During this Duel, Varis tried to use his Skill Storm Access but was unable to, Kogami appeared and gave his last strength to Varis to fulfill the Knight's mission. With this, Kogami died in real life. After the DRAW, both were logged out of LINK VRAINS.[24]

After meeting in real life, both logged back in again and begun their final Duel. Varis was able to take the advantage and build an Extra Link, shocking Playmaker. With his lifepoints nearly down to zero, Playmaker was able to win the Duel and free all from the tower with it also collapsing.[25]

Ignis Warfare

After Varis' defeat at the Tower of Hanoi, the group was largely disbanded. Only the upper echelon, consisting of Varis, Specter, Dr. Genome and Aso remained active in shadows and were based on Varis' yacht. After hacking all of her prison's security systems, the Knights succesfully broke out Baira and reunited with her.[26]

Their first return to the frontlines was when Playmaker and Ai were captured by the Light and Wind Ignises, Lightning and Windy. Varis' saved Ai from being terminated by the Ignises' Data Storm while Specter and the Three Knights fought off Windy's army of Echo's. Varis exchanged words with the Ignises, revealing their true motives and discovering a warfare with the Ignises was inevitable. Following this, Varis and Windy started a Master Duel.[27]

Varis started the Duel off strong, using his Dragon monsters in tandem with "Magical Cylinder", similar to his "Mirror Force" strategy. Windy's "Stormrider" Deck turned out to be a strong match for this strategy and before long, even Varis' "Borreload Dragon" fell. Varis turned the Duel around by Synchro Summoning "Borreload Savage Dragon" and defeated Windy. The Knights then launched a destructive program and almost succesfully terminated Windy, but Lightning just barely saves his ally with his signature speed.[28]

After Bohman and Jin Kolter revealed to be Lightnings allies, the Ignis flee. The Knights of Hanoi left the chase to Playmaker and Soulburner, the former of which started his third Duel with Bohman.[29]

Varis later approached the bounty hunter The Shepherd, Kenneth Drayden, to join the Knights of Hanoi, noting they shared the same goal of eliminating the Ignis and recognising his superb hacking skills. After a short exchange, they dueled. After surviving Shepard's assault by using "Imperial Order", Varis defeated him in one turn using "Savage Dragon". In spite of Varis' offer and advice about "Judgment Arrows", Dojun still refused to join the Knights.[30] He later unsuccesfully dueled Lightning himself while Varis and Specter observed.[31]

Having failed to ally themselves with Shepard, Varis approached Playmaker's faction for a temporary alliance. Creating a safe space in Link VRAINS for them to talk, they noted Lightning's group was their common enemy. Although Playmaker and Blue Maiden agreed quickly, Soulburner initially refused, blaming the Knights of Hanoi for his parents' deaths. Varis then agreed to a Duel with the enraged Soulburner. After Soulburner had summoned several monsters, Revolver looked at his hand. Seemingly concluding he could win easily, he refused to continue and the Duel ended. The Knights of Hanoi then form a temporary alliance with the three, agreeing to leave their three Ignises alone for the time being.[32]

Ai's agenda


Three months later after Yusaku's duel against Ai, main generals of Hanoi, alongside with Pandora, observe still-expanding Link VRAINS on the boat, working to atone for their own crimes from earlier years.


All 5 members together.

The group is known to consist of over one thousand members[11]. However, most of them are ignorant of their leaders' true goals, only causing trouble in Link VRAINS and hunting down Cyberse cards. The most notable members of the Knights are as listed:

Member Status Rank Deck
Varis Active Leader Rokket
Specter Active Second-in-command Sunavalon/Sunvine
Dr. Genome Active Lieutenant; "Three Knights" Helixx
Baira Active Lieutenant; "Three Knights" Virus
Faust Active Lieutenant; "Three Knights" Motor Worm
Pandor Active AI Topologic/Topologina
Dr. Kogami Deceased Founder N/A


Unlike henchman Duelists of past series, such as Diablo or the Obelisk Force, the regular Knights of Hanoi members do not appear to all use identical Decks. While their Decks differ between members, their strategies appear similar; to quickly Summon DARK-Attribute monsters with high ATK to overwhelm their opponents.


Opponent(s) Episode(s) Outcome
Yusaku Fujiki/Unknown 64 Lose (flashback)
Ancient Ghost 65 Lose (flashback)
Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker 1 Lose
Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker 2 Lose
3 Unknown Duelists 22 Win
3 Unknown Duelists 24 Win
George Gore/The Gore 24 Lose
Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker 24 Lose
Multiple AI Duelists 24 Lose
George Gore/The Gore 25 Lose
Multiple Unknown Duelists 27 Win
Naoki Shima/Lonely Brave 27 Lose
Unknown 64 Lose
Ancient Ghost 67 Lose


  • Knights of Hanoi are arguably the most successful villainous organization in any of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, as all of their goals were accomplished at the end of the VRAINS anime. Ironically, all but one of their goals were indirectly accomplished by their enemies:
    • The Cyberse World itself was destroyed by Bohman's faction, which was led by two of the Ignis; Lightning and Windy.
    • In an effort to acquire more data material to improve their company, SOL Technologies terminated one of the Ignis, which is also the other goal of the organization.
    • In the war between the humans and Ignis, the remaining Ignis were terminated by their adversaries, SOL and Lightning, while the last Ignis was eliminated by the human he was originated from.
    • AI's attack on Queen ended her corrupt influence on SOL technologies and indirectly allowed Akira Zaizen to become the CEO in her place, who proved to be a more honest and ethical CEO than Queen.
    • Varis personally avenged Dr. Kogami's death by being the one responsible for Lightning's termination.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
  2. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 2: "Seize the Wind!"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 3: "Contact"
  4. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 6: "True Blue"
  5. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 7: "Fallen Angel"
  6. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 9: "Malicious Mayhem"
  7. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 10: "Eye of the Storm"
  8. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 11: "Neutralized"
  9. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 12: "Link the Circuit"
  10. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 20: "A Piece of the Puzzle"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 22: "The Deleted"
  12. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 24: "To Gore Or Not To Gore"
  13. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 25: "Suture the Circuit"
  14. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 26: "Diagnosis: Deletion"
  15. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 27: "The Brave Battler"
  16. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 28: "Bugging Out"
  17. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 31: "Showdown in the Sewers"
  18. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 31: "Showdown in the Sewers"
  19. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 32: "Tower of Hanoi"
  20. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 33: "Once Upon a Time"
  21. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 34: "Roots of Evil"
  22. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 35: "The Hollow"
  23. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 40: "Gore at War"
  24. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 42: "Storm Access"
  25. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 46: "Link to the Future"
  26. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 59: "Hanoi Returns"
  27. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 69: "Mission That Must Be Accomplished"
  28. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 70: "Tuning Bullets"
  29. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 71: "Declaration of War"
  30. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 78: "Rebellious Bounter Hunter"
  31. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 80: "Bounty Hunter's Duty"
  32. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 83: "Irregular Meeting"