A Maintenance Cost is a (mostly optional) cost required to keep a card on the field. Both Monster Cards, Spell Cards, and Trap Cards can possess a Maintenance Cost. These costs are typically paid during a player's Standby Phase, although there are exceptions to this.
Here are some cards with Maintenance Costs:
In the case of "Archfiend" Monster Cards, there is no option to destroy the Monster Card if you don't want to pay the cost, since the cost is compulsory. You may, however, use "Pandemonium" to avoid paying these costs for "Archfiend" Monster Cards.
In the case of "Degenerate Circuit", there is no option of destroying this card if you don't want to pay the cost, since the cost is compulsory.
In cases like these,if a player can no longer pay their costs because of an insufficient amount of Life Points, then these cards are destroyed.
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.).
Types of Monster Cards
Types of Spell Cards
Types of Trap Cards
ATK • DEF • Level • Attribute • Type
Playing Field Zones
Types of Summon
Types of Monster Effects
Types of Effect Monsters
Types of Spell Speed
Aqua • Beast • Beast-Warrior • Dinosaur