Yu-Gi-Oh's Top 6 Forbidden Monster Cards

An example "effect" monster card, Man-Eater Bug. As a "flip" monster, its effect is activated when flipped over; monsters can be "set" in face-down defense mode, and turned over when attacked.
An example "effect" monster card, Man-Eater Bug. As a "flip" monster, its effect is activated when flipped over; monsters can be "set" in face-down defense mode, and turned over when attacked. | Source


* Every monster has a level, ranging from 1-12, which you can count using the stars in the upper-right corner of a card. Monsters level 1-4 can be summoned for no cost, 5-6 require a sacrifice of one monster, and 7-12 require at least two monsters. Generally, higher level creatures have better attack and defense scores, but even low levels can be useful if the card has an amazing monster effect. You'll see some of these today!

Duel Monsters Summary

Ready for our third Yu-Gi-Oh countdown? This card game, also known as Duel Monsters, features trap, magic, and monster cards used to deplete your opponent's Life Points. We've already examined overpowered spells and mighty traps; today, we're focusing on monster cards. Keep in mind that each player can "normal" summon a monster once per turn, though many cards have effects that let you "special" summon them. Each monster has an attack score, a defense score, a level* (see note below), a type (dragon, fiend, fairy, etc), and an attribute (water, fire, dark, etc). Most have an effect, too; these effects are what make some monsters so powerful, even if their attack and defense are low. In fact, some monsters are so strong, they become "Semi-Limited", where only two copies are allowed per deck (instead of three), "Limited" (one copy allowed), or "Forbidden", meaning they're so powerful that they have been made illegal for tournament use. Today's cards are all Forbidden (or at least, have been at one point); we're about to experience the six mightiest and tournament-unusable monster cards in Yu-Gi-Oh!

Sinister Serpent. Effect monster cards are backgrounded orange; the age and picture of this card make it appear more pink.
Sinister Serpent. Effect monster cards are backgrounded orange; the age and picture of this card make it appear more pink. | Source

6. Sinister Serpent

Attack: 300, Defense: 250, Type: Reptile, Attribute: Water.

This monster is a level one with weak attack and defense. It's uses come not from its power, but from its ability. If this card is in your discard pile, or "Graveyard", at the start of your turn, you can add it to your hand. This is very helpful. It guarantees you have a monster you can summon into defense mode to build your defenses while you draw more cards. It also serves as great fodder for powerful cards that require you to discard from your hand. For example, the spell Lightning Vortex destroys all face-up monsters your opponent controls, but you must discard one card. You can continuously discard Sinister Serpent, use these strong cards to get ahead, and keep adding this card back to your hand. 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, where you need to wait a turn before using it, after adding Serpent back to your hand, or else it will be "banished" in your duel, and you won't be able to use its effect from the Graveyard. For its incredible monster effect (especially the original card), this guy definitely earns his (her?) spot.

Tribe-Infecting Virus
Tribe-Infecting Virus | Source

5. Tribe-Infecting Virus

Attack: 1600, Defense: 1000, Type: Aqua, Attribute: Water

Next, we have the classic Tribe-Infecting Virus. Its attack and defense are so-so (level 4's and below rarely exceed 2000 attack/defense); again, we're here for the effect. This Virus allows its owner to discard one card (combo it with Sinister Serpent or other Graveyard-activated cards), then declare a "type" of monster. Each monster of the declared type on the field will be destroyed. This can destroy your own monsters too, but as long as your creatures are different types than your opponents, you're safe. Since there are 23 official types of monsters, it's unlikely you'll have the same type out. Anyway, the ability to discard a card to destroy at least one (quite possibly more) of your opponent's monsters aids greatly. Due to its powerful effect, Tribe-Infecting Virus has long been restricted in tournaments, but it's a good card if you're just playing for fun.

Dark Magician of Chaos
Dark Magician of Chaos | Source

4. Dark Magician of Chaos

Attack: 2800, Defense: 2600, Type: Spellcaster, Attribute: Dark

Fourth place goes the level-8 Dark Magician of Chaos. You'll have to tribute two monsters to summon this card, but it proves to be a great help. First, when it's summoned, you get to add any magic card from your Graveyard back to your hand. Getting to reuse a spell card, at no cost, is a rare and powerful effect. Additionally, Dark Magician banishes monsters it destroys in battle; they are "removed from play" rather than being sent to the Graveyard. This can help prevent your opponent from using Graveyard-activated monsters. To top everything off, this card has good attack and defense scores. It's hard to defeat a solid fighter who can banish enemy cards and grant you a free magic, so it's easy to see why this chaotic magician is forbidden.

Cyber Stein
Cyber Stein | Source

3. Cyber-Stein

Attack: 700, Defense: 500, Type: Machine, Attribute: Dark.

Here's another old and overpowered card. This monster has low attack and defense, but its ability lets you pay 5000 Life Points (each player begins with 8000) to summon a fusion monster. Fusion monsters tend to be strong, and have great effects, but they're hard to call out because they often require a player to have the exact fusion "material" monsters in their hand, then use the "Polymerization" spell card to fuse them. Basically, fusion summons rely on having precise cards in your hand, and it can be difficult to gather them. Cyber-Stein can call out any fusion monster without using materials or spell cards. And yes, losing 5000 Life Points can really hurt, but in some instances, this can be used strategically. For example, a few powerful cards, like the tie-forcing trap Self-Destruct Button, rely on you having far less Life Points than your opponent. Cyber-Stein can lower your Life Points, call forth a powerful beast, and if things go poorly, you can utilize these low-Life Point cards to help turn the tide.

Chaos Emperor Dragon- Envoy of the End
Chaos Emperor Dragon- Envoy of the End | Source

2. Chaos Emperor Dragon- Envoy of the End

Attack: 3000, Defense: 2500, Type: Dragon, Attribute: Dark

Okay, with such a long name, this card better be good. After checking out its effects, I can forgive its lengthy title. You cannot summon this card, unlike other level 8s, by tributing two monsters. Rather, you banish a light and dark-attributed monster in your Graveyard to call it. Gathering monsters in the Graveyard isn't usually difficult; it's actually quite easy to summon this card, and it leaves a player free to use their "normal" summon for their turn on another monster. For a creature with an easy summoning, this beast boasts incredible attack and defense, making it a formidable warrior. Additionally, it has an effect where its controller can pay 1000 Life Points; doing so will send all cards on the field (including Chaos Emperor Dragon) and in each player's hand to the Graveyard, and inflict 300 Life Points of damage to your opponent for each card. This almost always does more damage to your rival than yourself (damage can easily exceed 3000), and is a great last resort. If you begin to lose, use this effect to damage your adversary, and then hope that the card you draw on your next turn is better than what your opponent will draw. This dragon is indeed an envoy of the end.

Honorable Mentions

Attack/ Defense
Cyber Jar
900/ 900
Destroys monsters on the field, then each player draws 5 cards
Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
900/ 300
Whenever it attacks or is attacked, it can return the battlers to the owners' respective hands
Destiny Hero - Disk Commander
300/ 300
Draw two cards whenever this card is summoned from the Graveyard by another card's effect
Weak monsters, but powerful effects
Morphing Jar
Morphing Jar | Source
Fiber Jar
Fiber Jar | Source

1. Morphing Jar/ Fiber Jar

Morphing Jar- Attack: 700, Defense: 600, Type: Rock, Attribute: Earth
Fiber Jar- Attack: 500, Defense: 500, Type: Plant, Attribute: Earth

Okay, why is there a tie for first place? Well, these two cards both have incredibly powerful (and similar) effects, as we're about to see. Morphing Jar's flip effect makes both players discard their hand, then draw five cards. Similarly, Fiber Jar's flip effect 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 trap and spell cards on the field, 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 magic and traps. With Fiber Jar, keep it in your hand, then if your opponent begins to overwhelm you, play it to essentially reset the duel (except for Life Points). Both of these jars offer the awesome ability of replenishing your hand when it's low. If I absolutely had to select the better card, I'd pick Fiber Jar because it can take care of your opponent's cards already on the field, but some situations definitely favor Morphing. No matter which jar you use, you'll have a great back-up plan available. A third jar, Cyber Jar, exists, and its effect (while great) doesn't quite compare to these two amazing cards. By the way, I've noticed jars and pots (remember the spell Pot of Greed?) tend to be incredibly powerful in Yu-Gi-Oh. If any jug or flask cards ever come out, stay on your toes.

Your Vote

Which forbidden card is the overall best?

  • Fiber Jar.
  • Morphing Jar.
  • Chaos Emperor yada yada Dragon.
  • Cyber-Stein.
  • Dark Magician of Chaos.
  • Tribe-Infecting Virus.
  • Sinister Serpent.
See results without voting

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Comments 6 comments

CorneliaMladenova profile image

CorneliaMladenova 18 months ago from Cork, Ireland

I myself like the Dark Magician of Chaos :) Thank you for this hub. Really interesting and catchy :)

Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy Gill 18 months ago from Louisiana Author

Agreed, Cornelia, he's certainly a powerful and awesome- looking card. Thanks for your support!

ismael 12 months ago

is man eater bug banned?

Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy Gill 12 months ago from Louisiana Author

Man-Eater Bug used to be forbidden, but is now legal. Feel free to run some in your deck.

Dyugiohd 7 weeks ago

Uhm, i personallly really like black luster soldier envoy of the beginning. Just an opinion

Ivan 11 days ago

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

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