Effects in the End Phase

(note: this is also valid – without hand size limit – for effects at the end of the Battle Phase)
Translation of the fan-based mechanic explanation on etcg.de from „Krieger des Lichts“.

In the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, there exist many cards with wordings like „… until the End Phase“ or „during the End Phase, you can…“. Sometimes it happens that you literally have a whole list of such effects when the End Phase is about to start. In addition to these effects, players can activate spell speed 2 or higher effects during the End Phase.

The End Phase always works the same way:
At the start of the End Phase, both the turn player and the non-turn player have a list of effects. These lists may include:

  • effects that activate in the End Phase („during the End Phase …“)
  • effects that end during the End Phase („… until the End Phase“)
  • all effects with spell speed 2 or 3 that players want to activate in addition

The lists are executed during the End Phase in the following way:

  1. First, the turn player may activate something from his list. He can also pass priority*. In that case…
  2. … the non-turn player may activate something from his list. He can pass priority*, too. In that case…
  3. … if the turn player has anything mandatory on his list, he has to do something on his list. If not:
  4. If the non-turn player has anything mandatory on his list, he has to do something on his list. If not, the excecution of both lists is finished.

There are two important points that you have to remember:

  • 1. in 3) and 4) the wording is „has to do something“: The player has to activate something, because there is a mandatory effect on his list. But he does not have to activate the mandatory effect. Instead, he may activate an optional effect or an effect with spell speed 2 or 3.
  • 2. Whenever a player does something on his list, after resolving the chain, the End Phase starts anew. You will get more information on this later on with example 3.

After 4), you check the hand size limit: If the turn player has too many cards, he has to discard now. In that case, the effect of a discarded card might activate, of course. If that happens, after resolving the chain, the hand size limit has to be checked again. In that case, however, the End Phase does not start anew.

End Phase Example 1: Effect Veiler vs. Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
The turn player controls Lyla, and the opponent activates Effect Veiler on that same Lyla.
The turn player has therefore the following effect on his list: „Lyla: During each of your End Phases: Send the top 3 cards of your Deck to the Graveyard.“
The non-turn player has on his list: „Removing of the effect: negate that target’s effects until the End Phase.“
At 1), the turn player could activate Lyla’s effect, which would then be negated by Effect Veiler, and would not mill cards into his graveyard.
If the turn player passes priority, the non-turn player may remove the effect of Effect Veiler(2)). Then, we go back to 1), and at the latest in 3) the turn player has to use the mill-effect. If the non-turn player passes priority in 2), the turn player HAS to activate Lyla’s effect in 3). The effect would be negated by Effect Veiler in that case and, in that case, the turn player would not mill.

End Phase Example 2: Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress destroys XX-Saber Darksoul by battle
The turn player destroyed Darksoul by attacking with Lyla. Therefore, the turn player has on his list: „Lyla: During each of your End Phases: Send the top 3 cards of your Deck to the Graveyard.“
The non-turn player has on his list: „Darksoul: During the End Phase(…): You can add 1 „X-Saber“ monster from your Deck to your hand.“
At 1), the turn player may activate Lyla’s effect and mill.
If he decides to pass, the non-turn player may search at 2) for an X-Saber monster or pass, too. If he does the latter, the turn player is forced to mill at 3). After milling, the End Phase starts anew, and the non-turn player has again the chance of searching for a X-Saber monster. If he passes, they check the hand size limit.
To sum it up: The turn player may mill before the non-turn player searches for Darksoul.

End Phase Example 3: Majestic Mech – Ohka vs. Light and Darkness Dragon (LaDD):
The turn player has on his list: „Ohka: If you do, it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase.“ LaDD has the effect: „Once per Chain, during either player’s turn, when a Spell Card, Trap Card, or monster effect is activated: This card loses exactly 500 ATK and DEF and that activation is negated.“

Assuming LaDD has his full 2800 ATK / 2400 DEF: then at 3), the turn player has to activate the effect of Ohka. The activation of the effect is negated by LaDD, which changes his stats to 2300 ATK / 1900 DEF.
Now, the End Phase starts anew. But Ohka kept his effect: In the End Phase, he has to be sent to the graveyard. LaDD has to negate the activation of the effect of Ohka again, which makes his stats 1800 ATK / 1400 DEF. And again, and again… until LaDD has only 800 ATK and 400 DEF. Now, LaDD cannot negate any more, and Ohka is sent to the graveyard.

This happens because LaDD negates the activation of the effect. Effect Veiler only negates the effect, not its activation. For this reason, Ohka would resolve the same way vs. Effect Veiler as example 2 showed us.

A graphic of the process described above is available here: overview of the End Phase.

Disclaimer: We hope that this explanation was of use to you. Please keep in mind that it is a translation of a Fan-based document. THIS IS NO OFFICIAL RESSOURCE. If this document was of help to you, feel free to spread it towards other fellow judges and players. If you have any comments, let us know by using the comments-field below or contacting the owner of this domain via email.

* please imagine a wording that is appropirate. For the matter of keeping this document as short of possible, I stick to the not-recommended term.