As much as I’d personally like to avoid it, we’re reaching a point in the game where knowledge of this is becoming more imperative. Cards like Bujingi Crane and Number 102: Star Seraph Sentry are some of the newest additions, while on the other hand, some old favorites will start seeing more play, like Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind, and especially Shrink if you’re going to be going to YCS Brussels. Knowledge of what happens when these cards actually do when you mix in other ATK/DEF modifiers is imperative to maintaining a proper game state, because it could mean the difference between two monsters destroying each other by battle, or one monster winning the battle by 100 ATK.
Luckily, I’m here to help you with that! Now, this is a complex part of Yu-Gi-Oh, so, it may take a few read-overs to get down to a point of comprehension, so, pay close attention.
(Note: ATK and DEF are essentially identical and interchangeable when talking about this, so I’m going to stick to only referring to ATK to save time and space)
There’s three main points I want to establish before we go into our examples. (Hover over the key words for further explanation)
- ATK modifications are either continuously applied, or applied via a lingering effect.
- Continuous examples: Fire Formation – Tenki, Madolche Chateau, Evilswarm Thunderbird, etc.
- Lingering examples: Forbidden Lance, Bujingi Crane, the +700 ATK from Fire Formation – Tensen, etc.
- ATK modifications that aren’t simply “Gain/Lose 500 ATK,” but are rather “Halve/Double/becomes X ATK” either freeze the ATK at the value they set, or they do not freeze the ATK. Note: This only applies to current ATK modifiers.
- Freezing examples: Black Garden, Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind, Bujingi Crane, Heroic Champion – Excalibur, etc.
- Non-freezing examples: Arcana Force I – The Magician, etc.
- Cards have original and current ATK values. Both of these values can be independently modified. The final ATK value of a card will always be its current attack, but that doesn’t always mean it is its original ATK, although the two values can be equal.
- Original ATK modifiers: Shrink, Unstable Evolution, Shadow of the Six Samurai – Shien, Chimeratech Fortress Dragon, etc.
- Current ATK modifiers: Megamorph, Fire Formation – Tensen, Forbidden Chalice, etc.
Okay, example time! (I do want give credit to Ness00 for a blog post written years ago, which I’ve studied meticulously to learn a majority of what I know about this topic, and the inspiration to write and updated version of this.)
1. Lingering addition/subtraction vs. non-freezing value, affecting current ATK:
- The addition/subtraction is not re-applied. For example, if Arcana Force I – The Magician (1100 ATK) is affected by Rush Recklessly (1800 ATK), and then later resolves its effect, it will be 2200 ATK. Rush Recklessly will not ever be re-applied.
2. 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. If Bujin Yamato (1800 ATK) is affected by Forbidden Lance (1000 ATK), and then during a battle is affected by Bujingi Crane, Yamato’s ATK will be 3600 during damage calculation.
3. Continuous addition/subtraction vs. non-freezing value, affecting current ATK:
- The addition/subtraction is re-applied. Fairly simple and straightforward here. If Arcana Force I – The Magician (1100 ATK) is equipped with Violet Crystal (1400 ATK), and is later resolves its effect, its ATK will be 2500.
4. 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 its 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 (my favorite, personally), 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.
Now that we’ve gotten through Current ATK, now we step into the world of Original ATK. It’s not too different, but, there’s a few more rules to pick up, with more, wonderful, examples.
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 become the same as the new original ATK, then you reapply any continuous current ATK modifiers.
- Using our previous example, if your Life Points become lower than your opponents’, then the original ATK and current ATK of Gene-Warped Warwolf would become 2400.
- If Gene-Warped Warwolf (2000 ATK) is affected by Blacking – Gale the Whirlwind (1000 ATK) and then attacks Cat’s Ear Tribe, its original and current ATK will become 200.
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 Megamorph, its current ATK will be 500. If your Life Points become lower than your opponent’s, then Megamorph will recalculate after Unstable Evolution recalculates, and the current ATK of Gene-Warped Warwolf will be 4800.