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Game Breaker / Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game

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Generally, every format has at least one deck that qualifies as Game-Breaker. The Gamebreaking 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.


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.

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

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  • Hand control cards in general are infamous for their Game-Breaker-ness. 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. 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 is banned, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, and Firewall Dragon are banned for this. Ditto for why Rekindling and Infernity Launcher are limited.
  • 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 mininum. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Banned/Nerfed Game Breakers:

    Banned Cards (TCG) 
With few exceptions, any card that winds up on the banlist (see here) is too powerful for its own good, and would heavily skew the game in a player's favour if they're used in any number. ——
  • Banned Jar cards explanation :
    • Cyber Jar was an extremely powerful staple in many decks before becoming banned. When flipped, it nukes the entire field and forces both players to reveal the top 5 cards from their deck and Special Summon all Level 4 or lower monsters in face-up attack or face-down defense, with anything else being added to the hand. It served as a "get-out-of-jail-free" card, usable in any bad situation, that also gave the user a significant field and hand advantage.
      • Cyber Jar had an entire deck built around a first turn kill using cards like The Shallow Grave, Book of Taiyou, and Card Destruction to deck the opponent out before they can draw. Americans tried fixing it by restricting Book of Taiyou which worked, but since the World Championship didn't have such a restriction, it dominated the tournament leading to Cyber Jar's death.
    • Its cousin, Fiber Jar, was even worse. Got a bad hand? Close to losing? Your key monster is in graveyard and you can't recover it? Fear not! Just flip up Fiber Jar and it sends every card on both players' fields and their hands and Graveyards back into the deck while drawing 5 new cards, effectively resetting the game.
  • Banned draw power cards explanation :
    • Pot of Greed is a classic card with a simple effect to draw 2 cards. No costs, no downsides, and no conditions, meaning that it's a free +1 that can be activated at any time by anyone who draws it. There's no reason not to play this card if it were legal. Its power is so infamous it's widely considered to be Yugioh's version of Black Lotus.
    • Graceful Charity is easily one of the best toolbox cards the game has ever seen. It lets you draw 3 cards, and then discard 2 of your choosing (Meaning no hand advantage is lost using it). Between the insane draw power and easy graveyard set up and/or effect triggering, it's even better than Pot of Greed in many decks.
    • One of the most useful cards to be released in Japan before the first Forbidden List was instituted was Sixth Sense, which was not released in the TCG until more than a decade later. In theory, the card is a risk or reward. You declare two numbers between 1 and 6, and if your opponent rolled one of the declared numbers, you draw that many cards, otherwise you mill the number of cards that was rolled. Except that the game is now based around graveyard manipulation, so its effect is more often a win-win situation. You either draw an absurd amount of cards from your deck, putting you so far ahead in card advantage that you can pretty much win the game, or you got to mill cards from your deck, potentially setting up whatever combo you need to win the game, and increasing your chance to draw cards you wanted from the deck. As stated before, the card came out in Japan before the Forbidden List existed, and as soon as it was introduced, the card was Forbidden and has held that position ever since. To put that in perspective, the only other cards to have been banned for as long as banning a card has been possible are Harpie's Feather Duster and Yata-Garasu. It's that formidable.
    • Card of Safe Return's effect is to draw a card anytime you Special Summon from the Graveyard. An example of reverse Power Creep, it initially saw little use when first released as there were few ways to recover from the Graveyard. As time marched on, however, Graveyard recurring cards and strategies have become prevalent, allowing the user to make a large number of draws as they make their plays. The release of Zombie Master in 2007 resulted in this card becoming frequently used in Zombie Decks, and later the TeleDAD and Lightsworn Decks abused its newfound power to no end. As a result, it was banned in September 2009 and has never seen the light of day since.
    • Mirage of Nightmare allows you to draw cards until you have 4 in hand during your opponent's standby phase, but requires you to randomly discard the same number during your own. Even ignoring its potential for rapid graveyard setup, its downside can easily be dodged by preventing its discard effect from resolving (like destroying the card yourself at the end of the opponent's turn), allowing you to keep all the cards drawn off of it. The classic combo seen in the anime, which drew prevalence to the card was Emergency Provisions, which would send any number of your back row to the grave for an extra 1000 LP per card.
    • Chicken Game allows one card to be drawn at the cost of 1000 LP for once per turn. Such restriction can be bypassed and abused by having three copies of it as well as three copies of Pseudo Space, where six cards can be drawn by a hefty 6000 LP in total. Draw power will go Up to Eleven when used with Terraforming, Royal Magical Library, Upstart Goblin (which is currently limited in the TCG format) and Hope for Escape, where a total of eighteen cards is drawn. Such play style makes Exodia an even more Tier-Induced Scrappy solitaire deck. There is also an FTK combo involving the aforementioned cards, the Monarchs, Life Equalizer (which is currently banned in the OCG format) and Magical Explosion.
  • Banned hand control cards explanation :
    • Delinquent Duo has you pay 1000 LP, then the opponent discards 2 cards, one randomly chosen, and the other of their own choosing. A sort of inverse Pot of Greed, this card was often devastating if used first turn, since they effectively lose 1/3 of their opening hand, with no ways to respond. Its only downsides are enabling graveyard setup, but the card is so powerful that the risk doesn't matter.
    • Confiscation has the same 1000 LP cost and discards only one, but it lets you see your opponent's entire hand for strategic purposes, pick and discard the card you want.
    • The Forceful Sentry is the strongest of the bunch; not only you don't pay any LP, shuffling is a more powerful way of removing a threatening card on your opponent's hand as it doesn't allow them to setup their graveyard and can deal more easily with monsters. Like confiscation, you see your opponent's entire hand.
    • Trap Dustshoot, the most "balanced" of the bunch, due to being a trap, only being able to be activated if your opponent has 4 or more cards, and can only shuffle back monsters, still was such a devastating card going first (especially when combined with Mind Crush), that it too was banned. It also didn't help that its super rare version's unusual thickness made it easy to stack.
    • The Forceful Sentry, Confiscation, and Trap Dustshoot all have an effect to look at the opponent's hand and cherry-pick a card to get rid of. But you also get the advantage of knowing what cards are in their hand, allowing you to prepare accordingly and/or use Mind Crush to further cripple their hand.
    • Topologic Gumblar Dragon is the most feared and hated of the virus dragons, and it's not hard to see why. It has two effects that allow it to rip away up to two cards from your opponent's hand once per turn, either by having a monster be Special Summoned to a zone a Link Monster points to (note that it doesn't have to be one of Gumblar Dragon's Link Zones) and discarding up to two of your own cards, or by using it to complete an Extra Link, in which case there's no cost and you can inflict 3000 damage if it left your opponent with no cards. It's common to see this monstrosity used in Extra Link-focused Decks to rip away two cards on the starting turn, then use any Special Summoning ability during the opponent's Standby Phase to drop another monster in a Link Zone to rip away two more cards before the opponent can even react. In a best case scenario, the opponent was left with two cards to try and break your board (possibly less if they tried to stop you with hand traps like Ash Blossom or Ghost Ogre). In a Dark Warrior Deck, though, it was usually a worst case scenario where they would have no cards in their starting hand, as the Deck could use Neo Space Connector along with Isolde and Summon Sorceress to empty the opponent's hand with Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin. You heard right, folks: VRAINS had created a card that made teching Neo-Spacians a meta strategy. Gumblar was promptly catapulted into Forbidden status in the January 28 2019 TCG Lists, and the OCG would follow suit a year later.
  • Banned monster stealing cards explanation :
    • Change of Heart was among the very first cards ever banned in the game, and for good reason. Its effect is to take control of an opponent's monster until the end phase. The fact that it returns during the end phase 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.
    • Snatch Steal is an equip card, meaning it can steal an opponent's monster permanently as long as it's equipped. Its only downsides are that it gives the opponent 1000 LP during each of their standby phases and the inherent equip spell downsides of being unable to target facedown monsters and losing to spell and trap destruction. It was banned for 8 years before Konami decided to bring it back in the January 2015 banlist...where it proved to be nothing more than a cheap topdeck card that can be searched or reused with Hidden Armory (which prevents normal summons during the turn it's activated, but that's irrelevant in decks that don't need to do so) resulting in it being immediately re-banned in the following format.
  • Banned Floodgates explanation :
    • Royal Oppression allows both players to negate any and all special summons at a cost of 800 LP each time. This seems balanced until you realize that you could just swarm your field during your turn, then flip this card up during the opponent's turn, not to mention that certain cards can activate their special summon effects infinitely, making attempts to stop their effects futile, and it can't be used during the damage step.
    • Number 16: Shock Master. This colorful ruler has an effect that locks out either spells, traps, or monster effects, its a Rank 4, the most supported rank/level in the game. The only attempt at balance was that it required 3 materials, but that would had been easy with -hunders, Wind-Ups and the then-upcoming Satellaknights, and Pendulums in general. And it can be protected by Number 66: Master Key Beetle. It was banned in the TCG before the ARC-V cards (including the Satellarknights) made the scene but it was still unlimited in the OCG until the January 2016 list banned it.
    • Djinn Releaser of Rituals, by far the best of the ritual supporting Djinn archetype that can also be banished from the graveyard for ritual summons, blocks Special Summoning only on the opponent's side if used for one. However as Ritual Summoning proved to be incredibly difficult and not worth the resource spent, such an effect never became a huge problem, until Nekroz came about and alleviated every single weaknesses that Rituals have. All of a sudden, the Djinn-lock becomes a massive headache for the duelists to deal with because they can use Nekroz Cycle in tandem with Djinn and Clausolas in order to lock the other player from Special Summoningnote . This forces many players of this format to main deck anti-Djinn cards such as Bull Blader, Book of Eclipse, and D.D Warrior Lady in order to make their plays or else they get locked forever. Due to forcing the usage of otherwise mediocre and/or outdated cards just to answer it, the card was banned in the TCG, though it took the OCG a few years to do the same.
    • Kaiser Colosseum has the effect that basically makes it so that the opponent can't summon any additional monsters if it would make it so they control more than you do if you have a monster on the field. While it saw little play back when it was released, once new summoning mechanics came into being, such as Synchro and Xyz summons (as well as Link summoning, which came after this card's ban), this card became a nightmare for many duelists to deal with. As these mechanics require multiple cards to be on the field to be used, if a player using this card can maintain a monster on the board (an easy feat in protection and/or floater based decks), many decks will be stuck being unable to get their critical plays off if they fail to get rid of Kaiser Colosseum.
    • Rounding out the unholy trinity of anti-Special Summon floodgates is Vanity's Emptiness. It's a Continuous Trap Card that completely prevents any sort of Special Summoning by both players, and because of this, it generally will be activated on the opponent's turn in response to an effect that Special Summons a monster(s), making them waste resources for absolutely nothing and more often than not making them lose a turn entirely. But it also stops the owner from Special Summoning so it's a fair exchange, right? Well, Vanity's Emptiness also sports a "downside" that causes it to destroy itself if a card is sent from its owner's deck or field to the Graveyard, which is almost embarassingly easy to exploit with something as simple as using a Spell or Trap Card. And, like Royal Oppression, you can simply do all of your Special Summoning before flipping Vanity's Emptiness and watching your opponent squirm. While the downside also makes it easier to play around than Djinn Releaser or Royal Oppression, Vanity's Emptiness still proved game-breaking enough to warrant a ban.
    • As of Feb 2018, MAXX "C" joins these ranks. At the time of introduction, it was the most balanced anti-special summoning card of its kind, simply allowing the player using it to draw any time the opponent special summons, while being a dead draw against a deck that doesn't need to special summon. However, due to Power Creep, it's increasingly the case that decks that need to do multiple special summons are more common than not, and the introduction of many more powerful hand trap effect monsters, has changed things considerably. Now, MAXX "C" can leave an opponent in a Catch 22, make the plays they need to make, and risk getting them derailed by newly drawn cards and/or likely lose next turn due to the cards they drew, or awkwardly end their turn before the opponent gets to draw tons of cards, and leaving themselves vulnerable. This led to its ban.
    • Number 86: Heroic Champion Rhongomyniad is a pure beast of a card. It is summmoned with anywhere from 2 to 5 Warrior-type monsters, and gains powerful stacking effects based on its number of materials, although it is forced to detach one at the end of each of the controller's turns. At 1+ it is indestructible in battle, at 2+ it gains 1500 ATK, at 3+, it is unaffected by any other effects, at 4+ it prevents the opponent from Normal or Special Summoning, and on 5 materials you can nuke the opponent's field once per turn. While it had some use in the Tellarknight, Igknight, and Clownblade decks of the Arc-V era, this card truly came into its own when combined Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow. The combo was to summon a Link with multiple arrows (often Summon Sorceress or Isolde), Summon Rhongomyniad with two materials, then summon Number 75 in the same way and use its effect to transfer itself and its materials to Rhongomyniad, giving you access to the field nuke and locking your opponent out of summoning anything for two turns while you have free reign over the field. Dark Warrior decks often combined this strategy with Topologic Gumblar Dragon, depleting the opponent's hand and preventing them from summoning anything to protect themselves from attacks, leading to a literally unavoidable defeat. This card was thus banned in the January 28 2019 TCG List.

    • Meet Thunder Dragon Colossus. This card can be easily Special Summmoned from your Extra Deck by Tributing a Thunder Effect non-Fusion Monster during the same turn you activated a Thunder monster’s effect in your hand. While on the field, it acts as a one-sided Thunder King Rai-Oh, preventing only your opponent from adding cards from their Main Deck to the hand except by drawing, shutting down your opponent's searches. What's worse, if it would be destroyed by battle or card effect, you can banish a Thunder monster from your GY instead, which can trigger the on-banish effects of the Thunder Dragons to gain even more advantage. Thunder Dragons became top tier after it was released, and combining it with high ATK beatsticks such as Ultimate Conductor Tyranno (easily summoned by Double Evolution Pill which fits right in an archetype that wants their cards banished) or Thunder Dragon Titan (Summoned by banishing the aforementioned Colossus and one Thunder monster in your hand) grants an oppressive board of locking down the opponent's searches and a field filled with indestructible monsters. The introduction of Nemesis Corridor made it even easier to summon in other decks besides Thunder Dragons, being essentially a one card Colossus while recovering a banished monster as a cherry on top. This ultimately prompted the fusion monster getting limited in the OCG's January 2020 ban list and flat out banned in the TCG the same month.
  • Banned Mass Summoning cards explanation :
    • Magical Scientist, a level 1 monster with the ability to Summon a Fusion Monster of level 6 or lower by paying 1000 LP, at the cost of it not being able to attack directly and going back to the Extra Deck during the End Phase. This effect, essentially Instant Fusion but with even fewer limitations and usable multiple times per turn, created one of the first true FTK strategies in the game: all you needed was Magical Scientist, the pre-errata Catapult Turtle, and Fusions with 2000 or more ATK, and you could burn your opponent down to nothing before they could even respond. In non-FTK decks, the card was still immensely useful, given its ability to bring out reasonably strong beaters or toolbox effect monsters at minimal cost. Even with Catapult Turtle's nerf, common consensus is that Magical Scientist has only gotten more powerful since then, due to the massively increased number of things you can do with spare high-level monsters and the strong Fusions released making more options available—the card can essentially generate FTK plays by itself now.
    • Dimension Fusion has you pay 2000 life points, and then both players summon as many banished monsters as possible. Among other things, this was a key card in the infamous Dark Armed Return deck, which was so fast and powerful, that it became the first entire deck to be emergency banned with this being banned along with its partner in crime, (Pre-errata) Dark Magician of Chaos, which allowed for instant recycling of it.
    • Return from the Different Dimension, a trap version of the above, was limited in that same emergency banned list for similar reasons. The final nail in its coffin came when Dragon Rulers came out, and this card became an instant One Turn Kill for said deck almost any time it was used.
    • Ultimate Offering lets you pay 500 life points to normal summon a monster during your main phase or the opponent's battle phase. Yep, a card that lets you bypass one of the most basic restrictions in the game as long as you have life points to spare. This card saw all kinds of abuse in decks with heavy normal summon search power (Gadgets and Blackwings in particular) before it was banned.
    • Soul Charge, a card that lets you Special Summon multiple monsters from the Graveyard, at the cost of 1000 LP per card, and skipping your own Battle Phase this turn. However, there is absolutely nothing that prevents you from Special Summoning another monster that turn, unlike most other cards released today, and if you're playing this when going first, you aren't able to attack anyway, effectively giving this card zero drawbacks. There are also zero restrictions on which monsters you can bring back, letting you use high level monsters as materials, then simply bring them back to use again. The card ended up enabling the revival of Infernity and allowed the Sylvan archetype to make some quite absurd powerful fields with only two cards. The card sat at 1 copy for years and was considered very sacky, and only got worse as the meta shifted to more aggressive single-turn plays. Konami finally put it to banned status in 2019.
    • Orcust Harp Horror was a very nasty centerpiece of the Orcust deck. By simply banishing itself from the Graveyard, it can summon another Orcust monster, and many of those monsters also had effects that could special summon cards when banished, or send Orcust monsters from the Deck to the graveyard, which could then be banished to special summon Orcust monsters. Combined with its boss monster Dingirsu to protect its cards, an Orcust deck could create formidable boards just by getting Harp Horror to the graveyard. The TCG banned it in January 2020.
    • Lunalight Tiger has the Pendulum effect to, once per turn, Special Summon a Lunalight monster from the Graveyard, but it can't activate its effects or attack, and it's destroyed during the End Phase. This would be a perfectly fair effect if it wasn't for the fact that this effect is only a soft once per turn, meaning that if you return Lunalight Tiger to your hand, you can just place it back on your Scale and use the effect again. This became incredibly trivial once Lunalight Yellow Marten was released, as that card could Special Summon itself from the hand or Graveyard simply by returning a Lunalight card on the field to the hand. With Lunalight Kaleido Chick being able to send Lunalight monsters from the Deck to the Graveyard without worry of negation since doing so is a cost for its effect, not its effect itself, Lunalight decks could very easily abuse Tiger's effect to constantly bring out monsters to use as material for Extra Deck plays, most notably Rank 4 Xyz monsters. The TCG saw fit to put Lunalight Tiger on the Forbidden List in April 2020.
  • Banned Token Swarming cards explanation :
    • Blackwing-Gofu the Vague Shadow is a Tuner Monster has an effect to, just by controlling no monsters, special summon itself and 2 tokens. The fact that these tokens couldn't be used for Synchro Summons or tributes, however, meant it fell by the wayside... until Link Summoning was introduced. Suddenly, simply having a Gofu in hand meant a free Link-3, which enabled easy turboing out of Link Monsters. Gofu was banned February 2018 in the TCG. It was even worse in the OCG, where you could've brought out Crystron Halqifibrax to enable even more insane plays.
    • Dandylion had the effect of summoning 2 Fluff tokens when it hit the graveyard. It saw some play during the 5Ds era in the Plant Synchro strategy, but it got really crazy when Link monsters were introduced. On top of creating easy tokens for Link plays, it also had no once per turn restrictions on it, meaning that if you had multiple copies of Dandylion, or managed to resurrect and send it to the graveyard again, you'd get even more Fluff tokens, leading to some degenerate plays. To stop this swarming, Dandylion got banned February 2018.
    • Level Eater has long been a staple in many of the more popular Synchro-based decks. It can resurrect itself from the graveyard simply by deducting one level from a level 5 or higher monster you control, and the effect is not limited to once per turn, making it a vital piece of any strategy that involves performing multiple Synchro summons in a single turn. While it has been forbidden for a while in the OCG, the TCG left it unattended until the advent of Link Monsters, where Level Eater's effect would have been just as useful for spamming Link Summons as it was for Synchros. Thus, it was banned in the February 5, 2018, List for the TCG.
    • Grinder Golem is perhaps the biggest upward swing of power a card has ever had. It allows you to, in return for not being able to Normal Summon that turn, Special Summon its 3000 ATK body to your opponent's field. In return, you'd get two 0 ATK tokens, in attack position. For years, this card was considered terrible: you gave up your Normal Summon to give your opponent a sizable beatstick, all for two measly tokens which said beatstick could then beat over, dealing tons of battle damage to you. Then, Link Summoning came out, and those tokens could be used effectively. What pushed this card into game breaking territory, however, was that this effect wasn't once per turn, and certain Link Monsters could return Grinder Golem to your hand, summoning even more tokens! It quickly became one of the most hated cards in the game, as getting this card in your hand would almost always spell a loss for your opponent by creating a flood of Link Monsters they couldn't handle. It was finally axed on January's 2019 banlist.
    • Number 42: Galaxy Tomahawk was originally not such a threatening card, since the tokens it summoned were destroyed at the end of the turn and couldn't deal battle damage anyway due to the drawback of the effect that summons them. However, the advent of the Link format, and the Danger! archetype in particular turned things upside-down. The Danger! decks could easily summon materials for Number 42 and summon tokens to be used for a massive wave of link summons, usually resulting in a first turn Extra Link and an almost certain defeat for the opponent. Galaxy Tomahawk was therefore banned on the January 28 2019 TCG List.
  • Banned graveyard setup cards explanation :
    • Painful Choice: While it most definitely lives up to its name, it hides what is quite possibly the most convenient graveyard setup card ever created in the game. If you use this card right, it should matter little what the opponent chooses as everything else goes to the graveyard and, unlike Future Fusion, this card can be splashed into any deck. After using this card, you can gain tons of advantage for each card sent or simply instant setup for Soul Charge, Rekindling, or for resources to banish for special summon monsters. It's so devastating, that it was among the very first cards to ever be banned in the game.
    • Substitoad has an effect to tribute a monster to summon a Frog monster from the deck. Doesn't sound like much on its own, until you realize that it's not a once per turn effect, allowing you to send every single frog monster in your deck to the graveyard. This card, combined with Mass Driver (also banned, see the loop subsection) and Ronintoadin, enabled the infamous Frog FTK deck, which was so consistent, it won the Yu-Gi-Oh world championships in 2010. The FTK used Substitoad, Mass Driver, Ronintoadin and Swap Frog along with enough Frog monsters (18-20 to counter the usage of banish removal) to wipe out the opponent's LP. Finding a way to get Ronintoadin in graveyard, and a monster other than Substitoad on field to tribute, the deck would continuously tribute Frogs until it filled the graveyard and then use Mass Driver to go for game. Substitoad got banned in September 2010.
    • Mind Master, which is essentially a Substitoad for psychic types, albeit with a stricter tribute cost and an 800 lifepoint cost per use (unless you use Brain Research Lab or Telekinetic Charging Cell...). Due to a much larger pool of monsters to choose from than Substitoad, there are many potential ways to (ab)use this card. But, the most infamous combo involves Caam, Serenity of Gusto, where every 1600 lifepoints spent gets you another draw using Caam's effect. And if you combine Mind Master with the aforementioned cards that remove the lifepoint costs? Congratulations, you now have an infinite draw engine.
    • Fishborg Blaster is a level 1 tuner. At first the effect may appear fair, as you need to synchro with it only using WATER monsters and need to discard a card to special summon it, limiting its usage... until you realize the existence of multiple monsters that offset the cost while being summoned and the existence of multiple engines that swarm the field with WATER monsters with little to no cost. Fishborg could lead to some crazy fields in what came to be known as Water Synchro, and was a big part of what got T.G. Hyper Librarian and Formula Synchron limited. It was banned in September 2011, being one of the few cards that went from Unlimited to outright banned. And its abusability has only increased throughout the years with the addition of the Atlanteans.
    • Lavalval Chain is a Rank 4 Xyz monster (the most supported rank in the game) with an effect to send any card from the deck to the grave. This card was abused in several FTKs and loops, resulting in its ban. Its second effect is also really useful for stacking any main deck monster, which coupled with any draw card enables a lot of combos.
    • That Grass Looks Greener is a card that thins your 60-card deck out in order to compete with 40-card decks. Oh sorry, we misspoke: Grass Looks Greener puts 60-card decks over 40-card decks. With any archetype that can revive cards from the graveyard, Grass Looks Greener becomes a Foolish Burial on speed, turning your graveyard into your second deck very early in the game. This resulted in its Limiting in the TCG in March 2017 and ultimate banning in May 2018. Even in Duel Links, where the reduced deck sizes makes the card less effective (milling a maximum of 10 cards), it's still broken enough to be put on Limited 1.
    • Galaxy-Eyes Dark Matter Dragon, a card that sends 3 Dragon-Type monsters with different names from your Deck to the Graveyard and banishes 3 monsters from your opponents' deck, can be easily summoned by just using a Galaxy-Eyes Xyz monster as material. Already the card responsible for sending the adult Dragon Rulers to the banlist, it once again found a way to be abused with Guardragon Agarpain. It got banned in the Apr 2019 TCG lists to nerf Guardragon decks.
  • Banned anti-backrow cards explanation :
    • Heavy Storm is similar to Harpie's Feather Duster, except it also affects the user's own cards. So, while it can be problematic late game if you play a backrow heavy deck, it’s still just as effective as Harpie’s Feather Duster going second for any deck. When this card was legal, it pretty much mandated playing Starlight Road if you ran a backrow heavy deck, lest you lose it all to Heavy Storm.
    • Cold Wave, which prohibits both players from activating or setting spells or traps until your next turn, allowing the user to go the first two turns without needing to worry about spells or traps or go straight for the kill, barring any monster effect use. It also does not destroy, making it much harder to answer than the above cards.
    • Giant Trunade returns all spell/trap cards on the field to the hand. Like Cold Wave, this card does not destroy, limiting answers to it. But, on top of the power of clearing backrow, it also allows you to reuse continuous spells/traps for either additional plusses, and/or giving yourself a turn to play around your own floodgates, then reactivating them against the opponent before they can do the same.
  • Banned control cards explanation :
    • Last Turn, which clears the field of all but one of your monsters, wipes the field and hands and then your opponent special summons any monster, last man standing wins. Sounds fair right? Until you realize just how many monsters have an effect that prevents special summons or the abundant ways to abuse the loopholes in the card and guarantee a win or at worst, a draw.
    • Yata-Garasu, the only card that has been banned since the Forbidden List was first drafted, and it still hasn't been unbanned yet. What does this small, black, yet supernatural bird do? If it damages your opponent, they must skip their draw phase next turn, which means that they get no new cards to have any chance to do anything. It also leaps back to the summoner's hand at the end of each turn, making it difficult to remove from the game. What all this adds up to is: 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.
      • While the lock is a lot harder to set up nowadays (Sangan, Witch of the Black Forest, and Chaos Emperor Dragon have all three been nerfed), and a lot easier to counter with cards that activate in the graveyard, it likely will forever remain banned, because the card is completely worthless outside of the lock.
    • Time Seal skips the opponent's next draw phase. This was used as a Yata replacement for a while in a loop with Tsukuyomi and Mask of Darkness, resulting in the card's ban.
    • Majespecter Unicorn - Kirin is one of the most powerful and feared pendulum monsters ever made. Its home Majespecter archetype ironically had difficulty making good use of it. Other Pendulum decks with wider scales however can simply bring it out time and time again with ease, and use its effect to bounce any of your opponent's monsters. Add the inherent destruction and targeting immunities of the Majespecters and you have a very difficult to kill, recurring removal card. Both the OCG and TCG ended up Limiting (and later banning) the card after it became clear that every Pendulum deck would run it; Kirin was just that good.
    • Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King. This bad boy can be summoned by tributing two Monsters, Continuous Spells, or Continuous Traps and cannot be affected at all by effects from what card types you used to summon it, and it's easily searchable with Dragonic Diagram, itself a Game Breaker due to its interactions with other cards in the archetype and even outside of it (leading to several powerful hybrid builds like True Draco/King Dinosaur Yang Zing before Diagram itself was banned in the OCG). All of the Spell and Trap cards in the archetype also destroy things when sent to the graveyard from the field, worsening the impact of a successful Master Peace summon. The best you can do is act on its one weakness (if you have the available cards to exploit it), or tribute it for a Kaiju...but then, the True Draco player can easily either shore up against spells with Imperial Order, or shuffle him back into the deck with one of the continuous spells, where Dragonic Diagram can fetch him again. Adding insult to injury, the continuous trap True King's Return can let a player bust him out on their opponent's turn, disrupting plays by suddenly destroying key monsters, and forcing the opponent to reckon with an easily recurred Master Peace. The card was so oppressive that it was banned in the OCG in October 2017, with the TCG following suit in May 2018.
    • Knightmare Goblin, notably the first link monster to be banned, is by far and away the best of the Knightmare cards. Its first effect is to discard a card, draw another if it is co-linked, and get an extra normal summon either way. This made it a very powerful play extender for link based decks, giving an easy extra resource that can be instantly used to extend plays if it's a monster that is drawn. And to add insult to injury, it also makes it so that co-linked monsters can't be targeted, easily the best form of protection offered by any of the Knightmare cards. This made it an instant staple of oppressive link spam decks, which were nigh impossible to beat without siding Sphere Mode Ra, earning the card a spot on the forbidden list.
    • 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.
    • Outer Entity Azathot. At first, it doesn't seem too useful; it has an Awesome, but Impractical board wipe, and it can also prevent your opponent's monster effects from activating the turn it's Xyz summoned, which normally isn't insanely practical, either, since you can normally only Xyz summon during your turn. However, it could use several other cards to get it out on your opponents turn, with the most common being The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch, and this could cripple your opponent's turn. Even when Rank-Up-Magic was banned, the card still saw some use as a play stopper. The OCG banned Azathot in their January 2020 list, while the TCG quickly followed suit.
  • Banned toolbox cards explanation :
    • Last Will. Think of Sangan BUT ON CRACK. If a monster on your side of the field was sent to your Graveyard this turn by any method, you can Special Summon 1 monster with an ATK of 1500 points or less from your Deck during any phase of your turn, as long as you activated Last Will before. Add the Power Creep that has followed throughout the years and Last Will has become a free tutor for everything broken under the sun. Last Will was banned in March 2007 and hasn't left the list ever since.

    • In the earliest days of the game, Fusion Monsters were considered Awesome, but Impractical. While some of their effects were decent, they often required too many resources put into them, which could bite you in the behind if your field got nuked. In an attempt to make fusions more practical, Konami created Metamorphosis, one of the most convenient cards in the game. With this card, you can summon any Fusion Monster from the extra deck, by tributing one monster with the same level as the Fusion Monster. The intent was to give Fusion based archetypes better access to their Fusions, but it worked a bit too well, as it gave decks that were completely unrelated to the Fusions powerful new options they had no right of ever having, and ended up contributing to the infamous Goat format. While certain ban list cards have gotten weaker over the years thanks to Power Creep, Metamorphosis has gotten more powerful thanks to more useful Fusion monsters being introduced.
    • Zoodiac Broadbull, the other of the two Xyz monsters from the infamously broken Zoodiac archetype to be banned, allows for the detach of an Xyz material to search any Beast-Warrior from the deck. As if being a universal type searcher wasn't bad enough, all Zoodiac monsters can be Xyz summoned as long as you have a Zoodiac monster on the field. This mechanic also allows you to use its effect twice in one turn by simply Xyz summoning it the normal way, stacking a different Zoodiac Xyz on top of it, then stacking another Broadbull on top of that, enabling some crazy combos such as an instant Pendulum scale setup off of essentially one Xyz summon, and that's not even getting into the fact that even after all that, you could still stack a Zoodiac Drident on top as well.
    • Performapal Skullcrobat Joker. It's basically the Stratos of the Performapal, Pendulum Magician, and Odd-Eyes archetypes. That alone will immediately tell that it's pretty broken...especially since cards from those three archetypes are said to be among the most notorious Game-Breaking archetypes in the game. His first claim to fame was in the PePe Deck, bringing out crucial plays as well as serving as Rank 4 fodder for their Xyz plays. Due to this, he was first Limited for a while leading to PePe's downfall, but later, he was removed from the list...only to serve as another crucial piece in Pendulum Magicians, becoming just as useful as he was in PePe (providing Xyz plays and access to nearly the Deck's main resources). Due to this, February 2018 Lists finally banned him for good.
    • Ancient Fairy Dragon is an example of a card that just becomes more powerful as the game evolves. Once per turn, she can destroy any Field Spell in play, give you 1000 LP, and then search another Field Spell from your deck. This wasn't such a big deal when the card was released as only one Field Spell could be in play at a time, with any new Field Spell replacing the old one. Since then, however, the rules were changed to allow two Field Spells to simultaneously remain in play, making it much more powerful; throw in a metagame where every deck and their mother relies on Field Spells to make plays (there's a reason why Terraforming is Limited in the OCG), and you've got a simple way to shut down your opponent's key card, search your own, and get a few more Life Points to potentially thwart an OTK, all in one fell swoop. And just as the cherry on top, Ancient Fairy Dragon lets you Special Summon a level 4 or lower monster once per turn in exchange for giving up your Battle Phase, letting her make even more plays after setting up your Field Spell. Furthermore, with no requirements for Synchro Material, there's really no reason not to throw her into any deck that can make a level 7 Synchro, or throw in a few Tuners to get the job done if your deck couldn't already bring her out. Ancient Fairy Dragon subsequently got the axe in the January 2018 OCG lists, with the TCG following suit in May 2018.
    • Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom is able to copy any monster effect on the field or in the GY. It is able to be easily summoned by simply having two DARK monsters on the field (achievable enough in Pendulum Magicians), but in conjuncture with burning your opponent to death, recursion and draw power, and (in the OCG) field wiping, proved it to be too powerful, so it became banned on May 2018.
    • M-X-Saber Invoker has the effect to summon a level 4 or less Earth attribute Warrior or Beast-Warrior type from the deck. At the time of its release, it saw little play due to being a niche card at best. But then power creep kicked in, and it was a key card of two of the game's more notoriously overpowered archetypes, those being Zoodiacs and Gouki. Its abuse in the latter as a crucial combo piece proved the card's demise.
    • Denglong,First of the Yang Zing. A generic Level 5 that can search out an omni-negate Counter trap when Summoned. Once per turn,you can send 1 Wyrm-Type monster from your Deck to the Graveyard; this card's Level becomes the sent monster's(Level 1 to 10), allowing for easy Xyz/Synchro Summons. What's worse is if this card leaves the field by any way, you can Special Summon 1 "Yang Zing" monster from your Deck, allowing for more combos. Dinosaur Decks abused this, and Dinos could make Denglong with extreme ease, sometimes pairing it with True King of All Calamities(see ARC-V folder). It got banned in September 2017.
    • Summon Sorceress allows you to summon one monster from your deck of the same Type as another monster that she points to once per turn. Its arrows point both downwards and upwards, letting you punish your opponent for bad card positioning. And even if there's no monster, Summon Sorceress will let you put another monster out (albeit on your opponent's field) right when its summoned, meaning its effect will almost always be live. As the cherry on top of all of this, Summon Sorceress is a mostly generic Link 3, while Isolde and Nalqifibrax are Link 2's. This means that if you make Summon Sorceress out of one of the other two monsters, you're getting the set-up she created on top of the set-up that they made, netting you a massive advantage from what was likely just one or two cards. This resulted in Summon Sorceress getting banned in the OCG, with many TCG players calling for Konami to follow suit on the TCG list. Those cries for it to be banned in the TCG were finally answered as of April 2019's banlist.
    • Eclipse Wyvern is a LIGHT-Dragon type monster that, when sent to the graveyard, banishes a Dragon from your deck, which you can then add to your hand after Eclipse Wyvern itself is banished. Long a staple in Chaos and Dragon Ruler based decks for its ability to search out powerful dragon monsters, to the point that it was a major factor in the ban of Future Fusion, its own demise would come with its usage in Guardragon variants, where it was usually used in conjunction with cards like Black Dragon Collapserpent, White Dragon Wyverburster, and Chaos Dragon Levianeer to allow you to always maintain advantage while keeping board presence. Its effect not being once per turn certainly helped too. It was banned in the July 2019 list, alongside Collapserpent and Wyverburster going to limited status as well.note 
    • Guardragon Agarpain. This allowed for the summon ANY Dragon monster from your Extra Deck to a Extra Monster Zone or Main Monster Zone that 2 or more Link Monsters point to (keep in mind, its not hard to set up in dedicated decks). So basically you could use Agarpain to Summon any Galaxy-Eyes Xyz Dragon, use N95 and dump 3 Dragon-type monsters, allowing for more combos. Agarpain would get banned in the Oct 2019 lists.
    • Heavymetalfoes Electrumite is a powerful tool in any Pendulum-based deck. Both of its Link Arrows point down, opening up more spaces for Pendulum Summoning. Upon being Link Summoned, it lets the player put any Pendulum Monster from their deck face-up on the Extra Deck. Once per turn, it can destroy one other card the owner controls to add a Pendulum Monster from the Deck to the hand, as well as drawing one card each turn if a card leaves its controller's Pendulum Zones. All these effects are strong, but are taken to game-breaking levels when used in Pendulum Magicians. Suddenly the deck has been given easy searching for most of its cards, gained free additional advantage for something it was already doing (destroying its scales), and had a way to easily loop Astrograph Sorcerer, often resulting in massive boards being produced from just two or three cards. It was so effective that it resulted in the TCG banning Astrograph Sorcerer in May 2018. Electrumite itself wound up limited to 1 in the September 19 2018 list in the TCG, and ultimately got banned in the January 2020 TCG list.
    • Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage! was essentially a Stratos for the Sky Striker archetype, able to search out any of their spells. Not too terrible so far, but it had a second effect— for the low cost of having 3 spells in your graveyard, you also draw a card on top of the card you just searched. Effectively, this was 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.
    • Ib the World Chalice Justiciar is an incredible combo extender. Requiring generic synchro materials, upon being Synchro Summoned it can search any World Legacy card from the deck, and upon being sent to the graveyard by any means, you can summon a World Chalice monster from the Deck or Graveyard. Between this and its generic requirements, any deck that can Synchro and splash in a few World chalice cards can gain a powerful tool for setting up multi-summon power plays. With Halqifibrax approaching the TCG, this resulted in Ib becoming one of the few examples of a preemptive ban in the game's history, being banned in the January 2020 TCG Lists. The OCG soon followed suit three months later before the Master Rules April 1st 2020 Revision came into effect.
    • Salamangreat Miragestallio is one of the most powerful combo pieces in the Salamangreat deck. Easily summoned using cards like Gazelle and Spinny, its effect can summon any Salamangreat directly from the deck, and when used for a Salamangreat Link Summon, it can bounce an opposing monster back to the hand, serving as a toolbox and non-destruction removal card. Because of these advantages Miragestallio was banned in the January 2020 TCG List.
    • SPYRAL Master Plan became an integral part of the SPYRAL archetype's explosive resource game after the release of SPYRAL Double-Helix allowed for easy summoning from the deck. Once on the field, she can fetch any of the SPYRAL Mission cards such as SPYRAL Mission - Rescue to recycle your SPYRAL monsters, with no once-per-turn clause in sight. If Master Plan is sent to the Graveyard, such as for Link Material, she grants even more pluses by searching any SPYRAL monster from the deck along with SPYRAL Resort, giving another SPYRAL monster search while providing targeting protection to your SPYRAL monsters. She can also be revived to reuse her Mission search effect since it's a soft once-per-turn effect, all but guaranteeing a combo board if uninterrupted. While SPYRAL fell off the competitive map following the limiting of most of their play starters, the release of Magicians' Soul made her even easier to summon since she fulfills the summoning requirements of what was meant to support Dark Magicians, making SPYRAL a meta deck once again. Proving to be the backbone of SPYRAL's nigh unbreakable boards, she got banned in the TCG's April 2020 list.
  • Banned loop cards explanation :
    • Premature Burial, a graveyard revival card that due to the wording, does not result in the destruction of the revived monster if it leaves the field by any means besides destruction. Any card that returns cards to the hand (i. e. Giant Trunade, pre-errata Brionac, Dewloren, etc.) can lead to revival abuse with this card, more than compensating for the 800 LP more often than not. With Disc Commander, this led to multiple revive-draw loops.
    • Butterfly Dagger - Elma: On its own, it's a very mediocre equip spell whose only upside is its immunity to Spell/trap destruction. However, when combined with spell counter decks, which gain spell counters with each spell card activation, and Gearfried the Iron Knight, which destroys any equip cards equipped to it, what you get is an infinite source of spell counters for such decks. A Magical Marionette with infinite attack power? Go for it. Fuel for the otherwise Awesome, but Impractical Mega Ton Magical Cannon? You got it. Or most infamously, use this combo with Royal Magical Library and Exodia for an easy OTK or FTK.
    • Mass Driver has the effect of tributing a monster to inflict 400 points of damage. That might not sound like much, but once you factor in that it's not a once per turn and the number of times some decks can summon the same monster(s) in one turn, you may start to realize just how abusable it is, especially since it is a spell card. This card was a key part of the infamous Frog FTK deck, which resulted in this card and the Substitoad getting banned.
    • Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis inflicts 800 Damage to your opponent each time it is destroyed, and can revive itself by banishing a Plant Monster from your GY. Seems fair, until it gets paired with a certain Link Monster: Topologic Bomber Dragon. Each time a monster is Special Summoned to Bomber Dragon's Link Markers, all monsters in the Main Monster Zones are destroyed. Both effects are not once per turn, and if you fill up your Graveyard with enough Plant Monsters (achievable using cards like Lonefire Blossom and Aromaseraphy Jasmine), rinse, repeat, win. This card was banned from the Advanced format and limited in the traditional in May 2018 as a result of this.
    • Samsara Lotus. At first, there seems to be nothing special about this monster; it's a LV 1 Plant monster that has no ATK or DEF points, and the fact that it saps 1000 LP from whoever controls this monster during their Standby Phases makes this card sound like something you'd consider garbage and not worth using in your Deck. However, if you lack any Spell/Trap cards on your field and during the End Phase, you can Sp. Summon this card from your GY. Basically, it can be recycled as tribute fodder, and this effect is not "once per turn", either. Thus, in combination with cards like Topologic Bomber Dragon, you can infinitely summon this card, enabling a myriad of FTK's. This card was banned on the TCG's September 2018's banlist.
    • In something unprecedented for the franchise, Firewall Dragon, the VRAINS main character's ace monster, became a Game-Breaker. Its second effect allows any monster sent to the Graveyard in one of its four Link Points (yours or not) to be replaced with any monster from your hand. It could be used multiple times per turn which created several First Turn Kill loopsnote . It's a pretty speedy effect, which made any deck with hand recovery a powerful Link-spamming machine. Its link markers are also pretty convenient, and with the second effect, it wasn't too hard to create co-links between both Extra Deck Zones, locking out the Extra Deck for your opponent with no need for a monster effect. But the worst is still to come: its first effect allows him to target monsters in the fields and Graveyards, up to the number of co-links it has, and send them back to the hand. While it's only once per copy while on the field, multiple copies could be used, and thus, Firewall Dragon became an infinite looping machine. This earned it the distinction of being the first Link monster to be limited. Even when limited to one copy, though, many decks were still able to easily create huge boards with Knightmares, rip away their opponent's hands with Gumblar Dragon, or perform various FTK loops. This gamestate went on for months before Konami would finally give in and ban Firewall right away.note 
    • Tempest Magician has the effect to remove every spell counter on the field to inflict 500 burn damage, and give monsters spell counters by discarding cards. This card wasn't that useful, due to there being no reliable way to set spell counters en masse. Enter the Endymion, who could place lots of spell counters on their cards, and fairly consistently, at that. Suddenly Tempest Magician could easily deal massive amounts of burst damage, or potentially even FTK the opponent! Due to this, the TCG axed the card on its January 2020 banlist.
  • Miscellaneous examples explanation :
    • The Dragon Ruler series is quite possibly one of the most infamous examples of Power Creep in the franchise to date. A series of level 7 dragon type monsters with a set of smaller Level 3/4 versions of themselves that can special summon them from the deck. They have a plethora of effects that can enable swarming and rapid summoning of Rank 7 Xyzs, along with a means of getting Light and Darkness Dragon onto the field on the first turn. Sure, you can only use one of their effects per turn and even then only once per turn, but the sheer speed and consistency of these effects more than makes up for it with consistency, power, and other effects and the smaller dragons are instrumental in overriding this limitation. The deck also abused Super Rejuvenation and Sacred Sword of Seven Stars as draw power and as an extra way to trigger their effects. And it's for this reason that this deck was so widely hated before it even came to the TCG.
      • The field spell that could essentially grab Dragon Rulers out of your deck for free, Dragon Ravine, was banned, to the dismay of plenty of Dragunity players due to it being THE card that keeps the deck competitive. Their draw cards were limited. Their "instant win" cards were banned. The Dragon Rulers themselves were limited. Consider this: Half of the archetype was banned, and the other half was limited. Countless cards have been hit to weaken the deck. And the deck was still a strong contender to the point that the Dragon Rulers themselves became forbidden after the Dark Matter OTK abuse. It wouldn't be until July 2019 that they even so much as attempted to loosen them from the list by bringing back Tempest to 1, and Super Rejuvination on the next banlist.
    • Spellbooks had their own gamebreaker in the form of Spellbook of Judgement, which is a strong contender for the title of most effective Spell Card ever. How it works is that for every spell card that you activate after you play it, you get to search for a spellbook spell card at the end of the turn AND special summon a spellcaster-type monster whose level is less than or equal to the number of spellbooks you added to your hand. The most popular targets for this were Justice of Prophecy or Jowgen the Spiritualist, a level 3 spellcaster which locks out special summons. Essentially, all one has to do is play Spellbook of Judgement and three other spell cards (not a hard task to do in this deck), and they gain even more extra resources or an instant stun of the opponent and a whole hand of support spells ready for the next turn. Spellbook of Judgment was unsurprisingly banned immediately after its format.
    • Tellarknight Ptolemaeus: At first glance, it's nothing special: a Rank 4 with low ATK but high DEF, except for one thing: it can ditch 3 Xyz materials to bring out a Rank 5 monster (Provided it isn't a Number), Constellar Pleiades? Became a staple, Stellarknight Constellar Diamond? There are now two ways to get it out. Cyber Dragon Infinity? The most infamous combo with Ptolemaeus to summon this bad boy out; use its effect to summon Nova and then Summon Infinity immediately. And getting the materials for this effect is easy; not only can you use more than 2 monsters to summon it, but you can also attach a Satellarknight Monster to it as well every End Phase.
    • Elder Entity Norden, one of the best Fusion monsters the game has ever seen, is a Level 4 Fusion monster that can summon any Level 4 or lower monster from your graveyard upon Special Summon, though its effects are negated. Sure it requires two Synchro/Xyz monsters or one of each to Fusion summon, but it can be Special Summoned by Instant Fusion, potentially giving you advantage and very easy access to any Rank 4 or Synchro monsters that are between level 5 and up to Level 8, so much so that it turned Instant Fusion, previously a niche card that only saw use in a select few decks, into a staple card overnight. Its water attribute also made it very easy to target another water attribute monster to summon Bahamut Shark, which gave easy access to Toadally Awesome. Not to mention, it can be abused with Super Polymerization. Most importantly, it does not have any Summoning restrictions and its effect can be used multiple times per turn! (Several OTKs and FTKs can be achieved very easily with Norden. Here is an example.) Because of that, it is banned in the OCG. It remained Limited in the TCG for a while, until a powerful combo involving Zoodiacs came to light, contributing to Zoodiacs completely dominating the Top 32 of a Yugioh Championship Series tournament, which ended up being the final nail in this card's coffin. Instant Fusion itself would later get limited in both the April 2020 OCG & TCG lists.
    • Brilliant Fusion is a powerful support card for Gem-Knights, in that it allows one to fusion summon using materials from the deck, much like the above-mentioned Shadoll Fusion, though at the cost of the summoned monster having zero ATK and DEF. Due to most Gem-Knight fusions having one generic fusion material however, Brilliant Fusion became an unlimited Foolish Burial with free Link fodder for any deck that ran the type of monster needed (like Seraphinite for LIGHT-heavy decks and Prismaura for Thunder Dragons) and could tech in a few Gem-Knight monsters. Brilliant Fusion into Seraphinite was particularly nasty, as Seraphinite gives you one extra Normal Summon per turn with no strings attached. This was such a massive play extender that the otherwise unremarkable vanilla Gem-Knight Garnet became a staple, since no deck that ran LIGHT monsters left home without three Brilliant Fusions to bring out Seraphinite. Brilliant Fusion was thus limited to 1 in the January 28 2019 TCG Lists, and banned in the TCG a year later.
    • Block Dragon is a Rock-Type monster that can be Special Summoned (from your hand or GY) by simply banishing 3 EARTH monsters from your graveyard. It gives your Rock-Type monsters (and itself) protection from destruction by card effects while it's on the field, which helps them with durability. But its biggest upside comes when it leaves the field: it can add 3 cards from your deck to your hand, whose levels equal 8. That's right, this card can go +3 in card advantage by itself! It was held back, however, by the fact that Rock-Type monsters were pretty bad in general. Then came the Adamanciapators, who were not only a good deck by themselves, but had three monsters that were the perfect levels to be searched out by Block Dragon, could special summon themselves from the hand, could special summon other Rock-Type monsters from the deck, and were Tuners to boot. Even if this card was sent to the graveyard, you could just banish 3 EARTH monsters to revive it from the graveyard, and like Fairy Tail- Snow, despite being printed in 2016, this summoning effect is not once per turn. So, even if you got rid of their board, the Adamancipator player could just start their board up again, thanks to Block Dragon. It ultimately got banned in the September 2020 TCG list.
  • Special case cards explanation :
    • Victory Dragon has the effect to allow you to win the match if you reduce the opponent's life points to 0 with a direct attack. note  A nasty effect indeed if you can get it off, but given that it can only be summoned by tributing 3 dragon type monsters, just how overpowered it is is, debatable. However, there's a very good reason why it was banned and why all cards like it since have been World championship prize cards that have "This card cannot be used in a duel" printed on them by default. The card was responsible for some of the most obnoxious and confusing rulings out there due to unscrupulous players attempting to surrender or find other ways to simply lose a duel to avoid its match win effect, or players of the card attempting to use it to circumvent the typical match rules (for instance, insisting on a third match after having already lost two of three, because a win by Victory Dragon would undo two losses). This was one of the reasons it was banned. note 
    • Self-Destruct Button can only be activated if the player using it has 7000 less life points than the opponent and causes the game to become a tie. It may look pretty worthless at first glance from a competitive standpoint, and for once, that's actually pretty accurate. For the typical duelist, it's far too situational to ever be of any use. The problem with the card is that, due to poor design, it became the most obnoxious Troll card ever made. Just build a deck around giving your opponent an absurd amount of life points, activate Self-Destruct Button once possible, and repeat ad nauseam. While it's bad enough to encounter in a tournament, where you'll almost certainly go into time against such a player, it's even worse in online games, where the opponent can do this infinitely until you Rage Quit. This led it its ban in the TCG.note 

    Nerfed Cards (TCG) 
In Yu-Gi-Oh!, an erratum refers to the changing of a card's text between reprints. By the official rulings, all cards must follow their newest errata even if you own an outdated copy, effectively making it a way to Retcon cards. Originally used mainly for fixing errors and inconsistencies, Konami eventually began using errata to nerf problematic cards, usually of the Forbidden variety. As such, any card nerfed by errata was, by definition, far too powerful to be allowed in play.
  • Starting in 2011 for the OCG and 2012 for the TCG, ALL of the cards with Ignition effects, due to Konami officially changing the ruling of priority, so that the opponent could activate a card in response to a successful summon before opponent could use the summoned monster's Ignition effect. A perfect example would be the formerly banned Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning. Before the rule change, you could immediately banish 1 monster for free before your opponent's trap card like Bottomless Trap Hole could be activated to destroy it. After the change, monsters no longer had the opportunity to activate their Ignition effects if a removal card like Bottomless Trap Hole responded to their summon.
  • In a rare case of a genuine accident that was corrected by errata, for a brief period in the TCG, a number of cards in Labyrinth of Nightmare had effects that banished monsters mistranslated as banishing cards. In the case of Bazoo the Soul-Eater, this made an already decent card downright ridiculous, turning it into a Level 4 that could tie Summoned Skull and kill Jinzo for minimal investment in an era where Gemini Elf and Goblin Attack Force were still considered the standard in beatdown. Reprints were issued not long after with the correct text, which brought the cards back down to fairly sane levels.
  • One of the first cards to get the nerfbat was Dark Strike Fighter, a Level 7 monster that can sacrifice monsters to deal damage equal to their Level x200. Sounds simple? A direct attack from this card plus its own effect does damage equal to half of your Life Points. Which means if you'd taken a bit of damage already (or there were other monsters to attack and sacrifice), this "finisher" ended games on the second or third turn. The worst part was that it was an inverted Nerf from the anime that removed the factors that would have made it balanced: the effect only being allowed once per turn, preventing it from attacking on the same turn, and that it could not sacrifice itself for its effect. Dark Strike Fighter's erratum made it a hard once per turn that can only be used in Main Phase 1, largely neutering the card.
  • Exchange of the Spirit, a card that was banned on TCG banlists before its official export to the TCG. While it was slightly milder than other game breaking cards in the sense that it gave you a turn (and that is only if you consider entering your draw phase as getting a turn) it became devastating because you could easily win by milling your deck whether or not to search the card you wanted, end your turn, activate the trap, mill the opponent's entire deck to the graveyard and force your opponent to draw. The only reason it's currently unbanned is due to an erratum which added the condition that both players needed to have 15 cards in the Graveyard before Exchange of the Spirit can be activated, and that only 1 Exchange of the Spirit can be used per Duel, turning it from a fearsome OTK/FTK enabler into a mostly useless gimmick.
  • Crush Card Virus, which, in the TCG, was notorious for being one of the most difficult and expensive cards to obtain for yourself, due to being released initially as a Shonen Jump prize card and otherwise only available as a gold rare from the limited release (original) Gold Series until shortly before it was banned outright. Though the card's effect drove the card's price just as much as the difficulty of owning one. Its effect (which destroys all 1500 Attack or higher monsters on the opponent’s field, in their hand, or that they draw for the next 3 turns) effectively rendered so many decks unable to play monsters, that it's easier to list what decks wouldn't be affected by it (even to this day). The card was so strong, that anybody who was lucky enough to have a copy would play cards (most commonly Sangan and/or D.D. Crow) just so they could use the card against the opponent. As such, the card was eventually banned and stayed on the list for years until it got an erratum changing the 3 turn duration into the opponent getting to destroy up to 3 1500 or more ATK monsters from the deck and also making the opponent immune to damage until the end of the next turn after its activation.
  • Imperial Order, one of the first cards ever banned, is the only continuous Spell negation trap card in the game, but required you to pay 700 Life Points during each of your Standby Phases or destroy it. This card, alone, can win games by stunning any spell card based deck to the point of being unplayable if they can't answer it. And if that weren't bad enough, its "downside" actually just made it so that you can cancel its effect before your turn starts, giving you an insane strategic advantage while it's on the field. It took this card over a decade to leave the banlist, and only after receiving a heavy Nerf via erratum: its Life Point cost became mandatory and now must be paid on both players' Standby Phases. And even after its nerf, the card remained extremely effective, being a semi-staple of tier 1 decks after its re-release.
  • Ring of Destruction, one of the most powerful burn cards in the game's history, had the effect to target and destroy any monster on the field and inflict damage to both players equal to the attack of the monster destroyed. Pretty much, just target any monster and you can inflict massive damage to the opponent. Sure, you will take it too, but at worst, it would result in a tie if used well. Also, there was nothing preventing a player from using it on their own monster, which might sound like a -2 on paper, but in practice, was like getting an additional attack against the opponent with a powerful monster, easily and frequently closing out games. The card was only able to come back via erratum, limiting its usage to the opponent's turn against an opponent's monster whose attack is less than or equal to their current life-points, and making the player using it take the damage first, removing most of the card's utility. However, even with these nerfs, it remained on the limited list for years before being put to semi-limited in May 2018, and then in September 2018's banlist, it has become unlimited.
  • Sinister Serpent is an otherwise unassuming monster with the absurd effect of returning itself from the Graveyard to your hand every Standby Phase with no strings attached. Naturally, this made it into infinitely reusable discard fodder, effectively negating the costs of many, many cards in the game. Most infamously, it was combined with the fellow banned card Tribe-Infecting Virus to ravage your opponent's field every single turn. Sinister Serpent was nerfed by making you banish a Sinister Serpent from your Graveyard on your opponent's next End Phase after using its retrieval effect and making it a hard once per turn, slowing the card down immensely. Tribe-Infecting Virus went straight from Forbidden to Unlimited in 2020.
  • Dark Magician of Chaos, easily the strongest spell recursion card ever made, originally allowed for a spell card to be added to your hand upon summon. This allowed potentially instant recursion of cards that summoned it, most notoriously Monster Reborn and the long banned Dimension Fusion, both of which allowed for quick and easy One-Turn Kills and/or loops. Add in its 2800 attack stat and powerful anti-floater effect by banishing monsters it destroys by battle, and you have a fearsome card indeed. Its only downside originally is that it banishes itself upon leaving the field, though this made its combo with Dimension Fusion even more potent, earning it a key role in the notorious Dark Armed Return that became the final nail both cards' coffins. Furthermore, with the creation of Xyz monsters that would allow for the card to dodge its banishment effect, and cards like Soul Charge, and it's no wonder that it only came back via an erratum making its recursion a true once per turn that happens only at the end of the turn it's summoned.
  • Temple of the Kings is a Continuous Spell Card that lets you activate Trap Cards on the turn they are set. There's nothing that needs to be said about this card that hasn't been said already; taking away the intended balancing factor of Trap Cards (requiring a turn to get ready) leads to abuse up the wazoo. Temple was banned immediately upon its introduction to the TCG and stayed that way until it was changed to only let you use a freshly-set Trap once per turn. Its extra deck summon effect was also changed to only fusion monsters, though this effect was never very relevant by comparison.
  • Future Fusion. At first glance, it's an extremely slow back row target that'll net you a fusion monster from your deck every once in a few blue moons. However, what seems like a mediocre fusion card at first glance hides one of the single best mill/graveyard setup cards in the game. When combined with cards that have high fusion material costs, such as Five-Headed Dragon, this card allows you to hand-pick cards (five dragons in this case) from your deck to the graveyard. With how graveyard-centric the game is, this is an amazing setup card, especially with other cards that can abuse cards in the graveyard such as Chaos Dragons, The Envoys, and the Dragon Rulers. Generally, once you have this card in your hand, it's practically good game for your opponent. On top of the setup, it would net you a free beatstick on the following turn. There's a reason this card ended up getting banned. Future Fusion returned in the March 2017 format of the TCG, sporting a new erratum: the Fusion Monster is chosen, and the Fusion Materials sent to the Graveyard, on the first Standby Phase after its activation, thus giving the opponent a turn to respond and stop you from filling up your Graveyard.
  • Brain Control was designed to be a balanced version of the long-Forbidden Change of Heart, with it having a life point cost of 800 and being able to target only face-up monsters. But even with these additional downsides, it still proved too powerful a card for the game and eventually found its way to the ban list as well, only coming off after getting an erratum to only affect monsters that can be Normal Summoned, thereby limiting a lot of its versatility.
  • Rescue Cat, a prime example a card becoming rather deadly due to Power Creep, was originally just a tutor somewhat limited by the single turn duration of the monsters it retrieves from your deck, which can only be beasts of level 3 at the highest. Gladiator Beast gave it a shot in the arm. Then the Synchro era happened, and X-Saber Airbellum, a powerful level 3 beast tuner, was available from the start. Cue mass first turn Synchros. The card ended up on the semi-limited list, advancing each successive year until it was forbidden in March 2010. To solidify how severely devastating Rescue Cat had become due to such progression, with the release of certain Xyz/fusions to use alongside Synchros, first-turn kills were possible starting with Rescue Cat alone in previous Traditional Formats. It only came off the ban list because of an erratum that made it a true once per turn effect and negates the effects of the monsters it summoned.
  • Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier had the ability to discard any number of cards in your hand to bounce that many cards on the field back to their respective hands. Being able to get rid of your opponent's field and being able to recycle your own cards meant it was incredibly good. For these reasons it was Limited. It kept being strong into the Xyz era, eventually getting banned because of its interactions with the Atlantean archetype and only getting unbanned after an erratum that made its effect a hard once per turn and restricting its bounce to the opponent's cards.
  • Destiny HERO - Disk Commander previously let you draw 2 cards any time it was summoned from the graveyard. Yep, every revival card in the game suddenly became a Pot of Greed with this card (On top of it being prime discard fodder for Destiny Draw). Does anything else really need to be said about it? It was unbanned in the September 17 2018 list, following an errata that limits the draw effect to once per duel and prevents resurrecting it on the same turn it was sent to the graveyard, giving the opponent a chance to banish it if possible.
  • Grandsoil the Elemental Lord may be special summoned if you have exactly 5 earth monsters in your graveyard, and has the effect of the famous Monster Reborn when it is special summoned. It was heavily abused in several loops, finally being banned September 2017. It came back after receiving a true once per turn erratum.
  • Pre-errata, Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End was so broken that it is explicitly banned in the anime. note  CED is Summoned by banishing one LIGHT and one DARK monster from the graveyard, has high ATK, and has an effect which requires its controller to pay 1000 Life Points, but 1) sends every card in both player's hands and on the field to the Graveyard, and 2) did 300 damage to your opponent for each card that gets sent to the Graveyard by this effect. Keep in mind, the card effect doesn't say destroy, it says send. Therefore, cards such as Stardust Dragon can't stop it. This generally ended games. If it didn't, then it would often be followed up by a Sangan or Witch of the Black forest search for Yata-Garasu to finish the job 200 points at a time. After a decade and a half, it would finally come off with heavy nerfs that limited the card's owner to not activate any other card effects that turn and limited the damage to only count your opponent's cards, heavily reducing the chance of OTKs and leaving the user with an empty field, giving your opponent a chance to fight back.
  • The effects of Sangan and Witch of the Black Forest were to search for any monster from the Main Deck with 1500 or less ATK or DEF, respectively, upon being sent from the field to the Graveyard, with no downsides other than the ATK/DEF cap. Among making searching for important monsters in players' strategies laughably easy, both monsters played a major role in the infamous Yata-Garasu Lockdown Deck that wreaked havoc during 2004. Even after Yata-Garasu was banned, Sangan and Witch of the Black Forest proved extremely powerful searchers in many, many Decks. In 2016 and 2017 respectively, the effects of Sangan and Witch of the Black Forest effects were nerfed so that you cannot activate the searched card or any card with the same name's effect during the turn you search for it, and also made them HOPTs as well.
  • Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon. In the OCG this card was used with Guardragon Elpy and Guardragon Pisty to loop this card's effect to make strong fields, Gandora-X's OCG effect to deal massive damage and a lot of broken combos to maake huge fields. After the nerf, both of this card's effects is a HOPT. Elpy and Gandora-X is currently banned in the OCG.
  • Makyura the Destructor, one of the best cards ever created. Its effect is that during the turn it's sent to the Graveyard, you can activate Trap Cards from the hand. This alone makes it quite useful (it's the equivalent of giving a Mighty Glacier a much faster movement speed, I.E. removing their intended downside), creating all kinds of dominant combos. But, it's also ludicrously searchable too, since it's a Dark Level 4 Warrior type monster. Also, triggering its effect technically doesn't count as an activation, making it nigh impossible to stop, even newer cards like Debunk, Shadow Imprisoning Mirror, and Majesty's Fiend are powerless against Makyura. Unsurprisingly, Makyura has been banned since April 2005. 15 years later in September 2020, the ban on Makyura has been lifted but now it has been significantly nerfed with its new errata; Makyura MUST be in the Monster Zone and sent to the GY from there in order for its effect to work. Also you can only activate 1 Trap card from your hand. No longer can you simply discard it from the hand or Deck and activate its effect.
  • Pole Position is an odd case in that it was never that powerful of a card. However, it caused major headaches as a result of being a literal game breaker. The problematic effect was to make the monster with the highest Attack Points unaffected by Spell effects. Innocuous at first, but consider if both a 1500 ATK and a 2000 ATK monster are on the field, and then Axe of Despair, which grants 1000 ATK, is used on the 1500 ATK monster. The 1500 ATK monster would have the higher attack, and so would be unaffected by Axe of Despair, causing the 2000 ATK monster to have the highest ATK, and be affected by Pole Position, meaning Axe of Despair works again, so the 1500 ATK would have the highest attack again, so it would be unaffected by Axe of Despair... Pole Position was infamous for causing infinite loops such as these, grinding the game to a standstill. Konami ended up clarifying the rules for infinite loops, so that, if one occurred, the card responsible for the loop would be destroyed, which stopped Pole Position from casuing infinite loops.


Other Game Breakers (by era):

    Duel Monsters era (1999-2004) 
  • Summoned Skull is a strong candidate for the very first Game-Breaking Monster Card in Yu-Gi-Oh! history. Back in the game's caveman days, a 2500 ATK monster that could be Tribute Summoned with just one Tribute was a serious threat despite having no effects to speak of. For all the promoting that Blue-Eyes White Dragon received in the anime, its requirements of two Tributes to Tribute Summon cursed it with Awesome, but Impractical in the OCG/TCG until the archetype received viable support in the Arc-V era. Despite this, Summoned Skull has never been so much as Semi-Limited, as Spell Cards released around its time like Raigeki and Change of Heart were considered more dangerous.
  • 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. 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, but Raigeki is currently still considered powerful enough to be Limited in both the OCG and TCG.
  • 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 now-nerfed Dark Magician of Chaos, a free spell recovery effect with a giant beatstick attached that was later nerfed.
  • 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.
  • In a similar vein to Sinister Serpent, Night Assailant was Limited for the entirety of the banlist's existence, as otherwise you can use its effect of retrieving a Flip monster from the Graveyard when discarded to grab another Night Assailant, which can then be used to return the first Night Assailant, and so on. And unlike Sinister Serpent, this could hypothetically be done any number of times per turn in the Main Phase, potentially making things like Snipe Hunter immensely busted.
  • 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 put to 1 in September 2018, 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.

    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 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 tutor, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Having access to spell and trap negation and mass destruction, the deck ended up winning the World Championship 2008. 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 a glance, it doesn't seem too outstanding. With it, you can fusion summon a monster using monsters from either side of the field as fusion material. With how specific fusion requirements usually are, this sounds like a very situational card... Until you realize that there are surprising amount of fusion cards out there that only need monsters of a specific Attribute rather than type or monster to summonnote . Add it a few fusion monsters that cover all the Attributes, and not only can you now hand pick an opponent's monster to be sent to the graveyard, but now you also get a powerful monster of your own on the field in the process. With the right cards in the extra deck, it is very possible that could wipe your opponent's entire monster field and go for the kill to win the game, and there's nothing your opponent can do about it because Super Polymerization cannot be negated in any way. This proved to be an insanely powerful card for fusion decks, so much so that it was eventually put on the banlist. It was unbanned once more 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) 
  • Some Synchro monsters have reached this Level; the requirements needed to summon them (a Tuner and non-Tuner monsters, whose Levels add up to the Level of the Synchro Monster) work insanely well with popular aggro-swarm tactics, making them staple cards in almost all decks. Key offenders include:
    • 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 since July 2015.
      • 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 is broken in yet a different way. While its materials are heavily restricted, Dewloren is part of multiple burn and draw loops leading to consistent First Turn Kills throughout the years. While not broken enough to be banned, Dewloren at multiple copies can self-loop. This was what led to its Limited status in the September 2013 banlist. Here are some of the few ways Dewloren can be used at anything higher than 1 copy allowed.
    • 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.
  • 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 two 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 oppresive.
  • Plant-Synchro. Plant monsters were largely a forgotten type in the story 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 in the Xyz era. 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 (and is currently Unlimited there).

    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.
  • Surprisingly, the first Game-Breaker deck of the ZEXAL era would be something that made little use of Xyz - The Agents. Making use of their very own Stratos, Venus to swarm the field with Mystical Shine Balls and Master Hyperion as their main muscle. The deck also made use of Archlord Krystia and Herald of Orange Light to restrict the opponent's special summons and their monster effects respectively, while also using Mystical Shine Ball as Synchro (remember Earth is a tuner?) and Xyz fodder for Gachi Gachi Gantetsu. The deck ended up winning the World Championship 2011, and The Agent of Mystery - Earth was limited in the March 2012 list.
    • Some variants of The Agent deck would use a small T.G. engine to ease Synchro summoning - namely 3 copies of T.G. Warwolf and T.G. Striker. T.G. Striker + Agent of Creation Venus - 1500 LP = Trishula and enough setup to drop Master Hyperion on field. T.G. Striker was Limited in the March 2012 list.
  • 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.
  • Elemental HERO Shadow Mist searches Mask Change or Mask Change II when Special Summoned. When it gets sent to the GY, you can add ANY HERO monster from the deck to your hand. If you use Mask Change or Mask Change II on Shadow Mist, it transforms into Dark Law.
    • Mask Change II , Special Summons 1 "Masked HERO" monster with the same Attribute, but a higher Level than, the Attribute/Level the monster had when it was on the field. Which means it transforms any Level 5 or lower DARK Monster into Dark Law.
    • Masked HERO Dark Law, a one sided Macro Cosmos. What's worse, if your opponent adds a card from their Deck to their hand, it banishes a random card from your opponent's hand.
  • The Rank 4 Xyz toolbox got some of them starting from the end of the ZEXEl 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 86: Heroic Champion Rhongomyniad: see banned folder.

    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.
    • 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. 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 Assembler 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.Oh boy the Nekroz. 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.
  • Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL. It can be summoned by discarding a Rank-Up-Magic (RUM) spell from your hand and overlaying onto a Utopia monster. (Note that this is any Utopia monster, not just the Rank 4 ones). Furthermore, its summon cannot be negated or responded to. Its stats are dependent on how many materials it has, 1000 A/D per material; finally, during your opponent's turn, you can remove one material to prevent them from activating any cards or effects for the rest of the turn. And since it is a quick effect, it can be played the instant they draw for their normal draw. No spells, traps or monster effects, including those already on field can be used. Ends up being a Game-Breaker since its addition to the game makes sure Konami will never print a consistent RUM searcher to prevent the summoning of this monster from being consistent. And now you can easily Xyz Summon it the proper way, see SEVENS folder. It got banned in the OCG in October 2020, and sure enough, not long after it was banned, Konami printed an easily-used Rank-Up-Magic search card, ZEXAL Construction.
    • This also resulted in the banning of Argent Chaos Force as well, as you could use the Igknights' mass search ablity to Pendulum Summon Level 4 and Level 6 Igknights, Xyz Summon Utopia and Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal, using Beatrice's effect to send Argent Chaos Force to GY then Xyz Summon Gaia Dragon,the thunder Charger using Beatrice, adding Argent Chaos Force to hand , afterwards you get a ZEXAL with at least 3000 ATK in the first turn, locking your opponent from using effects for 3-4 whole turns, giving you a MASS advantage.
  • 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 not only 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 Banned folder) 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.
    • 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. Its swarming, setup and negation effects all in one small package make it an incredibly powerful threat, not to mention it does not have any summoning restrictions and can be summoned with Bahamut Shark to abuse its negate-then-set effect like there's no tomorrow. WATER decks (and even decks that used just one copy of WATER monsters, such as HERO) would largely abuse this loophole by using Elder Entity Norden with Instant Fusion to revive their WATER monsters and get free negations. It got Limited again due to the Master Rules April 1st revision.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 (OCG only) are banned, and Ratpier is Limited.
    • Zoodiac Drident: One of two Zoodiac Xyz monsters to be banned, it has the quick effect that it can pop any face-up card on the field, at a detach cost. While its 4 material Xyz "requirement" might seem too prohibitive at first glance, the Zoodiac archetype has the xyz summoning mechanic of allowing it to be summoned on top of any other member of the archetype, rendering this a moot point. And its effect pretty much forces the opponent to answer it, or plan to lose their first big monster if they can't. Ending off with one of these was a very standard play in Zoodiacs, and a major part of the reason the archetype was so dominant. And, good luck winning if they break out another one in the following turn. Even if you weren't playing a Zoodiac deck, it's so good that you'd be foolish not to run it if you ran any other Zoodiac Xyz monster, including Broadbull. It was brought off to limited in April 2020, but even then, the fear for Zoodiac's return to dominance with it was enough to send Barrage to limited status as a precaution.
  • 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 "Thousand-Eyes Restrict" in the "Duel Monsters" folder and "Elder Entity Norden" in the "banned" folder.
    • 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.
      • Oh, but that's not all; Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom can copy its effects even if its in the Graveyard (easily accomplished using Gale Dogra), and if you have two copies on the field, this can accomplish an FTK. 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.
  • 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.
    • True King of All Calamities. By detaching 1 Xyz material and declaring 1 Attribute, all face-up monsters on the field become that Attribute, also all monsters in your opponent's possession with that Attribute cannot activate their effects (even in the hand or GY) or attack for one turn. It was used in Orcusts by Ranking up Dingirsu, Orcust of Sheol (which can be summoned from the Extra Deck by using 1 Orcust Link as material). Thanks to a combo involving the Knightmare/Orcust monsters(see VRAINS folder) this card can be turboed out using just ANY 2 monsters on the field, eventually becoming a cheap, easy lockdown against the meta.
    • Also see Outer Entity Azathot in the Banned Cards folder.
  • 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 in January 2020.
  • Double Iris Magician. A key addition to the Pendulum Magicians, but also one of its strongest. His Pendulum Effect allows him to destroy himself by targeting a DARK Spellcaster-type monster on your field and apply Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon's effect, then its monster effect allows you to search a Pendulumgraph Spell or Trap. Considering that the Pendulumgraphs themselves are crucial cards needed to make certain plays, one can just abuse his Pendulum Effect to grab any of the two cards for free. and if that's not all, he is treated as an "Pendulum Dragon" monster, and with conjunction with the other monsters commonly used in the archetype (with similar self-destruction effects), topping it with Astrograph Sorcerer, he can provide fodder for Supreme King Z-ARC himself, a powerful monster in its own right. Even without Z-ARC, his ability to search the crucial Pendulumgraphs along with the consistency of the deck led to his ban until September 2020 which by then Pendulum Magicians lost the majority of their playmakers.
  • 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 by replacing their Field Spell with a Set one from your deck, which may or may not have a symmetrical effect that benefits you more than them and thus makes it very unappealing to activate for your opponent. It is Limited both in the OCG and TCG lists.

    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 Agent 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. 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!
  • 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.
  • 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
    • 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 Jet Synchron being banned in the TCG on the September 2020 banlist, as it was a one card combo that could end on a board of multiple negates, or even a True King of All Calamaties.
    • 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 mutli-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 71: 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 section 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 is currently limited 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.
  • 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 after you use it, which locks out whatever plays you could have done.

    Enter Predaplant Verte Anaconda. Its effect allows it to copy any Polymerization or Fusion spell card, including the aforementioned Red-Eyes Fusion, which provides the player an easy way to summon this card without locking the player out of special summoning. True, it does lock you from special summoning but only for the rest of the turn so can you do your plays, use Anaconda's effect to copy Red-Eyes Fusion, and then end your turn. Its summoning conditions are also laughably easy; all you need is two Effect monsters. The combination is so powerful that OCG duelists began running three potential dead draws (Red-Eyes Fusion, Dark Magician and Red-Eyes B. Dragon), even in decks that don't really synergize well with it, just because of how potent Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon is. 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 due to all the material being easily accessible and searchable. The October 2020 list straight-up banned Dragoon, and let Red-Eyes Fusion off the list as its most important fusion target is gone.
  • Linkross. Often combined with Crystron Halqifibrax mentioned above, it summons tokens to your field up to the Link Rating of the monster used for this card's Link Summon. Sure, these tokens cannot be used for a Link Summon during the turn you Special Summon them, but it can be used to Synchro Summon. Thus often used with the Tuner Halqifibrax just summoned to Synchro Summon Martial Metal Marcher which summons that Tuner back, allowing you to Synchro Summon more high level monsters. With the Master Rule (April 1st Revision), Synchro Summons became easier, as you needn't summon it to a zone a Link monster points to anymore. It was Limited in the April 2020 OCG Lists, and is currently banned in the July 2020 OCG list. It is currently the fastest Extra Deck Monster to be banned in the OCG.
    • Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon is a similar card that summons 3 Level 3 Tokens, except you cannot Link Summon for the whole turn. By Tributing 2 monsters you can Summon Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion, a combo card in many Cryston Halqifibrax-based decks. This prompted O-Lion getting banned in the September 2020 TCG list.
  • Union Carrier at face value seems like a mediocre card. All it does is equip a monster to another monster and give the latter an attack boost, and you can't even link Union Carrier away after doing so. However, it happens that some cards are not meant to be readily equipable, and have devastating consequences when they are. The most potent of these is Dragon Buster Destruction Sword, who locks your opponent out of the Extra deck when equipped, and can be equipped to any DARK or Dragon-Type monster you control thanks to Union Carrier. Union Carrier also assisted in the Dragon Link FTK by allowing Earthbound Immortal Aslla piscu to be equipped. You heard that right; a card was able to make teching Earthbound Immortals a meta strategy.
    • How about equiping Mist Valley Thunderbird to Mist Valley Apex Avian? Once per chain, you can return Thunderbird to trigger Apex Avian's effect that negates your opponent's effects... which summons Thunderbird back from your hand, making this a hard lock to break.

    SEVENS era (2020-present) 


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