Although a lot of the emphasis is typically placed on monsters, this list attempts to strike a balance between monsters, spells, and traps. Every part of the game has strong cards that are worthy of this list, and each one of them is represented. The original anime’s best cards combine strength with versatility, and can be used in almost every circumstance. With all that in mind, here are the 15 Most Powerful Cards Used In The Anime.
15 Mirror Wall
Although we only see it once on the show, Mai’s Mirror Wall proves to be a potent trap card in her duel against Yugi in Duelist Kingdom. In the trading card game, Mirror Wall halves the attack of all monsters on your opponent’s side of the field, but does so at an enormous cost. For every turn that Mirror Wall is on the field, its owner is forced to pay 2000 life points.
On the show, Mirror Wall does the same thing, but it doesn’t take any life points for its trouble. Instead, it simply cuts your opponent’s monster’s attack points in half, and makes them easy pickings. During Mai’s duel against Yugi, she gets out to an early lead by using the card, forcing all of Yugi’s monsters into attack mode so that he’ll feel the damage as each of them is destroyed. Mirror Wall is ruthlessly effective, and it becomes almost impossible to stop in the world of the show.
14 Toon World
Pegasus only made one copy of Toon World, and once you see it in action, it becomes obvious why. In the real world, Toon World costs 1000 life points, but it allows you to special summon Toon Monsters that can attack your opponent’s life points directly. In the show, it’s even more dangerous. For one thing, it doesn’t require its user to pay any life points. What’s more, it creates an entire world for its owners, and makes the owner’s monsters almost impervious to attacks.
The show also allows monsters that interact with Toon World to become Toon versions of themselves that can dodge attacks at will. While this may initially sound less deadly than the real world version of the card, it makes Pegasus almost unbeatable, because none of the monsters that he summons can be destroyed by an opponent. While Yugi eventually defeats the card, it takes quite a bit of work.
13 Magical Hats
Magical Hats saves Yugi in a pinch several times over the course of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s five seasons, and deservedly so. In Yugi’s deck, Magical Hats can be used to hide your monster, making it difficult for your opponent to successfully target it. It’s essentially a diversionary tactic, but it’s an extremely useful one. The card hides its users monsters under four hats, and mixes the hats up so that it’s impossible to know which hat the monster is hiding under.
As a result, your opponent is typically forced to waste several turns trying to find the hat that contains the monster. Magical Hats is a stall tactic, of course, but it’s one that’s hugely effective, especially on the show. The trading card game version is actually a trap card (the anime version is a spell card), and its effect has been modified slightly to make it less powerful. The show version is a great defensive card, and one worthy of a spot on this list.
12 Swords of Revealing Light
They rarely end a duel, but Swords of Revealing Light are powerful because of their ability to be used as a stall tactic. The card prevents opponents from attacking you for three turns. Often, when Yugi is in a particularly dire situation, he activates this card, and is able to buy himself three turns to think of a useful strategy.
Swords of Revealing Light follows the same rules in the actual trading card game, and its ability to delay opponents works just as well in the real world setting. Unfortunately, actual duelists don’t always have Yugi’s luck, and so they occasionally find themselves at the mercy of their opponents without the kind of reprieve that Swords of Revealing Light might offer them. While it’s true that Swords of Revealing Light doesn’t end the duel the way many cards on this list do, it’s one of the best defensive cards in existence.
11 Dark Magician
Yugi’s signature monster isn’t the strongest in the game, but it lands on this list because of the seemingly infinite ways Yugi seems to be able to use the card. Not only is Dark Magician a powerful card in its own right, it’s also useful in combination with the many other cards in Yugi’s deck. The Dark Magician may not be able to fuse with copies of itself, but, at least on the show, it’s involved in the summoning of several other spellcasters that are just as powerful.
Dark Magician may be one of the most synergistic cards in the game. It can be used in combination with many other cards, all of which give the user an enormous advantage. The Dark Magician’s dark magic attack has obliterated a variety of opponents. After all, there’s a reason it’s Yugi’s signature card. Especially on the show, Dark Magician is full of surprises, which is part of what makes Yugi’s duels so fun to watch. You never know what’s coming.
10 Magic Cylinder
Magic Cylinder is one of the few cards that serves the same function on the show and in the real world. In both cases, this trap card is capable of taking an attack that was aimed at you, and reversing it. This can drastically alter the course of a game, and even end it. The card takes the damage your opponent intended to inflict to one of your monsters or your life points, and instead deals it directly to your opponent’s life points.
This kind of trap is ruthlessly effective, and can wipe out your opponent’s life points at the very moment when all hope seems lost. Yugi bounced back from a number of duels on the show with this card, which only underscores how powerful it is. Magic Cylinder is ruthlessly effective, and it does what all good trap cards should-- it turns the duel around at the very moment when its user needs a rebound.
Multiply’s show ability is a bit confusing. The card is used with Kuriboh to create a wall which is designed to protect Yugi’s life points. Yugi uses the card most memorably in his duel against Kaiba in Duelist Kingdom, when it seems as though he is doomed. Yugi’s activation of Multiply effectively traps Kaiba, in that it becomes completely impossible for him to do any damage to Yugi’s life points. Even Kaiba’s Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon can’t break through the wall of Kuribohs that Multiply creates.
In the actual trading card game, Multiply’s effects are more limited, but they’re still pretty effective. The actual card calls for a tribute summon of one Kuriboh, but then allows you to summon as many Kuriboh tokens as possible to your side of the field. While this wall doesn’t regenerate itself like Yugi’s, Multiply can still defend its owner’s life points for quite a while.
8 Monster Reborn
Monster Reborn is such a powerful card that it was eventually banned from real world play. The card is capable of reviving any monster from either player’s graveyard. That means that, if your opponent destroys your best card, or you manage to destroy theirs, it can return from the grave to wreak more havoc. Often, in the course of a duel, the use of a Monster Reborn can drastically alter who has the advantage, especially if your opponent has managed to take out one of your stronger cards.
There’s a reason Monster Reborn is banned from the actual card game. It gives its user an unfair advantage, and allows them to essentially replay a part of the duel with ease. As an example, Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon may have been carefully fusion summoned by your opponent, and then destroyed by you. With Monster Reborn, you could simply bring that card back, and use all of its awesome attack power for your own ends.
7 Blues Eyes White Dragon
Kaiba’s most iconic monster, the Blues Eyes White Dragon is certainly a forced to be reckoned with inside of the show. There are few monsters with more raw attack power than Blue Eyes. It’s the kind of card that obliterates its opponents, and few remain standing in its wake. The card has 3000 attack points and 2500 defense points, but it only requires two tributes to be summoned. Although it doesn’t come with an effect, Blue Eyes' raw power more than makes up for that.
On top of all of that, the card can also be fused with two copies of itself in order to form the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon, which comes with 4500 attack points, and 3800 defense points. You’d be hard pressed to find a monster in the game with more raw attack power than that. Blue Eyes is Kaiba’s most important card, and it also happens to be one of his very best.
6 Mirror Force
Mirror Force is one of the few cards that does exactly what it’s supposed to for the entire run of the anime, but that doesn’t make it any worse as a card. This trap is activated by an opponent’s attack. The card not only prevents the attack, but also destroys the monster who made the attack attempt and every other attack position monster on your opponent’s side of the field.
This means that if your opponent finds himself at an enormous advantage, Mirror Force can quickly and easily change the course of the game completely. An advantage can be completely wiped away, and your opponent’s life points will be wide open for a direct attack. Mirror Force is terrifying, and it’s the reason many players are hesitant to trigger trap cards at all. The best trap cards change the course of the game, and do so permanently. Mirror Force is one such card.
5 The Seal of Orichalcos
A supposedly ancient and powerful card, the Seal of Orichalcos is also incredibly practical. It’s a field spell card that increases the attack of every monster you control by 500 points. Of course, the card also contains mystic and evil energy that apparently makes its owner evil, but that’s beside the point. The raw power that the card adds to any deck is undeniable, which is what makes it so tempting for Yami Yugi in his duel against Rafael.
Past the practical applications of the card in the game of duel monsters, the Seal of Orichalcos is also capable of taking the losing player’s soul in the world of the show. This kind of power is what made the stakes of duels involving the card so high in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Field spells aren’t often used by the main characters on Yu-Gi-Oh!, but then again, there are few field spells, or cards generally, that are as useful as the Seal of Orichalcos.
4 Obelisk the Tormentor
Kaiba’s god card is probably the weakest of the three, but that doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly powerful in its own right. Obelisk comes equipped with 4000 attack and defense points, which is more than almost every other monster in the game. In addition to that, Obelisk has some extra abilities, including one which gives it unlimited attack power if its owner tributes two monsters on the field. This effect can only be activated during your opponent’s battle phase, and essentially allows Obelisk’s owner to win the duel instantly.
Obelisk is also essentially unaffected by effects of any kind, and its owner can tribute two monsters in order to destroy all monsters on his opponent’s side of the field and attack directly. Obelisk comes with two ways to win almost instantly. The card also becomes the target of all effects and attacks your opponent tries. There are few cards with as much raw power, or as many hidden abilities that are also devastatingly effective.
3 Slifer the Sky Dragon
An incredibly powerful God Card, Slifer the Sky Dragon becomes Yugi’s go-to card after he wins it in his duel against Strings. Its attack and defense points aren’t listed, and that’s because Slifer gains 1000 attack and defense points for every card in its owner’s hand. This gives Slifer a ton of potential raw attack and defense power, and it also has several abilities that happen to be incredibly practical.
Like Obelisk, Slifer is also essentially immune to effects, and also becomes the target of all effects and attacks from opponents automatically. In addition, cards that were summoned by your opponent in attack position lose 2000 attack points, and if their attack goes to 0, they’re destroyed. The same goes for monsters that are flipped summoned, only with defense points. As a result, Slifer makes it near impossible for your opponent to summon, and almost guarantees its owner a win.
2 The Winged Dragon of Ra
Marik’s God card is undoubtedly the best of the three, and that’s mostly because of the enormous number of hidden abilities the card carries with it. The card’s three tribute monsters each contribute to Ra’s overall stats, so that the combined attack and defense of the three tributes becomes Ra’s attack and defense. Additionally, you can activate its "one turn kill" effect, which allows you to pay all but one of your life points to increase Ra’s attack and defense by that amount.
Ra’s owner can tribute all other monsters in order to give their attack and defense points to Ra. If you activate that effect, Ra can attack each monster your opponent controls. Ra can also activate its God Phoenix effect by paying 1000 life points. This effect allows Ra to attack and destroy all your opponent's monsters, and keeps you from taking battle damage. The Winged Dragon of Ra is one of the best cards in the game, and its many abilities make it nearly impossible for opponents to destroy it, or even defend against it.
1 Exodia the Forbidden One
There are plenty of cards that help you win a game. After all, the point of each of these cards is to overwhelm your opponents, and force their life points to drop to zero.But there’s one card that overrides those rules. Actually, if we’re being precise, there are five. Exodia the Forbidden One ends the duel instantly, and can get you out of a pinch if you manage to draw all of its five pieces.
Of course, this is often quite a challenge in and of itself. Decks are typically a minimum of 40 cards, which makes drawing all five pieces exceedingly difficult. Yugi only ever pulls it off once, during his first duel against Kaiba. Of course, he loses his Exodia cards shortly thereafter, when Weevil Underwood decides to throw the cards overboard. Exodia turns up a couple more times throughout the run of the show, but it’s rarely summoned, which is probably for the best. Duels are more exciting when they don’t end instantly.
Did we miss any powerful cards from Yu-Gi-Oh!? Let us know in the comments.