Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
As duelists know, each creature in Yu-Gi-Oh has an attack, defense, level or rank, type, and attribute. Most also harbor an effect, and these effects are what make some monsters so powerful, regardless of their battle stats. In fact, some become too strong, earning them a permanent residency in the banned list.
Which are the best? Read on to discover the six fiercest forbidden monsters throughout Yu-Gi-Oh's history!
6. Sinister Serpent
A level one monster with weak stats, Sinister Serpent's uses originate from its awesome effect. At the beginning of your turns, you can retrieve it from your Graveyard for free. This guarantees you have a monster you can summon into defense mode, or serve as fodder for cards that require you to discard.
For example, Lightning Vortex destroys all face-up monsters your opponent controls, but you must discard one card, allowing players to repeatedly discard Sinister Serpent and fuel these mighty effects.
Serpent's a very reliable way to maintain a card advantage, but it's low on the list because the game designers eventually added a weakness to it—you need to wait a turn after retrieving it, or else it will be banished and you'll be unable to access it again. Still, definitely a respectable monster.
5. Tribe-Infecting Virus
Again, we're here for Virus's effect: You can discard one card (combo it with Sinister Serpent or other Graveyard-activated cards), declare a monster type, and destroy all creatures of that type.
This can destroy your monsters too, but as long as your creatures are different types than your opponents, you're safe. Since there are 23 varieties, chances are you'll be unaffected. Give it a shot and watch as your opponent's minions fall in one fell swoop.
4. Dark Magician of Chaos
A card that's aged quite well, Dark Magician of Chaos offers several boons. You'll have to tribute two monsters to summon it, but it proves to be a great help. First, when summoned, you get to retrieve a Spell from your Graveyard.
Next, it banishes monsters it destroys in battle, preventing them from activating Graveyard effects and being reclaimed. To top everything off, the card has fierce Attack and Defense scores.
Sure, he's fun to play against friends, but I'm relieved we don't have to worry about this beast in official matches.
You know the drill. Low battle stats, awesome effect. Stein lets you pay 5000 Life Points (each player begins with 8000) to instantly summon a Fusion Monster. These cards demonstrate great power but can be difficult to summon because most require specific monsters to fuse together, and a Spell card to do so. Of course, Cyber-Stein gets you right around that problem.
And yes, losing 5000 Life Points can really hurt, but in some instances, this can be used strategically. For example, cards like the tie-forcing Trap Self-Destruct Button, rely on you having lower Life Points than your opponent.
Cyber-Stein is risky, and probably less useful than it once was, but a free Fusion Monster back in the day could end matches before they really began.
2. Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End
Lengthy name, mighty effects. To summon the Chaos Emperor, you banish a light and dark-attributed monster from your Graveyard. This makes for a relatively easy summoning condition for such a fierce creature, as no tributes are required.
Chaos Emperor enters with formidable battle stats, and at any point, you may pay 1000 Life Points; doing so will send all cards on the field (including itself) and in each player's hand to the Graveyard, then inflict 300 Life Points of damage to your opponent for each card.
This can take huge chunks of life from your opponent, often winning you the game, and serves as a great last resort. If you begin to lose, use the effect to damage your adversary, empty their hand (and yours), and hope your next drawn cards can turn the tide back in your favor.
1. Morphing Jar/Fiber Jar
Morphing Jar: ATK: 700, DEF: 600
Fiber Jar: ATK: 500, DEF: 500
These two cards both have incredibly powerful and similar traits. Morphing Jar's flip effect makes both players discard their hand and draw five cards. Fiber Jar's makes both players return every card in their hand, field, and Graveyard into the deck, then draw five cards.
Each of these can really turn the tide of the duel. With Morphing Jar, set all your Traps and Spells, then flip Morphing Jar to make both players draw five cards. Each duelist will then have five in the hand, but you'll have the bonus of your set cards. With Fiber Jar, keep it in your hand, then if your opponent begins to overwhelm you, play it to essentially reset the duel.
Both of these jars offer the awesome ability of replenishing your hand when it's low and giving you a fresh hand if things get dicey. A third jar, Cyber Jar, exists, and its effect while great doesn't quite compare to these two amazing cards.
Funny how jars and pots (remember Pot of Greed?) are the true champions of Yu-Gi-Oh. For their obnoxiously potent effects, these fiends have long been banned.
Destroys monsters on the field, then each player draws 5 cards.
Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
Whenever it attacks or is attacked, it can return the battlers to the owners' respective hands.
Destiny Hero - Disk Commander
Draw two cards whenever this card is summoned from the Graveyard by another card's effect.
Future of Yu-Gi-Oh
Inevitably, time passes and lists change. Most of these cards are still banned and incredibly dangerous, but with new features to the game like the mighty Pendulum cards, some old titans must make way for new powerhouses.
Link monsters are now the new kids on the block, and the ban list has changed here and there, but thankfully this article still documents many of the best restricted cards.
Though some have more staying power than others, these cards highlight some truly lethal effects (at least for their day and age), and I hope to see you at future explorations of more-modern forbidden monster lists!
Questions & Answers
Question: What is strongest Yu-Gi-Oh monster effect?
Answer: In terms of sheer power, the instant-wins of cards like "The Creator God of Light, Horakhty" is the strongest. But these, of course, take time to build towards.
Question: What's the weakest Yu-Gi-Oh card of all time?
Answer: Hard to say, because sometimes having lower ATK and DEF can be good; for instance, anything with 0 DEF can be revived by Masked Chameleon. So, there's a bunch of pathetic normal monster with low stats and no tuner status, like Bat, that is just above 0 ATK and don't qualify for the searches/revivals, but low enough to get demolished in battle.
The trap card Gamble has always struck me as particularly bad, but ask me again sometime, and I'm sure I'll remember more.
Question: What's the strongest Yu-Gi-Oh monster of all time?
Answer: In terms of raw power, a semi-official monster called "Don Thousand/Monster C" wields a whopping 100,000 ATK (and DEF). It's semi-official because it was designed for and only allowed in unique boss duels where three players cooperate to tackle an overpowered deck.
Then there's the illegal version of Obelisk the Tormentor, wielding an ATK of, well, infinity. However, it's official rendition is reduced to a still formidable 4000 ATK.
For official cards, factoring in effects, I'd pick either Apoqliphort Towers (who was removed from the banned list) or Chaos Ancient Gear Giant, both of whom are immune to spells/traps and offer many additional benefits. Just note that their power comes at the price of difficult summoning conditions and specific archetypes.
Question: When do you use Needle Sunfish's effect and how long does it last?
Answer: Needle Sunfish isn't banned, but sure, we can talk about it. Like the card's text says, when it's sent to the graveyard, you target a face-up opposing monster and have it lose 500 ATK.
As for the effect's duration, since there's no "until end of turn" or another time-related phrase, the ATK decrease is permanent.
© 2015 Jeremy Gill
Bryan on December 03, 2018:
1. Chaos Emperor Dragon
3. Cyber Jar
4. Morphing Jar
5. Tribe-Infecting Virus
Sinister Serpent even before the errata was fine. Was completely powercreeped out. As was Dark Magician of Chaos. Not putting Yata on the list was absurd.
person on June 26, 2018:
I agree with ultimatedefense
BEWARE DANGER on May 20, 2018:
Um dude i'm just saying but that mirror force was a really good card back at its time but unfortunately not as good as it was anymore and plus anyways this article is about monsters not traps not to mention mirror force isnt banned or even limited in any way so therefore indicating that it is brutally un likely to be the best card in yugioh. So sorry but in my opinion I think you're wrong about that
Vidos on May 20, 2018:
I thanks the best card in yugioh is miror force
idk on May 02, 2018:
Cyber stein is banned because of a lack of a once per turn clause, combine that with the effects of cards like prime material dragon or DDD oracle king D'arc that cause you to gain lp from eff damage instead of lose it, and congrats you broke the game.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on April 12, 2018:
No problem! The official site, linked to below, should be up to date. This countdown was made several years ago, and some cards (like Sinister Serpent) are no longer banned. Rather than update this article each time that occurs (which would be a real pain), I leave it as a testament to overpowered forces of the past and I occasionally make new countdowns of modern banned cards.
Since you said "all" lists, if you're curious about the separate ban lists for foreign formats (like the OCG instead of the TCG), I recommend looking at the yugohwiki to see the differences, but English players rarely have to worry about those.
SSB Daniel on April 12, 2018:
Hey man, I was wondering if you could recommend a site that has the list of ALL forbidden cards list..? Can't seem to find it. There are sites online from google even from the main yugioh website but it doesnt show dark magician of chaos and sinister serpant.
logics on March 21, 2018:
If you had a trap card called DNA transplant you call out one attribute and all face up monsters become that type now imagine tribe infecting virus with that card
Krawler Scum on March 10, 2018:
Sinister serpent is no longer banned. As my name implies, I am a scummy player that uses Krawler monsters. That means that only fiber jar, sinister serpent and cyber-stein are the only ones that impact me.
Michael Rambo on March 02, 2018:
cyber-stein when combined with blue eyes ultimate dragon
BEWARE DANGER on January 19, 2018:
Thanks for the reply!
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on January 17, 2018:
@Duelist and ultimatedefense
Thanks for the updates. Like any trading card game, the ban lists fluctuate over time; perhaps I'll make a more current list every few years or so.
Duelist on January 17, 2018:
Dark magician of chaos, sinister serpent, and morphing jar aren't banned anymore. Morphing jar #2 is banned tho.
Yugi Moto on January 15, 2018:
I just beat a friend in 2 turns with a utopia deck
Randolph littles on January 02, 2018:
I choose Cyber stein because it effect to bring fusion monster to the field easy so it is little overpower.
BEWARE DANGER on November 30, 2017:
I don't think Sinister Serpent is banned anymore.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on November 28, 2017:
All my research is indicating that there are no legal Great Leviathan cards. The fanmade ones are interesting, though.
Kane Biggs on November 27, 2017:
actually the best card is "The Great Leviathan"
even though there is only one in existence and can only be obtained by the next world tournament it it still has Infinite attack & defence
BEWARE DANGER on November 08, 2017:
The only reason I don't use amazon is because it's not a com.au site (australian seller) so my parents won't let me buy anything on there.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on November 08, 2017:
Occasionally I'll post a link to a sale on Amazon, but head there yourself if you're looking for specific cards! Ebay works too.
For non-online options, GameStop and Walmart typically carry a healthy variety of booster packs.
BEWARE DANGER on November 08, 2017:
You could go to ebay.com.au, that's where I get about half my cards
Harrison Lam on November 08, 2017:
I love yugioh.Do you have any cards on sale?
BEWARE DANGER on November 07, 2017:
I think cyber, fiber and morphing jar are pretty good. No wonder they're banned.
BEWARE DANGER on November 05, 2017:
First of all 'Dark magician of Chaos' isn't banned anymore, second of all, 'yugioh suck's name is as stupid as his attitude and of course why would you be stupid enough to think dark hole is a monster, raigeki is better in every way
travis on October 30, 2017:
all these cards are broken hahhahhahahah
travis on October 30, 2017:
you can just use fibre jar to counter any one of those card
Jacob on October 19, 2017:
Now will you get good numbers in yugioh box though
Anthony k Anschuetz on October 11, 2017:
New box yu gi oh power
so acker on September 14, 2017:
where the hell is black luster soldier envoy of biginning
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on July 29, 2017:
In good condition at least. Keep 'em that way and they could be worth something!
Dark Hole is a Spell, not monster, and it's not even banned. Maybe instead of "Yu-Gi-Oh Suck" your name should be "I suck at Yu-Gi-Oh."
yu gi oh suck on July 28, 2017:
this is lammm and dark hole is better
Erb27 on June 12, 2017:
Is it really that hard to get the whole exodia card because I happen to have them
aj on June 05, 2017:
the emporer dragon is broken
Adam on March 30, 2017:
I have dark magician of chaos
Caleb on March 05, 2017:
I'm surprised that blaster dragon ruler of infernos is not up there
hi on February 27, 2017:
is the black luster soldier forbiden
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on February 22, 2017:
Good news, there are legal versions of the God cards you can play in tournaments; however, they're not widely seen because of their difficulty to use. Still, in the right deck, they can be a viable option.
Austin Langan on February 21, 2017:
Jeremy I got a quick question for you. What about the gods and their hidden abilities? I know most of them but are the banned?
Samuel on February 07, 2017:
Levia Dragon Deadalus have a better effect than Chaos Emperor because Levia stays in field after effect.
Ultimagamer on January 31, 2017:
are any of the numeronius cards banned? Im talking about cards like c1000 and the deck that goes with it
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on December 18, 2016:
7531yo is right; Yu-Gi-Oh banned lists are constantly evolving, and this is an older article. Still, it showcases some formidable creatures.
7531yo on December 18, 2016:
Dark magician of chaos isn't banned anymore, he's limited to 2
Looi on November 22, 2016:
I have dark magician of chaos!
Ivan on October 09, 2016:
I'm very proud to have "Chaos emperor dragon envoy of the end".. i got it from my friend after winning the game, "Black luster soldier envoy of the beginning" is also a great card that can't be underestimated, it can attack twice in battle phase as long as the first attack succeed, it also has the ability to destroy one monster on the field (you can use it to destroy opponent's strongest monster on field) with the consequence is that it can't attack on that turn
Dyugiohd on August 31, 2016:
Uhm, i personallly really like black luster soldier envoy of the beginning. Just an opinion
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on October 09, 2015:
Man-Eater Bug used to be forbidden, but is now legal. Feel free to run some in your deck.
ismael on October 07, 2015:
is man eater bug banned?
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on April 18, 2015:
Agreed, Cornelia, he's certainly a powerful and awesome- looking card. Thanks for your support!
Korneliya Yonkova from Cork, Ireland on April 18, 2015:
I myself like the Dark Magician of Chaos :) Thank you for this hub. Really interesting and catchy :)