Discard Traps in Goat Format

Last week, I talked about why you should play Goat Control. And while I do think that anyone who wants to get better at the format should be playing Goat Control, the fact is that the Goat Format card pool is pretty diverse. There’s a lot of ways to get creative with your decks and your strategies. And that’s why I want to talk a bit this week about discard traps in Goat Format and how they can be a lot of fun to play. Not only can they be fun, but they can actually win you some games if you put them in the right kind of deck.

Discard Traps in Goat Format

Simply put, a “discard trap” is any Trap Card that has a cost of discarding a card upon activation. And there are actually a fair few in Goat Format, though they didn’t see near as much play in 2005 as they would in later formats. Regardless, the concept is something that has been around for quite some time and won’t be going away any time soon.

The issue with discard traps is that they’re inherent -1’s. Most will do something to remove an opponent’s card from the board, but you have to discard your own card to do so. In modern theory it’s a lot easier to get away with it because so many cards plus. But in Goat Format, losing two cards to remove one card is bad card value. This is true even if you use that discard to pitch something like Airknight Parshath. So you want to use discard traps in a deck that’s already playing cards that are meant to be discarded.

Why use discard traps in Goat Format?

Most of the time, discard traps are more of a gimmick than anything. That’s not to say they’re bad – it’s just that you have to invest a lot into them in order to gain any real advantage off of them. So you have to think about why you’re using them.

Discard traps disrupt plays. That’s their goal. Raigeki Break pops a card. Divine Wrath negates monster effects. Phoenix Wing Wind Blast spins a card back to the top of the deck. These are effects that disrupt the opponent’s ability to make their plays. This is exactly why cards like Book of Moon and Dust Tornado are used so much in Goat Format – they disrupt plays when used properly. More importantly, those cards don’t cost you a second card to use them, which is why they see so much more play than discard traps.

However, there’s one advantage that discard traps have over their non-discard brethren: they can fuel your graveyard. This is the primary advantage that discard traps have over Book or Dust. At the same time, there are many other ways you can set your graveyard up that even using discard traps is kind of gimmicky.

If you want to use discard traps you have to be able to justify their use. So you end up discarding things that want to go to the graveyard, which is a pretty limited pool of cards. Night Assailant, Sinister Serpent, and Thunder Dragon are the best discard cards you can play if you’re playing discard traps. Why? Because they all make your discard free.

So this begs the question:

What decks can use discard traps?

Chaos. Really, no other deck can take advantage of discard traps the way that a Chaos deck can. Discarding a Thunder Dragon to get two more gives you two free discards – and two free LIGHT monsters – to fill your graveyard. Night Assailant gives you a free discard if you either have another Night Assailant or another Flip monster in grave. Sinister Serpent, obviously, is the discard of choice since it always comes back in your Standby Phase.

Chaos can run all these cards. Goat Control doesn’t need them. Most other decks can’t benefit from them the way that Chaos can.

And if you’re playing them in Chaos, you want to be playing Chaos Control. Discard traps are control cards. They’re designed to disrupt, stun, and control the game. In Chaos Control you’re often already playing discard outlets in Thunder Dragon and occasionally Night Assailant. You also are using cards that synergize well with Night Assailant for instance – cards like Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive, Dark Mimic LV1, and even Magical Merchant.

I guess if you’re playing Chaos Control with a suite of discard traps, you could even call it Chaos Stun. But that’s for another article.

What discard traps do we run?

Here’s the million dollar question: what discard traps are best in Goat Format? The list of what we have to actually work with is pretty short and of those cards only a few are actually worth running. But let’s talk about the ones that are worth running, shall we?

Divine Wrath

If we’re playing discard traps one of the first things we should look at is Divine Wrath. I personally feel that Divine Wrath is the most powerful of the discard traps available to us simply because it’s a counter trap that can stop any effect monster. So it’s a natural out to cards like Thousand-Eyes Restrict, Tribe-Infecting Virus, Exiled Force, Airknight Parshath, Chaos Sorcerer, Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, Magician of Faith, Sangan – the list goes on and on.

Goat Format is defined very much by the effect monsters that it has in the card pool, and Divine Wrath shuts them all down. This is a powerful effect that a lot of people don’t prepare for because there’s so little monster effect negation in the format. A lot of people just assume that their Magician of Faith is going to go off if they are allowed to flip it, so they’ll set up combos to happen after the fact. Flip a Faith, grab a spell, then tribute for Airknight or something. But with Divine Wrath, not only do they not get that spell they wanted, but they also lose their Faith!

I feel that if you’re going to commit to playing discard traps, Divine Wrath is an instant inclusion.

Magic Drain/Magic Jammer

Magic Drain isn’t as powerful as its cousin, Magic Jammer, but it’s pretty close. And to be fair it can be good mostly because it can force your opponent to discard a card without you having to do anything. When it comes to discard traps, there are definitely worse options.

At the same time, Spell negation isn’t nearly as good as effect negation in my opinion, especially for the costs involved. So these two cards really don’t see a whole lot of play nowadays. I find myself often wanting to play these cards, but they end up getting cut because their versatility just isn’t as high as that of other discard traps of the format.

Phoenix Wing Wind Blast

I love this card.

Really, I do. Phoenix Wing Wind Blast has seen play on and off since it debuted back in Flaming Eternity. Being able to spin a card back to the top of the deck – especially something like a tribute monster – is downright devastating. Because unlike Raigeki Break, Wing Blast doesn’t destroy the card, which could put it in the graveyard.

Considering there’s actually quite a few cards that rely on the graveyard in Goat Format, we don’t want the opponent to be able to use anything more than once if we can help it. With cards like Magician of Faith, Mask of Darkness, and Chaos Sorcerer in the format, putting cards in the graveyard can be dangerous. Being able to just put it back on top of the deck can almost seal the game if played at the right time.

Phoenix Wing Wind Blast should definitely be included in your discard trap arsenal.

Raigeki Break

Raigeki Break is basically Phoenix Wing Wind Blast but it destroys instead of spins. Which is also a great effect, don’t get me wrong, and can be more useful in certain scenarios. Like, against Snatch Steal, for instance, or Premature Burial. Break is a great discard trap and I feel it competes heavily with Phoenix Wing Wind Blast as a main disruption card. If you’re playing discard traps, it should be one of the cards you agonize over cutting or keeping.

Spell Shield Type-8

Spell Shield Type-8 is up there with Magic Drain and Magic Jammer, in my opinion. While it’s not as versatile as those cards above, it’s still a card that sees play because it can shut down a Nobleman of Crossout or a Snatch Steal, which is a pretty powerful effect. More importantly, it does so without costing you a discard. It can also disrupt any spell card, but you have to discard a spell card in order to negate a spell card. Which, unlike Magic Jammer, is somewhat restrictive.

Spell Shield is often used as a counter to cards like Mind Control, especially in Chaos. There are worse cards to play, but Spell Shield may not make the cut depending on what discard traps you’re using and which deck you’re using them in.

Maximizing your discard traps in Goat Format

If you don’t have to use discard traps you probably shouldn’t. They’re fun and gimmicky but they don’t replace any of the standard card choices for a given deck. They’re not better than Book of Moon, or Dust Tornado, or anything else like that. They have their place, and can be used effectively, but if you don’t have to play them you probably shouldn’t.

That said, the most important thing you can do, if you’re playing discard traps, is to maximize your usage of your discard traps.

Pick 2-3 discard traps

One of the worst things you can do is run too many discard traps. There’s a balance – there has to be. Discard traps are useless if you don’t have something to discard. And considering what we want to discard with them, they take setup to really make work properly. So you don’t want to be opening multiple discard traps and you don’t want to see them too early in the game. If you run too many you’ll clog your hand or, worse, end up with too few cards to do anything substantial with. You want to use your discard traps to disrupt plays while also making sure you don’t just go -1 on their activation unless you know that you can gain a larger plus later (for instance, discarding a LIGHT monster to fuel a Chaos play).

So you shouldn’t run more than two or three discard traps, and even then only 1-2 of each. Personally, I feel that 4-6 discard traps total is a good number. We run three Book of Moon, right?

Don’t use them too early

The reason why I say they work best in a control deck is because they are control cards. Discard traps can be used aggressively, but they’re built to disrupt an opponent’s play, and you should use them as such. This means that you don’t want to just fire them off as soon as you can. You want to activate them when they’ll do the most damage to the opponent. This isn’t exactly easy to do, of course, and requires you to understand your opponent, their deck, their position, and more.

In other words, you have to know how to play them and when they’ll be most effective. This is pretty standard in Yu-Gi-Oh!, though, so it’s more of a reminder than anything.

Choose your discards wisely

You don’t want to discard just anything. In a perfect world you’d be able to loop Night Assailants when discarding for discard traps. But that isn’t always going to happen. So when you can’t discard what you ideally want to, you have to discard the next best thing. And this of course is in a situation where you feel you have to use your discard trap, because you don’t always have to. Sitting on them can make for some great tactical play, by the way. This goes back to the whole “don’t use them too early” argument, but still.

You have to choose what you’re discarding wisely. And this comes with knowing your deck, what it wants to do and how you’re going to fulfill your win condition. I feel that discard traps work best in Chaos for that basic reason. Even if you don’t have something ideal to discard, you can still discard cards to fuel your grave and fulfill your win condition.

Discard traps make your deck a stun deck

At the heart of this whole article is the fact that discard traps are stun cards. They’re built to stun the opponent. Catch them off guard, stop them from making plays, and forcing them into awkward situations as a result. That’s stun in a nutshell, and if you’ve ever played stun decks in modern you understand how trolly and frustrating they can be to play against.

So if you’re playing discard traps in multiples (as opposed to just a one-of tech card), you should have that stun mentality when you play. This means understanding the most opportune times to activate your discard traps and knowing how to use them to further your own plays.

But it’s also a psychological tactic. Stun decks are frustrating to play against and the more we get stunned the closer we get to going on tilt. That’s bad for any player, especially when you’re competitive by nature. So you can use that to your advantage when playing your stun deck, especially in Goat Format where mind games are already a major part of the format.


Am I saying you should play discard traps in Goat Format? No. Should you play them if you’re playing in a competitive environment? Probably not. Are they a lot of fun to throw at an unsuspecting opponent?

Oh hell yes.

Play around with them if you want. I mostly just wanted to throw some light on a rather underappreciated group of cards that are very much viable in Goat Format.

That’s it for this time! As always, you can contact me any time at [email protected], or catch me on the Format Library, YGOPRODeck, and DuelistGroundz forums and Discord servers. Make sure to keep coming back to YGOPRODeck.com for all your Yu-Gi-Oh! needs.

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Writer for YGOPRODeck and POJO which mainly focus on the GOAT format.

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