Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Many of us were first introduced to insects via Weevil Underwood, an anime character who, like his signature monster type, quickly fell to the more-prominent and supported spellcasters and dragons used by Yugi and Kaiba.
But while insects have rarely dominated the meta, they do contain noteworthy archetypes and cards, including some unlikely to leave the ban list—these are the ten best insect monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Level Eater
Level Eater is weak and can only be tributed for tribute summons, but works crazy well for link and synchro summons, hence its ban. You can special summon Eater from your graveyard by reducing the level of a level 5 or higher monster you control by one. And since this isn't once-per-turn, you can easily link climb into insane heights or adjust levels for a suitable synchro summon.
9. Maxx "C"
Today's other banned card is a hand trap that you discard to give you a draw whenever your opponent special summons that turn. In the current meta, where 5+ summons a turn isn't uncommon, this equals insane card advantage. Unlikely to ever leave the ban list without an errata, but still a highlight of what insects can do.
Getting into our legal cards, Gokipole is pretty weak but has a great effect that triggers when sent to the graveyard from anywhere, even directly from deck, letting you add a level 4 insect from deck to hand. Then, if you picked a normal monster, you can summon it and destroy a monster on the field with greater or equal ATK.
This actually makes running a Neo Bug worthwhile, and note the effect doesn't target, but don't be afraid to find an effect monster if that's what you need.
7. Battlewasp—Arbalest the Rapidfire
Rapidfire makes a great option for your turn's normal summon, letting it revive a level three or lower insect from your graveyard in defense position. For his level, Rapidfire has solid 1800 ATK, and when destroyed by battle or effect, he can summon a Battlewasp from your hand or deck.
6. Traptrix Atrax
Traptrix monsters support the destructive powers of the Trap Hole cards, and you'll find few better at it than Atrax. Not only is her ATK a decent 1800, she's unaffected by Hole trap cards, lets you activate them from hand, and prevents your Hole traps from being negated.
This gets around many would-be removals; your opponent can no longer destroy Holes prematurely with threats like Harpie's Feather Duster.
5. Seraphim Papillion
You can summon Papillion using two or more monsters with different names adding to link three, but you primarily want to use insects; she gains a counter for each used in her link summon. Each counter Papillion has boosts her by 200 ATK, and as a quick effect, she can remove one to revive a level four or lower insect from your graveyard in defense position.
4. Retaliating "C"
Retaliating isn't as impressive as Max, but is at least legal in tournament play. You can summon it from your hand when your opponent activates a spell that would summon a monster; while fielded after being summoned this way, Retaliating banishes any card that would be sent to the graveyard, which can really disrupt opposing combos. Also, when sent to your graveyard, Retaliating will find a different earth-attribute insect with 1500 or less ATK from deck.
Powerful if a bit situational, consider sideboarding Retaliating to bring out against decks that exploit cards like Monster Reborn.
3. Giant Beetrooper Invincible Atlas
Atlas needs two or more insects to add to link four, and while it has 3000 or less ATK, it can't be targeted or destroyed by opposing card effects! Atlas restricts you from summoning non-insect monsters, but lets you once per turn tribute an insect to summon a Beetrooper from your deck or gain 2000 ATK for the turn.
The ATK boost can overcome foes in battle, but remember it could open Atlas up to removal, so only use it when necessary.
2. Mimicking Man-Eater Bug
Players who have been with YGO! since the beginning remember the terror of Man-Eater Bug when it was first released; here's a modernized, superior version of it. Like his base form, Mimicking is weak in terms of battle stats, but unlike his predecessor, he can't be destroyed in battle, offering a great wall.
More than that, his flip effect targets and destroys a monster, adds its ATK to his own, and copies that card's monster type; Mimicking can't be destroyed by effects of monsters sharing that type.
Basically, Mimicking is a near-perfect blend of both offense and defense, and his earth attribute means you can search him with Retaliating C. Great even in non-insect decks, you can nab your own Mimicking for around one dollar!
1. Ultra Beetrooper Absolute Hercules
Hercules has a hefty summon condition of four insects, so consider using cards like Future Fusion that can pull from your deck. But no matter how he arrives, Hercules has awesome 4000 ATK/DEF and is unaffected by opposing card effects until the end of your next turn if fusion summoned! That's an amazing defense that really makes him a nightmare to remove.
As if that weren't enough, Hercules can revive an insect with 3000 or less ATK from your graveyard at the end of every battle phase, which can start recuperating your field from his costly summon.
Insect Supports in Yu-Gi-Oh!
Today we examined the best insects themselves, but don't forget other cards that can boost their ranks. They sometimes share support with the plant type, seen in cards like Gigaplant, and bear powerful spells like Verdant Sanctuary, which searches a new insect when one is destroyed. But for now, vote for your favorite invertebrate and I'll see you at our next YGO! countdown!
© 2022 Jeremy Gill