I recently received a response from game developer Caleb Grace regarding a question about the timing of reactions as they relate to passive and forced effects that I thought would be worth sharing with the community.
For those unfamiliar with the order of operations of these effects, the FAQ has this to say about them:
FAQ 1.5 wrote:
(1.37) Timing of effect resolution
When resolving multiple effects with a shared
condition, players should use this order of resolution:
passive abilities first, Forced effects second, Response
actions third. When determining the order of effect
resolution among abilities within those categories,
players should first resolve abilities that use the word
“when” and then resolve abilities with the word “after”.
That's pretty straightforward. My question arose when I had a situation where a passive effect and a Forced effect were triggered, and a Reaction was triggered by the passive effect. Here are the specifics of my question to Caleb and his response:
I was trying out a new deck tonight and ran into a puzzler of a rules question. I was playing the Black Riders quest A Shadow of the Past and I was using Spirit Pippin
from the AtS cycle. If I fail a Hide test and there is a Black Rider
in the staging area, when it engages my via the passive effect on the quest card
, can I send it back to the staging area using Pippin's effect before it has a chance to attack using its forced effect? I know forced effects trigger before response effects, but in this case, the forced and response effects are not triggered by the same condition. So, does my response to the quest card's passive effect trigger before the Black Rider's forced effect is triggered by my failing the Hide test?
Caleb Grace wrote:
The Forced effect on the Rider is triggered by failing a hide test, which happens before it engages you, so that has to be resolved before anything else. The Rider will engage you (passive) and attack (Forced) and there is no opportunity to trigger Pippin's Response between those two things. After the attack resolves would be your first opportunity to trigger Pippin's ability to return the Rider to the staging area, which you could do at that time. That can still be helpful since it will prevent the Rider from attacking during the combat phase, but there really is no way to stop a Rider from attacking when you fail a hide test.
Can't say as I'm surprised by the ruling, and I can certainly see the logic behind it. I think this ruling basically establishes a precedent that says that, even if a reaction happens to one part of an encounter card combo, it does not resolve until after all other parts of that combo resolve. While I can't think of any examples right now that would be affected by this ruling, I imagine they are out there and we very well could see more as the game develops.
That's... weird... I mean, response should be able to trigger after the forced effect trigger, that's ok.
But not being able to resolve the response before resolving the attack ?
At least, it would attack from the staging area (because the immediate attack is not countered by moving him back to ste staging area), but having to wait until the entire combat phase where you can play action / response (after assigning a defender and after resolving is shadow effect), that's definitly weird...
Sorry for sabotaging your thread, Tony, but I had similar issue with timing in Black Riders scenario and also received official answer from Caleb.
So, I thought that I'd put it here if someone (like me) might be looking for timing issues in this expansion, just for convenience .
My problem was with Quest advancement and Response effect on Bag End:
I have a couple of progress tokens on 1st stage of A Shadow of the past scenario (where only one is needed), but I've previously moved Bag End location from active to staging (by Strider's Path). If Bag End leaves play with enough progress tokens on it, what happens first: stage advancement or Response on Bag End? I think that stage advancement goes first (I take it as passive effect), so I have to reveal Black Rider, make Hide test, maybe be attacked by BR and only after that draw those cards?
Answer from Caleb:
Good question. In the situation you described, you would advance first since that happens immediately. That would cause you to resolve the When Revealed effect on stage 2, and the resulting hide test, before triggering the Response on Bag End. You would still trigger the Response on Bag End, however.
I hope you’re enjoying The Black Riders!
It was originally published in Black Riders expansion's Forums section. I know, it's redundant, but there are so many issues explained in so many places and it's not always easy to find one that you need, and these two issues are similar, so... Sorry once again.