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Mage Wars => Rules Discussion => Topic started by: keejchen on January 04, 2020, 10:48:01 AM

Title: Revealing Blur To Interrupt Conjuration Attacks
Post by: keejchen on January 04, 2020, 10:48:01 AM
Hey folks,

In the most recent Arcane Duels League, we saw a new trick used to counter a Ballista's attack. Blur was revealed after the Ballista declared its target, and the players agreed that this canceled the attack. Here is the game with time stamp:

Initially my gut told me that this did not work, but could not recall where I had read the clarification and could not pinpoint the rule. It is, as the judges conclude, legal to reveal Blur when the attack has begun. So why should it not work?

Today I had an epiphany: The reason why the trick does not work is because you can only reveal enchantments "after a step or phase". The first thing that happens when the Ballista is about to fire is the turning of the ready marker, this is not a step. The first "step" taken in a Ballista's ranged attack is "Declare Attack". In the Declare Attack Step you declare the target and check for Line of Sight, this is the only point at which LoS is checked in an attack. After the Declare Attack Step, you may reveal Blur, but it is too late.

It is written in the base manual under "Attacks Step 1: Declare Attack", although they do not put a whole lot of weight on the ruling here. I have scoured the forum to find a clarification of this rule and I have to quote myself on this, from my Enchantment Tranfusion Clarification:

[mwcard=MWSTX1CKE04]Enchantment Transfusion[/mwcard] (ET)
Spells that interact with Line of Sight (Lesser Invisibility/Blur):
If your opponent targets a creature with a spell, you may reveal ET after the opponents ”Pay Cost” step to move an enchantment that would cause LoS to be broken, and the spell is cancelled.
Note that this does not work against standard non-spell attacks, since LoS is only checked during the first step "Declare Attack" and you cannot interrupt an initiated step. You would have to move the LoS-breaking enchant before the attack is even declared.

No one has ever told me that this was wrong, so I assume it is still true.

Zuberi has a similar post for spells, that can be used to support the ruling:
Addendum regarding Option 2: Mana Siphon doesn't choose a target mage until the Resolve Spell Step (the spell itself is targeting a zone, it is the effect of the spell that targets a mage), which is why the Divine Intervention trick works. Similarly, sweeping doesn't choose it's secondary target until after it finishes attacking the first target (luckily the second target is now optional). In order to force someone to choose a different target, possibly making them target themselves, you have to make their desired target illegal before they've actually had a chance to officially target it. For most spells, this means you must make the thing an illegal target before Step 1: Cast Spell, which will probably result in them not casting the spell at all rather than casting it on an undesirable target. Once they've officially selected a target, it is impossible to change it, much less force them to change it.

In conclusion, Blur cannot be revealed to break a Ballista shot or any other attack, you have to reveal it before the attack is declared.

If you want to write it in a more logical, less rules lawyery way: You can reveal Blur after the attack is declared, but the Ballista bolt is already fired and on intercept course with the creature, it does not care that your creature turns blurry/invisible at this stage.

Feel free to discuss and tell me if I am wrong. :D
Title: Re: Revealing Blur To Interrupt Conjuration Attacks
Post by: Zuberi on January 07, 2020, 01:33:23 PM
I don't think that the quote from me is relevant here, as I was talking about forcing someone to choose a different target rather than simply canceling the action in progress. Meaning in this case if he had revealed before the Ballista attacked, the Ballista could have chosen a different target. But the question is what happens if he reveals after the Ballista attacked.

For this, we first should look at the Rules Supplement regarding Changing the Range or Target of a Spell or Attack. Here it says the attack is cancelled if:

1) The target is no longer a legal target
2) Either the attacker or the target moves.

Neither moved, so then the only question is does Naiya still count as a legal target. Which is not the same thing as being able to target them. Here we look at the Targeting rules in the rules supplement. To target something, the target has to (in summary):
1. Be in line of sight.
2. Be in Range.
3. Be a legal target.

So you are correct that line of sight and range no longer matter. Those were checked during the Declare Attack step and it doesn't matter whether or not those have changed. But that's not the question, as being a legal target is separate from those two. So, does Obscure change the range of the attack, or does it change the legality of Naiya being a target of that attack?

I think I agree with the Judges on this one. What's happening is that Blur makes Naiya an illegal target for attacks further than 1 zone away. And if we agree that that's the case, rather than it changing the range of the attack, then the attack would be canceled just like they ruled.

I hope that makes sense. I feel a bit rusty dusting off the rules lawyer hat and had to look up everything to refresh myself
Title: Re: Revealing Blur To Interrupt Conjuration Attacks
Post by: keejchen on January 07, 2020, 02:58:43 PM
Thanks for the reply Zuberi.

I disagree about the quote, it follows similar logic: You cannot make a thing untargetable after it has been targeted (or, you can, but at that point it does not matter).

I went through the same train of thought as you did, i.e. does being out of range equal illegal target?

I disagree with your conclusion: Out of range does not make an attack illegal, it makes targeting illegal and, as we agree, targeting is only checked once during the Declare Attack step. Following that train of thought, why would the sentence "targeting is only checked once during the Declare Attack step" ever be written, if targeting is constantly checked throughout the attack? I am sure I did not just pull that out of a hat, but maybe I did? Though I am not sure where I first picked it up. Reading the Declare Attack Step in the rulebook, it reads similarly, I won't quote it here. Why would they not write that into the Avoid Attack Step, if that is where it matters? The logic fails me.

Searching for "Declare Attack step" gave me a thread with this quote:
Likewise, Divine Intervention was specifically designed for just such a purpose.  Wait for the attack dice to roll, see the result, if it's horrible call upon Asyra to whisk you away before the Apply Damage and Effects Step!  Watch your opponents face turn from elation (after rolling 8 crits and a Stun!) to surprise and defeat!

Even an attacker might use Divine Intervention after making an attack, just before the Counterstrike Step, to avoid a nasty Counterstrike.

Using spells in such a manner adds some great tactics and surprises to the game.

However, you can't change prior events.  For example, revealing Divine Intervention after the Apply Damage and effects Step might whisk you away, but you still took the damage and effects.

If an enchantment reveal cannot change a prior event, it would not be able to change the targeting event.

This is a matter of semantics, but I was honestly sure you would agree with me on this one. I hesitate to mention intent, I know we are not supposed to make rulings based on assumed intent. But I am sure the intent of Blur was to make it impossible for it to break spells or attacks, and in my opinion it still is.

Regardless, you would of course have the final say in this. If what you say is true, then I need to change my Enchantment Transfusion thread. It would mean that you can transfuse Blur and Lesser Invisibility to a creature up and until the end of the Avoid Attack step to break an attack. I am pondering if there are other implications of this ruling?
Title: Re: Revealing Blur To Interrupt Conjuration Attacks
Post by: Zuberi on January 07, 2020, 09:35:17 PM
I agree with you about intent and think it would be best ruled that way. My thinking though, with rules as written, really comes down to an interpretation of the wording on obscured. As I'm not saying the attack constantly checks targeting or range.

If you interpret obscured as changing the range of the attack, and thus putting the creature out of range, then you are entirely correct. Range has already been checked. It's not a constant check. The attack would still happen.

However, if you interpret obscured as making the object an illegal target for range 2+ attacks, then that can cancel an attack. As that's one of the conditions for canceling an attack under the rules of "changing the range or target of a spell or attack". If that happens at any point during the attack, the attack is canceled.

I believe the second is how obscured works. It's not affecting the ballista. It doesn't change how far the ballista can target. It's affecting the creature and saying what can legally target the creature. Making the creature an illegal target, i.e. no longer a legal target.

The creature's not out of range of the Ballista. It's an illegal target for an attack at that range.
Title: Re: Revealing Blur To Interrupt Conjuration Attacks
Post by: keejchen on January 08, 2020, 12:11:49 AM
Okay, but I am not sure how you get that from the obscured trait:

"This object is difficult to see. It cannot be targeted from more than one zone away..."

The word illegal is not used, it does not mention the subjects ability to be hit by attacks from beyond range 1 nor does it make a creature immune to attacks at range 2+.

The word target and targeted are important keywords that we use all the time in MW, they have specific uses, like when you are declaring spells and attacks. Obscured does not affect the Ballista's range, but rather the obscured creature's ability to be targeted. Targets beyond an attacks range are always illegal, and it is illegal to target an obscured creature at range 2+. But we have already agreed that we only check target in step one and at that point the target is not obscured. This is rules as written.

You keep mentioning the section "changing the range or target of a spell or attack", i.e. "changing the range of an attack" or "changing the target of an attack".

The range of the attack is not changed, if something made the Ballista range 1 it would qualify, the Ballista bolt would fall short.

The target of the spell is not changed by obscured, it's ability to be targeted is. Let's say the Ballista fired a flaming missile at the creature, you reveal a spell that gives it fire immunity, then the target has changed and this would affect the ongoing attack.
Title: Re: Revealing Blur To Interrupt Conjuration Attacks
Post by: Zuberi on January 08, 2020, 06:37:14 AM
You make a good argument. Despite my reputation, I'm not the official answer on rules and I admit that I'm a bit rusty having only played a handful of games with my family in the past year. It all comes down to how you want to interpret obscured and I think your interpretation is a valid one. I'm not sure what the official stance would be here.