(Metagame Archive) Cerebro X: Pros ask rules questions too!

By Paul Ross

As threatened last column, this week I’ll go over the rules questions I encountered at PC Amsterdam.

Since most of the questions concern cards from the Marvel Knights expansion, it seems like a good idea to throw in a couple of bonus questions from $10K Auckland, as well.

You’ll observe that the questions being asked at these big events aren’t radically different from the ones you fine folk send me every day. So, there’s absolutely no reason why all of you shouldn’t be making a beeline to your nearest PCQ—there’s some big money to be made!

We’ll start with some relative basics and then work our way up to a continuous-modifier interaction gem.

Can a stunned character protect a character or be protected by a character?

No. If either character in a column is stunned, the support row character is not protected and the front row character is not protecting.

What happens to an attack if the defender becomes hidden or protected?

The attack proceeds as normal. Once an attack passes the legality check and proposed attackers exhaust, the attack can no longer become illegal.

Can I pay 3 endurance to move my support row Daredevil, Matt Murdock into the front row of my hidden area?

Absolutely. There are only three simple rules you have to remember about moving a character—unless a card says otherwise, (i) you can move it to the same position or (ii) to any empty position in an area, but (iii) you can’t move it to a different area or a different kind of area.

In Matt’s case, his card text allows you to break rule (iii), so rule (ii) allows you to put him in any empty position in your hidden area.

My game goes to time and my opponent and I finish the current turn and play one additional turn. If I control a face-up Mephisto, Father of Lies at the end of that additional turn, I can’t lose the game, even if my endurance is lower than my opponent’s is, right?

I’m afraid not. It’s true that you can’t lose the game while it continues, but at the end of the additional turn, if the endurance totals of the two players are not tied, the game ends and the tournament rules take over to determine the winner.

In other words, Mephisto’s text overrides the rules of the game, but not the rules of the tournament.

How do The Russian and Shang Chi work again?

Anybody who’s ever been confused by the wordings on these cards will rejoice in the knowledge that both have received errata, along with Aerial Supremacy and Archangel, Angel of Death, in the latest rules update.

All now refer to a character “with neither flight nor range.”

The latest rules update also makes an appearance in each of the next three answers.

I control a single Marvel Knights character (like Shang Chi, for example) and exhaust that character to use Made Men. If I then recruit Elektra, Agent of the Hand, can Elektra attack as though she has flight this turn?

Yes. The latest update also removed team affiliation from the list of qualities. This means that the modifier from Made Men’s effect no longer attempts to modify qualities of objects. Instead, it attempts to modify rules of the game, and consequently, can affect objects that weren’t affected when the modifier was created (like Elektra, for example).

I control a single Sinister Syndicate character (like Vulture, for example) and recruit Sniper on turn 3. If I then play Honor Among Thieves, can I recruit Goblin Glider using my remaining resource point?

No. Following the latest update, the rules now clearly say that to determine the affiliation(s) of a character card as it changes from zone A to zone B, you look at its affiliation(s) as it leaves zone A. For those of you who like to impress friends at parties by dropping rule numbers, it is none other than 212.1c.

Sniper only had the Crime Lords affiliation as it left your hand, so doesn’t count as a “Sinister Syndicate character you recruited this turn.”


I have the initiative on turn 9 and boost Dr. Strange. During my opponent’s recruit step, he boosts Professor X, Mental Master, targeting Dr. Strange. Who gets to use Dr. Strange’s boost power?

Your opponent, because he controls Dr. Strange when his boost power triggers.

The latest update slightly tweaks the definition of boost. The phrase “Boost <cost>: <text>” now means, “As an additional cost to play this card, you may pay <cost>. If you pay, this card gains <text> this turn.” This has no impact on the majority of boostable characters, who have boost powers that trigger when they come into play. However, for cards like Dr. Strange and Natasha Romanoff ◊ Black Widow, it was necessary to limit their boost powers to a single turn, otherwise they would last the rest of the game!

My opponent exhausts a support row character to reinforce a front row defender. In response, I target the support row character with Play Time, and my opponent moves it into the front row next to the defender. Will the defender be reinforced?

Yes. This one was covered back in Cerebro III.

The character exhausted to reinforce has to be in the support row on announcement, but not necessarily on resolution. (It does have to be adjacent to and share an affiliation with the defender, both on announcement and resolution.)

Can I target an exhausted character with Heat Vision?

It’s legal to target any “defender you control,” whether or not it’s ready. However, if the target is already exhausted when the effect resolves, everything after “if you do” fails to happen, so the plot twist effectively does nothing.

A related point that came up in the PC final is that it’s legal to target any “defender” with No Fear, whether or not it’s defending against a character with a higher cost. If it’s not, then again the plot twist will effectively do nothing.

I attack Varnae with Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man. My opponent predictably activates Varnae, but I play Nice Try! to negate the payment effect. Can Varnae be stunned this attack?

Yes. Nice Try! negates the entire effect. There are no cards that negate only part of an effect.

Another question about negation. In a different game, my opponent activates Zeitgeist, again targeting my Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, but I again respond with Nice Try!. Does Zeitgeist lose his cosmic counter.

No, for the same reason. Removing the counter is not a cost, but rather part of the negated effect. If removing the counter was a cost, it would appear on the other side of the arrow next to “activate.”

If I have three Gravesites in play, do I gain 3 endurance for each Underworld character card I discard?

No. You resolve one triggered effect at a time, gaining 1 endurance for each Underworld character card you discard, for a total of 3 endurance if you discard an Underworld character card to each triggered effect.

I target an unprotected Crime Lords attacker with No Rest for the Wicked. On resolution, it gets +3 DEF this attack because it’s not attacking a character with a higher cost. Before the attack concludes, I use Psychoville to move a character to protect my attacker. Will my attacker get a total of +6 DEF this attack?

Yes, because the modifier gives the target the additional +3 DEF continuously “while (it’s) protected” this attack. In other words, the “protection bonus” is not locked on resolution, but rather can fluctuate if the target gains or loses protection before the attack concludes.

I control the only character in play, namely Bloke. Can I recruit U-Go-Girl, Tragic Teleporter and return Bloke to my hand?

Sure. When she comes into play, her triggered effect goes on the chain, targeting Bloke. After successive passes, it resolves successfully because Bloke is still in play. On resolution, you choose to return an X-Statix character you control to your hand (namely Bloke). Then you attempt to return the target to its owner’s hand but, since the target is no longer in play, that part of the effect does nothing.

The inevitable continuous modifier interaction question! I control Granny Goodness and Metropolis, naming Team Superman and Darkseid’s Elite (DE). I recruit Superman, Red. What affiliation(s) does he have?

Both. Here’s a summary:

Does Metropolis depend on Granny Goodness? Yes, Granny can change which characters Metropolis applies to (because she can give non-DE characters the DE affiliation).

Does Granny Goodness depend on Metropolis? No, because Metropolis can’t change which characters Granny applies to (because it can’t make unaffiliated characters affiliated or vice versa).

Therefore, Granny’s independent modifier is applied first to Superman, after which he has just the DE affiliation. Then the dependent Metropolis modifier is applied, giving him both affiliations.

So that’s everything the pros wanted to know about Marvel Knights (and Web of Spider-Man and Man of Steel, for that matter). Questions about Green Lantern are already starting to trickle into my inbox. Please keep all your rules questions coming to vsrules@gmail.com.


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