"While many creatures copy the abilities of those around them, the Phantom copies the abilities of the deceased. The forgotten ancestrage offers up its wisdom, and the Phantom partakes". ― Excerpt from the journals of Kozaky
Phantom of Chaos incurs interest because it has the ability to use the powers of monsters that can often be quite difficult to summon, without ever having to actually summon them. If you lose Judgment Dragon, Dark Armed Dragon, or Sky Scourge Norleras to your graveyard, they are usually stuck there. Phantom of Chaos doesn’t help to get them into play, but it does allow them to exist on the field by proxy.
Phantom of Chaos"Any Battle Damage this monster inflicts to your opponent becomes 0. Once per turn, you can remove from play 1 Effect Monster in your Graveyard. Until the End Phase, this card's name is treated as that monster's name, and it gains that monster's effect(s) and ATK."
Phantom of Chaos’ first effect is a continuous effect that is always applied whenever it battles, reducing any battle damage it would have inflicted straight down to 0. The Phantom can still destroy monsters in battle if its ATK is high enough, but your opponent’s life points will be protected. This effect doesn’t mean much while the Phantom has 0 ATK, but it certainly will when the Phantom uses its second effect.
Phantom of Chaos’ second effect is an ignition effect that copies the name, effects, and ATK of an effect monster in your graveyard (we will refer to these characteristics as the monsters "powers"). When you activate this effect, you select 1 effect monster in your graveyard as a target. The monster you select is removed from play when the Phantom’s effect resolves. It is not a cost, so you won’t get anything if your opponent removes the monster from the graveyard by chaining D.D. Crow.
When Phantom of Chaos’ ignition effect resolves, the selected monster is removed from play. The Phantom changes its name to match the name of the removed monster, changes its ATK to equal the original ATK of the removed monster, and gains the effects the removed monster has. The ATK that the Phantom copies actually becomes the Phantom’s original ATK, so any other ATK gains and losses will be applied to this copied ATK (something not made clear in the card text, unfortunately). These copied powers don’t erase the Phantom’s first effect, so it still can’t inflict battle damage to your opponent’s life points.
It is important to remember that Phantom of Chaos does not copy the monster type of the monster it removes from your graveyard. Some players will try to copy the powers of a Tuner monster and think that they can then use Phantom of Chaos as a Tuner for their Synchro summon. The monster type or class, like Tuner, is not copied by the effect of Phantom of Chaos. Being a Tuner monster is not an effect. While some classes of monsters have effects known for that class, like Spirit monsters returning to your hand in the end phase, being a Tuner monster is not an effect and can’t be copied.
These changes remain until the end of the turn, until Phantom of Chaos is removed from the field, or until it is flipped face down, whichever comes first. The Phantom can only retain the copied powers as long as it is face up on the field, and there are circumstances in which leaving the field will cause immediate problems or won’t cause any at all. What really causes problems is the powers that the Phantom copies.
That’s a Neat Power . . . I Must Have It
Since Phantom of Chaos must usually remain face up on the field to retain the powers it copied from your effect monster, it can only benefit from effects that activate on the field or that are applied while Phantom of Chaos is on the field. Effects that activate in the graveyard, or any other zone, will not activate because the Phantom won’t have the copied effects while it is in that particular zone. This means that some choices aren’t very affective for the Phantom.
Player A activates Phantom of Chaos’ effect and selects Sangan, copying its powers. During his turn, Phantom of Chaos is destroyed and sent to the graveyard. Normally Sangan’s effect would activate when it is sent from the field to the graveyard, but when Phantom of Chaos is placed into the graveyard it loses the copied powers. It does not have Sangan’s effect when it is in the graveyard, so the Sangan trigger effect cannot activate.
Example 1: Sangan
Player B activates Phantom of Chaos’ effect and selects D.D. Survivor, copying its powers. During her turn, Phantom of Chaos is removed from play by her opponent’s Dimensional Prison. In the end phase, Player B cannot special summon Phantom of Chaos from her removed zone because it does not have D.D. Survivor’s powers while it is removed from play.
Example 2: D.D. Survivor
As long as an effect copied by Phantom of Chaos activates while Phantom of Chaos is on the field, it won’t usually matter if the Phantom is removed before the effect resolves, unless the effect actually needs its monster to remain. If the cost of activating a copied effect requires sending Phantom of Chaos to the graveyard, removed zone, or even your deck, the effect will still resolve. This was certainly good news for some teams, who could use the Phantom as a tool to utilize the powers of monsters they lost to their graveyard. If Phantom of Chaos copies the powers of Cannon Soldier, it can tribute itself to inflict 500 damage to your opponent’s life points. The activated effect still remains on the chain, even if the Phantom isn’t on the field.
Example 1: A-Team: Trap Disposal UnitPlayer A has Summoned Skull in attack position and A-Team: Trap Disposal Unit in his graveyard. He summons Phantom of Chaos and uses its effect to copy the powers of the A-Team: Trap Disposal Unit and then proceeds to his battle phase. When he attacks with Summoned Skull and his opponent activates Sakuretsu Armor, Player A can tribute Phantom of Chaos to activate the effect it copied from A-Team: Trap Disposal Unit, negating Sakuretsu Armor.
Player B summons Phantom of Chaos and uses its effect to copy the powers of Gladiator Beast Bestiari from her graveyard. She attacks with the Phantom during her battle phase, and during her end step she returns it to her deck to activate the effect copied from Bestiari. When the effect resolves, she can special summon a Gladiator Beast monster from her deck. The effects of the Gladiator Beast will be applied, because it is treated as having been special summoned by the effect of a Gladiator Beast monster. This occurs because Phantom of Chaos had changed its name to Gladiator Beast Bestiari when it activated the copied effect, so it was activating the effect of a "Gladiator Beast" monster.
Example 2: Gladiator Beasts
Effects that disappear are normally effects that would have vanished if their usual host had been removed from the field after activating them. If you activate the copied powers of Zombie Master and an effect is chained that removes your Phantom from the field, the effect will disappear. The effect would have disappeared if the Zombie Master itself had activated the effect, so using the Phantom doesn’t make things end any differently. Remember that removing the Phantom from the field to pay the activation cost of the copied effect is alright, but having it get removed from the field after the effect has activated might not be. In this case, you have to refer to the rulings for the monster you copied the effect from.
Next week we continue our discussion of Phantom of Chaos with more effects, the end phase, and Skill Drain. Until then, send all comments and questions to Curtis@Metagame.com