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(This is during Duellist Kingdom, where high-level monsters do not require tributes.)

In Episode 033, Yugi has Gaia the Dragon Champion on his field, and Jounouchi has in his hand Red-Eyes Black Dragon, Graverobber, and Kunai with Chain. He thinks it's hopeless, since even if he summons Red-Eyes, Gaia still has greater strength. But he draws Copycat, inspiring a strategy: He summons Red-Eyes, then activates Graverobber from his hand as a Spell Card, stealing Yugi's Summoned Skull. Next he uses Copycat as a Spell Card, which apparently allows him to mimic any card which Yugi has used; he chooses Polymerization, and with it he fuses Summoned Skull and Red-Eyes to summon Black Skull Dragon, a monster that can overpower Gaia.

Meanwhile, I think: Wouldn't it have been simpler to use Kunai with Chain? Red-Eyes has 2400 ATK, and Gaia has 2600. The Trap Card Kunai with Chain can add 500 additional ATK to a monster. If he had summoned Red-Eyes and allowed Yugi to attack with Gaia, he could have activated Kunai with Chain and defeated Gaia without his original needlessly complex strategy, saving several cards that could be useful later. While Kunai with Chain did end up being useful later itself, Graverobber and Copycat, I think, are more worth saving.

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  • Problem is the cards in the anime can have different effect than in the game. Copycat in the game cannot copy spell cards. It can only copy monsters. Kunai with Chain might have additional side effect in the anime. Not that I watch the anime though. Aug 30 '16 at 19:06
  • @Ayase Eri I think the op is just talking in terms of the anime here. Regardless of how it works in the game, the anime had established that this was the way these cards worked in the anime. So it is a bit confusing why he didn't pick the easier option. Though I guess we can just think that maybe he was worried Yugi would have a counter or stronger monster by the next turn.
    – M Davies
    Sep 2 '16 at 12:42
  • If he suspects that Yugi have counter ready then having more cards in your hand would be the better choice in most case. It gives flexibility. Which is why I suspect that perhaps the effect of Kunai with Chain is slightly different in the anime compared to the game. Perhaps OP can specify which episode this happened in so we can make a better observation of the situation? Sep 6 '16 at 4:39
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Based on various non-anime sources and the precedent shown in earlier episodes / followed in later episodes, there seems to have been a requirement on Kunai with Chain that it could only be used by Warrior and Beast-Warrior monsters.

While this wasn't written into the text of the card in the show, the theory does fit with the basic premise that Duelist Kingdom era Yu-Gi-Oh! that "It has to be somewhat reasonable within the 'lore' of the game." As a relatively generic "weapon", its use would thus be limited to Warriors ("trained" in the use of weapons).

Supporting the implicit/explicit "Warrior or Beast-Warrior only" clause:

In earlier episodes (https://yugipedia.com/wiki/Kunai_with_Chain_(anime)):

  • Episode 19: In the duel with the Paradox Brothers, Axe Raider (Warrior) and Celtic Guardian (Warrior) receive the effects.
  • Episode 31: In the duel with Bandit Keith, Garoozis (Beast-Warrior) receives the effect.
  • Episode 34: In the duel with Yugi, the effect is again demonstrated as being used by Garoozis (Beast-Warrior)

In later episodes, post-Duelist Kingdom:

  • Episode 44: The original "Virtual World", used by Axe Raider (Warrior) (not technically a "duel" since this is the original RPG-like game being beta'd by Kaiba Corp)
  • Episode 69: In the duel with Mako Tsunami in Battle City, used by Panther Warrior (Beast-Warrior)
  • Episode 111: In the tag duel with Yugi vs "The Big Five" in the full "Virtual World" arc, used by Alligator's Sword (Beast-Warrior)

All of these instances are consistent with the idea that Kunai with Chain must be used by a Warrior or Beast-Warrior monster.

In non-anime sources, when Kunai with Chain is used directly as a power-up spell (and not as a trap consistent with it's real-life version), it usually includes the requirement for Warrior and Beast-Warrior monsters. Examples include:

  • Various games describe the Kunai with Chain "spell" card as "featuring the effects of... the Legendary Sword and the Sword of Ruin." Each of these spells existing separately in those games and referring to "drawing out the power of Warriors." EX: Dark Duel Stories, Forbidden Memories
  • The game Duelist of the Roses has the effect "Increases the power of WARRIOR and BEAST-WARRIOR monsters by 500 points"
  • The games The Sacred Cards and Reshef of Destruction both specify "It can be equipped by any warrior..."

Notably, all of those examples are in versions of the game that either are not based on the traditional Duel Monsters format or are heavily adapted from the real-life format because of technical limitations.

Between all of these examples seeming to indicate intent to be Warrior or Beast-Warriors only and the tendency for Duelist Kingdom era Yu-Gi-Oh! to be incredibly inconsistent with what cards do, this is one of the cases where the show was relatively consistent about this restriction.

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