(Metagame Archive) Cerebro XXX – The Vin Diesel Edition

By Paul Ross

Hi All,

There’s been a considerable amount of rules excitement since the last installment of Cerebro (all of which is summarized here as usual), but the avalanche of Crisis questions in my inbox can be held back no longer!

Let’s say I control The Rock of Eternity and Atom Smasher. At the start of my attack step, the Rock triggers and its effect goes on the chain. In response, I activate Atom Smasher. Is he then flagged as an exhausted character? Can my opponent then flip, say, War of Attrition to KO the Rock and stop Atom Smasher from readying?

Zac O.

The Rock of Eternity is a fairly exotic card in terms of timing, so it’s well worth taking a closer look at it. The key point is that “the start of your attack step” is an instant in time. A good analogy is that the Rock of Eternity takes a “picture” of the game at this instant as its power triggers. A short time later, its triggered effect is added to the chain just before you get priority. If you choose to activate Atom Smasher in response, it doesn’t change the fact that he was ready in “the picture.”

After both players pass in succession, the Rock’s triggered effect resolves, readying all JSA characters you control that were exhausted in “the picture” and exhausting all other characters you control. This happens whether or not The Rock of Eternity is still face up in your resource row.

I have been trying to put together an Injustice Gang / Anti-Matter swarm deck using Zazzala ◊ Queen Bee, Royal Genetrix, who reads, “At the start of the recovery phase, you may put an Army character card with cost 1 from your hand into your front row,” and Anti-Green Lantern, who reads, “At the start of the recovery phase, KO Anti-Green Lantern.” I was hoping that once Zazzala’s effect actually resolves to bring AGL into play, the start of the recovery phase will have passed, meaning that AGL won’t self-destruct that turn.

Lee B.

Yep, that’s right. Anti-Green Lantern must be face up in play as the recovery phase starts in order for its power to trigger.

I am interested in playing Secret Six Victorious during Silver Age, but I want to know the exact timing of the card and what my opponent can and can’t do to interfere with it. Let’s say I have the initiative on turn 5 and I have the needed characters in play. I play a resource and then flip up Secret Six Victorious (I want to flip it up at the start of my recruit step, so I believe this is the correct time). My opponent plays Breaking Ground targeting Secret Six Victorious. Does the win condition go on the chain and therefore resolve even though the card is no longer there? If not, then can I flip Secret Six face down in response to the Breaking Ground and then flip it up after the Breaking Ground has resolved?

Jason H.

Okay, first things first. If a resource has a power that triggers at the start of a certain phase or step, that resource must be face up before that phase or step starts. I’ve seen a number of players come unstuck at high level tournaments by announcing things like, “At the start of my recruit step, I’ll flip Book of Oa,” which technically means that they’re flipping the resource after its trigger event has already passed for the turn. The correct announcement is, “Before my recruit step starts, I’ll flip Book of Oa”—a minor change that could save you some major grief at your next big event.

So, to answer your questions:

 

 

 

In response to the triggered effect of Secret Six Victorious, my opponent activates June Moon ◊ Enchantress, Good Witch targeting my Deadshot, Dead Aim, then plays Absolute Dominance in response. Is Deadshot removed from the game before I win the game? If I were somehow to get another Secret Six character into play before the Secret Six Victorious triggered effect resolves, would I still win the game?

Jason H.

Yes and yes!

If I use Chomin’s power to stun Firestar during the recovery phase, can I put her triggered effect on the chain, activate Leslie Thompkins’s Clinic in response (targeting Firestar), and then choose to burn my opponent but keep Firestar in play?

Jason H.

Yep, that all works. As Firestar’s triggered effect resolves, you may choose to KO her and burn your opponent even if she can’t be KO’d. The key is that her KO is neither a cost, nor checked by the words “if you do.” It’s just one part of the effect, and if it can’t be done, it doesn’t stop the rest of the effect from happening.

If I play Magnificent Seven with four or fewer resources, do I draw a card first or trigger ally powers first? Or do I have a choice in the matter?

Eric H.

Technically, ally powers trigger before you draw the card, but their triggered effects are not added to the chain until after the entire Magnificent Seven effect is done resolving. So the sequence goes:

  • Resolve Magnificent Seven (triggering ally powers and drawing a card)
  • Ally effects are added to the chain (in the order of their controller’s choice)
  • Primary player gets priority

 

BWA HA HA HA HA! negates a non-ongoing plot twist effect that targets a character. Can this stop Hard Sound Construct? Can this stop, say, the triggered effect of the 7-drop Two-Face (as his effect is not that of an on going plot twist)? I assume you can only stop plot twists, but I’m just making sure.

Eric H.

BWA HA HA HA HA! and all similar effects currently use the template “negate target effect from a non-ongoing plot twist” to remove the confusion about the possibility of targeting non–plot twist effects. Hard Sound Construct’s effect is also an illegal target for BWA HA HA HA HA! because it targets a character card rather than a character. A character card is also a character only while it is in a front or support row.

I control Shayera Thal ◊ Hawkwoman, Thanagarian Enforcer and Oliver Queen ◊ Green Arrow, Hard-Traveling Hero and power-up a character I control. I resolve Shayera’s effect first to search for an equipment, then play another effect before Oliver’s effect resolves. My opponent responds with yet another effect, and then we let these two effects resolve. Does Oliver’s ally effect resolve then, despite the initial power-up being far removed? Also, does my opponent get the chance to respond to the targeting of the character that Oliver tries to stun?

Eric H.

Yes and yes. Effects will resolve no matter how many effects are played in response, and an effect’s targets must be chosen as it’s added to the chain. So, your scenario breaks down as follows:

  • Initial power-up resolves, triggering both ally powers
  • You add Oliver’s effect to the chain first and choose its target
  • You add Shayera’s effect second
  • Both players pass, causing Shayera’s effect to resolve; as it does, you discard a card and search your deck for an equipment card
  • You play a new effect and pass
  • Your opponent responds with another effect
  • Both players pass, causing your opponent’s effect to resolve
  • Both players pass, causing your effect to resolve
  • Both players pass, causing Oliver’s effect to resolve; as it does, you may exhaust Oliver and stun the target you chose earlier

 

Can I play Enemy of My Enemy from my hand, put it on the chain, pay the cost of discarding a character card, and then play another effect before the search resolves? For example, I have three cards in hand: Enemy of My Enemy, Panacea Potion, and a character card. Can I play Enemy, discard the character card, play the Potion in response, resolve its effect, then search for a character?

Eric H.

A masterful sequence of play!

My friend and I were looking at the new Infinite Crisis cards and a question came up about Amanda Waller. We wondered if it was possible to boost her for 3 to get 6 points back, and then use those points to boost Elimination Protocol, thereby getting three 4-cost characters for the price of 7 resource points.

Douglas

Yep, sounds good. You’re restricted to using the 6 bonus points only to recruit Checkmate character cards, but since boost is an additional cost to recruit, it satisfies the restriction.

I have two questions about the current Bizarro text: “Your opponents cannot gain endurance.” If my opponent activates The Oblivion Bar to gain 5 endurance, can I flip Bizarro World in response to stop that endurance gain?

Robert F.

Yep, that works. The Oblivion Bar’s effect will resolve but do nothing.

An opponent attacks my Bizarro, ME AM BIZARRO #1. Can I flip Bizarro World before Bizarro becomes stunned to stop the endurance gain? Can I also flip it in response to the stun (assuming I wanted to play a little risky?)

Robert F.

Yes to both, essentially. You can’t actually respond to the stun, but you can respond to the triggered effect that Bizarro’s power puts onto the chain. As long as Bizarro World is face up as that effect resolves, it does nothing.

When Mordru comes into play, can I choose anything as his identity? Or does it have to be the identity of a character I control? If I can choose anything, and I choose “Earth-2,” will he be considered an Earth-2 character for the purposes of cards like Superman, Earth-2?

Dave S.

The identity need not be that of a character you control, but it must be an identity that exists in the game. In other words, either:

  • The printed identity of a character card
  • Or the printed name of a character card with no printed identity

 

“Earth-2” is a version rather than an identity, and so is not a valid choice.

When Mordru comes into play, I choose a team affiliation and an identity. Can the affiliation be “unaffiliated”?

Dennis C.

Similarly, the chosen affiliation must be one that exists in the game. “Unaffiliated” describes an absence of affiliation, and so can’t be chosen for Mordru.

If I choose the identity “Batman” when Mordru comes into play, do I control Batman for the purpose of checking Superman, Big Blue Boy Scout’s requirements?

Dennis C.

No. Superman checks when you control a character named Batman (or an object with a power like Azrael ◊ Batman, Knightfall’s).

If I control Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man and I recruit Mordru, can I choose the “Spider-Man” identity and the Spider-Friends affiliation and not KO Spider-Man? Will Mordru then get bonuses from cards such as Going My Way?

Martin T.

If you recruit Mordru, the uniqueness rule checks only for other objects named Mordru you control. It ignores identities. In addition, the uniqueness check is made as part of resolving Mordru’s recruit effect before his power even triggers.

Going My Way is an excellent card to demonstrate what bonuses Mordru will and won’t get in your scenario. He will be able to attack this turn as if he has flight and range because he has the Spider-Friends affiliation. However, he won’t get +1 ATK because his name is not Spider-Man.

Hi, I have a question about Bizarro Ray. For the shortest explanation, I am going to use Aunt May, who has 0 DEF. If I attack her, and then use Bizarro Ray, would her DEF be -1, or can a character’s DEF not go below 0? Would she be stunned by Bizarro Ray?

lm16

Other than endurance, which has a few additional rules, negative values are treated as 0 except for purposes of further raising or lowering them. After Bizarro Ray’s effect reduces Aunt May’s DEF, it then asks what her DEF is. Because this question is simply checking her DEF, rather than attempting to further raise or lower it, it receives the answer “0,” and so Aunt May becomes stunned.

If I use Misappropriation to transfer an opposing Image Inducer to one of my characters, who then controls the transferable trigger?

Adam S.

The two relevant rules are:

  • You control all equipment equipped to characters you control

 

  • The player who controls the source of a triggered effect as it triggers is the controller of that effect

 

In other words, if Image Inducer is equipped to a character you control, its power triggers at the start of your formation step and you decide whether and where to transfer it.

Also, if a character is stunned in response to having equipment attached, what happens to the equipment?

Adam S.

I should start by clarifying that you can’t respond to “having equipment attached,” but you can certainly respond to an effect that intends to attach equipment as it resolves.

If that equipment is being recruited, it’s put into its owner’s KO’d pile because all targets of its recruit effect were illegal on resolution.

If that equipment is being transferred by Misappropriation, it stays where it is, because equipment can’t be transferred to a stunned character.

Most other transfer effects don’t target the destination character—that character is chosen on resolution—so there’s no window to stun that character in response to that choice.

I control High-Tech Flare Gun equipped to Character A. I pay 1 endurance to use its payment power during my recruit step, then transfer it to Character B during my formation step. Can Character A still attack hidden characters this turn?

Randy M.

Yes. “Equipped character” is used only to identify a character as the payment effect resolves. Once that character is identified (Character A in your question), that character can attack hidden characters this turn whether or not it’s equipped.

Bonus extra: If you now pay another 1 endurance, Character B can also attack hidden characters this turn.

Can I move a stunned character with The Hellfire Club?

Eduardo D.

Nope. A “character with concealed” is a face-up character with either the concealed or concealed—optional keywords. A stunned character has inactive text, and so can’t be a character with concealed.

Let’s say I’m playing a Hellfire Club deck and I have even initiatives. I play Power Play on turn 7 to steal the initiative. If the game goes to turn 8, who gets the initiative? I assume that I retain it because I have evens, but doesn’t it pass at the end of each turn?

John B.

 

The initiative does indeed pass at the end of each turn. “Evens” and “odds” are just a system for tracking who started the game with the initiative and how many turns have since passed, but a card like Power Play disrupts that system. To answer your question, if you enter turn 7’s wrap-up with the initiative, your opponent will start turn 8 with the initiative, regardless of who started the game with “evens.”

Does Fatality, Flawless Victory’s effect go on the chain. If it does, can I respond to it by playing a card like No Mercy or Baddest of the Bad?

SPADEoftheACE

Yes and yes. If the character to be KO’d is no longer in play as Fatality’s triggered effect resolves, it does nothing. Here are answers to two more Fatality FAQs at no additional cost!

  • Recovering the character to be KO’d in response doesn’t stop it from being KO’d

 

  • If both Fatality and a 3-cost character become stunned during the conclusion of an attack, Fatality’s power does trigger because powers that trigger off a character becoming stunned look at the game state just before that character becomes stunned to determine whether or not they trigger

 

My opponent controls Mr. Freeze, Brutal Blizzard, and I control a 5-cost character equipped with Cloak of Nabu. Mr. Freeze attacks the equipped character and there is a mutual stun, so my opponent targets the equipped character with the vengeance effect. Does vengeance check the game state before the character was stunned? If it does, then surely the equipped character cannot be targeted, because the equipment would still be active . . .

Ross G.

Not quite. It is true that powers that trigger off a character becoming stunned check the game state just before that character becomes stunned to determine whether or not they trigger. So, in this case, Mr. Freeze’s power does indeed trigger because he was non-stunned at that point in time.

However, his triggered effect is not added to the chain until after the attack concludes, just before the next player gets priority. At this time, the equipped character is stunned, and so it can be targeted by Mr. Freeze’s effect.

Can Talia, Beloved Betrayer target herself with her vengeance effect? I think she can, since her effect is added to the chain after she is stunned, at which point she is a legal target.

Dave S.

Absolutely correct, for the reasons discussed in the previous question.

I recover Feral with Good Samaritan. My opponent then attacks Feral with Ra’s al Ghul, Eternal Nemesis. Ra’s would cause 3 breakthrough, but that breakthrough is reduced to 0. Does Feral get KO’d?

Dan C.

No. If an amount of breakthrough is reduced to 0 or less after applying all replacement modifiers, no breakthrough is caused.

I know that Utility Belt negates payment effects (any text to the right of one of those >>> thingies.) My question is: is evasion considered a payment power? On a lot of cards I see the reminder text (Stun this character >>> Recover this character at the start of the recovery phase this turn), which leads me to believe that it’s a payment power. If so, can Utility Belt negate the recovering effect of evasion?

Alan H.

You’re correct until you hit your last sentence; then things get interesting. Yes, evasion is a payment power, which means the effect that reads “Recover this character at the start of the recovery phase this turn” is a payment effect and can indeed be negated by Utility Belt.

However, if you choose not to negate that effect, it resolves ands creates a modifier that waits for the start of the recovery phase this turn. At the start of that phase, that modifier triggers and puts a triggered effect on the chain that reads “Recover this character.” Utility Belt can’t target that effect because it is triggered, not payment.

I control Total Anarchy and my opponent controls Multiple Man. If Multiple Man becomes stunned, does he get KO’d? Or can my opponent resolve Multiple Man’s effect before Total Anarchy’s to remove him from the game and put two more into play?

Eiigth

When it comes to simultaneous triggered effects controlled by different players, the order of resolution depends on who the primary player is. In such cases, the primary player’s triggered effects are added to the chain first and resolve last.  

Who is the primary player? During your attack step or during your steps of the build phase, you are the primary player. Outside of the steps of a turn, the primary player is the player with the initiative.

I recruit Rem-Ram from my resource row, reveal the top four cards of my deck, and put a reservist card into my hand. Can I put that card into my resource row to “reservist-replace” Rem-Ram?

Dave F.

No. You may only choose a card from your hand to “reservist-replace” Rem-Ram immediately after announcing his recruit effect and putting it on the chain. This happens before his power even triggers.

As an additional cost to play Brothers in Arms, I exhaust Ted Grant ◊ Wildcat. Does the target get +4 ATK or +7 ATK?

Natalie G.

The target gets +7 ATK. Brothers in Arms checks the ATK of the character you exhausted as it resolves.

When my opponent attempts to put a cosmic counter on Captain Marvel, Earth’s Mightiest Mortal, can I jump across the table and clamp his or her mouth shut to prevent the “say ‘Shazam!’” part of the cost from being paid?

Jay B.

Despite your commendable enterprise, your insightful strategy breaks one of the fundamental rules of the game—you can’t stop a player with priority from paying a cost.

So, having ensured that Vs. System remains a non-contact sport for at least the foreseeable future, my work here is done! Please keep your questions incoming to vsrules@gmail.com.

P.S. Thanks to the fine folk of Ontario for their hospitality last weekend.

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