Rulings to Know: Forbidden Droplet

Even over a year after its initial release, Forbidden Droplet still causes a lot of confusion among players. This articles investigates several important interactions with Forbidden Droplet of which a competitive player should be aware. They might make the difference between winning and losing a duel!

forbidden droplet

Forbidden Droplet

Forbidden Droplet was released in last year's Rise of the Duelist booster set. It is a quick-play spell card with the following effect:

    Send any number of other cards from your hand and/or field to the GY; choose that many Effect Monsters your opponent controls, and until the end of this turn, their ATK is halved, also their effects are negated. In response to this card's activation, your opponent cannot activate cards, or the effects of cards, with the same original type (Monster/Spell/Trap) as the cards sent to the GY to activate this card. You can only activate 1 "Forbidden Droplet" per turn.

Hence, Droplet can negate monster effects as well as change their attack, making its use quite versatile. Moreover, depending on the cards sent to the graveyard as cost, the opponent might not be able to respond to Droplet's activation. Now, let's dive right into some frequently occurring scenarios that involve Forbidden Droplet.

Forbidden Droplet Versus Apollousa

The interaction that is probably the most confusing to many players is when Forbidden Droplet is used to negate the effects of Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess. In the past, many players have argued that Apollousa's attack will be reduced to zero since the card's effects are being negated. However, this is not how the interaction works! Forbidden Droplet freezes Apollousa's attack at half its current value while also negating its effect. This means, if a 2,400-attack Apollousa is hit with Droplet, the attack will be 1,200 with effects negated for the rest of the turn


The same is true for all the Zoodiac xyz monsters. If any of those are hit with Droplet, their attack will not be zero but will be frozen at half their current values. Yet, their defense will in fact be zero due to Droplet's effect negation. However, there is a major difference between Apollousa and the Zoodiac monsters when Droplet's effect wears off: While the Zoodiac monsters' attack will just go back to their original values at the end of the turn, Apollousa's attack will be zero after Droplet has worn off!

Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess zoodiac tigermortar zoodiac drident

This is because the Zoodiac xyz monsters all have continuous effects that constantly check how much attack (and defense) they are supposed to have. Apollousa, on the other hand, does not have a continuous effect that sets the attack. The effect setting Apollousa's attack only applies once upon summoning. If the card's effects are negated, Apollousa will not remember what value the attack had been set to upon summoning. Hence, its attack will decrease to zero after Droplet has stopped applying.

Forbidden Droplet Versus Gren Maju

All that has been said before also applies to good old Gren Maju Da Eiza. You have to be aware that Droplet will not reduce Gren Maju's attack to zero but simply freeze it at half its current value. This means that a 16,000 attack Gren Maju is still able to deal lethal damage after it has been negated by Forbidden Droplet! Just as with the Zoodiac xyz monsters, Gren Maju's defense will drop to zero while it is negated, and its attack and defense will be reset to their original values after Droplet's effect has worn off.

Gren Maju Da Eiza

Forbidden Droplet in the Damage Step

The damage step in Yu-Gi-Oh! is probably one of the most complex parts of the game. Only certain types of cards and effects can be activated during the damage step. This includes cards that negate card/effect activations (such as Solemn Strike or Borreload Savage Dragon) and cards that modify the attack or defense of a monster. Just like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Forbidden Droplet does not negate effect activations. However, its effect also modifies the attack of monsters.

solemn strike Borreload Savage Dragon

So, you can use it to negate a monster's effects during the damage step, because you can also alter its attack, right? While the answer to this question is yes, you still have to be careful because Forbidden Droplet cannot be used during the entire damage step. I will briefly explain in which substeps of the damage step Droplet can be activated. The damage step consists of the following five substeps:

  1. Start of the damage step
  2. Before damage calculation
  3. Damage calculation
  4. After damage calculation
  5. End of the damage step

Cards that change the attack or defense of monsters can only be used up to and including before damage calculation. From damage calculation onward, this type of cards cannot be used anymore during the damage step (unless they also include an effect that negates activations). This means that you can only use Forbidden Droplet during the start of the damage step and before damage calculation substeps.

There is a pitfall here: Flip effects such as those of the infamous Man-Eater Bug or Reeshaddoll Wendi are activated after damage calculation, a point at which Forbidden Droplet cannot be used anymore. If you want to negate a flip-effect monster's flip effect, you will have to use Forbidden Droplet before damage calculation after it has been flipped face up (face-down monsters that are attacked are not flipped face up at the start of the damage step and you cannot use Droplet on face-down monsters).

man-eater bug Reeshaddoll Wendi

You have to keep in mind these intricacies, as the possibility to negate an effect or not might well determine the outcome of a duel. If you have performed damage calculation already and your opponent wants to resolve any flip effects activated by the attack, but you have not used Droplet yet, you have missed your chance to use Forbidden Droplet to negate a monster's effects.

Forbidden Droplet Versus Macro Cosmos

Forbidden Droplet's activation cost is the sending of any number of cards from the hand or field to the graveyard. In Yu-Gi-Oh!, costs have to be paid as they are written on the card. This means that you have to actually send the cards to the graveyard. When Macro Cosmos is applying its effects, you cannot activate Forbidden Droplet because all cards sent to the graveyard are being banished instead. This means you cannot pay the cost to activate Droplet and, hence, you are not allowed to use Droplet under Macro Cosmos.

There are other similar cards like Macro Cosmos with somewhat weaker effects. For example, Dimensional Fissure only banishes monsters sent to the graveyard. Thus, you can use Forbidden Droplet under Dimensional Fissure. However, you are not allowed to use monster cards to pay its cost. Under Dimensional Fissure, you can only spend spell and trap cards to pay Droplet's activation costs.

Virtual World Kyubi - Shenshen applies a Macro Cosmos-like effect to cards sent from the field to the graveyard. While Shenshen is in play, you cannot use cards on the field to pay Droplet's costs, but you may use cards from your hand. On a side note, I want to mention that Shenshen also prevents Eldlich the Golden Lord's graveyard effect from activating. To activate his graveyard effect, Eldlich must send a spell or trap card from the field to the graveyard, which is not possible under Shenshen.

macro cosmos dimensional fissure Virtual World Kyubi - Shenshen

Forbidden Droplet Versus a Changed Number of Monsters

The last scenario deals with what happens when some monsters leave the field before Droplet resolves. Let's assume your opponent controls two monsters whose effects you wish to negate with Droplet. You activate Droplet and you send two cards to the graveyard. Your opponent then chains a card such as Compulsory Evacuation Device and returns one of their monsters to their hand.

Compulsory Evacuation Device

Your opponent is now left with only one monster when Droplet resolves. However, you have sent two cards to the graveyard with Droplet and you are required to choose two monsters. Since you cannot do this, Droplet will resolve without effect. You will not be able to negate the remaining monster's effects in this case!

This concludes my survey on Forbidden Droplet. I hope this article helps some players to better understand how Forbidden Droplet works and makes people aware of some scenarios in which you have to be particularly careful while using Forbidden Droplet.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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slowpokexyz(19.09.2021 21:35)

The explenations of the damage step and freezing atk are very helpful, thank you!

Yukimura(19.09.2021 21:47)

Slowpokexyz You are welcome! :)

friwi89(15.09.2021 16:37)

Well explained, thx

Yukimura(15.09.2021 17:02)

Friwi89 Thank you! :)

Klink(11.09.2021 23:04)

Very good article. Even I, with my bad English, could read it well. TOP !

Yukimura(15.09.2021 17:01)

Klink You are welcome! It's always nice to get some feedback! :)

3L145(10.09.2021 20:22)

Really good article, well done!

Yukimura(10.09.2021 23:12)

3L145 Thank you for your feedback! It's always good to get some feedback from readers. I really appreciate it! :)

Themouss77(10.09.2021 14:24)

Very good reminder, really appreciate that article.


Yukimura(10.09.2021 14:26)

Themouss77 You are welcome! :)

Olibrius(09.09.2021 20:43)

Good to know.
Thanks for the information.

Yukimura(09.09.2021 21:06)

Olibrius You are welcome!

smo0odu(09.09.2021 16:37)

"Children's" Card Game btw .... :D

Yukimura(09.09.2021 16:47)

Smo0odu Indeed. :D

SJK123(09.09.2021 10:36)

Could there be an article going in-depth into battle phase rulings? I personally don't know much about it in this era of poke for game

Yukimura(09.09.2021 16:48)

SJK123 What do you mean by battle phase rulings?

SJK123(09.09.2021 17:03)

Yukimura I say rulings, but I meant an article explaining the battle phase in general, both basics and certain rulings, such as when an effect may be activated, when not, why they can't etc. Most of us, at least me, haven't really interacted with the battle phase in-game much, as it's more of a win condition now, rather than the gameplay

mikinofx(09.09.2021 09:53)

You forgot to include the most interesting scenario. Droplet vs Imperial order( as a chain activation and already activated) . Can somebody explain it

Yukimura(09.09.2021 10:01)(Edited: 09.09.2021 10:02)

Mikinofx Which scenario exactly? Do you mean Imperial Order face-up on the field and a spell (e. G. Pot of Greed) is activated and Forbidden Droplet is chained, sending the Pot of Greed as cost?

In this case, Pot of Greed would still be negated by Imperial Order. Effects resolve where they have been activated. In the case of Pot of Greed it was activated on the field and it will resolve on the field even if it moves its location. However, Imperial Order negates all spell effects on the field, thus also Pot of Greed.

Note that this is slightly different from Skill Drain, which only negates monsters' effects while they are face-up on the field.

gsus6(09.09.2021 09:52)

Excellent article. I was not aware of most of this, now I can be ready when my opponent tries to Droplet me (the other way round is not probably to happen until cheaper reprints come lol).

Yukimura(09.09.2021 10:03)

Gsus6 I am glad if it helps! There will be another reprint soon in Brothers of Legend. Let's hope it will not be shortprinted!

Venonat(09.09.2021 01:14)

Nice, good to have all of these in one place cos I knew there was a bunch of stuff to know about it

Yukimura(09.09.2021 06:12)

Venonat Thank you! That was precisely my intention :D