Attributes are essentially the "elemental" groups for each Monster Card. There are different cards made to support each "element", and there are popular monsters of each kind. It is possible for a monster to be considered part of multiple Attributes via a card effect, such as the effect of "Elemental Mistress Doriado".

The Alignments featured in the manga and some video games are similar to Attributes. The four Attributes WATER, FIRE, EARTH and WIND are possibly inspired by the four classical elements, water, fire, earth and air.

An Attribute in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is analogous to an Energy type in the Pokemon TCG and a color in Magic: The Gathering, in that it denotes a monster's "elemental fuel" (mana, energy, etc.) in a way and adds flavor and a sense variety to the game. However, it is generally not tied as closely to game mechanics than the other two: a Pokémon TCG Energy type can only "fuel" certain Pokémon Types, while an MTG color denotes how a creature tends toward certain mechanics. On the other hand, in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, mechanics are usually designed on an archetype basis and dependent on card names.