Court of Appeals: Tournament Policy Edition

Joe Frankino

4/19/2017 11:00:00 AM

All rise!

Hello duelists, and welcome back to Court of Appeals! Every two weeks I'll answer your questions about card interactions, game mechanics and tournament policy submitted to I get quite a few submissions, and I most likely can't get to them all. To improve your chances of your e-mail making it to the column, please follow these ground rules...

-I will not answer new questions in the article Comments. If you have a related follow-up question to a question I answer here, you can ask it in the Comments and I will answer it in a reply.

-Please ask only one question per e-mail. Grammar and clarity helps, too.

-I will credit you with how you sign off on your e-mail. If you don't include a name in your signature, I will use your name as it appears in the e-mail's name field with your last initial.

-All answers I give are unofficial unless backed up by an official source.

-I'll be using official game terms whenever possible. If I use jargon (even jargon that is perceived to be universally accepted), I'll note that it's jargon.

-I'll note sources whenever possible.

-I'll always use the official card database as my card text reference. You can find the official card database here:

-I will not answer any questions about cards not released in the TCG.

Please be seated.

James O. writes…

Hi Judge Joe.

I have a question regarding the use of the word "target”. All new cards use the word target, but older prints of cards like Falling Down and Old Vindictive Magician" don't use the word target, although in their recent updates they do. Does the phrase "target" simply apply whenever something is selected? Regardless if the card actually says "target" or select"? Because cards like Hane Hane have not received errata updates.

For example: If Hane Hane is flipped by the attack of Obelisk the Tormentor does that effect target Obelisk? Even though the card text doesn't say target? But I still have to "choose" or "select" which cards are returned to the hand?

Another example is Smashing Ground. The card doesn't target initially, but if there is a draw in the lowest defense points and I have to "choose" (card says: "your choice if tied"), and I choose a card like Obelisk, or Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon, does this count as "targeting" and would it be possible against such cards? Basically, is targeting the action of just saying "I pick that card for my effect" or does it specifically have to say "target" in card text.

So does this word target completely change a card's workings? Cards like Hane Hane, Falling Down and Old Vindictive Magician have updated text, is my Old Vindictive Magician which doesn't target more powerful than the updated version that does? Could I argue this in tournament? Lots of small questions but I think you can answer them all with one answer :) Thanks Joe!

Hello James!

So “targeting” in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has historically been a… messy subject.

First, let's define what targeting actually is. When a card or effect targets, you choose what card(s) will be affected when you're declaring that you're using the effect. Targeting happens before any other cards or abilities are chained. If you're asked to choose a card when an effect resolves – like with Smashing Ground – it's not targeting.

Before Problem-Solving Card Text came to be, the only way to know if a card targeted or not was by looking at a rulings document to see if a card effect targeted. Cards that used the word “select” probably targeted but it wasn't consistent. In 2011, the good idea was implemented to have all of this technical information on the card so that you don't need an encyclopedia in order to play a Trading Card Game.

Old cards have always targeted even if they didn't say so because rulings. The cards still work the same as they did previously.

Chris A. writes…

Hey Judge Joe! How's it going? Chris. A here and my question today concerns erratas. I've been hearing numerous rumors going around saying that you need a written translation for the most recent text of a card that has been changed. From my experience over the years, you only need a written translation for cards that are in any other language (that's legal for TCG use, of course) than English.

Let's take Necrovalley for example. We all know it's been through some drastic changes. So if Player A is using a copy of the card from Dark Revelations, would they need a written translation of its current text from Duelist Saga for both them and Player B? Or would A just need to be aware of its new text and let B know the correct text?

Thanks for your time!

Chris. A.

Hello Chris!

At the moment, policy only says that you need to provide the text for foreign language cards. However, you still have to play the card as if it had the most current text. If you're using a card that has had its text changed via errata and the card doesn't have the latest text on it, I personally recommend providing the text as if it was a foreign language card to cover your tail.

 Imperial Order
Imperial Order129623
Set Duelist Saga
Number DUSA-EN049
Type Continuous Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Negate all Spell effects on the field. Once per turn, during the Standby Phase, you must pay 700 LP (this is not optional), or this card is destroyed.

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Alex writes…

Hello Judge Joe! While it may not be a ruling question, I did have an interesting question for you.

If I have a friend who is physically disabled, and wants to attend a Regional or YCS, and is completely capable of making all mental decisions independently regarding gameplay, would I be able to sit with my friend during his matches and perform physical actions that are necessary to play the game, like shuffling, drawing, searching, and so on? Also, if I were unavailable, would a Judge be able to provide this same level of assistance?

I know of a mother & son team that play on the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour that have this sort of relationship, so I was wondering how something like this might play out at a Yu-Gi-Oh event. Thanks for your time! ~Alex

Hello Alex!

This is a tricky question because this interaction isn't exactly spelled out in Konami's Tournament Policy Documents. The closest thing that addresses this situation is that a spectator has to remain neutral and can't disrupt the tournament.

I'm not going to outright say that it's ok, but I can't see anything that says it's not allowed either. I recommend you e-mail Konami customer support this question for an official answer. in the US and Canada, for Europe and Oceania.

Som K. writes…

Hi Joe

Thank you for answering my last question. This time my question is regarding Pot of Duality. If a player attempts a Special Summon via a card effect or inherent, but the Summon doesn't actually happen, can the same player use Pot of Duality that same turn.

Example 1: Player A activates Reasoning, and Player B calls the right level so the monster was sent to the grave. Can Player A activate Pot of Duality?

Example 2: Player A attempt to Xyz/Synchro/or inherently Special Summon a monster, and the Summon is negated via Solemn Warning or a similar effect. Can Player A activate Pot of Duality?

Example 3: Player activates Pot of Duality, but the activation was negated. Can the same player Special Summon or attempt?

Much thanks in advance, and keep up the good work. It's always very helpful to read your articles.

Hello Som!

Examples 2 and 3 are the easiest to answer, so I'll start with those.

If you attempt a Special Summon that doesn't use the chain like an Xyz or Synchro Summon, or a Summon like Cyber Dragon, and the Summon is negated, you can't activate Pot of Duality.

If you attempt to activate Pot of Duality and the activation is negated, you can Special Summon monsters after that since the activation was negated.

Example 1… well… I'll just say “because Yu-Gi-Oh.”

If you activate an effect that Special Summons, and that effect activation wasn't negated, you can't activate Pot of Duality later that turn even if zero monsters were Special Summoned. Does this make logical sense? Nope. But that's the way we understand the interaction to work. Because Yu-Gi-Oh. It's not often I have to resort to “because” for explaining interactions, but this is one of those times.

 Pot of Duality
Pot of Duality129658
Set Duelist Saga
Number DUSA-EN084
Type Normal Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Excavate the top 3 cards of your Deck, add 1 of them to your hand, also, after that, shuffle the rest back into your Deck. You can only activate 1 "Pot of Duality" per turn. You cannot Special Summon during the turn you activate this card.

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VL writes…

Hi Judge Joe. I've been considering this scenario: the turn player Special Summon Stardust Sifr Divine Dragon using Necroid Synchro with its effect negated. Afterwards they Special Summon D.D. Sprite by banishing that monster until the next standby phase. If D.D. Sprite leaves the field will the banished Stardust Sifr Divine Dragon return on the next Standby Phase? I've read some conflicting accounts on how D.D. Sprite works. ~ Thanks, VL

Hello VL!

D.D. Sprite has only been printed once – in Storm of Ragnarok – and doesn't have Problem-Solving Card Text. So we have to go by old rulings.

D.D. Sprite's effect to return the banished monster to the field is an activated effect that only activates while D.D. Sprite is on the field. If it leaves the field between its Summon and the next Standby Phase, the monster stays banished.

Last question!

Loukas writes…

Hey Judge Joe! I know I normally ask the hard-hitting questions, so hopefully this one doesn't seem too "silly." On a lot of cards, there are caveats and restrictions that can be bypassed, but the terminology can be confusing. Explaining to a new player why you can revive Chaos Sorcerer with Call Of The Haunted if it was summoned properly but not if it was summoned, added back to the hand, and then discarded is complicated.

Why can't I Special Summon Denko Sekka with Tin Goldfish? Like, it says RIGHT THERE ON THE CARD to Special Summon a card? But why not Denko Sekka? Like, why doesn't, like, Tin, like, Goldfish trump, like Denko, like, like, Sekka? I know this is easily the silliest question I've ever asked, but trying to explain why some things work and others don't... there isn't a manual for that!


Loukas "Hotty with a Body" Peterson

Hello Loukas!

I also don't have a proper explanation for why a monster that can't be Special Summoned can't be Special Summoned. I guess this will remain one of those great mysteries of the universe. Like why I always lose exactly one sock when I'm doing laundry, or why this dude is asking what I'm doing here typing on his computer and that the door was locked and that he's going to call the poli-

And that's it for this week's Court of Appeals! If you have any questions about card interactions, game mechanics or tournament policy, you can send an e-mail (one question per e-mail please!) to and your question could be answered in a future edition of Court of Appeals!

Court is adjorned

-Joe Frankino

Joe is a Yu-Gi-Oh! judge and player from Long Island, New York. He streams on occasion at and he writes on occasion at

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