YuGiOh! Trading Card Game

How to Play the TCG

YuGiOh! TCG – The Game Rules & Play Flow

The TCG is printed in English (EN), French (FR), German (DE), Italian (IT), Portuguese (PT) and Spanish (SP). Portuguese printings had been halted for a few years after the release of Cybernetic Revolution and before the release of Cosmo Blazer. TCG cards are tournament-legal in any country where the game is played, outside of Asia. Cards from the Official Card Game (OCG), are not tournament-legal in TCG territories, even if a player attempting to use one has a translation on-hand, or the card has an officially-released TCG counterpart.

Tournaments are held each year that give out prizes which are usually rare cards or exclusive game mats. Players first start out in the Regionals and advance their way to the Championships. Shonen Jump used to host their own tournament known as the Shonen Jump Championship. There are tournaments in the OCG as well as the TCG.

IMPORTANT

Priority as outlined is this document does NOT refer to a period of time in which only one player may activate a card or card effect. Rather, it refers to a situation in which both players are attempting to activate a card or card effect simultaneously in response to a condition of gameplay. When multiple effects are activated or triggered, the player with priority will place their card or card effect first on the chain. This frequently occurs after a Normal Summon, Flip Summon, or Special Summon of an Effect Monster OR during the Damage Step of the Battle Phase when both monsters involved in the attack have an effect that must be resolved. Priority does not prevent a player from activating a card or card effect, but does prevent the game from turning into a Quick-Draw contest.

QUICK REFERENCE

Turn Gameplay progresses in a series of alternating turns. Each player’s turn consists of six phases in which a number of actions can be undertaken.
Phase Phases define the order in which actions can be undertaken by a player during their turn. Each phase is limited to a specific set of actions.
Step A sub-category of a phase. This is only used in the Battle Phase.
Priority During a phase each player will be given priority to perform certain actions. Gameplay may not progress to the next phase until each player has received priority during the current phase.
Resolution Certain card effects must resolve before a phase ends. When a player has more than one effect to resolve, the player may choose the order in which to resolve each effect.
Turn Player The turn player is the player who currently controls the game. Once a player has completed the six phases of their turn, control is passed to their opponent.
Opponent The opponent is the player who does not currently have control of the game.

DRAW PHASE

Draw Phase During this phase, the turn player is required to draw 1 card from the top of their Deck. A player who is out of cards and unable to draw during this phase is declared the loser.
Priority
The turn player starts this phase with priority to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the turn player does not choose to activate any cards, priority is passed to their opponent.The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the opponent does not choose to activate any cards, priority passes back to the turn player and the turn progresses to the Standby Phase.

STANDBY PHASE

Standby Phase If there are any cards in play on the field that specifically state that certain actions must be taken during this phase, these must be dealt with prior to entering the Main Phase. Refer to the cards for specific details regarding the actions to be taken. If there are no such cards in play, proceed to Main Phase 1.
Priority
The turn player starts this phase with priority to resolve effects. The turn player may choose not to resolve certain effects and pass priority to their opponent.The opponent receives priority from the turn player to resolve effects. The opponent may choose not to resolve certain effects and pass priority back to the turn player.

The turn player has priority once more and must resolve any remaining effects that resolve during this phase. Once the turn player has resolved any remaining effects, priority is passed back to their opponent.

The opponent receives priority from the turn player and must resolve any remaining effects that resolve during this phase. Once the opponent has resolved any remaining effects, priority is passed back to the turn player.

The turn player takes priority and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the turn player does not choose to activate any cards, priority is passed to their opponent.

The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the opponent does not choose to activate any cards, priority passes back to the turn player and the turn progresses to Main Phase 1.

MAIN PHASE 1

Main Phase 1 During this phase, the turn player may: (1) Normal Summon or Set 1 Monster Card, (2) activate and/or Set Spell Cards and (3) Set Trap Cards. Keep in mind that the turn player may not exceed the 5-card limit for the Monster Card Zone or the Spell & Trap Card Zone.During this phase, the turn player may also change the Attack or Defense Position of cards placed on the field during a previous turn. The position of each card can be changed only once in a single turn, during either Main Phase 1 or 2. The Damage Step details how this position effects the outcome of a Duel.

At the end of Main Phase 1, the turn player can choose to enter the Battle Phase or proceed to the End Phase (the starting player cannot conduct a Battle Phase in their first turn).

 

Summon
The turn player has priority and may choose to Normal Summon, Flip Summon, or Special Summon a monster. If the summoned monster is an Effect Monster Card, the turn player may choose to activate the effect (if Flip Summoned, the FLIP effect will be activated immediately). Priority is then passed to the opponent in order to respond to the summon OR chain to the activation of an effect.The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to respond to the summon OR chain to the activation of an effect. Once any effects have been resolved, priority passes back to the turn player who may continue with their Main Phase 1.

IMPORTANT! If a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card is activated with an effect that negates the Normal Summon, Flip Summon, or Special Summon of the monster, the effect of an Effect Monster Card will also be negated and any cost for activating the effect will not be paid.

 

Priority
The turn player starts this phase with priority and may choose to activate a Spell, Trap, or Effect Monster. Even if the turn player does not choose to activate any cards or card effects, priority is passed to their opponent.The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the opponent does not choose to activate any cards, priority passes back to the turn player.

The turn player has priority once more and may choose to continue with their Main Phase 1, proceed to their Battle Phase, or proceed to their End Phase.

BATTLE PHASE

Battle Phase Once attack preparations have been made in Main Phase 1, the turn player enters the Battle Phase. If the turn player does not wish to conduct a Battle Phase, the turn proceeds to the End Phase.Keep in mind that the starting player cannot conduct a Battle Phase in their first turn, even if they have placed a Monster Card on the field.

 

Start Step
“The turn player declares that they are entering the Battle Phase. Both players will be given priority to play Quick-Play Spell and/or Trap Cards.”The turn player starts this phase with priority and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the turn player does not choose to activate any cards, priority is passed to their opponent.

The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the opponent does not choose to activate any cards, priority passes back to the turn player.

The turn player has priority once more and may choose to continue with their Start Step or continue to the Battle Step.

 

Battle Step
“The turn player selects and announces 1 monster to attack with, and declare 1 of their opponent’s monsters as a target (the monster the turn player wishes to attack). Both players will be given priority to play Quick-Play Spell and/or Trap Cards.”The turn player has priority and selects any 1 monster in face-up Attack Position on their side of the field to attack. The turn player then designates 1 monster on their opponent’s side of the field as a target (or their opponent’s Life Points if there are no Monster Cards on the field). Priority is then passed to their opponent in order to respond to the attack.

The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to respond to the attack by activating a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the opponent does not choose to activate any cards, priority passes back to the turn player.

If the number of Monster Cards on the opponent’s side of the field changes due to the resolution of a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card, a replay is triggered returning the turn player to the beginning of the Battle Step. Otherwise, continue to the Damage Step.

 

Damage Step
“Calculate the damage points of the designated monsters. If a monster has a Flip Effect, apply it immediately after damage calculation. However, a Flip Effect does not affect monsters that have already been destroyed as a result of damage calculation.”If the target monster is face-down, flip the target monster face-up in the same battle position as when it was face-down.

The turn player has priority and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card (only cards that modify ATK and/or DEF may be activated during the Damage Step OR a Counter Trap Card in response to a card effect that has been activated). Even if the turn player does not choose to activate any cards, priority is passed to their opponent.

The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card (only cards that modify ATK and/or DEF may be activated during the Damage Step OR a Counter Trap Card in response to a card effect that has been activated). Even if the opponent does not choose to activate any cards, priority passes back to the turn player.

Calculate damage according to the guidelines in the Official Rulebook.

If one or more of the Monster Cards involved in the attack have effects, the effects will be resolved after damage calculation (unless the effect specifically states otherwise). The effect of the turn player’s Effect Monster will be placed in the chain as Chain Link 1. The effect of the opponent’s Effect Monster will be placed in the chain as Chain Link 2. The chain will resolve according to the rules of chains.

Any monsters that were destroyed as a result of damage calculation will be sent to the Graveyard. The turn player now has priority and may choose to return to the Battle Step or continue to the End Step.

 

End Step
“Resolve all battles by repeating the Battle and Damage Steps as many times as necessary, then the turn player declares an end to their Battle Phase. Both players will be given priority to play Quick-Play Spell and/or Trap Cards.”The turn player starts this step with priority and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the turn player does not choose to activate any cards, priority is passed to their opponent.

The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the opponent does not choose to activate any cards, priority passes back to the turn player.

The turn player has priority once more and may choose to continue with their End Step or continue to their Main Phase 2.

MAIN PHASE 2

Main Phase 2 When the Battle Phase is over, the turn proceeds to Main Phase 2. As in Main Phase 1, the turn player may Set or play Monster, Spell, and/or Trap Cards. Remember that the turn player is allowed to change the Attack or Defense Position of each monster or perform a Normal Summon only ONCE PER TURN. Remember that if a monster attacks in the Battle Phase, it may not be changed to Defense Position in the same turn. Also keep in mind that the turn player may not exceed the 5-card limit for the Monster Card Zone or the Spell & Trap Card Zone.
Summon
The turn player has priority and may choose to Normal Summon, Flip Summon, or Special Summon a monster. If the summoned monster is an Effect Monster Card, the turn player may choose to activate the effect (if Flip Summoned, the FLIP effect will be activated immediately). Priority is then passed to the opponent in order to respond to the summon OR chain to the activation of an effect.The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to respond to the summon OR chain to the activation of an effect. Once any effects have been resolved, priority passes back to the turn player who may continue with their Main Phase 2.

IMPORTANT! If a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card is activated with an effect that negates the Normal Summon, Flip Summon, or Special Summon of the monster, the effect of an Effect Monster Card will also be negated and any cost for activating the effect will not be paid.

 

Priority
The turn player starts this phase with priority and may choose to activate a Spell, Trap, or Effect Monster. Even if the turn player does not choose to activate any cards or card effects, priority is passed to their opponent.The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the opponent does not choose to activate any cards, priority passes back to the turn player.

The turn player has priority once more and may choose to continue with their Main Phase 2 or proceed to their End Phase.

END PHASE

End Phase The turn player announces the end of their turn. If their hand contains more than 6 cards, the turn player must discard to the Graveyard until only 6 cards remain in their hand. The opponent then begins their turn with the Draw Phase.
Priority
The turn player starts this phase with priority to resolve effects. The turn player may choose not to resolve certain effects and pass priority to their opponent.The opponent receives priority from the turn player to resolve effects. The opponent may choose not to resolve certain effects and pass priority back to the turn player.

The turn player has priority once more and must resolve any remaining effects that resolve during this phase. Once the turn player has resolved any remaining effects, priority is passed back to their opponent.

The opponent receives priority from the turn player and must resolve any remaining effects that resolve during this phase. Once the opponent has resolved any remaining effects, priority is passed back to the turn player.

The turn player takes priority and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the turn player does not choose to activate any cards, priority is passed to their opponent.

The opponent receives priority from the turn player and may choose to activate a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card. Even if the opponent does not choose to activate any cards, priority passes back to the turn player and the turn ends.

QUICK REFERENCE

Spell Speed 1 This is the slowest of all Spell Speeds. Spell Speed 1 cards cannot be activated against each other. Spell Speed 1 cards include Normal Spell, Equip Spell, Field Spell, Ritual Spell, Effect Monster (Continuous, Cost, Trigger, and Flip).
Spell Speed 2 These cards can only be used against a card with a Spell Speed of 1 or 2. Spell Speed 2 or 3 cards can be used against them. Spell Speed 2 cards include Quick-Play Spell, Normal Trap, Continuous Trap, Effect Monster (Multi-Trigger).
Spell Speed 3 This card can be used against any Spell Speed. Only another Spell Speed 3 card may be used against it. Spell Speed 3 cards include Counter Trap.
Trigger (Spell Speed 1) Any effect of an Effect Monster that is activated by the controller. Trigger effects may only be activated during the controller’s Main Phase 1 or 2.
Multi-Trigger (Spell Speed 2) Any effect of an Effect Monster that is activated due to some condition of gameplay. This may include being attacked, being targeted by an effect, or damage calculation.
Continuous Any effect that places a condition on one or both sides of the field. Continuous effects are active the moment the Spell, Trap, or Effect Monster Card is placed face-up on the field and end the moment the card is flipped face-down or removed from the field.
Controller The player who has control of a card on their side of the field or in their hand. Keep in mind that a card being sent to the Graveyard is always sent to the owner’s Graveyard.
Owner The player who owned the card at the beginning of the duel.

CHAINS

Activate A chain begins anytime a player activates a Spell, Trap, or Effect Monster. This may include playing a card face-up on the field OR activating a Trigger or Multi-Trigger effect of a card that is already face-up on the field, but may not include the resolution of a Continuous effect (a Continuous Spell or Trap Card with a Trigger effect must already be face-up on the field before its effect can be activated). When a card or card effect is activated, the card or card effect becomes Chain Link 1 in a series of card effects.Once a card or card effect has been activated, priority passes to the opposing player who may choose to respond by activating a Quick-Play Spell, Trap, or Multi-Trigger effect (any cost of activation will be paid immediately). The opposing player may choose to pass priority back to the originating player without activating a card or card effect.

The originating player receives priority and may choose to respond with a Quick-Play Spell or Trap Card (any cost of activation will be paid immediately). The originating player may choose to pass priority back to the opposing player without activating a card or card effect.

As each card effect is activated, it will become Chain Link 2, Chain Link 3, and so on. Adding links to the chain will continue until both players choose not to activate anymore card or card effects. Keep in mind that Counter Trap Cards can only be activated in response to the most recent card or card effect added to the chain.

 

Resolve Once both players have completed adding links to the chain, the chain will resolve in the reverse order starting with the highest link in the chain and resolving backwards to Chain Link 1. Any card that is not removed from the field by the effect of another card in the chain will remain on the field until the entire chain has resolved. There are other considerations to make when resolving the chain as follows:Continuous Effect – A card with a Continuous effect must remain face-up on the field to resolve. If this card is removed from the field or flipped face-down by another card effect in the chain, this card will no longer be able to resolve.

Cost Effect – When a card offers itself as a cost for activation, its effect will still resolve in the chain even if another card effect in the chain would negate this card’s effect.

Trigger, Multi-Trigger, Flip Effect – Any one of these card effects will still resolve in the chain even if they are removed from the field or flipped face-down by another card effect in the chain. However, because these cards remain face-up on the field when they are activated, their effect can be negated by another card effect in the chain.

Targeting Effect – When a targeting effect is activated, the target must be declared at the time of activation. If the target no longer exists when this card resolves, this card will resolve with no effect (the controller may not select a new target).

Equip Spell Cards – An Equip Spell Card is not considered to be equipped until the entire chain resolves. If another card effect in the chain removes this card from the field, this card would not be considered equipped to a monster at the time this card is removed from the field.

During the resolution of the chain, additional card effects may be triggered due to a condition placed upon them. For example, a card may have an effect that activates once it is placed in the Graveyard. When this occurs, that card’s effect will begin a new chain as Chain Link 1 only after the current chain has resolved. If multiple effects are triggered during the resolution of the current chain, each effect will be placed on the new chain according to the rules of priority.

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