[Card Rulings] Explanations for “When” and “If” Optional Effects, “Simultaneous” and “Non-Simultaneous” Effects

In the current era of Yu-Gi-Oh, there are many cards with “When” or “If” in their effect text. Having these in the text can determine whether a card effect can be activated after a scenario has happened. In this article, we will look through some of the cards and scenarios that are inclusive of these card texts and their interactions with “Simultaneous effects”.


1) What are “When” Optional Effects?

“When” Optional effects activate when the condition and/or requirement to activate it, is fulfilled as the last thing that happens. To facilitate better understanding, let us give you an example of a card with a “When” effect.  As we are in the Official Card Game (OCG) community, it would be best to include and explain the Japanese card text; alongside the English card text as well.

Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing

When this card you control is destroyed by battle or card effect and sent to your Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 “Yang Zing” monster from your Deck in Defense Position, except “Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing”. You can only use this effect of “Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing” once per turn. Once per turn, during your opponent’s Main Phase or Battle Phase, you can: Immediately after this effect resolves, Synchro Summon 1 Synchro Monster, using only “Yang Zing” monsters you control (this is a Quick Effect). A Synchro Monster that used this card as a Synchro Material gains 500 ATK and DEF.

「炎竜星―シュンゲイ」の①の効果は1ターンに1度しか使用できない。①:自分フィールドのこのカードが戦闘・効果で破壊され墓地へ送られた時に発動できる。デッキから「炎竜星―シュンゲイ」以外の「竜星」モンスター1体を守備表示で特殊召喚する。②:1ターンに1度、相手のメインフェイズ及びバトルフェイズに発動できる。自分フィールドの「竜星」モンスターのみをS素材としてS召喚する。③:このカードをS素材としたSモンスターは、攻撃力・守備力が500アップする。

 

Now, let us take a look at Suanni’s first effect. “When this card you control is destroyed by battle or card effect and sent to your Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 “Yang Zing” monster from your Deck in Defense Position, except “Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing”.“.

This means that the last thing that happened, was that Suanni was destroyed by Battle or effect, and sent to the graveyard.

“When” in this case, will be represented by the word “” in the Japanese card text.  Any effects with a “時” in its card text, will only activate when the last thing that happened was the fulfillment of that condition/requirement.

Suanni’s effect is also an Optional Effect because of the words “You can”. In the Japanese text, “発動できる” means you can/may activate and “発動する” means you will/must activate.

What do we mean by ” the Last thing that happened”? Take for example that you have a Chain of effects lined up.

Chain 1: Dark Hole
Chain 2: Call of the Haunted (Targeting Suanni in the graveyard)

It is by our understanding that the Chain will resolve backward. Thus resolving [Call of the Haunted] first, and then proceeding to resolve [Dark Hole].

[Call of the Haunted] will Special Summon Suanni from the graveyard in Chain 2, and will then be destroyed by the effects of [Dark Hole] in Chain 1. In this Scenario, Suanni’s effect will be activated because the last thing that happened, was that Suanni was destroyed and sent to the graveyard by [Dark Hole].

Now, let us give you another Scenario.

Suanni was Normal Summoned in face-up attack position by Player A.

Chain 1: Jar of Greed
Chain 2: Torrential Tribute

Let’s resolve the chain backward again. [Torrential Tribute] was activated in Chain 2, therefore it will destroy Suanni and send it to the graveyard. After which, [Jar of Greed] will proceed to allow the player that activated it to draw a card. In this Scenario, Suanni will NOT be able to activate its effect to Special Summon another [Yang Zing] from the deck. It is because the last thing that happened, was a player drawing a card by the effects of [Jar of Greed].

The 2 Scenarios above will only apply to card effects that have a “When” in their card text, and that their activations are Optional. For Mandatory effects,  as long as the activation condition/requirement is fulfilled, it will and MUST activate.


2) What are “If” Optional Effects?

Unlike “When” Optional effects; “If” Optional effects do not need the fulfillment of the condition/requirement to be the last thing that happened. As long as the condition/requirement happened in the chain or in the midst of the chain; you will be able to activate the effect. Here is an example.

Denglong, First of the Yang Zing

1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
If this card is Special Summoned: You can add 1 “Yang Zing” card from your Deck to your hand. Once per turn: You can send 1 Wyrm-Type monster from your Deck to the Graveyard; this card’s Level becomes the sent monster’s. If this face-up card leaves the field: You can Special Summon 1 “Yang Zing” monster from your Deck. You can only Special Summon “Denglong, First of the Yang Zing(s)” once per turn.

チューナー+チューナー以外のモンスター1体以上
自分は「源竜星-ボウテンコウ」を1ターンに1度しか特殊召喚できない。①:このカードが特殊召喚に成功した場合に発動できる。デッキから「竜星」カード1枚を手札に加える。②:1ターンに1度、デッキから幻竜族モンスター1体を墓地へ送って発動できる。このカードのレベルは、墓地へ送ったモンスターと同じになる。③:表側表示のこのカードがフィールドから離れた場合に発動できる。デッキから「竜星」モンスター1体を特殊召喚する。

 

Looking at Denglong’s third effect to Special Summon a [Yang Zing] from the deck. It reads, “If this face-up card leaves the field: You can Special Summon 1 “Yang Zing” monster from your Deck.“. In the Japanese text, the word “If” is represented by the word “場合”.

“If” Optional effects will activate as long as you have fulfilled the condition or requirement to activate it.

Let’s give you a Scenario.

Denglong was Synchro Summoned onto the Extra Monster Zone in Defense position.

Chain 1: Jar of Greed
Chain 2: Torrential Tribute

Resolving the chain backward, Denglong will first be destroyed by [Torrential Tribute]; then followed by a player drawing a card by the effects of [Jar of Greed]. In this Scenario, even if the last thing to happen was not Denglong leaving the field; Denglong will still activate its effect to Special Summon a [Yang Zing] monster from the deck.


3) What are “Simultaneous” Effects?

“Simultaneous” effects are effects in which two different actions are worked together in the card text. This also means that both the actions of the effect will happen at the same time. Allowing some cards to activate their effects when working together in a combo. Here is an example.

Metalfoes Goldriver

Pendulum Effect
Once per turn: You can target 1 other face-up card you control; destroy it, and if you do, Set 1 “Metalfoes” Spell/Trap Card directly from your Deck.
Monster Effect
That gleaming, golden buggy breaks bad guys good. What wonderful wheels! (With a bumbling buffoon….)
①:1ターンに1度、このカード以外の自分フィールドの表側表示のカード1枚を対象として発動できる。そのカードを破壊し、デッキから「メタルフォーゼ」魔法・罠カード1枚を選んで自分フィールドにセットする。
モンスターの
 黄金のボディを煌めかせ、ドリフト走法で敵をなぎ倒す。しばしば派手なスピンをやらかすが、本人はそれが必殺技だというスタンスを崩さない。

 

In the English card text, the first action must be completed before the second action of the effect can take place. In the case of [Metalfoes Goldriver], you would need to destroy 1 card on your field first, before being allowed to set 1 [Metalfoes] Spell or Trap card from your deck. This is interpreted in the sentence by the words “destroy it, and if you do“.

In the Japanese text, the words “destroy it, and if you do” is interpreted as “そのカードを破壊し、”. If you notice this in a Japanese card effect, this would mean that it is a Simultaneous effect.

Now as we mentioned that even though there are 2 actions in a Simultaneous effect, they are both actually completed at the same time. Which means that this allows the Simultaneous effect to work well with “When” Optional effects. Here is a Scenario.

Chain 1: Activate Metalfoes Goldriver’s Pendulum Effect, targetting Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing.

Resolving the effect, [Metalfoes Goldriver] will destroy Suanni and set 1 [Metalfoes] Spell or Trap card directly from the deck. Because destroying a card and setting a [Metalfoes] Spell or Trap card happens at the same time; Suanni’s will be able to activate it’s effect to Special Summon a Yang Zing monster from the deck.

With our understanding of the above scenario, we can safely say that destroying a card and setting a [Metalfoes] Spell or Trap card directly from the deck; is the last thing that happened.


4) What are “Non-Simultaneous” Effects?

“Non-Simultaneous” effects are effects that also has 2 actions worded in a single effect. However, their actions do not happen at the same time. Here is an example.

Interrupted Kaiju Slumber

Destroy as many monsters on the field as possible, then Special Summon in Attack Position, 2 “Kaiju” monsters with different names from your Deck(1 on each side), but they cannot change their battle positions, and must attack, if able. During your Main Phase, except the turn this card was sent to the Graveyard: You can banish this card from your Graveyard; add 1 “Kaiju” monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only activate 1 “Interrupted Kaiju Slumber” per turn.
「妨げられた壊獣の眠り」は1ターンに1枚しか発動できない。①:フィールドのモンスターを全て破壊する。その後、デッキからカード名が異なる「壊獣」モンスターを自分・相手のフィールドに1体ずつ攻撃表示で特殊召喚する。この効果で特殊召喚したモンスターは表示形式を変更できず、攻撃可能な場合は攻撃しなければならない。②:墓地のこのカードを除外して発動できる。デッキから「壊獣」モンスター1体を手札に加える。この効果はこのカードが墓地へ送られたターンには発動できない。

 

Notice how the sentence is worded similarly to a “Simultaneous Effect”? The difference is that you do not have the words “destroy it, and if you do“. Instead, it has been replaced with “then”. This means that you will still need to complete the first action before the second action can be done. However, they do not happen at the same time; causing your “When” Optional effects to be unable to activate.

In the Japanese text, it is very simple to spot the difference. Instead of “し、”, it is worded as “その後、”, which means after the first action has happened, continue with the second action written in the card effect. Let us explain with a scenario.

Chain 1: Player A activates Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, destroying [Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing], then Special Summoning 2 Kaiju monsters from the deck.

Resolving the effect, even though Suanni was destroyed in Chain 1, the card text was worded in a way that the last thing that happened was the Special Summoning of the 2 Kaiju monsters. Rendering Suanni’s effect to be unable to activate.


 

With the explanations above, we hope that you can better understand the differences between the various types of effects and how to resolve them. Play your effects right, and the correct card interactions will bring you more advantage in your duels.

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