Card abilities

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See also: Ability

Unless otherwise specified by the ability, the active player makes all decisions while resolving an ability.

Resolve as Much as You Can

While resolving a card ability, resolve as much of the ability as can be resolved, and ignore any parts of the ability that cannot be resolved.

Example: Aaron plays the card Anger (COTA 001), that reads “Play: Ready and fight with a friendly creature.”, and chooses his friendly Snufflegator (COTA 358) to resolve the ability on. However, the Snufflegator is already ready, so Aaron ignores that part of the ability and just uses his friendly Snufflegator to fight.

Resolve Abilities in the Order They Are Written

While resolving the text of a card ability, fulfill the instructions of that ability in the order the text is written. This may be modified by replacement effects, including replacement effects which appear later in the ability that is being resolved.

Example: Hyde (WC 167) has the text: “Reap: Draw a card. If you control Velum, draw 2 cards instead.” The later text applies a replacement effect for the earlier text, altering how it resolves.

However, all damage dealt by a card’s ability is dealt simultaneously regardless of where it appears in the ability’s text. Example: Mighty Lance (CotA 221) has the text: “Play: Deal 3 Damage icon to a creature and 3 Damage icon to a neighbor of that creature.” That damage to both creatures is dealt simultaneously even though it appears twice in the ability’s text.

Using Cards via Other Card Abilities

If a card ability allows a player to play or use another card (or to fight or to reap with a card), the chosen card may belong to any house unless the ability specifically states otherwise.

  • When using a card via a card ability, any other requirements of using the card (such as exhausting to reap, fight, or resolve its “Action:” ability) must be observed, or the card cannot be used.
  • Players can only use cards they control, unless a card ability specifically states otherwise.

The Rule of Six

Occasionally, a situation may emerge in which, through a combination of abilities, the same card may be played or used repeatedly during the same turn. A player cannot play and/or use the same card and/or other copies of that card (by title) more than six times during a given turn.

Constant Abilities

If a card has an ability that does not have a boldfaced precursor, the ability is a constant ability that is active so long as the card remains in play and meets all conditions specified by the ability.

  • Constant abilities on a card are active even while that card is exhausted.
  • Applying the effects of a constant ability is not considered using a card and therefore does not cause the card to exhaust.
Official rules v1.8 March 2021


There are currently no cards that force the non-active player to make any decisions. According to FFG, "The 'unless otherwise specified' language of Card abilities was included more for future-proofing purposes in case there was a strange interaction between cards that would instruct the non-active player to make a decision."

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