Chains are used when the effects of more than one card are activated at once, or when an effect is activated in response to the activation of another effect. Each response is placed in a new "Chain Link", and the Chain then resolves in the opposite order to which it was activated in.
- Only cards/effects that can be activated can form a Chain.
- The first activation 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), and so on. Every time a new Chain Link is made, they are stacked up in the order that the cards/effects are activated.
- New Chain Links can only be created in response to the immediately previous Chain Link.
- Effects can only be placed as a Chain Link 2 or higher if it has an equal or greater Spell Speed than the one on the Chain Link before it.
- Spell Speed 1 effects cannot be placed as a Chain Link 2 or higher, except for Flip, Trigger and Trigger-like effects if they activated simultaneously; in this case, they must be placed on the Chain first before using Fast Effects (see SEGOC).
- After placing all Spell Speed 1 effects on the Chain, or after a Fast Effect activation, the last player who activated his card/effect must give his opponent the chance to respond with another card/effect of their own.
- Both players continue to add Chain Links to the Chain until they both wish to add nothing else.
- Card effects cannot be resolved until both players decline to start or add to a Chain.
Once the Chain is completed, the outcome is resolved starting with the most recent card/effect to be activated at the top of the Chain and proceeding down to Chain Link 1. Here is one such example:
- Player 1 plays "Raigeki" (Chain Link 1)
- Player 2 responds with "Magic Jammer", activating it in response to "Raigeki" (Chain Link 2)
- Player 1 responds with "Seven Tools of the Bandit" (Chain Link 3)
The Chain is resolved in reverse activation order, starting with the last card that was activated.
- (Chain Link 3) Player 1's "Seven Tools of the Bandit" negates Player 2's "Magic Jammer".
- (Chain Link 2) The effect of "Magic Jammer" does not apply.
- (Chain Link 1) The effect of "Raigeki" takes place, destroying all monsters on Player 2's side of the field.
- The chain ends with all three cards activated going to the Graveyard.
Starting a chain
- The turn player doesn't wish to take any actions while the game state is close.
- The turn player wants to move to the next Step/Phase.
- The opponent has a Flip, Trigger or Trigger-like Effect (this effect activation must placed on the Chain first before placing any other card effects; see SEGOC).
Any actions that do not possess a Spell Speed cannot be chained to. Therefore, those actions can only be responded to.
Example: Player 1 Summons a "Blue-Eyes White Dragon", then in response Player 1 activates "Rush Recklessly", targeting "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". The Summon is still the last action with no Spell Speed to have resolved on the field, and Player 2 can still respond with "Trap Hole" by chaining it to "Rush Recklessly"