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.

Asbel writes…

Hey Judge Joe!

Love your articles on TCGplayer! I have a question to which I could not find an answer elsewhere. Suppose I Synchro Summon Star Eater with Trust Guardian as the Tuner, and suppose that my opponent tried to run over Star Eater with, say, Heroic Champion - Excalibur. Trust Guardian protects Star Eater, and Star Eater loses 400 ATK and DEF.

But what would happen on my turn when I attack? Star Eater is unaffected by other card effects when it attacks, until the end of the Damage Step. Would it be back to 3200 ATK whenever it declares an attack? I heard that Trust Guardian still protects the monster once per turn even if the monster's ATK or DEF drop below 400. Why is this the case? ~ Thanks, Asbel

Hello Asbel!

Trust Guardian hasn't yet been printed with Problem-Solving Card Text, so we're going to have to use current TCG rulings to piece this together.

When Star Eater attacks, it's unaffected by other card effects, but the big question is "does the ability to prevent the Synchro Monster's destruction count as an 'effect' or is it one of those undefined, un-negatable effects that exist in this game?" Looking at the available rulings for Trust Guardian, the only thing that's a "condition" is the restriction on what monster can be Synchro Summoned, and I only use the word "condition" because that's the word that's used in the ruling document itself. The use of that word in this context has proven itself to be confusing which is why I use "non-negatable effect" instead.

Since the rest of Trust Guardian is an actual effect, we can apply logic and game mechanics as best as we can. When Star Eater attacks, it becomes unaffected by other card effects, so it bumps back up to 3200 ATK, but it won't go back down after the Damage Step since the ATK and DEF only goes down when Star Eater would be destroyed by battle.

As for why the protection effect can be applied if the monster has less than 400 ATK or DEF, because the ruling says so. I'd imagine the effect text would be worded much differently if written today.

#####CARDID= 12781#####

Alex Cimo writes…

Hello Judge Joe!

I have a rather interesting question. While watching a duel via livestream, I noticed that Player A had two cards in hand, Tour Guide From the Underworld and Phoenix Wing Wind Blast. While considering his options, Player A placed both cards face down in the Spell/Trap Card Zone, but kept both hands on his card. Player A then proceeded to pick up the Tour Guide From the Underworld from the Spell/Trap Zone, and passed turn to his opponent.

My question is, can you feign the identity (Monster/Spell/Trap) of a card? Since Tour Guide From the Underworld is a monster, he shouldn't have even been allowed to set the card in his Spell/Trap Zone. However, it's a tricky situation, because Player A's opponent is completely unaware of what Player A is doing (unless, for example, Player A activated the Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, discarding the Tour Guide From the Underworld, and Player A's opponent calls him out on it).

I'd love to hear your thoughts regarding this situation and feigning the identity of cards in general. Thanks!

Hello Alex! That certainly is an interesting situation, one that I've personally witnessed a few times during gameplay at various events over the years.

Put very simply, the only thing policy says regarding anything related to this is about how moves can't be retracted once the player has committed to the move. The big debate then becomes what constitutes a "committed move," and this is where you'll get a range of opinions from judges, as there's currently no official guidance from Konami. I can tell you what I think personally, and if you agree with that, then super.

In the situation you described, once the Tour Guide hits the mat, the move has been committed to. It doesn't matter that the card wasn't let go; once the card touches the zone, that's where it is. I have a feeling some people won't agree with that, but so it goes. Since setting a monster to Spell & Trap Zone isn't legal in the slightest, that's an infraction. And in this case, the player intentionally made an illegal move with the intent to gain an advantage.

The infraction here would be Unsporting Conduct – Cheating, the penalty would be Disqualification Without Prize. Again, this is if it was up to me, given the info provided and my interpretation of what a "committed" move is. There are ways of misdirecting your opponents within the rules of the game and tournament policy. Feigning making illegal moves isn't one of them, in my opinion.

Tiago Amber writes…

Greetings. I have a ruling question. Can Player A Tribute Player B's Apoqliphort Towers if Player A activated The Monarchs Stormforth this turn? Assume no other effects are active and that Player A has some monster in hand; just for the sake of completeness, let's assume it's a Shapesnatch. (Joe: It's always Shapesnatch…)

The Monarchs Stormforth's Problem-Solving Card Text leads to an ambiguous interpretation, as the part "Once during this turn, if you would Tribute a monster(s) for a Tribute Summon, you can Tribute 1 monster your opponent controls as if you controlled it" refers to you (which is the player who activated it) leading to a possible interpretation where it changes the actions a player can take.

Please answer in all possible detail, as I intend to answer in all possible detail to the player who asked it. Thanks in advance.

Hello Tiago!

I had answered a similar question when Duelist Alliance first dropped, but since then, I came into some new info, so I'm answering the question again as an update of sorts.

The Monarchs Stormforth does affect the monster it wants to Tribute. You may not use Apoqliphort Towers as a tribute using The Monarchs Stormforth. Unfortunately, that's as much detail as I can provide since there's no official source for what "affects" a monster, and that's the whole crux of the interaction here.

To be honest, it seems like since YCS Dallas, this interaction has been seemingly accepted as a consensus in online discussion areas and tournaments I've been a part of. This is a good thing, don't get me wrong, but I just can't point to any other official resources at the moment.

Joshua Dafault writes…

Hey Joe, I've read your article @ http://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?ID=3954

For the Fire Lake Scenario, when Rubic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss is Summoned successfully, its effect should activate to destroy itself. Being chain link 1, the turn player can then chain Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss, sending Rubic and another Burning Abyss monster, which should resolve before Rubic is able to destroy himself.

If you could please clarify a bit more, it would be very useful.

Hello Joshua!

Rubic's effect to destroy itself doesn't start a chain, which we can tell from the card text. "If you control a monster that is not a 'Burning Abyss' monster, destroy this card." There are no colons or semi-colons in this effect, so it doesn't start or use the chain. Compare that with the Special Summon effect: "If you control no Spell/Trap Cards: You can Special Summon this card from your hand." Take a read at PSCT article 3 for more info about how to tell what starts chains and what doesn't.

#####CARDID= 17573#####

Last question!

A reader who didn't sign the e-mail writes…

For Cursed Bamboo Sword, it has the first effect, then it says you can use this effect of Cursed Bamboo Sword once per turn. After that, there's the second effect. Which effect can I use once per turn the first one or the second one?

Hello Reader!

The way Konami has written their cards since implementing Problem-Solving Card Text, the statement "you can only use this effect of CARDNAME once per turn / Duel / whatever" always applies to the effect that appears just before that sentence. You can only use the direct-attack ability once per turn.

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