|Japanese (base text)||
Ritual Monsters (Japanese:
Ritual Monsters are Special Summon-only monsters. This means that they cannot be Special Summoned from the hand or Deck except by Ritual Summon and the card "Ritual Foregone", and cannot be Special Summoned from the Graveyard or while banished unless they were first Ritual Summoned (even with a card like "Fulfillment of the Contract").
In some ways, Level 5 or higher Ritual Monsters are easier to Summon than Normal or Effect Monsters of the same Level, since their Tributes do not need to be on the field. However, they do require a number of specific cards to be in the hand at once, which can be quite difficult to achieve. Some Ritual Spell Cards such as "Advanced Ritual Art" can ameliorate this by using monsters from the Main Deck instead, as opposed to using monsters from your hand and/or side of the field. Cards such as "Preparation of Rites" and "Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands" help the player to assemble the necessary components for a Ritual Summon, while cards such as "Ascending Soul" and "Ritual Buster" help alleviate the costs of Ritual Summoning. The "Djinn of Rituals" monsters can serve dual purposes, as they make the Ritual Spell Card's monster requirement easier to fulfill by banishing themselves from the Graveyard, as well as granting an additional effect when used for the Ritual Summon of a Ritual Monster.
Because Ritual Monsters are not stored in the Extra Deck, it is usually necessary to have the Ritual Monster card and its corresponding Ritual Spell Card in the hand before that monster can be Ritual Summoned. As a result, Decks focused on Ritual Summoning tend include ways to search Ritual Monsters and Ritual Spell Cards.
Some modern Ritual Monsters have effects which can be activated by discarding them from the hand, allowing them to function even when they cannot be Ritual Summoned. Modern Ritual Spell Cards often either allow Ritual Summoning from a location other than the hand (such as the Graveyard) or allow using monsters to meet the requirement from locations other than the player's hand or field.
Monsters that support Ritual Summoning can have effects including being treated as the entire requirement for a Ritual Summon, activating or applying their effects when used for a Ritual Summon, or granting an effect to the Ritual Summoned monster.
Ritual-reliant Decks benefit the most from having multiple copies of Ritual Spell Cards and Ritual Monsters, as the chances of drawing both the Ritual Spell and the Ritual Monster increases greatly. Ritual Summoning can cost the player a large number of cards from their hand or field, so ways to generate hand advantage and recycle Ritual Spell Cards are also important.
In the anime
Ritual Monsters have never been one of the major mechanics in the anime.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Ritual Monsters rarely appeared; Fusion Monsters were more prominently associated with the series. Alexis Rhodes used the first Ritual Monster-focused archetype; "Cyber Angel". Bastion Misawa, Titan, and Kaibaman all used a Ritual Monster.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, Ritual Summons were the first of the non-Link Summon Special Summoning methods to be reintroduced in the anime, with Yusaku Fujiki and Theodore Hamilton using one Ritual Monster each, and Ai later using one of his own.
- Ritual Monsters have the fewest number of anti-support cards of all monster card types, with only 8 cards specifically designed to stop them: "Brutal Beast Battle", "Dimensional Barrier", "Inspector Boarder", "Invincibility Barrier", "Ritual Buster", "Ritual Sealing", "Sophia, Goddess of Rebirth", "Steelswarm Sting".
- "Shinobaron Peacock" and "Shinobaroness Peacock" are the first (and currently only) Ritual Monsters to have an ability: they are Spirit monsters.
- "Drytron Meteonis Draconids", "Drytron Meteonis Quadrantids", and "Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon" are tied for having the highest ATK of all Ritual monsters.