Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Effect Damage in Yu-Gi-Oh
In most duels, players race to summon their strongest titans and launch an all-out assault to deplete their opponent's precious life points. While that's certainly one way to win, many duelists overlook effect damage strategies, which aim to extinguish life points using indirect blows to an opponent's life points.
The great thing about such tactics is that (unlike with battle damage), you can circumvent having to get through your foe's army before directly attacking them, and because effect damage is much less common, most opponents don't prepare countermeasures against it. To see just how effective (no pun intended) such builds can be, we'll count down and review ten more of the best (view the original list here) effect damage monsters in the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game!
10. Number 50: Blackship of Corn
Rank 4 xyz monsters have always ranked (I'll stop) among the strongest of extra deck monsters, balancing power with ease of summoning (many quality level 4 monsters make for good material). Blackship of Corn wields a respectable 2100 ATK, but its real draw comes from its effect: once per turn, you can detach one xyz material to target and destroy an opposing monster with equal to or less ATK than Blackship.
However, not only are you removing an opposing unit, but you also inflict 1000 damage to your opponent. These traits make Blackship of Corn a rare unit who can fight competently with both regular attacks and effect damage, but be aware that the turn you activate its effect, it will be unable to attack.
9. Turbo Cannon
On the surface, white-backgrounded synchro monster Turbo Cannon harbors a plethora of disadvantages. Not only does it suffer from zero ATK and DEF, but it also requires a specific tuner (Turbo Rocket) to synchro summon it. However, the nontuner monster can be anything, and Cannon also wields a fierce effect: once per turn, you can destroy a face-up monster and inflict damage to its controller equal to half its ATK.
If you're employing various stall cards like Swords of Revealing Light, this can annihilate many opposing champions while using their own strength against your opponent. Additionally, in the very unusual cases where you would want to, you're also free to target one of your own monsters, perhaps if you need an empty field for another card's effect. Finally, while zero ATK and DEF seem likes downsides, these minuscule scores qualify for many graveyard-revival or search effects (like that of Masked Chameleon).
8. Reflect Bounder
Speaking of stall cards, here's a potent one. While Reflect Bounder wields a lukewarm 1700 ATK, as a level 4 monster, it can be summoned for no tributes and will indefinitely hinder opponents unwilling to pay its price. When your adversary's monster attacks it, before damage calculation proceeds, your opponent suffers damage equal to their attacking monster's ATK. Afterwards, if Reflect Bounder still lives, it destroys itself.
This is lose-lose for your opponent. If they attack with a higher-ATK card, they shave off a few of your life points but suffer at least 1700 effect damage! They *could* attack with a weaker monster and have Reflect destroy itself after the battle with its own trait, but this strategy has them incur both the regular combat damage and Reflect's effect damage while still losing a unit. Either way, you've given at least as good as you got. Be sure to combine Reflect with cards such as the trap "Yang Zing Unleashed" that force your opponent to attack, using their own power against them.
7. Princess of Tsurugi
After being set face-down in defense position, Princess of Tsurugi will be flipped face-up after being attacked or when you manually shift her. Either will trigger her flip effect, inflicting 500 damage to your opponent's life points for each spell/trap they control.
Including the field spell zone, this can potentially land a whopping 3000 damage to your foe, and the ability was even more useful when pendulum zones were separated from regular spell/trap zones (before link monsters); in these cases, Tsurugi's pain could total 4000 life points! She's an uncommon wind-attribute warrior-type monster if you're looking to craft an unconventional deck list.
6. Des Koala
Normally, possessing a strong hand is a great advantage, giving you more options to play monsters and set defenses. However, flip card Des Koala punishes foes for their hand advantage by flipping to seize 400 life points per card in your opponent's hand. This typically grabs at least 1200 but can sometimes land 3000 or more, especially against draw-happy Exodia decks.
As a bonus, Des Koala actually has a fighting chance of withstanding the battle considering its 1800 DEF, and as both a flip monster and member of the Des archetype, it enjoys a fair number of support (like Night Assailant). Overall, an oldie but goldie that's aged surprisingly well.
5. Fortune Lady Earth
The Fortune Lady spellcasters gain power as their levels increase. Many rely on being used in tangent with their brethren, but Fortune Lady Earth (a Kuriboh to anyone who can guess what attribute she is) functions surprisingly well outside her archetype.
Assuming you don't pendulum summon or otherwise gimmick her to the field, you'll need to tribute one monster for this level 6 card, but Earth gains 400 ATK and DEF per each of her levels. Not only does this start her off at a strong 2400, it quickly skyrockets her past even Blue-Eyes White Dragon because she gains a level at each of your standby phases. She also simultaneously inflicts 400 damage to your opponent, combining a beatstick and a burn tool into one potent package. To ensure Earth lives long enough to make use of her boosted stats and direct damage, use stall cards or defensive measures like Safe Zone to keep her in play.
4. Gagaga Cowboy
One of the best xyz monsters in the game, Gagaga Cowboy is another rank 4 who excels in both battle and effect damage. With a strong 2400 DEF, he can hold his own when defending, but he can also attack superbly thanks to his first effect. You can detach an xyz material when Gagaga is in attack position to have him temporarily gain 1000 ATK and have your opponent's monster lose 500 whenever he attacks this turn! On offense, this lets Gagaga match even a Blue-Eyes in battle.
However, if you instead detach a material while he's in defense position, you simply inflict 800 damage to your opponent. Each effect can only be used once per turn, but with the standard two xyz materials, that adds up to a sizable 1600 indirect damage, far more than most single cards can land. An awesome defensive siege machine who can morph into an offensive beatdown when needed.
3. Number 40: Gimmick Puppet of Strings
Requiring two levels 8s, Gimmick Puppet of Strings takes a bit more effort to xyz summon, but he arrives with an imposing 3000 ATK and a strong effect. You can detach an xyz material to put a "string counter" on all other face-up monsters. At the end of your opponent's next turn, any monsters remaining who have these counters are destroyed, and your opponent suffers 500 damage for each.
While this can eliminate your monsters as well as your opponent's, losing your own units won't be so bad since it'll just help pile on the damage. While opponents can avoid part of the blast by using their affected monsters as tributes or materials, but thanks to the extra deck limitations imposed alongside link summoning, they may simply lack the necessary zones.
2. Superdreadnaught Rail Cannon Gustav Max
Normally I'd make fun of how ridiculously cheesy this card's name is, but with its 3000 ATK, 3000 DEF, and awesome effect, it just about earns it. Super-yada-yada Gustav needs two level 10 monsters. Normally, these gargantuan are challenging to summon, but cards like Tragoedia and Metal Reflect Slime will easily fit the criteria.
Beyond its daunting stats, Gustav can simply detach an xyz unit to inflict 2000 damage to your opponent. Over two turns, that's a whopping 4000 hurt, and unlike many direct-damage monsters, Gustav can still attack the turn it activates its effect. Definitely one of the game's strongest machine-type monsters.
Great not only for effect-damage decks, but just about anything, Marshmallon blends offense with defense in an easy to use package. While its battle stats are weak, just set in face-down; when your opponent attacks, not only will it survive thanks to its battle-destruction immunity, Marshmallon will also inflict 1000 damage after being flipped up from an attack!
Not only do you get a stone wall that'll force your opponent to spend a monster removal if they want it gone, but you're also chewing away 1000 damage. Particularly useful in light-attribute or fairy-type decks, but honestly, Marshmallon works well just about anywhere. A one-time staple of almost any deck I made, he still earns a slot in a surprising number of builds, and as a bonus, you can obtain one for less than two dollars!
Effect Spells and Traps
With dozens of effect-damaging monsters to choose from, always keep your eyes peeled for the next potent siege engines to help you win matches. Because burn decks are fairly rare, they'll easily catch opponents by surprise, and by employing the right blend of protective measures with indirect damagers, your opponent should stumble helplessly, unable to attack or counter.
Still, effect damage doesn't have to end with monsters. Check out some awesome spells and traps to help batter your opponent here, but first, vote for your favorite entry, and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
BEWARE DANGER on June 22, 2018:
Pretty good job man. I love the work