There was an important ruling on the AMG rules forum recently, that changes a few things for a few models that people have been getting wrong for a long time. Let’s break down what the change means and who it affects:
The key part of this ruling is making you pay closer attention to when payment for rerolls happens. Let’s unpick the mechanics and the ruling, then give some examples of things that are and aren’t affected by it.
The first thing to understand is the attack timing chart. Here is the relevant section for this discussion:
It’s important to understand that whilst rerolls are resolved in step 9, abilities that generate rerolls can have any timing trigger.
Pay before you roll
A number of characters turn on rerolls before you even pick up the dice. Baron Zemo and Black Panther both have superpowers that reroll all your dice. These aren’t affected by this ruling: you still pay before you roll. It’s worth noting that Black Panther actually pays before declaring the attack, as it’s an active superpower, whereas Zemo pays at step 2.d of the attack with his reactive superpower.
Pay after the attack/defense roll
This is the category that is mentioned in the ruling, and (nearly?) everyone has been playing wrong – including me. I’ve done my best to go through all the cards in the game to find all the abilities that have the wording that makes them affected.
All of these specify “after the attack roll” or “after the defense roll”. That means you have to pay their cost in step 6 or step 7 of the attack.
If you are attacking, that means you don’t know what the initial defense roll is before deciding if you want to pay the cost of any of those effects. If you are defending, you know the initial roll, but not the result of any extra dice from crits, or rerolls they may have.
Even though you pay the cost in step 6 or 7, this isn’t resolved until step 9.
If you have more than one of these effects available, you choose which you want to pay for, without knowing the outcome of and previous ones you have paid for.
Rerolls with other payment timings
There are other paid for rerolls that trigger at different times. You need to carefully read the wording on them.
Green Goblin’s leadership is a good example:
This specifically calls out the “modify opposing defense dice” (step 9.b.i) so the power is paid after all the dice have been rolled, and indeed rerolled – the defender has already resolved their own rerolls in step 9.a.ii.
Plenty of characters allow you to reroll one or more dice with no cost attached. These aren’t affected and continue to trigger in step 9 of the attack.
Dodging has it own timing chart:
Here abilities like King of Wakanda have to be paid for at step 2 – before rolling in crits – but get the effect at step 4.
It’s an easy rule to overlook, though it is literally following the wording on the cards and the timing chart, and even AMG in their gameplay videos get it wrong! But hopefully now you can see how the rules apply in this situation.
So does it matter?
This makes those models mentioned less good. As we have all been playing it, you get perfect knowledge of attack and defense dice before making decisions about paying for rerolls. That meant you never “wasted” power on rerolls that were never going to be effective (vs a defensive spike) or were unnecessary (vs a defensive flubb). Three of those five models were generally considered to be “a bit good”. Wakanda as an affiliation, Shuri and M.O.D.O.K. all get a bit less objectively good because of how this rule works. I don’t think anyone will be sad about that. Beast was already a bit dice dependent, because of the mandatory wild place on his builder. This does make him a bit less good, but I think he’s still fine. Star-Lord, and the Guardians more widely, do get a bit worse, but a lot of players tended not to lean heavily on his leadership anyway, so maybe the effect on him is not huge.
One effect I can see is lengthening out the attack sequence and hence the game. Decisions on paying for rerolls were quicker when you had all the dice having hit the table. Also players tended to roll attack dice and defense dice at roughly the same time, except with particular powers like Loki’s I Am a God on defense. This will inevitably add a bit of time to an attack, and hence the game.
I hope this isn’t a large amount of time: I guess we will see in the near future!
I’m not a fan of this ruling. The timing of attack and defense dice and sequence of events is already the most confusing and error prone part of the game. They should have left dice modification in the “modify dice” step and called it a day.