Judgment of the Pharaoh – Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Good morning.

As I said sixteen days ago, I have considered launching a semi-regular column related to my judgely duties. I mentioned my credentials for such things in that initial announcement, to make clear my qualifications.

I have received positive feedback, and enough questions to begin.

While I do not know if the column’s current name will remain, the best name proposed so far was suggested by Scruffy, our loyal janitor – an apt name, given that it is also a card name.
With respect, I will use his suggestion today.

———

To serve you, I will take your questions about card interactions, rulebook text, policy documents, event logistics, player behavior, and judge duties.

Please e-mail your questions about card interactions, rulebook text, policy documents, event logistics, player behavior, and judge duties to [[email protected]] whenever you like.

To improve your chances of your e-mail making it to the column, please keep in mind these guidelines:
– Please ask only one question per e-mail.
– Please be clear about what you ask. Grammar and precision help make your question easier to understand, and it’s important that the column’s readers understand what you ask, just like how it’s important that I understand.

In addition, there are some important reminders I must give you:
– Answers I give are solely my own opinion unless directly sourced from official KONAMI staff or publications.
– In accord with Tournament Policy, answers I give cannot over-rule the judgments and decisions made by judges and staff at an event-in-progress. Tournament Policy holds that those working an event have operational control of that event.
– I’ll try to stick to official terms whenever possible. In cases where I use community jargon, even jargon that is perceived to be universally accepted, I’ll do my best to remind everyone that I used jargon.
– I’ll note my sources whenever possible.
– I’ll make a point to use the official card database as my card text reference. You can find the official card database here.

Let’s begin.

———

Connie asks:

Can a player activate “Plunder Patroll Parrrty” while they control no Equip Spells?

I believe it depends on whether or not they control a Trap Card treated as an Equip Card.
If they do, I would consider the activation to be a legal activation.
If they do not, I would not consider the activation to be a legal activation, and I would begin investigating to determine what sort of infraction has occurred, most likely PE-Minor.

That might not be the answer you are expecting, but this is because your question specified having no Equip Spells.
I will take the liberty of reminding readers about a subtle but key distinctive rule here.
Equip Spells are the most easily remembered Equip Cards, sure, because they are just natively printed as Equip Cards. The Icon on them is hard to miss.
However, non-Spell Cards can become Equip Cards too, and they don’t have that same Icon.
As stated on Page 53 of Version 10 of the English-language Official Rulebook:
In addition to Equip Spell Cards, sometimes Trap Cards or Monster Cards can become equipped to a monster.
Equipped Traps remain Trap Cards, but equipped monsters are considered to be Equip Spells.
The term “Equip Card” includes all 3 kinds (standard Equip Spells, equipped Traps, and monsters equipped to other monsters).

Read the text of Parrrty closely.
You’ll see it talks about Equip Cards for its first effect, not just Equip Spells.
So, if they control no Equip Spells, and no monsters treated as Equip Spells, but control Traps treated as Equip Cards, they still control Equip Cards.

Parrrty itself is capable of becoming an Equip Trap in this way, by applying its second effect.

That said, someone might want to activate this while no one controls any Equip Cards at all, thinking you could just draw 1 and not shuffle anything back.
This card is not at all clear about whether or not you have that right.

As currently written, it doesn’t tell us to shuffle something *if* we control Equip Cards, it just orders us to shuffle something period (i.e., as written, it doesn’t give us a choice and it doesn’t do anything to imply being usable in a situation where we can’t shuffle), and only cares about using Equip Cards to figure out how many we should shuffle.

Because the text of the first effect gives me no reason to presume it is usable in a situation where we cannot currently perform all written mandatory portions of that effect, I must default to the standard principle that activating an effect is legal only when it is currently possible to apply all mandatory portions of that effect.

There are very rare occasions where an effect disobeys that principle: we know of those occasions only when we are instructed by KONAMI about those occasions.

It is entirely possible that KONAMI *wants* us to be able to use that first effect while no one controls Equip Cards, but there is no way to know whether or not that is the case until they tell us so. For now, the text implies to me that the most logical bet is to require controlling an Equip Card.

———

St. Ivalice asks:

What incident or behavior has caused you the most stress at an event, that you’re capable of publicly revealing? And how did you resolve it?

I do not know the exact incident that I would put at the absolute top of that list. I know several that might, but it’s hard to say which one wins.

One of them is on YouTube, involving a very high-stakes playoff match last year. Because it is already entirely public, and it is easy to see how I handled it, I will use it here.

In my judgment, Slow Play infractions occurred, and I was obligated to apply a Warning for the first one and add 3 minutes to the match time clock.
For the second such infraction committed by the same player, I was obligated to confer with a superior directly regarding the situation, as he had the responsibility of determining whether or not a penalty upgrade was required to maintain the integrity of the playoff match series.
If not upgraded, another Warning would be applied with another 3 minutes to be added to the match time clock.
If upgraded, that second Warning would be replaced with a Game Loss, which would immediately terminate the current Duel of the Match in favor of the penalized player’s opponent.
In the above case, my superior decided to upgrade the Warning to a Game Loss.

There are many factors to weigh – we allow players to check all public info, sure, but that checking can get excessive in cases where someone is checking something that they recently checked, or something that should be well-mastered. Namely, the right to check things does not, cannot, and must not ever supersede the obligation to play briskly, as obligating players to be brisk is the only way we can ensure fair use of time.
For my part, every last physical motion a player makes that constitutes a change in the gamestate is something that counts as an attempt to play briskly – while you’re actually acting, you are fulfilling your obligation. It is only when you have stopped for some reason, *even if that reason is to just think*, that I need to watch how many seconds the match loses.
How many seconds we can lose before I believe someone’s being “too slow to be fair to their opponent” depends entirely on how complex the gamestate is.
Note that the stakes of a decision are not relevant to the question of fair speed: whether you’re at locals or at worlds, being fairly brisk constitutes the same thing so long as the gamestates in question are identical.
This means that the best way to avoid playing slowly is to fully master the deck you play, to know it as if it were the back of you own hand, such that you minimize the time you need to decide upon plays.
This also means that, because people are not perfected Duelists like Gekko Tenma, that everyone commits SP-Minor sometime, someday, even judges, staff, and employees. It is practically an inevitability. It’s why we make a point to explain SP-Minor very gently.

You asked about incidents that cause stress. I bring this specific one because, if I may be frank, every situation where I must deduce whether or not an infraction has occurred, and if so, how it occurred, has some baseline level of stress at its core.

Our job is to act within the bounds of chronic stress on all involved parties.

———

Tharm asks:

What are your Favourite and Least Favourite cards to see players use in an event that you are judging?

I don’t have a favorite that comes to mind easily.

I dislike seeing cards like Parasite Paracide and Drop Off, particularly because I consider difficult Player Management judgments inevitable regarding those cards, especially given how many players have developed a number of poor habits in casual play. If a reader requests, I can explain these poor habits in greater depth.

———

Joao asks:

While either player controls “Remove Brainwashing“, and while Player A controls “Pinpoint Landing“, Player A Special Summons “Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju” from their hand to Player B’s field, by Tributing a monster Player B controls. Control of that Summoned Gameciel immediately returns to Player A. Can Player A activate the first effect of Pinpoint Landing?

I believe it depends upon whether or not an ancient ruling about “Shiny Black “C”” is still being enforced at your event.

Within TCG regions, that ancient ruling exists only in documentation that has no final power over current TCG events.
In an event where I were serving as Head Judge, I would not apply that ancient ruling to any cards that are not written in that ancient ruling, unless and until proper channels are utilized to receive confirmation that it is to be applied for all mechanically identical cases.
Pinpoint Landing is not named within it, so I would not apply that ancient ruling to Pinpoint Landing.
Therefore, *I* would not permit Player A to activate Pinpoint Landing’s first effect.

———

David asks:

I Special Summon from my GY a copy of “Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord” that was previously properly Summoned from the hand via its own procedure, by applying the effect of “Elementsaber Aina“. It is later sent from the field to the GY again. May I Special Summon it from the GY again by applying Aina’s effect again?

You may.

If it keeps moving from the field to the GY over and over, it’s definitely still fine.

The key here is that a monster that cannot be Normal Summoned, cannot be Normal Set, and must first be properly Summoned by some sort of procedural rule written on that monster in and of itself — must never be returned to the hand, returned to the Main Deck, returned to the Extra Deck face-down, or banished face-down, after being properly Summoned by that procedure.

Moulinglacia cannot exist in the Extra Deck, so we don’t have to worry about that particular detail.
So long as that copy of Moulinglacia never goes back to the hand, never goes back to the Main Deck, and is never banished face-down, that copy of will be recognized as first being properly Summoned using its own procedure.

The key to something like Aina is that, by ignoring Summoning conditions, it basically takes how Moulinglacia says it must *always* be Summoned by its own procedure, and says “nah, let’s just let Aina treat “must always” as “must first.”

———

Juan asks:

Could you give me a general rundown on how effects like those from “Blackwing – Shura the Blue Flame” or “Blue Thunder T-45” work?

Each effect like that is one Trigger Effect of the monster that bears it.
Page 37 of the rulebook holds that declaring an attack begins a battle. Pages 37 and 38 clarify that whenever you end the Battle Step of the Battle Phase while a monster is attacking, play proceeds to the Damage Step of the Battle Phase. (Whenever a Battle Step ends while no monsters are attacking, play proceeds to the End Step of the Battle Phase.)
The official detailed breakdown chart of the Damage Step insists that Trigger Effects written this way activate at the end of the Damage Step.

So, to activate either Shura or Blue Thunder at the end of the Damage Step, I’m going to need all of the following events or stipulations to be true:
Shura or Blue Thunder battles an opponent’s card,
the opponent’s card is destroyed by that battle,
Shura or Blue Thunder is not destroyed by that battle,
the opponent’s card that was destroyed by the battle is still a monster after being destroyed,
and Shura or Blue Thunder remains face-up on the field at all points between the moment when the opposing card is destroyed and the moment when we can activate Shura/Blue.

This was not always true, I should note: rules relating to these sorts of effects have changed before.

Shura also specifies that the opposing monster destroyed by the battle must be moved to the GY because of the battle: so, if Shura fights and beats a Token, or otherwise wins against a monster that leaves the field because of the battle yet never arrived in the GY because of the battle, Shura will not be activatable. (Reminder: when Tokens leave the field, they just stop existing.)

I believe this should cover the multiple details in your e-mail.

———

Quincy asks:

Does Defense Zone interact with Conquistador of the Golden Land, and if so, in what ways?

As you and I are both English speakers, I will give an English answer, for English audiences:
A copy of Conquistador that has been Summoned by its own first effect as a Normal Monster is a monster in a player’s Main Monster Zone.
Therefore, Spells and Traps controlled by that same player, while in the column that holds that Summoned Conquistador, cannot be targeted by, or destroyed by, card effects possessed by that player’s opponent.
That Summoned Conquistador is *itself* a Trap controlled by that player, in that column.
Therefore, it stands to reason that said Summoned Conquistador cannot be targeted by, or destroyed by, card effects possessed by that player’s opponent.

Toggle All Spoilers
Spoiler SelectShow

———

Thank you for reading.

I will see you at our next episode.

Please e-mail your questions about card interactions, rulebook text, policy documents, event logistics, player behavior, and judge duties to [[email protected]] whenever you like.

Pharaoh Atem

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