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.

A who bunch of people ask the same type of question…

So… do I have to destroy a monster with Fire Hand to Special Summon Ice Hand? Can I make them miss timing? How do I stop the hands, is my question. Halp.

Fire Hand and Ice Hand are seeing play in a variety of decks, both in the Main Deck and the Side Deck, for very good reason. One Fire Hand can start a sequence of plays that can clear your opponent's board with very little effort. But for some reason, people are awfully confused with how these cards work, which I find strange because there's no strange or unknown mechanics involved. Everything we need to know is right there on the card, you just need to know how to interpret it.

"You can target 1 (thing) they control; destroy that target, then you can Special Summon…"

Remember that cards printed after July 2011 have Problem-Solving Card Text, where specific words and phrases on cards will have consistent meanings. Let's hop over to the Strategy Site which contains our PSCT references. We're gonna look at Part 7 which details conjunctions. In that, we see what "then" means. For effects with "then", you can only do the second part after successfully completing the first. What does this mean? No destruction of the target (or no target at all) means no Summon of the other hand monster.

Once more for emphasis: the first Hand needs to destroy its target, otherwise you don't get the other Hand.

Also, the use of the word "then" means for timing purposes, the Summon of the other hand from the deck is "the last thing to happen" and not the destruction of the target. And speaking of last thing to happen, both Fire Hand and Ice Hand activate "when" they're destroyed, and the effect "can" be activated, that means their own destruction must be the last thing to happen in order to activate. A few examples:

- Dark Hole resolves, destroying a Fire Hand and an Ice Hand. Both monsters were destroyed at the same time, both of their effects may activate in a new chain following the rules described on page 44 of rulebook 8.0.

- Mystical Space Typhoon is activated, then Raigeki Break is chained, targeting a Fire Hand. When the chain resolves, the last thing to happen is Mystical Space Typhoon resolving. Fire Hand may not activate.

- You draw Ice Hand for the normal draw during your Draw Phase while you're being affected by Deck Devestation Virus. Ice Hand is destroyed, and because you possess cards in your hand and Ice Hand being destroyed was the last thing to happen, Ice Hand's effect may activate.

So really, what it comes down to is knowing how to read PSCT and properly interpreting what "the last thing to happen" is. Both of these are simple if you know them. There's no special "rulings," no tricks, nothing out of the ordinary. Fire Hand and Ice Hand's effects are consistent with our knowledge of game mechanics. If your game mechanics knowledge is solid, then you'll be fine.

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John Eppard writes…


So I'm testing out Sylvans and some of my friends are saying that if Mistake or Thunder King Rai-Oh is on the field, I can't excavate due to some cards having the possibility of adding from deck to hand by excavating. Yet the cards in my deck such as Sylvan Peaskeeper, Mount Sylvania, Sylvan Hermitree, don't add to hand. Am I not able to still excavate?

Hello John!

Let's take a look at the official definition of "excavating", which you can find on page 47 of rulebook 8.0:

When a card says to "excavate" cards from your deck, you reveal those cards to both players. Then, before you do anything else, apply the instructions from the card effect that excavated them. Cards that are being excavated are still treated as being in the deck until sent elsewhere by the card instructions.

So right off the bat, the term "excavate" itself doesn't add from deck to hand. Only if a specific card says "add an excavated card to hand" or something similar would Mistake or Thunder King Rai-Oh prevent it. Running a quick database search of cards with "Sylvan" in their names didn't reveal any "add to hand" effects, but running a card text search for "excavate" returned the Sylvans and a few other cards, notably Magical Merchant and Kuribandit.

Kuribandit "can" add an excavated spell or trap to your hand, so if Mistake's active, you simply can't add one of those cards; all five would be sent to the graveyard. Magical Merchant… I'm a little iffy on. I'm assuming Mistake's already active when the flip effect activates. I'm not certain if you'd excavate until you hit a spell or trap, then send everything to the graveyard, or not excavate anything at all because you can't add from deck to hand.

As YCS Philly is this weekend, I don't want to publish an answer that may be misleading or outright incorrect. If you're running this deck, I'd advise asking the Head Judge of your event for his or her interpretation. I have a feeling I know what the answer should be, but for the sake of not wanting to touch off a firestorm, I'm going to withhold my thoughts on this interaction until I know more.

Owais Naeem writes…

Dear Judge Joe,

I've been reading your articles for a while. I'm new to the competitive scene and I have a general grasp of the rules.

I dueled against an Infernity deck and my opponent's Lavalval Chain was out of materials. He Summoned another Level 4 monster and attached it to his Lavalval Chain. I didn't think this was a legal move and asked for a ruling. After bashing me for not knowing the ruling, I forfeited and tried to look for it, however I did not find any ruling for it. It was bad enough that he wouldn't help but even the bystanders were attacking me for my lack of understanding. Is it legal to reattach Xyz monsters anytime or is my opponent wrong? Thank you for taking the time to read.

… what?

I mean, I don't want to sound completely and utterly surprised by this. But I am.

Nothing in the rulebook allows a player to attach an on-field monster to an Xyz Monster. Monsters may only become Xyz Materials by being used for an Xyz Summon. The only way around this is to use a card effect that specifically says to attach something as an Xyz Material like Evolutionary Singularity, Hazy Pillar or Xyz Reborn.

Yeah, you can't just attach monsters to Xyz Monsters. I think you were being trolled. Or at least, they were attempting to troll you.

Tracy Parks writes…

Hi Judge Joe! This happened to me at Regionals this year and I wanted to know how it could have potentially played out. I have a set Mind Crush. My opponent activates a Mermail Abyssmegalo, reveals it, and pays the cost. I activate Mind Crush and simply declare "Megalo". He argues that "Megalo" isn't the card's name and therefore, I would be forced to discard a card from my hand. Without calling for a judge, he was lenient and let it go. Would a judge rule that I must declare the full TCG legal name and I would be given a chance to declare the whole name? Or is this scenario slightly ridiculous? Thanks again!

Hello Tracy!

This scenario is indeed ridiculous and more common than I'd like it to be.

While it would be ideal if everyone playing Mind Crush declared full card names all the time, every situation should be looked at case-by-case. Your opponent revealed Mermail Abyssmegalo to activate its effect. If I took this judge call, and your opponent attempted to say that you weren't being specific enough, I'd say that…

1) you were in fact specific enough in your declaration given the information and the situation at hand, and

2) your opponent is attempting to use a rule not to keep gameplay fair and consistent, but to gain an advantage. This would qualify as "rules sharking" as specified in Konami's Penalty Guidelines. As such, your opponent has committed an Unsporting Conduct – Minor infraction, and he'd be given the penalty of Warning.

Keep in mind what I described here shouldn't be a blanket policy for how to treat Mind Crush. Judges will have to use their judgment to determine what the card declared with Mind Crush is in situations where it's disputed. If you're playing Mind Crush, it's in your best interests to be as specific as possible. I'll keep saying this, but if you play too fast, don't communicate or otherwise play sloppy, you risk a judge call and at that point, the game is out of your hands. Protect yourself from miscommunication and you'll never have your match come down to a judgment call by a judge.

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Angus Lam writes…

Hi Judge Joe!

I was thinking about Pot of Duality's card text the other day. I realize that you can't Special Summon before you activate it, nor can do you do it after Duality has resolved for the turn. But what if I chain a card to Duality's activation? For example, I first activate Pot of Duality, then chain Geargiagear to Duality's activation. Would either/both cards resolve normally, or is this an illegal move in the first place?


Hello Angus!

Activating a Special Summon effect in a chain to Pot of Duality isn't allowed, as you've already activated Pot of Duality.

This is very similar to Great Shogun Shien's effect preventing negation cards from being added to a chain. It doesn't happen often, but it's a noteworthy interaction.

So I'm playing Six Samurai, because we're pretending this is 2010 for a moment. I control Great Shogun Shien, because I'm like that. My opponent is only allowed to activate one spell or trap per turn, so he makes the most of it and activates Dark Hole.

I, being super-awesome prepared, chain Dark Bribe. My opponent, who also has Dark Bribe face-down, can't activate Dark Bribe because my own Dark Bribe hasn't resolved yet and the game still sees one activated spell or trap (the Dark Hole). Once the chain resolves, my opponent can once again activate a spell or trap card because Dark Hole's activation was negated, so he's free to activate the Lightning Vortex he drew off Dark Bribe, because he's the better player.

Last question!

Loukas Peterson writes…

Hey Joe!

I often get in arguments with people at my locals; I wish you were there to back me up, bro. Last week, people were saying "Oh Loukas, you can't negate Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness with Thunder King Rai-Oh" and "You can't Normal Summon again even if I negate your Summon with Solemn Warning." I can't believe everyone is so bad at rulings except you and me. (Joe: Do people really say "Oh Loukas"? Do you live in a sitcom? Is there a laugh track following you around everywhere?)

Anyway, this one I'm really mad about cause everyone said I'm wrong. The flavor text on Mystic Clown says "Nothing can stop the mad attack of this powerful creature," which is pretty obvious if you ask me. My opponent tried to use Dimensional Prison, and I told him he couldn't because the answer is pretty clear; nothing can stop the attack! Tell me I'm right so I can avenge my loss from last week with my tech clown.


Loukas Peterson

Were you aware the Dark Magician is the ultimate wizard in terms of attack and defense?

Well, I thought he was… you can imagine the disappointment I had when I found out that Skull Knight's a card.

That's it for this week's Court of Appeals! If you have any questions about Hands, card interactions, game mechanics, or tournament policy, send me an e-mail to and your question could be answered in a future Court of Appeals!

- Joe Frankino