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Top 10 Rank-Up Spells in Yu-Gi-Oh

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

What Are Rank-Up-Magics in Yu-Gi-Oh?

Most duelists are familiar with the black-backgrounded xyz monsters that reside in your extra deck. Bearing ranks instead of levels, most xyz monsters are special summoned by spending two monsters of the same level that you control and attaching them to your summoned xyz unit as material, providing fuel for its effects.

However, the higher a monster's level, the harder it is to normal summon because you eventually start having to tribute monsters, making it challenging to field the necessary components of higher-rank xyz titans. Luckily, Konami crafted several Rank-Up spells that typically sacrifice a lower-rank xyz monster to cast a higher-rank one, often with some bonus effects along the way.

A useful way to easily cast your strongest boss monsters without amassing hard-to-summon tributes, Rank-Ups are an underestimated series that can drastically turn the tide of a duel. But with dozens of xyz-upgrading cards available, which entries reign supreme? These are the 10 best Rank-Up spells in Yu-Gi-Oh!

10. Rank-Up-Magic Limited Barian's Force

Effect
Xyz summons a rank-5 "Number C" monster from your extra deck by using a rank-4 monster you control as material. The original monster and its materials are attached to your new creature.

Why It's Useful
Normal summoning level-4 monsters is easy since they don't need tributes, letting you quickly play rank-4 xyz monsters, then morph them into rank-5 titans (who would normally need tribute-demanding level-5 monsters). Also, note that Barian's Force doesn't require your material monster to be your Number C's prior form; it just has to be rank 4. For example, you could use the thumbnailed Silent Honor ARK to summon its upgrade Silent Honor DARK, but you could also use any other rank-4 monster.

Rank-Up-Magic - The Seventh One

Rank-Up-Magic - The Seventh One

9. Rank-Up-Magic - The Seventh One

Effect
Use this card only by drawing it and keeping it revealed until the start of your main phase. At that point, you can play it to summon a non "Number C" monster from your extra deck or graveyard with a number between 101 and 107, then immediately xyz summon a Number C monster by using your initial card as material. This is a once-per-duel effect.

Why It's Useful
You're gambling with Seventh One since it's basically useless if you draw it in your opening hand, but it fields both your initial xyz monster tribute and its upgrade. Plus, the 101-107 monsters are some of the best xyz beasts around (with impressive cards like Star Seraph Sentry and Ragnazero), and being able to pull your initial summon from either the extra deck or graveyard ensures you'll have easy access.

8. The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch

Effect
Use a dark-attributed xyz monster you control with no materials to xyz summon a dark monster one rank higher; both the initial monster and Magic Launch are attached to the new monster as material. Additionally, you can banish this card from your graveyard to attach a Phantom Knight from your hand to a dark xyz monster you control as material.

Why It's Useful
Magic Launch can only be activated during the main phase, but as a quick-play spell, you can activate it even on your opponent's turn, often catching them off-guard by xyz summoning during their move. While this spell is limited to dark monsters, it doesn't specify monster type, giving you some options on how to use it, and it's nice that Magic Launch attaches itself as material, granting your new unit a full two materials. Tip: use this card to turn Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon into Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon.

Rank-Up-Magic Numeron Force

Rank-Up-Magic Numeron Force

7. Rank-Up-Magic Numeron Force

Effect
Xyz summons a Number C monster by using an xyz monster one rank lower with the same monster type as material. Then, negates the effects of any face-up cards other than your new monster.

Why It's Useful
Like Limited Barian's Force, this helps summon the powerful Number C cards, and if your original xyz monster still has xyz materials, those materials are attached to your new creature, providing a plethora of resources for its effects. Additionally, while the face-up card negation can counter your own units if you're not careful, it's simply an awesome way to shutdown opposing continuous and field spells, especially since it's a permanent negation, not just until the end of the turn.

Rank-Up-Magic Skip Force

Rank-Up-Magic Skip Force

6. Rank-Up-Magic Skip Force

Effect
Uses a Raidraptor xyz monster you control as material to xyz summon a Raidraptor two ranks higher. Additionally, during your main phase (except the turn this card was sent to the graveyard), you can banish Skip Force and a Raidraptor from your graveyard to special summon an xyz Raidraptor from your graveyard.

Why It's Useful
While Skip Force only works with the Raidraptor archetype, it lets you rank up two degrees rather than the usual one, easily pulling your high-rank Raidraptors. The old materials also go to the new monster, providing fuel, and the graveyard-banishing effect helps revive a vanquished Raidraptor (albeit without materials to spend).

Rank-Up-Magic Quick Chaos

Rank-Up-Magic Quick Chaos

5. Rank-Up-Magic Quick Chaos

Effect
Simply uses a Number xyz monster you control as material to xyz summon a Number monster with the same number one rank higher.

Why It's Useful
As of this writing, the Number archetype is the most expansive in the game, giving several options for upgrade, and Quick Chaos acts at instant speed, letting you xyz summon during any turn or phase. This can also help trick your opponent into "wasting" a spell/trap removal; after they target your set Quick Chaos with something like Twin Twisters or Mystical Space Typhoon, simply activate it in response to resolve its effects before it's destroyed.

Rank-Up-Magic Raptor's Force

Rank-Up-Magic Raptor's Force

4. Rank-Up-Magic Raptor's Force

Effect
If a Raidraptor was destroyed this turn while you controlled it, special summons an xyz Raidraptor from your graveyard, then immediately xyz summons a Raidraptor one rank higher by using the revived monster as material.

Why It's Useful
Another quick-play spell, you can activate this on any turn or phase. It doesn't specify how your monster has to be destroyed, so you can use Raptor's Force with both battle and effect destruction, even if it was your own card (perhaps Dark Hole) that initiated the annihilation. Additionally, the Raidraptor you rejuvenate from your graveyard can but doesn't have to be the monster that was destroyed that turn, letting you revive stronger units if they're already in your graveyard

3. Rank-Up-Magic Doom Double Force

Effect
Targets a Raidraptor xyz monster in your graveyard that was destroyed by battle and sent there this turn; xyz summons a Raidraptor with a rank double that monster's from your extra deck, using it as material.

Why It's Useful
Yet another quick-play spell that can trigger on either turn, Double Force *unlike Raptor's Force) requires the destruction to be from battle and can only revive the defeated monster. However, it compensates by doubling the rank of your fallen creature, a lightning-fast method of fielding rank-8 or -10 behemoths like Raidraptor - Satellite Cannon Falcon, one of the best monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh.

Rank-Up-Magic Admiration of the Thousands

Rank-Up-Magic Admiration of the Thousands

2. Rank-Up-Magic Admiration of the Thousands

Effect
Targets one or more xyz monster in each graveyard, all of the same rank, then special summons a Number C or CXyz monster one rank higher from your extra deck, attaching the targeted monsters as material. You cannot special summon other monsters the turn you employ Admiration, and you can only activate one per turn.

Why It's Useful
A big risk, big reward spell, Admiration needs to pull at least one monster from each graveyard, meaning you're hoping your opponent uses xyz cards. Luckily, rank-4 xyz cards are commonly found in almost any deck, and Admiration guarantees attaching at least two materials to your summoned monster, but can provide as many as you and your opponent have corresponding monsters. An awesome effect when successfully completed that can win you the game if you use cards like Number 86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniad, but the special summon restriction and the fact that (unlike most Rank-Ups) Admiration's ability isn't treated as an xyz summon slightly hinder its prowess.

Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force

Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force

1. Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force

Effect
Targets an xyz monster you control with the highest rank and xyz summons a monster one or two ranks higher, using it as material. Additionally, during your draw phase, you can add this card from your graveyard to your hand rather than conduct your normal draw.

Why It's Useful
With no type or Number restrictions, Astral Force can upgrade any xyz monster into any other that's either one or two grades higher, an amazingly versatile ability that fits into just about any xyz deck. The ability to recycle Astral Force whenever you'd prefer to regain it rather than performing a normal draw superbly lets you reuse your spell whenever you're ready to xyz summon even stronger monsters, and it helps guard against empty-deck losses from opposing mill strategies.

By far my favorite Rank-Up, Astral Force is simply the most accessible and powerful Rank-Up available. I've used it in several decks to great success, and its recycle trait makes it good discard fodder. Luckily, despite its prowess, you can often snag one for surprisingly low prices under a dollar!

Future of Rank-Up-Magic Cards

Despite the extra deck limitation rules that debuted alongside link monsters restricting extra deck access, xyz monsters remain a popular option since they don't require the tuners that synchro summons need or the fusion spells for fusion monsters.

With more powerful Rank-Up cards to explore (like Rank-Up-Magic Argent Chaos Force, which we excluded for currently occupying the ban list), we'll undoubtedly see additional Rank-Ups in the future. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next batch of xyz support cards, vote for your favorite magic and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!

© 2018 Jeremy Gill