To a new player, the Yu-Gi-Oh card game might seem straightforward at first. Summon monsters to do damage to your opponent’s life points; first one to reach 0 loses. In addition to the variety of ways to summon certain types of monsters, there are also spell cards that can be played that work as an advantage for you or puts your opponent at a disadvantage of some sort. However, the true defensive and “game-changing” cards lie in the trap cards, or the cards you can activate during your opponent’s turn that can foil their plans and (in some cases) completely flip the game on its head.
There’s a reason why “you’ve activated my trap card” became such a popular phrase when the Yu-Gi-Oh TV show first aired. Some of the biggest moments in the “golden age” of the show or the biggest cards that would set the tone of the duel came about due to some of the most powerful trap cards in the game. It was due to some of those cards being activated that we got to see the best of the likes of Yugi, Kaiba, Joey, and others as they found a way to overcome said trap card. Here are the Top 10 Yu-Gi-Oh Anime Trap Cards.
10. Pyramid of Light
When you have an entire movie titled after the name of a trap card, you know that the trap card in question must be pretty effective. Even though the card only has the sole effect of removing all God cards from the field in play, Seto Kaiba successfully uses this card against Yami Yugi in their duel, completely taking control. The card also has some plot related effects, as the souls of Yugi and his friends are sent into the Millennium Puzzle as well as Anubis preventing its destruction from the Shining Nova effect of Kaiba’s Blue Eyes Shining Dragon. Sort of the equivalent to the Seal of Orichalcos spell card, the Pyramid of Light is only used in the scope of this movie, but it certainly dictates the entire duel once activated.
9. Exchange of the Spirit
Most notably used by Ishizu in her quarterfinal duel with Kaiba in the Battle City Tournament, Exchange of the Spirit switches the cards in both duelists’ decks with the cards in their Graveyards. This card can be tricky to use, as the timing of this card is crucial in order to do the maximum amount of damage to the opponent. However, in Ishizu’s case, it was perfect, as her Graveyard was full of cards while Kaiba only had 6 cards. Most duelists in that scenario would find themselves in a losing situation, and it was only due to Kaiba’s already strong hand as well as his skills that allowed him to win the match. However, it can’t be denied that if used correctly, Exchange of the Spirit can not only change the entire duel, but also be a game winner.
8. Judgment of Anubis
This card was used only once in the series, yet it was devastating. Judgment of Anubis can only be uses as a response to your opponent activating a Magic card. However, not only does it negate the effect of said Magic card, it destroys all the monsters on the field, and half of all their Attack points is subtracted from your opponent’s Life Points. Odion uses this card in his quarterfinal duel with Joey, and does a major blow to Joey’s Life Points with Joey’s weaker monsters. Had there been stronger monsters on the field or had this been used in conjunction with a deck that summons lots of monsters, Judgment of Anubis would wipe any duelist out. An underrated trap card in the anime, Judgment of Anubis could’ve done some major damage in other duels.
7. Magic Cylinder
Another magician themed trap card, Magic Cylinder not only negates your opponent’s attack, but also redirects the same attack back at them. Even though Yugi’s use of this card in his duel with Strings in unsuccessful due to String’s Revival Jam, this trap card is yet another example of a trap card that not only stops your opponent’s attack, but also does damage to your opponent in some way. Definitely a must have trap card in terms of the anime’s rules for dueling.
6. Mirror Wall
Mai Valentine’s most powerful trap card, Mirror Wall is a continuous trap card that negates an opponent’s attack and halves the attack of the attacking monster. Although she draws and sets this card a fair amount without using it in the series, her first use of it against Yugi in the semi-finals of the Duelist Kingdom tournament is what allowed her to stay in the match before Yugi took over. Yugi’s Gaia the Fierce Knight, Summoned Skull, and Dark Magician all fall prey to this card, and combined with Mai’s other cards, Yugi almost loses the duel because of this. This may have been its only appearance, but the fact that this trap card can be used multiple times makes it among the strongest of traps.
5. Defense Paralysis
Only used once during the Duelist Kingdom arc, this trap card could only be used when an opponent’s monster switched to Defense Mode. However, once activated, monsters could not switch to Defense Mode as long as that card remained on the field. As if Kaiba’s deck wasn’t strong enough with 3 Blue Eyes White Dragons, this card was used by Ghost Kaiba against Yami Yugi, and it pretty much dictates the entire duel, as Yugi never destroys the card. Yugi would have lost because of this card had it not been for the real Kaiba’s interference as well as Yami’s Millennium Puzzle. Another example of a card that was used very little yet was very effective.
A simple trap card with game-winning results. Graverobber allows you to steal 1 card from your opponent’s graveyard. This is by far one of if not Joey’s best trap card early on in the show, as every time he uses it he either has won the duel or takes control of the duel. Joey first uses it in his semi-final duel against Bandit Keith when he steals Keith’s “Time Machine” card, allowing him to bring back Red Eyes Black Metal Dragon and attack Keith to win the duel. Joey then uses it against Yami Yugi in the finals to get Yugi’s Summoned Skull, where he then summons Black Skull Dragon, one of the strongest monsters we’ve seen in the series at this point. Joey also uses it against Weevil Underwood in Battle City to steal Weevil’s Insecticide card and use it to destroy Weevil’s signature monster in the duel, Insect Queen, paving the way for Joey to win the duel the next turn. Finally, Joey uses it in conjunction with Foolish Burial to summon Jinzo in his quarterfinal duel with Odion. All in all, this is clearly a must have trap card for any deck.
3. Spellbinding Circle
One of Yami Yugi’s staple trap cards through the Duelist Kingdom arc as well as the Battle City arc, this card is another great example of multiple effects that can stop an opponent in their tracks and turn the tides. After targeting a monster after they attack, Spellbinding Circle can not only lower said monster’s Attack points by 700, but also prevent them from attacking again or even changing their battle position. Yugi first uses this card against Ghost Kaiba by hiding it in one of his Magical Hats as a trap for the Blue Eyes White Dragon, demonstrating how such a powerful monster can be defeated. Yugi uses this card multiple times in the ensuing duels to follow with some success and some failures. At the very least, it certainly comes in handy, especially against the likes of monsters like the Blue Eyes White Dragon or the Black Skull Dragon.
2. Crush Card Virus
A crippling trap card in an already powerful deck, the Crush Card Virus is arguably Kaiba’s strongest trap card during the Duelist Kingdom arc. Activating it after your monster with 1000 Attack points or less is destroyed, your opponent’s monsters on the field, in their hand, and in their deck with 1500 Attack points are either destroyed or cannot be summoned. Similar to how Defense Paralysis dictated the duel between Ghost Kaiba and Yugi, so this card would dictate the “true” rematch between Kaiba and Yugi, as its effect would remain throughout the duel. The effect was immediate, as Yugi was without any of his strongest monsters against an opponent who ends up summoning the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon. How Yugi was able to turn the duel around in his favor despite this handicap is very impressive. Kaiba ends up falling victim to this very card in his duel with Pegasus; since his deck is filled with almost nothing but strong monsters, he ends up losing both the duel as well as his soul. Another card that has minimal appearances yet has an impact in each of its appearances.
1. Mirror Force
Arguable the most powerful trap card, this should be a must-have trap card for any deck in the show. First used by Yami Yugi in his grudge match with Weevil Underwood, Mirror Force reflect the attacking monster’s attack not only at it itself, but also against the opponent’s other monsters. In addition, your opponent loses the life point differential as well. So not only does this card negate their attack, it can also destroy your opponent’s monsters and do damage to their life points if the monster attacking was strong enough to do so. This card would be used again and again by Yugi with a lot of success; even if his opponents had a response of their own to cancel out the reflect attack, Mirror Force would still succeed in negating the attack in the first place. For one card to do all of that is not something that should be overlooked.
Trap cards provide an aspect to the Yu-Gi-Oh card game that make it exciting as well as an opportunity for the outcome of the match to not be as clear. Many of these cards can be used to win the match outright if used correctly, forcing everyone to take them seriously as well as plan around them. Without them, the game would not be as balanced; it provides an opportunity for anyone to still have a shot at winning the duel. Here are top 10 Yu-Gi-Oh Anime Trap Cards. What do you guys think? Should Call of the Haunted or Negate Attack have made the list? Is there a trap card that doesn’t deserve to be here whatsoever? Let us know in the comments!