A hand trap is an unofficial term used to describe monster effects that are activated from the hand in response to an opponent's actions. They are not actual Trap Cards in any way, but function similarly as a previously unseen card effect used to surprise or disrupt the opponent. In fact, depending on their effects they can be even more ubiquitous than actual Trap Cards, as cards in the hand tend to be less vulnerable than cards on the field. Hand traps tend to have low ATK/DEF for their Level, discouraging players from placing them on the field and encouraging them to use them for their intended purpose.

One of the first hand traps released was "Kuriboh", which could be discarded to nullify the battle damage from an attack. Hand traps first became popular during the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX era with cards such as "D.D. Crow", "Gorz the Emissary of Darkness", and "Honest", and became ubiquitous in the metagame as further hand traps such as "Effect Veiler" and "Maxx "C"" were released.

There are several categories of hand traps. Some hand traps are used to inhibit or punish an opponent, such as those listed above, while other hand traps can be used to turn the tide of battle or stop a battle altogether such as "Swift Scarecrow" and "Battle Fader". Some archetypes and series such as ""C"", "Ghostrick", "PSY-Frame", and "Nekroz" contain numerous hand traps.


1. Ignition and preventing targeting

2. In response to Monster effect or Summon

3. In response to Spell/Trap card activation

4. In response to draw or adding card to the hand

5. In response to attacks

6. During battle

7. In response to card declaration

8. In response to damage

9. In response to destruction

10. In response to banishing

Countering hand traps

  • "Debunk" can be used to stop and banish hand traps
  • "Divine Wrath" can stop any monster effect including those that are activated from the hand.
  • "Macro Cosmos" neutralizes hand traps that specifically state they need to be sent to the graveyard to activate.
  • "Maxx "C"" can backfire if the opponent spams the Special Summons, causing a loss by decking out. The opponent would also be reluctant to use it if they knew you ran a Virus Deck, or if a Virus you previously activated is still lingering.
  • "Mind Crush" and "Dragged Down into the Grave" can be used to stop certain hand traps before they can be activated.
  • "Mind Drain", to render all hand traps useless.
  • "Number 104: Masquerade" is useful against hand traps that activate during the battle phase (However, "Gorz the Emissary of Darkness" and "Ghostrick Mary" can activate its second effect each time the opponent takes 800 LP's damage).
  • "Respect Play" and "Ceremonial Bell" can see if your opponent has Hand Traps.
  • "Called by the Grave" can be used to not only stop hand traps that activate by being sent to the Graveyard, but also prevent any other effects of monsters with the same original name. As a Quick-Play Spell Card, it can potentially be activated at any time, except during the Damage Step. Note that its effect lasts until the end of the next turn, which can backfire if you have the same hand trap.

Trap Cards that activate from the Hand

Some Trap cards allow for their activation from the hand when certain conditions are met, making them similarly tricky to deal with as the monster "hand traps". Those cards are "Black Sonic", "Delta Crow - Anti Reverse", "Red Reboot", "Tachyon Transmigration", "Typhoon", "Evenly Matched", and "Infinite Impermanence".

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