Best Yu-Gi-Oh Trap Cards
The Trap card is the life-blood of the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG. They make duelists’ hearts drop, they make memes, they set the rhythm and change the tide of matches, they make duelists deepen their voices with Yami-Yugi confidence. Is it the thrill of the unknown, or the security of having a secret hidden from one’s opponent that makes them so popular? Whatever the case, one can’t simply write a list of Yu-Gi-Oh Trap cards; one has to do it justice. Set in no particular order, here are the best Traps currently in the game.
Drowning Mirror Force
One of the oldest tricks in the creation book, used to compensate for either limited time or imagination, is to make several slightly different copies of the original. Final Fantasy does it with its monsters, Mortal Kombat did it with ninja clans, and Yu-Gi-Oh did it with its arsenal of mirror forces. However, in each respective set, there is always one that rises above the rest, and in the case of passive-aggressive reflection, it’s Drowning Mirror Force. It appears a negative to return your opponent’s monsters to the deck to be reused like Chinese takeout containers, but with Pendulums swinging from the Extra Deck and top-tier decks being part-time necromancers, it definitely hurts more than any other trap wearing the mirror force name. When it comes to storming, blazing, radiating, sandstorming, or drowning, drowning proves the most effective.
Call of the Haunted
If one needs to special summon a monster to hide behind in a pinch, Call of the Haunted should always be your card of choice. It can be a difficult decision, considering nearly every archetype wants a piece of the Trap-summoning pie, but those cards either bring back a specific archetype, type, or attribute. Heck, there are even those that resurface monsters within certain attack ranges or levels. But, unlike those cards, Call of the Haunted isn’t prejudice. Lightsworn, Dragon, Water-attribute, 1000 Attack, level 2 or 5 or 12, it doesn’t matter what you target with Call of the Haunted; if it was sent there the right way, you can use it. In the days when this purple favorite was limited, it made sense to supplant its presence with something that targets certain monsters, but, for now, those days are done. Call of the Haunted is free at three, and should be abused if your deck can take it. It being an equal opportunity reviver, along with it currently being more available than dirt, makes it the crown king of continuous Trap card revival.
Bottomless Trap Hole
Like the Mirror Forces, there are many hole cards in the game. Some banish set monsters, others drop monsters activating card effects, then there’s the one that trampolines Light or Dark monsters, etcetera, etcetera… But there’s only one with the power to not only destroy and banish a monster, but to also do this to any monster, granted it has greater than 1500 attack: Bottomless Trap Hole. Bottomless is more ancient than a stone slab with Atem carved in it, but the card is the only limited member of the Hole club for a reason: most monsters sporting over 1500 are a viable threat worthy of using a trap on. In the era of the Pendulum, this trap’s ability to destroy and banish all monsters simultaneously summoned that meet its criteria make it more dangerous now than it was ten years ago. The writer also grants final points to the artwork. Can’t you just feel the impending doom as that terrified imp falls helplessly into a black pit of cackling, demonic spirits?
Even if Solemn Strike currently dominates everyone’s non-solemn choice of countertrap, Solemn Warning still halts Spells and Traps from resurfacing monsters from the grave or beyond, something Strike does not do. 2000 lifepoints may feel like offering one’s firstborn son on an altar, but what’s the alternative? A successful Soul Charge so you can talk through your poor deck decisions with Dr. Beezle and his manic assistant, Prof. Scrap Dragon? You wondering into a party with the same dress as Harpy Lady #1, resulting in her home-girls getting hysteric? An army of mechanical dragons from beyond pissed that you crashed their Cyber Network? If your deck is allergic or just plain frightened of any of the above scenarios, a little Warning over a Strike will do you more than good. Speaking of striking…
There are two things dominant in Yu-Gi-Oh right now: monsters with more special abilities than the sentinels from X-Men: Days of Future Past, and special summoning more than an army of Angels descending from the sky like Pendulums. And one new Trap card, for a mere 1500 lifepoints, stops your opponent from doing both of those: Solemn Strike. Not only does this card conclude the story of a chick whose kleptomania made her face the wrath of an all-powerful priest, but its counter-trap status makes only other countertrap and stun cards able to abate its threat. Oh, and let us not forget, unlike Warning and Judgment, this card hasn’t graced a limited or forbidden list since its reign of terror began. The good news is: if you have the dough, you can run three of these. The bad news is: everyone else is going to. The best news is: this card is a staple on this list.
Uh, oh! The writer’s bias for Wind monsters is showing again… or is it? Call of the Haunted may have versatility, but Hysteric Party is still the most powerful archetype-specific, special-summoning trap available. Discard one card; bring back as many Harpy Ladies as possible from your graveyard, and that’s all it needs. At one point, the card lost its potency when our-fair-bird-ladies 1, 2, and 3 all gained their name-sharing effect in the deck… But, luckily for Harpy or Mai or Wind lovers, Konami lessened the blow by making future Harpies only have the Harpy Lady name in the Graveyard and on the field. It may make Karma Cut a female Great Dane on steroids, but if one’s opponent forgets to side that card, and he or she will, then it’s party time!
Who knew vanity was such a potent force, it could stop rival monsters from outshining you? Just as a revamped Tallgeese in Gundam Wing was able to keep pace with the new and improved Gundams, it honestly took a while before duelists realized the potential of this card. It emerged in the era of Synchro summoning, but the speed of Xyzs made players thrash through their dusty binders in frustration, looking for something to even the battlefield. They eventually rediscovered Vanity’s Emptiness, transforming the way duelists examine the game since. However, Vanity not only evened the playing field, but also served as a death sentence if one had a strong enough field presence. This single card, excavated from the era of tuning’s prime, slowed down the entire game, making it the king of the floodgates (Yu-Gi-Oh jargon for cards halting an aspect of the game, such as summoning, drawing, searching, etc.).
One of the staple themes of Yu-Gi-Oh, besides dragons and ridiculous hairstyles, is cards meant to disrupt certain themes. The Shadow and Light Imprisoning Mirrors stop Dark and Light monsters, respectively, Non-Fusion Area halts fusions, Gozen Match hurts decks running with similar attributes, Mistake hurts search-happy players… Basically there’s an abundance of traps that do this. However, Macro Cosmos, a continuous trap making all cards sent to the graveyard banished, reaches further, much further than just hurting darks, lights, or fusions by eliminating the graveyard, something most decks in Yu-Gi-Oh depend on to advance their plays. Even if your deck does rely on the graveyard, in a similar fashion to Vanity’s Emptiness, you can doom your opponent by playing this card while you’re winning, but the vital difference between the two, and what arguably makes Macro more potent, is Vanity is a late game card while Macro Cosmos can affirm your victory turn 1 if set. There just isn’t a more dangerous disruption card than Macro Cosmos.
In the writer’s opinion, and he can guarantee, to most, it will be the most vexing addition to this list, Dark Bribe is the king of Trap Cards. It stops any card on this list and any Spell card. Sure, your opponent may be gaining 1 card, but does that really matter if you’re negating a Soul Charge, a member of the Solemn family, a Raigeki, or any Hole card? And besides, the writer always feels safe if he has at least one Dark Bribe hidden within his 40 card arsenal, and this feeling of security provided by this countertrap places it at the apex of Trap cards.
Eradicator Epidemic Virus
Sure, it proves effective to stop Trap and Spells after their played, but it’s much more efficient to prevent them from getting played in the first place. By tributing a Dark monster with 2500 or more attack, Eradicator Epidemic Virus destroys all set, activated, and drawn Spell or Trap cards of one’s opponent for three of that opponent's turns. The card is as devastating as its name, eliminating all of your opponent’s Trap protection, silencing any Stall-deck, or killing any mystic tome-reliant decks, like Prophecies or Harpies. This bubonic epidemic is a staple in Dark decks for its ability to plague nearly all decks, and that grants it a slot among the purple-tinted greats.