Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
What Are Counter Traps in Yu-Gi-Oh?
You can distinguish a counter trap from a regular one by its distinctive arrow in the upper-right corner. Counter traps are generally activated in response to opposing plays, often negating them by paying some price. These are excellent removals since they prevent field-entry effects (negated cards never actually reach the field).
Counter traps are also the only cards in the game that operate at "spell speed 3," which means that the only thing that can respond to them are other counter traps; monster and spell effects aren't quick enough to chain. In short, counters can do things no other cards can—how can you best empower them? These are the ten best counter-trap supports in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Meltiel, Sage of the Sky
Like many counter supports, Meltiel is a light-attributed fairy monster. His 1600 ATK is decent if not great, but after a counter trap resolves, Meltiel gives you 1000 life points, then lets you destroy a card if "The Sanctuary in the Sky" is on the field.
Meltiel's ability can even trigger from opposing traps, making foes think twice before they counter your plays, and having extra life ensures you have resources to spend with counter traps that require you forfeit health.
9. Layard the Liberator
While I wish Layard's 1400 ATK was a little higher, whenever a counter trap resolves (including opposing ones), Layard returns two of your banished fairies to hand! That's a lot of card advantage, especially considering the effect can be used multiple times per turn.
We'll later see a card that exiles two fairies, but you can also use Chaos monsters to stockpile your banished zone.
8. Bountiful Artemis
Artemis carries decent 1600 ATK and lets you draw a card whenever a counter trap resolves, continuously restocking your hand. A simple yet powerful effect, especially since it also works from opposing counters and can activate multiple times in one turn.
7. Power Angel Valkyria
For a level four, Valkyria has strong 1800 ATK, and whenever you negate a monster, spell, or trap, she lets you add a light-attribute fairy-type monster from your deck to hand. This can only trigger once per turn, but it's a versatile tutor that can find many trap supports, even other copies of Valkyria.
6. Minerva, Scholar of the Sky
Minerva starts with respectable 1700 ATK, and she'll gain 500 more whenever a counter trap resolves, including your opponent's. Plus, if "The Sanctuary in the Sky" is active, you also get to add a counter trap with a different name from your graveyard to hand!
Sky is a respectable field spell for fairy decks, and we'll later see a card that can substitute for it, giving numerous ways to acquire Minerva's bonus effect.
5. Van'Dalgyon the Dark Dragon Lord
Unfortunately, Van'Dalgyon isn't a light fairy, but his dark attribute comes in handy if you're running Chaos monsters (who require light and dark materials when summoned), and he packs a fierce 2800 ATK.
You can easily avoid tribute summoning him thanks to his effect, which lets you special summon him from hand when your counter trap negates an opposing play. Then, you get to activate a bonus effect based on the card type you negated:
- Spell: Inflict 1500 damage to your opponent
- Trap: Target and destroy an opposing card
- Monster: Special summon a monster from your graveyard
All are worthy effects, especially on top of a free beatstick.
4. Sacred Arch-Airknight Parshath
If you activate a counter trap or negate an effect, you can special summon Parshath from your hand or graveyard by banishing two light-fairies from your hand, field, and/or graveyard. That's an easy summon that can use materials from numerous zones, and it's great for prepping Layard's retrieval effect.
Not only does Parshath have 2800 ATK, he inflicts piercing damage to defense position opponents. This helps trigger his final ability, adding any Parshath card or counter trap from deck to hand when he inflicts battle damage, excellent synergy with cards like...
3. Rebirth of Parshath
Rebirth is a counter trap itself, qualifying for today's supports, and it relies on other counters to function. When a spell, trap, or monster effect is activated, Rebirth lets you reveal a counter from your hand, discard a card, and pay 1000 life points to negate it and shuffle it into the deck.
Not only does this block the card, it also won't stock your opponent's graveyard. Best of all, you also get to summon a Parshath monster from your deck or extra deck, making this a deadly two-for-one combo.
2. The Sanctum of Parshath
Bearing the Parshath title, you can tutor Sanctum with other effects, and its name changes to "The Sanctuary in the Sky" when fielded or in your graveyard, great for empowering today's other cards.
More than that, Sanctum gives all fairy monsters 300 ATK/DEF, prevents set spells/traps from being targeted or destroyed (protecting counters), and lets you once per turn place any three fairies/counter traps with different names from your graveyard on top of your deck in any order. This retrieves lost monsters, place traps back into your deck for your other supports to recover, and offers a nice anti-mill tactic.
1. Guiding Ariadne
As a pendulum card, Ariadne can be used as a monster or continuous spell, with both modes offering great supports. Ariadne wields a pendulum scale of three, sufficiently low to special summon today's mostly level-four monsters (in tangent with a higher scale). Better yet, its scale effect prevents you from having to pay life points or discard cards to activate counter traps! This goes a long way towards mitigating their frequent downsides, keeping your health and hand supplied throughout the match.
Ariadne is also useful as a monster, carrying 1700 ATK and letting you reveal three counter traps from your deck when destroyed, having your opponent add one from your deck to hand. This works with both battle and effect destruction, and you can guarantee what you'll receive by revealing three copies of the same trap.
Helping swarm your field via pendulum summon while letting you freely activate or tutor traps, Ariadne remains a must-have for the theme and is surprisingly cheap, costing well under a single dollar!
Recommended Counter Traps in Yu-Gi-Oh
Today we've examined many counter supports, but to employ them, you'll of course need actual counter traps. In addition to Rebirth, you've got dozens of tempting options, including "Solemn Judgment", "Solemn Warning", and "Chaos Trap Hole". Remember, their activation costs can be dodged if you have Ariadne active.
And generic trap supports (like "Mask of Darkness") work as well with counters as they do other traps, but for now, as we await Konami's next expansion of trap-empowering spells, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill