Armor evolutions. If your partners have enough experience and good equippable Digi-parts, their Armors can carry you throughout a good portion of the post-game. It's even a viable strategy to make the three partner cards you can get the only Digimon cards in a deck and using nothing but overpowering Option cards to boost them further.
The 8-digit password on the bottom left corner of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards serves as an identification number so that you can get the same card in any Yu-Gi-Oh! video game. Older games let you pretty much port your entire physical deck into the game for free, but there's nothing stopping you from just looking up the password of a powerful card online. Later games fixed the strength of this function by adding costs to it — some let you obtain any card at any time but at an exorbitant price, others restrict the use of the password function only to obtaining additional copies of cards you already have in-game, and a few place the corresponding card in the shop, so you still have to gather up the cash if you try to obtain a game breaker early on.
Change of Heart. Its effect in this game is permanent instead of only lasting one turn like in real life, so you can steal your opponents best monster from them for the rest of the duel if you use it right.
Thousand-Eyes Restrict. It's a normal monster in this game, requiring no tributes, which steals your opponent strongest monster, and increases its level by 2 (equivalent to a 1000 ATK/DEF boost), so you can deal massive amounts of direct damage right away. Broken for obvious reasons. Coupled with Change of Heart, Brain Control, and Relinquish, duels becomes a "I steal your monster, you steal my monsters" game against the tier 4 / 5 opponents.
Dark Hole is one due to a quirk in the tribute mechanics. You're allowed to tribute monsters, play Dark Hole, then tribute summon a monster in that order. Played with minimal monsters on your field to tribute, Dark Hole becomes cost free.
Cocoon of Evolution will evolve into Great Moth after a turn on the field, which then evolves into Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth the turn after. With its high defense for a 4 star monster, it'll likely survive long enough to change once. Finally, the Cocoon can be used once your Duelist Level reaches 26! This is extremely low compared to the benefit this card gives you.
Exodia in Yu-Gi-Oh!: 7 Trials to Glory. The game has a special area in which there is no banned/limited list, which means you're not only allowed three separate copies of each Exodia piece in your deck, you're allowed three copies of Sangan and Witch of the Black Forest to search them out, AND three copies of Dark Hole, which destroys all monsters on both sides of the field, nuking the opponent's offense while allowing your searchers to do their job. There is also access to 3 copies each of Pot of Greed and Graceful Charity, which all together accounts for fifteen cards with essentially no penalty. The in-game currency reward system has a strong bias towards winning through non-standard means (and Exodia is considered non-standard); what this means is that you get ten times the normal winnings for performing poorly. You can even buy a Deck that is pre-made with all the above cards.
Yugioh The Sacred Cards had an absurd number of these... so many that the difficulty comes from trying to determine which of these are the most game-breaking. To give a few egregious examples:
Darkness Approaches. Rather ironic, as the real-life card game version is considered one of the worst spells in the game, but there's no denying how utterly game-breaking the SC version is. It turns all monsters on your whole field face-down for no cost at all, allowing them to re-use their instant Flip Effects - a great many of which are clearly meant to be used once per card. One extreme example is Revival Jam, a card that copies itself when activated. Not game-breaking by itself, but with a single Revival Jam and a single Darkness Approaches, you now have four Revival Jams on your side of the field ready to pounce.
Hourglass of Life. It powers up every monster on your side of the field by 500 attack and defense points. Permanently. Not only is this a Game-Breaker by itself, but combine it with the above Darkness Approaches and Revival Jam tactic, and you now have two 2500 ATK and two 2000 ATK Revival Jams (not to mention the now 1700 ATK Hourglass itself) in practically no time at all. It is possible to, with the right combination of Hourglass of Life, similar attack boosts, and Darkness Approaches, get a full field of garden-variety monsters to over 4000 ATK, without ever needing any tributes. To call this a One-Hit Kill is an understatement.
The lesson of just how game-breaking these sort of attack boosts are is taught to the player very quickly via Witch's Apprentice, a card the player starts with. It works like Hourglass of Life, except it only powers up Shadow-element monsters. Which in itself is overpowering, because of how the game's Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors works. In theory, it's Shadow > Light > Fiend > Dreams > Shadow. The problem with this is that Dreams-element monsters are ridiculously rare, to the point where encountering one in the entire game is an event unto itself, making Shadow an unintentional Infinity +1 Element. And on the off-chance that you do encounter such a monster...well, that's what your trap cards are for.
Torrential Tribute, which instantly wipes out every single monster on the opponent's field the instant they try to attack with absolutely anything. And unlike the real-life game, where Mirror Force (a WEAKER version of said card, as it doesn't hit face-downs) is limited to one, you can have three Torrentials in your in-game deck.
For that matter, almost any trap card in the game, because the AI is stupid enough to attack every time it has a chance to win that particular battle. This definition of "chance" includes your face-down monsters. All you need to do is the following: set trap, set monster, end turn, laugh as the opponent kills themselves, attack with all face-up monsters, and repeat until you have won the duel. Traps like Invisible Wire (kills anything under 2000 ATK that attacks you, which no enemy except the final boss can summon without a tribute), Acid Trap Hole (everything under 3000 ATK), and Widespread Ruin (just everything) make the game insultingly easy. To make matters worse, these cards have a deck cost that is absurdly low; deck cost acts sort of like your Character Level, determining the relative power of your deck. Widespread Ruin costs less than the local Goombas to put in your deck, and the other traps cost even less than that. Only Torrential has anything even vaguely resembling a real cost...which you can still pay at the very beginning of the game with minimal effort.
To top that off, Trap Master has an effect that creates an Acid Trap Hole for free, while only taking up a little more deck capacity than the card itself. You can have what amounts to up to 6 Acid Trap Holes in a Deck, and that's before taking into account reuses thanks to Darkness Approaches. Its paltry 500 ATK matters very little when the opponent will subsequently try to attack it and lose their strongest monster in the process.
Beckon to Darkness falls under the same vein as Trap Cards, being able to destroy anything that isn't a God Card, having a very low deck cost, and always hitting the strongest monster the opponent has. From start to finish, it will always see play in the player's deck because it's so efficient at taking out threats they otherwise cannot surmount.
Don't even get started on Coccoon of Evolution. Its duelist level requirement is really quite low. You can have 3 per deck, 2000 defence, needs no tribute. After one turn, it evolves into Great Moth. Another turn later, and that evolves into Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth. 3500 ATK, usually only usable once you've already got two God Cards and quite overwhelming.
Ancient Lamp. While its moderately high level requirement means you can't use it until mid-late game without Level Grinding, it more than makes up for this with its ability to completely circumvent the level requirement system. As soon as it hits the field, it can summon La Jinn the Mystical Genie of the Lamp - whose level requirement is extremely high, and justifiably so. La Jinn overpowers every single non-tribute monster that can possibly be summoned by your opponents in the game - and the most common field effect gives it an automatic 540-point attack boost without you even needing to do anything, in a game where the 500-point attack boost from Hourglass of Life is a Game-Breaker, as listed above. And to cap it all off, it's Shadow element! Add a Darkness Approaches and a Witch's Apprentice, and with just 3 cards and no tributes you have not one but two monsters with 3340 attack, both of which are nigh-impossible to hit with Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors, in just two turns. Wish your opponents luck, they'll need it.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction: Due to similar mechanics, almost every game breaker listed under The Sacred Cards also applies, even if some of them have been restricted to only 1 or 2 copies per deck or have had their deck costs inflated. On the other hand, you're probably going to need them to beat opponents with cards far stronger than yours.
Monster-destroying effects are even more vital to help you overcome the advantage the opponent has. Nothing except the God Cards have protection against them, so you can easily turn the tables after the opponent has spent resources on their strongest monster.
The Winged Dragon of Ra's Phoenix Mode can be discarded in the hand to immediately appear on the field in Battle Mode, negating the need for three tributes. note It doesn't necessarily guarantee a win, though, if your opponent can lower its Attack/Defense Points with Effect Cards or Umi.
Dark Flare Knight can similarly be discarded from the hand to immediately summon Mirage Knight to the field, a 2800/2000 monster that normally needs two tributes. Mirage Knight then splits into a Dark Magician and a Flame Swordsman on the opponent's next turn, giving you two powerful beatsticks. Provided you can afford it in terms of money and deck capacity, there is no reason to not run Dark Flare Knight in most any deck you may end up building.
Castle of Dark Illusions constantly turns your monsters face-down, acting as a continuous version of Darkness Approaches. It also constantly turns the field into the Yami field which conveniently gives it a 30% power boost, creating a 3250 DEF wall with no drawback. However, its absurd deck cost makes it unlikely for a player to even run it until postgame, unless they somehow take control of an opponent's copy.
The Paradox boss rush has you winning specific cards from the Millennium Guardians on top of the normal duel rewards. When you reach Paradox at the end, you can intentionally answer his question wrongly to be forced back to the start of the boss rush with your rewards intact, meaning you can keep defeating the first Guardian to get a ton of Kuribohs to wager on duels, or keep beating the third Guardian to amass Giant Soldiers of Stone for large sums of money.
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists Of The Roses has a lot of extraordinary cards only available through hacking, passwords, or the Destiny Draw mechanic. Card Reincarnation can get you Darkness Approaches, which is effective for the same reason as it was in The Sacred Cards, and there are two monsters it works wonderfully with: Mystical Elf, which when flipped raises the attack power of all Light monsters (including itself) by 800 points, and Wood Remains, which raises the attack power of all Wood Remains on the field by 500. The kicker here? You can get a Wood Remains by fusing a zombie and plant monster that both have less than 1000 attack points, and you can get a Mystical Elf by fusing either Dancing Elf or Wing Egg Elf with a Fairy-type monster with less than 800 attack points. These materials are easy to farm from the right opponents and significantly raise the number of potential copies of these monsters a deck can bring out.
You think those are bad? Try Spirit of the Books. An otherwise unknown normal monster in the TCG becomes completely effective here, because its flip effect is to summon Boo Koo, another otherwise unknown monster in the TCG. When Boo Koo is flipped, Spirit of the Books gains 700 attack points. If Boo Koo is fused with another Winged Beast monster with less than 1400 attack, it creates yet another Spirit of the Books. This creates an endless cycle of powerups so long as every newly flipped Boo Koo can be fused with another Winged Beast you draw. You do have to throw out the weaker Spirits so that new ones can keep coming in, but hey, three or more psycho librarian owls with over 5000 attack? That's worth it.
in this game, Pumpking, king of ghosts pumps the attack of all your zombies when in defense mode permanently every turn (even th face down ones). Pumpking is particularly easy to fuse from your hand, using the games generic attack power based fusion system. (Plant+zombie = Wood Remains) + another zombie =Pumpking. Also not that hard to get in card form. One of the starter decks even has it. This game also has Coccoon of Evolution too. Just like before, fuse it with Larvae of Moth or Petit Moth to get Pupae of Moth, which turns into Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth, which decreases the attack and defense of your opponents creatures every turn permanently when in defense mode (even the face down ones). And Pupae of Moth enter the graveyard when Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth comes on the field, allowing you to resurrect it with many cards to get ANOTHER moth, and the pupae of moth enters the graveyard again, where it can be brought back AGAIN.... Now we add in Blue Eyed Silver Zombie, with a flip effect that turns all your creatures into zombies, which are then pumped by your many pumpkings. Call of the Haunted does the same thing, but on a spell card. You quickly build a field of 9999/9999 monsters and turn your opponents into 0/0 with large numbers of pumpkings and moths.
The Tag Force games allow you to use certain cards that were only in the anime, like the Dark Synchros. Ordinarily, they're Difficult, but Awesome, with their raw power balanced out by the trickiness in using a 0-ATK, high-level Dark Tuner to summon it... unless that Dark Tuner is Doom Submarine. Doom Submarine can revive itself once per game while you control no monsters, and it's Level 9, meaning it can summon pretty much any Dark Synchro you could want. Discard Submarine, Summon Submarine, Normal Summon something else... free Dark Synchro.
Even as Dark Synchros go, Hundred-Eyes Dragon is incredibly strong. It can be played with a simple combo of Doom Submarine/Infernity Randomizer or Mirage, it has a nasty 3000 ATK, and it has three effects. The first shuts down opposing Spells and Traps while it attacks, the second gives it the effects of all the Infernities in your Graveyard (which can include piercing and burn damage, drawing a card every turn, indestructibility by battle or effects, summoning Infernities from the Graveyard, or making it impossible for you to lose the Duel), and the third lets you, whenever the Dragon is somehow destroyed, add any card from your Deck to your hand. This last effect combos perfectly with fellow anime-only card Cursed Prison, letting you Summon it instantly in DEF, so that you'll be able to grab a card when it gets taken down.
Fog Castle, which revives a monster up to four times after it gets destroyed, is incredibly abusable with any card whose effect activates upon destruction. How does knocking 35 cards from your opponent's Deck with a Voltic Bicorn sound? How about using Sangan to instantly draw out Exodia? If that wasn't enough, when Fog Castle runs out of uses, you get to take four monsters from your Graveyard and add them to your hand, massively boosting your advantage in the unlikely event that you haven't just won the Duel.
Philosopher's Stone Sabatiel may be limited to one, but it can be added from your Deck to your hand whenever you lose a Winged Kuriboh, so it's incredibly easy to draw (especially with a Flute of Summoning Kuriboh). What's it do? Let you pay half your LP to add any card from your Deck to your hand. And then it goes back to the Deck, letting you play it again. After three activations, it turns from its original effect to one that multiplies one monster's ATK for a turn by up to 5, potentially giving you a card with over 10,000 ATK... and somehow, that feels like a downgrade.
Trick Battle (a card that reverses the results of a battle so the stronger monster gets destroyed, but damage is still calculated normally) sounds like a quirky bit of fun... until you combo it with Colossal Fighter, a card that can revive itself when destroyed. Summon Colossal Fighter, activate Trick Battle, attack a weaker monster. Your opponent takes damage, but the weaker monster stays and Colossal Fighter gets destroyed. Since it was technically destroyed by battle, you can Summon it back, and since you Summoned it back, you can attack again. Repeat until the opponent dies.
The Destiny Draw mechanic, which automatically placed a designated card on top of your Deck if you were losing, was remarkably abusable, letting you put game-winning cards on top of your Deck in the second turn with some good management of your Life Points. After Glow, which shuffles itself into the Deck and wins the Duel if you draw it on the next turn, was probably the worst offender. What made it more egregious is that you can set a handicap that starts you off at an immense Life Point disadvantage, which allows you to immediately access Destiny Draw.
Lost Kingdoms can be broken by ignoring the maximum deck size and instead making a small deck comprised of nothing but the most powerful attack cards you have and "recover used cards" cards.
Online card game Elements: the Game: the Aether element is very overpowering, with such charming things as multiple completely untouchable monsters and a shield that just makes you invulnerable to non-spell damage for three turns, but the real killer has to be the Entropy element weapon, Discord. If your opponent gets out a Discord in the first few turns, you will almost certainly die, because the special power of Discord is to randomly shunt your quanta around - typically reducing high ones, like, say, the types your deck is based on. The incredibly rare Shards only make balance worse - the aether-aligned one, the Shard of Wisdom, enables you to turbocharge the already obnoxiously strong immortal creatures (which can't be affected by any spells or targeted abilities other than the Shard of Wisdom, making them almost totally impossible to kill) so that they become significantly stronger and deal spell damage, which bypasses nearly all the shields in the game. They also have access to Mindgate, a permanent item which, for an upkeep of 2 Aether quanta, effectively allows them to see what the next card in their opponent's deck will be...by copying it. Finally, they can also spend 7 Aether quanta to activate Parallel Universe, another card which copies any targetable creature on the field. That 10/10 Golden Dragon you brought out? They now have one too, and at 5 less total quanta cost.
SolForge The game has seen several game-breaking cards come and go, with nerfs and buffs rendering some of them more manageable or less crazy. Some of such cards:
The Savants (Lifeshaper Savant, Flameshaper Savant, Darkshaper Savant and Steelshaper Savant), which played extremely well with the game's level-up mechanic until they were nerfed to benefit only their respective factions. They are also among the very rare non-Legendary cards that managed to get banned in some tournaments.
Zimus The Undying, who just won't die, ever. First changed so that dying twice in a turn kills him for good because his ability would cause infinite loop against certain cards otherwise, and then reversed now after any infinite-combo chain involving him has been neutered.
Wegu, The Ancient, who gets easy massive buffs from healing, turning it into a breakthrough monster steamrolling everything. Now nerfed to have no breakthrough early on.
Ironmind Acolyte, who benefits immensely from card draws to fill up the board in a jiffy. Now nerfed to not draw additional cards even when its effect triggers from you having too many cards in hand.
Immortal Echoes, which resurrects one of your dead creatures at the end of turn, and this repeats once at lower level and indefinitely at level 3. This card easily enables strategies that require creatures to simply drop into play (such as Restless Wanderers), or worse, creatures who become stronger when coming back from the dead (Tarsus Deathweaver and Indomitable Fiend).
The Elite Barbarians from Clash Royale. After receiving a tremendous buff in stats in December 2016, they suddenly turn from the worst card in the game into one of the most overpowered card in all of Clash Royale. Basically, at the cost of 6 Elixir, you spawn a pair of them with a good amount of hit points and great attack but the thing that makes them overpowered is their insane speed. Left unopposed, they could very quickly make short work of your tower in just one deployment. The problem is that you have to react very quickly or else they do tremendous amount of damage to your tower so if your internet is slow or you have a slow reaction time, you're screwed. It's defensive capabilities are just as great as their incredible speed and attack allow them to quickly make short work of tanks such as Golem, Giant, Royal Giant and Hog Rider before they even reached the tower and their high hit-points makes them quite resistant to spells. In fact the card is so prevalent that it single-handedly made many decks (Such as Golems, Giants, Lava Hound, and siege cards like X-Bow) useless and forced many players to carry multiple anti-Elite Barbarian cards (Skeleton Army, Minion Horde, Tombstone, Barbarian and opposing Elite Barbarian) just to deal with them, greatly limiting your deck-building and even then would probably also bring counters to them. Adding insult to the injury, their Common rarity meant that it's very easy to overlevel them in ladder gamesnote That is not to say that they aren't good in tournament gameplay, in fact they're just as good in contrast to the Royal Giant so you'd probably encounter them in like every 2 games.
Mabinogi Duel had Hunter: Piollet during the City of Gold Cadir pre-release format. At level 1/2/3 he dealt 4/7/11 damage respectively to the creature in front of him upon being Summoned, which was often enough to destroy a basic or weakened enemy creature. This would not be a problem -in fact, it would be relatively underwhelming for an Ultra Rare card- if it weren't for the fact that he unsummons himself note goes back to the hand and returns all resources used to summon it upon successfully destroying a creature, which turns him into one of the very few reusable cards in the game without need of discarding, if not the only one. This one card set a threshold of HP that players could absolutely NOT play under in a competitive environment.
During the same format, there was also the Golden Garden Cat. It gives +1 to your least abundant resource every turn, which is a step beyond most other generators already due to its versatility. However, if your Gold (a resource the Cat itself can produce, by the way) reserve is 4 or higher, its production DOUBLES. Its one downside? Its HP/Defense spread put it just 2 points below the Piollet threshold at level 3 only. This little domestic cat essentially doubled the speed of most decks in the game.
And of course, Succubus Queen: Lilith. Hypnotizes every enemy creature every turn, turning them into a 0 Attack - 1 HP useless board filler that can only return to its original form by being targeted by a spell, and destroys a hypnotized creature at the end of her controller's turn. This made her a perfect partner for cards like Witch:Xena (another bothersome unit) and Mermaid:Sise. Not only that, she can transform a friendly unit into a clone of herself before she dies, making her hilariously hard to get rid of.
There is also the ungodly Double Nao deck. It consists in stalling your opponent (usually through Trap in the Castle and/or the aforementioned Hunter: Piollet) to build up 15 Dark while discarding 2 White Nao (ideally a Dark mutant version) and 1 Black Knight, and 2 other creatures of your choosing (usually high Attack creatures like Red Dragon). Finally, once the 15 Dark is gathered, cast Ultimate: Gates of Hell and watch as your opponent is left with a few very, very, VERY specific options to counter your board. True Holy Spear and Succubus Queen: Lilith are the most effective, but both are pretty rare and expensive. Not even Seclusionist: Ansili, which otherwise literally destroys non-CGC decks, can stand to this deck since the Naos will revive everything he destroys. Have fun!