Two questions:

(-1) Everyone I've spoke to says that you cannot have negative ATK, why? It's not in the rule book so it seems that if I could reduce the ATK of an opponent to become negative then in the event I attack them, my ATK would be applied then they would attack themselves (the value equal to the absolute value of their negative ATK value).

(∞) I've heard from a few sources that after the ATK points reach a certain value (over 9999 maybe? by any means possible) that the value becomes infinite, is this true? I realize there are some cards which are not legal for play which have infinite ATK values, but is there any rule that states a sufficiently high finite ATK "becomes" infinite.

5 Answers 5


1) No, negative numbers are not possible on monsters. It is true that this is not explicitly stated in any of the official rulebooks. However, it is most common that such values in games refer to non-negative integers, and therefore it can be assumed that it is the case unless otherwise stated. It is the responsibility of the rulebook to explicitly state if negatives were allowed, not the other way around.

2) No. There is noting even remotely true about the statement, to the point of which the very concept seems rather random. It's possible that such a glitch might exist in one of the video games, and that your friend might have been referring to that. Even so, that is an unintentional (and theoretical) computer glitch, and does not reflect on the real game, which is not limited by such issues.

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    Several games do allow attack values to be negative for purposes of calculating 'boosts' needed to get those values back to positive territory, but then just clamp them to zero for effect purposes. This is how Magic handles negative power on a creature, for instance: a creature that is, say, a -2/2 will deal zero damage (not '-2 damage') to an opponent or to other creatures , but a Giant Growth (+3/+3) will only make it a 1/5. Jul 21, 2013 at 16:12
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    @StevenStadnicki This can be seen more as recalculating the total from scratch whenever it changes as opposed to going into negatives. Jul 21, 2013 at 19:59
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    @Squirtle I am not intending to speak in any way that is harsh or insulting, nor do I think it should be interpreted that way. Jul 21, 2013 at 21:09
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    @Squirtle Your change is fine, but I'm going to still keep the link to the Wikipedia page. "Non-negative Integers" is a bolded title on that page, meaning that it is an alternative name for the same article and still applies. And as for the confusion of the term, that is what the link is for. Jul 21, 2013 at 21:12
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    @Squirtle Have you considered changing your accepted answer to mine yet? It's currently your own, which no one agrees with, and the difference in votes is pretty clear. Feb 19, 2014 at 16:11

Negative ATK/DEF values may not be addressed in the TCG rulebook, but they are addressed in the far more comprehensive OCG rulebook. Quoting a translation of the 2017 edition, from page 129 (not the most recent edition, but no rules updates have affected this point):

Values equal or lower to 0

•If the ATK or DEF values are reduced by some effect and the final result would be equal or lower to 0, the value becomes 0. Also, if the reduced value would be referenced, the actual value that was modified is referenced.
Example: If a 1000 ATK monster would have its ATK reduced by 1400 by the effect of “Black-Winged Dragon” that says “that target loses 700 ATK for each Black Feather Counter you removed, and if it does, inflict damage to your opponent equal to the ATK lost by this effect.“, the ATK of that monster becomes 0 as a result, and 1000 damage is inflicted to the opponent as a result.

While the OCG is technically a different game, with occasional subtle rules differences, the TCG and OCG usually agree. In the absence of any evidence of a rules mismatch, it's usually safe to go by OCG sources.

As for the second question, there is no such rule, in either the TCG or OCG. High ATK does not become infinite.


I don't speak from the rules, but here goes.

I agreed that there should NOT be negative numbers. If there were, the rules would state it, and effects that have you damage yourself in the process would most likely include something involving a negative number. That said, this is opinion, and the absense of proof is not proof in and of itself.

Furthermore, the logic that they have to exist because 300-500+1000=800 not 300-500+1000=1000 is simple math. This is commutative. You can change the order of the numbers however you want, but the outcome is the same. (1000+300)-500=800

As far as infinity is concerned... I think this is just a situation where the ATK of a card becomes irrelevant. I'm not gonna bother doing the math if you get a 10,000 ATK beatstick. I only have 8000 Life Points at best, and you probably aren't attacking something over 2,000.

  • Well this is precisely the point... should the point system of yugioh have a noncommutative geometry? I guess like in mathematics, you can have which ever case you want so long as it's agreed upon with the audience at hand
    – Squirtle
    Mar 30, 2014 at 2:19
  • @Squirtle: Note that while they don't put everything somewhere, Konami and the creators of Yu-Gi-Oh! certainly do have an idea of how their rules work. You can agree upon whatever you like, this still doesn't change the rules of the game. Even if all players decided Monsters should be played in the Field Spell Card Zone, this would still not be correct, even if it doesn't specifically say so in the rules. Of course, if you're playing with your friends, you can agree on whatever house rule you like.
    – scenia
    Apr 1, 2014 at 7:32

Reason why, there his no negative attack points, and defense point, First lets take a look at level vs rank, what his Rank. Rank is the negative of levels, and levels are the negative of ranks. The highest Level his the strongest monster, the same idea the higher the rank number the stronger the monster his. The highest negative level his a stronger monster which his the highest rank. What if you would play a card that said normal summoned one Xyz Monster from your Extra Deck, ignoring summoning condition, if you would think because Xyz monster does not have level you don't need to tribute for rank 5 or higher you would be wrong, with that card played you would still need to tribute 1 monster to normal summoned a rank 5 or 6, and 2 tribute to normal summoned a rank 7 or higher, this is possible because of the ignoring summoning condition phrase. This his why in the real game you can't make a level become a rank by making its level lower than 0. And you can't make a rank become a level by making its rank lower than 0. True in the anime they where able to do that changing a level into a rank by making the level lower than 0, and Vice-versa. I did not see that happen yet in Yugioh Arc-V. We are comparing with the real world not the anime world. So in the real world if negative attack and defense point become a think in the future, they would be a type of monster that start with that, and based on the logic I imply above it would applied yugioh logic not actual real life logic. So yugioh logic would be for example you attack with -800 attack to your opponents -300 attack points. The -300 attack point would lose, and your opponent would take 500 point of damage. Does type of monster would have this kind of rulling, they cannot attack, or be attack with monster with 0 attack or more, except if they are treated as having 0 attack and positive attack. So you can sort of guess the remaining rulling of the negative attack and defense type of new monster. They could be a thing in the next series after Yugioh arc-V. But they are not a thing now.

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    This question needs some formatting help to make it more readable.
    – Joe W
    Sep 25, 2016 at 13:38

(1) Negative numbers are allowed, because lack of evidence to say that something isn't allowed is not evidence that negative numbers are lacking (in the game). The very fact that it was not mentioned in the rule books suggests that it is allowed. The most natural explanation is that such a monster would directly attack its owner's life points if it were to attack another monster and it would be destroyed as well. Further, we must allow negative numbers for the following reason:

Suppose for a moment that we do allow them; now suppose that I reduce your ATK points to below zero (by whatever means). Now, suppose on your next turn you summon a monster or use a spell, so that you add ATK points to every monster (or just one); would it be fair for you to add those points as if you were at zero to start with.... absolutely not! You should first add enough points to raise the monster to zero ATK then apply the rest. As an example, suppose I lower your 300 ATK monster by -500, then on your turn you add +1,000 ATK to that monster, you are now at 800 ATK and not 1000 ATK.

As a corollary, monsters with 0 ATK can successfully attack negative ATK monsters and not be destroyed.

(2) As far as infinite numbers, I completely agree that no finite number "becomes" infinite at any point; I was merely told that it was a rule; it clearly is not.

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    -1: The fact that something isn't mentioned in the rules for a game should not be construed as suggesting it's the intended outcome. Your argument that negative numbers must be allowed also doesn't hold water; see Steven's explanation of how it's handled in Magic (a comment on Southpaw's answer) for another much more sane possibility than inventing the rule that monsters attack their owners. (It's far more believable that the rules neglected to discuss negative numbers than that they omitted the rule that monsters can attack their owners in that way!)
    – Cascabel
    Jul 21, 2013 at 21:57
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    If two monsters with 0 ATK fight each other in attack mode, they are NOT destroyed. This is a special exception, and it IS in the official rules. Jul 22, 2013 at 2:36
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    @Squirtle Your answer has no more backing it than Southpaw Hare's does, but there are a ton of comments easily discoverable on the internet agreeing with him. None of them link to official rules, but still, your answer is just your personal opinion about what the rules should be; assume what you like, but don't expect it to convince someone you're playing against.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 23, 2013 at 1:11
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    @Squirtle You seem distressingly stubborn. I admit to being unable to find the official minutiae rules list that I'd like (MtG has one, but Yu-g-oh!'s is elusive), technically making our argument a matter of opinion, but... Your opinion is rather silly, I feel. At the very least, do not get sour about the votes - they speak the opinion of the masses. To say that you will use your own rules until proven otherwise, despite being so thoroughly disagreed with, is rather poor sportsmanship. Jul 23, 2013 at 22:07
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    the rules state what happens when 2 monsters enter combat and one has less points than the other, if one monster has a negative value it means more damage to the owner if they were in attack mode or from an effect, while yes there is no rule saying negative values are disallowed they are entirely pointless unless you are attempting to cheat with special affects which subtracts the ATK/DEF values of a monster from one's life points cause then 2 negatives will equal a positive and thus you gain rather then loose life points, no player/tournament offical would allow that to happen
    – Memor-X
    Feb 11, 2014 at 5:06

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