On March 24th the update for Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution drops, and with it brings the newest “Master Rules” that will be implemented into the TCG and OCG officially on April 1st – so us Link Evolution duelists are getting around a week’s ‘sneak peak’ as to the new style of dueling. But what does “Master Rule 5” mean exactly? And how different is it for owners of the original Legacy of the Duelist? To do so, we’ll take a quick history lesson from Master Rule 3 to today.

Legacy of the Duelist (Master Rule 3)

The original Legacy of the Duelist released just over a year after the introduction of Pendulum Summoning to the TCG, and feature game play based on Master Rule 3. The main changes made to the game were of course the introduction of Pendulum Monsters, as well as changing the core game board for the first time in over 15 years by adding Left and Right Pendulum Zones to either side of the board. Additionally, this was the rule set that made it so the player going first was unable to draw a card, as well as allowing for 2 Field Spell cards to be playable at the same time (one on either players side of the field) and should a new Field Spell be played over one you already have out – it was Sent to the Graveyard instead of being destroyed – which hindered strategies such as Ancient Gear decks involving the Field Spell cards Geartown.

Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution (Master Rule 4)

Link Evolution was the first, and only Yu-Gi-Oh! game to feature Master Rule 4 (or the “New Master Rules” as called in the OCG) with the big change this time being Link Monsters and a new pair of zones to the center of the game board called the Extra Monster Zones. The Pendulum Zones had also been moved inside of the game board to the left and right most Spell and Trap zones – providing a slight nerf to Pendulum focused strategies at least on the offset.

Perhaps the biggest change though, was that monsters special summoned from the Extra Deck had to be summoned to either an Extra Monster Zone or a Main Monster Zone a that a Link Monster pointed to. This severely hindered Fusion, Synchro & Xyz decks, as well as Pendulums which could no longer spam out monsters face up from the extra deck unless sufficient Main Monster Zones had been opened.

This was a major sticking point for the original release of Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution – because this rule change applied to every mode in the game, including the campaign which of course features duels and decks from the anime’s 20 year long history that weren’t built with Link Summoning in mind. This meant that practically any deck from the Waking the Dragons arc of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters era all the way through the Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC V was severely limited in how it could use it’s extra deck, and for decks like Blackwing, Raidraptors or Elemental HERO which perform successive Extra Deck summons as part of their core game play loop, they could not play as intended.

Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution (Master Rule 5)

Which brings us to March 24th. The update is releasing (or already has), and with it brings Master Rule 5. So what’s the big change? Well it’s honestly really simple – but VERY important for those of you who had issues with the story mode headaches.

Fusion, Synchro and Xyz Monsters may be Special Summoned from the Extra Deck directly to any of the Main Monster Zones OR the Extra Monster Zone should a player want to.

Pendulum and Link Monsters still require you to follow the Master Rule 4 style.

And well that’s about it, a very small update but a welcome one that opens Yu-Gi-Oh! back up to using all of it’s 20 year history of cards and mechanics at their most optimal. Hopefully this quick guide was easy enough to follow, for those who keep asking about whether the “issue” with the Extra Monster Zone had been fixed – it has!