Priority (優先権 Yūsenken) is a term that refers to a player's right to be able to activate his/her card's effects as Chain Link 1. Priority does not allow players to automatically activate and resolve effects without a Chain, but simply assures a card's activation as Chain Link 1.
Priority determines who can activate a card or effect at any particular point in the game. Priority is a property that a player has, not that a card has. The turn player always starts with Priority.
Ignition Effect Priority was removed from the OCG on March 19, 2011, while it was removed from the TCG on April 25, 2012.
The player with Priority can decline to activate their effect by stating "I pass Priority" (or similar).
While building a Chain, the opponent of the player whose effect was just activated automatically has Priority to respond to that activation. The opponent of the turn player also automatically has Priority when the turn player attempts to proceed to the next Step or Phase.
While during the Draw, Standby and End Phase the turn player still has Priority, the opponent may often activate a card or effect without confirming that the turn player has not claimed their Priority. To avoid disputes, it is proper etiquette to ask the turn player if they would like to play a card during a respective phase before doing anything (since declining to play a card results in passing their Priority to the opponent).
Ignition Effect Priority
This is an outdated example and no longer represents how the game mechanic functions in the TCG or OCG.
- Before revision
The Ignition Effect of a monster can be activated during the Summon response window.
- After revision
The Ignition Effect of a monster cannot be activated during the Summon response window.
Player B, the turn player, has Priority, so they can activate the Ignition Effect of "Chaos Sorcerer". Player B does so, targeting "D.D. Warrior Lady". The effect of "Chaos Sorcerer" is now Chain Link 1. Player A then activates "Bottomless Trap Hole", since the Special Summon of "Chaos Sorcerer" was the most recent action to have occurred; "Bottomless Trap Hole" is now Chain Link 2.
The Chain now resolves in reverse order:
- Chain Link 2: "Bottomless Trap Hole" resolves. "Chaos Sorcerer" is destroyed, and banished.
- Chain Link 1: The effect of "Chaos Sorcerer" resolves. "D.D. Warrior Lady" is now banished.
As the TCG and OCG Priority rules currently function, Player B would not have been able to activate the Ignition Effect of "Chaos Sorceror" as Chain Link 1 immediately after summoning the monster, due to the rules of the Summon response window restricting players to activating Fast Effects only. Player A would be able to activate "Bottomless Trap Hole" as Chain Link 1, banishing "Chaos Sorceror" before its effect could be activated.