Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Normal Summoning in Yu-Gi-Oh
Meta decks these days usually revolve around combos that bring out tons of monsters in one turn via special summoning like crazy. But that doesn't mean there aren't uses for your one-per-turn normal summon.
Many monsters reward you for a normal summon by finding other cards, offering an immediate +1 advantage, often accompanied by bonus effects—which reign supreme? Here are ten great monsters to normal summon in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Fire Hand/Ice Hand
Use in: Anything, but especially water decks
Fire and Ice Hand work together to ransack opposing fields, especially when you play second. You don't have to normal summon either to use their effects, and they can fit in pretty much any deck. Both have respectable level-4 stats, and when destroyed and sent to your graveyard, will pop a card on the field (Fire hits a monster while Ice hits a spell/trap), then summon the other Hand from your deck.
While there are weaknesses (missing the timing and anti-graveyard tools), these guys can single-handedly (pardon the pun) board wipe, especially since you can purposefully attack stronger monsters to trigger their destruction effects. Ice Hand's aqua type and water attribute makes it especially useful for supports like Aquarium Stage and Salvage.
9. Spellbook Magician of Prophecy
Use in: Anything, especially spell counter decks
Prophecy is weak at 500 ATK, but when normal summoned or flipped face-up, he searches a Spellbook spell from your deck. Use him to find Spellbook of Secrets, or Secrets (which adds a different Spellbook) to find Prophecy, activating the other to find Spellbook of Knowledge, then use Knowledge to send Prophecy to your graveyard and draw two cards. You've now gotten a +1, a monster in GY to potentially revive, and if you're using spell-counter tools like the Endymion cards, a ton of spell counters.
One of the reasons Prophecy doesn't see a ton of play is that the popular spells Pot of Extravagance and Pot of Prosperity prevent you from drawing other cards that turn, which makes you wait on anything that draws (like Spellbook of Knowledge), but Prophecy's a useful tool for decks that don't run them.
8. Chamber Dragonmaid
Use in: Dragonmaid
I'll admit to finding the Dragonmaid archetype overrated, but Chamber's definitely a credit to their team. She activates on both normal and special summon to search a Dragonmaid spell/trap, and at the start of either player's battle phase, she can return herself to hand to summon a level 7 or higher Dragonmaid from hand or graveyard.
An immediate replacement in hand plus the ability to easily bring out a bigger monster (and workable 1800 DEF) make Chamber a welcome sight in any opening hand.
7. Sky Striker Ace - Raye
Use in: Sky Striker
Sky Strikers dominated the meta upon debut, and if their best card (Mobilize - Engage) ever goes up from limited, could very easily make a comeback. Anyway, Raye can, as a quick effect, link summon a Sky Striker link monster, who activate various effects, often getting a Sky Striker spell into your hand.
But then Raye can revive herself from your graveyard when a Sky Striker link monster is destroyed by battle or leaves the field from a card effect—as long as Raye isn't banished, she can (once per turn) continuously revive herself. Another benefit is how easily searched Raye is—find her with Reinforcement of the Army or Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage!
6. Performapal Skullcrobat Joker
Use in: Performapal, Pendulum Magicians, Odd-Eyes
Pendulum Magicians remain one of my favorite pendulum archetypes, rapidly swarming the field while punishing foes with destruction-triggered abilities. Skullcrobat Joker here isn't actually a Magician, but on normal summon, searches a different Performapal, Pendulum Magician, or Odd-Eyes card from deck.
Throw in solid 1800 ATK and you've got a great opening play that can double as a scale 8. The spellcaster type and dark attribute also synergize with cards like Allure of Darkness.
5. Diviner of the Herald
Use in: Drytron
Drytrons are machines, not faries, but they focus on swarming and ritual summoning into enormous threats like Herald of Ultimateness, partially by utilizing fairies like Diviner. While weak, she sends a fairy from deck or extra deck to GY when normal or special summoned; pick Herald of the Arc Light to search a ritual monster/spell via its effect. This also increases Diviner's level by the sent monster's, used with level-4 Herald to get to level-6, helping xyz summon into Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal, who mills any card from deck.
As if that weren't enough, Diviner is a tuner, which can synchro summon, and if she's tributed (usually for a ritual summon), she summons a different level 1 or 2 fairy from hand or deck.
4. Souleating Oviraptor
Use in: Dinosaur
Souleating Oviraptor has strong (for its level) 1800 ATK, can be easily searched with Fossil Dig, and on normal or special summon, he can either add a dinosaur to hand or send it to graveyard. Then, use his next effect to destroy another level 4 or lower dino on field to special summon one from your graveyard in defense position.
Use this to pop Babycerasaurus, who summons a dino from deck when destroyed, leading to the enormous swarming potential of dinos that can very easily earn a one-turn kill and setup numerous negates.
3. Fairy Tail - Luna
Use in: Anything, especially Endymion or Charmers
One of the most underrated cards in the game, Luna has impressive 1850 ATK, the useful spellcaster type, and on normal summon, she finds another 1850 spellcaster. This can be a second copy of herself, another member of the Fairy Tail archetype, Reflection of Endymion (for spell counter builds) or a Charmer (for Charmer decks).
But that's not all; as a quick effect, Luna can target an opposing monster and return both to hand unless your opponent negates the effect by sending a copy of their monster from deck/extra deck to GY. Even if this fails at first, you can activate it again on your opponent's turn, very likely handling a big threat while giving you another useful normal summon for next turn.
I especially like mixing Luna with Kaiju, and no matter how you employ her, she's surprisingly cheap, costing well under a dollar!
2. Aleister the Invoker
Use in: Shaddoll
Four cards form a brutal combo: field spell Magical Meltdown searches Aleister and prevents your fusion summons from being negated. Then summon Aleister, who searches Invocation. Then link summon Artemis, the Magistus Moon Maiden to get Aleister in your graveyard, which lets you use him as material when you fusion summon with Invocation.
Basically, you're getting a big fusion monster (possibly Mechaba to set up a negate) while maintaining card advantage, especially since Invocation can shuffle itself from GY into deck to return a banished Aleister to your hand.
1. Lava Golem/The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode
Use in: Any match where you play second
With the ridiculous combos that happen in competitive first turns, often setting up multiple play-negating effects, how can second players hope to win? Often the answer lies in these guys, who tribute opposing monsters for their summon (technically, Lava Golem is a special summon, but he prevents normal summoning the turn you play him, so it counts).
Lava Golem takes out two opposing monsters while Sphere Mode does three, and since this isn't an effect, it can't be negated. Once you've removed your opponent's biggest threats, you can proceed with your turn. Also note Lava Golem will hit your opponent for 1000 at their standby phase, great for finishing off weakened enemies.
If you don't want to main-deck these, at least consider them for your sideboard when you expect to play second and have room for a normal summon.
Tribute Summoning in Yu-Gi-Oh
When examining normal summon options, look at how many level 4 and lower monsters your deck has, which are usually the best outlet for a normal summon since they don't require tributes. That said, many anti-meta decks (like Monarchs and True Draco) focus on tribute summoning while restricting special summons. But for now, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next YGO countdown!
© 2022 Jeremy Gill