What's Special About 3000 ATK Monsters?
For many years, 3000 ATK was the strongest value a YGO monster could have, best represented by Kaiba's infamous Blue-Eyes White Dragon. While stronger monsters now exist, 3000 is still a commonly-used cap, with anything eclipsing it really going above and beyond in battle.
So throughout the years, we've seen dozens of awesome boss monsters sharing the 3000 attack mark. Some belong in specific archetypes, other fit nearly any deck—which reign supreme? Here's a celebration and review of Yu-Gi-Oh's 30 best 3000-ATK monsters!
30. Apoqliphort Towers
Use with: Qliphort
Before pendulum summoning was (rightfully) nerfed, Towers and his Qliphort allies were some of the most feared cards in the game. Tribute summoning Towers requires three Qli tributes (or the trap Qlife's End), which used to be super easy when you could mass pendulum revive.
Once out, Towers once-per-turn makes your opponent send a monster from their hand or field to the graveyard (their choice), decreases the ATK/DEF of all special summoned monsters by 500, and is immune to the effects of spells, traps, and monsters with a lower level or rank this his (ten)! Before link monsters, this made Towers ridiculously hard to eliminate without a Kaiju, and despite his lagging archetype, he's still a fierce threat.
29. Evil HERO Malicious Bane
Use with: Hero
Malicious Bane is usually played with Dark Calling, with uses materials from graveyard and can be searched by Evil Hero Adjusted Gold. Bane has powerful stats, can't be destroyed, and can once per turn destroy all enemy monsters with equal or lesser ATK, gaining 200 ATK for each!
You can only attack with Hero monsters the rest of the turn you use the board wipe, but it's still a non-targeting and reusable removal that provides a permanent attack boost.
28. Draco Berserker of the Tenyi
Use with: Swordsoul, but really anything
Berserker is available to any deck that can synchro level 8, and his brutal effect once-per-turn banishes a monster that uses its effect (without negating it). And after destroying an effect monster in battle, he gains its ATK to Berserker and can attack another monster.
While you can't use the second strike to hit directly, thanks to the added attack points, Berserker will still probably inflict a ton of battle damage.
27. Geomathmech Final Sigma
Use with: Mathmech or anything that synchros level 12
Sigma is one of few generic level 12 synchros and annoyingly difficult to eliminate, as he's unaffected by effects while in the extra zone, where he also doubles battle damage to monsters.
This makes battle or Kaiju your opponent's only real hope of defeating Sigma, and even if destroyed, he can search a Mathmech card from your deck (even a spell or trap).
26. Underworld Goddess of the Closed World
Use with: Anything
Goddess is basically a link monster version of Kaiju, needing a link rating of five to summon but letting you use one opposing monster as material—a great way to circumvent targeting and destruction-immune threats.
Plus, Goddess negates all opposing monster effects when link summoned, and can once-per-turn negate an effect that would summon from the GY.
25. True King of All Calamities
Use with: True Draco or level 9 decks
Sometimes banned in the TCG but legal in Master Duel, True King can completely ruin an opponent's turn, detaching a material as a quick effect to declare an attribute and change opposing monsters to it while negating opposing effects and preventing attacks of that attribute.
He also lets your True Draco destruction effects use enemy cards as cost, but many non-King decks just use him for his net, which works best when you've already played against your opponent and know what attribute you should choose. Since your opponents need to be in the main phase to Kaiju you, True King can activate in the standby or draw phase to outspeed them.
24. Judgment Dragon
Use with: Lightsworn
Once a very meta card, summoning Judgment Dragon requires you have four or more Lightsworn with different names in your graveyard (easily achieved with their self-milling). He can pay 1000 life points to destroy every other card on the field, and mills four cards at your end phase, great for activating even more Lightsworn abilities.
23. Dinomorphia Rexterm
Use with: Dinomorphia
Rexterm is a tricky fusion since he needs one Dinomorphia fusion monster and any other Dinomorphia as material. But he immediately rewards you by preventing opponents from activating effects of monsters with equal or more ATK than your life points, which will be low through the Dinomorphia self-depleting abilities.
Heck, Rexterm can gimmick it with his quick effect, letting you pay half your LP to make all opposing monster ATK equal to your LP for the turn, and if destroyed, he revives a level 6 or lower Dinomorphia from your graveyard.
22. Adamancipator Risen - Dragite
Use with: Adamancipator and water decks
Dragite offers another generic level 8 that can once per turn negate and destroy a spell/trap as long as you have just one water monster in your graveyard. He can also once per turn reveal the top five cards of your deck and return opposing card to hand up to the number of rock monsters revealed.
21. Unchained Abomination
Use with: Unchained and link decks
Abomination works great with Unchained cards but will take any link materials adding up to four as long as they include a link monster (and remember that other Unchained cards can link with opposing materials).
Either way, Abomination can destroy a card at every end phase, when one is destroyed by battle, and when one is destroyed by another effect, making him a very immediate and ongoing threat.
20. Lord of the Heavenly Prison
Use with: Spell/trap decks
Lord reveals himself in hand to prevent the effect destruction of set cards, which can really save backrow decks from board wipes like Harpie's Feather Duster. Then, while revealed, Lord can summon himself when a set card is activated, and set another spell/trap from deck.
The new card will be banished during the end phase of the next turn, so you probably want to pick a single-use card instead of a continuous one, but either way, that's protection, advantage, and a nice blocker in one potent package.
19. Tri-Brigade Shuraig the Ominous Omen
Use with: Tri-Brigade
Part of Omen's appeal is his easy summon, often with the trap Tri-Brigade Revolt, which can use any number of GY or banished beasts, beast-warriors, and winged-beasts as material!
From there, Omen once-per-turn banishes an opposing card on his own summon or another of the three beast types, and when sent to GY, he finds one with a level equal or less than the number you have banished.
18. Tearlaments Kaleido-Heart/Rulkallos
Use with: Tearlaments
When summoned or when an aqua monster is sent to your graveyard, Kaleido-Heart shuffles an opposing card into the deck, while Rulkallos prevents your other aquas from being destroyed in battle and once-per-turn negates a special summon effect.
Both also have effects that basically summon themselves when sent to GY (Heart must also mill a Tearlaments from deck while Rulkallos revives only if fusion summoned), making them tricky to permanently eliminate.
17. Number 97: Draglubion
Use with: Dragon decks, especially playing second
Draglubion takes any level 8s as material, often in the Blue-Eyes or Galaxy families. He can't be targeted by opposing effects and wields a game-winning ability that summons another dragon Number xyz monster from extra deck and attaches a different dragon Number to it as material.
While you can't special summon for the rest of the turn or attack except with that monster, you can immediately win against an open field by picking Number 100: Numeron Dragon, whose effect will give it at least 9000 ATK (1000 per rank on the field), letting you swing for game.
16. Arc Rebellion Xyz Dragon
Use with: Pendulum Magician, Phantom Knights
Arc may be rank 5, but you really want to play him with the effect of rank 4 Raider's Knight, who takes any two level 4 darks as material. Once fielded, Arc can detach a material to negate all other monster effects and permanently gain add their ATK to his own!
If your opponent doesn't have some sort of negate to stop this, you can easily have a 10,000+ ATK monster. Fortunately, Arc can't be destroyed by card effects, limiting what your opponent's removal options.
15. Danger! Bigfoot!
Use with: Graveyard decks
Like other Danger cards, Bigfoot reveals himself in hand and discards a random card; if it's another card, he summons himself and draws, and if it's him, he simply targets and destroys a card. Basically, you get an easy 3000 ATK beatstick or a 1-for-1 removal. Use to quickly stockpile the graveyard in themes like Shaddoll, Branded, and Chaos.
14. Nibiru, the Primal Being
Use with: Playing second
Nibiru's a hand trap that tributes all opposing monsters during a main phase where your opponent has normal/special summoned five or more monsters, one of the best anti-combo tools in the game.
From there, you get Nibiru while your opponent gets a token with ATK/DEF equal to the cards tributed, but since it lacks effects, it'll be easy pickings for any removal option.
13. Blue-Eyes Jet Dragon
Use with: Blue-Eyes White Dragon
Jet offers fantastic effects, but you need a good ol' Blue-Eyes White Dragon in GY to use them (get one there with Dragon Shrine). Once per turn, Jet can return an opposing card to hand when he battles, and can summon himself from hand or GY when a card is destroyed.
This means until he's banished, he just keeps coming back and makes excellent rank material for Draglubion.
12. Swordsoul Supreme Sovereign - Chengying
Use with: Swordsoul and banish decks
Swordsouls are a monstrous theme with a boss monster who surprisingly works in any level-10 synchro deck. Chengying's base stats are strong, and he gains 100 ATK/DEF per banished card while opposing monsters lose that amount. Since this counts both face-up and face-down banished, it stacks with things like Pot of Desires and Pot of Prosperity.
Plus, Chengying once-per-turn banishes a card from opposing field and graveyard when a card is banished, an excellent non-targeting removal that weakens two enemy zones.
11. Baronne de Fleur
Use with: Any synchro deck
Like Chengying, Baronne fits in any synchro deck. Once-per-turn, she can pop a card on the field, and she can once negate an effect. This single-use negate only triggers once while face-up, but it's still a great protective ability.
Plus, during the standby phase, Fleur can return herself to extra deck and summon a level 9 or lower monster in your graveyard, meaning you can eventually resummon her for more negation.
10. Alpha, the Master of Beasts
Use when: Playing second
Alpha can summon himself from hand if your opponent has more total ATK on the field, easy when playing second. From there, he can either attack, or use his effect, returning any number of the three beast types from your field to hand to return that many opposing monster to hand.
Since Alpha can pick himself, you've got a great removal against extra deck cards, and he can even resummon himself if your opponent still has more total ATK. The effect is once-per-turn, but Alpha can still attack (just not directly) after using his ability, so in ideal situations, he'll immediately eliminate two opposing cards.
9. Lava Golem
Use when: Playing second
Everyone fears the monster-tributing Kaiju, but the original Lava Golem is basically two Kaiju for one at the expense of your turn's normal summon, tributing two enemy monsters to summon himself (in either battle position, so you can put him in DEF where he's more easily destroyed).
This gets around almost all enemy defenses, and if Golem survives, he saps opponents for 1000 damage at their standby phase, which offers a great way to win via life advantage in paper play matches when times runs out. Plus, level 8 fiend monsters have been getting more support via cards like Dark Spirit of Banishment.
8. Chaos Ruler, the Chaotic Magical Dragon
Use with: Rokket, Blue-Eyes, Thunder Dragon
Banned in the tcg but legal in Master Duel, Chaos Ruler reveals your deck's top five cards on summon, adds a light or dark monster to hand, and mills the rest, both gaining advantage and prepping graveyard abilities.
From there, he can once per turn revive himself from graveyard by banishing a light and dark monster from it, which you should have in spades thanks to his own effect.
7. Egyptian God Slime
Use with: God and water decks
You can fusion summon God Slime, but he's more easily summoned by simply tributing a level 10 aqua monster, usually Metal Reflect Slime (which can be found with Reactor Slime) or Guardian Slime.
God Slime can't be destroyed in battle and prevents opponents from attacking or targeting your other monsters, some great defensive effects. True to his name, he can also be treated as three tributes, great for Egyptian God decks.
6. Borreload Savage Dragon
Use with: Rokket and link decks
Savage Dragon is amazing for decks that both link and synchro summon; you want a link monster in graveyard when you play him, as he'll equip one to gain counters equal to its link rating and half its ATK.
Once per turn, Savage can spend a counter to negate an opposing effect, usually giving him a total of 2-4 negates on top of a huge ATK score.
5. Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon
Use with: Dark Magician and Red-Eyes
Dark Dragoon can be easily played via Red-Eyes Fusion (which accesses materials from deck), whose effect can be mimicked with easily-summoned link monster Predaplant Verte Anaconda, a monster often shuffled around the ban list.
Anyway, Dragoon needs Dark Magician and either Red-Eyes Black Dragon or a dragon effect monster, but he's better if you use both normal monsters, as he can once per turn destroy monsters up to the number of normal materials he had, inflicting their ATK as damage to your opponent.
Most nasty of all, Dragoon can't be targeted or destroyed and can once-per-turn negate an opposing card by discarding a card, then he permanently gains 1000 ATK.
This means most removal and battle-destruction options are out, leaving foes with precious few ways to defeat Dragoon. In formats where both Dragoon and Verte are legal, expect to see him in almost any deck.
4. Black Luster Soldier - Soldier of Chaos
Use with: Anything
Black Luster takes any three monsters with different names, even tokens, and if link summoned with a level 7 or higher monster, he can't be targeted or destroyed by opposing cards.
From there, Black Luster activates one of three effects when destroying a monster in battle, either banishing a card on the field, gaining 1500 ATK, or gaining a second attack during the next turn. All useful options, and if you get the second attack, you can potentially trigger two of the abilities during your next battle phase.
3. Mirrorjade the Iceblade Dragon
Use with: Branded and Despia decks
Mirrorjade is just so easy to play and so good at removing monsters it's ridiculous. First, either normal summon Aluber the Jester of Despia, or special summon him with Branded Opening, and use his effect to search the spell Branded Fusion. Play it to use materials from deck to summon Lubellion the Searing Dragon or Albion the Branded Dragon, both of whom can fuse Mirrorjade with their abilities.
Once fielded, Mirrorjade once-per-turn sends a monster mentioning Fallen of Albaz from your extra deck to GY (activating their end-of-turn GY effects) to banish a monster, an excellent quick-play removal that doesn't target, though you can't use it on the next turn when activated.
Finally, when leaving the field by an opposing card (even a Kaiju!), Mirrorjade destroys all their monsters during the end phase, so if they don't win that turn, they'll be wide open for a comeback.
2. Archnemeses Eschatos/Protos
Use with: Nemeses and GY-filling decks
Off-and-on banned, these guys excel where allowed. Eschatos summons himself from hand by banishing three monsters with different types from GY, while Protos does the same but with attributes. Once out, each declares either a type (Eschatos) or attribute (Protos), destroys all monsters on the field with it, and prevents summoning that attribute until the end of the next turn!
Yikes, both board wipes and summon blocks that linger even if the monster is destroyed. Plus, neither can be destroyed by effects, so they're safe from their own abilities, and each has some interesting synergies; you can search dragon-type Eschatos with Melody of Awakening Dragon, while wyrm-type Protos favors Swordsouls and Tenyis.
1. Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder
Use with: Any xyz deck
Sky Thunder is so ridiculously easy to summon on any turn except turn one, using any xyz monster as material as long as an xyz monster battled that turn (you can even attack defense-position monsters just to prep the summon).
Once out, Sky Thunder can spend two materials as a quick effect to send every other card on the field to the graveyard. The fact that this isn't once-per-turn means you can potentially do it multiple times with enough materials, not so unreasonable since Zeus once-per-turn attaches a material from hand, deck, or extra deck when another of your cards is destroyed. Being quick-play is what makes this so devasting, letting you wait until the absolute last second to wreck whatever board state your opponent attempts to build.
Yu-Gi-Oh's Most Iconic Monsters
Today we explored many of the game's best boss monsters. You'll see these guys in many competitive matches, so knowing how to use and counter them is crucial towards victory. Of course, pay attention to ban lists, but for now, share your thoughts on the game's state and I'll see you at our next YGO countdown!
© 2023 Jeremy Gill