All rise!

Hello duelists, and welcome back to Court of Appeals! Every two weeks I'll answer card interaction, mechanics and tournament policy questions 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.

"I never drink more than 17 cups of coffee during any given trial. That's one of my rules."

Please be seated.

Ashura writes…

Hey Joe, I was playing a friend with my Spellbook Deck playing against his Blackwing deck. I had three cards facedown, a The Grand Spellbook Tower and a Spellbook Magician of Prophecy. He had a Blackwing - Bora the Spear and two face-downs.

We ended up getting into a chain in which he activated Delta Crow - Anti Reverse. I chained Mystical Space Typhoon targeting his one face-down. He chained Icarus Attack targeting my Magician and Tower.

He stated that Tower would not get the effect because it would "miss the timing". My question is, is that correct and if it is could you explain it to me?

Hello Ashura!

Well, firstly, "missing the timing" isn't an official game term, so I won't be using it to describe what happens.

Take a read at this rules insert from the Saga of Blue-Eyes White Dragon Structure Deck which explains that optional effects that activate "when" something happens can't activate if its activation condition wasn't the last thing to happen. That said, let's look at your example. Resolving your chain, Chain Link 3 is Icarus Attack, destroying Spellbook Magician of Prophecy and The Grand Spellbook Tower; Chain Link 2 is Mystical Space Typhoon destroying Icarus Attack; and Chain Link 1 is Delta Crow - Anti Reverse, destroying whatever Set spells and traps you have left.

The last thing to happen is the resolution of Delta Crow - Anti Reverse's effect. Because Tower being destroyed isn't the last thing to happen, and its effect can only activate "when" it's destroyed, you can't activate Tower's Special Summon effect.

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Michael Tousignant-Gagné writes in-part…

So I tried to make this play at a Regional and was told it wasn't a legal move.

I Normal Summon Debris Dragon and target Lonefire Blossom in my graveyard. I can activate the effect of Lonefire but its effect is negated by Debris Dragon's ability. But Debris Dragon doesn't negate the cost, so I can Tribute a Plant monster for the Lonefire's effect.

If I tribute Lonefire Blossom for its own effect can I Special Summon? If the Lonefire Blossom's in my graveyard, Debris Dragon isn't targeting the monster anymore.

I hope this is a good question and you will be able to give me some tips on that because I still don't understand why that play is illegal. Again, thank you for all the help you give all us duelfans!

Hello Michael!

The Head Judge at your Regional was correct. Here's why…

When you want to activate Lonefire Blossom's effect, it was on the field. Any effects that activate on the field will be negated when the effect resolves, even if the monster's no longer on the field at that time. This is different from Dandylion, which has an effect that activates when it's sent to the graveyard. Because Dandylion's effect activates in the graveyard, it's no longer affected by Debris Dragon's negation.

Putting it another way, look at where the monster is when you want to add that monster's effect to the chain. Lonefire Blossom started on the field, and that's where it has to be when you activate the effect.

Debris Dragon works like Effect Veiler and Mermail Abyssgaios, but it's different from Skill Drain and Fiendish Chain. Skill Drain only negates face-up monster effects if those monsters are still face-up on the field when the effect resolves, and Fiendish Chain will only affect the monster if it's face-up on the field because that's the nature of Continuous Traps; the trap only affects the monster as long as the monster remains face-up on the field.

Daniel Pitts writes…

Hello Joe,

First, kudos on the articles. Your insight has greatly improved my understanding of the game.

I have a question about phases, specifically Main Phase 2. When are you allowed to enter Main Phase 2? The newest rulebook says that if you don't want to or can't declare an attack you proceed to the End Phase from Main Phase 1. For example, can you enter Main Phase 2 on turn 1 of the duel? Also, can you enter Main Phase 2 if you don't have any monsters that can attack? Thanks in advance! Keep up the good work!

Hello Daniel! Thank you for your kind words!

When the Battle Phase ends, you must enter Main Phase 2. However, you don't have to enter the Battle Phase if you don't want to, nor do you need any monsters on your side of the field in order to enter the Battle Phase. While it might seem pointless to go into your Battle Phase without any monsters, Karakuris have a neat trick where you go through Main Phase 1 and the Battle Phase with an empty field, then in Main Phase 2, summon Karakuri Merchant mdl 177 "Inashichi" to conveniently skirt around the "must attack if able" effect that would send Inashichi on a suicidal attack run otherwise.

And, as implied, since the rules say the first turn of the duel doesn't have a Battle Phase, by extension it also means the first turn doesn't have a Main Phase 2 either.

Rhett Gordon writes…

Hey Judge Joe,

When it comes to card effects and chaining, if a card were to say "Activate only when a...", does it have to be activated as a Chain Link 1 when said action is performed? I'm assuming chains put actions in a freeze where certain conditions are still met even when they're activated later.

To put it in a scenario, if I were wanting to use Tuner's Scheme to take control of Shooting Quasar Dragon, can I activate a deterrent to force the opponent to use Quasar's once per turn effect and later use Tuner's Scheme, or does it have to be activated on that very moment as a Chain Link 1?

Thanks for your time.

Hello Rhett! A good question!

This concept is a little bit tricky to explain, but I'll attempt it, because it's a concept that doesn't get explained too often.

So most experienced duelists know that you can activate Bottomless Trap Hole or Torrential Tribute at a Chain Link after Chain Link 1 after a monster has been Summoned, and that you can activate Mirror Force and Dimensional Prison in the same chain. But you can't activate Dark Bribe as Chain Link 3 to negate Dark Hole as Chain Link 1 if Light and Darkness Dragon was Chain Link 2. So the question is: why is this?

We haven't been officially told the answer, but I think I've deduced the Reasoning and have been claiming it as truth ever since, so I feel confident explaining it here.

The two scenarios I detailed above are both chains that were responding to "the last thing to happen". The first case was a Summon, the second being the declaration of an attack. As long as "the last thing to happen" matches the activation condition of the card you want to activate, you can activate your card.

This would also make clear how and when to activate obscure cards like Tragedy or Shadow of Eyes. If you combine what I explained above with the Fast Effect timing page, you can see that you'd need to activate those cards just after the events taking place when your chance to activate Fast Effects rolls around. It also explains why one can't activate Torrential Tribute when a Summon occurs from a card effect in a previous chain that was Chain Link 2 or higher. Because Torrential Tribute activates "when" a monster is Summoned, the Summon needs to be the "last thing to happen."

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Last question!

Chase writes…

Dear Joe,

I'm a judge at my locals and this interesting timing question came up. Although I feel like I gave the correct answer, I'd like your input on it.

Player A has a Fire King High Avatar Garunix in the graveyard, sent there via Circle of the Fire Kings' effect. Player B has a Wind-Up Rabbit & Evilswarm Thunderbird banished via their effects, which were activated during Player A's turn. My question is: during Player B's Standby phase of the following turn, how would the effects of the three monsters resolve? How I ruled it, is that since Rabbit & Thunderbird are still resolving a "lingering" effect, their effects to return to the field do not start a chain so they return to the field before Garunix would ever activate to Special Summon itself. I know the destruction doesn't matter since Rabbit/Bird can bounce out again to avoid it, but it keeps them off the field for another turn.

All the best,

Chase

Hello Chase!

This is a little bit tricky, but we can look at the Fast Effects timing page for some guidance.

The following explanation isn't defined anywhere, it's an extrapolation of the Fast Effects timing page and my interpretation of what rules I know about the game, so of course I'll expect some interesting feedback on this question.

It's player B's turn. At the start of the Standby Phase (or any phase, really), the game state is open. In an open game state, the turn player has the first option to do anything in that phase they're allowed to do. So Player B can either return Wind-Up Rabbit or Evilswarm Thunderbird, do something else, or pass. We'll assume that Player B passes using the knowledge that Garunix's effect would ruin all the plans.

Player A now has the option to activate an effect he's allowed to, or to pass. Knowing that Player B has monsters that have to come back to the field during this Standby Phase, Player A chooses not to activate Fire King High Avatar Garunix's effect and instead passes.

Normally when both players pass on activating effects, they'll elect to go to the next phase. However, there's some mandatory effects that have to apply or activate in the current phase, so they have to stay in the Standby Phase and perform those mandatory actions before the game can proceed. It's Player B's chance to do something, and Player B is now required to take a mandatory action; he cannot pass again. He chooses to return Wind-Up Rabbit to the field.

The "last thing to happen" is now Wind-Up Rabbit returning to the field. We consult the Fast Effect timing page to determine that the turn player (Player B) has the first opportunity to respond to "Wind-Up Rabbit returns to the field" with a Fast Effect, then the opponent (Player A) gets the chance assuming Player B passes. Now we're back to an open game state, where the exact same scenario two paragraphs up plays out except now Evilswarm Thunderbird returns to the field. Then, finally, Player A's Garunix will activate, and that chain of events will play out.

This type of scenario's especially complicated, but more so when you have End Phase shenanigans like Lightsworns or Bujin Yamato vs. Effect Veiler, which was a question that landed in my mailbox but that I chose not to answer because that's even more convoluted than this one.

And that end this week's Court of Appeals! If you have a question about game mechanics, card interactions or tournament policy, kick over an e-mail (containing one question please!) to askjudgejoe@gmail.com and your question may be answered in a future Court of Appeals!

"Blacker than a moonless night, hotter and more bitter than hell itself... That is coffee."

Court is adjourned.

- Joe Frankino