Chain Links

Hey everyone. I’m sure you’re all excited for the 100th YCS this weekend in Long Beach! I know I sure am. Before making the 3000 mile journey across the states tomorrow, I’m going to bring you one last article before the big event. This week I’m going to be dealing with chain links and the importance of knowing how stuff works so you can make the best out of any situation.

The first thing you need to know is something I’m sure a lot of you already know, how chain links work. I’m sure everyone knows the basics of how chains work and how they resolve, but what happens when we deal with some tricky situations? Do you know how chain links work when two effects are trying to activate at the same time? Just use the phrase SEGOC. It stands for “simultaneous effects go on chain.” But how in which order do they go on the chain? Well, let’s say that it is your turn. Your mandatory effects will be chain link 1, your opponent’s mandatory effects will be chain link 2, then your optional effects will be chain link 3, and finally your opponent’s optional effects will be chain link 4. If it is your opponent’s turn, the reverse is true and their mandatory effects will be chain link 1. Also if the turn player is activating two mandatory or two optional effects at the same time, they may choose which they would like to be chain link 1 and which they would like to be chain link 2.  All of these are very important to remember.

Missing Timing

First you have to know that mandatory effects cannot miss their timing. Secondly, only some optional effects can miss their timing. There are two different optional effects, if and when optional effects. “If” optional effects read something like “If… happens, you can…” and when optional effects are just “When… happens, you can…”  If optional effects can’t miss their timing. When optional effects can. For example, Dupe Frog says “When this card is sent from the field to the Graveyard, you can add 1 "Frog" monster except "Dupe Frog" or "Frog the Jam" from your Deck or Graveyard to your hand.” Since Dupe Frog is a when optional effect, he can miss the timing, so when does he? Dupe Frog will miss the timing any time him going to the graveyard isn’t the last thing to happen. That means that if you tribute him for Vanity’s Fiend or synchro him off to make Catastor, the last thing wasn’t Dupe Frog going to the graveyard, it was the monster being summoned. Keeping this in mind, is there a way to use this to our advantage?

Keeping Your Opponent from being able to Respond

There are also ways to make your opponent essentially miss timing with their spells and traps. Consider the following example; Your opponent just Dualitied into Bottomless Trap Hole and set it with a face up Cyber Dragon on the field. You’re playing X-Sabers and have Darksoul in defense mode with Gottoms Emergency Call set and Mind Control in hand. Your only Gottoms targets in your graveyard are two X-Saber Airbellum and you know your opponent has the Bottomless, so what do you do? Well, you can make it so that your opponent can’t play the Bottomless. First activate Mind Control as Chain Link 1 and respond to the Mind Control with your set Gottoms Emergency Call as Chain Link 2 targeting your 2 Airbellum in grave. The chain will resolve backwards which means Gottoms will resolve first and special the two Airbellum. This is the point where your opponent would have to activate their Bottomless Trap Hole; however, Mind Control still has to resolve since you can’t break a chain. That means that Mind Control will resolve and you will take your opponent’s Cyber Dragon and now it will be too late for them to activate their Bottomless Trap Hole! Now you can synchro for Stardust Dragon with their Cyber Dragon and Airbellum and leave their Bottomless useless!

Chaining Simultaneous Effects

Remember how earlier I said that if two of your own mandatory effects were activating at the same time that you got to chain them however you wanted? Does that really matter? Turns out, it does. Consider the following scenario: You’re ending your turn and have a face up Lyla on the field. In your end phase you mill both Eclipse Wyvern and Wulf, Lightsworn Beast. They’re both mandatory effects, so how do you chain them?

Eclipse Wyvern

If this card is sent to the Graveyard: Banish 1 Level 7 or higher LIGHT or DARK Dragon-Type monster from your Deck. If this card in the Graveyard is banished: You can add the monster banished by this effect to your hand.

Wulf, Lightsworn Beast

Cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. When this card is sent from your Deck to the Graveyard: Special Summon it.

Well, there’s no universal answer and it depends on the situation. But what happens if in addition to the Lyla, you also have Judgment Dragon and Black Luster Soldier on the field. You opponent still has one set card and you really don’t want it to be Torrential Tribute. Is there a way that you can chain them so that they can’t Torrential? Of course there is! First you make Wyvern chain link 1 and then make Wulf Chain link 2. Then Wulf will resolve first and their window to play Torrential would be when Wyvern is resolving and that means they can’t activate it.

There’s also a reverse side to this. What happens if both of your opponent’s Torrential Tributes are gone and now the only thing you’re really concerned about that set card being is Solemn Warning? Is there a way you can chain it to avoid Solemn Warning? Once again, there is. Just chain it that opposite way with Wulf as Chain link 1 and Wyvern as Chain link 2. Solemn Warning has to be chained directly to the card it would try to negate, but it can’t do that since Wyvern would be chaining to the Wulf.

These situations may seem a bit off the wall, but it’s the concepts behind them that are important. You should consider all of these things when you’re playing and making your decisions. Maybe you’re playing Dark World and you discard Beiige and Grapha for Card Destruction. Look above and consider how you should be chaining their effects to get the most out of them.

One final chain link ruling that you may or may not know and deals with some more mainstream cards deals with Starlight Road. If your opponent activates Heavy Storm and you play Starlight Road, did you know that they cannot activate Torrential in response to the Stardust’s summoning?  Ever think about that? Having read this, you should be able to understand why that is and take that and apply it when needed. On that note, I’m going to go ahead and wrap this up. I’m looking forward to this weekend and I hope to see everyone tomorrow! Until next time, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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