We end the series by looking at several miscellaneous areas of rulings: The Game State, Verifications, and, finally, the mystery topic…
DISCLAIMER: Due to the April 11th, 2019 changes to verification policy in the TCG, this section is no longer up to date. Refer to this article for details.
Don’t forget to check the last article on Move Legality: www.ygorganization.com/learnrulingspart11
The Game State
The game state is the positioning of every card known to either player. Naturally, this changes as players draw cards and make plays.
Note that the order of the deck is random, so its order isn’t part of the game state (except if things like Plaguespreader Zombie are used to put a card on the top of the Deck). So if I shuffle the Deck, the game state is not broken. Note that ‘knowledge of cards’ is also not part of the game state: if I reveal a card in my hand or a Set card for no reason, then the game state is not broken.
If the game state cannot be fixed in a way both players can confirm, the game state is irreparable. Let’s see some examples.
Player A has 5 cards in his hand (and Player B doesn’t know what they are). Player A draws a card, illegally, and then shuffles his hand, and Player B does not know what card Player A drew.
There’s no way for Player B to confirm that Player A will return the right card back to his deck to fix the game state, so this is irreparable.
Player A mills 3 cards during the End Phase due to a Lightsworn monster effect, when Player B points out Skill Drain should have negated it.
The 3 milled cards can be seen by both players and put back, so this is repairable.
Konami policy states that accidentally drawn/milled cards should be revealed to both players and then returned to the top of the deck without a shuffle. This also applies to the second case above: Player A should return the 3 cards to the top of the deck in the right order.
Generally, if a single player is at fault for creating the irreparable game state, they will earn a Game Loss. There are more details and examples on Konami’s Penalty Guidelines, under “Game State”.
On the surface, Mind Crush says nothing about looking at the opponent’s hand:
Declare 1 card name; if that card is in your opponent’s hand, they must discard all copies of it, otherwise you discard 1 random card.
However, after activating Mind Crush, a player may check the opponent’s hand, to verify they have no more copies left to discard.
For example, suppose I use Mind Crush and my opponent discards 1 Upstart Goblin. If the other two copies are not accounted for already (eg. they are not in his Graveyard, or they haven’t been revealed to be in the Deck already), then I can check his hand to see if he has any more to discard.
If all of the possible copies are accounted for, then no verification is needed. For example, if I activate Mind Crush, and my opponent (gleefully) discards all 3 copies of Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World, then I could not check my opponent’s hand, because they couldn’t have any more Grapha in it. Similarly, if I activate Mind Crush and declare a Forbidden card, then, since it’s impossible to have the cards in the hand, no verification would be needed.
For the verification itself, the only option allowed is for the opponent to reveal their entire hand. They cannot reveal part of the cards, show cards from the deck, etc. Once the opponent has revealed their hand, all of the cards in it are public knowledge for the time being, and the player can read the cards at his own pace (but not take any notes of what they are).
Verification is also performed when effects activate, but cannot resolve. For example, suppose Eclipse Wyvern is sent to the Graveyard:
If this card is sent to the Graveyard: Banish 1 Level 7 or higher LIGHT or DARK Dragon-Type monster from your Deck.
If the player has no Dragon-Types to banish, the opponent can check the player’s deck to verify this.
Similarly, your opponent can check your deck if you activate Reinforcement of the Army, but you then realise that you have no Warrior-Types in your deck:
Add 1 Level 4 or lower Warrior-Type monster from your Deck to your hand.
Since the activation was initially illegal, Reinforcement of the Army would be returned to your hand (and you would get a warning for attempting an illegal activation).
Let’s also take a look at another, subtly different, situation. Suppose player B controls Rivalry of Warlords. Player A activates the effect of Kozmo Farmgirl a Psychic-Type), his only monster on the field, and Special Summons Kozmo Forerunner (a Machine-Type).
Each player can only control 1 Type of monster. Send all other face-up monsters they control to the Graveyard.
During either player’s turn: You can banish this card; Special Summon 1 Level 4 or higher “Kozmo” monster from your hand.
Recall from the previous article that Farmgirl’s effect is only legal to activate under Rivalry while Player A has a Psychic-Type to Summon from the hand. However, once Farmgirl’s effect has been activated, since the field is clear, Player A can Summon another Type just fine.
So Player A’s move here is legal IF he has a Summonable Psychic-Type Kozmo in hand as well.
Now, the default state here is that by performing the move, Player A is being honest. Player B can make Player A aware of this ruling, but CANNOT force Player A to verify he has a Psychic-Type without good reason to believe Player A does not have one (e.g. Player A has 1 other card in hand, and it’s a Warrior-Type that was added by Reinforcement of the Army).
Phew. Alright, now it’s time for the mystery topic, the final topic of the series…
Good news, everyone! ATK Modifiers are getting the Demystifying Rulings treatment!
I believe that the basics of ATK Modifiers are not as difficult as they appear. Having said that, they’re still tough to understand. We’re going to break it down and go through it slowly, but you will need to be concentrating as you read.
At all times, monsters have both an original ATK and a current ATK. A monster’s ATK is its original ATK unless a card or effect modifies it.
So what kinds of ATK modifiers are there? The main types are as follows:
– Continuously Applied
These are modifiers that are, well, continuously applying. For example, the ATK-boosting effect of (the Continuous Spell) Fire Formation – Tenki is continuously applied:
All Beast-Warrior-Type monsters you control gain 100 ATK.
The phrase ‘continuously applying’ tells you all you need to know, really. If a Beast-Warrior-Type monster becomes unaffected by Spell/Trap effects, the boost from Tenki would stop applying.
These are modifiers that are left behind after an effect resolves. For example, suppose I use Ego Boost on a monster:
When a monster declares an attack: Target 1 face-up monster on the field; it gains 1000 ATK until the end of the Battle Phase.
Chain Link 1: Ego Boost
Resolve the Chain: Ego Boost resolves, increasing the target’s ATK.
Ego Boost’s effect lingers after the Chain resolves. Even if the monster becomes unaffected by Spell/Trap effects after Ego Boost resolves, it will NOT lose its 1000 ATK, because Ego Boost has already applied to the monster.
Lingering and continuously applying boosts work oppositely, so it’s important to be able to determine which is which.
For Continuous Spells and Traps with effects that activate and modify ATK, we can often tell from the card whether the ATK modification lingers or continuously applies after the effect resolves. For example, let’s look at the effect of Fire Formation – Tensen:
When this card is activated: Target 1 Beast-Warrior-Type monster you control; it gains 700 ATK until the end of this turn. (This ATK gain remains even if this card leaves the field.)
The clause in the brackets tells us that this effect lingers after it applies.
For monster effects that start a Chain and modify ATK, if the monster effect can only modify itself, then it is continuously applying.
For example, take Number 17: Leviathan Dragon:
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; this card gains 500 ATK.
Effects that set the monster’s original ATK upon Summon also fall into this category. A classic example is Beast King Barbaros:
You can Normal Summon/Set this card without Tributing, but its original ATK becomes 1900.
So if Effect Veiler or Skill Drain are used to negate the effects of Leviathan Dragon after its effect resolves, or they are used on Barbaros any time after its Normal Summon, then their effects would stop applying, and their ATK would revert to their original.
On the contrary, if the effect can apply to other monsters, the modification must be lingering. For example, take Number 20: Giga-Brilliant:
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; all face-up monsters you currently control gain 300 ATK.
Brilliant’s effect can affect other monsters. If Skill Drain or Breakthrough Skill is used after Brilliant’s effect resolves, then the boost would remain, both on itself and on any other monsters affected.
Now for the final category of ATK modifiers:
These are modifiers that cause a monster’s ATK to ‘become’ something.
Effects that (start a Chain and) halve, double, or ‘change’ ATK also fall into this category. However, continuously applying effects, effects that change original ATK, and those that switch ATK and DEF, have more complicated interactions, and for this article, are not being referred to in this category.
A token example is the effect of Heroic Champion – Excalibur:
Once per turn: You can detach 2 Xyz Materials from this card; this card’s ATK becomes double its original ATK until your opponent’s next End Phase.
Freezing effects are named as such for a reason: they ‘freeze’ the ATK at their specified value. The connection that any previously applying modifiers had to that monster are broken off.
Let’s see this in action straight away. Suppose I Xyz Summon Excalibur while my opponent controls Apoqliphort Towers:
All Special Summoned monsters lose 500 ATK and DEF.
(This is quite clearly a continuously applying effect.)
Excalibur will have 1500 ATK after the Xyz Summon. But if it activates its effect, it will become 4000. It won’t be reduced to 3500. The freezing effect breaks the connection of Towers’ effect to Excalibur, even though the effect of Towers is continuously applying!
After Excalibur’s effect wears off (but that Towers is still on the field), its ATK unfreezes: it will revert to its original ATK of 2000, and then Towers’ effect will reapply, since it is a continuously applying modifier. Any lingering effects would not reapply – if Ego Boost was used on Excalibur to give it 1000 ATK before Excalibur used its effect, Excalibur would return to 2000, and not 3000.
Weird, right? But that’s how freezing effects work in general.
Now you should be able to understand this gem of an interaction:
I control Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind and my opponent controls Tragoedia
Gale’s effect reads as follows:
Once per turn: You can target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; that target’s ATK and DEF become half its current ATK and DEF.
(Gale’s effect freezes the monster’s ATK at half its current ATK.)
Tragoedia has ? ATK, and its effect reads as follows:
This card gains 600 ATK and DEF for each card in your hand.
(This is another continuously applying effect.)
My opponent has 6 cards in hand. I activate the effect of Gale. I then end and they draw a card for their Draw Phase. What is the ATK of Tragoedia now?
Let’s take this step by step. 6 cards in hand means Tragoedia would initially be at 3600 ATK. Gale’s effect then freezes Tragoedia’s ATK at 1800. Remember that freezing breaks connections of any previously applying ATK modifiers… including Tragoedia’s own effect! So even after my opponent draws a card, and no matter how many cards my opponent draws and discards, Tragoedia’s ATK will be stuck at 1800!
There are much, much more complicated modifiers and interactions. I can count on the fingers of one hand the people that will be able to explain stuff from the dark depths of Shrink’s rulings. However, as usual, we don’t need to worry about them. If needed, you can consult more advanced articles and ask on reputable forums.
(1) I activate Pot of Duality and reveal 3 cards, adding one of them to my hand and shuffling the other back into the Deck. Then I notice my Mistake:
Neither player can add cards from their Deck to their hand except by drawing them.
Was the activation of Pot of Duality legal? If so, how should the game state be repaired?
(2) The White Stone of Legend gets sent to my Graveyard, and I activate its effect:
When this card is sent to the Graveyard: Add 1 “Blue-Eyes White Dragon” from your Deck to your hand.
However, I then realise I have no Blue-Eyes White Dragon left in my Deck – all 3 are in the Graveyard. Must I reveal my Deck to my opponent?
(3) In the question above, was the activation of the effect of The White Stone of Legend correct in the first place?
(4) Suppose I control the Continuous Spell Fire Formation – Tenki, and Summon Bujin Yamato (with 1800 original ATK). Suppose I want to use Bujingi Crane when I attack with it:
All Beast-Warrior-Type monsters you control gain 100 ATK.
During damage calculation (in either player’s turn), if a Beast-Warrior-Type “Bujin” monster you control battles an opponent’s monster: You can send this card from your hand to the Graveyard; the ATK of your monster becomes double its original ATK, during that damage calculation only.
What is the ATK of Yamato after Crane’s effect resolves? What is the ATK of Yamato after Crane’s effect wears off?
And that concludes the series! If you’ve made it through every article, you can pick up your Rulings Diploma at the gate. You’ve earned it.
I hope the series has been an enjoyable read! I certainly enjoyed writing it for you all! You may see more from me in the future depending on what you guys want, but this is the last article for the time being.