I'm not sure why I started playing Trap Monsters, but I'm really glad I gave the strategy a shot. For those of you who don't know, there's an underappreciated mechanic in Yu-Gi-Oh! where Continuous Traps transform into monster cards. That creates some pitfalls, like susceptibilities to Mystical Space Typhoon, but opens up some awesome interactions too. For example, you can protect your Trap Monsters with Imperial Custom, which stops backrow destruction and protects your Trap Monsters from being destroyed by battle. And you can use Magic Planter to get rid of useless monsters to draw into better ones.

But most importantly, a bunch of the Trap Monster's effects are extremely powerful and I don't think many people have even read them. It's a bit challenging because each Trap Monster takes up two zones – one for being a trap and one for being a monster – limiting the amount of "real" backrow you can play.

It's A Trap!
The most common Trap Monsters you've probably heard about are Tiki Curse and Tiki Soul. They have 1800 ATK and 1800 DEF respectively, and they pack some great effects. Tiki Curse is the more aggressive of the two, granting all of your other Trap Monsters the ability to take anything down in battle. Tiki Soul's for defense, and it sets any other Trap Monster face-down when it would be destroyed instead of sending it to the graveyard.

Are the Tiki monsters cool? Absolutely. But I didn't feel that they warranted an entire deck, so I haven't touched the strategy for years. What really seals the deal is Abyssal Stungray and Statue of Anguish Pattern. Both of these cards are from Crossed Souls, and they're both insane. Abyssal Stungray has a decent 1900 ATK, and it can't be destroyed by battle. That's awesome because in the past, the Trap Monster arsenal has been lacking in the offense department. Statue of Anguish Pattern is even better, carrying one effect that prevents it from being targeted if you control another Trap Monster and another that pops cards whenever you Special Summon another Trap Monster.

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That second effect is important because it's not limited to once per turn, nor once per chain. That means if you have three Trap Monsters set as well as an Anguish Pattern you can activate all three Trap Monsters and then chain Anguish Pattern as the last link. The chain resolves, four monsters are Special Summoned, and a new chains starts as Anguish Pattern's effect activates three times in a row. It also sits at a huge 2500 DEF, making it arguably the best monster in the entire deck.

The two other Trap Monsters we're playing aren't as good as the previous four, but they still have their place in the lineup. Zoma the Spirit's a classic, dealing damage whenever it's destroyed by battle. You can actually make sort of a soft lock with Zoma and Tiki Soul by repeatedly crashing it into things, dealing damage, and then setting it face-down again for the next turn. I'll be playing Metal Reflect Slime as well, which isn't fantastic but has a gigantic 3000 DEF. It's really tough for a lot of monsters to get over it, and I often find myself using Reflect Slime just to stall out a few turns to draw more useful cards.

Lastly, your main boss monster is The Calculator. This is a little Level 2 that gains 300 ATK times the combined Levels of all face-up monsters on your side of the field. That might not seem like a lot, but take into account that Metal Reflect Slime is Level 10 and Statue of Anguish Pattern is Level 7. You'll usually have two or three monsters on the field so The Calculator climbs up the ATK ladder pretty darn fast. I've ended lots of games with a single attack for well over 6000 damage.

I've built the deck to take full advantage of all the cool things Trap Monster can do while also attempting to beat the current competitive strategies. This theme has a surprisingly good Nekroz, Shaddoll, and Satellarknight matchup if you tune your deck to taclke those types of themes. Let's take a look at what I came up with:
DECKID=102130Trap Monsters are awesome because they rip through most rogue strategies. Imperial Custom lets all of your monsters survive anything, which makes them really difficult to remove from the field. Not only that, but you can constantly destroy things with Statue of Anguish Pattern to really wrack in the plusses, and it's all for free.

Still, I found that Trap Monsters didn't really have a way of furthering their position in the game outside of destroy your opponent's cards. Cardcar D, Magic Planter, and Pot of Duality, and Gravekeeper's Commandant are your only pieces of deck thinning, so if you're not a fan of slower strategies I'd stay far away from this one. Regardless, the game slows to a halt when you flip up Imperial Custom or even Tiki Soul, so you'll usually buy yourself a few turns to draw into more traps.

Beating the Competition
When I think of competitive metagames I consider decks like Nekroz, Satellarknights, and Shaddolls as being well represented, as well as a possibility of Qliphorts. With a playable hand, Trap Monsters can demolish all four of those decks, especially since your opponent may not know what you're doing and simply won't know how to react. It's really hard playing around cards like Statue of Anguish Pattern and Imperial Custom if you literally don't know they exist.

Against stuff like Qliphorts and Satellarknights, you can ensure that Qliphort Scout and a variety of opposing trap cards never resolve thanks to Anguish Pattern. Don't forget that Anguish Pattern's destruction effect starts a new chain too, because that means you have to preemptively hit backrow cards and Qliphort Scout. The good news is that's not a big deal, and doesn't really matter outside of forcing your opponent to pay 800 Life Points as you would with Mystical Space Typhoon before destroying it.

For Nekroz you'll see I've included a small Necrovalley engine. Necrovalley's almost a perfect counter to Nekroz, and if they can't get around it they're going to have a bad time. While Necrovalley's on the field neither player can move cards in the graveyard except with their own effects, and cards can't be banished from the graveyard. The first effect stops a whole bunch of shenanigans, from Nekroz of Unicore and Satellarknight Altair to Call Of The Haunted and Shaddoll Falco.

The second effect is more tuned toward just beating Nekroz. Keeping your opponent from banishing really slows them down, since you stop all of their graveyard Ritual Spell effects from searching other Ritual Spells. It also nullifies Nekroz of Valkyrus, letting you hit directly with huge Calculators. Most importantly though, your opponent can't resolve Nekroz of Trishula if they can't banish from the hand, field, and grave at the same time. With Necrovalley up you cut off the ability to banish from your graveyard, so your opponent can't even use Trishula. That saves you a ton of headaches.

Lastly, I wanted to mention that Imperial Custom's awesome because it protects your Side Deck cards, too. I've found myself locking my opponents out with Mistake and Imperial Iron Wall backed by Imperial Custom, making it nearly impossible to do anything without two Mystical Space Typhoons or an uninterrupted Royal Decree. Trap Monsters might be totally off the wall and completely under the radar right now but I think that they have a lot of potential. Let me know what you think about my build and the strategy in general in the comments!

-Doug Zeeff


Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, pretending to be a movie critic, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh.