Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Terrible "Yu-Gi-Oh!" Monsters
Thanks to power creep, new Yu-Gi-Oh! archetypes are almost always better than old, letting modern decks run circles around classic. Now, some of the most popular themes (Dark Magician, Blue-Eyes, etc.) have received newer supports to help keep pace, but many others have fallen far behind. Which duds are in most need of a revamp? These are the ten worst Yu-Gi-Oh! archetypes!
Description: Machines who rely on counters to attack.
Standing for "Bacterian Empire Ship," B.E.S. cards can't be destroyed by battle and have strong battle stats, but destroy themselves when their 3 starting counters run out, losing one after attacking. Since they're high-level, they also rely on various effect to special summon themselves from hand.
While battle immunity is nice, these guys are incredibly vulnerable to effect removal. This weakness is admittedly lessened by their excellent field spell, "B.E.F. Zelos," which is the only thing that keeps the group even kind of playable (making them immune to targeting and effect destruction). But if you don't draw into Zelos (or a "Terraforming" to search it), you're swiftly gonna be overrun by stronger monsters. And since Zelos doesn't have any form of self-protection, any spell removal will deplete its crucial monster protection.
Description: Wind monsters emphasizing graveyard recursion and synchro summons.
Gustos offer a long-term defensive strategy, as many of their effects rely on shuffling members from graveyard into the deck. They have a fair number of tuners to synchro summon the stronger Daigustos from your extra deck, but maintaining their numbers is tricky thanks to low power.
Plus, the wind attribute and psychic type aren't the most well-supported, and the archetype has terrible spell/trap backrow presence. Xyz monster "Daigusto Emeral" is limited, showing his power, but since he takes any level 4s as material, you'll see him far more often outside his archetype than in it.
Description: Water fairies immune to battle destruction but destroyed in defense position.
Like the B.E.S. group, most Cloudians can't be destroyed by battle, giving them time to spread their fog counters to trigger their effects. Well, at least in theory, but there are several issues. First, with low ATK, they'll take lots of battle damage even if they aren't destroyed. Second, they're not great at swarming and are destroyed if in face-up defense, so if your opponent has anything to shift battle position, you're done for.
Finally, they suffer a distinct lack of graveyard effects. So, when your opponent manages to remove them via effect, Cloudians just don't offer enough the exit abilities needed to help you recover.
Description: Reptiles who sap enemy ATK.
Venom monsters focus on lowering enemy power via their field spell, "Venom Swamp," and they have an alternate win condition via the effect of "Vennominaga the Deity of Poisonous Snakes." So what are the issues?
Well, these guys are just too slow and too susceptible to removal. With limited evasion and almost no graveyard effects, any removal will heavily disrupt their strategy. Swamp can lessen power, but it's too easy to take down, and Vennominaga is too hard to summon and activate (her insta-win requires dealing battle damage three times) to reliably use.
The one thing I like is Vennominaga's immunity to other effects, but with her tricky summon and limited battle stats, she still falls short.
6. Koa'ki Meiru
Description: Rock cards destroyed unless you reveal or discard "Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru" in your hand.
Koa'ki Meiru monsters do have some strengths. Their battle stats are above average, and they carry several anti-dark and anti-light effects, punishing the most common attributes.
But their boons end there, as most of them will destroy themselves unless you discard Iron Core or reveal a specific type of card in your hand. And the problem with Iron Core: it's useless other than for empowering Koa'ki effects, bearing no practical ability of its own. A lack of extra deck options also hurts the theme, making it too risky for such an underwhelming payoff.
Description: Reptiles who weaken enemies with alien counters.
Aliens focus on spreading their a-counters, which weaken enemy monsters by 300 per counter when battling Aliens. Sounds nice, but many Aliens simply lack effects beyond minor spreading of these counters, and they have few ace monsters in the main deck, just a ton of level 4s.
Their one useful boss is the synchro monster "Cosmic Fortress Gol'gar," but even he needs a specific tutor and is far too little to save the family from obscurity.
Description: Dark fiends boosted by having an empty hand.
Infernity monsters receive useful effects while your hand is empty, an interesting idea, but there are two big problems. First, you need to empty your hand for any reward, so if you're stuck with cards that you can't play, your turn will be far weaker. More than that, if your empty-hand offensive fails, you're basically stuck top-decking, hoping you draw back into something useful.
Basically, the Infernity effects aren't anywhere near worth the disadvantage of an empty hand; a single board wipe will ruin their day.
Description: Fiends with effects that trigger upon inflicting battle damage.
Goblins released over so many sets, they have little synergy with each other, making a dedicated deck difficult. Most goblins either have damage triggers or high ATK counteracted by negative effects. This makes their abilities unreliable, and to add insult to injury, they have almost no extra deck options.
Now, the archetype does have some good cards: "Goblindbergh," "Upstart Goblin," and "Good Goblin Housekeeping," but since these cards just aren't designed for each other, they're splashed into other themes rather than used together.
Description: Reptiles utilizing flip effects.
Poor Worms. This is one of the oldest archetypes that hasn't received modern supports, and it really shows. While they have dozens of monsters, there are only two spell supports, leaving them woefully underdeveloped. And the monsters themselves aren't great, needing better evasion/graveyard effects to last long enough to use their underwhelming flip effects.
Add to that a single fusion monster, and you've got a weak extra deck and terrible main deck. The one thing that aids their case is general reptile synergy with cards like "Offering to the Snake Deity," but good luck making it work.
Description: Machines with various synchro summons.
Here's an archetype that, despite its size, is so lacking in support that the YGO wiki calls it "nearly impossible" to construct a dedicated built. Genex monsters are mostly dark machines with a slight emphasis on synchro summoning via the tuner "Genex Controller," but he's terrible if he can't immediately synchro, being a weak normal monster.
While Genex at least has some extra deck presence, they have zero spell/trap support. Perhaps the one lasting impact they've had is the limited "Genex Ally Birdman," but he goes into other decks, as no one makes a Genex build.
Making Bad Archetypes Good
Balance has long been one of Yu-Gi-Oh!'s biggest flaws, with some series far outclassing others. That said, the game has improved, giving old themes like Toons and Egyptian Gods newer supports to keep them usable.
Will today's groups ever get the same treatment, or are they forever lost to the depths of obscurity? Time will tell, but for now, vote for your most disappointing family, and I'll see you at our next YGO countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill