Yu-Gi-Oh: The Best Staples For Any Deck (Our Top Picks)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
If you’re wanting to win at Yu-Gi-Oh, then you’re definitely going to need some staples (and not the stationery kind!)
Staples are the cards that pull your deck together.
While they may not be part of your main strategy, they help set up the board exactly how you want it. Staples will remove spells and traps, or negate any awkward effects, or maybe search the key cards you need to win.
Depending on what deck you’re running, there’s a whole multitude of cards that could be considered staples.
I’d recommend running a few of these staples in your main deck, then filling your side deck with as many staples as possible. This means you can swap in the most helpful staples exactly when you need them!
So here’s our picks for the best generic staples to include, and when’s best to use them.
20. Foolish Burial
I remember when I first started playing Yu-Gi-Oh, this card didn’t make sense; why would you want to put good cards in the graveyard?
As Yu-Gi-Oh has evolved, we’ve seen more and more crazy effects that activate in the graveyard.
In Dragon Link decks, sending Absorouter Dragon allows you to search any Rokket monster you need to start your combos, and in pendulum decks sending a Supreme King Darkwurm gives you a free special summon for extra deck summoning.
Depending what deck you’re playing, there’s a whole range of different targets to consider, with each one providing a unique way to give you the advantage.
So think carefully about which graveyard effects you can exploit with this.
19. Upstart Goblin
If there’s anything modern Yu-Gi-Oh is about, it’s card advantage (seriously I could do a whole article on card advantage and barely scratch the surface).
Upstart Goblin is what you’d call a +0 card.
It costs 1 card to play (itself) and draws 1 card, making for a net gain of 0 cards.
This means that by playing Upstart Goblin your deck is effectively one card smaller. Although this gives your opponent a 1000 life point advantage, having an effectively smaller deck means you’ll be getting to your combo pieces quicker – and the game will be yours in no time!
18. Artifact Lancea
This is a great card if your opponent is exploiting the graveyard by banishing stuff.
There are a lot of broken effects that activate by banishing from the graveyard. There’s so many I couldn’t even begin to list them all here!
But Lancea makes sure that, for an entire turn, none of these effects will get to trigger.
This is seriously useful, and arguably more powerful than some hand traps that only negate one effect at a time.
I’d recommend putting Artifact Lancea in your side deck at 2 copies, then sliding it in if your opponent is playing a strategy involving banishing from the grave.
17. Anti-Spell Fragrance
Unofficially known as the Pendulum Killer, Anti-Spell Fragrance is a great side deck staple for slowing down your opponent.
While Anti-Spell Fragrance is up, both players have to set spells for an entire turn before activating them – just like you have to do with traps!
The broken thing about this is that Pendulum monsters can’t be set. Meaning if you play this against a pendulum deck, they won’t be able to set their scales.
This trap is also good for keeping your opponent at a slow pace, even in non-Pendulum decks.
There are loads of explosive spells that this’ll put a stop to (have a look at Triple Tactics Talent and tell me you’re not petrified…).
16. Macro Cosmos
What’s the best way of getting rid of pesky graveyard effects?
Getting rid of the entire graveyard, of course!
The first effect is pretty much irrelevant here; it’s the second effect here that turns this trap card into staple material.
While Macro Cosmos is active, any card sent to the graveyard is banished!
This means that your opponent can’t use the graveyard to store their powerful cards for later, and they also can’t use cards like Foolish Burial to trigger any graveyard effects.
Like Lancea, I’d put a copy of this in the side deck and slide it in when necessary. But this staple certainly wouldn’t go amiss in a main deck either.
15. Twin Twisters
Spell and trap removal is seriously important in modern Yu-Gi-Oh.
There are a bunch of horrible spells/traps that can completely ruin your game plan (take half of this list, for example)
And here’s why Twin Twisters can help:
By discarding one card, you can destroy up to 2 spells or traps on the field, regardless of if they’re face up or face down.
The fact that this card says “up to” 2 cards is a helpful bit of wording, meaning that if there aren’t two cards your opponent controls, you don’t have to destroy your own!
While this may sound pedantic, try summoning Raiza the Storm Monarch to an empty field, then get back to me.
14. Called by the Grave
Like it or not, we’re in a format of hand traps.
They’re the latest type of card to be included in every single deck, allowing you to get some powerful negates without having to risk setting spells and traps.
And this quick play spell is the perfect counter to most hand traps.
Most hand traps activate when they hit the graveyard, but with Called by the Grave you can completely negate their effects.
This means you can keep your plays interrupted, and get the exact board you want.
This card has sadly been limited to 1, so for most decks I’d highly recommend including one copy in the main deck (or in the side deck if you haven’t got the room). But this will be useful in pretty much every duel you play.
Field spells have completely revolutionized how we play Yu-Gi-Oh!
These spells used to be a bit of a gimmick, giving monsters of a specific type a bit of an attack boost or some special effects.
However, in recent years Field spells have become a great way to add consistency to your decks – and they’ve become necessary combo pieces to many decks!
Take a look at Boot Sector Launch. It allows you to special summon a whole army of Rokket monsters all at once, giving you plenty of materials to link summon with!
If your deck relies on a strategy involving a field spell, Terraforming is an absolute must in the main deck.
To improve your search power, I’d also recommend including a copy of Metaverse, which does the same thing as Terraforming with the added bonus that you can play your field spells straight from the deck.
12. Harpie’s Feather Duster
Easily the single best piece of spell and trap removal in all of Yu-Gi-Oh.
I never thought I’d see the day this card came off the ban list.
With this spell, you can destroy all of your opponent’s spells and traps in one fell swoop.
Face up, face down, field spells, they’re all gone!
While this card would be way better as a quick play spell, this effect is just too good to pass up.
I’d recommend putting this card in your side deck as an out to spell/trap heavy decks, or for decks that rely really heavily on their field spells.
11. Evilswarm Exciton Knight
The come back kid of Yu-Gi-Oh.
Evilswarm Exciton Knight is the perfect card for leveling the battlefield.
While your opponent has more cards on the field/in their hand than you do, you can detach one material from this card to blow up every card on the field!
While this will also blow up your field too, you have less cards than your opponent, so you shouldn’t be losing too much!
But you opponent will have to start completely from scratch next turn, completely wasting all the cards they’ve spent so far.
This is a great option for any deck that can XYZ summon for rank 4 (so most decks), and I’d definitely include it in the main deck to help out in a pinch.
Yet another card that I never thought would see the light of day, but here we are.
In case you’re not familiar with this classic spell: Raigeki destroys all of your opponent’s monsters at once.
Pretty much 99% of your resources in Yu-Gi-Oh will be spent bringing out powerful monsters. I mean, isn’t that what the game is all about?
Having all your monsters destroyed will put you at a serious disadvantage, wasting an entire turn’s worth of cards for nothing!
I’d recommend putting a copy of this card in your main deck. It’s great to remove any and all sorts of threats!
9. Gameciel the Sea Turtle Kaiju
Giving a monster to your opponent feels like a weird move. Especially a monster with a decent attack stat.
However, getting to tribute whichever of your opponent’s monsters you’d choose to be able to summon it?
Now we’re talking!
To summon Gameciel you can tribute your opponent’s strongest extra deck monsters, getting rid of any big cards you can’t get over.
And to deal damage, all you need to do is attack with something greater than 2300 attack – which is easily doable!
I mean, even the Dark Magician could it.
I’d run a copy or 2 in the side deck, and side this guy if your opponent tends to use one big monster a lot.
8. Solemn Judgment
In my opinion, this is the best Solemn card in the entire game.
By paying half of your life points you can negate any spell, trap, or summon.
This means you can activate this effect no matter how low your life points get, as you can always just keep halving it.
Some would argue that Solemn Strike is a better option than Solemn Judgment, and I think the debate about the best Solemn card could be a whole article in itself.
Yet the entire archetype acts as great negation to keep you protected from your opponent’s threats, so including any in your deck will help you grab a win.
I’d run 1 copy in the main deck to keep you safe, and up to 2 more copies in the extra deck, in case you have loads of stuff to negate!
7. Monster Reborn
The graveyard is no longer a place where dead cards go.
It’s practically a second hand in Yu-Gi-Oh, providing a place to store your most powerful monsters.
Monster Reborn lets you bring back one of those cards, or potentially one of your opponent’s if they got rid of something good.
This card is fantastic in Link decks.
You can send materials to the graveyard for a link summon, and then immediately use them all over again!
A definite must-have in pretty much any main deck.
6. Pot of Desires
This is the closest we’re going to get to Pot of Greed in modern Yu-Gi-Oh, which is why this card is so great.
Although banishing 10 cards from your deck sounds like a lot, in most decks, it really won’t hinder your strategy.
Pot of Desires works best in decks that run playsets of cards & don’t rely on specific one-off cards to run.
Drawing 2 cards can give you that little extra nudge that can win you the game, which if you ask me, is well worth the 10 cards you weren’t using anyway.
5. Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess
What’s better than negate cards?
How about negate cards you can use 4 times as a quick effect?
To make use of this effect you need to summon Apollousa using as many monsters as possible, which is a pretty heft cost.
However, in decks like Dragon Link which could summon the back legs off of a donkey, this is no problem.
If you’re running a deck that can get quite a few monsters out at once, then I’d recommend putting this card straight into the extra deck.
Having 4 negates will make your opponent’s turn practically impossible – shutting down all of their attempts to bring out their best monsters.
4. Super Polymerization
The best way to get rid of your opponent’s monster is by using them to bring out your own big monsters.
Super Polymerization lets you steal an opponent’s monster for a fusion summon, while making sure the summon can’t be negated!
All it costs is discarding 1 card, which is crazy good value.
Typically the best cards to summon from this are Starving Venom Fusion Dragon who only requires two dark monsters (and I mean, who isn’t running at least 1 dark monster?) or Mudragon of the Swamp which only requires 2 monsters of the same attribute, but different types.
Depending on what deck you’re playing this in, there are a whole range of fusion monsters you could summon off of this, making Super Polymerization an amazingly versatile card for any main deck.
3. Nibiru the Primal Being
This card makes your opponent scared to play even when you don’t have it.
If you have Nibiru in hand and your opponent summons more than 5 times in a turn, that’s their entire board decimated.
The great thing about Nibiru is that as it’s a hand trap.
Your opponent will have no idea this card is even coming their way, meaning they’ll be scared to play monsters for the entire duel.
All you need to do is play Nibiru once to let your opponent know you have it, and let the mind games begin…
2. Ash Blossom and Joyous Spring
This hand trap negates everything Yu-Gi-Oh is all about:
Bringing out powerful cards from your deck.
Ash Blossom negates pretty much anything that involves shifting cards around in the deck, be that by drawing extra cards, special summoning from the deck, or loading up the graveyard with cards from the deck.
So many combos in Yu-Gi-Oh start by bringing out the right pieces from your deck, making Ash Blossom the perfect card to stop your opponent’s combos from even beginning.
I’d recommend running this card at 1-3 copies in the main deck in every single deck, as it’s such a powerful tool in any duel!
1. Triple Tactics Talent
You know what’s fair and balanced?
A spell card that has the effects of not one, not two, but three cards on the ban list.
Triple Tactics Talent is essentially a Pot of Greed, Change of Heart, and The Forceful Sentry all in one crazily overpowered spell card.
To activate it, all you need to do is have your opponent activate a monster effect during your turn.
Given how much of Yu-Gi-Oh nowadays is about having the right hand traps at the right time, this is insanely easy to pull off.
And since this card is insanely broken, I’d recommend playing 3 copies for sure (if you can get a hold of 3 copies).
Currently it’s only been printed in one set in the highest rarity possible, giving it a hefty price tag of $120 a copy (as of this writing).
So if you’re a budget player, maybe not… but this card is certainly the single best staple in all of Yu-Gi-Oh!