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You're going down, you sniveling little wannabe! Nobody beats Bandit Keith! NOBODY!
~ Bandit Keith to Joey Wheeler.

"Bandit" Keith Howard is a minor antagonist in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series, serving as a major antagonist in the Duelist Kingdom Arc as well as the opening antagonist of the Battle City Arc while under control of the Rare Hunters.

Keith is the former U.S. Duel Monsters Champion. After suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Pegasus, he devolved into a cheating and aggressive duelist. Motivated by revenge, Keith entered the tournament at Duelist Kingdom with the intention of reclaiming his former glory and enacting vengeance on Pegasus. Following his defeat in the anime, he briefly joined the Rare Hunters after being brainwashed by Marik Ishtar. Keith's duel monster deck is Machine-themed.

He was voiced by Hajime Komada in Japanese and Ted Lewis in English.

Personality

Keith’s personality could be described as thoroughly greedy, ruthless, vengeful, pompous, scheming, highly arrogant, callous, cruel, adamant, cunning, malevolent, dishonest, truculent, judgmental, power hungry, intelligent, outrageous and loathsome.

Keith used any opportunity to cheat, most notably by pulling cards underneath his wristbands and used a mechanical arm while brainwashed by Marik Ishtar. He shows no remorse for the unfair acts he takes to get what he wants: winning and money. He holds an extreme grudge against Pegasus after he was humiliated and defeated by him when he chose a boy named Tom (Sam in the 4Kids dub) to defeat Keith in his place.

Biography

Before Duelist Kingdom

Bandit Keith was the American Duel Monsters champion. However, his career and reputation suffered a major blow when he dueled against the game's creator, Pegasus J. Crawford, during the Intercontinental Championship. Unbeknownst to Keith and the audience, Pegasus's golden eye was in fact one of the legendary Millenium Items, Ancient Egyptian relics each possessing unique abilities, granting their owners incredible powers. In Pegasus's case, he could use the Millenium Eye to read his opponents minds, allowing him to know every move they would make, before they made it.

In response to Keith's arrogance and attitude, Pegasus decided to put him in his place. He called a young boy up from the audience to take his place in the Duel, giving him a written set of instructions to follow, which was devised with the help of his Millenium Eye. Using Pegasus's guidelines, the boy defeated Keith in a single turn, humiliating the professional Duelist in front of everybody.

Keith fell into a state of depression following the loss. His misery, however, soon turned to anger and hatred. No longer bound by the honor of a duelist, if he even had honor, Keith's mind became obsessed with revenge. Upon hearing that Pegasus would be staging a major tournament at Duelist Kingdom, Keith decided that his opportunity had come to win and take revenge on Pegasus.

Duelist Kingdom

Kotsuzuka vs Joey

At some point, Keith managed to sneak onto the Duelist Kingdom Island, with the intention of seeking his revenge on Pegasus and regaining his former title as champion. He later recruited three duelists from the tournament, Ghost Kotsuzuka/Bonz, Satake and Takaido, to be his henchmen. Keith told the trio that if they worked together, they could all make their way to the castle, defeat Pegasus and earn themselves untold glory. In reality, Keith saw the group as nothing more than expendable muscle to do his bidding, namely acquire more star chips.

By the end of the first day, their plan was going smoothly. All three of the younger duelists had defeated at least one opponent, meaning collectively the group had ten star chips. However, Keith did not wish to leave anything to chance, wishing to make sure that they were the ones that made it to the castle. Learning that Yugi Muto and his friends were close by, Keith realized that they could be a threat to his plans. He sent Sid and Zygor after Joey, whom he considered to be the lesser threat.

Abducting, Joey the group brought him to a graveyard hidden inside one of the islands caves. There they forced Joey to battle Bonz's zombie deck. Initially, Joey appeared to have the upper hand, despite Keith telling Bonz what to do. However, Keith had also lent his henchmen some of his more powerful cards, thus bolstering his deck. When Bonz played Call of the Haunted, his defeated monsters were revived as zombies, thus gaining a field power bonus. Keith watched on confidently, believing in his strategy.

When Bonz later played his zombie-enhancing Pumpking, he looked all set to win the match. Unfortunately for Keith and his allies, Joey ultimately managed to turn to the tables. Using his Red Eyes Black Dragon, Joey destroyed Pumpking, meaning Bonz could no longer power up his monsters. Although the zombie duelist destroyed Red Eyes Black Dragon in retaliation, it allowed Joey the opportunity he needed to figure out Bonz's weakness. Playing Battle Warrior in conjunction with his Shield and Sword Magic Card, Joey reversed the attack and defense points of all monsters. Since zombie's had a standard defense of zero, his subsequent attack ended the match in his victory.

Furious, Keith called his cronies to his side and they made to leave. Refusing Joey's offer of a battle, Keith made it clear that he was in this tournament to win it and that he did not care what he had to do in order to achieve victory. Exiting the arena ahead of the protagonists, Keith had his flunkies seal the group inside the cave, by placing a giant boulder across its entrance. Once that was done, Keith turned on Bonz, Sid and Zygor. He proceeded to beat them all up, took one of their dueling gloves for himself and stole all of their star chips.

Thus, Keith became the first person on the island to acquire ten star chips, the necessary amount to enter the castle and the Semi-Finals. Abandoning his former comrades, Keith made his way to the castle.

Dirty Tactics

Keith was the first person to reach Pegasus' lair at Duelist Kingdom Castle. There, he observed Yugi Muto's duel against Seto Kaiba. Although shocked to see that Yugi and his friends had escaped from the cave, he was nevertheless impressed by Yugi's dueling style. He was therefore disappointed when Yugi deliberately threw the match, in order to avoid hurting Kaiba. He later witnessed Kaiba's subsequent duel with Pegasus, which resulted in the former Champion's defeat. Although unnerved by what had happened, Keith remained determined to defeat Pegasus.

The night before the final matches, Keith and the other contestants enjoyed a fancy dinner, courtesy of their host. During the meal, their opponents for the semi-finals were determined via random selection. Keith was paired off against Joey Wheeler, Yugi against Mai Valentine. Once their opponents had been decided however, a major problem arose. Croquet, Pegasus' right hand man and the overseer of the duels, told the participants that in order to enter, they would each need to present one of two cards they received upon being invited to the tournament; Glory of the Kings Right or Left Hand. If the player won the tournament using the Right Hand, they could claim the $3,000,000 prize money. If they used the Left Hand, they could challenge Pegasus' for his championship title. If they did not present either card at the said matches however, they would be automatically disqualified.

Since Joey and Keith had entered the tournament illegally, neither of them had either of these cards. Yugi did however, but intended to fight Pegasus' in order to free the souls of both his Grandpa and the Kaiba brothers. Since Joey needed the money in order to help his sister Serenity with her degenerative eye condition, he gave his Glory of the Kings Right Hand to his best friend. Unfortunately, the two friends spoke without considering who was present. As such, Keith overheard them and came up with a solution to his own dilemma.

Keith secretly followed the group to their own rooms, waited until Joey was asleep, then snuck in. As the unsuspecting Joey slept, Keith crept over to his jacket, reached into the pocket and (not caring about Serenity) took the Glory of the Kings Right Hand. Despite a brief jump scare, caused by Joey talking in his sleep, Keith made it out undetected. Bandit Keith retired for the evening, thinking that he already beaten Joey without needing to duel him and that he was one step closer to his revenge.

Joey vs Keith

The following morning, the first round of the semi-finals took place. After a lengthy duel, Mai surrendered to Yugi. With the first contestant in the Grand Final decided, all that was left now was to determine who his opponent would be. Keith watched Joey receive wishes of good luck from his friends, but since he already knew that Joey did not have an entry card, he didn't bother entering the arena. Relaxing on a bench, he subtly mocked Joey for wanting to duel him.

When Croquet asked to see their entry cards, Keith happily held up the one that he had stolen, then watched on gleefully as Joey finally realized that his card was missing. In the end, Croquet delivered an ultimatum; Joey had five minutes to find and present his card. If he did not do so by the scheduled time, he would be disqualified. Joey ran back to his room in a panic, but knowing that he would never find it, Keith yawned loudly and asked if the clock was even right (in the dub, he asked if he could take off his shoes). Croquet proceeded to wipe the smile off his face however, by informing Keith that if he did not enter the arena by the designated time either then he too would be disqualified. Frustrated, Keith did as instructed, but continued to insist that Joey would never find it in time. When Joey returned to the arena with less than a minute to spare, Keith mockingly asked if he had come to acknowledge his defeat?

Joey however, presented a Glory of the Kings Right Hand, thus allowing him to participate in the duel. Keith was shocked for a moment, as he still held Joey's card, but quickly decided to take Joey on. With that, the battle Joey had yearned for since his battle with Bonz finally began. During the early stages of the duel, Keith, who was using a machine deck held the advantage. Not only were his monsters much stronger than Joey's in terms of attack power, they were immune to magic/spell cards (including monster attacks). After only a few turns, it looked as though Keith was all set to win.

It was at this point that Joey discovered a major weakness in Keith's deck. Whilst Keith's machine monsters were resistant to magic damage, they still took damage from trap cards. Thus, with a few careful moves, Joey managed to turn the tables and gain a slight lead.

Seeing the way things were going, Keith deployed his most powerful monsters Barrel Dragon and Slot Machine. Joey once again evened the playing field by calling upon his Red Eyes Black Dragon. Using Copycat to copy a card that Keith had previously used, Magic Metal Force, Joey upgraded his beast into Red Eyes Black Metal Dragon, which he then used to destroy Keith's Barrel Dragon. Following this, the rest of the duel would (for the most part) be a contest between Keith's Slot Machine and Joey's Red Eye's.

Angered by the destruction of his Barrel Dragon, Keith placed a card face down and switched Slot Machine to defense mode. When Joey launched an attack, Keith revealed that his face down card was a card called 7 Completed, which he could use to power up Slot Machines attack or defense stats. Using it to power up his defense, Keith was able to save his monster and reduce Joey's life points to 450. Following this move, Keith boastfully revealed a hidden danger to Joey; he had two more 7 Completed cards in his deck. That meant that if he drew them, he make Slot Machine even more powerful. Joey was not concerned, noting that Keith would still have to draw them. It was here that Bandit Keith revealed to the audience that he was not just a dirty player outside of the dueling ring. Unbeknownst to Joey, Keith kept his other two 7 Completed cards beneath his wristbands. During his next two turns, Keith would sneakily remove them from his bands, act as if he had drawn them and immediately play them. He also attempted to destroy Joey's Red Eyes using his Blast Sphere, but Joey upgraded Red Eye's using his Dragon Nails card. Thus, he not only survived the attack, but reduced Keith's life points to 400.

When Keith used his final 7 Completed card to power up his Slot Machine, the duel entered a stalemate. Due to the various upgrades, Red Eye's Black Metal Dragon and Slot Machine both had 3400 attack points each. Since Keith's monster was in defense position there was no point in Joey attacking it and unlike Keith, he didn't have a card to reverse the position of his opponents monster (e.g. Stop Defense). As Yugi noted, the outcome of the match would be decided on this next turn and depended upon whatever card the two players drew.

As it turned out, Joey did have a card in his hand that could decide the outcome of the match, his Shield & Sword Card. He couldn't play it however, since doing so would give Keith the advantage. He drew another card, which he then silently placed face down on the field. Without realizing what his opponent had just done, Keith took his turn and played the Pillager/Bandit. This allowed him to look at Joey's hand and take one of his cards for himself. Unfortunately, Joey still had the Shield & Sword Card in his hands and unsurprisingly Keith choose that card. Laughing he immediately played it, reversing the attack and defense stats of both monsters. Thus Slot Machine's attack dropped to 3000 points, Red Eye's 2400.

Switching his monster back to attack mode, Keith ordered it to attack Red Eyes. As the dragon exploded, Keith laughed triumphantly and started to proclaim victory was his... only to stop dead in his tracks.

In his haste to win, Keith had not paid attention to Joey's previous turn. He had inaccurately assumed that Joey had passed his turn without making a move. Despite looking at his side of the field, Keith had failed to notice that Joey had placed a card face down in the Magic & Trap Zone. Joey now revealed that card to be a trap card called Grave Robber. Similar to Keith's Pillager, this card allowed Joey to take a card from Keith's graveyard and immediately use it against him. The card Joey selected was a trap card, Time Machine, which Keith had previously used to revive Barrel Dragon. The effects of this card not only negated the battle damage, it restored Red Eyes Black Metal Dragon to the way it had been before Keith activated the Shield & Sword Card and allowed Joey to make a retaliatory attack. Now decisively stronger than Slot Machine, Red Eyes Black Metal Dragon destroyed its opponent, taking away Keith's remaining life points and ending the match in Joey's victory.

Keith was initially shocked at his defeat, especially since he had been defeated by a teenager for the second time in his career. Very quickly however, his attitude soon changed into one of anger. Furious, Keith tried to have the match declared invalid and get Joey disqualified. He revealed to Pegasus and the other spectators that Joey's entry card wasn't actually his, claiming it as grounds for disqualification. This was a mistake. Joey freely admitted that the entry card was not his, but then responded to Keith's declaration with a question of his own. How did Keith know that it wasn't his card, especially since Joey himself hadn't shared that knowledge with anybody and that the only other person that knew about it was Mai. Suspicious, Joey demanded that Keith explain himself.

Keith refused to answer, but Pegasus responded in his place. He declared that the answer was obvious; Keith had stolen Joey's original card. This declaration angered everybody, but the creator of Duel Monsters was not done there. He revealed that even if Keith had entered fairly, he would still have been disqualified for his amoral actions during the duel. Pegasus revealed to everybody how Keith had illegally played his last two 7 Completed Cards, leaving Joey and the others appalled. Having had enough of Keith's presence, Pegasus complied with the others desires and ordered Keith to be removed.

Keith however, refused to take his defeat lying down. Breaking free of his escort, Keith used the dueling ring as a spring board and launched himself into the spectators box. Face to face with the man who he claimed ruined his life, Keith pulled out a pistol which he pointed to Pegasus' head, (this was removed from the 4Kids dub and Keith merely pointed threateningly at Pegasus'). Furious, he demanded the $3,000,000 prize money, but Pegasus was not fazed in the slightest. Before Keith could do anything, the Master of the Millenium Eye hit a hidden switch in the floor, opening a trap door, which ejected Keith from the island and sent him plummeting into the ocean.

Death (Manga only)

In the original manga, Keith's fate was vastly different. Following his defeat at the hands of Joey, Keith ambushed Pegasus in the hall. He demanded the tournament's prize money, threatening the creator of Duel Monsters with a knife, rather than a gun. Although Pegasus' guard moved to intervene, Pegasus himself was not concerned. He gave Keith a chance to walk away, but the former Champion refused his offer.

Disgusted, Pegasus revealed that he was aware about Keith cheating during his match and revealed that he intended to punish him. Using his Millenium Eye, Pegasus subjected Keith to a Penalty Game. He transformed Keith's hand into a gun, forcing him to shoot himself with it in the style of Russian Roulette. With that Bandit Keith met his end.

Battle City

In the anime, however, Bandit Keith survives being cast into the ocean. Keith was soon discovered by Marik Ishtar and his Ghouls (Rare Hunters in the 4Kids dub) and became controlled by Marik's Millennium Rod. While posing as a fortune teller, the possessed Keith stole Yugi's Millennium Puzzle and dueled Yugi over it. He was released from Marik's control by Yami Bakura, and as Marik attempted to regain control, Keith attempted to fight him off, causing a fire in the warehouse in which they were dueling. Keith escaped the fire when Joey and Tristan opened the doors, disgusted to find out that they rescued Bandit Keith. The terrified Keith quickly escapes the burning warehouse.

Waking the Dragons

Keith was never seen following his time as Marik's mind slave, except as a lost soul in Season 4, as a lost soul alongside those of PaniK, Seeker, the Paradox Brothers, Arkana, and Yami Marik, however, as most of them (aside from PaniK, Seeker, and Yami Marik) were neither dead, in the Shadow Realm, nor taken by the Orichalcos, it is likely that this was just an illusion. It is possible, however, Keith was sent to the Shadow Realm by Marik after he had failed him.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Falsebound Kingdom

Bandit Keith appeared as a minor villain in Yu-Gi-Oh! Falsebound Kingdom. He appears only in the Kaiba Campaign and you must battle him twice. Kaiba and Mokuba fight him first in the second level "Bandits". He appears along with Bonz who is wanted for robbery by the Emperor. Once they are defeated, Keith escapes and Bonz is left for dead but Mokuba lets him live and he becomes a permanent member of Kaiba's group for the remainder of the game.

Later, when Scott Irvine captures Mokuba, Kaiba didn’t know who took him and learned that Bandit Keith held onto him for a while. He fought him again in "Bandits but he has three of Scott's soldiers with him. Once they are all defeated, Keith tells Kaiba that he gave Mokuba to Scott. It is unknown if this was the real Keith or a hologram created for the game. Since his deck consisted of machine monsters in the anime, he used machines in the game. The first match, he used Machine Sergeant, Commander and Cannon Dharma. The second time he uses Revolver Dragon, Slot Machine AM-7 and TM-1 Launcher Spider, which all three will join Kaiba's deck when Keith is defeated.

Deck

As a professional duelist, Keith possesses several decks, though his main deck consists of various machine type monsters, mostly with the DARK attribute. His signature monsters include Barrell Dragon, Launcher Spider and Slot Machine. His signature trap is his Time Machine, and his signature spell is Pillager. He also owns three 7 Completed spell cards, two of which he hides in his wristband, which he uses to power up his Slot Machine. Due to the Dueling Arenas placing Duelists a good distance away from each other, Keith's opponents are unable to see him removing his cards from his wristband and rarely ever realize that he is cheating, save for Pegasus, who is able to easily see through Keith's deceptions with the power of his Millenium Eye.

While controlled by Marik, Keith's deck is augmented by rare cards acquired by the Ghouls, including the legendary ritual monster, Zera the Mant. Similar to hiding cards in his wristband, a claw mechanism feeds cards directly to his hand.

Relationships

Allies

  • Bonz (formerly)
  • Sid (formerly)
  • Zygor (formerly)
  • Rare Hunters (brainwashed, formerly)
  • Marik Ishtar (brainwashed, formerly)

Enemies

  • Pegasus
  • Yugi Muto
  • Yami Yugi
  • Joey Wheeler
  • Mai Valentine
  • Tea Gardner
  • Bakura Ryou
  • Tristan Taylor
  • Pegasus Security
  • Duelist Kingdom contestants
  • Marik Ishtar

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