Trap Cards in Yu-Gi-Oh!
Yu-Gi-Oh! incorporates psychological warfare with its facedown trap cards, making the decision to attack a whirlwind of bluffs and mind games. Most fans are aware of the destructive potential of entries like Mirror Force or Bottomless Trap Hole, but today we'll highlight a few lesser-known gems.
Are these guys always going to be super-competitive in the meta game? No. Are they still potent and interesting cards? Heck yes.
Let's get to it and investigate six underestimated traps!
6. Royal Decree
Effect: Negates all other traps on the field.
How to Counter It: You'll need a non-trap capable of destroying traps. Spells like Mystical Space Typhoon do the trick.
This card is last not because it's less useful, but because it's more recognized by the community. Royal Decree simply negates all other Traps until destroyed. This completely shuts out the defenses of most opposing decks, letting you relax whenever you need to attack. What is the best time to play it? In response to an opponent's Trap, essentially making them waste the card.
Of course, you won't be able to play further traps either, so you'll probably want to focus your deck on monsters and spells instead.
5. Abyss Stungray
Effect: Special Summons this card as an Effect Monster with 1900 Attack and 0 Defense that cannot be destroyed in battle.
How to Counter It: Abyss isn't immune to effect destruction, so you'll need to utilize some sort of removal. Since it counts as both a trap and a monster, it's vulnerable to several destructive cards. Also, if in Defense Position, utilize a monster with piercing damage to take advantage of its low stats.
Metal Reflect Slime popularized the trap-to-monster cards with its 3000 Defense, but Abyss goes the extra mile by being completely immune to battle destruction. While its actual Defense stat is, well, abysmal, that'll hardly matter as it can't be destroyed through combat. Unlike Metal, Abyss also employs a moderate Attack value, and it counts as a Level-5, Thunder-type, Light-attribute creature.
4. Safe Zone
Effect: Target one Attack Position monster. That card cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent's card effects and cannot be destroyed in battle or attack your opponent directly. If this card would leave the field, destroy the targeted monster, and vice versa.
How to Counter It: Destroy Safe Zone to also remove the card it's affecting. Plus, remember that it doesn't completely fortify a monster; there are effects that neither target nor destroy but can remove, like the fearsome Drowning Mirror Force.
What the text basically says is that the monster you use this on is almost completely immune to card effects; it can't be destroyed or targeted by them, and it's invulnerable to battle destruction! That's awesome, but there are a few downsides. First, if Safe Zone or the targeted card leaves the field, the other will too. Second, the targeted card can still attack, but only on monsters, not directly.
Keep in mind that you can actually use this on an opponent's monster as long as it's in Attack Position. Normally you wouldn't want to give them extra defenses, but in desperate situations, you can do so to potentially add another way to abolish the monster by destroying Safe Zone.
3. Fairy Box
Effect: When your opponent's monster declares an attack, flip a coin and call it. If you call it right, the attacking monster's Attack becomes 0 until the end of the Battle Phase. Pay 500 Life Points on your Standby Phases or destroy this card.
How to Counter It: Either utilize a removal, risk the 50/50, or stall until your opponent can no longer afford to pay Fairy Box's Life Point requirement.
An older but still impressive trap, Fairy Box gradually depletes your life to offer a formidable barrier. Whenever your opponent attacks, there's half a chance their attack will do nothing! Even better, if they're swinging at a monster of yours, and their Attack gets reduced to zero, they'll be the one taking damage and getting destroyed.
Consider using cards that impact coin flips, like Second Coin Toss, to skew the odds in your favor.
2. Oasis Of Dragon Souls
Effect: Target a monster in your Graveyard and Special Summon it in Defense Position. It becomes Wyrm Type. When this card leaves the field, destroy that monster, and vice versa.
How to Counter It: Like Safe Zone, removing the trap removes the card it's impacting, giving you multiple venues for offense. Also, simply destroy the monster in battle if you have something bigger.
Bearing a strong resemblance to the popular Call Of The Haunted trap, Oasis also revives a monster from the Graveyard for free. This time, it joins in Defense Position and as a Wyrm. This makes Oasis superior in situations where you simply want a monster to take a hit for you. By playing this on your opponent's turn, you can shift the targeted monster to Attack Position on your turn if you need.
1. Ordeal Of A Traveler
Effect: When an opponent declares an attack, they choose a random card in your hand and guess whether it's a monster, spell, or trap. Reveal the card, and if they guessed wrong, return the attacking monster to the opponent's hand.
How to Counter It: If you don't have a removal handy, try to keep your opponent's hand low to increase the odds of guessing correctly. You can also simply not attack until you prepare defenses in case things don't go your way.
Another oldie but goldie, Ordeal makes it irritatingly difficult to land a successful attack. Unlike Fairy Box, there's no Life Point drain, although the opponent will get to peek at cards in your hand. Still, even if they know what's there, as long as you keep a mix of all three types of cards, odds are they'll guess wrong and not only fail to attack, but lose a monster.
And note that the monster that returns to the hand isn't targeted or destroyed, so Ordeal can bypass defenses like Safe Zone or Mound Of The Bound Creator.
While these entries aren't quite the cream of the trap crop, they're potent and fun cards nonetheless. Because they're lesser known, they can also take opponents by surprise and turn the tide of a duel.
Whether they stand the test of time or not, feel free to vote for your favorite, and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh! countdown!
© 2017 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on September 14, 2018:
Good point, counter traps operate at "spell speed 3", and can only be responded to by other counter traps. If you suspect a counter, you could always activate Decree at the start of your opponent's turn to shutdown their traps before they have a chance to activate them (meaning they've either got to immediately respond to Decree or wait until it's removed before having a chance to activate).
PC_Screen on September 14, 2018:
Activating Royal Decree in response to your opponent's trap doesn't necessarily negate it. If it's a counter trap, then it won't be negated at all because you can't chain a continuous trap to it. Your opponent can also chain another trap to your royal decree and it'll activate before royal decree resolves its effect. For example, if your opponent uses mirror force and you chain it with royal decree (which would normally negate mirror force), they could chain it with, say, dust tornado and destroy your card before it even has the chance to negate anything
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on November 15, 2017:
Depends on what your deck needs more. There are also a few differences besides what you mention, like the fact that Contract depends on having a D/D monster out and its effect continues for the turn even when it's destroyed.
However, considering the presence of cards like D/D/D Oracle King d'Arc, which turns effect damage to life gain, Dark Contract performs better in D/D decks; I'd stick with what you have.
Anonymous on November 15, 2017:
Ive been using Dark Contract w/ Errors, which is exactly like Royal Decree, but with a downside of 1000 lp per turn. On the bonus side, it can be searched for by d/d support. Should I switch?
BEWARE DANGER on November 05, 2017:
Thanks for replying
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on November 05, 2017:
Agreed, both are potent and little-known. Perhaps I'll include them in a future article!
BEWARE DANGER on November 05, 2017:
You could use 'Back to the Front' or 'Pinpoint guard'