|Japanese (base text)||
A Link Monster (Japanese: リンクモンスター Rinku Monsutā) is a type of Monster Card. The color of their card frame is dark blue, which is similar to that of a Ritual Monster, but with a hexagonal honeycomb pattern. These cards are placed in the Extra Deck.
Like other Extra Deck monsters, Link Monsters cannot exist in the hand or the Main Deck (even with card effects). If a Link Monster would be moved to the hand or Main Deck, it is returned to the Extra Deck instead, unless a card like "Transmigration Break" or "Degenerate Circuit" is active, in which case the Link Monster would still be banished. Also like other Extra Deck monsters, if a Link Monster is not properly Link Summoned before being sent to the Graveyard or banished, it cannot be Special Summoned from there (unless it specifies another way to properly Special Summon it).
Link Ratings and lack of DEF
Link Monsters have a Link Rating in place of a Level or Rank. A Link Monster's Link Rating can be found next to its ATK, in place of a DEF value. A Link Monster's Link Rating determines the total number of Link Materials required to Link Summon it, and is equal to the number of its Link Arrows.
Link Monsters do not possess Levels or Ranks. Therefore, Link Monsters cannot be used as material for a Synchro, or Xyz Summon, and are unaffected by cards that modify or check Levels/Ranks, such as "Harmonic Waves", "Feedback Warrior", "Gravity Bind", or "Level Limit - Area B".
In particular, since most Ritual Spell Cards require Tributing monsters whose total Levels equal or exceed a specific value, Link Monsters normally cannot be used for Ritual Summons; however, Ritual Spells that depend on ATK (such as "Meteonis Drytron") can use Link Monsters.
Link Monsters can only exist in face-up Attack Position, and cannot be put in Defense Position through any means. This is because Link Monsters lack a DEF value and because rotating a Link Monster into Defense Position would change the directions its Link Arrows point to. As such, Link Monsters are unaffected by effects that change battle positions, cannot be placed face-down, and cannot be Special Summoned by an effect that summons only in Defense Position (such as "Back to the Front").
If a Link Monster points to a monster, the monsters are considered to be "linked" to each other.
Two Link Monsters that point to each other are considered to be "co-linked" to each other.
A Link Summon is the act of Summoning a Link Monster from the Extra Deck using the requisite number of Link Materials listed on its Link Rating.
A player can Link Summon as many times as desired per turn, provided they can provide the appropriate Link Materials each time.
Link Monsters commonly grant benefits to monsters they point to or gain more powerful effects depending on the number of monsters they point to. As such, Decks focused around Link Monsters include methods to quickly gather monsters for Link Materials, as to be placed into the zones where Link Monsters point to.
When Summoning multiple Link Monsters, it is important to decide which order to Summon them in, as their Link Arrows will dictate where other Link Monsters can be Summoned and what monsters will be Linked to them.
Link Monsters with higher Link Ratings can be Special Summoned more quickly by Link Summoning multiple Link Monsters with lower Link Ratings first. This can help place Link Monsters in zones that take better advantage of their Link Arrows.
Powerful Link Monsters can have drawbacks, including possessing a higher Link Rating and forward-pointing Link Arrows, allowing the opponent to summon more Extra Deck monsters. For example, "Decode Talker", "Firewall Dragon", "Topologic Bomber Dragon", and "Encode Talker" have Link Arrows that point towards the opponent's field (when placed in the Extra Monster Zone), while weaker Link Monsters such as "Missus Radiant", "Link Spider", and the non-effect "Gaia Saber, the Lightning Shadow" do not.
- There are currently no Fish Link Monsters.
- "Five-Headed Link Dragon" has the highest ATK of all Link Monsters, with 5000 ATK. It also has the highest number of required Link Materials of all Link Monsters, requiring 5 monsters.
- "The Arrival Cyberse @Ignister" has the highest Link Rating of all Link Monsters, with a Link Rating of 6.
- There are currently no Link Monsters with a Link Rating of 7 and 8.