Author: Mark Alfano
Here are some scenarios in which timing rules are important. Notice how the order in which the cards are played considerably changes the results.
Some Ground Rules:
The definition of a passive condition from the CRF (collected rulings file) reads:
“A passive condition causes an action to happen as stated on a card already in play.”
Annotation 9 reads:
If a card specifies that an action is to occur as a result of some specific passive condition, this action becomes automatically the first action declared in the chain of effects to immediately follow the chain of effects producing the passive condition. The passive condition must exist when this resulting action is resolved in its own chain of effects, or the action is canceled. Note that actions in the strike sequence follow a different set of rules.
Annotation 10 reads:
If more than one action is required to be the first action declared in a chain of effects, the player whose turn it is chooses the order in which they are declared. No other actions may be declared in this follow-up chain until the multiple required actions have been declared.
In CoE Digest 51, it was ruled that when hazard events are in play that have effects that are triggered passive conditions, Annotation 10 kicks in when these effects are triggered.
What it All Means:
A passive condition is the thing that triggers a card already in play, making it “go off”. For example, Smaug Ahunt basically says that if anyone is fool enough to travel up north, he gets toasted. The “if x, then y” logic of Smaug Ahunt says that if x is satisfied, then something happens. Satisfying x is equivalent to being a passive condition. So, if I am traveling up north, as soon as I flip over my site card and announce the relevant regions, Smaug Ahunt checks those regions (the passive condition) and gets triggered.
This means that, if I play a card C that specifies a passive condition by which it is triggered, that triggering can only take place after the chain in which C is involved completely resolves. What this means can be easily illustrated by the following scenario: I’m traveling to Mount Doom through Nurn (say I came from the Easterling Camp), and my opponent throws down Mordor in Arms, which essentially says I’m gonna get crushed by orcs and trolls. I allow Mordor in Arms to resolve, and then – after it resolves – my movement becomes the passive condition that triggers the attacks associated with Mordor in Arms. This triggering of Mordor in Arms begins a new chain of effects, to which I am free to respond. I do – with Marvels Told, zapping Mordor in Arms. Now, my opponent doesn’t want to see me skip all those nasty attacks, so he plays, in response to my Marvels Told, In the Heart of His Realm. However, he’s made a goof, and I’m safe. Why? According to Annotation 9, In the Heart of His Realm can only be triggered by a passive condition after everything else in the chain of effects in which it was played resolves. So that means that (assuming no one plays anything else) In the Heart of His Realm resolves, then Marvels Told resolves, zapping Mordor in Arms, then the triggering of Mordor in Arms tries to resolve, but the card that set up the triggering is no longer around, so it is canceled. At this point, In the Heart of His Realm is triggered by the passive condition of my moving in Gorgoroth, starting a new chain to which I may also respond with another Marvels Told. Assuming nothing else is played in this third chain, my Marvels Told will resolve, zapping In the Heart of His Realm, then In the Heart of His Realm will try to be triggered, but since it’s no longer around, it can’t and is canceled. All hail Marvels Told!
This has to do with cases where multiple passive conditions trigger multiple effects at the same time. A good example of this involves the play of undead creatures boosted by The Moon is Dead and Plague of Wights (with Doors of Night). If The Moon is Dead, Plague of Wights, and Doors of Night are all in play and resolved when an undead attack is declared (say, a Barrow Wight), then the resource player decides in which order the passive conditions are trigger their effects. So, both The Moon is Dead (+1 strike, +1 prowes) and Plague of Wights try to trigger (double strikes, +1 prowess), and the resource player gets to choose the order. Unless he’s suicidal, he’s going to want to have as few strikes as possible, so he chooses to let the effect of Plague of Wights be triggered first (doubling the number of strikes from 1 to 2), then The Moon is Dead (adding one more strike to go from 2 to 3). If for some reason he wanted to die, he could let them resolve in the reverse order: The Moon is Dead (+1 strike from 1 to 2), then Plague of Wights (double strikes from 2 to 4). As you can see, this makes quite a difference.
If you’re sneaky, however, you can force the resource player to face 4 strikes from the Barrow Wight. One way you might be tempted to try is illustrated below; however, it doesn’t work, as we will point out:
Example of Failure: The Moon is Dead and Doors of Night are already in play. My opponent moves to a shadowhold, and I have Barrow Wight and Plague of Wights in my hand. I play the Barrow Wight, and then in response, I play the Plague of Wights. Assuming nothing else gets played on this chain, the Plague of Wights will resolve, then the Barrow Wight, creating an attack. At this point, Plague of Wights and The Moon is Dead both try to trigger, so Annotation 10 kicks in, allowing the resource player to choose the order in which the effects are applied. Thus, he can choose to face only three strikes instead of four.
Example of Success: Here’s another example that does force the opponent to face 4 strikes: The Moon is Dead and Doors of Night are already in play and my opponent travels through a shadowland. I have Barrow Wight and Plague of Wights in my hand. I play the Barrow Wight, and it resolves (i.e. nothing more is played in response). The attack is created and The Moon is Dead is triggered (note: my opponent cannot invoke Annotation 10 at this point because only 1 passive condition is being triggered). The attack sequence starts at this point, and I play my Plague of Wights, since either player is allowed to play cards during an attack that affect prowess, body, or strikes. It resolves without a hitch. It then is triggered by the undead attack, and it doubles the number of strikes from 2 to 4.