Why is the “Pot of Greed” Yu-Gi-Oh card banned? The spell card’s text is simple: “Draw 2 cards”. We explain why it made it onto the Yu-Gi-Oh Forbidden list.

Why is ‘Pot of Greed’ banned?

Yu-Gi-Oh’s Forbidden list changes every year. Unofficially called “banned”, cards on the list banned from players’ Main Deck, Side Deck or Extra Deck.

The “Pot of Greed” Yu-Gi-Oh card joined the Forbidden list in 2005 – a year after the invention of the list. 

Cards usually make it onto the banned list when they are too powerful. An overpowered (OP) card spoils the mechanics of the game. Like a Chance or Community Chest that gives you unlimited cash in a game of Monopoly, OP Yu-Gi-Oh cards make the game less interesting.

This is why “Pot of Greed” is banned.

The Spell card allows the player that draws it to take two extra cards. However, this comes at no cost to the cards in their hand. Other cards that let players draw additional cards come with risks, conditions or sacrifices, as explained by Quora user Tomas Murphy.

Or, to paraphrase Stack Exchange user corsiKa: the key to making games fun is filling them with interesting decisions. The “Pot of Greed” card involves no interesting decision: if you play it, you always benefit. Therefore, it does nothing to make the game more interesting.

“Pot of Greed” is so notoriously OP (and mysterious) that it has spawned memes – and lists of memes.

When did Yu-Gi-Oh introduce the banned list?

Yu-Gi-Oh cards have always been limited, but October 2004 was the first time cards were outright forbidden from use.

The oldest records of Limited cards go back to 2003. But the Forbidden list came into effect a year later. A year after that, “Pot of Greed” was banned.

Gaming website Pojo posted a screenshot from the very first Ban List, effective from 2004, on their website. Yi-Gi-Oh’s fandom site also features an informative chart that shows how the list has evolved over time. 

Yu-Gi-Oh updates their Forbidden list regularly. Sometimes, cards travel up the ladder, from Unlimited towards Forbidden.

Sometimes, they go in the opposite direction, hopping from Forbidden to merely Limited, or to Semi-Limited, and so on.

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