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|Japanese (base text)||
Cards already in the Graveyard and banished cards cannot be destroyed. Usually only cards on the field or monsters whose Summons are negated are destroyed, but card effects that use the term "destroy" can destroy cards in the hand, Main Deck and Extra Deck. Cards cannot be destroyed in the Main Deck unless a card specifically allows it, such as "Chain Dispel"; for example, if "The Fabled Unicore" negates the activation of the effect of a card in the Main Deck, it will not be destroyed.
- Destroyed by card effect:
- Destroyed by battle:
- If the attack target is in Attack Position, the monster with the lowest ATK will be destroyed by that battle. If the monsters have nonzero equal ATK, they will both be destroyed by that battle.
- If the attack target is in Defense Position, the attack target will be destroyed by that battle if its DEF is lower than the attacking monster's ATK.
- Destroyed by game mechanics
- Not fulfilling a maintenance cost that uses the term "destroy" (such as "Messenger of Peace").
- Equipped cards are destroyed if their target is not face-up in a Monster Zone or has become an incorrect target. If a card that is not normally an Equip Card is equipped to a monster by that monster's effect, it will be destroyed if that effect is no longer being applied.
- Cards that have restrictions on the number that can be face-up will be destroyed if this number is exceeded. (For example, if an "Earthbound Immortal Aslla piscu" is flipped face-up while there is another "Earthbound Immortal" monster on the field, the newly flipped "Aslla piscu" will be destroyed.)
- If a Normal, Quick-Play or Ritual Spell Card, or a Normal or Counter Trap Card is only remaining face-up on the field due to a card effect and that effect is no longer active, it will be destroyed (e.g. "Swords of Revealing Light" after the 3rd turn).
- When taking control of the opponent's monster, if there is no available Monster Zone for it, it is destroyed while under the opponent's control.
- Halting an infinite loop with no net change.
Not sending destroyed cards to the Graveyard
While destroyed cards are normally sent to the Graveyard, some card effects can cause destroyed cards to be moved to another location instead. Even if they are not sent to the Graveyard, they are still considered destroyed.
For example, "Grave Protector" causes all monsters that are destroyed by battle to be shuffled into the Deck instead of being sent to the Graveyard. If a card like "Macro Cosmos" is active, cards that would be sent to the Graveyard (including by being destroyed) are banished instead. If a card like "Dark Magician of Chaos" would leave the field (including by being destroyed), it is banished instead.
Sending to the Graveyard without destroying
Only card effects that specifically say that a card is destroyed do so. Cards such as "Card Destruction", "Hand Destruction", "Number 50: Blackship of Corn", "Polymerization" and "Black Illusion Ritual" can send cards to the Graveyard, but they do not destroy them.