20 Best Level 1 Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Cards (Ranked)

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You know what they say: good things come in small packages.

And that’s just as true in Yu-Gi-Oh! too.

Well, most of the time.

For this ranking we’ll be counting down some of the best level 1 monsters that you might want in your deck.


20. Cyber Dragon Nachster

Cyber Dragon Nachster YGO Card

Cyber dragons are a fan favorite.

And besides topping tournaments on a regular basis, they have also received some mind blowing new cards over the last couple of years.

Cyber Dragon Nachster was no exception.

It comes with the power to be special summoned from your hand, in exchange for discarding a monster.

Once summoned, it allows you to bring back a Cyber Dragon (or a host of other choices) to allow for some luxurious Link summoning.


19. Glow-Up Bloom

Glow-Up Bloom Yu-Gi-Oh Card

Another longtime Yu-Gi-Oh! favorite has to be the Zombies!

You’ll have a hard time finding a deck profile for Zombies that does NOT include this powerful potted plant.

With this deck’s specialty in sending things to the graveyard, this card shines in banishing itself from the graveyard to either add a level 5 or higher Zombie monster to the hand, or if Zombie World is already on the field, you get to special summon it straight to the field!


18. Treeborn Frog

Treeborn Frog YGO Card

This froggy friend just can’t seem to stay down.

A staple in the ever-classic Frog archetype, the Treeborn Frog makes an appearance on your field every standby phase – as long as you don’t have another copy of him already on the field, or any spells or traps.

This makes him a fantastic addition for the XYZ frogs, or for decks that prefer a consistent material for their Link summoning.


17. Magicians‘ Souls

Magicians‘ Souls Yu-Gi-Oh Card

Now here’s a fantastic addition to the Dark Magician archetype:

The Magicians’ Souls.

It can be revealed from your hand to send a level 6 or higher spellcaster from the deck to the graveyard (Hint: Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl).

It can then either be sent to the graveyard to revive that monster, or special summon it to the field for an added effect and the chance to draw 2 cards!


16. King of the Skull Servants

King of the Skull Servants YGO Card

Now the King of the Skull Servants is probably one of the more iconic 1-star monsters.

Feasting on the bones of his servants and predecessors, he gains 1000 attack for each one in the graveyard (A full deck of Skull Servants can allow for up to 20,000 attack points).

And if he’s destroyed, you can simply banish 1 of his followers from the graveyard to special summon him again.

Nice stuff.


15. Marshmacaron

Marshmacaron Yu-Gi-Oh Card

They defend, they bounce back, but most importantly, they look like snack!

Besides being one of the most adorable cards in the history of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Marshmacaron also brings to the field a scrumptious defense.

When one is destroyed and sent to the graveyard, you can special summon up to 2 other Marshmacarons from your hand/deck/graveyard.

Meaning that if you manage to pair this card with another card that limits attacks, your opponent will find themselves at the other end of a siege!


14. Scapeghost

Scapeghost YGO Card

If you’re ever facing an onslaught of 5 attacks from your opponent, I hope you have Scapeghost by your side.

When this card is flipped face-up, you’ll get to fill your side of the field with as many Black Sheep Tokens as possible.

This provides a sturdy wall to soak up all those attacks. And should you be playing a Zombie deck, you might just have the beginnings of a comeback on your hands.


13. Gnomaterial

Gnomaterial Yu-Gi-Oh Card

Now I’m a massive fan of puns, so it’s no surprise this card made its way onto our list!

However, it’s not just the name we’re looking at here, but also the outrageous power to stop a single chain combo in its tracks.

With this hand trap, you’ll be able to put a stop to any deck that relies on a single chain combo to get off the ground.

When your opponent special summons a monster while you control no cards, you can discard Gnomaterial to target that special summoned monster and prevent it from being used as a tribute, or as material for any Fusion, Synchro, XYZ or link summon.

This truly grinds your opponent to a halt if they don’t have another combo starter on hand.


12. Vijam the Cubic Seed

Vijam the Cubic Seed YGO Card

To those readers not familiar with the Cubics archetype (seriously, a great archetype and they were in the new movie!) allow me to introduce one of my favorite cards.

Vijam the Cubic Seed has produced countless gaping mouths and slacked jaws in my time playing him.

Whenever you see a facedown monster, you rarely think you’ll be met with a measly looking level 1 creature with no attack or defense stats.

Yet this little thing has a trick up his sleeve. Because not only can it not be destroyed by battle, but once it has battled, you can move it down to your Spell & Trap card zone to place a Cubic counter on the attacking monster.

What do Cubic counters do, you ask?

Oh, not much, only negate the effect of that monster and prevents it from attacking.

Come next turn, you can then just summon Vijam back to the field to do it all again!


11. Spore

Spore Yu-Gi-Oh Card

With Glow-Up Bulb on the ban list, it was time for Spore to step into the spotlight and become the second strongest level-1 plant monster.

By banishing another plant monster, you can special summon Spore from the graveyard and increase its level by whatever monster you banished.

This is a great way to get those synchro summon plants rolling.

But sadly, it’s only available once per duel… still a great effect!


10. Mystic Piper

Mystic Piper YGO Card

If you’re planning on making a level 1 deck, you should be looking at picking 3 copies of this freakishly fine card.

With Mystic Piper, you can tribute it to draw and reveal one card.

If the card you reveal is another level 1 monster, you can draw one more card!

Truly a great way to keep stacking those cards in your hand, and feeding whatever level 1 strategy you’ve thought up.


9. Evil Thorn

Evil Thorn Yu-Gi-Oh Card

Now we’ve come to the pinnacle of level 1 plants.

When it comes to Link summons, I’m a huge fan of Evil Thorn.

Summon one of them and sacrifice it to deal 300 damage to your opponent’s life points. Doesn’t seem all that impressive, right?

Well the kicker comes right after that!

You then get to summon two more of them right from the deck. This lets you link summon pretty much what ever Link 2 monster you can think of!


8. Millennium Eyes Restrict

Millennium Eyes Restrict YGO Card

Now the Relinquished/X many Eyes Restrict archetype has several cards in it right now, and it seems to expand into a new type every so often.

With hardly any negative effects (unlike its predecessor, the Thousand Eyes Restrict), the Millennium Eyes Restrict can be quickly whipped out with cards like Instant Fusion or Fusion Parasite (which is another great level 1 monster that sadly didn’t make our list).

So why use Millennium Eyes Restrict?

Its main use cases include putting a stop to those pesky hand traps that threaten to prevent you from executing your combos.

It does this by grabbing a card (once an opponent’s card effect has been activated) from your opponent’s field or graveyard, and that card gets equipped with Millennium Eyes Restrict.

Cards with the same name as the equipped card cannot attack, or activate their effects.

Meaning that if you opponent has already used a hand trap against you, or is trying to do so for the first time, you can grab that card and prevent its effects from resolving.


7. Swift Scarecrow

Swift Scarecrow Yu-Gi-Oh Card

With our #8 pick, we looked at a card that could stop things like hand traps dead in their tracks.

So let’s flip the script and take a look at some of those pesky level-1 hand traps.

Starting off with the Swift Scarecrow.

If you’ve ever played against a deck that likes to stall, you’ve had the distinct (dis)pleasure of getting to know this creature.

When your opponent declares a direct attack, you can simply discard this card from your hand, negate the attack, and end the battle phase entirely.



6. Battle Fader

Battle Fader YGO Card

Battle Fader comes as an upgrade to the previous Swift Scarecrow.

It provides the same effect of negating an attack and ending the battle phase, but with the added bonus of special summoning itself onto the field in the process.

This gives you a body to absorb another attack come next turn, and proves to be more difficult to negate by not going immediately to the graveyard.


5. Eater of Millions

Eater of Millions Yu-Gi-Oh Card

Now this little lovable scamp is a perfect addition to any deck that does things like banishing (looking at you Gren Maju players), or those of you who really just love having an annoying monster on the field that’s tricky to get rid of.

The Eater of Millions can only be summoned by banishing 5 cards from either your hand, field, or Extra deck, face down.

Once it’s on the field, it gains 100 ATK/DEF for each banished card.

And it even gets rid of the first card it battles with each turn!

However, this comes at the small price of not being able to tribute it, or use it as a material for Fusion, Synchro, or XYZ summons.


4. Animadorned Archosaur

Animadorned Archosaur YGO Card

We all knew a kid that absolutely loved dinosaurs (if you didn’t, you most likely were that kid).

Well Yu-Gi-Oh is no different. Dinosaurs had their very own antagonist in the original series, and have remained a lovable favorite of many players ever since!

Not only that, but they also spread onto the competitive scene a few years back. This jewel-encrusted gator is one of the reasons they managed to stay there as well!

When normal or special summoned, this card can destroy another dinosaur in your hand to add an evolution pill from your deck to your hand.

The sheer combo power of this card is phenomenal, making it a must-have for any serious Dino player.


3. Effect Veiler

Effect Veiler Yu-Gi-Oh Card

Ahh, Effect Veiler.

For a card that came out so long ago, it’s a surprise that it’s still so strong.

During your opponent’s main phase (don’t forget this) you can send this card from your hand to the graveyard to target and negate the effects of 1 face-up card on your opponent’s side of the field.

A reliable and often printed card, making it a budget friendly hand trap for any deck.


2. D.D. Crow

D.D. Crow YGO Card

For this spot in our list we’ll be looking at not only a very handy level 1 monster, but also something that’s pretty viable in the current meta (as of this article’s writing).

D.D. Crow allows you to banish a target from your opponents’ graveyard by discarding D.D. Crow from your hand.

This can be extremely disruptive to decks that need pieces of their combo to activate from the graveyard.

And trust me, there are more than enough of those kinds of decks around!


1. Droll & Lock Bird

Droll & Lock Bird Yu-Gi-Oh Card

If preventing cards from activating in the graveyard is good, wouldn’t stopping them from hitting the graveyard in the first place be better?

Every single Yu-Gi-Oh! deck of any real note will do a lot of one thing: adding cards from your deck to your hand.

That’s where Droll & Lock Bird come in.

See, once your opponent adds a card to their hand, by drawing or another card effect, you can discard Droll & Lock Bird to prevent them from adding any more cards to their hand from their main deck.

So instead of trying to stop our opponent from activating effects in their combo, we can just stop them from being able to combo in the first place.

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Rob Myers

Rob Myers is a physics student from England, who spends his time looking at space and turning it into numbers. In his free time he enjoys playing card games, reading the Discworld series, and working his way through his never ending video game library.