Home > Special > Problem-Solving Card Text, Part 4: The Clues on Your Cards

Problem-Solving Card Text, Part 4: The Clues on Your Cards

June 1st, 2011

(Important! This article goes with today’s other article on Conditions, Activation, and Effects. If you haven’t read it yet, do that now and then come back to this one. You’ll also want to read the first two articles, about the New Card Text and New Words & Phrases.)

We’ve covered how new text will be written using a colon and semicolon to clearly separate activation conditions from activation timing from effects.

Now I’m going to show you some advantages of the new text.


Looking for Clues

The new text reads a lot like the old text. But if you know what to look for, there are valuable clues to help you figure stuff out. Here are some clues to look for:

  • Costs are always paid at activation. If the card tells you to pay, discard, Tribute, or destroy in the activation text (before the semicolon), it’s a cost.
  • Any activation conditions (written before the colon) only have to be met when you activate the card. If something changes before the card resolves, and the conditions aren’t met anymore, it doesn’t matter. (Any conditions that STILL have to be true when the effect resolves will be listed separately.)
  • A colon or semicolon on a monster, or on a Continuous Spell/Trap, means a chain starts. (Remember that activating a Spell or Trap Card starts a chain, too.)
  • For any card that targets, if the effect text (after the semicolon) still refers to a ‘target’, you have to double-check that any targeting requirements are still met.
  • Otherwise, if the card refers to the target using any other word (like ‘it’) in the effect text, the targeting requirements only had to be met when the target was originally targeted.
  • For any card that targets, if the effect text refers to ‘both’ (or a similar term) in the effect text, you have to be able to apply the effect to ALL of the targets. If even one of the targets is no longer eligible, then the whole effect disappears.


Using Your Clues

It’s time to play detective! Let’s see what clues we can deduce from the new card text on some cards. The important parts will be underlined. (In many cases, what’s most important are the colon and the semicolon!)

New Zombie Master:

Once per turn: You can send 1 Monster Card from your hand to the Graveyard, then target 1 Level 4 or lower Zombie-Type monster in either player’s Graveyard; Special Summon that target. This card must remain face-up on the field to activate and to resolve this effect.

  • Clues:
  • You send a card to the Graveyard first, ‘then’ pick a target after that.
  • You Special Summon ‘that target’, so if it isn’t a Level 4 or lower Zombie-Type monster in the Graveyard anymore, it is not Summoned. (Zombie World got blown up by MST = no Summon!)
  • The last sentence points out that Zombie Master has to still be face-up on the field when the effect resolves, or else the effect disappears.


New Magical Dimension:

If you control a face-up Spellcaster-Type monster: Target 1 monster; Tribute it, then Special Summon 1 Spellcaster-Type monster from your hand, then you can destroy 1 monster on the field.

  • Clues:
  • The Spellcaster requirement is before the colon. So you only need a Spellcaster-Type monster when you activate this card, not when it resolves.
  • The semicolon tells us the only thing you do at activation is target a monster.
  • You Tribute the monster at resolution, ‘then’ do the other effects. If the monster wasn’t around for you to Tribute at resolution, then you don’t get any effects.
  • You Tribute, then Summon, then destroy (if you want), in order. The last thing that happens is that you destroy. If you don’t destroy, then the last thing that happens is that you Summon.


New Blade Knight:

While you have 1 or fewer cards in your hand, this card gains 400 ATK. If this is the only monster you control, negate the effects of Flip Effect Monsters it destroys by battle.

  • Clues:
  • No colon, no semicolon = no chain.
  • Both of these effects are Continuous, so Blade Knight never starts a Chain. Which means, among other things, that you cannot use something like Divine Wrath on him.


New Kinetic Soldier:

During damage calculation, if this card battles a Warrior-Type monster: This card gains 2000 ATK and DEF during damage calculation only.

  • Clues:
  • Aha! I see a colon. This effect starts a chain. (Divine Wrath incoming!)


New Trap Hole:

When your opponent Normal Summons or Flip Summons 1 monster with 1000 or more ATK: Target that monster; destroy that target.

  • Clues:
  • This card destroys ‘that target’. So if the target’s ATK is no longer 1000 or more, the effect disappears.


Compare that to Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon (from Generation Force):

Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card to target 1 face-up card your opponent controls; destroy it.

  • Clues:
  • This card destroys ‘it’. So even if the target was flipped face-down, or shifted to your side of the field, it’s still destroyed. (If it’s not on the field at all when the effect resolves, it’s not destroyed, of course.)


New Fusion Gate:

While this card is on the field: Either player can Fusion Summon a Fusion Monster without using “Polymerization”, but the Fusion Material Monsters are banished instead of being sent to the Graveyard.

  • Clues:
  • There’s a colon there, so we know this effect starts a chain. Continuous Spells/Traps with ignition-like effects will have a colon or semicolon to let you know this.


New Black Garden:

When a monster(s) is Normal or Special Summoned, except by the effect of “Black Garden”: Halve its ATK, and you Special Summon 1 “Rose Token” (Plant-Type/DARK/Level 2/ATK 800/DEF 800) to its controller’s opponent’s side of the field, in Attack Position. You can target 1 monster in your Graveyard with ATK equal to the total ATK of all face-up Plant Type monsters on the field; destroy this card and all face-up Plant-Type monsters, then Special Summon that target.

  • Clues:
  • First effect has a colon, so we know it starts a chain.
  • Second effect has a semicolon, so we know it also starts a chain.
  • The ATK halving and the Rose Token Summon happen at the same time.
  • The second effect targets.
  • The last effect refers to ‘that target’ after the semicolon, so the conditions before the semicolon have to still be true at resolution. (Specifically, it must be in your Graveyard and still have exactly the same ATK as all face-up Plants on the field.)
  • “Destroy this card” is after the semicolon, so you destroy “Black Garden” when the last effect resolves, not when it’s activated.


New Bountiful Artemis:

Each time a Counter Trap Card resolves, immediately draw 1 card (during the Chain).

  • Clues:
  • No colon, no semicolon = no chain.


It shouldn’t take long for you to get used to the new text, and be able to figure out all these clues on your own. As we reprint more and more older cards with the new text, the first thing you’ll want to do whenever you have a question is to just read the card.

Check back in a few days and we’ll talk about changes to monsters’ Summoning text!