It’s FAQ time, and for one of my particular favorites, the Damage Step! Specifically, what can and cannot be activated during the Damage Step. Let’s get started.
Here are the things you can activate:
(1) Counter Trap Cards
(2) Spell and Trap Cards and Effects, and Monster Effects that directly alter the ATK/DEF of a monster(s).
– Note the use of “directly.” You cannot perform an optional action that would only modify ATK/DEF indirectly, such as activating “Mystical Space Typhoon” targeting “Necrovalley,” or activating “Reverse Trap.”
– Even if the ATK/DEF modifier specifies Damage Step in its text, such as “Honest” or “Attack of the Cornered Rat”, it can only be activated up to and including ‘before damage calculation’. Effects that can activate during damage calculation will use that text.
– Exceptions: If the trigger of an optional ATK/DEF modifying effect is a monster being Summoned to the opponent’s side of the field, such as with “Armor Ninjitsu Art of Rust Mist” or “Evil Blast”, the effect cannot be activated during the Damage Step. Also, “Scrap Sheen”, “Zero Force”, and “Curse of Anubis” cannot be activated in the Damage Step, as well as cards like “Half or Nothing” which might not alter ATK/DEF at resolution.
(3) Spell Speed 2 Monster Effects (Quick Effects) that negate the activation of something.
(4) Any effect that specifically mentions an activation timing during the Damage Step.
– You’ll see phrases such as “During Damage Calculation,” “At the Start of the Damage Step,” “After Damage Calculation,” etc.
(5) Most Trigger Effects and Spell Card trigger-like effects:
– Generally, things of this nature are safe to activate during the Damage Step if they don’t specifically state that you cannot.
– If the trigger of the effect is a monster being Summoned by the opponent or Summoned to the opponent’s side of the field, such as “Catoblepas the Witch of Fate” or “Naturia Horneedle”, the effect cannot be activated in the Damage Step unless otherwise specified.
– An optional Trigger Effect of a monster to Special Summon itself from the hand cannot be activated in the Damage Step unless otherwise specified. This includes a monster like “Green Baboon of the Forest” whose effect has the potential to Summon itself from the hand or from another location, even if “Green Baboon of the Forest” is not actually in the hand.
– For this category, it’s still a good idea to look at everything on a case by case basis.
(6) Cards that have no clear indication that they can be activated during the Damage Step BUT have rulings stating that they are allowed to do so:
– “Attack and Receive”, “Chthonian Blast”, “Desrook Archfiend”, and “Numinous Healer”.
(7) Mandatory Effects.