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Naito's Articles: Explaining the Battle Phase


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Posted on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:06 pm

Naito's Articles
Explaining the Battle Phase

This article is more directed at beginning players that don't have much experience. However, I'm sure returning veterans will appreciate this article if they need to brush up on some of their rulings.

Table of Contents:
#1 Overview of the Battle Phase.
#2 Start Step
#3 Battle Step
#4 Damage Step
#5 End Step

Overview of the Battle Phase

The Battle Phase is one of the most important phases in Yu-Gi-Oh!. This is the phase where attacks are declared, monsters are destroyed, and players potentially lose the duel. If you are a starting duelist, or a duelist who has moved from casual gameplay to the competitive front of Yu-Gi-Oh!, you've probably found that there are a lot more rules than you first thought. Competitive duelists have probably snapped at you, claiming that you can't activate that one face-down during "this step" and making snarky remarks about how you haven't read the rules. I don't actually know this, I'm just basing this off my own experiences, so don't worry. I'm not stalking you.

The Battle Phase can be conducted every turn of the duel, except for the very first turn, or unless a card has a specific effect which has prevented the player from conducting attacks during their turn. During this phase, Monsters cannot be Normal Summoned, and any cards with a Speed Spell value of 1 cannot be activated.

What is complicated about the Battle Phase is the steps that it is divided up into. The Battle Phase consists of four, individual steps, known as the Start Step, Battle Step, Damage Step, and End Step. Each step has restrictions on what cards can be activated, which is what leads to so much trouble. So, let's take a look at each step.

Start Step

This is the first step of the Battle Phase. When the Turn Player declares that they are entering the Battle Phase, the Battle Phase is entered, and the players are taken into the Start Step. During the Start Step, the Game State is open, and either player is allowed to activate Trap Cards, or Quick Play Spell Cards. That's really it. The Start Step isn't actually that complicated, which is pretty nice, as the rest of the Battle Phase is more complicated than this.

Battle Step

Not to be confused with the Battle Phase, the Battle Step is the next step in the four step series of the Battle Phase. The immediate shift from the Start Step to the Battle Step comes when the Turn Player declares an attack. Once the attack is declared, the step opens up to allow the opponent to respond. If no response is made, the Battle Step immediately ends and changes into the Damage Step.

Damage Step

Now, the damage step is the most complicated step of the Battle Phase. This is where all the complications of rulings and sequences happen, so pay close attention.

If the attack of a card has gotten through, the Damage Step begins. Once the Damage Step takes effect, the types of effects that can be activated are immediately restricted to the following types of cards:

- Counter Trap Cards
- Speed Spell Two Effects (Held by Quick-Play Spells, Traps, and certain monsters) that alter ATK and DEF values of monsters on the Field.
- Effects that have specific activation timings
- Quick Effects (Held by monsters)

Now, if that seems complicated to you, I'll give you a few examples of cards that meet each requirement:


Example: Counter Trap Cards - Dark Bribe
Example: Speed Spell Twos which Alter ATK/DEF - Forbidden Lance
Example: Specific Activation Timings - Wind-Up Factory
Example: Quick Effects - Desrook Archfiend

Now onto the actual Damage Step.

The Damage Step itself is broken down into 7 individual substeps which have their own little subset of rules that apply and actions that are taken. These will be explained below.

Substep 1:
Substep 1 is the start of the Damage Step. To begin, all monsters with continuous effects will have their effects applied to the duel. During this time, cards like Max Warrior will gain ATK if they are attacking an opponent's monster. Immediately after the Continuous Effects are applied, cards with Trigger Effects, such as Neo-Spacian Grand Mole will take place and resolve. Once Trigger Effects have been resolved, players are allowed to activate, apply, and resolve cards that modify ATK and DEF. After the modifiers have been resolved, Substep 1 ends and shifts to Substep 2.

Substep 2:
Substep 2 applies to Face-Down monsters. If the monster being attacked is face-down, the monster will first be flipped up. However, the monster's Flip or Trigger Effects will NOT activate at this time, unless the card states otherwise. If the face-down monster has a Continuous effect, it will activate at this time. If the effect of the monster is one that would destroy the monster itself, it will not be destroyed at this time. As soon as the Continuous effects have been applied, you are able to activate ATK and DEF modifying cards once again. After these have been resolved, Substep 2 closes and Substep 3 opens.

Substep 3:
Substep 3 takes place right before Damage Calculation. Cards with effects that affect the monster they're attacking will activate at this time (ex, Ehren, Lightsworn Monk.) Cards that have Flip/Trigger effects will now activate their effects and apply them in the battle. In addition, during this time, you are able to activate any ATK/DEF modifiers at any time. Once these have been resolved, Substep 3 transfers over to Substep 4, which is Damage Calculation.

Substep 4:
Substep 4 is the damage calculation step done during the Battle Phase. This is the phase where ATK and DEF values are compared in order to work out which monsters are destroyed and which aren't. Now, during this phase, effects of monsters like Fairy Injection Lily are activated, and will start Chains during the Damage Calculation substep. However, continuous effects will not start chains (like that of Marshmallon not being destroyed.) Now, the Damage Calculation substep will only permit the players to start ONE chain to activate and resolve effects. Once that chain is up, the Damage Calculation itself is done, and the substep will close. Now, cards such as Forbidden Lance CANNOT be activated during this substep, and neither can other ATK/DEF modifiers, unless they state that they can be activated "During Damage Calculation." Now, if a monster is destroyed during the Damage Calculation substep by a card such as Divine Wrath, any active chains on the field will resolve. However, the monster that is destroyed is considered to have been destroyed by a Card Effect, not by battle, and as such, no damage will be dealt to the opponent. After this, the Damage Step will continue as normal. After Chains have been resolved, and the monsters that survive and monsters that don't are determined, Substep 4 will resolve and lead into Substep 5.

Substep 5:
Substep 5 allows for the effects of monsters that respond to battle damage to take place. Both players will begin the substep by taking the appropriate damage, however monsters that are destroyed by battle aren't sent to the Graveyard at this point in time. Any destroyed monster whose effect was Continuous while face-up on the Field no longer have their effects applied. Monsters with self-destruct effects will also die during this substep. Effects of cards that activate in response to battle damage, like Don Zaloog and Gorz will now activate during this substep. No effects will actually resolve at this time, just activate.

Substep 6:
Any effects activated during Substep 5 will resolve with Substep 6. During this time, any and all monsters with Flip effects that activate when the monster is flipped up will be applied and resolved, if they have not already. The trigger effects of cards that activate when attacked, such as D.D. Warrior Lady will also activate and resolve at this time. Once this is done, resolve any and all effects that activate during Substep 5, and continue on.

Substep 7:
During substep 7, all monsters that would destroyed by battle are now sent to the Graveyard. If another monster is present on the Field of the attacking duelist, the attacking duelist may transition back to the Battle Step and repeat the process, until all monsters they control in face-up ATK position have attacked.

End Step

The last step of the Battle Phase is the End Step. There's nothing really special that goes on here. Cards like the Gladiator Beast and Neos HEROs will have their effects activate at this step. Once you've moved into this step, you can no longer declare attacks, and the Battle Phase will end.

That's all you really need to know about the Battle Phase. Hopefully this helped those that are confused by Battle Phase rulings.

Happy dueling.

© Naito Raizu. All Rights Reserved

Information provided by the Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia, and is up-to-date as of January 28th, 2015

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Posted on Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:51 pm


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Posted on Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:08 am

You bumped an article?

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Posted on Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:29 am

He bumped it up so it will appear on the side with the latest topics.

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Posted on Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:25 am

k. den

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