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Delayed Blast Fireball vs Bard re-examination

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Ever since D&D's second set came out with these two cards, players have asked many times who goes off first. The majority have always believed that Bard's boost would apply before the Fireball's damage. I have always fell in the minority believing that DBF would damage characters before the Bard's boost would apply.

Now considering this question still pops up, one has to wonder why. It should be clear regardless of which side the person falls on. After examining the debate (and being a part of it many times over), I fully understand both side's arguments pretty well and after coming across 2 BACs, I can confidently say that Delayed Blast Fireball actually goes off before Bard.

"What!? " To understand why, we need to examine all the pieces: the Delayed Blast Fireball card, why people think Bard goes first, and the character and 2 BAC cards that support my side.

First off, Delayed Blast Fireball.

The card is simple, after the main step of your opponent, the fireball goes off and deals 4 to 6 damage whether they choose to declare an attack or to skip the attack step. That is the intent of the card, your opponent ends their main step and a bast hits their entire field, continue after damage is resolved.

Next, let's examine why people think that Bard goes off first. The majority believes that the Attack Step begins with Assigning Attackers and resolving their abilities. If this were true, then yes the active player could decide to resolve the Bard ability before the fireball's. Is there any proof that Assigning Attackers is the same thing as Declaring an Attack? No, this is merely what many players assumed. Why would I think any differently?

Next, there are 3 cards besides Fireball that occur after declaring an attack but before assigning attackers.

Captain Cold, to declare an attack, you just pay one generic energy. No energy, no assigning any attackers. No one has ever disagreed with me on this one.

Change of Heart and Possession are interesting cards. At the start of your Attack Step, take control of an opposing character and you must attack with it. After you have assigned attackers we know that you cannot add anymore just as once blockers are assigned you cannot add anymore. Yet these cards force a control and adding the controlled to the attack, yet it does not occur in the main step.

Hhhhhmmm, sounds to me like they happen before assigning attackers. If that is the case, then the Attack Step does not actually begin with assigning attackers, but merely "I declare an attack." This would mean that Fireball operates before Bard is even assigned to attack and makes the fireball an inset counter to Bard.

What say you all? Still think Bard boosts everyone before Fireball or do you think the Delayed Blast Fireball incinerates weenies before Bard can make them super?


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  1. RastaBot808's Avatar
    I always thought of it like this "Toad: Tongue Lashing's *ability deals 2 damage at the moment when the opponent ends their Main Step." this would be the exact timing DBF goes off. Taken from the TRP Wiki
  2. The0retico's Avatar
    I am not convinced, I thnk the cards just do their effect even though there is no support for such action in rules. Cards can override the rules. So it is more believable, that these cards are changing rules than there are some hidden rules, which aren't mentioned anywhere. It is wishful thinking, but I can understand the motivation.
  3. Jthomash2's Avatar
    1) attacker doesn't choose the order of all effects, just their own simultaneous effects. Simultaneous effects from active and inactive player always resolve active first then inactive.

    2) DBF does not create its own timing window as Possession and Change of Heart do.

    3) Captain Cold adds a condition for moving to the attack step. What you're suggesting is that if I, the active player, declare an attack without paying the generic while you, the inactive player, have Captain Cold in the field, there is a second global /action phase even without attackers in the attack zone. Or that I could pay the generic and declare no attackers. Neither is true.

    DBF cannot fire off before bard buff takes effect.
  4. bahamut7's Avatar
    Rasta, Toad's ability only triggers on characters who attack. He does force non-sidekick characters to attack (but a cannot attack effect would override this). Once they are assigned to attack, he would deal them 2 damage. Like an inverted when assigned to attack ability.

    I don't think that the cards mentioned create a new timing or window. The main point I am saying is that there is a distinction between Declaring an Attack and Assigning Attackers. The beginning of the attack step would start with Declaring an Attack, "I am going to attack." With this being the case, the 4 cards in question would operate without being exceptions to the rules or creating a new window.

    As for Captain Cold specifically, I am not implying there would be a new window for globals. One could easily argue that Captain Cold is a mandatory cost that has to be paid in the main step to declare an attack, which doesn't take away from my point of the Attack Step beginning with Declaring an Attack followed by any effects from that, then Assigning Attackers, and so on.

    Thank you for your responses and inputs. Your opinions are welcomed and appreciated.
  5. mtsouth's Avatar
    DBF goes first. The Main Step ends once the active player has completed spending energy, purchasing dice, playing actions, fielding characters, and using globals. Simply put, the Attack step begins when the Main Step ends. Whether the active player says "I'm going to attack" or not doesn't matter. This is why the wording on DBF of "skips the Attack Step" is important to the usage of action. Also keep in mind that DBF doesn't say "declare attackers" but "an attack is declared." These are not the same thing. At the end of the Main Step/Beginning of the Attack Step, the active player has two choices declare attack or skip attack step. Both cause DBF to engage before specific attacking dice are chosen.

    DBF going first is a cleaner interpretation of the card. A better wording would be "once your opponent's Main Step concludes" instead of "declares an attack or skips the attack step."
  6. bahamut7's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mtsouth
    DBF goes first. The Main Step ends once the active player has completed spending energy, purchasing dice, playing actions, fielding characters, and using globals. Simply put, the Attack step begins when the Main Step ends. Whether the active player says "I'm going to attack" or not doesn't matter. This is why the wording on DBF of "skips the Attack Step" is important to the usage of action. Also keep in mind that DBF doesn't say "declare attackers" but "an attack is declared." These are not the same thing. At the end of the Main Step/Beginning of the Attack Step, the active player has two choices declare attack or skip attack step. Both cause DBF to engage before specific attacking dice are chosen.

    DBF going first is a cleaner interpretation of the card. A better wording would be "once your opponent's Main Step concludes" instead of "declares an attack or skips the attack step."
    Thank you, finally someone else who gets it. I was beginning to think i was the only person who saw this.
  7. Jthomash2's Avatar
    @bahamut7 and @mtsouth , RE: "DBF going first is a cleaner interpretation of the card. "

    Maybe, but that requires an errata. Or sidestepping that, a WKRF post. Without those, it is simultaneous to when attacks effects. It's not the first time the intended effect isn't what happens because of the actual wording of the card. (BFF Beholder global, for example)
  8. mtsouth's Avatar

    I think that's the difference though. You are stating that "When attacks" effects trigger at the start of the Attack Step. That's not the case. "When attacks" effects kick in when that character die is designated as an attacker IN the Attack Step. By your logic, the Bard buff should ALWAYS be applied unless he is not designated as an attacker. If it's a Bard and a sidekick on the active side and the other player isn't using DBF, is the Bard considered an attacker when more than likely he won't be attacking this round?

    I read the sequence of events as such

    Main Step->Main Step Ends/Attack Step Begins->Decide to attack (DBF goes off)->Attackers declared->Blockers declared->etc


    Main Step->Main Step Ends/Attack Step Begins->Decide not to attack (DBF goes off)->Next Step

    As soon as the attack or not decision is made, DBF goes off. No dice has been designated as attackers at this point and thus no "when attacks" effects are in play yet.
  9. Jthomash2's Avatar
    But there is no separate window between the start of the attack step and attackers being designated and attacking like in possession or change of heart.

    For reference:
  10. mtsouth's Avatar
    From your link:

    "After you have completed all your activity in the Main Step and moved leftover characters from your Reserve Pool to your Used Pile, you are ready to attack."

    At that point, you're either attacking or not. Either one sets off DBF. The links does not state that assigning attackers begins the Attack Step. Keep in mind that DBF does NOT say "when attackers are declared" but "when an attack is declared." These are not the same things. The player deciding to attack does not automatically commit all of his or her fielded characters to attacking right?

    You and I are playing a game and you've done everything you can in your Main Step. I have DBF prepped. I ask you "Are you going to attack?" Either answer of YES (declares an attack) or NO (skips Attack Step) sets off DBF before assigning attackers commences.

    I've posted this to the WK Rules Forum for clarification.

    Good discussion! :-)
  11. pk2317's Avatar
    You don't need to ask "are you going to attack?" You will find out when I move one or more characters into the Attack Zone. After which, we will resolve those effects.
  12. bahamut7's Avatar
    I see the same trend again. I would like to ask those that believe that assigning attackers is the first part of the attack step, why? MTsouth laid out the Attack step quite clearly and fits in with the ability of Delayed Blast Fireball, Possession, Change of Heart, and Captain Cold's uncommon. This causes no hidden window, it fits in with the rules, and allows the cards to operate as they are written.

    I am glad to see this discussion didn't become one sided, but I am honestly surprised that the majority are still thinking that to declare an attack is the same thing as assigning attackers. The terminology used in the rule book and on the cards make this abundantly clear that they are not the same thing.

    Perhaps if you guys can better explain why you think declare an attack and beginning of the attack step = assigning attackers, I could play devil's advocate to my own side.

    For example, @pk2317 you stated that you don't need to ask if your opponent is going to attack, but they do have to declare whether they are going to attack or end their turn. This all still happens before you assign any attackers. If you say "No, I am going to end my turn." I would have to move any unused energy to the used pile and DBF would go off. If you say "Yes, I am going to attack." Then my energy remains and the fireball still goes off.

    More proof for declaring an attack happens before assigning attackers. Silver Surfer's rare. His A and D double at the beginning of the attack step. The card looks for certain conditions to activate his effect. One, does your opponent have more life than you? Two, did the main step end and has the attack step started? The card does not say that when Silver Surfer is assigned to attack or block, double his stats if your opponent has more life than you.

    I look forward to more responses. I really should have put this in the rules forum.

    EDIT: Actually, should I move this to the rules forum? If you guys think so, let me know and I will copy and paste including the responses thus far.
  13. pk2317's Avatar
    You are using "declare" as if it is a statement you are making. I am saying that the act of moving 1+ dice from the Field to the Attack Zone is the "declaration", in game terms.
  14. mtsouth's Avatar
    Since the main concern is how DBF interacts with "when attacks" effects, that's how I posed the question on WKRF.

    Personally, I think any indication that either an attack is going to take place (either verbally or by starting movement of attackers from the field zone into the attack zone) or passing priority (which indicates the attack step is being skipped) cause DBFs effect. DBF focuses on the actual attack step as a whole and not the individual pieces within the step.Moving any dice as an attacker "declares the attack." Since this is a player action(declaring the attack) and not a character action/ability, there are no character effects to resolve before DBF. Once DBF's effect resolves (since an attack was declared) the active player can continue the attack step with any remaining characters and their character when attacks effects will take place once ALL attackers are declared (per the rules)
  15. pk2317's Avatar
    It doesn't say "any character effects" take place - it says after declaring attackers, *all* effects triggered by characters attacking would take place.
  16. Jthomash2's Avatar
    Yes, pk has it. To bypass Bard's effect, DBF would need to say it triggers at the end of the main step (which would be the ideal errata if that's the direction wk chooses to go).
  17. mtsouth's Avatar
    If "declaring attackers" is considered the beginning of the attack step and not the actual decision to attack/skip, then you're saying there is a window created between the Declare Attackers step and Assign Blockers step, which isn't the case. DBF reacts to a player action (beginning or skipping the attack step), not any character/dice actions or abilities. Therefore it falls outside of the "must resolve completely" or "effects at the same time" pieces of the rulebook.

    Imagine you're walking down the Main Step hallway and get to the end. You're now faced with two doors, Attack or Skip. Both doors are booby trapped that as soon as they are opened, the trap goes off. After the trap goes off, then you can proceed with whatever you were planning to do.

    The other argument is that only the Skip door is booby trapped, but the Attack door allows you to go in and move stuff around before a trap goes off.

    For Captain Cold, the Attack door has a slot to input 1 energy before you can open it.

    And typing all that stuff about traps makes me think of the 2:42-2:48 part of this video

    Updated 06-29-2016 at 12:38 PM by mtsouth
  18. pk2317's Avatar
    There already is a window after "Declare Attackers" and before "Assign Blockers", which is when any effects triggered by attacking resolve. Then after "Assign Blockers", there is another window when any effects triggered by blocking/being engaged would resolve. Then there is a Global/Action window.
  19. bahamut7's Avatar
    The window after assigning attackers is for resolving when Assigned to attack effects.

    Mtsouth, I do love the analogy of the hallway.
  20. bahamut7's Avatar
    Ok, here's another example that may help. Black Lantern Superman's ability states that at the beginning of the active player's turn they lose life equal to the level of the highest level character. This happens at the Start of your turn, this does not happen after your clear and draw.

    According to the logic of the arguments against DBF, possession, change of heart, and etc happening before assigning attackers, BL Superman's life loss would occur after you draw your four dice. (Civil War page 2)

    Now, I know you guys haven't played this card or Mr. M's common ability (which also has to be done at the start of your turn) after your draw. So comparing this to the other mentioned cards, including DBF, why would you assume that these happen after you assigned attackers and resolved their abilities?
    @pk2317 , @Jthomash2 what are your thoughts with this information in regards to DBF and other cards?
  21. mtsouth's Avatar
    One other piece of info...

    Per this ruling -, Action dice are not considered characters and cannot attack or block.

    This means they can't have "when attacks" or "when blocks" effects. Since the DBF effect triggers once the Attack step commences on a player action (either verbally or by starting step 1 of the Attack Step - assigning attackers) or is skipped, DBF's effect would need to resolve completely prior to any other effects beginning, including "when attacks" effects by the active players characters that are assigned to attack.
  22. pk2317's Avatar
    @bahamut7 - DBF doesn't say "at the beginning of the Attack Step" or "at the end of the Main Step" - it says "when an attack is declared". All other "when X happens" effects that I can think of are triggered effects. The trigger happens, and then any triggered effects happen (active first, always, then inactive). In this case, the trigger is declaring attackers (which is, mechanically, how you declare an attack).
    @mtsouth - you seem hung up on the window after attackers being declared as only character effects triggering and being resolved then. I don't see any reason for this - this is the same timing window for any triggered effect whether character, action, or Global (ex: Doomcaliber Knight).
  23. mtsouth's Avatar
    @pk2317 @bahamut7

    Can we all agree that once an effect is activated (triggered) that it must resolve completely before another effect can be activated (triggered) and resolved?
  24. bahamut7's Avatar
    Yes, once an effect is triggered it must be resolved fully or close as possible regardless of how many effects are triggered in the process.
  25. Jthomash2's Avatar
    The ruling and line of thought about actions not having when attacks abilities is a false argument in a Lantern Ring meta... It's true, but the argument doesn't hold weight about the timing of an action die effect.

    Some abilities, like black Lantern Aquaman and possession and the new rare captain marvel create new timing windows. Others, like DBF, don't.
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