How to be G.A.Y. Part 3: Missing the Timing

Before you alert the SJWs, G.A.Y. stands for Good At Yugioh. This is part 3 in my rulings series. Part 1 and Part 2 are written. Parts 4+ are coming. When it’s finished I’ll link it all up, otherwise check out the categories to find future posts. I hope you learn something.


Did you read that? Good. Did you understand? Good, now you don’t need to read this 2000+ word post. Click an ad, thanks, bye.

Missing the Timing

There isn’t an official term for missing the timing and I can’t think of a better one, so we’ll stick with that for now. If you have a suggestion, email me or leave a comment. Missing the timing is a fan term (like inherent, spin and pop) and simply means a card didn’t meet its activation requirements, usually when it seems like it should have. This is similar to the Monarch player starting 4 chains before the Atlantean player can activate Neptabyss (found in part 2). It doesn’t seem right, but it is. Before I explain how cards “miss timing” allow me to provide examples for the 4 types of effects that have a specific timing activation requirement. Perhaps we should just say a card didn’t meet its activation requirements.

Mandatory Effects

If X: do Y
Eclipse Wyvern
“If this card is sent to the Graveyard: Banish 1 Level 7 or higher LIGHT or DARK Dragon-Type monster from your Deck.”
Eclipse Wyvern always activates if it is sent to the Graveyard. If it is sent there for any reason, from anywhere. Eclipse Wyvern will always start a chain if sent to the Graveyard. This is a mandatory effect. It must happen. This wording will never miss timing. Even if you can’t resolve the effect, it will start a chain (or SEGOC) and resolve without effect. Normally you’ll have to prove you can’t resolve the effect. In the case of Eclipse Wyvern you would have to show your opponent that you have no eligible Dragon-Types to banish.

When X: do Y
“When this card is sent from the field to the Graveyard: Add 1 monster with 1500 or less ATK from your Deck to your hand.” 
Sangan is mandatory and when it is sent from the field to the Graveyard it will activate. Even if it can’t resolve, it will start a chain. Functionally in gameplay there is no difference between the two mandatory effect wordings. You know a card is mandatory if it doesn’t say “you can.”

Optional Effects

If X: you can do Y
Graff, Malebrance of the Burning Abyss
”If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 “Burning Abyss” monster from your Deck, except “Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss”.”
Most of the Burning Abyss monsters are optional “if” effects. Graff can trigger if it is sent to the Graveyard. If it is sent to the Graveyard at any point during a chain or due to game mechanics (tributing, battle etc) you have the choice to activate Graff’s effect. Optional “if” effects cannot be activated if they cannot resolve. These effects cannot miss timing.

When X: you can do Y
Lightpulsar Dragon
“When this card is sent from the field to the Graveyard: You can target 1 Level 5 or higher DARK Dragon-Type monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon that target.”
Oh boy. Some people get very upset when they’re told that an activation was an illegal activation. Missing the timing is one of those things. The problem comes from the optional “when”. I don’t think most people would argue that if Lightpulsar Dragon isn’t sent to the Graveyard, it won’t activate. Because the card says “when”, that means the last thing to have happened has to be what would trigger the card. That is where most people get confused.

A card misses timing because it is optional and has a “when” effect. Nothing has to happen between the triggered effect and the trigger. There are two reasons a card misses timing.
1) The thing that would trigger the effect isn’t CL1
2) Something else happens on CL1 that causes the thing that would trigger the effect not to be last

Example of scenario 1
1) I summon Lightpulsar Dragon (no chain started yet)
2) Chain Link 1: Mystical Space Typhoon targeting a set Torrential Tribute
3) Chain Link 2: Torrential Tribute
The chain resolves backward, Torrential Tribute resolves, which destroys Pulsar. The MST destroys Torrential Tribute as Chain Link 1.
Lightpulsar Dragon was sent from the field to the Graveyard, but it wasn’t the last thing to happen. Unfortunately Lightpulsar cannot activate at this time.

Example of scenario 2
I have a face-up Lightpulsar Dragon.
You activate Soul Taker. Nothing is chained.
Soul Taker resolves as CL1, destroying Lightpulsar Dragon, then I gain 1000 LP.
The last thing to happen was me gaining 1000 LP, not the destruction of Pulsar. So, Lightpulsar cannot activate. If Soul Taker said “and” instead of “then”, Pulsar would not miss timing. (future conjunction article coming in this series, so have Kevin Tewart’s)

Here is another example. The card appears complex, but by simply reading the card, due to the wonderful job PSCT does on making things easy to understand, we can understand it easily.
Infernity Archfiend
“When you draw this card (except during the Damage Step), if you have no other cards in your hand: You can reveal this card; Special Summon this card from your hand. When this card is Special Summoned: You can add 1 “Infernity” card from your Deck to your hand. You must have no cards in your hand to activate and to resolve this effect.”
Upstart Goblin
”Draw 1 card, then your opponent gains 1000 Life Points.”
I activate Upstart Goblin. I draw Infernity Archfiend, then my opponent gains 1000 LP. Pretty simple. Because the last thing to happen was my opponent gaining 1000 LP, I cannot activate Infernity Archfiend.
If I draw Infernity Archfiend for my normal draw, I can activate its effect to Special Summon itself. After Infernity Archfiend is Special Summoned, I can activate its effect to search provided I have no cards in my hand AND the last thing to happen was its Special Summon. And in order to resolve Infernity Archfiend, when it is time for it to resolve, I need to have no cards in my hand.

In the same vein, activations of Spell and Trap Cards often have activation requirements. Torrential Tribute is one of them. When a monster(s) is Summoned: Destroy all monsters on the field.” If the last thing to happen was not a summon, you cannot activate Torrential Tribute. If your opponent activates Upstart Goblin, and it resolves, why should you be able to activate Torrential Tribute?

I believe the most confusing thing is figuring out what the last thing to happen was and figuring out what the last thing activated was. The last thing activated is not the last action taken in the game. The last effect to resolve, or action taken that does not start a chain is the last thing to happen. Let me give you an example with Pulsar, MST and Torrential again.

I Tribute Summon Lightpulsar Dragon. This does not start a chain.
No effects are triggered so I can activate a fast effect. I activate Mystical Space Typhoon targeting your set card.
The last effect to resolve or action taken that does not start a chain was the Tribute Summon of Lightpulsar Dragon, so your activation of Torrential Tribute is legal.

To truly understand missing the timing you must understand if the last action was what would trigger your effect if your effect says “When X: You can Y.” I’m going to give you two examples, and ask yourself what the last thing to happen was in both examples.

Example 1
1) I activate the effect of Cannon Soldier (tributing another monster)
2) You chain Effect Veiler. Nothing more is chained.
Example 2
1) I activate the effect of Cannon Soldier (tributing another monster)
2) You chain Evolzar Dolkka. Nothing more is chained.

In example 1 the last thing to happen was the resolution (without effect) of Cannon Soldier’s effect. In example 2 the last thing to happen was the resolution of Evolzar Dolkka. In example 1, Effect Veiler only negates the effect. Cannon Soldier still activated. In example 2, Dolkka negates the activation, not the effect. I’ll probably do a whole thing about negation in the future, but negating the activation means it was never activated. That’s the only confusing part if you’re not following the flowchart. If you are following the flowchart for every action, the thing that happened before we got to the yellow box is the last thing to happen and what can be responded to.

Stardust Dragon can “miss its timing.” Cards that are responding to an activation have to respond directly to that activation. So Stardust has to be chained directly to the destruction effect. The same is true with Starlight Road and most cards that negate things.

I control two monsters and have a set Starlight Road.
I activate Dark Hole
You chain Compulsory Evacuation Device
I cannot activate Starlight Road because the last thing to activate was not a card Starlight Road can negate.
Because I activated Dark Hole, you, as the opponent, get a chance to activate an effect before I can activate another effect. Starlight Road says “When…You can…” which means it can miss its chance to activate. I hear a lot of players only talk about monsters as missing timing, but spells and traps can’t be activated because they didn’t meet their activation requirements. We need a term that defines both monsters and spells/traps because it’s the same situation.

Famous examples of what can activate when and North America

Deneb V Mstical Space Typhoon

I don’t know why people have this idea that Satellarknight Deneb works differently in North America than it does in Europe. But for some reason people rule it that way. Let me provide you with the most famous examples.
Mystical Space Typhoon (MST) targets a face-down Call of the Haunted
Call of the Haunted is activated as CL2 targeting a Deneb in the Graveyard
The chain resolves. Deneb is summoned during CL2, then MST destroys Call, which destroys Deneb without starting a chain. Satellarknight Deneb says “If this card is Summoned:” That effect cannot miss timing and Deneb was summoned. So Deneb would be able to activate because Deneb was summoned. North American judges will always rule that it cannot activate because it isn’t in the place that it would activated when it is time for it to activate. What? Yeah…. If you’re playing in NA, I’m sorry. As a judge in NA I always disagreed with these rulings, but even if the ruling isn’t correct, all judges will rule it that way.

Let’s look at the chain as if it was formed differently.
Call of the Haunted is activated as CL1 and is allowed to resolve. Deneb is summoned.
Deneb is CL1 of a new chain.
MST is CL2 targeting Call
When the chain resolves, MST will destroy Call, in turn destroying Deneb. But because Deneb already activated it will resolve. This is true in all territories. If a judge rules differently, appeal.

Dante going to the Graveyard

This is an example I came across while testing with Beatrice.

Beatrice detaches Dante to activate its effect (as Chain Link 1)
The Traveler and the Burning Abyss is activated as Chain Link 2 targeting the Dante we just detached. Nothing else is chained.
Following the flowchart, after Traveler and Beatrice resolve we check for triggered effects. Dante was sent to the Graveyard, and has an “if” effect. Following our rules, even though Dante is no longer in the Graveyard, Dante’s Graveyard effect can still activate. If you’re in North America judges will rule that Dante can’t activate because it isn’t in the Graveyard when it’s time to activate Dante.

Mind Control V Shaddoll

Before I start into this one you need to know that FLIP effects are trigger effects. For all intents and purposes, FLIP effects say “When this card is flipped face-up: …” FLIP is just a keyword to help card readability.

I control a set Shaddoll Beast and Sinister Shadow Games
You activate Mind Control targeting my face-down Shaddoll Beast
I chain Sinister Shadow Games as CL2
Nothing else is chained, so the chain resolves.
I kick a shaddoll to the Graveyard and flip Shaddoll Beast face-up. Then during CL1, you take control of Beast, already face-up. What happens?
A) You get to activate the FLIP effect of Shaddoll Beast
B) I get to activate the FLIP of effect of Shaddoll Beast
A) Neither player can activate the effect of Shaddoll Beast

Answer B. The player that controlled the Shaddoll Beast when it was flipped face-up gets to activate the effect because that is where it met its trigger. The Shaddoll is still on the field. Some judges will disagree, but they’re wrong all over the world on this one.

I control a set Shaddoll Beast and Shadow Games, again.
You activate Raigeki
I chain Sinister Shadow games
Beast is flipped face-up on CL2 and destroyed during CL1
In North America, judges rule that only the sent to Graveyard effect can activate. In other territories you can activate either effect because both have met their trigger.

Basically, in North America if card with a trigger effect is not in the place where it would activate when it wants to start a chain, it won’t activate. Outside of North America, if a card meets its trigger, it can trigger.

If your card says “When…You can”, and the last thing to happen was not the thing after the “when”, you cannot activate your card or effect.

I hope you learned something. Maybe if you like reading you can order Hoban’s book (EU link)or something. If you liked this, click an ad then check out the previous parts.


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