Ruling on Safeguard Ability Against Mega Mewtwo Damage Change Attack

Discussion in 'Ask the Rules Team' started by MCRFamEx, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. MCRFamEx

    MCRFamEx New Member

    In a league cup final there was a ruling that I wasn't certain of and wanted to verify it was correct.

    I had Carbink Break in active position with the Safeguard ability active. I had 20 damage on the Carbink break.

    Mega Mewtwo with the Mewtwo EX with Damage Change attack was the opponent's active Pokemon and Shrine of Memories was in play. The Mega Mewtwo had 160 damage counters on it.

    He did the damage change attack. The ruling was the following:

    The Safeguard ability prevents the damage from Mega Mewtwo to apply to Carbink. It also prevents the 20 damage from coming off of Carbink as well. So the net effect is the the 160 damage is removed and no damage is changed on Carbink break and it remains with 20 damage counters, but the Mega Mewtwo is now at full health.

    Is that a correct ruling?

    My thought was that if the switch cannot take place as the damage cannot come off the Carbink then it negates the switch and thus damage remains as is. To me the key word is "switch" as that is a single transaction between two entities. It is not a multi step transaction. If one side blocks the switch nothing occurs and everything remains as is.

    Along these same lines my understanding of Meta ruling is we are not allowed to play cards or do things with public knowledge have no effect. So with that big picture Meta rule this provision it seems it would negate the switch. To say in another way the word Switch implies a handoff from one pokemon similar to that of a relay race. If you go to pass a baton to the relay partner and he doesn't take it you are left with the baton still in your hands. Similarly with the damage.

    This would also be in line with the ruling of a Switch card. If you don't have a benched pokemon you can't play a switch card for no effect. Similarly you can do attack of course, but because of Safeguard there is no effect as the receiving Pokemon did not receive it and thus the damage goes back on the Mega Mewtwo EX since damage was blocked from switching. Not that the damage goes off the Mega Mewtwo EX and then is blocked by Safeguard so damage just goes into the air as was described by judge. This description is no longer as I would define a "switch." I even looked up the word switch and this use of the word switch seems to be rooted originally in describing a train track being switched from one junction to another. It is switched one way or the other, it stays left or goes right. Going off the track isn't an option in this term.

    I am sure you get the point of my perspective, but one last illustration. If I want to trade with you and you don't want to trade with me. There just isn't a trade, what you had originally is still yours and what I had remains mine. This would be how I see a blocked switch, transaction doesn't take place so all remains as is.

    I greatly appreciate your explanation and apologize for making my description so long.
  2. PokePop

    PokePop Administrator

    The Judge(s) got this correct.

    The rule is that you are not allowed to play Trainers with no effect.
    A lot of people extend that to a general rule about effects and attacks, but that is not the case.

    There is actually a ruling in the Compendium about a this case:

    Here is the link:

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