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Top 10 Trap Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh

Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.

What Are Pseudo Traps in Yu-Gi-Oh?

Whether you call them pseudo traps or trap monsters, these rare cards catch your opponent by surprise by morphing from trap to monster. Like other traps, they have to be set for a turn before they can activate, but they often wield useful effects, serve as last-minute defenders, and won't take up your turn's normal summon.

Some still occupy a spell/trap zone once converted while others don't, so be careful not to clog your arena and inadvertently prevent yourself from activating more cards, but they're a powerful tool that can fit into several decks. So, with dozens of members, which units reign supreme? These are the ten best trap monster cards in Yu-Gi-Oh!

The First Monarch

The First Monarch

10. The First Monarch

ATK: 1000
DEF: 2400
Uses a spell/trap zone once summoned? Yes

The First Monarch arrives with decent DEF, allowing it to stall your foe's weaker monsters, and you can (but don't have to) discard a card when you summon him. If you do, you get to declare an attribute and let Monarch count as two tributes for a tribute summon of that attribute, although you can't special summon monsters of different elements while he's fielded.

Use this in the powerful Monarch archetype to quickly cast your Mega Monarchs with only a single tribute, and remember that carrying Monarch's name qualifies this card for supports from the series.

Metal Reflect Slime

Metal Reflect Slime

9. Metal Reflect Slime

ATK: 0
DEF: 3000
Uses a spell/trap zone? Yes

Metal Reflect Slime can't attack, but with zero ATK, that shouldn't be an issue. However, he wields 3000 DEF, making him an excellent stall tactic that thwarts all but the strongest units. Additionally, his abnormally high level of ten makes him great material for ritual summons, often letting him serve as the only tribute you'll need.

Slime works particularly well in Gishki ritual decks (who also share its aqua type and water attribute), and it's great material for powerful rank 10 xyz summons.

Paleozoic Marrella

Paleozoic Marrella

8. Paleozoic Marrella

ATK: 1200
DEF: 0
Uses a spell/trap zone? No

We'll see several Paleozoic members today, as they're some of the best trap-to-monster cards available and don't count as traps once summoned (giving you more room and meaning they can no longer be destroyed by trap removals).

Marrella sends a trap from your deck to your graveyard, a great way to set up another Paleozoic card. Then, when a trap is activated while he's in your graveyard, you can revive him as a normal monster. He's banished when he leaves the field and his stats aren't great, but he's unaffected by monster effects and makes a great tribute, link, or xyz material.

Paleozoic Dinomischus

Paleozoic Dinomischus

7. Paleozoic Dinomischus

ATK: 1200
DEF: 0
Uses a spell/trap zone? No

Dinomischus's effect makes you discard, but you get to banish any face-up card, denying your opponent a graveyard recovery while removing a threat of any type. Then, like his brethren, he'll revive from your graveyard when a trap is activated as a normal monster with weak stats who is unaffected by monster effects.

While 1200 ATK certainly isn't fantastic, it's enough to leave a sizable dent when used for direct attacks, and the Paleozoic monsters share Slime's aqua type and water attribute, working particularly well alongside water supports.

Paleozoic Eldonia

Paleozoic Eldonia

6. Paleozoic Eldonia

ATK: 1200
DEF: 0
Uses a spell/trap zone? No

Eldonia's initial effect raises the ATK and DEF of a monster by 500 for the rest of the turn; use this to triumph in battles your opponent expected to win. Then, like his fellow clan members, he'll revive from your graveyard and be unaffected by monster abilities when a trap resolves.

Since you can activate the Paleozoic cards in any phase, remember that you can use them to bait spell/trap removals; simply chain them in response to utilize their effects before being destroyed, essentially wasting your foe's removal.

Paleozoic Hallucigenia

Paleozoic Hallucigenia

5. Paleozoic Hallucigenia

ATK: 1200
DEF: 0
Uses a spell/trap zone? No

Similar to quick-play spell "Shrink," Hallucigenia halves the ATK and DEF of a face-up monster for the rest of the turn, easily winning fights even on your opponent's turn.

From there, Hallucigenia functions just like her peers, reviving from the graveyard when a trap is activated and being unaffected by monster effects. He's banished when he leaves the field, but if you can use him for a rank two xyz summon, you'll avoid the exile (detached materials go the graveyard despite the effect) and can revive him again later.

Paleozoic Olenoides

Paleozoic Olenoides

4. Paleozoic Olenoides

ATK: 1200
DEF: 0
Uses a spell/trap zone? No

Resembling classic quick-play spell "Mystical Space Typhoon", Olenoides simply destroys any spell or trap. And surprise surprise, he's reborn from the graveyard as a monster when a trap is activated.

Note that the Paleozoic archetype doesn't have pesky "once per turn" restrictions, so you're free to rejuvenate multiple members (even identical ones) in the same round. Paleozoic monsters also excellently mesh with the Frog archetype and can benefit from the "Wetlands" field spell.

The Phantom Knights of Dark Gauntlets

The Phantom Knights of Dark Gauntlets

3. The Phantom Knights of Dark Gauntlets

ATK: 300
DEF: 600
Uses a spell/trap zone? No

We interrupt this Paleozoic monopoly to introduce Dark Gauntlets, who carries a similar effect but with a different archetype. He sends any Phantom Knight spell or trap from your deck to your graveyard, stocking it with whatever fodder you wish.

Then, Gauntlets revives in defense position when your opponent declares a direct attack while you control no cards. He only has 600 DEF, but he'll gain 300 more per Phantom Knight spell/trap in your graveyard, potentially giving enough to block the attack. And even if not, he'll at least take the hit, hopefully buying time for you to make a comeback.

Paleozoic Pikaia

Paleozoic Pikaia

2. Paleozoic Pikaia

ATK: 1200
DEF: 0
Uses a spell/trap zone? No

Pikaia's effect has you discard a Paleozoic card to draw twice. Your overall hand size doesn't change (spending two cards to draw two), but you get to toss what you don't need and prep your graveyard with not one but two Paleozoics to revive.

Like his allies, Pikaia rejoins the fray when a trap is activated—and note you can activate traps from your hand if you have xyz monster "Paleozoic Opabinia" fielded.

Paleozoic Canadia

Paleozoic Canadia

1. Paleozoic Canadia

ATK: 1200
DEF: 0
Uses a spell/trap zone? No

Canadia mimics the competitive quick-play spell "Book of Moon", turning a monster into face-down defense position. This not only stalls their attacks but also temporarily dampens their effects, making it a prime defensive tactic. And of course, Canadia can revive from your graveyard when another trap is activated.

Canadia remains my favorite member of a powerful series with a unique mechanic, and like his peers, I enjoy using him to xyz summons cards like "Paleozoic Anomalocaris" and "Toadally Awesome". Fortunately, despite his prowess, Canadia doesn't break the bank, costing less than a single dollar!

How to Beat Monster Traps in Yu-Gi-Oh

From assisting your ritual and tribute summons to reviving from your graveyard, we've seen how versatile pseudo traps can be, but remember those occupying a trap zone are vulnerable to both monster and trap removals, so try to use them as material before they get destroyed. Additionally, they'll be sent to the graveyard if they exit and return to the field (perhaps with the effect of "Timebreaker Magician"), and remember that Paleozoics and Phantom Knights can't revive from the graveyard if banished, so watch out for counters like "Macro Cosmos".

An interesting concept, I hope to encounter more monster traps in future sets. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of trap-to-monster effects, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill