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A Special Summon (
If a monster is not being Normal Summoned, nor Flip Summoned, nor is it being returned to the field by an effect such as that of "Wind-Up Rabbit", that monster is being Special Summoned. For example, if the effect of "Toadally Awesome" causes a monster to be Set onto the field, that monster is being Special Summoned in face-down Defense Position.
Special Summons can be performed multiple times per turn, and, unlike a Normal Summon, do not require Tributes. A Special Summon is always performed in either face-up Attack or Defense Position, unless a card specifies that the monster may be Special Summoned face-down.
Special Summon Monsters
Main Page: Special Summon Monster
A Special Summon Monster is any monster that cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. These are all Extra Deck monsters (Synchro, Xyz, Fusion, and Link monsters), Ritual monsters, and all monsters with the text "Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set". Special Summon Monsters must first be Summoned through the method prescribed on their text before they can be special summoned by another card's effect from the hand, Main Deck, Graveyard, and while banished.
These monsters all have their ability to be Normal Summoned/Set replaced with a condition that describes how it can be Special Summoned through the game's rules. It is important to note, however, that Special Summon Monsters can also be summoned through an activated effect, such as "Malefic Truth Dragon".
Monsters such as "Stardust Dragon", "Number 39: Utopia", "Relinquished", "Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning", "Chimeratech Fortress Dragon", and "Malefic Truth Dragon" are all Special Summon Monsters (none of these monsters can be Normal Summoned/Set). Monsters such as "Cyber Dragon", "Genex Ally Birdman", and "Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World" are not Special Summon Monsters (it is possible to Normal Summon/Set these monsters).
How to Special Summon
There are two ways to perform a Special Summon: Special Summoning a Special Summon Monster through the game's rules, or Special Summon using a card's effect.
When performing a Special Summon, you must first select the monster you wish to Special Summon. Then, you declare that you are performing the Summon and perform the appropriate action (e.g., overlay your materials for an Xyz Summon, or send your Tributes to the Graveyard for a Ritual Summon), then, perform the Special Summon.
Summoning a Special Summon Monster
A Special Summon Monster can be Summoned through the game's rules during an open game state in your Main Phase (see Fast Effect Timing). This is an action without Spell Speed, and thus does not start a Chain. These are Synchro Summoning, Xyz Summoning, Pendulum Summoning, Link Summoning, or Summoning a Special Summon Monster through the conditions that describe how to play it. These monsters are not Summoned through effects.
Special Summon with a Card's Effect
The other method by which to Special Summon is to use a card's effect. Cards can have effects which allow you to either Special Summon themselves or another card to the field. If you are not Summoning a Special Summon Monster through game mechanics, then you are Summoning with a card's effect - regardless of whether that effect is using the chain.
"Cyber Dragon"; "Genex Ally Birdman"; "Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World"; and "Malefic Truth Dragon" are all Summoned through effects. Spell and Trap Cards can also Summon through their effects, such as "Polymerization", Ritual Spell Cards, and cards such as "Ancient Rules".
Negating Special Summons
See: Negating Summons.
- Player A activates "Nekroz Cycle" while they control a "Nekroz of Unicore". Player A cannot Tribute that "Nekroz of Unicore", and then Ritual Summon that same "Nekroz of Unicore", as they must first select a monster from their hand or Graveyard to Ritual Summon before Tributing the "Nekroz of Unicore" on the field to perform the Ritual Summon.
- "Dark Ruler Ha Des" destroys "Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World" in battle. As Grapha is not a Special Summon Monster, it has an effect which Special Summons itself from the Graveyard. This effect is thus negated by "Dark Ruler Ha Des", and "Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World" cannot be Special Summoned by applying its effect.