Yu-Gi-Oh! The 10 Best Backrow Removal Cards In The Game's History, Ranked
In Yu-Gi-Oh!, backrow is the term used for all Spell and Trap cards on the field. They make up two of the three major card types in the Main Deck and are an important part of the game. They're more vulnerable compared to Monsters, as backrow has a lot of counters for them.
Since Set backrow is generally meant to disrupt your plays on your turn, cards that destroy them are incredibly useful. Practically every deck in the game runs some form of backrow removal, be it a Monster, Spell, or Trap card. Some of these are so good that they've even been banned.
While nothing special in the modern game, when it was released, Mobius The Frost Monarch was one of the best ways to destroy backrow. When it is Tribute Summoned, Mobius The Frost Monarch can target two Spell and/or Trap cards on the field and destroy them.
In addition to the solid effect, it also has a high Attack stat to make it difficult to destroy by battle. The main reason it doesn't see much play anymore is due to Tribute Summoning generally being too slow. However, it's still a big part of Yu-Gi-Oh! history for how impactful it was in the early days.
Another card that has fallen out of favor with power creep, but during its prime Breaker The Magical Warrior was the premiere backrow removal on a Monster. When Normal Summoned, it would gain a counter that granted it 300 Attack. The counter could then be removed to destroy a Spell or Trap card.
It was a Level Four Monster, meaning it was easily Normal Summoned, and at the time, 1900 Attack was amazing — its ability to destroy backrow was icing on the cake. Breaker The Magical Warrior was so good back in the day it even had to be banned and limited for years.
Mystical Space Typhoon was the original backrow removal. It's a Quick-Play Spell card, meaning that it could be used on either player's turn. Its effect is simple, allowing you to target a Spell or Trap card on the field and destroy it.
While not too big of a card anymore as there are better versions of it, in its prime Mystical Space Typhoon was played so much that it spent nearly five years being limited to one copy per deck. It eventually became fully unrestricted in 2011, but it made its mark on Yu-Gi-Oh! history as the most well-known backrow removal in the game.
The premiere card in Yu-Gi-Oh!'s sister game Duel Links, Cosmic Cyclone is also fantastic in the TCG. At the cost of 1000 Life Points, you can target and Banish a Spell or Trap card on the field.
What sets Cosmic Cyclone apart from other backrow removal is the fact it Banishes instead of just destroys. Most of the time, backrow has no use while Banished. Many modern Spell and Trap cards have effects while in the Graveyard as well, making Cosmic Cyclone good since it prevents these effects from being able to be activated.
Knightmare Phoenix is one of the most played Link Monsters of all time, as practically every deck has a copy of it in their Extra Deck. It's a simple Monster with an effect that lets you discard a card in order to destroy a Spell or Trap card on the field when Link Summoned.
Thanks to Knightmare Phoenix, it's usually not required to run backrow removal in the Main Deck, as there's constant, consistent access to it while other backrow removal is (generally) unsearchable. The only downside is that it's not great against Floodgates like Skill Drain and Mystic Mine.
Heavy Storm Duster is one of the only backrow removal cards that's frequently played that is a Trap card. When activated, it targets two backrow on the field and destroys them. The cost of using it is that it prevents you from using your Battle Phase that turn.
However, this downside can be avoided entirely as it can be activated on the opponent's turn. Trap-heavy decks tend to keep three copies of Heavy Storm Duster in the Side Deck in case the other deck uses tons of backrow. It's also an out to cards like Imperial Order that shuts down almost all backrow removal cards.
The card that power-crept Mystical Space Typhoon, Twin Twisters spent years as a staple in the Side Deck. At the cost of discarding a card, Twin Twisters can target up to two cards on the field and destroy them.
The discard requirement isn't even always a cost. Since it discards rather than sends, it can trigger the effects of cards like the Danger! Monsters. Some cards want to be in the Graveyard as well, so being able to set it up while taking care of problem cards on the opponent's field is fantastic.
3. Lightning Storm
As soon as it was released, Lightning Storm became a staple in decks that like to go second. So long as you control no face-up cards, you can activate it. Lightning Storm has two effects, with one that destroys all Attack Position Monsters on the opponent's field and the other to destroy all backrow instead.
Having such a versatile effect on a card is fantastic, and since you can use it as soon as your turn begins. its activation requirement is easy to achieve. It's rare for a backrow removal card to have more than one effect, and Lightning Storm is one of the best that's still legal.
Harpie's Feather Duster has spent many years being banned and limited, with the card currently being limited. At no cost at all, Harpie's Feather Duster destroys all Spell and Trap cards on the opponent's field.
Such a powerful effect with no downside is what made Harpie's Feather Duster so good it had to be restricted. Other cards with this field wiping capability generally have a cost or activation requirement, but not Harpie's Feather Duster. It's one of the most well-known backrow removal cards in the game's history, and one of the best.
1. Heavy Storm
The only completely banned card on this list, Heavy Storm is one of the best backrow removal cards the game has ever seen. It has no activation requirement and can destroy all Spell and Trap cards on the field.
If you don't have any cards on your side of the field, the downside of it destroying your own cards won't even come up. In some cases, it isn't even a downside, as some Spell and Trap cards like to be destroyed. Heavy Storm is so powerful it has been on the banlist since 2013 and likely won't come off anytime soon.