What Is Raigeki in Yu-Gi-Oh!?
Most duelists have long been familiar with "Raigeki," a spell card that immediately destroys all opposing monsters. With no drawbacks and the ability to hit and even target immune enemies, Raigeki long-occupied the game's ban list for its monster-destroying powers.
However, as of this writing, it's now limited—allowing a single copy in each deck. Plus, several spin-off traps have adopted the Raigeki name, offering various ways to eliminate enemy monsters. So, can any lookalikes live up to the original? These are the five best Raigeki cards in Yu-Gi-Oh!
5. Crystal Raigeki
- Type: Trap
Crystal Raigeki depends on running the "Crystal Beast" archetype, a series that, despite new supports, has never been particularly strong. You send one Crystal Beast monster that's in your spell/trap zone (a unique feature of their theme) to the graveyard to target and destroy any opposing card.
While the ability to remove any card type at instant speed is nice, you're still spending two cards to blast one. A lackluster removal is only accessible by a lackluster archetype.
4. Anti Raigeki
- Type: Trap
You can only activate Anti Raigeki when your opponent activates regular Raigeki; not only are your monsters not destroyed but your opponent's creatures are vanquished instead. That's a powerful offense/defense blend, but it's completely dependent on your opponent running Raigeki.
Thus, Anti Raigeki could make a decent side deck card to swap in when you see its trigger, but even then, you'll have to draw and set it before your opponent draws Raigeki (if they even find it that game), making it too situational to reliably employ. I like the anti-meta idea here, but there needs to be an easier way to harness it.
3. Raigeki Bottle
An interesting option for decks that swarm numerous monsters, this continuous trap stays fielded and gains a "Thunder Counter" whenever a monster you control declares an attack. Once it has at least four, you can at any point send Bottle to your graveyard to destroy all opposing monsters.
Thus, Bottle eventually becomes superior to Raigeki, as you can utilize its field wipe at quick-play speed, but usually, you're better off with faster removals like Raigeki, "Dark Hole," or any of the "Mirror Force" traps.
2. Raigeki Break
- Type: Trap
Raigeki Break is similar to Crystal, but it's easier to use and works with any archetype. You simply discard a card, then target and destroy any unit on the field. Again, spending two cards to destroy one isn't ideal, but discards aren't so bad as they can prep your graveyard, and the ability to immediately remove any card type skillfully disrupts your opponent's turn.
You can also use Break to bait a spell/trap removal, activating it in response. This resolves its effect first and essentially wastes your adversary's card.
- Type: Spell
They don't make 'em like they used to. Raigeki was the undisputed monster removal king of its day, and it's still perhaps the best around, especially now that many creatures have targeting immunities (which Raigeki circumvents). Play it and watch as your opponent's army crumbles in the blink of an eye. That said, several modern monsters have exit effects that refill your opponent's hand or access other tricks when destroyed, giving them a fighting chance at a comeback, so don't get cocky just because you've cleared their field.
As one of the most competitive (and now legal) cards ever made, Raigeki isn't the cheapest addition to your deck, costing around $15. Still, I use it in nearly every deck I construct, and you should only ever need one, as it's easily swapped between builds. If you're entering any official event, having one at the ready (in the side deck if not the main) can save your bacon when your opponent takes the advantage.
Other Monster Removals in Yu-Gi-Oh!
Today we've examined the Raigeki members, but several other cards follow in spirit, if not title. For instance, the spell "Lightning Vortex" has a similar design and effect, discarding a card to destroy all opposing face-up monsters, and archetype cards like "Burst Stream of Destruction" essentially mimic Raigeki once you meet their criteria (like controlling a "Blue-Eyes White Dragon").
Now that Raigeki is limited, any theme has access to its fierce powers, but remember that effects that remove creatures without destruction (by banishing them or bouncing them back to the hand) prove their worth by bypassing certain defenses.
But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of monster-destroying spells, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh! countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill