Demystifying Rulings, Part 6: Summons


In this article, we return to a much simpler, but still fundamental, topic: Summons.

Don’t forget to check out the last article on Conjunctions:

Full Normal Summon Procedure
To perform a Normal or Tribute Summon, you pick a monster to Summon, Tribute any monsters (if needed), choose a Monster Zone, and declare your attempt to summon that card.

This point in time is known (unofficially) as the Summon Negation Window. This is the time to activate things that can negate the Summon, such as Horn of Heaven:
When a monster would be Summoned: Tribute 1 monster; negate the Summon, and if you do, destroy that monster.

If anything is activated to negate the Summon, then a Chain can be formed as normal (eg. the opponent could Chain Wiretap, which would negate the activation of Horn of Heaven). However, only the first card on the Chain can negate the Summon, as it’s the only one activated directly after the attempt. In addition, there can only be one Chain in the Summon Response Window.

Another important thing to note is that the monster is not yet on the field at this point. It’s not under your control yet (though it’s still in your possession). So if Card Trooper’s Summon is negated and it’s destroyed, it’s effect will not activate:
If this card you control is destroyed and sent to your Graveyard: Draw 1 card.

Though the effect of Madolche Hootcake will:
When this card in your possession is destroyed by your opponent’s card (either by battle or by card effect) and sent to your Graveyard: Shuffle this card into the Deck.

This is especially important for Pendulum Monsters. The rule for Pendulum monsters returning to the Extra Deck is as follows:

A Pendulum Monster is sent to the Extra Deck instead if, and only if, it is being sent from anywhere on the field to the Graveyard.

Hence if the Summon of a Pendulum Monster is negated, it will not be sent to the Extra Deck.

Once the Summon Negation Window passes, the Summon is successful, and now the players can respond to the Summon with the likes of Torrential Tribute:
When a monster(s) is Summoned: Destroy all monsters on the field.

Unlike earlier, this whole Chain is in response to the Summon, not just the first card on the Chain, so multiple effects that can be used in response to the Summon may be activated. But only this one Chain is in response to the Summon.

Hence this is correct:
Chain Link 1: Torrential Tribute
Chain Link 2: Bottomless Trap Hole

But this is not:
Chain Link 1: Torrential Tribute
Chain Link 2: Wiretap

Then in a new Chain,
Chain Link 1: Bottomless Trap Hole

1) You pick a monster, Tribute if needed, and declare your attempt to Summon the monster. It’s not on the field until the Summon Negation Window passes.

(2) If it does, and the Summon is successful, the monster hits the field and the players can respond to the Summon.

Summons and Timing
As you can see, summoning is quite a long process. Once again, recall the rule for ‘when’ optional effects: A ‘when’ optional effect can only be activated when its activation condition was ‘one of the last things to happen’.

As a result, when monsters like Lightpulsar Dragon are Tributed for a Tribute Summon, their being sent to the Graveyard is far from the last thing to happen, so its effect could not be activated:
When this card is sent from the field to the Graveyard: You can target 1 Level 5 or higher DARK Dragon-Type monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon that target.

The same happens with Tribute Sets – you Tribute the monsters, and Set the card after that – so you can’t get them to activate that way either.

Special Summons
There are a variety of ways to Special Summon monsters, and many of them have effects of their own which allow you to do so. We already know how to distinguish between Special Summoning effects on monsters that do start a Chain and those that don’t (effects start a Chain if, and only if, they have a colon or semi-colon). Special Summons are performed in exactly the same way outlined above, with sending to the Graveyard or overlaying in place of Tributing, in the case of Synchro or Xyz Summons, or following the text of the card in general.

Negating Summons
Let’s look a little more closely at negating Summons. In order to negate a Summon itself, the key is to ask: Is a Chain currently resolving? Since you can’t interrupt a resolving Chain, there’s no way to activate anything in the Summon Negation Window at (1), so the Summon is automatically successful and the players can respond to it after the Chain resolves (as long as there are no other timing issues).

For example, let’s take Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning:
Must first be Special Summoned (from your hand) by banishing 1 LIGHT and 1 DARK monster from your Graveyard.

We can see from its text that its effect to Summon does not start a Chain. Hence cards like Black Horn of Heaven can be activated in its Summon Negation Window as normal:
When your opponent would Special Summon a monster: Negate the Special Summon, and if you do, destroy it.

Now suppose I activate Polymerization, Fusion Summoning a monster.

Chain Link 1: Polymerization
Resolve the Chain: Polymerization Special Summons the Fusion monster.

Part (1) of the Summon is performed while Polymerization is still resolving, so nothing can be activated in the Summon Negation Window (though after the Chain resolves, the Summon can be responded to as normal). Hence, Black Horn of Heaven cannot be Chained to Polymerization, nor can it be activated after Polymerization resolves.”

Suppose I’m Special Summoning High Priestess of Prophecy:
You can reveal 3 “Spellbook” Spell Cards in your hand; Special Summon this card from your hand.

The semi-colon means this effect starts a Chain:

Chain Link 1: High Priestess of Prophecy
Resolve the Chain: Priestess Special Summons itself.

Again, the whole Special Summon procedure happens while Chain Link 1 is resolving, so nothing can be activated during the Summon Negation Window.

You can still negate the activations or the effects of Polymerization or Priestess. You just can’t negate the Summons themselves, assuming the effect resolves successfully. For example, you can still negate the effect of Polymerization with the likes of Spell Canceller, or prevent the Special Summon by Chaining the likes of Vanity’s Emptiness.

Now, we can’t have an article on Summons without mentioning 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.

The first part of the text negates Summons, just like Black Horn of Heaven. However, the second part of the text says that it can negate activations of Spell Cards, Trap Cards, and Monster Effects. That means that it can be Chained to Polymerization and the effect of High Priestess above, not to negate the Summons, but to negate the cards themselves, because their activations involve Special Summoning.

The final example of this article will be Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing:
Once per turn, during your opponent’s Main Phase or Battle Phase, you can: Immediately after this effect resolves, Synchro Summon 1 Synchro Monster, using only “Yang Zing” monsters you control (this is a Quick Effect).

The underlined text is there to say that the Synchro Summoning happens just after the Chain Link resolves.

Chain Link 1: Bixi
Resolve the Chain: Bixi’s effect resolves (though it doesn’t do anything yet).

The Synchro Summon is performed now, after the resolution of the Chain.

Is a Chain currently resolving? Here, it isn’t, since the Synchro Summon is happening after the Chain had finished resolving. Hence cards could be used in the Summon Negation Window as normal (and this is why they use the text ‘Immediately after this effect resolves’ in the first place).

Quiz time!

(1) Can Steelswarm Roach be used to negate the Special Summon of High Priestess of Prophecy?
During either player’s turn, when a Level 5 or higher monster would be Special Summoned: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; negate the Special Summon, and if you do, destroy it.

(2) Player A attempts to Synchro Summon Virgil, Rockstar of the Burning Abyss, and Player B negates the Summon with Solemn Warning.
If this card on the field is destroyed by battle or card effect and sent to the Graveyard: You can draw 1 card.

Can the effect of Virgil be activated?

(3) What if Player A Xyz Summoned Dante, Traveller of the Burning Abyss instead?
If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can target 1 “Burning Abyss” card in your Graveyard, except this card; add it to your hand.

(4) Player A activates Soul Taker on Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing, but Player B Chains with its effect, using it with other monsters to Synchro Summon Black Rose Dragon:
When this card is Synchro Summoned: You can destroy all cards on the field.

Can Player A negate the Synchro Summon of Black Rose Dragon?

(5) In the above example, can the effect of Black Rose Dragon be activated?


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The next article is on Fast Effect Timing:
As usual, feedback and suggestions are always appreciated.

See you next time!

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