• Timing - What, When, and Why

    This is a part of a series geared towards players of all kinds who want to play the game better. Whether you are a kitchen table player or desire to play the game competitively, the concepts in these articles are applicable to you. Your fun thematic team that you put together isnít as fun if you canít make it work well. These work no matter what or how youíre playing. Good decision making is a part of the game regardless of your desired mode of play. Thatís what weíre promoting here - making good choices for good reasons. Enjoy!


    I could almost cut and paste an earlier article that I did about etiquette and timing, but there is certainly a bit more to it than just that, especially now. Itís not just about giving your opponent the courtesy of responding when the game allows them to rather than steamrolling right by them. Itís also about making timing work for you. Donít get me wrong, correct global timing is still a problem and will require extra attention with ramp disruption like Catwoman available.


    Priority

    The turn structure enters into this pretty significantly. Letís look at the main step. The active player can do as much or little as they want, pass to their opponent, and then do as much or as little as they want again. This phase of the turn canít end until the inactive player takes no action and passes, and then the active player takes no action and passes, in that order. But it does help us understand how to play better, and as with many things it comes to playing your opponent and not just the deck they have.

    If youíre at a point where youíre not sure what to do, or believe that your opponent could respond to a threat that you have in a way that would significantly derail you, simply do one thing:

    Pass.

    Thatís it, just pass. See what your opponent does with that energy. By passing, they have a risk - if they do nothing, and you choose not to proceed into the attack step, their ability to spend that energy is just gone. Itís nowhere. But if they spend the energy, now they canít respond to a potential threat.

    Or, the way that they spend their energy could inform your next move.

    Perhaps they choose to spend it on something that can defeat your potential attack before it begins. Now your decision is clear.

    This also means that you generally shouldnít pass when you obviously are going to do a lot of things, like field characters and the like. Your opponent will likely sit on their energy unless they have tunnel vision for PXG. Sometimes this is a good thing, but an experienced and attentive player generally wonít take that bait. If you pass too often, you become the one who kept crying wolf.

    The bottom line: We can get information when we give our opponent the chance to act. Information is good.


    Etiquette

    I mentioned earlier that timing remains important and it does, now more than ever . We have characters that can impact the opponentís used pile, like the super rare Catwoman. Will she see a lot of use? Debatable. But the fact remains that she is out there, and if she is to be fielded when the opponent has an empty bag, it will fill it with everything in the used pile - and then leave the opponent with less-than-ideal uses for the energy they were saving.

    If we allow for less thoughtful play (i.e., allowing use the Professor X Global immediately at the beginning of turn), apart from breaking the rules, weíre cheating ourselves out of an opportunity to make a meaningful play.

    This is as much resource management as it is combat - perhaps the first collectable tournament-level Euro game - and disrupting that resource management for even a short amount of time can be as critical as a heavy swing in combat. As my favorite fictional president Josiah Edward Bartlett said, ďThe most costly disruptions. . . . Always happen when something we take completely for granted stops working for a minute." Saying ďnot this timeĒ to your opponentís efficiency engine even once during a game can set them back a few turns.

    However, itís not just about the punitive strike - itís about taking advantage of the tempo. Can your team dedicate itís game to Catwoman for a little while to do that and still win? Thatís a question thatíll have to be explored.

    Regardless, consider that we now have abilities that mess with ramping abilities, and we must be cognizant of the timing structure within turns. Just donít forget:

    Page 22 of the DC Rule Book:

    ďIn tournament play, the active player takes as many sequential actions as desired (from zero to all possible actions) before pausing and indicating that the inactive player can take an action. The inactive player can then either perform an action or decline the opportunity. Then the active player can take more actions.

    ďIf the inactive player passes, and then the active player passes, no more actions can be taken that step (except for reactions to damage, as usual).

    ďThis structure is only used for initiating a game effect. Players are allowed to use Global Abilities that react to events at the appropriate time (for example, a Global Ability that allows you to redirect damage when one of your characters takes damage).
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. SJ_Mitchell's Avatar
      SJ_Mitchell -
      Isn't there a time after blockers are assigned that globals can be played as well? The article states:
      "if they do nothing, and you choose to proceed into the attack step, their ability to spend that energy is just gone."
      I think that's a little misleading because perhaps they may want to save that energy to boost the attack or defense of a character after blockers are assigned.

      Am I incorrect?
    1. Mathrin's Avatar
      Mathrin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SJ_Mitchell View Post
      Isn't there a time after blockers are assigned that globals can be played as well? The article states:
      "if they do nothing, and you choose to proceed into the attack step, their ability to spend that energy is just gone."
      I think that's a little misleading because perhaps they may want to save that energy to boost the attack or defense of a character after blockers are assigned.

      Am I incorrect?
      No, you are correct. I believe he was implying that the opportunity to use globals during the main phase is gone, such as Mr Fantastic's must attack ability. Also, if you choose not to use your attack phase and instead end your turn, then your opponent would not have any opportunity to use that energy. In that case, their ability to spend energy is gone.
    1. SJ_Mitchell's Avatar
      SJ_Mitchell -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mathrin View Post
      No, you are correct. I believe he was implying that the opportunity to use globals during the main phase is gone, such as Mr Fantastic's must attack ability. Also, if you choose not to use your attack phase and instead end your turn, then your opponent would not have any opportunity to use that energy. In that case, their ability to spend energy is gone.
      Thanks for clarifying. Those point are definitely true and I guess I just didn't read between the lines.
    1. ToaEmpoleon's Avatar
      ToaEmpoleon -
      I have a question then about some more timing issue. Primarily around Cap's shield from AvX which has the global to reduce damage by 1 for a . Can I use the gobal in response to anything that would seem appropriate (taking damage, being damaged by an ability or action) or do I have to wait?
      I might just be over-thinking it but I wanna know for sure.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Effects that prevent or redirect can be used in response. This is the only known exception to the priority rule.
    1. Vapedaveb's Avatar
      Vapedaveb -
      @Shadowmeld So this means that I can use storm global to change the polymoroph of my opponent?
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Yes and no. Yes you can use Storm global to change who polymorph targets and even choose targets that normally would not be able to be selected. There is a question out there right now on whether Storm can change the die in the used pile that is put onto the field though. As a general rule, you cannot target things outside of the field. The question becomes if I can't target them could I redirect to them. There is a slippery slope here because if you can redirect to a different target in the used pile, could you redirect to one in the Prep Area instead? Redirect rules state that when you redirect you can choose a target that wasn't allowed to be chosen the first time.

      Long conundrum later, it's my opinion that you can change the initial target of Polymorph, but not the die that is being swapped in, because you can't target things outside of the field. This might be ruled otherwise, but for now that's how I see it.
    1. ToaEmpoleon's Avatar
      ToaEmpoleon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shadowmeld View Post
      Effects that prevent or redirect can be used in response. This is the only known exception to the priority rule.
      Ok thanks

      Its good that polymorph thing was brought up too. My playgroup has been playing where you can redirect either target so long as you changed the target to something valid (which i just realized you don't have to).
    1. Mathrin's Avatar
      Mathrin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shadowmeld View Post
      Effects that prevent or redirect can be used in response. This is the only known exception to the priority rule.
      Yes, but kind of no.

      Let's say that I am the active player and I have Blue's Eyes Global available with at least a bolt available and there is a Magic Missle Basic Action on the board. I also have have a couple of sidekicks fielded. I am in my Main phase and choose to pass priority to my opponent. He decides to use Magic Missle's global to deal one damage to one of my sidekicks. I can stop him, even though I've passed priority, and use Blue Eye's global with my bolt to sacrifice the sidekick he was going to knock out to reduce the cost of the next die I buy by 2. My opponent would then continue on with his actions again.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      You cannot use the blue eyes global in response. It is not a redirect or prevention ability. If you have already passed priority to him, he is allowed to fully resolve one action before passing that priority back to you. If he spends a bolt to KO a sidekick, then you cannot interrupt that action, even if it your turn. You passed him priority, this gives him a small window and you must let him resolve one effect.

      If your sidekicks were 2/2 and he spent a bolt to do 1 damage to one of them, he would be required to pass priority back to you so you could then BEG it, before he spends another bolt to KO your sidekick.
    1. Mathrin's Avatar
      Mathrin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shadowmeld View Post
      You cannot use the blue eyes global in response. It is not a redirect or prevention ability. If you have already passed priority to him, he is allowed to fully resolve one action before passing that priority back to you. If he spends a bolt to KO a sidekick, then you cannot interrupt that action, even if it your turn. You passed him priority, this gives him a small window and you must let him resolve one effect.

      If your sidekicks were 2/2 and he spent a bolt to do 1 damage to one of them, he would be required to pass priority back to you so you could then BEG it, before he spends another bolt to KO your sidekick.

      That is incorrect. How I described it, is the way it works. You and your opponent want to do something as the same time and you are the active player. So you get to have your Blue Eye's global work before the damage it done.

      See the ruling here: http://wizkidseventsystem.com/bb/vie...762ddf60b64b31

      (I think it is a bad ruling, personally.)
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      I believe you are misunderstanding that ruling. What that ruling says is that the active player can always choose to resole an action first if they are both doing actions simultaneously. However, when the active player says he has nothing else he wants to do, the inactive player may take an action. ALL actions fully resolve when taken, unless they are prevention or redirection abilities. After that action resolves, the inactive player may declare intent to use another action, but if the active player wishes for his ability to go next, that I'd his right. The example in your link illustrates this. When the inactive player pings a character for one, notice the parenthetical phrase, "(ability resolves)" this means that that ability can no longer be interrupted, but after that ability resolves there is a window where priority returns to the active player. The inactive player can assume that the active player is not going to interrupt his second action, but the active player can "interrupt" that assumption. In a tournament level game good etiquette should have the inactive player asking to take each action individually, and the active player giving him the yes or no.

      TL;DR the active player can not decide he wants to take an action after his opponent has asked him if he wants to take an action and then declines. At that point, the inactive player has permission to perform and resolve one action with no interruptions beside redirects and preventions.
    1. Mathrin's Avatar
      Mathrin -
      I read that as the inactive player chooses to use an ability 3 times. At the declaration of the third attempt, the active players asks them to stop and he then buffs his character. The first two declarations are completed, the third is stopped so that the active player can resolve a global (since he wants to do it at the same time as the inactive player want to ping). Then the inactive players third and fourth global are then executed. It doesn't matter if it is the first time the opponent declares to use a global or the third, the active player can interject an action. If he didn't say "interject", then I'd agree with you.

      Edit:
      On a personal note, I think once you pass priority, your opponent gets to use all the globals he chooses and can only be stopped if there is a damage prevention or redirection until he passes priority back to the active player. That would eliminate these types of questions. Therefore, the only simultaneous actions will be triggered ones. Then it would make sense for the active player to choose the order of those.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      I can see your confusion, but I think the key phrase her is "interject an action" which implies that the action can be placed between actions. This also implies that the first action resolves, and between any two actions declared the active player may interrupt.

      In a more simplistic approach, the active player states he is done with actions, the inactive player performs a single action and then for the benefit of keeping his intentions secret the inactive player asks for permission to take the second action.

      Another way to look at it is, when the active player rerolls, the main step begins. Both players want to take actions, fielding things and PXG. The active player can keep doing things "first" until he is done going first. Then the inactive player gets a chance to do one thing "first" because the active players "first" action is to say he has no more actions to take. The inactive player says he wants to PXG, then the active player can choose to go first again or once again say he has no more actions to take. Repeat until the inactive player has nothing left to do, the active player then has a chance to do things or go to the attack step or clean up. If the active player does something the inactive will get another chance to respond, repeat until the phase ends.