Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
The "Godzilla" Kaiju Monsters
The term Japanese term "kaiju" has come to designate giant monsters, often associated with Godzilla and his adversaries. But what does the King of Monsters have to do with dueling?
Well, Konami designed an infamous series of "Kaiju" monsters, many of whom are based on various Godzilla titans. Hey, it makes sense—what better crossover for a monster like Godzilla than a game utilizing monster cards? Thankfully, Konami has done justice to these behemoths, granting them fierce battle stats and giving effects that set up dramatic one-on-one fights just like their inspirations. But with several powerful Kaiju to choose from, which gargantuans reign supreme?
These are the ten best Kaiju cards in Yu-Gi-Oh!
- Super Anti-Kaiju War Machine Mecha-Dogoran
- Kumongous, the Sticky String Kaiju
- Gadarla, the Mystery Dust Kaiju
- Dogoran, the Mad Flame Kaiju
- The Kaiju Files
- Interrupted Kaiju Slumber
- Radian, the Multidimensional Kaiju
- Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
- Thunder King, the Lightningstrike Kaiju
- Jizukiru, the Star Destroying Kaiju
10. Super Anti-Kaiju War Machine Mecha-Dogoran
Based on: MechaGodzilla (aka Kiryu)
As much as I love MechaGodzilla in the Godzilla franchise, his adjective-littered card form is surprisingly hampered compared to his brethren. Anti-Kaiju War Machine lacks the effect his peers brandish allowing you to tribute an opposing monster and summon the card to their side of the field, a glaring omission that hampers his removal prowess. That said, once per turn, War Machine can equip a Kaiju from your hand or field to himself and gains ATK equal to the total values of all equipped units.
While this can boost him to incredible strength if given enough time, it's a bit too slow for my tastes and takes up your valued spell/trap zones. Still, although you can't special summon War Machine to your opponent's field with his own effect, certain upcoming Kaiju spells (hint hint) will do the job for you, and he's a great choice for to hand to your opponent since they won't have access to the equipping-cards that strengthen him.
9. Kumongous, the Sticky String Kaiju
Based on: Kumonga
Similarly to the classic Lava Golem, you can special summon Kumongous (like most of his Kaiju family) to your opponent's field in attack position by tributing a monster they control. Sure, you're handing them a formidable monster, but you're also eliminating an opposing threat and setting up for the Kaiju clan's next effect: you can special summon Kumongous to your field in attack position if your opponent controls a Kaiju.
Remove an opposing monster and hand them a Kaiju, summon your own, rinse, and repeat. Just note that you can only control one Kaiju at once, giving these colossal creatures the one-on-one fights they deserve. Also, when your opponent normal or special summons a monster, Kumongous can remove two Kaiju counters from anywhere on the field to (until the end of the next) prevent that monster from attacking or using its effect. This is a weaker Kaiju ability, and Kumongous wields only 2400 ATK, so he's not the best Kaiju for you to control. Still, these vulnerabilities mean he's a good candidate to hand to your opponent.
8. Gadarla, the Mystery Dust Kaiju
Based on: Mothra
Gadarla's got the same abilities we'll see on our other Kaiju monsters today: you can summon it to your opponent's field by tributing a monster they control and you can special summon him (to your field) if your opponent controls a Kaiju.
The Mystery Dust Kaiju also bears a sturdy 2700 ATK an interesting effect: once per turn, during either player's turn, you can remove three Kaiju counters from anywhere on the field to halve the ATK and DEF of all other monsters. This can dampen your own units if you're not careful, but it's a handy debuff that can helpfully activate at quick-play speed. I just wish it only cost two counters; other Kaiju brandish monster-destroying or effect-negating traits that will generally help more.
7. Dogoran, the Mad Flame Kaiju
Based on: Burning Godzilla (and named after Dogora)
Like his brethren, you can special summon this potent dinosaur of the Kaiju archetype to your opponent's field in attack position by tributing a monster they control, a handy removal that can remove a big threat and circumvent targeting and destruction immunities. Additionally, if your opponent controls a Kaiju monster, you can special summon Dogoran from your hand, meaning it's easy to play him if you field another Kaiju to your opponent's field.
Although you may only control one Kaiju monster at once, Dogoran can remove three Kaiju counters from anywhere on the field to destroy all monsters your opponent controls, a free Raigeki whenever you need as long as you can spare the counters. Dogoran can't attack the turn you use this effect, but when he does get to strike, his daunting 3000 ATK rips enemies to shreds.
6. The Kaiju Files
Intermission time. This continuous spell acquires a Kaiju counter (maximum of five) whenever a Kaiju is summoned to either field from the hand or graveyard. Since Kaiju don't generate their own counters, this is a crucial component to activating their mighty effects. Additionally, once per turn, Kaiju Files lets you destroy a Kaiju anywhere on the field and summon a Kaiju from your deck to that player's field. This lets you replace a weaker unit you control with a stronger (or vice versa regarding your opponent) while also acquiring extra Kaiju counters.
Finally, you can send this card with three or more counters to the graveyard to add one Kaiju spell or trap from your deck to your hand, other than another copy of Kaiju Files. Your counters are often better served fueling your monster effects, but this is a nice extra search trait on top of an already awesome card.
5. Interrupted Kaiju Slumber
A magic formidable enough to be limited as of this writing (meaning you can only include one in your deck), Interrupted Kaiju Slumber acts as a superb nuke. You destroy as many monsters on the field as possible, then special summon two Kaiju with different names from your deck in attack position, one to each player's field. They cannot change their battle positions and must attack when able.
This awesome effect lets you come back from a desperate situation by removing all monsters your opponent (and you) controls while fielding two Kaiju of your choice, letting you attain something you need while handing your opponent a weaker entity. Finally, during your main phase except the turn this card sent to the graveyard, you can banish Kaiju Slumber from your graveyard to add one Kaiju monster from your deck to your hand, a great add effect that lets Slumber serve even after its mass wipe.
4. Radian, the Multidimensional Kaiju
Based on: Dark Lugiel (and named after Rodan)
Back to our mainstays, Radian the Multidimensional Kaiju harnesses the same opponent-tributing and special summoning qualities of his peers. He's also got a stellar 2800 ATK and a cheaper counter effect: by only spending two Kaiju counters from anywhere on the field, you can special summon a Radian Token. This token monster wields 2800 ATK and has the same dark attribute and level 7 that Radian does, but doesn't bear the Kaiju name, letting you control both at once.
Since you can normally handle only one Kaiju at a time, Radian gives you a cheap way of simultaneously employing multiple beatsticks. You can't use the Radian Token as synchro summoning material, but since the Kaiju aren't geared towards synchros or tuners, that's a negligible restriction on a fierce ability.
3. Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
Based on: Gamera
Gameciel only bears 2200 ATK, but he's got a hearty 3000 DEF, so you'll often want to switch his position later to keep him alive. Luckily, he accesses a great effect: once per turn, during either player's turn, when your opponent activates a card or effect (except another Gameciel), you can remove two Kaiju counters from anywhere to negate that activation and banish the card. This is a tempting counter that only needs two counters, triggers on either turn and adds insult to injury by banishing the negated card.
Just remember that your opponent can activate the effect too, so only summon Gameciel to their field if you have no effects you need to employ until he's destroyed in battle or if there aren't enough counters on the field for his effect. In these cases, his comparatively low 2200 ATK makes him a good candidate for inflicting extra battle damage to your opponent.
2. Thunder King, the Lightningstrike Kaiju
Based on: King Ghidorah
With an imposing 3300 ATK, Thunder King the Lightning Strike Kaiju annihilates most enemies in battle, letting you take down even the sturdy Kaiju you've so generously handed your opponent.
Of course, he wields the same opposing monster tribute and special summon conditions as the other series members as well as a strong counter ability: by removing three Kaiju counters from anywhere on the field, you prevent your opponent from activating cards and effects for the rest of the turn, and Thunder King can make up to three attacks on monsters during each battle phase this turn. A savage ability that guards against pesky traps (and even hand-trap monsters like Battle Fader), clearing the path for an easy assault, and allowing you to decimate up to three adversaries with a single monster. With his great strength and effects, Thunder King very nearly took the crown today, but the mantle instead goes to...
1. Jizukiru, the Star Destroying Kaiju
Based on: Legion
Jizukuri the Star Destroying Kaiju matches Thunder King's hefty 3300 ATK but bears a better DEF of 2600, making him the ultimate Kaiju in combat. Again, he harnesses the standard tribute and special summon conditions, and remember that you can only control one Kaiju at once.
Jizukiru also enjoys a terrific counter-effect: during either player's turn, when a card or effect is activated that targets a single card, you can remove three Kaiju counters from anywhere on the field to negate that card, then you can destroy a card on the field. This amazing quality not only negates most effects, it lets you destroy any card (the negated one or otherwise) on the field! A fear-inducing ability; just watch out for effects that target multiple monsters or don't target at all like Drowning Mirror Force.
The best of his impressive lot, the Star Destroying Kaiju is a staple for any Kaiju deck list I craft, but he's surprisingly cheap despite his prowess, only costing around three dollars.
Future of Kaiju
With almighty effects and battle stats, the Kaiju remain one of the most renowned and viable archetypes in dueling. Their one-per-field limit and effects remind me of the Earthbound Immortal clan, but unlike them, Kaiju don't rely on field spells and have better spell supports.
When utilized well, these rare monsters should obliterate just about any decks they face, and I'm eager to see what the future holds for these awesome homages to monster movies. But for now, as we await Konami's next batch of intimidating gargantuans, vote for your favorite Kaiju, and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Adam on June 30, 2018:
Wow, just looking at the poll votes and everybody really likes Gamecial the sea turtle kaiju more than any other kaiju. Its pretty sad though, but I still think it might be worth it to play other kaiju by releasing support that could reduce the cost of counters, increase counters easily, able to take kaiju monsters from your opponents field (if you use its ability to special summon to your opponent's side of the field) and lastly create more new kaiju monsters for more fun and popularity.