Hello duelists, and welcome back to Court of Appeals! Every two weeks I'll answer your questions about card interactions, game mechanics and tournament policy submitted to askjudgejoe@gmail.com. I get quite a few submissions, and I most likely can't get to them all. To improve your chances of your e-mail making it to the column, please follow these ground rules...

-I will not answer new questions in the article Comments. If you have a related follow-up question to a question I answer here, you can ask it in the Comments and I will answer it in a reply.

-Please ask only one question per e-mail. Grammar and clarity helps, too.

-All answers I give are unofficial unless backed up by an official source.

-I'll be using official game terms whenever possible. If I use jargon (even jargon that is perceived to be universally accepted), I'll note that it's jargon.

-I'll note sources whenever possible.

-I'll always use the official card database as my card text reference. You can find the official card database here: http://www.db.yugioh-card.com/yugiohdb/

-I will not answer any questions about cards not released in the TCG.

Please be seated.

Ed Conlon writes…

Hi, my name is Ed and I'm wondering if you could answer this ruling for me? The situation arose with one of my friends playing Sylvan Sagequoia. He would excavate a card like Sylvan Marshalleaf or Sylvan Kumoshroomo and then chain Sagequoia to the excavation. I heard from one of the judges at the WCQ that it would miss timing, but my friend swears up and down that it still Special Summons. Could you please clear this up for me? There are no official rulings that I could find anywhere to help me with this. Thanks! ~ Ed.

Hello Ed!

Sylvan Sagequoia's one of those cards that will trip up a lot of duelists initially, but once you understand timing, it's really easy. Firstly, because Sagequoia says "When" something happens "you can" do something, this means that the "something" has to be "the last thing to happen". The question then becomes "well… how do you know what the "last thing to happen" is? Luckily, the answer is in Problem-Solving Card Text. In the chain that previously resolved, look at the last chain link whose activation wasn't negated (this is usually Chain Link 1). Then, look at the effect. If there are multiple things that happen, they're usually separated by specific phrases that each have specific rule meanings. Take a read at the PSCT article for conjunctions for the full lowdown. In a nutshell, if the effect has "and if you do" or "also", then both effects happen at the same time, so both effects are "the last thing to happen". But if an effect has "then" or the new conjunction "also, after that", only the second thing is "the last thing to happen."

As an example, Sylvan Hermitree's effect says "excavate… and if you do, draw 1 card." Since "and if you do" means both the excavate and the draw happen at the same time, so Sylvan Sagequoia's effect can activate. The key to remember: the "last thing to happen" doesn't always have to be just one thing.

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Mario writes…

Hi Judge Joe. Your column's great. Thanks for helping us understand this awesome game.

Usually I have a pretty good grasp of the rules and often answer rulings questions for others. But for some reason, I'm having trouble with this. I've seen it played in more than one way, which only adds to my confusion.

My question is about chains with Atlanteans and Mermails. Say my opponent reveals Mermail Abyssmegalo and discards Atlantean Marksman and Mermail Abyssgunde for its cost, and it's Special Summoned successfully. I would think that Marksman and Abyssgunde are now Chain Links 1 and 2 (or vice versa, depending on my opponent's choice) and Abyssmegalo's effect to search is Chain Link 3. Meaning that the targets for Marksman and Abyssgunde must be chosen before I can respond with what would be Chain Link 4. Is this correct?

Thanks for your time. ~ Mario

Hello Mario!

You have it exactly right. Check out the Fast Effects timing page; Atlantean Marksman, Mermail Abyssgunde and Mermail Abyssmegalo are all trigger effects that need to activate their effects. They do so in the yellow box in the left-most column and are ordered as per page 44 of rulebook 8.0. Targeting occurs at effect activation, so targets must be declared as each chain link is declared. After all those trigger effects are placed on the chain with proper targets for each applicable effect, you may add your own chain link.

Som Khang writes…

Hi Joe

Thank you for always helping out with rulings and questions.

Here's my scenario: Player A is in their Main Phase 1 and has one monster and one set spell or trap on their field. Player A hasn't Normal Summoned this turn. They declare that they're entering the Battle Phase, giving up their priority to active any card or effect. Player B activates Raigeki Break destroying Player A's monster in Main Phase 1. Can Player A then choose to stay in Main Phase 1 in order to Normal Summon?

Thank you again.

Hello Som!

Yes, they may stay in Main Phase 1. We get to visit the Fast Effect timing page again, except this time let's look at the right-most column. The turn player wants to leave Main Phase 1. We're in the box labeled "Turn player passes." We follow the arrows to Box E: "The opponent can activate Fast Effects", and Raigeki Break, being a Spell Speed 2 effect, fits the bill. We're now in a chain. After the chain resolves, we go to the left-most column. Assuming nothing occurs we end up in an open game state.

Notice that phases change at the very bottom of that right-most column. We never got to that point, so we're still in Main Phase 1, and in an open game the turn player can take any action they're allowed to do at that time. They may Normal Summon a monster.

Derek Remer writes…

Joe,

I was playing a Battlin' Boxer deck at my locals and my opponent Special Summoned Battlin' Boxer Lead Yoke. I use Bottomless Trap Hole and he detaches to save the Lead Yoke and gain the 800 ATK. I then activate Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare. Since Nightmare says "negate that effect, and if you do, destroy that card" can my opponent activate its effect again or can he not because it was negated before the destruction? Thanks for the time and input!

Hello Derek!

Battlin' Boxer Lead Yoke can prevent its destruction a second time. Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare only negates the monster's activated effect (the ATK boosting effect), it doesn't negate all of its effects. It will be able to detach an Xyz Material to keep itself on the field. (Its ATK gaining effect will activate again in a new chain).

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Joe Sageatook writes…

Hello Judge Joe! I love reading your articles as I love playing Yu-Gi-Oh! I believe that you cannot finishing learning Yu-Gi-Oh. My question for you is:

If I Pendulum Summon two copies each of Sacred Crane and Kuraz the Light Monarch and target one Sacred Crane and one Kuraz the Light Monarch itself, and the other Sacred Crane and the other Kuraz the Light Monarch to itself, how does the scenario play out?

Hello Joe!

Well, you'll be drawing a lot of cards, that's for sure.

Both Sacred Cranes are mandatory effects, so they're Chain Links 1 and 2. Both Kuraz's are Chain Links 3 and 4. When the chain resolves you'll draw six cards total: two cards during Chain Links 4 and 3, and one card for Chain Links 2 and 1.

That's assuming of course that your opponent's perfectly ok with all of this. A chained Torrential Tribute would rob you of four draws, making you the saddest of pandas.

Last question!

Fred Merritt writes…

Hello Judge Joe!

I really enjoy reading your articles as I feel I get a better understanding of card interactions and the subtle nuances of the game. I truly believe that your articles have made me a better player!

At any rate, I have a question about Breakthrough Skill and mainly its differences, or similarities, when compared to Effect Veiler. I was playing a game against a Mystic Piper Ghostrick variant. My opponent summoned a Kinka-Byo and I promptly activated Breakthrough Skill. In the End Phase my opponent tried to return Kinka-Byo back to the hand, but I told him that it stays on the field. I used a ruling that used Effect Veiler to explain why, but he told me that the wording between the two cards is different. Breakthrough Skill reads, "Until the end of the turn", while Veiler reads, "Until the End Phase". We argued, but I had pretty good field presence and so I gave in and allowed him to bring it back to his hand (for what it's worth I won on my turn).

My question is essentially two-fold. Does Kinka-Byo stay on the field and is there a difference between the phrase "until the end of turn" and "until the End Phase?" I know its two questions, but I figured they're one and the same. Thanks in advance!

Hello Fred!

This question's one that has a silly and convoluted answer, but hopefully that's going to change in the near future.

There is in fact a big difference between "until the End Phase" and "until the end of the turn". "Until the End Phase" means the effect will stop working at some point in the End Phase. When exactly? That's the part that's confused duelists for years now. Our current working understanding (with no official source to back this up) is that the turn player's "until the End Phase" effects have to turn off before the opponent's "until the End Phase" effects do. How this interacts with effects that activate "in the End Phase" has been a quagmire for years, and I'll make the grand claim that no judge anywhere ever likes explaining this particular interaction.

But, for completionist's sake, I'll attempt the explanation. Hopefully for the last time, if we're lucky.

You have a Kinka-Byo. It got Effect Veiler'd on its Normal Summon. It's now the End Phase. Kinka-Byo's effect to return to the hand is mandatory – you must activate it at some point during the End Phase. Likewise, Effect Veiler's negation effect lasts "until the End Phase", so it has to stop applying its effect until some point in the End Phase. As the turn player you have the first option of doing anything in the phase, including activating Kinka-Byo's effect. If you do so at this time its effect will activate, and it will then be negated when the effect resolves as Effect Veiler's still applying.

You may also choose to not activate Kinka-Byo at this time. Let's assume you don't activate the effect. The opponent now has the opportunity to activate a card or effect or apply an effect that needs to apply in this phase. They have the option of "turning off" Effect Veiler, but let's assume they don't want to do that, so they pass. Now, as the turn player, you have to activate a card or effect. You can't choose not to. You're forced to activate Kinka-Byo, and its effect will be negated.

If you're like me, you think this interaction is convoluted as heck and completely unintuitive. Now, let's switch Effect Veiler with Breakthrough Skill.

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You have a Kinka-Byo. It got Breakthrough Skill'd on its Normal Summon. It's now the End Phase. Breakthrough Skill's effect lasts throughout the entire End Phase, so Kinka-Byo's effect will be negated no matter when you choose to activate the effect.

See that? Super-easy! Nothing complicated, no back-and-forth, just a simple "it's negated".

Starting in Astral Pack 5, a few cards that once mentioned effects lasting until the End Phase changed to "until the end of this turn," which streamlines card interactions and makes for less complicated game states. At the moment, Effect Veiler still says "until the End Phase," but keep an eye out for future reprints; if this trend of card rewordings hold true, we may see the complete elimination of "until the End Phase." And that will be a good day.

And that's it for this week's Court of Appeals! If you have a question about card ineractions, 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 Court of Appeals!

Court is adjourned

-Joe Frankino