The Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards of All Time

Pot of Greed Artwork
Credit: Konami

Pot of Greed Artwork
Credit: Konami

The Being one of the oldest trading card games in the world, Yu-Gi-Oh! Has a massive history. The 25-year milestone has been reached for this game recently, and things look totally different from how they started. Tons of new card types have been created as time passes, and a variety of different rule sets were experimented with.

I may not play this game competitively, or even actively, but I have played competitively in my lifetime, and have followed the game since its infancy. I still remember playing with my Legends of Blue Eyes cards as a young five-year-old, unaware that I should probably be sleeving my First Edition Blue-Eyes White Dragons instead of dragging them across the recess pavement at my elementary school.

The best cards in Yu-Gi-Oh! Is an incredibly intricate and, largely, opinionated topic. Everyone is going to assess what the best card means differently. Is this just the best card you can find in a top-deck situation? Is it the best card in the history of tournament play? I’ve been following the game for quite some time, but I don’t have the confidence to make that kind of ranking with accuracy.

Since I’ve followed Yu-Gi-Oh since the beginning, I will be creating my rank with how any card from the game’s history would interact with today’s pace of play. Notably, I will only be looking at generic cards that could empower a majority of different decks if they were reintroduced into the metagame. Powerful cards that support a specific archetype will not be included.

Since this is the nature of the list, as you imagine, many, if not all, of these cards are currently partially forbidden for play. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t belong on this list.

Let’s take a look at the best Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards of all time!

Maxx ‘C’

The Yu-Gi-Oh! card Maxx 'C' in English text
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Credit: Konami

This is perhaps the only card on this list that is still legal for play somewhere. Banned in the TCG, Maxx ‘C’ is still fair game on Master Dual and in the OCG.

As Yu-Gi-Oh! Evolved, the game became more and more about Special Summons. Nowadays, players try to assemble an unassailable board, or just close out the game, in the opening turns. Maxx ‘C’ is a Hand Trap that punishes this sort of play absurdly hard, allowing the player who uses it to draw an absurd amount of resources if the other player decides to execute their combo. Not only does this give the Maxx ‘C’ user tons of resources to utilize if they don’t die, but they can also draw into other Hand traps to upset the base combo. If you don’t think you can play through a Maxx ‘C’, you can choose to stop your combo for the turn, but this just gives your opponent a better opportunity to kill you on the following turn since you have nothing developed. Both alternatives can end your game, which makes Maxx ‘C’ such an absurd card.

Pot of Greed/Graceful Charity

The English text/image for Pot of Greed
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Credit: Konami

There is literally no downside to this card unless you don’t have any cards left in your deck. Pot of Greed literally allows you to go +1 for absolutely no cost. Unless there’s a detrimental effect to playing a Spell in your archetype, there’s no reason not to want this.

If Pot of Greed were legal in the current state of the format, I believe that almost every deck would play the maximum amount of copies allowed. We’re already playing different Pot effects with various downsides attached to do the same thing essentially.

Pot of Greed is currently forbidden on the ban list, and we do not expect that to change any time soon.

We're also including Graceful Charity in this section since it essentially accomplishes the same thing, but is arguably even better than Pot of Greed. You don't get raw card advantage with Graceful Charity unless you're discarding cards you need in the grave, but this card does offer a ton of card selection and can very easily turn into card advantage.

Last Turn

The English card/text for Last Turn
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Credit: Konami

This choice may receive some flack, but it is incredibly easy to essentially FTK an opponent in their opening phase with this card. All you need to do is play a floodgate effect that prevents them from Special Summoning with Last Turn. You generally win the game after that.

Of course, there is a fatal flaw with this card: going second. If your opponent assembles a board with high attack monsters, and you cannot find your outs to them, Last Turn likely becomes a dead card. There is likely a reliable way to build your deck so that Last Turn doesn’t run into this issue, and the upside of this card is absolutely absurd if your opponent can’t stop it.

Painful Choice

The English Yu-Gi-Oh Painful Choice card and text
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Credit: Konami

This card would be an absolute disaster if it were reintroduced into the current state of Yu-Gi-Oh! Painful Choice became rather popular quickly since it basically allowed you to get one of the five best cards in your deck into your hand. Nowadays, though, dumping creatures into the grave is really valuable, so this does a lot more than just find you one of your best cards.

You can now dump a variety of different extenders into your grave, easily enabling a gigantic combo, or even a First Turn Kill with just one spell card. This could function similarly to That Grass Looks Greener (but could be even better) in the current state of things. Both of these cards are forbidden on the current ban list.


The Yu-Gi-Oh Confiscation card and text
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Credit: Konami

A lot of the most powerful generic cards in Yu-Gi-Oh history are spells. This isn’t too surprising, as spell cards simply grant a powerful effect for little to no cost and then are on their way.

Confiscation would completely warp the current Yu-Gi-Oh metagame. For the low cost of 1000 LP, you get to look at your opponent’s hand and discard something from it. Because Hand Traps are incredibly prevalent in the current metagame, getting info on what your opponent is holding and what cards you have to play around is devastating. Discard your opponent’s nastiest Hand Trap and assemble your combo.

This card would also force your opponent’s hand right away, forcing them to activate any Hand Traps that they don’t want to be discarded to Confiscation. At that point, you can take their starter and hope they don’t go off the next turn. Unless your opponent has no cards in their hand, Confiscation will always be incredibly impactful, regardless of the matchup.

As you may imagine, Confiscation is currently forbidden.

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