Rulings considering Damage Step

So this post is just for some beginners and for veterans just to confirm their knowledge.

There are certain rulings in the Damage Step that are different from the other Phases. Well first, what is the Damage Step?

Like you all know your turn is divided into Phases where you can take certain actions.

Order of a Turn:

Here you can see that the Damage Step is a part of the Battle Phase (that’s where you can attack).

Battle Phase

Just to mention everything:

Start Step

  • Here you are declaring that you want to enter the Battle Phase (you can activate trap or Quickplay Spells here; don’t forget that Quickplay Spells can be played from hand in your turn!)

Battle Step

  • In this Step you are selecting one of your monsters that you want to attack with and target one of your opponents monsters you want to attack

Damage Step

  • Now we’re in the Step we wanted to talk about; in this Step the damage is calculated from the previously declared battle
  • There are a few things that happens there
    • Before Damage Calculation; Flipping the monster face-up if it was face-down
    • Damage Calculation; this is where you decide if one of the monsters is destroyed and calculate the Life Points
    • After Damage Calculation; here you are activating the FLIP-effects or effects that resolve when your monster is destroyed

End Step

You are going into the End Step if you declare to end your Battle Phase/go to Main Phase 2.
Now that you have an overview of the Damage Step, what different rulings are there?

Well this will surprise a few beginners, but:

NO card can be activated during the damage step unless it meets one of the following criteria:

  1. It modifies ATK/DEF. These can be activated up until “Before Damage Calculation” and can be activated at “After Damage Calculation” again (see Gorz: Gorz is summoned “After Damage Calculation”). Those that mention specifically that they can be activated during the damage step can be activated “During Damage Calculation” as well (like “Honest” and “Kalut“).
  2. It’s a counter trap card. These can be activated at any time during game play, even during the damage step, when the appropriate event to chain against arises.
  3. It’s a monster’s Quick Effect that negates activations (but not both activations and effects!). Stardust, LaDD, and so forth meet this criteria. “Gemini Imps” and “Gravekeeper’s Watcher” do not (and I do not know why Gemini Imps don’t, but it is in the wikia ruling part 😀 ).
  4. It designates an activation timing within the damage step. “Mystic Tomato” and friends do this.
  5. It’s an exception because Konami says so (“Michizure” and some others).
  6. Other than that, trigger effects of monsters tend to go unscathed during the damage step, even if they don’t implicitly activate during that time. An “Armageddon Knight” summoned by “Mystic Tomato” can activate its effect, for example.

Considering these points, there are a few things that are not possible during the Damage Step:

  • You can’t use Bottomless Trap Hole/Torrential Tribute and similiar on a monster (with 1500 ATK) that is summoned by Mystic Tomato during the Damage Step (as those points mentioned before doesn’t apply to Bottomless; if you’re pointing out that there is an activation timing for Bottomless/Torrential, because there ARE monster(s) summoned; well the Summon of monsters isn’t something specifically happening in the Damage Step unlike the destruction by battle, therfore you can activate Mystic Tomatos effect, but not Bottomless Trap Hole)
  • Can’t activate Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy an Equip Spell on the field if you are already in the Damage Step (you have to activate it at the attack declaration/Battle Step; there he has no chance to stop the attack, as it is already declared)

These things are still possible:

  • Use Solemn Warning on Tragoedia/Gorz/Battle Fader; this is possible because it is a Counter Trap (point 2) and says that you can negate the effect to Summon a monster (this is also the reason why you can’t use Solemn Judgment on these because they are Effect summons and Solemn Judgment just negates Inherent Special Summons, also known as Special Summons that doesn’t start a chain/Built-In Special Summon)
  • Activate Forbidden Chalice on Gorz therefore preventing him summoning the token, because this card alters the ATK of a monster (point 1)
  • Use Doomcaliber Knights trigger effect to stop Sangan, Mystic Tomato and similiar monster effects that can activate during damage step, as it is a monster trigger effect (point 6)

But there’s another special ruling in the Damage Calculation too:

First I want to present you the effect of the monster I use in the example:



During your Main Phase, you can return this card from the field to its owner’s hand. During either player’s Damage Step, when a face-up LIGHT monster you control battles, you can send this card from your hand to the Graveyard to have that monster gain ATK equal to the ATK of the opponent’s monster it is battling, until the End Phase.

  • All effects that activate during Damage Calculation are placed in ONE chain (Honest and Kalut for example)
  • What does this exactly mean?
    • Example: It is your turn, your opponent has a LIGHT monster on the field and you attack it with your LIGHT monster, which has a higher ATK.
    • Then he activates Honest during Damage Calculation.
    • You have Honest on your hand too and you want to activate his effect, therefore you say: “Activate Honest effect from hand (in response to your Honest).”
    • Well what happens now?
    • Effects during the Damage Calculation form ONE chain, you can’t activate them separetely like in other Phases
    • So this is what happens:
    • Chain Link 1: Your opponents Honest effect activates (just activates, it doesn’t resolve now; your monster still has more ATK)
    • Chain Link 2: Your own Honest effect activates
    • No one wishes to add more effects to the chain
    • Chain resolves backwards:
    • Chain Link 2: Your LIGHT monster gains the ATK of your opponents monster (even more powerful than before; your opponents monster still has its base ATK)
    • Chain Link 1: Your opponents LIGHT monster gains your LIGHT monsters boosted ATK (your monster is weaker now)
    • Your monster is killed by his boosted LIGHT monster

How can you avoid this scenario now? Thanks to Earwood for this advice btw 😀
Well it’s not nice to trick your opponent, but you can ask him if he wants to activate Honest at the beginning of the Damage Step, when he declares activating Honest’s effect.
If he agrees, you can activate honest during the Damage Calculation and avoid the ONE-Chain scenario where you will always lose no matter how many Honest you’ll activate.

Now if you’re the player who wants to use Honest effect, you should always remember to declare using Honest during Damage Calculation. If that’s the case, as the Turn Player you should always declare using Honest effect first (and not after him) as you are the Turn Player who has the priority to activate Quick effects first (don’t mix it with the now gone Ignition Effect Priority, that was valid in the TCG until a few months ago).

Suppose that you’re not the Turn Player then you should always ask if he wants to activate anything during Damage Calculation first, if he says no, then activate Honest, leaving him no chance anymore to use his Honest with the desired effect.

Keep Rule Sharking with both methods if he complains, as you are on the right side (okay maybe you are on the dark side after that, but who cares 😀 ).

That’s all I wanted to say for today, I think, if there’s something I didn’t think of or something I got wrong, then let me know (either on Facebook or here in the comments; click on the bubble on top of the page).


5 comments on “Rulings considering Damage Step

  1. Just a question: If I activate my Honest during my opponent’s damage calculation his monster dies to its own Attack being added to my monster’s but….does he take the extra damage wich would be my monster’s original Attack? Thanks in advance.

    • Yes, he takes your monsters ATK as damage, of course. Example: You have Alius (1900 ATK), he has Lightpuslar Dragon (2500 ATK), then your monster would gain 2500, so it has 4400 ATK. 4400 – 2500 = 1900 Damage

  2. Pingback: Constellar Xyz Decklist (September 2012 Banlist) | CreativeMinds @

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