Goats is the most popular fan-created format in Yu-Gi-Oh, and that's for a lot of reasons: it offers a type of gameplay that's different from the modern game, it's a giant nostalgia trip, and best of all…?
Like, really cheap. Check out the Top 8 decks from GoatFormat.com's latest Championship a couple weeks ago: if you total up the price of all eight decks and average it out, each one costs about $102. For the price of a single deck in the current Advanced Format, you can literally buy every deck in the Top 8.
And the best part is that as affordable as those cards are in their lowest rarities, you may not even need to buy most of them. If you already own stuff like Mystical Space Typhoon, Heavy Storm, Reinforcement of the Army, or Solemn Judgment - you know, stuff you play right now? - you're already ahead of the game. A ton of Goat Format staples were reprinted in product-hover id="220429" too, one of the reasons it's sold out everywhere. And if you're an old school player with cards from back in the day? Suddenly you can start putting together near-complete decks, just by pillaging your closet or whatever shoeboxes you keep your bulk in.
Putting together your first batch of Goat decks is a blast, because it makes you realize just how useful a lot of your junk cards were; cards that were just taking up space in your house otherwise. I put together a Goat gauntlet myself last year, and I largely did it by tapping two resources: the first was a big box of old cards I forgot I owned, and the second was a bunch of bulk I was sorting for a friend - non-mint stuff that wasn't saleable, but was totally playable in Goat Format.
And that's brilliant. Putting together real-life Goat decks feels like the best deal in the world, like you're making money out of thin air. Until… well…
As cheap and accessible as Goat Format is, at some point you'll need a few copies of a card you can't find in your old collection. And when that happens you might run into the one harsh reality of the format: some of these cards are old, and banned for years, or just fell out of fashion. That means they haven't been reprinted in a long time, which can make them wildly expensive.
Goat Format can be as expensive as you want it to be, don't get me wrong: there are tons of 1st Edition cards that cost a bundle, product-hover id="200195", and Ultimate Rares aplenty. But even just the entry level stuff can hit you with some rude awakenings.
So today we're looking at tournament-played Goat Format cards, that are surprisingly expensive even in their lowest rarity print.
This article's going to be useful to two types of people: anyone who's thinking of jumping into Goat Format, and wants to know what cards to look for; and anyone who owns older cards, who might be sitting on some value. If that describes you, OR if you're just curious to see the list, check out the Top 10.
I remember having debates about what exactly "battlechanted" meant, and wondering if we'd see more battlechanted monsters in the future. Seventeen years later? No dice: Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive stands alone as the only monster to be battlechanted, ever, whatever that actually means.
This card's a staple for numerous Chaos variants in Goat Format, and a three-of in lots of Chaos Turbo builds. It powers you through your deck, fuels your Chaos summons with its Dark attribute, and combos with Book of Moon and Tsukuyomi so you can abuse its Flip Effect. It's only five bucks - we're just getting warmed up - but that's kind of a lot for an old rare that sees no modern play. If you need three copies it can add up.
Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive was reprinted in 2019 in Speed Duel: Scars of Battle, but it was a Super Rare and it's nowhere near the cheapest printing. If you just want a playable copy, you'll be looking at the non-foil or Starfoil printings from Battle Pack: Epic Dawn, Starter Deck: Syrus Truesdale, or Rise of Destiny. If you want to go high-end product-hover id="58797" which starts at $55 for the Unlimited or $110 for the 1st Ed.
Speaking of Tsukuyomi, it's also in the $5 category, and it's also a card you'll want to own multiple copies of. As one of the most versatile cards in Yu-Gi-Oh history it's a huge part of Goat Format play, reusing your Flip Effects, making little jabs for damage before escaping, and outing big monsters (amongst many other uses). It's the lynchpin of a lot of staple combos in the format, working with cards like Magician of Faith to make back-breaking plays.
Tsukuyomi was reprinted in Duelist Saga as an Ultra Rare in 2017, and it appeared product-hover id="77987" five years prior. But budget copies haven't seen print since Dark Crisis was reissued in 2007. Market Price on the three non-foil printings is between $5 to $6. The Ultra Rare starts at $8.50, which isn't bad for a foil upgrade, while the Ultimate is a whopping $125+
This one got me with some sticker shock: yes, the cheapest printing of Trap Dustshoot, a card that used to cost nothing, is now almost eight dollars. Again, the lack of reprints is to blame: Trap Dustshoot hasn't been printed since Duel Terminal 4 in 2011, and the newest printing before that was the Super Rare, from 2008's Champion Pack Game 5. For an actual budget print, you'd have to go all the way back to Dark Beginning 2 in 2005. That version goes for nine bucks and change, while the Pharaonic Guardian original is still the most affordable at about $7.75.
Oh, product-hover id="33037" It's $270 dollars. Let the flex-off begin.
Don Zaloog probably the second most notorious hand disruption monster from classic Yu-Gi-Oh, right behind a certain purple bird that ruins peoples' lives. It sees play in Warrior decks, some Chaos variants, and a shocking number of people Side Deck it, which… is that good? Is that a plan for success? I don't even know. But people do it.
What I do know is that this card costs $7 to $8, and that's if you're willing to settle for a Gold Rare version (I can hear you barfing). The Retro Pack Rare can be had for as low as $8.50 if you're lucky, but those can be in short supply and if you tried to grab one now, you'd be looking at $25 for a Near Mint.
Your best bet might be the Speed Duel Ultra Rare at $12 to $13. If you're feeling fancy there's not much to go on - Don Zaloog never had a premium printing, and unless you want to shell out $90 for a 1st Ed PGD you're kind of stuck.
Somebody get this man a Secret Rare.
It blows my mind that Tribe-Infecting Virus a $9 to $10 common. While it's legal now, it's spent so much of its time on the banlist that there have only been three printings: Magician's Force in 2003, Dark Revelation Volume 1 in 2005, and the Fury From the Deep Structure Deck that was printed like, less than 2 months later (not kidding). It's been over sixteen years since this card's seen a reprint.
Tribe-Infecting Virus a hallmark of the grindy, incremental-card-advantage-driven play that people love about Goat Format, working with cards like Sinister Serpent for iconic combos that can wreck the field and turn losses into wins. Like Don Zaloog, there's no premium printing: the 1st Ed Super Rare from MFC is about 50 bucks, but like Don, this is begging to appear in some sort of Battle City Box sequel as a featured foil.
D.D. Designator had even fewer printings, appearing only in Invasion of Chaos in 2004 and Dark Revelation Volume 2 in 2005. It's nowhere near as popular as Trap Dustshoot, but it's still a pretty common card in Goat Format, where a mix of hand peeking effects and shrewd knowledge of your opponent's searches can help you call the right card. This kind of effect just isn't viable in modern Yu-Gi-Oh, and it really feels like one of those unique niches we've lost over time.
Also? Some of my favorite artwork in the entire game. This is D.D. Warrior Lady at peak badass, and I'm here for it.
Anyway, both printings of this card are Super Rares, and you might as well grab the IOC copy for $9 to $10 over the DR2 version at $14. I know, you love max rarity, but we're really splitting hairs on this one.
SKILL DRAIN? Skill Drain is TEN DOLLARS? What the HELL HAPPENED?!
That was me, a few days ago when I was running the numbers for this article. Swear to god, people used to pay YOU to cart these things away.
Skill Drain been printed nine times, but the last two printings are both premium rarities: it was an Ultra Rare variant in 2019's Lost Art promo series, and it was an Ultra in Turbo Pack Eight in 2012 too. It appeared in Battle Pack Epic Dawn the same year as a regular Rare and a Parallel, but that set was huge at 220 cards, so it was kind of a tough pull. It was in Duel Terminal 3 in 2010, which wasn't available to most players, so no help there. The last reasonable printing was Gold Series in 2008.
The result? The Dark Crisis printing is the cheapest you'll find, at roughly ten bucks. And I'm pretty sure that's mindblowing to any old school player who used to have dozens of these things. If you want the max rarity version you're looking at product-hover id="66774"
And now things start getting good. This common? The one that like, defines the format? It's more than twelve bucks, provided you want a copy that wasn't chewed on by a toddler or crumpled up in somebody's back pocket in 2003. Metamorphosis was only printed in Pharaonic Guardian, Dark Revelation, and Champion Pack 1: it hasn't been printed for fifteen years. The Marketplace is chock full of damaged copies, but yeah, Near Mints start at $12 and that price actually look really vulnerable, with very few copies listed for less than $15.
The decks that run Metamorphosis run at least two copies, usually three, so it's a solid chunk of change for someone just looking to play some Goats. And if you want product-hover id="26058" It's $1800 now. I think I sold mine in 2007 for 40 bucks, so, I'm gonna finish this article and go have a drink.
Delinquent Duo's even rougher. I had a couple copies kicking around, but finding out I was going to have to drop $22+ if I wanted more for my gauntlet, was another moment that was probably more surprising than it should have been.
Again, this card's been banned for so long that it was only printed three times: first as an Ultra Rare in Magic Ruler / Spell Ruler in 2002, then as a Super Rare in Dark Beginning 1 in 2004, and finally as a Secret Rare in Legendary Collection Kaiba in 2018. That Secret Rare's actually the cheapest copy right now, and if you want the Ultra Rare 1st Ed, you're looking at about $150.
I know I've explained a bit about each of the cards we've discussed so far, but for an explanation of why Delinquent Duo amazing, Delinquent Duo
Moving on, to the biggest beating in all of this…
I tried to throw together a Reasoning Gate Turbo deck a couple months ago and quickly discovered I didn't own any copies of Dimension Fusion. I've owned many Dimension Fusion over the last 20 years, so I naively went to order a few copies, thinking to myself, "What's that gonna be, like, five bucks?"
No, stupid. It is not five bucks. Thanks for ordering. Also you're poor now.
Dimension Fusion singlehandedly makes Reasoning Gate Turbo twice the price of nearly any other meta Goat deck you can think of, because it costs $45 and you need three of them. I hope some of you are scampering off to your binders right now to verify that you have several, in which case congratulations, you're welcome.
Also may I buy them. Offering 15% TCG low*
Dimension Fusion isn't just the basis for a really fun, pretty competitive Goat deck, it was also the fundamental card for at least two eras of competition in the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG proper. When Dark Armed Dragon dropped this card exploded, warping the format and breaking Dark Magician of Chaos in half.
You know when you remember something that was awful at the time, but now you look back on it and you're like, "MMMMM, YES, the bad old days!" and you feel all warm and fuzzy about it? That's what this card is. To the casual Yu-Gi-Oh fan Dimension Fusion means nothing. But if you were there, at those tables, just thinking of drawing this card and then looking at it in your hand probably releases a dopamine hit directly into the sweetest spot of your dueling lizard brain.
Dimension Fusion was printed a grand total of two times, first as an Ultra Rare in Invasion of Chaos in 2004, and then as a Super in DR2 in 2005. The Ultra's mercifully cheaper than the Super, so there's that.
I hope reading this can either help you spot some deals as you build out your collection of Goat cards, or make you a bunch of money, because you have a stack of Trap Dustshoot you didn't realize people wanted. Fingers crossed!
*This is a joke, and I do not wish to be fired.