Yu-Gi-Oh! 10 Most Powerful Decks In The Game's History, Ranked
Yu-Gi-Oh! 10 Most Powerful Decks In The Game's History, Ranked
The game of Yu-Gi-Oh has had many different metas, decks, and cards that have shaped the game's history. The game is over twenty years old and shows no signs of stopping. As such, many different decks have risen above the rest to leave their marks on Yu-Gi-Oh history.
There have been many playstyles and archetypes through the years, and some were by far the strongest deck in their format. This list will be ranking the best decks based on their peak in their respective format, rather than how they would all fare in the current metagame. From first-turn kills to completely locking your opponent out of the game, these decks are the best that Yu-Gi-Oh has ever seen.
The winning deck from the 2007 "World Championship" "Monarchs" was when Yu-Gi-Oh started to make the shift from a mix-mash of cards to focusing on monsters apart of archetypes (meaning they share a theme as well as a naming convention). "Monarchs" were all about tribute summoning which would then allow them to use their powerful effects when they were summoned. "Monarch" decks utilized cards that could special summon themselves, such as "Treeborn Frog" and "Cyber Dragon" to then use their normal summon for the tribute of a "Monarch" card. It was one of the first archetypes in all of Yu-Gi-Oh, and for good reason. It was the strongest deck at the time and remains one of the most powerful decks for its meta.
The Duelist Alliance set of Yu-Gi-Oh was a game-changer in 2014, and "Shaddoll" decks were at the forefront. The deck had access to two of the most powerful "fusion" cards in the game in the way of "Shaddoll Fusion" and "Super Polymerization." "Shaddoll Fusion" allows its user to use materials from the deck if the opponent had a monster special summoned from the "Extra Deck" (which is very common). "Super Polymerization" fuses from either side of the field, and no card in the game can react to it. "El Shaddoll Construct" and "El Shaddoll Winda" are both incredibly powerful "Fusion" monsters, both of which can be easily made. "Shaddoll" still sees play even to this day, with recent support in the "Shaddoll Showdown" structure deck with the "Invoked" engine.
8. Frog FTK
"Frog FTK" was one of the most consistent FTKs in all of Yu-Gi-Oh. An FTK (first turn kill) is a deck that defeats the opponent before they have a chance to play (hence the name). "Substitoad" and "Ronintoadin" made it incredibly easy to loop "Frog" cards to get them onto the field. Once there, cards like "Mass Driver" were used to do "Burn" damage to your opponent's "Life Points" until they had no more.
"Hand Traps" weren't quite in the game either, making the FTK near impossible to stop. While "Frogs" themselves still see some play with "Paleozoic" cards, the FTK version would be taken out of the game with the banning of "Substitoad" and "Mass Driver."
"Nekroz" is without a doubt the most powerful "Ritual" deck in all of Yu-Gi-Oh, and dominated the early 2015 metagame. Unlike many "Ritual" cards before it, "Nekroz" had effects that could be activated by discarding them to search for other key pieces to the strategy while still being amazing cards if they were ritual summoned. They also had "Shurit, Strategist Of The Nekroz," which could be used for the entire material needed for a ritual summon as well as add a "Warrior" type "Nekroz" card to the hand when used this way. It also made use of the incredibly powerful "Djinn Releaser Of Rituals" which if used for a ritual summon, the opponent could not special summon monsters as long as the monster ritual summoned with "Djinn" was on the field.
6. Yata Lock
"Yata Lock" was one of the earliest decks in the game and is also directly responsible for the introduction of the Yu-Gi-Oh banlist (before cards were only limited). It was focused around "Yata-Garasu" and "Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy Of The End." The "Yata Lock" was obtained by having "Chaos Emperor Dragon" and either "Sangan" or "Witch Of The Black Forest" on the field. "Chaos Emperor Dragon" would activate its effect, which sends all cards on the field and both players' hands to the graveyard. This would trigger the floating effects "Sangan" or "Witch Of The Black Forst" to add "Yata-Garasu" to the hand. The player would then attack directly with "Yata-Garasu," forcing the opponent to skip their next "Draw Phase." This meant that the victim of the "Yata Lock" would be unable to draw and have no cards in their hand to play with. "Yata-Garasu" would continue being summoned and attacking to keep the lock going. These lead to "Yata-Garasu" being banned and still is to this day.
When "Spyral" first came into the game at the end of the "Xyz Era," they were far from anything special. However, when the "Link Era" began "Spyral" would become by far the best deck in the format thanks to their powerful "Link" monster "Double Helix."
The deck was capable of setting up incredibly powerful boards with cards that could easily loop their effects. "Spyral" also had a boss monster "Spyral Sleeper" which if equipped with "Last Resort," can destroy two cards on your opponent's field during either player's turn. If "Spyral Resort" is also on the field, both "Sleeper" and "Last Resort" couldn't be targeted, as "Spyral Resort" prevents targetting to any "Spyral" card that isn't "Resort."
"TeleDAD" is a deck based around the cards "Emergency Teleport" and "Dark Armed Dragon." The deck used a "Hero" engine with cards like "Elemental Hero Stratos" and "Destiny Hero Malicious" for "Extra Deck" monsters while "Emergency Teleport" summoned "Psychic" type tuners such as "Krebons." Doing all of this would stack "Dark" attribute monsters into the graveyard to meet "Dark Armed Dragon's" summoning condition of having exactly 3 "Dark" monsters in the graveyard. This effect was not once per turn, meaning if you had 3 "Dark Armed Dragons" in your hand you can summon all 3. "Dark Armed Dragon" also could banish "Dark" monsters after it was summoned to destroy cards on the field.
"Zoodiac" is a series of monsters with an interesting gimmick where any "Zoodiac" monster could be used as the entire material for an Xyz summon of any "Zoodiac Xyz Monster." Being able to skip an entire step in the Xyz summoning process was begging to be broken. "Zoodiac Ratpier" could special summon other copies of itself from the deck if attached to an "Xyz" monster which could then be used to Xyz summon into more "Zoodiac" cards. "Zoodiac Barrage" could also be used to special summon any "Zoodiac" monster from the deck. "Zoodiac Broadbull" searches out any "Beast-Warrior" monster in the game (that can be normal summoned). "Zoodiac Drident" can destroy any card on the field during either player's turn, proving to be much too powerful for the game to handle. Currently, "Broadbull" is banned, with "Drident," "Barrage," and "Ratpier" all limited.
"Dragon Rulers" were by far the best deck in its prime, with only "Spellbooks" being able to stand a chance against them. The deck was insanely powerful, with "Dragon Ruler" cards being very generic and incredibly easy to recycle on top of being able to build a ton of card advantage.
All of the "Dragon Rulers" had "baby" versions of themselves that could special summon the adult "Dragon Rulers" from the deck to easily start flooding the field. They were all level 7, and able to go into powerful "Xyz" monsters as well as other "Synchro" monsters level 8 and up. All of the "Dragon Rulers" are currently banned, with only the "Wind" type "Tempest" being limited.
"PePe" is short for "Performapal Performage" which was a series of "Pendulum" monsters. So many cards in the "PePe" deck were able to be searched out thanks to cards like "Performapal Monkeyboard" and "Performapal Skullcrobat Joker." The deck was able to flood the field with level 4 monsters to go into all sorts of "Xyz" monsters, and even rank-up into "Cyber Dragon Infinity" with "Tellarknight Ptolemaeus" as a starting point. "PePe" was so good, an emergency banlist had to be made to keep the meta fun and healthy and six different cards in the deck would be hit by it. "PePe" has gone down in Yu-Gi-Oh as the best "Pendulum" deck in the game's history.