file Form of Mist: Unplayable as currently ruled?

20 Nov 2015 15:32 - 20 Nov 2015 15:49 #74482 by jamesatzephyr
Again, we need to proceed from a position where the rulebook covers the common situations and lays down general rules, but because V:TES has free-form card text, things may not be explicitly handled by the rulebook because they're specific to a small number of cards. Where this leaves an ambiguity or a hole, a ruling needs to be made one way or the other (or one of several possibilities, whatever). The nature of rulings is that there is more than one possible way to go with something, and this is the one chosen. You could do option A, you could do option B, you could do option C but that introduces extra overhead, you could do option D but that seems counter-productive, you could do option E but that would seem to interpret the card in a way that means the card does nothing, you could do option F which seems textually valid but that would mean that an excellent card gets better etc. Pick one - and, in general, assume that LSJ or Pascal have picked the option in good faith.

On top of that, V:TES has, for most of its life, also followed the general principle of precedent - if it works like this in one situation, it should follow the same rules (so far as possible) in another situation. (One or two of the Wizards net-reps and decsiions pre-LSJ were somewhat more cavalier in their "Do it this way, because it's cool" elements. I think a gentleman named Spike was involved.)

Taking completely unrelated examples to the current shouting:

- the rulebook does not define what "steal blood" means except as a combat effect. So how does it work on Leech? That's not a combat effect. But generally, we cope just fine making them behave in exactly the same way, except that the action-based version doesn't require strike resolution and all that.

- "equipping" a minion can happen in several ways, including some non-action ways (e.g. Concealed Weapon). But they behave very similarly in a lot of ways. Ditto a bunch of things like "recruit" with Piper.

Malcolm Sprye wrote: So far, no one has answered the, IMO, valid questions that have been raised, namely:
1)The rules clearly put 6.2.2.Resolve any block attempts, and 6.2.3.Resolve the action in different steps. The combat takes place during the "Resolve the action" step. Therefore any block attempt has been resolved, and there is no block attempt currently underway to compare stealth against.


There is a general principle that stealth is only playable when there is a blocking minion with sufficient intercept, expressed under 6.2.2. Blocking minion is actually defined in a way that most people ignore:
Rules Glossary:

Blocking Minion: The minion currently attempting to block an action, or the minion who has successfully blocked the current action.

So you do, in fact, have a blocking minion with sufficient intercept (excluding things like killing a retainer in combat).

Form of Mist isn't played during a block attempt, but the block combat is part of the block.
Combat occurs as part of the block - not after the block. (So Cats' Guidance and Freak Drive are played after the combat, not before). [RTR 19980623]

So, since 6.2.2 says:
Stealth can be added during an action only when needed (that is, only if the action is currently being blocked and the blocking minion has enough intercept to block the acting minion)

The block combat is part of the block, so it can reasonably be said that "the action is being blocked", and there is a "blocking minion" with intercept.

Could you interpret this a different way? Apparently so. But this is the nature of rulings: there is more than one valid interpretation, pick one. One has been picked.


Malcolm Sprye wrote: 2) If you ignore point 1, and say that FoM triggers a magical new block attempt, the current blocking minion is TAPPED... and therefore cannot block. Which means that you could never play FoM unless the opposing minion had played a wake beforehand.


The rules on when stealth is necessary don't actually say anything about the tapped status of the blocking minion. There are two ways in which you can be a blocking minion - both during an attempt, and being the actually successful blocking minion. Being a blocking minion during an attempt requires you to be untapped, or to play a wake-like effect, or similar. Being the blocking minion using the second leg of the definition of "blocking minion" does not require you to be tapped - indeed, a lot of the time, the successfully blocking minion will be tapped by virtue of having successfully blocked.

Note that the term "blocking minion" is used on quite a few cards long, long after the block attempt has been dealt with, dealing with a minion in the block combat or after the block combat. So while the term "blocking minion" is probably more commonly used to talk about the would-be blocker, it's not only used there. Examples:
Shadow Boxing
Only usable after a combat resulting from a block. Not usable if the blocking minion is ready. This vampire burns 1 blood to continue the action as if unblocked.

The block combat has happened, but there is still a blocking minion.
Ambulance
After a combat between this acting minion and a blocking minion, you may tap the Ambulance to continue the action as if unblocked.

Similar with Ambulance.
Backstab
Only usable by a blocking vampire. Only usable on the first round of combat.
[cel] This vampire gets first strike on his or her initial strike this round.

Backstab - a more specific form than just "blocking minion", it requires a vampire. But it's much the same thing, and we're in combat.

So we're pretty clear that we have blocking minions for the duration of the block combat and indeed afterwards, I think.


Malcolm Sprye wrote: I call it a flawed parallel because there are no other combat cards that add stealth. Why? Because you're not allowed to play stealth in combat! FoM is already firmly in "Golden Rule" territory (card text trumps rules)... so when it says you keep going with +1 stealth, even though you've already been blocked, and are in combat... you keep going with +1 stealth.


This is the "Ah, card text says something, so I can obliterate anything else I want" maneuver. That's not how the Golden Rule operates or, pretty much, has ever operated.

The effect of the Golden Rule is that - to the extent the card contradicts the rules - the card takes precedence. The rest of the card interacts with the game in the normal way. For example, it has been argued - using much the same interpretation of the Golden Rule - that Enkil Cog should let you declare any action, even when tapped . But no, Enkil Cog contradicts the normal rules on when you take actions. It doesn't contradict the rules on being tapped. It doesn't contradict the rules on being ready - so a torporized vampire cannot announce a bleed by saying that Enkil Cog lets him announce an action, so he can announce any action he damn well pleases.

In so far as stealth and intercept can't be played in combat, Form of Mist has to contradict that or it would be unplayable. After that, it works the same way as other stealth. That's the ruling.


Malcolm Sprye wrote: 3)Since your stealth is compared to the opposing minion's intercept, does that mean he MUST block if possible? After all, this ruling seems to assume an ongoing block attempt.


No, they don't, and no, it doesn't. It supposes there is a blocking minion with sufficient intercept. There (in most cases) is, much like there's a blocking minion to play Backstab, or a blocking minion after combat for Shadow Boxing.

One might have said that the blocking minion recommenced their block attempt - but that's not necessary.

Malcolm Sprye wrote: 4)If the block attempt is optional. Can you point at ANY legal blocker and use their intercept as a springboard to enable you to play FoM? It makes as much sense as comparing your stealth to a tapped minion's intercept.


No, because they're not a blocking minion. Remember:
Blocking Minion: The minion currently attempting to block an action, or the minion who has successfully blocked the current action.

Is the other random minion you want to point at currently attempting to block? No. Are they the minion who has successfully blocked? No. So they're not a blocking minion. So they're not relevant to the test set out in 6.2.2.
Last edit: 20 Nov 2015 15:49 by jamesatzephyr.
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20 Nov 2015 16:49 #74483 by AaronC

jamesatzephyr wrote: The nature of rulings is that there is more than one possible way to go with something, and this is the one chosen.


It all comes down to this: "LSJ said."

Malcolm Spyre, I'm with you, I don't like the ruling either. Sup. FoM doesn't give you stealth during combat with a blocking minion, it's giving you stealth after combat with the blocking minion when there's not necessarily any blocking minion at all. Since you can't gain stealth unless someone's blocking, you shouldn't be able to play Sup FoM unless the minion played a Wake card and is still blocking.

I see that LSJ wanted to enforce "no unnecessary stealth" no matter what. I would have ruled that FoM uses Golden Rule to gain stealth outside of block attempts. But, that's not what LSJ did.

It's so corner case, only like 6 people are even aware of it. It's really a non-issue. Just play it how you want with your own play group. I doubt most event judges would be up on this.

You sure seem to have hit a nerve though. You are such a troll. ;)

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21 Nov 2015 04:47 - 22 Nov 2015 02:00 #74493 by Boris The Blade

Ankha wrote: That's all. Many you're not comfortable with "blocking minion".

I have no problem with that. The minion needs to remember that until after combat to be able to play Fast Reaction or Cat's Guidance. I have a problem with redefining the word "need". Stealth has no effect in combat, therefore a vampire cannot possibly need stealth during combat. The rules on that part are poorly written but not wrong. It is the ruling alone that created that mess.

LSJ wrote: He needs stealth.
There is a current blocking minion with intercept >= stealth.

Do you see what he did here? The rules do not say "There is a current blocking minion", they say "the action is being blocked". LSJ chose to interpret it as the passive form "a minion is blocking the action", but that is only one of two grammatically valid interpretations. In the same section 6.2.2 we also have at least one case where "the action can be blocked" is used as the passive form of "a minion can attempt to block the action". Which one do you think is the correct one? The one that that says that a vampire needs stealth during combat or the one that talks about block attempts in the section dedicated to block attempts?

Everyone can make mistakes, even LSJ. Using precedents is good, but it does not mean that one should stick to buggy rulings forever.

EDIT:

Under the current interpretation, a vampire is also considered to be needing stealth after a successful block, but before combat. Example: Nahum Enosh attempts to equip a Sengir Dagger, gets blocked, plays Gift of Bellona and replaces it with a Lost in Crowds. He can cycle Lost in Crowds now to draw into more combat, although stealth cycling is exactly what the rule was supposed to prevent. And if the blocker wants to play too, they can keep playing as much stealth and intercept as they want while the rest of the table facepalms. Same goes for any vampire who is happy to be blocked but still wants to cycle his stealth.
Last edit: 22 Nov 2015 02:00 by Boris The Blade.

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22 Nov 2015 07:10 #74500 by drnlmza

Boris The Blade wrote: Under the current interpretation, a vampire is also considered to be needing stealth after a successful block, but before combat. Example: Nahum Enosh attempts to equip a Sengir Dagger, gets blocked, plays Gift of Bellona and replaces it with a Lost in Crowds. He can cycle Lost in Crowds now to draw into more combat, although stealth cycling is exactly what the rule was supposed to prevent. And if the blocker wants to play too, they can keep playing as much stealth and intercept as they want while the rest of the table facepalms. Same goes for any vampire who is happy to be blocked but still wants to cycle his stealth.


How so? The rules are quite clear on when action modifiers and reactions can be played

"Action modifiers and reaction cards can be played at any time before resolution during an action (unless otherwise noted on card text)"

That being blocked counts as reaching resolution is something that should probably be more clearly stated in the rules, but it's been confirmed several times (usually in relation to questions about Change of Target). Once Gift of Bellona has been played, it's not longer legal to play Lost in Crowds.

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22 Nov 2015 10:28 #74502 by Ohlmann

Malcolm Sprye wrote: I'm sorry, I'm a troll?

I asked a reasoned question, I pointed out what appear to be massive holes in the ruling's logic. I then even asked for clarification about the ramifications of that ruling if the flaws aren't ironed out (or are decided to not be flaws).


Let's be honest for a moment : there is a rash of absolutely inane questions based on so strange interpretation of rules that, for someone who only go in the forum irregulary, it really look like thoses question are only trying to "corner" the rule guys for fun.

Now, your question look a lot more reasonable than the guy who seem to believe non-native english speaker are automatically incapable of answering questions. But still, your basic point is at best very strange, because it hinge on thinking that being in the middle of a block (during a combat) mean the blocked already ended.

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22 Nov 2015 12:41 - 22 Nov 2015 12:51 #74506 by Boris The Blade

drnlmza wrote: How so? The rules are quite clear on when action modifiers and reactions can be played

"Action modifiers and reaction cards can be played at any time before resolution during an action (unless otherwise noted on card text)"

That being blocked counts as reaching resolution is something that should probably be more clearly stated in the rules, but it's been confirmed several times (usually in relation to questions about Change of Target). Once Gift of Bellona has been played, it's not longer legal to play Lost in Crowds.

Point taken (and it was James who first suggested earlier that restricting the stealth rule to section 6.2.2 would allow players to dump stealth in other phases). But that only makes the reach of the stealth rule more buggy: if there is already another written rule that prevents stealth from being played outside of section 6.2.2, then what is the point of having the stealth rule span the whole action?

Let us review the consequences:
1) As the action is declared: you need to add extra legalese to cards like Stealth Ritus because by default they are unplayable. Creating extra clutter on cards is a problem.
2) Between declaration and resolution, things work as intended.
3) After block resolution, only specific cards can be played, so an extra rule is not needed. FWIW, one can still use untimed effects like Maris Streck or media stations at that point. It might not be problem now, but it could be if there was an effect allowing to discard cards for stealth or intercept for example (I thought there was already one, but couldn't find it).
4) During combat, we got that senseless ruling on Form of Mist. If anything, FoM should treated as Stealth Ritus, because the stealth it grants is only useful against future block attempts.
5) After resolution, again there is no playable card that grants stealth, so no need for an extra rule.
Last edit: 22 Nov 2015 12:51 by Boris The Blade.

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