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Rules Questions thread

Thanks sharpo. I appreciate you taking the time to walk through this stuff in really clear, detailed language, even if I’m still not really getting it… I’ll read back on some more examples in this thread and see if it makes any more sense to me.

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Hmm, I think I gave the wrong sort of answer to your Earthquake vs. Shadow Blade question. The real answer is that “When your tech building or add-on dies your base takes 2 damage” is a game rule that happens immediately, while “Dies: Draw a card” is a triggered ability that gets shoved in a queue and will happen after Shadow Blade is totally done.

It really will be shoved in the queue before your opponent discards a card though.

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Can you give me a list of “state based actions”? I’m assuming that all state based actions are those which occur outside the triggered action timing rules described in the OP of this thread, and that would probably significantly help me understand and explain the timing rules to other people. Unfortunately I never played MtG long enough to be familiar with “state based actions.”

  • Tech buildings/Add-Ons dying and that player’s base taking 2 damage
  • Killing enemy heroes and one of your heroes gaining 2 levels if able
  • Tokens that are not in play are trashed
  • Heroes that are not in play are moved to the command zone
  • Anything with lethal damage on it (or otherwise destroyed) is moved to the discard

Anything else? Is it literally “an action that has to do with whether something is alive/in play/in discard/in hand/etc.”? And the distinction between the things in this list and, for example, the scavenger bonus, is that in the former, you “know what to do” because of text in the rulebook, whereas in the latter, it is something that happens because of something written on a card or the playmat.

So “if something happens because the rules of the game say it happens, it happens immediately, interrupting any effect or queued set of effects” but “if something happens because of a trigger on a card or because of a patrol bonus, it follows the usual timing rules for triggered effects.”

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Ah, so the draw happens before the discard?

An incomplete list that is partially dumb online-specific implementation details and partially state based actions is available at https://github.com/sharpobject/codex_rules/blob/master/engine.lua#L310. Here’s a bunch of stuff from that list in English!

  • If a player controls 2 Legendary things with the same name, one of them is discarded. Note that if you just play 2 copies of the Legendary thing back to back this won’t happen (the second one will be discarded instead of arriving). You could make it happen if you used Manufactured Truth though.
  • Tokens that aren’t in play or in the future are trashed.
  • Heroes in the discard go to the command zone and go on cooldown.
  • Players with no base lose the game.
  • Effects with durations that have expired stop applying (Not actually a state based action, but it’s good to keep in mind that this will happen “fast”)
  • If a unit or hero has both +1/+1 and -1/-1 runes, they cancel (This also might not belong in a list of state based actions)
  • If a unit or hero just took deathtouch damage or a unit, hero, or building has lethal damage marked on it, it dies. If it was a hero, an opposing hero gets 2 levels. If it was a tech building or addon, that player’s base takes 2 damage.
  • Triggered abilities that look for a condition rather than for an event check whether they should trigger, and trigger only if they are not already in the queue. I think this is just Hardened Mox. Way long ago when I wrote this code I said that this also wasn’t really what I’d think about as a “state-based action.”
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No, what happens before the discard is that the “draw a card” ability gets added to the end of a queue of things to do after Shadow Blade is over.

Here, let’s play Shadow Blade on an enemy Technician Older Brother.

at Time 1:
Currently running: the part of my main phase where I choose which action to take, like hiring a worker or playing a spell.
Currently in queue: nothing
My gold: 3
My units and heroes: Vandy Anadrose
My hand: Shadow Blade, Dark Pact
My opponent’s hand: 5 cards
My opponent’s Older Brother: 2/2 with 0 damage in the Technician slot.

I pay 3 gold and put Shadow Blade on the table.

at Time 2:
Currently running: Shadow Blade.
Currently in queue: nothing
My gold: 0
My units and heroes: Vandy Anadrose
My hand: Dark Pact
My opponent’s hand: 5 cards
My opponent’s Older Brother: 2/2 with 0 damage in the Technician slot.

Well, to actually run Shadow Blade I guess we should do the first part of Shadow Blade. I’ll target the Older Brother and deal 3 damage to it.

at Time 3:
Currently running: Shadow Blade.
Currently in queue: nothing
My gold: 0
My units and heroes: Vandy Anadrose
My hand: Dark Pact
My opponent’s hand: 5 cards
My opponent’s Older Brother: 2/2 with 3 damage in the Technician slot.

At this point, after the first part of Shadow Blade, the game notices that the Older Brother should be dead! So it dies. Immediately when it dies, we enqueue the Technician ability.

at Time 4:
Currently running: Shadow Blade.
Currently in queue: "My opponent draws 1 card"
My gold: 0
My units and heroes: Vandy Anadrose
My hand: Dark Pact
My opponent’s hand: 5 cards
My opponent’s Older Brother: in my opponent’s discard pile.

The game is now satisfied that the state does not need fixing (through e.g. the killing of things that ought to be dead), so it lets us proceed to the next part of Shadow Blade. Shadow Blade did kill Older Brother, so my opponent discards a card.

at Time 5:
Currently running: Shadow Blade.
Currently in queue: "My opponent draws 1 card"
My gold: 0
My units and heroes: Vandy Anadrose
My hand: Dark Pact
My opponent’s hand: 4 cards
My opponent’s Older Brother: in my opponent’s discard pile.

We ran out of things to do for Shadow Blade, so we’re done casting the spell. It goes to our discard pile, and we move on to the next thing in the queue.

at Time 6:
Currently running: "My opponent draws 1 card"
Currently in queue: nothing
My gold: 0
My units and heroes: Vandy Anadrose
My hand: Dark Pact
My opponent’s hand: 4 cards
My opponent’s Older Brother: in my opponent’s discard pile.

So my opponent draws a card!

at Time 7:
Currently running: nothing
Currently in queue: nothing
My gold: 0
My units and heroes: Vandy Anadrose
My hand: Dark Pact
My opponent’s hand: 5 cards
My opponent’s Older Brother: in my opponent’s discard pile.

We ran out of stuff to do in the queue, and we’re not doing anything right now, so the game moves us along. In this case it takes us back to “the part of my main phase where I choose which action to take, like hiring a worker or playing a spell.”

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No - Shadowblade resolves completely, per timing rules clarified in the OP. Essentially (1) resolve everything listed on a spell/ability, (2) any triggered effects that aren’t listed as part of that spell/ability happen afterwards. If at any point during 1 or 2 a “state based action” occurs, then you resolve that immediately.

Imagine two kinds of spells: Shadow Blade, and Shadow Cudgel. Shadow Blade is the Shadow Blade we know and love. Shadow Cudgel says “Deal 5 damage to a building. If that controller’s base is damaged, deal the base 3 damage.”

Shadow Blade is used on a patroller in the “dies: draw a card” slot: you resolve everything on the card first (you deal the patroller 3 damage, and if it died their controller discards a card). If 3 damage is enough to kill the patroller, that is a “state based action” and happens IMMEDIATELY. This triggers the “dies: draw a card” effect, which is moved to the back of the queue, as you haven’t finished reading/resolving Shadow Blade. The patroller’s controller discards a card. You’ve now completely resolved Shadow Blade and have only “dies: draw a card” to resolve.

Shadow Cudgel is used on a tech building and the building’s controller has 20 HP on their base: you resolve everything on the card first (you deal the building 5 damage, and if the controller’s base is damaged deal the base 3 damage). 5 damage is enough to kill the tech building, this is a “state based action” and happens IMMEDIATELY as is the 2 damage dealt to their base. You then continue reading Shadow Cudgel, and since the base has taken damage, you deal it 3 more damage.

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By the way, originally I was using a Wisp but that adds even more text to this already huge post because it is a token. Other ways to add even more text include having Harmony in play when you use Shadow Blade (enqueues “Summon a dancer” when you pay 3 gold and put Shadow Blade on the table) or killing an enemy Technician Gorgon using Shadow Blade (gives 2 simultaneous “Draw a card” triggers! As the active player, you can choose the order in which to enqueue them).

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Ok, so why does a gunpoint taxman steal gold if the scavenger bonus should happen after you resolve the things on his card?

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There’s no “things on his card” except his triggered ability. He attacks and trades with a scavenger. The scavenger and the taxman die simultaneously (state change action: units die when they take lethal damage), so two triggered actions are added to the queue: “opponent gains a gold” and “taxman steals a gold from an opponent.” As active player you decide the order of resolution of actions that happen simultaneously, and get to choose to resolve them in the order most favourable to you.

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@Barrelfish can you add sharpobject’s clarifications about “state based actions” to the description of the triggered actions timing stuff? It would be really useful to have that in a place where it’s easy to refer to it in the future.

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Pretty sure this should read ‘discarded’ not ‘trashed’. Just in case anyone is planning to repost it anywhere, it might be worth fixing the error, or people may be confused.

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If I have both Fox Primus and Fox’s Den Students in hand, does the order I play them matter? FDS says my ninjas have haste and stealth this turn, so I assume it retroactively applies if I play a ninja after it. It doesn’t matter for my current game, but could be relevant with Geiger shenanigans in later games (I’m playing [Ninjutsu]/Growth/Present).

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There’s no difference in ordering, afaik. FDS gives any ninja you control on your turn haste, whether or not they enter your control before or after you play FDS.

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Great! So as I thought, a potential play could be something like:

  • FDS, suicide all 4 ninjas into things
  • Inverse Power Ninja from hand hastily attacks something (as a 4/4 if only Setsuki and Geiger are in play)
  • Maxband Geiger to flicker IPN, letting her attack something hastily a second time

Present has better synergy with Ninjutsu than I thought…

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Note that it works in your example because FDS has two effects: 1 that summons ninjas, and 1 that creates a passive effect for the duration of your turn. (One of the non-triggered passive effects @sharpobject referred to in his reply to my post earlier today.)

Contrast this to Nimble Fencer, which says "Your Virtuosos have haste."
This also creates a passive effect, but since a time window isn’t specified, the passive effect only lasts as long as Nimble Fencer is in play.

So if I have NF in play, then play Tenderfoot, the Tenderfoot has haste. If I then suicide NF into something, it stops projecting its “Virtuoso haste field,” and Tenderfoot loses haste. If I want to take full advantage of NF’s haste, I should have Tenderfoot attack before NF.

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Something similar to this actually became relevant in a game I played once, where an opponent played Behind the Ferns, then buffed a Water Elemental to 18 attack and tried to stealth kill my base.

I called for a ruling and it was determined that the Elemental does not maintain stealth if its attack goes above 3.

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Oh I guess so!

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Sorry to be necro-pedantic, but can someone point me towards a more official clarification that Polymorph does indeed overwrite subtype?

So, to see if I understand what the hubbubb was about.

Shadow Blade

Play it

Don’t do anything that isn’t printed on the card
(first target, then deal 3 damage, then check to see if died, and if yes, opponent discards a card)

After that is done, discard Shadow Blade

Do anything else that might have been qued from its effect

Is that the jist of it?

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