Top 10 Banned Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh

Updated on December 3, 2018
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy enjoys dueling in-between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.

Banned Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh

Compared to spells, and traps, monsters fluctuate more dynamically on the official ban list, meaning they have a greater chance of one day being released from their prison. Nevertheless, Konami carefully inspects cards and restricts the members who dampen our overall enjoyment of the game by offering too much power and being used too frequently.

After all, no one wants to face a dozen Qli or Exodia decks in a row. To ensure dueling never grows too heavily skewed towards one strategy, dozens of monsters have been banned from competitive play—here are the top ten strongest forbidden (as of this writing, at least) monsters in the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game!

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El Shaddoll ConstructEl Shaddoll Fusion
El Shaddoll Construct
El Shaddoll Construct
El Shaddoll Fusion
El Shaddoll Fusion

10. El Shaddoll Construct

ATK: 2800
DEF: 2500

Unlike many fusion monsters asking for specific monsters, El Shaddoll Construct accepts many materials for her summon, needing any of the Shaddoll series plus any light-attributed monster. Let's review her superb abilities:

  • When special summoned, Construct lets you send a Shaddoll from your deck to the graveyard (which activates their effects)
  • When battling a special summoned monster, that monster is destroyed before damage calculation
  • When sent to the graveyard, you can add 1 spell/trap Shaddoll card from your graveyard to your hand

The wording of Construct's traits lands her in trouble. Her first ability triggers when special summoned, not just fusion summoned, meaning it can activate when she's revived from the graveyard. The second simply defeats almost any foe in battle considering how common special summons are, and the third recycles a series-specific spell/trap (like El Shaddoll Fusion) when sent to the graveyard through any means. Throw in a hefty 2800 ATK, and it's no surprise Construct won't be seen in sanctioned tournaments.

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Denglong, First of the Yang ZingYang Zing Path
Denglong, First of the Yang Zing
Denglong, First of the Yang Zing
Yang Zing Path
Yang Zing Path

9. Denglong, First of the Yang Zing

ATK: 0
DEF: 2800

Despite belonging to the Yang Zing archetype, Denglong accepts any tuner and non-tuner combination for its synchro summon. Although its ATK is zero, Denglong brandishes 2800 DEF and a trio of potent effects:

  • When special summoned, you can add a Yang Zing card from deck to hand
  • Once per turn, you can send a wyrm-type monster from your deck to the graveyard, and Denglong's level becomes that monster's level
  • When Denglong leaves the field, you can special summon a Yang Zing monster from your deck

Again, the wording provides too much oomph with no drawbacks. The first trait can search any Yang Zing monster, but also any Yang Zing spell or trap. The second lets you fill your graveyard with Yang Zing creatures (perfect for the magic card Yang Zing Path), and the third fills your field when Denglong exits through absolutely any means, denying your opponent a way to counteract the effect.


8. Dandylion

ATK: 300
DEF: 300

At first glance, Dandylion doesn't seem too imposing. With weak battle stats, it special summons two even weaker Fluff Token monsters when sent to the graveyard, and they cannot be used for a tribute summon the turn they arrive (but can later).

The key here is the wording: the effect triggers no matter where Dandylion was sent from. Whether Dandylion was destroyed by battle, tributed, used for a synchro summon, discarded from the hand, or sent from the deck, the tokens will arrive, giving Dandylion just a little too much versatility; duelists will have to look elsewhere for formidable stall cards.

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Performapal MonkeyboardPerformapal Odd-Eyes Unicorn
Performapal Monkeyboard
Performapal Monkeyboard
Performapal Odd-Eyes Unicorn
Performapal Odd-Eyes Unicorn

7. Performapal Monkeyboard

ATK: 1000
DEF: 2400

Performapal Monkeyboard's monster effect is harmless enough: by discarding it, you can reveal a Performapal or Odd-Eyes monster in your hand and reduce its level by one for the turn, allowing for an easier tribute summon or some level-dependent extra deck shenanigans. The offense lies with the pendulum scale effect, although Monkeyboard's superbly low scale of 1 (players want one high and one low) alters to 4 when their isn't a Performapal in your other pendulum zone.

However, this shouldn't be a problem because the turn Monkeyboard is activated, you can add a level 4 or lower Performapal from your deck to hand. This can find Performapal Odd-Eyes Unicorn, who gives a pendulum scale of 8, guaranteeing a perfect 1-8 scale and negating the risks of drawing matching scales. And since the Performapal archetype contains a great many members, several other powerful creatures can also be searched. Coupled with Monkeyboard's strong 2400 DEF, it's just too much power without paying any price.

Tellarknight Ptolemaeus
Tellarknight Ptolemaeus

6. Tellarknight Ptolemaeus

ATK: 550
DEF: 2600

First, note Tellarknight Ptolemaeus accepts two or more level 4 monsters as material, giving you the option to attach more material than strictly necessary if you wish. To understand why you would do this, let's take a look at its effects:

  • Once per chain, during either player's turn, you can detach three xyz materials from this card to special summon from your extra deck a non-Number monster one rank higher than this card; Ptolemaeus and its material become materials for that monster
  • You can detatch seven xyz materials from this card to skip your opponent's next turn
  • During each player's end phase, you can attach one face-up Stellarknight card from your extra deck to this monster as xyz material

Wow. The first ability easily ranks up to a stronger monster, providing it with plenty of material along the way. And while it takes time to accumulate seven materials for the second expensive ability, skipping your opponent's turn is an exceedingly rare and overpowered trait that almost no one can recover from. Finally, the last effect perfectly sets you up for the other effects by consistently providing material. Since Ptolemeus heavily favors DEF position, it often lasts long enough (avoiding attack position counters like Mirror Force) to acquire the needed materials and win the match with its turn skip.

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Double Iris MagicianSupreme King Z-ARCStar Pendulumgraph
Double Iris Magician
Double Iris Magician
Supreme King Z-ARC
Supreme King Z-ARC
Star Pendulumgraph
Star Pendulumgraph

5. Double Iris Magician

ATK: 1500
DEF: 1000

Double Iris Magician possesses a rare and valued pendulum scale of 8, easily special summoning even level 7 monsters. Dark Magician works extra well for this effect since Iris's pendulum scale effect lets it destroy itself to target a dark spellcaster you control and double any damage your opponent suffers from it in battle that turn.

Then, as a monster, Iris counts as a Fusion Dragon card, useful for summoning Supreme King Z-ARC, and when destroyed by either battle of effect, you can add one of the superb spellcaster-supporting Pendulumgraph cards to your hand. And we're still not done: Iris belongs to the vast Magician archetype, qualifying for many support cards, and its 1500 ATK is high enough to defeat weak foes but low enough to be searched for by cards like Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon. We love you Iris, but you're right where you should be on the ban list.

Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter
Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter

4. Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter

ATK: 2500
DEF: 1200

To normal summon this level 6 monster, you need to tribute another creature, but it also provides the option of tributing a continuous spell or trap you control instead. That's a nice way to ensure your field always has access to Dinomight (nice pun there, Konami), but the real treat lies with the next effect: once per turn, during either player's turn, when your opponent activates a card or effect while you control this tribute summoned monster, you can take one True Draco or True King continuous trap from your deck and either activate it or add it to your hand.

This quality triggers whenever your opponent activates any effect, and on both turns, meaning you'll very quickly accumulate as many continuous traps as you need to win. Backed up by a strong 2500 ATK, Dinomight should last long enough to add more than enough cards to your field to win. Since you also have the option of adding the cards to the hand, you can prepare a backup of a fielded trap by safeguarding a copy in hand, just in case something happens to your original, giving too great an ace up your sleeve.

Evilswarm Exciton Knight
Evilswarm Exciton Knight

3. Evilswarm Exciton Knight

ATK: 1900
DEF: 0

Although Evilswarm Exciton Knight's ATK falls short of the value you'd want from a rank 4 xyz monster, it accepts any two level 4 monsters as material and wields this effect: once per chain, during your main phase or your opponent's battle phase, you can detach one material from this card to destroy all other cards on the field. However, you can only do this when your opponent has more cards in their combined field and hand than you do, and they take no more damage during the turn.

The two limitations somewhat balance Knight's effect, but you're most likely to want a field reset when your opponent has theirs filled more than you anyway. And since Knight remains, you're not left high and dry, still wielding a decent ATK monster to soon further assault your foe. Add in the fact that any archetype with level 4s can use the move and it's easy to see how a sudden Goblindbergh turned Exciton Knight can frustratingly snatch away victory.

Djinn Releaser of Rituals
Djinn Releaser of Rituals

2. Djinn Releaser of Rituals

ATK: 1200
DEF: 2000

Djinn Releaser of Rituals offers two good boons followed by another that really earns her ban. First, she make use of a decent DEF by being set in defense position without having to tribute. Then, once in the graveyard, you can still use her as material for an appropriate ritual summon, preventing you from having to weaken your hand or field.

But Djinn's real sin involves the ability she bestows to a ritual monster who uses her as material: while fielded, your opponent cannot special summon. A complete special summon shutdown prevents fusion, synchro, xyz, pendulum, link, and other special summons, drastically hampering almost all decks. Unless your opponent is fortunate enough to be running a normal summon archetype like the Monarchs, they'll find themselves unable to special summon while also having to deal with whatever natural abilities the ritual monster possesses, guiding you to victory too quickly to warrant usage in tournaments.

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Elemental HERO StratosElemental HERO Absolute Zero
Elemental HERO Stratos
Elemental HERO Stratos
Elemental HERO Absolute Zero
Elemental HERO Absolute Zero

1. Elemental HERO Stratos

ATK: 1800
DEF: 300

Despite being featured by protagonist Jaden of the second anime (Yu-Gi-Oh GX), HEROS were initially ridiculed as weak monsters focusing on quantity over quality. However, they've aged well thanks to some much-needed newer support members, and a few powerful oldies like Stratos. It wields a healthy 1800 ATK for its level of 4, and when normal summoned you can choose one of two effects to activate. The first lets you destroy spells/traps on the field up to the number of HEROs you control; the second lets you add any HERO from your deck to your hand.

Both are awesome abilities. Searching for any member of its archetype would already offer enough power, but possibly destroying three or more spells/traps will eternally chain Stratos; that's uncomfortably similar to the long-banned spell Harpie's Feather Duster. And remember that the HEROs emphasize fusion, so after Stratos has activated his normal summon ability, he makes for great material for a powerful fusion monster (like the above thumbnailed Elemental HERO Absolute Zero), letting him further serve your endeavors.

Update: Stratos has been unbanned, although only time will tell if he stays legal.

Which monster do you prefer?

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More Banned Yu-Gi-Oh Cards

To diversify the list, I excluded cards from a previous forbidden monster countdown, where you'll find Morphing Jar, Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End, and other old favorites, plus a few entries who are no longer excluded (you can view the 2018 ban list here).

That's the thing about trading card games—they're constantly evolving, and monsters naturally fluctuate in and out of banned territory. Years from now, I'm sure we'll be back to see which monsters have and haven't clawed free from their chains, but for now, vote for your favorite banned card, and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jeremy Gill


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      • profile image

        10 months ago

        Why are these cards banned


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