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Generally, every format has at least one deck that qualifies as Game-Breaker. The Game-Breaking deck and cards in Yu-Gi-Oh! constantly change whenever the metagame shifts, new cards are released, and the Banlist is shuffled. As a general rule of thumb, cards that are placed on the banlist were found to be too effective at the previous format.

Also, as a result of Sequel Escalation and Power Creep, some old decks that were completely unfair in their heyday would not be so great a threat nowadays, even if they're untouched by the banlist. Because of this, cards with powerful effects or ones which were powerful in the older generations but are considered too slow or impractical go on their own list.

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Bear in mind this list does not include Boss Duel cards, which are Japanese event-exclusive decks that are meant to be challenged three-to-one and as such are naturally extremely overpowered.

You can try most of them out in Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist (though it uses the Master Rule 4 format), since there is no banlist anyway. No, seriously.

Below is a list of Game Breakers introduced in their respective eras.


    open/close all folders 

    General 
  • Hand control cards in general are infamous for their Game-Breaker-ness, allowing you to decimate your opponent's resources in a way that's very hard to counter (especially when going first and tearing up half the opponent's hand or more before they even get a chance to play the game). Delinquent Duo was one of the first-ever entries on the banlist, and Confiscation and The Forceful Sentry didn't take long to follow it. Trap Dustshoot, once thought to be the balanced alternative, got involved in a devastating combo with Mind Crush that put it on the banlist as well. Even Don Zaloog was considered a tournament staple for quite some time, largely for this reason, Wind-Ups had a hand destruction loop that got one of their best monsters banned in the TCG, and Evigishki Gustkraken was Limited for quite a while due to first-turn hand-ripping shenanigans. And then there's TRISHULA... To make matters worse, while destruction cards like Raigeki only get weaker with time as more revival or protection methods become available, hand control cards have only gotten stronger, between the increased importance of card advantage and replenishing a lost hand being a lot harder than replenishing a lost field.
    • As a prime example of how powerful Delinquent Duo is, its current effect of forcing the opponent to discard 2 cards is actually an errata; its original effect allowed both players to discard 1 card each from the opponent's hand. The errata gives the opponent complete control over which cards to discard and can allow them to Graveyard setup, but the card is still considered too powerful due to the hand disadvantage it imposes.
  • Any card that switches control of monsters is a likely target: Change of Heart was banned in 2005 and wasn't unbanned until May 2022, when it came back to limited, Brain Control was only able to come back with a severe nerf, Mind Control (which was designed to be a useless version of the above cards) is limited, Snatch Steal's time as a limited card during the January 2015 format proved the card to be a cheap topdeck card to the point that was immediately rebanned again, and Number 11: Big Eye was semi-limited in the OCG despite being tricky to summon. The biggest advantage to Monster Reborn (which goes on and off the banlist depending on the phase of the moon) is that it's one of the only revival cards that has the option of stealing opponent's monsters.
  • Many stun/lock cards, particularly Time Seal, skipping the opponent's next draw phase, and Cold Wave, preventing setting/activating spells/traps until your next turn.
    • "Floodgates", cards that stop certain decks from making plays entirely or certain types of cards from being used, can also fit this trope. While most of these are balanced by being good only against certain match-ups and being vulnerable to removal cards, some are so universally great against the metagame that they end up stunning almost everything, to the point of getting hit by the limited or even forbidden list. A big problem involving these cards is that the one using them can often make all the plays they need to make to establish a big obstacle to overcome, then activate the play-preventing card to make it very difficult for the opponent to retaliate, effectively buying the user a free turn at minimum. The particularly nasty ones being Imperial Order, Royal Oppression, Number 16: Shock Master, and Vanity's Emptiness.
  • Cards that remove the wait one turn restriction on trap cards for all trap cards inevitably become this, as it removes their intended downside (they were most frequently abused with draw power traps, but other traps could become more effective with these cards too). Temple of the Kings was banned for 4 years in the OCG before being brought to other regions, instantly banned upon release, and stayed such until it received an errata. And, more infamous is Makyura the Destructor, one of the most helpful cards ever created until it too got an errata.
  • Most cards with a great draw power to them with little to no drawbacks to them, or has "drawbacks" that are more beneficial to the player, such as sending cards to the Graveyard in a meta-game where summoning things from the graveyard is a major part of the game. Besides giving you more cards to work with, it lets you thin the deck in hopes of getting more cards you truly need to possibly OTK your opponent. The most famous of these cards is Pot of Greed which, despite being one of the most simple cards in the game, (lets you draw two cards with no drawbacks, a fact that the various animes won't let you forget) has been on the banlist since the banlist was first made. To further reinforce the power of card draw: a draw 1 that gives your opponent 1000 LP, a a draw 1 that discards your hand, and a card that lets you draw until you have three cards in your hand but prevents Special Summons, prevents you from dealing damage, and discards your hand are all Limited, despite all being substantially worse than Pot of Greed. While they haven't stopped printing cards that let you draw 2 (just like Pot of Greed), the new cards universally have weapons-grade restrictions and costs slapped onto them to prevent them from simply being thrown into every single deck ever, and even then things like Pot of Desires see fairly widespread play by decks that don't mind losing a few combo pieces.
  • Mass summon cards often result in this, due to their ability to create One Turn Kills, loops, or nigh unkillable fields. Magical Scientist, Ultimate Offering, Dimension Fusion, Return from the Different Dimension, Soul Charge, and Firewall Dragon are banned for this. Ditto for why and Infernity Launcher is limited, as was Rekindling.
  • Rapid token generating cards with minimal restrictions have become this, due to the introduction of Link Summoning. Simply put, no other mechanic has been able to utilize tokens as efficiently, due to them simply requiring a number of monsters equal to their link number at minimum. Even though Link Monsters are no longer needed to swarm from the extra deck, being able to easily mass summon them opens up all sorts of degenerate plays. As a result of this, any future cards that churns out Token now prevents the player from special summoning any Link monsters as long as they remain on the field while subsequent Link Monsters now specify requiring either an Effect Monster or simply exclude Tokens as their Link Material, although it really says something about how much Link Monsters broke Token generators when previously forgettable cards like Grinder Golem earned a one-way trip to the banlist because of them.
  • Any card that makes searching the important monsters for a good set up way too easy, or just get critical cards for your deck. Witch of the Black Forest was banned exactly for this reason and Sangan moved on and off the banned list as often as Monster Reborn. Reinforcement of the Army is limited for similar reasons, and with the prevalence of Field Spells nowadays, so is Terraforming. One for One is also Limited in the TCG and Semi-Limited in the OCG. Sangan and Witch of the Black Forest eventually got erratas that heavily nerfed their respective searching, and as a result left the banlist a shadow of their former selves.
  • Any card that removes the threat of the back row (Set spells/traps) with no cost is often this, as they can often win games all by themselves against decks that rely heavily on them. Harpie's Feather Duster, Cold Wave, Heavy Storm, and Giant Trunade were banned for this reason. Harpie's Feather Duster was finally unbanned in 2020.
  • Surprisingly enough, effects that return cards from your field to your hand have a tendency to become this. Not only does it enable the recycling of Continuous cards that have effects upon being played, this also circumvents the once per turn restriction on certain card effects, allowing for unintentional abuse of card effects in what are usually OTK loops. Dewloren and Genex Ally Birdman are both Limited to this day on the TCG lists despite their unremarkable effects due to said effects' costs (returning your own cards to the hand) being far more potent than the effects themselves, and part of Brionac's errata made him unable to bounce your own cards. As such, effects that return your own cards to the hand have been increasingly scarce after the Synchro era, while the hard once-per-turn clause ("You can only use [card name]'s effect once per turn") popped up as a means to prevent further abuse of potentially powerful effects.
  • The ultimate example of gamebreakers in the game are First-Turn Kill (often abbreviated as FTK) decks. While most are far too inconsistent to be viable competitive decks on their own, the rare few that are often have the potential to completely dominate the metagame, to the point that a ban and/or limit on cards that make the combo possible is guaranteed to happen. This was even worse before the advent of hand trap effects such as Effect Veiler, where the metagames involving these decks were little more than coin flips to see who could FTK the other first (and even with hand traps, you still lose if you go second and lack any to use against it). Some of the more notorious FTKs are the old-school Empty Jar FTK, Magical Scientist FTK, Frog FTK, all FTKs enabled by the Makyura the Destructor and pre-errata Temple of the Kings, all FTKs built around Blaze Fenix, the Burning Bombardment Bird (the reason it's limited in the OCG), and FTKs abusing Firewall Dragon. This ultimately led to banning of Mass Driver in both formats as well as Cannon Soldier along with its clones in the OCG while Catapult Turtle had been given a "once per turn" errata as a foolproof countermeasure against potential future FTK decks.
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Other Game-Breakers by order of era:

    Duel Monsters era (1999-2004) 
  • In the very earliest days of the OCG, the card game initially used rules similar to the earliest video games and the anime, where monsters did not require Tributes. Needless to say, this resulted in an utterly broken format, since the vast majority of common Monsters had under 1000 ATK while cards like Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes broke 2500 or even 3000. Blue-Eyes in particular was so strong that the next strongest monster couldn't beat it without two Equips. Add in the fact that the number of Spells and Traps playable per turn was limited, Effect Monsters didn't exist, and Fusions were even worse and you had a format where every player who could, would run three Blue-Eyes and games would largely come down to who drew them first, with the only outs being a small number of destruction cards and Dragon Capture Jar (which didn't even kill Blue-Eyes, just render it useless except as a wall)—and on top of that, it was available in the Starter Box, making it far less rare than intended. For that brief period, Blue-Eyes truly did live up to its anime reputation as a card that guaranteed victory for the user. Only a few months later, the "Expert" rules arrived, codifying the existence of Tribute Summoning and relegating Blue-Eyes to more Awesome, but Impractical territory.
  • One insanely overpowered deck that never made it into the TCG was the first incarnation of the Exodia deck. With Pot of Greed, Sangan, Graceful Charity, Witch of the Black Forest, and the Exodia pieces themselves all unlimited, drawing or searching out the pieces was incredibly easy, and with Swords of Revealing Light, Mirror Force, and Waboku, stalling if you didn't get an Exodia on the first turn wasn't too difficult either. Basically, remember the Rare Hunter with three of every Exodia piece and three Graceful Charities? That was a legal deck at the time, and he wasn't even playing the strongest variant of it. What made it particularly busted, though, was two early rulings that caused massive problems: first, Sangan and Witch's effects activated when sent to the Graveyard by any means (meaning discarding them through Graceful Charity was valid), and second, the effect of Last Will was not once-per-turn (meaning you could activate it every time a monster was sent from the field to the Graveyard). This not only made the deck able to draw out Exodia quickly, but gave it a potential method of searching it out in a single turn by repeatedly summoning Sangans and Witches with the effect of Last Will before crashing them into an opponent's monster. With the incredibly restricted card pool of 1999, there was very little any player could do to stop an Exodia player from their game of solitaire. The February 2000 limited list went out of its way to gut the deck as hard as possible, with every Exodia piece, Last Will, Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity, and Mirror Force being limited or semi-limited, and Sangan and Witch being errataed to clarify their effects only worked when sent from the field to the Graveyard. The Exodia pieces have never left the limited list since then.
  • Harpie’s Feather Duster, which was on the first ban list, has the effect to destroy all spell and traps the opponent controls. It’s a free back row nuke of the opponent, your own cards left untouched. As if that weren’t bad enough, this card would now be searchable off of Hysteric Sign and the far more splashable Harpie's Feather Storm. It finally got unbanned in 2020.
  • Dark Hole and Raigeki were devastating for their time. With Dark Hole, you could nuke the field before Summoning a powerful (at the time) beatstick like Mechanicalchaser or Gemini Elf for a direct attack. Raigeki proved even more dangerous, being a costless nuke affecting only the opponent's monsters. Both cards have been Forbidden and/or Limited for much of the game's history. However, they have gotten weaker over the years as more and more Graveyard recurring strategies and monsters that cannot be destroyed by card effects have been released.
  • Tribe Infecting Virus was non-restricted mass destruction at best and a guaranteed monster snipe at worst. Not only that, combined with previous Game-Breaker Sinister Serpent it used to be free mass destruction. Not surprisingly, it was one of the first monster cards Limited and then Forbidden and was banned since October 2005. It only left the list in January 2020 as power-creep caught up to it and made its lack of a condition to easily field a more pressing issue than its lack of a hard OPT.
  • Jinzo was an early Game Breaker (and a major sign of later Power Creep). It combined powerful effects and good stats in a one-tribute body, making any traps cards (except those negating his summon) useless. Before long, Jinzo was in every Deck that could afford him and then some, and the average number of Traps in Decks dropped from ten to three. Jinzo would be one of the first limited monster cards, and his reign of terror would last for years, only fading when Monarchs muscled in on his turf. Jinzo influence on deckbuilding was so big that even years later, players would be wary of filling their deck with trap cards lest Jinzo would make them lose on the spot.
  • The Envoys. These cards, when used in tandem with a certain other monster i.e. Yata-Garasu, are the very reason that the Forbidden / Limited list exists today. Not only were they dirt-cheap to summon, they had extremely potent effects that wouldn't be replicated for years to come. Their abilities were so effective that, for a long time, they completely dominated the metagame. If you were not using a deck that utilized these, your chances of winning dropped by 90%.
  • For a long time, spell recursion, cards allowing you to reuse spells from your grave, was one of the most powerful type of effects in the game, to the point that even Magical Stone Excavation, a -2, was briefly limited and then semi-limited for years before finally going back to 3. However, even more powerful are the below cards, which spent many years on the forbidden list:
    • Magician of Faith was a very powerful flip effect monster for its time. Given how it allows for permanent application of Spell cards that allow for quick Special Summons and easy searchers of the monsters in the deck that combined make a fearsome combo and you have enough reason for why a card like this was banned. The card was unbanned in the TCG in the January 2014 format and eventually unlimited altogether due to a lack of spectacularly effective spell cards to recycle and how slow flip effects have become due to Power Creep.
    • The pre-nerfed Dark Magician of Chaos, a free spell recovery effect on summon attached with a 2800 attack stat and a powerful anti-floater effect by banishing monsters it destroys by battle (see the Banned and Nerfed Cards page for more details).
  • Skill Drain is a card that negates every single monster effect on the field at the cost of 1000 life points. Not only is it one of the greatest ways to lock down the meta since effect monsters took over, and prevent many decks from doing anything useful, but it also negates the effect of monsters that have high ATK yet are balanced by a monster effect that works as a drawback that prevents them from becoming too dominant. In addition to that special summons from monsters in the hand or deck are not negated by this card, which allows decks build around it to pick up speed. It is thus not an exaggeration to say that entire decks are built around it that might still have some competitive value even in the meta of today. Leaving and entering the banlist depending on the phase of moon, the card was finally limited in April 2015 thanks to its interactions with Qliphorts.
  • Morphing Jar makes both players discard their entire hand (if any) and then draw 5 cards. Due to its ability to bring a player right back into any game, abuse in Empty Jar decks, and ability to facilitate graveyard setup, the card had been limited for a long time. However, what landed it on the forbidden list was its abuse with the otherwise Awesome, but Impractical Jackpot 7 alongside Morphing Jar #2 by giving and triggering it on the opponent's field in the OCG, which resulted in its ban before said card was even released in the TCG. As of September 2018, it has been put to 1.
  • Card Destruction is not only extremely useful in mill decks, but also allows you to setup your graveyard effects and plays, being somewhat similar to Graceful Charity, its only difference being that using it actually takes away one card from your hand. Not that it matters; the acceleration the card provides is more than enough. It was Limited for much of its existence before spending a 5-year stint on the banlist from September 2013 to September 2018 (when it was put back to 1), and it being unbanned means that decks with the "Danger!" archetype can use it to trigger more than one "Danger!" monster's effect and set up a chain as this card does not send them to the GY, but it discards them.
  • Thousand-Eyes Restrict. A level 1 Fusion monster with bad stats but extremely nasty effects; normally, you'd need a specifically designed deck to bring this thing out, but thanks to certain other banned cards (Metamorphosis, Tsukuyomi, Magical Scientist, and Magician of Faith), one could make a deck without the fusion card to bring it out. It single-handedly created an entire format that was so slow that the creators hit the deck harder than any other deck has ever been hit with the banlist, banning everything that made the deck even remotely usable, until 2016 when it was brought off the banlist.
  • What do you get when you combine the Envoys and Yata-Garasu into one deck? The Yata-Garasu Lockdown, or "Yata-Lock" for short, one of the most legendary-for-all-the-wrong-reasons decks from the early days of the game. This deck relied on using the field nuke effect of "Chaos Emperor Dragon" while either "Sangan" or "Witch of the Black Forest" (allows you to search out a weak monster when destroyed) to fetch "Yata-Garasu" from your deck, and since you just emptied your opponent's hand you could then proceed to merrily cherry-tap them to death with them remaining completely powerless. It got so bad that the Yata Lock is frequently rumoured to be the reason Yu-Gi-Oh has a banlist at all. Both "Sangan" and "Witch of the Black Forest" has been nerfed, so that you cannot activate cards, or the effects of cards, with the searched card's name for the rest of this turn.
  • Solemn Judgment, easily the best counter trap ever made, allows you to negate any (inherent) monster summon or activation of any spell or trap, at the cost of half your life points. While that may be a steep cost early in the game, it becomes negligible as your LP get lower and ensures it's always live, and the ability to negate any key card or play of the opponent usually made up for this, especially since as a counter trap, there is almost nothing the opponent can do against it. This card was a staple in almost every deck in the game before it was banned in September 2013. It has been brought to one back in the February 2018 list. It was finally freed from the banlist a year later in July.
  • In the old days of the game, all one needed to do was summon a Cyber-Stein to ensure victory. Cyber-Stein on its own is not that great - terrible ATK and DEF, practically useless, right? Wrong. It has a nasty little effect that lets you summon any fusion monster at the cost of 5000 life points. Like, say, a Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon with 4500 ATK, for instance. Using this effect almost ensures you have less life points than your opponent, which allows you to equip Megamorph (doubling its ATK to 9000) and Fairy Meteor Crush (allowing it to deal damage to defending monsters) to it and attack for game. It was the first One Turn Kill strategy ever invented in the metagame, since life points started at 8000. It got banned in 2007, and finally got unbanned after twelve years. Even after its unban, modern-day users could use it to lock your opponent from activating Spells and Traps, ban your opponent from ANY kind of Summon and burn your opponent to death that would ensure it'll likely never get Unlimited in the TCG.
  • Gold Sarcophagus is a buffed Different Dimension Capsule that banishes any card from your deck and adds it to your hand two turns in the future. The card has travelled up and down on the Lists for years depending on the state of the game, but found a true home within the Thunder Dragon archetype, where many of the monsters have effects that activate upon being banished. This turned Gold Sarcophagus into an unmatched consistency and play-starting tool for the deck, and resulted in it becoming Limited in the January 28 2019 TCG Lists.
  • United We Stand was powerful back in the beatstick era, as it could make your monster gain 800 ATK per monster on the field. Combine it with Scapegoat and your monster can easily gain up to 4000 ATK. It was banned in 2004, back in the days when high ATK was considered a thing. It's now Unlimited now in the more complex game environment.
  • Back in the days of beatsticks reigning supreme, Injection Fairy Lily was incredible enough to be Limited until 2006 and briefly banned in the OCG. For a comparatively negligible cost of 2000 LP, Lily would gain 3000 ATK for a single Damage Step. This essentially made her the precursor to Utopia the Lightning as a monster that can kill nearly every other monster in the game for minimal investment, especially since it was very hard to stop her from attacking. Lily's 400 original ATK dodges under Trap Hole and Messenger of Peace (since she only gains ATK after she declares an attack), while level 3 means she dodges under Level Limit - Area B and can be casually Normal Summoned for no cost to slaughter a Tribute Summoned beater like Jinzo or Summoned Skull. Nowadays, however, years of Power Creep and the combo-oriented nature of the game means Injection Fairy Lily struggles to find a home in any deck, especially with the advent of Extra Deck monsters like Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon or the aforementioned Utopia the Lightning that do her job better.
  • Change of Heart was among the very first cards ever banned in the game, and for good reason. The fact that the monster returns during the End Phase to your opponent is its only downside, which is almost always rendered moot by the fact that you're going to probably attack with it, tribute it, or use it for the summon of another monster, ensuring that they don't get the chance to use it again. The card finally came back to Limited in the May 2022 banlist update.
  • Yata-Garasu, the card with the longest ban history in the game and one of the reasons why the Forbidden list was created in the first place. One of the few consistent draw locks in the game, if your opponent can't counter Yata immediately, they can't counter it ever. This card made decks with more than three or four monsters that required sacrifices suicide, and forced dramatic changes in tactics if you even thought your opponent's deck contained it. It's so completely insane that it is pretty much the only card ever created that can get the computer opponent to actually surrender in video game adaptations. It wasn't until the May 2022 banlist, 18 years after its initial ban, that Yata-Garasu would finally come back to Limited, having been power crept hard enough that unbanning it would change nothing about the format.
  • Time Seal, basically Yata in Trap form. After Yata-Garasu's ban, this was used as a replacement for a while in a loop with Tsukuyomi and Mask of Darkness, resulting in this card's ban until the May 2022 list, the same list that unbanned Yata-Garasu.

    GX era (2005-2007) 
  • The original Cyber Dragon is often considered to be the card that truly marked the end of the DM era. Traditional beatdown and aggro strategies considered a level 4 in the 1800-2000 range to be a strong benchmark, but Cyber Dragon, on top of being one of the first monsters that could easily Special Summon itself, boasted a statline of 2100, letting it easily overwhelm beatdown staples and even some popular Tribute monsters. What was more, it was also potential Tribute fodder, which suddenly took many Tribute monsters normally restricted to the midgame and made them possible to bring out on the first turn, enabling decks like Monarchs to finally strike out as a major threat. It was more or less immune to the banlist, due to Cyber End Dragon being a heavily pushed card in the anime, and consequently, it became remembered as one of the iconic generic cards of the era, being run in any deck that played even remotely aggressively. The 5Ds era saw it finally get Limited due to the very correct realization that Synchros would completely break it—since then, it's managed to drop back to Unlimited, as there are now countless monsters which share its niche as a strong beater with a Special Summon effect, but in many respects, it was a herald of Power Creep to come.
  • The Destiny HERO engine, which used Malicious as a Tribute and later as Synchro fodder. It had a good draw engine with Destiny Draw and Disk Commander, and comes in DARK which has awesome Graveyard support. 2 format-defining Decks used this engine to fuel their combo: the powerful Tele-DAD, and Perfect Circle, which combined Disc Commander with Monarchs and Light and Darkness Dragon to make a "circle" of plays that gives continuous advantage. By reviving Disk Commander every time LADD dies, you draw two cards, and you could use it as Tribute for Monarchs or another LADD. It ended up with Malicious getting a semi-limit (where it has remained ever since) and Destiny Draw being limited for a while.
    • But that was only one reason behind Disc Commander's banning: it was also used heavily with Premature Burial.
  • Elemental HERO Stratos, the most powerful searcher for the HERO archetype, could either search any other Hero or kill spell/traps equal to the other number of Heroes you had any time its summoned. He's a free searcher, on a powerful monster. It ended up banned in the September 2013 for how easily it could be and was abused, both in the Destiny HERO engine, Gemini Spark Alius engine, and the Bubbleman engine among others. It was unbanned on the September 17 2018 list.
  • Demise, King of Armageddon is a level 8 Ritual monster. By itself, it's an over-costed Judgement Dragon with less ATK. However, with the release of Advanced Ritual Art and other cards, it became the center of a very consistent One-Turn Kill combo. The deck was versatile; it had multiple ways to OTK or otherwise deal extremely high damage thanks to insect support and equip cards such as Megamorph. This deck was so powerful, it resulted in many of its key cards (namely ADA, Megamorph and Demise) getting hit on the limited/forbidden list including Demise becoming the first ritual monster to be hit by said list.
  • Lightsworns. Many of them have simple, strong effects, but force you to send cards from your Deck to your Graveyard. This is less of a drawback than it seems—it's much easier to revive monsters from the Graveyard than to recruit them from the Deck (some, like Wulf, Lightsworn Beast, revive themselves), and support cards like Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner and Beckoning Light can use the Graveyard as an extra Hand. The archetype's trump card, Judgment Dragon, has 3000 ATK, is Summoned when you have 4 or more different Lightsworns in the Graveyard, and can nuke everything else on the field for low cost. The Lightsworns were also easily able to splash graveyard-based support such as Necro Gardna. The deck eventually got hit by limiting Lumina, Judgment Dragon and Charge of the Light Brigade. Even then, the deck would remain a top contender for years to come thanks to additional support and other Game-Breaker cards on this list.
  • Related to LIGHT decks is Honest. Because it activates in the hand and has a specific timing that dodges most defensive cards, you are pretty much guaranteed to overpower any monster. Back when you could use more than 1, you could win any battle AND inflict massive damage no matter what monster you were using. It ended up being semi-limited and then limited for most of his history. Honest was ultimately brought back up to 2 in January 2015 and unlimited in September 2017, due to monster removal becoming increasingly prevalent and making it harder to actually use its effect.
  • One other handtrap released in the GX era was Gorz the Emissary of Darkness. No longer it was safe to mindlessly try and attack for game on an open field, unless you wanted to give your opponent two absurdly strong beaters and allow them to stage a comeback. The card also served a niche purpose against Burn decks by mimicking the damage taken back on them, though this situation was harder to encounter. Gorz was limited only 1 format after it was released, in March 2007, and would only come back in April 2015, but by then, the possibility of its presence had already left its mark on the psychology of the entire game. Veteran players still attack with ascending attack ordernote  in order to avoid Gorz, as uncommon as it may be now.
  • GX Era Monarchs. Using floatersnote  and other Game-Breaker cards on this page, the Monarch deck managed to win the World Championship 2007. Using Confiscation and Trap Dustshoot to know the opponent's hand and snipe it with Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch, while controlling the field with Raiza the Storm Monarch with Brain Control and Snatch Steal to provide more tribute fodder, the deck was too much for the rest of the meta to handle. The Monarch deck was also the most prominent user of what was known as the Troop Dupe Scoop enginenote . The deck was the final nail in the coffin for many of the Game-Breaker cards on the list (Confiscation, Ring of Destruction and Snatch Steal), while also getting Card Trooper and Raiza Limited in the September 2007 and March 2008 lists respectively.
    • After these hits and Power Creep kicking in, Monarch still remained a top contender thanks to the addition of Caius the Shadow Monarch and the Frog engine, becoming the (in)famous Frog Monarch deck. Fortunately, it was not nearly as oppresive as the 2007 version. Come January 2016, however...
  • Dark Armed Dragon was Envoy of the Beginning Part Deux. Its effect isn't restricted to a certain number of uses per turn, meaning that without any outside factors you would be able to nuke 3 cards once it got to field. DAD was the star of the many decks, and is commonly splashed into anything that has DARK monsters and Graveyard manipulation.
    • The Dark Armed Dragon deck that created the ban list discontinuity was DAD Return, the first deck to receive the honor of an emergency banlist. By removing powerful monster cards (e.g. Dark Magician of Chaos, who returns a used Spell Card to your hand when summoned) for the effect of Dark Armed Dragon and Allure of Darkness, you increase the number of monsters that will come back with Return from the Different Dimension/Dimension Fusion while speeding your approach toward drawing those cards. You then create a loop of powerful creatures by grabbing Fusion through DMOC's ability and continue until you win. Like Envoy and Yata-Lock decks before it, this strategy was infamously considered to be nearly impossible to beat unless you were playing it yourself, leading to a ton of homogeneity at tournaments and its main components being limited on the first emergency banlist. DAD finally got Semi-Limited in 2019 and Unlimited in 2020 likely because the meta-game is faster now and because targeting destruction has become increasingly weak.
  • Wall of Revealing Light seems okay at first glance. Highly risky, but could help you set up for a few turns, but its main usage wasn't this. Its cost can tank your Life Points low so you could use certain other Game Breakers with ease, such as Last Turn, Self Destruct Button and helped for the activation of powerful cards such as Megamorph. The main combo that got it limited was using it alongside Magical Explosion and Life Equalizer to OTK your opponent.
  • Gladiator Beast, an archetype with the gimmick of being able to "tag out" into others of their own after battling. The deck was the first of many to be able to toolbox their way out of any situation, thanks to monster and spell/trap destruction, graveyard banishment or simply beating up the opponent. However, it doesn't end there, as Gladiator Beast were also the first archetype to make effective use of the Extra Deck, making use of Contact Fusions and refining them. The card that pushed them into this, though, was Gladiator Beast Gyzarus. It could destroy two cards upon summon, creating immediate advantage, its stats were solid enough to follow up with a swing, it could be made with just two cards and a single Normal summon with the right hand, and after battling, it tagged back into the Extra Deck, bringing out two Beasts and triggering their effects—which, with the right setup, could result in either a Heraklinos to lock down a now-weakened opponent, or bringing back Gyzarus for an encore to destroy anything left of their field. Before Gyzarus, the deck was pretty great. After Gyzarus, the 2008 World Championship was a Gladiator Beast mirror match. The limiting of Gladiator Beast Bestiari in March 2009 (the best Gladiator Beast maindeck monster thanks to its effect and being a mandatory material for Gyzarus) along with the Power Creep that the Synchro era brought ended up bringing the deck to reasonable levels until further Power Creep buried the deck for good.
  • Super Polymerization. At first glance, it doesn't seem that powerful (despite its status as an Artifact of Doom in the anime), given that Fusion monsters are the most restrictive extra-deck mechanic... That is, until the game added in Fusion monsters with very loose restrictions, usually requiring monsters of an archetype, Type or Attributenote . Just add to your Extra Deck a few Fusion monsters that cover meta-relevant targets, and not only can you now send an opponent's monster to the graveyard, but you also get a powerful monster of your own. "Mudragon of the Swamp" in particular has very generic fusion requirements, such that you can make it with Super Polymerization using only your opponent's monsters. And there's nothing your opponent can do about it because neither player can activate cards or effects in response to Super Polymerization. This proved to be an insanely powerful topdeck or board-breaker for Fusion-based decks, so much that it was Limited in 2015 and only Unlimited in the September 17, 2018 list.
  • Pot of Avarice shuffles back 5 monsters from the graveyard into the deck and then lets you draw 2 cards. Essentially a Pot of Greed that recycles your monster engine for reuse. Its only downsides by contrast are that it's slower and can make it more difficult to draw specific cards you need to overcome a certain situation. Initially Limited in September 2005, and enjoying a run through the GX and Synchro era, thanks to the increasing summoning speed and shuffling only extra deck monsters that allowed it to basically act as Pot of Greed, it was banned in September 2013, and would only come back over 6 years later in January 2020.note 

    5D's era (2008-2010) 
  • The early series of generic Synchros quickly made a massive splash in the meta. The requirements needed to summon them (a Tuner and non-Tuner monsters, whose Levels add up to the Level of the Synchro Monster) worked insanely well with popular aggro-swarm tactics, making them staple cards in almost all decks. Key offenders included:
    • Dark Strike Fighter, once one of the most feared OTK cards in the game that got nerfed for a very good reason.
    • Goyo Guardian, a Level 6 monster with stupidly high attack and a nasty effect. In the early days of the Synchro era, it was one of the most spammed synchro monsters. It was banned, and no other level 6 synchro came to equal it for a while, Gaia Knight being the next best thing but with no effect. Goyo was later unbanned in the TCG due to Power Creep. In a funny inversion, the OCG seems to fear Goyo Guardian so much it was errata'd to require an EARTH tuner... 2 years and a half after it was unbanned in the TCG and doing absolutely nothing. (Although the TCG later errata'd it in 2017.)
    • The Ice Barrier Synchros are (in)famous because of their power. All of themnote  have hit the list in one way or another;
      • Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier). While it has a high level and requires 2 non-tuners, it's stupidly easy to bring out on dedicated decks and was one of the key pieces of the infamous Infernity loop that would get rid of your opponent's hand and field while also OTK-ing on the same turn. What's even better, Trishula's effect doesn't target, allowing the card to stay relevant 7 years and a half after its release. It was Limited, then Banned and then Limited depending on the phase of moon, but it would eventually become Limited and stay that way from July 2015 until it was made Unlimited in May 2022.
      • The Level 6 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier proved to be an incredibly powerful way to recycle your own cards while clearing the opponent's board, so much so that it had to be nerfed.
      • The also Level 6 Dewloren Tiger King of the Ice Barrier, a powerful loop machine that also had to be nerfed.
    • T.G. Hyper Librarian, a Level 5 monster that lets you draw when a Synchro Summon happens. Most players would use the newly drawn cards to make more Synchro Monsters, and draw, and so on. In a swarmy-Synchro Deck, it was not uncommon to see two or three on the field at once. Combined with other draw cards and thanks to the absurd summoning speed of Synchro decksnote  it was Limited in September 2011 and didn't leave that spot until the Link summoning mechanic was introduced. It's now back on the Limited list in April 2020, thanks to the Master Rules April 1 revision that made Synchro Summons easier.
      • Formula Synchron would normally be fair, but thanks to the existence of Librarian it also got Limited in the September 2011 banlist. It would eventually get unlimited, but for a while Librarian + Formula was one of the most effective draw engines in the entire game.
  • The Blackwings. One of the most powerful decks in the Synchro era, the deck had everything to compete; Tuners that special summoned other monsters, battle immunity, quick destruction, special summons, piercing damage... It was so powerful it won the World Championship in 2009. The deck got 3 of its most important combo pieces Limited (they would later come out of the list as power-creep left them behind): Gale the Whirlwind, a special summonable monster able to run over a lot of problematic monsters and deal more damage to the opponent, Kalut, their own version of Honest to deter the opponent's attacks and their partner in crime, Black Whirlwind that enables you to search the two monsters and others as long as you had a Blackwing with enough attack on your hand.
    • One of the most powerful interactions found in the Blackwing deck was its interaction with Royal Oppression. Vayu the Emblem of Honor can special summon a Blackwing Synchro monster with their effect negated by removing itself and one other Blackwing monster from the graveyard. The catch is, due to the way this effect works, Royal Oppression can only negate the summoning effect of Vayu but not the summoning itself, allowing a negated Vayu to simply use its effect again upon negation. This particular interaction allows a Blackwing deck to activate Royal Oppression to restrict the plays that can be made by the opponent, while still being able to summon a big monster through Vayu's effect. This interaction would become a big part of Blackwing strategy until Royal Opression was banned.
  • Deep-Sea Diva used to be one of the few Tuners that could summon another monster without restrictions or previous setup. At worst, Deep-Sea Diva was a level 3-5 synchro or a Rank 2 Xyz monster. As with Rescue Cat, Diva was not broken in the Synchro era; it was until well into the Xyz era and the release of the Atlanteans that its power shot through the roof. Diva got increasingly more powerful over the years, to the point it became a 1-card OTK or Trishula. For that reason, it was Limited in September 2013 in the TCG and once its interactions with the Atlanteans became overbearing, it was Limited in the OCG too. It finally got Unlimited in 2020, as more Tuners of its kind were released and the Atlantean deck as a whole became less resilient to handtraps and disruption effects.
  • The Tele-DAD deck, starring Dark Armed Dragon and Emergency Teleport, relies on card synergy, speed and explosive combos. This is achieved through its amazing draw power (Allure of Darkness and Destiny Draw) and hand/deck customization (Reinforcement of the Army, Plaguespreader Zombie, Emergency Teleport, Dark Grepher, and the old Destiny Heroes engine) since most of its key cards could be run in triple. The TeleDAD deck was so strong, literally NOTHING ELSE could compete. With a good TeleDAD deck, it was incredibly rare for games to last more than 3 turns. It is one of the few honorary holders of the title Tier 0, a title that was previously only held by the Chaos Deck. For a while, ONE copy of Dark Armed Dragon cost upwards of $200. Yes, $200 for cardboard. The deck was so brutally gutted by the banlist, it got no less than four of its key cards limited and the deck was still able to compete on high-level tournaments, but now without being so oppressive.
  • Plant-Synchro. Plant monsters were largely a forgotten type in the history of the game; however, thanks to additions in the late GX era and the 5d's era, the Plant synchro deck became a top contender. Using Lonefire Blossom to quickly recruit monsters from deck, Glow-Up Bulb and Spore as self-summoning tuners along with Dandylion and Debris Dragon allowed the deck to quickly bring out Synchro monsters while using plenty of graveyard based resources to control the field and defeat the opponent. Plant-synchro key components got Limited at different times to allow other decks to shine.
    • After the limiting of many of its key components, Plants would end up being used as an engine for Junk Doppel, a deck that (ab)used the Synchron tuners (Junk and Quickdraw) along with Doppelwarrior to generate synchro fodder while climbing for increasingly more powerful Synchro monsters. The deck would be the second place runner up for the World Championship in 2011.
  • The Infernity cards. They all share a drawback of not being able to activate their effects unless you don't have any cards on hand, easily achievable with discard cards such as Summoner Monk or Dark Grepher. The deck was rightfully powerful in the Synchro era, being able to loop their effects multiple times and special summon monsters from graveyard while searching key cards and synchroing powerful monsters such as Trishula or Scrap Dragon to whittle down the opponent's field and hand. The first of its limited cards was Infernity Launcher, gimping their swarming abilities and taking away their presence in the Synchro era. However, Infernity got more powerful in the Xyz era, circa 2013; now using Infernity Archfiend to search for Infernity Barrier, their own Solemn Judgment and controlling the field with Xyz monsters, floodgates such as Vanity's Emptiness and reducing the opponent's options with Infernity Break. Barrier got limited in April 2014, but even with their power cards Limited, Infernity proved powerful enough they ended up winning the World Championship 2014, and the OCG/TCG answered accordingly, limiting Archfiend and finally killing Infernity for good.
  • Six Samurai. An archetype that debuted in the GX era, Six Samurai was a somewhat mediocre beatdown deck. Then Storm of Ragnarok was released and the archetype was updated was massively overhauled with the release of the Legendary Six Samurai and Shi En cards, giving them swarming, searching and control tools, the last in the form of their very own synchro. Not only that, it breathed new life into some of their older cards such as Double-Edged Sword Technique, Six Samurai United and the infamous Gateway of the Six. Between all the draws, the swarming and the searching, Gateway could keep a steady influx of Bushido Counters to swarm and search even more, not to mention access a way to ''loop'' your own cards. And not only that, thanks to their EARTH attribute the deck had access to the powerful Naturia Synchros. Basically, if Six Samurai went first you would be screwed. The deck got hit after only one format in play, by limiting Gateway of the Six, Shien's Smoke Signal and Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En, and got further hit when Gateway proved its ability to self-loop and stack Bushido counters indefinitely by repeteadly having Mizuho destroy herself while tributing Shinai, with another copy of either monster on the field and any other source of Bushido counters. Smoke Signal and Shi En would leave the list after proving themselves not broken anymore, but despite further Power Creep, Gateway is still there
    • Gateway was able to move up to 1 in the TCG in September 2017 (possibly to coincide with the TCG release of the Secret Six Samurai in November that year), and actually never dipped any lower than Limited on the OCG list, mainly because the Cannon Soldier clones are banned. In the TCG however, all of them are unlimited and one of them, Amazoness Archer, is Warrior-type and thus easily summoned via Isolde or searched with ROTA, wich is further assisted by the new Six Samurai link monster that can not only search Gateway, but also drop additional Bushido counters, thus allowing the Mizuho-Shinai loop to work much more easily. Factoring in the existence of Saryuja and Daigusto Emeral, to ensure you can draw into Archer after thinning out the deck with Gateray as much as possible results in a reasonably consistent FTK deck that only Nibiru can reliably stop.

    ZEXAL era (2011-2013) 
  • Xyz Monsters are Summoned by combining 2 monsters of the same level (sticking them under the Xyz Monster). Cards "attached" to an Xyz Monster aren't "on the field". However, for a short time there was a ruling that monsters whose effects activated when they left the field worked anyways. This led to Tour Guide From the Underworld, a card that can recruit Sangan from the Deck for an Xyz Summon, skyrocketing in price. Players would go for a big Xyz Monster, detach Sangan for an effect, and grab all kinds of monsters at no cost.
    • Tour Guide From the Underworld in general, even without the ruling, is extremely powerful due to its ability to make Rank 3 monsters easily. The Rank 3 monsters available can return low-level banished monsters for reuse, protect themselves from destruction while punishing the opponent for trying, or just stomp on everything with 3000 ATK. Tour Guide would end up Semi-limited, then Unlimited and finally Limited in the TCG in April 2015 thanks to its interactions with Burning Abyss.
  • The Wind-Ups. They had a Special Summoning combo that takes some luck to set up, but could leave the opponent with zero cards in hand. On the first turn. If the opponent didn't have the fortune of opening up with the right hand traps such as Maxx "C" or Effect Veiler to stop this combo when going second, then they were all but guaranteed to lose afterwards. This landed Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity, one of the key cards in the loop, banned in the TCG, while the OCG went the other direction and banned the other key card, Wind-Up Hunter, instead.
  • Rescue Rabbit. It was supposed to give Normal Monsters, seldom used in competitive play, the chance to be used for quick Xyz Summons. People figured out that you could use it to grab 2 Level 4 Dinosaurs and Xyz Summon an Evolzar monster, giving you Spell, Trap and effect monster negation. As a result, Rescue Rabbit, which was designed to encourage creativity, led to a deluge of nigh-identical Dino Rabbit decks... After its Limiting in September 2013, though, it has become used for its original intent in several decktypes.
  • Inzektors, which turn the notion of costs backward by actually gaining cards when they blow stuff up. If Inzektor Hornet is equipped to an Inzektor, you can detach it to blow up a card. It's used with Inzektor Dragonfly to loop itself multiple times and search cards with Inzektor Centipede. They can also pull off absurd One-Turn Kills by shooting two cards that are equipped to Dragonfly at each other. Inzektors would go on and win the World Championship in 2012, and both Dragonfly and Hornet were Limited in the September 2012 banlist as a result.
  • Chaos Dragons. Combining Lightpulsar Dragon, Darkflare Dragon, Ecipse Wyvern and Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon along with assorted LIGHT and DARK monsters allowed the deck to quickly swarm the field and OTK or create insurmountable fields. The deck also abused Future Fusion and Dragon Ravine to dump multiple Dragon-type monsters to the graveyard and enable multiple special summons. The deck ended up landing REDMD on the Limited spot and was what ended up getting Future Fusion banned in September 2012.
  • Merlanteans (Mermail Atlanteans) were one of the first decks that warped the definition of "cost" from "negative condition needed to activate a card/effect" to "powerful synergistic effect that dodges most disruption and negation effects". The Mermails are an archetype of WATER monsters that focus on discarding and tributing WATER monsters to activate effects that special summon, search and setup extremely potent boards, in turn triggering the effects of the lower-leveled Mermails like Abyssgunde to gain even more advantage. However, what ended up pushing the deck over the top was the trio of the Atlanteans, which specifically trigger whenever they're sent to the graveyard to activate a WATER monster effect, and, more importantly, are not hard once per turn effects, allowing the deck to destroy multiple cards with Marksman and Heavy Infantry, and triggering Atlantean Dragoons with the Mermails over and over again to search important combo pieces and game-enders, giving the deck top-notch consistency. The effect of Dragoons was so powerful and important to the deck that players would use the unintended synergy of Genex Undine of all things to dump and search. As a result, Merlanteans were hit hard with the limitation of Abyss-sphere and Abyssteus in the OCG, the limitation of Abyssgunde in the TCG, and the limitation of Dragoons in both formats, with Deep Sea Diva getting limited in 2013 too.
  • The late ZEXAL era saw the creation of a control-based deck that took up the meta by storm; Hand Artifact Traptrix, or HAT. The components of the deck were largely unimpressive when played by their own; but by combining the consistency, recovery and removal provided by Traptrix Myrmeleo and Dionaea, the powerful disruption of Artifact Moralltach and Sanctum, and the destruction effects of the Fire and Ice Hands, the result was an extremely potent and versatile control deck that dominated all the events through mid-2014. It was so common and powerful that it ended up influencing the psychology of the metagame, similarly to Gorz; players would no longer blind snipe backrow with Mystical Space Typhoon lest they end up triggering a copy of Sanctum or Moralltach, and no one would longer place backrow before the battle phase to avoid giving a set Ice Hand a tasty target. The deck ended up falling by the wayside with the release of Duelist Alliance the same year and the massive powercreep it brought to the table, alongside the limitation of Moralltach in early 2015, but one member of the Artifact archetype would become extremely relevant 7 years later...
  • The Rank 4 Xyz toolbox got some of them starting from the end of the ZEXAl era. Level 4 monsters are incredibly abundant in the game and getting 2 of them into the field is piece of cake thanks to multiple special summon enablers. The Rank 4 toolbox has answers for practically everything on the entire game and it's certainly one of the key components for multiple of the Game-Breaker archetypes and decks starting from the ZEXAL era and following through the ARC-V era. Namely, it was the power of the Rank 4 toolbox what ended up pushing EmEM/PePe to a near tier zero spot. Rank 4 monsters have no less than four of their monsters banned, being the only rank that has banned monsters purely because of their power.
    • Number 16 Shock Master, the Cold Wave on legs.
    • Lavalval Chain: free graveyard setup and top-decking.
    • Number 101: Silent Honor Ark gave it easy monster removal and a stall monsters and for a while effectively deterred players from leaving special summoned monsters in Attack Position, lest they be left vulnerable to this card.
    • Abyss Dweller effectively stuns graveyard-centric decks and can help the Rank 4 user end the game on the spot.
    • Gagaga Cowboy introduced the concept of an LP safe-zone to the metagame. Being reduced to 800 LP was a death-sentence, as now you were vulnerable to Cowboy, making players more wary with their plays and Life Points.
    • Legacy of the Valiant released an Xyz version of Black Rose Dragon: Evilswarm Exciton Knight whose effect basically nukes every single card except Exciton himself, allowing him to use its effect again. Oh sure, he has a lot more downsides than Black Rose such as the inability to inflict any more damage along with the requirement to control fewer cards than your opponent, but it's incredibly easy to summon (Just overlay 2 level 4 monsters). If you successfully managed to trigger its effect, your opponent will probably be left with no other cards to recover by the next turn. It was banned in November 2015, but brought back to 1 in September 2018 and in January 2019, it was removed from the banlist altogether.
    • Daigusto Emeral is a mini Pot of Avarice on legs, enabling the player to recover their main deck and extra deck based resources and having a sweet secondary effect for decks using normal monsters. It has only gotten increasingly powerful in the later years, being one of the key pieces of the Zoodiac deck, and its involvement in FTKs with Firewall proved its demise, landing it on the forbidden list. With Firewall long having been banned, it was allowed back off to limited status in July 2019.
    • Castel allows the Rank 4 user to spin anything face-up on field, without any restriction. Castel is so powerful, that it's rumoured its existence was one of the factors that led to the sudden release of multiple targeting-immune monsters in the game, completely transforming the metagame.
    • The aforementioned Tellarknight Ptolemaus gave the Rank 4 toolbox access to universal negation and removal or quick bouncing.
    • Traptrix Rafflesia, not only immune to traps but also an effective Trap Hole of your liking on legs, being one of the few Rank 4 monsters that is not reactive and is a good choice to summon turn 1.
    • Number S39: Utopia the Lightning, a 5000-ATK beast that negates everything while attacking. It's basically the combination of Gagaga Cowboy and Number 101, as an easily-accessible and difficult-to-counter answer to nearly any monster-based problem that doubles as a powerful finisher.
    • Tornado Dragon, the equivalent of Mystical-Space Typhoon, quick-effect included.
    • Number 39: Utopia Double is Lightning on crack. By forgoing the Armades effect and including a potential brick in the deck, any rank 4 deck gets access to a 10,000 ATK beater that can OTK by itself if the opponent dares to leave anything with less than 2000 ATK in Attack Position.
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    ARC-V era (2014-2016) 
  • Drawing on your first turn. Yes, the powers that be believed that going first gave a player a severe advantage, from being able to make their plays with no repercussions, or to set up plays and make sure their opponent could not play their own. It was decided that in addition to the rule change introducing the Pendulum Mechanic, players going first would not be able to use their initial Draw Phase. In other words, the first turn of a duel, you only have 5 cards to work with, while your opponent has 6. There's still some proof that going first still has advantages, especially if the deck is designed to setup quickly, but this has nerfed them quite a bit to give the second turn player a better chance to fight back.
  • Duelist Alliance, the first set of the Pendulum era, is widely known as a game-tipping point; until then, Extra deck spamming mechanics had been largely unpunished and main deck monsters had been waning in comparison with extra deck spamming strategies for a while. It and the following set introduced three archetypes that would shape the metagame for years to come; Shadoll, Burning Abyss and "Qli-".
    • Shaddolls had a few of these; in addition to the long forbidden Construct, largely due to the state of the game at the time of their release. Shaddoll Fusion was the first Fusion Spell since Future Fusion that gave the ability to fuse from the Deck, and proved to be so powerful that subsequent Deck-Fusion Spells had severe restrictions. It didn't help that since Shaddolls have effects that trigger when sent to the Graveyard by a card effect, Shaddoll Fusion allowed players to pick and choose these effects at the right time. They also later got El Shaddoll Fusion, a Quick-Play fusion spell that helped facilitate plays during the opponent's turn and/or OTKs, so much so that it ended up being Limited. The Shaddoll also had a variety of Extra Deck monsters with all the Attributes and powerful anti-special summon effects, and were also the final nail in the coffin for Super-Polymerization, as their extra deck variety would ensure that Super-Polymerization was useful on every match and a cheap topdeck on mirror matches.
      • El Shaddoll Construct, the biggest boss of the Shaddoll archetype. In addition to being rather big (2800 ATK) it also has the effect to destroy any Special Summoned monster that it battles, which can make it a pain to get over. When it's summoned, you can send any Shaddoll card of your choice to the graveyard, something that they love, further strengthening your plays, and if it dies, it gets you back a Shaddoll Spell or Trap so you can just replace it with little effort. However, what ended up pushing Construct over the top was how it enabled the deck to splash powerful LIGHT monsters such as the Performages Damage Juggler and Trick Clown, enabling the deck to easily set up Rank 4 summons and dominate the field. Combined with the Shaddoll's ability to fuse from deck with the right conditions, it was banned in November 2015. The OCG pushed it to Limited in April '18 and Semi-Limited it in July '18, while the TCG finally unbanned it in Jan 2019.
    • Burning Abyss, an archetype composed of the Malebranche; small monsters with incredibly effective effects and the extra deck monsters, Dante, Virgil and Beatrice. All of the Malebranche monsters have effects when they hit the graveyard in any way. Mill, discard, destroy, tribute, synchro, fuse; anything that sends them to graveyard will trigger them. The extra deck monsters are more specific, but will still trigger from any form of destruction. Being level 3 DARK Fiend-types, the Malebranche have all kinds of support available to them, the most relevant being Tour Guide of the Underworld and Mathematician. Thanks to the trio of Graff, Cir and Scarm the deck has Rank 3 Xyz capabilities without equal and is able to use traps such as Phoenix Wing Wind Blast and Karma Cut to control the opponent's field while still gaining advantage. The deck got a heavy boost once the OCG released an exclusive card for them, Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal that while not a part of the archetype has extremely strong setup and floating effects. Does Beatrice remind you of anything? Of course, since her effect is a carbon copy of Lavalval Chain with the added bonus of being a quick effect. Burning Abyss remained strong throughout two years and the dominance of Shadoll, Nekroz, PePe and Monarch and went largely unpunishednote  until the November 2015 banlist limited Graff and the August 2016 banlist limited both Beatrice and Cir. As of December 2020, Graff and Cir are no longer limited, however Beatrice still remains limited and Scarm left the banlist 3 years prior to that.
    • The Next Challengers introduced the Qli archetype. They are a group of Machine-type Pendulum Monsters (aside from Apoqliphort Towers and Apoqliphort Skybase) whose Pendulums Scales are either 1 or 9 and they're all in between that level. They all get effects when they're normal summoned and can always be summoned without tributes at the cost of making their levels 4 and their ATKs 1800 (Special summoning them gets you the same thing). When they're normal summoned, they become immune to the activated monster effects of anything whose level or rank is beneath their own. What's worse is that they can get effects when they're tributed as well; Carrier returns a monster to the hand while Helix destroys a spell or trap. The higher level ones get effects when tribute summoned; Disk can bring out more Qliphorts from the deck which will go to the extra deck since they're all Pendulum Monsters, while Qliphort Stealth can bounce a card in a way that your opponent cannot respond to — which is perfect for breaking open a board when you're tributing Carrier and Helix for it. Scout, their searcher, can add any Qliphort card to your hand at the cost of 800 Life Points, but only while it is in a Pendulum Zone due to being a normal monster, while Monolith regains hand advantage at the end of each turn, again only while in a Pendulum Zone. All other Qliphort Pendulum monsters either increase the ATK of your Qliphorts or weaken your opponent's monsters.
      • People liked to tech in cards such as Skill Drain, Vanity's Emptiness, and Trap Stun. These cards shut down monster effects, special summoning, and trap cards for a turn, respectively. With those out, most outs to Qliphort are useless. In fact, Skill Drain even benefits the Qliport player as with pendulums, they can swarm the field with strong beatsticks that can OTK unprepared players in an instant. Not only can Qliphorts seal your opponent, they can steamroll them as well. The April 2015 list finally dealt with them by limiting Saqlifice, Skill Drain and Vanity's Emptiness (used the entire metagame but mostly abused by Qli) and semi-limiting - 6 months later limiting - Scout. Apoqliphort Towers was banned on the same list.
    • Apoqliphort Towers, one of the bosses of the Qli archetype, reduces the ATK and DEF of all Special Summoned monsters by 500 and, once per turn, he can force your opponent to send a monster from their field or hand to the graveyard, making it even harder to maintain advantage against a Qliphort player. What's worse, he is immune to all Spells and Traps as well as the activated effects of all monsters with a level or rank lower than his own. Being Level 10, this guy shrugs off almost everything. Some decks in the format just outright lost due to not having an out to Apoqliphort Towers. To overcome Apoqliphort Towers, you need a Level or Rank 10 or higher monster with a removal effect or a monster that retains at least 3000 ATK when it battles this guy. This got bad enough that Konami resorted to more or less killing the archetype completely by limiting Scout and straight up banning Towers. It would be brought back to one in February 2018, due to Pendulum nerfs and more easy outs to it than before, most notably the Kaijus, Utopia the Lightning, and the entire existence of Link Monsters, who do not have Levels or Ranks.
  • The Nekroz archetype proved to be a devastating addition to the game. Retraining iconic monsters from the Synchro era, the Nekroz were the first deck to make full use of the Ritual mechanic and abuse it to no end. Having extremely powerful effects, ranging from the multibanish in Trishula, the lockdown of Clausolas and Unicore and the colossal attack and snipe effect of Decisive Armor, the deck was no slouch in the power department. Thanks to Manju and Senju, along with Preparation of Rites and Brionac the deck was so incredibly consistent that it was extremely hard for it to brick, while allowing them to make their plays at leisure. The deck got around the main limitation of Ritual Summoning (lack of tributes) thanks to Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz, Nekroz Mirror and Nekroz Kaleidoscope, the later of which allowing you to send Herald of the Arc Light to graveyard and search more Ritual components. The deck even had a way to recover Ritual monsters from graveyard in the form of Nekroz Cycle and all their Ritual spells were self-recycling. And this wasn't the end of it, as all their Ritual monsters had self-discard effects that protected their monsters from targeting, destruction and battle. The combination of extremely powerful plays along with consistency that not even Dragon Rulers at their peak had and the protection, made Nekroz a tier zero deck. Add to this the infamous Djinn Releaser of Rituals lock and an entire format was spent between Nekroz players trying to make their plays and Nekroz players trying to break the opponent's boards. Having an out to the Djinn lock was a necessity in this format. The deck was later justifiably gutted with the Limiting (and later banning in the TCG) of Shurit, limiting Unicore and Preparation of Rites, the Semi-limiting and later limit of Nekroz of Brionac, and the banning of Djinn, Releaser of Rituals. No other deck had been hit as hard since the Dragon Rulers.
  • The TCG exclusive Kozmo archetype (whose cards are a combination of Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz) is a deck built around the low level non-tribute Psychic-type monsters having quick effects (meaning they can activate at most any time) to summon higher level Kozmo monsters and each has another useful effect at a life point cost and high level Machine Type monsters that would otherwise have to be tribute summoned banishing themselves upon destruction to summon lower level Kozmo monsters and having extremely useful effects, ranging from targeting protection and negation of spell, traps and monster effects on the higher level ones to all kinds of swarm and searching effects on the low level ones. With its initial release of only 5 cards, it was already a top competitor in the meta, but then it got even more support that pushed it way over the top, not helped by almost all of its low level monsters being searchable by Emergency Teleport. While each monster and card in the deck has its uses, by far the best one is the following:
    • Kozmo Dark Destroyer, a level 8 dark monster with 3000 ATK, which, combined with the Infamous Farmgirl/Emergency Teleport combo, is insultingly easy to One-turn kill the opponent by using it on your own monsters to trigger their floating effects. Combining targeting protection, monster destruction upon summon, and a floating effect made it a pain in the ass to deal with it. Both it and Emergency Teleport later ended up being Limited in the August 2016 list.
  • Cyber Dragon received Infinity in Crossed Souls, which combines effects of other Extra Deck monsters to create an absolute monstrosity; it's easy to bring out, it can absorb opponent's monsters and negate opponent's effects while also having a sizeable attack. Infinity was one of the main reasons Tellarknight Ptolemaus got banned, and from then on multiple decks have splashed LIGHT Machine-type engines (namely ones using Galaxy Soldier and/or Instant Fusion) to get Cyber Dragon Nova out and be able to access this monster.
  • Then there's Utopia the Lightning. Having 2500 attack, an one or two-time boost to 5000, immunity to any kind of trick while attacking and the ability to negate any kind of floating, he was at first a very welcome to a metagame where Qliphorts were ruling, since most players finally had an easy out to the infamous Apoqliphort Towers. However, people soon noticed how Utopia the Lightning could dispatch basically every monster in the game with very few possible answers, while also giving Rank 4 decks yet another powerful addition to their toolbox. Cries for an Utopia the Lightning ban have been endless since its TCG release.
  • For a brief while, one of the most meta defining cards of this era was Wavering Eyes, a quick play spell card, and a very powerful pendulum support card. It has been brought back in the September 2017 banlist, likely as a way to attempt to accommodate for the heavy Nerfs the mechanic has received in the Vrains era. As for its effect: It destroys all pendulum scales on the field and also gains increasingly powerful additional effects, based on the number of cards destroyed (and it's not a once per turn use either):
    • 1 or more: Inflict 500 damage to your opponent. Did the card more harm than good, since Performage Damage Juggler (also banned) could negate it. But, it was occasionally used to finish games.
    • 2 or more: You can search any Pendulum Monster from your deck. Not only is this incredibly devastating against an opponent's pendulum scale setup, but you can just as easily use this card to destroy your own. This sounds counterproductive, until you realize that not only can this set up for a Pendulum Summon and trigger cards such as Performage Plushfire (also banned) and Guiding Ariadne, but there are also pendulum cards that search other scales, like Performapal Monkeyboard and Qliphort Scout (Banned and Limited respectively), allowing for an instant pendulum summon of the monsters destroyed by Wavering Eyes.
    • 3 or more: You can banish any card on the field. At this point, not only have you destroyed at least one of the opponent's scales and gotten a search, but you also get to banish another one of their cards on the field. Oh, and this effect doesn't target either.
    • 4: You can search another copy of Wavering Eyes from your deck. So, on top of all of the above effects and destroying the opponent's Pendulum scales, you also get to search another copy of this card. And, since it's a quick play, you can set it and activate it when they try and get their Pendulum scales set up next turn, getting the 2 effect at minimum. It was extremely rare for an opponent to come back from getting blown out by this effect.
  • Decks that combine multiple engine and archetypes without specifically focusing on one aspect of them are largely known as "good stuff" decks. Prominent at the start of the game, they would largely disappear from the meta radar for a while (exceptions such as HATnote  notwithstanding) thanks to Konami focus on archetypes. Decks of this kind tend to arise from unintended interactions between cards/engines and so they tend to dominate their metagames. PePenote  would be the most powerful of them and one of the top contenders for most powerful deck in the history of the game. The deck components need to be analyzed separately to understand why it was so powerful.
    • Performapals. A Tier-Induced Scrappy for many months after its introduction, the Performapals lacked the makings of a good deck, relying on battle shenanigans as their main gimmick. Cue the release of the Master of Pendulum structure deck and Skullcrobat Joker, a Stratos for the Odd-Eyes, Magician and Performapal archetypes. 2 months later, Breakers of Shadow was released, bringing Monkeyboard, the Performapal very own Scout and Pendulum Sorcerer, a Spellcaster whose effect allowed to destroy and search for more Performapals. They also had access to a small draw engine in Lizardraw and Guitartle.
    • Performages. Released in Clash of Rebellions, the Spellcasters had already been somewhat successful by mixing with other archetypes (namely Shaddolls and Heroic Challenger) and abusing the effects of Damage Juggler and Trick Clown to search and swarm the field. Trick Clown effect allowing for effective Rank 4 fodder was the main claim to fame for the Performages before Dimension of Chaos. This booster brought the Pendulum monsters, Mirror Conductor and Plushfire. Plushfire effect was extremely broken, since being destroyed in the Pendulum scales triggered its monster effect, recruiting any Performage from deck.
    • Dracoslayer. Luster Pendulum ability to search for any Pendulum monster while also destroying them was without equal. Also part of the Dracoslayer archetype, Ignister Prominence had two powerful effects; to recruit any Dracoslayer from deck and also destroy any Pendulum card on the field to shuffle any other card on the field. This effect doesn't target either. Finally, Draco Face-Off allowed you to place any Dracoslayer on field or the Extra Deck on demand by just splashing a few copies of the Dracoverlords.
    • What largely follows is an obvious conclusion; by using the Performapals and Dracoslayers to search and destroy your Pendulum monsters, you would be able to trigger the effect of Performage Plushfire, recruiting Trick Clown and Juggler from deck while abusing their floating effects to spam multiple Xyz monsters in the same turn. Thanks to the Performapals and the Dracoslayers the deck had insane consistency, and the extra deck monsters Ignister, Trapeze Magician and the entirety of the Rank 4 toolbox (specially Tellarknight Ptolemaus, see the Banned and Nerfed Cards page) ensured the deck was no slouch in the power department either. The deck also abused Wavering Eyes to have another way to trigger their Pendulum effects while also searching for Monkeyboard or Joker to complete their scales. The deck was so powerful it dominated the OCG for an entire format and the entire playerbase was wary of what would follow once they were released in the TCG...
    • Konami answer? PePe would be the reason for the second emergency banlist in the history of Yu-Gi-Oh!, 9 years after DAD Return was the culprit for the first. In February 2016, Konami would release a tournament focused list that banned Performage Damage Juggler, Performage Plushfire and Tellarknight Ptolemaus while also Limiting Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer, Performapal Monkeyboardnote  and Performapal Skullcrobat Joker. The real April 2016 banlist would follow these hits and also ban Wavering Eyes and Limit Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer and Draco Face-Off for good measure. What remained of PePe would mix with Odd-Eyes and Magicians and would stay a prominent meta threat until Power Creep caught up to it. The dying remains of PePe would go on and give Kozmo, Monarch and Burning Abyss a run for their money until Autumn 2016. It took until the early 2020s for some of these hits to soften, as Pendulum decks were largely neutered, their combos became too fragile and powerful turn 1 boards became standard for most combo decks.
    • Here is a list of PePe most prominent combos and an analysis. As you can see, at its peak the deck was so crazy it was able to go plus 10 out of 3 cards on hand and create an extremely formidable field that with enough luck would leave your opponent unable to entirely play the game.
  • The Monarchs had already been a Game-Breaker in the GX era, but the rampant Power Creep left them behind for many years. Come January 2016 and Monarch receive a new wave of powerful support in the structure deck, Emperor of Darkness. Not only did the deck get two new powerful tribute monsters that gave the deck access to non-targeting removal and swarming, they also got Pantheism of the True Monarchs, the practical equivalent to a Pot of Greed, Domain of the True Monarchs to prevent access to the Extra Deck, make their monsters into powerful beatsticks and ease the summoning of their high level monsters and The Prime Monarch to recycle spent spell and traps while also being a recurrent tribute fodder while in graveyard. They also got the Squires, Edea and Eidos to facilitate the summon of their tribute monsters even more and recycle their spent resources. This allowed the Monarchs to effectively use previously released support; March to make them extra resilient, Tenacity and Return to search for spell/traps and monsters respectively and finally, The Monarchs Stormforth as non-targeting removal that used the opponent's monster as tribute fodder. The deck was one of the few able to compete with full power PePe. That should talk volumes about its power. The August 2016 banlist hit many of its key components, Limiting Ehther, Pantheism and Stormforth.
  • Remember Frogs? Well, they got Toadally Awesome. It's made with 2 Level 2 Aqua monsters, but that point is irrelevant because you won't be summoning it that way. In fact, its first effect that's the only one dependent on Xyz Material is the lest potent effect. Its other two effects are what make it so powerful — You get to send any Aqua monster from your field or hand, including itself, to the Graveyard to negate and steal an opponent's Spell/Trap Card, and when it's sent to the Graveyard, even by its own effect, you get to return a WATER monster (again, including itself) from the Graveyard to the hand. These two effects, neither of which are a hard once-per-turn, let it be completely self-sustaining without need for any Xyz Material, and the most convenient way to summon it is through the more accessible Bahamut Shark. If your Deck had any way to get two Level 4 WATER monsters on the field with ease, then it's almost a no-brainer to include Bahamut Shark and Toadally Awesome in your Extra Deck. This included using Instant Fusion for Norden, who was valid Bahamut Shark Material. The Shark-Toad combo got throttled by introduction of Link Monsters, but with the Master Rules April 1st revision Toadally entered the Limited List.
  • A lot of the cards in the metagame are powerful because they are "unaffected by card effects", and others can negate almost anything. Cards that tribute them as part of a Summon Mechanic, however, are not considered "card effects". This means that cards that tribute monsters from your opponent's side of the field to summon themselves there are extremely potent counters to the likes of "Ultimate Falcon", "Kozmo" starships, "Cyber Dragon Infinity" and "Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon". The problem? Lava Golem, Volcanic Queen and Santa Claws are not exactly searchable; and while they are strong, they use the normal summon or allow your opponent to plus. Meet the Kaiju. The spell Interrupted Kaiju Slumber destroys all monsters on the field, then summons a Kaiju to each side, basically being a souped up Dark Hole. And that's not all. Slumber has a graveyard effect that allows you to search for any Kaiju monster the turn after it's used. As such, Interrupted Kaiju Slumber is Limited in the OCG lists and Semi-Limited in the TCG lists as of April 2017.
    • TCG later limited it, but it became Unlimited as of January 2019 after handtraps started gaining popularity for disruption in place of Kaiju.
  • Zoodiacs. Their main claim to fame is the fact they can Xyz Summon using a single monster, a mechanic that was already game-breaking enough in the ZEXAL and ARC-V anime, to the point that every single card that had this effect was changed when coming to the card game. Not only offer up to seven free Xyz Summons per turn, but also are EARTH Beast-Warriors, giving them some of the best support in the game such as M-X-Saber Invoker and Fire Formations — but that's not the worst part. What makes them truly gamebreaking is Zoodiac Ratpier. Her first effect allows access to an easy themed Pot of Avarice, allowing for neverending combos even if your opponent clears the field. Her second effect makes any Xyz Monster that he's attached to able to detach a Xyz Material to summon another Ratpier from the deck, and the "once per turn" in the card is not a "hard once per turn", what means that multiple monsters can use this effect multiple times. Combine this with one of their Xyz monsters grabbing materials from the grave and another having a destruction effect that works in either player's turn, and you get a ridiculous engine that can spam Extra Deck monsters and build up a solid field FROM A SINGLE CARD. At its peak, the Zoodiac engine (Ratpier, Barrage and the extra deck Zoodiac), featured in so many Decks that all decks gave a try to splash it as any deck would largely benefit from it. The Deck as a whole, meanwhile, proved so game-breaking that the Zoodiac engine got hit hard in both the OCG and TCG lists: Drident, Broadbull and Barrage are banned, and Ratpier is Limited.
  • Although released during the GX era, Instant Fusion has become one of the most controversial cards ever. Its ability to special summon Fusion monster bypassing the materials requirements is without equal in the entire game. Here are some infamous combos involving this card:
    • For starters, see the "Thousand-Eyes Restrict" in the "Duel Monsters" folder and "Elder Entity Norden" in the Banned and Nerfed Cards page.
    • Independent Nightingale can be summoned with this card. While it's considerably less powerful if it isn't Fusion Summoned, it can be used with The Tyrant Neptune to summon a monster with 6000 ATK—insurmountable even with Utopia the Lightning—immunity to card effects bar a special few, and 5000 burn damage every turn. It bears mentioning again because of how stupidly good the combo was. Neptune is also searchable with King of the Feral Imps, an incredibly generic Rank 4 monster. Because of this, The Tyrant Neptune is now banned in the OCG and TCG lists as of April 2017.
    • If you thought this was not enough, Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom can copy its effects even if its in the Graveyard, and if you have two copies on the field, this can accomplish an FTK. And you just need 2 DARK Pendulum monsters to summon it (you don't even need Polymerization). Starving Venom was subsequently banned in May 2018, and Instant Fusion was finally Limited in April 2020.
  • True Draco as a whole obtained very powerful tools in their basic starting group of cards; Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter lets you fetch a True Draco Continuous Trap, and his opposite number - Ignis Heat, the True Dracowarrior does the same for the continuous spells, once per turn whenever your opponent activates ANYTHING. The sheer number of cards Dragonic Diagram works with is frankly astonishing, and the deck could synthesize with the likes of Zoodiacs to form heinously powerful boards. Dinomight Knight and Ignis Heat were Banned and Limited, respectively, in the September 2017 TCG banlist, but the deck is still incredibly viable: A popular deck is True Draco Demise, setting up huge backrow alignments and drawing massive numbers of cards.
  • Pendulum Magician, one of the most powerful Pendulum decks this side of [PePe]. Despite the hits to Pendulum strategies in the Link era, the release of multiple combo pieces helped the mechanic come back to prominence. Late 2017 saw the release of the Pendulum Evolution Structure Deck, which included some of the most powerful Pendulum support cards ever released, between them Double Iris Magician — which provided excellent consistency to the deck by searching the powerful Pendulumgraph cards, which in turn searched for more Magician Pendulum monsters —, and Astrograph Sorcerer, a powerful extension, recovery and search tool. However, in early 2018 all of this came to a head with the release of Heavymetalfoes Electrumite, a link combo tool that synergized a bit too well with the Pendulum Magician playstyle, by placing Astrograph Sorcerer in the Extra Deck, where it could be recovered by Electrumite itself and then special summon itself, recover the card blown-up by Electrumite and draw 1 in the process - searching a Pendulumgraph card if it was Iris that was blown-up. And most baffling of all? All of this could be repeated multiple times per turn, because Electrumite, Double Iris and Astrograph lack any [OPT] clause in their relevant effects, allowing you to amass massive advantage, place multiple bodies on field and then summon powerful Extra Deck monsters like Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon, Norito, the Moral Leader and Evilswarm Nightmare. As such, the deck was hit extremely hard - Double Iris was Forbidden as early as February 2018 in the TCG, with Performapal SkullCrobat Joker (already guilty of aiding [PePe] on its heyday) being banned too. This was followed by the ban of Astrograph Sorcerer in TCG in May 2018, and the Limitation of Electrumite in September of the same year. Electrumite would be later be banned in January 2020 TCG for interactions with the Endymion archetype, with the restrictions on Pendulum Magician later easing up, as Pendulum strategies became largely fragile and more inconsistent, with powerful turn 1 boards becoming the standard for combo decks rather than the exception.
  • The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch is a Quick-Play spell that can Rank-up 1 DARK Xyz monster with no material to Xyz Summon another DARK Xyz monster that is 1 Rank higher, while adding itself as Xyz material. When it came out in 2016, it was just a small niche tech. Then came The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche and Raidraptor Wise Strix which could consistently search this card, leading to more combos and resulting in the card being banned on the April 2019 List in the TCG, though it was unbanned in January 2020 once Azathot was banned. Here are some of the deadly horrors that Rank-Up Magic Launch could bring out:
    • D/D/D Duo-Dawn King Kali Yuga. After this card is Xyz Summoned, for the rest of this turn, other cards and their effects cannot be activated on the field, and other cards' effects on the field are negated, eventually locking down your opponents plays. Also, you can detach 1 Xyz material to destroy all Spell/Traps on the field. Oh, and it's not hard to summon either: Odd-Eyes Absolute Dragon's GY effect can get out Odd Eyes Rebellion Dragon then use Rusty Bardiche's effect to set Phantom Knights Rank-Up-Magic-Launch to turbo out this card. Also, during the End phase, you get to nuke all Spells and Traps on the field, so your opponent can't even Set cards during their own turn.
    • Also see Outer Entity Azathot in the Banned and Nerfed Cards page.
  • True King Lithosagym, the Disaster allows you to, provided you destroy 2 Earth monsters for its summon, look at your opponent's Extra Deck, and banish 3 cards from it. Not only could this cripple a deck reliant on certain Extra Deck monsters, it could easily be summoned in an Earth-Centric Deck, forcing players to build decks around it. Most notoriously, it was used in combination with dinosaurs by destroying two certain dinosaurs that would float into other dinos, almost always level 4 ones, use them to further set up plays, and then use them to Xyz summon Evolzar monsters, which were last relevant in Dino-Rabbit format for their powerful stun effects, on top of the fact that since you get Lithosagym’s effect in the process, it becomes that much harder to answer them. Lithosagym was banned in 2017, and only came back to one in January 2020.
  • For being such an unassuming card Fairy Tail - Snow has been an annoyance for many players since its release. Upon being Normal or Special Summoned, it can flip a monster the opponent controls into face-down Defense Position, an easy way of stopping plays dead that gets around destruction protection. It is also able to Special Summon itself from the Graveyard on either player's turn by banishing seven cards from either the hand, field, or Graveyard. The most baffling thing is that, despite being printed in 2016, neither effect is once per turn. This led to the card being used as cheap play interruptions and free materials for Xyz or Link plays in everything from Lightsworn and 60 card mill decks to Danger! and Thunder Dragons, the latter of whom actually benefited from the banishing cost, until it was banned in January 2019. She would later be limited in the February 2022 banlist when Thunder Dragons fell off the map, but even then Monster Gate became limited as a precaution.
  • Lunalight Tiger is one of the most-effective summon spam tools born in the ARC-V era. A Pendulum monster with the effect to revive Lunalight monsters when used as a scale, the key factor behind its potency is a lack of OPT restriction whatsoever; meaning, that much like the maligned Premature Burial, returning it to hand allows you to use it multiple times per turn. This became incredibly trivial once Lunalight Yellow Marten was released, as an archetypical self-bounce that could be combo'ed with Lunalight Kaleido Chick to be placed in GY. Add a few enablers like Raidraptor - Wise Strix, and Force Strix, the abundance of DARK Winged Beast extenders (such as Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite, which also synergizes with Tiger), and you have a very consistent DARK Xyz spam deck that could lock the opponent out of the game with Outer Entity Azathot (see Banned folder) - ironically, the Lunalight Fusion monsters were never used in such decks. As such, Tiger was banned in the September 2020 TCG list, and was only released once the most opressive endboards it could make were already hit, in February 2022.
  • Set Rotation sets 2 Field Spells with different names from your Deck on the field (1 on your field, and 1 on your opponent's field). It's basically an upgraded Terraforming for decks that can meet the requirements: it can't be stopped by Ash Blossom since it dodges all of her conditions, it's a Quick-Play so it can be played as a response, and most importantly, it can serve as Field Spell removal and lock by replacing their Field Spell with a Set one from your deck, most of the time being combo'd with Oracle of the Zefra or Gateway to Chaos which have mandatory searcher effects upon activation, thus making it illegal for an opponent to activate the cards if they don't have a target to add in their deck, permanently locking down their field zone. It is Limited both in the OCG and TCG lists, greatly limiting its splashability and lockdown potential.

    VRAINS era (2017-2019) 
  • SPYRAL: A TCG-exclusive deck that debuted near the end of the ARC-V era (visually themed after James Bond and Metal Gear), the deck revolved around its ace monster and was focused on knowing what was on top of your opponent's deck to maintain advantage. Due to consistency issues as well as the deck's strategy being shut down just by your opponent searching a card from their deck, it looked as though SPYRAL would disappear along with the ARC-V era. That all changed, however, at the start of the VRAINS era which introduced a shiny new Link Monster for the deck. Double Helix is treated as Super Agent when it's on the field or in the graveyard, and single-handedly alleviates many of the deck's weaknesses. The deck subsequently shot up to Tier Zero status, just after the much-hated Zoodiacs had been curbed. Thus resulted in emergency action being taken with the November 2017 TCG banlist, which Limited Quik-Fix, and GEAR Drone. The February 2018 banlist dealt another blow to the deck by limiting the archetype's field spell, SPYRAL Resort.
    • Resort, for the uninitaited, provided a search once per turn (and not a true once per turn) alongside targeting protection for all your SPYRAL cards except Resort. SPYRAL Master Plan could search it when sent from the Field to the Graveyard (such as by Link Summon), and it could also be searched by generic cards like Terraforming. You did have to shuffle a monster from your Graveyard into your Deck during your End Phase to keep it afloat, but this was rarely a problem for the deck, and even served as a way to recur cards like the aforementioned Master Plan.
    • Quik-Fix can search a SPYRAL GEAR if Normal or Special Summoned. It can also Special Summon itself from your GY by discarding a card while controlling a Super Agent, although it banishes itself when it leaves the field if summoned this way. Keep in mind that none of its effect has the "only once per turn" restriction so you can abuse its effect for more GEARs in the same turn. Oh, did we mention that Quik-Fix is a Machine-Type with only 500 ATK where it can be abused with Machine Duplication and abuse its search effect even further? Because of that, it is now Limited as of the November 2017 TCG banlist.
    • SPYRAL GEAR - Drone can mess up your opponent's top 3 cards on their deck if it is Normal or Special Summoned. This is particular useful when combo'd with Super Agent or the Double Helix, or to secure a victory to rob your opponent's chance to top deck a card to turn the tables. Also, it can boost the ATK a SPYRAL monster you control based on the number of cards your opponent controls, during either player's turn and retains the ATK boost as long as it remains face-up on the field. Not to mention it can banish itself and 1 other SPYRAL card from the GY to recycle a Super Agent from the GY. Keep in mind that none of its effect has the "only once per turn" restriction so you can abuse its effect for a massive ATK boost. Oh, did we mention that GEAR Drone is a Machine-Type with only 100 ATK where it can be abused with Machine Duplication and abuse its effect even further? It is now Limited as of the November 2017 TCG banlist because of that.
    • SPYRAL Sleeper can destroy up to 2 opponent's cards at a cost of a SPYRAL card (including itself) once during either player's turn. Sounds powerful right? However, it is a Nomi monster that must be SS'd by banishing 3 SPYRAL cards from your Graveyard and will clear your field if it is destroyed and sent to the GY, although you will get a Super Agent in return. This card sounds balanced until we have SPYRAL GEAR - Last Resort (searchable with the Quik-Fix), which renders a SPYRAL monster indestructible and immune to targeting effects by your opponent. It can also allow the equipped monster to attack directly by sending 1 other card you control to the GY. More importantly, it means that you can now use Sleeper's effect to target itself for destruction, which Last Resort will then protect it from. With the Sleeper-Last Resort combo, you will get a Nigh-Invulnerable monster that can slowly eat away your opponent's field while you have nothing to lose!
  • Salamangreat Miragestallio is one of the most powerful combo pieces in the Salamangreat deck. Easily summoned using cards like Gazelle and Spinny, it serves as both a toolbox and non-destruction removal card. Because of these advantages, Miragestallio was banned in the January 2020 TCG List, and would only come off in 2021 when the deck became a shell of itself.
  • Sky Striker quickly established itself as a major contender for top deck. The archetype focuses on controlling your opponent through the use of their single Main Deck monster, Sky Striker Ace - Raye, and her veritable armory of Spell and Link Monster Cards. Each Spell Card runs the gamut of control effects, from simple destruction to effect negation, Graveyard banishing and even stealing the opponent's Monsters, with additional effects added on if the player has three or more Spells in the Graveyard. While the Spells do have the caveat of not being able to control any Main Zone Monsters, both Sky Striker Mecha Module - Multirole and Sky Striker Airspace - Area Zero can send any card on your field to the GY each turn while also letting the deck search/recur even more Spells. A pure Sky Striker deck can beat out most others through sheer attrition, constantly dismantling boards, poking with Kagari or Shizuku, and then re-arming for the next turn while the opponent's resources slowly dry up. In particular:
    • The deck's first two boss monsters, Sky Striker Ace - Kagari and Sky Striker Ace - Shizuku allow the deck to recur Spells from the Graveyard or search more Spells from the Deck, respectively, while also either powering itself up or powering down the opponent's monsters based on the number of Spells in their Graveyard. Kagari was thus limited to 1 in the April 1 2019 OCG List, with the TCG following suit in the April 23 2019 List.
    • Sky Striker Mecha - Hornet Drones creates a Sky Striker Token when played. In-archetype, this allows the card to be used as additional copies of Raye for bringing out Kagari or Shizuku. However, since this is a generic token, the card is essentially a free Link 2 Monster for any deck when used with Kagari. This has led to many top tier decks splashing both it and Engage! into them for easy Link fodder. This card was limited to 1 in the September 17 2018 lists for these reasons.
    • Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage! was essentially a Stratos for the Sky Striker archetype, but for the low cost of having 3 spells in your graveyard, it effectively became a Pot of Greed as long as you splashed Sky Striker spells in your deck, which many, many decks did. On top of that, it could be used multiple times per turn, and could fairly easily be brought back from the graveyard with Kagari and Hornet Drones. The TCG banned it in January 2020. However, it was evenually allowed to come back Limited in July 2021.
  • Extra Linking. On paper, it seems like a case of Awesome, but Impractical since it requires at least 4 Link Monsters to perform. In practice, though, there are multiple decks able to pull it off on the first turn by abusing various Special Summoning loops. Properly done, you can amass a massive board while completely robbing your opponent of the ability to Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum, or Link Summon. Konami has made a habit of banning floodgates that take away the opponent's ability to play the game, but now they've built a way of doing it into one of the game's core mechanics. Add in the fact that most of these boards will be protected by cards like Tri-Gate Wizard, the Knightmare archetype, and the previously-mentioned Firewall Dragon, as well as whatever backrow cards they may have, and getting Extra Linked can effectively be an immediate loss. After the Master Rule April 1st 2020 Revision however, Extra Linking only locked your opponent out of Link Summoning or Pendulum Summoning from the Extra Deck, robbing it of a significant portion of its power.
  • Knightmares really deserve to be highlighted on their own as they seem to have been purposely designed to set up Extra Links. Having Knightmare Corruptor Iblee to lock down your opponent's Special Summons , Orcust Knightmare to gain access to the Orcust engine as well as nearly all their Link Monsters being incredibly generic (only requiring 2+ monsters with different names), makes them highly splashable as long as you can afford the Extra Deck space. Each Knightmare Link Monster has an effect that activates upon Link Summon by discarding a card, allowing for easy Graveyard setup, as well as allowing you to draw another card if the monster was co-linked when summoned. Of particular note is Knightmare Goblin, who grants you an additional Normal Summon that turn. To cap it off, each Knightmare Link Monster provides additional protection to your co-linked Monsters:
    • Knightmare Mermaid- Monsters lose 1000 ATK/DEF unless co-linked. This card got banned both in the TCG and OCG because of interactions with Orcusts.
    • Knightmare Phoenix- Co-linked Monsters cannot be destroyed by battle
    • Knightmare Goblin- Co-linked Monsters cannot be targeted by card effects. This card also got banned due to this effect in addition to giving the player an extra Normal Summon.
    • Knightmare Cerberus- Co-linked Monsters cannot be destroyed by card effects
    • Knightmare Gryphon- Special Summoned Monsters have their effects negated unless linked.
    • Basically, if your opponent completes this Extra Link, the only real out is a card like Sphere Mode Ra to destroy multiple forms of their protection at once. To put it in perspective, this lock is is so powerful that Goukis went from being weak to Tier 1 almost overnight since their swarming potential and resource recurssion makes performing it almost trivial. The September 17 2018 list broke the Knightmare formation by banning Goblin, with the extra normal summon being the strongest effect for the Knightmares.
  • The trio of Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights, Crystron Halqifibrax, and Summon Sorceress (banned in the April 2019 list) have been the target of much anger from competitive players, and all for largely the same reason: Each of them allows its controller to Special Summon another monster from the Deck for little to no cost. As has been demonstrated above, swarming tactics have become highly abused with the advent of Links, and these three do not help.
    • Halqifibrax Special Summons a Level 3 or lower Tuner to a zone it points to. Many of the most common hand traps in the game happen to fall under this category, giving decks that run them even more value. Other common targets include Tuners that can Special Summon themselves from the Graveyard, such as Spore, Glow-Up Bulb, and Jet Synchron. This effectively makes Halqifibrax a free Link 4 unless it gets interrupted. It's rather telling that the three best targets for its effect (one of which being the aforementioned Glow-Up Bulb) were all banned in one fell swoop the month after its release in the TCG. The fact that it took until nearly the end of the VRAINS era (March 2020) for this card to be imported to the TCG should tell you just how good of a combo starter it is. The strength of the plays Halqifibrax enabled eventually led to both Jet Synchron and Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion getting banned in the September 2020 TCG list, with the restriction on Jet Synchron only being lifted in May 2022, once Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon (see Banned folder), Halq's main parter in crime and combo enabler was banned.
    • Isolde searches a Warrior to the hand upon being Link Summoned, with the caveat of being unable to summon or use the effects of any more monsters with that name. Her real power comes in being able to send Equip Spells to the GY to Special Summon a Warrior whose Level is equal to the number of Equip Spells sent. Note that this can be any Warrior, not specifically a Noble Knight; Goukis are Warrior-type, have a Level 1 monster with Octostretch, and love to recur Phoenix Blade as discard fodder for Knightmares. The match practically made itself. As a bonus bit of irony, many players consider Isolde to be sub-optimal in Noble Knights, the very archetype she is a part of and meant to support. As a result, Phoenix Blade is now banned in the 2019 OCG lists.
  • Borrelsword Dragon is a powerhouse of a card, able to put out enough damage in a single turn to effectively be a win condition in any deck that can summon itnote . While it's battle protection isn't as potent as that of its brothers' destruction or targeting immunity, its offensive power more than makes up for it. Once per turn, it can switch a monster on the field to Defense Position to gain a second attack, and unlike most multi-attacking cards, the second attack isn't restricted to attacking a monster. In addition, once per turn it can cut the ATK of a monster it battles in half, then add that power to its own ATK. This allows Borrelsword to put out well over 6000 damage just by itself. And if your opponent took any other damage or paid the cost of a card like Soul Charge? They're pretty much guaranteed to be dead.
  • The TCG-exclusive Danger! archetype continues the VRAINS tradition of archetypes with excessive amounts of summon spamming and recursion, and is probably the worst abuser of this yet. Each of the cryptids has an effect to reveal them in your hand, have the opponent discard a random card from your hand, and if the card they picked wasn't the same name, you can Special Summon the monster you revealed and draw a card to replace it. And don't worry if they hit the one you showed them, as each Danger! monster also has an effect when discarded. Bigfoot! and Thunderbird! can destroy cards, Chupacabra! and Jackalope? can Special Summon a different Danger! monster from the GY or Deck, respectively, Nessie! can add a different Danger! card to your hand from the Deck, and Tsuchinoko? Special Summons itself regardless of whether it was picked or not. The discarding part of their effects is also not a cost, allowing them to splash in Dark World monsters such as Broww, Snoww, and Grapha for even more draw power and advantage. And to top it all off, the entire Danger! archetype is DARK Attribute, allowing them to abuse cards such as Allure of Darkness and Armageddon Knight. One of the scariest things about the deck is how versatile & consistent it is. It can perform Extra Links with Firewall Dragon and Number 42: Galaxy Tomahawk, FTKs with Cannon Soldier (made even harder to stop thanks to Outer Entity Azathot stopping hand traps), or just beat over the opponent with the massive bodies it puts on the board. At the time of writing, Danger! has dominated the top cuts of two consecutive YCS events, completely bowling over both established decks like Gouki and Sky Striker as well as the then new Thunder Dragons despite their comparatively minuscule representation. The FTK variant proved enough of a problem to warrant what was effectively an emergency banlist, finally sending the infamous Firewall Dragon to the banned list and getting two other key cards Limited and Semi-Limited respectively. The January 2019 banlist took even more shots at the deck by banning Galaxy Tomahawk, Gumblar Dragon, and Soul Charge, as well as limiting Dark Grepher.
  • Magical Mid-Breaker Field is a field spell with an incredibly powerful protection effect, preventing either player from being able to target or destroy opposing monsters during Main Phase 1. Since Main Phase 1 is when players will do all of their summoning/setup plays before entering the Battle Phase to finish off their opponent, Mid-Breaker Field prevents any kind of counterplay from hand-traps or trap cards, and ensures that OTK/FTK plays go off without a hitch. For these reasons the card was Limited to 1 in the January 28 2019 TCG Lists.
  • Saryuja Skull Dread, one of the earliest Link monsters, also has some of the most utility of any of them. It has great Link Arrows for making Extra Deck plays, and several effects based on the number of monsters used to summon it. For two monsters, it gives any monster Summoned to a zone it points to an additional 300 ATK & DEF; with three materials, it allows you to Special Summon a monster from your hand once per turn; and for four monsters it allows you to draw four cards and then return three to the bottom of your Deck in any order when it's successfully Link Summoned. Take note that none of the effects are 'hard' once-per-turn effects, meaning that if you can summon multiple Saryujas in a turn, you can get up to three free Special Summons and draw an insane 12 cards. Not even the high summoning cost is a deterrent for most players, as several decks and engines can make Saryuja from a single card. With the amount of draw power, deck fixing, and field swarming it provided, Saryuja naturally found its way into many different Extra Link and FTK decks as an invaluable play extender. The OCG lists have it Limited as of October 2019.
  • The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche is a Link-3 monster that allowed you to send a Phantom Knights monster from your deck to the graveyard to set a Phantom Knights Spell/Trap directly from your deck and destroy a monster your opponent controls if a DARK Xyz monster is summoned to a monster zone it points to. While he originally saw competitive play as a way to set The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch directly from the deck and would lead to that card's ban (see the ARC-V folder for more details), it could also be used to set/search at least 2 Fog Blades from the deck in one turn. Because of its generic requirements (2+ DARK Monsters), any deck that could afford to make it had two potential monster effect negations as a minimum, giving rise to the "Orcust engine" (in part also thanks to Knightmare Mermaid and Orcust Knightmare) which gave any standard combo deck the access to Bardiche's power and hardly interrupting their usual strategy. It was banned on the TCG July 2019 list, with the OCG going the other way and banning Knightmare Mermaid on their July 2019 list. It would come off the ban list almost a year after the banning of Orcust Harp Horror and Knightmare Mermaid, making the Link-3 monster less splashable.
  • Mystic Mine, another Field Spell with an extremely potent floodgate effect, prevented the player who's controlling more monsters than their opponent from attacking or activating any monster effects. The card doesn't specify monsters that they control, which means not only monsters on the field that are sealed, you cannot activate monster effects from places like hand and Graveyard too. It made sense on paper since most decks are so monster-dependent that Mystic Mine would actively hurt anyone in a leading position, and the Field itself would self-destruct once both players reached the same monster count. But decks that are often seen not running any monsters (like Chain Burn) would use Metaverse to activate the Field Spell the moment the opponent played a monster. It was also an excellent board-breaking card for decks that already played field spells and were able to take care of an entire board with a single monster, such as Sky Striker or Dinosaur. It is currently banned in the OCG list.
  • Nibiru, the Primal Being quickly earned itself a reputation for being one of the most devastating hand traps ever printed. Being dubbed "Kaiju on crack" by many players, it can be Special Summoned from your hand during either player's Main Phase by Tributing all face-up monsters on the field, if your opponent has Normal or Special Summoned 5 or more monsters that turn. It then Special Summons a Token to the opponent's field whose ATK/DEF become the Tributed monsters' combined ATK/DEF, ready to be Tributed for a Kaiju or intercepted by Token Collector. Nibiru severely punishes mass Summon Decks from Orcust to Danger! to Thunder Dragon to everything in between. It also has 3000 ATK, and with the release of Gallant Granite, is now searchable.
  • Gem-Knights initially weren't treated too kindly by the Link format due to their Fusion based playstyle... until they got themselves the shiny new Link Monster Gem-Knight Phantom Quartz, which not only gave them an amazing play starter and extender but also turned them into an FTK machine. The main culprit for this was Gem-Knight Lady Lapis Lazuli, who could once per turn ditch a Gem-Knight from your deck to burn the opponent for 500 damage for each Special Summoned monster on the field; combined with Gem-Knight Master Diamond to copy the effect from the Graveyard, it was entirely possible to set up a wide board and blow your opponent up on turn 1, resulting in Master Diamond being Limited to make the FTK harder to perform.

    SEVENS era (2020-2022) 
  • Accesscode Talker, Yusaku's final ace monster from the VRAINS anime, is one of the most powerful generic Links in the game. It is a powerful beatstick that can continuously banish Link monsters from your graveyard to destroy your opponent's field and ignores targeting immunity. And the kicker? Your opponent can't respond to any of its effects, greatly limiting the window of possible answers against it. Think of Dark Armed Dragon, but on crack. It's easily one of, if not the best game closer card, as most decks that can competently run multiple Links can quickly turbo it out, it is nearly impossible to negate without a negation effect already in play, and can easily beat over most monsters that don't have big ATK modification effects if it can't remove them. There's a very good reason why it's one of the few Extra Deck monsters that consistently goes for high selling prices even after reprints.
  • As mentioned in the Banned Floodgates subsection on the Banned and Nerfed Cards page, Don Thousand's Numeron cards became a Purposely Overpowered Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL turbo engine. With the release of Numeron Wall, Numeron Network and the spell Numeron Calling, you can consistently summon Utopic ZEXAL the proper way with just 1 card by summoning four Numbers via Numeron Calling. This deck also has Memories of Hope to draw a whopping 4 cards. Without Utopic ZEXAL, the deck is still designed as an OTK machine that can catch players without any interruption off-guard, and all they need is their Field Spell.
  • Dragons have always been considered a strong type, but support they got with Toon Chaos managed to push them to new heights. By this, we mean it was possible to make an FTK deck with Dragons that had a 90%+ win rate, assuming no interruptions were used. Using a ton of extenders, you could use Union Carrier to equip Earthbound Immortal Aslla piscu to a monster, which would pop 5 tokens spawned from Black Garden, which was easily searchable by Garden Rose Maiden, to deal 4000 points of damage when it left the field. Follow it up with damage from two Exploderokket Dragons, and you'd win before your opponent could play the game. See here for an example. There was also a non-FTK version that was just as nasty, revolving around turboing out True King of All Calamities, which locks your opponent out of monster effects, and likely the game, for a turn.
  • Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder is a rare Rank 12 monster that can be overlaid using an Xyz monster as material after battling with an Xyz monster the same turn, and is a mass removal that neither targets nor destroys, and to make things worse, the effect doesn't have any [OPT] clause. This card alone shot up the viability of Xyz toolbox decks by a thousandfold, and in some cases, decks that have no business running Xyz monsters would start to run one or two just to access this powerful nuke - usually Xyz monsters with direct attacking capabilities (as its summoning conditions only require you to have battled with a Xyz monster in the same turn's Battle Phase) - and Xyz monsters that overlay on top of others (thus giving it more materials to work with). It is especially effective in Zoodiac decks that fullfill these two conditions naturally, making the deck a powerful meta contender after years of unviability. This ended up causing Zoodiac Drident to become Forbidden once again in both formats starting from July 2021, and Zeus itself to be limited on the OCG lists starting October 1.
  • Red Eyes Dark Dragoon has blanket immunity to destruction and targeting by card effects, can destroy up to two monsters on the field (that doesn't target) before burning LP equal to the monster's ATK, and can negate practically every card once per turn, gaining 1000 ATK in the process. However, this card requires both the Dark Magician and Red-Eyes archetypes to use properly, archetypes that have poor synergy with one another, and the easiest method to summon it, Red-Eyes Fusion, prevents the player from summoning any other monsters the same turn you use it, locking out any other plays that could have been done for the rest of the turn. However, the (now banned) Predaplant Verte Anaconda's own effect copies Fusion/Poly effects, not their conditions, so it can freely copy Red-Eyes Fusion and summon Dragoon regardless of how many summons the player has done before. This combination is so powerful that OCG duelists began running three potential bricks (Red-Eyes Fusion, Dark Magician, and Red-Eyes B. Dragon), even in decks that don't really synergize well with it. As a result, the OCG Limited Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, Predaplant Verte Anaconda, and Red-Eyes Fusion in their April 2020 list, but that did little to help things since most decks would run just one copy of each relevant card anyway due to how searchable the combo is. The October 2020 list straight-up banned Dragoon, and let Red-Eyes Fusion off the list as its most important fusion target is gone.
  • After the massive pain for the playerbase that was Dragoon, Konami was quick to prove that it hadn't learned anything with the release of Destiny HERO - Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer. While not quite the stone wall that Dragoon is, Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer can still cause plenty of headaches when trying to deal with it. As a Quick Effect, Enforcer can destroy one card on its controller's field and one card anywhere on the field without targeting. Then, if it was destroyed by battle or a card effect, it can Special Summon a Destiny HERO from your GY (including itself) on the Standby Phase of the next turn (not just yours). This boils down to the opponent having to face down what is effectively a self-reviving Pankratops every turn, and unless they have a way to banish it, there's really no stopping it. And just like Dragoon, it received an archetypal Fusion spell in Fusion Destiny that much like Red-Eyes Fusion, lets you use materials from the deck. However unlike the latter, Fusion Destiny only lock you out of special summoning after you use the effect so even if you did not use Verte Anaconda to copy its effect, you can simply make your plays like normal before using this card as the final summon, allowing almost any decks that can afford two Hero monsters to play this card without losing any card advantage or restrictions on your plays. The OCG banned Fusion Destiny in the January 2022 list until Verte was banned two months later, and the TCG put it on Semi-Limited in February.
  • The Artifact archetype had already enjoyed some meta success in 2014, but ended up falling by the wayside after significant powercreep. However, one member ended up becoming increasingly relevant as the years went on; Artifact Scythe, one of the most potent Extra Deck-lock effects to ever exist. While the card was intermittently used by control-based decks in conjunction with Artifact Sanctum (and even enjoyed a brief meta stint in the TCG in early 2017), this was nothing compared to the relevance it reached in the Sevens era, all thanks to what everyone assumed was a fairly average card on release: Artifact Dagda,. It doesn't matter that Dagda doesn't set Sanctum upon effect activation, because popping Scythe yourself on the opponent's turn is nothing short of a joke. You have 2 monsters, one of them a tuner? Use Crystron Halqifibrax to summon T.G. Wonder Magician. Two level 4s? Tornado Dragon. Hell, you can even forgo Dadga if your deck can synchro for level 10, as you only need to dump Scythe to graveyard and summon it back with Baronne de Fleur. However, the combo that ended up breaking Scythe beyond belief was the one with Destiny Hero - Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer (which can pop Scythe and an opponent's card, or even Scythe and itself when threatened by removal) and Predaplant Verte Anaconda (see VRAINS folder). Any deck that can place 4 monsters (2 different names for Dagda, and 2 Effect monsters for Verte) on field can make use of this combo, which is literally every deck in the game. Want to know the worst part? Scythe's effect is a lingering effect, which means that nothing short of preventing its summon, or negating it on activation will stop the lock.
  • The Swordsoul archetype was hand-made to be incredibly easy to abuse. The gimmick behind this deck is that most of its combo starters are Monsters that generate Tuner Tokens under certain conditions and regenerate card advantage for being used as Synchro material, effectively making them a modern counterpart of a Synchro spam deck that doesn't get outed by common handtraps such as "Ash Blossom", and (much like "Fallen of Albaz") have cross-archetype support Incredible Ecclessia, the Virtuous, herself a powerful combo starter. In addition to quickly turboing out "Baronne de Fleur", it has plenty of in-archetype negates and disruption to slap on the field, including Swordsoul Supreme Sovereign - Chengying, who has the ability to avoid destruction by banishing cards and can once per turn banish a card from its opponent's field and Graveyard if a card is banished, and Swordsoul Blackout, which can pitch a Wyrm monster to destroy two opposing cards. Due to being a Wyrm archetype, it commonly ends up splashed with Tenyi to get around its vulnerability to "Token Collector" and crank out powerful "Tenyi" Link Monsters and Synchros that have fantastic synergy with the Swordsoul archetype's Wyrm monsters.
  • Ask anyone what the most significant meta shift in 2022 was, and you will likely hear the following two words: "Adventure engine" ("Brave engine" in the OCG). The engine is a small archetype themed around JRPGs released in The Grand Creators that revolves around the "Adventurer Token", a Level 4 EARTH Fairy token with 2000 ATK/DEF, and cards whose effects either summon the Adventurer Token or require the Adventurer Token to be on the field to use their effects. The engine itself is essentially a 1-card combo that ends on an omninegate with decent stats ("Wandering Gryphon Rider") that can be recycled every turn with the searchable Continuous Spell "Fateful Adventure", as well as an Equip Spell that bounces one card per turn and revives itself if destroyed ("Dracoback, the Rideable Dragon"). The engine's "restriction" is that it prevents you from using monster effects from non-Special Summoned monsters for the turn, which is effectively a joke as most meta decks are so reliant on Special Summoning that the restriction is meaningless. Being so compact, consistent, powerful, and splashable meant that as soon as it came out it was shoved into virtually every deck that didn't need its Normal Summon, causing some decks such as "Prank-Kids" to rocket to the top of relevancy. The engine was so dominant that the OCG wound up Limiting its starters, "Water Enchantress of the Temple" and "Rite of Aramesir", to slash the engine's consistency, and it made "Token Collector" of all cards a viable tech option in decks that could fit it to block the opponent from starting the combo without burning "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring" on a generic engine.

    GO RUSH! era (2022-present) 
  • The Splight archetype is built around Level/Rank/Link-2 monsters, and facilitate summoning them. Every single one of them can Special Summon themselves from the hand while you control any Level/Rank/Link-2 monster so you can get their combos going very easily. Splight Red can negate the opponent's monster effects, and it can be brought out with the Quick-Play Splight Starter as an easily-accessed interruption. Their boss monster, Gigantic Splight, gets you another monster from your deck and applies a brief lingering lock for both players that keep them from summoning any monster that isn't Level/Rank/Link-2 for the turn, a "downside" that the Deck generally ignores an also prevents the opponent from punishing with Nibiru. Splight Elf not only protects the monsters it points to from card effects, but as a Quick Effect it can Special Summon a Level 2 monster from your GY, and it extends to Rank and Link-2 monsters as well if your opponent even controls a monster, so Splight has synergy with Frogs and the ever-loathed Toadally Awesome or the very resilient Live Twins that serve as Tribute fodder for Splight Red. They can effortlessly establish three negates on the board (one for monster, two for Spells/Traps) with minimal effort and still have room for resilient monster combos, and this has led to OCG tournament dominance.

Alternative Title(s): Yu Gi Oh

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