Konami officially adopted the OCG April 2020 Master Rules revision for the TCG. The changes are summarized in their article, which lists a total of five points—some new and some merely clarifications on existing rules. We will go through each point one by one. This article aims to provide examples to aid your understanding of the changes, as they are in effect immediately and will be used at all in-person and remote duel events. Let's get ready for the current regional season!
The first point on Konami's list is not a change but a a clarification. Fusion, synchro, and xyz monsters need not be summoned to an extra monster zone or a zone a link monster points to anymore. Link and Pendulum monsters, on the other hand, do still need to be summoned to an extra monster zone or a zone a link monster points to. This has already been in effect since April 2020. I do not know why Konami would bring this point up again because every player should have heard of this rule change at some point within the more than one-and-a-half years since it came into effect. They probably put it here for completeness' sake as this change came at the same time with the actual rule changes in the OCG, which we will discuss next.
Now it starts to get interesting. We finally receive the update on a monster's trigger effect when the monster changes location before being able to activate its effect. This has already been in effect in the KDE North America part of the TCG but not in Europe. Let me outline what's new. When a monster meets its trigger condition during a chain but changes its location before it can activate its effect, it will not be able to activate its effect anymore in the next chain.
The most prominent example of this interaction is D.D. Crow versus Cyber Angel Benten. If Benten is tributed to activate the effect of a card like Drytron Alpha Thuban and D.D. Crow is chained to banish Benten from the graveyard, Benten will not be able to activate its effect in the next new chain after Alpha has resolved because Benten will no longer be in the original location where it had met its trigger condition. Before the rule change you were able to activate Benten's effect nevertheless. Please be aware that D.D. Crow does not negate Benten, which some players claim. It merely prevents Benten from activating in this specific scenario.
Let me give you another example. Assume a Phantom Knights player activates Cherubini, Ebon Angel of the Burning Abyss's effect and sends Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss as a cost to the graveyard. When the opponent chains D.D. Crow to banish Graff from the graveyard, Graff will no longer be able to activate its effect in the next new chain after Cherubini has resolved.
Some players might be angry about this change because it weakens interactions within their favorite strategy. Personally, I think this change is for the better. Let me explain why it makes sense. Let us assume player A normal summons any monster, say Rescue Cat. Player B activates a copy of Torrential Tribute in response to the summon. Player A then chains their set copy of Tri-Brigade Revolt. The chain resolves backwards and player A summons back some monsters and links them off into Tri-Brigade Shuraig the Ominous Omen. Then Torrential Tribute resolves and clears the field.
Under the new rules, Shuraig will only be able to activate its graveyard trigger effect to add a monster from deck to hand. It will not be able to activate its effect to banish a card on the field because it is no longer in the location where the effect's trigger was met—that is, the field. Before the rule change, however, Shuraig would have been able to activate both of its effects in the same new chain. Hence, Shuraig would have been able to activate an on-field and a graveyard effect in the same chain. I do not think that this has made a lot of sense. Why would a card be able to activate several effects that actually require it to be in different locations for each?
Some monsters come with the restriction that they can only be summoned once per turn. Prominent examples of such monsters are all of the Sky Striker link monsters including Sky Striker Ace - Kagari or Dingirsu, the Orcust of the Evening Star. Previously, if you tried to summon such a monster, but a card like Solemn Judgment or Solemn Strike negated its summon, you were not able to try to summon the same monster again.
The new rules only take into account successful summons. Hence, if such a monster's summon is negated, you are free to try to summon it again. This also makes a lot of sense. After all, since you didn't succeed in summoning the first copy, the monster has obviously never been summoned. So why should the summon-once restriction apply? This is definitely a change for the better!
This change also affects cards with restrictions such as, "You cannot Normal or Special Summon the turn you activate this card." Take for example Rage with Eyes of Blue, which precludes normal or special summoning monsters the turn you activate it, except for Blue-Eyes White Dragon. If you tried to normal summon any monster whose normal summon was negated by Solemn Judgment, you were not able to activate Rage with Eyes of Blue during the same turn before the rule change. With the new change you can still activate Rage with Eyes of Blue since the summon has never happened.
The next change brings a huge boost for Eldlich decks. Previously, trap cards that special summon themselves to a monster zone but are still treated as trap cards there still occupied a spell/trap zone. With the rule change they no longer occupy a spell/trap zone after they have been summoned to the monster zone.
For example, if you summon a Huaquero of the Golden Land, it will no longer occupy the spell/trap zone it was activated in after it has been summoned. Before the rule change you were not able to use the spell/trap zone despite Huaquero being in the monster zone. If you had set five cards and activated a Huaquero, you could not use that new free zone because the Huaquero was still occupying it, even though it was also in the monster zone. Now you can use the free zone the trap monster was special summoned from, which makes a lot more sense. Personally, I always found it weird that a card was able to occupy two zones at once.
The final change affects monsters with effects that trigger when they leave the field. Before the change, the rule book explicitly stated that a monster being shuffled into the main deck could not activate the effect that would ordinarily trigger upon it leaving the field. Moving forward, main deck will be replaced by deck in this regard. This means that extra deck monsters also cannot activate their leave-the-field effects when shuffled back anymore. When they return to the deck, neither main deck nor extra deck monsters will be able to activate their leave-the-field effects.
Under the old rules face-up extra deck monsters such as Elemental HERO Absolute Zero or Curious, the Lightsworn Dominion could still activate their effect when they were shuffled back by Knightmare Unicorn but main deck monsters such as Flame Bufferlo could not. Now neither type of monsters can activate this kind of effect. Hooray for consistency!
This sums up all the changes implemented by Konami. To be honest, it was about time that we finally got these. Konami's official simulator Master Duel is scheduled for release this year and it would have created nothing but chaos if people on Master Duel had to play with three different sets of rules depending on where they were playing from. Unifying the rules in the OCG and both branches of the TCG is a very welcome step into the right direction! I hope the examples I have provided help you to understand the updates!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.