Posted by : Abdalaziz al-shammari Feb 24, 2010

“Skill Drain” is a popular card these days because Synchro Monsters and monsters like “Judgment Dragon” and “Dark Armed Dragon” have incredible game-winning effects. The idea is to use “Skill Drain” to negate the effects of these monsters and to win by having a monster that’s big enough that it won’t get destroyed in battle. Since it won’t be destroyed by monster effects either the strategy is pretty solid.

However “Skill Drain” doesn’t negate all monster effects. It will only negate the effect of a monster if the effect resolves while that monster is face-up on the field. It also only negates the effects. It does not prevent you from activating them. So you’re allowed to activate the effect of a monster, even if it will be negated by “Skill Drain.”

What this means is that you can use cards like “Exiled Force” and “Stardust Dragon” while “Skill Drain” is on the field. You have to Tribute these monsters as a cost to activate their effects. Since you pay costs immediately those monsters will be Tributed before their effects resolve. That means when their effects resolve they are in the Graveyard and not on the field, so their effects are not negated.

However your monster does not have to be destroyed in order to perform this little trick. It simply can’t be face-up on the field when its effect resolves. Gladiator Beasts have a particularly hard time with “Skill Drain” since most of their monsters are small and rely on using their effects to win games. Luckily for Gladiator Beast players they frequently also use “Book of Moon.” “Book of Moon” can turn your monster face-down, so that when its effect resolves it will not be negated by “Skill Drain.”

Using this trick you can actually destroy “Skill Drain” with monster effects. Let’s say you Special Summon “Gladiator Beast Gyzarus” while “Skill Drain” is on the field. You target your opponent’s “Skill Drain” and another one of their monsters. Your opponent has no response, so you Chain “Book of Moon” to your own Gyzarus’ effect. The Chain resolves backwards, flipping Gyzarus face-down first. Then Gyzarus’ effect resolves, and since it is not face-up because of the “Book of Moon” it is not negated by “Skill Drain.”

You can use a variety of other cards to perform this trick too. For example, you can Tribute your monster to activate the second effect of “Enemy Controller.” “Torrential Tribute” will destroy the monster, so you can Chain it to the activation of an Ignition Effect and bypass “Skill Drain” that way.

If your opponent uses a card like “Bottomless Trap Hole” on one of your monsters while “Skill Drain” is face-up, you’ll get the Ignition Effect if you activate it. For example, at Canadian Nationals in 2009 my opponent had “Skill Drain” on the field and several other Trap Cards. I Special Summoned “Dark Armed Dragon” just for its 2800 ATK. When I summoned it I activated its effect just in case my opponent wanted to play “Bottomless Trap Hole” or “Torrential Tribute.” If he had, the card I targeted would have been destroyed because “Dark Armed Dragon” would not have been face-up on the field when its effect resolved.

Understand what “Skill Drain” does and doesn’t negate, and you hold the key to bypassing its powerful effect.

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