On the Nature of Targeting

At last week’s local tournament, a situation came up in the Top 4 where I gave a ruling that made one of the players not very happy.  He actually ended up losing because of it.  Don’t get me wrong, he was a good sport about it, and we all laughed about it later, but it was an odd ruling- although one I found quite funny.  It was Madolche Queen Tiaramisu vs. Battleguard Howling.

The Madolche player activated Tiaramisu’s effect, returning two “Madolche” cards from his Graveyard to his deck, letting him also return two of his opponent’s cards to the deck, one of which was a Warrior-Type monster.  His opponent tried to activate Battleguard Howling.  I saw this happen and stepped in.  Battleguard Howling activates when a Warrior-Type monster you control is targeted by an opponent’s monster effect or attack by targeting 1 face-up opposing monster.  It inflicts damage to your opponent equal to the original ATK of that target, and returns that same target to the hand if the damage was successful.  However, Madolche Queen Tiaramisu’s effect only targets two “Madolche” cards in the Graveyard; it does NOT target the opponent’s cards that are returned to the deck.

I’ve mentioned targeting on this blog on several occasions, but I’ve never really discussed what it is or how it works.  Today, I dive into that.

What IS targeting?  As a noun (a person, place or thing), it is “a person, object or place selected as the aim of an attack.”  As a verb (an action), it means to “select as an object of attention or attack.”  Both definitions work in the appropriate context in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG.

When dealing with attacks, you first declare your attack with a monster, then you select the monster it will battle.  This is called “targeting for an attack”.  An “attack target” is the monster chosen to be attacked.  Pretty simple and straightforward.

Targeting with card effects is trickier to understand.  Many older cards that target still have not been reprinted.  Even with newer cards, targeting is often a concept that escapes many good duelists.  Older cards will use the term “select” if they have not been reprinted with Problem-Solving Card Text.  But any card printed or reprinted after the release of Xyz Monsters will use the word “target”.

So how does targeting work with card effects?  It’s actually an activation condition, similar to a Cost.  When you first activate the card or effect, you play the card face-up on the field, or announce that you are activating its effect if it’s already face-up (though some effects activate in other locations).  Then you fulfill its conditions.  Targeting and costs are always listed toward the beginning of the effect, and end in a semicolon (this thing ; ).  Once the card’s Costs have been payed (if any) and its targets declared (if any), your opponent (and then you if they pass) is allowed to Chain to that effect with their own cards.  Players repeat these steps for any card or effect that is activated.

  1. Declare activation of the card or effect
  2. Follow activation conditions (paying Costs and declaring targets), if any
  3. Opponent is given the opportunity to Chain to the effect (though they may pass to you)

Once you and your opponent have BOTH passed on adding to the Chain, you resolve that Chain.  This means that you carry out the actual effects of each card on the Chain, starting with the LAST card activated.  So if three cards were all placed on the same Chain, you start with Chain Link 3 and work your way down to the first card played (Chain Link 1).  If a card targeted something, resolution of the effect is when that target is affected.

Madolche Queen Tiaramisu is a bit of an odd duck.  She possesses an effect that both targets and does NOT target.  Let me explain: To activate her effect, you must detach 1 Xyz Material from her (that’s the Cost), then target 1 or 2 cards in your Graveyard that have “Madolche” in their names.  When Tiaramisu’s effect resolves, any of those targets that are still in the Graveyard are shuffled into your deck (if you targeted two cards but one is banished by D.D. Crow, the remaining target still returns to your deck), then it shuffles up to the same number of cards (once again, a minimum of 1; this means if your opponent has an empty field, you cannot activate Tiaramisu’s effect, since returning opponent’s cards to the deck is mandatory (does not contain the words “you can”)).

The cards you choose to return from your opponent’s field to the deck, however, are NOT being targeted.  The reason why is simple: Tiaramisu’s effect doesn’t tell you to choose those cards when it tells you to choose the “Madolche” cards in your Graveyard.  What this means is that you choose those opposing cards when Tiaramisu’s effect resolves.

Since that Warrior-Type monster was chosen during the resolution of an effect and not at that effect’s activation, it was not “targeted”.  And because it wasn’t targeted, Battleguard Howling could not have been activated.  A ruling I found quite funny, mostly because it reminded me of Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier.

Let me divert into a short history lesson.  Before the advent of PSCT, knowing whether or not a card targeted was a bit difficult to figure out.  When Trishula was released in January, 2011, it caused a LOT of confusion because it appeared to target.  But it didn’t target at all, and the reason why was hilarious to me.  The card to be banished from the hand is chosen at random, but cards cannot be “targeted at random”, so that card has to be chosen when Trishula’s effect resolves, not when it activates.  What made it funny was that the other two cards had to be chosen at the same time as the card from the hand, so Trishula didn’t target THEM either.  Even if you didn’t want to banish a card from the hand, it didn’t matter.  No matter how many cards you wanted to banish, you had to choose during the effect’s resolution.  Meaning your opponent had to second guess you if you had more than just three cards to banish, something I found very funny indeed.

Targeting has always been a rather tricky beast, but PSCT finally tamed it.  You can read a more detailed explanation of targeting here.

As always, I hope this article was helpful and enlightening.  Keep dueling, folks.  Until next time!

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Arc of Light: Swing, Pendulum! Unanswered Questions

Pendulum Monsters are officially on their way!  They were announced and given the rundown on Konami’s official strategy blog, and you can read the article here.  However, there are still a few questions that need to be answered.

Before I get into these yet unsolved mysteries, let me give you a brief rundown of how Pendulum Monsters work.

First, Pendulum Monsters have the border of both a monster and a Spell Card.  This means that you can play them as one or the other.  They also have two text boxes, and special numbers are on the sides of the card.  The smaller text box contains the monster’s Pendulum Effects (if any; some Pendulum Monsters won’t have any Pendulum Effects), which are the effects you get if you play the card as a Spell Card.  The numbers on the sides are called the Pendulum Scale.

So far, there are only Normal and Effect Pendulum Monsters, so this means they go into your Main Deck when you’re building a deck.

Pendulum Monsters can be Normal Summoned or Set from your hand, and can also be Flip and Special Summoned.

The playing field has gotten an upgrade as well: Two new zones now exist on the left and right sides of the field, between the Field Spell and Extra Deck Zones, and the Deck and Graveyard Zones.  These are your two Pendulum Zones.  In order to activate a Pendulum Spell, you play it to one of these two Pendulum Zones.  They are NOT played to your Spell & Trap Card Zones.

Pendulum Spells are Spell Speed 1, as are their effects that activate, unless stated otherwise on the card.

If a Pendulum Card is sent from the field to the Graveyard for any reason, it is placed face-up in your Extra Deck instead.  This happens if it is a monster card (including face-down Pendulum Monsters) or a Spell Card.

Pendulum Summoning is the new summoning method introduced with Pendulum Monsters.  When you have set both sides of the Pendulum Scale by playing a Pendulum Spell to each of your Pendulum Zones, you can perform a Pendulum Summon.  This lets you Special Summon as many monsters as you like, from your hand or Pendulum Monsters face-up in your Extra Deck or both, to your field.  The Levels of your monsters must be BETWEEN the numbers of the Pendulum Scale.  So if you have a scale of 1 and 8, you can summon any monsters from Level 2 to Level 7.  Pendulum Summons can only be done during Main Phase 1 or 2, and can only be used once per turn.  You cannot “save up” Pendulum Summons either.  You get one per turn and that’s it.

So, what are these unanswered questions?  Let’s go over each one, as well as my proposed answers to them.

NOTICE: If you are a Judge reading this, please don’t take any of my answers as being absolute certainties.  They are just speculation at the moment.  When judging an event, please use YOUR OWN best judgment, or follow the rulings issued by your Head Judge.  Do this until we get actual official word from Konami.

1) What happens if a Pendulum Monster is sent from the hand, deck, or Extra Deck to the Graveyard?
A: I believe they will go to the Graveyard.  Everything we’ve seen up to this point has only stated they go to the Extra Deck if they were on the field.

2) What happens if Macro Cosmos is on the field when a Pendulum Card is destroyed?
A: No idea.  There are two ways this can go, and both of them make sense in their own way.  First, they might actually be banished.  The rule states they go the the Extra Deck if they would be sent from the field to the Graveyard, but the Graveyard is inaccessible with Macro Cosmos in play.  ON THE OTHER HAND, they might still go to the Extra Deck, since it is the game itself redirecting them rather than a card effect.  I’m leaning toward this second answer myself based on historical precedent: Synchro Summoning can still be done while Macro Cosmos or other such cards are in play according to the rulebook.

3) Can a Pendulum Spell be Set face-down?
A: I don’t believe they can.  If this is the case, then that’s going to make Anti-Spell Fragrance a really popular Side Deck card…

4) Can the activation of a Pendulum Spell be negated?
A: I don’t see why not.

5) What happens if the Summon of a Pendulum Monster or the activation of a Pendulum Spell is negated?
A: I believe the same thing that would happen if a Pendulum Card is discarded from your hand: It would go straight to the Graveyard.

6) Do Pendulum Cards count as Spells and monsters in your hand and deck?
A: I don’t believe so.  I think they count only as monsters.

7) If I negate a Pendulum Summon, what happens to the monsters that were going to be summoned?  What about the Pendulum Spells?
A: If you were to use, say, Solemn Warning or Black Horn of Heaven to negate a Pendulum Summon, I believe the monsters that would be summoned are destroyed and sent to the Graveyard- including if they were Pendulum Monsters coming from the Extra Deck.  So basically, the same that happens if you use these cards on a Synchro Monster or a Cyber Dragon.  I also believe that ALL of the monsters that would be summoned are destroyed, whether its one or a full five.  As for the Pendulum Spells, nothing happens to them, but you’ve used your Pendulum Summon for the turn so you can’t try again.  (And no, you cannot use Solemn Warning to negate the activation of a Pendulum Spell unless its Pendulum Effect involves Special Summoning on activation; just like you can’t use it on Infernity Launcher).

These are the unanswered questions I was able to think of.  If you have any more, post them in the comments, or email them to me.  Don’t forget to email Konami on July 11th after the official release of Pendulum Monsters!

New Card Mechanics: Soul Charge

It’s not often that I write something about how a specific card works.  Heck, it’s not often that I update this blog, and I’m sorry for that.  But with that said, there is a new card that I’d like to review since it has some interesting stuff going on for it.  It’s called Soul Charge and it will be released in Dragons of Legend later this month.

What does Soul Charge do, exactly?  Well, let’s have a look.

Soul Charge is a Normal Spell Card with this effect.  “Target any number of monsters in your Graveyard; Special Summon them, and if you do, you lose 1000 Life Points for each monster Special Summoned by this effect. You cannot conduct your Battle Phase the turn you activate this card. You can only activate 1 ‘Soul Charge’ per turn.”

So a step by step would go like this: First, you play the card and choose your targets.  You can choose any number of monsters, but only up to the number of vacant Monster Card Zones that you have.  So if you have one monster and two zones are blocked by Ground Collapse, you can only chose two monsters.  After this, follow the rules for building Chains.

When resolving the card, you Special Summon any of those targets that are still there to be summoned.  If you do, your Life Points are decreased by 1000 points for every monster that came out of the Graveyard.

This card has two additional conditions for activating it.  First, you must have at least one legal target in your Graveyard.  Second, you cannot enter your Battle Phase and activate this card in the same turn (so no playing it in Main Phase 2, unless you took battle damage from Great Long Nose).  You also cannot activate two copies of Soul Charge in the same turn.

Even with all of this, I’m sure a lot of combos are playing through the minds of well-versed players, as well as ways to stop this card.  Well, I’m afraid I have to dash a few of those possibilities.

First off, take a look at the first three words of the effect: “Special Summon them”.  Notice anything?  Let’s look at one word in particular: “them”.  Those of you who remember your Problem-Solving Card Text will remember that words like “it” and “them” mean that the card doesn’t care that much about specifics during its resolution.  What does this mean for you folks building your Side Decks to stop this card?  It means D.D. Crow won’t be quite as effective.  Sure, you can use it to banish one monster, but Soul Charge will still Special Summon the other targets.  All you’ve really done is prevented one from appearing, and also reduced the amount of Life Points your opponent loses.

Which brings me to my next point: Notice how the card says “you lose 1000 Life Points for each monster Special Summoned by this effect.”  It doesn’t say you take 1000 points of damage.  This is very important.  There are actually three ways to lose Life Points in this game: Damage, payments, and plain old reduction.  Not many cards in the game tell you to “lose” Life Points without calling it damage, but they do exist.

So why is this important?  Because I guarantee that at least one of you was thinking of combining this card with One Day of Peace or Prime Material Dragon, hoping to either prevent or reverse this loss of Life Points.  But since this isn’t “damage”, neither card will do anything to prevent it.  Your Life Points are dropping.  Thus far, there is no card in the game that can prevent simple reduction.

This last thing is also quite minor, but it may prove useful.  The card says, “you can only activate 1 ‘Soul Charge’ per turn.”  If you remember my previous talk about negating activations, this means that if your Soul Charge is stopped in its tracks by a card like Light and Darkness Dragon or Solemn Warning, you are free to activate another copy.  Negating an activation means that the gamestate doesn’t see that an activation happened, nor does it count it as an attempt like it would with Summons.  It never happened as far as the duel is concerned.  However, if only the effect is negated, then you’re out of luck this turn.  And remember, these rules also apply to the “no Battle Phase” condition.

Soul Charge may have some hefty restrictions and clever mechanics to balance it out, but I simply cannot see this card passing by the metagame without making a very big splash.  Keep an eye out for it and be extra cautious when using it.  And remember, this kind of mass summoning is only the beginning.  Coming this summer, I’ll discuss a brand new mechanic!

Until next time, keep dueling!

The Nature of “When”

“When” and “If” are two of the trickiest words in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG.  Both of them are used on a wide variety of effects, and both are involved in the rules regarding what is commonly referred to as “missing the timing”.

Though not as common as the first, “If” is surprisingly easy to understand.  For this word, timing is never an issue.  All that matters is “If” something happened.  Doesn’t matter when it happened, just that it happened.  Simple.  (There is one exception, and that’s Eclipse Wyvern; however, that is for entirely different reasons, and it deserves its own article.)

“When”, though, is not as easy to grasp.  And to make matters worse, Trigger effects aren’t the only effects that are subject to this word’s complexity.  ANY optional effect that uses the word “when” in its timing clause- that is, the section of the effect that tells you when you can activate it, i.e. “When this card is sent to the Graveyard:”- can have a lot of crazy timing issues come up.

We’re all familiar with the “missing the timing” rules regarding optional “When” effects.  For those of you who aren’t, here’s a quick refresher: Suppose you have a Daybreaker in your Graveyard, and another in your hand.  Your opponent activates Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy your Set Call of the Haunted, and you Chain it and target Daybreaker.  You Special Summon your target and then the Typhoon destroys Call.  You do NOT get Daybreaker’s effect because you Summoned him in the middle of a resolving Chain.  You have to finish that Chain before youc an do anything else.  What’s more, any optional “When” effect can only be activated “when” its trigger happens.  If you’re doing something else, you have wait, so you miss your one chance to activate the effect.

But as it turns out, this rule can also apply to Quick Effects.  The rules of YGO are made of a lot of different components, and many of them can be combined in a lot of different ways.  Here’s an example of a Quick Effect “missing the timing”, as it were.

My opponent controls a face-up Maiden with Eyes of Blue in Attack Position.  I control Changer Synchron and Jester Confit.  I have Changer tune with Confit in order to Synchro Summon Formula SynchronChanger Synchron’s effect is mandatory, so it automatically activates once the Synchro Summon is complete, and becomes Chain Link 1, and its target is Maiden.  I also decide to activate Formula Synchron’s effect to let me draw one card.  In this instance, Maiden with Eyes of Blue cannot activate her second effect.  This is because it must activate “when” she is targeted by a card effect.  She can’t do that, though, because the last thing to happen wasn’t her being targeted; it was Formula Synchron’s effect being activated.  When the Chain resolves, I will draw one card and Changer Synchron will switch Maiden to face-up Defense Position.  Maiden’s second effect will NOT activate, and my opponent will NOT Special Summon a Blue-Eyes White Dragon.  (This, of course, means they can activate that effect later in the turn if the opportunity arises, or the Maiden’s effect to negate an attack.)

Here’s an example that might make a bit more sense to you.  I control Stardust Dragon, and my opponent activates Card Destruction while they have two cards in hand and I have none.  After resolving Card Destruction, my opponent activates the effects of the monsters they discarded: The Fabled Catsith and The Fabled Cerburrel.  My opponent decides to put Catsith on Chain LInk 1, and Cerburrel on Chain Link 2.  My Stardust Dragon cannot activate to negate Catsith’s effect.  We have all been told that it’s because these effects have to be Chained directly to the effect they are negating, and while this is technically true, it doesn’t really explain why.  It just repeats what we already knew in different words.

The reason Stardust cannot activate in the above Chain is because it missed its chance.  Stardust Dragon can only activate its effect “When” a card-destroying effect or card is activated.  The last thing to happen was NOT that, but was instead the activation of an effect that Special Summons a monster.

Just to drive it home, suppose my opponent put those effects on the Chain in reverse order: Cerburrel on Link 1, and Catsith on Link 2.  NOW Stardust can activate to negate Catsith, because the last thing to happen is the activation of Catsith’s effect to destroy a card.

Funnily enough, the rules of “When” also apply to Counter Traps.  In the above example, if The Fabled Cerburrel is on Chain Link 2, I could not activate the effect of Stardust Dragon, but I COULD activate the Counter Trap Solemn Warning.  Conversely, if Cerburrel is on Chain Link 1, and The Fabled Catsith is on Chain Link 2, I can activate Stardust’s effect, but I CANNOT activate Solemn Warning against Cerburrel.

It’s a very simple principle to remember, really: If a card or effect that is optional can only activate “When [X event happens]”, then that event must be the LAST thing to happen, and that this rule applies to ALL cards, regardless of Spell Speed.

Activation Negation: An Issue of Timing

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve written anything here, and for that I apologize.  I’m still investigating a few things for future articles, and my research isn’t going that well.  However, I have found something that I CAN write about.

Today’s topic is on negating activations.  This simple phenomenon has some surprisingly complex effects on a duel.  But before I get into any of that, perhaps we should define what “negate” actually means in Yu-Gi-Oh!

To “negate” something essentially means to cancel it out, to make it like it isn’t there.  It’s as simple as that, really.  If you negate an effect, you’ve canceled it out.  If you negate an activation, it’s like it never happened.

There’s a huge difference between negating an activation and simply negating an effect.  To negate the activation of a card or effect means that you have canceled that activation entirely.  There’s really no analogy I can give that would perfectly illustrate this, but here’s the best I can do.  The best example might be to say that it’s like erasing something from a record of events.  Like saying something exceptionally offensive in court and the judge orders it stricken from the record (with the exception of “Thank you”).

Negating an effect is very different.  Here’s an example that should illustrate it perfectly: You move to turn on a lamp, but someone else gets their first.  This other person unscrews the light bulb.  They don’t stop you from turning the switch on, but nothing will happen when you do.  That is what negating an effect is.  An in-game example would be activating a Trap Card while Royal Decree is face-up.  You can still activate the Trap Card, but it’ll do about as much good as flipping a light switch with the bulb unscrewed.

Negating an activation is a bit more complex than that.  As far as I know, there are no Continuous Effects that negate activations (Great Dezard is up for debate), so that makes things a bit easier.  However, it’s still tough to explain and understand.  We’ll look at an example to figure it out.

Rick activates Pot of Duality from his hand.  His opponent, Seth, Chains to it with Dark Bribe.  Neither player wishes to respond to that, so the Chain begins resolving.

Dark Bribe negates the activation of Pot of Duality and destroys it, while also letting Rick draw one card.  After all of that’s done, it comes time for Duality to resolve.  But since its activation was negated, nothing happens.  The gamestate has completely forgotten that Duality was activated at all.

Here’s what I mean when I say the gamestate has “forgotten” that Pot of Duality was activated.  Pot of Duality has two conditions on it: The first is that you cannot Special Summon in the same turn that you activate it; and the second is that you can only activate one copy of Pot of Duality per turn.  By negating the activation of Duality, Seth has made the gamestate “believe” that it never happened.  As far as the duel itself is concerned, Duality was never played.  This means that Rick can either Special Summon or activate another copy of Pot of Duality this turn.

I should probably note here that negating a Special Summon directly (i.e. negating a Synchro Summon with Solemn Warning) will NOT create the same situation.  An attempt at Special Summoning was still noted, so Duality could not be played that turn.  The same thing holds true if an effect that Special Summons is activated, but that effect- and NOT its activation- is negated, i.e. Effect Veiler is chained to the effect of Tin Goldfish.

However, if Monster Reborn is activated and the activation is negated (such as by Warning or Bribe), then no Special Summon was attempted- resolution of the card never happened, so you never got to try to Special Summon- and so Duality CAN be played this turn.

That should just about cover it.  Remember, feel free to ask any questions if you have ’em.  The next article will be discussing a tournament policy issue that I encountered while judging my first Regional Qualifier: Card sleeves and the Extra Deck.

The Gamestate: What It Is, and When It Matters

For a while, I was without ideas for a subject.

But, while exploring the unofficial Facebook group for Yu-Gi-Oh! Judges, I saw a post that gave me an idea of what to write about: The gamestate.

What exactly is the “gamestate”?  Put simply, it’s an unofficial term that refers to the current state of the duel and everything that’s happened so far.  This includes a lot of things, too many to actually list here one by one.  But in general, it includes whose turn it is and what Phase or Step it is, what actions players have performed throughout the duel and during the current turn, Life Points, and a host of other things.

The post I mentioned earlier was asking a question about Ultimate Offering.  It can be used as an example here, but so can a lot of other cards, such as Hand Destruction.  Let’s use both of those cards as two different examples.

Player A has Ultimate Offering face-up on the field.  He controls no monsters and has one card his hand.  Player B controls a Set Spell or Trap Card, and Player A suspects that it’s a popular Summon Trap, such as Bottomless Trap Hole or Torrential Tribute.  But Player A has a plan.

Player A activates Ultimate Offering‘s effect.  Player B has no response.  Player A then immediately activates Ultimate Offering’s effect a second time, chaining it to the first activation.  When Offering resolves on Chain Link 2, he will Normal Summon the Thunder King Rai-Oh in his hand.  Then Chain Link 1 will resolve- but since Player A does not have a monster in his hand and the one he just summoned is not a Gemini monster, Ultimate Offering‘s first activation resolves without effect.  But the key here is that there is still a resolution.  To complete the example, Player B’s Set card was indeed Bottomless Trap Hole.  But because the last thing to happen was an empty resolution and not Rai-Oh’s Normal Summon, it cannot be activated.

Let’s look at a second example.  I’m using one of my favorite decks, Gishki Deckout (or Gishkill).  My opponent has 3 cards left in their deck and I have 4.  I’m also holding on to ten cards, two of which are copies of Hand Destruction (my opponent has seven cards in hand).  I activate one Hand Destruction and my opponent has no response.  I then Chain with my second Hand Destruction.  The Hand Destruction on Chain Link 2 will resolve and both of us will drop 2 cards, then draw 2 cards.  Then the first one I played will resolve and we will repeat our actions.  But since my opponent has only 1 card left and must draw 2, he will lose.

It’s important that you know something about Hand Destruction: It cannot be activated if either player has less than 2 cards in their hand or in their deck.

You should see the common factor between these two examples.  A player is activating two cards or effects at the same time, even though the gamestate is no longer friendly to that card after one of them resolves.  Once the Chain reaches Link 1, the gamestate is now such that the activations of those cards would be illegal.

But those cards have already been activated, so it doesn’t really matter.

The lesson here is that when it comes to the gamestate, cards only look at right now.  They don’t predict the future.  Ultimate Offering wasn’t going to look ahead and say, “Oh, well, if that resolves, then there won’t be anything for me to summon, so I can’t be activated again.”  It just looks at its controller’s hand and goes, “Ooooh!  A monster I can summon!”  And it does this with each activation on that same Chain.  The same thing applies with Hand Destruction.  It doesn’t see that there will only be 1 card in my opponent’s deck later on.  It just looks at how many cards there are right now, and it sees 3.

This is a very useful trick and can be done with many different cards, not just the two I mentioned here.  Here’s a third example, one you’re much more likely to see in competitive play.

You have two copies of Mystical Space Typhoon in your hand.  You’ve also got a monster out that’s really big and really nasty just beating face all the live long day.  You play a Typhoon and target your opponent’s one Set Spell or Trap, but they Chain it and it’s a Safe Zone!  They target your Big Nasty, knowing full well that when Safe Zone is destroyed, it will take Big Nasty with it.

But you’re not down and out yet!  You Chain to Safe Zone with your second Mystical Space Typhoon!  Typhoon 2 resolves first and destroys Safe ZoneSafe Zone is a Continuous Trap and must remain face-up on the field to resolve properly, so destroying it before it resolves will prevent that from happening.  Its effect is never applied to Big Nasty, so he can continue beating face.  (If you’re wondering, your first Typhoon will also resolve without effect since its target is no longer on the field.)

Remember: When activating a card, it will only look at the CURRENT gamestate.  Activations care nothing for future events.

The Trouble with Thunder Kings: What Rai-Oh Can (and Can’t) Do

It’s happened to everyone.  You’re in a duel and you activate Monster Reborn, Miracle Fusion, or something similar.  And when you Special Summon your monster, your opponent Tributes their Thunder King Rai-Oh to negate the Special Summon.

It’s not entirely their fault.  Rai-Oh does say that it can negate Special Summons.  It’s just that these duelists are unaware of the rulings regarding summon negation, and if they ARE aware of them, they’ll point out that these are “previously official rulings” according to the Wiki since the TCG rulings are located on Horn of Heaven.  Even pointing out the OCG rulings doesn’t always work.

But that doesn’t make them any less wrong about it.

Thunder King cannot negate a Special Summon made through an activated card or effect.  It’s that simple.  It cannot negate a Special Summon made through Monster Reborn.  It cannot negate a Ritual Summon or a Fusion Summon.  It cannot negate a Special Summon made through Mystic Tomato.

But why is that?  Many would say it’s simply “because Konami said so.”  That’s not entirely true.  Sure, you could argue that EVERY rule is because Konami said so.  But nearly every ruling has logic behind it.  This ruling is no different.

There’s a rule that I don’t believe many people are aware of.  It is the rule that while a Chain is resolving, other cards and effects cannot activate.  And before you ask, this has everything to do with Rai-Oh because it explains why Rai-Oh cannot stop these Special Summons.  They are happening while a Chain is resolving, and Rai-Oh cannot activate at that time.

And you can’t just have Rai-Oh negate the summon after the Chain has resolved either.  By the time you CAN activate his effect, it’s too late.  The summon is already successful.  (There is one exception to this scenario, but I’m not sure I would call it an exception: An Xyz Summon made through Advanced Heraldry Art.  But that’s because Heraldry Art tells you to perform that Xyz Summon AFTER it has resolved, which is the point when Rai-Oh can activate.)

It’s not really a difficult rule to follow either.  A lot of players seem subconsciously aware that it exists.  Proof of its existence is in the “Missing the Timing” rulings (discarding Peten the Dark Clown as a cost or sending it to the Graveyard on Chain Link 2), and can also be seen on Drill Warrior (the rule that says you cannot use Bottomless Trap Hole or Torrential Tribute when Drill Warrior Special Summons himself from the banished pile if you add a monster to your hand afterward).

I’m sure most players can easily figure out what Rai-Oh can and cannot negate with his effect if they are aware of this rule.  Just in case, I’m going to provide a list of what the Big Three summon negation cards can actually stop.

Thunder King Rai-Oh

Solemn Warning

  • Can negate all the same stuff as Rai-Oh.
  • Can negate Normal and Flip Summons.
  • Can negate “extra” Normal Summons (such as through Swap Frog or Double Summon).
  • Can negate the activation of any monster effect or Spell/Trap Card that Special Summons.  (Goblindbergh, Monster Reborn, Call of the Haunted, Trap Monsters)
  • Can negate the activation of any monster effect or any Spell/Trap Card that, at activation, lets you know you have the option of Special Summoning on the card.  (Macro Cosmos, Starlight Road, Grapha when discarded by an opponent’s card effect)
  • Cannot negate the activation of a card or effect that does not expressly give a Special Summon option on its initial activation.  (Infernity Launcher)
  • Cannot negate Spell/Trap effects.
  • Cannot negate a Normal Summon through Ultimate Offering.  (Same reason Rai-Oh cannot negate a Special Summon through Monster Reborn).

Solemn Judgment

  • Can negate any Summon that doesn’t use the Chain.
  • Can negate “extra” Normal Summons gained through cards like Double Summon.
  • Can negate the activation of any Spell/Trap Card.
  • Cannot negate Spell, Trap or monster effects.

That should just about cover it.  Always remember: If a Chain is resolving, wait until its done.  If you’re ever in a duel and your opponent won’t believe you on this rule, you can show them this article if you like (I don’t mind getting additional followers, and I’m not ashamed of saying so), but it’s much better if you show them the wiki, some official source for rulings, or just ask the first registered judge that comes along.  They’ll tell you what’s up.