Judgment of the Pharaoh – Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Good morning.

Things are going well, and I would like to take some time for more of your questions.

While card interactions are probably going to be the bread-and-butter of the column’s requests, I must stress that there is far more to running an event than simply making sure things resolve right. In my personal experience, it is more often details of policy that derail someone’s day. Do not hesitate to ask questions about policy, as well.

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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.

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David asks:

If I change the name and Level of “Odd-Eyes Venom Dragon” (using its own effect to change its name, and the effect of “Harmonic Waves” to change its Level) so that it becomes a Level 4 monster whose current name is “Dark Magician“, can I use it and 1 other Level 4 “Magician” Pendulum Monster as material to Xyz Summon “Timestar Magician“?

As you and I are both English speakers, I will give an English answer, for English audiences:

At that point in time, that card whose original name is “Odd-Eyes Venom Dragon” is a monster in your Monster Zone that has the status of being a Pendulum Monster, has a Level of 4, and has in its current name the uninterrupted string of graphemes known as “Magician”.

Therefore, it stands to reason that it must be usable in this English context, as I have no means of forbidding its usage as material for that specific Xyz Summon in that context, without KONAMI empowering me to forbid such use.

===WARNING===

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St. Ivalice asks:

Why is “Spirit Elimination” a meme and/or a subject of dread?

It is not the most intuitive Spell Card/effect, but it is neither a meme nor a subject of dread to me, just an age-old thing from a long-bygone era that evokes a sense of “we’re trying to create wonderment first and codify mechanics second.”

It’s imaginative, but from a time where it having been forgotten might lead to difficult interaction questions if it is remembered.

For what it is worth, I currently operate as if its text means:
“For the rest of this turn, monsters cannot be banished from any GY, and any time any player would attempt to banish any monster from any GY and/or would target any monster in the GY to activate any card or effect that would banish those monsters from the GY, they must instead attempt to banish those monsters from your Monster Zone and/or perform that activation by targeting those monsters while they are in your Monster Zone.”

This should synthesize all extant documentation about it into one parseable sentence.

If you want to know what cards are likely to serve as real subjects of dread, check this embedded tweet.

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Oucyan asks:

You said in your first article that monsters equipped to other monsters become Equip Spells. How does that avoid conflicting with how “Millennium-Eyes Restrict” functions?

For example, if Player A activates “Effect Veiler” by sending it from their hand to the GY, and Player B activates “Millennium-Eyes Restrict” by chaining to Veiler’s activation and targeting that same copy of Veiler that is now in the GY, why is the effect of that exact copy of Veiler effect is negated? That copy isn’t a monster anymore, right? Since it isn’t one, shouldn’t its own instance of its effect be ignored by MER?

Have judges just been ruling this card wrong the whole time?

Never let it be said that people ask me soft questions.

Because it is known via game rules that monsters can occasionally become Equip Spells, cases where text refers specifically to an “equipped monster” in the context of [the monster we are talking about is currently equipped to another monster] is shorthand for “a Monster Card that is currently treated as an Equip Spell”. In other contexts, the phrase “equipped monster” can instead refer to [the monster we are talking about is currently equipped with an Equip Spell that was originally a Monster Card].

I know that gets kinda grammar-y and verbose and context-laden, but you will have to bear with me on that. Yu-Gi-Oh!, above all else, is a game that a certain “Mr. Gabriel Lorca” unknowingly describes well when he insists that “Context is for Kings”.

Further, your question implies a certain sort of binding between physical copies of cards, and those cards’ own effects. Sometimes, that’s an okay mindset to have, like when thinking about whether or not a Spell/Trap effect should be able to negate the activated effect of a monster unaffected by Spell/Trap effects. Other times, like now, that’s not an okay mindset to have. The thing that makes a mindset okay or not is whether or not it comports with the raw facts of a situation, and the fact is that this time the idea of Veiler’s effect belonging to a specific copy of Veiler is not relevant to the mechanics at play.

Let me state that again – this is a situation where the fact that a specific physical copy of Effect Veiler is no longer a monster *is not relevant* to how MER’s effect works, despite any implications a reader may perceive.

On MER we see the text “Monsters with that equipped monster’s name cannot attack, also their effects on the field and their activated effects are negated.”

Even though that copy of Veiler is no longer a monster, that didn’t change anything except what Card Type we treat the physical card as right now.

The effect itself is still an activated monster effect, and that effect still has a name, too – the name “Effect Veiler”.

Because the effect itself is still a monster effect, still an activated effect, and still owning a specific name, “their activated effects” being discussed in a way where the word “their” refers to “monsters with that equipped monster’s name” does not make changing the card type of the activated effect’s source after-the-activation-of-the-activated-effect into any sort of problem. The source of the activated effect was a monster at the point where game mechanics care, and that effect has the right name for MER’s job because it had that name when we performed the activation of that effect in the first place.

I can see why you ask your question, though – a matter-of-fact reading of the text would interpret it as “Activated effects of monsters with that equipped monster’s name are negated”, with the implication that for an activated effect to be negated, its source must currently be a monster, and its source’s name must currently be correct.

The problem there is that it’s an *implication* born of a specific interpretation of the text, and implications aren’t always binding – implications are the realm whereby one can find multiple “understandable, reasonable” ways to interpret a text.

Being understandable and reasonable isn’t always a guarantee that one is on the right track.

With more words, I am confident MER would be able to avoid implying these details for you. However, here we get into another matter of card production: using more words to “say the same thing” as what you can say with fewer words means more ink is spent on printing each copy and more time is spent reading each copy – and sometimes more words make a card more likely to be misunderstood by the game’s target audience.

However, if more words can be spared, I could instead say:
“Monsters with that equipped monster’s name cannot attack, also negate any monster effect on the field with that name, also negate any activated monster effect with that name”
would be the way I would describe its functions worldwide, and moreover, that this function description I have created is one of several valid interpretations of the current text.

I believe you can see how a text designer might feel that my above function description is something they could shorten, because of how much longer it is than the current text, and that if they did so, they could well end up with what the printed card currently says. This is because talking about “monster effects with that name” being negated, after talking about “monsters with that name” being unable to attack, just begs for a product designer to smash clauses together to make things succinct.

To sum it up, the judges’ve been ruling MER consistently worldwide, in the way I describe above: card texts just aren’t always things that create exactly one reasonable interpretation.
Your own proposal was reasonable, it just doesn’t match actual function.
Circumstances like this are things that R&D can consider and weigh when deciding whether or not a reprint needs a “text update that doesn’t change any functions.”

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Haxorus asks:

Can “Bait Doll” force the activation of a Trap while “Jinzo“‘s effect is applying? Does “Amplifier” have the ability to alter this at all?

Bait Doll is legal to activate while Jinzo is applying. As for what happens, that depends on some factors. Read on.

While Jinzo’s effect is applying, Trap Cards, and Trap effects on the field, cannot be activated. This does not mean that Bait Doll cannot force the activation of a Set Trap Card: rather, it means that if Bait Doll does so, Jinzo’s effect leads to a situation describable as “this cannot be done but you forced it anyway, so the activation timing was incorrect.”

In a case where Doll forces a Trap Card activation that cannot be legally performed, the activation timing is incorrect, so after it forces that activation, Bait Doll’s effect will want to negate the effect tied to that activation (if any), and so will Jinzo’s effect, because that effect is a Trap effect on the field, and Jinzo’s own text also reads “negate all Trap effects on the field!

In such a case, I’m going to ask which players possesses a “Jinzo” whose effect is applying. If the same player possesses both that Bait Doll effect and a currently applying Jinzo effect, I will ask them which effect they possess will negate the activated Trap effect – their Bait Doll, or their Jinzo.

If neither player possesses both and each player possesses one of the two, I will hold that whichever effect is possessed by the Turn Player will apply and negate the activated Trap effect.

In either of those cases, if Bait Doll negates that Trap effect, or there is no Trap effect tied to the activation of that Trap Card, Bait Doll will destroy the Trap Card.

For the rest of this answer, because you and I are both English speakers, I will give an English answer, for English audiences:

Amplifier’s text only claims to change what effects are negated by Jinzo’s effect. It doesn’t claim to change what Trap Cards and Trap effects are legally activatable, so going by that text, it should have no sway in the above answer, except in the rare situation above where both Jinzo and Bait Doll want to negate the Trap effect in question. In that rare situation, if the Trap effect and Jinzo’s effect are possessed by the same player, Jinzo wouldn’t want to negate it while equipped with Amplifier, meaning Bait Doll would get that task uncontested and is certain to destroy the Trap Card.

EDIT – 8:50 PM
However, read on, for an important *complication*.

Through the magic of the Wayback Machine, there is even more to this story that has been handed to me.
In ancient times, back when Upper Deck handled various responsibilities of the franchise at KONAMI’s request, the above English interpretation would not have been followed in English-speaking regions – instead, back then, Amplifier would, in spite of its English text, be treated as changing what Trap Cards and effects would be legally activatable.

This means that, at first release, someone who just interpreted the text as written would handle it as I said above, while someone who digs into online documentation would handle it differently.

We know a veteran judge in that ancient time would side with the online documentation: what we do NOT know is whether or not a veteran judge in the modern time would.
Said ancient documentation is no longer binding, and has at times been contradicted for other cards, both by later card text AND by later documentation.

There is no guide by which any judge can fairly, accurately, know with certainty that any one specific old entry “is still valid.”

As such, the judgment call here really depends on your event’s HJ, and I deem both the “text-only” interpretation AND the “relies on UDE Documentation” interpretation to be respectable judgments.

I, for my part, will treat this specific UDE Documentation as valid evidence when I rule on this in English-speaking regions.
This means that in an event where I am HJ, Amplifier would make Traps controlled by Jinzo’s controller legally activatable again – and a legally activatable Trap is one that won’t be destroyed by Bait Doll.
So, at my events, what happens would depend on who controls the equipped Jinzo while Bait Doll is resolving.
If the activated Trap and the equipped Jinzo were controlled by the same player, the equipped Jinzo wouldn’t make that Trap’s activation illegal.

===WARNING===

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Richard asks:

I control “Number 32: Shark Drake” and “Performapal Sword Fish“. Drake destroys a monster by battle. I activate and resolve its effect, causing the destroyed monster to be Special Summoned to my opponent’s field. Must I activate Sword Fish’s effect?

You *must* activate Sword Fish’s effect in a new Chain, after the Chain involving Drake’s effect finishes resolving.

At the end of the Damage Step, when that opposing monster is sent to the GY because Drake destroyed it by battle, you chose to activate Drake’s effect.

It resolved at the end of the Damage Step, as well, Special Summoning the destroyed monster with its ATK already having been reduced by 1000, then granting Shark Drake the right to make a second attack during this Battle Phase (if it hasn’t already been granted that right some other way).

After all that is done, activate Sword Fish as Chain Link 1 of a new Chain, also still at the end of the Damage Step.

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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.