Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Exodia's Automatic Win
Infamously used in the anime by Yugi Muto to turn the tides in his first duel against Seto Kaiba, the five Exodia cards are weak monsters that won't help much in battle, but if you can amass all five in your hand, you immediately win your duel. This tantalizing instant-win makes many players form entire decks based around gathering the five components, which can you view above. But it's a risk—Exodia creatures are almost worthless outside of their victory condition thanks to atrocious battle stats and no effects.
Still, Exodia decks have proven their mettle competitively to the point that each component is limited, meaning you can only include one copy in your deck. But with many potent stall cards available, which units best combo with the Forbidden One?
These are the ten most crucial cards to your Exodia deck! Other than Exodia and his two arms and legs, of course. Ya might want to toss those bad boys in there.
- Dark Factory of Mass Production
- Drowning Mirror Force
- Swords of Revealing Light
- Gold Sarcophagus
- Pot of Duality
- One Day of Peace
- Cardcar D
- Upstart Goblin
- Hope for Escape
- Battle Fader
10. Dark Factory of Mass Production
Many cards like Future Fusion or Foolish Burial will send your Exodia allies to the graveyard. This prevents you from having to draw them, but you'll need something to recover them from your discard pile. Enter the Dark Factory of Mass Production, which handily adds two normal monsters from your graveyard to your hand. Since four out of the five Exodia cards are normal monsters, this can recycle most appendages back into your hand, ready to steal you the win.
Even if you're not sending your components to the graveyard with effects, you might want to stock some Mass Productions in case your opponent forces you to discard or if you lose a limb after setting it into defense position out of desperation. Rather than costing you an arm and a leg, Mass Production gains you them for no trade-offs! And if your custom deck runs other normal monsters, it'll also help recover them.
9. Drowning Mirror Force
The classic Mirror Force counter trap has gained some much-appreciated alternatives. Drowning Mirror Force can only be activated when your opponent directly attacks you (not when they attack a monster you control), but since Exodia decks tend to be light on fielded monsters, you probably won't have to wait long for the incoming blow.
To compensate for its stricter activation requirements, Drowning Mirror Force shuffles all attacking monsters back into your opponent's deck. Unlike its original, this removes destruction-immune creatures, like those affected by Safe Zone, and shuffling them into the deck prevents your opponent from regenerating them from their graveyard. Basically, this fierce counter drastically slows your opponent's assault and buys you the time you need to gather your Exodia members. As a bonus, since link monsters don't have DEF scores, they can't hide in defense position, making Drowning particularly lethal against them.
8. Swords of Revealing Light
The classic defense magic remains an important stall tactic. Swords of Revealing Light stays fielded for three of your turns, preventing your opponent from attacking while out. Additionally, when first played, it flips all opposing face-down monsters face-up, letting you see what tricks they were concealing and helping you plan your next move.
It's as simple as that. Three turns give you plenty of time to hunt down your five fiendish pieces but beware of spell/trap destroyers that may break through your wall. Still, if you find a method to return Swords to your hand while out (perhaps with Mist Valley Falcon), you can reset its timer and indefinitely dampen your opponent's offensive.
7. Gold Sarcophagus
Unlimited as of this writing, Gold Sarcophagus has been known to flirt with the ba list, so be sure to check before using it outside casual play. It simply banishes any card from your deck and adds that card to your hand during your second standby phase after activation.
Unlike its counterpart, Different Dimension Capsule, Sarcophagus doesn't remain out; it heads to the graveyard immediately upon use, leaving your opponent with nothing to destroy and no way to prevent the effect. The negligible tradeoff is that your banished card stays face-up, revealing to your opponent that you're collecting the Exodia materials (or whatever you choose), but based on your array of defensive measures, they likely already knew that. As long as you can survive two turns, Sarcophagus will provide you with any of your missing Exodia pieces, and you can even activate multiple copies in the same turn.
6. Pot of Duality
One of the game's best "Pot of" spells, you can only activate one Duality per turn, but it lets you excavate (look at) the top three cards of your deck and add one to your hand. This often lets you peek at and search out one of your needed parts, the drawback being that you can't special summon the turn you activate the ability.
However, most Exodia decks won't heavily rely on special summoning, since aggro with monsters isn't the focus, meaning Duality rarely slows your strategy. And even if your components aren't among the three revealed cards, you're still choosing the best of three options to add to hand, letting you select a stall card suited for the duel's current situation.
5. One Day of Peace
Our next spell, One Day of Peace, has both players draw a card and prevents either from taking damage until the end of your opponent's next turn. While this grants your adversary a card as well as you, and it also negates any damage they would take, you're the one who probably needs the shield considering your deck's strategy. Exodia blends rarely swing at their opponents and are more than happy to negate their own damage if it will block what they would take.
As a bonus, the trait guards against both effect and battle damage, preventing your opponent from not only striking you with their army but also stalling effect damage engines like Wave-Motion Cannon.
4. Cardcar D
Like Pot of Duality, Cardcar D (hilarious pun there, Konami) prevents you from special summoning the turn you use its effect, but again, Exodia builds shouldn't mind the loss. Cardcar D cannot be special summoned, but when you normal summon it, you can send it to the graveyard to draw two cards and immediately end your turn.
This prevents you from attacking, but few Exodia decks will feel the need to attack much anyway, and the effect nets you two cards for one, à la Pot of Greed. Plus, while you have to trigger Cardcar D in your first (not second) main phase, you're more than welcome to activate spells or set traps before you use its ability, letting you prepare yourself for any upcoming attacks. In short, this handy little machine rapidly cycles through your deck to grab your needed monsters.
3. Upstart Goblin
The simplest of today's cards simply grants your opponent 1000 life points and has you draw a card. You're using a card to get a card while your opponent gains life, so why even bother?
Well, not only does this sift through your deck, letting you quickly find your Exodia teammates, it can turn your opponent's extra life into an advantage when used in tangent with cards like Hope for Escape.
2. Hope for Escape
A risky move to be sure, but Hope for Escape makes for an excellent last-ditch effort to nab your Exodias. If your opponent has at least 1000 more life points than you do, you pay 1000 life points, then draw a card for every 2000 points difference between you and them. This will guarantee a draw of at least one card, but when used alongside Upstart Goblin, can net you three or more cards with a single play!
And since Hope is a trap and activates at instant speed, you can often trick your opponent into targeting it with a spell/trap removal, then play it in response, essentially wasting their removal that would have otherwise decimated another of your spells or traps.
1. Battle Fader
Battle Fader stalls like no other monster can. When your opponent declares a direct attack, you special summon Fader from your hand (this is called a "hand trap") and end the battle phase, exiling Fader when it leaves the field after using this effect. Not only does this shut down your opponent's attacks for a turn, but it also prevents you from a monster ready to take a hit or be tributed.
Additionally, since Fader rests dormant in your hand until used, it isn't vulnerable to spell/trap removals like most defensive forces, and can really save your bacon if you get hit with a field-wipe like Judgment Dragon or Steelswarm Hercules. As icing on the cake, since Battle Fader shares the Exodia archetype's dark attribute, it qualifies for many of the same support cards, like Allure of Darkness.
A useful card for any build but essential for Exodia deck lists, I can't recommend this little guy enough, especially since you can buy your own for less than a dollar!
Exodia Deck Blends
Exodia decks are a versatile and unpredictable bunch that combine well with other archetypes. For instance, blending them with the Watt series lets you use Watthydra's search effect to quickly gain your components, or using a Worm mashup lets you activate Future Fusion to send all Worms from your deck to the graveyard for Worm Zero's summon, leaving you with just your needed appendages left to draw. The series also shares Dark Magician's dark attribute and spellcaster type, leaving some tempting potential there.
But regardless of which route you opt for, a well-constructed Exodia deck changes the entire nature of the game and grants you a worthy chance of victory against even the most meta of opponents. Considering the game's numerous pacifistic options, it wasn't easy narrowing this list to just ten units, and we'll undoubtedly explore more Exodia strategies in the future. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next batch of opponent-stalling Exodia fuel, vote for your favorite entry and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: Why is the Heart of the Underdog not included in the list of cards for the Exodia Yu-Gi-Oh deck?
Answer: The Heart of the Underdog is a good Exodia card for normal-monster focused decks. Underdog lets you draw cards during your draw step until you don't draw a normal monster. This can really help you rifle through your deck fast (especially since 4 out of the 5 Exodia pieces are normal monsters), but you're almost sunk if you don't draw Underdog early in the duel since normal monsters by themselves won't fend off opponents for long.
Basically, a good if situational suggestion that will probably appear if I ever make a follow-up Exodia countdown.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
F. on November 30, 2018:
Have you thought about making Duel Links content?
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on July 20, 2018:
I'm not sure you understand its effect. Swift Scarecrow also activates from the hand to end your opponent's battle phase, and it's true that it's not banished, but you have to discard it to use its ability, never gaining the wall monster benefit that Fader offers. Also, it's not dark-attributed, so it won't work as well with synergies like Allure of Darkness.
MaxwellTheMoldy on July 20, 2018:
Actually, Swift Scarecrow would be a better idea over Battle Fader, since it does the same thing without being banished, therefore, if the opponent cannot remove it, you are left with a decent wall if swapped to defense mode.