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Subject: What comes first, item legality check or ability modifier? rss

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tibbles von tibbleton
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I asked this before in relation to a specific spoilered item and didn't get any confident answers, and I had this situation come up again with a new class and item, so I figure I'll try asking this question as generically as I can:

I have an item that has a usage restriction, such as "single-target attack". And I play a single-target attack ability. But there is another ability in play that will increase my number of targets. Which is correct?

A. Item usage is declared before resolving attack abilities (as stated in the FAQ in regards to attack modifier drawing), thus item use legality is checked first and then afterwards I apply ability modifiers to the target count. Item usage is legal.

B. Ability target count is modified first, the attack is no longer single-target, then item legality is checked. Item cannot be used.

C. It is ambiguous which modifier to apply first so up to the player. The player could pick to first declare and legally apply the item and then choose to apply the target count modification.


Note1: I'm not asking about applying the item effects to more than 1 target, I know that cannot be done. I'm asking if it's legal to use the item to begin with. Think items such as 26 or 33.

Note2: B seems more likely at first glance, but there is one inconsistency that makes me unsure. Hid for clarity, not spoilers:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The presence of Add Target attack modifier cards. We know it is legal to use your item on a single-target attack, flip an Add Target card, and hit a 2nd target. If a modifier card is supposed to be like modifying the attack itself (isn't it? bad assumption?) then it should be resolved no different than an ability giving Add Target. Item legality in case B now varies by the source of Add Target, illegal from abilities, but legal from cards. In case A legality is always consistently known and applied.


edit: Added option C.
 
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Fito R
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I guess this depends on what you mean by "another ability in play that will increase my number of targets". Can you be specific? That is to say, can you reference a class symbol or item card number?
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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Joou wrote:
I guess this depends on what you mean by "another ability in play that will increase my number of targets". Can you be specific? That is to say, can you reference a class symbol or item card number?


Cragheart Backup Ammunition is a nonspoiler example.
 
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Ben Martell
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This isn’t a ‘confident answer’ because I don’t believe there is any official ruling. However, I would say that it depends on whether it is a multi-target attack at the time of play.

You should do things in this order:

Choose an attack action
Choose whether you will modify it with elements (still part of choosing the exact nature of the attack action)
Choose what items you will use, and apply any relevant passive items.
Flip a modifier.

If a modifier happened to be ‘add target’, I expect you can still use the item.
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Darren Nakamura
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I vote A. When you chose to use the item, it was legal, and only afterward was the attack modified to make it illegal.
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tibbles von tibbleton
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benmartell wrote:
This isn’t a ‘confident answer’ because I don’t believe there is any official ruling. However, I would say that it depends on whether it is a multi-target attack at the time of play.

You should do things in this order:

Choose an attack action
Choose whether you will modify it with elements (still part of choosing the exact nature of the attack action)
Choose what items you will use, and apply any relevant passive items.
Flip a modifier.

If a modifier happened to be ‘add target’, I expect you can still use the item.


Right...Flipping an Add Target modifier card is 100% legal. But I'm asking about the case where another ability grants the Add Target.

Using your steps, my question could be written like this:
Which order is correct?

A.
Choose an attack action
Choose whether you will modify it with elements (still part of choosing the exact nature of the attack action)
Choose what items you will use, and apply any relevant passive items.
Apply any modifiers due to abilities in play
Flip a modifier

B.
Choose an attack action
Choose whether you will modify it with elements (still part of choosing the exact nature of the attack action)
Apply any modifiers due to abilities in play
Choose what items you will use, and apply any relevant passive items.
Flip a modifier
 
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Ben Martell
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tibbles wrote:
Joou wrote:
I guess this depends on what you mean by "another ability in play that will increase my number of targets". Can you be specific? That is to say, can you reference a class symbol or item card number?


Cragheart Backup Ammunition is a nonspoiler example.


I don’t believe that ‘add target’ outside of the ability itself prevents it being a single-target attack. Interesting question though. I’m gonna check to see if the faq has anything analogous.

The counter argument would be that you can only use it if there is nothing you know of that is guaranteed to cause it to be a multi-target attack. There’s also relevant item interplay going on here, as some items will add another target.
 
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Fito R
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Hm, this seems like another case of "two simultaneous effects trigger at the same time, ambiguous which one is first, player's decide".
 
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Clayton Threadgill
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If you have a persistent ability working to add a target to your attack, then that attack had 2 or more targets when you declared it. I would say that an item that requires a single-target attack would not be allowed.

If you start an attack with only 1 target, then another item kicks in to add a target, I would allow it. After all, you get to choose the order in which the items were applied, so just apply the single-target effect before the add-target effect.
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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tibbles wrote:
Joou wrote:
I guess this depends on what you mean by "another ability in play that will increase my number of targets". Can you be specific? That is to say, can you reference a class symbol or item card number?


Cragheart Backup Ammunition is a nonspoiler example.


There is also an ability in an unlock that
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turns melee attacks into targeting all adjacent.

I'm assuming this is treated the same as Add Target for purposes of this discussion...
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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benmartell wrote:
There’s also relevant item interplay going on here, as some items will add another target.


Those are the items in question. All that I have seen so far require a single-target attack to use.
 
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Clayton Threadgill
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tibbles wrote:
benmartell wrote:
There’s also relevant item interplay going on here, as some items will add another target.


Those are the items in question. All that I have seen so far require a single-target attack to use.

If the single-target effect is the effect adding the target, then I assume the question is whether this can be done more than once?

I would say no. If effect A can be legally applied, then it is applied i its entirety. Afterwards, if effect B is no longer legal, then it is no longer legal. You can't cast B before A resolves, and expect them both to resolve off the stack - this isn't Magic.
 
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Fito R
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hooliganj wrote:
tibbles wrote:
benmartell wrote:
There’s also relevant item interplay going on here, as some items will add another target.


Those are the items in question. All that I have seen so far require a single-target attack to use.

If the single-target effect is the effect adding the target, then I assume the question is whether this can be done more than once?

I would say no. If effect A can be legally applied, then it is applied i its entirety. Afterwards, if effect B is no longer legal, then it is no longer legal. You can't cast B before A resolves, and expect them both to resolve off the stack - this isn't Magic.
But who's to say which item HAS to be in effect first? You? Can you quote the rule on that?
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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hooliganj wrote:
tibbles wrote:
benmartell wrote:
There’s also relevant item interplay going on here, as some items will add another target.


Those are the items in question. All that I have seen so far require a single-target attack to use.

If the single-target effect is the effect adding the target, then I assume the question is whether this can be done more than once?

I would say no. If effect A can be legally applied, then it is applied i its entirety. Afterwards, if effect B is no longer legal, then it is no longer legal. You can't cast B before A resolves, and expect them both to resolve off the stack - this isn't Magic.


Not multi-items.

Okay, let's say I want to do an ability with Range 2 Attack 2. I have Backup Ammunition in play which adds a target to a ranged attack. Now I want to use Item of Unspoiled Extra Hits which says "During your single-target ranged attack action, turn the attack into Target 2." Can I use this item and get to hit 3 targets (1 base, 1 from backup, and 1 from the item) or does Backup Ammunition's presence prevent its use?
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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Ohh, oh, now I get what you meant with the multiple items thing, yes, that's the same question (if there is such combo of items).

If you have Item of Extra Hits 1 and Item of Extra Hits 2, can you declare them both, then apply all modifying effects or do you declare and apply them 1 at a time?

...Which makes me now wonder if the actual answer is case C (I'll edit to add), it's ambiguous, you decide order, but apply the whole modifier at once? Ex: Choose to declare and apply Item1. Item2 cannot be chosen as it is no longer legal. Then choose to apply Backup's Add Target.

I'm so used to games with say Magic or FFG's card games timing flowcharts, it seemed logical to me that there should be an intended order of declaring and applying effects, but maybe there isn't?
 
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Clayton Threadgill
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tibbles wrote:
I'm so used to games with say Magic or FFG's card games timing flowcharts, it seemed logical to me that there should be an intended order of declaring and applying effects, but maybe there isn't?

There isn't. Gloomhaven doesn't have that kind of timing structure.

Backup Ammunition is a persistent effect and cannot be ignored. Since you know there will be 2 targets when you make the attack, I would say you cannot use the Item of Unspoiled Extra Hits.

To make a different example, if you had an Item of Add Target and an Item of Add Poison that only worked on a single target attack, I would say that you are allowed to use the items in the order of your choosing, so you could add poison first, then add the extra target.
 
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Clayton Threadgill
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Joou wrote:
But who's to say which item HAS to be in effect first? You? Can you quote the rule on that?

Persistent effects are ALWAYS in effect while they are active. You don't get to turn them off.
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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hooliganj wrote:

To make a different example, if you had an Item of Add Target and an Item of Add Poison that only worked on a single target attack, I would say that you are allowed to use the items in the order of your choosing, so you could add poison first, then add the extra target.


Right...I'm pretty sure I'm with you on the items, at least. No matter which case above, 2 items would be in the same step and you could legally choose to do the poison before the extra target.

To go off your next post, maybe the question isn't what is the timing, but does the item check against the ability card in question or the ability after modification by persistent effects?

...But, to potentially further complicate it: Is there then a difference between an ability in play that just says, "Add Target to all attack actions" vs Backup Ammunition saying to Add Target when the ability goes off? One is actually persistent, the other one you know will take effect, but hasn't actually modified the ability yet.
 
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michele c
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hooliganj wrote:
Joou wrote:
But who's to say which item HAS to be in effect first? You? Can you quote the rule on that?

Persistent effects are ALWAYS in effect while they are active. You don't get to turn them off.


Yeah, but you may use objects in such a way that the conditions are not met anymore and they thus turn off automatically.

We all know that shields effects are applied in whichever order we want, whether they come from item, abilities or whatnot. Why wouldn't the same logic apply to attacks?

So, if you have:
- Backup ammunition.
- The freaking bomb.
you choose what to activate first.
If you activate the bomb first, then the attack is still valid for Backup ammunition to trigger.
If you activate Backup ammunition first, then the conditions for activating the bomb are not valid anymore.

This is like, if you have:
- Hide amor
- That brute Lvl 1 card that gives shield

If you are attacked for 1 point of damage, you choose which one to activate and the other cannot be applied, because the condition (there is a source of damage) is not met anymore.
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Ben Martell
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hooliganj wrote:
Joou wrote:
But who's to say which item HAS to be in effect first? You? Can you quote the rule on that?

Persistent effects are ALWAYS in effect while they are active. You don't get to turn them off.


If order matters, then I definitely agree that you cannot play an item before taking into account any known mandatory effect of using the ability (such as backup ammunition).

I think the question for the FAQ could be framed as such:

"Where items may only be used on a single-target attack, does this refer solely to the attack action as written on the card, or does it include any other known modifiers that also add a target? Can more than one such item be used at once?"

I've noted this thread in the FAQ so that the question can be asked of Isaac if it isn't already something covered (I can't see anything that covers it).

If the answer is that you have to include all known modifiers, it seems obvious that you'd have to apply Backup Ammunition, for example, before using an item.

 
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Ben Martell
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mhl7 wrote:
hooliganj wrote:
Joou wrote:
But who's to say which item HAS to be in effect first? You? Can you quote the rule on that?

Persistent effects are ALWAYS in effect while they are active. You don't get to turn them off.


Yeah, but you may use objects in such a way that the conditions are not met anymore and they thus turn off automatically.

We all know that shields effects are applied in whichever order we want, whether they come from item, abilities or whatnot. Why wouldn't the same logic apply to attacks?

So, if you have:
- Backup ammunition.
- The freaking bomb.
you choose what to activate first.
If you activate the bomb first, then the attack is still valid for Backup ammunition to trigger.
If you activate Backup ammunition first, then the conditions for activating the bomb are not valid anymore.

This is like, if you have:
- Hide amor
- That brute Lvl 1 card that gives shield

If you are attacked for 1 point of damage, you choose which one to activate and the other cannot be applied, because the condition (there is a source of damage) is not met anymore.


Shields aren't the best analogy, in that they are the only ability that you don't have to use them if they won't do anything. With most effects, you have to choose to use them beforehand, and then if you don't need them, too bad.

Regarding Backup Ammunition, you can't activate it first or second or at all - it's like a passive effect on an item, it already applies the moment you choose to attack.
 
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Fito R
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It doesn't matter if you don't have a "choice" in whether or not to apply backup ammunition. Both things trigger off the same attack, in the same way that the Brute's card and Hide Armor trigger off attack damage. In fact, you are also wrong, in that you can't choose NOT to use Hide Armor or Warding Strength, you must always use them if able! Just like backup ammunition.
 
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Ben Martell
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Joou wrote:
It doesn't matter if you don't have a "choice" in whether or not to apply backup ammunition. Both things trigger off the same attack, in the same way that the Brute's card and Hide Armor trigger off attack damage. In fact, you are also wrong, in that you can't choose NOT to use Hide Armor or Warding Strength, you must always use them if able! Just like backup ammunition.


If you are being attacked, you don't have to use shields before you are attacked... you wait until you see how much damage you take, and then use them. This is distinct from, say, a choice to use an element, where you have to choose before you know if it will be effective. In this way, you never waste shields, unlike other resources.
 
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michele c
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benmartell wrote:
Joou wrote:
It doesn't matter if you don't have a "choice" in whether or not to apply backup ammunition. Both things trigger off the same attack, in the same way that the Brute's card and Hide Armor trigger off attack damage. In fact, you are also wrong, in that you can't choose NOT to use Hide Armor or Warding Strength, you must always use them if able! Just like backup ammunition.


If you are being attacked, you don't have to use shields before you are attacked... you wait until you see how much damage you take, and then use them. This is distinct from, say, a choice to use an element, where you have to choose before you know if it will be effective. In this way, you never waste shields, unlike other resources.


It doesn't matter if effects are applied before attacking, after rolling the damage, after the whole damage is computed, at the beginning of the roud, at the end of the round, ecc..

The point is: every moment multiple effects can trigger, you choose the order. After each effect is applied, you check the conditions for the following one. If they are still valid, you can apply the next effect, otherwise you can't.

If you don't like the shield example, take this other one:
A wound
B at the beginning of your turn you may perform a "heal 1, self" action.

In this case you can choose the order, so you can go B then A. After the heal (B) is applied, the wound (A) is removed, hence it doesn't trigger and you don't suffer damage.
 
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Des T.
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I vote for ambiguity. The huge extra amount of work to define dozens of effect interactions for a handful of cases just isn't worth the hassle. In the end, we'd end with something like "persistent effect", "triggered effect", "lifo" and so on, and need to define it for half of the items/cards in the game.
 
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