Daikaiju Sokogeki: Ruling Theory

DISCLAIMER: The following is merely an opinion which I hold based on numerous facts and observations.  Whether you agree with me or not, ALWAYS follow the rulings issued by the Head Judge of the tournament you are attending, whether you are judging or dueling.

How long has it been since I wrote something here?  I dunno, but it’s been too long.  Haven’t had the time for this blog, really, but I’ve got time now, and a great topic to discuss.

One of the newest TCG-exclusive archetypes seems to be doing to the meta exactly what you would expect creatures like these to do: Stomp on it.  The Kaiju have risen from the sea  and earth, and descended from the stars to rampage across the tournament scene!  They boast a unique play style, focusing on turning duels into a 1-on-1 giant monster smackdown: You feed one of your opponent’s monsters to a Kaiju and give control of it to them, but this lets you call out a Kaiju of your own for free.  Each Kaiju also has a unique ability that can be used by paying Kaiju Counters, which are accumulated by their perma-class Spell/Trap support.

GODZILLAAAAAA!

Two cards in particular have given rise to a whole new monster of a ruling problem.  While it has been officially resolved with regards to these two cards themselves, I firmly believe that this new ruling is making waves in the fabric of the rest of the game.  These two cards are Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, and The Kaiju Files.

interruptedkaijuslumber-bosh-en-sr-ue

So, how do we work?

thekaijufiles-shvi-en-c-1e

I ‘unno.

Each of these cards has something in common, an effect which first destroys monsters, then Special Summons Kaiju.  These two events happen sequentially (one after the other), and not simultaneously (at the same time).  The main reason these cards are sending ripples through the game is because the “Kaiju” monsters (please pardon the redundancy) all possess what is unofficially known as a Highlander clause, a condition which prevents more than one of a card or series member from existing on the field (one side or both).  In the case of the Kaiju, the text reads, “You can only control 1 ‘Kaiju’ monster.”  The basic implications of this condition are obvious- you cannot, for example, target a Kaiju with Call of the Haunted if you already control a face-up Kaiju- but this also prevents you from using the first summon condition of most Kaiju monsters to Tribute an opponent’s monster and summon it to their field if they control a Kaiju, even if you intend to Tribute that Kaiju first.

The Kaiju Files is a unique case, though.  Under previously issued rulings, its effect to summon a new Kaiju would be literally impossible to activate.  Because of this, Konami either has to make an exception, a rule change, or a rule clarification.  They never do exceptions without printing the parameters of the exception on the card itself.  This leaves either a rule change or rule clarification.

Before I explore that, I need to point something out: A while back, Julia Hedberg, head of the North American tournament system, confirmed a ruling from Konami of America’s Research and Development Department regarding Interrupted Kaiju Slumber.  They stated that Slumber COULD be activated while one or more Kaiju were face-up on the field.  This was about a month or two before the release of The Kaiju Files, though I suspect Files had already been designed and approved for release.  The timing certainly makes sense.  But what’s going on here?  Is this an exception to the rules, or a change or clarification of the rules?

I don’t think for a second that Files or Slumber are exceptions to the rules.  Konami doesn’t do that without putting it in parentheses on the card itself, and they haven’t done it since long before they introduced Problem-Solving Card Text at the dawn of the Xyz Era.   So does this mean they changed the rules?  Well, that could be the case, but this would mean the FAQ page for Gozen Match and Rivalry of Warlords would need to be rewritten.  It would also mean that cards such as Magical Dimension would also need to be ruled differently.  (Currently, you cannot activate it while Gozen Match is active if the only monsters you can summon have a different Attribute from the ones you control.)  Konami seems to hate changing the rules for older cards (*cough*), and we know they don’t do unwritten exceptions anymore.

But I don’t think this is a clarification.  If Files didn’t target, I would argue that it IS a clarification, but that’s not the case at all.  The Kaiju Files targets the Kaiju that is to be destroyed and replaced, which is essentially the same as Magical Dimension, which targets a monster, Tributes it, then replaces it with a Spellcaster-Type monster.  Yes, yes, I know, Tributing isn’t the same as destroying, but are they really that different?  The end result is the same, it just has a different label.  Tributing is often used as a Cost, sure, but again, so what?  As we’ve seen, Tributing can also be part of an effect INSTEAD of a Cost.  When Tributing is an effect, the only difference it has from destruction is the label.

The reason for the ruling on Slumber was that The Kaiju Files would be released soon, and Konami wanted consistency among the cards in the Kaiju series.  Files works exactly the same way as Magical Dimension.  Konami doesn’t do exceptions anymore without putting them on the card.  Therefore, I contend that the rules have been changed.  It is the only explanation that accounts for… well, everything, including the timing of the rulings and Konami’s past behavior.

Here’s hoping they don’t put an article up on the official strategy blog that says Slumber and Files are exceptions to the rules because “Screw you guys, we’re Konami!”  I think I would throw up.

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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!