Digimon Battles Rules

Video Tutorial

Table of Contents


Digimon Battles (DMB) is a Digimon card game for two players made by Alice White and Zoey Hope. Based on the Playstation 1 title Digimon World: Digital Card Battles with all the heart-pounding strategy and outguessing you love about the combat system, the hard choices of the support sytstem; and several changes to the rules, many altered cards (plus new cards) and completely new game features and concepts.

Pick a powerful partner Digimon. Play a deck containing any of eight types of Digimon, or mix-and-match types. Play, evolve, battle!

Object of the Game:

Each player will send out their Digimon, evolve, and support them with their own cards. The Digimon battle until one player defeats their opponent 4 times! Become the victor with superior deck construction, planning, bluffing, and outplaying. Digimon Battles is an Expandable Card Game, (ECG) and is free for life. Several expansion sets are currently implemented, with more on the way.

Prep Phase


Before the game begins for the first time, perform these setup steps:

  1. OPENING HAND: Each player shuffles their deck and draws 5 before the game begins.
  2. MULLIGAN: Then, each player may put any number of them on the bottom of their deck, draw that many, and then shuffle. (This is a partial, exclusive, mulligan.)
  3. CHOOSE TURN-PLAYER: Decide randomly who will be the “turn-player” first and take their turn.


These are the steps you will perform each turn (including the first turn)

  1. “Draw Phase” and “Prep Phase” abilities on cards in play activate now.
  2. Draw: Turn player draws 1 card. If your hand is 2 or lower, draw 2 cards instead!
  3. Free mulligans: If the turn player has 3 or more cards in hand at this point, they may perform a “full mulligan” as many times as they wish. This is discarding the ENTIRE hand and drawing that many.
  4. Play new Digimon: If active zone is empty, turn player plays an R, C or U from hand
    1. If the turn player cannot place any Digimon on the active zone at this point, that player loses the game immediately.
    2. Playing an un-evolved Level C or U changes to “Abnormal” status.
    3. If the newly placed Digimon is the deck’s “Partner” Level R, you may partner-evolve immediately. Choose one Partner Level C from the Destiny Zone and place it on the Active Zone.

Evolution Phase

  1. “Evolution Phase” abilities on cards in play activate now.
  2. Rack up DP: You may place up to ONE card into DP Zone for its “+P” amount
  3. Skip the rest of this step if current active Digimon is an Abnormal C or U.
    1. Also skip if the active Partner Digimon evolved from the Destiny Zone this turn.
  4. Evolve Cards: Turn player plays any ONE “Evolve” card from hand.
    1. To DNA Evolve: Have either of the specified cards on the current active zone. Discard the other specified card from the hand. Play the card with the two DNA requirements as evolved. DNA evolution counts as using one “Evolve” card from hand.
    2. When DNA evolving, “DATA” cards can be discarded as a substitute for the name that they match.
  5. Choose a level to progress to: R -> C, C -> U, or place M from the Destiny Zone onto an active U (meeting its requirements). This is a normal evolution.
    1. If evolving (using DP only), discard all DP cards in the DP Zone and place the evolved Digimon (from hand) on top of the stack of Digimon on the active zone.
    2. Evolve only once per turn, regardless of effects from cards.
  6. Resolve any Evolution Box bonus effects that are applicable (use DP discounts *before* this step, during Step 3).


ALL cards begin with the following requirements for evolution. Various effects can dictate that you “ignore X” requirement. In those cases, you must still always observe the remaining requirements! Effect evolution is different and will normally specify the requirements (DP isn’t paid for these).

  1. Must discard the required DP, or DNA (Step 3) if required. DP discounts apply before evolution. DP bonuses (+) are acquired *after* evolution.
  2. The level progression must be R -> C -> U -> M. (Rookie -> Champion -> Ultimate -> Mega)
  3. The type (color) must be the same OR:
  4. Instead, if the new Digimon contains the previous Digimon’s in its evolution box, ignore *type* and *level* but not DP.

Strategy Phase

  1. Skip to Support Phase if opponent player does not have an active Digimon
    1. If skipped, opponent Trashes 2 cards and turn player Draws 1 card. This is an unopposed victory bonus!
  2. Both players choose one of: Circle / Triangle / Cross attacks simultaneously and secretly. Attacks aren’t revealed until Step 2 of the Battle Phase.
    1. Use markers in a bag, behind a barrier or under a table (do not place cards in hand in these locations)
    2. If using the attack cards, simply place them (facedown) into the Attack Zone.
    3. Tip: Try to bluff your opponent and be aware of their most deadly attack, most reliable attack, and their special attack!

Support Phase

  1. “Support Phase”abilities on cards in play activate now.
  2. Supporting: Can be done either from hand or the top of the deck (face down!), using cards with “Support” in their text box (usually Digimon or Options), in this order:
  3. Non-turn player declares their Support (or lack thereof) first.
  4. Turn player then declares their Support (or none). Your advantage for being the turn player is playing second and knowing what is coming!
  5. Resolve Support cards starting with the TURN-player. They play last but resolve first! Just remember: last-in, first-out.
    1. “Void” timings are *always* checked before all other effects. Voiding means to nullify the card.
      1. If there are more than one Void effect, always refer to Step 4: Resolve the turn-player’s first!
    2. If an effect fails to apply, such as blind supporting from the deck resulting in an impossible play, or an “If/When” statement failing, it’s considered a “misfire” and has the same affect as self-Voiding.
    3. At this time, if a player chose Cross while they have a “Jamming” attack ability, and their opponent used a Digimon card to Support, they may reveal their chosen attack and Void the Digimon support. If they do not do that before moving to the Battle Phase, it is considered a missed opportunity and “misfires”.

Battle Phase

  1. “Battle Phase” and “Prep Phase” abilities on cards in play activate now.
  2. Reveal both chosen attacks simultaneously.
    1. The turn-player gains “1st Attack” meaning they will attack first by default.
  3. Now apply both Digimons’ special “attack abilities” simultaneously. These are usually found on Cross attacks, but sometimes Triangle.
    1. If there is any timing conflict at this point, the turn player begins with priority to resolve first but may choose to pass it and resolve second.
    2. In the case of “1st Attack” conflicts, priority of attack goes to the player with the most instances of “1st Attack” gianed, including the turn player’s default assignment from Step 1.1. In the case that there is a tie, the player who gained a “1st Attack” ability *most recently* will attack first.
      1. This means that the turn-player starts with 1 point of 1st Attack. If the opponent gains a point, they would attack first since there is a tie and they gained the ability last. If the turn-player then gained another, they would have more instances and attack first again.
      2. If a player “cannot gain 1st Attack” due to some card effect, all instances are stripped and they attack Second.
      3. If ANY player has “Counter Attack” they always attack second no matter what other effects exist. Counter requires this to be the case. If both players have Counter, both attacks fail and no damage is dealt.
    3. At this step, things like “Counter [Attack]” can become more/less powerful and “[Attack] to 0” can reduce all gains. Outguessing is considered more valuable than playing a card for the same effect.
  4. Reduce 2nd-attacker’s HP by the damage of the 1st-Attacker’s Power (or according to a Crash-user’s *current* HP).
    1. Apply residual effects (e.g. Drain to gain HP, Crash’s “HP to 10”)
      1. Always apply Crash’s HP reduction before Drain’s HP recovery
    2. If a Digimon’s HP reaches 0, skip immediately to Step 6 and proceed with KO scoring. The other player does not get an attack.
  5. Reduce 1st-attacker’s HP by 2nd attacker’s Power, unless they are using Counter or Crash:
    1. If using counter, directly apply damage equal to the opponent’s *current* Power. Remember to “misfire” the counter instead if its conditions failed. For Crash, do the same as above and apply the *current* HP of the 2nd Attacker as damage instead of their Power.
    2. Apply residual effects (e.g. Drain, Crash) as in 3.1
      1. Always apply Crash’s HP reduction before Drain’s HP recovery
  6. Check for a Digimon KO (HP is reduced to 0)
    1. Discard the active KO’d Digimon and all cards under it. Keep all DP zone cards. Discard all its attachments.
    2. Before awarding ANY KO points, always remember “Set Revival” (see Glossary) and how it works, including its KO point changes.
    3. KO’d R-level “Partner” goes to deck (shuffle) as long as it’s anywhere in the active zone stack.
    4. KO’d Partner’s Level C from Destiny Zone is deleted instead of discarded, as long as it’s anywhere in the active zone.
    5. KO’d Level M is deleted and the opponent gains 2 KO points in the next step instead of 1.
    6. Player that achieved the KO gains 1 KO point for victory. If a Level M was KO’d, 2 KO points are awarded instead.
  7. Check if a player can win the game: If a player has 4 KO points (or more), they win!

End Phase

  1. “End Phase” abilities on cards in play activate now.
  2. The turn-player (only) discards down to 6 cards in hand.
  3. Remove ALL “lingering” effects, such as Power boosting. Exceptions:
    1. Type-changes/gains are semi-permanent. They are treated as part of the Digimon card, not an effect once they resolve.
    2. Current HP is always carried over, this is not considered an “effect”.
    3. “Passive” effects remain and continue to activate
    4. Continuous evolution-box bonuses such as “Power +40” or “Opponent’s DP -10” or “DP +10” are considered Passives as in 2.3.
  4. Discard all Support cards, reset attack cards to their original positions.
  5. The turn passes to the next player.


__(Parenthesis effect)__ – Effects in parenthesis are passively applied at all times and unvoidable in any way. Consider them permanent parts of the card. Some reminder text is in parenthesis as well. These effects only ever apply when the card is a permanent on the field in some way (Attachment, Active Zone, or Support).

__[1/Turn]__ – Some effects may have [1/Turn] written in them, which are almost always Passives. These effects are only able to be used 1 time per turn (each player’s) and a player may choose whether or not to activate them as long as they contain a colon ( : ), indicating that the “once per turn” is paid as a cost. As many different once per turn costs may be paid as possible.


__Also [Type]__ This card is permanently considered this type. However, it is not the card’s primary (printed) type. It cannot be voided, like all parenthetical effects.

__Any Phase__ – May use this card during any of the Phase’s Step 0, when “[Timing] Effects Activate”. In some cases, it’s not possible to use an effect at the correct time, in which case simply use it at the correct time.

__Attach__ – Place this card next to your active Digimon as “attached”, sometimes with conditions. Cards CAN NOT be attached without this word indicating it. Attachments stay out permanently and usually have effects that change the game. Digimon can only have one attachment unless otherwise specified. Attachments can only target your own Digimon unless otherwise specified. If a player has an attachment, and another card would be attached, discard (one of) the current one(s) and replace it.

__Attachment Slot__ – By default, players receive only one attachment slot. This is a place when Attachments can be placed next to the active zone. Discard ALL attachments for a Digimon that is KO’d.

__Boost__ – Usually with text that specifies a player (sometimes an attack) and the word “Power”, this means to increase your *current* Power (as a lingering effect) by the indicated amount. Boost never needs to specify Power since it is a Power-only term, though it usually does for clarity sake. Reminder that all cards target “Own/Self” unless otherwise specified.

__Corrupt X__ – Look at the top X cards of your opponent’s deck, put any of them on the top or bottom in any order.

__DATA__ See FAQ

_Data Break__ Another term for “ACTIVATE” and has that timing, but with the included cost of deleting your Level M from your Destiny Zone. If the Level M is not present, or the cost isn’t paid, the Data Break cannot be activated.

__Delete__ – Remove the specified card from the game permanently, terminate all lingering effects, void all other effects of the card. It no longer affects any possible game state. Any card that leaves its new zone if it came from the Destiny Zone is *always* deleted after leaving that zone (e.g. Mega is KO’d, it is deleted. Partner C levels are deleted upon KO. Partner Option is deleted after use)

__Discard__ – Move the specified number of cards from the indicated player’s hand to their trash zone.


__Level__ Possible levels are R, C, U, and M. Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, and Mega respectively. “Level _” may be subtistuted by its full name instead, such as “Ultimate” instead of “Level U”.

__Partner Option__ – The “P” symbol on a card indicates it can be placed into the Destiny Zone as a Partner Option. Players may choose to discard a Partner in the appropriate circumstance (usually Support for Option cards) and add this card to the appropriate zone from the Destiny Zone. Remember to delete it after resolution if it leaves the Destiny Zone.

__Recode X__ – Look at the top X cards of your deck, put any of them on the top or bottom in any order.

__Recover__ – Usually with text that specifies a player and the word “HP”, this means to increase your *current* HP semi-permanently by the indicated amount. Recover never needs to specify HP since it is an HP-only term, though it usually does for clarity sake. Reminder that all cards target “Own/Self” unless otherwise specified.

__Recycle X__ – Move the top X cards (one at a time) from the indicated player’s trash to the top of their deck. DO NOT shuffle. Not the same as the Attack Ability “Recycle X”, which requires shuffling.

__Recycle any__ – Move any card of your choice from your Trash to the top of your deck. DO NOT shuffle unless specified.

__Revive__ – Always means to “Set Revival”. Set Revival is a lingering effect that is carried out after/if a Digimon is KO’d that turn. It always specifies an amount of HP, but if for some reason it doesn’t: Revive with 10 HP is default. Resolve Revive by leaving the active zone intact (including any cards that *would* have been deleted) instead of discarding/deleting them. KO points are still awarded as usual; this does not stop it from being considered a “KO”. “Set Revival” also changes the future KO points the Digimon is worth to exactly 1, regardless of all Passives, other lingering effects, or permanent effects. This becomes a new permanent effect and overrides rules such as Megas providing 2 KOs, or a Digimon that changes the number of KOs it is worth.

__Take__ – Same as “pick”: simply choose a card of whatever conditions are provided from the specified zone and place it into your hand.

__Trash X__ – Move the top X cards (one at a time) from the top of the specified player’s deck into their Trash Zone.

__Void__ – Means to nullify, cancel, and make blank the specified effects/card/value as though it didn’t happen and doesn’t exist.

Attack Abilities

Attack abilities refer to abilities printed on a card’s  attack, usually. Sometimes they may appear on a green bar next to the ability. Often times, they will be conferred (either in general or to specific attacks) by card effects.

1st Attack: Attack first. See Battle Phase for more details on conflicts.

/ /  to 0: Means this attack of the opponent’s type becomes 0 Power (even if it was not used).

Corrupt X: Corrupt X cards. See Glossary.

Counter / / : Your own current attack (the one with this ability) has its Power set to 0. You lose 1st Attack and can never gain it. If, during damage calculation, your opponent is using the specified attack, it is voided and you use that attack including all modifiers and effects instead of your opponent, and you use that attack against your opponent. See FAQ for details.

Crash: Your own Power is ignored. You will deal damage equal to your own HP to your opponent at the time of your damage calculation priority. Thus, Crash can become less useful if you are hit first. Once you deal your Crash damage, your HP is reduced to 10. This takes priority over Drain, so you can theoretically gain both and recover.

[Type] x3 VS (or x3 for short): This attacks Power is tripled during the attack abilities step, if your opponent has a type that matches one of the specified types (only do this once).

Jamming: Reveal the attack you chose that has this ability during the Support Phase after An opponent’s Support is played: Void their Support if the card type is a Digimon (void opponent’s Digimon support) and their Cross ability, even if they did not choose that attack. This *does not* Jam/Void non-Cross attack abilities, such as rare Triangle abilities! See FAQ for conflicts.

Drain: Recover HP equal to the damage that this attack dealt, immediately after dealing the damage. Do not recover numbers that would send an opponent below zero, only until they reach zero HP.

Draw X: Draw X cards.

Trash X: *Opponent* Trashes X cards. See Glossary.

Recode X: Recode X cards. See Glossary.

Recycle X: Recycle X cards and *shuffle*. See Glossary.

Attach D/T/H: Attach a card of your choice from the specified zone (Deck/Trash/Hand). See Glossary.

Shatter: May discard 1 “attached” card from anywhere at the Shatter-user’s choice when the attack *hits* (it must deal more than 0 damage). After a Shatter attack hits a Digimon, that Digimon reduces all its Power by the original *printed* amount of Shatter (this cannot be increased or lowered, even if the Power is reduced below the printed amount).

Deck Construction

  • Deck is 40 cards
  • Optional up to 1 Mega in Destiny Zone
  • Optional up to 1 copy of a partner R level in-deck may be declared before each game (details below)
  • Optional up to 2 partner C’s in Destiny Zone (Must have the name of your Partner in their Evolution Box)
  • Optional up to 1 Option/DATA card used as partner’s support in Destiny Zone (Must have a “P” in the upper left corner)
  • Up to 4 copies of any Digimon (not Megas)
  • Up to 3 copies of any Option card
  • Up to 2 copies of any Evolution
  • Up to 1 copies of any Ace card; and only 1 Ace per deck
  • Up to 3 copies of any Firewall cards; and only 3 Firewalls total per deck
  • Up to 1 copies of any legal DATA card (see below)
DATA card Legality: The DATA card’s name must match a name somewhere in your Destiny Zone (e.g. “Mugendramon DATA” can be included in a deck if “Mugendramon” Level M is in your Destiny zone, or “Millenniummon” Level M, which names Mugendramon in its evolution box). Detailed tutorial on DATA cards here

Partner cards: Partners and their associated Destiny Zone cards can be confusing if you’re not using this Rules page as a walkthrough but as a reference. I recommend checking out the detailed post on Partner cards here.

__ACTIVATE timing__ – Megas (and rare non-Megas) often have ACTIVATE timing. These can be activated any time a player has effect priority or as an “Any Phase” as long as they are the turn-player. Some ACTIVATE effect boxes have further text indicating it can be used “Any Phase” or “Either Support Phase” or “Any Support Phase”, which means they follow those terminology rules instead of being required to be the turn-player. ACTIVATE abilities can only be activated once per game, PER CARD. If a card uses an ACTIVATE, then leaves its zone after that point, it is always deleted (usually has reminder text indicating this).

__Cards Placed Under Digimon__ When a Digimon is abnormal, some effects may place cards under it. At that time, check to see if the Digimon would not be abnormal had it just evolved in that line. If it is a fully valid evolution (Correct type/evo-box & correct level/box, ignoring DP) then the active is now considered Normal and not abnormal. This also occurs when cards in the active zone are trashed or deleted. However, it does not occur when abnormal evolution takes place (e.g. “Mutate” used to evolve to same level from Abnormal produces a Normal, regardless of conditions. If after that, a card is placed under or removed, it may become abnormal even if it is a new Digimon, due to the effects above).

__Conditionals__ – Effects might have if/when statements. These are simple: carry them out under the conditions/timing specified. If anything misfires, skip it and move to the next effect (after a period .) However some effects have a comma (,) or semicolon (;) with “If not, ” or “Otherwise, “. In which case, if the effect *would* misfire, instead skip the “If…” and do the “If not…”.

__Cherrypicking Rules__ – When looking into hidden zones for specific cards (instead of “any card”) a player must reveal the picked card to the opponent for inspection of legality. Also, always shuffle the deck if it was the hidden zone picked from.

__Counter specifics__ – When your attack is Counter, your Power is always 0, even if it would be raised. You Counter means that an opponent’s Digimon hits itself with its own attack. Countering a specific attack means the opponent hits themselves with that attack *only if* they are using it. For counter, any bonuses on the opponent’s attack also apply to themselves, but conditions don’t “re-check” (e.g. all “x3 VS” abilities don’t check for the user’s type), so the attack countered is exactly what the opponent would’ve done to the Counter-user. The counter user cannot attack on that turn and the countered player only attacks themselves (but opponent receives effects, such as Drain, Draw, etc). Even if an effect doesn’t state it, a “Counter” effect being added to your attack always makes all your Power 0, even if the counter fails. You can never have 1st Attack.

__Costs vs Effects__ – Because some effects have costs (sentence before a colon [ : ] ), and some effects exempt you from things that would otherwise be costs, costs are not exempted from effect exemptions. For example, “Supports cannot lower your HP” means that no support effect can make your HP go lower than the current total (though technically, it can go higher or stay the same). This does not apply to an effect’s cost, which if it requires lowering your HP, *must still be paid*.

__DATA timing__ – Synonym for “EFFECT” timing, but follows special deck building legality rules.

__Digimon without DP cost__ – A Digimon can only be evolved to using DP if it has a DP cost printed on the card. Otherwise, it may only use its evolution box. Evolve cards that ignore DP *can not* override this. Ignoring DP only works if a card has DP printed on it.

__EFFECT timing__ – Timing on a card that will be specified in the card’s effect box. Usually indicates multiple timings or “Any Phase”.

__Jamming oddballs__ – When a player is using an attack ability with Jamming (usually cross), and another player supports with a Digimon card, they may immediately reveal their attack and void that Digimon support. If they cannot, they lose the ability to Jam once the “attack effects” step comes up since Supports resolve first. However, they still always Jam other Cross supports including Cross Counter, but not other Jamming. Be aware that if both player’s attacks are changed to Cross, and you didn’t have Cross to start, you can’t reveal it to Jam during the support step, so you can’t undo your attack change. However, the new Jamming of the opponent’s cross ability does resolve.

__Lack of Digimon & Can’t mulligan__ – Normally, a player immediately loses if they cannot place a Digimon from their hand into play during the Preparation Phase, when their active zone is empty. However, starting their turn with 2 or less cards in hand, would cause them to draw 2 cards. If they still cannot play a Digimon, they must now reveal their hand to their opponent, take a forced mulligan (even if their hand is less than 3) until a Digimon appears. That Digimon *must* be played, even if it would be Abnormal. If no Digimon are left in the deck after a number of forced mulligans, the player loses as normal.

__Leaving a zone__ – If an effect exists and is currently lingering while a card is in a zone (e.g. BR-130 Etemon’s specification to remove the top active Digimon); then if that card leaves the zone, immediately void the remaining influence of its effects but leave the current game state where it is. (e.g. in the example above, if Etemon evolves to level M its effect would not remove the top Digimon during the End phase)

__Opponent discards__ – Any time an opponent “discards”, this means from the hand and is their choice unless otherwise specified (e.g. discard randomly). Some effects may have an opponent discard from another zone such as DP, these are also the opponent’s choice.

__Passives in Evolution Boxes__ Some passive effects may be granted by evolution boxes such as “Attacks cannot be countered” or “Supports cannot be void”. Unlike the general case, these only refer to your own attacks/supports/whatever is listed. These passive effects stay on your Digimon while it is active and the conditions are being met. They are not “lingering” effects that terminate during End Phase.

__Paying DP__ – When paying (or discarding) DP to evolve or for effects, the full amount must be paid by trashing the card from the DP zone. Any remainder is lost.

__Putting unknown cards from a hidden zone into a visible zone__ – This can often occur when resolving some Jungle abilities such as “put the top Digimon of own deck into own DP”. When checking for its conditions [Digimon], if the specified card(s) do not meet that condition, they are returned to their hidden zone in the exact same location. If anywhere but the top X of the deck would be checked, the deck must be shuffled (example: if putting any Digimon from own deck into DP, then no Digimon are present, follow the Cherrypicking rule and then shuffle the deck). In the original example, you would iteratively check every card in the deck until a Digimon appears or the deck is empty, then resolve the effect, then shuffle.

__Simultaneous Effects__ – If two effects (except attack abilities) would trigger simultaneously, do one of the following: If the effects are both from the same card owner, that card owner chooses the order they resolve. If one effect is a player’s and the other is their opponent’s, the turn player chooses the order they resolve.

Ruler Type

Link to detailed explanation for Ruler Type Digimon

Rules Changelog 8-16-17