Destroy is an action that moves a card to a different location, and normally sends it to the Graveyard.
Cards cannot be destroyed in the Main Deck or Graveyard, or while banished. Usually only cards on the field or monsters whose Summons are negated are destroyed, but cards can also be destroyed in the hand and Extra Deck.
- Card effects that uses the term "destroy" (like "Exiled Force", "Horn of Heaven").
- Not fulfilling a maintenance cost that uses the term "destroy" (like "Messenger of Peace").
- Monster can be destroyed by battle during damage calculation in several circumstances.
- Replacing an existing Field Spell Card.
- If the opponent controls an a face-up Field Spell Card and the player activates a Field Spell Card, the opponent's Field Spell Card will be destroyed by game mechanics when the player's Field Spell Card resolves (while face-up on the field).
- If the player controls a Field Spell Card (even if Set), they can activate another Field Spell Card by destroying the existing Field Spell Card (by game mechanics).
- Invalidating an Equip Card target.
- Existence restrictions.
- Cards that have restrictions on the number that can be face-up will be destroyed if this number is exceeded. For example, if an "Earthbound Immortal Aslla piscu" is flipped face-up (by card effect) while its controller controls another one, the newly flipped monster will be destroyed.
- If a Normal, Quick-Play or Ritual Spell Card, or a Normal or Counter Trap Card is only remaining face-up on the field due to a card effect and that effect is no longer active, it will be destroyed. (e.g. "Swords of Revealing Light" after the 3rd turn.)
- No free zones.
- Halting an infinite loop with no net change.
Not sending destroyed cards to the Graveyard
Some card effects can cause destroyed cards to be moved to a location other than the Graveyard. For example, "Grave Protector" causes all monsters that are destroyed by battle to be shuffled into the Deck instead of being sent to the Graveyard.
If a card like "Macro Cosmos" is active, cards that would be sent to the Graveyard (including by being destroyed) are banished instead. If a card like "Dark Magician of Chaos" would leave the field (including by being destroyed), it is banished instead.
Sending to the Graveyard without destroying
Not all cards that send cards from the field to the Graveyard destroy them; cards like "Dark End Dragon", "Ninjitsu Art of Super-Transformation", "Number 50: Blackship of Corn", and one of the effects of "Number 7: Lucky Straight" send cards from the field to the Graveyard, but they do not destroy the cards, since they don't include the word "destroy" in the text, so these effects cannot be negated by effects like "Stardust Dragon", and other similar effects.