Rulings: Resolving End Phase Effects

This is a ruling that has come up with the YCG cast, amongst ourselves and also at high level events that most people don’t know how to resolve. I will now make my best attempt to explain it.

I’m sure you’ve been in a scenario similar this at some time:

I summon a Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner and use her effect only for her effect to be negated by my opponent’s Effect Veiler. I later move to my End Phase. Lumina has an effect that mills 3 cards during my End Phase that I would like to activate. Effect Veiler says it negates the effects of the monster “until the End Phase”. So when does Veiler’s negation stop? Can I choose to use Lumina’s effect after Veiler is done negating or does Lumina get negated by Effect Veiler? All very good questions that I hope to answer!

This can also apply to things like Enemy Controller taking a Lightsworn monster. Does the opponent who took the Lightsworn get to mill during the End Phase or does the monster return from Enemy Controller and the original owner mill?

The answer to these questions are all over the internet. You can look for specific rulings for each or find how the end phase works. That being said, I’m not really providing any new information here, just a regurgitation of information already present to everyone. With that, I’ll start by saying the End Phase is divided into what could be considered 5 steps.

  1. Turn Player Optional Priority
  2. Non-Turn Player Optional Priority
  3. Turn Player Mandatory Priority
  4. Non-Turn Player Mandatory Priority
  5. Check Hand Size

The first four steps are very cyclical in nature so they can potentially repeat during the End Phase, but these steps help decide how effects resolve in the End Phase. The final step is checking your hand size right before your turn ends so that you discard cards to maintain the hand size limit of 6. If you’re hand size exceeds 6 cards, you discard until you have 6 cards, a rule I’m sure we all know. There’s some intricacies to the hand size limit portion involving cards like Dandylion or Dark World Grimoire, but I won’t get into those.

The first four steps though work very similar to priority any any other phase. The turn player always starts with priority. This is the ability to activate an effect. I’d rather not have to explain all the nuances of priority, so my best explanation of it is that priority is like your chance to activate a card. The turn player can always activate cards first. As soon as the turn player activates a card or effect, priority passes to the opponent and they have the option to use a card or effect first now. Hopefully that makes sense, but if not, it’s not a huge deal.

Breaking Down Each Step:

Step 1: 

The first thing that happens in the End Phase is that the turn player may choose to activate any mandatory or optional effects that occur in the End Phase. This is very simple, any effect that says it activates in the End Phase that to turn player controls may be activated here. This is the only time where you can activate optional End Phase effects. That means technically if you pass on an optional effect at this point you cannot use it. This isn’t completely true though.  The turn player also has the option to pass on this step and not activate any effects. If the turn player passes, we move to step 2.

Step 2:

This step is the same as Step 1 except for the non-turn player. The non-turn player may now choose to use any mandatory or optional effects that occur in the End Phase. Similar to Step 1, the non-turn player also has the option to pass on this step. If they pass we move to step 3.

Step 3:

In this step we move back to the turn player. The turn player now MUST activate all mandatory effect that occurs in the End Phase. Mandatory effects are things like Lumina’s and other Lightsworn’s milling effects; these effects must occur in the End Phase thus they are mandatory. [An example of an optional effect would be Bujin Yamato. During the End Phase you CAN activate Yamato’s effect if you please or you can decline to use it. This is because Yamato’s effect is optional.] If there are no mandatory effects for the turn player to activate we move to step 4.

Step 4:

Step 4 is the same as step 3 except for the non-turn player. The non-turn player now MUST  activate all mandatory effect that occurs in the End Phase. If the non-turn player has no mandatory effects we move to step 5.

Step 5:

The turn player verifies their hand size and discard down to 6 cards.

Then the turn ends, moving to the next player’s Draw Phase.


Now, there is one more bit of nuance to this system that is very important.

If a player activates an effect in any of the first four steps, instead of continuing onto the next step, start back at step 1.

These steps will continually be gone through until they can be gone through without anything resolving.

Let’s now apply this to the Lumina vs. Effect Veiler example. Let’s assume the player controlling the effect of Effect Veiler does not wish the Lightsworn player to mill. This means they will hold off on ending Veiler’s negation until the last possible moment. Another piece of information: Lumina’s milling effect is mandatory. Effect Veiler’s effect to end its negation is also mandatory (we know this because you MUST end its negation, the card does not imply in any way that you may choose not to end its effect). I will explain in as much detail as possible:

  • Step 1: The turn player’s Lumina is still negated by Veiler, so they will pass on step 1.
  • Step 2: The non-turn player still wishes to negate Lumina so they will pass on ending Veiler’s effect.
  • Step 3: The turn player MUST use Lumina’s effect because it is mandatory so it will be negated.
  • The player uses an effect so we would go back to step 1
  • Step 1: The turn player has no more effects so they pass.
  • Step 2: The non-turn player will end Veiler’s effect because they have no reason to continue it anymore.
  • Step 1: No effects
  • Step 2: No effects
  • Step 3: No effects
  • Step 4: No effects
  • Step 5: Check hand size
  • End turn.

So, no matter what, the turn player cannot evade a mandatory effect being negated by Veiler in the End Phase. As you probably noticed, due to the resetting of the steps, a lot of technically unnecessary steps occur, but for logics sake they do occur, but in practice you can ignore them.

I’m sure you’ve heard this other ruling out their as well: Veiler cannot negate Bujin Yamato in the End Phase. This ruling is true as well because Bujin Yamato is an optional End Phase effect. I’ll do another example to show why this is the case. Let’s assume Main Phase 1 the non-turn player uses Effect Veiler on Yamato and once again the non-turn player will hold off on ending Veiler’s negation until the last possible moment. Here’s how this will play out:

  • Step 1: The turn player’s Yamato is still being negated by Veiler, so they will pass.
  • Step 2: The non-turn player wishes to continue Veiler’s effect, so they will pass.
  • Step 3: The turn player has no mandatory effects, so they must pass.
  • Step 4: The non-turn player MUST end Veiler’s effect because it is mandatory.
  • Step 1: The turn player now chooses to use Yamato’s effect because Veiler has ended.
  • Step 1: No Effects
  • Step 2: No Effects
  • Step 3: No Effects
  • Step 4: No Effects
  • Step 5: Check hand size
  • End turn.

What happens is that, because the steps reset when an effect activates, the turn player can use that knowing the opponent must use Veiler in step 3 causing the steps to reset. This will allow the turn player a second opportunity to use Yamato during his second step 1.

You can use these two examples to apply this rule of thumb:

  • Mandatory effects are negated by Veiler in the End Phase.
  • Optional effects are NOT negated by Veiler in the End Phase.

Another card of note that is an optional End Phase effect is the effect of Kuribandit. Bandit says you CAN tribute it during the End Phase, meaning the opponent cannot Veiler it to negate its effect because you can tribute it after Veiler completely resolves. Yay!

One last distinction that I think I should make is between cards that say “until the End Phase” and “until the end of the turn”. Effect Veiler negates until the End Phase and Breakthrough Skill negates until the end of the turn. Does this difference mean anything to this discussion. Yes, in fact it does. When an card applies “until the end of the turn”, that means it applies until the literal end of the turn. It applies until after step 5 all the way until the turn completely ends and ends simultaneously as the turn is ending. That means there’s no amount of finagling that one could do to allow you monster effect to resolve while that effect is negated by Breakthrough Skill. Breakthrough Skill negates Lightsworn milling, Yamato and any other End Phase effect no matter what.

QOTW? Question of the Week:

Are their any other End Phase effect disputes you would like to understand? Leave some comments with any specific questions you may have and I will try my best to explain how it works!

Written by: Kyle