Tribute (Release in the OCG, formerly Sacrifice) is usually a way of voluntarily sending a card from the field to the Graveyard, often used to activate a card effect or perform a Summon. When you tribute a card it is not considered destroyed. Some examples include:
- Monsters being Tributed for a Tribute Summon.
- "destroy one monster on the field. " Tributing itself in order to activate its effect to
- Ritual Monsters requiring their corresponding Ritual Spell Card and a Tribute of Monster Cards whose total Level is greater than or equal to the Level of the Ritual Monster in order for it to be summoned to the field.
When Tributing for a card effect, the Tribute(s) are considered costs, which means players cannot respond to the Tributes with card effects, since paying a cost has no Spell Speed. This also means that Tributes occur before the activation of the effect that they are being Tributed for.
While Tributing a monster for a Tribute Summon is not technically considered a Cost, the Tributed monster still leaves the field before a player can respond to the action.
The term "Tribute" has recently been changed in the official rulings released by Konami in the Starter Deck 2008 deck and replaced by the term "Release".
Incidentally, while the word "Tribute" is considered proper usage for the context of the game, the words "Tributed" and "Tributing" do not exist in the English language and are in fact incorrect usage by default. As such, "Tributed" and "Tributing" are considered words coined solely for usage in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game (TCG), although originally cards read "offer(ed/ing) as a Tribute" instead of "Tribute(ed/ing)". Many players who understand this and opt to not promote bad English in a game supposedly marketed to children prefer to use phrases such as "used as a Tribute" instead of "Tributed," as well as support the change to the term "Release" as "Released" and "Releasing" are actual existing words in the English language.