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The Playing Field is the area where duels are carried out. Gamemats and Duel Disks are often used as Playing Fields. Each player has their own Playing Field with 5 Monster Card Zones, 5 Spell/Trap Card Zones, a Graveyard, and spaces for the Main Deck, Extra Deck, and a Field Spell Card.
The field referenced by card effects is the combination of each player's Monster Card Zones, Spell & Trap Card Zones and Field Card Zone. Thus, the field is shared and each player has one side of it.
- The top left Zone is the Field Card Zone. Only 1 Field Spell Card may be active at any time, and any new card that is activated here destroys one on the other side of the field, if present. You may not activate a Field Spell Card if there is one already present on your side of the field. You'd have to destroy the one already present on the field first, before playing your new one. A Field Spell Card may be also be Set here, instead of Activated. If it is Set, and there is already a Field Spell Card on your opponent's side of the field, that Field Spell Card is not destroyed.
- The 5 Zones in middle of the first row are the Monster Card Zones. Placing a Monster Card Horizontally represents Defense Position, and placing one Vertically represents Attack Position. Defense Position monsters can be either face-down, or face-up, but can only be Set to the field face-down, unlike in the anime, where you could summon in face-up Defense Position. Attack Position cards can only be face-up, except by the effect of "Darkness Approaches". If all 5 Monster Card Zones are occupied, you cannot Summon another monster, unless you Tribute one or more first.
- The top right Zone is your Graveyard Zone, where your Graveyard is kept, also known as the "Discard Pile". Cards destroyed on the field, or discarded from the hand are sent here, unless specified otherwise.
- The bottom left Zone is your Extra Deck Zone where the Extra Deck is kept face-down at all times. Here is the only place you may keep Fusion Monsters and Synchro Monsters prior to them being Summoned to the field.
- The 5 Zones in the middle of the second row are your Spell & Trap Card Zones, also abbreviated as S/T Zones (They were also called Magic and Trap Card Zones, or M/T Zones, before the introduction of the Spell Ruler Booster Set). Here, Spell and/or Trap Cards may be Set, and additionally, Spell Cards may also be activated. If you have all 5 Zones occupied, you cannot Set any more Trap Cards, or Set/Activate Spell Cards from your hand.
- The bottom right Zone is the Deck Zone is, where the Main Deck is placed. You may draw one card from it per turn during your Draw Phase, unless a card effect specifies you may not do so.
- The Removed from Play Zone is never represented on Official Playmats, since it is not considered "in play".