Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
How to Build a Deck With Only Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh
In Yu-Gi-Oh, most decks strike a balance between monsters, spells, and traps, with each serving their own role in battle. However, some specialty decks forgo spells and traps to completely devote to their minions, ensuring you always have creatures to summon. While you're sacrificing magic and trap cards, monsters are a versatile bunch who can serve a variety of purposes, like pendulum monsters used as scales.
Additionally, some cards reward your lack of spells/traps, offering bonuses to monster enthusiasts. So, which strategies work best when dedicating to creatures? These are the 10 best cards for your pure-monster deck in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Gallis the Star Beast
Gallis's effect activates from your hand: you reveal the top card of your deck, and if it's not a monster, you destroy Gallis. However, if it is, you inflict damage to your opponent equal to its level times 200, then special summon Gallis from your hand.
Both his stats are weak at just 800, but you've both fielded a monster (without using your turn's normal summon) and landed some nice effect damage on your opponent.
9. Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon
Pendulum cards can gimmick monster surge decks, as their scale effects mimic continuous spells but count as monsters if ever placed in your graveyard. They're also great for mass swarming, and Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon is one of the strongest pendulums available.
As a monster, he has a respectable 2500 ATK plus the common dark attribute and dragon type, and he deals double battle damage to enemy monsters. As a scale, he shields you from battle damage involving your pendulum monsters, and he can destroy himself at the end of your turn to search a pendulum with 1500 or less ATK from your deck. Of course, in monster-heavy builds, you should have plenty of fodder to choose from, and this dragon synergizes with both the Odd-Eyes and Performapal series.
8. Giant Trunade/Heavy Storm
Even monster surge decks often include a small amount of non-monster cards. As of this writing, these spells are banned in most tournaments, but they're still a great option for casual play or in the limited format (where everything is allowed a single copy). Trunade moves all spells/traps back to their owner's hands while Storm simply destroys them.
While you suffer the effects of these mass spell/trap removals as well as your opponent, in monster surge decks, you shouldn't have much to lose, making their field-wipes decidedly one-sided.
7. Malevolent Catastrophe
If you need a legal mass spell/trap removal for your monster surge deck, look no farther than Malevolent Catastrophe. You can activate it when your opponent declares an attack, at which point it destroys all spells and traps on the field (just like Heavy Storm would).
While including a trap in your monster deck runs the risk of graveyard contamination, running a few isn't a big gamble, and we'll soon discuss ways to clear your graveyard. The spell "A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon" offers another legal mass spell/trap removal for dragon-focused monster surge decks.
6. Sangan/Witch of the Black Forest
Long occupying the ban list, both these cards were made legal thanks to their new errata. Sangan and Witch are weak in battle, but when sent from the field to the graveyard, Sangan searches a monster with 1500 or less ATK from your deck to your hand; Witch does the same but with 1500 or less DEF.
The new errata only lets you use each effect once per turn, and you can't play the chosen card that turn, but it's still a great search for any archetype, especially since it triggers no matter how your card is sent to the graveyard. In other words, the effect resolves whether your monster is destroyed, used as link/tribute material, or sent by any other means.
5. Superheavy Samurai Warlord Susanowo
Rather than mixing and matching other monsters, you could instead build around the Superheavy Samurai archetype, as many of their units reward a graveyard empty of spells/traps. In this case, synchro monster Warlord Susanowo (who needs a machine-type tuner plus Superheavy Samurai nontuners as material) wields a fierce 3800 DEF, useful since he can attack while in defense position (and use his DEF score for damage calculation).
Even better, if you have no spells/traps in your graveyard, Warlord can once per turn set an opponent's spell or trap from their graveyard to your side of the field, banishing it when it leaves the arena. And as a quick effect, you can utilize this ability on either player's turn, making it a great way to utilize spells and traps without contaminating your graveyard.
4. Treeborn Frog
One of the game's best Frog monsters, Treeborn Frog also works well in monster surge decks. His ATK and DEF are both a pitiful 100, but you can special summon him from your graveyard during your standby phase if you control neither a Treeborn Frog nor any spells/traps.
Thus, you can consistently special summon a monster for link or tribute summons (useful with the popular Monarch archetype), and note that having spells/traps in your graveyard doesn't hinder Treeborn's ability, meaning you can safely include a few in your deck.
3. Magical Merchant
Merchant is yet another weak monster, bearing just 200 ATK and 700 DEF, but when flipped face-up, he excavates (reveals) cards from the top of your deck until you find a spell/trap, adds that card to your hand, then sends the remainder to your graveyard.
While you have to be careful not to completely mill yourself and lose through a deck-out, in structures that carry a couple spells/traps, Merchant works great for pulling those spells/traps and rapidly stockpiling your graveyard with cards like Treeborn Frog. Should they ever become legal again, be sure to combo his effect with the forbidden "Level Eater" and "Dandylion."
2. Battle Fader
Often traps like "Equally Matched" or "Bottomless Trap Hole" are used to hinder your opponent's monsters, and monster surge decks lack these defenses. Thankfully, many of the game's best hand traps compensate for the loss.
Fader stays nestled in your hand until needed, safely shielded from removals. When your opponent declares a direct attack, you can special summon him to end the battle phase, although he'll be banished when removed from the field. While Fader is weak, you've not only stalled a direct assault, but also fielded a unit ready to be used as fodder for a link, synchro, or tribute summon, or to simply absorb an attack on your foe's next turn.
1. Sekka's Light
As odd as it may seem to have a spell as number one, Sekka's Light is truly the ideal card for decks that contain nothing else but monsters. You can only activate it while your graveyard has no spells/traps, and once used, you can't play any other spells/traps other than Sekka's Light for the rest of the duel, so be ready to commit. However, Light lets you immediately draw two cards (mimicking the long-banned "Pot of Greed"), a superb hand boost. Additionally, you can banish it from your graveyard to reveal and shuffle a monster from your hand into your deck, then draw a card, hopefully replacing something you don't need with something you do.
And if you're worried about contamination, remember that cards like "Spell Striker" and "Superheavy Samurai Steam Train King" can banish spells from your graveyard, purifying it for monster-only abilities. Sekka's Light is an easy choice for my own monster surge decks, and for such a competitive card, I'm surprised by how affordable it is, costing less than a single dollar!
Advantages of Monster Surge Yu-Gi-Oh Decks
While only including monster cards limits your deck-building options, it essentially wastes any spell/trap removals your opponent employs, as they'll have no valid targets. These themes also work well in pendulum builds, ensuring you have plenty of troops to swarm, and they quickly fill your graveyard with fodder, useful for the summoning conditions of the popular chaos monsters.
Monsters are generally the most exciting type of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and devoting to them can be a surprisingly competitive strategy. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next monster-emphasizing set, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill