A Marshal Monster (マーシャルモンスター Māsharu Monsutā) is a type of Monster Card introduced in Yu-Gi-Oh! D-FEND and other continuities. The color of their card frame is metallic gold with a shiny design to make it similar to a metallic plaque or statue. These cards are initially placed in the Main Deck, but are then placed on top of the Extra Deck at the start of the Duel, as detailed below, where they can have an effect on the Duel regardless of where they are, but what kind of effect depends on if they are on the field, or off. Each Deck can have a maximum of 1 Marshal Monster in it, and that Marshal Monster counts towards the 40-card minimum.

Before the Decks are shuffled, each player must search their Deck for their Marshal Monster and set it face-down on top of their Extra Deck, without revealing the card, then they may proceed to continue preparing the Duel is started, before the first turn begins, each player that set aside a Marshal Monster must flip up their Marshal Monster and set it on top of the Extra Deck. At that point, the Marshal Monster is in its Passive State. Each Marshal Monster, like a Pendulum Monster, has two sets of effects: one for its Passive State, while it is on the Extra Deck, and one for its Active State, when it is on the field. While in the Passive State, a Marshal Monster's effect is treated as a monster effect that is not on the field, while it also cannot be removed from the Extra Deck by card effects that would send cards from the Extra Deck to the Graveyard. Pendulum Monsters that are placed face-up on the Extra Deck are placed underneath the Marshal Monster.

Instead of Levels, Ranks, Qualities, or Link Arrows, Marshal Monsters have Affinity, which is represented by a silver star within in a royal blue circle, like a Level or a Rank, except Affinity is centered on the card below the name. Affinity represents the amount of total Levels, Ranks, Link Arrows, Qualities, and such of the type of monsters listed on the Marshal Monster to Marshal Summon it. Unlike other Summoning conditions, a Marshal Summon does not require any loss of field presence, simply that the Affinity requirement is met or exceeded. Like Pendulum Summons, a Marshal Summon can only occur once per turn, during the turn player's Main Phase. Since the Marshal Monster was Special Summoned from the Extra Deck, it does need to go into either the Extra Monster Zone or a valid Main Monster Zone created by a Link Monster. It is at this point that the Marshal Monster enters the Active State.

While in the Active State, a Marshal Monster has ATK and DEF, as well as an Attribute, Type, and a different set of effects from the Passive State. Furthermore, now that the Marshal Monster is on the field, the player that controls it can Special Summon any monsters from the Extra Deck that they wish, into any Monster Card Zone they control, regardless of Link Arrows, as long as that monster fulfills the Marshal Monster's Affinity requirements. This allows for a Deck to forgo Link Monsters entirely as long as they have their Marshal Monster on the field.

However, once a Marshal Monster is on the field, it becomes a target. Firstly, anything that would cause the Marshal Monster to leave the field, be it destruction by battle, being bounced, banished, spun, or sent to the Graveyard by a card effect, or if it was Tributed, instead sends it back to its Passive State on top of the Extra Deck. Secondly, any damage a player receives from a battle involving their Marshal Monster is doubled. And finally, when a Marshal Monster leaves the field and goes back to the Extra Deck to be in its Passive State, any monsters with that Marshal Monster's Affinity requirement that were controlled by the Marshal Monster's player are sent to the Graveyard instantly and simultaneously with the Marshal Monster's demise.

Marshal Monsters evoke the Deck Masters from the Virtual World arc of the original anime, or the Commanders from Magic: the Gathering, or even the Vanguards from Cardfight! Vanguard. They are an alternative to Link Monsters, as Link Monsters are more generalized, and can be splashed into different Decks, but make the game more strategic by limiting the number of Zones you can use for Extra Deck summoning. In contrast, Marshal Monsters tend to be more specifically tailored to a Deck, with a helpful effect from beyond the field in their Passive State, but become a lynchpin in the strategy the moment they enter their Active State. They offer greater Summoning capabilities, and are easier to get out, but do so by making themselves the reason why your monsters persist on the field.

Because of the fact that Marshal Monsters don't have Levels, they cannot be used for Synchro Summons, Xyz Summons, and they cannot be tributed for Ritual Summons due to their lack of Levels.

Whether the trade-off is worth it to continue your combos of yesteryear via Marshal Monsters, considering the backlash against Link Monsters and how they have changed the gamestate, is up to you...

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