| Damage Step
If the attack target is face-down, it is flipped face-up during this Step before damage calculation. If that monster has a Flip Effect or a Trigger Effect that activates when it is flipped face-up, it is activated after damage calculation, but still during the Damage Step.
During the "after the Damage Step" Chain, monsters that have been determined to be destroyed by battle remain on the field. Such monsters cannot be returned to the hand or Deck, so if a face-down "Penguin Soldier" is attacked and determined to be destroyed by battle, it cannot target itself to return to the hand since it has already been destroyed.
Cards and effects that can be activated
During the Damage Step, only certain cards and effects may be activated. Note that some cards and effects specify that they cannot be activated during the Damage Step, which supersedes any reason they would be able to be activated.
The following cards can be activated during the Damage Step.
- Mandatory Effects
- Only Mandatory Effects that specifically note they cannot activate during the Damage Step will not, such as "Vivid Knight".
- Spell/Trap Cards and card effects that directly alter the ATK/DEF of a monster(s).
- "Directly" means that you cannot perform an optional action that would only modify ATK/DEF indirectly, such as activating "Mystical Space Typhoon" that targets "Necrovalley", or activating "Reverse Trap".
- Continuous Trap Cards cannot be activated during the Damage Step unless that card has a Continuous Effect that directly modifies the ATK/DEF of a monster(s), or it has an effect that can be activated during the Damage Step that will resolve with the resolution of the card itself; for example, "Desperate Tag" can be activated during the Damage Step, but only if its Quick-like Effect is activated at the same time. Because Trigger-like Effects cannot be activated at the same time as the Continuous Trap Card itself, cards like "Armor Ninjitsu Art of Rust Mist" and "Howl of the Wild" cannot be activated during the Damage Step, even though their effects can if they are already face-up.
- If the trigger of an optional ATK/DEF modifying effect is a monster being Summoned by the opponent or Summoned to the opponent's side of the field, such as "Shining Elf" and "Evil Blast", the effect cannot be activated during the Damage Step unless otherwise specified.
- Cards like "Half or Nothing" which might not alter ATK/DEF at resolution cannot be activated during the Damage Step.
- "Scrap Sheen", "Zero Force", and "Curse of Anubis" cannot be activated during the Damage Step.
- In the TCG only, if the ATK/DEF modifier specifies Damage Step in its text, such as "Honest" or "Attack of the Cornered Rat", it can be activated up to, and including during damage calculation. If it doesn't specify Damage Step in its text and is optional, it can be used up to, but not including during damage calculation unless otherwise specified. In the OCG, only cards that specify they can be activated during damage calculation and Counter Trap Cards can be.
- In the TCG only, Spell Speed 2 Monster Effects (Quick Effects) that must activate directly in response to an effect activation to negate that activated effect only (except "Bujingi Turtle"). In the OCG, they cannot be activated for this reason alone.
- You can activate the effects of "Photon Strike Bounzer", "Skull Meister", etc.
- You cannot activate the effects of "Number 25: Force Focus", "Number 106: Giant Hand", etc.
- The difference is that cards like "Photon Strike Bounzer" or "Skull Meister" only negate one effect that is activating, and they must be activated directly in response to what they are negating. "Number 25: Force Focus" doesn't need to activate in direct response to an effect, and both it and "Number 106: Giant Hand" negate all effects, rather than the specific one that was activated.
- Any effect that specifically mentions an activation timing during the Damage Step.
- Most optional Trigger and Trigger-like Effects:
- Generally, effects of this nature can be activated during the Damage Step, unless they specifically state that they cannot be.
- If the trigger of the effect is a monster being Summoned by the opponent or Summoned to the opponent's side of the field, such as "Naturia Horneedle" or "Heroic Champion - Gandiva", the effect cannot be activated during the Damage Step unless otherwise specified.
- An optional Trigger Effect of a monster to Special Summon itself from the hand cannot be activated during the Damage Step unless otherwise specified. This includes a monster like "Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest" whose effect has the potential to Summon itself from the hand or from another location, even if "Green Baboon of the Forest" is not actually in the hand.
- It is still suggested to look at every card in this category on a case-by-case basis.
- Cards that have no clear indication that they can be activated during the Damage Step, but have rulings stating that they are allowed to do so: "Chthonian Blast" and "Desrook Archfiend". In the TCG only, "Null and Void" can be activated during the Damage Step.