Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Most competitive decks in YGO! want to go first; sure, you can't attack and don't get the bonus draw that the second player has, but there aren't obstacles (other than hand traps) for your opponent to interrupt your combos with. By going first, you can play freely with little fear of trap cards or other quick effects disrupting your moves.
However, going second isn't always a bad thing—you'll have a bonus draw, and any of your effects that rely on opposing cards will have immediate targets. So how can you reclaim the lead from the first player? Here are the ten best monster cards when playing second in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
Use for: Bouncing monsters
Grand Mole is weak and his archetype could use more modern support, but it's hard to argue with his effect—when he battles, he can return both himself and what he's fighting to the hand.
This works amazing on extra deck monsters, forcing your opponent to spend more resources resummoning them. Use Grand Mole in decks that have some room for a normal summon, or pendulum summon him to preserve yours.
9. Fairy Tail—Luna
Use for: Bouncing monsters
I consider Luna a modernized, usually-better Grand Mole. Her quick effect attempts to return herself and an opponent's monster to hand, although they can negate it by sending a copy of that monster from their deck or extra deck to the graveyard.
However, they'll need two copies to stave off a single Luna (since you can reattempt on your opponent's turn). Plus, Luna's ATK isn't bad at all at 1850, and when normal summoned, she finds another spellcaster with 1850 ATK from your deck. This could be another copy of herself, or other monsters like Reflection of Endymion.
8. Radian, the Multidimensional Kaiju
Use for: Tributing enemy monsters
Kaiju cards are special monsters that summon to your opponent's field by tributing a monster they control. Sure, you hand them a tough beatstick, but you're eliminating a bigger threat. Best of all, since this isn't an "effect", it can't be negated, making it one of few ways to bypass negations and eliminate bosses that can't be targeted or destroyed.
I'm especially fond of Radian for his synergy with Allure of Darkness; for a fierce combo, tribute him, then bounce him with Mole or Luna and tribute another enemy monster.
7. Archfiend Eccentrick
Use for: Destroying a spell/trap
Pendulum decks can make great use of Eccentrick. She's weak and her scale isn't great at 7 (just below 8, what most decks aspire to as their high scale), but she can tribute herself in your scale to target and destroy an opposing spell or trap.
From there, you've got a level three monster in your extra deck you can pendulum summon. Once revived, either use Eccentrick as link material or activate her useful monster effect, tributing herself to target and destroy a monster.
6. Gravity Controller
Use for: Bouncing extra deck monsters
Gravity Controller gives any deck some bounce prowess without expending a normal summon. He only needs one link material: a non-link monster in your extra zone; revived pendulum monsters work well.
While Controller is weak at 1000 ATK, he can't be destroyed by battle with monsters in the main monster zone. Additionally, when he battles a foe in the extra zone, he can return both to hand, a fantastic way to eliminate threatening link monsters. Like Grand Mole, this neither targets nor destroys, bypassing common defenses.
5. Gizmek Kaku, the Supreme Shining Sky Stag
Use for: Stealing extra deck monsters
You can easily special summon Sky Stag from your hand; all you need is for either player to have a monster in the extra zone. This usually means you can immediately cast him if you play second, and he arrives with impressive 2750 ATK/DEF.
More than that, Stag can target an extra monster to equip it to himself, and he can special summon it after destroying a monster in battle. This lets you steal opposing cards, and even if something destroys Stag before he can revive the monster, your opponent doesn't get it back; it just heads to their graveyard.
4. Alpha, the Master of Beasts
Use for: Bouncing monsters
Like Stag, Alpha has a super-easy summon when playing second; your opponent has to control monsters with more total ATK than you. As long as they have at least one (with more than 0), you can immediately play Alpha.
Not only does he arrive with awesome 3000 ATK, he lets you return any number of beasts, beast-warrior, and/or winged beasts to your hand to return that many face-up enemy monsters to the hand. Heck, even non-beast decks can make use of this since Alpha can always target himself; just keep in mind doing so prevents him from attacking directly for the turn.
3. Dogmatika Nexus
Use for: Destroying special-summoned monsters
Nexus isn't quite as easy to summons as the past monsters, needing you to banish a total of four fusion, synchro, xyz, and/or link monsters from any graveyards, but this is still much easier when going second and a great counter to link-climbing decks.
Once out, Nexus bears terrific 3200 ATK/DEF, and when he battles a special summoned monster, he destroys all opposing attack-position monsters, inflicting 800 damage to your opponent for each fusion, synchro, xyz, and link among them.
2. Eater of Millions
Use for: Banishing monsters
Eater's an easy special summon, requiring you banish five or more cards from your hand, field, and or/extra deck, face-down—pick five cards from your extra deck you don't need.
Once out, Eater has 100 ATK per face-down banished card (he works great with Pot of Desires), and once per turn, he can banish a monster he battles face-down, both eliminating a threat and empowering himself. Additionally, Eater can't be tributed or used as fusion, synchro, or xyz material—this may sound bad, but it actually protects him from cards like Super Polymerization.
1. PSY-Framegear Gamma
Use for: Negating opposing monster effects
Today, we've explored many great cards to eliminate opposing threats once they're out, but really, sometimes it's best to stop them as they happen. That's where hand traps come in, with aces like Ash Blossom, Effect Veiler, and Gamma hindering your opponent during their own turn.
In Gamma's case, you summon it from hand while you control no monsters to negate an opposing monster effect. You also have to summon PSY-Frame Driver from your hand, deck, or graveyard, and they're banished at the end phase. Still, they can potentially block hits (if used past the first turn), or be sacrificed as fodder for other effects in the meantime.
Spells and Traps for Playing Second
Today, we focused on monsters to help mount a comeback, but of course spells and traps play their part too. Cards like Odd-Eyes Fusion work best once your opponent has some monsters out, and classic nukes like Raigeki (destroys enemy monsters) and Harpie's Feather Duster (destroys enemy spells/traps) are usually a welcome sight for second-turn players.
Don't forget to sideboard in and out based on turn order, but for now, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh! countdown!
© 2022 Jeremy Gill