Rulings to Know: Magical Meltdown
- Robin Schrecklinger
In this article of the Rulings to Know series we will take a closer look at Shaddoll Invoked. It seems Shaddolls are returning to the metagame once more and, as before, they are supported by Invoked's Magical Meltdown, a card that has been causing confusion ever since its release.
Players tend to splash the Invoked engine into many fusion-based strategies. The engine can turn a single Aleister into an omni-negate in the form of Invoked Mechaba. Moreover, the Invoked engine's field spell Magical Meltdown adds a lot of consistency to the deck and protects fusion spells from having their activations negated. However, Magical Meltdown has caused a lot of confusion and discussion in the last few years. Before we take a look at some specific situations, we will first take a look at Magical Meltdown itself. The card reads:
The part that causes the confusion is the part about preventing effects that would fusion summon from being negated and about stopping the opponent from activating cards and effects in response to fusion summons. We will now take a look at some specific situations involving Magical Meltdown.
Ash Blossom Versus Shaddoll Fusion
Assume player A controls Magical Meltdown and activates a copy of Shaddoll Fusion. Their opponent chains Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring to negate the Shaddoll Fusion. Firstly, Ash Blossom can indeed be chained to Shaddoll Fusion because Shaddoll Fusion includes an effect to send monsters from the deck to the graveyard as fusion materials. It can even be chained if player B does not control a monster special summoned from the extra deck at the time of activation of Shaddoll Fusion.
Now the question might arise whether or not Magical Meltdown protects the Shaddoll Fusion from being negated by Ash Blossom. In this case, the Ash Blossom will successfully negate the effect of Shaddoll Fusion. Magical Meltdown only prevents activations from being negated. However, Ash Blossom does not negate the activation of Shaddoll Fusion but merely negates its effect. A different scenario would be if Solemn Judgment was chained to the activation of Shaddoll Fusion. Then the Shaddoll Fusion would still resolve since the Judgment would try to negate its activation, but Meltdown would protect the Shaddoll Fusion from having its activation negated.
Not Being Able to Respond
Next, we will take a look at Magical Meltdown's effect that prevents the opponent from activating cards and effects when your monster is fusion summoned by an effect that fusion summons a monster. The main application of this is seen in Shaddoll Invoked decks. Typically, the player who fusion summons a Shaddoll monster can activate a variety of effects after the summon. For example, El Shaddoll Construct would trigger to send a Shaddoll card from the deck to the graveyard. Moreover, the Shaddoll fusion materials used for the fusion summon would also be able to activate their effects. It is this precise time window in which the opponent cannot activate cards or effects.
Let us illustrate this with an example. Player A uses Shaddoll Fusion to special summon El Shaddoll Construct from the extra deck while Magical Meltdown is active on their side of the field. They use Shaddoll Hedgehog and PSY-Framegear Gamma as materials for the summon. After the summon, Construct and Hedgehog can activate their effects (sending a Shaddoll card from deck to graveyard and adding a Shaddoll monster from deck to hand) in a new chain. In this chain, the opponent cannot activate cards or effects. This means, they cannot chain Ash Blossom to Hedgehog or Construct (depending on which of them is chain link two). This is also the main reason why Meltdown is so extremely powerful in Shaddoll strategies. It makes Shaddolls very resilient to hand traps.
Meltdown Versus Meltdown
Next, we will check what happens in the mirror match. Assume both players control a copy of Magical Meltdown. Player A activates a copy of Shaddoll Fusion and player B chains their copy of El Shaddoll Fusion. The chain resolves backwards and player B summons a copy of Construct from the extra deck and then player A also summons a copy of Construct at chain link one. Both Constructs have on-summon trigger effects. Does player A's Meltdown now prevent player B from using their Construct's effect while player B's Meltdown prevents player A from activating their Construct's effect (and possibly the effects of Shaddoll monsters used as fusion materials in both cases)?
Indeed, player B will not be able to activate their effects after the successful summon because of player A's Meltdown. However, player A will be able to activate their own effects despite player B controlling a copy of Magical Meltdown on their own. The reason for this lies in the way Meltdown is worded. Meltdown is a "when effect." This means that it can miss its timing and this is precisely what's happening here. When player B's Construct is summoned as chain link two, Magical Meltdown would prevent the opponent from activating cards or effects. However, we are still resolving a chain, so no cards can be activated at this point anyway. Then player A's Construct is summoned at chain link one and its effect triggers in a new chain afterward. Since the last thing that happened was the fusion summon of player A's monster, their Meltdown prevents player B from activating their Construct's effect. Thus, only player A's effects can activate after the chain has resolved.
Here it is important to keep in mind that Magical Meltdown will always miss its timing when a fusion summon is conducted at chain link two or higher. For example, if player A activates a copy of Pot of Desires and then chains Super Polymerization, their monster will be special summoned at chain link two. Then Pot of Desires will resolve, allowing player A to draw two cards. In this scenario, their opponent could activate cards and effects after the fusion summon, even if player A controlled Magical Meltdown at this point. Their Meltdown would miss its timing since the summon occurred as chain link two.
Meltdown Versus Predaplant Verte Anaconda
The last situation we will take a look at is how Magical Meltdown interacts with Predaplant Verte Anaconda. Specifically, we are interested in the following of Verte Anaconda's effects:
The Anaconda's most frequent employment is probably to send Red-Eyes Fusion to bring out Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, which does not have any on-summon effects whatsoever. But Shaddoll players can also make use of Anaconda by sending their Shaddoll or El Shaddoll Fusion. Let us assume player A uses their Verte Anconda's effect and sends a copy of Shaddoll Fusion from their deck to the graveyard while they also control Magical Meltdown. Now, they can fusion summon a Shaddoll monster from their extra deck, using the appropriate materials. Even though they just fusion summoned a monster, their opponent would still be able to respond with cards and effects in the next chain.
Meltdown prevents the opponent from activating cards and effects "when a monster is Fusion Summoned this way," where "this way" refers to the "activation of your cards and effects that include an effect that Fusion Summons a Fusion Monster." However, Verte Anaconda does not fall into this category. The Anaconda's effect is not an effect that fusion summons a monster. Anaconda merely copies the effect of a fusion or polymerization spell card. Thus, if player A uses the Anaconda to send Shaddoll Fusion and special summons El Shaddoll Construct off it, their opponent can respond to Construct's effect with Ash Blossom in this case, even if Magical Meltdown is on the field.
I hope this cleared up some of the confusion Magical Meltdown has been and is still causing among players. If there are still some unanswered questions concerning Magical Meltdown, please post them into the comments, and I will try to answer them for you. Also, if there are any other cards which give you headaches, let me know about those too! Maybe I will dedicate a future article to them.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.