As this is an unofficial rulebook, do not refer to this as an official source, rather, use official Ruling statements made by Konami, penalty guidelines, the Yu-Gi-Oh tournament policies, TCG tournament polices, official rulebook
- Link Monsters, Extra Monster Zone and more! The new era of YGO is here, so a lot of sections have been updated to reflect that, as well as a whole new section called "21: Link Monsters", as well a new sub-section called "3.3.11: Link Monsters" (not a full overview, see "21: Link Monsters" for that). Sections that have been updated include "4: Playing Field & Gamemat" for the new field related changes, "20: Pendulum Monsters" for changes regarding Pendulum Monsters with the new field and Extra Monster Zone rules, and also some other smaller changes here and there, such as updating images and what not. Also, I have removed the OCG only section, as everything in there is either already part of the TCG or outdated, so it isn't necessary anymore. (21/07/17)
- Updated the "21: Link Monsters" section with some news regarding Extra Links, as well as some other minor changes. (25/08/17)
1.1 Welcome to my rulebook:
Welcome to the unofficial Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game Rulebook!
This rulebook will explain various contents, from the basics to the more advanced stuff, and is set up in groups about each topic.
The rulebook does NOT expect you to know how to the play the game, and teaches you everything you need to know, or at least as much as I have the sanity to write, after all I’m only human, ha ha.
1.2 What to keep in mind:
The rulebook is not ever really going to be “finished”, which means that any time new content is added, I will notify, as well as any important updates, minor updates such as name changes, errata changes, typos etc. will not be mentioned, unless it is deemed necessary. Be sure to notify me if you find any flaws.
As said above, this is not an official source, which means that I might be wrong in a few instances, so be sure to do research yourself if you are not 100% sure about if what I'm saying is correct or not.
The rulebook will be based mostly around TCG, though if there is a difference I wish to point out, I will state that.
There is also no need to read everything at once, as it can take one out easily to read so much information, especially if you’re new.
Also, any questions or suggestions are very welcome, I, and hopefully others when the time for me is limited, will attempt to help you as quickly as possible, and hopefully explain it to a way you will understand, as it is not always that everybody understands thing equally.
Below you will see a list of all the contents in this rulebook. The green are the general content, which you can see the spoilers. The blue is the subsections to each of these, which are to make it easier to keep track of where you left off.
2.2 Contents and Subsections:
1.1 Welcome to my rulebook
1.2 What to keep in mind
2.2 Contents and Subsections
3. Good to Know Before Starting:
3.2 TCG and OCG differences
3.1. Getting Started: Deck Building:
3.1.1 Deck Sizes
3.1.2 Card Copy Amount
3.1.3 Forbidden/Limited List
3.2. Getting Started: Additional Items:
3.2.1 Additional In-game Items
3.2.2 Other useful non-In-game items
3.3. Getting Started: Card Overview:
3.3.2 Normal Monsters
3.3.3 General Monster Overview
3.3.4 Effect Monsters
3.3.5 Ritual Monsters
3.3.6 Fusion Monsters
3.3.7 Synchro Monsters
3.3.8 Xyz Monsters
3.3.9 Pendulum Monsters
3.3.11 Link Monsters
3.3.12 Normal Spells
3.3.13 General Spell Overview
3.3.13 Quick-Play Spells
3.3.14 Equip Spells
3.3.15 Continuous Spells
3.3.16 Field Spells
3.3.17 Ritual Spells
3.3.18 Normal Traps
3.3.19 General Trap Overview
3.3.20 Continuous Traps
3.3.21 Counter Traps
4. Playing Field & Gamemat:
4.2 Gamemat - Bottom
4.3 Gamemat - Middle/Top
4.4 About moving cards
5.1 Phase Overview
5.2 Draw Phase
5.3 Standby Phase
5.4 Main Phase 1
5.5 Battle Phase
5.6 Main Phase 2
5.7 End Phase
6. More About Monsters & Archetypes:
6.1 Normal Summon/Set and Tribute Summoning
6.2 Changing Battle Positions
6.3 Special Summons
6.4 Monsters with ? ATK/DEF
6.7 Gemini monsters
6.8 Spirit monsters
6.9 Toon monsters
6.10 Tuner monsters
6.11 Union monsters
6.12 Flip monsters
6.13 Token monsters
6.14 Trap monsters
7. Different Effect Types, Spell Speed & When...you can VS If...you can:
7.2 Spell Speed
7.3 Spell Speed 1
7.4 Spell Speed 2
7.5 Spell Speed 3/Counter Traps
7.6 Ignition Effects
7.7 Trigger Effects &
7.8 Trigger Effects
7.9 Flip Effects
7.10 Quick Effects
7.11 Continuous Effects
7.12 Effects that linger
7.13 Unclassified/Maintenance Cost/Conditions
8. Chains & SEGOC:
8.2 How Chains Work
9. Open and Closed Game State and Fast Effect Timing:
9.1 Open and Closed Game State
9.2 Fast Effect Timing
10. Breakdown of the Battle Phase:
10.2 Start Step
10.3 Battle Step
10.4 Before the Damage Step/After Attack Declaration
10.5 Damage Step
10.6 Start of the Damage Step
10.7 Before Damage Calculation
10.8 Damage Calculation
10.9 After Damage Calculation
10.10 End of the Damage Step
10.11 End Step
11. Breakdown of the End Phase:
11.1 The End Phase Explained
11.2 Hand Size Limit
12. How “Once Per Turn” Effects Work & Negating Effects and Activations:
12.2 Once per turn effects:
12.3 Only...once per turn effects and negations
13. Extra Normal Summons:
13.2 Increasing Normal Summons
13.3 Additional Normal Summons
13.4 Normal Summons by effect
14. More About Summons:
14.1 Special Summon only monsters
14.2: Extra Deck and Ritual Monsters
14.3 Special Summon through effect
14.4 Special Summon through game mechanics
14.5 Summons immediately after an effect resolves
15. Problem Solving Card Text, Targeting and Conjunctions:
15.1 PSCT Introduction
15.2 Colons and Semi-colons, reading card texts
16. ATK/DEF Modifiers:
16.2 Continuously Applied Modifications
16.3 Applied via effects that linger
16.4 Original and Current ATK/DEF values
16.5 Lingering addition/subtraction vs. non-freezing value, affecting current ATK
16.6 Lingering addition/subtraction vs. freezing value, affecting current ATK
16.7 Continuous addition/subtraction vs. non-freezing value, affecting current ATK
16.8 Continuous addition/subtraction vs. freezing value, affecting current ATK
16.9 Finding Current ATK from modified Original ATK
17. Negating a Summon VS Responding to a Summon:
17.1 Negating a Summon
17.2 Responding to a Summon
18. Start of the Duel and Matches:
18.1 Before Starting the Duel
18.2 First Turn Rules
18.3 Side Deck and Matches
19. Victory Conditions:
19.1 Ways to win/lose/DRAW a Duel
19.2 Alternate win conditions
19.3 Exodia the Forbidden One
19.4 Vennominaga the Deity of Poisonous Snakes
19.5 Exodius the Ultimate Forbidden Lord
19.6 The Creator of Light, Horakhty
19.7 Number 88: Gimmick Puppet of Leo
19.8 Match Winners
20. Pendulum Monsters:
20.2 The Mechanics
20.3 Pendulum Normal Monsters
20.4 Xyz Pendulum Monsters
20.5 Additional Rules and Specific Rulings
21. Link Monsters:
20.2 The Mechanics
20.3 Extra Monster Zone and Extra Link
20.4 Additional Rules and Specific Rulings
Before we start, I want it to be clear that covering everything is not possible. I cannot give you every single Ruling out there. This is why that you should always look around to find out.
Don't be afraid to ask, though most of the time, you can find out by simply searching around for long enough, and if you know about the basics, it shouldn't be too much of a worry regardless. yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Card_Rulings:card_name_here is your friend as well.
Also, you can check out a bunch of random Rulings and articles here:
3.2 TCG and OCG differences:
You might see me talking about the TCG and the OCG. The TCG is the game the west plays, and it has a few different rules than the OCG, which is the game Japan (and other parts of Asia) plays. You most likely play the TCG NA though, since that's what Dueling Network uses, which is what most of these Rulings are following.
3.1.1 Deck Sizes:
Before you even consider starting a duel with somebody, it’s very important to know the basics of Deck building. The first thing you need to know is that your Deck must always have at least be 40 cards, and at the highest have 60 cards. In casual duels, you can decide to change this to any number you like, though official duels are always like this.
Then there’s your Extra Deck, previously known as Fusion Deck. This is where you store certain kinds of monsters called Fusion Monsters, Synchro Monsters, Xyz Monsters. More about those later though. What you need to know at the moment is that you are allowed up to 15 in here. You don’t need any at all, you can have 0, 3 or 11 if you would like, but 16 and more is not allowed, except in the case of Pendulum Monsters, but more about that later.
Then there’s your Side Deck. You can have from 0 to 15 cards in your Side Deck, which after a duel in a Match, you can decide to swap with your cards in your Deck or Extra Deck. Remember to put your Side Deck cards back into the Side Deck after the Match is finished, as that can be considered cheating in tournaments. You are only allowed to have a total of up to 3 in your Side Deck and Main Deck/Extra Deck, more about that below.
3.1.2 Card Copy Amount:
You can have 3 copies of the same card in your Deck, though some cards which have a condition making it the same card as another card, you can only have one of, such as Harpie Lady 1. Note that certain cards which are the same name under certain conditions, such as Proto-Cyber Dragon are different and that you may still include 3 copies of each. Again, in casual duels, you can decide to change this to any number you like, though official duels are always like this.
3.1.3 Forbidden/Limited List:
Another thing is that if you’re playing tournaments and such, you need to adjust your Deck to the current Forbidden/Limited List.
What this means is that certain cards which turned out to be really powerful, make insane OTKs and FTKs (One Turn Kill and First Turn Kill, which means that you win during your first turn, or you pull off an insane combo during one turn) and that you are only allowed a certain number of.
Unlimited means you can have 3. Semi-Limited means you can only have 2. Limited means you can have 1. Forbidden means you may not have any at all. You can find those by clicking here.
3.2.1 Additional In-game Items
Besides cards, there are also other items that you will need. Firstly, these are things that you use when playing, then other items.
First we have the counters. Counters are something you put on cards on the field for certain effects. There are various different counters. You can use anything from a small coin to a paperclip. Dice are also used, where the number represents the number of counters. You can also use counters for other things, such as keeping track of mandatory effects that end at a certain point. Not to be confused with Counter Traps.
Tokens. These are a certain kind of monsters which are not actually in your Deck, Extra Deck or Side Deck. You pull these out when an effect Special Summons them. You can use anything you like as a proxy for the card, like a coin, but there are also actual cards that represent the Tokens. More about Tokens later though.
Dice and coins are also important, for any card that features a form of chance, such as Sixth Sense or Cup of Ace. You can also use dice or coins for cards that want you to pick a random card, for instance, place all your cards in your hand face-down, assign numbers to each card, roll a die, then pick the one which has the number on it.
3.2.2 Other useful non-In-game items
First we have the calculator. Some cards require you to subtract and add high numbers, so use one for the sake of speed and accuracy.
You might also need a pen and paper for the sake of keeping track of Life Points (LP), mandatory effects which end at a certain point, and the turn count. You may not write down anything that can help you later on, for instance, writing down the name of the first monster in the opponent’s Graveyard, which is important for the card Question.
Lastly, there are card sleeves. These are sleeves you put your cards into, which both are used to protect the cards, but also indicate whose cards are whose, and make sure cards are not marked in any way. These must always be the same kind to prevent them from being marked. In the OCG, sleeves are mandatory for tournaments, where in the TCG only some tournaments require them.
Last we have the gamemat. While not needed, this can help you to locate which places are which, and it also looks nice (one will be shown later).
There are many different kinds of cards in Yu-Gi-Oh, though there are 3 different types of cards you generally talk about. Monsters, Spells and Traps. Under these go a lot of different kinds, but we will talk about those later on. The first we’ll be talking about is monsters, as they are the main part of the game.
Monsters look different from Spell/Traps in a few ways, both in colors, among other things.
You don't need to know all the different monsters right now, you can focus on Normal and Effect Monsters and come back later for the others.
3.3.2 Normal Monsters:
First, we have a Normal Monster, which you can see below:
The card above is Bitron.
Normal Monsters are easily identifiable by their yellow color, that they say "Normal" instead of "Effect" on them and italic card text that is used for flavor only.
Normal Monsters don’t have any effects, and you therefore consider these to be non-Effect Monsters. Certain other kinds of monsters can also be non-Effect Monsters, like Thousand Dragon, Black Luster Soldier, Gaia Knight, the Force of Earth, Gem-Pearl Knight, Dragon Horn Hunter and Gaia Saber, the Lighting Knight (note that the card texts you see on them are not effects, but simply mandatory text on every Fusion, Ritual, Synchro, Xyz and Link Monsters.)
3.3.3 General Monster Overview:
As you can see, this card’s name is Bitron. Each card has a name. As explained above about the amount of cards with the same name, you may only 3 of each with the same name, and for certain cards like Harpie Lady 1, there are special rules, but read above for more.
To the right of that is the Attribute. Each monster has one. There are 7 in total. Bitron is EAERTH. The other 6 are DARK, FIRE, LIGHT, WATER, WIND and DIVINE. DIVINE is not very common though, but if you ever need to declare an Attribute, you may still declare DIVINE.
Under that are the Levels. Bitron is a Level 2 monster, which is represented by it having 2 yellow stars. There are many things Levels are used for, but more about that later.
Then there’s the Monster Type, typically just called Type though. Previously in card texts, you would see Warrior-Type instead of Warrior by itself. There is no difference, but it is simply a shortened card text, so keep in mind that the "Warrior" Archetype is not the same as Warrior monsters. There are 25 different Types. Bitron is Cyberse. The others are Aqua, Beast, Beast-Warrior, Creator God, Dinosaur, Divine Beast, Dragon, Fairy, Fish, Insect, Machine, Plant, Psychic, Pyro, Reptile, Rock, Sea Serpent, Spellcaster, Thunder, Warrior, Winged Beast, Wyrm and Zombie.
Then there’s the card text. As Bitron is a Normal Monster, it does not have an effect. It does however have some flavor text. Flavor text does not affect the game itself in any way.
Additionally, cards such as Summoned Skull has some text at the bottom. This is because this card is actually デーモンの召喚 in Japanese, which makes it a part of the Archfiend (デーモン) Archetype. Not a lot of cards have this, as most cards these days in the TCG take this into consideration. Note that Normal Monsters that have this are not considered Effect Monsters. This is not something that can be negated, and it isn’t an effect either. It will always be an Archfiend card as long as its name stays the same.
Last, there’s the ATK and DEF, which stand for ”Attack Points” and ”Defense Points”, sometimes just called "Attack" and "Defense" This card’s ATK is 200, and its DEF is 2000. We’ll talk more about this later.
There’s also more information on the card, such as the serial number and such, but that’s not really important for this rulebook.
3.3.4 Effect Monsters:
Next up are Effect Monsters:
The card above is Sangan.
Effect Monsters are identifiable by their brown-orange color, that they say "effect" and that their text is normal, unlike Normal Monsters, whose text is italic.
They say “effect” next to the Type of the monster. There are also sub-types too, which is seen after the Monster Type and before the Effect. These include Gemini, Spirit, Toon, Tuner, Flip and Union.
Other kinds of monsters can have sub-types too, such as Normal Monsters or Synchro Monsters, but more about that later.
Also, Ritual, Fusion, Synchro and Xyzs Monsters are also Effect Monsters, except for a few non-Effect Monsters.
Then there’s the card text, which isn’t italic this time. This is the most important part of the game, as it explains what the monster does. There are many different kinds of effects, but more about that later.
3.3.5 Ritual Monsters:
Next up are Ritual Monsters:
The card above is Lord of the Red
Ritual Monsters are identifiable by their blue color and that they state which Ritual Spell they are Summoned with.
Ritual Monsters are a special kind of monster that rests in your Main Deck which are Ritual Summoned by the Ritual Spell listed on them, though sometimes they can be Summoned by a variety of Ritual Spells, as seen on the Nekroz Ritual Monsters.
Ritual Monsters are Special Summon only monsters. What this means is that you cannot Normal Summon them, and that you cannot Special Summon them, except by Ritual Summoning them, however, after you do so, you can Special Summon them from the Graveyard or while they're banished, if they are sent to the Graveyard from the field or banished. More about this later though.
3.3.6 Fusion Monsters:
Next up are Fusion Monsters:
The card above is Dark Paladin
Fusion Monsters are identifiable by their violet color and that they state which monsters they are Fusion Summoned with.
Fusion Monsters are placed in your Extra Deck and like Ritual Monsters and other Extra Deck Monsters are Special Summon only monsters.
Fusion Monsters are Summoned by the way of the card Polymerization. However, there are other ways too, but more about that later.
Typically, the way you Fusion Summon is with Polymerization, though there are other ways. For example, the card Fusion Gate. This card banishes the monsters instead of sending them to the Graveyard.
Speaking of which, old versions of Polymerization stated that it sent them to the Graveyard, however Polymerization will still be able to activate and resolve properly if you cannot send cards to the Graveyard. Instead, they will go wherever they need to go instead. For example, if Macro Cosmos is on the field, they will be banished instead, and Pendulum Monsters on the field will go to the Extra Deck instead.
There is also another way to Special Summon Fusion Monsters, which was named in the anime as “Contact Fusion”. Despite its name, this is not a Fusion Summon, rather it's a Special Summon, meaning that you will not be able to later Special Summon them from the Graveyard. Typically, you either banish or shuffle the cards into the Deck, but there are other ways as well. This way of Special Summoning a Fusion Monster will not create a Chain (more about Chains later).
When you Fusion Summon, you follow the top line which states which monsters you Fusion Summon with. Sometimes, they are not a specific monster, but a part of an Archetype, a specific Attribute or something else. There are also cards which can be a specific Fusion Material, called Fusion Substitute Monsters. You can find more out about those by clicking here.
3.3.7 Synchro Monsters:
Next up are Synchro Monsters:
The card above is PSY-Framelord Omega.
Synchro Monsters are identified by their white color and that they state which Tuner(s) and non-Tuner(s) they need, called Synchro Materials.
Synchro Monsters are placed in your Extra Deck and like Ritual Monsters and other Extra Deck Monsters are Special Summon only monsters.
Synchro Monsters can be compared to Ritual Monsters in that you require a number of monsters whose Level is equal to the monster of the Synchro Monster. First, you need 1 Tuner monster (and only one. Unless stated otherwise, you’re only allowed to use 1 Tuner) and 1 or more non-Tuner monsters (again, unless stated otherwise).
Tuner is a sub-type of monsters, but more about those later. You cannot use Xyz Monsters for this, as they don’t have Levels, they have Ranks, but you can use any other kind of monster, including other Synchro Monsters.
There is also a form of Synchro Summoning using Synchro Monsters who are also a Tuner. This is known as Accel Synchro Summon in the anime, but is basically the same as Synchro Summoning, and is considered a Synchro Summon.
Synchro Summoning does not start a Chain, though some cards do allow you to Special Summon Synchro Monsters by effects, and some even treat those as Synchro Summons, meaning that they are considered properly Synchro Summoned and you can therefore Special Summon them again if sent from the field to the Graveyard or while banished.
3.3.8 Xyz Monsters:
Next up are Xyz Monsters:
The card above is M-X-Saber Invoker.
Xyz Monsters are identified by their black color, that they use Ranks instead of Levels, and that they require a specific number of monsters with the same Level, called Xyz Materials.
Xyz Monsters are placed in your Extra Deck and like Ritual Monsters and other Extra Deck Monsters are Special Summon only monsters.
Xyz Monsters require you to follow the Summoning condition, which tells you to use 2 (sometimes more) monsters with the same Level to Xyz Summon them. You cannot use less or more than it says you can.
You place the Xyz Materials under the Xyz Monster itself while it is on the field. These stay as long as it is a monster, even if it gets flipped face-down, but get sent to the Graveyard by game mechanics if the Xyz Monster is removed from the field, becomes a Spell/Trap etc.
Most Xyz Monsters have effects that require you to “detach” an Xyz Material. When you do, you send the card you detached (removed from under the Xyz Monster) to the Graveyard. Do note that Xyz Materials are never actually on the field, and never left the field when they became Xyz Materials either. They are in an odd form of limbo, where they are neither on the field, nor elsewhere. This means that cards that activate when sent from the field to the Graveyard not work.
Xyz Monsters also have upgraded version of themselves called Chaos Xyz (or CXyz). These are monsters which you Summon by using Xyz Monsters as Xyz Materials (they normally cannot be used as they don’t have Levels). Typically, you use a Rank-Up-Magic card to Summon these, but you also sometimes you also Xyz Summon by using the monster itself, such as with Number C39: Utopia Ray. The first starts a Chain, the second does not.
Xyz Monsters have what is called a Rank. A Rank is different from a Level, which means you are not allowed to use cards like Risebell the Star Psycher on it, and any effect that would affect an Xyz Monster cannot.
Also, you cannot use cards like Spore that uses the Level of the monster, since Xyz Monsters don’t have Levels. The same goes the other way around, you can’t use effects that affect Ranks on monsters without Ranks.
3.3.9 Pendulum Monsters:
Next up are Pendulum Monsters:
The card above is Abyss Actor - Curtain Raiser.
Pendulum Monsters can be identified by the fact that half of the card is one color, indicating the kind of monster, such as Effect Monster or Normal Monster, and the other part is green, indicating that it's a Spell as well (though only at a specific time, more about that later), that their text boxes look different, their wider image box and the crystals called Pendulum Scales.
As Pendulum Monsters are rather complex compared to other kind of monsters, another section for them as been made (20: Pendulum Monsters), so go view that for more (also requires you to know other information you might not know yet if you are reading chronologically).
3.3.10 Link Monsters:
The card above is Decode Talker.
Link Monsters can be identified by their blue coloring, the fact that they have no Level or Rank, that they have no DEF and cannot be in Defense Position or face-down, but instead a Link Rating (LINK-3), that they have arrows around the image borders called Link Arrows.
Link Monsters require you to send a minimum amount of monsters from the field to the Graveyard listed in the card text, similar to Synchro Monsters, but their Link Rating is how many monsters you need, for example Decode Talker requires 3 Link Materials, but you can use a LINK-2 Link Monster and 1 other Effect Monster OR 3 Effect Monsters. There is much more to Link Monsters that is too complex to explain here, so check the full section in 21: Link Monsters (also requires you to know other information you might not know yet if you are reading chronologically).
3.3.11 Normal Spells:
Next up are Normal Spells:
The card above is Dark Hole.
Normal Spells are identified by their green color, that they say "Spell" in the top right, that they don't have ATK/DEF and that they have a box saying "Spell" on them (those are true for all Spells, so I won't mention those facts again) and that they don't have an icon next to the "Spell" text.
Normal Spells go on the field when you activate them, then, for most cases, they go to the Graveyard after the Chain resolves, unless the card is destroyed during the Chain, in which it gets sent to the Graveyard when it is destroyed instead. Note that it will still resolve its effect even though it was destroyed.
Some do stay on the field, like Swords of Revealing Light, however that was at a time where Continuous Spells were not around, which stay on the field like Swords of Revealing Light does. Do note that cards like Swords of Revealing Light are not Continuous Spells.
3.3.12 General Spell Overview:
Spells are cards which you can play from your hand during your Main Phase 1 or 2 (Quick-Play Spells can be activated at any time during your turn though, more about that later). Previously card texts called them Spell Cards, but I refer to them as Spells only here, since that is now the standard.
Other than Normal Spells, there are also Equip, Field, Ritual, Continuous and Field Spell.
All Spells are Spell Speed 1 (except Quick-Play Spells which are Spell Speed 2 and have some other rules) and can only be activated from your hand during your Main Phase, or if they were Set on the field (placing it with the picture face-down), and not in response to other cards. All Spells can be activated during the turn they are Set, except Quick-Play Spells, but more about below. Below is what a Set Spell/Trap looks like.
3.3.13 Quick-Play Spells:
Next up are Quick-Play Spells:
The card above is Mystical Space Typhoon.
Quick-Play Spells are identified by the lighting-looking icon next to the "Spell".
Quick-Play Spells are like Normal Spells in most ways, except that they can be activated from or hand at any moment during your turn, and if they are Set on the field, they can be activated during your opponent’s turn as well, though they cannot be activated the turn they are Set.
Quick-Play Spells are Spell Speed 2, meaning that you can activate these in response or cards and effects, except for Counter Traps as they Spell Speed 3, but more about that later.
3.3.14 Equip Spells:
Next up we are Equip Spells:
The card above is United We Stand.
Equip Spells are identified by the plus-looking icon next to the "Spell".
Equip Spells are cards which you equip to face-up monsters to grant them with various effects or boost their ATK and DEF.
You place them in the Spell & Trap Zone when you activate them, and they stay there until the monster is no longer a valid target, either because the equip condition is incorrect. For example, Magnum Shield says the monster must be a Warrior, so if it was changed to another Type, the Equip Spell will be destroyed by game mechanics and sent to the Graveyard.
You can equip an Equip Spell to any face-up monster on the field, even your opponent’s monster, unless stated otherwise (these remain in your Spell & Trap Zone, even if you equip to an opponent's monster).
All Equip Spells target the monster it equips to when you activate the card, and continues to while equipped, and this is considered an effect of the Equip Spell.
You can Set these and activate them later if you want, and can be activated the turn they are Set.
If an Equip Spell is no longer valid when it would equip itself, then it will be sent to the Graveyard by game mechanics. If it’s no longer valid after resolution, then it will be destroyed by game mechanics. This is important in a few cases, for example if a card activates when a card is destroyed, such as the Noble Arms cards. Another way they no longer are valid is if the monster simply leaves the field, becomes an Xyz Material or gets flipped face-down.
Monsters and Traps can also equip themselves to monsters. Traps are still treated as a Trap, and monsters become an Equip Spell, though they are all a form of Equip Card. If a monster equips a monster to itself rather than the monster equipping itself to a monster, then the monster that allowed that effect has its effects negated, the card that was equipped by that effect will be destroyed by game mechanics.
3.3.15 Continuous Spells:
Next up are Continuous Spells:
The card above is Burden of the Mighty.
Continuous Spells are identified by the infinity sign-looking icon next to the "Spell".
Continuous Spells, like Equip Spells, stay on the field after resolving their activation, but they don't equip themselves to anything.
Most Continuous Spells remain on the field until they are removed by an outside source, some stay on the field for a limited amount of time and some can even remove themselves.
These typically have Continuous Effects, but sometimes their effects activate and start a Chain.
It's important to note that for an effect to resolve with effect for a Continuous Spell/Trap, Field or Equip Spell, it must remain face-up, unless that effect doesn't activate on the field of course. A popular example of this is Chaining Mystical Space Typhoon to Fire Formation - Tenki's activation so the effect that adds a Beast-Warrior monster from your Deck to your hand doesn't resolve. Note that this is not considered negating the effect, it simply will resolve without effect.
3.3.16 Field Spells:
Next up are Field Spells.
The card above is Cynet Universe.
Field Spells are identified by the compass-looking icon next to the "Spell".
We have not talked about the Spell & Trap Zone yet, but it’s important to know that Field Spells take up the space called the Field Zone.
Both players can have 1 Field Spell up at the same time, and you can send your own Field Spell to the Graveyard by game mechanics to activate or Set a new one.
Field Spells work pretty much the same as Continuous Spells besides that.
3.3.17 Ritual Spells:
Next up are Ritual Spells:
The card above is Dawn of the Herald.
Ritual Spells are identified by the flame-looking icon next to the "Spell".
Ritual Spells are a special kind of Spell which is used to Ritual Summon Ritual Monsters.
Most Ritual Spells only Ritual Summon 1 specific monster. Some can Ritual Summon a variety of monsters, such as the Gishki Ritual Spells.
It’s important to note that you can use cards like Advanced Ritual Art to Ritual Summon any Ritual Monster, despite what some older Ritual Monsters say. This is because the Ritual Monsters were older than that card, so they said that they could only be Ritual Summoned by a specific card. Now, with the newest Errata (update of the card text), they say: “You can Ritual Summon this card with “Card Name Here”.
For the most part, you are allowed to Tribute monsters whose combined Level is over the Level stated on the card, but if you Tribute enough, you cannot Tribute any more than that. So, if the Ritual Monster's Level is 6, you cannot Tribute a Level 4 and a Level 3 and a Level 2. You must choose a Level 4 and either a Level 2 or a Level 3, but not all three. For cards like Dawn of the Herald, you must Tribute exactly 6, and some Ritual Spells, and sometimes even Ritual Monsters, have other conditions to their Ritual Summon..
Ritual Summons are a form of Special Summon; when you Ritual Summon, you also Special Summon.
3.3.18 Normal Traps:
Next up are Normal Traps:
The card above is Bottomless Trap Hole.
Normal Traps are identified by their purple color, that they say "Trap" in the top right, that they don't have ATK/DEF and that they have a box saying "Trap" on them (those are true for all Traps, so I won't mention those facts again) and that they don't have an icon next to the "Trap" text.
Normal Traps typically always go to the Graveyard after the Chain resolves, however sometimes they can equip themselves to monsters as an Equip Card.
There also exists Pseudo-Trap Monsters, which allow the Trap to Special Summon itself, read more about that here.
As Traps generally work the same way, read more about that below.
3.3.19 General Trap Overview:
Traps are cards which are first Set on the field, then played at a later time. Previously card texts called them Trap Cards, but I refer to them as Traps only here, since that is now the standard.
Normally, Traps respond to other actions, typically made by your opponent, but that’s not always the case. Traps are always Spell Speed 2 (except Counter Traps which are Spell Speed 3), which means that they can be activated in response to other cards, but more about Spell Speed later.
Traps, like Normal, Quick-Play and Ritual Spells go to the Graveyard after being used, except Continuous Traps and Normal Traps that equip themselves to monsters.
3.3.20 Continuous Traps:
Next up are Continuous Traps:
The card above is Fiendish Chain.
Continuous Traps are identified by the infinity sign-looking icon next to the "Trap".
Continuous Traps stay on the field for as long as the card allows it, or until removed somehow.
These typically have Continuous Effects, but sometimes their effects activate and start a Chain.
You first Set these, and after that, they cannot be activated during that turn, even if it isn't your turn that you Set them, only on the turn after can you activate them.
These are always Spell Speed 2, also, an important thing to note is that their effects can be activated during the same Chain Link (will be explained what is later) as you activate the card, for example, you can activate Ultimate Offering's effect as the same Chain Link as you activated the card if you wanted to. However, they are not face-up before they resolve, so if the effect requires it to be face-up, for example with cards like Hazy Glory, you cannot activate it in the same Chain Link as you activate the card.
It's important to note that for an effect to resolve with effect for a Continuous Spell/Trap, Field or Equip Spell, it must remain face-up, unless that effect doesn't activate on the field of course. A popular example of this is Chaining Mystical Space Typhoon to Fire Formation - Tenki's activation so the effect that adds a Beast-Warrior monster from your Deck to your hand doesn't resolve. Note that this is not considered negating the effect, it simply will resolve without effect.
3.3.21 Counter Traps:
Next up are Counter Traps:
The card above is Dark Bribe.
Counter Traps are identified by an arrow-looking icon next to the "Trap".
Counter Traps are cards which almost always respond to other cards and effects or actions such as attacking.
You first Set these, and after that, they cannot be activated during that turn, even if it isn't your turn that you Set them, only on the turn after can you activate them.
Counter Traps are like Normal Traps in that after use, they get sent to the Graveyard.
Counter Traps typically negate the activation of the card or action they are responding.
You must activate a Counter Trap that negates a specific card or effect in response to that card or effect. This means you cannot Chain Solemn Warning to Chain Link 1 if Chain Link 2 or higher has already been made, but more about Chains later. This also applies to other cards and effects that negate a specific card or effect.
All Counter Traps are Spell Speed 3. Counter Traps are the only ones which are this. What this means is that no other cards, except for Counter Traps can respond to the card itself. More about Spell Speed later.
In this section, we're going to be talking about the playing field, and show you it by using the gamemat. As stated before, having a gamemat (also sometimes called playmat) is not required, but helps, especially if you're new to the game. Some just use it because it looks nice.
4.2 Gamemat - Bottom:
Below you see a gamemat, which has many different spots. There also exist something not seen on the gamemat, which is where banished cards go, unofficially the Banished Zone, on older cards you say the term removed from play, which is the same as being banished. Normally, people place banished cards either above or to the right of the Graveyard, but there is no specific place for it, simply keep it close by the gamemat.
We will start from the bottom right, with the Deck Zone. This is your where you place your Deck, quite obviously. When your Deck is empty and you are required to draw a card, you will lose (more about victory conditions later though).
To the left of the Deck Zone are your 5 Spell & Trap Zones. Here you place the Spell/Traps which you activate or Set. You cannot activate or Set a Spell/Trap if there is no zone open, or in other words, all 5 zones are full. You cannot activate or Set a Field Spell here in these zones. The leftmost and the rightmost Spell & Trap Zones are also the Pendulum Zones. Previously these were their own zones, but now they are part of the Spell & Trap Zone. However, you can still activate and Set other cards in here, they are only Pendulum Zones as long as a Pendulum Monster is placed in it. Read more about that in the 20: Pendulum Monster section.
To the left of Spell & Trap Zone is the Extra Deck Zone. The Extra Deck can have up to 15 cards (excluding Pendulum Monsters, but more about that later). You can put Fusion, Synchros, Xyz and Link Monsters in here, but you don't need to put any at all, and you can use all three at once if you wish. You won't lose if you don't have any Extra Deck cards left, and you don't need an Extra Deck to play in the first place.
4.3 Gamemat - Middle/Top:
Above the left Extra Deck is the Field Zone. Here you activate or Set Field Spells. You cannot activate or Set other cards here. Unlike the Spell & Trap Zones, you can replace your own Field Spell with another one, or Set it in place of the other one, sending the one that's already there to the Graveyard by game mechanics.
To the right of the Field Zone are your 5 Main Monster Zones. Here you Summon or Set monsters. As with the Spell & Trap Zone, you cannot Summon a monster if you have any zones left, with the exception of Summoning methods that remove monsters, like Tribute Summons and Synchro Summons etc. You cannot Special Summon monsters to the Main Monster Zone from the Extra Deck, except if Link Monsters are pointing to them, but that is too complex to explain here, so view 21: Link Monsters for more information. However, when you Special Summon them from the Graveyard, or if they are banished, they do not go to the Extra Monster Zone, but to the Main Monster Zone instead.
Above the 2nd and 4th Monster Zone are the Extra Monster Zones. The Extra Monster Zones are a brand new zone introduced along with Link Monsters. At the start of the duel, neither player has ownership of either of these, only while a player has a monster in it, does the player have ownership of it. You can however only own 1 Extra Monster Zone at a time normally, and the other only your opponent can Summon monsters to, though do note that neither player is treated as owning them before their monster is in it (with one exception, view 21: Link Monsters for more information). You Special Summon monsters that are in your Extra Deck to the Extra Monster Zone, including face-up Pendulum Monsters (Pendulum Monsters in your hand are still Summoned to the Main Monster Zone). You cannot Special Summon monsters to the Main Monster Zone from the Extra Deck, except if Link Monsters are pointing to them, but that is too complex to explain here, so view 21: Link Monsters for more information. However, when you Special Summon them from the Graveyard, or if they are banished, they do not go to the Extra Monster Zone, but to the Main Monster Zone instead.
Above the Deck Zone is the Graveyard (GY). This is where monsters and activated cards (Normal Spell, Ritual, Normal Trap, Counter Trap etc.) are sent after the Chain has resolved in or being destroyed or otherwise sent to the Graveyard. You cannot move cards around in the Graveyard, you must always place new cards sent on top of the other cards, which is important for cards such as Question.
As said before, banished cards aren't on the gamemat, but most players put banished cards above or to the right of the Graveyard. Cards cannot be banished unless another card is involved somehow.
4.4 About moving cards:
It is important that you don't place the cards all over the place, but rather right next to each other. This is important because there are cards which have to do with where you cards are placed.
These are normally refereed to as Senet-like cards, as the card Senet Switch is the most known of these.
Cards like Blasting Fuse use the column of which the cards are placed in, so you need to make sure you place the cards so that they're alined with each other, as seen on the image below.
Additionally, Link Monsters point to specific zones, making this more important than ever, as they gain effects where they point as well as allowing additional monsters to be Special Summoned from the Extra Deck.
5.1 Phase Overview:
The game is divided into 6 different Phases. Certain actions are only allowed during certain Phases, and some cards can only activate during specific Phases.
The turn player retains right to activate cards whenever they go into another Phase/step. When you're done with a Phase, you move on to the next Phase.
5.2 Draw Phase:
First, there's the Draw Phase. The first thing you do is draw 1 card here, however, there are a few cards which have actions before the draw, such as Maharaghi.
The player who goes first does not draw on their first turn, however the player who goes second will draw on their first turn, though you can change this as you wish in unofficial duels.
There are also some cards that skip out on drawing completely, typically to add a card from your Graveyard or Deck to your hand instead of during that. A popular example would be Solomon's Lawbook.
5.3 Standby Phase:
During the Standby Phase, a lot of effects "end". More about how ending effects works in the "Breakdown of the End Phase" section. (the same rules apply for all Phases in regards to this, but the End Phase is the most common you will see this in, and has some more information as well).
Both players, like in your Draw Phase, can only activate Spell Speed 2 or higher, excluding any Trigger Effects.
You must go into your Main Phase 1 from here, and you cannot skip to any other Phase.
5.4 Main Phase 1:
This is where you do most of your plays during your turn.
From here, you can Normal Summon a monster, Special Summon monsters that don't start a Chain (cards such as Cyber Dragon, Contact Fusion, Synchro, Xyz and Pendulum Summons), activate Spells/Traps, Set Traps, change battle positions, activate Ignition/Quick Effects (more about that later), and more.
From here, you can go into the Battle Phase or the End Phase. You may not go into your Main Phase 2 from your Main Phase 1, you must first go into your Battle Phase, though you cannot go into your Battle Phase during your first turn, which also means that you cannot go into your Main Phase 2 on your first turn.
5.5 Battle Phase:
The Battle Phase is comprised of various sub-steps, but that's going to be explained in detail in the "Breakdown of the Battle Phase" section later on, as it can be a bit complicated.
On the first turn, you may not go into your Battle Phase, so monsters you control cannot battle.
Only monsters in Attack Position can battle, with the exception of cards like Elemental HERO Rampart Blaster. You can only attack with each monster once per turn, with the exception of cards like Mermail Abyssmegalo. All monsters can attack the turn they are Summoned, with the exception of cards like Tardy Orc.
You attack with 1 monster at a time and you declare what monster you are going to attack with and what monster it is you are attacking, or directly if possible.
If a monster declares an attack, including if the attack is not completed, then it cannot change its battle position for the rest of the turn, except by a card effect, even if that monster was flipped face-down or temporarily removed by the effect of a card like Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon.
When 2 monsters battle, you compare their ATK if both are in Attack Position, or the attacking monster's ATK if in Attack Position and the defending monster’s DEF if in Defense Position. The player whose ATK is higher wins, damage will be inflicted to the opponent equal to the difference in ATK, then the monster with less ATK is destroyed by battle and send it to the Graveyard.
If the opponent doesn’t control any monsters, you can attack directly. In that case, your opponent takes damage equal to that monster's ATK. You cannot attack directly if your opponent controls a monster, with the exception of cards like Pair Cycroid.
Battle damage and effect damage are two different things, and certain cards can only activate when you take effect damage, but cannot activate when you take battle damage and vice-versa. Some may even activate in either case.
The main way to win in Yu-Gi-Oh is to reduce your opponent's Life Points to 0. You start with 8000, and each time they take battle damage or effect damage, you simply subtract that damage from their Life Points, and when your opponent's Life Points reach 0, you win! You don't need to hit exactly 0, you can go into negative numbers and you will still win.
Your opponent does not take damage if their monster is in Defense Position, unless your monster has an effect that allows it to "inflict Piercing battle damage", in which case you calculate the difference between your monster's ATK and their monster's DEF.
You might also take damage if you attack a monster with higher DEF than you. In that case, your monster is NOT destroyed by battle, and neither is the opponent's monster of course.
If a monster attacks another monster with the same ATK as it, they will both be destroyed by battle, however, a monster with 0 ATK attacking another monster with 0 ATK will cause neither to not be destroyed, and of course attacking a monster with 0 DEF with a monster with 0 ATK will also cause neither player to take any damage or destroy the monsters.
Cards like Gladiator Beast Bestiari do not Chain to another Gladiator Beast Bestiari or similar, but instead, when the first Chain is over, you start the second Chain, and third Chain, and so on until you are out of Chains to form. The reason for this is that Trigger Effects that activate at specific Phases rather than at specific timings, such as when it's sent to the Graveyard, cannot Chain to each other, but instead form separate Chains.
If a monster attacks, then the attack target is removed or the opponent Summons new monsters before the Damage Step, a replay occurs.
A replay is where you choose a new target for an attack. You don’t have to choose to attack if you don’t want to, but if you choose not to, that monster cannot attack for the rest of the turn, except if it has multiple attacks of course, and it also cannot change its battle position during the Main Phase 2.
During a replay, you cannot activate cards that have the timing “when your opponent’s monster declares an attack” or something like that, as you are not declaring an attack, but you are simply targeting another monster for an attack, or the player directly. However, any effect that activates when a card is targeted for an attack may be activated, such as Performapal Skimer Skeeter.
You must go from your Battle Phase to your Main Phase 2, you cannot skip to the End Phase.
5.6 Main Phase 2:
The Main Phase 2 works pretty much like the Main Phase 1.
If you have not yet Normal Summoned previously, you can do that here.
You can change the positions of monsters who haven't declared an attack this turn.
As stated before, you cannot go into the Main Phase 2 unless you first go into the Battle Phase. As such, you may not go into the Main Phase 2 on the first turn, since you cannot conduct your Battle Phase on the first turn. Same goes in case an effect prevents you from conducting your Battle Phase.
5.7 End Phase:
Lastly, there’s the End Phase. The End Phase, like the Battle Phase, is also complex, and will be explained in the "Breakdown of the End Phase" section.
In the End Phase, a lot of effects stop applying, and many effects activate, and you must activate/end these before you can finish your turn.
Like the Draw Phase, Standby Phase and Battle Phase, only Spell Speed 2 or higher may be activated here, excluding Trigger Effects.
When neither player wishes to activate more cards, you finish your turn. At this point, if you have 7 or more cards in your hand, you must discard cards for your hand size limit, which is normally 6, unless a card effect changes that.
After that, it now becomes your opponent's Draw Phase and they get to draw. Also remember to make sure you keep the turn count written down, as whenever it changes turns, the turn count changes. The turn count is important for cards such as Final Countdown.
6.1 Normal Summon/Set and Tribute Summoning:
Levels go from 1-12, though they can go higher than 12 with card effects, but not lower than 1.
From Level 1-4, you can Normal Summon a monster without Tributing. A Normal Summon does not start a Chain. You can only Normal Summon in your Main Phase 1 or 2 when the game state is open (more about this later), though certain card effects can allow it at other times.
A Normal Summon is where you place the monster from your hand onto the field in the Main Monster Zone with the picture face-up, called Attack Position.
You cannot Normal Summon monsters in Defense Position, only in Attack Position. Defense Position is where the card is sideways.
You can Normal Set (or simply called Set) a monster though, which takes up your Normal Summon for that turn, and you only get 1 Normal Summon/Set per turn. A Set (a face-down Defense Position monster) is where you place the monster with the picture face-down and sideways, as seen below.
Level 5 and 6 monsters require what is called a Tribute to be Tribute Summon/Set. This is the same as a Normal Summon, except that it requires you to Tribute 1 monster you control, which is a game mechanic that sends a monster you control to the Graveyard.
You can Tribute face-down monsters as well as face-ups, and you can Tribute Tokens and Trap monsters (more about those later) unless stated otherwise. You cannot Tribute your opponent's monsters, except by card effects.
Level 7 and higher monsters require 2 Tributes to get Summoned, but otherwise work in the same way as Level 5 and 6 monsters do.
Tribute Summons take up your Normal Summon for that turn, and you can also Tribute Set monsters, and as with Normal Sets, they take up your Normal Summon for this turn.
6.2 Changing Battle Positions:
Changing the battle position of a monster is the act of switching an Attack Position monster to Defense Position, or a Defense Position monster to Attack Position. You cannot do so in the turn that they were Normal Summoned/Set or even Special Summoned. Changing battle positions does not start a Chain. You can only change battle positions in your Main Phase 1 or 2 as long as the game state is open.
You can also Flip Summon a Set monster, which is where a Set monster gets turned into face-up Attack Position. You may not Flip Summon a monster into face-up Defense Position, only if a monster is attacked while face-down will be it be flipped face-up, and in turn, go into face-up Defense Position. Note that this is not the same as Flip Summon, but it will activate any Flip Effects or effects that state "if this card was flipped face-up" or similar, but not any effects that state that the monster must be Flip Summoned.
You also cannot change the positions of a monster if it has declared an attack this turn, even if you Summoned it during your previous turn.
Some effects say that the monster cannot change change its battle position, however you may still do so with card effects, unless states otherwise.
6.3 Special Summons:
There is also another way of Summoning a monster, which is called a Special Summon. These are additional Summons which typically come from card effects, though some are by game mechanics, and you can perform as many of these per turn as you want, as long as you are able.
If a Special Summon does not state what battle position it Special Summons the monster(s) in, you can Special Summon in either face-up Attack Position or face-up Defense Position, but not face-down Defense Position, except if it explicitly says so.
Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, Xyz and Pendulum Summon are all forms of Special Summons.
Ritual Summons always start a Chain, and almost always comes from Ritual Spells. There are other cards that can Special Summon Ritual Monsters though, just not as a Ritual Summon.
Fusion Summons typically start a Chain and typically come from the card Polymerization, however there are other cards that also can Fusion Summon. Also, some Fusion Monsters can be Special Summoned without starting a Chain in your Main Phase 1 or 2 while the game state is open, known in the anime as Contact Fusion (not actually a Fusion Summon though), which was talked about in the Fusion Monster section previously.
Synchro, Xyz and Pendulum Summon normally do not start a Chain, though some cards can perform Synchro and Xyz Summons (no other cards can perform Pendulum Summons thus far though). You can only do these in your Main Phase 1 or 2 while the game state is open.
Along with those, there are certain Effect Monsters that also do not start a Chain when they are Special Summoned, though more about those later.
6.4 Monsters with ? ATK/DEF:
Normally, ATK and DEF is written in numbers, though sometimes, you will see a question mark instead. This means that it has an undetermined ATK/DEF. This is treated as 0 if the effect that makes the ATK/DEF change is not applied or it is negated. Though, the ATK/DEF is only 0 while on the field, not in the hand, Deck etc. so you cannot add a monster with question mark in ATK with Sangan.
An Archetype is when a card states a part of the card name in its text, followed by monster, Spell/Trap etc.
This means that there are specific cards that are meant to work together, and that they have cards that support each other, for example by boosting the ATK and DEF of monsters in the same Archetype.
For example, the text from Gusto Gulldo says:
When this card is sent from the field to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 Level 2 or lower "Gusto" monster from your Deck.
The text in italic is what indicates an Archetype. Here it states that it can Special Summon a Level 2 or lower "Gusto" monster from your Deck. This could be the card Gusto Falco for example, but it could also be Gusto Egul, as it also shares "Gusto" in its name.
Some cards have names that are also the same as the Archetype, such as Cyber Dragon, but keep in mind that it must state "Cyber Dragon" card, monster etc. in order to affect the other monsters of the Archetype, rather than just Cyber Dragon itself.
Sub-types are an additional mechanic of some monsters. You can see this by them having the name of the sub-type in the box with the type. These may also referred to as an Ability, as they are in the OCG, however I prefer sub-type since it's the more common term in the TCG.
6.7 Gemini monsters:
The card above is Crusader of Endymion.
Gemini monsters are a special kind of Effect Monster that is treated as Normal Monster while face-up on the field or in the Graveyard, instead of being an Effect Monster.
You can Normal Summon or Special Summon them like any other monster. While they are on the field, you can Gemini Summon them, which takes up your Normal Summon that turn, to make them gain an effect written on the card.
All Gemini monsters have this text (or similar):
“This card is treated as a Normal Monster while face-up on the field or in the Graveyard. While this card is a Normal Monster on the field, you can Normal Summon it to have it become an Effect Monster with this effect."
Rulings related to Gemini monsters:
6.8 Spirit monsters:
The card above is Kinka-byo.
Spirit monsters are similar to Effect Monsters, except that they return to the hand during the End Phase of the turn they are Normal Summoned or flipped face-up, and they cannot be Special Summoned.
The only exception to this is Yamato-No-Kami. Besides this, Spirit monsters pretty much work like any other Effect Monsters.
All Spirit monsters have this text (or similar):
“Cannot be Special Summoned. During the End Phase of the turn this card is Normal Summoned or flipped face-up: Return it to the hand.”
Rulings related to Spirit monsters:
6.9 Toon monsters:
The card above is Toon Gemini Elf.
Toon is more like an Archetype than sub-type, though they are a bub-type, and they do have a card that supports them called Toon Kingdom.
6.10 Tuner monsters:
The card above is Effect Veiler.
Tuners are a form of Effect Monster, but they don’t have any other form of text, and the only thing you use them for are Synchro Material for Synchro Summons and sometimes card effects.
When you Synchro Summon, you take the Level of the Tuner(s) and the Level of the non-Tuner(s) and if they are the same as the Synchro Monster, you send the Tuner(s) and non-Tuner(s) to the Graveyard and Synchro Summon that Synchro Monster.
You cannot use Tuners as the non-Tuner requirement, Synchro Monsters can also be Tuners, though Xyz Monsters cannot since they do not have Levels, and some effects can also treat monsters as Tuners as well.
6.11 Union monsters:
The card above is Heavy Mech Support Platform.
Union monsters can equip themselves to other monsters you control, or unequip and Special Summon them back to your Main Monster Zone again.
These are treated as Equip Spells while equipped. Do keep in mind that a Union monster doesn’t have its effects that don’t say that they are activated/applied while equipped.
They all also have the effect that destroys themselves if the equipped monster would be destroyed, some do it only by battle where others do it when they would be destroyed in any way, though this is typically only seen on older Union monsters.
All Union monsters have this text (or similar):
At the top of the card: “Once per turn, you can either: Target 1 face-up monster you control; equip this card to that target, OR: Unequip this card and Special Summon it in face-up Attack Position.”
At the bottom of the card: “(A monster can only be equipped with 1 Union monster at a time. If the equipped monster would be destroyed (by battle), destroy this card instead.)”
Rulings related to Union monsters:
6.12 Flip monster:
The card above is Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter.
Flip monsters are monsters that have effect when they're flipped face-up from face-down Defense Position.
They are similar to cards that say "When this card is flipped face-up", but certain cards can affect them in various ways, for example, Tin Archduke does not allow their effect to be activated when they change the monster's battle position.
Flip monsters have the "FLIP:" at the start of their effect, and any potential effect after that can be seen in a line below the Flip Effect.
6.13 Token monsters:
The card above is a non-specific Token.
Tokens are cards which are not in your Deck or Extra Deck, but rather, are “fake” monsters which are produced by card effects. These have features like other monsters, such as a name, Level, Type, Attribute and ATK/DEF. These are considered Normal Monsters.
These cannot be in face-down Defense Position, so you cannot activate Book of Moon and target a Token.
Tokens are cards which are only on the field, meaning that when they leave the field, they simply disappear.
This also means you cannot activate a card where the cost of the card requires you to send it to the Graveyard or return it to the hand etc. Though, if you use an effect that would cause it to go there, it will still resolve, but it will just be disappear instead.
A card that Summons Token monsters might look like this:
"Special Summon 4 "Sheep Tokens" (Beast/EARTH/Level 1/ATK 0/DEF 0) in Defense Position."
Rulings related to Token monsters:
6.14 Trap monsters:
The card above is Quantum Cat.
Trap monsters are cards which are first a Trap, then after activation, they Special Summon themselves in a Main Monster Zone, but they still take up the Spell & Trap Zone though.
They are considered both a monster and a Trap, and as with Tokens, these also have Levels, Types etc.
If a card like Caius The Shadow Monarch targets a Set Trap monster for its effect, and the opponent activates the Trap monster, it will banish the Trap monster from the Spell & Trap Zone, and no damage will be inflicted, even if it was a DARK monster.
If you negate the Trap effects, Trap monsters will go back into the Spell & Trap Zone face-up and be meaningless.
In the TCG the effect of the Trap monster stems from the Trap itself so it cannot be negated by effects that negate monster effects.
If your opponent takes control of your Trap monster, they must both have a Spell & Trap Zone open and a Main Monster Zone open, as it takes up one of their zones.
If a Trap monster gets flipped face-down, it returns to the Spell & Trap Zone, and since it was Set there, you cannot activate it that same turn, as Traps cannot be activated during the turn they are Set.
Trap monsters are only monsters while their effects are active, but a Traps in the hand, Deck etc. Since they are Traps in the Graveyard, cards that activate when a monster is destroyed AND sent to the Graveyard (it will still be able to activate if it doesn’t specify “sent”, the same goes for Tokens) it will be able to activate.
By default, Trap monsters are Effect Monsters when Summoned, unless said so otherwise.
Rulings related to Trap monsters:
There are many different kinds of effects. We'll go over all here. As most effects start a Chain, it's also a good idea to read about how Chains work. We will also be talking about Spell Speed in this section.
7.2 Spell Speed:
Spell Speed is a term which makes it easier to group in what different cards and effects are, if they can be activated in an open game state or closed game state, if they can be activated in response to each other and if you're allowed to activate them at certain times.
7.3 Spell Speed 1:
Under Spell Speed 1 goes Ignition, Trigger, Ignition-like and Trigger-like Effects of already face-up Field, Equip or Continuous Spells (or sometimes in the Graveyard), Flip Effects and all Spells except for Quick-Play Spells, which are Spell Speed 2.
Some face-up Normal Traps and Continuous Traps (or sometimes in the Graveyard) may also have Trigger-like Effects. Normal Traps typically have these whenever they are destroyed or equipped to a monster, such as with Survival of the Fittest.
Keep in mind that some effects of already face-up Field, Equip and Continuous Spells can be Spell Speed 2, but the initial activation is always Spell Speed 1.
Being Spell Speed 1 basically means that you must be activated in an open game state. What that is will be gone into detail later, but for now, this basically means that you must activate it during your Main Phase 1 or 2, and no other actions can happen at this time, such as another card or effect being played, or Summoning a monster.
7.4 Spell Speed 2:
Under Spell Speed 2 goes Quick Effects of monsters, Quick-like Effects of Field, Equip and Continuous Spells, Quick-Play Spell, Normal and Continuous Traps.
Normal and Continuous Traps are always Spell Speed 2 by default, meaning that all their effects that start a Chain are Spell Speed 2, even though they don't specifically state that, for example Dark Smog. They do sometimes have Trigger-like Effects (as shown above).
Being Spell Speed 2 basically means that you're a Quick Effect, which means you can activate the card or effect when a game state is closed, but also when it is open (though sometimes the card must be in response to other cards). What that is will be gone into detail later, but for now, what it basically means is that if a card or effect is activated or a monster is being Summoned, you are not allowed to activate Spell Speed 1 effects, but you can activate Spell Speed 2 or higher.
7.5 Spell Speed 3/Counter Traps:
Under Spell Speed 3 is only Counter Traps.
These are the same as Spell Speed 2, except that the only thing you can activate in response are Counter Traps, and again, you can activate them in either an open or closed game state depending on what the card says.
7.6 Ignition Effects:
Ignition Effects are the most common kind of monster effect. Ignition Effects are only allowed to activate during your Main Phase 1 or 2 when the game state is open.
These cannot be Chained to each other, which means you cannot respond with an Ignition Effect to, for example, a Trigger Effect.
All Ignition Effects are Spell Speed 1.
Ignition Effects can typically be identified by them not having a specific timing they activate, meaning that they don't activate when a certain action happens, but they instead "start" whatever is going to happen.
Already face-up Field, Equip and Continuous Spells (or sometimes in the Graveyard) sometimes have what is called a Ignition-like Effect. They work in the same way as Ignition Effects do. An important difference is that you're not activating the card itself when you're activating an Ignition-like Effect of a Spell, but rather one of its Spell effects instead, which can be important for cards like Magic Jammer.
Example of an Ignition Effect:
"Once per turn: You can send 1 monster from your hand to the Graveyard, then target 1 Level 4 or lower Zombie monster in either player's Graveyard; Special Summon that target."
7.7 Trigger Effects:
Trigger Effects are a kind of monster effect that activate when a certain action happens, for instance, you destroy a monster by battle, or when you Normal Summon a monster, but it is also possible that it comes from an effect or cost, such as a card being discard to activate a card effect, or destroyed by a card effect.
As it is possible that multiple Trigger Effects activate at the same time, you must form a special form of Chain according to that, but more about that when we talk about Chains.
Already face-up Field, Equip, Continuous Spell/Traps and Normal Traps (or sometimes in the Graveyard) sometimes have what is called a Trigger-like Effect. They work in the same way as Trigger Effects do. An important difference is that you're not activating the card itself when you're activating a Trigger-like Effect of a Spell/Trap, but rather one of its Spell/Trap effects instead, which can be important for cards like Dark Bribe.
Example of a Trigger Effect:
"When this card is destroyed by a card effect and sent to the Graveyard: You can draw 1 card for each Equip Card that was equipped to this card."
7.8 When...you can VS If... you can:
Trigger Effects and Trigger-like Effects that state "When...you can" sometimes won't be able to activate, which you can see by the image below.
All Trigger Effect activate after a Chain has resolved (if any). Effects that state "if...you can" and mandatory effects will simply just activate after the current Chain is finished, but "when...you can" may not.
An example would be if I activate a Normal Spell that discards a card for a cost (something before the semi-colon, more about this later), and that card has a "when...you can" effect that activates when it is sent to the Graveyard, since the effect is what is going to be the next thing to happen, and since you cannot Chain Trigger Effects to other effects, except for Trigger Effects themselves, it won't be able to activate.
Another case would be where it would activate when an effect is resolving, but it isn't the last Chain Link (more about Chain Links later). If it is the last thing to happen at Chain Link 2, for example the card is destroyed, but there is an effect as Chain Link 1, Chain Link 1 will be the last thing to happen, making the Trigger Effect unable to actiate.
It can also be that there's an effect at Chain Link 1 that would cause it to activate, but there is the word "then" in the effect, and something else happens after the condition was met already, for example you take damage, then a monster is destroyed, where your Trigger Effect activates when you take damage. More about this when we talk about Problem Solving Card Text, as the word "then" has a lot to do with that.
7.9 Flip Effects:
Flip Effects are similar to Trigger Effects, and they can also Chain to each other, but more about that later.
Flip Effects are mandatory by default in the TCG, though some may say "you can", which can be a bit confusion, however in those cases, you can simply choose to, for example, not target something and it would resolve without effect.
Flip Effects are shown on monsters that say "FLIP:" in the start of their text, or say Flip as the sub-type.
There are also Pseudo-Flip Effects, which say something like "If this card is flipped face-up", they work the same way as Flip Effects do, however they don't have that strange rule about them always being mandatory, and they are of course not Flip monsters either.
Flip Effects typically activate at a certain point in the Battle Phase called the Damage Step (more about that later) if they are attacked while face-down, though they can also activate if they are flipped face-up, either by an effect or you changing its position manually.
Example of a Flip Effect:
"FLIP: You can target 2 face-up monsters your opponent controls; return those targets to the hand."
7.10 Quick Effects:
Quick Effects are a form of monster effect that are Spell Speed 2. These can either start a Chain, or respond to other effects, as long as they are the same Spell Speed or lower, which means Spell Speed 1 or 2.
It's important to note that when you are resolving the Chain, aka, when you are applying the effect, you cannot activate any cards at all, even if you could respond to it with a Quick Effect.
You can activate Quick Effects multiple times per Chain if the effect doesn't say it can be activated only once per turn, however if the card would not cause a change by activating more than once per turn, you cannot do it more than once that turn. For example, you cannot activate T.G. Wonder Magician's last effect more than once per turn, but you can activate Thought Ruler Archfiend's last effect multiple times.
Already face-up Field, Equip, Continuous Spells (or sometimes in the Graveyard) sometimes have what is called a Quick-like Effect. They work in the same way as Quick Effects do. An important difference is that you're not activating the card itself when you're activating a Quick-like Effect of a Spell, but rather one of its Spell effects instead, which can be important for cards like Magic Jammer.
Also, Normal and Continuous Traps are Quick Effects by default, even if they say "during your Main Phase", they are still Quick Effects, so you can respond to other effects with them, for example Dark Smog.
You can tell that it's a Quick Effect if it says "during either player's turn" or "(this is a Quick Effect)" in the text. Newer cards do not say "during either player's turn" anymore, but instead say "(Quick Effect)" before the colon.
Quick Effects typically negate activations of cards. If they do, they must activate in response to that card to negate it, so you cannot negate the activation of a card that is Chain Link 1, but you can if a card is Chain Link 2, and the Quick Effect becomes Chain Link 3.
Example of a Quick Effect (on a monster or already face-up Field, Equip or Continuous Spell):
"During your opponent's Main Phase (Quick Effect): You can send this card from your hand to the GY, then target 1 Effect Monster your opponent controls; that face-up monster your opponent controls has its effects negated until the end of this turn."
7.11 Continuous Effects:
Next up are Continuous Effects. These don't activate, which means they don't start a Chain, however, in the case of Continuous Spells or other Spell/Traps that stay on the field, it starts a Chain when you activate the card itself, though the Continuous Effects only applies after it resolves.
A Continuous Effect does not have a colon or semi-colon, so it makes it easier to tell which are and which are not. However, old cards didn't have this system, which is known as Problem Solving Card Text. In case you can't tell if it's a Continuous Effect or not, look up the Rulings.
Also, for monsters with Continuous Effects, if they are face-down at the start of the Damage Step, and they are flipped face-up by an attack, then their effects don't apply until after damage calculation, and if they are destroyed by battle, their Continuous Effects stop applying.
Also, if a monster has Continuous Effect, and is flipped face-up, the effect does not apply until the current Chain Link has finished resolving (with some exceptions).
Example of a Continuous Effect:
"This card cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent's card effects."
7.12 Effects that linger:
Sometimes, when an effect resolves, it keeps "lingering" its effect. What this means is that it has an effect that is applied on a card, a player, or the game a whole.
This is seen often on Token monsters, mostly in the form of conditions, such as "You cannot Tribute these Tokens", though cards that make monsters gain ATK or DEF only once, such as Rush Recklessly also linger.
It doesn’t just have to linger on cards though, some cards make it so your opponent cannot declare an attack this turn, or something like that.
Others will gain an effect at another point, such as Spellbook of Judgement. Do note that it does not start a Chain again in that case.
These keep applying while the card is face-up on the field. Most of these only apply for a certain amount of time, and they "turn off" at some point, meaning that you must say that they stop applying at that point. There are some rules on how this work, which will be explain later.
Example of a card that lingers:
"Target 1 face-up monster on the field; it gains 700 ATK until the end of this turn."
7.13 Unclassified/Maintenance Cost/Conditions:
These are typically effects which are kind of like Continuous Effects, but they are not considered to be Continuous Effects, which normally leads to some confusion as to what can and cannot be negated, which is why at the bottom of this, you'll see a list of which can and cannot be negated.
See also these:
In the case of Maintenance Costs, they aren't like normal costs where you do something to activate an effect, rather, you must do a certain action, otherwise something will or will not be able to stay on the field or keep applying, for example, most Koa'ki Meiru monsters have a Maintenance Cost in that you need to either send the card "Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru" from your hand to the Graveyard or reveal a specific kind of card from your hand, otherwise the monster will be destroyed.
In the TCG, if a mandatory Maintenance Costs would cause the player using it to lose the duel, then they must destroy the card by game mechanics instead, with the exception of "Destructive Draw".
Example of a Condition:
"There can only be 1 face-up "Earthbound Immortal" monster on the field."
Example of a Maintenance Cost:
"During each of your End Phases, destroy this card unless you send 1 "Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru" from your hand to the Graveyard or reveal 1 Rock monster in your hand."
Example of an Unclassified Effect:
"You can only control 1 "Bujin Yamato."
Credit goes to the wikia:
Cannot be negated:
- "Summoning restrictions/Special Summoning conditions" such as "Helpoemer", "Doomcaliber Knight" (Cannot be Special Summoned from the Graveyard) and "Dark Armed Dragon" (Cannot be Normal Summoned or Set; cannot be Special Summoned by other ways.)
- "Name conditions" that also apply in the Deck such as "Cyber Harpie Lady", "Lemuria, the Forgotten City", and "A Legendary Ocean"
- "Maintenance costs" such as "Koa'ki Meiru" Monsters, "Mind Protector" and "Mirror Wall"
- "Material limitations" such as "Eccentric Boy", "Chimeratech Fortress Dragon", "Majestic Dragon" and "Debris Dragon"
- "Effects that apply under certain conditions" such as Gemini Monsters, "Morphtronic" Monsters (While in _ Position: part only) and "Master Hyperion" (If you control a face-up "The Sanctuary in the Sky", you can use this effect up to twice per turn.)
- "Limitation restrictions" such as Union Monsters and "Chaos Sorcerer" (If you activate this effect, this card cannot attack during this turn.)
- "Synchro Substitute Monsters" such as "Quickdraw Synchron" and "Vanadis of the Nordic Ascendant"
- "Lingering Effects" left behind after the effect has successfully resolved:
- "Continuous-like lingering effects" such as "Wattwoodpecker", "Hardened Armed Dragon", "Torapart" the "Yang Zing" non-Tuners bonuses and "Quillbolt Hedgehog" (If this card was Summoned this way, remove it from play when it is removed from the field.)
- "Trigger-like lingering effects" such as "Rescue Cat" (these are not the same as Trigger Effects, they do not use a chain)
- "Expiration dates of lingering effects" such as "Shrink", "Gaap the Divine Soldier" and "Honest" (until the End Phase)
- "Match winners" such as "Victory Dragon"
- "Victory conditions" such as "Exodia the Forbidden One", "Vennominaga the Deity of Poisonous Snakes" and "The Creator God of Light, Horakhty"
- "Archetype conditions" such as "Axe of Despair" and "Summoned Skull"
- "Level and Rank conditions" such as "Number F0: Utopic Future", "Number S0: Hope ZEXAL", and "Ultimaya Tzolkin"
Can be negated:
- "Summon monster effect" such as "Cyber Dragon", "Machina Fortress", "Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World" and "Familiar-Possessed - Aussa".
- "Only 1 on field restrictions" (There can only be 1 face-up ___ on the field) such as "Malefic" monsters. Note that even if "Skill Drain" is negating the effect of a face-up "Malefic" monster on the field, you still cannot Summon another because the restriction is still active while the monster is in the hand.
- "Only 1 per side restrictions" (You can only control 1 ___). Similar to the above restriction, you cannot Summon another copy even if "Skill Drain" is negating the one on the field.
- "Substitute Effects" such as "Destiny Hero - Departed" (... remove it from play instead) and Union Monsters (... destroy this card instead)
- "Material Costs":
- "Multiple Tributers" such as "Kaiser Sea Horse" and "Double Coston"
- "Ritual Substitutes" such as "Ritual Raven" and "Djinn of Rituals"
- "Fusion Substitute Monsters" such as "Beastking of the Swamps" and "Mystical Sheep #1"
- "Multiple Card-Types" such as "Simorgh, Bird of Ancestry" (This card is treated as a Normal Monster while in your hand.) and "Light and Darkness Dragon"
- "Graveyard Conditions" such as "Phantom Beast Cross-Wing", "Harpie Queen" and "Elemental HERO Necroshade"
- "Level Treat Effects" such as "Tuningware" and "Road Synchron"
You have heard this term used a lot now, and you’re probably getting to the point where you want to know what the heck a Chain is. Maybe you have already figured it out from what I posted? Even if you have, there are still some important rules regarding Chains, and I will of course go over everything regarding that here.
8.2 How Chains Work:
First, what is a Chain? Well, a Chain is a form of interaction between effects. When you activate a card or effect, the effect does not take place right away. It must first get “resolved”, in other words, use its effect. For it to do this it is put on a Chain, which is comprised of what is known as Chain Links. You start with Chain Link 1, then Chain Link 2 and so on. There is no limit to how long a Chain can be, so as long as you can activate more cards or effects, the Chain can go on forever.
Both players alternate between who places an effect on the Chain. If one player does not want to place an effect on the Chain, the other player can, but a player cannot put 2 effects on the Chain at the same time, they must wait for their opponent to place any first, then they can. In case the opponent does not wish to place any on the Chain, the other player can again place one on the Chain, though they must always wait for their opponent to give the go-ahead first.
When both players agree to not put more effects on the Chain, you resolve it. You do this from the most recent, to the first one, meaning the last thing to resolve is Chain Link 1, though this may not always be the case, since it is possible to negate the activation of that card, which in turn means that the last thing to resolve is the card that negated the activation, or in other words Chain Link 2.
This is important in a few cases where a card or effect can be activated, for example with the card Dark Bribe, where the last thing to happen is drawing a card. In case your opponent drew Infernity Archfiend, they can activate the effect as Chain Link 1 here (if they have no cards in their hand that is).
While a Chain is resolving, you cannot activate other cards and effects. You must wait until the Chain has finished resolving (see "9: Open and Closed Game State and Fast Effect Timing" for more about this).
When Chain Link 1 resolves, Trigger Effects may activate. Mandatory Effects go first on the Chain, then optional effects can go after all mandatory have been put on the Chain.
Sometimes, both players have Trigger Effects that have the same activation requirement and would therefore be put on the Chain at the same time. This forms what is called SEGOC, which stands for "Simultaneous Effects Go On Chain". SEGOC is a system that makes sure that Chains are formed correctly.
First, the turn player’s mandatory effects, then the non-turn player’s mandatory effects. Then the turn player’s optional effects, then the non-turn player’s optional effects. From there, the opponent of the last player who put an effect on the Chain can activate Spell Speed 2 or higher effects to place on the Chain, where you follow the same rules as you learned above.
Also an important side note, a ”when…you can” effect won't be able to activate if they are Tribute Summoned or Synchro Summoned, but since Sangan is mandatory, it will still activate, and “if…you can” can also activate, but more about that later.
The turn player can choose to activate an effect first if the game state is open, otherwise, the opponent can activate effects. The opponent cannot just butt in and activate an effect before you can if you have right to activate that effect.
9.1 Open and Closed Game State:
An important thing to know in Yu-Gi-Oh! is that you cannot simply throw your cards around as you please. Each player has to tell the other player that they wish to not activate a card or effect.
The turn player is the player who has right to activate effects first, then if they pass the opponent can. If neither player wishes to activate a card or effect, you must agree that you are going onto the next Phase or Step.
9.2 Fast Effect Timing:
Below you will see a chart. This explains how to handle things regarding who has the right to activate cards or effects. It may look a bit complicated at first, however it is much easier to simply follow it as you need to, instead of looking over everything at once (though I suggest you do try to look at everything regardless).
For some examples, let’s start with A:
It’s your Main Phase. You wish to Normal Summon Tour Guide From the Underworld. You choose to activate the effect.
You follow the arrow to the left and go to the yellow box. Here, you go to D. Resolve the Chain. No other effects are activated when this Chain resolves.
Go to B. The turn player can now activate Fast Effects. This is before the game state is open again. You choose to not do this and you go to C. The opponent chooses to not do this and you go to A, and now you repeat this process again.
The Battle Phase is a quite complex place, as cards and effects function at specific points which are either before or after other points. Not all of these are required, as sometimes there won't be an action to be done in that point, so you just skip to the next one instead. Each of these allow specific cards and effects to be activated, and these are all explained below. Note that are a few differences between the TCG and the OCG versions of the Battle Phase, as always we only cover the TCG version.
10.2 Start Step:
Start of the Battle Phase. The turn player can decide to conduct battle and has priority to activate cards here. You are currently not battling, so cards that can be used when cards are battling may not be used here. You must go into the Battle Step next here, regardless of you having monsters to battle with, or you even wanting not to go into the Battle Step, for example if you had an effect you didn't want to use in your Main Phase in fear of cards like Effect Veiler.
10.3 Battle Step:
After the Start Step, you must go into the Battle Step as stated above. In here, you can activate effects, or declare an attack during an open game state.
When an attack is declared, the turn player can choose to activate effects, then they pass priority to the opponent who can respond to the attack, but they don't have to. If they don't choose to, they cannot activate cards in response to attack declaration for the rest of the battle.
If you enter the Battle Step, but you don't wish to attack, you announce that you wish to end the Battle Phase, and then you go to the End Step.
10.4 Before the Damage Step/After Attack Declaration:
Cards don't need to be activated here, but they can be. Any number of Chains can be activated here until both players agree to continue. This is after cards like "Mirror Force" are allowed to be activated, and other cards that activate in response to the attack. Note that you're still considered to be in the Battle Step at this point, so cards like Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon can be activated here.
10.5 Damage Step:
During the Damage Step, only certain cards and effects are allowed to be played:
Counter Traps are always allowed.
Most Trigger Effects can, though some will specifically say that they cannot, such as Infernity Archfiend.
ATK/DEF changing cards and effects, however only up until right before damage calculations, except for cases it directly says "during damage calculation". Note that you cannot use cards that would cause other cards to stop changing the ATK/DEF, even if you normally wouldn't be able to use them in the Damage Step.
For example, you want to use Mystical Space Typhoon on the opponent's Axe of Despair, though MST does not specifically change the ATK/DEF of the monster, Axe of Despair being destroyed does, so you cannot use MST here. You may still use cards with multiple effects, along with ATK/DEF changes, such as Forbidden Lance.
After damage calculation, you may not activate activate Spell Speed 2 cards or effects that change ATK/DEF anymore, such as Juragedo. However, mandatory effects and Trigger Effects may still be activated here though, such as Slate Warrrior.
Cards and effects that negate the activation of cards, note that they must state "negate the activation", not "negate its effects" or similar.
"Attack and Receive", "Chthonian Blast", "Desrook Archfiend", "Michizure", "Null and Void", and "Numinous Healer" have all been deemed cards that are allowed to activate during the Damage Step. These are cards which Konami has chosen to allow activating here. Certain cards may mess with normal Rulings and thinking, though Konami has allowed certain cards to work differently. These are called BKSS, or Because Konami Said So.
Continuous Effects always apply during the Damage Step, and if a Continuous Effect is to take place, it will first, then Trigger Effects, then Spell Speed 2 or higher cards or effects can be activated, then other effects can be activated.
At all points in the Damage Step, you may have multiple Chains, with the exception of damage calculation, but more about that later.
During the Damage Step, replays cannot occur, so you simply continue the attack (and if either of the monsters that battle are removed, you stop the Damage Step, and no take will be taken.)
10.6 Start of the Damage Step:
Here, you apply or activate all cards that activate at the start of the Damage Step. ATK/DEF changes may be made here, regardless of if it can be used during the Damage Step or not.
10.7 Before Damage Calculation:
Before other effects can take place, if a Set is attacked, you change the face-down monsters to face-up Defense Position, then you do other effects.
Effects that activate when flipped face-up and Flip Effects do not activate at this time, they activate later on in the Damage Step, unless stated otherwise.
Effects that prevent a monster from being attacked are not applied, because the monster is already being attacked. If the monster survives, the effect will be applied again after the Damage Step.
If a monster that is flipped face-up has a Continuous Effect that causes it to destroy itself under certain conditions, that effect is not applied until after damage calculation, and if it isn't destroyed by battle, it will destroy itself with its effect immediately, for example Malefic Stardust Dragon while you control no Field Spell.
This does not apply if the monster is destroyed by battle, as in that case, the effect is not applied. If a monster like Ally of Justice Catastor had an effect that would destroy a monster, it is not applied at this time since that monster was face-down at the point at which Catastor would activate.
ATK/DEF changes may be made here, regardless of if it can be used during the Damage Step or not.
Cards that say they activate at this point such as Yubel will activate here.
10.8 Damage Calculation:
At this point, only 1 chain is allowed, except for cases where Trigger Effects would activate after the first Chain has resolved. Also note that you would not be able to activate cards such as Kuriboh anymore.
ATK/DEF changes made not be made, unless it states it can be used in damage calculation specifically.
Cards that negate activations may still be used here.
Continuous Effects are still applied, and so are those that apply only during this point.
If a monster that is battling is destroyed or removed by an effect during this point, no damage is inflicted.
10.9 After Damage Calculation:
This is the point where monsters with Continuous Effect that would destroy themselves are applied if they survived the battle, if not, their Continuous Effects are not applied from this point onward (also all other Continuous Effects are not applied if the monster is destroyed by battle).
Do note that Continuous Effects that causes the monster to do a certain thing, such as Crystal Beast monsters' effects do are still applied.
Cards that activate when battle damage is inflicted activate here.
Do note that cards Flashbang can be activated before any other effects. If it resolves properly, other effects that activate when Battle Damage is inflicted will not activate, and the rest of the Damage Step is skipped.
At this point and forward, you cannot activate Spell Speed 2 effects that alter ATK and DEF anymore, but as said before, mandatory and Trigger Effects may still be used when appropriate.
This is the point where Flip Effects activate and other effects that activate when a monster is flipped face-up. If a monster that was flipped face-up has an effect that activates at this point, it can’t target a monster that was destroyed in battle, such as Penguin Soldier.
This is also where cards that activate after damage calculation activate, such as D.D. Warrior.
Note that if there is a Flip Effect and an effect that states "when this card inflicts battle damage", they will form a Chain according to the rules of SEGOC.
10.10 End of the Damage Step:
Monsters destroyed by battle are sent to the Graveyard, or banished if Macro Cosmos is on the field.
At this point, effects that activate when a monster is destroyed by battle can activate.
If a monster destroys both itself an the opponent's monster, it will normally not activate, but if the card says "destroyed by battle" and excludes the "and is sent/sends it to the Graveyard", then it can still activate. However, this is currently not the case on Dueling Network, you can see more here.
Cards that activate at the end of the Damage Step activate here.
If you have another monster, you can choose to go back to the Battle Step and declare a new attack, otherwise go to the End Step.
10.11 End Step:
This point is after the Damage Step. You can here activate cards like your normally would like before the Damage Step, or certain cards that activate at the end of the Battle Phase will activate here, such as Gladiator Beasts.
11.1 The End Phase Explained:
The End Phase can be a bit strange if you don't know how to handle Fast Effect Timing, so go read "9: Open and Closed Game State and Fast Effect Timing" before reading this.
This was written with help of another article, so I want to give credit to it and you can find it by clicking here.
During the End Phase (as well as Standby Phase and the End Step of the Battle Phase) curtain effects are mandatory to activate or end, or a player may have some effects they may wish to activate themselves, however unlike Trigger Effects which can form a Chain according to SEGOC, these don't activate all in a row, rather the players need to activate or end them one after the other.
The turn player can choose to pass to their opponent, and if they choose to activate or end anything, you simply follow Chain rules if needed and start over again. If, however, your opponent doesn't wish to do anything, as normal you change the Phase, Step or turn, though if you have any mandatory effects you need to activate or end, you must first do so.
You cannot skip these, and as such, you go back to the turn player having priority again, in which case, you must activate or end that effect, or do something else, but you cannot pass at this point, since you would end up in an infinite loop if both players choose not to do anything.
Here's a list of cards that function this way:
Spellbook of Judgment
Justice of Prophecy
11.2 Hand Size Limit:
An important part of the End Phase is the Hand Size Limit. As the name suggests, you have a limit on how many cards you can have in your hand at once. While you may have as many as you want normally, during the End Phase, you must discard so you have only 6 left. You can only discard until you have 6 left though, you can't keep discarding after that. This is an action without a Spell Speed and happens at the very end of the End Phase, after you have declared to end your turn. At this point, normally cards and effects may not be activated, so unlike other times, you don't follow the Fast Effect Timing chart like you normally would by going to B and C.
Typically this is pretty simply, you just discard until you have 6, then you end the turn, however there are some cases where certain cards and effects may need to activate or apply. For example, The White Stone of Legend has a mandatory effect that activate whenever it's sent to the Graveyard. If you have 9 cards in your hand and you need to discard 3 and you discard all 3 copies of The White Stone of Legend, these will all activate in a Chain according to SEGOC. At this point, players may once again activate cards and effects like a normal Chain.
Let's say we activate Super Rejuvenation from our hand, which you cause us to have 5 cards now. As that effect has a mandatory effect that takes place during the End Phase, and as such, you are kicked out of the Hand Size Limit check and you must do the procedure you were taught about above once more. As before, you may choose to use Super Rejuvenation here, you may do something else, though as before, you cannot cause an infinite loop this way, and after you're done, you'll go to the Hand Size Limit check once more.
Once per turn effects are quite common, since many effects would be too powerful if they could be used multiple times, so it’s important to know how these work. Also note that this applies to “twice per turn” or “once per Duel” as well.
Since negation of effects sometimes causes "once per turn" effects to be reset, it's important to know why, so that's why this is explained here.
12.2 Once per turn effects:
First we have the kind that say: “Once per turn: cost/target (if any); effect”. This is an effect that can be used by that specific card once per turn while it is face-up on the field. If you control more of it, it gets flipped face-down then face-up again, or leaves the field and comes back, you can use that effect again.
If such an effect is negated in any way, you do not get to use it again for that monster.
An example of a card with such an effect would be Photon Papilloperative which effect states:
"Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 Defense Position monster on the field; change it to face-up Attack Position, and if you do, it loses 600 ATK.
12.3 Only...once per turn effects and negations:
The other kind effects that say: “You can only activate/use the/this effect of *Card Name* once per turn”. These can only be used once, regardless of you having multiple copies or if one leaves the field and comes back etc.
An important thing to know is that if you use an effect that negates the activation of the card and it says “activate” in that text, you CAN use it again, also, the Chain Link of the effect it negates disappears.
However, if it says “use” instead, then regardless of you negating it with an activation or not, cannot activate it again.
If you only negate the effect, and not the activation itself, then regardless of it saying “activate” or “use” they cannot activate it again. Also, any conditions a card might have other than the once per turn work the same way.
For example, Pot of Duality. If you negate the activation, you can Special Summon again.
Speaking of that card, if you were to Special Summon a monster which does not start a Chain, like an Xyz Summon for example, even if you negate that Special Summon, you cannot use it again, since a Special Summon is still considered being to have been used, but if you negate the activation of a card that Special Summons, you can activate Pot of Duality.
An example of a card with such an effect would be spellbook of Secrets which effect states:
"Add 1 "Spellbook" card from your Deck to your hand, except "Spellbook of Secrets". You can only activate 1 "Spellbook of Secrets" per turn."
Certain cards give you an extra Normal Summon per turn. There are a few different kinds of Normal Summons. They all work quite differently, so let’s go over them.
It's important to note that these do not stack.
14.3 Additional Normal Summons:
Next up are cards that say the following or similar:
“During the turn this card was Normal Summoned, you can Normal Summon 1 “Card Name” monster in addition to your Normal Summon/Set. (You can only gain this effect once per turn.)”
The last part is important here, as any card that says it the same way as that cannot be used if you also use that card.
You can gain as many of these as you have cards for per turn, and the stack with other kinds of Normal Summons.
An thing to note about the card Swap Frog is that it's currently a bit weird in the TCG, as it's an effect that activates and allows you to LATER Normal Summon, which is similar to additional Normal Summons. What makes this weird is that you're allowed to activate it multiple times, even though it still only allows you to Normal Summon one extra time. This may change if the card is updated with Problem Solving Card Text in the future though.
14.1 Special Summon only monsters:
You have heard me use this term before. Special Summon only monsters, as the name suggests, means that they cannot be Normal Summoned.
This also refers to any Extra Deck monsters, with the exception of any Pendulum Monsters (typically) being put there, those can still be Normal Summoned, but more about that later.
Any Special Summon only monster are Summoned through game mechanics, except those that state that they're specifically Special Summoned through an effect, typically their own, such as Malefic Truth Dragon.
14.2: Extra Deck and Ritual Monsters:
Extra Deck and Ritual Monsters are Summoned through a special way that dictates how they are normally Summoned. As you have seen earlier, for the case of Xyz Monsters, you use 2, and sometimes more, monsters with the same Level.
Whenever you Summon them by this way, it's an X Summon, where X is the kind of Summon you're performing, being Xyz Summon in this case.
Do remember that these kinds of Summons are always considered a Special Summon.
There are several ways to Special Summon Xyz Monsters by other ways. Typically, these are NOT said to be Xyz Summons, but rather, just a Special Summon, though some do state that they consider them being Xyz Summons, such as the Rank-Up-Magic cards.
There is a good reason why it's different, that being that any Extra Deck and Ritual Monster that was not properly Summoned by their own method cannot be Special Summoned from the Graveyard or while banished once they are put there after the Summon.
So, this means that if you Summon Summon Stardust Dragon through the effect of Starlight Road, then you cannot Summon it from the Graveyard, ALSO it cannot Special Summon itself by its own effect, which can only be done if properly Synchro Summoned.
Another case where you would not be able to re-Summon them would be if they were sent to the Graveyard/banished, but were never on the field. This is either because they had their X Summon negated, again, X being for the kind Summon you're performing, or that they were sent there from the Extra Deck by a card effect like Xyz Avenger, and in the case of Ritual Monsters, any way they were put there from the hand or Deck, like Foolish Burial.
If you do Summon them from the Graveyard or while banished, then even if they're sent there afterwards, you may Summon them again, which is because they "remember" being properly X Summoned. Do keep in mind that if they do return to the Extra Deck, or hand or Main Deck in the case of Ritual Monsters, then you must again Summon them by their own method, since they reset.
14.3 Special Summon through effect:
Another Special Summon is through a card effect. Certain monsters have effects that make them, like Synchro or Xyz Summons, Summon themselves without starting a Chain, and some Summon with a Chain.
Those without a Chain may only be performed in an open game state during your Main Phase 1 or 2, like Xyz Monsters.
The way to indicate that they do not start a Chain can be seen in their effect. They will something along the lines of: "If your opponent controls a monster and you control no monsters, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand)."
The easiest way to indicate that these are like this is by looking at the paraphrases; if they say where they Summon themselves from, then that means that it does not start a Chain.
The difference between these and Xyz Summons is that unlike Xyz Monsters, if these Summons are negated, you may still Special Summon them from the Graveyard or while banished, with the exceptions of cards that state either "must be/must first be Special Summoned", which means that they cannot be Summoned, except by that way, or must first be Summoned that way until you can later re-Summon them.
Also, in case that they have their effects negated in the Graveyard, cards like Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World cannot Special Summon themselves from the Graveyard.
Speaking about Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World, whenever you Summon a card like this, they sometimes have what looks like it could be a cost attached to them, saying things like "by sending 1 card you control to the Graveyard". These are not costs, and are not effects either. This is simply a part of the Summoning procedure. Also keep in mind that these have a specific timing, so the last thing to happen would not be sending, but Special Summoning the monster.
If they start a Chain, then depending on the card/effect, it may be used at any time, and in those cases, they may be Special Summoned from the Graveyard or while banished again, unless of course they say "Must be Special Summoned by its own effect" or something similar.
A popular example of this would be Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders, that can Special Summon itself by starting a Chain, or it can Special Summon a monster in your Graveyard. These are not considered Special Summon only monsters though.
14.4 Special Summon through game mechanics:
Like with the above, these do not start a Chain, however, they are not effects. These are cards which say "Must be Special Summoned" or "Must first be Special Summoned". An example of this is Black Luster Solder - Envoy of the Beginning.
Note that this is not sending them to the Graveyard as an effect , by rather game mechanics.
Again, if they are Summoned from the Graveyard or while banished, then sent there, they "remember" being properly Special Summoned, so you can Special Summon them again (the "must first be Special Summoned that is), but if they return to the hand or Deck, then you must Special Summon them again by their method, since they reset.
Even some Fusion Monsters have this, such as Elemental HERO Flare Neos, but do keep in mind, these are not a proper Fusion Summon, as stated by Neos' text, it's a Special Summon, not a Fusion Summon.
14.5 Summons immediately after an effect resolves:
Cards sometimes allow you to Summon monsters through an effect, but sometimes they don't do it when they resolve, but rather immediately after it. This can cause some confusion, as you may ask yourself "which kind of Summon is that then?"
Well, these are Summons similar to that of Cyber Dragon and Xyz Monsters, so this means that you my use cards like Black Horn of Heaven after the effect resolves.
You may not use it if the Chain is still resolving however, as you cannot activate cards and effects until the Chain has finished resolving.
Ultimate Offering, for example, is a card like this, and if you use this as Chain Link 2, then you may not activate cards like Solemn Judgment after it resolves, since something at Chain Link 1 is trying to resolve after it.
15.1 PSCT Introduction:
You may not believe it, but Problem Solving Card Text, or PSCT for short, is one of the best ways to solve a Ruling issue, but first, let me explain what this is and why it exists.
Before the booster pack, Generation Force, cards were written in a way that made it hard for the user to tell if an effect activated or not, certain terms were confusing, and a lot of terms were too long, so to compensate for this, Konami changed how they wrote the cards in a huge way. It's very easy to tell the difference in card texts, as the new ones are smoother, easier to understand and shorter as well.
They also made sure that the Elemental HERO Archetype was different than "hero" monsters by making the "hero" all caps for any card related to the HERO Archetype.
There are also other changes, mostly the wording of cards, some are more important than others. I won't list them all here, but you can find them by following this link:
15.2 Colons and Semi-colons, reading card texts:
Before PSCT existed, figuring out if an effect activated or not and what was a cost and what was an effect could be a bit difficult in some cases. That's where colons and semi-colons come in. With these, you can now tell if an effect starts a Chain or not and when there's a cost.
When you see an effect that uses a colon or semi-colon, that always means that it activates. Whatever is before the the colon means that it's a condition or it has a specific timing where you activate the card or effect (sometimes both or sometimes neither).
If there is a semi-colon, this means that there is a cost to the card or it targets something (sometimes both or sometimes neither). Costs and targeting happens at the activation of the card or effect.
Sometimes, there are both a condition and/or timing as well as a cost and/or targeting, and in those cases, you will see both a colon and a semi-colon, where the colon is first, then the semi-colon later.
If there is no semi-colon, then whatever is after the colon is the effect. If there is a semi-colon only, or there is both a colon and semi-colon, then that means that whatever is after the semi-colon is the effect.
Below is an example of a card that was updated using PSCT.
"When this card is Normal Summoned, you can Special Summon 1 Level 2 or lower monster from your Graveyard in face-up Defense Position. That monster's effect(s) is negated."
"When this card is Normal Summoned: You can target 1 Level 2 or lower monster in your GY; Special Summon that target in Defense Position, but its effects are negated."
As you can see, this card has a timing of when it's Normal Summoned, which is before the colon, then it targets a monster in your Graveyard, which is before the semi-colon, then comes the effect after the semi-colon.
As you can see, there is no indication that it targets in the old text, it's unknown if negating the effects is a Continuous Effect or a part of the activated effect, and you don't know when it starts or stops either.
Now for an example of a card with a Continuous Effect and an activated one.
"This card gains 100 ATK for each face-up Winged Beast-Type monster you control. Once per turn, if you control 3 or more face-up Winged Beast-Type monsters, you can destroy 1 Spell or Trap your opponent controls."
"This card gains 100 ATK for each Winged Beast-Type monster you control. Once per turn: You can target 1 Spell/Trap your opponent controls; destroy that target. You must control 3 or more Winged Beast monsters to activate and to resolve this effect."
As you learned before, if it has a colon or semi-colon, it activates, however that is impossible to tell on the old text here. The new one makes it clear that the first effect is a Continuous Effect and the second effect activates. You also see it having the condition of "once per turn" here before the colon. Furthermore, the new text also shows that you must control the monsters at resolution as well, not just activation as the old text indicates.
With effects that target cards, sometimes, the target may be missing or altered. Sometimes, the card doesn't care if it is changed or not, sometimes it must stay the same as how it was targeted.
For example, if a card says: "Target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; destroy that target", then it must also remain a face-up monster, otherwise, it resolves without effect, since there is no target.
How you can see that it does this is by looking at the effect text; as you can see, it says "that target".
This means that it MUST stay the same. If the card said "it" instead, then it wouldn't matter if it was face-up or not.
Another example is Ghostrick Alucard's effect to destroy a Set card:
"You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 Set card your opponent controls; destroy that target."
Again, it says "that target" so you can conclude that it must remain Set, so if the card was activated in response, it would NOT destroy the card.
Sometimes, you can have multiple targets. This is where it can get a bit confusing. You see, in case the card refers to the targets as "they" or "them", it works like if they said "it", so it wouldn't matter if one was removed, it would still resolve what it could.
Here's an example of that:
"Target 2 Attack Position monsters you control; return them to the hand, and if you do, inflict 500 damage to your opponent."
If the opponent Chained with an effect that changed one of my monsters to Defense Position or removed one of the monsters from the field, then it would still resolve, though only the ones that are still on the field would return, the other one remains where it is.
Note that if neither can be returned, then you don't do the rest of the effect (the 500 damage), but more about how multiple part effects later.
In case the card says "those targets", then the targets must still remain how they were, but if one is altered, the rest will still resolve.
Let's use the same example as before:
"Target 2 Attack Position monsters you control; return those targets to the hand, and if you do, inflict 500 damage to your opponent".
If one of the monsters is changed to Defense Position, it will not return to the hand, but the one that's still a proper target, the Attack Position monster, will return, and damage will be inflicted.
Lastly, there is "both (those) targets"/"all "3-4-5 etc.".
In case it says one of those, the targets must remain the same kind of target, and if even one isn't, then the effect cannot resolve.
So, let's use our example:
"Target 2 face-up Attack Position monsters you control; return both those targets to the hand, and if you do, inflict 500 damage to your opponent".
If one was changed to Defense Position or leaves the field before this effect resolves, the effect will resolve without effect, no monsters returned, and no damage inflicted.
Before PSCT, it was hard to tell if certain effects could activate at certain points or not, and if the effects happen simultaneously or in sequence of each other. This is important as effects that state "when...you can" may not be able to activate at certain times if they're not the last thing to happen during an effect. To help fix this, PSCT has various conjunctions that indicate if the effects are considered to happen simultaneously or not.
There are five conjunctions that are used: "and", "and if you do", "also", "then" and "also, after that".
We'll start with "and". This is term that is used so that multiple effects resolve at the same time.
What this means, is that if a "when...you can" effect can activate, it can respond to both the parts. Also, both of the parts are required for each other.
Example (Anything before (1) is the first part, anything between (1) and (2) is the second part):
"Target 2 Attack Position monsters you control; return both those targets to the hand (1) and inflict 500 damage to your opponent (2)".
As you can see, it is required that you return both to the hand, otherwise, it will resolve without effect. You must also both be able to return both AND inflict damage, otherwise neither will happenl
Next up is "and if you do".
This works the same as "and", except that if you cannot do second part, then you still do the first part.
Example (Anything before (1) is the first part, anything between (1) and (2) is the second part):
"Target 2 Attack Position monsters you control; return both those targets to the hand (1), and if you do, destroy 1 monster your opponent controls (2)."
It's important to note here that if you cannot perform a part of an effect at activation, then you cannot activate it at all, unless the effect say "you can" after the semi-colon (aka during resolution).
So, if the opponent doesn’t control a monster, you can't activate the effect. If they don't control a monster during resolution, but did at activation, then the effect attempts to resolve as much as possible, meaning that it will still return the monsters to the hand, but after that, the effect will simply end.
Next up is "also".
"Also" means that neither is required for each other for it to resolve.
Example (Anything before (1) is the first part, anything between (1) and (2) is the second part):
"Target 2 Attack Position monsters you control; return both those targets to the hand (1), also destroy 1 monster your opponent controls (2)."
If you don't return them to the hand, the rest of the effect will still resolve since it says "also", and the same applies the other way around.
Again, this works like "and" and "and if you do" in that both are considered to happen at the same time, so "when...you can" effects will be able to activate to both.
Next up is "then".
Then works differently than the ones before, as the effects are not considered to happen simultaneously.
Example (Anything before (1) is the first part, anything between (1) and (2) is the second part):
"Target 2 Attack Position monsters you control; return both those targets to the hand (1), then destroy 1 monster your opponent controls (2)."
The last thing to happen is destroying a monster. If the targets are not returned, the destroy part does not happen. If the destroy cannot happen, the last thing to happen is returning to the hand. If this effect were to resolve correctly, "when...you can" effects that activate when a card is returned to the hand cannot be activated.
Lastly we have "also, after that".
This works like "also" in that neither is required for each other to resolve, but that the last thing to happen is what comes after the conjunction, like with "then". An easy way to remember how this works is to instead think of it like saying "then, even if the last part didn't resolve".
Example (Anything before (1) is the first part, anything between (1) and (2) is the second part):
"Target 2 Attack Position monsters you control; return both those targets to the hand (1), also, after that destroy 1 monster your opponent controls (2)."
If no monsters are returned here, you still destroy the monster, and if no monster can be destroyed, you still return the monsters.
If the effect resolves normally, the last thing to happen is you destroying a monster, so "when...you can" effects that activate when you return a monster to the hand cannot be activated.
Sometimes, you might also see multiple conjunctions on one card. Simply follow it from left to right.
Example (Anything before (1) is the first part, anything between (1) and (2) is the second part, anything between (2) and (3) is the third part):
"Target 2 Attack Position monsters you control; return both those targets to the hand (1), and if you do, inflict 500 damage to your opponent (2), then destroy 1 monster your opponent controls (3)."
First you return the monsters, and if you do that, you inflict damage, then after that you destroy a monster. If you don't do both the first and second part, you cannot do the third part.
If this effect resolves correctly, the last thing to happen is destroying a monster, as such, effects that say "when...you can" cannot be activated when you return monsters to the hand or your opponent takes damage, but they can when a monster your opponent controls is destroyed.
I am not very good with this topic, which is why that most of what is here is from this page. So please, if there are any mistakes, I might not be able to help you, as this is something I find very confusing myself.
16.2 Continuously Applied Modifications:
These cannot be overwritten by other continuously applied modifiers and in most cases reapply after a monster’s ATK/DEF has been modified. Examples include Fire Formation - Tenki, Madolche Chateau, Evilswarm Thunderbird.
16.3 Applied via effects that linger:
Cards that don’t just say that a card gains a specific value, like 200 or 500 ATK/DEF, but rather say Halve/Double/Becomes X ATK/DEF are either “freeze” the ATK/DEF or not freeze it.
Examples of freezing include Black Garden, Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind, Bujingi Crane, Heroic Champion – Excalibur. Cards that don’t freeze are cards like Shrink, Arcana Force I – The Magician.
16.4 Original and Current ATK/DEF values:
Both of these values can be independently modified. The final ATK/DEF value of a card will always be its current attack, but that doesn’t always mean it is its original ATK/DEF, although the two values can be equal.
16.5 Lingering addition/subtraction vs. non-freezing value, affecting current ATK:
The addition/subtraction is not re-applied. For example, if Gene-Warped Warwolf (2000 ATK) is affected by Rush Recklessly (2700 ATK), and then later is affected by Shrink, it will be 1000 ATK. Rush Recklessly will not ever be re-applied.
16.6 Lingering addition/subtraction vs. freezing value, affecting current ATK:
Again, the addition/subtraction isn’t re-applied. This might be a tad confusing, since, the value being set is also taking into account the addition/subtraction, so naturally, it looks like it is being reapplied. This will be cleared up a bit in example 4.
16.7 Continuous addition/subtraction vs. non-freezing value, affecting current ATK:
The addition/subtraction is re-applied. Fairly simple and straightforward here. If Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear (1600 ATK) is on the field with Fire Formation – Tenki (1700 ATK), and is later affected by Shrink, its ATK will be 900.
16.8 Continuous addition/subtraction vs. freezing value, affecting current ATK:
The addition/subtraction is NOT re-applied. Now, the key thing to note here is that because it’s not reapplied, if the source of the addition/subtraction leaves the field and/or is negated, the ATK value stays the same.
For example: If Bujin Yamato (1800 ATK) is equipped with Horn of the Phantom Beast (2600 ATK), and later is affected by Bujingi Crane, its ATK will only be 3600 during damage calculation.
Another example, if Jinzo (2400 ATK) is equipped with Axe of Despair (3400 ATK), and has its ATK doubled by Limiter Removal (6800 ATK), and later, Axe of Despair is destroyed, Jinzo will remain at 6800 ATK.
16.9 Finding Current ATK from modified Original ATK:
1. If you’re trying to figure out the current ATK of a monster whose current and original ATK have been modified, figure out its original ATK first, then work from that point. Also, remember that if original ATK has been modified, that is also its current ATK, until its current ATK is specifically modified.
Gene-Warped Warwolf is equipped with Unstable Evolution while your Life Points are higher, and then it is affected by Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind. Go through this, step by step. Before Unstable Evolution, its original ATK was 2000. After equipping Unstable Evolution, its original ATK becomes 1000. Now, applying Gale, its original ATK is 1000, and its current ATK is now 500 ATK. Do not use 2000 ATK as the value that Gale halves, and then apply Unstable Evolution.
2. If a monster’s current ATK is frozen, and its original ATK is modified, the monster’s current ATK will remain at the value its frozen at, even if the original ATK would become greater than the current ATK.
Using our previous example, if your Life Points become lower than your opponents’, then the original ATK of Gene-Warped Warwolf would become 2400, but, its current ATK will still remain at 500.
3. There are a few cards that modify current ATK based on original ATK, and if the original ATK changes, then they will recalculate.
If a Gene-Warped Warwolf (2000 ATK) equipped with Unstable Evolution while your Life Points are higher (1000 ATK) is affected by Shrink, its current ATK will be 500. If your Life Points become lower than your opponent’s, then Shrink will recalculate, and the current ATK of Gene-Warped Warwolf will be 1200.
17.1 Negating a Summon:
When you want to negate a Summon, you do so at a specific time before the monster is actually put on the field.
Keep in minds that this does not apply to card effects that Summon. In those cases, normal rules apply to responding to the card. This refers to Summons that do not start a Chain.
Cards like Solemn Warning and Black Horn of Heaven are used here, as they say "when a monster would be Summoned".
What is important to note is that no other cards can be activated besides these here, but you can activate cards in response to those cards when they are activated.
If the Summon is negated, that means that any effect that activated on Summon also does not happen.
The turn player has right to negate first, according to Fast Effect Timing
Another thing to note about this is that any effect that activates when a card is sent to the Graveyard for such a Summon does not activate, as the card was not properly Summoned.
For instance, if Tuningware is sent to the Graveyard, but Black Horn of Heaven negates the Summon, Tuningware does not activate its effect. Remember, this doesn't mean that cards that activate when sent to the Graveyard won't activate, such as Sangan. These are considered to be activated when the monster is actually Summoned, not when the monster's negation is taking place.
Monsters are not considered to be on the field at this point, which means that you can negate Jinzo's Summon with Solemn Warning, even though it has an effect that prevents Traps from being activated, which is because Jinzo's effect only applies while on the field.
When you negate a Summon, you're only allowed to do so once in one Chain. After the Chain finishes (if any), the monster is considered Summoned, or it has had its Summon negated.
17.2 Responding to a Summon:
After any attempt at negating the Summon has taken place, or if there wasn't any, then you continue to the point where cards respond to the Summon. This is different from the previous, as you're not allowed to activate cards that negate the Summon here, since the monster is considered to have been properly Summoned and on the field at this point.
Cards that activate at this point are cards like Bottomless Trap Hole and Torrential Tribute, since they say "when a monster is Summoned", rather than "when a monster would be Summoned", but also effects of monsters like Tour Guide From the Underworld will activate here.
You are also allowed to activate multiple cards that respond to the Summon, so you can activate both Torrential Tribute and Bottomless Trap Hole if you wish to.
Again, the turn player has right to activate cards here if they wish, and any of their mandatory effects activate first here, according to Fast Effect Timing.
Neither player has to activate effects related to the Summon here, so either player can activate Forbidden Lance at this moment.
Also keep in mind that a monster is now on the field, meaning that cards that affect monsters is applied, so if a card would increase the ATK of a monster so it was a valid target for Trap Hole, then it can be activated in response anyway, but you cannot activate it if it WOULD have its ATK/DEF decreased, for example if the player activated a card that would increase the ATK in response to the Summon.
As with negation, only one Chain is allowed, so you cannot activate Trap Hole after a Chain resolves.
18.1 Before Starting the Duel:
Both players shuffle their Decks, though it's good sportsmanship to shuffle your opponent's Deck, and it prevents cheating when shuffling your Deck.
Then, you give your opponent their Deck back, and place the Deck on the Deck Zone.
Then, both players figure out a random way to figure out who chooses who goes first. This is normally done with Rock-Paper-Scissors, though you can do it anyway you like. The winner gets to choose who goes fist.
18.2 First Turn Rules:
Both players start by drawing 5 cards. During the first turn, you do not draw a card for your Draw Phase, but during any other turn, you will draw a card when you start the turn.
For the first turn, you may not go into the Battle Phase at all as explained earlier, and you cannot activate effects that let a monster attack twice such as with Mermail Abyssmegalo.
You then end your turn, and your opponent draws.
Since they are the second player, they can attack this turn. Then, you simply continue from there, and during your next turn, you can also attack.
18.3 Side Deck and Matches:
When a duel is done, if it is a Match, you can here change cards from your Side Deck into your Deck if you want, and afterwards, you shuffle your Decks and then play the next Duel.
A Match is a best-of-three structure primarily used for tournaments, the player who wins 2 duels in a match is the winner.
It is possible to play more than 3 duels though, in case of a DRAW after both players have won 1 duel each.
Remember to put your Side Deck cards back into the Side Deck after the Match is finished, as that can be considered cheating in tournaments if you don't.
You are only allowed to have a total of up to 3 of the same card in your Side Deck and Main Deck/Extra Deck.
19.1 Ways to win/lose/DRAW a Duel:
As already stated before, getting the opponent's Life Points (LP) to 0 is the main way to win.
There are also other ways to win, for example, if a player would draw, either by an effect or by drawing for their Normal Draw, but has no other cards in their Deck.
If a player’s LP reach 0 during the resolution of a card effect or a player is required to draw and cannot, the Duel immediately ends.
Do note that you cannot activate an effect that would cause you to draw more cards that are in your Deck, but you can make your opponent draw so they lose by Deck out (for example by using Card Destruction while their hand is at 2, but their Deck at 1.
19.2 Alternate win conditions:
Then there are alternate win conditions, which are win conditions which stem from a card(s). As is with all of these, the actual victory condition itself cannot be negated, but some of these may require a counter to be placed, which can be in fact be negated. I'm going to go over most of them here, but there might be more than these.
There are typically a lot of Rulings regarding some of these, so if you intend on using these, always read up on the Rulings.
19.3 Exodia the Forbidden One:
First, there's Exodia the Forbidden One, which is one of the most popular ones out there. All you have to do is get "Right Leg of the Forbidden One", "Left Leg of the Forbidden One", "Right Arm of the Forbidden One", "Left Arm of the Forbidden One" and itself in your hand to win.
If Exodia the Forbidden One is achieved during the resolution of a card effect, the Duel does not immediately end. If the victory condition is still true after the current effect on the Chain resolves completely, the Duel ends.
19.4 Vennominaga the Deity of Poisonous Snakes:
Next up is Vennominaga the Deity of Poisonous Snakes. Whenever it inflicts damage, it places a Hyper-Venom Counter on itself. When there are 3, you win the Duel.
In case the effects of Vennominaga are negated, the counters will go away. The reason for this is that it only puts them on itself, so if it has its effects negated, it can no longer hold them, so to speak.
19.5 Exodius the Ultimate Forbidden Lord:
Next up is Exodius the Ultimate Forbidden Lord. When this card attacks, it sends monsters to the Graveyard from the hand or Deck. If 5 of the Exodia pieces were sent to the Graveyard by this effect, you win the duel.
It's important to note that a monster that banishes itself when it leaves the field, even if the monster is banished by another way, and it would return, does not return, as it is considered banished by its own effect. So, this means that Exodius would not return if banished by Interdimensional Matter Transporter.
19.6 The Creator of Light, Horakhty:
Next up is The Creator of Light, Horakhty. An OCG exclusive card, but still worth talking about. This card requires you to Tribute "Slifer the Sky Dragon", "Obelisk the Tormentor", and "The Winged Dragon of Ra".
Do note that the card says "original names" which means that cards that steal the names of other cards will not work, so you cannot Tribute them for the Summon of this card.
Win conditions apply before things like Maxx "C" are taken into account. So, if a player would draw the last peace of Exodia when The Creator God of Light, Horakhty is Special Summoned, then the player who Summoned Horakhty wins.
19.7 Number 88: Gimmick Puppet of Leo:
Next up is Number 88: Gimmick Puppet of Leo. This card requires you to detach an Xyz Material as an effect, and if you do, you place a Destiny Counter on it, but you cannot conduct your Battle Phase, both before and after activating this effect if you do. When there are 3 Destiny Counters on it, you win the Duel.
As with Vennom, if the effects of this card are negated, you remove the counters from it.
19.8 Match Winners:
There are also some that win the entire Match, typically called Match Winners. What these do is that if you inflict damage with them that results in the opponent going to 0, you win the entire Match instead of just the duel.
Though, the problem was that you can at any point surrender, so they became quite useless, and therefore are currently Forbidden.
These also cannot be negated, much like win conditions like Exodia the Forbidden One.
Pendulum Monsters are a unique kind of monster and aid you in Special Summoning higher Level monsters from your hand or face-up Pendulum Monsters in your Extra Deck.
The card above is Abyss Actor - Curtain Raiser.
"If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone. You can only use this effect of "Abyss Actor - Curtain Raiser" once per Duel."
" Gains 1100 ATK if you control no other monsters. Once per turn: You can send 1 "Abyss Script" Spell from your Deck to the GY; add 1 face-up "Abyss Actor" Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck to your hand."
The first thing you'll probably notice is that it has two colors, brown-orange and green, which indicates two things. First, that it's an Effect Monster, meaning that it goes into the Main Deck, second that it's a Spell. This might be confusing at first, but later you'll know when they are a monster and when they're a Spell.
Second thing you'll notice is probably the two crystals with numbers below them. These are called Pendulum Scales. These are used to determine the Level of the monsters you can Pendulum Summon. More later.
Next, you'll probably see that instead of the one effect box, you now have two instead. The smaller one is the Pendulum Effect, and the bigger one is the monster effect.
There also exists Pendulum Monsters which are Normal Monsters instead of Effect Monsters, such as Dragon Horn Hunter. They may or may not have a Pendulum Effect, but as long as they're not in the Pendulum Zone, they're still Normal Monsters, meaning that any card that can affect a Normal Monster can also affect them.
20.2 The Mechanics:
So, now you know the new things on these cards, but how do you use them? As I already said, they aren't like your normal monsters as they're also a Spell, but only at a very specific time, that being when they are placed in your Pendulum Zones. Below is an image showing the Pendulum Zones.
Pendulum Zones were previously their own zone, but are now part of the Spell & Trap Zone, and are placed in the leftmost and rightmost Spell & Trap Zone. Do note that this is only a Pendulum Zone as long as there are Pendulum Monsters in them, you can still activate and Set other kind of Spell/Traps in them, even if you have a Pendulum Monster in the other Pendulum Zone.
You activate Pendulum Monsters in these Pendulum Zones like you would a Normal Spell, and this is treated as activating a Spell. In here, they are treated as Spells and instead of the monster effect, they only have their Pendulum Effect. If they're outside of the Pendulum Zone, they only have their monster effect.
You can only have 1 Pendulum Monster in each Pendulum Zone, and you cannot activate a new Pendulum Monster if you already have one in there, as well as other kinds of Spell/Traps.
While you have a Pendulum Monster in both Pendulum Zones you can then perform what is called a Pendulum Summon during your Main Phase 1 or 2. This can be done once per turn (including if you place new Pendulum Monsters in there), and Summons as many monsters you want as possible from your hand, or face-up Pendulum Monsters from your Extra Deck (more about that later).
You do this by finding the difference between the two Pendulum Scales (the numbers below the crystals). For example, you have a Pendulum Scale of 1 and one of 8, then you can Pendulum Summon as many Level 2-7 monsters from your hand or face-up Pendulum Monsters from your Extra Deck as possibly, all at the same time. For a visual representation, view the image below.
This is a Special Summon that does not start a Chain, just like Synchro and Xyz Monsters, but instead of just one monster, you can Summon a bunch at once, but only if the monsters you're attempting to Summon are not Special Summon only monsters.
Now, as I said, Pendulum Monsters can also Pendulum Summon Pendulum Monsters from the Extra Deck, but you might have noticed that I said that they're a Main Deck card. "How do they get to the Extra Deck"? you might ask. Well, this is quite simple, as Pendulum Monsters that are on the field (including face-down or in the Pendulum Zones) go to the Extra Deck if they are sent from the field to the Graveyard. So, if Mystical Space Typhoon destroys a Pendulum Monster in a Pendulum Zone or Dark Hole takes care of them while they're a monster, then you simply place them face-up in the Extra Deck, but if they're sent from the hand or Deck to the Graveyard, they aren't placed in the Extra Deck.
Wait, face-up? Yes, that wasn't a typo, unlike other monsters in the Extra Deck, you place these face-up, and unlike others, these are public knowledge, so both players get to view them at any time they want. Also, these are allowed to exceed the normal 15 card limit in the Extra Deck. After the duel is done, they go to the Main Deck again.
So, as with Pendulum Summoning monsters from your hand, you can also Pendulum Summon Pendulum Monsters from your Extra Deck that are face-up in there. You can do both or only do it from the hand if you choose.
When you Pendulum Summon monsters in the Extra Deck, they go to the Extra Monster Zone instead of the Main Monster Zone, however using Link Monsters that point to the Main Monster Zones, you can Pendulum Summon to any of those as well (see 21: Link Monsters for more information about this).
20.3 Pendulum Normal Monsters:
All Normal Monsters gain 200 ATK. You take no battle damage from battles involving Normal Monsters you control.
The horns were needed to prepare a medicine for her village, suffering from a plague. Unknown to her, the dragons burned and trampled her village, once displaced from their den.
There also exists Pendulum Monsters which are Normal Monsters instead of Effect Monsters. They may or may not have a Pendulum Effect, but as long as they're not in the Pendulum Zone, they're still Normal Monsters, meaning that any card that can affect a Normal Monster, or a non-Effect Monster, can also affect them.
Note that they still act the same as Pendulum Monsters, so you still can't send them from the field to the Graveyard as a cost, even if the card says "Send 1 Normal Monster you control to the Graveyard; "some effect here"".
20.4 Xyz Pendulum Monsters:
The card above is Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon.
Once per turn, if you have no cards in your other Pendulum Zone: You can place 1 Pendulum Monster from your Deck in your Pendulum Zone.
2 Level 7 Dragon-Type monsters
If you can Pendulum Summon Level 7, you can Pendulum Summon this face-up card in your Extra Deck. If this card is Xyz Summoned by using an Xyz Monster as a Material: Destroy as many Level 7 or lower monsters your opponent controls as possible, inflict 1000 damage to your opponent for each card destroyed, and if you do, this card can make 3 attacks during each Battle Phase this turn. If this card in the Monster Zone is destroyed by battle or card effect: You can destroy as many cards in your Pendulum Zones as possible (min. 1), and if you do, place this card in your Pendulum Zone.
Xyz Pendulum Monsters are the newest kind of Pendulum Monsters we have! Rather than being a Main Deck monster, these go face-down in your Extra Deck at the start of your duel, and you then first have to Xyz Summon them to get them out, then like other Pendulum Monsters, if they destroyed or sent to the Graveyard, they go face-up in the Extra Deck. From here, you can Pendulum Summon them if you have Scales that matches their Rank.
Note that Xyz Pendulum Monsters do not have Levels, so they will say in their text that you need the Scales that you would normally require for Summoning a monster with the corresponding Level.
You cannot Xyz Summon them again after being placed face-up in the Extra Deck, and if they were not first Xyz Summoned, you cannot Pendulum Summon them either.
They cannot be activated in your Pendulum Zones like you would with Main Deck Pendulum Monsters, rather they will have effects that specify how they are placed there.
Synchro and Fusion Pendulum Monsters have now also been released, but they work very much in the same way, requiring to be Synchro and Fusion Summoned first before being able to Pendulum Summon them (and some don't even allow you to Pendulum Summon them), so there is not much else you need to know about them, a Synchro Pendulum would be Nirvana High Paladin, a Fusion Pendulum would be Supreme King Z-ARC.
20.5 Additional Rules and Specific Rulings:
So, now you know how to perform a Pendulum Summon, but when in dueling, you'll probably need some other specific rules regarding them, so here are other things you need to know:
- Pendulum Summoning does not stop because you destroy a Pendulum Monster when you perform a Pendulum Summon. This is because, as said before, these are do not start a Chain, so at the time you destroy the card, the monsters are already on the field.
- Some cards that negate Summons currently don't have their text updated to reflect how they interact with Pendulum Summons. What I mean by this is that cards like Thunder King Rai-oh have been updated to say something like "when exactly 1 monster would be Summoned" instead, so it's clear that they only work if 1 monster would be Summoned. This was not needed before, as those kinds of cards could never negate more than 1 Summon at a time, since they negate Summons that don't start a Chain, and the only way to Summon multiple monsters without starting a Chain is by Pendulum Summoning.
- If your opponent has Pendulum Monsters in their Pendulum Zones, this only allows them to perform Pendulum Summons. You need your own Pendulum Monsters in your Pendulum Zone to perform Pendulum Summons.
- If you negate a Pendulum Summon of a Pendulum Monster, it will not go to the Extra Deck. This is because the monster is never considered to have been on the field, so it isn't sent from the field to the Graveyard, thereby automatically putting it in the Extra Deck.
- If you are not allowed to activate Spells, because of an effect like Number 16: Shock Master, then you cannot activate Pendulum Monsters, because they are treated as being activated as a Spell.
- Pendulum Monsters cannot be Set face-down in the Pendulum Zones. You must activate them from the hand face-up.
- You cannot replace Pendulum Monsters in the Pendulum Zones with other Pendulum Monsters. They must be removed by other ways, such as being destroyed or returned to the hand.
- If a card such as Macro Cosmos is up, and a Pendulum Monster would be sent to the Graveyard, it will be banished, and not returned to the Extra Deck. Side note, do remember that Dimensional Fissure only banishes monsters, which means that if they're destroyed in the Pendulum Zone, they WILL go to the Extra Deck, since they're being treated as being sent as Spells.
- It is not possible to send a Pendulum Monster to the Graveyard to Special Summon Chimeratech Fortress Dragon, therefore, you cannot use a Qliphort Pendulum Monster (which are all Machine-Type) on the field and Cyber Dragon to Special Summon it.
- If a Pendulum Monster activates a Pendulum Effect, then if Mystical Space Typhoon is Chained, then the Pendulum Effect resolves without effect. This works similarly to how Continuous Spell/Traps work in that you are required to have the card on the field. Do remember that this is not the same for monster effects, unless they say "This card must be face-up to activate and to resolve this effect", like other monsters.
- If a Pendulum Monster is equipped to a monster and is placed in the Pendulum Zone, it is not a Pendulum Monster, only a an Equip Card and does not any any effects and does not allow you to Pendulum Summon. Only if they were placed there as a Pendulum Monster does it become an active Pendulum Zone.
- You might want to know more about Xyz Pendulum Monsters? Well, for now, everything you need to know can be found by clicking here.
Link Monsters are the newest addition to the game, and we are going to go over how they work, as well as more about the Extra Monster Zone, which plays an important part in how Link Monsters work.
The card above is Decode Talker.
Link Monsters are colored blue and have 8 arrows around the image frame, which are called Link Arrows. As you can see, some of them are colored, these are called the Link Arrows, the other uncolored ones are not Link Arrows. Link Monsters are like other Extra Deck monsters can are Special Summon only monsters, and must be properly Link Summoned before they can be Special Summoned from the Graveyard.
Next you'll notice the fact that they have no DEF, but rather say LINK-3. This is their Link Rating, and this corresponds to their amount of Link Arrows. The Link Rating is how many Link Materials are required to Link Summon it. Additionally, as they have no DEF, they cannot be in Defense Position or face-down, they must in other words always be in Attack Position, so Book of Moon is not a legal card to target a Link Monster with.
21.2 The Mechanics:
All Link Monsters have Material Requirements, much like Synchro Monsters, for example Decode Talker says "+2 Effect Monsters". This means you must use at least 2 monsters and they must be Effect Monsters, so no Normal Monsters are allowed, but you can use monsters like Sangan and other Link Monsters as Link Material.
The Link Rating of a Link Monster determines how many Link Material is can be considered as. For example, Decode Talker can be treated as either 1 Link Material or 3 Link Material, however it can not be treated as 2 Link Material. This is important, as you cannot use a single Decode Talker to Link Summon another Decode Talker, but you can use 1 Decode Talker and 2 other Effect Monsters OR Decode Talker and 1 LINK-2 Link Monster.
To Link Summon a Link Monster, you send face-up monsters from your field to the Graveyard, then Link Summon the monster to an Extra Monster Zone that is unoccupied (or if you send a monster from your Extra Monster Zone to the Graveyard you can also place it in that Extra Monster Zone). To Link Summon Decode Talker, we can either send 3 Effect Monsters, such as Sangan, Linkslayer and RAM Clouder to the Graveyard, or we can send Honeybot and Sangan to the Graveyard, as Honeybot is a LINK-2 Link Monster, so it counts as 2 Link Material.
After you Link Summon a Link Monster, the Link Arrows come into play, with Decode Talker, the Link Arrows point up, to the bottom left and to the bottom right. Link Arrows do two things, they enable effects for the Link Monster to activate or make it stronger, for example Decode Talker gains 500 ATK for each monster it points to and is able negate card effects that target cards you control by Tributing a monster it points to.
The other thing Link Arrows do is allow you to Special Summon monsters from your Extra Deck to any of your Main Monster Zones they point to. Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, Link Monsters and even face-up Pendulum Monsters in the Extra Deck are all able to be Special Summon to the Main Monster Zone this way, meaning the more Link Monsters you have pointing at Main Monster Zones, the more monsters you can Special Summon from your Extra Deck.
Monsters are also able to gain effects as long as they are linked to another Link Monster. This means that either they are pointing to that Link Monster, or that a Link Monster is pointing to it. An example of a card that gains effects if it is linked to another monster is Ib the World Chalice Priestess.
Link Monsters pointing to other Link Monsters' Link Arrows is called being co-linked, and certain monsters, such as Firewall Dragon have effects that only work while co-linked. A co-linked monster is also a monster that is linked.
21.3 Extra Monster Zone and Extra Link:
The Extra Monster Zones are a brand new zone introduced along with Link Monsters (see the image below). At the start of the duel, neither player has ownership of the Extra Monster Zone, and only as long as their monster is in the Extra Monster Zone is it theirs, and if their monster leaves it, the opponent can Summon monsters to it. You can however only own 1 Extra Monster Zone at a time normally, and the other only your opponent can Summon monsters to, though do note that neither player is treated as owning them before their monster is in it.
You Special Summon monsters that are in your Extra Deck to the Extra Monster Zone, including face-up Pendulum Monsters (Pendulum Monsters in your hand are still Summoned to the Main Monster Zone). You cannot Special Summon monsters to the Main Monster Zone from the Extra Deck, except if Link Monsters are pointing to them. However, when you Special Summon them from the Graveyard, or if they are banished, they do not go to the Extra Monster Zone, but to the Main Monster Zone instead (you do not need Link Monsters pointing to zones in this case).
There is an exception only being able to occupy 1 Extra Monster Zone, which is called Extra Link. How it works is that you co-link monsters from the one Extra Monster Zone to the other Extra Monster Zone, forming what looks like a necklace. This allows you to occupy both Extra Monster Zones, and means your opponent cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck until they remove either of your monsters from the Extra Monster Zone.
Above is shown an example of an Extra Link, having Link Spider point to Firewall Dragon, which points to Honeybot, which points to another Firewall Dragon, now allowing you to Link Summon another Link Spider that point down towards Firewall Dragon, making an Extra Link. Additionally, these monsters are known as being "Extra Linked", this also includes other monsters that are not in the "necklace", for example having another Honeybot in the left or rightmost zones, though currently no cards take advantage of this.
Additionally, your opponent is able to use your Link Monsters to perform an Extra Link as well, without using their own Main Monster Zone at all! To do this, your opponent must have monsters in their Main Monster Zone that are co-linked, just like normal, but you use a monster in your Extra Monster Zone to point to that monster, which allows you to Summon to the other Extra Monster Zone, as seen above with the two Decode Talkers.
21.4 Additional Rules and Specific Rulings:
So, now you know how to perform a Link Summon, but when in dueling, you'll probably need some other specific rules regarding them, so here are other things you need to know:
- Link Monsters you control that point to the opponent's field will allow your opponent to Special Summon monsters to them, but you cannot, you can only Special Summon to your own field. Additionally, Decode Talker is only able to Tribute your own monsters, as it doesn't state it is able to Tribute the opponent's monsters it points to.
- You cannot Link Summon to a zone a Link Monster is pointing to by using that same Link Monster as Link Material, as the zone is no longer being pointed to. Of course, if multiple Link Monsters are pointing to the same zone, you can use 1 of them as Link Material.
- Changing control of Link Monsters (or any monster in the Extra Monster Zone for that matter) will place them in the Main Monster Zone. Same goes for cards that are temporarily banished, and as stated previously, any that are in the Graveyard or banished and later Special Summoned can only go to the Main Monster Zone.
- You can use Tokens and Trap monsters to Link Summon with, do keep in mind that Tokens are always Normal Monsters, so they cannot be used for cards like Decode Talker.
- As stated previously, Link Monsters have no DEF, so they cannot gain DEF by other cards effects, however some cards that make monsters gain ATK as well as DEF are allowed to be used on Link Monsters, such as United We Stand. Also, Link Monsters cannot be destroyed by cards such as Smashing Ground, they don't have 0 DEF, they do not have DEF altogether.
- Negating the effects of Link Monsters does not prevent the Link Arrows from existing, similar to Pendulum Monsters still having their Pendulum Scale even while negated.
- Link Monsters in your Main Monster Zone do not point to the opponent's field, even if they point up, such as Decode Talker. They will however point to the Extra Monster Zone. Additionally, Link Monsters in the Extra Monster Zone will not point to the other Extra Monster Zone.
- Link Monsters only have their Link Arrows while in the Monster Zone, so if they are equipped to a monster, they will not point the Main Monster Zone. Additionally, pointing to the Spell & Trap Zone does not do anything, only Monster Zones are affected by Link Arrows.
- Special Summoning monsters from the Extra Deck from outside sources to the Main Monster Zone, such as Starlight Road or Ultimaya Tzolkin is only allowed if you have a Link Monster pointing to it, otherwise you must Special Summon to your Extra Monster Zone instead.
- If you Special Summon a monster by using a monster in the Extra Monster Zone while the other Extra Monster Zone is unoccupied, you may Special Summon that that Extra Monster Zone instead.
- The Extra Monster Zone is treated as a Monster Zone, and is considered when cards relating to columns, such as Blasting Fuse come into play. Keep in mind that certain cards may not have been updated to reflect the new Main Monster Zone and Extra Monster Zones, so there may be distinctions if they are considered in the effect or not.
- You can perform an Extra Link with diagonal Link Arrows according to an official article, rather than the necklace shape, however no such cards exist that could perform this so far.
Edited by Zaziuma, 26 August 2017 - 01:16 AM.