The Most Expensive Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards of All Time (That Were Never Banned)

In the game’s long history (over 15 years), Yu-Gi-Oh! has created many cards that were a ‘must have’ for collectors and top players. People have dropped hundreds, if not thousands of dollars simply to own these cards.

Some would argue this would give you an unfair advantage, simply because you could afford the card. Remember from the TV show, Kaiba and his three Blue-Eyes White Dragons? He failed to win even a single Duel against Yugi, despite his millions!

With that said, let’s crack on with a list that I hope will remind you that Yu-Gi-Oh! isn’t just a children’s card game, with eye-watering prices like these… Now where did I put my spare millions?

All of the quoted prices represent what the card has been sold for, or priced at since its release. Also we’re looking at cards that have never been banned, but may have been Limited at one stage or another. (C’mon, it’d be far too easy to have Crush Card Virus at #1 for over $500, right?)


15: Emergency Teleport : Ultimate Rare: TDGS : $90-100

This card is one of many we’ll cover from the Tele-DAD era, when a single deck would set you back thousands of dollars… I feel sorry for all those people who invested so heavily back then, now that many of those cards either got banned or reprinted many times! Sorry, guys. 😉

But hey, at least you own pieces of cardboard that at one stage used to be worth more than your car, right?


 14: Wind-Up Zenmaines : Secret Rare : PHSW : $100

The first Xyz Monster in our list that was once sold for a three figure sum, proving that the power of toolbox Xyz Monsters is paramount in the meta game. His effect of protection and destruction lead to it being the ultimate stall, or aggro Xyz of its time.

I also found it really frickin’ annoying to play against, at the time…


 13: Rescue Rabbit : Secret Rare : PHSW : $100

Another card from Photon Shockwave that broke the $100 ceiling! I remember it was a good time to be a vendor back then…

Rescue Rabbit was crucial to decks such as Dino-Rabbit and Evilswarm, and had to be run in threes. It wasn’t long before Konami decided gaining so much advantage from one card wasn’t good for the game, so it got Limited to one.


 12: Magic Formula : Secret Rare : GLAS : $115

Now I’m all for showing some love to the Dark Magician and his apprentice, the Dark Magician Girl. Who doesn’t love them? This card really doesn’t do much for them though, just increasing ATK and gaining Life Points when it goes to the grave.

So why, oh why, was this card ever at this price?! As recently as October 2014, too… I literally can’t even understand!


 11: Magical Stone Excavation : Ultra Rare : CP02 : $120

Exodia… OBLITERATE! That is exactly what comes to mind for every duelist when they were playing decks that used Magical Stone Excavation. This card would allow you to recycle your spells and combining that with Royal Magical Library, meant a near infinite number of draws.

The reason this card got so pricey was due to Champion Packs not being available for sale. They were prize support, and thus the printing and rarity of this card are what made it cost so much.


 10: Number 11: Big Eye : Secret Rare : GAOV : $150

Dragon Ruler format! I really do not need to say much more than that to explain why this card was so expensive. You would want 2 or 3 of these in your extra deck, especially in the mirror match where stealing your opponent’s Big Eye made for humorous shenanigans. The OCG had the sense to limit it to 1 at one stage, yet it has remained untouched in the TCG.

Also, who the heck named this thing Big Eye, anyway? What is it even supposed to be!?


 9: Pot of Duality : Secret Rare : DREV : $150

The green-colored booster packs always seem to be able to change a format. Duelist Genesis was no different, introducing one of the best pseudo-draw cards in the game, and one of my all time favs, too. Revealing 3 cards from the deck and choosing one to add to the hand is just so juicy.

Running three in a deck was crucial for consistency, so at the time, with that came short supply and a hefty price tag.


 8: Nekroz of Brionac : Secret Rare : THSF : $150

Nekroz is still (at the time of writing) the most powerful deck of the current format. Its ability to play from the hand, field, and graveyard with immense levels of recovery make it one of the most formidable decks ever.

Brionac is the main searcher of the deck, allowing you to search out any Nekroz Monster you desire. This then translates to ‘search anything Nekroz’ when you consider that the deck contains 2 more searchers – a.k.a. “get any card you want from your deck, forever, for free!” Ugh…


 7: Necroface : Secret Rare : GLAS : $200

There is only one reason this card ever reached this price — the Necroface OTK (one turn kill). At face value, the card didn’t look like it would do much damage on its own. Banish a bunch of cards, then summon it, and you’d have a massive beater on your hands. There was more to the deck that just that, but you would need multiple copies of this guy to make the deck work. Now Limited, he can no longer do the damage he was once able to do.

But seriously… it’s a freaky floating zombie baby doll’s head with tentacles? If there was ever any question about the Japanese being are crazy…


 6: Gladiator Beast Heraklinos : Secret Rare : GLAS : $200

You may find this card to be just as strange an entry as Necroface. However, at its launch this card did indeed command this price. It was the go-to boss Monster for Gladiator Beast decks and you needed more than one.

Adding to the insane price was the fact that the Gladiators’ Assault set had 14 different Secret Rare cards (yes, that’s insane), which made this one hard card to pull. This sent the card prices spiraling once again. Ouch.


 5: Tour Guide from the Underworld : Secret Rare : EXVC : $200+

This girl wasn’t really looked at, at first… (Hilarious now, right? Looking at you, Burning Abyss players!) Not until the advent of the Xyz Monsters did Tour Guide get her well-deserved popularity.

I remember when the Wind-Ups and Inzektors were the top-tier decks. You would have to run 3 of this harmless looking lady for instant Rank 3 plays that lead to emptying your opponent’s hand. From “harmless” to “must have” — no wonder her price skyrocketed…!


 4: Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack : Secret Rare : LTGY : $200-250+

I feel sick just looking at one of these. The torment they used to cause me on the field… Just endlessly annoying!

This was another crucial card during the Dragon Ruler format. You would preferably want three of these for your Extra Deck. This made the Extra Deck from the Dragon Ruler format one of the most expensive Extra Decks of all time. This has never even been Limited or Semi-Limited, either, which is kind of shocking.


 3: Mechanicalchaser : Ultra Rare : TP1 : $250

What?! A vanilla Monster on this list? How in the world…?! The only vanilla Monster card on this list, for a damned good reason, too. Let’s find out why.

Tournament Packs were the first prize support ever given at events. They would contain a few cards and you were never guaranteed any rarity, so managing to pull a Mechanicalchaser was almost a miracle. The card was used at competitive play and was desired by every collector out there — hence entering the most expensive cards hall of fame.


 2: Judgment Dragon : Secret Rare : LODT : $250

Ahhh… my beloved JD. The Lightsworn deck, at its height, was one of the most expensive decks of all time. Not only did you need three Judgment Dragons, but you also needed three of a lot of other cards priced anywhere from $50-100 each. Lots of you nicknamed it ‘Lucksworns’ due to the amount of luck needed when cards are milled from the deck to the graveyard.

Judgment Dragon remains, to this day, one of the best boss Monsters who is capable of mass destruction, along with a hefty 3000 ATK. No wonder this guy was super expensive!


Drum roll! Before we get to the #1 spot, we should probably go through some honorable mentions, as is customary with our countdown lists.

There have been a number of cards that have come close to hitting $100, but didn’t quite get there. In no particular order: Nekroz of Valkyrus ($70-90), Maxx “C” ($80), Il Blud ($80+), Honest ($90+), and Charge of the Light Brigade ($90+).

And all for good reason, too. Awesome cards!


 1: Dark Armed Dragon : Secret Rare : PTDN : $300+

Holy crap. They broke the $300 mark with this one. No deck in the history of the game can even come close to the price tag of the Tele-DAD deck. Of course, the DAD stands for Dark Armed Dragon, a card you would run three of. In addition to this, there were many other expensive cards in the deck.

Everybody and their dog wanted to play Tele-DAD, but many didn’t have the funds to do so. The card has seen some ban list action, with being Limited to one currently, and for very good reason. Graveyard manipulation is so easy these days, it would be very easy to drop three of these in one turn without breaking a sweat.

But still, $300+ for a piece of cardboard? You’d have to be insane… right? … I guess we were.

Final Thoughts

So there we have it, a top-15 of the most expensive cards that were never banned, for a little over a decade and a half. All these shiny pieces of cardboard set us back ludicrous amounts of money, yet we were all so willing to pay these prices in order to have that competitive edge. That’s what drove the prices up in the first place!

At least a few of them have managed to retain some of their peak value, whilst others have fallen off a cliff… something that I feel like doing when I realize how much I’ve spent on Yu-Gi-Oh! over the years, really!

There will always be cards that we will spend a small fortune to own, but hopefully not on this scale ever again… Or perhaps there will be, so I’ll see you all back here for a re-write in a few years, I guess!

What cards have you owned on this list? How much did you pay for them back then and do you regret it? Or perhaps you were lucky enough to pull them from packs? Either way, I’d love to hear from your opinions on this. Let us know in the comments below!

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Chris Lucas
Author: Chris Lucas View all posts by
Chris is an experienced card game player, specializing in Yu-Gi-Oh!. He is an official Konami Event Organizer and Judge. He also runs an online store selling Yu-Gi-Oh! and other card game products. Chris enjoys studying the meta-game and coming up with efficient deck strategies.

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