Startling admission: I sometimes won't have anything judge-related to talk about. But that's ok, because every once in a while, it's good to switch gears and touch base with what's going on in the TCG itself. In February, I went over the latest changes to card text and new releases that affect some core TCG game mechanics. I think we're due for another update, yes?

This week on Black and White: Miscellaneous Updates! Some card text, some game mechanics, some entire game rules! Today we'll go over the nooks and crannies.

First, Where To Find Updates
At the moment, there is no one centralized, organized location where one can see "here is a list of cards that changed, here are the changes." What I usually do is check the official card database regularly, about once a week, to see if there's any new lists that have that yellow "NEW!" graphic next to it.

If so, I check the card list for anything familiar and try to figure out if the text for that card is different than what it used to be, and if so, what relevant change there is. Yes, this is almost completely a manual process, but it's the best we have at the moment.

Primal Origin
Usually, main release boosters won't be featured in an article like this because there are no reprinted cards. Can't update a card that's brand-spanking new. But in this case, there's an update to a card and this update received very little press.

#####CARDID= 16175#####

The English printed text of Number C107: Neo Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon says "negate the effects of all other face-up cards currently on the field, also your opponent cannot activate cards or effects." If you look in the official card database, the effect is a little bit different: "negate the effects of all other face-up cards currently on the field, also your opponent cannot activate cards or effects on the field." Obviously, this changes the card considerably; there's now a glimmer of hope of playing around Neo-Galaxy Eyes in that hand traps can still be used. As this change is in the database, this is how the card should now be played.

Realm of Light Structure Deck
One change got applied to all of the Lightsworn monsters and Judgment Dragon: they all used to contain the text "this card must be face-up on the field to activate and to resolve this effect" for their End Phase send-to-graveyard ability. Now, none of these cards carry that extra condition.

I initially thought Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress was the odd woman out when she was reprinted in Battle Pack 2: Round 2 lacking the resolution condition that all the other Lightsworn have had since their initial printing in Light of Destruction, but obviously something changed behind the scenes and now they don't have this extra bit of text. That's probably for the better since it's way easier to not worry about the extra condition; it was barely relevant anyway. If one player used a card to get a Lightsworn off the field, it would probably be used way before the End Phase.

Astral Pack 5
Well, the obvious and most controversial change is that Bujingi Turtle now includes text that makes it clear its effect can't activate in the Damage Step. More subtle are revisions to Pot of Duality and Empress of Prophecy that makes them excavate the cards they reveal. This change doesn't seem relevant in the Sylvan deck since these cards don't send the excavated cards to the graveyard, but I'm sure this will be relevant for some future context.

…Although I'm still trying to figure out why Jurrac Impact was included in the Astral Pack. Like, the words are the same, the art is the same… is there some other recent or soon-to-be-released card that combos with it? I guess maybe a Dinosaur-type Pendulum Monster would make this super-good but we don't have any of those yet…

Spellcaster's Command Structure Deck
"Uh… Joe… that came out in 2009."

Correct! And yet, here I am mentioning it. Why? Because there's an update!

The entire Structure Deck was recently reprinted.

This wasn't just a straight reprint, however. The product was redesigned with updated packaging graphics and the card frames and card text conventions were updated. And more importantly, PSCT for all cards in the deck. There's one specific card I need to point out, however, because there's a functional change to how the card works.

Previously: Crystal Seer allows the player to look at the top two cards of the deck, pick one to add to hand, the other goes on the bottom of the deck. Now: Crystal Seer excavates the top two cards, player picks one to add to hand, the other goes on the bottom.

Crystal Seer excavates. That means the cards are revealed. Boom. Mind blown.

Battle Pack 3: Monster League
A huge set with a number of reprints. I mentioned this in a prior article, but there's no harm in repeating it: Card Trooper's effect now ends at the "end of this turn" instead of in "the End Phase". This is an important change since Card Trooper will keep its ATK boost while all other effects in the End Phase activate and resolve. No more worrying about "who turns off what effect before the other one" or whatever other nonsense was involved. It's very simply "change stays in effect until your opponent starts their turn." Easy peasy.

Battle Pack 3: Monster League is also the first product to include "LP" as an official abbreviation for "Life Points", which makes sense.

#####CARDID= 10558#####

Forbidden Chalice and Forbidden Lance also get "until the end of this turn" treatment. I suspect we'll see this change more and more as cards get reprints.

Now, if you're in the dark as to why any of this is relevant, hopefully I can explain why.

The Point Of Some Reprints
So when a card that's already been released gets released again, some people are super-happy, others not-so-much. Why they're happy or sad can depend on a few different factors.

The scarcity of hard-to-find cards decreases. So we can all agree that a certain amount of good cards have to be highest rarity. You or I may not like that Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack was sought after to the point of being a $130 card on the secondary market, but that's how it is. I won't get into why this is, just go with the premise that some good cards will be Secret Rare.

Now, invariably, products like booster sets get a single print run, get sold to distributors, and that's it. Which means going forward, when new players enter the game, they'll have to trade for older cards that don't appear in products available at the time. This is what's known as a "barrier to entry," and if you make card games, you don't want there to be any unreasonable barriers stopping prospective players from playing your game. Which means, every once in a while, cards have to be reprinted so new players can get them.

If you're the type of player that wants to get as much from your cards as possible, it's necessary to expect reprints of sought after cards as time goes on. Reprints are necessary for the player community to continue growing. In the end, this benefits everyone.

Fun story: After YCS Toronto 2012, I pulled two Gear Gigant X from my judge packs. One of them was traded for a Number 16: Shock Master. At the time, they went for about the same amount, and I assumed this was a safe trade because Number 16: Shock Master was a Shonen Jump Alpha promo that was released only four months prior. One day later, Hanzo Tin was announced. Womp.

Card Text Clarifications And Revisions: As a judge, I care about this reason quite a bit. Knowing how cards work is key to playing a card game. Who knew?! While Problem-Solving Card Text has been around since 2011, there's still a majority of the card pool that doesn't have PSCT. As time goes on, however, cards will be reprinted and be made into PSCT versions. The trick is, these reprints sometimes fly under the radar.

Did you know all of Duelist Pack: Kaiba has PSCT? Kinda surprising since it was released in April 2010, a full year before PSCT became a thing. But it's true. (Unfortunately, you won't find it in the card database as of this writing, but you can find updated text if you look in non-official locations… *shudder*.) The aforementioned Spellcaster's Command reprint is another example of this trend of updating previous products to current standards.

Sometimes, text is revised because of gameplay or mechanics reasons. For instance, Wulf, Lightsworn Beast's latest text specifically mentions that it must be Special Summoned by a card effect. This text only became relevant when it became possible to Special Summon any monster without using the chain (see: Pendulum Summoning).

But mostly, reprints allow for older cards that have ambiguous or confusing effects to become clarified with revision. See: Bujingi Turtle.

Keep an eye out for future reprints: we have Legendary Collection 5D's drops next month which is significant since the 5D's era is the last series to include non-PSCT cards, so I'll bet there will be tons of relevant cards from 2008 to 2011 that will fill in the remaining gap in what I'll call the "modern era" of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. What remains after that are the sets from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series, but a lot of the commonly played cards from those releases have found their way into Structure Decks and other products, so we're pretty well covered there. The Noble Knights of the Round Table Box Set enters the fray in November, and I'm sure there's another Astral Pack waiting in the wings, too. Plenty of card updates left to be had!

If you have any questions about card interactions, game mechanics or tournament policy, shoot me an e-mail (one question per e-mail please!) to askjudgejoe@gmail.com and your question could be answered in a future Court of Appeals!

-Joe Frankino