The third week of the month is V-Jump time and we were expecting news of the new anime, the supposed new summoning technique and the added ruling updates.
And that is exactly what we got. It's study time! Let's get over the biggest changes and I'll try to explain that as clearly as possible!
When will these changes apply for TCG?
Updated Answer: Upon the legal release of the 2017 Starter Deck in TCG. The exact date is July 21st.
The Lay-out changes!
Click on the image, look at it closely and let it sink in. If you have a feeling of what's on there, I'll cover the details
1 - Pendulum Zones are gone... but not completely
First obvious change if you look at the new lay-out is that the 2 specific pendulum zones are gone.
Instead of that, the leftmost and rightmost Spell and Trap card zone can now be used as a pendulum zone instead.
What this means that if you play Pendulum monsters, you lose 2 spell and trap zones, while if you play no Pendulum monsters, you can use all 5 spell and trap card zones (just like before).
However, the zones are interchangeable throughout the duel and thus impose no risk for having to chose over the other. In other words, if you open up with 0 scales but have 5 spell or trap cards, you can still use your pendulum scale zones for regular spells and traps.
Note however, that this does not mean that you can now SET Pendulum monsters in these zones. Pendulum Scales can only be placed face-up, just like before!
Also: Cards that target Pendulum zones specifically (for example: Wavering Eyes) can NOT destroy non-pendulum spells or traps that are placed in these zones. If a regular spell or trap are placed in these zones, they are NOT Pendulum zones but regular spells or traps.
2 - Extra Deck monsters now go in the Extra Deck monster zone
Another big change is the two new monster zones that are spread over the two players. These zones are intended for Extra Deck monsters, while the original five monster zones will now be reserved for Main deck monsters only.
The only exception to this, are "main deck" monster zones that are pointed to by the yellow/gold link indicator (printed on Link monsters).
3 - Link monsters:
The new Link monster have a Blue color (similar to Ritual monsters) but are filled with octagon shapes with a darker shading. They also have black and yellow markers on the 4 corners and the 4 sides of the card. The black ones are inactive, while the gold/orange markers are active. More on this later on.
Link monster have an attack, but no defense. This means that defense is not printed and it can be ruled as "0 defense" if somebody would attempt to use a card like "Shield & Sword" (which suddenly seems like a VERY useful card).
Link Monsters can only be special summoned and MUST BE played in face-up attack position. This position CAN NOT change; not by player choice nor by card effect (like "Book of Moon)". It MUST always be face-up attack position.
Where are those link markers?
The Link markers on a Link card are printed on the 4 corners and the 4 sides of a Link card (up, down, left, right, UL, UR, LL, LR).
However, the only ACTIVE Link markers are colored gold/orange (color presumed via screenshots, not by facts). NON-active markers remain black.
The monster zones marked with these active markers are places where players can special summon monsters from the extra deck. Think of it as if Link Monsters are "unlocking" your monster zones for more special summons from the extra deck.
The number of active link markers is equal to the Link number of the Link card. So a "Link 3" card, has 3 active markers. A "Link 2" card has two, etc...
A few things that you need to take in account with these markers.
- Decode Talker (as well as some other Link Monsters) has an active marker pointing upwards. This means that you unlock an extra deck zone for your opponent as well!.
- Link Monsters have effects that can apply to their linked monsters instead of "one" monster, or "all monsters you control". So for example. Decode Talker gives an attack boost to all linked monsters. This means that up to two other monsters that you control and even one opponent's monster gains that attack boost.
- Not every monster has the markers on the same spot. While Link Decoder has a marker on the top and on the two lower corners, the link card Honeybot has active marker left and right side.
How to summon a Link monster? - Updated
To summon a Link monster, you must send a number of monsters from the field to the grave equal to the Link number on the card. In the case you use Pendulum monsters, they will be sent to the extra deck. In the case of tokens, they will just "vanish" after being used.
Update: Yes, I was wrong before (mea culpa). Tokens and Pendulum monsters CAN be used.
Alternatively, you can also use a "lower-ranked" Link monster + one or more effect monsters. The minimum amount of monsters required in this process will be mentioned on the card text.
For example, the depicted monster (Decode Talker) has "Link 3" with a card text that it requires a minimum of 2 effect monsters. This means that it requires either:
- 3 effect monsters of any kind, or
- 1 Link 2 monster (for example: Honeybot) + 1 effect monster of any kind.
- 1 Link 1 monster (for example: Link Spider) + 2 effect monsters of any kind.
- 2 Link 1 monsters + 1 effect monster of any kind.
- 1 Link 2 monster + 1 Link 1 monster
The selected monsters are sent from the field to the grave and the Link monster is played in the Extra monster zone, (or another "linked" monster zone).
So how does this work in reality?
At the beginning of the duel, the 2 "extra monster" zones are not signed to any specific player.
This means that the first player that can perform an extra deck summon, can choose the first of these two zones. The chosen zone will be his, while the other zone will now belong to the opponent.
This one specific zone can only be used for monsters summoned from the Extra deck (Fusion, Xyz, Synchro, Link monsters AND face-up Pendulum monsters summoned from the extra deck).
If the turn player summons a Link monster with one or more active markers, THEN you can special summon other extra deck monsters to the zones indicated by the active markers (as well as main deck monsters).
This ALSO includes other Link monsters. This means that if used correctly, you can still fill your field up with Extra Deck monsters, as long as the Link monsters have the correct markers on them.
However! Take note that it only applies when summoning monsters from the extra deck. This does not apply not when summoning those monsters from anywhere else (like the Banished zone or graveyard). For example: A Stardust dragon that returns from the grave after using its effect? That goes to the main monster zone.
Doesn't that render my decks useless?
Yes, if you have a deck that focuses on summoning as much as possible from the extra deck, your deck will no longer function decently. Does that include basically most of the current meta decks? Yes, as well as most rogue decks. If it can cheer you up, most decks are affected either way, so you're not alone in your "loss".
*shrugs* Oh, well. Learn, adapt and move on. Oh and hey look at the bright side. My old Prophecy deck may suddenly be viable again.
I have more questions?!
So do I! But at this point in time it's all the information we have.
Specific ruling details not mentioned in V-Jump this time around will become clear when the official rule-book gets updated or when the yugioh Database gets updated.
Keep an eye on the Konami blog, YGOrganization, BeyoundTheDuel and other similar blogs. More specific ruling questions will be answered in the following months, no doubt about that.
Until next time, V out.
Edit on February 21: Correction made due to OCG website updating the Master Rules. Source: http://beyondtheduel.com/new-master-rule-updates/
Edit in July: Corrected a few of my statements with the actual rules now that it's officially part of our TCG rules.