How to play Yu-Gi-Oh!: Part 6

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How to play Yu-Gi-Oh!: Part 6

It's been a long time, friends! We've covered a turn in Yu-Gi-Oh!monsters, even more monsters, Spell Cards, and Trap Cards (plus another Spell Card type, because I'm a dumbass). Next we'll cover something a bit... larger. More difficult. I daresay that when I made these blogs all those many years ago (three years? great ghost of Caesar) it was in preparation for something I needed to actually explain. Something like... this.

Ladies and gentlemen, today we cover Link Monsters.

We can't just talk about Link Monsters, though, because that would be convenient, and anything relating to Link Monsters is legally barred from being convenient. So instead, let's talk about a rule update that not-so-coincidentally coincides with Link Monsters being added: the New Master Rules.

Fans familiar with the anime might (might) know of the Expert and Super Expert rules, which Kaiba bullshitted up because he knew he couldn't take on Pegasus and Yugi in a fair fight and which Kaiba bullshitted up so the game actually resembled a reasonable card game rather than something kind of like a card game but also a card-based Dungeons 'n Dragons game. (And, of course, to actually resemble the card game Konami was producing, which had been out for a while by the time Super Expert was introduced.) Less familiar might be the Master Rules - they're what we play with all the time now, errata'd into existence during Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, introducing a number of restrictions and adding new mechanics. Relevant now are the New Master Rules, which added in Link Monsters, as well as a number of extra mechanics.

That whole paragraph was filler, by the way, but I thought it was fun. I'll need fun for this...!

So, anyways, onto why the New Master Rules are relevant. They introduced this:

A new playmat! The leftmost and rightmost Spell/Trap Zones also double as the Pendulum Zones now. More relevant is the two zones at the top (#7). Those are called the Extra Zones. (...well, the Extra Monster Zones, but). What used to just be Monster Zones are now "Main Monster Zones", or "Main Zones".

If an Extra Zone is unoccupied, it belongs to neither player. Summoning a monster to an Extra Zone adds it to your side of the field; you can (under normal circumstances; I told you that Link Monsters were complicated!) only control one Extra Zone. Monsters in the Extra Deck, under most circumstances, can only be Special Summoned into the Extra Monster Zone. The intent is obvious - help cut down on Extra Deck spam, because having essentially fifteen extra cards in your hand is kind of bonkers if left unrestricted.

Of course, they then undermine this by introducing Link Monsters. Though I do have two main notes for monsters summoned from the Extra Deck:

  • Fusion, Synchro etc. monsters only go to the Extra Zone if they are summoned from the Extra Deck. If they're summoned from the graveyard, they get to go into a Main Zone.
  • As an extension of this, if a card returns to the field, it returns to a Main Zone.

  • If control of a monster switches, that monster always goes into a Main Zone. This happens even when control switches back, likely to prevent Extra Zone shenanigans.
  • If your Extra Zone is occupied by a non-Link monster, you must use the monster in the Zone as a Material in order to actually conduct the summon. For example, you can use "The Claw of Hermos" while "Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroying Swordsman" is in your Extra Zone; however, you have to conduct the Fusion Summon using BBDDS.

Alright, all make sense? Good! That's the logical part of this how-to. Now things get a bit... trickier, let's say.

This is a Link Monster! You might notice several things about them, just looking at the card. Yes, they're all true.

First, Link monsters have no level. Just like Xyz monsters, right? Unlike Xyz monsters, Link monsters don't even have a Rank. This renders them immune to all effects that judge based on Level or Rank, and they can't be used as a Tribute for a Ritual Summon or as Synchro/Xyz material.

Link monsters also have no DEF. They can't go into Defense mode, since that would change their orientation, which is very important for them. As a result, they can't go into face-down Defense Position, and they are unaffected by effects that would turn them to Defense Position.

Finally, they stole the color of Ritual Monsters. The jerks. CURSE YOU!!!

There's, again, a lot to cover about Link Monsters, so I'll just start with the basics: how to summon them. After all, they have no Level or Level analogue! How are you supposed to summon them? There's a few things to note on the card.

First, you must have the proper Link Material(s) on the field. The bare minimum requirements are listed underneath the monster's type, much like Synchro and Xyz monsters. Decode Talker, for example, requires 2+ Effect monsters. Under normal circumstances, you need a number of monsters equal to the monster's LINK Rating (the number replacing DEF) in order to perform a Link Summon.

For once, "under normal circumstances" is something relatively simple! Remember in Battle City, where you could count a Fusion monster as a number of Tributes equal to its Fusion Material count? The same... sort of applies here. You use Link Monsters as an amount of Link Materials equal to their Link Rating, or just as one Link Material. So, for example, you can use Decode Talker as three Link Materials for a LINK-4 Monster who requires 2+ monsters to Link summon.

Remember when I said "bare minimum", though? Even if you had a LINK-3 monster, you'd need at least two Effect Monsters to summon Decode Talker. And the total amount of Link Materials can't exceed the Link Rating, like a Synchro Summon or most non-specific Ritual cards.

So, why would you go through all of this rather than just continue using Xyz monsters? Because nobody actually learned from the Extra Deck spam days. They're just forcing you to use their new monsters now.

You also probably noticed the arrows on Decode Talker:


(pictured: a crude representation of Link Arrows)

Link Arrows are Link Monster's main "schtick", way moreso than their lack of Level/Rank or no DEF. Being unable to assume Defense Position is entirely because of these things, even. The main and least mind-boggling effect of Link Arrows is that they effectively "spread" the Extra Zone - you can summon Extra Deck monsters to any Main Zone a Link Arrow is pointing directly to. All Link monsters have a number of Link Arrows equal to their Link Rating.

This is what I meant when they said they didn't learn anything, incidentally. Sure, Link Monsters are generally weaker than a monster that has the same Material count (ex. Stardust Dragon generally requires three cards to summon, and has 2500 ATK), but effects can make up the difference. By ATK alone, Decode can hit 2800 just by summoning another monster in a zone it's pointing to, and you can negate any targeting effects by Tributing a monster. (Unfortunately, you can't Tribute an opponent's monster, due to the nature of Tributing.) Firewall Dragon is even the first ace monster to be Limited!

Naturally, of course, there's a downside. If a monster with a , or  Link Arrow is summoned in the Extra Zone, your opponent can use those to summon their own Extra Monsters. You can mitigate it by summoning the Link monster to a Main Zone... but then you can't use the bottom arrows, since those point to your Spell/Trap Zones now. (So Decode Talker is effectively useless in the Main Monster Zones.)

Some effects depend on the monsters a Link Monster is "pointing to". This should be fairly self-explanatory, I hope.

So why use a monster with upwards-facing arrows, anyways? Not to summon into the Extra Monster Zone (mostly; Decode Talker benefits from it, again), but instead from a few other mechanics.

The first is co-linking. A monster is co-linked to another monster if they have Link Arrows pointing at each other. For example, if a monster with a  Link Arrow is at Firewall Dragon's right (because he has a  arrow), they'll be co-linked. They can be kind of a pain to set up, but they can also be potent - just check out Firewall Dragon's effect. Upward-facing arrows aren't strictly necessary for co-links, but you can start your links quicker by using them.

The second is related - the Extra Link. The picture shown is basically one of the best explanations. If monsters are linked such that you can reach the second Extra Zone, and they are all co-linked, you can Link Summon a monster into the second Extra Zone, as long as it is also co-linked. Naturally, you need a  Link Arrow to pull this off. Two of them, even. In theory, you could Extra Link using a  -arrowed monster and two other monsters, one with a  arrow and one with a  arrow, which would cut down on summoning costs dramatically... but the only monster in the game thus far with that arrow combination forbids you from summoning to Zones it points to. (There aren't even any  or  arrowed monsters with  or arrows, respectively.)

Extra Links in and of themselves don't do anything. There's three effects in the game that involve Extra Links, and two of them are on Illegal cards. (The illegal cards are match winners. The last one allows you to force your opponent to discard up to two cards and inflict 3000 points of damage if their hand is empty.) The boon should be pretty immediately obvious, though - if you don't have any upwards facing arrows, your opponent can't summon any monsters from their Extra Deck.

You can also perform an Extra Link if your opponent fulfills the conditions for their Extra Link. That's, uh, way less helpful, generally (even if you destroy your opponent's monsters, by the nature of Extra Linking, you'll have arrows pointing to their Main Zones... so they can still summon from their Extra Deck. The main bonus you get from Extra Linking is preventing their Extra Deck summons.) Still something to keep in mind, however, at least slash especially when monsters with effects that activate while they're Extra Linked start popping up more. Topologic Gumblar Dragon forces your opponent to discard cards and inflicts effect damage that's over a third of the starting Life Point total - that's a pretty potent effect, I'd say, and if your opponent sets you up for it then all the better.

And that's it! I really don't like Link monsters, if only because I feel like they're a massive step down from Pendulum monsters. The Master Rules were revised basically entirely for their benefit, and unlike Pendulum Monsters they don't innately help out other types of Summons - just allow more of them to be played, which wasn't a problem before they came along. (The same could probably be said of Synchro and Xyz monsters, admittedly, but they didn't have Pendulums coming before them.) For better or for worse, though, we're stuck with them, so it's best to know how to use them and/or know what your opponent is trying to do with them.

Thief Lief Katano appeared!
Please play Final Fantasy Record Keeper | RW: Ramza Soul Break: Shout (241 MND) ID: SGuM
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  : If I had a gil for all the fiends...

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How to play Yu-Gi-Oh!: Part 6 :: Comments


Post on 30th July 2018, 11:02 pm by Burnin' Bunnies

So on my mission, there were some peeps playing Yu-Gi-Oh! and so I went ahead a bought a starter deck. :v It's the Link Start one, so I'm going to have to make sure I read this more thoroughly some time since I'm still so new, haha!

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