Triggered: When Effects Activate (And Why You Should Know)

Today’s discussion was suggested by a friend of mine.  It will contain relevant rules that you should know regarding Chains and Trigger effects, and I’ll be looking at one of today’s top tournament decks to help illustrate.  That deck is the Genex Atlantean Mermail deck.

The Genex Atlantean Mermail deck (G.A.M. for short; also known as “Merlantean”) combines the Atlantean and Mermail archetypes while using Genex Undine and Genex Controller as a sort of “engine boost”.  The Atlantean monsters typically activate their effects if they are used to pay the activation cost of a WATER monster’s effect (so, only stuff that creates Chain Links).  The Mermails are used primarily as a means of activating these effects, but have a few other tricks as well.  Genex Undine is also used to trigger Atlantean effects (which is also why Genex Controller is present).

As I stated previously, the effects of the three primary Atlanteans used are Trigger effects that activate if they are used as an activation cost for a WATER monster’s effect.  But what a lot of newer players may stumble over is when these effects activate.  The common mistake is that they believe these effects are chained to the initial effect that was activated.  Let me illustrate with an example.

The turn player- we’ll call him Craig- is using a G.A.M. deck and has Mermail Abyssmegalo, Mermail Abyssgunde, and Atlantean Dragoons in his hand.  Craig also has a Mermail Abysspike in the Graveyard.

Craig activates Abyssmegalo’s effect from his hand (that’s right, it’s an Ignition effect, not a Summon condition).  To pay the cost, he discards Abyssgunde and Dragoons.  Both effects are triggered, but they will not activate just yet.  Trigger effects almost never chain to other kinds of monster effects, and only chain to themselves if they are triggered at the same time.  The reason is simple: Except for Trigger and Flip Effects, Spell Speed 1 effects never chain to each other.  You can find these rules in the rulebook in the Spell Speed section and the Other Rules section.  I know of no way for any Spell Speed 1 effect other than a Trigger or Flip effect to be activated in response to another effect.

So when do the effects of Abyssgunde and Dragoons activate?  After the current Chain is resolved, of course.  Once Abyssmegalo has resolved his effect, then the effects of the discarded monsters will activate.  Craig can also activate Abyssmegalo’s Trigger effect to add an “Abyss-” Spell or Trap from his deck to his hand.

At this point, Craig would apply the SEGOC rules- Simultaneous Effects Go On the Chain.  Atlantean Dragoons’ effect is mandatory, so it goes on Chain Link 1.  Abyssgunde and Abyssmegalo’s effects are both optional, so Craig gets to choose which one goes on Chain Links 2 and 3.

Something I should probably mention is why Abyssmegalo goes on this Chain even though its deck searching effect is triggered by something else entirely.  It’s a simple matter of timing.  Even though they were triggered by being discarded, Dragoons and Abyssgunde had to wait until Abyssmegalo’s summon effect was resolved to activate.  As such, they activated “in response” to Abyssmegalo’s Special Summon.  As to why they are treated as being in response to the summon, it’s because that was the earliest opportunity for them to activate.  Simple as that.

I will also briefly touch on “missing the timing”.  Craig decides to target the Mermail Abysspike in his Graveyard with Abyssgunde’s effect.  However, when Abysspike is Special Summoned, its own Trigger effect will NOT activate because Craig is in the middle of resolving a Chain.  It missed its chance to activate; this will be the case whether Abyssgunde is on Chain Link 2 or 3.  Because of Atlantean Dragoons, there is no way for Abyssgunde to be on Chain Link 1.  This is true of all optional Trigger effects that begin with “When”.  Optional Trigger effects that begin with “If”, such as Abyssgunde, are immune to this rule and can never miss the timing.  I will go more in depth about this rule in a future article.

The G.A.M. deck is the big thing that must keep this rule in mind.  Not too long ago, it was Wind-Ups (Wind-Up Magician and Wind-Up Factory would have been relevant to this article).  There are many other decks that must abide by this rule, and there will be many more to come.  So always remember: Spell Speed 1 effects don’t chain to each other unless they activate at the EXACT same time.


3 thoughts on “Triggered: When Effects Activate (And Why You Should Know)

  1. in tcg doesn’t megalo have to be CL3 and gunde forced to be CL2 (since Dragoon already CL1), because gunde meets activation timing first, (in tcg SEGOC rules; meeting timing first forces the earlier chain link). so megalo has to be placed CL3. since gunde was discarded before megalo was even summoned

    • Nope. Whether one card meets its condition first or not is irrelevant. All that matters is the next opportunity they have to activate. In this case, it’s on the same chain as Dragoons. Dragoons is the only effect forced to take a Chain Link because its effect is mandatory. Abyssgunde and Abyssmegalo both have optional effects, so you get to decide the order in which they go on the chain.

      • That said, I SHOULD clarify… several months later…. that whether the effects are optional or mandatory DOES have an effect on their chain placement. For example, if I control Vanity’s Emptiness, Qliphort Helix, and Saqlifice (equipped to Helix), and I then Tribute Helix to summon Qliphort Disk, Vanity’s Emptiness would go on Chain Link 1 because it MUST activate. Helix, Saqlifice, and Disk will take Chain Links 2 through 3 in any order I choose because all are optional.

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