The Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise is one that spans several different entertainment mediums and has been around for over 20 years. From almost 1,000 episodes on TV, to tons of video game adaptations and, of course, the trading card game, this franchise has certainly been around the block. The entire franchise is centered around a card game that is played most often to take over the world in the anime, and in various living rooms around the world in real life. Gosh, I wish all my problems in real life could be solved with a Duel Disk. Who needs to elect a president when we can instead have a tournament hosted by Seto Kaiba to decide?
Anywho, like most trading card games, Yu-Gi-Oh! features a ton of strong cards and strategies to take on your opponents. No matter what type of cards you enjoy using, there’s likely a strategy for you. However, the TCG also features gems like Petit Moth. While most Yu-Gi-Oh! cards feature some sort of viable strategy around them, there are also some cards that just aren’t worth using. For example, why use Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon when you can use Frog The Jam? See, now you get it! So from the Dark Magicians to the Ojama Yellows, we have 15 strong Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, along with 15 that just aren’t worth the trouble.
30 Strong: The Seal Of Orichalcos
Ok look, while the real-life Orichalcos can’t match the stealing souls variant of the anime, it certainly isn’t anything to scoff at! It gives all your monsters a 500 point attack boost, it can’t be destroyed once per turn, and only your strongest monster can be targeted by your opponent! This is certainly a handy little set of effects that can help give you a solid edge over your opponent. Just make sure you don’t succumb to the darkness inside your heart while using this, otherwise, the thousands-of-years-old Pharaoh that lives inside you will be left alone for the entire rest of the far too long 40 episode season.
29 Not Worth It: Panther Warrior
Panther Warrior is one of those “I'm a 4-star monster that has 2000 attack yet I require some weird trade-off to attack” monsters. There's really a whole line of these bad boys! Panther Warrior's trade-off is that it requires a tribute to attack!
Ew! No! Why would you ever want this?
Just tribute summon a 2000 attack monster! This is a card that should only be used in dire situations, and the one situation I can think to use it in is: don't.
28 Strong: March Of The Monarchs + God Cards
So the God cards aren't perfect, and they certainly aren't the absolute end all be all the anime makes them out to be. However, when you combine the cards with March of the Monarchs, they can't be destroyed by any card effects, which makes them much more usable. For one, they're much harder to take out, and the risk of getting rid of 3 monsters for them is cut significantly. And if you're going to use a God, go for Obelisk, or one we'll feature later.
27 Not Worth It: Koitsu and Aitsu
The whole Koitsu line of cards is cute, they all center around being weak and hoping that they have some sort of potential inside of them that they haven’t realized, and Koitsu works as an equip spell card (after sacrificing two monsters for it) for one of the monsters in this set, Aitsu. When equipped to Aitsu, the monster gains 3000 attack and can inflict piercing damage. However, in order to get Koitsu equipped to Aitsu, Aitsu has to survive a turn being a level 5, 100 attack monster. No thanks! Bye!
26 Strong: Win The Match Cards
Cards with “win the match” effects are a pretty common occurrence in the Xyz days. These cards often require you to lower your opponent’s life points to 0 with them, and if you manage to do so, you actually win the match instead of just the single duel. This can be a pretty huge advantage in competitive play (I would know, I’ve played in one day of competitive and won exactly 0 matches.), unless your opponent is you know, not dumb, and surrenders before you get the chance to finish your strike.
25 Not Worth It: All Old Non-Effect Monsters
Remember all those old cards such as Winged Dragon Guardian of the Fortress #1, Silver Fang, and Baby Dragon that were just regular old monsters that have no effects?
Yeah, they're literally pointless now.
Unless they're a monster like Dark Magician that has an archetype built around them, monsters that don't have an effect aren't worth going in your deck, period. Unless it looks cool, then it's totally worth it. Hey Cosmo Queen.
24 Strong: Master Peace, The True Dracoslaying King
I hate this. This card can be unaffected by everything if you play your cards right. It can be unaffected by spells and traps if you choose to tribute those cards to summon it. Ugh. Besides this, the card is incredibly powerful and allows you to destroy one card of your opponent’s per turn.
Can you just like, stop for 5 seconds let me breathe.
This card can truly become unstoppable if you play your cards right, which is why it is a valuable asset to have.
23 Not Worth It: White Hole
White Hole just stops Dark Hole from affecting your monsters. This is the same problem as Anti Raigeki. It’s a card that has to be set and waited on, while your opponent may not even have Dark Hole in their deck! Along with that, if you draw this card after Dark Hole is used, it just becomes absolutely useless. There’s no reason to use White Hole, so don’t.
22 Strong: Apple Magician Girl
The whole Magician Girl set of cards center around deflecting attacks to other Magician Girls that you just special summoned, while cutting your opponent’s attack, which is both fun to do and also a great way to swarm the field and shut down your opponent. Apple Magician Girl allows you to summon a level 5 or lower spellcaster from your hand (preferably a Magician Girl) when attacked, and switch the attack to that monster, all while halving your opponent’s attack points. Dunked on!
21 Not Worth It: Attack the Moon!
Okay, I know that this card was made specifically to explain one of Yugi’s “literally what” moments from season 1, but this is truly just such a specific and unnecessary card that I have to mention it. This spell card allows you to destroy a spell or trap card on your opponent’s side of the field if a rock monster you control changes battle positions.
Hm? That is just so, oddly specific!
Who’s banking on taking out a spell or trap card based off the battle position of your cards? It’s just so unimportant!
20 Strong: Raigeki
What was once a banned card is now a… not banned card because the competitive format thinks I can actually afford a Raigeki single! Hate that! This card is simple and clean, it literally just destroys all monsters on your opponent's side of the field. While this card can be countered pretty easily, it's a great way to gain a huge upper hand if your opponent isn't expecting it. Although, seriously, a single Raigeki can go for around $100! You think I'm spending that much on Yu-Gi-Oh!? I'm not even good!
19 Not Worth It: Anti Raigeki
Anti Raigeki is a trap card that essentially just flips the effect of Raigeki back onto your opponent. While that’s not a terrible effect, I have to ask, why not just pack Raigeki? Using Anti Raigeki means that you have to sit there and hope that your opponent uses Raigeki, rather than just being able to use it yourself. The card is just redundant and is easily replaceable when the composition of a deck is so important.
18 Strong: Mischief Of The Time Goddess
Used with the “Valkyrie” archetype, Mischief Of The Time Goddess is a lil baddie. This card allows you, as long as you have only Valkyries on your side of the field, to skip straight past your opponent’s turn and into your next battle phase.
To put it in Layman's terms, "oof."
This card allows you to keep Valkyries that should leave the field after one turn, and also allows you to get two turns worth of hits in at once, which is not a bad deal at all.
17 Strong: Golden Castle Of Stromberg
While certainly not the lil' doozy she was when Zigfried hacked… the entire Duel Monsters mainframe in the anime… it’s still good! This card allows you to summon a monster from your deck every turn that mentions its name, which, of course, has great synergy with it. It also doesn’t allow your opponent to attack without losing their monster and can really shut your opponent out with the proper card combo. If you move quickly with this card (it has a hefty 10 card price per turn) you can take down your opponent with ease.
16 Not Worth It: Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth
This little diva requires a cocoon to be on the field for 6 turns before she'll even show herself.
Absolutely not. How dare she?
3500 attack is nice, but you can find that attack power from anywhere other than a grown-up worm that requires this much maintenance. This is all assuming that you’ve even managed to keep a monster with zero attack and 2000 defense on the field for six turns at all! I have far more important things to do than take care of than a blob.
15 Strong: Lyrilusc (Assembled Nightingale)
Ok here’s how to own with this card. Xyz summon this card with as much material as humanly possible, especially Lyriluscs that give this card extra effects. Use Mage Power and United We Stand to boost it up as much as possible. Detach a material in case your opponent has a trick up their sleeve. You are invincible and can attack multiple times with a huge amount of power behind you. Win in one turn. You’re welcome! Thank you, next.
14 Not Worth It: Toon World
In the era of Toon Kingdom, Toon World is essentially useless. Toon Kingdom is treated as Toon World when it is on the field, while also affording many extra powers to its many Toon inhabitants, such as essentially complete invulnerability. Terrific! This card is an absolute necessity if you’re running a Toon deck, and completely blows its predecessor out of the water. If you want to play cards like the stupid dragon I'm going to mention in a second, go for Kingdom.
13 Strong: Red-Eyes Toon Dragon
This little abomination is used to summon Toon monsters directly from your hand. Since Toon decks are all about searching your deck for Toon monsters, this is an absolute beast of the deck. Of course, it can also attack directly if your opponent doesn't have any Toons, and isn't destroyed if Toon World is.
Wow, I really, really hate it.
Really, if you're running a Toon deck, this is going to be one of your most important cards to swarm the field and make your opponent flip the table. Not that I know first-hand or anything.
12 Not Worth It: Valon's Armor Cards
Ok, I know that this set of… well, I guess you can call them cards, are only in the anime but I need to talk about them. These things were used by Valon in the ever so enchanting Waking the Dragons arc, and they were interesting, to say the least.
Valon literally wore his cards and attacked people with them.
I’m not even being hyperbolic, Valon was running around roughing-up individuals throughout the entirety of season 4. Who green-lit this?
11 Strong: The Winged Dragon Of Ra - Sphere Mode
This spherical monster that literally almost sent Mai Valentine to the actual pits of of the Underworld has some great uses. For one, you can sacrifice your opponent's monsters to use it, and it can be sacrificed to summon a 4000 attack and defense Winged Dragon of Ra, which is one of the best Ra forms you can have out. If you want to use Ra, this is going to be the best way to do so.
Oh, and the real card doesn't require an actual ancient chant to awake!
10 Not Worth It: Dragon Master Knight
Dragon Master Knight is a cool card, as it is the culmination of some of the most powerful monsters in the entire game, but, it just isn’t practical to get on the field. This card requires 3 Blue-Eyes White Dragons, a Black Luster Soldier, and Polymerization twice! It just isn’t practical that you would be able to get all the pieces necessary to get this card onto the field, and it certainly isn’t worth the 500 extra attack it has over Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. What this card needs is a retrained version!
9 Not Worth It: Retrained Ritual Monsters
Retrained monsters are stupid!
Just kidding... sometimes.
While retrained monsters can be a fun take on already existing monsters, there are some retrained counterparts that just aren’t all that great. Black Luster Soldier and Magician of Black Chaos come to mind. These cards have effect versions of their cards that can be super useful, and then they have ritual versions that shed the effects and require an entire extra card just to get on the field, and overall just aren’t as powerful.
8 Strong: Mirror Force
You know what? We really all do overlook this simple little card. It may be older, but it certainly is tried and true! Your opponent attacks, you hit ‘em with a lil' mirror force, bada boom and BAM! No more monsters for them. It might be the oldest trick in the book, but that might just be why your opponent isn’t expecting it! And I mean hey, The King of Games himself rocked this card back in the day! You really think the man that merged a monster and spell card doesn’t know what he’s doing?
7 Not Worth It: Yu-Jo Friendship
Weird self-referential card Yu-Jo Friendship prompts both players to perform a handshake that causes both players’ life points to be halved. Okay? Why?
Also, if you have the even less useful self-referential Unity in your hand, they have to accept it!
I just don't really understand what this does for anybody, or why you would want to waste one (or two if you are adamant that this handshake is reciprocated) of your cards on this.
6 Strong: Dark Magician
Due to being essentially a mascot for the Yu-Gi-Oh! series, Dark Magician has received an incredible amount of support over the years, like a LOT. The card has received so much, that you can base an entire deck around it and it's retrained counterparts! It's actually a really fun deck to run, along with its fanservice Magician Girl counterpart! You could honestly make a deck with only cards in the archetype with ease.
5 Not Worth It: Dark Magician Knight
Dark Magician Knight is one of the Dark Magician Monsters we really don't need though. You need an entirely new card, Knight's Title, to summon it. After tributing a Dark Magician, you get to summon one Dark Magician Knight to your side of the field, which can destroy one card. That's it. After that, it's literally exactly the same as Dark Magician, and it's just pointless to waste two slots in your deck on this card combo. Now, Dark Magician Girl The Dragon Knight is an entirely different story.
4 Strong: Chaos Emperor Dragon
Chaos Emperor Dragon has the unique ability to allow you to remove every single card from the field and each player's hand, and for every card sent to the graveyard this way, inflict 300 points of damage to your opponent.
This means you can inflict over 8000 damage to your opponent in one go!
Couple this with an attack from one of your monsters after the field has been cleared, and you can easily take out your opponent in a single turn.
3 Not Worth It: Lava Golem
Lava Golem is a cute little card, you sacrifice two monsters of your opponent’s, and they get a powerful card at the cost of 1000 life points per turn. There are two outcomes here, they either, you know, get rid of the card, or they use it to beat you. Unless there’s only one or two turns left in your opponent, this card isn’t going to be deciding any duels. It is just an unnecessary card that isn’t going to get you anywhere anytime fast.
2 Strong: Exodia
Do you know how much power must be running through your veins as you get to yell: “Exodia, OBLITERATE!”
I mean I don’t know as I’ve never been able to but I imagine quite a lot!
This is the oldest instant win monster in the game, and it’s still effective. Even today you can center decks around drawing as much as possible in order to draw Exodia. Follow it up with a mind crush and you’ve got yourself a winner!
1 Not Worth It: Gravity Bind
Gravity Bind used to be a fun little deck type. Stop everything from attacking, and whittle your opponent down little by little.
Now it’s useless! Yay!
That’s right, since Gravity Bind is based around stopping high-level monsters from attacking, Xyz monsters are completely unaffected, since they use rankings! So this card can literally do almost nothing. So if you modeled an actual deck that you spent money on after Rebecca from the anime, too bad so sad. That’s not too specific, right? Because it totally isn’t about me… I’m still bitter.