Demystifying Rulings, Part 10: Negation

This article will explain various aspects of negation in Yugioh.

Don’t forget to check out the last article, on the Damage Step:

Activating a card vs Activating the effect of a card
These two things are different!

Activating a Spell or Trap Card’ is the act of placing the card onto the field. This is different to activating the effect of a Spell/Trap Card that is already face-up.

Why does this matter? As an example, let’s take a look at Solemn Warning:
When a monster would be Summoned, OR when a Spell Card, Trap Card, or monster effect is activated that includes an effect that Special Summons a monster(s): Pay 2000 Life Points; negate the Summon or activation, and if you do, destroy that card.

Solemn Warning says it can negate the activation of Spell/Trap CARDS that can Summon. Solemn Warning doesn’t say it can negate the activation of Spell/Trap EFFECTS that Summon.

Why is this distinction important? Let’s look at the Continuous Spell Card Infernity Launcher:
Once per turn, you can send 1 “Infernity” monster from your hand to the Graveyard. If there are no cards in your hand, you can send this card to the Graveyard to select up to 2 “Infernity” monster(s) in your Graveyard and Special Summon them.
Suppose Infernity Launcher is already face-up, and I activate its effect. My opponent cannot negate that with Solemn Warning, because I’m not activating a Spell/Trap CARD.

However, Mist Valley Apex Avian could negate the Special Summoning effect of Infernity Launcher, because Apex Avian refers only to effect activations, not card activations:
When an effect is activated, you can select 1 face-up “Mist Valley” card you control. Return that “Mist Valley” card to its owner’s hand, negate the effect’s activation, and destroy the card whose effect was activated.

Note that when you activate a Spell or Trap Card, you are also activating the card’s effect corresponding to that activation (even if the activation doesn’t do anything at the time, like with many Field Spells). So Apex Avian could still negate the activation of Field Spells (even if the activation itself did nothing), as well as Toon World:
Pay 1000 LP;

You can only activate 1 per turn / You can only use 1 per turn
There’s a difference between Pot of Duality’s clause:
You can only activate 1 “Pot of Duality” per turn.

And that of Nekroz Mirror:
You can only use this effect of “Nekroz Mirror” once per turn.

When the activation of a card or effect is negated, it’s as if it was never activated at all. So if the activation of Duality is negated, another could be activated that turn.

However, the card/effect is still considered to be ‘used’. So if the activation of Nekroz Mirror is negated, another could not be activated.

Note that this doesn’t apply to ‘Once per turn’ effects. Consider the effect of Infernoid Patrulea:
Once per turn: You can target 1 Spell/Trap Card on the field; destroy it. This card cannot attack the turn you activate this effect.

If the activation is negated, the effect could not be activated again. However, the card could attack that turn.

Negating Effects
Something that’s apparent to anyone who has played the video games or automatic simulators is the following rule:

Effects themselves activate and resolve in the same place.

Effects don’t ‘follow the card they come from’. For example, if you control Cardcar D:
During your Main Phase 1, if this card was Normal Summoned this turn: You can Tribute this card; draw 2 cards, then it becomes the End Phase of this turn.

You can activate its effect on the field and tribute Cardcar D.

Chain Link 1: Cardcar D, Tributing itself as a cost.

Cardcar D is now in the Graveyard, but the effect itself was activated on the field and hence resolves on the field.

Similarly, the effect of ‘hand traps’ like Honest activate in the hand, and effects of cards that banish themselves from the Graveyard as a cost activate in the Graveyard. You can visualise this phenomenon as the effect ‘rising out’ of the card wherever you start to activate the effect. Then the effect hovers there until it’s time to resolve.

Why does this matter? Let’s look at the texts of Skill Drain and Effect Veiler:
Activate by paying 1000 Life Points. The effects of all face-up monsters on the field are negated while those monsters are face-up on the field (but their effects can still be activated).

During your opponent’s Main Phase: You can send this card from your hand to the Graveyard, then target 1 face-up Effect Monster your opponent controls; negate that opponent’s face-up monster’s effects until the end of this turn (this is a Quick Effect).

These two cards negate effects differently.

Firstly, observe that neither Skill Drain nor Effect Veiler stop a player from activating monster effects in the first place. For example, the effect of Cardcar D can still be activated (and the cost of Tributing it paid) while Skill Drain is face-up or Effect Veiler is applying on it. The question is whether the effect will resolve successfully or not.

Effect Veiler negates effects that activate/resolve on the field. That means that if you use Effect Veiler on Cardcar D, and then Cardcar D is Tributed for its effect, its effect will be negated.

Skill Drain is different. It negates the effects of cards that are face-up on the field when its effect resolves. That means that if Skill Drain is face-up, Cardcar D can activate and Tribute itself, and since it’s not face-up on the field when its effect resolves, Skill Drain won’t negate the effect and Cardcar’s effect will resolve normally.

Most things, like Forbidden Chalice and (both effects of) Breakthrough Skill, negate like Effect Veiler does. Things that negate like Skill Drain are generally continuously applying effects. Fiendish Chain and Lose 1 Turn are other notable examples of card that negate as Skill Drain does.

Once you know how a card negates effects, you can play with and against it appropriately.

Quiz time!

(1) Can the effect of a second Satellarknight Zefracore be used after the activation of the first is negated?
If this card is Pendulum Summoned or sent to the Graveyard: You can target 1 “Zefra” card in your Pendulum Zone, except “Shaddoll Zefracore”; Special Summon it. You can only use this effect of “Shaddoll Zefracore” once per turn.

(2) How about this effect of Sylvan Princessprout?
You can only activate each effect of “Sylvan Princessprout” once per turn.

-You can Tribute this card; excavate the top card of your Deck, send it to the Graveyard, then you can place 1 “sprout” monster in your Graveyard on top of your Deck.

(3) Which of the following can negate the activation of the effect of a Yang Zing Creation (a Continuous Trap Card) that is already face-up?
Once per turn, if a monster(s) you control is destroyed by battle or card effect: You can Special Summon 1 “Yang Zing” monster from your Deck. You cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck, except Synchro Monsters.

-Stellarnova Alpha
When a Spell/Trap Card, or monster effect, is activated: Send 1 face-up “tellarknight” monster you control to the Graveyard; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card, then draw 1 card.

-Solemn Warning
When a monster(s) would be Summoned, OR when a Spell Card, Trap Card, or monster effect is activated that includes an effect that Special Summons a monster(s): Pay 2000 LP; negate the Summon or activation, and if you do, destroy that card.

-Infernoid Onuncu
Once per turn, during either player’s turn, when a Spell/Trap Card or effect is activated: You can Tribute 1 monster; negate the activation, and if you do, banish that card.

(4) Which of the following effects will Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror negate?
Negate all DARK monster effects activated on the field or in the Graveyard.

-This effect of Absolute King Back Jack:
During your opponent’s turn: You can banish this card from the Graveyard (this is a Quick Effect); excavate the top card of your Deck, and if it is a Normal Trap Card, Set it to your side of the field. Otherwise, send it to the Graveyard. That Set card can be activated during this turn.

-The effect of Juragedo to Special Summon itself:
During either player’s Battle Step: You can Special Summon this card from your hand, and if you do, gain 1000 LP.

-The effect of Juragedo to Tribute itself:
During either player’s turn: You can Tribute this card, then target 1 face-up monster you control; it gains 1000 ATK until the end of the next turn.

(5) Suppose Fiendish Chain is negating the effects of Infernoid Pirmais:
Once per turn, during your opponent’s turn: You can Tribute 1 monster, then target 1 card in your opponent’s Graveyard; banish it (this is a Quick Effect).

Can this effect of Infernoid Pirmais be activated to Tribute itself? Will it successfully banish its target?

(6) What if Infernoid Pirmais is replaced with Nekroz of Valkyrus?
During your Main Phase: You can Tribute up to 2 monsters from your hand and/or your side of the field, and if you do, draw the same number of cards you Tributed.


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The next article is on activation legality:
There are only a couple more articles left, so if you have any suggestions, get them in the comments!

See you next time.

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