Home > Special > Problem-Solving Card Text, Part 7: 2012 Update – Conjunction Functions

Problem-Solving Card Text, Part 7: 2012 Update – Conjunction Functions

December 12th, 2012

Over a year has passed since we started adding a ton more details to your Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards, to make your games smoother than ever. Problem-solving card text (PSCT) has put more information at your fingertips, right on the cards where it belongs.

But PSCT is an evolving beast. We’ve incorporated more improvements over the last year, and will be rolling out some more in the next few months. You might have noticed some of these new phrases on your cards already, but if you haven’t, don’t worry. The beauty of PSCT is that it’s inconspicuous. It’s there if you need it, but most of the time for casual Duels you can just play free-form, and only look at the text specifics when you need to resolve a complex card interaction.

Today, we’re going to start going over some important updates to PSCT that you should take some time to digest over the holiday season. It’s also a good time to review the previous PSCT articles HERE.


Conjunction – What’s Your Function?

Four key conjunctive words and phrases are used on card text, each with a specific meaning:

*And if you do

The key differences between them are about Timing and Causation.


Why Timing Is Important: Certain Trigger Effects and fast effects have to be used in response to a triggering event (like a monster being destroyed, or a Summon happening). Depending on how your card is written, it might only be usable in response to a triggering event that was ‘the last thing that happened’. (This is usually the case for cards that “CAN” be used “WHEN” something happens. We’ll be talking a lot more about effects with strict activation timing in an upcoming piece of our Advanced Gameplay web section, so don’t worry about this too much for now. Just keep in mind that timing can be important, along with what was ‘the last thing that happened’.)

Why Causation is Important: Naturally, when you activate a card, you expect things to work perfectly. But sometimes your opponent chains a card of their own that changes things. Suddenly, you can’t do everything your card says. How much do you do? How much CAN you do? The conjunctive words are a key part of answering these questions.


Here’s how the Four Conjunctives work:

THEN: <Do A, then do B>
Timeline: B happens after A, even though they’re part of one card effect. These things happen in sequence, not simultaneously.

Causation: A is required for B, but NOT vice-versa. If A does not happen, then stop. If B cannot happen, you still do A.

Example: Heraldry Change (from Cosmo Blazer)
When an opponent’s monster declares an attack: Special Summon 1 “Heraldic Beast” monster from your hand, then end the Battle Phase.

Timing: After this card resolves, the last thing that happened was that you ended the Battle Phase. The last thing was NOT a monster being Summoned. Which means neither player can activate cards like Torrential Tribute that activate “WHEN” a monster is Summoned.

Causation: Summoning a “Heraldic Beast” is required in order to end the Battle Phase. If you can’t Summon for some reason, then you don’t end the Battle Phase. Suppose you activate this card, but then your opponent chains with something that causes you to discard the only “Heraldic Beast” you had in your hand. You can’t Summon anymore, so you stop resolving this card’s effect once you reach the “I can’t do that” part.


ALSO: <Do A, also do B>
Timeline: Considered simultaneous. Both happen at the same time.

Causation: Neither is required for the other. Just do as much as you can!

Example: Masked Ninja Ebisu (from Order of Chaos)
Once per turn, if you control a face-up “Ninja” monster other than “Masked Ninja Ebisu”, you can activate this effect: Return a number of your opponent’s Spell/Trap Cards to the hand, equal to the number of “Ninja” monsters you control, also every face-up “Goe Goe the Gallant Ninja” you control can attack your opponent directly this turn.

Timing: Everything after the colon (everything in blue) happens at the same time. If either player has an effect that can be activated WHEN cards are returned to the hand, they can use it immediately after this effect resolves. Even though the text regarding Goe Goe is mentioned after the text that returns cards, it all happens simultaneously.

Causation: Neither of these effects is required for the other. If, for whatever reason, you wind up NOT returning any Spells/Traps to the hand, your Goe Goes still can attack directly. Also, if you don’t have any Goe Goes when the effect resolves, you can still return Spells/Traps to your opponent’s hand. Just apply as much of the effect as you can.


AND IF YOU DO: <Do A, and if you do, do B>
Timeline: Considered simultaneous. Both happen at the same time.

Causation: A is required for B, but NOT vice-versa. If A does not happen, then stop. If B cannot happen, you still do A.

Basically, this phrase acts like “also” & “and” for Timeline purposes, but acts like “then” for Causation purposes.

Example: Memory of an Adversary (from Abyss Rising) says, in part:
When an opponent’s monster declares an attack: You take damage equal to the attacking monster’s ATK, and if you do, banish that monster.

Timing: When this effect resolves, taking damage and banishing the monster happen at the same time. Effects can be activated that happen “WHEN” you take damage, and effects can be activated that happen “WHEN” a monster is banished/leaves the field.

Causation: You have to take damage in order to banish the monster. If you can’t take damage because another effect prevents it, then you don’t banish the monster.


AND: <Do A and B>
Timeline: Considered simultaneous. Both happen at the same time.

Causation: BOTH are required. If you cannot do both, then you do nothing.

NOTE: There used to be a lot more cards written with just “and” than there are now, but a lot of the older “and” phrasing is now being written as “and if you do” (which is much more accurate). “And” (by itself) conjunctives are pretty rare now, and used only for highly restricted, joined-at-the-hip, all-or-nothing effects where everything is required.

Example: Number 53: Heart-eartH (from Cosmo Blazer) says, in part:
When this card on the field is destroyed by a card effect while it has no Xyz Materials: You can Special Summon 1 “Number 92: Heart-eartH Dragon” from your Extra Deck and attach this card from the Graveyard to it as an Xyz Material.

Timing: Special Summoning Number 92 and attaching Number 53 to it as Xyz Material happen at the same time.

Causation: You have to do both. If Number 53 was removed from the Graveyard with a Chained effect, you cannot Summon Number 92.

(Let’s take a quick trip to the Magical Land of Make-Believe. How would this card work differently if it was written differently? (1) If it said “then” instead, you could Summon Number 92 even if Number 53 wasn’t in the Graveyard at resolution [Summoning is required for attaching, but not vice-versa]. However, if Number 53 was in the Graveyard, and you attached it, then the act of Number 53 being attached to Number 92 would block activation of Torrential Tribute, etc. [Because attaching would be ‘the last thing that happened’.] (2) If it said “and if you do” instead, you wouldn’t need Number 53 in the Graveyard at resolution [As with “then”, Summoning is required for attaching, but not vice-versa.] But if it was in the Graveyard, and you did attach it, then Number 92 would still be vulnerable to Torrential Tribute, etc. [Because with “and if you do”, the effects are simultaneous.] (3) “Also” behaves just like “and if you do” in this case, since you obviously cannot attach Xyz Materials to a monster that isn’t Summoned.)


Multiple Conjunctives

Some really complex effects will use more than one conjunction to form a stream of events. Ignition Beast Volcannon (from Cosmo Blazer) is a good example. I’ve underlined the key words for you:
When this card is Fusion Summoned: You can target 1 monster your opponent controls; destroy that target, also destroy this card, then if both monsters were destroyed, inflict damage to your opponent equal to the ATK of the monster in the Graveyard that was targeted by this effect.

The key parts of this effect are {destroy target}, {destroy Volcannon}, and {inflict damage}.

*You need to destroy the target if possible (even if you don’t destroy Volcannon).
*You need to destroy Volcannon if possible (even if you don’t destroy the target).
*After you’ve destroyed any monsters, check if both were destroyed. If both were destroyed, the next thing that happens is that you inflict damage.


Remember: Different conjunctives serve different purposes, depending on whether you’re checking to see what the ‘last thing that happened’ was (to check  whether a new effect can be activated), or if you’re trying to see how much of the effect you should do.

If you’re checking activation eligibility, you need to focus on timing. Look for THEN vs. AND/ALSO/AND IF YOU DO.

If you’re checking to see how much of the effect you do, look for ALSO vs. THEN/AND IF YOU DO vs. just AND.

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