How to Handle the Standby Phase, End Phase, and End Step of the Battle Phase [Updated January 2015] [First Written August 2013]

Update 1: January 16, 2015
—NOTICE—
I have now received reports that this article has begun to be widely cited as a resource about how certain things work.
This article was first penned on August 6, 2013. Some elements of the game’s rules have since changed. Thus, Update 1 for the article has been established as of January 16, 2015.
Updated elements of the article will be noted throughout.

I get a lot of questions about this little conundrum. Sometimes I see players at my local each activate a Garunix at the same time, and destroy them at the same time. Sometimes I see them return Laquarii at the same time, and Summon Murmillo at the same time, and target and destroy their Murmillo at the same time. Sometimes I see them add Bujingi Crane to hand at the same time, then discard Bujingi Turtle at the same time.

This is not the way.

As leader of the Organization, I feel you should all be informed on how to do these things. So, read this article, and ask us any questions you have about these Phases via the “Ask Us” link above.

Special Thanks to Konami are in order, for providing information and images critical to today’s lesson.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me re-introduce one of Konami’s finest tools for understanding the game:

The “Fast Effect Timing” page.

It is essential to understanding things, especially in today’s lesson.

This chart at the bottom of that page will itself be instrumental as well. Keep it handy at all times, and you will do yourself a huge favor. Thanks again to Konami, for producing this image.

The Chart!

When the Standby Phase, End Phase, and End Step of the Battle Phase each begin, the Turn Player resides at the top of this chart. Follow this chart to the letter.

“But what do I do if neither player wants to act, but someone has something mandatory that they’ve got to do during the phase/step?”

Then you can’t end the phase/step, now can you?

But that isn’t all. Since you can’t end the phase/step, we follow the chart again.

See how it asks if both players agree to end the phase/step, and how you go back to the top of the chart if players don’t agree to end it?

We check in with the Turn Player first, when we see if players agree to end a phase/step.

A player who has unfinished mandatory business in the phase/step cannot agree to end the phase/step, he must say “I don’t agree to end it”, and thus he has to kick us all the way back to the top of the chart.

When a player says “I don’t agree to end it” and kicks us back to the top of the chart because they have some unfinished mandatory business in the phase/step, they cannot legally pass, they must act.

It doesn’t matter how they act: they can act in any legal way for that moment. They can choose to handle some unfinished mandatory business, or they can do something else.

So, how is this important?

In ten seconds, I came up with:

Dragon Rulers.
Super Rejuvenation.
Spellbook of Judgment.
Effect Veiler. Update 1: Effect Veiler no longer expires during the End Phase, thus it isn’t relevant to this article anymore.
Bujin Yamato.
Fire Kings.
Gladiator Beasts.
Justice of Prophecy.
Genex Neutron.

I think I’ll have the rest of the Organization add bits to this little list of why it can help you to know how to properly govern the Standby Phase, End Phase, and End Step of the Battle Phase.

Oh, one last thing:

Let’s learn how to Handle Hand Size Limit!

You only discard for Hand Size Limit once you’re done with all this back-and-forth stuff during the End Phase: Hand Size Limit is one of the last points of a turn.

There are some additional “special rules we must follow” during this procedure.

Once you discard for Hand Size Limit, follow the chart.

The Chart!

Boxes B and C on this chart are essentially “dead” to us while we’re performing the Hand Size Limit Check late in the End Phase. I’ll explain in more detail.

Discarding for Hand Size Limit is an action without Spell Speed.

If something is triggered by the discard – this is in the box above Box B – it can activate, and the Chain can be built normally (in Box D).

If nothing is triggered by the discard, then you would normally proceed to Boxes B and C, but those boxes are “dead” to us in this case: players cannot activate things at those points on the chart, while Hand Size Limit is being checked.

So, presume I discard 3 “The White Stone of Legend” for Hand Size Limit Checking, bringing my hand from 9 to 6.

This triggers the Stones, which activate. We move to Box D, and both players can add to the Chain just like any other time in the turn. Let’s say I Chain 1 Super Rejuvenation, bringing my hand to 5.

Rejuv resolves, setting up a mandatory action I must take during this turn’s End Phase, then each Stone adds a BEWD to my hand, bringing my hand up to 8. This doesn’t trigger anything, so we move through the dead boxes B and C.

Whoops, I have unfinished mandatory business in the phase again!

I am essentially kicked out of the Hand Size Limit Check procedure, back into the “regular” part of the End Phase. This means that since I have Rejuv as mandatory unfinished business, I can’t make a motion to end the Phase again unless that business is dealt with.

Further, since we’re kicked back into the “regular” part, I’m not forced to handle that Rejuv’s mandatory unfinished business unless it’s the only action I can take. I can do other things, like activate all sorts of things that might, say, discard a Dragon-Type monster from my hand and increase the number of cards a Rejuvenation would draw for me.

Pharaoh Atem

I'm just a random person, spending time on nothing in particular.

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