Card Advantage in Yu-Gi-Oh!
These days, YGO! games can be over in one or two turns, so every card you gather matters. From enabling your own combos to negating opposing plays with hand traps, you want to enhance your starting hand with extra plays.
Many cards spend themselves to find another card, which is useful but means you're spending one to get one. But a few select moves actually garner what's called a "plus 1," acquiring multiple cards with one play. Of course, for balance, these usually have a downside or require specific types, but here are ten excellent +1 advantage engines in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Runick Fountain
Runick is an interesting mill theme that sacrifices its own battle phases to use powerful quick-play spells that banish cards from opposing decks. By far the best Runick tool is its field spell Runick Fountain. Not only does Fountain let you activate quick-play Runicks from hand during the opponent's turn (protecting you from board wipes like Harpie's Feather Duster), it lets you once per turn return up to three Runick quick-plays from graveyard to bottom of deck and draw that many cards.
This can actually net a +2 advantage, and the fact that it can trigger on both your and your opponent's turn means that your opponent has to eliminate Fountain soon or fight an uphill battle against insane advantage.
9. Performapal Monkeyboard and Skullcrobat Joker
These two formerly-banned cards offer incredible advantage in tangent, especially since each can find the other. Monkeyboard's scale effect searches a level 4 or lower Performapal, while Skullcrobat's Joker normal summon finds a Performapal, Pendulum Magician, or Odd-Eyes monster.
So an ideal opening hand will use one to find the other, then use that card to find yet another, often a high scale to complement Monkeyboard's low scale 1. To get a card in extra deck to revive with your pendulum summon, I'd recommend either Wisdom-Eyes Magician or Performapal Lizardraw.
8. Salvage/Recurring Nightmare
These spells both get back two monsters from your graveyard; Salvage takes any two waters with 1500 or less ATK, while Nightmare grabs two darks with exactly 0 DEF. Both fit multiple archetypes, can target extra deck monsters, and don't have once-per-turn restrictions.
For additional spell-graveyard support, there's also the thunder-type version of Salvage, Recycling Batteries, and White Mirror's fish-type summon-search.
7. Scareclaw Reichheart
Reichheart has great DEF for his level at 2100 and special summons himself from hand to a zone adjacent to another Scareclaw or in the same column (if you control a link). Plus, on either normal or special summon, Reichheart adds a Scareclaw spell/trap from deck to hand, then draws a card if there are at least three defense-position monsters on the field.
This thankfully counts opposing cards, which you can force into defense position with the effect of link monster ace Scareclaw Tri-Heart. Use the incredible advantage you'll be gaining to load up on hand traps and other negates to prevent counterplays.
6. Swordsoul of Mo Ye and Grandmaster - Chixiao
Swordsouls are so dang consistent thanks to this opening combo. Either normal or special summon Mo Ye (who can be searched with Swordsoul Emergence or Incredible Ecclesia the Virtuous), who then reveals a wyrm-type or Swordsoul in hand to summon a level 4 tuner token. Then, you synchro summon Grandmaster Chixiao, who adds a Swordsoul to hand (often Strategist Longyuan for a level 10 synchro summon), then Mo Ye draws when used as synchro material.
Basically, spending one card gets you a powerful synchro monster who searches a Swordsoul and draws, then offers instant-speed monster negation. With this combo, Swordsouls almost always synchro at least one level 8 and one level 10 monster, setting up multiple negates and refilling their hand along the way.
5. Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage!
If you don't control any cards in your main monster zone, Engage finds a Sky Striker card from deck, then draws if you have at least three other spells in your graveyard. At worst, you're trading one-for-one, but if you get the bonus condition, this offers an easy +1 that stacks well with itself; after all, it counts other copies when tallying spells, and surprisingly lacks a once-per-turn restriction.
For these reasons, Engage jumps around the ban list, currently sitting at one but working even better in online game Master Duel, where two are allowed (plus the spells Upstart Goblin and Chicken Game will easily stockpile your graveyard). Spellbook cards offer another great way to quickly fill the grave with spells.
4. Frightfur Patchwork
Patchwork simply adds one Polymerization and one Edge Imp monster from deck to hand, forming an excellent combo with Edge Imp Chain (who finds a Frightfur card when sent to graveyard, perhaps another Patchwork for next turn). This makes the Frightfur cards an excellent side theme to fusion-based decks like Branded-Despia. Use the Polymerization to summon Guardian Chimera, who can potentially draw two cards on summon (if two field materials are used) and can't be targeted while Poly is in your graveyard.
3. The Iris Swordsoul
Iris has Swordsoul synergy but can really be used with any theme, summoning herself from hand while a monster with negated effects is on the field. Once per turn, she uses an effect when your opponent summons based on where the monster was special summoned from:
- Hand: Summon a monster from your hand
- Deck: Draw two cards
- Extra deck: Destroy one opposing monster just summoned
Each effect has its uses, especially the summon-from-deck +1 advantage, which can be used multiple times if Iris survives more than one turn.
2. Triple Tactics Talent
Here's arguably the best card in the game for players not going second; using Triple Tactics requires your opponent to have activated a monster effect during your main phase, often a negate (whether from the field or a hand trap).
Once the condition is met, Talent lets you either draw twice, take control of one of their monsters until the end phase, or look at their hand and shuffle a card from it into the deck. All useful options, the +1 basically being the best legal Pot of Greed yet.
1. Pot of Avarice, Desires, and Extravagance
The infamous Pot of Greed will probably forever stay banned, but here are three nice alternatives, each with its own quirks. Avarice shuffles five monsters from graveyard into deck to draw twice (and it's a great way to reuse extra deck cards).
Desires banishes ten from deck to draw twice, and Extravagance banishes three or six random from extra to draw one or two. Note that Extravagance also prevents you from drawing any more by card effect for the rest of the turn and must be used at the start of your main phase, but all offer great +1s based on what kind of deck your running. Try Avarice in themes that quickly swarm the graveyard with link combos, Desires in decks that run closer to 60 cards, and Extravagance for themes that rely on adding cards instead of drawing them.
Advantage Engines in Master Duel
In addition to today's cards, Master Duel players can take advantage of a different ban list that allows some cards that TCG doesn't. For instance, "Maxx" C draws whenever an opponent special summons, while Heavymetalfoes Electrumite forms a great loop with pendulum decks when combined with Astrograph Sorcerer.
Many graveyard effects can also provide additional utility once a card is spent, but for now, share your favorite combos and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh! countdown!
© 2022 Jeremy Gill