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Website Idea: common rule misconceptions for this matchup

Hi folks,

You may know me as that noob who makes game breaking mistakes in more than half of my games but is still trying.

I like Codex, and I think it’s worth developing. I am working on a rules-engine website that would solve a lot of the issues with the current way to play the game online (which is, to be blunt, is primarily alternating between an excel spreadsheet and a forum post, neither of which show the actually cards!). However, I am currently only committing to the starter set, and I’m becoming increasingly nervous that the official rules and the rules clarification on codexcarddb are not going to be adequate for me to understand the rules clearly enough to code them.

So, I’d like to start working on a more immediately useful project to the community. I’ll need help. The project would be a website where you could put in a matchup and it would come up with rules clarifications relevant to that matchup.

What I’d need help with is to come up with some actually accurate and useful clarifications that can come up if relevant.

Some useful examples:

Disease Spec: -1/-1 tokens

Spells and abilities that apply -1/-1 tokens (Deteriorate, Sickness, Orpal’s triggered abilities) bypass armour, whereas attacks that apply -1/-1 tokens (Plague Spitter, Orpal Gloor’s attacks) are still considered combat damage and are absorbed by armour.

Neutral and White Starters: Flagbearers

Flagbearers take into consideration the gold of the player casting the ability into what is considered a target. So, if the flagbearer is given resist, his ability could be ignored by a player who can not afford to pay the penalty of resist.

(If I could I would change the wording on the cards, since targeting is a separate concern than targeting + affordability. I could easily see @FrozenStorm saying “Being poor doesn’t change the fact that the flagbearer is a patroller, which is a valid target to Scorch.” But we do what we can with the space available.)

Some examples of things that I am unqualified to have opinions on:

Purple Starter: Forgotten Fighter

Apparently this can also destroy tokens? Seems sus to me. Isn’t that double dipping in that it’s a card loss compared to the wording? Anyways, needs a reminder of the commonly held interpretation.

Purple Starter: Hardened Mox

Something about what counts as attachments. Apparently +1/+1 runes are not attachments. If so, that would mean that -1/-1 runes are also not attachments. So, if a Hardened Mox had a -1/-1 rune on it… it would be removed from the game until a tech 2 unit was played by its owner, at which point it would be allowed to die and go in the discard pile?


The interaction of a lasgun beam and a Holtzman field results in subatomic fusion and a nuclear explosion . The magnitude of this blast is unpredictable; sometimes it destroys only the shielded target and gunner, sometimes the explosion is more powerful than atomics.

I’m sure these things are actually coherently discussed somewhere in the 3,500+ posts in the Rules Questions Thread. I’d like to build something so that someone new to the community can have a reasonable chance of playing an accurate game. I think something like this will be necessary if we want the community to grow.

Who would be willing to help me with this? I can do the coding. Don’t trust me with the rules.


I think the rulings in codexcarddb are supposed to be this, but I agree that a few common misconceptions are missing there (like the interaction between -1/-1 runes and armor).

Re: Forgotten Fighter (and other similar effects like Stewardess of the Undone’s ability), the idea is that tokens aren’t considered “real” cards, so they can’t exist anywhere other than in play**. So they don’t go to your discard pile, they don’t go to Graveyard, they can’t be trashed and returned by Geiger or Prynn, and they don’t go to your hand. Whenever they “try” to do one of those things, they’re gone forever.

** The mech token summoned by Vir’s maxband can also exist in the future.

Re: Mox and what sticks to it (and you might hate this answer), cards like Vortoss Emblem, Soul Stone and Spirit of the Panda literally say “Attach to a unit”, so they’re attachments. OTOH, effects that put runes always say “Put a rune” and not “attach”, so they’re not attachments :man_shrugging:

And when a Hardened Mox has a -1/-1 rune on it, it stays in play but stays exhausted (you can think of it as if it’s being killed over and over again). It stays like that until its owner has a tech 2, at which point the Mox gets trashed.


Yeah I would recommend just building on codex card db

Okay, @FrozenStorm, you’re recommending someone update Codex Card DB so that it has clear up to date rulings on the cards? Not a terrible idea, why hasn’t it been done yet?

Let’s look at Hardened Mox, for example. The post on codexcarddb does not mention any of what Dreamfire said. You have know to click through to the Indestructable keyword, at which point there are redundant official rulings, none of which are as clear as how Dreamfire just put it. It’s an official reference, but it’s not really user friendly.

Part of the problem I’m trying to solve here is some Dunning-Kruger effect.
Like, in my last game where I didn’t understand that -1/-1 runes from combat were blocked by armour. I have been happily using -1/-1 runes to bypass armour from sickness, and last tournament had a turn 2 loss against nightmare because I didn’t take the time to consider how deteriorate could bypass armour on my squad leader. In contrast, all other spells that damage are absorbed by armour. So it’s not unreasonable that I was thinking of -1/-1 rune sources as ways to bypass armour. Of course, I was wrong, and it does make perfect sense after knowing so that those runes are absorbed by armour. But with the current state of the codexcarddb I can only confidently infer that from the fact that the rogue has armour piercing.

Since there are thousands of rules clarification posts, I know I’m not the only one making these kinds of errors. Also, since we’re having tournaments with a very small number of players, it’s not unreasonable to infer that there’s a problem with the difficulty curve in attracting people to play the game here.

So what I’m proposing is something that could make this a bit friendlier. Like in the online Ticket to Ride, where when you play a game it has a little popup that reminds you of what the rule changes are in that particular map. A little reminder that this is a game that has necessarily precise interpretations of rules that were designed with the constraint of being printed legibly on little cards, at the cost of clarity.

Or maybe I should just give up, because I only have 2 monitors, and until I perfectly memorize the cards and rules I really need a third so I can double check codexcarddb every time I play a card.

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I’m not sure whether FrozenStorm means “building on” in the sense of getting the DB updated, or using it as a starting point for whatever you build.

In any case, it would be nice to have something more comprehensive than the DB, but less of a chore to get through than the rulings thread. One pipe dream I had, which I probably won’t get around to, was to put together a set of “unit tests”: examples of board states + player actions that have results a beginning player would find counter-intuitive. We’ve had a few people start a digital implementation and stop soon after implementing the Neutral 1v1 game, so some unit tests like this would give them less up-front work to do, let them find out about the concept of “The Queue” more quickly, and so on. It might be nice for new players, too, as long as they’re not bombarded with the full set all at once.


Yeah, unit tests would be great.

For the purposes of this project, I wouldn’t need full unit testable examples. I’m imagining starting a google doc with a list of what would be counter-intuitive board states or card interactions worth including, with keyword tags for what sets they would apply for, and code up some filters.

So, for the Mox example, it wouldn’t have to go into the runes details in matchups that don’t involve runes, and could even filter out the details from the -1/-1 runes if those aren’t involved. So a noob could focus on what is important for the current matchup, rather than glossing over everything and missing nuance.

If I were to make that google doc, who would be willing to start putting suggestions in?

Are there counter-intuitive states that don’t fit into what I’m proposing such that an alternate method is worth considering?

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That sounds fine for most cases, I think. For some cases, you’d need to check whether the relevant things can target each other in the required way. Start with cases you’d need for monocolour: it’s a much more modest scope.

Something that sounds doable but tedious: going over the Rules Questions Thread from start to finish, skipping over the back and forth arguments and the more outlandish cases, and consolidating a list of practical rulings.

You could divvy it up into segments of 20 or 50 posts, create a Google sheet anyone can edit, and have people volunteer to fill in a segment at a time. I would do a few.


My knowledge of the rules verges on encyclopedic, but it’s at the point where I’m not even sure what’s obvious and what’s obscure. So if you need to know any given rule I can probably answer, but I’m not the person to ask for commonly misplayed situations.


Is it helpful if we put together common traps for moncolour? Some for a colour in general, then some for specific colour vs. colour interactions. Something like this:


If Gunpoint Taxman kills a Scavenger belonging to an opponent with no gold, it takes the Scavenger gold.
Reason: combat damage, death, and patrol bonuses are instantaneous events, so the Scavenger gold is gained before Taxman’s ability resolves.


Ferocity only affects units that are in play at the time it’s played.
Moment’s Peace also affects units that arrive after it’s played.
Reason: Ferocity gives something to your units when it’s played: they “get” armour piercing and swift strike. It can’t keep giving something after it’s played. Moment’s Peace states a condition instead, similarly to Free Speech.


If Shadow Blade kills a Technician, the Technician card draw happens before the random discard.
Reason: the damage, and the conditional discard, are two separate effects on the card. This means that instantaneous events, i.e. combat damage, death, and patrol bonuses, happen between the effects.


Prynn’s midband only activates if she dies from removing a time rune during upkeep, and not if her last time rune is removed in any other way.
Reason: bad card text.

Black vs. Blue/Purple (i.e. factions with indestructible cards that aren’t untargetable)

Disease’s - runes stay on an invulnerable unit when it would die.
Reason: like other runes, - runes are not attachments. If an invulnerable unit would die, it does not lose - runes. If this causes it to have zero health, it’s effectively constantly dying (have fun digitally implementing this), so stays exhausted until it’s brought back to more than zero health.

Purple vs. Blue/Black

If Prynn dies when not at max level, or being affected by Free Speech, any units she banished don’t return to play, but can return later.
Reason: when units are trashed using Prynn’s max-level ability, they are returned to play by Prynn’s other max-level ability. If this ability can’t fire when she dies, they can’t come back. If Prynn comes back into play, then dies when the ability can trigger, they can come back.

Blue vs. Red

If Blue has a Jail in play, Drakk’s max-level ability does nothing.
Reason: Drakk’s max-level ability only triggers when a unit arrives (in play) from hand. Units played from hand go to Jail instead of arriving, and when they’re released they arrive from the Jail, not from hand.


I meant that the DB is open source and a decent central location for rules clarifications already, so adding more clarifications to it would be good (I believe right now it pulls those clarifications from a spreadsheet that is closed access though).

So like “given X matchup, here are the Y common mistakes related to that matchup”?

Yea I think that’d be great, we could crowd source a list of common interactions (kinda like charnel got started here. I was just suggesting to PR the codexcarddb for a place to add such a thing. I did it for the Map cards so I could help, LK404 put it together and he was gracious helping me get that added there.

I hope you don’t give up and I wasn’t meaning to dismiss or discourage. I try to do what I can to welcome folks and help them learn, and I want to build more tools around the game, but garnering high levels of effort to improve things for myself or from others is a challenge.


@charnel_mouse Awesome, that’s just the kind of thing I was thinking of.

Clarification: does Moment’s Peace stay in play until it expires, or does it get discarded when it’s cast?

@FrozenStorm Yup, “given X matchup, here are the Y common mistakes related to that matchup”?

I’m open to integration with the codexcarddb, but I don’t really know what’s involved with that.

@Dreamfire if we have a crew that is available to trawl the Rules Question Thread than I’ll help as well. I think I’d also be happy if it were a living document kind of project, where we can submit suggested additions and changes to it as things come up or we remember things. Either or both sound great.

@Bomber678 Sounds like you’d be a great resource for clarification then?

I’m looking specifically for things that are either implicit or tricky interactions.
As much as I’m whining about the purple starter rulings here, it’s not because I think the rulings are wrong or should be changed, but that I can’t come up with a coherent mental model where both are true. Runes are not attachments because, though they are as physically as attached to the cards in play as the real attachments, they don’t use the specific word of attachments. Then with Forgotten Fighter, it’s implied that “return to hand” means “remove from play, then return to hand” and you do as much as you can. It’s an intuitive implication, I don’t dislike it, but in a game where I’ve developed a paranoia about misreading a single word on a card, it breaks the logical models for me.

So, maybe flipping through the cards, imagining teaching a 15 year old how to play, would you have to stop on a card to clarify what it does?

Okay, so I’ve started a google doc here:

I currently have it so anyone can comment. I’ll probably let you edit too if you ask nice :slight_smile: !

There’s an unresolved column for things that require further clarification.

Thanks for your help so far!


I’ll volunteer as well for @Dreamfire 's idea to trawl the rules question thread. My experience with the game is very limited, but I have already put quite some serious time into it, so I probably have a very good understandinng of most of the rules while still having the newbie look on things. That might actually help for a project like this.


It gets discarded when it’s cast, same as usual for spells. More precisely, it’s discarded once all its effects are resolved, which is more important for preventing cards with a draw effect from drawing themselves. I think spells only don’t get discarded after resolution if they are ongoing spells. Even that results in odd side cases, like Spirit of the Panda staying in play if there’s no unit to attach it to.

Can you explain that Spirit of the Panda edgecase? Is it a Prynn thing?

That’s actually straight out of the rulebook:

Spells are usually one-shot effects. That means they resolve, then go to your discard pile. Some are Ongoing Spells though, which means they stay in play until something says they don’t. Sometimes ongoing spells have “channeling” which means they’ll be destroyed if the hero who cast them leaves play. Other times they say they “attach” to something, and if that something is destroyed the ongoing spell gets discarded too. But if they don’t attach to anything and don’t have channeling, they’ll stick around until something specifically destroys them. Ongoing spells themselves can’t be attacked.

It’s usually a bad idea, since most attaching spells don’t do anything when not attached (e.g. Vortoss Emblem), outside of some really edge-case reshuffle manipulation. Spirit of the Panda is the exception, since it would still apply the healing.

So the interpretation is that “trashed” doesn’t mean “destroyed” when using Prynn’s maxband?

We’ve already established that Forgotten Fighter would destroy it, since it has that implicit step to destroy tokens, right?

Banishment and Forgotten Fighter don’t destroy things. If they did, then they couldn’t target indestructible units. They just directly remove them from play. Tokens are removed from the game if they’re removed from play by any means: that’s an extra step for tokens, not for removal effects.

I really have no ability to comprehend how Forgotten Fighter can on one hand destroy tokens (even though it does not explicitly say destroy, remove from play, or anything like that) and then on the other hand say that because it doesn’t say what to do with attached spells that nothing happens.

I don’t think you can have both. It’s not coherent to have both.

I really see no evidence in the design that this interpretation of abandoned attachments is an intentful rule, rather than an artifact of sloppy language. It’s like when you kill a mob in a video game, and there’s a random flaming sword left behind, interacting with nothing. It sure looks like a bug!

It hurts my head and it doesn’t add anything of value to the game. Why keep it?

I will try to clarify this.
Forgotten Fighter does not directly destroy tokens. In fact, it doesn’t destroy them at all.
Forgotten Fighter returns a thing to its owner’s hand (and well, that could be a whole clarification of its own, but another time).
Normal units just go back to their owner’s hand, like you’d expect. They are not destroyed, but they do leave play. You do not get patrol bonuses, because they are not destroyed.
When Forgotten Fighter is used on a Token, the Token leaves play, and attempts to return to its owner’s hand. However, Tokens are not allowed to exist outside of play. So, it leaves play to go to its owner’s hand, but as soon as it leaves play, it is trashed.
In this way, the tokens are not destroyed. They are trashed, but after they leave play, and ‘trash’ is not ‘destroy’.
Things are not directly destroyed when they are trashed.