Red-Eyes has always been something of an odd card, as it’s a bit of an underpowered monster even for its time—a 2400 ATK monster requiring two tributes? Why not summon Blue-Eyes for the same resources and 3000 ATK instead?
Over the years, this unfortunate comparison has haunted the Red-Eyes archetype as well, as Konami continued to make Blue-Eyes cards which created a far more consistent (and briefly meta) archetype. But in the 20 years since the game began, Red-Eyes has still accumulated quite a few incredibly powerful cards... including the still best Dragon-Type boss monster in the game.
10 ARCHFIEND BLACK SKULL DRAGON
The only downside to this is being forced to run an Archfiend is a special summoning requirement. Other than that, this card is legit. When it battles, the opponent can’t activate cards or effects, meaning if they didn’t destroy it on summon it’s going nowhere, especially considering it has 3200 ATK. Even better? If it does battle, at the end of the Battle Phase, it can target a “Red-Eyes” Normal monster into the deck, and inflict its ATK as damage. That’s another easy 2400 ATK, making this a great game ender.
9 RED-EYES FUSION
If not for the restrictions, this would be the best fusion spell card ever. As expected due to the name, Red-Eyes Fusion allows the player to fusion summon any Fusion monster with “Red-Eyes” as the summoning requirement. But what makes this card special is that it does so by using monsters from the hand, field, or deck and sending them to the graveyard, meaning it can almost always be playable. The problem with this card is that the player can’t play any other monsters for that turn. Also, most of the fusions Red-Eyes have are kinda bad, though there’s more than enough to justify playing this.
8 RED-EYES ZOMBIE NECRO DRAGON
Red-Eyes’ only synchro is a zombie version, for some reason. It’s a great card and incredibly powerful... just, it’s more for zombies than Red-Eyes, or even Dragon decks. It gains 100 ATK for every Zombie on the field and in the graveyard, and when another Zombie monster is destroyed by battle, it can special summon a Zombie monster from either graveyard to the field. The key card in almost any Zombie deck is Zombie World, which makes all monsters on both fields and in both graveyards zombies, so both of those effects are seeing tons of use.
7 METEOR BLACK COMET DRAGON
Though it’s going to require the player to run some sub-par cards, for now, Meteor Black Comet Dragon is probably the best fusion card the deck has. When it’s fusion summoned, it can send a Red-Eyes monster from hand or deck to the grave, and inflict damage equal to half that monster’s attack.
That’s a bit soft considering how other effects usually just go for the whole 2400 damage, but considering it’s got 3500 ATK itself and if it dies it can special summon a Normal Monster in the graveyard, it’s not too bad. And Red-Eyes Fusion means even the level 6 Archfiend you have to run to summon it can simply be sent from deck to grave via its effect. At least they have a boss monster with greater attack than Blue-Eyes.
6 RED-EYES BLACK FLARE DRAGON
Gemini monsters have always been unique. They’re functionally normal monsters when summoned until they’re normal summoned while on the field. For players who can stomach having to burn a normal summon after finding a way to special summon this card though, they’ll find a huge reward waiting on them. Black Flare Dragon inflicts damage equal to its own original attack at the end of a Battle Phase if it’s involved with any damage calculation. Though it’s only got 2400 ATK, so killing something these days might be difficult, that still effectively means smacking the opponent with an extra 2400 points of damage.
5 RED-EYES INSIGHT
Probably the best themed spell/trap the deck has. Red-Eyes Insight sends a Red-Eyes monster from hand or deck to the graveyard to add a Red-Eyes Spell or Trap from the deck to the hand. This means it could fish out Red-Eyes Fusion, which could then summon Archfiend Black Skull Dragon, which is already set up to deal 2400 damage in addition to its 3200 ATK. That’s all from having a single card in hand, making that play basically always a threat. Of course, most of the other Red-Eyes spell and trap support is rather mediocre, which by extension makes this hard to give it the priority it would otherwise have when building a Red-Eyes deck.
4 BLACK STONE OF LEGEND
First, let’s talk about the drawbacks: players have to use a normal summon for this... and that’s it. Everything else about Red-Eyes’ version of Blue Stone of Legend is excellent. It can special summon a level 7 or lower Red-Eyes monster directly from the deck, instantly providing the player with a sizable body. But even more impressive is when this card is in the graveyard, it can target a level 7 or lower Red-Eyes monster, return it to the deck, and add Black Stone right back to hand. This means theoretically there’s always a Red-Eyes monster possible once the player draws this.
3 RED-EYES RETRO DRAGON
This is the kind of support Red-Eyes needs more of. If a level 7 or lower Red-Eyes monster is destroyed and sent to the graveyard, Retro Dragon can special summon itself from the hand in defense position. That’s a cute enough trick, and it’s smart to place itself in defense position, but it also special summons back any monsters destroyed by the initial effect that destroyed a Red-Eyes monster.
It can also Normal Summon a Red-Eyes monster by tributing itself, but that effect is irrelevant. What matters is the ability to punish the opponent for trying to destroy the player’s entire field, whether it’s Raigeki or some other mass destruction.
2 RED-EYES FLARE METAL DRAGON
The Red-Eyes Xyz is used in any Xyz deck that can summon it since its primary effect is generic, but it also gets a bit of a bonus effect that can only be used in a Red-Eyes deck, which is appreciated. Still, its primary effect is that while it has Xyz Material, the opposing player takes 500 damage each time they activate a card effect. Yes, any card effect. Special summon a monster, play a spell card to search? 500, then another 500. It also can’t be destroyed by card effects, and has a 2800 ATK body, so getting rid of this is costing them life points no matter what. Finally, it can even detach a material to special summon a “Red-Eyes” Normal monster from the graveyard.
1 RED-EYES DARKNESS METAL DRAGON
As if any other card could’ve been considered the best Red-Eyes card. It’s easily summoned—banish a Dragon-type monster in the player’s control, and they get a 2800 ATK monster on the field. And its effect is definitely worth one measly banished monster—it can special summon any one Dragon-Type monster from hand or graveyard once per turn... for nothing. There are no other restrictions either, so in theory if you can special summon it from hand, use it to summon another monster and bring it back from grave, it can bring out another Dragon from grave as well. As a provider of infinite boss monsters, no wonder this card found itself limited to a single copy. There’s almost no Dragon deck that doesn’t immediately consider using this card.