There are two key concepts in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG concerning "Costs": 1. Costs are paid before the activation of a card, not after. 2. You never get a "refund" on a cost. Costs are paid before activation. So to activate "Seven Tools of the Bandit", or the effect of "Cannon Soldier", or play "Premature Burial", you pay the Life Points or Tribute the monster before you activate the card or use the effect. (In other words, you pay the cost then announce your intention to use the card.) This includes flipping the card, for a Trap, or playing it from your hand, for a Spell Card. If a card is negated (or, for a Continuous card, if it is destroyed in a chain), it makes no difference regarding the cost, because the cost has been paid. You do not receive a "refund" simply because your card was negated, or its effect was negated, or it was destroyed (in the case of a Continuous card).

Also, cards like Dark World Dealings present no cost, because the part that says you must discard is after the effect of drawing a card from your deck. This is one way to determine whether a card requires a cost or not. Here are some specific examples:

Example #1: Negation of "Seven Tools of the Bandit"Edit

Example #2: Negation in a Chain of "Premature Burial"Edit

Example #3: Destruction in a Chain of "Premature Burial"Edit

Example #4: Chaining "Mask of Restrict" to "Cannon Soldier's" effectEdit

More Info for new playersEdit

Costs don't always have to be in Life Points. Monsters can be Tributed, cards can be discarded from the hand, etc.

Costs as a DiscardEdit

Cards like "Dark Core" and "Lightning Vortex" have a discard cost of 1 card from your hand.

Costs as a Summoning RequirementEdit

Cards like "Chaos Sorcerer" require you to remove 1 LIGHT and 1 DARK monster from play from your Graveyard.

You cannot use a card like "Disappear" to remove one of those monsters from play before it's removed for the summoning, or a card to remove a card from your opponent's hand before he/she does, because you cannot beat a player to paying a cost.

Other CostsEdit

Other costs include: discarding from the Deck or Tributing a monster(s). Sometimes, though it is not stated, the positive effect of a card can be a cost in itself, such as with "Astral Barrier".

Likewise, if a player activates a card with a cost affixed to it, and another player negates and/or destroys it (with "Magic Jammer", "Seven Tools of the Bandit", etc.), the first player must still pay the cost, even though the effect was negated.

You cannot partially pay a cost. For example, if you're forced to discard 2 cards, you must discard 2 cards, unless another card effect bypasses this, or it is otherwise impossible to do so, such as when you have one or less cards in your hand. In the latter case, you would not be able to pay the cost, since it has to be paid in full upon activation. A cost is similar to a Compulsory effect. There are very few cards that can negate costs (for example, "Spell Economics").


Some cards be "deceptive," cards can be worded to make someone, believe they are paying a cost when in reality they are not.

Here are some specific examples:

Example #1: Negation of "Two-Pronged Attack"Edit

Because destroying 2 of your own monsters is part of the entire effect not separtated by a comma or a period, it is not a cost and your monsters are not destroyed.

Example #2: Negation of "Future Fusion"Edit

In this card's case, although it is separated by 2 commas, there is no indication or suggestion that sending cards from your deck to your graveyard is part of an activation cost or requirement for this card.


If you don't pay the cost on the card, the card is destroyed.

If you are unable to pay a mandatory maintenance cost, either because you cannot fulfill it, or you would reduce your life points to zero in the process, the card, which the maintenance cost is for, automatically destroys itself. You cannot pay a cost if it would reduce your life points to zero, whether it's mandatory (Archfiends, Red Screen, etc.), optional (Messenger of Peace, etc.), or for the activation of a card (Brain Control, etc.).

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