Preparing for YCS Leipzig: Misunderstood Cards

Following on from my article about misunderstood game mechanics, I’m going to be looking at several cards which players and judges can sometimes have problems with. If any of my readers can come up with suggestions for other cards they’d like to know more about, let me know and I can possibly include them in a follow up article. Some of what follows may seem obvious to some of us, but remember we all have to start somewhere in the game and Yu-Gi-Oh! can be unnecessarily complex sometimes.

Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning

This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can only be Special Summoned by removing from play 1 LIGHT and 1 DARK monster in your Graveyard. Once during each of your turns, you can select and activate 1 of the following effects:
● Select 1 monster on the field, and remove it from play. If you activate this effect, this card cannot attack during this turn.
● If this card destroyed your opponent’s monster by battle, it can attack once again in a row.

Long time players should be aware of how this card functions, because they’ll remember last time we could use him. However there have been many many new players since then, who have been using the card for the first time this format.

Using his 1st effect should reasonably be covered by the topic on priority written previously. An important thing to note is that even if this effect were negated by cards such as Skill Drain, Effect Veiler or Light-Imprisoning Mirror you still wouldn’t be able to attack with him that turn.

The 2nd effect is where some players can come undone. For starters you do not need to say you are using this effect during the Main Phase, you will choose to activate it or not when it destroys a monster by battle. Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise and cheat you out of an attack. The bonus attack granted by this effect must be used immediately after the initial attack, you cannot save it for later in the turn, or for a following turn, you must use it at the next chance to attack that turn, otherwise you forfeit it. Finally you only ever gain 1 bonus attack per turn, you cannot use this card to wipe your opponent’s field of all their monsters is one blow. All cards which gain a bonus attack in a row function in this fashion.

Shadow-Imprisoning & Light-Imprisoning Mirror

When the effect of a DARK monster activates on the field or in the Graveyard, negate it.

When the effect of a LIGHT monster activates on the field or in the Graveyard, negate it.

Both of these cards cause problems and confusion because people mistake them for functioning in the same way as Skill Drain or Effect Veiler when there are in fact some subtle differences between them. If you haven’t done so already reading up about where effects activate and resolve is a good starting point for how these cards work.

With that in mind you can see how these cards differ from Skill Drain, but are similar to Effect Veiler. Much like Effect Veiler the cards in question do not care for the physical location of the card when the effect is resolving, just where the effect activated. This means Honest, Kalut, D.D. Crow and Effect Veiler can dodge these cards, being Hand effects, whilst Destiny Hero Malicious can’t due to being a Graveyard effect. To work out whether a card will be stopped by these cards, just think about where the effect activates. If a card has a cost which changes the physical location of the card the effect will activate in the location the card was before this cost was paid.

These cards however do not work exactly like Effect Veiler though, in that they don’t negate the effects of Light and Dark monsters, they negate effects which activate. This means continuous effects such as Spirit Reaper’s battle invulnerability are not stopped by these cards. This can also be important for Inzektors, since it means it will stop an Inzektor equipping another one to itself, but it cannot do anything about an Inzektor that has already been equipped, unlike Skill Drain and Effect Veiler.


Negate the activation of an Effect Monster’s effect that activates in the hand or Graveyard, and banish it.

Much of how this card functions can be extrapolated based on what I’ve previously said about where effects activate and resolve, and comments about the Imprisoning Mirrors. This means it can stop Hand effects like Maxx “C” and Effect Veiler or Graveyard effects such as Destiny Hero Malicious or Sangan. However it cannot stop Field effects such as Stardust Dragon’s negation ability, Exiled Force (not that anyone uses it anymore), and Inzektor Hornet (although this is also a Spell card at the time).

Remember that because this is a Counter Trap it means you CAN use it in the Damage Step.

Maxx “C”

You can activate this effect during either player’s turn by sending this card from your hand to the Graveyard. This turn, each time your opponent Special Summons a monster(s), draw 1 card. You can only activate “Maxx “C”” once per turn.

Maxx “C” saw a massive upsurge in popularity recently, when people realised it was actually a good card. However there might be people out there who aren’t using the card incorrectly, for one reason or another.

The first thing to remember is that in instances where your opponent summons multiple monsters at once (such as Rescue Rabbit), you only get to draw one card. Also even though it is a quick effect, it does not negate anything, so you cannot use it in the damage step. This means that if you see a Gorz it’s too late to use (well unless it came out via the burn effect…), so you’ll have to play it before attacking and hope the opponent does in fact have Gorz.

The drawing is mandatory, it is not something you can forget about and both players should be reminded of this fact so that the player of Maxx “C” doesn’t forget this. The drawing also does not use the chain, and happens after your opponent successfully special summons a monster.

If your opponent plays a card like Dimensional Fissure or Macro Cosmos their effects are not active until they resolve, which means you can chain Maxx “C” if you wish, although it’s probably doubtful the opponent will follow up with any special summons after this.

Last but not least we have a matter which is probably the most common way the card is misused, and this is in regards to inherent summons. Since inherent summons do not use the chain they are events that cannot be chained to, only responded to. This means that you cannot chain Maxx “C” when your opponent synchro summons, or special summons a card like Dark Armed Dragon for example. You may still respond, but by that point it will be too late to draw a card since the summon has already happened. It means you will have to discard Maxx “C” in anticipation of one of these moves happening, or to try and prevent one of these moves. Of course against special summons that use the chain, such as Monster Reborn, it’s perfectly fine to chain Maxx “C” to this card and then draw when it resolves.

Wind-Up Shark

When a “Wind-Up” monster is Normal or Special Summoned to your side of the field: You can Special Summon this card from your hand. Once per turn: You can activate 1 of these effects.
● Increase this card’s Level by 1, until the End Phase. ● Reduce this card’s Level by 1, until the End Phase.

Wind-Up Shark is a new monster, so of course people aren’t used to playing it yet and are unfamiliar with how it works. His level modify effects need little explanation beyond a reminder that it is once per turn, and not once whilst face up like the other Wind-Ups. How you special summon him is likely to be the area to trip people up though.

His special summon effect is an optional trigger effect. This is important with regards to activating his effect, and activating that of other monsters on the field. Since it is a “When” optional effect it means the summon has to be the last thing to happen. For normal summons this usually doesn’t matter, unless Ultimate Offering is involved, but for special summons there can sometimes be problems. If for example Factory and Magician are set off at the same time then unless Magician is placed as Chain Link 1 you will miss the timing, since Factory won’t have resolved yet otherwise.

Being an optional trigger has some important interactions with other monsters too. Since it is a trigger effect when you summon a Wind-Up the first thing you’ll have a chance to do is use his effect. Should you choose to do so you cannot activate the ignition effect of the monster you just summoned, because you cannot chain a spell speed 1 effect to anything, except in instances where they all activate simultaneously. If you don’t use Shark’s effect you can still retain priority to use the ignition effect, since passing on an optional trigger does not pass priority to the opponent. Of course you could just wait until Shark is summoned to activate the effect of your other monster, but the opponent might have other plans and get rid of your first monster in the meantime.

Reborn Tengu

When this card is removed from the field, Special Summon 1 “Reborn Tengu” from your Deck.

For most people this will be a refresher, but not everyone knows this yet. The biggest point of contention with this card is the matter of what it means to be removed from the field. A while back Konami did a useful article on the matter, so that might be a better source of information. The important matter that people care about though is how he interacts with Xyz. By now most people are aware that turning into an Xyz material is not considered to be leaving the field, and the cards used cease to be considered cards anymore, rather just as Xyz materials, newcomers to the game might not be aware of this though. This means Reborn Tengu does not get his effect when used as an Xyz material, since it is not considered to be leaving the field. Neither does it get its effect when detached, since it was no longer considered a card whilst an Xyz material.

Another matter that comes up occasionally is the issue of Tengu being destroyed whilst face down. If it was by a card effect Tengu does not activate, since at the time it was destroyed it was not a Tengu on the field, so it cannot be removed from the field. If it was by battle it does activate, since to battle him you need to flip him face up, thereby making it so Reborn Tengu is now face up on the field, and aware that he is just about to be removed from the field.

Rivalry of Warlords & Gozen Match

Each player sends monsters they control to the Graveyard so that they only control 1 Type of monster. Each player can only control 1 Type of monster.

Each player sends monsters they control to the Graveyard until they each control monsters of only 1 Attribute. Each player cannot control monsters with different Attributes.

For the final cards today I have chosen two of the most problematic cards ever printed. Just about all of us have been caught out one way or another with regards to this card and it’s very unusual to go through a large tournament without having to deal with situations around either of these cards.

The first thing that must be pointed out is that these cards are functionally the same, barring the fact one is for Type (Warrior, Dinosaur etc), the other Attribute (Light, Dark etc), despite the minor word differences. Both cards function in the same way and don’t let someone tell you otherwise.

The next way people struggle with these cards is how they actually function. Once you reduce your field to one attribute/type it is not a matter than you have chosen for example to keep Machine on the field, it just so happens to be the type of the only monsters left on the field. Once this restriction is in place you cannot attempt to summon a monster of a differing attribute/type. If for example Gozen Match were active you could not tribute Treeborn Frog for Caius, because Caius is Dark, not Water. Similarly you could not turn Tour Guide from the Underworld and Sangan into Wind-Up Zenmaines, because he is not Dark (or fiend in the case of Rivalry). Even if summoning the card would get rid of Rivalry/Gozen, such  as Uria, you cannot attempt the summon unless you have the appropriate type/attribute on the field.

In cases where a monster on the field has an effect that removes itself from the field in some way (sending to graveyard, deck or banishing etc) in order to summon other monsters you cannot activate the effect unless you can prove there are legitimate cards of that type/attribute to summon. For example you cannot use Rescue Rabbit under Gozen match unless you can prove you have some more Earths in the deck, such as Sabersaurus. Similarly you can only “tag” with a Gladiator Beast if you’ve got a monster of the same attribute in the deck that is a legal summon. For example you can tag out Murmillo if you prove Retiari is in the deck, but you cannot tag out Laquari if the only other Fire in the deck is another Laquari. However in both cases once the monster in question has left the field (assuming they’re the only one on the field) the restriction on types/attributes is no longer applied since the field is now empty. This means you can summon Kabazauls if you wish, or any other legal Gladiator Beast.

In cases where you inadvertently end up with a monster of a different type/ attribute many people handle this wrong, due to misconceptions on how Rivalry/Gozen work. Some people think that when this happens you get to rechoose which to keep, but this is wrong. When a monster of a different attribute/type ends up on your field it realises it should not be there and is sent to the graveyard by game mechanics. This can be a monster summoned through Reasoning, one summoned by Monster Reborn, where Gozen/Rivalry was chained to it, or when one of your monsters is flipped face up as a few examples.

In the case of flipping face up you cannot do this manually, since you are not allowed to try and summon it, but should it happen via for example Battle, should it survive the battle it will then be sent to the Graveyard by game mechanics.

One final point which usually causes confusion and arguments is the matter of switching control of a monster and it’s caught the best of us out. Since this is not considered to be trying to summon a monster you are still allowed to try and take control of an opponent’s monster with a different type/attribute to your own. However as soon as it switches sides and realises it is not allowed to exist there it will be gotten rid of by game mechanics. This can be a useful way to get rid of monsters that are bothering you in some cases.

I hope this has been an enlightening read for at least someone reading this. Please let me know if there is something that is wrong, you disagree with or would like to see expanded upon. It is far better for the information to be accurate.


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