Demystifying Rulings, Part 0: Introduction

Yu-Gi-Oh! is quite an intricate and reading-intensive card game, and there are many rulings and game mechanics that seem very complex. You might think it’s not worth the effort to learn rulings. However, this is not the case – many game mechanics are actually quite simple and it’s my goal to bring the most common rulings and game mechanics to you, the players, in an accessible way.

This post is the first in a series of articles that will go through the key mechanics of the game.

Why bother with rulings?
I can think of at least 5 reasons why you should care about learning rulings:

(1) Knowing rulings can help you make better moves. To give just a few examples:

-If you know how Skill Drain works, you know that you can play around it by activating a monster’s effect and chaining Book of Moon to flip the monster face-down and that it doesn’t negate the effects of monsters like Cardcar D.

-If you don’t read Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss carefully, it might come as a nasty surprise to learn its effect activates even when you use Solemn Warning on the summon.

-Fire Hand and Ice Hand have ‘when’ optional effects, so it’s sometimes possible to play around their effects and prevent them from activating at all.

-You can’t use Effect Veiler while the opponent’s monster’s effect is already being negated. So if you summon Evilswarm Exciton Knight and activate its effect, and your opponent chains with Fiendish Chain, save your MST! You can then use Exciton’s effect again in a new chain and then chain MST, so your opponent can’t use Veiler at any point.

(2) Knowing rulings can save you from creating improper game states. For example, if you use Sinister Shadow Games to send Shaddoll Beast from the Deck and flip Shaddoll Hedgehog face-up, Beast has to be Chain Link 1 and Hedgehog Chain Link 2 in the next Chain, so you have to search and then draw. If you draw and then search, your opponent can’t tell what you drew, so the game could not be repaired. That would earn you a game loss at worst, and you would have to put your Hedgehog search back at best.

(3) Ruling knowledge helps you build decks – if you know rulings well, you can look at new cards and figure out how they’ll work from the card text alone, and that can help you decide whether it’s going to work well or not.

(4) Being comfortable with rulings can save you, your opponent, and your judge time in a duel, which can be vital especially in tournaments with a time limit.

(5) Being comfortable with rulings frees you up to concentrate on playing optimally.

Starting off
We’ll start learning rulings in the next post. For now, it’ll be a good idea to flick through the (latest) rulebook: http://www.yugioh-card.com/uk/rulebook/Rulebook_v9_en.pdf. Even if you’ve been playing for years, there are a few useful tidbits here and there, and it’ll set you up for the rest of the series.

The following pages are particularly important:

pages 12-13, (information on Pendulum Monsters and Pendulum Summoning)
page 15 (how to properly Xyz Summon)
page 21 (the part about Special Summoning with a card effect)
page 27 (the difference between set Spell Cards and set Trap cards)
page 41 (Spell Speeds)
pages 45-51 (miscellaneous rulings)

Other areas the rulebook covers (such as the Damage Step) will be referred to and explained in proper detail as the series progresses.

Done reading? That means it’s:

Quiz time!
Here are a few quick-fire questions testing some of the key stuff. The answers can all be found in the pages listed above. You should be able to get them all.

(1) Which of these have a Spell Speed of exactly 2?

-Counter Trap Cards
-Continuous Trap Cards
-Quick-Play Spell Cards
-A monster’s Trigger Effect

(2) Which of these can be activated the turn they are Set?

-Field Spell Cards
-Continuous Spell Cards
-Quick-Play Spell Cards
-Counter Trap Cards

(3) Which of these actions start a Chain?

-Normal Summoning a monster
-Pendulum Summoning 2 monsters from the hand
-Activating a Continuous Spell Card
-Declaring an attack

(4) True or False: Xyz Materials are cards on the field.

(5) True or False: If you send a Synchro Monster from your Extra Deck to the Graveyard, you can then Special Summon it from the Graveyard with card effects.

Answers

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The start of the series is here: www.ygorganization.com/learnrulingspart1

See you next time!

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