Many Yu-Gi-Oh! cards have terrifying artwork, a fearsome reputation or an excellent effect, but are actually surprisingly weak in and of themselves.
If the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise is known for anything, it’s for… well, Yugi Moto’s incredible ‘Heart of the Cards’ plot armor. If it’s known for anything else, though, it’s the intimidating looks of some of its monsters. Legendary Pokémon with the silliest, scariest Pokédex entries couldn’t top some of these creatures.
That’s the issue, though: these towering dragons, demons, and Fiends can’t be judged on looks alone. Many Yu-Gi-Oh! cards have terrifying artwork, a fearsome reputation or an excellent effect, but are actually surprisingly weak in and of themselves. Let’s take a look at some disappointing examples!
Clearly, this skeletal warrior is not in the mood for anyone’s shenanigans. With a fearsome appearance, a bony blade that resembles that of Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife and the fact that he seems to enjoy hanging out in the cemetery, he doesn’t look like the kind of guy who plays well with others. Or allows them to keep all their internal organs on the inside if they cross him.
Terrifying as he may look, though, the Dark Crusader isn’t really all that tough. With 1600 ATK and a meager 200 DEF, this card has very modest stats, and will mostly be counting on its effect (gaining 400 ATK when the player discards a Dark Monster from their hand) to really pose an offensive threat. A very nice effect for the likes of Zombie and Infernity decks, though, both of which certainly enjoy putting their own Dark Monsters in the Graveyard.
This classic monster is one that experienced Duelists have surely tangled with more than once. An iconic threat, Relinquished is a very unique monster, one that can surprise new players when they see that it actually has no power at all of its own.
This creepy looking Ritual Monster can only be summoned by using Black Illusion Ritual. It’s a Level 1 creature with 0 ATK and 0 DEF, but here’s the kicker: once per turn, its controller chooses one of the opponent’s monsters and attaches them to Relinquished, which then gains that monster’s stats. The target is destroyed instead of Relinquished if it’s defeated in battle, and battle damage its controller takes is dealt equally to the opponent, making it very effective in the right situation but also very reliant on its opponent.
Hieratic Seal Of The Sun Dragon Overlord
As a general rule of thumb, the higher level a given monster is, the more powerful its stats and effect are likely to be. There are a myriad of low-level monsters with devastating effects, of course, but this entry is about Hieratic Seal of the Sun Dragon Overlord, and its complete lack of either.
A level 8 Normal Monster with 0 ATK and 0 DEF is all but unheard of, and while this card does get a fair amount of archetype support, players have to wonder: what powers does this formidable relic hold? Is it ever going to reveal them?
While the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! is populated by just about every slavering, terrifying creature imaginable, it has a particular soft spot for dragons. Many of the most formidable cards in the game are dragonic boss monsters with super sweet card art. Sadly, Eclipse Wyvern falls short of its potential.
It has a fantastic, powerful design, and its effect to banish a Level 7 Light or Dark Dragon Monster (which can be added to the player’s hand if Eclipse Wyvern itself is banished) can be an absolute gamechanger in the right deck. As terrifying as the creature looks, though, it’s very lacking stats-wise. A Level 4 1600 ATK/1000 DEF monster is nothing special at all.
White Dragon Wyverburster
Just look at that card art. This majestic creature, flying way up there in space, could easily be a Dark Souls boss or the ace-in-the-hole of a certain Yu-Gi-Oh! archetype. It’s pretty dang far from that, though.
White Dragon Wyverburster is a force to be reckoned with, for sure. It’s currently Limited in the TCG, serving nicely in a range of decks with its Special Summon conditions (banish 1 Dark Monster from the Graveyard) and its ability to add a Black Dragon Collapserpent from the deck to the hand when this card is sent to the Graveyard itself. Even with these assets, it’s another modest Level 4 Monster with 1700 ATK and 1800 DEF, numbers that just don’t seem to do it justice.
As with Relinquished, those who have been following the game for some time will probably know all about this infamous card. Its effect causes the opponent to skip their next draw phase when it causes battle damage to them, and while it can’t be Special Summoned and returns to the player’s hand at the end of the turn, this can be easily exploited to ‘lock’ the other player in place.
This infamous card is banned from all but TCG Traditional play, but despite its incredibly debilitating effect and foreboding card art, it’s very weak in and of itself: it has 200 ATK and 100 DEF, and is Level 2.
If dragons are among the most popular motifs of powerful Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, mighty warriors wielding fearsome blades aren’t that far behind. When it comes to the latter, Flame Swordsman certainly looks the part. This furious fellow could flambé his foes’ whole family tree with a sword like that. Or so you would think.
In reality, this Fusion Monster is a bit of a disappointment. A fusion of Masaki the Legendary Swordsman and Flame Manipulator, this card requires a lot of effort for a Level 5 monster with 1800 ATK and 1600 DEF. On its own merits, Flame Swordsman is very weak.
Seven Swords Warrior
Perhaps Flame Swordsman’s probably was that he just didn’t have enough swords. Just the one? Come on, those are rookie numbers. Simple blade math dictates that Seven Swords Warrior should be seven times as good, right?
Well, not so much. While this Level 7 Synchro Monster looks like a powerhouse and has two nice effects (it deals 800 damage to the opponent when an Equip Card is attached to it, once a turn, and you can send one of those equipped cards to the Graveyard to destroy a monster on the field, again once a turn), it just doesn’t have the raw power that it should. 2300 ATK and 1800 DEF on a Level 7 Synchro isn’t going to cut it.
Makyura The Destructor
Now we’re talking. Everything about Makyura the Destructor, from its frightening name to those huge, absurd claws that Wolverine himself would be envious of, just screams power. Its effect can be very strong too, allowing its controller to use Trap Cards from their hand the turn it’s sent to the Graveyard.
Traps are a bit slow for a lot of today’s decks, but devastating cards like Mirror Force are never to be taken lightly. Not to mention the tricky combos and devious OTKs this effect allowed. As such, Makyura the Destructor is banned or limited in every format. When it comes to firepower, though, it’s very weak: 1600 ATK and 1200 DEF at Level 4.
Armityle The Chaos Phantasm
There aren’t too many cards in the game that exude threat and menace quite like Armityle The Chaos Phantasm. This Fusion Fiend Monster looks every inch like a creature who has earned and revels in its title of ‘Chaos Phantasm.’ Interestingly, it also has the power to match… with one heck of a caveat.
With 0 ATK and 0 DEF on the card itself, what does its effect do? Well, it can’t be destroyed by battle, for one thing, and it gains 10,000 ATK, but only during the player’s turn. You can see the problem with using something that sits on the board with 0 ATK and 0 DEF while your opponent is attacking. That’s a lot of potential power, but an equal and opposite amount of potential uselessness. Sadly, this card is just a major, major liability a lot of the time.