Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 37

Thread: Revisiting Design Philosophy - Triggered abilities and the chain

  1. #1
    Devoted Emissary
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    125

    Revisiting Design Philosophy - Triggered abilities and the chain

    Get ready guys, I'm going quite into detail here, but I'll label the sections so you can skip over them if you're already familiar with the concepts.

    Preface: SOURCES

    https://www.hextcg.com/patch-changes-and-the-chain/
    https://www.hextcg.com/prep-phase-priority-window/

    Triggered abilities (that don't target), and the Chain

    For those of you not aware, certain triggered abilities in HEX, specifically ones that do not require you to target a champion or card, do not use the chain - and therefore are unable to be responded to, and do not bring up a priority window/option. In many games, this leads to no difference, but at times when play is particularly complex and timing becomes critical, this can - in a small number of cases - change the course of games and the implications of various mechanics at a high level of play. It is also notably something in the core rules of timing and the stack/chain that differs from Magic the Gathering fundamental rules, where every ability activation, trigger or cast spell will utilize the stack by default.

    This change was primarily designed to speed up gameplay, due to the slightly unwieldy nature of playing around with 'priority windows' in a digital TCG as opposed to a physical game. In particular, when this rule was put in play, there were no auto-skip priority options, and there was significantly greater delay in playing cards and priority windows actually passing upon being clicked, and games took many times as long as they do now in a much more streamlined system.

    However, it is a growing concern to me about the implications of this change, especially since I see it as less useful now than it was in the past. I was reminded of this particular aspects to the rule due to the card Bloatcap - when it dies, each opposing champion discards a card.

    Supporting point/example - Discard effects at QUICK speed in card games

    Traditionally, in card games like Hex or MTG where you are able to use effects to force the opponent to discard cards from their hand, these effects are rarely allowed to be played during your opponents turn (AKA, at QUICK speed). If they are, then they require some secondary influence, like a card like Bloatcap or Black Cat (http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Ca...verseid=383191) which have to die in order for the effect to function. The major reason why discard effects are not easily attained at Instant/Quick speed is due to the power level of forcing an opponent, whom previously had an empty hand, to discard their first card draw for the turn before they get a chance to use it, because if such an option were repeatable reliably they ensure that someone with an empty hand will never get another chance to draw/play another card for the rest of the game, a hard control lock (a famous example of a very similar strategy, old-school Yugioh fans may know about - the infamous "Yata-Lock").

    Of course, it's not really a true hard lock, because if the opponent draws a card that they can play at Quick/Instant speed, then they can play that in response to the attempted discard. In any case when you have only a single (quick) card in hand and an effect targets you to force you to discard you always have the option to play the card instead in most cases. Here's where Hex's.... unique chain rules come into play.

    Example - Bloatcap, sacrificed as part of a cost

    If Bloatcap is targeted by a removal spell, like, say, Vampire's Kiss - of course you can respond to the removal spell. But if it's sacrificed as part of a cost to another effect, like Bunoshi, Abominate, Grim Harvester, Born to Die, etc, then it dies immediately prior to the actual effect of the card in question going off. So lets say my opponent has a Murder in hand, and I have a Bloatcap and I sacrifice it for Grim Harvester, then Bloatcaps ability (which doesn't use the chain) immediately triggers and resolves. My opponent is unable to cast Murder whatsoever, as soon as I press that "use my grim harvester" ability, my opponent's hand is completely dead, effectively Interrupted without any option of my opponent responding. If I were to hypothetically be able to re-play Bloatcap every turn, then this could also be exploited during the start of my opponents turn to discard everything they draw for the rest of the game, without my opponent ever having priority to actually do anything in response.

    Since we can't recur bloatcap infinitely (without several card components - Filk Ape and Gront's Gift, for example, plus a sacrifice outlet), this is hardly a likely strategy, but it's an odd rules case where even a quick action in your hand can be forced away from you without you having the chance to play it, despite meeting every requirement to do so, and it can indeed lead to corner cases where it will impact a game.

    Why this is a problem, if not now, then in the future

    At this point in time, it's hardly a pressing concern, but it's an 'exception' to a otherwise sturdy rules regarding the chain that isn't necessarily intuitive to new players, and largely serves solely to lessen the amount of control a player has over their own cards and the game. Furthermore, it creates an odd divide between even minor wording changes of cards, and because of it, can risk future design space.

    To take an example for current constructed players. The Major Ruby Gem that is so often socketed into Titania's Majesty gives a troop the effect "When this enters play, it deals damage equal to its attack to target opposing champion". Hypothetically, if it was ever changed to, or some other card had a similar effect that instead said "to each opposing champion", then it no longer is a triggered ability that 'targets'.

    You know what that means. It doesn't use the stack. Once a troop hits play, that damage will immediately occur. No chance, for example, for you to Martyr that pesky Ozawa - its far too late for that. You're taking the damage, since you cannot target the troop with anything until that ability has not only triggered, but gone off, due to the rather arbitrary, single word rule change that means it completely bypasses normal rules about timing.

    Conclusion

    I don't see enough compelling reason for this exception to the timing/chain rules to still exist (given the faster gameplay now), or rather, I hope that some alternative solution could be utilized (such as more control over choosing what kinds of priorities to skip/hold on in advance) that doesn't impact card design and gameplay in, what I would construe as, a negative way. What are other peoples thoughts on the matter? I'll be honest, I expect a resounding "I don't care", but I feel this needs to be talked about.

  2. #2
    I definitely agree. At the bare minimum, there should be more effects added to the 'able to respond' list, to cover cases like this.
    Xenavire, proud guild leader for The Lions Share.
    http://i307.photobucket.com/albums/n...erlinsmall.png

  3. #3
    Great example and post in general.
    ----
    http://i.imgur.com/I1MZpF8.png
    HexEnt is too long to type, They're HXE now.
    I am currently trading my unused GK code for a new Tesla Model S P85D
    Feel free to contact me for where you can have it shipped.

  4. #4
    Yeah completely agreed here, this has bothered me for a while now.

  5. #5
    +1

    I should be able to Tipple/Throw something being sacrificed to prevent the sacrifice!


    However say no to Yatta-Lock! That was a nightmare
    Grand King Netdecker Extraordinaire Collector

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by N3rd4Christ View Post
    I should be able to Tipple/Throw something being sacrificed to prevent the sacrifice!
    This isn't what we are asking for though, and that would be horrible, as sacrifice is used as a cost most of the time (so interrupting a cost would being very disruptive and unfun.)

    It is about the triggers (like the discard from Bloatcap) that are in contention here. We need to be able to respond to effects of 'when this troop dies' when they are sacrificed, especially if they affect a players hand.
    Xenavire, proud guild leader for The Lions Share.
    http://i307.photobucket.com/albums/n...erlinsmall.png

  7. #7
    the main argument against putting more things on the chain is that it supposedly speeds up play
    but if i have to spend more time thinking about the rules & exceptions, it might have the opposite effect

    in practice, most people will just lose games instead of spending more time thinking about their turns, but i'm not sure that's desirable either...

  8. #8
    The Transcended
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    California
    Posts
    7,860
    I'd be happy enough with just being able to choose ordering of simultaneous triggers.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Yoss View Post
    I'd be happy enough with just being able to choose ordering of simultaneous triggers.
    This is something else I discussed with devs while I was there... it's on the docket of things to look into, even if nothing ever actually comes of it.
    ----
    http://i.imgur.com/I1MZpF8.png
    HexEnt is too long to type, They're HXE now.
    I am currently trading my unused GK code for a new Tesla Model S P85D
    Feel free to contact me for where you can have it shipped.

  10. #10
    Devoted Emissary
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    125
    Quote Originally Posted by N3rd4Christ View Post
    I should be able to Tipple/Throw something being sacrificed to prevent the sacrifice!
    Quote Originally Posted by Xenavire View Post
    This isn't what we are asking for though, and that would be horrible, as sacrifice is used as a cost most of the time (so interrupting a cost would being very disruptive and unfun.)
    However, I can think of an example, where this, too, could impact a game. Like Bloatcap's lack of priority window has to me in the past.

    Merciless Culler also doesn't use the chain (it's hard for me to not instinctively write 'stack' every time, so I apologize if I lapse) for its triggered ability, so whilst you can respond to it being played, you cannot respond to it once its in play. If it did not have special consideration in the rules due to not having a targeting component, then the following situations would be possible:

    1. The opponent has a 4/4 in play, and plays Merciless Culler. In response to Merciless Culler's trigger going off, I Vampire's Kiss Merciless Culler, the trigger resolves, and the opponent is forced to sacrifice the 4/4 to fulfill the condition (as I have to sacrifice a troop too). Naturally, if I had Murder, I could have just Murdered the 4/4 in response to Merciless Culler being played from the hand, but that's not always an option. In the current rules, this is not possible.

    2. I have a solitary troop in play that has the activated ability to do 2 damage to a target troop (alternatively, I have two troops in play with Ballistics Training on them), and my opponent has that 4/4 and plays Merciless Culler. I would, under normal rules, be able to do the same trick as with the Vampire's Kiss in 1., and use their abilities before I have to choose one to sacrifice, and destroy the Merciless Culler in the process. In the current rules, they never get a chance to target Merciless Culler once it hits play

    The issue with these exceptions to the chain/trigger rules is that they can pop up all over the place, and sometimes they're hard to see in advance - and nigh impossible to understand inherently for newer players. Once that word 'Each' enters the fray, typical response and timing strategy is thrown out the window, and an arbitrary new set of rules states a new set of circumstances where you're not allowed to play your cards and effects.

    In regards to the Throw/Fling in response to a sacrifice effect, assuming we're not talking about *your own* effect sacrificing as part of a cost (which the lack of using the stack inherently makes sense, much like 'using resources' doesn't use the stack, and prevents the bizarre potential to sacrifice a single troop to multiple different sources simultaneously), that's only going to be relevant if there's a card that's already in play (so you can't respond to it being played in the first place) that has a triggered ability that forces opponents to sacrifice cards, and uses the word 'each' instead of 'target' in its text box.

    Ah. Angel of Judgement. Yeah, no flinging your only troop in response to the opponent sacrificing one of their cards as part of a cost. Once again, this exception to otherwise sturdy timing rules pervades a surprising number of situations.
    Last edited by Yewstance; 08-15-2015 at 06:03 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •