Joey Wheeler is widely considered the 3rd best duelist in Yu-Gi-Oh! This is pretty impressive considering that first and second place belongs to a young man who holds the spirit of an ancient Pharoah said to be the "King of Games" and a multibillionaire that basically owns Duel Monsters. Still, despite his claim to mediocrity, he's risen from the rank of an amateur duelist to become one of the strongest players in the series.
Armed with natural talent and a bit of luck, Joey has found himself in the finals of several tournaments throughout the series. Though never the outright winner, he's had a strong showing in every major tournament he has been in. Each allowing him to display not only his talent and luck but also several strong cards in his deck.
10 Time Wizard
Time wizard may not look like much, but this freebie from his pal Yugi can make or break the game for Joey. Thankfully, he's been fortunate enough to be on the right side of Time Wizard's effect most of the time.
A Monster Card that can be played as a Spell Card in the anime, Time Wizard has a 50/50 chance of aging monsters on the battlefield to the point of destruction. The other side of the coin is that the duelist destroys his own monsters instead and takes damage up to half of their combined attack power if it doesn't go in their favor. This high-risk high-reward mechanic lands in Joey's favor more times than it has not.
9 Red-Eyes Black Dragon
If there is one card that is synonymous with Joey, it is his Red-Eyes Black Dragon. His prize for winning a duel against Rex Raptor, it starts with a strong 2400 attack points and only gets stronger thanks to its synergy with other cards.
Like how Yugi's Dark Magician is all the more powerful in his deck thanks to the various Spell, Trap, and Monster Cards that can support and strengthen it, Red-Eyes Black Dragon has a similar place in Joey's deck. Cards like Magic Metal Force can turn the Red-Eyes into a more powerful version of itself and it has many Monster Cards that can fuse with it to become a stronger version of both cards.
8 Black Skull Dragon
Technically a card that belongs to both Joey and Yugi/Atem, but we'll give it to Joey this time. This card is a perfect example of the many synergies that Red-Eyes has with other cards in the game. The dark combination of both Yugi's Summoned Skull and Joey's Red-Eyes Black Dragon, it sports a whopping 3200 hundred attack points. One of the highest in the first season of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime.
That pulls it just above the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, the Red-Eye's next best card in monster type and naming convention, in outright power. It has sent many other monsters to an early grave in several episodes of the anime.
7 Blue Flame Swordsman
Flame Swordsman's bigger and better brother. While it may hold the same attack and defense points of the Flame Swordsman, two key differences set it apart from his fiery younger brother.
First, in later episodes of the anime, Blue Flame Swordsman can be summoned without a tribute of any sort. Secondly, it is one of the best support monsters in the game. While an attack of 1800 can barely be considered strong in Duel Monsters, the fact that it can sacrifice any amount of its attack power and give it to another monster on the field makes Joey's biggest and baddest monsters all the more ferocious. As a bonus, it also summons its little brother, Flame Swordsman, when it is destroyed.
6 Sword Hunter
A monster that keeps getting stronger for every monster it kills. Starting with a respectable 2450 attack power, Sword Hunter has the special ability to turn any Monster Card it destroys into an Equipment Card that is immediately placed on it. Essentially wearing the fallen monsters as armor.
This means its max attack is limited by how many monsters it destroys. If an opponent does not have a good counter for the card, it will only get stronger and stronger until it ultimately wipes out all opposition and wins the game. One of the few cards in the series that can power up all by itself.
5 Gearfried The Swordmaster
Another monster to finish off our trifecta of sword-based monsters. "Once there was a warrior so powerful that every time he used his sword the world shook. He caused so much devastation that this swordmaster feared his own power. So, he decided to do something about it. He built a suit of iron to limit his strength and from then on he became known as Gearfried the Iron Knight." Is Gearfried the Swordmaster's story according to Joey. His story is true if you consider what Gearfried the Iron Knight can do once Release Restraint is played.
Beyond its considerable power, Gearfried the Swordmaster has an ability that makes it a threat on the dueling field. For every card equipped to Gearfried, he is allowed to destroy one monster on the opponent's side of the field. Allowing a player to clear the field and power up Gearfried at the same time if they run a deck with a lot of Equipment Cards.
4 Time Magic Hammer
During the later part of the series, the Claw of Hermos allowed you to combine it with a Monster Cards for some hilarious and game-breaking results. Time Magic Hammer is one of the results that sums up those two.
Activated when combining the Claw of Hermos with Time Wizard, this funny-looking hammer dispels every monster on the opponent's side of the field. Then rolling a six-sided die for each to determine how many turns it'll take before they come back onto the field. Potentially giving the duelist ample time to turn the game around in their favor.
Only used by Joey once in the series, it's a shame that he only owned it while being mind-controlled by Marik. It would be a welcomed addition to his regular deck (or any for that matter).
Simple in its effectiveness, Raigeki is a Spell Card that one-ups Dark Hole in the monster destruction department. Instead of destroying all Monster Cards on the field, Raigeki selectively destroys only the opponent's cards. Leaving the field open for some sweet direct attacks to the opponent's life points. At the same time, it destroys any Monster Card that may be troublesome for the duelist that used it. Overall, there isn't any downside to playing this card whenever a player has it.
2 Gilford the Lightning
It's Raigeki as a Monster Card. The cost to summon it may be high, requiring a total of three Monsters Cards as a tribute to summon Gilford the Lightning onto the field, but doing so destroys all monsters on the opponent's side of the field. Sometimes leaving Gilford the Lighting as the last monster standing to decimate the opposing duelist, and other times, taking some friends with him if all of the duelist's monsters weren't tributed to summon Gilford.
Just like Raigeki, it provides the same benefits for the summoner. It leaves the opponent's precious life points for the taking while also destroying all opposition, troublesome or otherwise.
Jinzo is one of the best cards in Joey's deck not because of its attack or defensive power but because it provides a strong supplementary ability that can decimate an opponent's strategy. Upon activation, Jinzo can negate the effect of any Trap Cards on the field. Leaving only Monster Cards and Spell Cards as an effective countermeasure against the monsters in play.
With its ability, Jinzo can almost secure the duel for any player that activates it. It turns an already strong lead in the game into a curb stomp just by existing on the field. It doesn't need to attack, it doesn't need to defend, all it needs to do is sit there to protect any monster from the ill effects of Traps Cards.