Once again, Yu-Gi-Oh! can be quite an expensive game with all of the staples and when building towards competitive environments. On the plus side though, there’s plenty of cheap techs to choose from that are good to use.
Today we’ll take a look at some budget cards that you can use for your Side Decks! Our threshold is somewhere along the lines of $10 / €8 a copy or less for the cards in question. Prices may vary as time goes on.
Feel free to look at the past budget articles as well!
Table of Contents
Backrow removal is something that should always be accounted for, either slotting it in the Main or Side deck. This is because opposing Spells / Traps will always be a constant factor in the game. On the flip side, being on a budget locks us out on some of the power cards for this role. Despite our limitations, there’s plenty of viable choices that won’t break your wallet. How about we go over them?
Twin Twisters is a classic staple that’s fairly formidable to this day! Being able to wipe out up to 2 S/T threats is great, at the small cost of a discard. Usually, you want to run this in decks that can pay the cost or if you really want that backrow gone. Burning Abyss, Phantom Knights, or anything that appreciates the GY setup is a go!
But of course, not everyone can afford the discard, so some decks would prefer Cosmic Cyclone, which is valid too. For slower Trap based decks, you should give Heavy Storm Duster a look! HSD isn’t as immediate, but still gets the job done for control-based decks. That’s effectively +1 in card advantage! The battle phase clause doesn’t come up too often. Strategies like Paleozoic, Altergeist, and Subterror could give it a whirl.
Another specialized option is Denko Sekka, which has its moments in decks that don’t need their NS such as Pendulum. Zaphion can force them out too with little impunity.
Lastly, Red Reboot serves as one of the strongest answers to backrow relative to its price. It has multiple cheap printings and is a massive power one-of, capable of shutting down most Trap decks by itself, with very little counterplay. Don’t miss out on this one!
Gating the Floods
Even though floodgates are commonly hated within the Yu-Gi-Oh community, there’s no denying that they’re devastating in competitive play. Should your opponent lack the answer or fail to account for it, their fate could very well be sealed that game.
To kick things off, we have Mystic Mine. It’s possibly the most hated card in the entire game, though it’s actually not that good right now. This is because Dragon Link can bypass it with Dragonmaid Tidying, and a majority of decks right now are running Cosmic Cyclone. But it can still clean up shop vs a good chunk of decks, and can work well with Terraforming, Set Rotation, and Metaverse!
Gozen Match, Rivalry of Warlords, and There Can Be Only One are the classic trinity, and their power tends to vary from format to format. Should they be sub-optimal in the current landscape, there will be a time where they’ll shine yet again.
These are all cheap too, so trying them out doesn’t hurt. Depending on the environment, they can seriously choke out a lot of decks. Unlike most floodgates, you can use them to help break boards too.
For the ones who hate dealing with Spell Cards, both Anti-Spell Fragrance and Imperial Order are the best of the best. D-Shifter, D-Fissure, and Macro Cosmos are cheap but crippling to face for most strategies. A majority of decks in the game rely on cards hitting the GY more often than not, and these three pile in the hurt. While they are limited only to certain decks, they can shine in them brightly. DD Grounds works as an alternative that’s can be set with Trap Trick. Lastly, Summon Limit and Skill Drain are deadly if they stick on the field.
A core part of Side Decking is playing for going second, and board breakers do a great job at that! With their help, you’re able to muscle through some of your opponent’s crazy setups. Luckily, there’s plenty of budget side cards for this role.
Dark Ruler No More is currently on top of the food chain. At the small price of not dealing damage to your opponent this turn, you’re able to break most boards in the game! It’s great vs both meta and rogue, so give it a whirl.
Kaijus are an underrated but effective choice, as their unrespondable nature makes them premium removal options. The choice of Kaiju depends on your deck, most of the time. Interrupted Kaiju Slumber is a great tool to have especially if you run a heavier package.
For decks that can afford to skip their Normal Summon, the Winged Dragon of Ra – Sphere Mode and Lava Golem are excellent removal tools in making sure you’re wiping away big boards.
Gadarla is currently the most popular thanks to the WIND Barrier Statue, but certain decks prefer other Kaijus. The LIGHT and DARK all work well with Chaos Space, Dogoran is searchable via Oviraptor and can be recovered by Sunlight Wolf, Toad works in conjunction with Gameciel, and so on.
Dinowrestler Pankratops and Mind Control are currently on the Limited list. They’re also famous for being strong breakers in their own right, able to force your opponent to interact with them! All available at a modest price.
Super Polymerization is another lucrative option that can also be used as a form of disruption if timed correctly.
Honorable mentions go to certain Timelords (Metaion, Sandaion, Kamion) and Raigeki as well. They’re odd picks but work fine enough.
Ace in the Hand
(For Droll, your mileage may vary on the NA market. It’s a lot cheaper in Europe).
Hand Traps are ubiquitous at this point, but they’re also potent in the Side Deck as you can properly bring them into their favored matchups. We’ll be looking at some of them at a glance, as they’re pretty well known at this point. If you need a refresher, here’s a quick rundown.
Droll and Lock Bird is great for disrupting search/draw heavy decks, and even hits commonly played ones such as Dragon Link, Dinosaur, and Invoked Dogmatika. Artifact Lancea can be a near-turn ender against decks that need to banish.
Skull Meister is very punishing against decks that need their GY effects to resolve. This is a great one too, as most of them can dodge commonly played Hand Traps, but not Meister. Similarly, D.D. Crow and Ghost Belle also interfere with GY shenanigans.
PSY-Framegear Gamma is a hard-hitting high-impact HT that can tear through starters like little else. It also has applications for both going first and going second! Just do your best to try and dodge Driver from popping up in your hand, he likes to stay there.
Fantastical Dragon Phantazmay is great against a good chunk of decks, unbricks hands, and even digs deeper for other sided cards!
Ghost Ogre is a lot more niche but is a surprise tool that can punish certain decks in its unique way.
Retaliating “C” is a specialized tech against the likes of Invoked, Shaddoll, and their variants. Contact “C” is receiving some hype in beating some Zoodiac variants too.
The Anti-Side and Specific Techs
Last but not least on our list, let’s briefly discuss the concept of Anti Siding. While this may have a different term from player to player, the key meaning holds the same.
The aforementioned cards such as Imperial Order and Anti Spell are examples of Anti Sides, as they can prevent you from losing to the sided spell-based Board Breakers, for example. Lancea can also block Evenly, among other things.
Appointer of the Red Lotus and Solemn Judgment are very special in this regard. The two normally aren’t slotted into the Main as they make the Deck a lot more dice-rolly by nature. However, if you’re guaranteed to go first post-siding, these two suddenly become incredible, able to answer your opponent’s answers without much effort. With them at your side, your setup is safe from various threats that could easily shut you down post-siding. Despite them having steep costs, it’s well worth the risk.
Certain decks are able to tech cards that they can access within their engine to great effect. For example, Virtual World is able to make use of both Zombie World and Necroworld Banshee thanks to their easy access to Beatrice.
This play is able to dodge the likes of Dark Ruler as you send Banshee on your turn and cripple them with ZW’s type change. A similar deal applies to Naelshaddoll Ariel with either Beatrice or Dogmatika Punishment to get it in the grave.
And that marks the end of our discussion and the third installment in the Budget YGO series! While it may not be able to cover every single complex detail, I hope this general guide is able to assist players in picking what to side with budget constraints in the equation.