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 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:

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

Please be seated.

Christopher Bogner writes…

Hi Joe!

I love reading your articles. They're very informative and keep me on top of my game.

This scenario happened to me not too long ago, and we weren't quite certain how to respond to it. My opponent had a Number C9: Chaos Dyson Sphere on the field, and I Summoned Ally of Justice Catastor. I attacked with my Catastor. Both monsters' effects activate at the beginning of the Damage Step, so what happens? My opponent thought we would lose both monsters. I think Catastor would survive since it's a mandatory effect, vs C9's effect being optional (saying "you can").

Thank you for clarifying!

Hello Chris!

While this particular interaction's certainly unusual, at its core this is really just another example of multiple card effects attempting to activate from the same thing happening in the game. Since both effects want to activate, a chain's built according to the section on page 44 of rulebook 8.0 called "When multiple cards are activated simultaneously." First, the turn player's mandatory effects are placed on the chain; then the opponent's mandatory effects; then the turn player's optional effects; then the opponent's optional effects. In your example, because Ally of Justice Catastor is mandatory and Number C9: Chaos Dyson Sphere is optional, Dyson Sphere is chain link 2 and will attach Ally of Justice Catastor as an Xyz Material. Then Catastor's effect resolves, destroying Dyson Sphere.

May that be a lesson to you, Chris: two interstellar robots attacking each other only guarantees mutually assured destruction.

Tyler Berger writes…

Hi Joe! It was nice seeing you in Vegas! :D

I know a monster like Flamvell Firedog can't activate if it destroys a trap monster like Embodiment of Apophis in battle, since it needs to send the destroyed monster to the graveyard, but a trap monster won't count as a monster in the graveyard. Old rulings on Firedog back this up.

My question is: does it change anything if the effect monster doesn't need to send the destroyed monster to a specific place, like Helping Robo For Combat or Jurrac Guaiba? They simply need to destroy a monster in battle, and don't care where it ends up. Would they be able to activate?

Thanks! <3

Hello Tyler!

If a monster only says "destroyed by battle" and doesn't specify a location, then it doesn't matter where it ends up or what it's like when it gets there. So yes, Jurrac Guaiba and friends would activate if they destroyed a Trap Monster.

And you'll excuse me for not including emoticons in my reply. I'm trying to keep a sense of decorum in the Court of Appeals. CAN I HAVE SOME DECORUM PLEASE?

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Anthony Day writes…

Hey, Judge Joe, I play Battlin' Boxers, and I plan on taking the deck to my next Regional. I was hoping you could explain how Battlin' Boxer Glassjaw misses timing. I understand why Xyz Block causes him to miss timing, but why does he miss timing when detached from King of the Feral Imps and not Lead Yoke? It would be good to know before taking the deck to Regionals.

Hello Anthony!

There are a couple of different reasons why Glassjaw activates when detached from Battlin' Boxer Lead Yoke and not from King of the Feral Imps. The easiest one is that King of the Feral Imps detaches as a cost for its effect activation (as noted by that text being before the semi-colon). Lead Yoke's detach effect doesn't have any colons or semi-colons, so it occurs as an effect is resolving. As long as Glassjaw hitting the graveyard is the "last thing to happen", and was sent there because an effect (not a cost) sent it there, Glassjaw may activate.

Joshua Harper writes…


I recently got asked for an interesting Sylvan ruling during my locals and I didn't know what to do.

The two people in question were asking about where exactly excavating takes place. One of them believed cards are excavated from the deck to the hand, and then they go to the graveyard; the other believed excavated cards are sent to the graveyard, and then the non-Plants are returned to deck. The Sylvan player's opponent had Zombie World on the field and was trying to see if it would stop all excavating effects because they wouldn't be Plant-types.

I had no idea how to rule this and couldn't find anything online about it either. I hope you can help!


Hello Joshua!

Rulebook 8.0 can show us the way! On page 47, in the glossary, the definition of "Excavate" makes this clear: "… cards that are being excavated are still treated as being in the deck until sent elsewhere by the card instructions."

Rhett Gordon writes…

Hey Judge Joe, got another ruling question for you,

So recently I got into a bit of a debate over two cards and their effects. Those two cards in question are Mound of the Bound Creator and Yubel. (Joe: You have piqued my curiosity.)

When I saw the Field Spell, I had the idea that Yubel's effect to Tribute a monster or destroy itself would be pseudo-negated, considering it fits the requirements for protection by the Field's effect. But I got in a bit of a heated debate over it, as my opponent said that part of Yubel's effect was a "maintenance cost" and that I still had to Tribute a monster for Yubel to live. I tried looking that up, but I can't find anything on it and I was wondering if you could share some insight on the interaction between the two. Thanks for taking the time to do what you do!

Hello Rhett!

Ah, the term "maintenance cost" is one that usually doesn't come up. For the uninitiated, a "maintenance cost" in Yu-Gi-Oh! is an effect that can't be negated, that forces you as the player to do something to keep the monster on the field. So "maintenance costs" are just another form of the currently ill-defined "conditions" I speak about from time to time.

And while we can't currently discern non-negatable "conditions" from continuous effects that can be negated, we can actually get an answer to your question regardless. The latest text of Yubel includes this phrasing: During your End Phase: Tribute 1 other monster or destroy this card. As shown by the use of a colon, that's an activated effect. As such it's definitely not a "maintenance cost," so Yubel will be protected from its own effect by Mound of the Bound Creator. Fancy.

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Ettien Martinez writes…

Hello Judge Joe. I have a question regarding Black Garden and King Tiger Wanghu. A friend's trying to make a deck using them and we were discussing how their effects resolved and couldn't come to a consensus. Hope you can help us out here.

Here's the scenario: if King Tiger Wanghu and Black Garden are active on the field and the opponent Summons a monster (let's say it has 2800 ATK) Black Garden cuts the attack in half to 1400. So will King Tiger Wanghu destroy the halved monster because with its effect? Also, does the Rose Token summoned by Black Garden die as well?

Thank You

Hello Ettien!

Black Garden will always be one of those cards. It's super complicated and has a whole bunch of effects. So the ATK/halving effect is a trigger effect that activates when a monster's Summoned, as denoted by the colon. That means the Summoned monster is still at 2800 ATK at the time King Tiger Wangu would want to activate. The ATK reduction won't happen until after Black Garden's effect resolves, at which point it's too late for King Tiger Wanghu.

Aelendt writes…

Hi Joe,

My local playgroup has a pretty good set of judges, but there was a pretty big schism today over a card interaction with Soul Charge. This question concerns whether or not the effect will resolve given that one of the original targets is removed from the grave, by a card such as D.D. Crow or The Transmigration Prophecy.

When a target for Pot of Avarice is removed from its original location, the effect doesn't resolve as intended: no cards are shuffled into the deck and no cards drawn. However, another alternate ruling regarding this sort of interaction exists for Gravekeeper's Stele. When one of the original targets of Stele is removed from its original location in the grave, the other target can still be added to the hand.

Now, in both cases the targeting of these cards in the graveyard acts as a sort of "cost"; they're placed before the semicolon in the PSCT version of the cards. That said, will Soul Charge resolve properly, given that a quick effect targeting one of its originally targeted monsters moves it to a different location?

Hello Aelendt!

The great thing about Problem-Solving Card Text is that it eliminates the need for "card rulings" because cards will use specific words to convey how they're supposed to work. Take a look at the official card database entries for Pot of Avarice, Gravekeeper's Stele and Soul Charge. There exists a key wording difference in Pot of Avarice, that being "shuffle all 5 into the Deck".

The use of the word "all" means you have to put five monsters back, or you put back none of them. Because Gravekeeper's Stele and Soul Charge don't say "all of those monsters" or "all of those targets", you apply the effect to as many of the targets as are still eligible.

You can read more about PSCT terms on Komami's Strategy Site which has an article series explaining everything you need to know about reading cards with PSCT:

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Last question!

Doug Zeeff writes…

Dear Judge Joe,

Last week Loukas Peterson wrote about how Mystic Clown's flavor text says "Nothing can stop the mad attack of this powerful creature." That's all fine and dandy, but I have a ruling questions regarding that: Flame Champion's flavor text says "A warrior protected by a flaming shield that nullifies any attack."

You can see the problem here. If Mystic Clown's mad attack is unstoppable, but Flame Champion's shield nullifies any attack, what would happen if the two clashed?

Do you know what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object? I sure do. It happened at Wrestlemania VI when Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior clashed for the WWF Title. So when you picture Mystic Clown attacking Flame Champion, I picture Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior.

To answer your question: if Mystic Clown and Flame Champion clashed, the real winner… is the fans.

And that's it for this week's Court of Appeals! If you have a question about card interactions, game mechanics or tournament policy, carrier pigeon an e-mail (one question per e-mail please!) to and your question could be answered in a future Court of Appeals!

-Joe Frankino