In any given format, there are only 200 or so cards that see active competitive play.

If you were to look at data from the current format, and count the number of cards with a greater than 0.01% chance of appearing in a tournament match, you'd find 184 cards. And in Yu-Gi-Oh, you can only play a maximum of 90 different cards in one deck. So if we're speaking objectively, even if the best deck in competition and the best deck to beat it both played 90 totally unique cards, there would still be 4 cards in that 184 that really aren't justified in an objective format.

But Yu-Gi-Oh's a game, and its formats are never objective. Most decks run closer to 30 unique cards rather than 90, and most formats have 30 decks that see play, not 2. There's 37 right now for the curious. Most of them are terrible, and a big reason for that is the common use of over-hyped or misunderstood cards.

Beating The Anchoring Bias

There are many cognitive biases in the world, but the one that affects Yu-Gi-Oh players the most is called the Anchoring Bias. It's a cognitive bias that makes you rely on the first piece of information you're given about something as a base template, so you only look at new information based on how it works with your existing understanding. If a new Altergeist card comes out, we ask ourselves "how does this work in the current strategy," rather than looking at any new strategies that card might open up.

When we pick up Altergeists for the first time, we see from older decklists that everyone played 3 Altergeist Meluseek so we assume that to be correct. And when teching cards, we edit the other slots in the decklist before even thinking to replace Altergeist Meluseek.

The answer to that problem is data. With the help of resources like YGOScope and similar data scraping tools, we can evaluate and filter data about individual cards and decks from thousands of games played online, to see how often cards win. In a vacuum, the most overrated cards would be the ones that have a negative win rate, by order of most use.

Data can help you sus out the weak options like an Among Us astronaut regardless of that bias, but there's nothing better than your own brain. When you finish building a decklist try this exercise: take a look at every single card, no matter how obviously it seems to belong, and try to convince yourself it's bad and shouldn't be there. Talk yourself out of using it instead of assuming you should keep it, and if you can't beat yourself in an argument, move onto the next card.

With all that said, here are the 10 most overrated cards in the game today. These are consistently used by thousands of players because of Anchoring bias or misunderstanding, even though they all have win rates below 50%, or can be replaced by a better card that does the same job.

#10 Foolish Burial

This card gets 10th Place only because the vast majority of the formats where it's actually amazing. It's only right now that people are being led by that fact to over-play Foolish Burial card in a format where it's largely useless.

Foolish Burial presently the ninth most played card online and has the third lowest win rate of any card in the Top 200. The games that win while resolving this card, would have won without this card most of the time as well. It's just a -1 of card economy right now that only really helps in situations it may as well hurt.

In Dinosaurs, it sends Miscellaneasaurus to the graveyard but you don't gain Miscellaneousaurus protection effect. In Dragons it sends Absorouter Dragon, which really just adds more bricks to a deck that only loses to bricking in the first place. That deck can also search for its own Foolish Burial in its combo anyway, and the card Absorouter Dragon searches for, is also searched during the combo in the first place. There's not much reason to play Foolish Burial right now; people just run it because it's usually a better card.

#9 Invoked Everything

Aleister the Invoker

This is a classic Anchoring case. Invoked was the defacto add-on for 'my deck doesn't Normal Summon' decks in past formats, and since it lost nothing to the most recent banlist why fix what isn't broke, right?

If you remember my article on Normal Summons, we touched on why Evil Eye is better! If you're playing Invoked now, you should definitely give Evil Eye a shot.

#8 Torrential Tribute

It was tough to choose if Torrential Tribute should be 8th or 7th, but the 7th Place card is newer and therefore still carrying some extra hype.

Torrential Tribute is used in Altergeist decks, despite never winning games that any other trap in existence wouldn't've also won. There have been periods in this card's long lifespan where it was good, even matchups today where it's good, but it certainly isn't the best trap to be using right now. Altergeists have no difficulty going first, and playing cards that only help doing so – especially in such a combo heavy format – is a recipe for failure. I won't deny that Torrential Tribute into Altergeist Multifaker's really strong, and you can see some very good results from that, but they're rarely if ever results that you wouldn't achieve with Solemn Strike anyway.

#7 Ice Dragon's Prison

For the most part, Ice Dragon's Prison is overrated because it's new. It looks strong, it reads strong, it's shiny, and it's new. It's also just not as good as many, many other cards.

If you're going to use a trap card, something like Artifact Sanctum just better, and with something like Trap Trick you can run 6 copies before your first Ice Dragon's Prison would make it in. There are also 9 members of the Solemn Brigade that would take priority too.

Ice Dragon's Prison biggest crime is that the only deck that should even be running that many traps is Altergeist, and you can't even summon Altergeist Multifaker if you play this card. It has some use in Eldlich decks, but it's never going to be as good as those other traps. Even the one niche thing this card can do is better covered by Memory of an Adversary.

#6 Golden Castle of Stromberg

This is more of a deck variant that's overrated. The Gren Maju Da Eiza decks that don't use the Golden Castle of Stromberg cards perform better. They have better matchups, and more space for better, more powerful cards. Hexe Trude win rate is astonishingly bad.

#5 Solemn Judgment

This one may come as a bit of a surprise, since this card is actually quite good. It's a bit of 'Column A' and a bit of 'Column B' where, like Ice Dragon's Prison there are just so many powerful trap cards; ultimately, traps you can only really get value out of when you're going first just aren't very good.

Solemn Judgment note the worst Side Deck card in the world, but it does have only a 35% win rate. That doesn't stop it from being the most used trap card in the game presently.

#4 Numeron Network

How many of you have actually lost a match to somebody using this engine? I keep seeing it, and all I ask myself every single time is 'why'.

Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL isn't nearly as threatening in practice as it is in theory, and when this stuff is splashed into decks like Eldlich, the Eldlich stuff carries them through and half the time the Numeron stuff ends up costing them the game anyway. I do like that the cards play through tons of the hand traps like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring and Effect Veiler, but PSY-Framegear Gamma and Infinite Impermanence are more damaging to this deck than the matchups they're actually being played for.

I think there's something here for these Numeron guys, but looking at the win rates, it's not what people have been trying.

#3 Allure of Darkness (And Cards Like It)

I'm gonna give you some card names. Cards of Consonance. Allure of Darkness. Trade-In.

What do they all have in common? The lowest win rates of any card ever recorded.

When these digging cards net you negative card economy like Dark World Dealings – called a -1 by most players – their win rates fall below 20%. When they break even like Trade-In they come in around 40%, and if they actually gain card advantage like Allure of Darkness on a Thunder Dragondark they net a win rate of 70%.

Unfortunately the math shows you need at least 9 cards that actually make for a +1 when you use these effects before they're worth running; it's not enough to have only 4-5 good ones and 5 mediocre ones, you still have a net negative impact on your win rate. Add in the games where you can't use them, and the ones where they get negated, which aren't even counted in those win rates numbers, and these 2-card combo self-replacing effects are seriously overrated.

#2 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

For four years this card has been used in just about every single deck. Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring the most played card in the game right now, it was the most played card last format, and it's been that way for every format since the day it came out. Technically speaking Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring would, by some measures, be overrated by virtue of simply not being the best card in the game.

But the situation's made much worse by the fact that Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring sucks. It has a negative win rate, and much more often than not it doesn't actually work on relevant cards. Think back to the Nekroz format, when Mistake was very popular. It stopped people from using Nekroz of Brionac to search for something like Nekroz of Trishula, but in the 25% of the games where your opponent drew the Nekroz of Trishula before the Nekroz of Brionac anyway, Mistake did nothing. In 100% of those games, Solemn Warning would've stopped the Nekroz of Trishula either way.

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring super great when it's negating something like Shaddoll Fusion or Miscellaneousaurus, but when it's negating Fossil Dig or Reinforcement of the Army or Pot of Desires it's measurably one of the weakest cards in your deck, effectively converting your opponent's search card into a 'make you discard 1 card' effect.

Sad truth is, Skull Meister works on everything worthwhile that Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring works on, as well as many other cards that Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring doesn't work on, like the recently Forbidden Jet Synchron. Being limited to one use per turn really hurts this card too, as it's very much in the category of 'hand traps you need to draw at least two of before anything matters.' Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring is good, but it's seriously overrated and over-used.

#1 Pot of Extravagance

The reason Pot of Extravagance is #1 is the same reason you're wondering why it's on the list at all: there's near universal acclaim for this card's use. Players of every skill level, and play style, and tenure, have all championed this card as an absolute staple in 'any deck that can use it.'

So what's a deck that can use it? Pot of Extravagance comes in four pieces.

  1. You must banish 3 or 6 cards from your Extra Deck Randomly, face-down
  2. It must be the first card you play on your turn (save for some niche scenarios)
  3. You cannot draw cards for the rest of the turn after using this card
  4. You must still be able to win the game without those 6 Extra Deck cards

Let's start with Number 1 there. Nothing benefits from being banished face-down. There are decks like Gren Maju Da Eiza that like having banished cards, so that'd be the only deck that benefits. So far only one deck would play this card.

Number 2. You can't play cards beforePot of Extravagance (save for Standby Phase activations). You can't even use effects. I once saw somebody play Dogmatika Punishment to send a Fossil Warrior Skull Knight to his graveyard, and then his opponent summoned Invoked Mechaba, and the card he drew for turn was Pot of Extravagance. If he used Fossil Warrior Skull Knight on the Invoked Mechaba, he couldn't Pot of Extravagance, and if he used Pot of Extravagance the Invoked Mechaba would just negate it.

Number 3. You can't draw cards for the rest of the turn after using Pot of Extravagance. Suddenly Upstart Goblin is a 40th card instead of a placeholder. You can't use Pot of Desires anymore, nor could you try to play it first. Even the one deck where it was worth considering so far, Gren Maju, plays more draw effects than any other current deck in competition. So that condition makes this thing borderline unplayable even in the one deck where we were willing to consider it.

Lastly Number 4. This is the real reason, and honestly the only reason, you should NEVER use this card. Two things are true. First, you must not care about more than half the spots in your Extra Deck for one reason or another. Second, your deck sucks because of it.

The day you choose to run pot of Extravagance is the day you give up trying to win an event. You're deliberately, if not consciously hurting your chances of success more than any other decision you'll make when it comes to deckbuilding.

Your Extra Deck is 15 cards you effectively get to choose to see in every opening hand, representing 75% of your options on turn 1. You're sacrificing that, every single game, for the one in three games where you get to see a 6th card instead of 5 in your opening hand, in a deck that doesn't have any other digging effects.

Meanwhile Dragon Link players are happily throwing 20 cards at your 6. It's objectively true that your Extra Deck is more valuable than your Main Deck, especially in a world of Link Monsters, and instead of using your greatest weapon you're throwing it away for a below 30% chance to draw a couple of cards randomly from a shuffled pile. I don't know what it is you're hoping to draw, but I promise it's not better than the combined efficacy of the 9 to 15 cards you chose not to run instead.