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Top 10 Three-Tribute Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh

Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.

The Winged Dragon of Ra

The Winged Dragon of Ra

Three-Tribute Summons and God Cards

Started by the infamous Egyptian God Cards (like the above Winged Dragon of Ra), the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game offers several three-tribute behemoths for duelists to employ. Most high-level monsters only require two sacrifices to normal summon, so having to spend three just to field these gargantuans puts a major strain on your field—but you'll be well-rewarded with the game's strongest titans.

However, with dozens of colossal creatures to cover, which beasts reign supreme, and do any of the Egyptian Gods make the cut? Find out as we review the 10 best three-tribute monsters in the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game!

Gravekeeper's Oracle

Gravekeeper's Oracle

10. Gravekeeper's Oracle

ATK: 2000
DEF: 1500

Gravekeeper's Oracle ranks low on the list because he's really a variable-tribute monster used exclusively in his Gravekeeper's archetype. You can tribute three monsters or one Gravekeeper's unit to tribute summon (but not set) Oracle, and you can also simply tribute him with two sacrifices as per normal level-10 rules.

Why would you want to spend more, you ask? Well, depending on the number of Gravekeeper's monsters tributed in his arrival, Oracle activates up to three effects of your choice:

  • Oracle gains ATK equal to the levels of his tributes x 100.
  • Destroy all set monsters your opponent controls.
  • All monsters your opponent controls lose 2000 ATK and DEF.

Each trait, especially the first and third, function well and help Oracle become a fierce beatstick who adjusts his summoning criteria (and power) to suit your current field. A handy boss monster for Yu-Gi-Oh's classic spellcaster series.

Moisture Creature

Moisture Creature

9. Moisture Creature

ATK: 2800
DEF: 2900

Despite his gross name, Moisture Creature joins the fray with impressive ATK and DEF, letting him excel in either battle position. You can tribute him with just two sacrifices if you only need to access his stats, but in most situations, you'll really want to save for the three-tribute arrival.

You see, when offered three sacrifices, Moisture destroys all opposing spells and traps upon entrance! This amazing traits mimics the long-banned Harpie's Feather Duster and can potentially annihilate six cards at once (five regular spells/traps plus a field spell). An impressive field-wipe that leaves you unscathed, but later we'll meet an even better nuke monster. Still, Moisture enjoys some competitive usage thanks to his fairy-type and light-attribute synergies.

The Wicked Eraser

The Wicked Eraser

8. The Wicked Eraser

ATK: ?
DEF: ?

This level-10 fiend-type monster cannot be special summoned or normal summoned/set except with three tributes, and Eraser's ATK and DEF equal the number of cards your opponent controls x 1000! This punishes foes for stocking their field and maxes (as of this writing) at a whopping 12000 ATK/DEF!

Additionally, when Eraser is destroyed and sent to the graveyard, he destroys all cards on the field. While this obliterates your units as well as your adversary's, usually they'll have more to lose since they just vanquished one of your monsters. Eraser can also destroy himself during your main phase, granting access to the field-reset without having to wait for your opponent to oblige. A brutal beast, but watch out for nondestruction removals (like hand-returning and banishing) which will circumvent Eraser's exit effect.

The Tripper Mercury

The Tripper Mercury

7. The Tripper Mercury

ATK: 2000
DEF: 2000

Mercury's stats may seem low (and they are) for a three-tribute monster, but don't judge a Kuriboh by its battle prowess. Mercury can be summoned with either two or three tributes; regardless of your choice, he lets you shift all monsters on the field to attack position upon arrival.

This combos with his next ability, gained upon using three tributes: While Mercury remains fielded, all opposing monsters lose ATK equal to their original ATK. This typically reverts their ATK to 0, and thanks to Mercury's position control, they'll be in attack mode and vulnerable to battle damage. Luckily, Mercury can (regardless of his tribute count) strike twice per battle phase, letting him quickly decimate your opponent's handicapped army.

Overall, this is another multiple-tribute card who adjusts to suit your situation, and it helps that Mercury's attack-dampener works on all opposing monsters, not just the ones present when he arrives. Additionally, he works well against link monsters since they can't change to defense position to hide (they lack DEF scores).

Obelisk the Tormentor

Obelisk the Tormentor

6. Obelisk the Tormentor

ATK: 4000
DEF: 4000

As we discovered in our Egyptian God countdown, Seto Kaiba's famous divine beast reigns supreme over Slifer and Ra. With a formidable 4000 ATK and DEF, Obelisk is simply one of the strongest monsters in the game. When he's normal summoned (with three tributes, of course), cards and effects cannot be activated, and his summon can't be negated, shielding him from annoying counters like Bottomless Trap Hole or Solemn Judgment. Additionally, Obelisk cannot be targeted by spells, traps, or effects, further protecting him against removals.

Obelisk can also forfeit his attack for the turn and tribute two of your monsters to destroy all creatures your opponent controls, a costly but efficient monster wipe that's nice to have available. And unlike some three-cost titans, you can special summon Obelisk, but he'll destroy himself at your end phase when called this way. Finally, note that Obelisk's incredibly rare divine attribute and divine-beast type protect him against attribute and type-dependent debuffs such as Clear World.

The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode

The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode

5. The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode

ATK: ?
DEF: ?

Despite villain Marik Ishtar's renown in the original anime, the legal version of Ra is surprisingly weak—on its own. Luckily, The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode helps supports its famous counterpart, and it's strong enough to stand on its own two feet. Sphere requires three tributes from either side of the field to normal summon, letting you eliminate three opposing monsters when casting it!

However, if you do this, your opponent gains custody of Sphere, but since it can't attack and reverts back to your control during the next turn's end phase, you'll hardly notice its shifting loyalties. While Sphere can't attack, it also cannot be attacked or targeted, making it a potent stall card. You can tribute it to summon the original Winged Dragon of Ra from your hand or deck, ignoring its summoning conditions while boosting its base ATK/DEF to 4000. An absolute must for Ra builds, but also a surprisingly effective monster removal and backup defense for any deck.

Apoqliphort Towers

Apoqliphort Towers

4. Apoqliphort Towers

ATK: 3000
DEF: 2600

During the pendulum era, Apoqliphort Towers joined the game's ban list, ranking among the strongest of forbidden monsters. As of this writing, he's legal but limited, meaning you can only include one in your deck.

Towers needs three Qli monsters to normal summon, indicating he's really only compatible with Qliphort builds, but if you can successfully field him, odds are good you've won. In addition to matching a Blue-Eyes in ATK and exceeding it in DEF, Towers dampens all special summoned monsters' ATK and DEF by 500, making him almost impossible to overwhelm.

Additionally, he's completely immune to spells, traps, and effects from any monster whose level or rank (for xyz cards) is lower than Towers's level (10), rendering him invincible against the vast majority of effects! And we're still not done—Towers can once-per-turn force your opponent to send a monster from either their field or their hand to the graveyard, adding insult to injury.

He's costly, but Towers is simply one of the best units in the game, and I'd rank him even higher if not for his archetype-restricted design. If you're using Qliphorts, this is your ace in the hole; just be sure to check your tournament's rules and current banned cards before using him.

The Wicked Avatar

The Wicked Avatar

3. The Wicked Avatar

ATK: ?
DEF: ?

The Wicked Avatar can't be special summoned and only accepts three tributes, so be ready to pay its price in blood, er, cards. However, it offers you an amazing lockdown on your opponent: they can't activate spells or traps until the end of their second turn after Avatar arrives! That's a lengthy period to be without two broad types of cards, severely hindering their ability to counter your tactics.

Additionally, Avatar's ATK and DEF becomes equal to the highest other ATK on the field plus 100, ensuring it always dominates in battle. No matter how strong a creature your opponent summons, you'll always have the superior champion, and since their spells and traps will be unavailable, you should quickly eradicate their warriors and seize a win.

Avatar's one weakness is monster-effect removals, and since most of those can only activate on your opponent's turn, you should have plenty of time to wipe out any threats before they trigger.

Metaltron XII, the True Dracombatant

Metaltron XII, the True Dracombatant

2. Metaltron XII, the True Dracombatant

ATK: 3000
DEF: 3000

Metaltron is a rare wyrm unit who also insists on three tributes, so no shortcuts here. However, he lets you tribute both monsters as well as continuous spells and traps, making him surprisingly easy to play. Strive to tribute one of each since Metaltron becomes immune to the effects of all card types used in its summon! This amazing benefit can potentially (and permanently) grant Metaltron immunity to all cards if all three types were used for his summon, an amazing shield that makes him nigh-impossible to conquer.

However, in the unlikely event your opponent manages to destroy Metaltron (in either battle or effect), he lets you special summon an earth, fire, wind, or water-attributed fusion, synchro, or xyz monster upon defeat, bestowing a new giant to replace him. As icing on the cake, this awesome ability activates even if he's destroyed but not send to the graveyard (perhaps if Macro Cosmos is active). Throw in 3000 ATK/DEF and Metaltron was millimeters away from being number one.

Beast King Barbaros

Beast King Barbaros

1. Beast King Barbaros

ATK: 3000
DEF: 1200

Beast King Barbaros justifies his royal name with three summoning formats. You can normal summon him with no tributes, but his ATK dwindles to 1900, a still-healthy score useful when you simply need a beatstick. You can employ him with two tributes, utilizing his base 3000 ATK if you lack three totem units.

However, if you have the optimal trio of throwaways ready, Barboros bombs all opposing cards upon entry, completely destroying your opponent's precious monsters, spells, and traps in one blow. This awesome effect combines Raigeki and Harpie's Feather Duster into one potent package and doesn't target units, meaning even shrouded cards (like Obelisk) are affected. Adjustable to your field's production capabilities yet ready with an awe-inspiring mass removal, at his prime, Barbaros ravages your opponent's field, leaving them nothing to guard their life points with.

When I need some extra removal potential in any build, I always look towards the Beast King, especially in decks that can quickly swarm (often pendulum) and easily garner three tributes. As a final bonus, you can buy the cheapest prices I unearthed on Barbaros for less than a dollar, making him a rare budget-conforming ace up your sleeve.

Future of Three-Tribute Cards

An uncommon but deadly category, three-tribute monsters demonstrate unrivaled power on the field and many are surprisingly versatile, making it easy to catch unsuspecting foes off-guard. Remember to pay attention to which can and cannot be special summoned (often through graveyard revivals like Call of the Haunted) to optimize your deck's flow.

Today's entries represent the best of the best, but in the future we may tackle more high-cost monsters like the illegal match-winning series. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's upcoming expansions of enormous monsters, vote for your favorite entry and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!

Questions & Answers

Question: Is Slifer better than Obelisk?

Answer: I usually prefer Obelisk, but it depends on what kind of deck you're running.

Question: How about Destiny HERO - Plasma as a top tier monster in Yu-Gi-Oh?

Answer: Glad you mentioned him. Plasma belongs to a slightly different subset of monsters who also require three tributes, but are special summoned (instead of normal summoned like today's entries), making them a bit easier to use.

Plasma's negation prowess and independence from his archetype definitely make him a formidable ace; perhaps we'll tackle these three-tribute special summons in a later countdown.

© 2018 Jeremy Gill