Confusing Card of the Week #60 - Venom: Abandoned the Stinger
by, 11-01-2016 at 02:20 PM (450 Views)
Greetings Fellow Dice Fans!
Today, we're going to take a look at Venom: Abandoned the Stinger from the Marvel Civil War set.
Ruling - Ability
Venom's ability is a While Active ability. While Active abilities work regardless of how many of that character's dice are in the Field Zone. While Active abilities are like a light - they're either on, or they're off.
Venom's ability says that you may pay a Mask energy to give your Sidekicks either a +1A or a +1D until the end of turn. Allies will benefit from this ability because they count as Sidekicks while in the Field Zone.
There is no limit to how many times this ability can be used, provided you have the resources to do so. You are not required to choose the same bonus each time you use Venom's ability in a single turn. If you use it once to give an attack bonus, you may use it a second time to give a defense bonus.
This ability can be used anytime you could use a Global Ability because it does not have a required trigger. Abilities like this are similar to the new keyword ability, Synergy. It's almost like a Global that your opponent doesn't have access to, but it requires you have the character active in the Field Zone.
Affiliations and Types
Venom: Abandoned the Stinger is a Mask Character and has the Thunderbolts and Villain affiliations.
These examples are for information purposes only, to show what would happen in certain scenarios. I am not suggesting that these examples are the best outcomes for each scenario.
Ability use in Main Step (either player's turn).
~ (Main Step) I have one Mask energy and two Wild energy in my Reserve Pool. I have two Venom dice and three Sidekick dice in the Field Zone.
~ (Main Step) I spend one Mask energy (moving it Out of Play) to give all three of my Sidekick dice +1A.
~ (Main Step) I spend one Wild energy as a Mask energy (moving it Out of Play) to give all three of my Sidekick dice +1D.
Ability use in Attack Step (turn player).
~ (Attack Step) I am the turn player, or active player. I have two Mask energy in my Reserve Pool. I have one Venom die and two Sidekick dice in the Field Zone.
~ (Attack Step - Assign Attackers) I decide to attack with my two Sidekick dice, moving them into the Attack Zone.
~ (Attack Step - Assign Blockers) My opponent doesn't have any characters to block with.
~ (Attack Step - Actions and Globals) I can now use Action Dice, but I don't have any that I want to use. I then look at Globals and abilities that can be used as Globals. I choose to use Venom's ability.
~ (Attack Step - Actions and Globals) I spend one Mask energy (moving it Out of Play) to use Venom's ability and give my two Sidekick dice +1A.
~ (Attack Step - Actions and Globals) I spend one Mask energy (moving it Out of Play) to use Venom's ability a second time and give my two Sidekick dice another +1A. This gives my Sidekick dice a total of 3A.
~ (Attack Step - Actions and Globals) I pass priority to my opponent. They do not use any Globals.
~ (Attack Step - Assign and Resolve Damage) My opponent will take a total of six damage from their life and my Sidekicks go Out of Play.
~ (Clean Up Step) All of the dice that are Out of Play move to the Used Pile. All effects end unless otherwise stated.
Ability use in Attack Step (non-turn player).
~ (Attack Step) I am the non-turn player, or inactive player. I have two Mask energy in my Reserve Pool. I have one Venom die and two Sidekick dice in the Field Zone.
~ (Attack Step - Assign Attackers) My opponent attacks with a character that has two attack and one defense (2A/1D).
~ (Attack Step - Assign Blockers) I decide to block with one of my Sidekick dice.
~ (Attack Step - Actions and Globals) My opponent can now use Action Dice, but doesn't have any to use. My opponent does not use any Globals. My opponent passes priority to me.
~ (Attack Step - Actions and Globals) I spend one Mask energy (moving it Out of Play) to use Venom's ability and give my two Sidekick dice +1D.
~ (Attack Step - Actions and Globals) I spend one Mask energy (moving it Out of Play) to use Venom's ability a second time and give my two Sidekick dice another +1D. This gives my Sidekick dice a total of 3D.
~ (Attack Step - Assign and Resolve Damage) The attacking character is 2A and 1D. My Sidekicks both have 1A and 3D. The attacker will assign its one damage to my blocking Sidekick's three defense and my Sidekick will assign its one damage to the attacker's one defense.
~ (Clean Up Step) My Sidekick is not KO'd so it returns to the Field Zone. My opponent's attacking character is KO'd and goes to the Prep Area.
There has been a ruling added to WORF for abilities like Venom's. You can find it, here.
Unfortunately, there aren't any official sources regarding abilities that don't have specific triggers. I hope that WizKids will either answer my question or another submitted by someone else about this on WORF. I recently had a discussion on Reddit in regards to these type of abilities. This is the argument I made for my ruling on these type of abilities (edited the card example and some grammar):
Without official guidance, we're left to deduce when these abilities can be used. It doesn't make sense that they would function at an odd place in the turn order without explicit instruction. That narrows down where they can be used to the Main Step and the Attack Step. Most logically, it should be available during the Main Step. That means that the turn player could use Venom's ability at any time during the Main Step. That shouldn't be a dispute at all for this type of ability. The dispute is over the Attack Step and non-turn player turn.
Venom does not say that you must use his ability during the Main Step. This is enough to make me believe that they turn player can use it during the Attack Step after blockers are assigned, which is when most other abilities and Globals would be used. It doesn't make sense that you could use it before blockers or after assigning damage.
Venom does not say that he can only be used on your turn. He doesn't say that he can be used on your opponent's turn either. But based off of other card abilities, I would say that there would be stipulations in the text saying that you can't use it on your opponent's turn. The only time a non-turn player can do anything on the turn player's turn is after being passed priority during either the Main Step or after blockers are assigned in the Attack Step.
One could argue that because it doesn't say you can use it on your opponent's turn that it's not an option. At this moment, the only argument I have against this is that there are other abilities that can be used on your opponent's turn that aren't Globals and they don't say anything about what turn you can use them. Most of these type of abilities have a specific trigger, but there is evidence of the option to use an ability on an opponent's turn.
This reasoning is why I've ruled abilities like Venom's as usable anytime you could use a Global Ability, or as though it was a Synergy ability. Always check with you TO ahead of a tournament and see how they wish to rule the card. Until we have an official ruling on WORF, it is possible that these type of abilities could be ruled differently at other venues.
As a general etiquette rule, you should always ask your TO about cards that don't have official rulings. You are always free to share my rulings with your TO, but remember that my rulings are not official as I am not affiliated with WizKids.
I absolutely believe that abilities like this are the exact reason WizKids created the Synergy keyword. Another Reddit user mentioned this as well. I am very happy that they created the keyword and I hope that they make an errata for cards like Venom that help clarify when these abilities can be used. There isn't a huge list of cards with abilities that don't have specified triggers, so making a list of them and giving them Synergy in an official errata would clear up so much confusion.
Competitive Play Rating
Venom totally has potential to be a beast in competitive play, but what hinders him is his purchase cost. There are great Ally characters that could benefit from Venom, but the meta still moves a little too fast for Venom to gain any decent momentum. I could see someone using him as a rogue card or on a rogue team that could catch opponents off guard and slide into a top cut somewhere. If he was a four cost character, he'd be awesome! His fielding costs and stats are on point and the new Swarm Multiple Man (Deadpool set) would be great with Venom! I hope that this card finds its place in competitive play someday.
I also think the confusion over his ability may deter some players from trying to use him. The inconsistent rulings in different locations would be a huge problem for anyone trying to use this card on a regular basis.
Venom: Abandoned the Stinger gets a competitive play rating of three out of five stars.
Casual Play Rating
I'm not a fan of this card for casual play. The biggest reason is the lack of an official source for the use of his ability. You can explain how a card is supposed to work (or how you believe it's supposed to work), but newer players benefit from being able to see and refer back to the source if need be. This causes lots of confusion and earns him low marks for casual play. If your locals have a good understanding of the rules and how the turn order works, I see no issue with players using Venom. The problem will start when a new player joins the group. As a TO, be consistent with your local rulings and if you decide to change a ruling, make sure all your players are clear on the change and why you made it. If you're a casual player reading this and your TO has ruled differently than I have in my article, you can show them the article, but don't be combative over their ruling. TO's have the final say in their local venues, unless they can see an official ruling states differently. Not everyone will interpret card text the same and as I mentioned before, I'm not affiliated with WizKids.
Venom: Abandoned the Stinger gets a casual play rating of one out of five stars.
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