Prohibiting the Game

In spite of the efforts of Konami in both the OCG and TCG territories, there are still a great many problems with the game, but they usually come down to a few widely used cards.  Today, I will be discussing two very similar cards, one of which is almost a staple in Side Decks, and may become a Main Deck mainstay for the “tellarknight” series.  Meet Prohibition and Psi-Blocker.

Prohibition and Psi-Blocker

Attention, citizens: Hot sauce is now prohibited in all territories.

Both of these have basically the same effect: You declare the name of a card, and starting from when the card/effect successfully resolves, neither player can use cards with that name, or their effects.  The only BIG differences between the two are that Psi-Blocker‘s effect only lasts until the end of your opponent’s next turn, whereas Prohibition applies as long as it remains face-up; and that Psi-Blocker will affect cards that are on the field when the effect activates.  This doesn’t have much to do with what we’ll be talking about today, however.

So what ARE we talking about?  Well, before I go any further I should define the word “use” that is in the text of these two cards.  So what does it mean?  Well, I’ll have to redirect you elsewhere for now.  A while back, Judge Alex Gravely wrote up a list of stuff you can and cannot do with Prohibition and Psi-Blocker, and it has been compiled on this here blog.  Go have a look at it real quick.  I’ll wait.

You back?  Good.  The list seemed pretty straightforward, didn’t it?  Well, there are situations where that list isn’t really going to help you much.  Every single one of those involves cards that change their names while they are on the field.  A few examples include Harpie QueenProto-Cyber Dragon, and Elemental HERO Prisma.

Okay, so Prisma isn’t that hard to figure out.  Once his effect has resolved and his name is changed to that of the prohibited card, he cannot be “used” until the effect wears off, or his name changes by some other means.  This is assuming that Prohibition was activated before Prisma was put onto the field.

But what about Harpie Queen or Proto-Cyber Dragon?  These are actually a bit harder to figure out.  In fact, there are two completely different rulings on the matter.  (Since it’s more popular in the tournament scene, we will discuss Harpie Queen throughout the rest of this article.)

According to TCG rules, if Harpie Queen is Summoned to the field after Prohibition has been activated and Harpie Lady was declared, then her effect that change her name will not apply.  She is still Harpie Queen, and thus can be used like any other card.

The Official Card Game, or OCG, which is played in Asian territories like Japan, states pretty much the opposite.  A Harpie Queen Summoned to the field will apply her effect to change her name to Harpie Lady, and thus cannot be used.

So why the difference?  That I can’t tell you.  I still can’t figure out why, after all these years and the proven popularity of the game, Konami has yet to fully eradicate the differences in the two versions of the game.  Maybe they haven’t been able to get to it yet.  I hope this is the case.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

What I can tell you are my theories about the rulings themselves, the reasoning behind them.

Here’s what I think about the TCG ruling.  I think that the reason Harpie Queen would not apply her effect to change her name is because it would cause an uncontrolled loop that would change nothing in the game.  You see, her name changes.  Prohibition then says, “Nope, you’re a Harpie Lady now, so you can’t use your effects!”  So the effect stops applying and she’s now a Harpie Queen again.  Prohibition then stops applying to her, her effect reapplies and… you get the idea.  To prevent this from happening, the ruling is that the thing which starts the loop in the first place, the effect of Harpie Queen to change her name to Harpie Lady, is not allowed to apply at all.  Makes sense, if you ask me.

Now, what about the OCG ruling?  Well, I HAD a theory, but it stopped making sense when I thought it through a bit more.  I originally thought it had to do with original names, like the Hero Mask rulings on Fairy Archer and The Wicked Avatar, but looking back at the Elemental HERO Prisma ruling, I see now that it doesn’t make any sense.  If you change Prisma’s name to the name of the prohibited card, Prisma can’t be used until his effect wears off.  At this point, I really don’t know.

What’s more, this isn’t the only ruling that is different from the TCG.  I honestly don’t know what to make of this anymore.

When it comes down to it, I advise Judges to use the TCG rulings.  They may be “previously official” according to the Yu-Gi-Oh! wiki, but they still apply until something else from Konami overrides them.

That about wraps this up.  Still to come, an article discussing ATK/DEF modifiers, and my new theory of why Level Modulation can only summon certain monsters if they were first summoned properly!  Stay tuned and keep dueling!


Wattsquirrel: How It Works and Why

A friend of mine was building a deck based on the “Watt” archetype and asked me how Wattsquirrel worked.  Today I’ll be talking about just that.  Let’s dive right in and look at the card.

Level 3
This card can attack twice during each Battle Phase. If this card battles, negate the effects of the monster it battled after damage calculation (including in the Graveyard).

So this little critter has two different effects.  The first one is pretty obvious: A Continuous effect that lets declare two attacks during each Battle Phase instead of one.  But what about the second effect?  Well, according to the TCG rulings, this effect is a Trigger effect.  If we compare this effect to Red Dragon Archfiend’s original text, we can also see that the effect activates after damage calculation.  And as for what the effect does, that’s also very simple: It negates the effects of whatever monster Wattsquirrel battled.

The tricky part of the effect is the last bit in parentheses.  What exactly does “including in the Graveyard” mean?  Well, I’m going to tell you.  But first, let’s set up an example.

James controls a face-up Treeborn Frog in Defense Position, and one Set Spell/Trap Card.  His opponent, Pete, controls a face-up Wattsquirrel.  It’s Pete’s turn, and he decides to attack with Wattsquirrel.  James activates his Set card Waboku.  As a result, Treeborn Frog survives the battle, but Wattsquirrel has negated its effect.  Pete moves to Main Phase 2 and activates Dark Hole from his hand, destroying the two monsters on the field.  When James’ Standby Phase rolls around, he tries to activate Treeborn Frog’s effect to Special Summon it, but it is still negated.

“Wait a minute,” you might say.  “How can it be negated?  It changed places!  Shouldn’t the effect have disappeared?”

And that’s the tricky part I was talking about.  You see, the “including in the Graveyard” part of Wattsquirrel’s effect doesn’t simply mean that monsters destroyed by Wattsquirrel in battle will be negated.  It means that the monster’s effects will be negated, including if it goes to the Graveyard by any means.  In essence, this effect lingers even if that monster goes to the Graveyard.

But that’s not the end of it.  There are a few times when that monster’s effects will no longer be negated.

  • If a monster being negated by Wattsquirrel is on the field or in the Graveyard and returns to the hand or Deck (Main or Extra), or is banished, then it’s effects will no longer be negated.
  • If it is in the Graveyard and is Special Summoned back to the field, its effects will no longer be negated.
  • If it is on the field and is flipped face-down, it will no longer be negated when it is flipped face-up again.

This also applies to a few other monsters, such as Ally of Justice Nullfier (see its rulings), Barbaroid, the Ultimate Battle Machine, and Evilswarm Obliviwisp.

So, what does this mean for monsters like Necro Gardna or Stygian Street Patrol?  Same thing it means for Hand of Nephthys when it’s revived by Junk Synchron: You can activate the effect, but it will still be negated.

But what about monsters like Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World who can be Special Summoned from the Graveyard by their own Summoning conditions?  Those are negated too.  As it turns out, Summoning conditions are, for the most part, effects.  Conditions that prevent summons (i.e. “cannot be Special Summoned by other ways”) are NOT effects that can be negated.  But the actual Summoning method can be negated.  You can find the specific ruling on Grapha.

There are more monsters out there that work like Wattsquirrel.  You can make very good use of them if you find them.