Chains are used when a card or effect is activated before another activated card or effect resolves. Each player has the opportunity to respond to each activation by activating another card or effect. Each activation is placed on the Chain as a Chain Link, with the first activation being Chain Link 1. Players follow Fast Effect Timing rules when adding effects to the chain.
If neither player responds to the most recent Chain Link, the Chain resolves, with Chain Links resolving in the opposite order to which they were activated in.
Cards and effects can only be added to a Chain while it is being constructed. Once a Chain starts to resolve, cards and effects cannot be activated until the entire Chain has resolved.
Starting a Chain
- The turn player doesn't wish to take any actions while the game state is closed.
- The turn player wants to move to the next Step/Phase.
- The opponent has a Flip, Trigger or Trigger-like Effect that meets its activation timing (this effect activation must be placed on the Chain first before placing any fast effects; see SEGOC).
Building a Chain
The card or effect that started the Chain (the first card or effect to be activated) is Chain Link 1 (チェーン１ Chēn Ichi "Chain 1"). The next is Chain Link 2 (チェーン２ Chēn Ni "Chain 2"), with each additional Chain Link being numbered incrementally, with these numbers corresponding to when it was activated relative to the other Chain Links.
Cards and effects can only be activated as a Chain Link 2 or higher if they have an equal or greater Spell Speed than the previous Chain Link. Spell Speed 1 effects cannot be activated as a Chain Link 2 or higher, except for Trigger and Trigger-like effects if they triggered simultaneously; in this case, they must be placed on the Chain first before either player has the opportunity to activate fast effects.
New Chain Links are activated in response to both the most recent activation (the immediately previous Chain Link) and the event which Chain Link 1 is responding to.
After placing all Spell Speed 1 effects on the Chain, or after any fast effect activation, the player who did not add the last current Chain Link on the Chain has the right add a new one or pass to their opponent. If their opponent then declines to add to the Chain, the Chain is now complete. Cards and effects cannot be resolved until the Chain is complete.
Resolving a Chain
Once both players have decided not to add to the Chain, the Chain is completed. At this time, the Chain is resolved, starting with the card or effect which was activated most recently (the highest Chain Link). Each card in the Chain is then resolved until Chain Link 1 resolves. Cards and effects cannot be activated while the Chain is resolving.
Once the entire Chain resolves, if any of the following cards have not yet been moved to another location, they will be sent to the Graveyard. (This is considered to happen simultaneously with the last part of the resolution of the effect of the last Chain Link that resolved).
- Normal, Quick-Play and Ritual Spell Cards, except those that have an effect like "Swords of Revealing Light" that keeps them on the field.
- Normal and Counter Trap Cards, except those that have an effect like "Blast with Chain" that keeps them on the field.
- Spell and Trap Cards whose activation has been negated.
- Monsters whose Summons have been negated.
- Player 1 activates "Raigeki" (Chain Link 1)
- Player 2 activates "Magic Jammer" in response to "Raigeki" by discarding 1 card (Chain Link 2)
- Player 1 activates "Seven Tools of the Bandit" in response to "Magic Jammer" by paying 1000 LP (Chain Link 3)
The Chain is resolved in reverse activation order, starting with the last card that was activated.
- (Chain Link 3) "Seven Tools of the Bandit" negates the activation of "Magic Jammer" and destroys it.
- (Chain Link 2) "Magic Jammer" had its activation negated, so nothing happens at this Chain Link.
- (Chain Link 1) The effect of "Raigeki" resolves, destroying all monsters Player 2 controls.
- The Chain ends with the remaining cards ("Seven Tools of the Bandit" and "Raigeki") going to the Graveyard. (For timing purposes, this is considered to be done at the same time as the effect of "Raigeki" destroying all of Player 2's monsters.)