I touched on this subject last year when I talked about being a professional judge, but I didn't go into a lot of detail. Just like everywhere else in life, someone who has a lot of knowledge in Yu-Gi-Oh! is valued highly, but I think the ability to acquire knowledge often gets overlooked.

The capacity to learn quickly is also a very useful skill. Not everyone comes into this game knowing how to properly construct a deck or knowing which cards are available that perform different functions, or even what the proper procedure is for accidently drawing a card at the wrong time. We all have to get that knowledge from somewhere. Knowing where to get the information you need is, in my opinion, more important than the information itself. Because once you know where to get the facts, you can proceed to get more facts later on.

This week on Black and White: Know Your Resources! I'll go over what info is actually out there, where to get it, and how that info is useful to you as a player and a judge!

Card Resources
The cards themselves are the most integral part of a Trading Card Game. You need to know what the cards say and how they look in order to play this game. For that, I use the official card database. The database contains the latest text for all cards currently legal in any TCG territory; I use it as my primary resource for all Court of Appeals questions. The card database can also store user-created decks that you can print off as an official deck list at a moment's notice! To use that feature, you'll need to log into the site using your Konami Player ID number (the number more commonly known as your COSSY ID) and the same password you use to log into COSSY.

The official card database is also the first place you'll find updated card text like last week's Astral Pack 5 update that included a few relevant changes. See below for more specifics.

While there's a Yu-Gi-Oh! wiki that's out there and gets a lot of use, it's sadly not official. While most of the info on that particular site is accurate, some of it's unrelated to the TCG and the site itself isn't maintained by Konami, so it can't be called "official". I also don't like using the wiki as a source of information because the OCG will get a set three months before we do, and the Japanese text on the cards doesn't follow the same Problem-Solving Card Text conventions the TCG uses. When the English TCG card text becomes known, if it's different than what's on the wiki, some people get angry or confused at Konami for supposedly changing the text. Spoiler: they didn't. It was never the text on the wiki to begin with. Use the card database and you won't set expectations for yourself that can be crushed later.

You'll also find a page under the gameplay section of the official site for rulings and errata. The page is a relic of the days of what I call "oldtext" (before Problem-Solving Card Text). Rulings you find here are official only for cards that haven't been reprinted with Problem-Solving Card Text. Always follow the latest text and the rules of PSCT to determine how your cards work.

Tournament Resources
There's a lot of useful information in the gameplay section on the official site. I'm going to highlight the most relevant information for tournament players.

The Advanced Rules section contains game rules that supplement the most current version of the rulebook. At the moment there are only two pages: one for an explanation of Fast Effects and an FAQ for Gozen Match and Rivalry of Warlords. My hope is that we get more pages like this in the future, for instance a page detailing the Damage Step or an FAQ on Prohibition.

#####CARDID= 11100 #####

The gameplay page also has links to the three policy documents. All Konami sanctioned events follow the rules specified in those documents, so everyone, judges and players, should know what they cover.

- KDE Tournament Policy covers all events that Konami Organized Play runs. If Konami were to acquire or make other TCGs, everything in the KDE Tournament Policy document would apply to those games. As such, this document spells out how to run tournaments and dictates policy in very general terms.

- Yu-Gi-Oh! Tournament Policy specifically covers Yu-Gi-Oh!-related events. Things like End of Match procedure, tournament formats and card legality can be found here.

- The Penalty Guidelines delineate what behaviors are considered infractions and what the appropriate penalties for those actions are. This document also covers all potential Konami-run TCGs, not just Yu-Gi-Oh.

Other pages on the gameplay section include the card legality page and the card lists page. The card legality page is specifically linked to from the policy documents as the official reference for how to determine if a card can be used, but the page on the website hasn't been updated since 2013. The card list page hasn't included any sets from anything beyond Order of Chaos, but the page itself was made superfluous because the card database performs the same function better.

On the Events page there are a number of useful links for players. If you plan on attending an event that requires a deck list, a blank deck list form can be printed from that page. You typically won't need a registration form as the Tournament Organizer will usually have plenty available, but that form's here too if you want it.

And speaking of tournaments needing a deck list, Regional Qualifier information is also on the Events page! North America's current list of Regionals can be found here, and the FAQ page can be found here. I check back at the FAQ periodically before any Regional I attend. Especially since we just got done with a WCQ season, I'd recommend checking this page periodically for the next few weeks. It's not safe to assume Regionals will have the same set of rules after a WCQ comes and goes, as that's the best time to seamlessly make changes and improvements.

Card Interaction Resources
There are only a few official resources regarding questions about card interactions.

Sidenote: Since about last year, I've started calling what other people typically call rulings questions "card interaction questions" instead. I use the phrase "card interactions" because a "ruling" is a piece of text outside of the card that tells the reader how the card works. Since 2011 with the release of Starter Deck: Dawn of the Xyz and Generation Force, rulings documents are no longer published because all the info that used to be in a separate PDF is now on the cards themselves. So when someone asks how Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World's Special Summon works with Thunder King Rai-Oh, that's not a ruling question, because there are no rulings for Grapha or for Thunder King Rai-Oh. Both cards have PSCT, so the question is really once of how the two cards interact with each other.

Info on card interactions is sadly a little sparse. As per the rulebook, rule-related questions can be e-mailed to us-ygorules@konami.com. From my experience, not all the questions are personally answered, but asking the question means you weren't able to find the answer in an official resource (like the rulebook). Even if they don't answer the question, the question itself is data that Konami can use to determine what things about the game players and judges don't understand.

The first resources you look to for card interactions should be the latest rulebook, and the Advanced Rules page. After that, the next best source is the Strategy Site. While its primary purpose isn't for rules knowledge, anything you see on the Strategy Site does come from Konami, so if you see an explanation about a combo you can do, you can safely assume it's a legal play. The Strategy Site also acts as the home for general announcements about the game and its rules changes, such as the announcement of the Field Spell change and the "first player doesn't draw in the first Draw Phase" change. And most importantly, the articles for Problem-Solving Card Text are also here.

And Finally: Some Individual Card Updates
So this little piece of drama was dropped on us last week: Card text from Astral Pack 5 was added to the card database and it beings a lot of card changes, some interesting, some game changing.

- Bujingi Turtle now includes text which specifies that its effect can't activate during the Damage Step.

#####CARDID= 12271 #####

- Pot of Duality, Empress of Prophecy and Spellbook Library of the Heliosphere now excavate instead of simply revealing.

- Gagaga Cowboy's attack position effect now uses the word "also" instead of "and," clearing up some confusion about what happens if one monster can't gain or lose ATK.

- Card Trooper and Copy Plant's effect now turn off at the "end of this turn" and not during the "End Phase". PLEASE NO NOT EXTRAPOLATE THIS CHANGE IN TERMINOLOGY TO ANY OTHER CARDS UNTIL THOSE CARDS GET THEIR TEXT UPDATED. I know how tempting it is to extrapolate what appears to be a full, sweeping change and apply it to everything imaginable, and you may be correct in assuming this will simplify a lot of situations and remove questions entirely. But, going down that slippery slope is not a good idea in the long-term.

If you extrapolate this change, then how about extrapolating Bujingi Turtle to Photon Strike Bounzer? Or Card Trooper to Effect Veiler? If you start treating cards differently than how they're currently worded, you'll never be able to turn back. You will fall down a deep, Dark Rabbit hole, and there will be no cute, furry animals with adorable helmets to rescue you.

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

-Joe Frankino