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How to read effects in the Digimon Card Game.

Triggered Effects

Activated Effects are normally denoted by their Timing as to when they are put on standby. Triggered [Main], [Your Turn], [Opponent's Turn], and [All Turns] effects that are denoted by "when X occurs" in the text. The [Your Turn], [Opponent's Turn], and [All Turns] effects that do not have a trigger condition are treated as Continuous or Passive Effects and not Triggered Effects.

Non-Triggered Timings

Triggered effects that are marked as [Main], [Your Turn], [Opponent's Turn], or [All Turns] effects are read in this manner:

{Timing}{Per Turn Condition} {Trigger Condition}, {Activation Condition}, {Optional} {Effect}

For example, with [BT1-086 Rosemon].

{Timing: [Opponent's Turn]} {Trigger Condition: When an opponent's Digimon attacks a player}, {Activation Condition: if this Digimon is suspended}, {Effect: suspend 1 of your opponent's Digimon.}

Rosemon has "When an opponent's Digimon attacks a player" as its Trigger Condition and "if this Digimon is suspended" as its Activaton Condition.

Another example is [BT6-044 Dynasmon]'s [All Turns] effect.

{Timing: [All Turns]} {Trigger Condition: When a card is removed from your security stack}, {Activation Condition: if your security is three or less}, {Effect: <Recovery +1 (Deck)>.}

So Dynasmon has a trigger condition of "when a card is removed from your security stack", and an activation condition ", if your security is three or less,".

Triggered Timings

All other triggered effects with different timings are structured in this layout, where {Timing} is their Trigger Condition:

{Timing}{Per Turn Condition} {Activation or Additional Trigger Condition}, {Optional} {Effect}

For example, with [BT1-003 Upamon].

{Timing: [When Attacking]}{Per Turn Condition: (Once Per Turn)} {Activation Condition: If your opponent has a Digimon with no digivolution cards in play}, {Effect: trigger <Draw 1>.}

An example of an additional trigger condition is [BT3-058 BanchoStingmon].

{Timing: [When Attacking]} {Additional Trigger Condition: When you attack an opponent's Digimon that has 12000 DP or more}, {Effect: [When Attacking] When this Digimon attacks one of your opponent's Digimon with 12000 DP or more, this Digimon gets +7000 DP and <Security Attack +2> for the turn.}

In this case, the condition is checked at the timing.

Identifying Trigger and Activation Conditions

On the wiki, all Additional Trigger Conditions are designated "when" and all Activation Conditions are designated "if". Some cards in English have swapped the two around, but left no clear differentiator. As such, this is the most effective method to differentiate the two, as it requires the least amount of changes to all cards. Examples of cards that have mixed "when" and "if" are:

Determining the Difference in Japanese

In Japanese card text, Activation Conditions and Trigger Conditions are still differentiated by the same Effect Structure. However, Additional Trigger Conditions check for Past Actions that have occurred in the game while Activation Conditions check for the current Game State.

The reason this was not used when altering the text on English cards is because numerous cards have altered the Grammatical Tense and it would be difficult to change all of them. (e.g. [When Attacking] is past tense in Japanese)

Interruptive Effects

There is no official term for this. This is a fan-term used to describe a particular type of Triggered Effect. However, the detailed rulebook specifically lists these effects as acting differently and how to differentiate them.

Interruptive Effects are a particular type of Triggered Effect that follow special rules in Effect Resolution. These are differentiated simply by having "when... would" in its trigger condition as well. For example, [BT2-082 Diaboromon] has "When this Digimon would be deleted in battle" as its trigger condition making it an interruptive effect. The same can be shown of <Decoy> which has "When one of your other black Digimon would be deleted by an opponent's effect" as its trigger condition.

Determining the Difference in Japanese

In Japanese, interruptive effects are purely differentiated by whether the trigger condition is written in past tense or present tense. All interruptive trigger conditions are written in present tense.

Note, in English some interruptive trigger conditions have been translated in this manner but it is not a viable method of determining interruptive effects as there exist past tense trigger conditions have been translated as present tense (e.g. [When Attacking] or "when your Digimon attacks"), particularly those to do with attacking. It's important to note, that many cards before BT-09: Booster X Record fail to follow the Detailed Rulebook standard in English, and some have also been translated to "when [action]-ing" or translated in a completely incorrect manner (e.g. [BT7-063 DarkKnightmon] which is neither present tense "-ing" nor "would" and in past tense).

Optional and Mandatory Effects

Effects are denoted as optional if the effect has a "you can" or "you may" text directly after its activation condition. However, if the effect has "Then," afterwards, it is not considered optional even if it starts with "you may" directly after the trigger/activation condition*.

Effects that have a "your opponent may" are not considered optional, as the player controlling the effect makes the decision as to when the effect is activated. The action is optional for the opponent, but the effect is not optional for the player controlling the effect.

*Effects that have "you may do <X> to <Y>" are considered optional even if there is a "Then," within the effect.

Examples of mandatory effects:

  • [BT4-075 Blastmon]: [When Attacking] Your opponent may choose 1 of their unsuspended Digimon. If they do, switch the target of attack to that Digimon.
  • [BT5-019 Shoutmon DX]: [When Digivolving] You may place 1 red Digimon card from your hand at the top of this Digimon's digivolution cards. Then, for each [OmniShoutmon] or [ZeigGreymon] in this Digimon's digivolution cards, delete 1 of your opponent's Digimon with 5000 DP or less.
  • [BT6-083 Eosmon]: [On Play] You may play 1 white Tamer card with a play cost of 4 or less from your hand without paying its memory cost. Then, your opponent may play 1 Tamer card from their hand without paying its memory cost.
  • [BT5-022 Bulucomon]: [Your Turn] (Once Per Turn) When one of your opponent's digivolution cards is trashed, gain 1 memory.
  • [BT4-114 AncientGarurumon]: [When Attacking] (Once Per Turn) Unsuspend up to 2 of your Digimon with [Garurumon] in their (other than [KendoGarurumon]) or [Hybrid] in their form.
  • [BT3-027 Paildramon]: [When Attacking] (Once Per Turn) If this Digimon has [Imperialdramon] in its name, unsuspend it.

Examples of optional effects:

  • [BT6-030 Gabumon - Bond of Friendship]: [When Attacking] (Once Per Turn) If you have a Tamer in play, you may unsuspend this Digimon.
  • [BT2-077 Kimeramon]: [On Play] You may delete one of your other Digimon to delete 1 of your opponent's level 5 or lower Digimon.
  • [BT6-083 Eosmon]: [When Attacking] You may play 1 white Tamer card with a play cost of 4 or less from your hand without paying its memory cost.
  • [BT5-079 BlackWarGrowlmon]: [When Attacking] (Once Per Turn) You may delete 1 of your other Digimon to unsuspend this Digimon.
  • [BT3-087 Mummymon]: [When Attacking] You may pay 3 memory to play 1 [MaloMyotismon] from your hand without paying its memory cost. Then, delete this Digimon.

Targeting

Targeting Effects are effects that ask a player to choose Digimon to be affected ("1 of your Digimon", "1 of your opponent's Digimon"). These effects can target Digimon even if the effect cannot be applied to the Digimon (e.g. [BT3-057 MegaGargomon] can target suspended Digimon, even if they cannot be suspended. Thus, preventing it from unsuspending during the next Unsuspend Phase). However, if an effect specifies a condition ("1 of <condition> Digimon with <condition>"), a player can only target Digimon that satisfy those conditions. (e.g. [BT4-054 Sunflowmon] can only target suspended Digimon for its effect)

Effects applied after targeting a Digimon will continue to apply after being digivolved or de-digivolved. For more information, see Persistent Effects.

Multi-Target Effects

For effects that choose more than 1 target. There exists a difference between "up to <number>" and "<number>" effects. You cannot select the same Digimon multiple with these effects.

If an effect does not contain "up to", a player must choose as many possible targets that satisfy the target condition as possible.

(Example: An effect that reads, "3 of your opponent's level 3 Digimon" requires you to choose 3 of your opponent's level 3 Digimon. If your opponent only has 2 level 3 Digimon in play, you must choose as many of them as you can, so you must choose both.)

If an effect contains "up to", a player must choose any number of targets up to that number. However, they must choose at least 1 if there exists 1 or more applicable targets in play.

(Example: An effect that reads, "up to 3 of your opponent's level 3 Digimon" allows you to choose between 1-3 of your opponent's level 3 Digimon.)

Sources

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