Principle Rules

I’m still in the process of writing the articles about stat modifiers and cards that ignore summoning conditions.  Speaking of conditions, I’ve also been dealing with a nasty cold-thing, so I’m going to take a a break- what else is new, right?- and talk about something that I feel needs to be addressed.

Okay, so, a while back I wrote an article discussing the interaction between Neo-Spacian Grand Mole and Ally of Justice Catastor.

'Sup?

Two weeks ago I had to handle a ruling that wasn’t quite as cut-and-dried as one player thought it would be.  He had a Neo-Spacian Grand Mole face-up and had declared an attack with it on a Noble Knight Borz, who was equipped with Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms.

Hey.

Now, my friend was confident that he had this in the bag.  He had called me over and asked me the question that I answered in that article: Which one wins, Catastor or Mole?  Now, we all know that the answer is Grand Mole, but he forgot WHY it wins.  This ended up costing him the duel, and thus the match.

It isn’t just some rule that Mole always wins, now stop asking questions.  It isn’t because effects that return cards to the hand defeat effects that destroy.  Grand Mole beats Catastor because he’s optional and Catastor isn’t.  This means Catastor has to go on Chain Link 1, while Mole goes on Chain Link 2.  Chains resolve backwards, so Mole gets to do his thing first.  Compulsory effects always go on the Chain before optional effects, regardless of the turn.

That is not at all what would happen in a match-up against a DARK Noble Knight and Gwenhwyfar.  At least, not on Grand Mole’s controller’s turn.  Remember how I said that Mole’s effect is optional?  Well, if Gwen’s equipped to a DARK monster, she has an effect that looks a lot like Ally of Justice Catastor‘s, but with one big difference: Gwenhwyfar’s version is also optional.  When two optional Trigger or similar effects collide and have to go on the Chain, the Turn Player’s effect takes the first Chain Link, then the other player’s effect is Chain Link 2.  As a result, Grand Mole actually loses this fight.

I tell you this story not to illustrate a point about a rule- although you really should be studying SEGOC if you’re not already- but to give you a new tool to use when thinking about how the game works.  Don’t think of specific situations and then try to apply them universally.  Instead, understand the principles of the game itself, the “why” behind what happens in those situations.  Having cards and situations on-hand as examples might be helpful sometimes, but they can become a pitfall if you become too reliant on them.  General principles are your greatest allies in understanding the game.

Allow me to give you a few principles that will help you understand things better.

  1. Do your best to understand Problem-Solving Card Text, or PSCT.  There are principles behind it, and knowing them will allow you to read your cards and any you face with full understanding of their effects.  Read these articles on Konami’s official strategy blog to learn more about PSCT.
  2. Learn what SEGOC means, then learn what this ruleset is.  Fully understanding SEGOC can be an incredible strategic weapon.  There are no official articles about it that I know of, so the SEGOC Wikia page will have to do.
  3. Study older cards that haven’t been reprinted.  Yes, there are plenty of those still in the game.  Read their texts and study the rulings archived on the Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia.  Find players who’ve been around to see these cards in action and see what they can teach you.  You might start to learn a few things you can use later on.  Those who do not learn from history aren’t necessarily doomed to repeat it in Yu-Gi-Oh!, but history will come back to kick your butt if you don’t keep an eye on it.
  4. Keep yourself well fed and well rested.  The first three principles are all well and good, but they won’t do a thing for you if your brain is overworked and low on energy.  We’ve all been there, losing a match because you were too hungry to read a card properly.  Happened to me just a few weeks ago, in fact.

Remember this, because it’ll be more helpful than anything else: Cards come and go in the tournament scene, but the principles behind how they work will always be the same.  Focus your understanding of the rules on these principles and you will almost never be wrong.

Actually, no, that’s only the second most helpful thing I’ll ever tell you.  The number one, most important, most useful, most helpful principle I can teach you is this: READ YOUR CARDS!

Heh.  Just remember to understand the principles of the game and understanding the cards will come easily.

Good luck in your future duels, everyone.  And stay tuned, because this weekend is the Secrets of Eternity Sneak Peek event, which means another Sealed Strategy article!

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