Assemble your favorite cards into a Deck that follows these rules:

  • The Deck must be 40 to 60 cards.
  • You can only have up to 3 copies of the same card in your Deck, Extra Deck and Side Deck combined.

Also, some cards are...

Yugioh Rulebook, Pg2 , emphasis mine.

In YGO, I (and most people) normally have 40 cards in their decks. This is because I'd have more chances of drawing the card they want on their next turn. Therefore, why would I want any more?

  • Is there a reason you mention 60 specifically, instead of just "more than 40"? Is that related to the Yu-Gi-Oh rules?
    – GendoIkari
    Mar 12, 2018 at 16:23
  • Related (though I would expect completely different answers): boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/179/…
    – GendoIkari
    Mar 12, 2018 at 16:24
  • @GendoIkari , definitely not a duplicate, and also, good point. Lemme change that now
    – Xetrov
    Mar 12, 2018 at 16:33
  • 1
    @GendoIkari If I am not mistaken YGH has a minimum of 40 and a maximum of 60 deck size wise, so they mention the upper limit.
    – Andrew
    Mar 12, 2018 at 16:50
  • 2
    @GendoIkari Yu-Gi-Oh! originally had an unlimited deck size (see Why did Yu-Gi-Oh! change from an unlimited deck size to a 60 card maximum deck size?). The story goes that somebody brought a deck to a tournament with around 2000 cards and as many cards as possible that caused reshuffling. Since they weren't doing anything illegal, Konami instituted a maximum deck size to prevent repeats of this. Mar 14, 2018 at 4:03

8 Answers 8


Decks relying on "That Grass Looks Greener" want much more than 40 cards

One deck archetype that wants to have more than 40 cards are "lawnmower" decks, named after the key card That Grass Looks Greener.

If you have more cards in your Deck than your opponent does: Send cards from the top of your Deck to the Graveyard so you have the same number of cards in the Deck as your opponent.

So if you have a 60 card deck and you play against an opponent that has a 40 card deck, you can expect to send around 20 cards to the graveyard. If your deck relies on archetypes that benefit from having cards in your graveyard (e.g. Zombie, Lightsworn, Infernoid), then that can put you at a huge advantage.

According to this Reddit post, decks based around "That Grass Looks Greener" (and decks designed to counter it by having 60 cards) were popular from February to May 2017 to the point where a number of top-level decks were 60 cards. Konami made the card Limited in the TCG to discourage this (although it's still Unlimited in the OCG). However, a lot of people seem to view it as a fad deck that would have lost its appeal over time even without a ban.


The only thing I can think of potentially wanting more cards, off the top of my head, is lightsworn. Since that archetype is a self mill, more cards in deck lessens the chance of decking yourself out. I don't think this is a really good reason personally, the idea of the deck is high speed for the high potential cost, and more cards will slow it down, but it is the only thing I can think of that would make you want such a big deck.


Some people run more than 40 simply for fun. Casual players may not mind more cards in their decks or sometimes because it's more difficult to play with more cards, some players actually do it for the challege.


I think the other answer have valid points; I would like to condense those with my point of view.

Therefore, why would I want any more?

If you are playing competitively, you don't. That is, if you are planning to participate on tournaments or other form of official competition having 40 cards is the best you can have. This is because, as you already noticed, you have higher chances of pulling out the cards you need.

We can see that 1/40 = 0.025, while 1/60 = 0.01666, so definitely you have better chances if you keep your deck as lean as possible. And beyond the fact that you have higher chances of pulling any card, you also have higher chances of pulling the card you actually need the moment you need it (like that Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy that nasty Vanity's Emptiness). Having more than 40 cards only reduces the chances of pulling the one needed, and can make your deck run much slower... well, unless you believe in the Heart of Cards like the Pharaoh did, lol.

Evidence that back this up is the fact that most competitive decks focus on a 40-card build (and if they could use less I am sure they would). It is true that some competitive decks have used more cards; there are cases where some decks ran on a aprox. 42-card build.

There was even one case of a Mermail build that had 53 cards (and even won a YCS), and it worked mainly because of the hability to search themselves that Mermail decks have (mostly because Atlantean Dragoons). But still, this was in 2013 where the rulings and format was way different (slower), and even though it won a YCS I think it was not a brilliant idea to include 53 cards in it (I mean, it's not like we are playing Commander in MTG).

So, it seems clear that it is better to have 40 cards in your deck whenever possible. I would like to complement this with another trend that happened in YGO a while ago.

Meet Upstart Goblin:

Draw 1 card, then your opponent gains 1000 Life Points.

I am sure we have all seen this card at some point, and wondered "Whoa, why would I give my Opponent 1000 LP just for one card"... Well we think this now because LP have become more than just a metric in the game, and have become a resource (several cards require LP as cost for activation, like Soul Charge, and others).

So with this in mind 1000 LP for one card means 1000 extra LP your opponent can spend for an extra monster with Soul Charge... not so great bargain now isn't it?

However, in the past, when LP were not as resourceful as they are now, one could see the benefit on giving "just" 1000 LP to your opponent for a card that could well make him lose more than 1000 LP. This is sometimes referred as the Upstart Theory.

This goes beyond the fact that LP's were not as useful as they are now. If we do our math again, if we include 3 copies of Upstart Goblin we are technically making our deck a 37-card build. Again, 1/37 = 0.027027 which gives us greater chances than before of pulling the card we seek. In competitive games, a simple 0.002 difference can be the decisive factor between winning and losing.

We can see the tactical power Upstart Goblin can have in a deck. That was one of the main reasons why the card got limited to 1 copy. If we go a bit further, we can understand also why cards like Pot of Greed and Graceful Charity are forbidden, as they drastically changed the probability ratios of deck builds.

tl;dr: You don't want more than 40 cards in your deck if you plan to play competitively. If it were possible to have less than 40 cards it would be even more recommended.

Now, if you don't mind about competitive play, feel free to include as many cards as you want up to 60, but expect a slower gameplay and more dead-draws.

  • 38 card; those three copies simply condense into 1, they don't just vanish. Also, it is again that you have a brilliant answer, but the only problem is, you've gone into parts which doesn't answer my question. Note the "So, it seems clear that it is better to have 4..." part
    – Xetrov
    Mar 14, 2018 at 16:22
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    @VortexYT No he's right at 37, the cards have a 0 card count value to the deck since they immediately replace themselves. Even if you draw all three in a row turn draws first, first draws the second, second draws the third, third draws a real card, meaning 4 cards were removed from the deck.
    – Andrew
    Mar 14, 2018 at 17:05
  • @Andrew that would be 36?
    – Xetrov
    Mar 14, 2018 at 17:10
  • And also, the point is having three copies of a card in the deck boosts chances of drawing it. Very useful in FTKs
    – Xetrov
    Mar 14, 2018 at 17:11
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    @VortexYT The three copies of upstart are not counted, the card that replaces the upstarts are. in the example it's upstart, upstart, upstart, card, your draw for turn is effectively the last card, with the three upstarts being non cards as far as deck size is concerned.
    – Andrew
    Mar 14, 2018 at 17:29

Usually you want to play 40 cards, but there are exceptions where playing more than 40 can actually boost how consistent and powerful your deck is

Contrary to popular theory, there are cases where it makes sense to run more than 40 cards in your deck in competitive Yu-Gi-Oh, even outside of decks utilizing That Grass Looks Greener, as a previous answer brought up. Perhaps the best example in recent memory is Orcust utilizing the card Knightmare Mermaid (which is now banned).

Knightmare Mermaid can be made using Knightmare Pheonix (as well as other "Knightmare" monster), which is a Link monster that requires any two monsters with different names to summon. The notorious "Full Orcust combo" ended on vicious boards that could disrupt your opponent, but also beat them in the long game by recurring it's own resources. Orcust was incredibly successful in 2019, achieving solid tier 1 status in multiple formats of tournament play.

Getting back to the question, why play more than 40 cards? Well, in something like Orcust with Knightmare Mermaid, you can perform your entire combo with any 2 monsters on field. With such a generic starting card that you don't have to draw, you can afford to flood your deck with staple cards to combat other good decks and cards that special summon themselves to the field to perform and extend the combo.

Having more than 40 cards reduces the chance you draw crucial cards you need in deck to do your combo, like Orcust Knightmare, which usually should be special summoned from deck by Knightmare Mermaid. Drawing it is no good and might stop your combo, so playing 50 or more cards was very common for this strategy at different points. This is especially true if you played other cards that "you don't want to draw", like certain "Phantom Knights" and "Phantom Knights" support cards, which were used in Orcust and were search targets for The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche (also now banned).

Here is a sample Orcust decklist from May of 2019 that finished 1st at the National Championship in Argentina. I'm sure many other examples can be found; I used to play against this deck in local tournaments constantly during that summer.

TL,DR: It can be good to play more than 40 in a combo deck that has numerous cards you don't want to draw, and a relatively generic extradeck monster that starts your combo.


Some decks may want more than 40 because it relies on special summoning from the deck or searching the deck for specific cards. I play a Noble Knight deck and I put in 60 cards because it doesn't matter what the chance of getting specific cards is when I can just search for the card I want. I also play a level deck for fun and it is hard to fit all the things needed for such a thing in 40 cards, so instead I play 60.

  • I don't know the archetype, how do you search your deck for the card you want? I would guess you need to get specific cards first to enable your searching engine, and less cards would get you that engine more reliably, wouldn't it?
    – Andrew
    Feb 19, 2019 at 15:44
  • Ah, I should explain. The Noble Knights send many cards from the deck to the grave (especially the noble arms). After they are then in the grave, effects are used to bring them back. There are also a few search cards. Cards that do as I described include the Noble Knights of the Round Table, Isolde Two tales of the Noble Knights, Noble Knight Bedwyr, Heritage of the Chalice, and Glory of the Noble Knights.
    – Hi there
    Feb 26, 2019 at 1:10

I always build 60 card decks when I have 3 copies of everything and all of it is powerful. If the deck has consistency, that's all that really matters. My friends and I build cheater decks where we disobey the card limits/bans and put like 3 Harpie's Feather Dusters in it and stuff like that. We make those 60 card decks. Personally, for competitive purposes, I don't judge the deck on the number of cards, I judge it in it's ability to bend the laws of probability with card effects.

  • The "ability to bend the laws of probability with card effects" depends pretty heavily on the existing probability you start with - and that comes pretty directly out of the size of the deck. Assuming 3 of every card (except one) in a deck you have a starting 3/40 or ~8% chance of each draw being a copy that card, in 60 cards that's now 3/60 or a 5% chance.
    – Andrew
    Sep 28, 2021 at 18:00

In most cases you want 40-45 cards in the main deck but a select few decks are strongest if they have 60 cards a good example Noble/infernoble knights are best when you have 60 cards rather than 40 because most their spells are equips, and most of them have abilities that summon more noble knights from the deck, it so easy to get the monsters you want and the spell and traps you want when you run noble knights. Decks like that are best with 60 than 40

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