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- Responding to an activation (an action that creates a Chain Link).
- Responding to an event (an action performed when resolving a Chain Link or outside of a Chain entirely).
If a card or effect can only be activated in response to an event, but another event performed strictly afterward means that it is not possible to activate a card or effect in response to that event, that card or effect misses the timing.
Responding to a non-activation action
Some cards and effects can only be activated in response to non-activation actions. Both actions performed due to an effect (such as banishing a monster with "Dark Core") and game actions (such conducting the normal draw) can be responded to.
Only the most recent action can be responded to. For example, "Chthonian Blast" can be activated in response to a monster being destroyed by "Dark Hole" or "Gemini Spark" because the monster being destroyed is the last thing to happen, but cannot be activated in response to "Soul Taker" because Life Points are gained after the monster is destroyed. Being unable to activate "Chthonian Blast" in this circumstance is an example of missing the timing. Cards with Problem-Solving Card Text use the conjunctives "and", "also", and "and if you do" to indicate simultaneity, and use "then" or "also, after that" to indicate that actions are performed in sequence.
While building a Chain, whatever action occurred before the construction of the Chain is still considered the last thing to happen. For example, if the turn player declares an attack and activates "Rising Energy" in response, their opponent can chain "Mirror Force", because the attack declaration is still considered the last thing to happen (not the discarding action due to "Rising Energy").
Actions that do not go on a Chain can only be responded to, not Chained to. It is incorrect to say that an action that does not go on a Chain is "Chained to".
Responding to an activation
When a card or effect is activated, a card or effect activated in the following Chain Link is activated in response to that activation. Cards and effects activated in any other Chain Link of that same Chain are not in response to that activation.
A card or effect that negates an activation can only do so if it is activated in response to the activation it would negate, unless it would negate the entire rest of the Chain (such as "Vanity's Call" or "Tachyon Transmigration").
If a card or an effect prevents a card(s) or effect(s) from being activated in response to its activation (such as "Night Beam" and the effect of "Uria, Lord of Searing Flames"), if a card or effect is activated in Chain to that activation, then those prevented card(s) and effect(s) can be activated in subsequent Chain Links because they are not in response to that card.