"Priority" is not a 4-letter-word. Our rules page has a great explanation of what exactly "priority" is and how it works, but the mechanic still trips up a lot of players in part due to misunderstandings about priority that continue to ripple throughout the Goat Format community. I will directly clear up each of the biggest misconceptions surrounding priority so that our players can all gain a more concrete understanding of this mysterious game mechanic.
Cards Don't Have Priority
Are you ready? Say it with me, everyone: CARDS DON’T HAVE PRIORITY. If you ever find yourself asking, “Does this card have priority?” you have asked a nonsensical question that indicates that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of an important game mechanic. This question would be akin to asking how many lifepoints a Dark Magician has or how many spell cards you’re allowed to summon in a turn.
Why is this a nonsensical question? “Priority” is simply a shorthand term that refers to the right to use a card or effect. A card can’t have priority because cards don’t play other cards. Players activate cards or use their effects.
Priority = Fast Effect Timing + Ignition Effects
Who should understand the priority mechanic better than everyone? Ironically enough, it’s current format players. They deal with priority in each of their games; they just don’t call it that. Instead, they call it “fast effect timing.” See this chart here? Read it, memorize it, and replace every section of the chart that mentions the turn player’s right to use a “fast effect” with “fast effect or ignition effect.”
Yep, that’s the only difference between current and Goat Format’s priority rules. Here are some examples:
Sometimes, Priority Is Assumed To Be Passed
Yu-Gi-Oh!’s judges have consistently applied a great principle called “rule by intent” in order to prevent players from rule-sharking their opponents. While players are theoretically supposed to announce each pass of priority as they move throughout the turn, in reality they engage in what are deemed “established shortcuts.” An example of a common shortcut is that a player might draw a card for their turn and summon a monster without verbally confirming that their opponent does not want to activate an effect in the draw phase or standby phase. This is considered perfectly acceptable since it would prevent the game from advancing at a reasonable pace if the players declared a dozen or more priority passes every single turn.
99.9% of the time, a player will pass priority in their draw phase without formally announcing that they are doing so. Therefore, there is an assumed shortcut that they will always be passing priority in their draw phase unless they explicitly tell their opponent that they will not be doing so beforehand. So if you draw to 4 cards in hand, and your opponent flips Trap Dustshoot, you cannot say, “But before you activated Trap Dustshoot, I wanted to activate [insert quickplay spell here].” The problem is that this is a dubious claim given the fact that it was only made after you gained knowledge of your opponent’s Trap Dustshoot. You’re essentially asking to rewind time with the benefit of hindsight. Had you wanted to maintain priority before your opponent activated Trap Dustshoot, it’s your responsibility to convey that before the Trap Dustshoot is actually revealed to you.
You Don't Need To "Call" Priority
Remember, priority refers to a player’s right. The great thing about rights is that you have them regardless of whether you use them, whether you want them, and whether you state that you are using them. Much in the same way it would be annoying if an American announced that they were retaining their First Amendment rights everytime they bothered to speak to someone, there is no need for you to constantly announce that you are “calling priority” everytime you summon a monster and activate its ignition effect.
Likewise, if your opponent summons a Chaos Sorcerer and says, “banish your monster,” there is no need to ask them is they are using their turn player priority. It’s obvious that they are. If their intent was to not use their turn player priority and yield the right to respond over to you, they would say that. There are two options when you summon your monster: You can either respond to that summon or pass priority over to your opponent. If you do one of those things, it means that you’re not doing the other one.
There's Only One Window To Respond To A Summon
Most of us intuitively know that when players are directly responding to a specific event there is only window of time during which you can do that. Yet this frequently comes up as a point of confusion in Goat Format Yu-Gi-Oh! due to the popularity of Torrential Tribute.
So let’s make things clear. Remember when I said that you have your rights whether you want them or not? When you summon your monster, you have the first opportunity to respond to that summon. If you ask your opponent for a response, you are giving up that right. And if your opponent says they’re not responding either? You’ve both now said you aren’t responding to the summon, so that’s it, neither of you can go back in time and say “Wait, actually, I did want to respond.”
And yet here’s a scenario that I see almost every week in Goat Format:
This is not a legal play, and I consistently see players get confused by this. If you want to Torrential Tribute your own summon, you need to do so before you ask your opponent for a response, or else it’ll be too late by then if they say no. Now, you can ask your opponent if they want to negate the summon before you activate Torrential Tribute, but you need to be explicitly clear about this. “Summon ok?” is not asking your opponent if they want to negate the summon; it is vague enough that most people would interpret it as asking for any kind of response. Instead use the phrase, “Negate the summon?” which leaves no ambiguity.
Priority Has Nothing To Do With Trigger Effects
Remember that fast effect timing chart? Go read it again. You’ll notice that trigger effects aren’t exactly very patient. If a chain resolves which causes an effect to be triggered, you need to start a new chain with that trigger effect as soon as possible. There’s no getting around it. It’s the same thing with a monster summon. Thus when you summon Zaborg the Thunder Monarch, its effect immediately starts a new chain. Not because of anything to do with priority but because that’s just how trigger effects have always worked.
Despite myths to the contrary, King Tiger Wanghu does not “stop priority.” The game rules will remain the same regardless of whether there is a King Tiger Wanghu in play or not. However, if you summon an Exiled Force with King Tiger Wanghu is in play, there’s no way to politely tell the King Tiger Wanghu that you don’t want his effect to trigger yet. Much like Zaborg the Thunder Monarch, a summon has triggered its effect, and that effect is going to immediately be activated no matter if you want it to or not. And since ignition effects are spell speed 1, there is no way that you can try to chain your Exiled Force’s effect to King Tiger Wanghu’s. Exiled Force will be dead before you ever get the opportunity to activate its effect.
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