Top 20 Best Trap Cards in Yu-Gi-Oh: The Ultimate ListThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Some might argue that trap cards aren’t relevant anymore in Yu-Gi-Oh. They might say it’s not worth having to set them to play them, when there are multiple spell cards that you can fire off straight away.
And to that, I say:
You just activated my trap card!
Some of the most powerful cards in the game are trap cards, with a whole range of powerful, broken, and borderline cruel effects. A well-played trap card can change the tide of battle instantly. But which traps should you be running?
Here’s my ranking of the absolute best (non-banned) trap cards in Yu-Gi-Oh!
20. Magic Cylinder
As if a list about trap cards could start with anything else.
Magic Cylinder was the ultimate old-school troll card. Instead of your opponent hitting you for big damage, they take the damage themselves.
And Magic Cylinder is still extremely powerful against the right decks. If you’re playing against a deck like Deskbots who can easily make 5000 attack monsters, then Magic Cylinder is an absolute lifesaver.
Where Magic Cylinder is an older card, people have generally forgotten about it in the meta-game, making it a great tech card that will never be suspected.
19. Mind Crush
Here’s another card that really channels your inner King of Games.
Mind Crush was something that Yami Yugi did to exorcise the ancient evil in duelists hearts (or something to that effect).
While the real card version doesn’t quite do this, it’s still pretty powerful.
If you can name one card in your opponent’s hand, they’re forced to discard it. In modern Yu-Gi-Oh, it’s very likely your opponent will be searching for cards from their deck to add to their hand.
Mind Crush is the perfect counter to this, making sure your opponent can’t get those combo pieces they need.
Just make sure you can remember what they searched. Or maybe make a note on some paper if you can do that discretely…
18. Anti-Spell Fragrance
The perfume that kills pendulums!
With Anti-Spell Fragrance, both players have to set spells like they’re traps before they can be activated. This is devastating for any deck, but especially for pendulum decks as pendulum monsters cannot be set!
This means they’ll never get their scales up, and without a backup strategy, will most likely surrender then and there.
Although pendulum decks aren’t as common as they were in 2016, Pendulum Magicians still see a fair bit of play here and there (myself included, still my favorite deck!)
So it’s always worth running a copy or two in the side deck.
Even if your opponent isn’t running a pendulum deck, Anti-Spell Fragrance will still force them to slow down their plays, giving you more time to bring out the big guns.
17. Bottomless Trap Hole
Bottomless Trap Hole is an absolutely fantastic removal trap in the game.
Not only does this trap card destroy a powerful monster, it also banishes it too!
Banished monsters are so much harder to bring back to the field than monsters in the graveyard, meaning that Bottomless Trap Hole will likely get rid of one card for good.
The best time to play this card is when your opponent has spent a bunch of their resources on bringing out a big monster, like Saryuja Skull Dread or Borreload Dragon.
16. Solemn Warning
Pretty much all of the Solemn cards are powerful negating cards. And Solemn Warning is the mildest of the lot, showing just how strong this group of traps really are!
For the cost of 2000 LP, you can negate the special summon of a monster and destroy it.
Better yet, if that monster would be special summoned via the effect of a spell or trap, you can destroy that too.
This is great for getting rid of pesky field spells like Boot Sector Launch which let you special summon two monsters every turn.
For only 2000 LP, this is a deal you just can’t pass up.
15. Lost Wind
Wait, where was I in this list…? Oh yeah, Lost Wind!
Lost Wind lets you can negate the effect of a special summoned monster on the field, and then, as long as your opponent summons something from the extra deck (which will definitely happen, this is modern Yu-Gi-Oh after all!) you can reuse it all over again.
The crazy thing about Lost Wind is that these negates aren’t until the end of the turn, they’re permanent!
This puts your opponent’s monster out of use for the rest of the duel. Meaning if that’s their only copy, too bad.
14. Heavy Storm Duster
Arguably the best spell/trap removal in modern Yu-Gi-Oh, this trap card is a blend of two banned cards: Harpies Feather Duster and Heavy Storm.
This trap lets you destroy up to 2 spells/traps on the field, at the cost of not having a battle phase the turn you activate it.
The fact that you can destroy up to 2 cards means that if your opponent only has 1, you don’t need to destroy one of your own.
To maximize this card’s potential, play it on your opponent’s turn. So you get maximum destruction and minimum drawbacks.
13. Compulsory Evacuation Device
Compulsory Evacuation Device is such an iconic card in Yu-Gi-Oh that the act of returning a card from the field to the hand is often referred to as “Compulsing” a card!
Returning a monster from the field to the hand can be an offensive or a defensive play, making this a flexible solution to most problems.
If your opponent summons a huge monster from the extra deck, then Compulsory Evacuation Device is a great way of sending it right back where it came from.
This is also a great way of making your opponent waste materials.
Alternatively, if your opponent targets one of your valuable monsters with a destruction effect, you can compulse your own monster to bring it home to safety.
12. Royal Decree
In case your opponent has also read this list and got some ideas, Royal Decree is a blanket “Nope” to all trap cards.
If a monster, spell, or trap has been negated, you can almost guarantee it was from a trap card.
Playing Royal Decree allows you to summon as much as you like without worrying about them being negated.
The only real drawback is that you can’t activate your own traps either. However, all you need is a monster or spell that can destroy Royal Decree whenever you like, and then the negation is entirely in your hands!
Well, your field, but you get my point.
11. Imperial Order
The (better) sequel to Royal Decree allows you to negate all spell cards at the cost of 700 life points every standby phase.
This cost used to be optional, but had to be nerfed to make this card at least slightly balanced.
A lot of combos in Yu-Gi-Oh will rely more heavily on spells than traps; spells are inherently faster to play, making them great for swarming the field as fast as possible.
Shutting this down entirely will give you a crazy advantage over your opponent, and is well worth the measly 700 life points a turn.
Same drawback here as Royal Decree, with the same solution: chuck in a Mystical Space Typhoon somewhere and you’ll be golden.
10. Solemn Strike
This Solemn guy really has a grudge against summons, huh?
Solemn Strike lets you negate a summon or monster effect for the cost of 1500 life points, and then it destroys the monster in question.
Not only is this 500 life points cheaper than Solemn Warning (every little bit helps, right?) but it also allows you to negate monster effects.
Monster effects are only getting stronger and stronger with each passing set, making this card a fantastic trap for any deck for the foreseeable future.
9. Storming Mirror Force
As much as I’d love to include the original Mirror Force in this list, it’s one of those exceptions where the sequels are way better than the originals.
The original Mirror Force would let you destroy all attack position monsters your opponent controls, while Storming Mirror Force takes that up a notch (or 5) allowing you to return them to the hand.
This means they have to summon all those monsters again!
If any of those monsters were from the Extra deck, they’ll have to sacrifice all of those materials again too.
Storming Mirror Force deserves extra credit for carrying on the legacy of the original Mirror Force, bringing anxiety back into the battle phase.
8. Eradicator Epidemic Virus
This virus is the toughest in Yu-Gi-Oh, having outlived the original Crush Card Virus (Errata’d but not forgotten, 2008-16)
This trap lets you get rid of a bunch of spells/traps from your opponent’s field, hand, and draws.
If you know your opponent is playing a spell heavy deck like Sky Strikers or Noble Knights, this can be absolutely devastating, if not game winning.
Although the cost is a little high, I’d say it’s well worth it.
Especially considering you can see your opponent’s next 3 draws, regardless of their card type!
7. Infinite Impermanence
I don’t take this lightly when I say this trap card changed how people played the game.
Infinite Impermanence forced duelists to think about what column their spells and traps were played in – a factor that had never really had any meta relevance before.
Infinite Impermanence lets you negate a monster effect and a spell/trap in the same column as this trap.
The insane thing about this trap is that, in a pinch, you can also activate it from the hand!
A literal hand trap.
This is a level of surprise your opponent will seriously struggle to plan for, or negate.
6. Witch’s Strike
A negate to a negate?
This is some Inception level Yu-Gi-Oh right here.
Negating summons has become more and more common; half the cards on the list involve at least some form of negation.
And Witch’s Strike is the ultimate punishment for your opponent getting too heavy on the negating, by destroying their entire field and hand.
If your opponent makes the mistake of playing one too many Solemn Strikes, this card will leave them utterly defenseless.
All you need to do then is attack and the game is all but yours.
5. There Can Only be One
We’ve all been thinking it, so I’ll just say it: Yu-Gi-Oh has been missing annoying airport security restrictions.
Well this guy’s got you covered!
With this trap, each player can only control one monster of each type, with any others getting sent to the graveyard (note the wording of sent, meaning your opponent won’t be able to trigger destruction effects off of this).
Most decks in Yu-Gi-Oh will play around one type and one type only.
This just makes sense, as having a theme to your deck like Dragons or Spellcasters feels natural. But this means There Can Only Be One will most likely knock down any deck you come across, making this a great way to keep your opponent in check.
4. Dimensional Barrier
In addition to most decks running only one type of monster, a lot of decks will only run one type of Extra-deck summon.
Blackwing decks will usually only run synchro monsters, Galaxy-eye decks will only run XYZ monsters, and there are more fusion-only decks than I could ever hope to list here.
Dimensional Barrier shuts off one form of extra-deck summoning for an entire turn, and negates their effects while on the field to boot!
If your opponent is running one of these decks, they’ll be hard-pressed to make any good plays.
Sadly this card was made before its prime, so it does not negate Link monsters or their effects.
But hey, 4 out of 5 isn’t bad.
3. Wall of Revealing Light
Who knew a wall could be so oppressive?
Wall of Revealing Light lets you pay life points in multiples of 1000, forbidding your opponent from attacking unless their attack exceeds the life you lost.
Paying 4000 life points will stop pretty much all monsters in any deck (hell, it even stops the Egyptian God cards, and they’re a pretty big deal!).
This means your opponent will have to seriously scramble to find an out for this insane trap.
This ability to completely stop your opponent from attacking has kept Wall of Revealing Light on the limited list for quite some time now. I’d bet it’s unlikely to come off any time soon!
2. Solemn Judgement
I never thought this card would come off the ban list, but I am so glad it did.
Solemn Judgement is a big fat nope for any summons, spells, or traps.
It’ll negate pretty much any effect you can think of.
This simply ludicrous amount of stopping power is only made more potent by the fact that to activate it, you need to pay half your life points.
This means that, unlike Solemn Warning or Solemn Strike, that you can negate cards with any amount of life points.
If you’ve got 2 life points left (which is an impressively sticky situation), then you can fire this off no sweat, making Solemn Judgement a handy trap right till the end.
1. Evenly Matched
Evenly Matched is, ironically, the most broken and unfair trap card in the game.
With this card, your opponent has to banish cards from their field until they control the same number of cards as you do.
The fact that you can activate this card from your hand while you control no cards leads to a brutal strategy:
All you need to do is skip your main phase 1, go right into the battle phase, then fire this off and banish your opponents’ entire field in one fell swoop.
After that, you’ve got your entire main phase 2 to set up a defensive board, leaving your opponent with literally nothing.
Recovering from Evenly Matched is a borderline impossible feat, making this easily the ultimate trap card in Yu-Gi-Oh!