An Exciting Night for Negation

ARG Circuit JohnnyHey everyone, pardon the complete mess of a pun in the title.  I couldn’t resist!  If the pun was too terrible for you, feel free to print out this article and rip it in two.  Then it’d be tear-able!  Huh?

In this article I’ll go over some basics of negation mechanics.  As I’ve interacted with players and readers, I’ve found some gaps in understanding that I’d like to address.  As my pun intimated, I will give some applications relevant to the card [ccProd]Evilswarm Exciton Knight[/ccProd].  The lack of a “once per turn” clause on this recent release enables an uncommon but important play that you’ll come to appreciate in a moment.  Not a lot of cards have great effects without this restriction, and there is a way you’ll definitely want to take advantage of it.


Effects Activate Where They Resolve!

Some people may be surprised to learn this.  Effects resolve the same place they activate, even if the monster has changed locations.  Exiled Force tributes itself, targeting a monster.  The target is destroyed.  The effect was on the field at resolution, though Exiled Force was not.

If a monster is under a lingering condition that negates its effect, the effect is negated if it activated on the field.  For instance, my Gladiator Beast Darius just summoned Gladiator Beast Bestiari.  Bestiari’s effect is negated.  Bestiari’s effect activates, and my opponent chooses to chain Bottomless Trap Hole.  Bottomless resolves first, removing Bestiari from the field.  Now Bestiari will try to resolve…will it resolve successfully?  Nope!  Bestiari was being negated at the time its effect activated.

Gladiator Beast Bestiari

Skill Drain is the Exception, not the Rule

I can see it now: eyes rolling.  “Come on Johnny, it’s 2014.  This is old news.”  My sentiments exactly!  Yet for various reasons many players still use Skill Drain as the gold standard.  Here are two reasons why I think players expect new card releases that say “negate” to behave like Skill Drain: Skill Drain is the ancestor of negation, and there is an influx of new/returning players.  Fortunately, Skill Drain has a problem-solving card text now, which explicitly states the negation applies only “while those monsters are face-up on the field.”  Treat Skill Drain as the exception, and everything else as the rule.

Skill Drain

The “You Can’t Do Nothing” Rule for Negation

In Yugioh, an activation is illegal if the effect cannot be fulfilled at the time of its activation, EVEN if it would do something on resolution.  For example, I cannot play [ccProd]Dark Hole[/ccProd] on an open field, even if I’m about to chain [ccProd]Call of the Haunted[/ccProd] and target [ccProd]Sangan[/ccProd].  I also cannot use effects which negate effects on cards whose effects are already being negated.  For example, if your [ccProd]Lonefire Blossom[/ccProd] is being negated by [ccProd]Effect Veiler[/ccProd], I cannot activate [ccProd]Breakthrough Skill[/ccProd] to negate that Lonefire Blossom.  If your [ccProd]Rescue Rabbit[/ccProd] is being negated by [ccProd]Fiendish Chain[/ccProd], I cannot activate Effect Veiler to negate that Rescue Rabbit.  If your Rescue Rabbit is being negated by Fiendish Chain and Effect Veiler is already in the chain, Effect Veiler will not resolve properly.


Did you catch that?  Take this example.  My opponent has an open field and is at 3800 life points.  I have Rescue Rabbit, two [ccProd]Sabersaurus[/ccProd] in deck, and a Fiendish Chain set.  I summon Rabbit, ready to get in for game.  Would you believe it?  He has the one out.  He activates Effect Veiler on Rescue Rabbit.  But wait!  I have a solution!  I chain Fiendish Chain.  The chain resolves backwards: Fiendish Chain negates Rescue Rabbit, and then Effect Veiler tries to negate Rescue Rabbit but fails to do so because of our aforementioned rule.  In a new chain, I now activate Rescue Rabbit, and since it is no longer under Fiendish once I pay its cost, I now go for game with Sabersaurus.

Let’s take an example from the grave instead of the banished zone.  I summon Lonefire Blossom.  My opponent activates Breakthrough Skill, attempting to leave me with a tiny shrub with no effect.  I chain Skill Drain.  The chain resolves backwards.  Skill Drain negates Lonefire Blossom first, and thus BTS fails to negate it.  Now, I activate Lonefire Blossom’s effect, and it resolves properly since Skill Drain cannot negate if the monster leaves the field.

In both of the above examples, my monsters would fail to dodge negation if I had flipped Fiendish or Skill Drain first in the chain.  Check your understanding – can you explain to yourself why that is true?

 Breakthrough Skill



Exciton Knight

There are many many competitive decks in the current format.  Just about all of them run Evilswarm Exciton Knight as staple.  Exciton is a choice card to save Effect Veiler for.  It also happens that Fiendish Chain and Forbidden Lance are very commonly used cards.  The scenario I will describe, therefore, will happen if you encounter enough competition.  I realized it from doing the wrong thing; I misplayed online vs. Madolche, allowing Effect Veiler to negate my Exciton when I could have seen it successfully resolve.  The key is in Exciton’s freedom from the “once per turn clause.”


My opponent has some backrow, most likely Fiendish Chain.  I have [ccProd]Forbidden Lance[/ccProd], so I feel comfortable about going for the field wipe.  I activate Exciton, and sure enough, my opponent chains Fiendish Chain.  Now, my bad (or good, depending on how you want to look at it) habit shaped by previous experience tells me to chain Forbidden Lance to Fiendish Chain.  This is my natural instinct because I’m used to most monster effects are once per turn.  However, I do so, and then my opponent chains Effect Veiler as link 4, and then I proceed to lose.  Tunnel vision at its finest.

What should I have done instead?  Use the clues I’ve said so far to answer this question.  If you came up with the answer, pat yourself on the back.  Be sure to stretch so that you don’t hurt yourself.

fiendish chain

I should allow Fiendish Chain to resolve.   My opponent misplayed by using Fiendish Chain instead of Veiler.  Perhaps he did not want to use cards in his hand since his field contained the cards being threatened by Exciton.  This fear is understandable, but incorrect.  Fiendish Chain resolves, Exciton is negated, and then I will activate Exciton again in a new chain.  My opponent cannot negate it with Effect Veiler; its effect is already being negated by Fiendish.  In chain link 2 of this new chain, I activate Forbidden Lance.  Lance resolves, Exciton resolves, and trumpets blare as the skies part and fire rains down from above.

Forbidden Lance is your saving grace in this scenario, but in other scenarios, a Fiendish Chain AND a Forbidden Lance can save you from Effect Veiler.  You summon Exciton, activate effect, your opponent chains Veiler, you chain Fiendish.  The chain resolves, and Exciton is negated BY FIENDISH.  Next, you activate Exciton again, chain Lance, and bakuhatsu kumatachi – exploding bears, everywhere.  Who would have known that Forbidden Lance would become a relevant answer to Effect Veiler in 2014?

 forbidden lance

You can still use some negation cards, though

Ok, I said that you can’t negate something already negated.  However, you can use cards that do other things besides negate.  For example, I can target a Veiler’d monster with Forbidden Chalice, but not with Breakthrough Skill or Effect Veiler.  Why is that?  Forbidden Chalice modifies the monster’s attack; it doesn’t just negate.  So Chalice will modify that monster’s attack, but the monster itself will still be negated by Veiler.  Also, if there is only one monster on the field, and it is being negated by Effect Veiler, I can still flip Skill Drain face-up and activate it.  Skill Drain doesn’t do anything besides negate, so why can I do this?  I can do this because Skill Drain is not trying to affect (read: target) that particular monster.  That’s also why I can flip Skill Drain to an open Field (and not Fiendish Chain).  Speaking of Fiendish Chain, once more, I can Fiendish a monster whose effect is being negated in order to prevent it from attacking, since Fiendish does more than just negate.

Also, I can still use cards that negate activations on such monsters.  Revisiting the earlier scenario: if you Exciton Knight, and I chain Fiendish, and you let it resolve (because you have Lance and want to dodge my potential Veiler), and then you activate Exciton again in a new chain, I can chain [ccProd]Divine Wrath[/ccProd], [ccProd]Evolzar Dolkka[/ccProd], [ccProd]Chivalry[/ccProd], and the like EVEN THOUGH your monster is being negated by Fiendish because these cards negate ACTIVATIONS.

Here’s one more example, to reinforce it with additional perspective.  You summon [ccProd]Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Tiger King[/ccProd] and activate its effect, and I chain Effect Veiler, stopping the [ccProd]Fire Formation - Tenki[/ccProd] search.  You want to make [ccProd]Coach Soldier Wolfbark[/ccProd]’s effect live by getting one of Tiger King’s XYZ materials to the grave (provided there is a non-Beast Warrior on the field as well).  You activate its effect.  I can’t chain Veiler or Breakthrough Skill here because your Tiger King is already being negated.  However, what if my life is low, and I need to clear your Tiger King off the field?  I can chain Divine Wrath to destroy it.

 divine wrath

The most important question of all

Now we are ready to address the most essential question: how does one pronounce Exciton?

Some people say Exciton Knight as if they’re giving directions to a driver.  “Yeah, you just stay in the right lane and exit on Knight Boulevard, and Billy’s house is the one with all the bright out-of-season Christmas lights, you can’t miss it.”

Others opt for a more exciting pronunciation.  “New Year’s Eve was an excitin’ night.”

Still others make it sound similar to the mechanic that gives birth to it: XYZ (exceez) summoning.  “Exceeton Knight.”

And lastly, there are those who like for the name to sound like what the effect does.  “Extinction Knight effect activate!  Goodbye, Evolzars!”

As it turns out, the first two pronunciations are correct.  “EX – it – on” as well as “eck – SITE – on.”  I prefer the second one, since that one comes from the word “excite,” which is what an exciton is: an excited particle.



Shout-outs to Matt for helping to keep technical play and theory-oh alive, and Alex for his ocean of wisdom.


Also guys, check out the Circuit Series when it makes its next stop in Richmond, VA on April 26-27, 2014! Click the pic below for details!

Until next time,

Play Hard or Go Home.





Johnny Li

Johnny Li

Houston, TX
Johnny Li

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