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Tier Induced Scrappy / Yu-Gi-Oh!

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With over thousands of cards that continues to churn out new sets, it is inevitable that there will always be a deck that players hate, whether being overpowered, the deck fail to live up to their expectations or just both.

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    High Tiers 
  • Rescue Cat was not all that popular when it first came out (2004-2005), being a common card that people found rather silly, but it started to suffer of a very disturbing case of Vindicated by History around 2008. The reason? Its insane synergy with Synchros. Synchros, in and of themselves, are considered this due to their insane power-to-cost ratio (doing everything from whittling the opponent's hand down to drawing cards to destroying the entire field on a whim while only needing a few token nondescript monsters to summon), but Rescue Cat pushes that over the top, letting you get out any two monsters needed to bring out the most powerful low-level Synchros with just the effort of summoning and then tributing itself. It's pretty sad when the unbanning of two Game-Breaker revival cards and a field-clearer that's been banned ever since the list was first created is considered a fair trade-off to the feline's dismissal from the game. Oh, and don't ever speak of X Saber/Rescue Cat in the western metagame where X-Sabers have even bigger synergy with this evil thing.
  • Rescue Rabbit, his Nerfed brother, gets even more hate nowadays. Decks based on this little guy work by Summoning him, getting 2 Dinosaur-Types and using them to Summon Evolzar Laggia. Laggia is absolutely brutal - it can negate almost anything, but it's balanced out by the fact that this can only be done once and it's quite hard to Summon - except that this deck does it with only one card. Oh, and there's Leviair the Sea Dragon, which is Summoned just as easily and allows you to get back the Rabbit once you use his effect. Twice. So, the whole "can only be used once"? It won't matter when your opponent has three Laggias. Have fun not being able to play anything at all because of two cards!
    Another reason why Rabbit is even more of a Scrappy than the cat is because unlike Cat, Rabbit is far more expensive thanks to a TCG rarity bump from Rare in Japan to Secret Rare - turning Rabbit from a possible keycard of a pseudo-budget deck to an extremely expensive deck.
  • In 2013 the Dragon Ruler archetype was hit with this before it was even released. In addition to being very consistent and only two other decks at the time that could even hope to compete with it, it could lock down the entire field in one turn and won most matches in three turns. The deck was also very simple to construct, requiring little innovation and consisted of a number of the most expensive cards in the game, making it an example of Bribing Your Way to Victory. Konami seemed to realize this and banned half the cards in the series and limiting the other half from 3 to 1; taking a number of support cards with it in the process.
    • This move made the deck very hated by Dragunity players, since the deck became a joke after one of the key cards of the deck, Dragon Ravine, was banned due to its popularity with Dragon Rulers. While Konami has tried to bring in a card that gives the deck a chance to become again part of competitive play (which is Dragunity Divine Lance) the deck still had not enough power to become part of competitive play. Don't you just love it when a deck gets hated after it is nerfed because another innocent deck got nerfed as well in the process. That being said the hated has calmed down a little since that Dragon Ravine became semi-limited, giving it some of its competitive nature back.
  • Around the same time as Dragon Rulers, there was another deck almost as hated, Spellbooks/Prophecies. Previously, the deck had been on the radar, but not spectacular. Then, it got one card that pushed it into being one of the two completely dominant decks of the format, Spellbook Of Judgement. With just that addition, the deck gained access to a way to instantly replenish their supply of spells and also end off with searching their boss monster and another Judgement or a powerful stun. Judgement is widely considered to be one of the most overpowered spell cards ever made, and it's telling that A: the 2013 World Championship players not playing Dragon Rulers were all playing it. And B: that by simply banning Judgement, Prophecies ceased to be oppressive while Dragon Rulers remained a problem for years despite getting many key cards banned.
  • The worst offender of the later 5Ds era was Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En. Shi En is one of the aforementioned Synchro Monsters, meaning he's easy and cheap to summon, but requires a Six Samurai deck to do so. Such decks are Lightning Bruisers, capable of spamming monsters with 2000 or more attack very easily and can often destroy another Samurai in place of themselves. Shi En can do that, on top of being able to negate one of your opponent's spell or trap cards every turn, meaning the best ways to deal with him often require you to spend a card to lure out his effect. Getting out two would usually end games right there.
  • Reborn Tengu has, again, insane synergy with synchros. When it's removed from the field, whether by being attacked and destroyed, returned to your hand, being banished or sent to the grave for a synchro summon, you grab another from your deck. Combine this with the fact that the other requirement for the synchro summon, a tuner monster, can be laughably easy to summon and T.G. Hyper Librarian (another tier induced scrappy) who lets you draw for each synchro summon you make (and can be made with a tengu and the most spammable tuners in the game) and you have yourself a deck that can explode into victory if you draw a tengu. Reborn Tengu got Semi-Limited from the March 2012 banlist, and wouldn't be unlimited until years later.
  • In the earlier eras of the game, two major Tier Induced Scrappy winners were Goat Control, which used Scapegoat to create easy walls of defenders and then morph one into the normally Awesome, but Impractical Thousand-Eyes Restrict, paralyzing the enemy from attacking, stealing their monsters, and basically rendering monster-based strategies moot. Chaos was even worse, consisting of three powerful creatures with the ridiculously easy summoning cost of removing one light and one dark monster from the graveyard. Chaos Sorcerer, the least powerful of the three, was hated because it was an easy summon with a body bigger than beatdown staple Cyber Dragon and guaranteed to remove an enemy creature from play if the opponent had any face-up monsters. Black Luster Soldier- Envoy Of the Beginning was loathed for having a more powerful version of Chaos Sorcerer's effect, 3000 attack to make it basically untouchable in battle, and the additional ability to gain a second attack whenever it killed something, meaning fending it off without losing nearly half your life points was remarkably difficult. Finally, Chaos Emperor Dragon- Envoy Of the End was considered the most broken card ever printed in its day; in addition to being just as strong as the Blue-Eyes White Dragon despite being easier to summon than most 4-star monsters, it also had an effect that let it nuke both players' field and hands for a minor lifepoint payment, completely hosing any strategy because of the wording of its effect and generally leaving the opponent at a massive life point and card disadvantage. All three cards saw time on the banlist, with the latter being unbanned following a nerf errata.
    • Black Luster Soldier was, for a while, a Limited card and later put to 3, but seeing as it is not nearly as unbeatable in today's meta as it was before (there are plenty of cards that can defeat it or even trump it in terms of Attack Score) it doesn't have as many haters (or even as many likers) as before.
    • Chaos Emperor Dragon returns to the game limited to 1. However, it received a drastic card effect change (errata) on November 2018 that not only weakened the card's effect, but greatly restricted the use of the card. The burn damage only applies to how much your opponent's card has, thus a lot less damage inflicted. The effect can ONLY be used if you did not use any card effect, breaking all combos this card would have done in that turn including Witch and Sangan. Since its return, "priority" to its effect no longer applies due to that rule change in 2011 (OCG) and 2012 (TCG), so you can't activate its effect if cards like Bottomless Trap Hole are used in response to the summon.
  • Tour Guide From the Underworld. It's a level 3 fiend that can summon another level 3 fiend from the deck when normal summoned at the cost of negated effect and can't be used as Synchro material. Doesn't matter when you summoned Sangan, which activates in the graveyard resulted in searching your keycard. The second restriction? Use it for Xyz summon instead. The fact that it is so rare and expensive crank this Up to Eleven.
  • Dear God, Wind-Ups. While these cards looked like funny wind-up toys, players were able to figure out something called the Wind-Up Loop that could destroy your opponent's entire hand before he even had a turn. note  And this wasn't even the best strategy the deck could do! Fortunately, with Zenmaity now limited, strategies using Wind-Ups are somewhat more respectable.
  • Inzektors were worse. (With these cards, the players who hated them wondered if Konami even bothered with playtesters them before release.) These Insect-Type monsters that resembled Super Sentai had another lethal loop strategy Involving Inzektor Dragonfly and Inzektor Hornet, which could not only destroy every one of your opponent's cards turn after turn, but continue to swarm the field in the process. Even worse, it was nearly impossible to defend against this strategy unless you could banish them from your opponent's Graveyard. (After both Hornet and Dragon were Limited, effectively ruining the Loop, Konami quickly started to put "once per turn" clauses on most new cards, meaning that the effect of a card could be used once per turn, even if you controlled two of them.)
  • The original one is Yata-Garasu. Despite only having 200 attack points, it possesses the ability to make your opponent skip their draw phase when it does damage. But its low attack makes it easy to destroy right? Wrong. It also possesses the spirit characteristic with means it returns to its owner's hand at the end phase. Of particular note is the combo with Chaos Emperor Dragon and Sangan in the old days. After triggering CED's effect while your Sangan is on the field, Sangan hits the graveyard and triggers its tutor effect, allowing you to retrieve Yata, and assuming you haven't used your normal summon for the turn yet, leaving you free to summon it and attack. Not only is your opponent unable to draw, but their hand was just emptied by the effect of Chaos Emperor Dragon, resulting in a guaranteed win. Such was the brokenness of the combo that Konami saw fit to ban BOTH, with Yata still banned.
  • Jinzo was one of the most devastating cards to ever be published around the time of its release (2000). Its effect of negating traps was borderline insane in a time when most decks needed to rely on permanent traps in order to successfully advance their own combo's and especially to counter devastating cards (such as Raigeki (with Magic Jammer) or Blue Eyes White Dragon (with Trap Hole)) of the opponent. The card also had some decent ATK (2400 to be exact) and only required one tribute to be summoned, which meant that it could easily dominate the field. The hatred towards it has however calmed down around 2008 when decks started to rely more on special summoning and cards such as "Stardust Dragon" could counter devastating cards without being rendered useless by Jinzo. Nowadays you can play easily 3 copies of it, but do not expect it to come in handy, except to negate the occasional "Mirror Force".
  • Decks primarily centered around Level 4 monsters that make Rank 4 Xyz monsters are often disliked. A large number of very powerful cards are Rank 4 Xyz monsters that only require two non-specific materials and, all together, they make an incredibly versatile toolbox that get around many decks or are staples in the same manner as Mystical Space Typhoon or Soul Charge. One example is Castel the Skyblaster Musketeer; once he's summoned, one face-up card your opponent controls goes back to the deck. ANY face-up card. Rank 4s vastly outnumber any one other Rank whose best cards are either too hard to summon or not as good as the multitude of options the Rank 4 toolbox has. Oh, and the hate just got Up to Eleven thanks to those cards in the next entries...
    • Elder Entity Norden. It has been abused like there's no tomorrow with Instant Fusion and can summon any Level 4 or lower monster from your graveyard upon Special Summon. Worse, unlike most other cards nowadays that are balanced the "only once per turn" restriction, this card does not have any Summoning restrictions and can be used multiple times per turn! (Several OT Ks and FT Ks can be achieved very easily with Norden. Here is an example. Note that the FTK is no longer possible as Instant Fusion and Blaze Fenix are limited in OCG. In TCG on the other hand...)
    • Tellarknight Ptolemaeus: At first glance its nothing special, a Rank 4 with low ATK but high DEF, except for one thing, it can ditch 3 mats to bring out a Rank 5 monster (Provided it isn't a Number), Constellar Pleiades or Outer Entity Azathoth? Just became a staple, Stellarknight Constellar Diamond? There are now two ways to get it out. Cyber Dragon Infinity? (Read its effect and see how absurd it is.) The most infamous combo with Ptolemaeus, summon this bad boy out, use its effect to summon Nova and then Summon Infinity immediately. And getting the mats for this effect is easy; not only can you use More than 2 monsters to summon it, but you can also attach a Stellarknight Monster to it as well every end phase. It also has a more Awesome but Impractical effect of skipping the opponent's turn if you got 7 materials on it.
    • What happens when you take a a clown that revives itself by and takes 1000 LP away afterwards and a knight with too many swords an an ability to revive himself if you take damage? The exact same result you would get from summoning Elder Entity Norden with Instant Fusion: a 1000 cost Rank 4 Engine. Except for one thing; you can do this every turn. That right, You can get out Ptolemaeus one turn, bring out another one the next and then repeat with other Rank 4 cards like Castel, Number 39: Utopia or Number 101: Silent Honor Ark, so long as you can get both monsters to the Graveyard, And you can combine this with cards like the Star Seraphs, Goblinberg or Tin Goldfish or even Norden himself to bring out monsters that need 3 mats or just add more to Ptolemaeus and immediately use its effect to Summon Bigger Fish.
  • The mobile phone version of the TCG, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, turned Relinquished from a gimmick used in casual Ritual decks into arguably the most powerful and dreaded card in the game as of the first KC Cup tournament. Just like Thousand-Eyes Restrict in Goat Control, not even the most powerful monsters are safe from its Ritual cousin's absorbing effect, which also bypasses most means of monster protection such as Trap cards. While it can't paralyze other monsters, it makes up for it with its ability to share any Battle Damage it receives with the opponent when equipped with a monster, meaning that even if it absorbs a weaker or face-down monster, it's a risk to attack lest a player suffer hefty damage in the process. Not even being a Ritual Monster, which is usually the kiss of death for a card's viability, can hinder it, since its effect easily makes up for the cost of summoning it and makes it easy to dominate the field. It can also take advantage of all the Ritual support cards released in the game, making it very consistent. In fact, the top decks in the Asia/Oceania and North/South America regions of the first KC Cup tournament were dedicated solely to getting it out and protecting it.
  • Zoodiacs are probably the most divisive monsters in the games history. It's designed to build up the power of it's XYZ monsters from the ATK from all of its XYZ materials, but the real threat was their neverending combos that can break out at least seven XYZ summons, Ratpeir which can recover a destroyed field from nothing, and Drident which has a quick effect destroying effect, all of which are accessible by throwing together a couple of cards into the deck. This led to them immediately taking over tournaments as soon as they dropped, so much so that almost every deck in the OCG and TCG at the time was either Zoodiacs, or a hybrid of Zoodiacs, causing many casual players to resent them and fear that one day ALL decks will have Zodiac cards in them. They also brought along the much reviled "one card Xyz Monster" mechanic from the ZEXAL and ARC-V animes, which many hoped would stay as far away from the game as possible. Adding fuel to the fire is that with the new Link Monster Master Rule in place limiting monsters summoned from the Extra Deck to one monster zone without dumping resources into summoning Link Monsters, many Extra Deck-reliant decks were crippled, whereas Zoodiacs found ways to get around those limitations, making them even more powerful and more commonplace. It was so bad, that many Japanese card shops refused to allow them in their tournaments out of protest. They finally stopped seeing as much play in September 2017, with their play makers Drident and Broadbull being banned in the TCG. Unfortunately they almost immediately got a successor in...
  • SPYRALs at their launch was a fun and functional if inconsistent deck that focused on knowing what was on top of your opponent's deck to maintain advantage. Enter their new shiny Link Monster SPYRAL Double Helix, which fixes all of the deck's problems a little too well. Double Helix is easy to break out with only two SPYRAL monsters required and is in an archetype with easy swarming, and it can special summon any SPYRAL monster from the deck such as Masterplan and Fixit for easy resource advantage, and Drone to rearrange the opponent's top cards of their deck to guarantee a correct guess and stop any top-deck comebacks. Throw in SPYRAL Resort that gives the deck overwhelming amounts of protection, and SPYRAL Sleeper who's card popping effects do not come at any cost with the above field spell in place, and you have Zoodiacs II to the groans of many players. This ended up with emergency action being taken with the November 2017 TCG banlist, which Limited Quik-Fix, and GEAR Drone, so while the deck is still powerful, it's no longer untouchable.
  • Hoo boy, Blaze Fenix the Burning Bombardment Bird. On its own, it's a completely unspectacular monster with materials that don't fit into any deck (who uses Machines and Pyros together?) and a reasonably strong burn effect that requires it to skip attacking. But that burn effect isn't once per turn, and it's high enough that with a full field, multiple activations can be a game-ender. Add in Fusion Gate for repeated fusings, Black Garden to fill up the field, Galaxy Tomahawk to generate a pile of Machine-type Tokens, and the fact that you can fuse those Tokens with a Blaze Fenix in play, and you have the high lord of FTK decks. Particularly bad is that he's led to multiple other cards getting limited or banned for their interactions with him, including Divine Wind of Mist Valley, Genex Ally Birdman, Ancient Fairy Dragon, and Elemental HERO Stratos, despite the fact that the playerbase generally agrees that simply Limiting Blaze Fenix (as it is in the OCG) or errataing it to be hard-once-per-turn would kill the FTK dead.
  • When Master Rule 4 showed up, many people forecasted the death of Extra Deck-focused archetypes, especially Pendulums. Those people were wrong, as the Pendulum Magicians happily showed. The deck was absurdly consistent, boasting more search options than ever, and the ease of summoning and reliance on controlling lots of cards inherent to Links meant that, in fact, Pendulums were actually better than before. And its ability to use the Extra Deck's other methods wasn't much worse, either, since it already relied on a small core of superstrong monsters. A single Pendulum Summon, especially with Heavymetalfoes Electrumite (a pitifully easy-to-bring-out monster that also functioned as a searcher and draw card) would give enough materials to make a few very extensive plays (which also meant that duels would be very long, then win the game. On top of that, the deck was still versatile enough to pull off slightly less consistent but still incredibly powerful builds, including copying an Independent Nightingale for 4000 damage on a 6800, or summoning Utopic ZEXAL with frightening ease. More than a few people joked on the irony of the deck being used by someone who was supposedly all about entertainment and fun in the anime. The deck got shredded by the May 2018 banlist, losing multiple big playmakers and both the above combos.
  • Handtraps don't get a lot of love from the playerbase, but they're mostly seen as necessary to control Power Creep. And then there's Ash Blossom and Joyous Spring. Her effect is that she can be discarded to stop an effect that searches from the deck, Special Summons from the deck, or sends from the deck to the Graveyard. In a game where speed and consistency are vital, that one missed search or summon can decide an entire game, and shut down slower decks which lack more than a few consistency options. And even without that, she's also a Tuner, giving her added versatility when she isn't denying your opponent their best cards. What's more, not only was she orginally a Secret Rare in the TCG, but despite being reprinted multiple times, she's still the most expensive card in any set she's in. Have fun!
    • For a more classic example, we have Honest. Unlike other stat-raising hand traps like Nekroz of Decisive Armor, this card doesn’t raise a monster’s attack by a set amount. No, it raises it by the attack of the monster it’s fighting. Basically, no matter what you just attacked your opponent’s light monster with, your monster is dying. Not to mention that Honest can return itself from the field to your hand if you use something to bring it from the GY to the field.
  • Firewall Dragon has ascended to becoming the most singularly loathed protagonist monster of all time among the card-game-playing fanbase. It has very generic requirements, making it feasible in pretty much any deck, usable stats, and two great effects. The first is a bounce effect that can allow for both getting rid of an opponent's problem cards and recycling your own cards, and the second allows you to summon a monster from your hand whenever a monster it points to is sent to the Graveyard. This makes it an absurdly versatile card, capable of starting combos, keeping combos going, and turning a duel around - and what's more, while the first effect has a use limitation on it, the second effect doesn't. This last detail makes the card far more powerful than it should be, allowing its effect to be potentially looped and go on forever. The card broke new ground by being the first protagonist ace monster to ever be limited to one, after it was discovered just how laughably broken three Firewalls could be, and even when limited to one, it's still become a deadly cog in the machine of multiple FTK decks. But what pushes it here is that the card is the ace monster of the protagonist of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, and survived many banlists while other cards involved in those FTK decks were banned or limited, meaning the fanbase saw it as surviving not because it's balanced, but because Konami wouldn't ban or errata Yusaku's ace. It was finally banned in the TCG in early December, becoming the first card of that stature to face the list.

    Low Tiers 
Yu-Gi-Oh! is not a game that has too many of these compared to high-tier scrappies, as usually a deck that is popular despite clearly sucking gets supporting cards later on in its lifespan to become somewhat viable. Some Examples...  Even so, some cards and decks are so bad that they can never become good or fun to play without gaining supporting cards that would end up attaining banned status:
  • Sparks, one of the first burn cards ever released, did 200 damage. Even as a card released in the first set ever, this was pathetic, as players start with 8000 LP. It would take three Sparks to deal the damage of an attack from the weakest monsters in that set. Worse for Sparks, in an early example of Power Creep, the following sets released multiple cards that were strictly better; Raimei did 300 damage, Hinotama 500, Final Flame 600, and Ookazi 800. To add insult to injury, when the sets were combined for international release, Sparks found itself packed with its own bigger brothers, meaning it was literally outclassed the day it was released. Winning a duel with Sparks is actually a special challenge in some games.
  • Batteryman C is an earlier Batteryman monster unanimously seen as campfire fodder by the community. You would think that it should support its fellow Batteryman cards, but its ATK and DEF buff effect only works on Machine-type monsters, while all Batteryman monsters are Thunder-type. Its level of two makes it useless for Synchro and XYZ summoning with other Batteryman, and it is not even considered for Machine-focused decks due to its 0 ATK value, meaning the opponent can easily attack it for game with a high ATK monster. Rubbing salt on the wound is that the buffs from multiple Batteryman C's don't stack, so three on the field only gives out 1500 ATK, not 4500 ATK which may have made playing them worth the effort. The only days in the sun it gets are when players misread which monsters get the attack boost, and even then, Batterymen have much, much better ways to boost their ATK.
  • The Petit Moth/Cocoon of Evolution line of cards they can summon were very notorious for not being worth the effort. They include:
    • The very first case of this trope was Larvae Moth, in the second set released internationally. Larvae Moth is pretty hard to play - you have to have an extremely weak Petit Moth out, then use Cocoon of Evolution on it (increasing its defensive stats from awful to just mediocre), wait exactly two turns, and tribute both Petit Moth and Cocoon Of Evolution on it. The end result is... 500 ATK, 400 DEF. Yes, a card that's considerably harder to summon than a normal Level 7+ monster, and the stats of a Level 1. This summoning requirement also means that Larvae Moth is an Effect Monster, so it doesn't get Normal Monster support (the sole redeeming factor for most Joke Character cards). It's also Larvae Moth's only effect. It's the only card where the wiki's "Tips" section actively suggests discarding it for a cost. Even today, it's considered one of the worst cards ever made.
    • The next card they could summon is Great Moth, which has 2600 attack, passable, but not great for a level 8 at the time, but requires waiting four of your turns to summon. Even in the era, you might as well set Cocoon of Evolution and just tribute the duo for Blue Eyes White Dragon if you can keep them alive for that long.
    • Lastly, there is the other famous member of the line, Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth. With a name like that, you'd expect it to be powerful, and it does have an impressive 3500 Attack. The problem? You have to wait six of your turns just to summon it. Is it any wonder that some video games have special rewards for pulling it off? This has been mitigated a tiny bit by Cocoon of Ultra Evolution, which summons an Insect while ignoring summoning conditions, meaning that PUGM is now slightly usable as the biggest beatstick summonable by its effect. Even then, though, you're better off with Metamorphosed Insect Queen.
  • Remember Jinzo? Well, he has an upgraded form in Jinzo - Lord. And it sucks. While Jinzo can be Summoned with one tribute and no other conditions, Jinzo-Lord can only be Summoned by sending a Jinzo to the Graveyard from the field. That means that if you don't have a Jinzo, he's useless. Well, if he's got such a tricky Summon condition, he surely has a massive ATK boost of... 2400 to 2600, so 200 points. (For comparison, one of the most basic Equip Spells in the game gives a boost of 1000.) Okay, so in that case, he must have a truly game-winning effect, right? Wrong. Lord has two effects. The first is exactly the same as the standard Jinzo. The second is the ability to destroy all face-up Trap cards and deal 300 damage for each one. Unless your opponent is weird, you'd be lucky if they have more than one or two face-up Trap cards on the field, and even if they did have a full field of Traps, they'd all be useless because of Jinzo's effect and there would be no point in destroying them. Sure, you deal some damage in the process of destroying them, but a maximum of 1500 damage to your opponent's life points isn't exactly a game breaker and there are easier ways to inflict direct damage. Plus, you're giving your opponent more space to use Spells, which is counterproductive. So he's essentially identical to the standard Jinzo, only with a miniscule power boost who can't even use Amplifier so you can use your own traps... he's actually inferior. The only possible use for Lord is to sub in for Jinzo - Jacker or a Jinzo that's about to die through Jinzo - Returner's effect, which is a pretty dang limited set of circumstances for what's supposed to be an ace card.
  • Yugi's deck is pretty much considered this. It is shown as being pretty successful in the anime but is maligned within the competitive community for being mostly severely outdated cards thrown together in a blender without regard for consistency or structure of any kind. The stereotype of its users as suffering majorly from the Nostalgia Filter or refusing to play against any deck released after 2005 certainly hasn't helped its reputation. That said, the release of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions has improved the deck's standing quite a bit, with the new support for the deck's individual archetypes like Dark Magicians, Gadgets, Black Luster/Gaia Knights, Buster Bladers, and Magnet Warriors making them at worst playable - though trying to combine them will still usually get you laughed at.
  • The Neo-Spacians, introduced in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, were an early experiment in Extra Deck summoning outside of standard Fusion. They could summon their Fusion monsters without the use of Polymerization, instead being based on "Contact Fusion" that merely required you to return the relevant monsters to your deck. Unfortunately, Konami apparently felt so tentative with this strategy that they decided to add balancing factors... and then they kept adding them until the deck was unusable. The Neo-Spacians themselves had terrible stats and generally unimpressive effects, and the only monster they could fuse with was Elemental HERO Neos, a high-cost monster with low stats for its level and no effects. Getting both Neos and a Neo-Spacian on the field and keeping them alive for a Contact Fusion was surprisingly risky, and a lot slower than regular Fusion. You'd expect the Neos fusions to be game-winners to make up for all this effort, but instead, they not only possessed similarly lackluster stats and effects, but unless you had a specific (and similarly unimpressive) Field Spell out, they returned to the Extra Deck at the end of your turn and left you with nothing, meaning that accomplishing the goal of the Deck usually left you with spent resources and an empty field. The deck had almost no synergy with standard Elemental HERO builds despite Neos's presence, it had multiple sub-archetypes such as NEX and Chrysalis monsters that did nothing to help it, and being used by protagonist Judai Yuki meant it kept getting cards released to the end of GX's lifespan, none of which actually fixed the deck's massive issues. The nails in its coffin came when Konami released the second Contact Fusion-based archetype, Gladiator Beasts, which handily fixed every problem that Neo-Spacians had and proceeded to become one of the most fun and effective decks of its time, showing just how much potential the Neo-Spacians could have had if they were designed properly. The Neo-Spacians were so hated that they've even colored appraisals of their user, Judai Yuki, with detractors naming the deck as a reason for him being "the worst protagonist", and fans of the character cursing the deck for making the cards of their favorite character nearly impossible to use. Thankfully, Savage Strike's support has led to the deck being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, with cards like Neo Space Connector, Contact Gate, Neos Fusion, and Cosmo Neos finally making the deck viable, even in competitive play.
  • Unlike the Neo-Spacians, fellow GX main-character archetype Vehicroids are considered similarly bad, but are mostly just forgotten (likely due to their weaker designs and less popular user). Where Neo-Spacians have an intriguing concept with colossal drawbacks, Vehicroids are largely remembered for having no concept whatsoever, with a great variety of effects, but no real focus or unifying strategy. The majority of their monsters are passable at best for their time period, but very few have effects that synergize with each other. Only a few saw any kind of play outside of the most casual decks, and though they had a few powerful cards, they had almost no way to actually make use of them. The biggest indicator of how useless the archetype was would probably be the later Speedroid cards, which, despite being fully able to take part in Vehicroid support thanks to their shared name, almost entirely shunned them in favor of their own support because the Vehicroids were just that pathetic. They were given a colossal balance buff in the Legendary Duelists pack, with several cards with massively bloated texts being released to try to finally make them a functional archetype; general consensus is that the resulting archetype is barely playable, especially given that it still requires you to run the now horribly outdated originals, but it's at least objectively better than whatever it was before.
  • Cyberdarks are another GX archetype that got the shaft upon their release. Their gimmick is equipping Level Three or lower Dragon type monsters from the Graveyard to boost their ATK by the Dragon's ATK points and use them as protection from battle destruction. The problems begin with the fact that they are all Machine-type, forcing a player building a Cyberdark deck to awkwardly juggle between two types of monsters which makes for an inconsistent mess of a deck that has next-to-no synergy between cards. Example  It doesn't help that very few Level Three Dragons even existed at the time of their release, Note  and that the main deck Cyberdark monsters all have the laughable ATK points of 800 without equips along with having battle effects that are completely forgettable. Topping off the train wreck is that their Extra Deck boss monster Cyberdark Dragon, while easy to Fusion Summon with Cyberdark Impact, has a measly 1000 ATK points without equping a Dragon (at least it is of any level), and has no protection outside of battle, meaning that something as simple as Dark Hole, ran in nearly every deck/sidedeck, can make all the effort put into Fusion Summoning it and powering it up go down the drain with no chance of recovery. The end result is a Glass Cannon deck that needs a meadow's worth of four-leaved clovers to fire, and needs the opponent to tip over a diner's supply of salt shakers to actually land a hit. After over a decade, Cyberdarks finally got some TLC in the form of Legacy support with the introduction of Cyberdark Cannon and Cyberdark Claw which are Level Three Dragon-type monsters with versatile Graveyard-dumping effects and card draw/searching, along with Cyberdarkness Dragon, a new boss monster that can equip both Dragon and Machine monsters and can negate and destroy any card by dumping any equipped card. While not enough to make them competitive, as you still need to run the outdated original cards, the archetype stopped being a laughing stock and became playable with the new support that fixed many of the archetype's problems.
  • Digital Bugs are notoriously regarded, being focused on spamming unimpressive Rank 3 Xyz monsters with weak position-switching abilities, then changing them out by detaching the materials that were the only thing making those monsters tolerable for higher-Ranked monsters with abilities that aren't much better. They're limited to summoning only Insect-type Xyz, castrating their flexibility, and their power output is pathetic. It's even worse because their artwork and theming is interesting (computer bugs personified as actual electronic insect beings), but the deck in no way lives up to it.
  • Allies of Justice were created for the purpose of acknowledging the lore of the Duel Terminal, where the primary Arc Villain at the time was the Light-type and Flip Effect-focused Worms. To that end, the Allies were an entire archetype of monsters designed to counter Light-types or facedown monsters. As one can imagine, this made them a victim of Crippling Overspecialization right off the bat, but even as counter cards, the Allies were wholly unimpressive. Most of the time, they possessed effects that would have been barely okay if they affected all monsters, their stats were consistently miserable, and their focus on counterplay left them absent of any way to support each other. A small handful saw play, such as Catastor, which could affect attributes besides Light, and Cycle Reader, Decisive Armor, and Quarantine, which managed to find limited use as Side Deck cards against Light decks, but the Allies of Justice as a whole were consigned to the bin. Even against Worms, they weren't considered particularly dangerous, since Worms had some okay power output through W Nebula Meteorite and ways to swarm the field or search their monsters, which the Allies had none of.
  • The Guardians, one of the very first archetypes ever introduced, is also widely considered one of the worst as well. They are defined by being impossible to summon, period, without having a specific (and decent to mediocre) Equip card on the field. As Equip cards can't be played by themselves, this makes Guardians impossible to use by themselves. And even once they had been summoned, most of the Guardians were nothing special, and one of them (Elma) became outright unusable after their Equip spell was banned for reasons that had nothing to do with the archetype. The only Guardians to be even mildly well-regarded are Eatos and Dreadscythe, who were released years later and were clearly designed to be as independent as possible from the rest (including having the summon restriction removed). Bizarrely, the anime saw fit to make Guardian-user Rafael the first character to fairly break Yami Yugi's winning streak.
  • What happens when you staple together coin flip effects and an all-risk-small-reward factor onto an archetype? You get the Arcana Force, which are all based on doing coin-flips to gain a beneficial effect when landing heads, and dish out a detrimental effect onto their player when landing tails. Needless to say, playing the deck is a Luck-Based Mission in which heads results yield an underpowered and slow deck with underwhelming monster effects, and tails results quickly degrade into an automatic loss. While they do have powerful beatsticks in the EX monsters, they require three tributes to summon, when most of the time Arcana Force is lucky just to have one monster survive the opponent's turn. The only card that saw some play was Arcana Force XXI - The World for its Extra Turn-lock down effect, but it was used in faster decks that went as far away as possible from the monster's lineage. The real nail in the coffin with the Arcana Force archetype is simply the chance isn't worth taking. In Yu-Gi-Oh, for players to take the chance with effects, the benefits had to be worth the risk; but the Arcana Force monsters had effects that barely benefited the player at best or severely crippled the player at worst.
  • Malefics introduced in Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time are a set of corrupted fan-favorite dragons that may have some of the most self-lobotomizing effects in the entire game. Similar to the Guardians, they can't be summoned at all unless the player banishes their non-Malefic counterpart card from their hand or deck, which makes summoning the ones based on Main Deck monsters a complete pain, as the main deck monster in question is almost always a dead draw and turns its own Malefic into a dead draw if it's put out of reach somehow (the Extra Deck Malefics at least don't have this issue). When brought out, all the player gets is a beater that has no beneficial effects, but plenty of detrimental ones including the prevention of their other monsters from attacking, locking out the summoning of other Malefic monsters, and is destroyed if there is no field spell. While Malefic Stardust Dragon saw some play in competitive Gravekeeper decks (whose heart and soul is their field spell Necrovalley) thanks to its field spell protection effect and Malefic Cyber End Dragon sometimes gets run as an easy 4000 ATK beatstick in decks that lack such an option, the Malefics' own field spell Malefic World is a joke, only providing a randomized search effect in place of the draw step. It's also required for summoning their Synchro boss Monster that has a fantastic Synchro monster recycling effect, but it's automatically destroyed without Malefic World. Despite having a unique tuner that uses monsters from the hand for a Synchro Summon, a pure Malefic deck is completely unreliable with their laundry list of restrictions. The most you'll ever see them used today is as high-Rank Xyz fodder, and even then, there are better options.
  • While Mermails as whole are far from this, the TCG exclusive Mermail Abyssbalaen, also known by the not-so affectionate nickname of “Fail Whale”, definitely is. Like the other level 7 Mermails, it can be special summoned from the hand by discarding cards. However, not only does it have a steeper cost than any other of them, it's also the strictest, requiring you discard 4 "Mermail" cards. This makes it ridiculously hard and/or rare to have enough to discard for this, and it also means no discarding any Atlanteans like they usually like doing for summoning monsters and there are only two Mermails with effects worth discarding them for summons in the first place. And what do you get for this? A 500 attack boost to being a 3000 attack monster and the ability to target and destroy cards equal to the number of Mermails in the grave, meaning at least 4, but most Mermail decks already run certain Atlantean cards for this purpose, meaning the archetype wasn't exactly in dire need of a mass destruction card. Lastly, its tribute a water monster for a bonus effect, the last possible redeeming factor it could possibly have, is to destroy a defense position monster it battles at the start of the damage step, which is underwhelming compared to getting a second attack or making the opponent discard. In conclusion, a steep and strict summoning cost and barely of any use effects mean that no sane Mermail player will ever be caught running it.
  • Some mechanics take time to be good, but Geminis are particularly long-suffering. Their thing is that when Summoned or in the Graveyard, they're treated as Normal Monsters, and then you can burn a Normal Summon to turn them into Effect Monsters. In theory? A versatile set of cards that can take advantage of Normal Monster support while also boasting abnormally powerful effects. In practice? Slow, inefficient, and dead in the water. Being unable to be treated as Normals in the hand or deck limits the Normal support that can help them, since many of the best Normal cards are searchers or require one in the hand. Most of the initial Gemini Monsters had middling base stats so they'd be overshadowed even by Normal Monsters of their time, and the effects they gain for spending an additional Normal Summon were too weak to be worth the investment. On top of that, the mechanic hates Power Creep, since shorter Duels mean that its precious Normal Summons become even more of an opportunity cost. Only a handful of Geminis have ever seen competitive play, and only one notable deck (Gigavise) actually made much use of the mechanic. The only recent decks to involve Geminis are Red-Eyes (which still often sticks to vanillas) and Chemicritters (which have a Field Spell that seems designed to solve all possible Gemini problems), and both are generally seen as tolerable at best.
  • In what might be one of the meanest cases of Power Creep in the modern game, Dustons. They were designed as a Lethal Joke Character deck, similar to the older Ojamas, that would fill up the opponent's field with useless monsters to lock them down. Duston monsters had detrimental effects, bad stats, and couldn't be used for Tributes, Synchros, Fusions, or Xyz, and they could be summoned easily to the opponent's field en masse, so on paper the deck worked, and though far from meta, it could be a nasty surprise if your opponent got off House Duston and then Goblin King or Starduston. But then Link Summoning became a thing, and filling up your field with lots of monsters became such a fundamental strategy that Scapegoat came back into fashion - and Dustons had no protection from being used as Link material, when Links were now being run basically everywhere. Activating House Duston's effect and tossing four Dustons on the opponents field went from a real detriment to the card game equivalent of handing your opponent a loaded gun.

    Both 
  • As an archetype, Ice Barriers are widely seen as mediocre on their best day, consisting mostly of lackluster stun and draw cards and possessing a fragile and slow playstyle. The Ice Barrier Synchros, on the other hand, are universally regarded as among the most overpowered in the game, with three of the four having spent time on the banned or limited list. Brioniac's multi-card bouncing at minimal cost (to the point that it had to get an Obvious Rule Patch), Dewloren's proficiency at infinite loops, Trishula's non-targeting banishment of all parts of the opponent's strategy... even Gungnir, the only non-broken one, can blow up two cards per turn. Ironically, Ice Barriers are considered among the worst decks to try summoning their own ace monsters in, being too slow and lacking the swarming capability to pull it off.
  • Similar to Magic, entire decks exist that serve only to win before the opponent even gets a turn off by repeatedly using drawing cards to draw their entire deck. Exodia turned from a fan favorite to a Scrappy in competitive eyes because of this deck (and its players are seen more like the generic Rare Hunter rather than Yugi), which either wins on the first turn or auto-loses for having no back-up plan. In Traditional Format, where nothing is banned, it's even more of a Scrappy since Makyura the Destructor's ability to play Trap cards from the hand allows for far more consistency and (Pre-errata) Exchange of the Spirit to deplete the opponent's entire deck before they can even draw. That being said, it's not completely universal; Legendary Exodia Incarnate/Obliterate decks, for instance, are generally well-liked for requiring their user to actually play the game and being fairly quirky and fun in their own right.
    • Any card that focuses on a victory condition not based on damage will fall into this. Final Countdown is a particular case - it's actually not a very strong card, but its nature (win the Duel twenty turns after it's been played) means that a Duel against a Final Countdown player inevitably consists of the Final Countdown player using Swift Scarecrow or Threatening Roar for twenty turns. Self-Destruct Button is even more disliked for being very easy to trigger if you've got the right cards, and for the fact that it ends the Duel in a draw, and draw Duels are tricky to resolve in a tournament. The January 2014 banlist actually restricted Final Countdown and banned SDB, despite the fact that neither were used much, strictly because nobody liked them.
  • Evilswarms: At first glance, they're little more than a simple rank 4 spam deck. However, their other gimmick is to combat level 5 or higher monsters, and none do this job better than their boss monster, Evilswarm Ophion. Its main effect is simple, level 5 or higher monsters cannot be special summoned if it has XYZ material and also has an effect to search out an Infestation spell or trap, usually Infestation Pandemic, which makes all your "lswarm" monsters immune to spells and traps for a turn, making it even harder to kill. Ophion's powerful stun effect and especially high 2550 attack stat and dark attribute making it an excellent target for Eradicator Epidemic Virus meant that Evilswarms were one of the only other decks at the time able to combat Spellbooks/Prophecies and Dragon Rulers in their prime, and Ophion was deemed enough of a problem in the OCG to get limited for a while. Despite this, the big problem the deck suffers from, is that it is entirely reliant on the match-up, it's either an auto-win against a deck vulnerable to Ophion's effect and unable to draw their select few, if any, outs, or it struggles or gets stomped against a deck that couldn't care less about said stun effect.
  • Psy-Frames sit in a similar category. It's not a very powerful archetype (though Omega tends to get abused in Synchro-focused decks), but it's notorious for being absolutely no fun to play against, because almost all of its monsters are "hand traps" - monsters that activate in the hand in response to something the opponent does. Since you can't see when your opponent has a hand trap or how many they have, and you can't preemptively get rid of them easily, this results in the deck having the ability to counter your plays at will while you can't counter back easily. Since the handtraps can only be used with an empty field, it also focuses on clearing its own field by banishing its cards during the opponent's turn (and taking one of the opponent's cards with them), making it hard to destroy them. This is "balanced" by the deck's offensive capability being roundly awful, but this just means on top of being able to counter all your plays and hide all its monsters out of your reach, the Psy-Frame player can't finish the job, so the duel's just going to drag out until you can finally deplete the Psy-Frame player's supply of handtraps.
  • By the same token, Ghostricks. Adorable Creepy Cute artwork, the offensive presence of a dying hamster, and endless, endless stall. Pretty much every card commonly played in the deck allows for some form of reducing damage or a way to add more cards that reduce damage, and a good chunk, like Psy-Frames, activate in the hand. While it lacks the frustrating negation effects of Psy-Frames, it more than makes up for it in its ability to drag Duels out. Even worse, while the deck has a number of different cards based on alternate win conditions (for instance, Skeleton's milling or Angel of Mischief's instant win), both those win conditions are really, really slow; Skeleton can only mill a maximum of five cards per turn (and that's assuming a full field), and Angel of Mischief (assuming it's summoned as intended) requires at least six turns. It's often joked that the actual win condition of Ghostricks is to make the opponent quit, and "Ghostrick FTK" is to summon one Ghostrick on your first turn, at which the opponent leaves rather than waste their life pounding slowly through your defenses.
  • Majespecters were in this boat. The deck's theme is around Pendulum WIND Spellcasters who each 1: with the exception of their boss monster, are level 3 or 4 monsters that have an effect to search a card of the archetype upon summon. and 2: cannot be targeted or destroyed by the opponent's card effects. Their spells and traps revolve around tributing them for a powerful effect that are often dispruptive to the opponent. With a good hand and build, you would pendulum summon them en mass, search for spells and traps, prevent the opponent's plays with said cards, and then pendulum summon them all back, chipping at the opponent's life points in the process with very few outs due to their aforementioned invulnerability. The problems the archetype has, however, is that it has difficulty dealing with big monsters with comparable immunity effects. It's also one of the decks most adversely affected by Master Rule 4note , crippling the deck's play-style. Meanwhile, their boss monster ironically went on to be a staple in every other pendulum deck that can use it, due to its powerful bounce effect and archetypal invulnerability, earning it a spot on the limited and then the forbidden list.
  • The Performapals have a long history with this trope, starting out the era on the weakest tier of this trope then skyrocketing to the highest tier imaginable. When they first debuted, they had underwhelming effects, lackluster stats, and awkward Pendulum scales that made performing the very mechanic they were based around difficult to do. They were repeatedly mocked throughout the era and were the butt of many jokes. However, then a certain Sorcerer came into being, along with the Performages, and the hybrid deck known as Em EMnote  was born, having deceptively easy search power and ability to Rank 4 spam quickly, a deck tactic that was already reviled thanks to little skill needed to play. However, it didn't stop there. Then came the Dracoslayers, which added support for their main weakness of destroying monsters in the Pendulum zones and added even more search power. When played right, a deck like this can easily lock out the opponent from even playing the game, and immediately dominated the tournaments. It got so bad that after not long in the TCG, Konami introduced an emergency event banlist that not only included the Performage hits from the OCG, but also hit the Performapal and Dracoslayer engines. Now only a select few are used in Odd-Eyes and Pendulum Magicians as supporting cards.
  • Subterrors are disliked in the community for being directionless and mediocre without their field spell, The Hidden City which is the heart and soul of the deck but is unsearchable by its own archetype, and for being aggravating to deal with when they do get their support out. Their main problem is that they need to expend far too much in the way of resources to summon their monsters, but those monsters are too slow and don't really pay off for the work without their field spell. They also have many mechanics that don't go anywhere; lots of Graveyard-dumping but few revival cards or Graveyard effects, a Link Monster that they have a hard time even summoning and that does nothing for them, a focus on control that seems to assume the Subterrors will be flipping themselves facedown a lot more often than they can, and a large number of search options but nothing to search out Hidden City and Final Battle, the cards that make them functional and very hard to play around. But with the help of a certain pair of dragons the deck can search out the field spell to generate a board full of beefy monsters that can pull all sorts of disruptions during the opponent's turn. Because of the deck's focus on the lost art of face down monsters, it is nigh impossible to side cards against a successful Subterror deck outside of Noblemen of Crossout, but it needs to use an unreliable card combo to actually pull its strategy together, leaving a deck that's easy pickings on its off days, and overpowered when the parts manage to click together. Unfortunately, it seems things have gone From Bad to Worse with the banning of Ancient Fairy Dragon.
  • Trickstars by their gameplay focus on incremental burn damage, play disruption, and swarming fall into both ends of the spectrum depending on what they're fighting. Against Defend-the-Castle decks it's all over, as Trickstars played by themselves have no outs to boss monsters such as Master Peace, and have to use Eater of Millions and Borreload Dragon to get around them, both are unreliable to breakout and waste cards in the Extra Deck toolbox. However, they trash combo-oriented decks, as if there are enough Trickstars out, the opponent cannot play without burning themselves to a crisp. It is also annoyingly frequent for them to end up losing a vital combo piece to the dreaded Trickstar Reincarnation which banishes and replaces all cards in the opponents hand and burns the opponent for more damage. The deck also has a few degenerate combos involving Lilybell and Firewall Dragonnote , and the above-mentioned Reincarnation and Droll & Lockbird which leaves the opponent with no hand; while they rarely happen, they guarantee victory and feel abysmal to lose to. For a while, Trickstars as a whole were in a competitive limbo, in which dozens of Trickstar players invade tournaments, but they hardly top in them, until Sky Strikers rolled out and gave Trickstars the tools they lacked. Even then, pure Trickstars induce either white hot rage or easy wins depending on the opposing deck and opening hands.

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