Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Boss Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh!
When dueling, big and bad "boss" monsters are what most decks are trying to summon, often needing multiple materials to get out, but wielding powerful stats and effects once fielded.
These can be any monster type, from link to synchro, and come in many varieties; many of the best negate opposing plays and have built-in defenses to make them harder to defeat. But with hundreds of archetypes and cards to pick from, which aces reign supreme? These are the ten best monsters in the early 2022 competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! scene!
10. Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess
Apollousa admittedly takes work to summon, needing 2+ materials with different names that add to link four. Often, you'll want to use four monsters because Apollousa's ATK becomes her number of materials times 800, 3200 with four.
From there, she can negate and destroy activating monster effects by losing 800 ATK, which can completely shut down opposing combos. Plus, this effect isn't once per turn but once per chain, meaning she can often negate multiple cards in one round.
9. Accesscode Talker
Accesscode is the game's other premier link-4, taking 2+ effect monsters adding to link four. He prevents opponents from responding to his own activations, a rare and nifty defense, and when link summoned, he can gain ATK (on top of his 2300 base) equal to the link rating times 1000 of a link monster used for his summon; unlike Apollousa, you want to link climb here, making 5300 ATK more than possible.
From there, Accesscode can banish a link monster from your field or graveyard to destroy an opposing card. You can use this effect multiple times per turn as long as you choose monsters with different attributes, and it doesn't target, circumventing some defenses.
8. Virtual World Kyubi—Shenshen
Virtual Worlds are a competitive theme, but Shenshen can fit in any deck that can tune into level 9 synchros. Shenshen's ATK is a solid 2800, but more than that, he banishes any card sent from the field to graveyard. This affects you too, but you'll probably be near the end of your combo by the time you play Shenshen anyway, so you'll rarely mind.
Plus, once per turn when your monster attacks, Shenshen can return a banished card to the graveyard, and you can revive him turns after he's destroyed by banishing two monsters with different types and attributes from each other. Basically, Shenshen's gonna keep coming back until he himself gets banished.
Many of today's cards cost dozens of dollars, but Shenshen is mercifully cheap for the budget player, costing less than one dollar!
7. Invoked Mechaba
Before we talk about Mechaba, let's talk about what's used to get him: Aleister the Invoker, who on normal summon searches fusion spell Invocation, which lets Aleister fuse with a monster from either graveyard.
In Mechaba's case, Aleister partners with a light monster, a common attribute in many decks, meaning your opponent can plunder your own GY if you're not careful. While Mechaba's ATK is only decent at 2500, he can negate and banish a card effect once per turn by discarding that same card type! This lets players toss extra card in hand to interrupt opposing plays, denying GY advantage along the way.
Plus, keep in mind that Invocation can return Aleister from banishment (and can banish him from field as part of its summon), meaning a single Aleister/Invocation can easily lead to multiple Invoked threats to face.
6. Borreload Savage Dragon
Level 8 is one of the easiest levels to synchro into, and like Shenshen, Borreload accepts any tuner and non-tuner combination. Play Savage after you have a link monster in GY; when synchro summoned, he can gain counters equal to the link rating of your link monster and equip it, adding half its ATK to his base 3000.
More than that, Savage can remove a counter to negate an effect's activation. Unlike some negates, this doesn't destroy, but it works on any card type and can be used multiple times if you equip a big link monster.
5. Black Luster Soldier—Soldier of Chaos
Soldier's pretty easy to summon, taking any three monsters with different names, even tokens. Plus, if link summoned using a level 7 or higher monster, he can't be targeted or destroyed by opposing card effects, making him much harder to eliminate.
As if that weren't enough, Solider has fierce 3000 ATK, and when he destroys a monster in battle, he can choose between gaining 1500 ATK, banishing a card on the field, or receiving a second attack in your next battle phase.
4. Destiny HERO3—Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer
Phoenix Enforcer does require some specific materials, a level 6 or higher HERO and a Destiny HERO (of any levels). So not every deck will use him, but he's more than worth it, making enemy monsters lose 200 ATK per HERO in your graveyard. From there, he can pop a card on both fields as a quick effect, then revive himself from the graveyard during the next standby phase.
Basically, Phoenix keeps destroying enemy cards and returning until your opponent can disrupt his combo with a banish or negation, not the easiest task considering Phoenix can chain onto other cards.
3. Niburu, the Primal Being
Of all pesky hand traps out there, Niburu's one of the deadliest, especially to combo decks. If your opponent has normal/special summoned five or more monsters, you can summon Niburu to your field by tributing all monsters they control! Now, they do get a token with ATK equal to the combined ATK of their tributed monsters, but without any effect protection, this token should fall easily.
Niburu's less useful against non-combo decks, so don't be afraid to sideboard him out when necessary, but he's often how the second-player steals the lead from the first.
2. Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS—Sky Thunder
You can pretty much ignore Zeus's level-12 materials; you're gonna play him with his alternative summon, letting you use another xyz monster as material in your second main phase during a turn where an xyz monster battled. Notably, you don't have to win the fight, so you can attack a defense position monster even with lower ATK just to get the condition.
From there, use any easily-summoned rank 4 or whatnot xyz monster to become Zeus's materials. Not only does he have impressive 3000 ATK, he can send all other cards on the field to the graveyard as a quick effect. That's right, a nuke on a stick, accessible to pretty much any deck, and since this doesn't target or destroy, it can (if not negated) get around threats like Black Luster and…
1. Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon
Dark Dragoon is ridiculous, the only true downside to him being the chance of bricking an opening hand with Dark Magician, one of his needed materials. The other material is either Red-Eyes Black Dragon or a dragon effect monster; Red-Eyes B. works best because he lets Dragoon pop two cards per turn instead of one, but either way, Dragoon will be a beast.
See, he starts at 3000 ATK, can't be targeted or destroyed by card effects, and can negate any effect once per turn by discarding a card, then permanently gains 1000 ATK!
Top it all off with an easy summon cheat: link summon Predaplant Verte Anaconda (who just needs two effect monsters), use Verte's effect (spending 2000 life)to basically play Red-Eyes Fusion from your deck (which can use materials from either hand or deck), then cast Dragoon.
Basically, this means that any two effect monsters and 2000 life can and will turn into Dragoon if your opponent can't stop the combo.
Competitive Archetypes in Yu-Gi-Oh!
Today we saw many of dueling's biggest threats as of 2022, many of which can be used in any deck, but what are some of the game's premier archetypes? As of this writing, Drytrons, Invoked, Prank-Kids, and Eldlichs are going strong. We'll see how upcoming releases change the format, with some Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes support on the way, but for now, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next YGO! countdown!
© 2022 Jeremy Gill