Top 5 Best Yu-Gi-Oh Engines!
An engine in Yu-Gi-Oh is defined as a compact collection of cards too few to constitute a full deck, but which find residence in multiple independent strategies as a means to either add or enforce a win condition of the deck they supplement. I totally just made up that definition to make it sound super cool & serious, but in simple terms, an engine is just a splashable group of themed cards which help the player boost their deck. That's practically it. This can involve either boosts in consistency, power, field presence or practically any other variable in the game. Although a lot of things come into play to determine just how strong an engine is, by far the most important factor is how splashable (i.e. capable of use in widely differing decks) that particular engine is.
In this Top 5 segment, we'll be walking you through the Top 5 Engines in Yu-Gi-Oh, based totally on their splashability! So, if you're new to the game or just a player trying to choose which cards to invest in, this list is right up your alley, because we're exploring the best generic options in any Yu-Gi-Oh player's arsenal today! For a game as vast as Yu-Gi-oh, it's difficult to sum up all the engines in just a Top 5 list- so keep a look out for Part 2!
5. Tour Guide From the Underworld
3. Mystic Mine
2. Mekk Knights
1. Find Out!
5. Tour Guide From the Underworld
Ah yes, one of YuGiOh history's most played cards kicks off our list in the number 5 spot. Tour Guide from the Underworld is one of the most sought after cards in the game, despite having over 5 reprints- an unavoidable consequence of the fact that this card's first printing was worth a jaw dropping $125 in its prime. Enough simping for Farfa's waifu; let's get to why Tour Guide is such a sought-after card in the first place.
At the mere cost of a normal summon, she'll allow you to turbo out a level 3 fiend monster straight from your Deck, with the condition that its effects will be negated and that you cannot go for a synchro summon using it as mateiral. While these limitations may seem steep, they are in no way as hindering as they seem, as we're about to see. It is appropriate to mention at this juncture that Tour Guide has been on the banlist almost since she was released and is currently enjoying one of the most relaxed periods in her career with a semi-limited status. Keep that in mind as we explain what she's capable of.
Normal summon Tour Guide and use her effect to special summon any level 3 fiend. Use both lv 3 monsters to xyz summon any Rank 3 Xyz monster of your choice, the most notable examples being Ghostrick Alucard (which can destroy any set card your opponent controls), Leviair the Sea Dragon (which can special summon a banished lv 4 or lower monster) or Number 3: Cicada King (which negates your opponent's monster effects on the field). Honourable mentions in this category go out to Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow, Super Quantal Mech Beast Grampulse and Wind-Up Zenmaines.
That, ladies and gentlemen is just the basic Tour Guide combo- a 1 card access to any generic Rank 3 monster. Niche applications of her utility as a Rank 3 material have been used to devastating effect in two very popular decks, these being Phantom Knights, and more popularly Burning Abyss. We'll consider the Burning Abyss example here to specifically mention that Dante, Traveller of the Burning Abyss is a Rank 3 monster that can mill up to 3 cards from the player's deck to the GY, setting up absurdly powerful combos for graveyard-themed decks.
The most recent application of Tour Guide's prowess has been to special summon a fiend tuner monster to go into the ever-so-ubiquitous Crystron Needlefiber, setting up a very generic means to special summon any tuner from a duelist's deck. The utility of Tour Guide is something that only seems to snowball with each meta and is seemingly immune to the concept of power creep- that's just how good she is!
Price: Cheap to Average
One of the most dreaded decks in the history of the game is Spellbook, and its power has only ever been truly eclipsed by the dreaded Dragon Rulers- a shining example of a Tier 0 deck. Now, however, Spellbooks have been reduced to a rather mediocre deck and find most success as an engine to supplement other decks- but MAN do they excel at this role. Consider this: Pot of Greed is a card which has been banned since the effect of drawing 2 cards and garnering a net card advantage of +1 on a single card is considered to be overpowered.
The Spellbook engine laughs at this logic and acts as a splashable draw 2 engine for any deck in the game which can spare a normal summon. And it's very easy to learn too: there's just 3 cards you need to possess and they all have 1 line effects. First up is Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, a level 2 spellcaster who- on normal summon (or being flipped, but that's usually inconsequential)- grants you the ability to add any Spell Card of the Spellbook family to your hand. That's it. He has a measly 500 ATK, but that's not a drawback in any form since he won't even be on the field by the time you're done.
Next up, you have Spellbook of secrets, a simple card with a simple effect which allows you to add 1 Spellbook card from your deck to hand. Keep in mind that it says "card", so you can also use it to add the Spellbook Magician to your hand if you want.
Last up comes Spellbook of Knowledge, yet another simple card with an effect that reads: Send to the GY either 1 Spellcaster monster you control, or 1 other "Spellbook" card from your hand or face-up field, except "Spellbook of Knowledge", and if you do, draw 2 cards.
The combo is simple and can be started with either the magician or the book of secrets: use either card to fetch the other, and use the card you fetch to add the book of knowledge to your hand. Use its effect to send your own Magician to the graveyard and you get to draw 2 cards. It's basically Pot of greed but with 2 extra steps, just for the cost of a normal summon. This ease of splashability and easy card advantage earn the Spellbook engine the number 4 spot on our list!
3. Mystic Mine
Price: Average, but at what cost?
It pains us to mention this card in any list with the word "best" in it, but here we are. The picture of the card is already there for you to read its effect, and if the effect does confuse you a little, we're happy if you remain that way and never end up using this card in your life. For those who are aware of the implications of this card's effect and the fact that it can slow the game down to an absolute crawl, you know just how dreaded this card is and how many arguments have been made against its effect on the health of the game. Perhaps no single other card in the game has been as hated as this one, perhaps with the exception of Macro Cosmos and Chicken Game- both of which have been imprisoned on the banlist in their history.
This engine of cancer is simple.
3x Mystic Mine.
1x Terraforming (spell card that fetches Mystic Mine from your deck)
1x Metaverse (trap card that either fetches to hand or directly activates Mystic Mine to the field from your deck)
3x Demise of the Land (quick play spell card that activates Mystic Mine from deck when your opponent Special Summons a monster)
...and that's it. The rest of your deck can be anything of your choosing, but this engine provides you with 8 easy ways to access a card which can turn any advantage your opponent holds into a means to totally freeze the game state until you are able to regain your advantage... or until your opponent activates Cosmic Cyclone.
2. Mekk Knights
Price: Average, but varies slightly on your build
This is an engine so diverse in its function and so entertaining in its playstyle that it's impossible not to place it on this spot of our list! While the exact mechanics of this engine would require a full article of its own to elaborate upon, we'll be revealing the most simple variant of the Mekk Knight engine to give you a taste of this versatility. Before we actually jump into the specifics, it's appropriate to mention what this engine really aims to do. Unlike the linear utilities of the previously 3 engines, which only served 1 purpose each (easy rank 3, draw power or stalling), the Mekk knight engine boasts a multipurpose role and can be used for any of the following roles:
•Special Summoning high ATK bodies
•Going into Rank 5 or Rank 8 XYZ plays
•Easily gaining lots of hand advantage
•Absorbing anywhere from 1-3 negates
Now, getting to the heart of the engine, its simplest form consists of the following:
3x Mekk Knight Purple Nightfall
2-3x Mekk Knight Blue Sky
1-2x Mekk Knight Indigo Eclipse
All Mekk Knights share the following clause: If 2 or more cards are in the same column, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand) in that column. You can only Special Summon "[MONSTER NAME]" once per turn this way.
What this means is that if two cards are placed in the same vertical column, you can summon a Mekk Knight into the unused Monster Zone of that same column. The more attentive readers would have already noticed that this is possible only when your opponent has at least 1 card on their side of the field, or if you have a monster in the Extra Monster Zone- meaning Mekk Knights are a predominantly turn 2 deck, which is the only thing holding them back from getting to the top spot of our list!
Each Mekk Knight also has its own nice effect, with Indigo Eclipse having the ability to move Mekk Knights to different columns (to free up space), Purple Nightfall having the ability to banish a Mekk Knight on the field for 1 turn to search another from your deck to your had and Blue Sky having the effect to add the same number of Mekk Knights from your deck to had as the number of opponent's cards in the zone it was summoned to (meaning up to 3 differently named Mekk Knights!).
All of these effects in tandem can be used to vastly variable effects, as we mentioned before, with the most common application being bodies for link summoning Link 3 or 4 monsters such as the infamous Apollousa or Borrelsword Dragon for quickly turning the tables on any duel!
Konami really didn't hold anything back when designing this engine- a rare occurrence, and one enough to propel this engine to the absolute top spot of our list! In fact, this engine is made in such a way that it is impossible to play this "deck" pure at all; with only 5 different cards for the main deck, at least 25 other spots remain free for occupancy by other decks whenever the Invoked engine is considered. Although the vast applications of this deck cannot be adequately discussed under a simple heading, and- like the Mekk Knights encountered earlier- would demand a discussion all to themselves, we will proceed to give an overview of this engine so you guys can understand what really makes it shine.
At the meagre cost of a normal summon, the Invoked engine can be employed to serve any of the followed roles:
•Boosting any fusion strategy, since Invocation is a general purpose spell and Aleister is a generic ATK booster
•Dwindling your opponent's GY resources
•Outputting strong negate bodies in the form of Mechaba
•Baiting negates away from your primary strategy
•Allowing access to an Instant Fusion target in the form of Raidjin
•Many other roles which shall be fully discussed in an independent article
The Invoked engine is essentially as follows:
3x Magical Meltdown
3x Aleister the Invoker
0-1x Book of the Law
Highly Variable Extra Deck, but usually including 1-2 Invoked Mechabas
The central strategy is surprisingly straightforward. Activate Magical Meltdown to search Aleister the Invoker; normal summon Aleister and search Invocation from your deck to hand. Activate Invocation to fusion summon an Invoked monster of any attribute using materials from your hand, field or either player's graveyard. After the monster is out, use Invocation's GY effect to return Aleister to your hand and shuffle Invocation back into your deck so you can repeat the deadly cycle each turn!
This repeated utility and low-interference incorporation makes the Invoked family the top ranked engine for this list!
Keep an eye out for a special review article for the Invoked archetype soon! We'll catch you next week with more lists and articles to cater to your inner otaku! Is there any engine you feel we missed out on this list? There are no doubt many... let us know which ones you think can rival the Invoked family for the number 1 spot! Our Whatsapp and Discord groups are the best places to hold this discussion!