Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Link Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh
Alongside the debut of link monsters came some big changes to Yu-Gi-Oh, including a restriction of one fielded extra-deck monster per player at once. However, this limitation can be expanded with link monsters, making them darn near crucial in modern dueling.
Compared to the releases of synchro, xyz, and pendulum monsters, which could be ignored in favor of other creature types, link cards must be utilized successfully to win duels thanks to their ability to expand your monster pool.
These blue-backgrounded beasts (be sure not to confuse them with ritual monsters) lack a DEF score as well as a level, yet provide powerful effects while enabling the casting of other monsters. But with hundreds of chained creatures available, which one reign supreme? These are the 10 best link monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Tri-Gate Wizard
Considering the directions this card points (look for the highlighted red arrows), you'll want it to be in any normal monster zone, not your extra deck zone. In other words, it works best when you've summoned other link monsters first thanks to its sideways arrows. Tri-Gate Wizard possesses a respectable 2200 ATK, accepts any two non-tokens as material, and gains effects as it co-links with cards:
- 1+ Any monster co-linked to Tri-Gate inflicts double battle damage to your opponent when battling their monster.
- 2+ Once per turn, you can target and banish a card on the field.
- 3+ Once per turn, you can negate an effect and banish the activated card.
Doubled battle damage, repeated banishing, and repeated negation? Yes, please. Do your best to rapidly co-link with Tri-Gate by summoning other link monsters and having them point at each other to quickly gain the edge over your adversary.
9. Arcana Extra Joker
This monster requires three different warrior-typed materials to summon, but it arrives with a fierce 2800 ATK. Its backwards-pointing arrows make it a strong choice for your first Extra Deck monster, although the forward direction can aid your opponent.
Arcana Extra Joker provides incentive to keep your hand full because whenever an effect activates that targets it and/or a monster it points to, you can discard a card of the same type (monster, spell, or trap) to negate the activation. Plus, when this link-summoned card (graveyard recoveries won't count) is destroyed by battle, you get to special summon a level-4 warrior normal monster from your deck and add any level-4 warrior from your deck to your hand.
Although it takes three monsters to summon, has limitations to its negation abilities, and only provides a bonus when destroyed by battle (and not by effect), Extra Joker offers a slew of formidable powers for any warrior build.
8. Crowley the Origin of Prophecy
Considering its low ATK, be sure to defend Crowley here with cards like Swords of Revealing Light. A great addition to the Spellbook archetype, when link summoned (using any two spellcasters as material), Crowley lets you choose three Spellbook cards from your deck with different names, and your opponent will randomly select one for you to add to hand, shuffling the rest back in. Additionally, once per turn, you can normal summon a level-5 or higher spellcaster monster with sacrificing the usual tributes needed!
Ever since link summoning debuted, swarming the field has proved much more challenging, tempting duelists with Crowley's ability to summon their strongest spellcasters without sacrificing creatures. Combine it with Dark Magician, the Spellbook series, and other high-level cards to form a potent combination!
7. Troymare Gryphon
One of several alluring Troymare link monsters, Gryphon descends with 2500 ATK and accepts any two monsters with different names as material. When link summoned, you may discard a card to target a spell or trap in your graveyard and set it, though it cannot be activated on the same turn. Additionally, if Gryphon is co-linked when the effect is used, you can also draw one card. Finally, while out, all special-summoned monsters cannot activate their effects unless they are linked.
Essentially, Gryphon functions stupendously in link-central builds. It gives you the rare ability to recycle a spell/trap from your graveyard, can potentially let you draw, and locks down opposing special-summoned cards who aren't linked. Destroy your opponent's link monsters to watch any remaining special-summoned creatures fall prone without their effects to rely on.
6. Heavymetalfoes Electrumite
Although pendulum decks took a big hit with the changes implemented alongside link monsters, Heavymetalfoes Electrumite proves Konami hasn't forsaken them. The card takes any two pendulum monsters as material and adds one from your deck to your extra deck (face up) when link summoned, providing an avenue for an easy pendulum summon.
Once per turn, you may destroy a different faceup card you control to add a pendulum monster from your extra deck to your hand, stacking perfectly with the last effect, which (once per turn) lets you draw a card when one of your pendulum scales leaves the field.
With these several effects, Electrumite lets you easily fill your pendulum zones and extra deck with fodder while drawing from your regular deck. Be sure to bolster the card's lukewarm 1800 ATK when needed.
5. Aromaseraphy Jasmine
Another 1800 ATK entry, Aromaseraphy Jasmine feeds off any two plant-type monsters as material. It points diagonally backward in two directions without pointing forward, excelling as your vanguard link monster. Additionally, Jasmine utilizes high life point values to great effect thanks to its, well, effects:
- When your life points are higher than your opponent's, this card and plant monsters it points to cannot be destroyed by battle.
- You can tribute a monster this card points to and special summon a plant monster from your deck in defense position.
- Once per turn, if you gain life points, add one plant monster from your deck to your hand.
Employ life-recovering cards like Solemn Wishes to make good use of Jasmine's first and last effects, and trigger its second to exchange your weaker monsters for stronger plants in your deck. Because of her self-protecting first ability, you won't have to devote as much effort to guarding Jasmine as you would to other cards of similar caliber, leaving you free to focus bombarding your foe—if you have the life points.
4. Decode Talker
The vast majority of monsters employ at least one special quality, making Decode Talker's craving for any two effect monsters easy to satisfy. Signaling in three directions, Decode gains 500 ATK for every monster it points to, easily boosting its ATK from average to stellar. Additionally, whenever your opponent activates an effect that targets a card you control, you can tribute a monster Decode points towards to negate and destroy the activating effect.
An exceptional card, Decode is easy to summon, points backward to allow further extra deck shenanigans, and actually turns generally-undesirable forward arrows to your advantage by potentially drawing strength from opposing monsters. With great effects, strong ATK, and simple fielding, Decode remains a powerful and accessible force.
3. Saryuja Skull Dread
Yu-Gi-Oh never fails to craft formidable dragons, allowing Saryuja Skull Dread to use any two monsters with different names as fuel. However, you can sacrifice additional monsters if you wish, and the more you spend, the more abilities Dread arrives with:
- 2 or more: If a monster is normal or special summoned to a zone this card points to, that monster gains 300 ATK and DEF.
- 3 or more: Once per turn, you can special summon one monster from your hand.
- 4 or more: When this card is link summoned, draw four cards and place any three from your hand on the bottom of your deck in any order.
No matter how many monsters are used for its summon, Dread points in four directions and wields a hefty 2800 ATK, overcoming nearly anything that's not a Blue-Eyes. It arrives with a plethora of nasty effects at its peak, but adapts to your field's situation, helping even with only two monsters out.
2. Borreload Dragon
Borreload seeks any three effect monsters, and it joins the fray with a stupendous 3000 ATK plus two arrows aimed for your benefit regardless of the space it occupies. Of course, it also wields several tremendous traits:
- Neither play can target Borreload with monster effects.
- Once per turn (including your opponent's), as a quick effect you can reduce a monster's ATK and DEF by 500, and your opponent cannot chain anything to this activation.
- When this card attacks a monster, you can gain control of it by placing it to a zone this card points to, but it is sent to the graveyard at the end of the next turn.
In essence, this card harasses foes by constantly reducing their power and stealing them for your use, plus its built-in defense provides a barrier against tricky monster effects; if your opponent doesn't have a spell or trap removal handy, they'll be easy pickings against the ruthless onslaught of Borreload Dragon.
1. Firewall Dragon
Arguably the most famed link monster, Firewall Dragon points in all cardinal directions and accepts any two monsters as material. His first ability can only be used once, but it's a quick effect that can activate on any turn: return cards from the graveyard and/or field to the hand up to the number of monsters co-linked to Firewall. The next trait special summons a monster from your hand whenever a monster Firewall points to is destroyed in battle or sent to the graveyard.
What else can I say? Firewall accepts any monsters, has solid ATK and a high link rating, can bounce multiple cards, and lets you special summon from your hand. He remains an incredible force that I include in nearly every deck (while he's legal anyway; be sure to check his fluctuating ban status). As a top-tier extra-deck monster, Firewall's costs around $8. He's simply a must-have for any competitive duelist.
Link Monster Tips
Link monsters revolutionized the dueling area, and I'm sure we'll witness hundreds more before Konami is through with them. Make good use of them to access your other extra deck staples, and pay careful attention to which way they direct, as you don't want to offer your rival extra slots at the wrong moment. Since they lack levels and can't enter face-down or defense position, they also resist many common stall tactics, further advancing their potential.
But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of powerful link monsters, vote for your favorite entry and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: How do you summon a link monster?
Answer: Link summoning is as easy as having the proper material monsters (listed on the link card) fielded and the corresponding link monster in your extra deck. At that point, you can send the materials to the graveyard and summon your warrior.
Luckily, many link cards accept monsters of any archetype, granting any series a wide array of link monsters to choose from. However, remember that to link summon, you either need your single extra monster zone free or have another link monster pointing towards one of your main monster zones.
Question: Can Skull Dread and Firewall really be summoned by just two monsters?
Answer: Correct; "2+" means two or more. But remember that sacrificing additional creatures often imparts bonus effects, as you can see with Skull Dread.
Question: Don't you have to satisfy the link rating? You can use link monsters as material which is why it might say 2+ monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh.
Answer: Yes, you can use either the monsters listed on the card, or link monsters (who can count for multiple monsters based on their link rating).
Question: I have some Yu-Gi-Oh Link Monsters, but I don't know which decks to put them in. What do I do?
Answer: Personally, I think it's easier to get your main deck built, then work on your extra, but there's nothing wrong with working backward. Look at each card's archetype members and see if you find a theme that looks good to you, or consult the "tips" section on the Yu-Gi-Oh Wiki for more suggestions.
Question: Can you link summon into both extra monster zones in Yu-Gi-Oh?
Answer: Not usually; each player gets one and can't use their opponent's. The exception is when you form a chain of co-linked monsters that ultimately point towards your opponent's zone, though this is a challenging condition to meet.
Question: What does “co-link” mean in Yu-Gi-Oh?
Answer: Co-links are when two link monsters both point to each other with their arrows. Some link monster effects strengthen based on whether the card is co-linked, making it beneficial to have your creatures point towards one another.
Remember, this is separate from a regular "link", which just requires one link monster to point towards any other monster.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
kartheek on April 09, 2020: