Yu-Gi-Oh's Top 6 Monster Archetypes
Ask any duelist which series of monsters they prefer, and you'll get many different answers. Hundreds of types exist in the game, with many more well on their way. Some players look for ease of summoning, others want high Attack, some prefer card advantage, etc.
Today, we'll take a look at the six monster series I personally favor. Whether you're a dueling veteran or a rookie looking for a starting point, try building a deck around these guys! I promise they'll hold their own in any match.
The first Yu-Gi-Oh anime featured a stuck-up brat named Weevil Underwood who used Insect-themed monsters. And he lost. A lot. As a kid, I disliked him and his monsters for being annoying; as an older player, I realize his deck had very few options. And so, Insect-type monsters largely stayed off my radar for years, without a single series ever grabbing my attention.
Enter the Inzektors, Insect-typed creatures with the ability to attach other Inzektor cards from your hand or Graveyard as Equip Spells. Finally, an Insect archetype that not only grabbed my attention, but really impressed me.
- Many Inzektors raise the Attack or Defense of the equipped monster, and some manipulate the Level, allowing for some great XYZ combos. Additionally, there's a variety of Spells and Traps available as support.
- You've got plenty of great cards here; my favorite is Inzektor Hornet. If you play him as a monster, he can (once per turn) equip another Inzektor to power himself up. When used as an equip, you can send him to the Graveyard to target any card on the field and destroy it. Monster, Spell, Trap, anything. Plus, the monster he's equipped to receive an Attack, Defense, and Level boost.
- In short, if you're a fan of equips and XYZ, definitely give these bugs a go.
5. Yang Zing
Next, the Yang Zing monsters, who showcase the recently added Wyrm type. Aesthetically, Wyrms look similar to dragons; the Yang Zing creatures are even based on the nine sons of the Dragon King in Chinese mythology.
- Nearly all of them have either superb Attack or stellar Defense. When destroyed (whether by battle or effect), most let you summon another Yang Zing from your deck, making them incredibly hard to remove from the field.
- Some are Tuners, who combine with non-Tuners to call out powerful Synchro monsters. Many of the non-Tuners here even power up the Synchros; Suanni raises the Synchro's Attack by 500, for example.
- The Yang Zing Synchros include the mighty Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing. With 2600 Attack and 2100 Defense, he's hard to beat in battle, and he has two helpful effects. First, like his brethren, when destroyed, you can summon a Wyrm monster from your deck. Second, once per turn, you can target one of your Yang Zing and one card your opponent controls; destroy both. Your opponent's will be gone, but your Yang Zing's effect will call another from your deck to further your assault.
- Add in some great support Spells (check out Yang Zing Path) and you've got a winning recipe.
Next, we have the Yosenju, a theme revolving around mostly Beast-Warrior type monsters with all sorts of tricks.
- These guys can swarm. Many let you summon another from your hand when summoned, and this can combo in a single turn, allowing you to rapidly fill your field. Then, utilize their various effects to shift the battle in your favor (one can return a monster to your opponent's hand, another lets you add a Yosenju to your hand when it deals damage, etc.)
- And then you have the Pendulum cards. Yosenju Pendulum cards further aid in swarming, power up your monsters, and help you call out the devastating Level 10 Mayosenju Daibak, who can return any 2 cards on the field to their owner's hand, then attack for massive damage.
- Swarmers who can adapt to any situation, the Yosenju have won me many duels.
Here's a peculiar series of Thunder-types that started off as underwhelming, then became terrifying as time went on and better cards were added.
- Also great at swarming. Many have effects to call monsters from your deck to the field, helping you assemble the three Batterymen you need to activate the Spell Short Circuit. It can only activate when you have at least three Batterymen out, but it destroys every single card your opponent controls! This lets you attack without fear of Traps (looking at you, Mirror Force) and eliminates the monsters your opponent worked so hard to summon.
- Also, as your monsters enter the Graveyard, you can banish two of them to summon the mighty Batteryman Industrial Strength. 2600 Attack, plus the ability to remove another Batteryman from your Graveyard to destroy both a monster and a Magic or Trap on the field.
- Thunder types are few and far between, but clever duelists can take advantage of the Batterymen's awesome destructive powers.
Something I appreciate about Yu-Gi-Oh is that it doesn't forget its roots. We've seen Synchro, XYZ, and Pendulum added (which is great), but we also see newer and better ways to Ritual Summon - something that's been with us since the beginning.
- My favorite Ritual Summons involve the Gishki series. They have several different types, though they're all Water-attributed. The weaker Gishkis can serve as entire tributes needed for Ritual Summoning, add cards to your hand, or summon monsters from your Graveyard, helping you stall while you gather the components for your rituals.
- The strongest Gishki are, of course, the Ritual monsters themselves. My favorite has to be Zielgigas, a colossus with 3200 Attack, plus an awesome ability: Each turn, you can pay 1000 Life Points. If you do, you draw and reveal a card; if it's a Gishki monster, you shuffle a card from the field into its owner deck. For the price of some life, this effect lets you draw a card and often remove an opponent's monster, Spell, or Trap.
- For a high-risk, high-reward series, you'll find little better than the Gishki. Consider including some health regenerating cards (Solemn Wishes and Golden Ladybug work wonders) to keep your LP in a safe range.
Pendulum is sometimes criticized as overpowered, and these cards help explain why. I absolutely love the Qliphort series (although I'm relieved that some are forbidden competitively). From their design (some sort of weird alien husks with different colored orbs?) to their effects to their ace monster, no other series has struck me like the Qli.
- Nearly all are Pendulum cards, letting you swarm easily. Many are high level, and have awesome effects when Tribute Summoned (like Shell, who pierces through Defense and can attack twice each turn), but may also be summoned as Level 4 monsters with reduced attack if necessary. Plus, some have effects that activate when tributed; Helix destroys Spells/Traps while Carrier can return a monster to the hand.
- The cards you use in your Pendulum Zones have many helpful effects; some boost your monsters' Attack, some reduce your opponent's, while others help add more Qlis to your hand.
- Then you have Apoqliphort Towers. He takes three Qliphorts as sacrifices to summon, but he's worth it. He lowers all Special Summoned monsters' Attack by 500, is immune to Spells and Traps, and is immune to all monster effects from monsters who are lower level than him. Which is nearly all, since he's Level 10. Then, once per turn, he can force your opponent to send a monster from either their hand or their field to the Graveyard. Factor in his 3000 Attack and 2600 Defense, and if you successfully summon him, you're almost certain to win the duel.
- Throw in some nice support (like Equip Spell Saqlifice, which raises Attack by 300, prevents battle destruction, and allows one Qliphort monster to be tributed as 2), and you have an absolutely crazy deck.
Which series is your favorite?
Today we've examined six amazing monster themes, but there are hundreds to choose from. Feel free to list yours in the comments (and why you like them), as well as vote for your favorite of today's batch. I'll see you at our next countdown!