(Metagame Archive) Cerebro #5

By Paul Ross

As avid followers of this column (Hi Mum!) may have realized last week, Cerebro will be appearing bi-weekly rather than weekly from now on. But before you begin wailing and gnashing your teeth, I have three additional pieces of news to allay your despair.

1) Starting next week, I’ll be using every second Sunday to do some Marvel Knights draft analysis. As anybody who knows me will attest, “As a player, Paul makes an excellent judge.” So rather than burden you with too many of my own . . . “innovative” views on the format, I’ll be getting the lowdown from some of the best players in Australia. More on this next week!

2) Two weeks could be too long to wait if you need a quick ruling for a killer deck you’re putting together for a PCQ this weekend. From now on, I will personally reply to every question I receive. As a result, Cerebro will become a compilation of the best questions I’ve already answered, rather than the medium through which I actually answer those questions.

3) Since we’re on the subject of best questions, why not make it official? For each column, I will give away three shiny new Marvel Knights boosters to whoever sends in the best question. Why three boosters? So you can practice all of the tech you will doubtlessly be picking up from next week’s draft column! Please include your full mailing address if you’d like to be eligible for this giveaway. As always, the address is vsrules@gmail.com

Now, it’s time for some questions!

First, a couple of astute readers asked some insightful questions about Blob and My Hero prior to Danny’s column about errata. If you haven’t already, you can find all the answers here.

Robert G from Bakersfield, CA, USA, kicks off this column with some questions about costs.

If I can choose two exhausted characters when targeted by Shocker, why can’t I use an exhausted Gotham Knights character to draw a card via Batman, The Dark Knight or play a Bat-Signal?
 
The difference is that the latter are both costs. You can choose two exhausted characters when targeted by Shocker because its effect doesn’t specify that you must choose ready characters. If you choose two exhausted characters, the resulting modifier will simply fail to do anything.

However, in the case of the Dark Knight and his Signal, exhausting a Gotham Knights character is a cost. If you don’t exhaust a ready character, the cost has not been paid.

I control Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and Jason Todd ◊ Robin, and play A Child Named Valeria choosing the first mode. If an opponent attacks my Batman, The Dark Knight, what happens if I use Jason’s power?

If a modifier says a cost cannot be paid, then you can’t pay that cost. In other words, if Jason cannot be stunned because of the modifier on A Child Named Valeria, you can’t stun him to pay the cost of his power.

Anthony M, who I have a sneaking suspicion is from Australia, asks a question about timing.

G’day, Paul. I control a ready Sentinel Mark V and no other characters. If my opponent’s Rogue, Anna Raven attacks my Sentinel, can I play Tag Team before Rogue’s exhausting effect resolves?

Sure. Rogue’s triggered effect goes on the chain after she exhausts to become an attacker. That effect doesn’t resolve until you both pass in succession. After your opponent passes, you have priority to play Tag Team, and you may target the Sentinel because it’s a “defender with reinforcement.”

After successive passes, the Tag Team effect resolves. The target’s legality is rechecked during resolution and since your Sentinel is still a “defender with reinforcement,” it gets +2 ATK and +2 DEF this attack.

Then, after successive passes, Rogue’s triggered effect resolves, exhausting the Sentinel and leaving it without reinforcement.

Joe R, who is considerably more circumspect about giving away his country of origin, asks a couple of questions.

I’m playing with a Darkseid’s Elite deck and have Kanto and Shaligo in play. My opponent has a counterless Nimrod and a Bastion. His six resources are all face down except for a single Cover Fire. During my attack step, I pay 1 endurance to flip his Cover Fire face down. It resolves. Then, I pay 3 endurance to use Kanto’s power, targeting Nimrod. He flips up an Underground Sentinel Base, and then attempts to flip up his Cover Fire. If he doesn’t control a defender, can he flip it?

I have an anti-climactically short answer to such an entertainingly long question, and that answer is no. Your opponent can’t flip Cover Fire unless there’s a defender he or she can target.

Super Skrull‘s wording is similar to Beast Boy‘s, and his power triggers multiple times in the event of a team attack. If he’s defending, can his controller discard multiple times, as long as the number of discarded cards is equal to or less than the number of team attackers?

Since both Beast Boy and Super Skrull received new wording in the last update, this is another opportunity to point you in the direction of Danny’s answer-packed column.

The short answer is that Super Skrull’s power no longer triggers multiple times when it’s team attacked, but the end result is still as you describe—that is, you may discard any number of cards up to the number of team attackers.

S. Hamilton, who is not only wary of divulging his country of origin, but seems reluctant to even reveal his first name, asks a question about breakthrough.

I have Advanced Hardware equipped to Lex Luthor, Power Armor. My opponent has the initiative and attacks Lex. If I activate Lex, has he caused breakthrough endurance loss to my opponent? Then, even if he is stunned and I don’t recover him, my opponent cannot recruit a character with a cost of 7 or more the next turn, correct?

This question boils down to the definition of breakthrough endurance loss, which I’ll abbreviate to BEL. It’s been far too long since I’ve abbreviated something in this column. A player only takes BEL in two situations:

1) When a direct attack against him concludes with an attacker’s ATK greater than zero.

2) When a non-team attack against a character he controls concludes with the attacker’s ATK greater than the defender’s DEF, and the defender doesn’t have reinforcement.

Even though Lex is the source of the endurance loss in your question, it’s not BEL. However, if Lex managed to cause BEL in either of the ways described above, your last sentence would be absolutely correct.

Douglas, from London, England, who is evidently going for the whole Bono/Sting one-name-megastar vibe, has a question about everybody’s favorite X-Man.

Wolverine, James Howlett is in my front row and is under attack from Sabretooth, Feral Rage. If I discard a card to move him to my support row, will he lose the defender characteristic and allow Sabretooth to ready? Also, would there be any breakthrough since Sabretooth’s ATK is higher than Wolverine’s DEF?

First of all, a character won’t lose the defender characteristic if it changes rows or areas unless it changes controllers. Since you remain in control of Wolverine, he remains a defender.

Next, an attacker only readies if there’s no defender as the attack is about to conclude. Here, Wolverine is still a defender at that point in time. If you discard a card, his replacement modifier kicks in during attack conclusion. So even if it did remove the defender characteristic (which, I hasten to repeat, it doesn’t), Sabretooth wouldn’t ready because he was facing a defender as the attack was about to conclude.

Finally, with regards to BEL, this falls under category 2 in the previous answer. Assuming both characters simply have their base stats, Sabretooth’s ATK is 3 greater than Wolverine’s DEF. You will lose this much endurance whether or not you replace Wolverine’s stun event.

Randall H, from Sydney, NSW, Australia, does his best to break two new cards.

It is turn 7 and I have the initiative. I have teamed up Brotherhood and Underworld, and have Scarlet Witch, Eldritch Enchantress in my KO’d pile. I pay 2 resource points to play Witching Hour, choosing Scarlet Witch. Can I now pay 2 endurance to play Scarlet Witch, let her trigger resolve, burn my opponent, return her back to my hand, and then pay another 2 endurance to play her from my hand again, and so on?

The plan is a fine one until you hit the phrase and then. The key rule here is that when a card changes zones, any modifiers affecting it in the previous zone don’t affect it in the new zone.

That means that Scarlet Witch can be recruited for 2 endurance when she is initially in your KO’d pile, but she stops being affected by that modifier as soon as she leaves your KO’d pile. If you bounce her to your hand, you will have to use another 2 of your remaining 5 resource points if you wish to recruit her again.

That’s it for this column! I hope to see you next week for my first look at drafting Marvel Knights. In the meantime, you can try and score yourself some boosters to draft with by sending your rules questions to vsrules@gmail.com.

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