Saturday, May 29, 2010


Going back home after my Nationals, I realized how often people had asked questions about Light and Darkness Dragon. It was probably the most complicated Card in the whole tournament. And since we are still dealing with a trace of The Shining Darkness, I guess it's worth taking a look at it:

This card cannot be Special Summoned. While this card is face-up on the field, its Attribute  is also treated as DARK. When a Spell  or Trap Card is activated, or the effect of an Effect Monster is activated, that activation is negated and this card loses 500 ATK and DEF. When this card is destroyed  and sent to the Graveyard, select 1 monster  in your Graveyard. Then destroy all cards you control, and Special Summon that monster.

Long text is long, so let's break it up a little:

This card cannot be Special Summoned.

Your everyday restriction as a Summoning Condition. Nothing too fancy.

While this card is face-up on the field, its Attribute  is also treated as DARK. 

This is a Continuous Effect. The only complication it has is that, as the text clearly explains, it is only applied while Light and Darkness Dragon is face-up. This means that you cannot use Double Coston to Tribute Summon LADD with a single tribute, and if you target it with Caius, it will count as a LIGHT monster when it is Removed from Play.

When a Spell  or Trap Card is activated, or the effect of an Effect Monster is activated, that activation is negated and this card loses 500 ATK and DEF. 

This is when the Card gets juicy, and pretty much the main use that people like about this Card. There's a barrage of rulings about it, but like most Cards with a lot of rulings, it can be summed up in something much smaller: Light and Darkness Dragon's Quick Effect will activate in response to a Spell Speed 2 or lower Card activation or Monster Effect, only once per chain, and will negate that Card or Effect activation if it succeeds in reducing both its ATK and DEF by 500. That wasn't that bad, was it? Of course, that line is very compact, so let's take a deeper look:

1) This is a Quick Effect. More specifically, it is one of the few Mandatory Quick Effects. Being mandatory, it is chained immediately to a Card as soon as possible, disrupting any other Spell Speed 2 or higher Card that wants to be chained to that Card. So, for example, if a player activates Heavy Storm, LADD's effect is chained immediately, and neither player can chain Magic Jammer to Heavy Storm. Since it negates activations, it doesn't target, and it can be activated during the Damage Step too, even during Damage Calculation. Being mandatory, it will always activate, even if LADD's ATK and DEF are too low to negate the activation, and it will still disrupt the chain like in the Heavy Storm example. And being a Quick Effect, it cannot chain itself to Counter Trap Cards.

2)This effect only negates Card activations. It does not negate effects, and it does not destroy the Card it negates. It cannot negate Ignition-like, Trigger-like, or Quick-like Effects from Spell and Trap Cards, such as Geartown's Special Summoning effect, Royal Oppression's effect, or a Spell Card's effect being activated through Diamond Dude. If an Equip, Field, or Continuous S/T Card has its activation negated, it will not remain on the Field due to Game Mechanics. Monster Effects aren't a Card activation, but Light and Darkness Dragon negates them anyway (because it says so). Of course, Light and Darkness Dragon's effect needs to be chained to what it wants to negate, so it cannot stop any effects that do not use the chain.

3) This effect only activates once per chain. This limitation is based on how otherwise, Light and Darkness Dragon will chain to its own effect over and over again. One of the most common ways to get rid of Light and Darkness Dragon is by exploiting this restriction: You activate a meaningless effect as link 1, Light and Darkness Dragon activates as link 2, and you then chain a Card that gets rid of Light and Darkness Dragon as link 3, which LADD won't be able to negate because it already activated once during this chain.

4) The ATK/DEF reduction happens during the resolution, and it is required to negate the Card's activation. If it's not possible for any reason (LADD isn't face-up, its DEF is too low, etc.), the Card's activation is not negated. The reduction lasts as long as Light and Darkness Dragon remains face-up on the Field. If flipped face-down or Removed from Play temporarily, its ATK/DEF will return to normal.

That covers the basics of the negation effect. There are some weirder scenarios:

5) LADD vs. Reverse Trap: Arbitrarily, Light and Darkness Dragon will only activate once, and it will gain 500 ATK/DEF. After that, it will no longer activate as long as Reverse Trap is active. This is probably used to avoid infinite ATK/DEF gain with the next scenario:

6) LADD vs. repeated Triggers: Some Trigger Effect monsters have really vague Triggers that can be met over and over if LADD negates their activation. In that case, a player can keep activating the Trigger Effects multiple times to reduce the ATK/DEF of LADD. Some examples are Treeborn Frog (it's still in the Graveyard, meeting all other conditions), Lightsworn Monsters (it's still the End Phase), or Spirit Monsters (it's still the End Phase, too). There are also some vague Ignition Effects, such as Blackwing - Vayu the Emblem of Honor, which also keeps meeting its requirements.

7) LADD vs. SEGOC: Sometimes, Trigger Effects form a chain immediately with each other according to the rules of SEGOC. Like we learnt in the article about it, other effects cannot walk into the middle of the SEGOC chain and try to negate one of the Trigger Effects. And so, LADD waits until SEGOC is over to activate its effect. Since its effect doesn't target, it will blindly try to negate the last effect in the SEGOC chain. If it can negate it, it will negate that effect, even if the player intended to negate an earlier chain link. If it can't negate it, it won't negate any activation and will resolve without effect (without losing ATK/DEF either). For example, if a player Normal Summons Blizzard the Far North and also wishes to activate the effect of Black Whirlwind, the player chooses which Card is link 2. If Blizzard is link 2, LADD will negate it. If Whirlwind is link 2, LADD won't negate anything , as it can't negate the effect of an active S/T, and it can't be chained to Blizzard directly.

8) On a similar note, if there are multiple copies of Light and Darkness Dragon (or Doomcalliber Knight, the other mandatory Quick Effect), the Dragons will try to negate the same Card, instead of trying to negate each other. This happens because they form a small SEGOC of their own, instead of being able to wait and realize that the first LADD has activated. In this case of multiple LADDs, the one chained directly to the effect will be able to negate it (and reduce its ATK/DEF), and the ones at higher chain links won't negate it (or reduce its ATK/DEF). This also follows the rules of SEGOC: If a player controls two Dragons, the player chooses the order. If two different players control a copy of the dragon, then the turn player's LADD is placed first on the chain.

Finally, let's look at the last effect:

When this card is destroyed  and sent to the Graveyard, select 1 monster  in your Graveyard. Then destroy all cards you control, and Special Summon that monster.

This is a Mandatory Trigger Effect that activates in the Graveyard. It targets a monster in the Graveyard. Destroying all your Cards is part of the effect, and it is not considered to be simultaneous with the Special Summon (Monsters with Optional Trigger Effects destroyed by LADD will miss the timing). Being mandatory, this effect will resolve as much as possible when activated. If you have no Cards on the Field, it will still Summon a monster, and similarly, if you cannot Special Summon a monster for any reason (no target, or an effect prevents you from doing so), then you still destroy all Cards on your side of the Field. Note that the trigger for this effect never requires LADD to be on the Field at the time of its destruction, so it will still activate if LADD is destroyed in the Hand by Crush Card Virus, if destroyed in the Deck by Chain Destruction, or if destroyed while being Normal or Flip Summoned by Horn of Heaven.

Guess that covers everything about LADD. It's simpler than it looks, really. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an e-mail at ness00[at]gmail[dot]com.

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