All rise!

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.

Zraca Halder writes…

Hi Joe,

If I have an Evilswarm Ophion on the field along with an active Infestation Infection that's been on the field for a turn, and my opponent activates something like Fissure or Smashing Ground, can I use Infestation Infection's effect to return my Ophion and save it from destruction, or can I only use Infestation Infection with non-Xyz Monsters? Supposing I could use its effect to return Ophion to the deck, would I be forced to put it in my Main DEck due to Infestation Infection's effect, or would I just return it to the Extra Deck?

Thanks, ~ Zach

Hello Zach!

One of the currently undocumented rules of Yu-Gi-Oh! is that you must be able to fully pay a cost in order to activate an effect. At activation, Infestation Infection says "you can shuffle 1 "lswarm" monster from your hand or face-up from your side of the field into the Main Deck." Since you can't return Evilswarm Ophion to the Main Deck because Xyz Monsters can't be returned to the Main Deck, you can't use the effect on Ophion.

#####CARDID= 11844 #####

Douglas Pianta writes…

Hi. I was wondering about the ruling on negating Qliphort effects. Say you Pendulum Summon a Qliphort Disk and its ATK would normally be changed to 1800. If you negate its effects with an already played Skill Drain, would its ATK remain 2800? What about with Breakthrough Skill? What if it was Normal Summoned with no Tributes and you activate Qlipper Launch? ~ Thanks, Douglas.

Hello Douglas!

The Qliphort effect to make the monster's ATK 1800 is set after the Summon is successful. If the effect is negated on the Summon or if it's later negated, the original ATK bumps back up to its printed value. The ATK doesn't go back down to 1800 even after the negation effect wears off. Qliphort Disk will stay at 2800 ATK plus or minus whatever modifiers are applied.

Elijah W. Fisher writes…

Here's a question. Gaia, the Polar Knight, says, "You can only use each effect of 'Gaia, the Polar Knight' once per turn." If Gaia leaves the field and is Summoned again, or if a different copy of the same card is Summoned, can I use one of its effects another time? If this part of its effect were different, like "You can only use each effect once per turn" would that affect the ruling? ~ Thanks, Elijah

Hello Elijah!

The phrasing "You can only use this effect of (whatever) once per (whenever)" applies across all copies of cards you own named "whatever." Had the restriction applied to only the specific card on the field, the effect would say "Once per turn:" and have that condition listed before the colon following the rules of Problem-Solving Card Text.

Next up, Elijah does it right and asks a second question in a separate e-mail!

I have a question about a ruling involving Plaguespreader Zombie and Mask Change II ...

Oh wait. You don't answer questions about cards not yet in the TCG... (Joe: question sent on January 13th. It's all good now!)

... So, let's say I Special Summon Plaguespreader Zombie from the graveyard using its own effect, then activate Hero Mask, sending Elemental Hero Knospe – the most random HERO possible – to the graveyard to have Plaguespreader Zombie take its name. Then, remembering that I'm playing in the TCG and there are no Dark-Attribute Masked HERO cards yet (Joe: when you sent this e-mail anyway), I activate DNA Transplant declaring Water (Masked HERO Acid is still good, right?) or maybe earth (?, is that what I was planning to do with Knospe, make Dian?).

Anyway, can Plaguespreader Zombie satisfy the conditions of Mask Change, which says to send its target to the Graveyard, even though Plaguespreader can't be sent to the Graveyard?

Thanks, ~ Elijah

Hello again!

The newest text of Mask Change clarifies this situation. Remember that Mask Change first came out in Generation Force, the very first booster to include Problem-Solving Card Text. Since then, PSCT itself has gone through a few revisions and I'll take a good guess this question was one Konami has seen numerous times since July 2011. As per the latest text, you'll send Plaguespreader to the graveyard – but you can't, so banish it instead! – then Special Summon based on the Attribute it had on the field; whatever Attribute you called with DNA Transplant.

#####CARDID= 13808 #####

Ye Hu writes…

Hi there Judge Joe,

I have a question on a new card that just released in Secrets of Eternity, the Mischief of the Gnomes trap card. Does the activation of this card warrant a hand check by both players? How can you be sure which monsters are affected by this card? And what would happen if the opposing player activates a search / draw / return from grave effect that alters the number of cards they have had since the activation of this trap card? ~ Thanks for your time.

Hello Ye!

No hand verification is necessary for this effect! Take a closer read: "This turn, reduce the Levels of all monsters in each player's hand by 1." The card doesn't say "reduce the Levels of all monsters currently in each player's hand by 1." Even if a monster is added to your hand after Mischief resolves, its Level will be reduced anyway.

Elvis Rodriguez writes…

Hello Mr. Frankino, I really enjoy your articles! As someone who really wants to be a judge, your articles help a ton. Today I have a rather pressing question, one that most of my community is having trouble coming up with an answer for.

Player A activates Snatch Steal to take control of Player B's face-up Virgil, Rock Star of the Burning Abyss, and then attacks Player B's face down Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss. Player B activates the effect of Farfa, banishing Virgil and destroying Snatch Steal in the process.

Now my question to you is, does Virgil return to Player B's side of the field (the owner of Virgil), or Player A's side of the field? I heard that if you activate Book of Moon on a monster equipped with Snatch Steal, it stays on that player's side of the field. Does the same apply here?

Thank you for your time!

Hello Elvis!

With Farfa, Virgil will be banished and Snatch Steal will be destroyed. During the End Phase, a weird interaction takes place. Virgil will first return to the player that controlled Snatch Steal, but because Virgil isn't being affected by Snatch Steal anymore, it returns to the original owner.

Book of Moon's interaction is a Little Different. When the target goes face-down, it stops being affected but the game doesn't see the face-down monster as the same one that was just affected by Snatch Steal, so the player gets to keep the stolen face-down Virgil (even after flipping it face-up later). But if that monster goes to the graveyard or Extra Deck, it will go back to the owner's possession.

#####CARDID= 17576 #####

Last question!

Rodney writes…

Say Skill Drain's active on the field and I Tribute my Qliphort Carrier. Do I get Carrier's Tribute effect that lets me send a monster to my opponent's hand? I know Skill Drain doesn't affect graveyard effects like the Yang Zing monsters. Is Carrier's effect considered to resolve on the field or in the graveyard?

Hello Rodney!

Qliphort Carrier doesn't activate on the field, and it usually won't activate in the graveyard either since Pendulum Monsters Tributed from the field will go to the Extra Deck instead by game rules – although I suppose Qliphort Carrier can be Tributed from the hand by a card effect, sent to the graveyard and have the effect activate that way too. In either case Skill Drain can't negate Qliphort Carrier's "send-to-hand" ability as it doesn't activate on the field.

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

Court is adjourned
-Joe Frankino