Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Ritual Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh
An old but formidable type of monster in Yu-Gi-Oh, blue-blackgrounded ritual monsters consistently strike terror into enemies. With daunting ATK scores alongside a plethora of flashy effects, modern ritual behemoths quickly decimate your opponent's life points.
Ritual summoning can be costly in terms of card advantage since it usually requires having a ritual monster and ritual spell in your hand plus having tributes in either your hand or field, yet the considerable rewards are well worth the price of admission. But which azure gargantuans reign supreme? These are Yu-Gi-Oh's ten best ritual monsters! But first, review your ritual rules and learn how to play ritual monsters with the frequently asked questions below, or instead skip straight to the countdown, which includes the following Ritual Monsters:
- Black Luster Soldier - Super Soldier
- Cyber Angel Dakini
- Lord of the Red
- Amorphactor Pain, the Imagination Dracoverlord
- Gishki Zielgigas
- Cyber Angel Natasha
- Ruin, Graceful Queen of Oblivion
- Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon
- Demise, Supreme King of Armageddon
- Cyber Angel Vrash
Ritual Monster FAQs
How Do I Ritual Summon a Ritual Monster?
Ritual monsters are special summoned from your hand with a specific ritual spell (which should be listed in the monster's text). You'll usually tribute monsters from your hand or field whose total levels equal or exceed your summoned monster's level.
Can I Revive Ritual Monsters from the Graveyard?
Sometimes. Let's say you place one into your graveyard with a discard effect like Lightning Vortex. In cases like this where your monster was never summoned, you won't be able to revive your ritual monster with graveyard-special summoning effects (like the trap Call of the Haunted or the spell Monster Reborn). However, if your ritual monster is sent to the graveyard from the field, then you can indeed rejuvenate it. In other words, you have to successfully cast your ritual beast before you can recall it.
Do Ritual Monsters use the Extra Monster Zone?
No. Ritual monsters are placed in your main (not extra) deck, and as such, don't use your limited extra deck zones when summoned. Ritual creatures have aged well since (unlike extra deck monsters), fielding multiple units doesn't require having additional extra deck slots from link monsters.
Why Did Konami Use a Blue Background Twice? Aren't Link Monsters also Blue?
Their trickery knows no bounds. Luckily, you can easily tell the difference; ritual monsters have levels (determined by the orange stars in the upper-right corner) and DEF scores that link monsters lack. Additionally, the cards will either say "ritual" or "link" next to their monster type.
10. Black Luster Soldier - Super Soldier
Summoning Spell: Super Soldier Ritual
A modernized update on the classic Black Luster Soldier, Super Soldier matches a Blue-Eyes White Dragon in battle stats with a fierce 3000 ATK and 2500 DEF. Plus, whenever it destroys a monster in battle and sends it to the graveyard, you inflict damage to your opponent equal to that monster's original ATK, adding insult to injury whenever their combatants fall. Not only that, whenever Super Soldier is destroyed (regardless of whether through battle or effect) and send to the graveyard, you can summon "Gaia the Fierce Knight" from your hand, deck, or graveyard!
Even if you opt not to throw some Gaias into your decklist (they're admittedly an aging unit), Super Soldier's ATK and burn damage more than justify this warrior's inclusion in your ritual build. Just note that you can only summon one copy per turn, a minuscule restriction on a powerful champion.
9. Cyber Angel Dakini
Summoning Spell: Machine Angel Ritual
One of several terrific Cyber Angel heroines (hint hint), Dakini's 2700 ATK and 2400 DEF prove she's in good shape despite her four arms and blue complexion. When ritual summoned, this fairy can force your opponent to send a monster they control (of their choice) to the graveyard, a handy removal that immediately eliminates an opposing force. Beyond that, when any ritual monster you control attacks a defense position monster, you inflict piercing battle damage to your opponent.
While link monsters lack DEF scores, negating this ability's helpfulness against them, it's still an excellent addition to your arsenal since it empowers all your ritual titans, not just Dakini. Best of all, once per turn during your end phase, Dakini lets you add either Machine Angel Ritual (her ritual spell) or any ritual monster from your graveyard to your hand, a superb and continuous ability that repeatedly stocks your hand with resources for more ritual shenanigans.
8. Lord of the Red
Summoning Spell: Red-Eyes Transmigration
Lord of the Red's battle stats may not impress quite as much as today's other entries, but 2400 and 2100 are still respectable scores that can overwhelm many foes. Better yet, once per turn (on each player's turn), when a card or effect is activated, Lord lets you target and destroy a monster and/or a spell or trap! This quickly ravages your foe's army since the condition is so darn easy to trigger and can annihilate up to two cards a turn. You can even destroy your own cards if you wish (perhaps to activate effects like that of Supply Squad).
Unless your opponent is purposefully avoiding the effect, cards are going to be played on every turn, guaranteeing the activations, and even if they elect to skip through their moves, you can use quick-plays or traps to meet the criteria on their turn. Plus, if they choose not to play cards, they're, uh, not playing cards, making them sitting ducks for you to hunt. Finally, while Lord of the Red doesn't technically belong to the Red-Eyes archetype, this dragon combos well with their best members and its casting relies on a Red-Eyes ritual spell.
7. Amorphactor Pain, the Imagination Dracoverlord
Summoning Spell: Amorphous Persona
With a hefty 2950 ATK and 2500 DEF, Amorphactor excels in combat, and he employs a savage ability upon entry: when ritual summoned, your opponent skips their next main phase 1. This rare effect forces your opponent to wait until their second main phase (after the battle phase) before summoning new monsters or playing spells, severely hindering their offensive capabilities for the turn. Additionally, Amorphactor negates the effects of all fusion, synchro, and xyz monsters on the field!
While this also dampens your monsters, since the Dracoverlord series focuses on pendulum monsters (and since Amorphactor is a ritual dragon), you should artfully dodge the debuff. But wait, there's more: if Amorphactor is sent to the graveyard, you're able to search and add any Dracoverlord from your deck to your hand, except another copy of Dracoverlord. Not only is this a helpful search, but it also bears no "once per turn" limitation, so if you lose multiple Amorphactors in a single turn, you're able to add several new cards to your hand and prepare a ferocious counterattack.
6. Gishki Zielgigas
Summoning Spell: Any Gishki ritual spell (I recommend Gishki Aquamirror)
With a whopping 3200 ATK, Gishki Zielgigas can easily trample through almost any adversary. He also employs a brutal effect: you can (once per turn) pay 1000 life points, then draw and reveal a card. If that card was a Gishki monster, you shuffle one card from the field into the deck. The beauty here is that regardless of what you draw, you get to keep the card, providing card advantage, and if it's a Gishki, you remove an opposing unit of any type from the field, circumventing even destruction and targeting-immune enemies
Additionally, while 0 DEF may seem like a disadvantage, it actually qualifies Zielgigas for several unique effects, like the graveyard-revival of Masked Chameleon or the deck-search from Gishki Abyss. Finally, the Gishki archetype wields several impressive support members designed to let you easily ritual summon your water-attributed aces;
5. Cyber Angel Natasha
Summoning Spell: Machine Angel Ritual
I know what you're thinking: how can a puny creature with a mere 1000 ATK and DEF make the list? Trust me, Natasha wields a plethora of tempting abilities. Once per turn, she lets you gain life points equal to half the ATK of a face-up monster you control. This should guarantee at least 500 a turn (if she targets herself), but stronger monsters can give you upwards of 1500 a turn! Even better, whenever a ritual monster you control is attacked, you can negate the attack. This awesome shield not only protects Natasha but also your other ritual monsters, and with no once per turn errata, you can foil as many hits as you need.
And we're still not done; when Natasha rests in the graveyard, you can banish another Cyber Angel from your graveyard to both revive Natasha and take control of a target monster your opponent controls. This is yet another fantastic ability that simultaneously regenerates Natasha while permanently stealing an enemy unit. Finally, remember that Natasha is ritual summoned using the same ritual spell as her Cyber Angel brethren, Machine Angel Ritual, making it easy to build a deck around them since one spell fits all.
4. Ruin, Graceful Queen of Oblivion
Summoning Spell: Endless of the World
Although she isn't part of the Cyber Angel archetype, Ruin, Graceful Queen of Oblivion shares their light attribute and fairy type, fitting snugly into their decklist. While on the field, her name changes to the older card Ruin, Queen of Oblivion (useful for certain name-dependent effects like Break of the World), and Queen prevents all ritual monsters you control from being destroyed by card effects. If combined with Natasha's battle-negating abilities, these barriers render your ritual warriors almost invincible.
In addition, Queen excels in both battle positions, brandishing a fierce 2900 ATK and even superior 3000 DEF, so your opponent can't place her into a vulnerable state with position-altering tricks, and if she was ritual summoned only using ritual monsters as tribute, she can make a second attack every battle phase. Few opponents will last long against a shielded 2900 ATK beatstick who strikes twice every combat, especially since whenever Queen destroys a monster in battle, she inflicts damage to your opponent equal to that monster's original ATK. Versatile and deadly, Queen stands among the best ritual units of all time.
3. Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon
Summoning Spell: Chaos Form
Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon can only be ritual summoned, so abandon any hope of reviving it when defeated. But good luck taking it down; Chaos MAX wields an incredible 4000 ATK! Not only that, but it's also immune to being targeted or destroyed by opposing card effects, dramatically limiting removal options.
As if 4000 ATK wasn't lethal enough, not only does Chaos MAX inflict piercing damage to defense position monsters, it actually doubles its pierce damage, tearing through defenders with enough force to often win the duel. While link monsters don't have DEF scores and can't suffer this effect, all other monsters can be shredded to piece with this ability. Combine Chaos MAX with Blue-Eyes Chaos Dragon to change your foes to defense position and hit them with twice the hurt, and don't forget to access the best Blue-Eyes support cards in the game! Just watch out for Chaos MAX's ironic weakness: it wields an atrocious defense score of 0.
2. Demise, Supreme King of Armageddon
Summoning Spell: Endless of the World
With an awesome 3000 ATK and DEF, Demise Supreme King of Armageddon shines in either battle format. He changes his name to Demise, King of Armageddon while in the hand or field similarly to Graceful Queen, again useful for certain effects. Additionally, if ritual summoned, your ritual monsters cannot be destroyed by battle, a tantalizing protection that guards not just Supreme King but all your ritual units. Even better, you can (once per turn) pay 2000 life points to destroy every other card on the field (including your own), inflicting 200 damage to your opponent for each of their destroyed units!
While this vanquishes your cards as well, it clears the path for a direct attack, and since each of your lost units increases the burn damage by 200, you're only strengthening the mass-wipe. Coupled with a 3000 ATK direct blow, your opponent will likely lose the turn Demise hits the field, and if he was ritual summoned using only ritual monsters as tribute, you can activate his nuke ability without spending any life points! Even if your opponent somehow manages to survive, Supreme King can simply activate the effect again on your next turn, giving them a very limited window to remove this dangerous dark fiend.
1. Cyber Angel Vrash
Summoning Spell: Machine Angel Ritual
While not quite as powerful as our last two legends, this level 10 monster still wields a formidable 3000 ATK and 2000 DEF. Like the other members of her archetype, Vrash can be summoned with Machine Angel Ritual, and when ritual summoned, you can destroy as many face-up monsters your opponent controls that were summoned from the extra deck, inflicting 1000 damage for each. If you do, Vrash can make a second attack during each battle phase that turn!
Wow. This ability not only wipes out opposing fusion, synchro, xyz, link, and revived pendulum monsters, it punishes your opponent with a staggering 1000 damage for each. Since it doesn't target, it bypasses shrouded foes, and even if your adversary manages to survive the blast, they'll have to deal with at least 6000 damage (from Vrash's twin attacks) swinging at them that turn. Finally, Vrash can (once per turn on each player's turn) shuffle a ritual monster from your graveyard into your deck to negate and destroy a card that would destroy a card on the field, an excellent defense that shields all types of cards you control (even spells and traps) as long as you have ritual monsters in your discard pile.
For her high ATK, multi-use ritual spell, synergy with her archetype, entrance ignition, burn damage, multiple attacks, and shielding effect, Cyber Angel Vrash is a must for any ritual deck I make. Yet despite her prowess, you can buy your own copy for surprisingly low prices costing you less than a dollar!
Future of Ritual Monsters
Despite being one of Yu-Gi-Oh's oldest monster types, ritual beasts are a surprisingly rare lot outnumbered by just about every other monster type. They may be uncommon, but they're a hearty bunch and whenever one hits the field, you know you're in for a desperate challenge.
Since they transitioned particularly well through the "master" rules that limited access to your extra deck, ritual monsters are fighting harder than ever to serve their owners. Make sure to support your creatures with cards like the Djinn series (the legal ones, anyway) and you'll overwhelm your foe before they know what hit them. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's future ceremonial warriors, vote for your favorite ritual card, and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: Should Super Soldier be a higher monster in Yu-Gi-Oh?
Answer: If it helps, a small part of who I choose for tenth spot (and not ninth) is which card will make the best cover image for my article, and Super Soldier's stellar artwork makes him a prime candidate.
Additionally, his ritual spell, "Super Soldier Ritual", isn't my favorite, something to take into account.
Question: How good is "Odd-Eyes Gravity Dragon"?
Answer: Not bad, but not my favorite Odd-Eyes monster. His effects and stats are fine, but his archetype favors pendulum monsters much more than ritual, making him a black sheep who doesn't always synergize well.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on July 22, 2018:
The way I had described Demise's effect was ambiguous rather than incorrect, but I appreciate your comment, and have made the text more specific.
I'm not sure I'd call one vague statement "all the incorrect ruling", but to answer your question, I simply ranked other monsters higher because I find them more useful. If it helps, I often make a hidden notes section in my countdowns for ideas in case I ever do a follow-up article, and if I do, you'll likely see at least one Prediction Princess there.
Ted on July 22, 2018:
Well aside from all the incorrect ruling (or Demise only deals damage for each of your opponents destroyed cards) why aren't any prediction princess' on the list?