Link Monsters, how do they work?

There are some serious changes coming to Yugioh. I first read them, didn’t completely understand the implications and thought that the game was going to shit. It’s not, if anything, it’s quite the improvement. There’s a lot to unpack with Link Monsters and Link summoning as well as the Pendulum Zone changes. I don’t typically like to talk about what’s coming from the OCG because if the head of TCG Yugioh wanted us to know, we’d know but the inverse is also true. If we weren’t supposed to know, there’s no way we’d know and Konami would clean up their game. Let’s get into the changes, allow me to explain what they are then I’ll explain what it means for the game.

The smaller change is that the Pendulum Zones are gone. Good-bye. Your left-most and right-most Spell&Trap Zones are still just that, Spell&Trap Zones. BUUUUT that’s where you can place Pendulum Cards and then they become a Pendulum Zone and you lose that Spell&Trap Zone, meaning if both Pendulum Zones have cards in them, you can only set three total Spell/Trap Cards, which is generally fine. I don’t think I’ve ever had all five zones filled except when I was playing a deck with 15+ traps. I also don’t think I’ve ever played a pendulum deck with a significant amount of traps that I want to set. These two zones are only Pendulum Zones when there’s a Pendulum Spell in them, otherwise they’re not. Just like Pendulum Monsters are never Spell Cards unless they’re in that zone, the same is true of the zones. They’re never Pendulum Zones unless there is a Pendulum Spell there.

Here’s a picture of a field with the new zone change. Please ignore the blue guy in the middle, we’ll get to that in a minute.

All right, let’s talk about that blue guy in the middle. That is a Link Monster in the Extra Monster Zone. That specific card is Decode Talker, or that’s at least the translation of its name. It’s a Link 3 DARK Cybers-Type Link Effect Monster with 2300 ATK and links up, bottom left, bottom right. It also has a bunch of card text but let’s unpack what these stats mean.

Decode Talker
DARK Cybers-Type Link Effect Monster
ATK 2300
Materials: 2 or more Effect Monster
(1) This card gains 500 ATK for each monster Linked to it.
(2) When an opponent’s card effect that targets a card you control is activated: You can Tribute 1 of your monsters Linked to this card; negate that activation, and if you do, destroy it.

First, we need to learn how to summon a Link Monster. It’s kind of like a Synchro Summon but doesn’t require specific materials, at least the first few mostly don’t. Like Stardust Dragon and Utopia, Decode Talker is fairly simple and mostly generic and I’m sure we’re going to get more complex Link Monsters. Link Monsters go in the Extra Deck next to your Xyz, Synchros and Fusions. Decode Talker is Link 3, which means you need to send three monsters you control to the Graveyard in order to Link Summon. We don’t have enough information yet, but it seems that Link Summons do not use the chain, just like Synchro and Xyz Summons. So I flip up Geargiarmor, search Geargiaccelerator and special summon it and the accelerator I already had in hand and send all three to the Graveyard and Special Summon Decode Talker. As far as I can tell, there’s no restrictions on what you can use as materials except for the requirements in the text box. Decode Talker asks for 2 or more effect monsters. You can use any three effect monsters to summon Decode Talker. Three Geargia monsters or King Magnus, Quasar and Nekroz of Sophia.

There’s more to Link Summons than just that, though. You need to add up to the total Link to perform a Link Summon and I don’t see any rules reason why the cap should be at five because you only have five Main Monster Zones, yes MAIN Monster Zones, I’ll come back to that. For a regular Link Summon, you need monsters equal to the Link number. For Decode Talker, that’s Link 3. You can also use Link monsters as material equal to their Link number. In Decode Talker’s text box it says ‘2 or more effect monsters’ which means you can use a Link 2 monster and any other monster. It’s unclear if you can overpay, for example, use Decode Talker and another effect monster to summon another copy of Decode Talker. You probably can’t because you can’t use extra Xyz Materials or extra Synchro Materials. You also cannot use one Decode Talker to summon another because it requires 2 or more effect monsters if you’re not using monsters equal to its Link number.

Link summoning is fairly simple but what does the part about Decode Talker gaining 500 ATK per monster in its Linked Zone? Enter the new Extra Monster Zone. There are two on the field and they are not part of your side nor your opponent’s. What used to just be the Monster Card Zones are now Main Monster Card Zones. If you want to perform a Fusion, Synchro, Xyz or Link Summon, you have to use the Extra Monster Zone and you can’t control both. Yes, this means if you Xyz Summon, you can’t summon another Xyz Monster because your one Extra Monster Zone is occupied. Again, we don’t have anything official in English but I have to assume the rules are the same as the old all your zones are occupied rule. If Synchro Summon a Level 7 dude, it goes to my Extra Monster Zone and I can’t Synchro Summon anything else unless I can get rid of my Level 7, but I can summon a Level 1 Tuner and make something like Stardust Dragon with that Synchro and my Tuner. You also Link Summon your Link Monster here first. You cannot Fusion, Synchro, Xyz or Link Summon to the Main Monster Zones.

You can also only use one Extra Monster Zone. It’s irrelevant that you can’t have both because that’s just the rule. You can’t attack on your first turn. It’s just part of the game now. I assume if you take an opponent’s monster you put it in any open Main Monster Zone you have because you’re not performing a Fusion/Xyz/Synchro/Link Summon, even if it is one of the above monsters. I made a handy dandy new mat image to help you. The scan from the magazine is helpful but is pretty cluttered. View below.

My Main Monster Zones are labeled 1 to 5. My opponent’s are A to E. L1 and L2 are for Link 1 and Link 2, they’re the Extra Monster Zones.

If you have a Link Monster in a Monster Zone, you can also perform the Extra Deck summons in the zones that it’s linked to, or is pointing at. I summon Decode Talker in Zone L1 and I can Xyz Summon in Zones 1 and 3. I assume my opponent can in Zone B because it’s linked but we don’t have official rules yet. Talker gains 500 ATK per linked card so if they summon something there, it’ll gain ATK.

I go first and Special Summon two Malebranches using their effects, so far this is not any different. I go to Xyz Summon a Dante but instead of going in the zones I’ve labeled 1 to 5, I choose L1 or L2 and finish my Xyz Summon and carry on with my turn but I cannot Xyz Summon another monster because I can only control one Extra Monster Zone and I already control one with a Dante in it. How can I go first turn double Dante? It’s really hard now, allow me to explain how Link Monsters unlock your Extra Deck. Decode Talker links to bottom left, bottom right and up. This means if I summon Talker to L1, it links with 1, 3 and B. Let’s summon double Dante now.

I summon Fiendish Rhino Warrior in zone 5, then summon three Malebranches and bin them all to summon Decode Talker in zone L1. I summon three more Malebranches and overlay two into Dante in zone 1, then the remaining Malebranche and Rhino Warrior into another Dante in zone 3. I now have Talker in L1 and a Dante in 1 and 3. I cannot summon additional Extra Deck monsters unless I summon another Link monster to a Linked Main Monster Zone that has left and right links.

Link summons are pretty simple and as long as Konami doesn’t mess it up by making too generic of Link Monsters with too low of a Link number, we should be fine. What does Link Summoning actually mean though?

Link Summoning means that you can only control one Extra Deck monster from your Extra Deck but you get an extra zone to do it in. When Yugioh was originally created, we can’t know how the game want meant to be played, but we didn’t have crazy turns that go summon Crystal Wing, Tzolkin, Drident, Shock Master, call spells, set two Warning and pass. If Link Summons always existed there would have been some serious hoops to jump through to do crazy things. Dragon Rulers would have had a harder time going double Dracossack and they can’t just summon Big Eye at will to steal your Dracossack. Six Samurai wouldn’t have been able to easily poop out three Shi En, set a Judgment and pass. Wind-Ups wouldn’t have been able to go Carrier into Papilloperative into Shock Master without jumping through hoops. Double Dante would have been nearly impossible because the Malebranches kill themselves. First turn Winda can’t be followed up by two Constructs directly next to it.

If your opponent’s one Extra Monster Zone is occupied, they can’t do more stupid things. If I summon Daigusto Emeral in Nekroz, I can’t stack my deck with Lavalval Chain until I get rid of the Emeral first, and likely my plan was to tribute both Emeral and Chain to Valkyrus to draw cards. That can’t happen anymore. If I’m playing Fire Fist and summon Wolfbark to make Tiger King, maybe I was going to make another Tiger King to follow up but instead I can’t and only have one Tiger King. Chaining Tiger King into Tenki into Wolfbark into Tiger King into Tenki into Wolfbark into Tiger King was pretty fair but wasn’t fun if you were trying to do things and you just couldn’t. And as far as I can tell, the rules don’t prevent you from doing the Super Quanatal Field Spell summon, Tzolkin or Beatrice because they’re not Fusion, Synchro, Xyz or Link Summons.

Link Summons make a significant number of decks much worse but from a competitive standpoint, that doesn’t matter because Konami is always going to make the latest set relevant to the meta because that’s how they make money. If you’re a through and through Spike, you’re still going to just be playing the best deck. If you’re a casual, I feel bad for you if your deck is something like D/D/D, Ritual Beasts, Wind-Ups, 3-Axis or PePe because those decks do get a lot worse unless a Link Monster is printed that works with these types of decks. In general though, moving forward, the game slowing down should help your casual decks be able to do more things because your opponent won’t be locking you out of the game so quickly and easily. In reality we’re likely going to get stupid broken Link Monsters that are too easy to Link Summon and give us too many Linked Zones.

Before we end, I just want to say that Link Summons aren’t broken, they’re fixing the game. Yes, you can still go Ratpier into Boarbow into Lyca and Special Summon Ratpier and Boarbow back then Link Boarbow and Lyca into Missus Radiant, which is a Link 2 monster and do typical Zoodiac things from there. That does not mean Links are broken, it makes Zoodiac jump through extra hoops, even if they’re not difficult. This shows that Zoodiacs are broken, not Link Monsters. In Magic, there’s a spell that lets you put any creature into play for a single mana, including a demon that costs eight mana. That doesn’t mean the mana system is broken, the spell that puts any creature into play for one mana is.

Link Summons are going to fix the game. I’m hype for them and just hope Konami stops printing stupid stuff like Ratpier and Xyz Monsters that can use a single non-Xyz Monster as the full Xyz Material. I haven’t played any games with Link Summons yet but I’ve played Vanguard and other games where positioning matters and it’s just something you get used to keeping track of.

How do you feel about Link Summons? Are you excited? Let me know on…


13 thoughts on “Link Monsters, how do they work?”

  1. so lets say I have a Decode talker in my extra zone and then a ABC Buster Dragon in his linked zone. and my opponent then plays something like castel and gets rid of Decode talker. Does the Buster Dragon now die since its no longer in an extra monster zone?

    1. I’m pretty sure monsters in the Link Zones only change how you can summon things from your Extra Deck and not what’s on the battlefield without an effect that pairs them like Call of the Haunted with whatever it brings back.

  2. just wondering, how do I use my utopic future? do i summon the xyz monsters in my main zone by link and then xyz summon? I cant do that b/c of the link monster. help me, my deck may be in jepoardy (or give me some hints)

  3. The new extra deck rules make Zefratorah Grammaton a terrible card with no use besides as a flexible scale, and stuff that happens to care about big pendulum rock monsters that you can’t summon.

    It’s extremely unlikely that you will have Zefra in hand to Pendulum Summon, and the gimmick of it basically letting you Pendulum summon back its Zefra “materials” is broken (in a this does no function way, not that it makes the surrounding game pointless.

    You can’t even use link monsters and still be able to keep 3450 attack body, because you will have to sac everything including any link monsters.

    1. I guess it’s good thing that Pendulum Summons are not Fusion, Synchro, Xyz or Link Summons. We don’t have any confirmation but the org didn’t mention anything about there being changes to how Pendulum Summmoning works, just the zones. I could be wrong but I haven’t seen anything but speculation that Links make Pendulum Summoning from the Extra Deck worse. Pendulums are fine as long as you’re not using them to Fusion, Synchro or Xyz more than one monster at a time.

      1. At least according to this

        It does impact Pendulum Summoning from the Extra Deck. (Or any extra deck summoning, it seems, regardless of how proper it is.)

        Zefra’s boss monster being completely hosed by this is the main thing that bugs me, some other decks based on extra deck spamming is also rough, but at least I can see Konami using it to push Link Monsters into Quan, Fluffals, and so on.

        As it is, this says that Zefratorah Grammaton is a rock.

        Or they have to print a lot more cards that move pendulum monsters from the extra deck to hand.

        1. This is why I advocate not to look at OCG stuff until we have confirmation about TCG stuff. Jeez, Konami really has a giant mess of a game on their hands.

          1. I’m reminded of the cluster that was the leaking of the colorless mana symbol without the explanations of what it was for Magic the Gathering.

            At least that mess was clearly not what WotC intended. (And for a change that … ultimately was bookkeeping and better programming practice)

            I’m not opposed to having position matter in a game that already limits the number of cards that you have out and have dedicated zones, but by making positioning matter in a game where steal effects have monsters change zones, and not explaining how that works, Konami has set themselves up for confusion.

            As soon as they explained the extra deck monster zone, they should have explained how it would interact with control change effects and temp banishing that doesn’t summon.

        2. R.I.P. Kozilek+Ulamog

          This is worse than colorless mana because once you were told it’s colorless mana, it makes sense and isn’t a fundamental change to how stuff works. MTG has had changes like that, damage on the stack, DFC’s CMC, color indicator+splice onto arcane, etc.

          It seems like control and zone changes will be decided by the new controller and go in a Main Monster Zone. Of course we can’t know that if Big Eye steals a Dracossack that that isn’t legal because Big Eye is already in your Extra Monster Zone and you don’t have another Extra Monster Zone for Dracossack. Also, I’d assume that if the original controller of Dracossack summons Big Eye to steal their Dracossack back, it doesn’t have to go in an Extra Monster Zone. Same goes for stuff like Farfa.

          It’s just unfortunate that Konami doesn’t care about their game and most of the English news we get comes from fans translating Japanese magazines.

          1. Yeah, the changes to M:tG that most resemble the Extra deck mess (i.e. making cards printed 2 years ago no longer work) was making it so that tapped status doesn’t matter for blocking creatures (i.e. if a creature was tapped and blocking, it didn’t deal combat damage) (like ages ago, and eventually deciding to drop the functional errata that make some old interactions still work in like 2011).

            This made tapping opposing creatures into no longer being combat tricks on attack (which was a small loss in power, but the rules still made tapping opposing creatures a powerful effect most of the time), and Master at Arms, have an activated ability that does nothing most of the time, but was still a decent small creature afterwards, that has a goofy old card effect.

  4. I find the link mechanic to be very innovative and interesting,as well as slowing down the game,but now the extra deck space for some decks is even more tight.

  5. Hey, Konami’s trying to make positioning happen again in YGO! and … is actually printing some good stuff. Decode talker would be an interesting card even if you didn’t need to use link monsters to use main monster zones to extra deck summon. Having a semi infinity beater with 3.3k attack if you control two other monsters seems good, and because it tributes, you can use tokens and pendulum monsters. (I imagine that Link Summoning itself will work like Synchro summoning in that you can use pendulum monsters despite them normally going to the extra deck instead of graveyard. … unless Konami really wants to screw pendulum, despite pendulum monsters not really compating with Link Monsters for deck space.

    The skeptic in me says that Link Monsters will only be necessary for more than one extra deck monster summoning until the next series of anime comes out. Basically because the pendulum zones get folded back into the S&T zones.

  6. Agh, this isn’t good for my HEROs…or my Buster Blader/Dark Magician Girl/Other jank stuff deck…or my Gustos, though they’ll weather this better than the others. My Agents/Darklords mix will do just fine, though. On the bright side, maybe some stuff will have an excuse to come off the Banned list now. Link Monsters sound interesting, but I literally only just finally got used to the Pendulum Zones being where they were and now they’re not, that’s going to be frustrating. Oh, well. Maybe I’ll just play my own way at home with the Pendulum Zones where they were plus the EMZs. Hopefully this makes the game more interesting!

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