The rules for Yata Garasu are as follows:

Cannot be special summoned. This card returns to the owner's hand at the end of the turn in which it was normal or flip summoned. When this card does damage to your opponent's life points, they skip their next draw phase.

I would agree that Yata Garasu's ability to stop you from drawing is OP. But however there are a couple things that make me question it. 1. It cannot be special summoned. 2. It only has 200 ATK. It's so weak even a puny Kuriboh is strong enough to destroy it.

So with these being the case, what got this card banned?

  • 1
    Note that the card going back to the player's hand is a benefit in a card like this, it requires the opponent to have answers they can use when it's not their turn, limiting just what answers exist for the card. Once the first hit works, it's just replay and repeat, not being able to special out yata doesn't prevent you from doing other specials while replaying yata every turn to lock the opponent.
    – Andrew
    Dec 29, 2017 at 16:08
  • 2
    hmm. You've got a point there. Spirit decks are great, but they do have one problem: since their monsters return to the hand at the end of the turn, unless they have an answer, that could cost them the duel. I mean 1 attack from my Dark Matter Dragon is enough to wipe out half their life points. Or from my Blue Eyes, that's enough to take a big bite out of their life points. Dec 30, 2017 at 7:11

3 Answers 3


(Caveat: I am not at all an experienced YGO player.)

Don't think of it as a single card. Think of what the card does as part of an entire deck with a clear gameplan.

A bit of research shows that the original 2004 banning was because of a combo that would strip both players' hand and field, then break symmetry by allowing you to search up Yata-Garasu. At which point you've got a hard lock they can't break out of, since you're denying them the draw every turn.

Okay, whatever, that's just one deck, right?

But, more generally, what happens when you play Yata-Garasu? It means your opponent needs an answer for it right now or they will never be able to answer it (since it'll just keep eating their draw phase). The card's tiny stats just put some conditions on the lock, but "kill your opponent's stuff" isn't exactly a big deviation from what a good deck wants to do anyway.

It's not a card that will steal the game single-handedly, but it's very, very good at closing the door on an opponent's chance for a comeback. That makes it a ban-list contender, especially as part of a dominant deck. A secondary concern that may have also influenced the decision is the "feel-bad factor:" the rational response to a hard lock is to scoop rather than play out being pecked to death, but it feels much more like surrender than losing the game normally does.

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    +1 The fact that they need an answer right now is a huge reason this is overpowered. While the Yata-Lock guarantees that they won’t have an answer, there are other situations where a player can throw out Yata-Garasu, and if the opponent has no counter in their hand or field, that’s the game. It’s a simpler game over than Exodia. Dec 27, 2017 at 16:41
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    Another way to think of a Yata-Lock is that if the opponent doesn't have an immediate way to block its damage, you essentially get "infinite" draws in the shortcut of Summon Yata > Attack > End Turn, making it trivial to set up any and every other win condition, especially in the Pendulum Summon era. Konami has cracked down on cards that give nearly-free and/or splashable draw power (see: Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity), and the fact that this one card could draw your entire deck with setup that any deck could perform puts this card into that category easily. Dec 28, 2017 at 3:48
  • Correct, the main fact was of its lockdown, as you would bleed your opponen to death slowly, 200 LP each time.
    – DarkCygnus
    Jan 4, 2018 at 16:05

The combo that got it banned was sangan/witch of the black forest, and "Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End".

You nuked everyone's field and hand with Chaos Emperor Dragon, but since Sangan or Witch of the black forest was on your field at the time, you could use it's effect to get yata-garasu into your hand. where you would then summon and attack with it, depriving your hand and boardless opponent of their normal draw. While pecking them to death, you get to keep drawing until you get something that can OTK them, and that they have no answer for.

At the time it was banned, there were very few cards that you could activate from the graveyard, if any at all, so there was very little way to break the lock, and many of the countermeasures to setting it up didn't exist either.

Most of the easy tricks to get the bird out and wipe the board have been stopped now with eratta. Specificaly, Chaos Enperer dragon, sangan, and witch of the black forest have all been erattaed. So it seems that it wold no longer be worthy of a ban.

But it's a card that prevents your opponent from getting answers. and that's what make it broken. IF it gets through, it's because your opponent doesn't have an answer. If your opponent doesn't have an answer, he can't draw one. If the opponent also has no threats on the board or in hand, that's game. Lockdowns are not fun to face. They are worse than an OTK, because with a OTK at least the game is over. Other locks exist that are nearly impossible to escape as well, but they only get banned if they are too easy to set up. The cards used for them also nearly always have use outside the lock.

Yata-garasu's sole purpose is to prevent people from answering your threats. It's worthless when it's not doing this. It's only good as part of a lock. That's why, even though it's not nearly as easy to get the full lock anymore, it's still banned, and will forever be so.


I played this way back when this card was first released. This tech card was pretty much a staple in standard decks. Think of it this way you have 2-3 cards in your hand. Your opponent as well but has Yata. If at some point your opponent is able to clear your board of monsters which was easy using traps like hole or even just attacking into your monster he can then summon yata hit you and you can't draw. Since the card goes back to your opponent's hands you can't kill yata either. Now you have 1-2 cards left in your hand you play it and if they are able to kill that hit with yata again you can't draw eventually you will run out of cards in your hand. Then a chain effect happens where he just pecks you for 200 dmg every turn and you can't do anything about it since you can't draw. Typically this was a game winner and if drawn with some simple board clears they will forefit as soon as they see the card on the board. For another interesting combo decks that were banned as soon as people played it in tournaments check out catapult turtle + magical scientist.

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