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.
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.
Ignition and preventing targeting
In response to Monster effect or Summon
In response to draw or adding card to the hand
In response to attacks
- Battle Fader
- Battlin' Boxer Veil
- Ghostrick Jackfrost
- Ghostrick Lantern
- Nekroz of Valkyrus
- Rainbow Kuriboh
- Sphere Kuriboh
- Swift Scarecrow
- Swordsman of Revealing Light
- Blackwing - Kalut the Moon Shadow
- Bujingi Crane
- Elemental HERO Honest Neos
- Nekroz of Decisive Armor
- Score the Melodious Diva
- Zoodiac Whiptail
In response to damage
In response to destruction
- Astrograph Sorcerer
- Chronograph Sorcerer
- Deep-Eyes White Dragon
- Divine Serpent Geh
- Ghostrick Specter
- Malefic Truth Dragon
- Red-Eyes Retro Dragon
- Triamid Sphinx
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.
- "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" can see if your opponent has Hand Traps.
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", "Tachyon Transmigration", and "Typhoon".