Legal Targets, but Functionally Useless

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Legal Targets, but Functionally Useless

Postby jackalopespam » Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:21 pm

The FAQ has the following information. https://wizkids.com/dicemasters/dice-masters-faq/

Q: Please explain “target character must attack” effects.

A: “Target character must attack” effects— such as the global abilities on Mr. Fantastic, Brilliant Scientist, and Phoenix, Ms. Psyche,
can be paid with their respective energy during the Main Step of your opponent’s turn to force a single target character die to attack this turn. For example, during an opponent’s Main Step, a player could use Mr. Fantastic, Brilliant Scientist’s global ability by paying one mask energy and choosing an opposing player’s active character die. That character would be forced to attack during that player’s attack step. Players can activate “target character must attack” effects during the Attack Step, but since attackers have already been assigned (during the Assign Attackers phase of the Attack Step) the opportunity for those characters to attack has already passed and the net result would be paying for an effect, choosing a target, and the effect of the Global Ability would do nothing.


1) Expanding on that notion, could a player also select a character belonging to the inactive player that "must attack" even though the current controller doesn't even have the ability to declare attackers that turn?

2) Even further, suppose a player spends energy to force a character to attack. Can either player choose to use that global (or equivalent) to apply the same "must attack" effect to that target again?

Radicalization
Global: Pay shield. Target character die gains X-Men [affiliation] or Brotherhood of Evil Mutants [affiliation] (until end of turn).


3) Suppose a die already has both the X-Men affiliation and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants affiliation like Mystique: Taught by Magneto. Can the Radicalization global be used to add the X-Men or Brotherhood affiliation to such a die that already has the affiliations?

In essence, to what extent can a global like these (and "must block") be used when the effect don't change the game state? Seemingly these appear to be exceptions to the rule that you can't "Use an ability for no direct effect."
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Re: Legal Targets, but Functionally Useless

Postby dmrulesteam » Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:06 pm

Before we answer these questions, we must provide the following preface.

There are two sources of confusion or misunderstanding on this subject.
First, the context of the word “effect” in card text and previous rulings. In most cases, effect = ability. However, in other cases effect = result. When clarifying this subject, the former context (effect = ability) is applicable.
Second, that the resolution of an ability must be able to be completed or produce a result to be initiated. This incorrect application of game play stems from the first source of confusion where effect = result. The correct application is if the requirements to initiate an ability set forth below are met, this will allow the player to pay for the cost as stated in an ability.
There are two rules germane to this subject:
Each game effect has two parts—a trigger and a resolution.

Source: X-Men Forever Rule Book, Effect Timing and Resolution, p25

You may not choose to initiate an effect with no valid targets or dice to affect.

Source: X-Men Forever Rule Book, Targeting, p24
Note: This rule codified into the Rule Book the FAQ referenced in the beginning of this posting.

The first rule cited can be expanded to state: Each ability has two parts: (1) a trigger, or how the ability can be initiated, and (2) a resolution, or result once the ability has been initiated. We will focus on the first part of this rule.

To clarify the first part, a player can initiate (or trigger) an ability when (1) a cost is paid and/or the required game state occurs (as specified in the ability or as dictated by the Turn Sequence), and (2) there is a legal target.

A legal target can be defined as an object (almost always a die) that meets these requirements: (1) the target must exist for game purposes, and (2) there are no conditions prohibiting the application of the ability to the target.
Note, in card text and previous rulings, the words “legal” and “valid” are synonymous.

Using these clarifications, we can expand for completeness the second rule to state:

You may not choose to pay a cost or initiate an ability if the required game state or any legal targets do not exist.

The changes and clarifications to these rules will be incorporated, along with the definitions of Game State and Legal Target, into future Rule Books.

Now let’s proceed to the questions.

1) Expanding on that notion, could a player also select a character belonging to the inactive player that "must attack" even though the current controller doesn't even have the ability to declare attackers that turn?


We do not fully understand this question as written. We assume the question to mean “Can the Active player pay for a “must attack” global ability to force a Character die belonging to the Inactive player to attack this turn?”.

No, because the Character dice in the Inactive player’s Field Zone are not legal targets – the Inactive player's dice cannot be declared as attackers. Likewise, Character dice in the Active player’s Field Zone cannot be forced to block for the same reason.

If we have misunderstood this question, please clarify.

2) Even further, suppose a player spends energy to force a character to attack. Can either player choose to use that global (or equivalent) to apply the same "must attack" effect to that target again?


Yes, albeit unorthodox. Going through the requirements for determining if a legal target in this situation exists: yes, the target exists and there are no conditions prohibiting the application of the “must attack” ability a second time on the same Character die. We understand this is a tactic to trigger other abilities by spending energy.

3) Suppose a die already has both the X-Men affiliation and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants affiliation like Mystique: Taught by Magneto. Can the Radicalization global be used to add the X-Men or Brotherhood affiliation to such a die that already has the affiliations?


Following the clarifications above, there’s nothing preventing a player from paying for this ability to give a die an affiliation it already has. However, we feel this goes counter to the spirit of the game. Therefore, the following rule will be enacted, and will be written in future Rule Books:

You cannot pay for an ability that enables a card or die that already has the following attributes to gain them: affiliation, alignment, energy type, name/title, or subtitle.


By enacting this new rule, Mystique would not be a legal target (a condition exists – this new rule – that prohibits this ability from being applied).
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Re: Legal Targets, but Functionally Useless

Postby shadowmeld » Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:31 pm

Now let’s proceed to the questions.

1) Expanding on that notion, could a player also select a character belonging to the inactive player that "must attack" even though the current controller doesn't even have the ability to declare attackers that turn?


We do not fully understand this question as written. We assume the question to mean “Can the Active player pay for a “must attack” global ability to force a Character die belonging to the Inactive player to attack this turn?”.

No, because the Character dice in the Inactive player’s Field Zone are not legal targets – the Inactive player's dice cannot be declared as attackers. Likewise, Character dice in the Active player’s Field Zone cannot be forced to block for the same reason.

If we have misunderstood this question, please clarify.


When you say no here, do you mean that 1) no the global can not be paid for to target an inactive player's character and apply the effect "must attack"?
or 2) that the global CAN be paid for, but that it would not immediately result in an attack occurring this turn, unless some other effect causes the die to change controller.

If 1), does that extend to other game effects that are specific to active versus inactive players?

Could I pay for the Thor global to get a 2 cost discount as the inactive player, even though I can't purchase? (just to spend the bolt energy)
Could I copy my opponent's Front Line basic action with the Mr. Myx... that copies actions when my opponent plays them, even though I will have no "unblocked attackers this turn? (thus triggering attune)

Additionally, where does the line get drawn between "do as much as you can" and this new ruling that says if it might be impossible for you to do a thing later, you can't set it up now.
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Re: Legal Targets, but Functionally Useless

Postby jackalopespam » Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:50 pm

The essence of your rephrasing is correct. There are ways that one of the inactive player's dice could change ownership and then become a valid attacker, but perhaps that shouldn't be considered at this time.

By this ruling, can we assume that such "must attack" and "must block" abilities may only target dice that are currently, under normal circumstances, be able to fulfill the effect?

For instance Pepper Potts: Virgina says, "Pepper Potts can't attack." Thus she wouldn't be a valid target for "must attack" abilities.

Likewise, after Villinaous Pact is played there will likely be dice that are unable to block. So niether player should be able to use a "must block" ability on such a die, correct?

Would these be reasons to reconsider the quoted FAQ since by the time the opportunity to use global abilities during the attack step all attackers have been declared and no new attackers could be declared that turn? (Assuming normal circumstances)
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Re: Legal Targets, but Functionally Useless

Postby dmrulesteam » Sat Sep 24, 2022 4:54 pm

When you say no here, do you mean that 1) no the global cannot be paid for to target an inactive player's character and apply the effect "must attack"? or
2) that the global CAN be paid for, but that it would not immediately result in an attack occurring this turn, unless some other effect causes the die to change controller.
If 1), does that extend to other game effects that are specific to active versus inactive players?


Option (1). If a Global ability does not meet the requirement of a legal target, then you cannot initiate the ability.

On the second question, it would depend on the specific situation. Continuing with the situation in Option (1), if the Active player tries to apply this “must attack” ability on an opposing Character die with the intent to eventually take control of that die and attack with it, they will still violate the requirement of having to initiate an ability upon a legal target. A player cannot presume that a future game state scenario will transpire to justify the initiation of a Persistent ability on a target that is illegal when that ability is initiated.

However, this question does cause a shortfall in our initial clarification regarding abilities that do not target dice (e.g. Persistent abilities that only set up a future game state). Therefore, to close this shortfall, the clarification is expanded as follows:

“A player can initiate (or trigger) an ability when (1) a cost is paid and/or the required game state occurs (as specified in the ability or as dictated by the Turn Sequence), and (2) there is a legal target (if applicable*).
* If applicable in this case applies to an ability that does not target a die. If an ability targets a die, then the requirement for determining a legal die must be met.”


Could I pay for the Thor global to get a 2 cost discount as the inactive player, even though I can't purchase? (just to spend the bolt energy)

Global: Pay [1 bolt]. Once per turn, the next action die you purchase this turn costs 2 less (minimum 1.)


Yes. The requirements to initiate the ability have been met, or for this global not applicable because there are no legal targets to consider (refer to the previous answer). It is irrelevant that the resolution of the ability (in this case purchasing an Action die at a discount) can or must be completed.

Could I copy my opponent's Front Line basic action with the Mr. Myx... that copies actions when my opponent plays them, even though I will have no "unblocked attackers this turn? (thus triggering attune)

The Front Line: Unblocked attacking character dice gain +3A until end of turn.

Mr. Mxyzptlk – 5th Dimension: While Mr. Mxyzptlk is active, when an opponent uses a Basic Action Die, you may use a copy of that Basic Action Die.


No. When the Inactive player tries to initiate the copy of The Front Line Action die’s ability, they will not have any legal targets (i.e. attackers going unblocked).

Additionally, where does the line get drawn between "do as much as you can" and this new ruling that says if it might be impossible for you to do a thing later, you can't set it up now.


It would depend on the specific situation. To couple this and the previous questions, suppose your opponent uses Thrown Car instead (Up to two target character dice in your Field Zone get +1A and Overcrush until end of turn.). You copy this Basic Action die, but in this instance, you can only use the +1A modifier portion. Therefore, you “do as much as you can” and also would trigger any Attune ability. Note, that in this situation the legal target requirement must still be met in order to use a copy of Thrown Car (i.e. you must have at least one Character die in your Field Zone).
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Re: Legal Targets, but Functionally Useless

Postby dmrulesteam » Sat Sep 24, 2022 4:56 pm

By this ruling, can we assume that such "must attack" and "must block" abilities may only target dice that are currently, under normal circumstances, be able to fulfill the effect?


Correct. The target dice must be legal targets.

For instance Pepper Potts: Virgina says, "Pepper Potts can't attack." Thus she wouldn't be a valid target for "must attack" abilities.


Yes, because there is a condition prohibiting the application of the “must attack” ability making her an illegal target.

Likewise, after Villainous Pact is played there will likely be dice that are unable to block. So neither player should be able to use a "must block" ability on such a die, correct?


Correct. For the same reason as Pepper Potts.

Would these be reasons to reconsider the quoted FAQ since by the time the opportunity to use global abilities during the attack step all attackers have been declared and no new attackers could be declared that turn? (Assuming normal circumstances)


By providing these clarifications we are reconsidering how these rules are applied. To adjust these rules to accommodate when a “must attack” ability can be initiated as suggested returns us to the second misunderstanding stated at the start of this thread: that the resolution of an ability must be able to be completed or produce a result to be initiated. Changing this FAQ, along with the updated codification in the current Rule Book, would create much more disruption in the playing of many card abilities, and the meta-game trigger & resolution mechanism. But we are always open to discussions that take a second look at earlier rulings.


Editor's Note: We greatly appreciate these follow-up questions. This enables us to clarify and solidify rule precedents that will ultimately be codified into the new Rule Book, which is currently being constructed. Our intent is not to appear arbitrary, aloof, or abstract in these rulings. Our objective is to have a consistent and standard codification of the rules for Dice Masters through this iterative process, taking into consideration the future aspects of the game along with previous rulings and player insights. Positive and constructive input and feedback from the community is welcomed and does make a difference.
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