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Project 346E

This is a series of puzzles created by Neil Crompton. They are designed to provoke rules discussion, to inspire interest in learning more about the mechanics of Keyforge, and to shine a light on some of the darker grey areas of ambiguity in the rules. We hope that the information collected here can be a useful resource to players and judges alike, and potentially even for surreptitious members of the Keyforge design team.

This project began during the chaotic version 1.3 of the rulebook, a.k.a: the Age of Archimedes. Almost every single one of the puzzles below were unanswered and unanswerable at the time they were created, hence they were designed to address those holes in the rules. Many of the early puzzles have since been resolved by rules updates or clarifications from FFG, likely to some extent due to the discussions these puzzles spurred. Where appropriate, I've updated the descriptions to show what we've learnt about the rules, while keeping the original descriptions for posterity.

Note that many of these puzzles explore the extreme edges of our communal rules knowledge about Keyforge, so there is a lot of ambiguity, and the solutions are sometimes contentious. The explanations below represent the opinions of the puzzle creator, which in some cases is backed up by official statements, and in other cases is based on investigative logic, extrapolation, and guesswork. Click on the card links within the descriptions to see the distinctions between official rulings, unofficial clarifications from FFG, and community commentary on unresolved issues.



Duma the Martyr


We don't know whether Duma is able to save creatures which have been dealt lethal damage. KeyForge lead developer Brad Andres has said that he's not sure how Duma works, but FFG are discussing possible solutions. This puzzle hinges on whether creatures get marked for destruction while they wait for "Destroyed:" abilities to resolve. There's nothing in the rulebook about that, but Brad's video explanation about the Archimedes ruling implied it.

Version 1.4 update: This puzzle was solved by the September 2019 rules update. We now have official "tagged for destruction" rules which explicitly prevent creatures that have been tagged from avoiding destruction by healing. That means everything will die.

Answer: You'll get 2 Æmber.

Maruck + Shield


Brad Andres has tweeted that Maruck can't capture in this situation. The Shield of Justice means that the Mighty Lance doesn't resolve at all because it's unable to damage Maruck, therefore there's no damage for Maruck's armour to reduce. Expect a clarification in the next version of the rulebook, because according to the current rules the armour should reduce the damage first, before it is dealt.

Version 1.4 update: The new rules brought the expected clarification, explicitly placing damage prevention in a step prior to damage reduction.

Answer: 0.

Tendrils of Pain

Shadow Tendrils.jpg

This one is borderling for me; I feel like there's still an element of ambiguity outstanding, whereas many would consider this one solved. There are two different puzzles in this one. On the left flank is the easy one: we know from the rulebook that armour prevents damage before it's dealt, and from the FAQ that that means that armour on the targeted creature will reduce the damage that flows over onto a neighbouring Shadow Self. So that part is easily resolved: the Skullion's armour will protect the left Shadow Self.

The right flank is a little more complicated. The rulebook states that all damage dealt by a single effect is dealt simultaneously, but it never defines what constitutes an effect. If an effect is a whole card, then the 4 damage from Tendrils of Pain will all be absorbed by the right Shadow Self and the Panpaca will be safe. But if an effect is a single sentence, then we have to process the first wave of 1 damage from Tendrils, which will kill the right Shadow Self, and then process the second wave of 3 damage, which would kill the Panpaca. The general consensus is that it's simultaneous, so the Panpaca will live, but we haven't actually got anything official to clarify that.

There's another area that's still ambiguous about how simultaneous the damage from Tendrils should be, although it doesn't apply in this puzzle. The simultaneous damage rule explicitly relates to one effect dealing damage to multiple creatures. But we don't know if one effect dealing damage twice to one creature should be dealt simultaneously. Many assume it should, and it's reasonable to expect that, but we don't yet have that in writing.

April 2020 update: Crucible Cast 18 finally laid this issue to rest. It reversed the much older ruling about the damage from Positron Bolt all being simultaneous. Now each individual sentence gets resolved separately, one by one. They even explicitly used Tendrils of Pain as an example, declaring that the "additional" 3 damage is a separate wave of damage from the initial 1 damage. They said that you could use Tendrils to pop a ward with the first wave of damage and then kill the previously warded creature with the second wave of damage. That directly changes the answer to this puzzle.

June 2020 update: Just when we thought this had been resolved, Crucible Cast 20 reversed the ruling made in CC18. Damage is back to being simultaneous, and what's more, they announced that Tendrils of Pain will be receiving errata to make it always a single wave of either 1 or 4 damage.

Answer: 1. Only the Shadow Self on the right flank will die.

Magda multi-triggers

Magda Archimedes.jpg

Brad has declared on Discord chat that Magda can only trigger her "Leaves play:" ability once. He also explained in slightly more detail on the Crucible Cast that creatures can't trigger their "Destroyed:" abilities more than once because they only get destroyed once, and "Leaves play:" is equivalent to "Destroyed:". There's not much basis for this position in the rulebook, giving further credibility to the theory that the next version of the rulebook will feature a "marked for destruction" status, and presumably a matching status for "Leaves play:" abilities.

Version 1.4 update: Version 1.4 solved this problem in an unexpected way: it completely errata-ed Magda. She no longer has a "Leaves Play:" ability at all, in fact they removed "Leaves Play:" from the game completely. Her leaving effect is now a delayed trigger tied to her "Play:" ability.

Answer: 2.

Brend multi-triggers

Brend Multiplier.jpg

This is basically the same deal as the Magda one above. Brad has declared on Discord chat that Brend can only trigger her "Destroyed:" ability once. He also explained in slightly more detail on the Crucible Cast that creatures can't trigger their "Destroyed:" abilities more than once because they only get destroyed once. There's not much basis for this position in the rulebook, giving further credibility to the theory that the next version of the rulebook will feature a "marked for destruction" status.

Version 1.4 update: As expected, V1.4 expressly prohibits creatures from triggering their "Destroyed:" abilities more than once. It does this by saying that creatures that have been tagged for destruction cannot be tagged again.

Answer: 3.

Infinite Loop: Soulkeeper

Infinity Beyond.jpg

This was resolved when Brad declared that "Destroyed:" triggers cannot trigger more than once, in response to the Magda/Brend scenarios above. Before that, and by the letter of the rules, there was nothing stopping a creature that had already triggered it's "Destroyed:" ability again, prior to being actually destroyed. Hence, the infamous (and thankfully now debunked) double Soulkeeper infinite loop.

Version 1.4 update: As with the Brend multi-triggers above, V1.4 neatly closes this loop by preventing tagged creatures from being tagged again.

Sack of Coins

Sack of Coins.jpg

This one went back and forth a few times, but we finally got confirmation on how it works. The crux of the issue is that a number of different cards with identical templating appears to work differently, particularly Sack of Coins, Shard of Pain, and the kicker, Shard of Hate. Hate is the key because it obviously needs to be able to target multiple creatures. Brad Andres initially posted in my Reddit post saying that Sack could only target 1 creature, but the next day he deleted the comment, and then later on replied to my tweet of the puzzle to say that he and his term were reviewing the status of all the "for each" cards and would issue a ruling soon. That finally came in the Worlds Collide gameplay preview video, where Brad confirmed that all these cards can target multiple creatures. (Except for the ones which explicitly state otherwise, like Red Planet Ray Gun.)

Version 1.4 update: This is now a verbatim example in the FAQ section of the new rules. Thanks Brad!

Answer: 3

Spectral Nexus

Spectral Nexus.jpg

This situation came up in the finals of Vault Tour Nurnberg, and the judge there ruled that Nexus can draw a card off the opponent's Tunneler. Expect this to be clarified in the timing chart that FFG have promised.

Version 1.4 update: This is now a verbatim example in the FAQ section of the new rules. It's good to know FFG are listening!

Now that this is official, it's actually quite problematic. It opens a can of worms with other strange timing interactions, such as Gebuk-Spartasaur, Greking-Tolas, Wormhole-Access, and even Harmonia all on its lonesome. (See below for these puzzles.)

Answer: Yes.

Jargogle + Neffru

Jargogle Neffway.jpg

This one is pretty clearly spelt out in the rulebook now. Gateway destroys Jargogle, then before that (yes, that's a paradox) Jargogle plays Neffru. Neffru survives the Gateway and sees Jargogle dying, so you get 1 from Neffru.

Crucible Cast update: Brad ruled on this in a Crucible Cast episode. This puzzle was really only contentious in the very early days of tagging for destruction.

Answer: Yes.

Jargogle + Gizmo

Omega Gizmo.jpg

This one is quite clear in the rulebook, however we have had some unclear language coming from FFG that has confused the situation. The Gizmo blows up in your forging step, and we know that Omega causes your current step to end, not your current turn. That means that the Jargogle plays the Duskwitch without affecting your main step, so you can play all of the Brobnar creatures in your hand and they'll come into play ready to reap immediately.

Bonus: You can then forge a second key with Might Makes Right, and forge your final key on the following turn. The only issue is that before Age of Ascension was released, FFG's marketing material described Omega as ending your turn, and in a Crucible Cast there was an offhand remark where Brad implied that as well. However, we know for a fact that it's impossible for Omega to end your turn, because that would skip your ready and draw steps, so the only question is how long Omega's prohibition against doing stuff lasts.

Version 1.4 update: There's now an exact analog of this puzzle in the FAQ of the rules.

Answer: Yes.

Shadow of Dis vs Cards in hand

Shadow Alpha.jpg

This one is pretty clearly answered in the rulebook now. Cards can only interact with cards in play unless specified otherwise, so cards in hand are unaffected by Shadow of Dis. Alpha doesn't go blank because it's a play restriction that's active while it's in your hand, and Kelifi Dragon is the same. "Play:" abilities (Helper Bot) do go blank because they trigger after the creature enters play.

Version 1.4 update: This is now explicitly answered in the rulebook.

Answer: 1.

Ixxyxli Fixfinger


This one is pretty easy. We know that the armour from Fixfinger will reduce the damage incoming toward Nyzyk Resonator before the damage is actually dealt, so the Resonator will survive. The Xanthyx Harvester will die because it's a Beast, not a Martian. This puzzle is unusual in that there was never any actual ambiguity here, it's really just a test of knowledge about how armour works, and how observant you are in noticing that Martian =/= Mars.

Answer: 2 (Fixfinger and Harvester die)

Lion Bautrem

Ammonia Imp.jpg

This is similar to the Duma the Martyr problem. We know that Bad Penny will leave play first and that the Imp will then move along to be neighbouring the Lion Bautrem, but we don't know if that's enough for the Imp to shake off it's presumed "marked for destruction" status from being lethally damaged. If it's possible for creatures to heal themselves out of being marked, then presumably the Imp will survive here too, but Brad has declared that he doesn't think it's possible for deathmarked creatures to shake off their deathmarked status.

Version 1.4 update: The same new v1.4 rule that prevents creatures being saved by being healed by Duma also prevents the Imp from being saved here. Once the Imp is tagged for destruction, it doesn't matter that it got big enough to survive the Ammonia, it will still die.

Answer: No

Jargogle + Life for a Life

Zorg Jar-Life.jpg

This one gets right to the crux of the Destroyed ambiguity created when Brad declared that "creatures can't be destroyed twice". According to the rulebook, you should be able to kill Zorg, because Jargogle is still alive and well after having it's "Destroyed:" ability triggered in combat with Zorg, meaning that it's available to be sacrificed to Life for a Life to do the additional damage required to kill Zorg. On the other hand, we can pretty safely assume that "marked for destruction" is going to be a thing soon, and the implications of that might prevent this for working. For example, being deathmarked might mean that it's already considered destroyed somehow (in direct contradiction of the rules...), and hence can't be sacrificed. We can expect this example to be explicitly referenced in the September rules update.

Version 1.4 update: Sure enough, the new rules prevent creatures which have been tagged for destruction from being able to be destroyed or sacrificed, so you can't use Life for a Life to kill Zorg here.

Answer: No

Remote Access + Nepenthe Seed

Remote Seed.jpg

People have been using Remote Access (and other similar cards) to kill Nepenthe Seeds since Keyforge began, but more recently FFG added a rule about not being able to sacrifice cards you don't control. This is extremely controversial, and many players think that the Seed's instruction to sacrifice it is enough to invoke the Golden Rule. The FAQ entry about Replicator and Sanctum Guardian states that Replicator doesn't grant actual control, only a semblance of control, implying that you should be unable to sacrifice the Seed. However, a recent ruling on using opponent's Shards seems to run against this, implying that you do control the Seed here and hence should be able to sacrifice it. The second question is not controversial: we know for a fact that you cannot return the Remote Access because it hasn't finished resolving or gone to the discard pile until after the Seed's ability is used.

Version 1.4 update: This is explicitly answered in the new rulebook.

Answer: Yes, and no.

Remote Access + Shards

Remote Shards.jpg

This reformulation of the Oath problem (see below in Unresolved) has been answered by FFG in an unverified email reply to someone's rules inquiry. FFG allegedly said that you control the targeted Shard, and hence it counts for 1 friendly Shard. This has profound ramifications in the Oath problem as well, and to some extent also the Nepenthe Seed problem (see above).

Version 1.4 update: This is now a verbatim example in the new rules.

Answer: 1

Soul Snatcher

Soul Caper.jpg

This is another rare example of a puzzle that was cut and dry from the day it was made. The Grenade Snib triggers first, and then everything dies together. That includes Bad Penny: she is still considered destroyed, and at the same time as everything else, even though she returns to hand before then. Tolas doesn't trigger at all because it dies at the same time as everything else. You get amber from the Soul Snatcher for Culf and the Caper, because Soul Snatcher pays the owner of the creatures, not the controller. That's really the only "gotcha!" here.

Answer: You'll have 6, your opponent will have 1.

Standardized + Soulkeeper

Soul Testing.jpg

This situation came up on stream at the Gencon Vault Tour, so we have a high level judge ruling. Testing will destroy Mindlock and Mugwump, then before that (paradox again…) Soulkeeper will target the Mugwump and have no effect because Mugwump is already "being destroyed" (or "marked for destruction" or whatever terminology they end up using). The only remaining confusion is the timing of Mugwump's death: does Mugwump die at the same time as the Mindlock, or earlier when it gets hit by Soulkeeper?

Version 1.4 update: This is now explicitly outlined in the new rules.

Answer: Harland Mindlock and Mugwump will die.

Take That Smartypants!


This one's easy, and shouldn't really be controversial at all. Upgrades are controlled by the player who played them, not by the player whose creature they're on. We know this for a fact; the rules are quite clear on it, and FFG confirmed it in their Worlds Collide preview gameplay video. Therefore, the opponent controls 3 Logos cards, so Take That Smartypants will steal 2. The Spangler Box is slightly ambiguous here, because Smartypants isn't clear about whether "have" means "control" or "own"; however, it doesn't matter because there are 3 Logos cards anyway.

Version 1.4 update: This is now explicitly outlined in the new rules.

Answer: Yes

Custom Virus


This is an unusual one, because it's not really about the rules as much as it's about the tournament guidelines. Obviously there's nothing in the rules or the card texts that would compel you to reveal your hand. The issue is that normally purging a creature is a compulsory part of the resolution of Custom Virus, so you can't choose to not purge one if you have a creature in hand. If you don't have a creature, then you can't purge one, but then how do you prove to your opponent that you don't have one? The solution to this is to call over a judge to verify that you have no creatures, or if you're playing casually then either ask a neutral third party to verify, or just trust your opponent not to cheat!

Answer: You don't have to reveal your hand to your opponent, but you should reveal it to a judge to verify that you have no creatures in hand.

First Blood

First Blood.jpg

Another fairly easy one. The point here is to highlight the different ways that "for each" effects divide up their damage. Some, like Sack of Coins, allow you to spread the damage completely freely, so you could deal 3 damage by putting 2 damage onto 1 creature and 1 damage onto another. Others, like Orbital Bombardment, require you to assign each burst onto a single target, so Bombardment can only be divided in chunks of 2 damage. That means you could only kill 1 Ambassador on a Mars turn with this hand. First Blood seems to be in the first category, so it can spread its damage out in units of 1. That means a Brobnar turn here could kill 2 Ambassadors, which is the highest potential kill rate. A Shadows turn would only kill 1, because the Ambassadors are elusive.

Version 1.4 update: The new rules go into considerable detail about "for each" effects, as per the Sack of Coins ruling above.

Answer: 2, with First Blood.

Doc Bookton + Dimension Door

Bookton Puzzle.jpg

I'm trying something a bit different here, presenting it as a genuine puzzle rather than a rules question, but it's really still a rules question at heart. The core of it is that you need to figure out what could stop the Doc Bookton from being able to draw a card when she reaps, and the only tool available to do that is the Soulkeeper on the opponent's mystery creature. That means the action of reaping and stealing with Dimension Door needs to be able to kill the mystery creature. There's only 1 creature in the game that will die as a result of Doc Bookton's reap-steal. (Technically there's a second possibility here: the opponent might have played Shadow of Dis on the previous turn, but that doesn't yield a definitive answer.) The rules question embedded here is about the timing of reap triggered effects, but the rules are fairly clear about the triggered effect coming after the aember gain from reaping.

Answer: Click here!

Replicator + Sequis

Sequis Replicator.jpg

There are a few important facts which all line up to make this one fairly uncontroversial. Sequis' text "Capture 1" has a silent subject at the beginning of the sentence: it implicitly says "This creature captures 1". So we know that Sequis will do the capturing, not the Replicator. You are considered the controller of Sequis while you trigger its ability, and the rules for capture say it takes from the opponent's pool, so that's referring to Sequis' temporary opponent, aka its controller. We know that "you" refers to you rather than to your opponent because of the ruling on Remote Access + Shards (see above).

Version 1.4 update: This appears to be even clearer in the new rules, although it does raise further questions...

Answer: Sequis captures 1 from his own side.

Furtive Investors + Key Hammer

Furtive Hammer.jpg

This one is deliciously counter-intuitive, but actually completely unambiguous. Furtive Investors gives you amber "for each key that your opponent has forged". Contrast that with Dr Escotera, which gives you amber "for each forged key that your opponent has". On Escotera, "forged" is an adjective, but on Furtive Investors (and Sample Collection) "forged" is a verb. A lot of people are struggling with this one because, perhaps because grammar isn't taught in schools much these days... It's a present perfect sentence structure, so grammatically it's actually quite clear. Furtive Investors checks how many keys your opponent has forged throughout the game, not how many they currently have.

November 2019 update: FFG replied to an emailed rules question about this exact scenario, declaring that Furtive Investors only cares about the number of keys -that are currently forged-, in order to prevent memory issues. Personally, I consider that errata rather than a clarification, and I hope it gets made official as such, but at least we know how it works now.

Answer: 2 (1 from the opponent having 1 key -that is forged-, and 1 from the card's bonus pip)

Veylan Analyst + Safe Universe

Veylan Universe.jpg

Brad ruled on this one on Twitter months ago, explaining that "each time" happens when you activate Safe Place (or Pocket Universe), before the Safe Place effect resolves. So you can put the amber from Veylan Analyst straight onto Safe Place.

Version 1.4 update: The new timing rules for "each time" effects put them in the same timing window as "after" effects and Action/Reap/etc resolutions. That means that it's now up to the active player to order the two simultaneous effects however they choose.

Answer: It's now up to the active player to decide.

Jargogle + Alpha

Gizmo Rupture.jpg

We know that this works because the rulebook is quite explicit about how Alpha works, even though it contradicts the reminder text for Alpha on the cards themselves. But since I'm writing this after the 1.4 update, I'll skip straight to the update:

Version 1.4 update: This no longer works. Alpha has been changed to only allow you to play the card if you haven't played, used, or discarded anything in the same step. That means you can play both of the Binate Ruptures, but you can't play the Fertility Chant first.

Answer: No

Autocannon + Omega

Auto Omega.jpg

This one is just barely inside the line for what I consider "resolved". We know this works because Omega is in the same timing window as "Play:" effects, which is also the same window as "after a creature enters play" effects. That means you can choose to resolve Autocannon before resolving Duskwitch's Omega, and then since Duskwitch is dead already, Omega doesn't resolve at all. The same timing tricks allows you to gain an amber from Dharna being damaged once before her ability resolves.

Version 1.4 update: This is even clearer in the new rules. But it's still possible that FFG intend Omega to be a special category of ability that doesn't operate with normal timing. Many people feel that would be more intuitive. But until they officially clarify that, we have to go by the letter of the rules.

Answer: Yes

Terror vs Teliga

Terror Teliga.jpg

This puzzle marks the turning point from V1.3 to V1.4. Under the old rules, Teliga's "each time" trigger would always happen before The Terror entered play, so the opponent would have at least 1 amber before The Terror's "Play:" ability could trigger. But the new rules moved "each time" triggers into the same timing window as both "after entering play" and "Play:" effects. That means that they trigger simultaneously, and the active player gets to order the resolutions however they wish. So presumably the controller of The Terror would choose to resolve The Terror's ability first, gaining 2 amber, before resolving Teliga's ability.

Answer: Yes

Jargogle + Omega

Unlocked Wormhole.jpg

In some ways this is an extension of the Autocannon + Omega puzzle above, and carries the same pseudo-ambiguity. This is an exploration of the new timing rules in V1.4. We now have clearer instructions that Omega, being an "after play" triggered ability, happens in the same timing window as "Play:" abilities and "after entering play" effects. That means that when you play Unlocked Gateway, two effects are happening simultaneously, and the active player can choose to resolve them in any order. If you resolve Gateway's Omega ability first, then Jargogle will still be able to trigger it's "Destroyed:" ability, but that ability will do nothing because Omega prohibits playing cards, so Wormhole would just be discarded. However, if you choose to resolve Gateway's "Play: Destroy stuff" ability before resolving Omega, then Jargogle will die and play the Wormhole, which will play the top card of your deck, before finally resolving Omega and ending your step. The only question remaining is whether what is described in the rules isn't actually meant to apply to Omega, but we've got nothing apart from intuition to support that stance.

Answer: Yes, yes.

Horseman vs Stun

War Stun.jpg

This is another borderline one. The new Stun rules are an unexpected mess. They seem to have tried to resolve a weird corner case (involving Tireless Crocag) but in doing so they completely changed the way un-stunning works for a whole raft of other cards. Under the new rules, in-house creatures can be used to un-stun, but all other ways to use creatures are prohibited, unless a card "causes" a creature to be used. The simpler result of that is that Omni no longer allows out-of-house creatures to unstun. The bigger issue though is that cards which allow/permit you to use out-of-house creatures, but that don't force/cause you to use them, no longer allow you to un-stun things. That means that Anger will un-stun creatures, because it forces the fight to attempt to happen, whereas something like Signal Fire will not un-stun creatures, because it merely gives you the option to fight, and the new Stun rules prevent you from exercising that option. Horseman of War is in the allow/permit category, so it doesn't allow un-stunning. Furthermore, the Horseman of War is a strange case, because it actually prevents your in-house creatures from doing anything apart from attacking, so you wouldn't even be able to un-stun the Raiding Knight here. Where this gets controversial is the old pre-1.4 FAQ entry about Anger, which hasn't been updated and which states that cards that "allow" you to attack can be used to un-stun. There's debate about how to interpret the rules to reconcile these seemingly contradictory instructions.

November 2019 update: FFG have now explicitly ruled on this scenario, in an emailed reply to yours truly. Horseman of War does not allow un-stunning.

March 2020 update: In Crucible Cast 17, FFG admitted that the previous revision to the stun rules was ambiguous, and that they're going to update it in the next rulebook. They're going to make it so that any off-house creature that would otherwise be used can instead un-stun. So this will now allow pretty much anything to un-stun things, including Horseman of War, Signal Fire, Ganger Chieftain, and Ghosthawk, etc.

Answer: They can all un-stun.

Mack Seppuku

Mack Seppuku.jpg

We know that you gain the amber here, even though it may appear to run counter to other rulings, for two reasons. First, artifacts like Key to Dis and Nepenthe Seed (and dozens of others) which sacrifice themselves in the first sentence of their effect still resolve the rest of their effect, even though they're no longer on the board. Second, we have the Neutron Shark FAQ entry in V1.4, which obliquely proves that we still discard the top card of the deck even if Neutron Shark eats itself. Therefore, we know that once an ability is activated, we have to resolve the whole ability as much as we can, so the amber gain part must still happen. (This would be different if the two sentences were separated into two paragraphs by a line break.)

Answer: Yes

Soulkeeper Choice

Soulkeeper Choice.jpg

The v1.4 destruction rules introduced what seems on the face of it to be a contradiction, but which actually isn't. The new rules say that you can't choose to destroy a creature that's already tagged for destruction, but then in the FAQ section there's a question about Soulkeeper and Onyx Knight in which the Soulkeeper targets a creature that's already tagged for destruction because it happens to be the highest power creature. The difference between targeting and choosing is the key here. Soulkeeper will auto-target the biggest baddie, and it doesn't care if that target is tagged or not, and if it is tagged then the effect will simply fail to do anything. But if there are more than one enemy creature tied for the highest power, then the active player needs to make a choice, and this is where the "cannot choose" rule kicks in. Soulkeeper would be fine targeting the Director again, but you as a player are prohibited from making that choice, so you have to choose to destroy Brend instead.

Answer: Yes

Replicator vs Multi-reap

Zyzzix Dusk Replicator.jpg

The part of Replicator's text that refers to "the reap effect" of the targeted creature is ambiguous. It could be that "the" really means "a", and "effect" really means "ability". If we got errata or an FAQ to that effect, it would bring Replicator in line with the Key Hammer ruling, forcing you to choose one of the target's abilities to trigger but not both. Or, "the reap effect" could refer to the whole effect that happens when the targeted creature reaps, in which case you'd get both abilities (in whichever order you want).

Each interpretation has significant problems. Assuming that the grammar is a mistake or an oversight is reasonable, given the sloppy wording throughout the rules and card texts. But it is possible to reconcile the grammar without assuming an error, if we take the latter interpretation. A problem with that, however, is that we'd then have to consider whether you'd get an additional amber in the process.

March 2020 update: Crucible Cast 17 answered this one explicitly. You have to choose only one of the reap abilities to replicate.

Answer: No

Jargogle Against Many

Zombie Jar.jpg

Another side effect of the v1.4 timing structure, and again, one that people have a really hard time getting their heads around. There are a few somewhat advanced rules that merge together into this beautiful mess.

When the Jargogle suicides itself into a Grubbling, it uses its "Destroyed:" ability to play One Stood Against Many on itself. The destruction process (tag-trigger-remove) can't proceed until the trigger is entirely resolved, which now includes fully resolving One Stood Against Many. The new destruction rules apply various restrictions on what creatures that are tagged for destruction can do, but fighting is not among the prohibition. Indeed the fighting rules state that "any" creature of the active house can fight. So while we're still resolving Jargogle's "Destroyed:" ability, it will attack 3 times. The new destruction rules also state that a creature that's already tagged cannot be destroyed, so Jargogle's effectively invincible at this point. It attacks 3 Grubblings one by one. Each time, the Grubblings' hazardous damage will fail to destroy the Jargogle because it's already tagged, and hazardous will not stop the Jargogle unless the hazardous damage successfully destroys its target. Likewise, the ensuing combats are also unable to stop the Jargogle. So Jargogle will rampage through 3 of the Grubs, because finally running out of puff and falling over dead, with only 1 Grub remaining.

I think this is mostly controversial simply because it doesn't strike people as intuitively flavourful. For some reason, dead creatures attacking upsets a lot of folks. Personally, I think heroic last stands and undead mutant beasts are both pretty cool, but I'll leave lore and intentions to other people to figure out. The rules are clear; this trick works.

Answer: Three.

Ward + Destroyed abilities

Ward of Doom.jpg

The quick-start rules for Ward were a bit different than what we were all expecting. We thought Ward would prevent a creature from being damaged or destroyed, but in fact, Wards prevent a creature from being damaged or *leaving play*. The difference is crucial. Firstly, it means it will prevent things like Banish, Oubliette, and Hysteria, which cause creatures to leave play without destroying them. But critically for this scenario, it means that Warded creatures can still be destroyed, and can still trigger their "Destroyed:" abilities, even though they won't be put into the discard pile at the culmination of the destruction process. Destruction = tag - trigger - leave. Ward only replaces the last of those steps.

Version 1.5 update: The Worlds Collide rules update gave us very slightly clearer rules for Ward. The wording is identical to what was in the starter set, but with an added note that Ward does prevent tagging for destruction. So the Harbinger will survive, and it won't trigger, so the Gang will survive too, and the Snatcher won't give anyone amber.

Answer: No, No, Zero.

Tyxl Beambuckler

Wall Buckler.jpg

The distinction between simultaneous and sequential effects is a problematic one. Unfortunately the rules update hasn't provided any clarification about what kinds of effects or what kinds of wording structures are simultaneous, and which aren't.

Tyxl Beambuckler's "Play:" ability does two things: one thing is dealing 2 damage, and another thing is moving the target to a flank. "Effect" isn't defined at all, so I'm avoiding using that word here, but the timing of these two results is the crux of the issue. If we're supposed to parse each verb of the sentence separately and sequentially, then we'd deal 2 damage to Archimedes first, which would destroy it and it would be removed from play as part of the damage/destruction; then the second part of Beambuckler's ability would do nothing since Archimedes would no longer be in play. That would mean that both Bots keep their +2 power from Haedroth's Wall, so they'd both survive. (Personally, I think that's the most plausible outcome.) If, however, we resolve the entirety of Beambuckler's ability in one fell simultaneous swoop, then Archimedes would be moved to a flank at the same time as receiving 2 damage, but it would then be benefiting from the +2 power from the Wall, so it wouldn't die. The neighbouring Bot would be destroyed instead, because it would no longer be on a flank, so that Bot would then be archived by Archimedes. A third interpretation is that Archimedes would be immediately tagged for destruction by the 2 damage, but not removed from play until Beambuckler's effect finishes resolving, in which case it would move to a flank and fain +2 power but still be destroyed because of the new anti-untagging rules. This would then tag the neighbouring Bot for destruction and it would be archived, and then finally Archimedes would die. So we have 3 fairly plausible outcomes depending on how sequential or simultanous Beambuckler's ability is.

October 2019 update: We got an emailed ruling from FFG saying that we should always resolve abilities in the order in which they're written (see the Phoenix Heart resolved puzzle below). So we now know that we need to resolve the 2 damage from Beambuckler first, which will kill Archimedes, so then the second part of Tyxl's ability will fizzle.

Answer: Yes, No. Archimedes will die immediately, without ever moving to a flank, so both of the Bots will survive.

Self-Bolstering Automata

Automata Shaker.jpg

The first question here was answered last week by FFG, in an email response to a question about Tyxl Beambuckler. If a card tells you to move it to a flank, then you must move it; if it's already on a flank, then you must move it to the other flank, otherwise you're not doing as much as you can. Also, if it's the only creature and hence cannot be moved, then any "if you do" effects tied to it moving will fail.

In this scenario, you can move the Automata, so that's not an issue for the second question. However, there are three requirements that you need to satisfy for the "if you do" clause to get the +1 power counters; moving to a flank, exhausting, and healing. We're not sure if it needs to exhaust, ie, whether it can satisfy the requirement if it had already been exhausted, but it doesn't matter here. But the healing part we know is impossible. The rules explicitly state that healing cannot be considered to have taken place if no damage was removed. So the Automata can never grow unless it dies with damage on it.

March 2020 update: Crucible Cast 17 reversed the earlier FFG emailed ruling about moving creatures. They've now declared that you can move a creature to the same position in the battleline that it was already in. So that means that you no longer need to move the Automata to the other flank. The second question remains the same though.

Answer: No. No.

Hypnotic Swarm

Hypnotic Swarm.jpg

This follows on from the Master the Theory question, which in turns follows from the Exterminate! question (see puzzles below). The issue here is whether the capturing for each iteration of Hypnotic Command happens simultaneously or sequentially. If it's sequential, then Marmo Swarm will capture 1 amber first, thus becoming 3 power with 3 damage, so it will die before being able to capture the second amber. If it's simultaneous then Marmo Swarm will capture both amber before dying.

The emailed answers to the Exterminate question have essentially resolved this one. We now know that the iterations all resolve simultaneously. It's still borderline, because basing anything on a ruling as bad as the Exterminate one is fraught at best, however the critical element of the ruling applicable to this scenario is the least contentious part of it, so I'm happy to consider this one resolved.

Answer: 2.

Automata vs Hazardous

Hazardous Automaton.jpg

The Reassembling Automaton attacks into Fanghouse, and gets hit with lethal hazardous damage. This triggers Automaton's "Destroyed:" ability which replaces the destruction with non-destruction. Hazardous says that if the damage destroys the attacker, then the rest of the fight doesn't happen. So the central controversy here is whether the Automaton is considered to have been destroyed. I think that the replacement effect means that the Automaton is not in fact destroyed, but there's obviously a large grey area there.

Since the destruction is wholly replaced, hazardous will fail to prevent the rest of the fight, and the Automaton and Fanghouse will kill each other. Then the Automaton will once again have its destruction replaced. Automation 1 : Fanghouse 0.

Answer: Yes.

Before Fight vs Fight

Rocket Bear.jpg

The one should be fairly straightforward, because FFG answered it directly in Crucible Cast episode 4, but it continues to be hotly contested. This follows on from the hazardous issue in the previous puzzle. The issue here is the awkward wording in the Assault rules, but it's actually no ambiguous at all.

The Ancient Bear attacks, and kills the Batdrone with its Assault damage. Assault happens at the same time as hazardous and "Before Fight:" effects, which is, obviously, before the fight happens. Because the Assault damage kills the target of the attack, "the rest of the fight" is cancelled. That means that the Bear's "Fight:" ability provided by the Rocket Boots will not trigger, so the Bear cannot ready and fight again. The problem is "the rest of the fight", which is worded in such a way that it can be seen to imply that some of the fight has already taken place. However, the fact that this is in the "Before Fight" timing window should make it clear. Before = hasn't happened yet. Crucible Cast episode 4 discussed this issue very explicitly, so we know that this is correct.

Answer: No.

Greking vs Tolas

Greking Tolas.jpg

This one is a deep shade of grey. It's a symptom of the timing rules for destruction in Version 1.4, but mostly it comes from the FAQ entry about the interaction between Nexus and Spectral Tunneler (see resolved puzzle above). V1.4 changed all "each time" effects into "after" effects, altering when Tolas triggers. That puts Tolas' trigger at the same timing point as Overlord Greking triggers, which means that the active player gets to choose the order they resolve in. If you resolve Greking first, then Greking returns Tolas to play under your control. The next bit is the controversial part: at this point, you're still in the "after a creature is destroyed" timing window, and there's now a new "after a creature is destroyed" ability in play: on the newly resurrected Tolas. The Nexus Tunneler ruling shows us that abilities don't need to be present at the time when their timing window opens; they only need to be present at some point before the timing window closes. Therefore the new Tolas should trigger and give an amber for the death of the old Tolas. The second question is somewhat simpler, but actually also a little bit grey: we assume that the "opponent" in Tolas' text refers to the opponent of the creature's controller, not the creature's owner, hence it would be Greking's controller who gets the amber. But that's not actually specified in the rules.

I think this one is particularly hard for many people to accept because they're so used to the way Tolas worked prior to V1.4, where Tolas leaving play meant universally that it didn't trigger. Technically that's still true now, but this puzzle isn't about the Tolas that left play; it's all about the completely separate and unrelated Tolas that entered play. Unlearning things you thought you knew is a difficult thing.

Answer: Yes, the Greking player should get the amber. This relies on such a starkly unintuitive application of the Nexus Tunneler ruling that I'm almost tempted to call it unresolved. However, applying the rules and rulings as literally as possible really doesn't leave any uncertainty.

Wormhole into Library

Wormhole Library.jpg

This follows on from the Greking Tolas puzzle above, and both of these are direct corollaries of the now resolved Nexus Tunneler puzzle further up.

You play Wild Wormhole, flip over Library Access, and play it. The "Play:" ability on Wild Wormhole resolves in the same timing window as "after you play a card" effects, which Library Access now is since V1.4 effectively errataed all "each time" effect. That means that Library Access' ability becomes active while the timing window in which its ability would trigger on Wild Wormhole having been played is still open. So you will draw a card for Library Accessing seeing Wild Wormhole having been played.

This is awkward because it requires un-learning what we previously knew about the timing Library Access, and of course that's why this puzzle is important for challenging people's way of thinking about the game. But once you accept the Nexus + Tunneler ruling, then Wormhole + Library is impossible to argue against. Sure, you could argue that Nexus + Tunneler was an incorrect ruling, and I'd agree with you there, but unfortunately it's black and white. You could also argue that this interaction was not the intention of the rule, and I'd agree with that too, but I'm not inclined to let intention influence how the written rules are interpreted.

Answer: Yes.

Miasma ZYX

Miasma ZYX.jpg

This is another one that would appear to go against the so-called intention of the rules. But again, it's black and white, without any ambiguity. The issue here is that the Timing Chart included in the V1.4 rulebook has start-of-turn effects triggering within Step 1 of the turn sequence, the Forging step. Miasma makes your opponent skip that step, so the point where the Director of ZYX would trigger is also skipped.

Obviously, turns have to start, even if the start-of-turn trigger step gets skipped, so I can understand why people are upset about this issue. But there's not really any grounds for disagreeing with the outcome. Hopefully FFG will re-write the Timing Chart in the next rules update to make it a bit more sensible.

May 2020 update: The Chinese version of rulebook 1.6 has been leaked, and it includes a change to the timing chart. There's now effectively a "Step Zero" before the Forging step, where "start of turn" effects trigger. There's also now an additional step after Readying and Drawing where "end of turn" effects trigger. That means that Miasma will no longer skip the Director's trigger point.

Answer: Yes.

Magda the Rat errata

Overlord Magda.jpg

This puzzle explores the v1.4 errata to Magda the Rat. The errata merges her Play and Leaves Play abilities into a single Play ability. The Play ability now creates a lasting effect with a delayed trigger that resolves when she leaves play. Crucially, if she enters play without triggering her Play ability somehow, then that delayed effect will also not trigger. That means in this scenario, when Greking puts Magda into play on your side, she doesn't trigger at all, so when she later attacks and dies she won't trigger then either.

Answer: 5

Non-nested Destruction

Jar Crag.jpg

This one had an unexpected outcome for me and most of the Rules Discussion community. It was during the community discussion about this one that it was discovered that destruction contains a weird exception to the normal nesting processes of parsing effects. If that's a bit of a mouthful, just think of it like this: normally, when something happens while you're in the middle of something else, you resolve the interruption before going back to finish the thing you were doing first. That axiom holds true in almost all aspects of Keyforge timing. Destroyed effects are the only exception to that. When there are multiple Destroyed abilities involved in a destruction event, nothing gets put into the discard pile until all of the other Destroyed effects have finished resolving, and then everything that got tagged in the process is put into the discard pile simultaneously. That's radically different from the previous widely held consensus paradigm. Most of the community missed this one because FFG managed to bury the lead, hiding this snippet in an example in the Destroyed glossary, rather than as a proper non-italicised rule. Coward's End tags all the creatures for destruction. Then you resolve Jargogle's Destroyed ability and play Bingle Bangbang, which immediately gets killed by King of the Crag. However, due to this newly discovered non-nesting, Bingle doesn't die immediately, instead it sits there tagged while we finish the process of resolving Jargogle's Destroyed ability (which consists only of checking for any other "after playing a creature" triggers, of which there are none), and then Bingle gets put into the discard pile at the same time as Neffru and everything else. That means Neffru doesn't survive long enough to see Bingle's after-death window, so no amber will be paid.

Answer: No

Jargogle + Neutron Shark

Jar Shark.jpg

This is the first puzzle created in, and exploring the boundaries of, the newly established non-nested destruction paradigm. Jargogle suicides itself, in order to play Neutron Shark. You target the first Soul Snatcher and the Harbinger of Doom. Harbinger will trigger immediately, because this part is still nested, so Harbinger will tag Teliga and the Shark for destruction. However, since you're still within the timing window of the after effects of Jargogle's Destroyed ability, nothing gets discarded yet. So you continue with resolving Neutron Shark's ability, flipping a card and repeating the effect. Normally if Shark dies its ability won't repeat, but the non-nesting nature of the destruction loop is currently keeping it on the board, so you're free to repeat away. You target the second Snatcher this time, and there's nothing left on the other side to target because everything's tagged. At this point it doesn't matter if you keep flipping repeats, because everything's tagged anyway. Once you finish resolving Shark's ability, Teliga will trigger, because you'll get to the end of the "after you played Neutron Shark" timing window, so Teliga will pay a amber. Then you return to the previous nest, which will finally close the timing window on Jargogle's Destroyed ability. Once that window closes, there are no further Destroyed abilities pending, so all the tagged cards get discarded simultaneously. That means the Snatchers won't survive long enough to see the after-deaths of any of the creatures, so they won't pay any amber.

Answer: Yes, you can destroy both Soul Snatchers. No, the Snatchers won't give any amber. Yes, Teliga will give an amber.

Archimedes Soulkeeper

Owl Keeper.jpg

This is still exploring the new non-nested destruction paradigm. Hecatomb tags both the Imps for destruction, so you then have to resolve both of their Soulkeepers before anything can be put into the discard piles. That means that any way you cut it, Timetraveller will get archived while Archimedes is still in play.

Answer: No, you can't prevent it being archived.

Double Tentacus

Double Tentacus.jpg

This one was answered in an email ruling by FFG shortly after it was first posted on Facebook. They declared that you get the bonus amber from Remote Access, then you stop. You don't have enough amber to pay the additional costs of both the Tentacuses (Tentaci?), so you cannot even begin to attempt to use the Library. You keep the bonus amber. Personally, I was surprised by that ruling. I thought you'd resolve each Tentacus ability separately, doing as much as you can each time, meaning you'd have to pay the opponent the amber that you got from Remote Access, even though you end up not being able to use the Library. But a ruling's a ruling, so there you go.

Answer: You keep the amber you got from Remote Access.

Brain Stem Antenna

Brain Stem.jpg

The confusion here is whether becoming a new house overwrites a card's previous house, or adds it in additional to the previous house. There's been a previous ruling about Sneklifter overwriting the target's house, but that never made it to print across several rules update. And then Academy Training is explicit about it in its reminder text. However, reminder text doesn't have consistent formatting, as demonstrated by Gron (see next puzzle).

January 2020 update: FFG confirmed in an email ruling that cards overwrite the original house by default.

Answer: No

Gron's reminder text

Gron Reminder Text.jpg

This one is an oddity, in that it's not really a puzzle or even a rules issue at all. It was made solely to demonstrate the ambiguity of font formatting for reminder text. On all other cards, reminder text is by definition only a reminder, meaning it should clarify things but shouldn't alter how the card works. Gron Nine-Toes is an exception to that; the italicised paranthetical text here is fully fledged rules text, which changes how the card would work if it weren't for that text. Hence, it's not really reminder text! If that rule about Gron only growing if he survives the damage were not there, then Gron would grow to 9 power after being tagged for destruction but before dying, and he would still die, but in the mean time he would be the highest power target for Soulkeeper and Mega Shorty would then survive.

Answer: Yes, but that's not the point.

Hazardous + Elusive

Xenos Bloodshadow.jpg

The question here is about how elusive works. Many people talk about elusive in casual terms as being a trigger that fires the first time a creature fights in a turn. That implies that if a pre-fight effect such as hazardous kills the attacker and prevents the fight from happening, then elusive might not trigger. However, that's not actually how elusive works. Elusive doesn't trigger, it simply prevents damage in a fight that follows from the first time a creature is attacked in a turn. We know from the hazardous rules that it hazardous triggers after a creature is attacked, hence the attack has happened, even if the fight hasn't. Thus, even though the Yxili Marauder is killed by hazardous, it has nonetheless 'popped' elusive for the turn, allowing Chuff Ape to kill Xenos.

November 2019 update: CC14 confirmed that elusive pops even if the attacker is killed by hazardous damage.

Answer: Yes

Before Evasion

Before Fight Evasion Sigil.jpg

The issue here is the timing between Evasion Sigil and Before Fight effects. The V1.4 rules clarified Before Fight timing thoroughly in the Timing Chart, but Sigil is kind of unusual in that it shares the same Before Fight timing without having one of the Before Fight keywords (Before Fight, Assault, and Hazardous). Because Sigil and Before Fight share the same timing point, the active player can choose which one to resolve first. That means that Golgotha can attack and use its ability to kill Old Bruno and then be saved from the Asp's poison by the Sigil.

Answer: Yes

Gleeful Legion

1a Gleeful Mayhem Auto-Legionary.jpg

Auto-Legionary counts as all houses once it's activated, and "all houses" is currently up to 9 different houses. So Gleeful Mayhem is going to deal 45 damage (for now...). We know that the damage is simultaneous, because that's in the rules. The targeting is the tricky bit though. The Exterminate ruling tells us that all the target choosing takes place sequentially, before all of the effects resolve simultaneously. We've also seen confirmation of that in the official commentary around Sack of Coins when the "for each" rule was introduced in version 1.4. The weird part is where this crosses over with the Exterminate ruling (see Unresolved below). Exterminate uses essentially the same wording structure and timing pattern, but with Exterminate each iteration of "for each" is destroying something rather than damaging something. With Exterminate you're not allowed to pre-choose the same creature more than once, despite it not yet being tagged for destruction at that point, because you can't destroy something twice. Putting aside the fact that that ruling is almost certainly bogus, the difference between Exterminate and Gleeful Mayhem or Sack of Coins is that you are allowed to over-kill creatures with damage, so there's nothing stopping you from piling all the damage onto Auto-Legionary to protect other creatures. There's a remaining ambiguity here, because we don't know exactly when "all houses" will increase. Is it when a new house is announced or teased? Is it when a set containing a new house is illegally sold by Target stores? Is it when the set becomes available for sale legitimately, or is it when the set becomes legal for sanctioned tournament play?

July 2020 update: The v1.6 errata to Auto-Legionary means that it no longer counts as all houses. That caps the damage output of Gleeful Mayhem at 15 rather than 45, and it also means that the Legionary can't soak up all the damage.

Answer: Yes, it's all simultaneous. Yes, you must kill the other creatures because the Auto-Legionary is only Saurian.

Shadow Delivery

1b Special Shadow.jpg

This one continues to be controversial, with a lot of people considering it a bad ruling by FFG. Special Delivery tries to deal damage (that would be non-lethal) to Dodger, but Shadow Self absorbs the damage to protect Dodger, and dies in the process. Special Delivery can only target flank creatures, and Shadow Self isn't a flank creature, but that doesn't matter because it was really targeted. Special Delivery then says that if its damage destroyes "that" creature, purge it. The issue here is whether Shadow Self is considered to be "that" creature, or if "that" creature was locked in as Dodger already. FFG have declared that Shadow Self does get purged in this scenario. That means that the "that"-ness doesn't get locked in until that sentence of the ability resolves. This has important implications for other effects too, such as Pain Reaction and Malison (see puzzles below).

Answer: Yes.

Ghosthawk + Enrage

1c Ghosthawk Enrage.jpg

Enrage and Little Rapscal are equivalent here, and both are included just for completeness. Enrage/Rapscal is only active while creatures are able to attack. If anything for any reason makes creatures unable to attack, then while that is the case, they are no longer affected by enrage/Rapscal, and may be used to reap etc. So when you play Ghosthawk, you have to resolve its Play ability, which puts you into the timing window where Play abilities and "after you play a creature" effects resolve. Obviously you can't do anything else during that window; you can't just up and decide to play an Action card, for example, and you also can't attack. So since you're unable to attack, you are able to reap. (Fuzzy's enrage token will not be removed, though.) Once you finish resolving Ghosthawk's ability, you will continue on with Step 3 of your turn, and enrage/Rapscal will kick back in.

Answer: Yes, you can reap with Fidgit & Fuzzy.

Ghosthawk + Stun

1d Ghosthawk Stun.jpg

This was a highly contentious issue for a long time. The 1.4 stun rules changed the way un-stunning works, making it so that only active-house creatures could use themselves to un-stun, and cards which "force" you to use a stunned creature would instead un-stun the creature. "Force" was the sticking point. An email from FFG strongly implied that all cards with "may use" (eg, Signal Fire etc) would not allow you to un-stun creatures, because they're not forcing the use. However, they declared on Crucible Cast that Ganger Chieftain allows un-stunning, despite its "may". Ghosthawk is awkwardly similar, perhaps identical, to that. From there the prevailing theory became that cards which caused you to use un-stunned cards right now would allow un-stunning, whereas cards that allowed you to use stunned cards sometime later during your turn as a regular Step 3 action would not allow un-stunning.

March 2020 update CC17 declared that they're going to change the way stun work in the next (v1.6) edition of the rulebook, making any card that forces or allows the use of stunned creatures to also allow un-stunning. That includes Signal Fire, Ghosthawk, Horseman of War, and everything else.

Answer: Yes.

Warding after tagging

1e Jargogle Imperium.jpg

The ward rules are horribly unclear. The starter kit rules for Worlds Collide defined ward as preventing damage and leaving play, but not destruction or tagging. Then the Worlds Collide rules update fixed that by adding an addendum in parentheses saying that wards also prevent tagging. That left a wide open question of what happens to creatures that get warded after they're already tagged for destruction. By the letter of the rules, the tag is already there so it can't be prevented, but the creature hasn't left play yet so the leaving play - the last step in the destruction process - can still be prevented. That would theoretically leave a creature in play but permanently tagged, with no indication of how to deal with such creatures. The Bad Penny here is a somewhat easier proposition. The ward it receives would prevent it from leaving play to your hand, at which point it's still tagged for destruction, so it would then go to the discard pile.

March 2020 update: CC17 clarified that warding a creature that has already been tagged will not prevent the destruction sequence from resolving fully, meaning that the Jargogle in this scenario will end up in the discard pile.

Answer: Both Jargogle and Bad Penny will go to the discard pile.

Thorium Plasmate

1g Thorium Bureaucrat.jpg

The rules are very vague on what "move" actually means. For different objects, such as counters, they are more explicit, but for creatures there's not much detail. Thorium Plasmate can only kill Jehu here if it can leave Jehu in between the two other Sanctum creatures.

The emailed rulings on Beambuckler and Self-Bolstering Automata made it clear that creatures must actually move to a different position in the battleline from where they began in order to be considered to have moved. So based on that, you cannot kill Jehu in this scenario, because either of the potential new positions will leave it with only one Sanctum neighbour and therefore only 2 damage from the Thorium.

March 2020 update: CC17 reversed the earlier rulings on movement, stating that the next V1.6 rules update will clarify that creatures can move to the same position they're already in.

Answer: Yes, you can leave Jehu in the centre to deal 4 damage to it.


1h Malison.jpg

This is a complicated one. The question here is when you select the target creature for Malison's Fight ability. The target selection timing is not explicit on the card. It might be that you pick the target immediately when the ability fires, or it might be that you pick the target at the point when you parse the verb that invokes the targeting. The former would equate to: "Fight: Choose an enemy creature. You may move it..." The latter would equate to: "Fight: You may choose an enemy creature and move it..." They may seem pedantically similar, but the difference is crucial. If the latter interpretation is correct, where you select the creature after the word "may", then you would only make the selection if you choose Yes to the "may". That means that if you don't want to move a creature then you never actually select which creature you're targeting. In that case, when you get to the second part about "it" capturing amber, there's no "it" to refer to a creature that has been locked in, so the capturing wouldn't happen. If the target selection happens before the "may", then you can lock in the target without having to move the target, which means that when you get to the capturing part you have a referent for the "it".

In this scenario, any movement of the target creature will mean that Malison's capture will fail: if the Harbinger ends up on the other side of the Panpaca, it will lose Panpaca's buff and the damage it has already taken will become lethal, which will kill everything and also give the opponent the amber that is on Malison.

March 2020 update: As with the Thorium Plasmate issue in the previous puzzle, CC17 clarified that you can move a creature to the same position in the battleline that it was already in. Therefore you can choose Yes to the "may" and still decline to actually move the target.

Answer: Yes, Malison can force one of your creatures to self-capture.

Gebuk + Spartasaur

1a GebuSaur.jpg

This is the finale in the "after event window" series that was started by Spectral-Nexus, continued with Greking-Tolas and Wormhole-Access, and punctuated by Harmonia. The crux here is that Spartasaur enters play after Gebuk leaves play, but before Gebuk's "after a creature is destroyed" window closes, so Spartasaur is in play in time for it's "after a creature is destroyed" ability to trigger off the death of Gebuk.

Therefore, Gebuk's death will result in two "after a creature is destroyed" triggers: one on Spartasaur, and one on Neffru. The active player can choose to resolve whichever of those they like first, so in this scenario you'd choose Spartasaur's trigger first. Spartasaur's trigger then sends out a wave of destruction which will pop the ward on Neffru and destroy the Murmook and Crocag. The Murmook's death will create 2 additional "after a creature is destroyed" triggers; a fresh one on Spartasaur, and another one on Neffru, in addition to the one that's already pending on Neffru from Gebuk's death still. Crocag's death will create one additional "after a creature is destroyed" trigger, on Neffru. So we now have a total of 4 pending triggers to deal with, in whatever order we like: 3 seperate Neffru triggers (for the deaths of Gebuk, Murmook, and Crocag) and 1 Spartasaur trigger. We choose to resolve the Neffru trigger for the death of Crocag first, so we gain 1 amber. Next we choose to resolve the Spartasaur's second trigger, which will send out a brand new wave of destruction, killing Neffru. (Spartans eat wards for breakfast!) Neffru is placed into the discard pile. There were still 2 pending triggers on Neffru, for the deaths of Gebuk and the Murmook, but Neffru can't trigger from the discard pile, so those triggers will not resolve. Therefore, the end result is that we gained 1 amber from Neffru, the opponent didn't gain any amber, and Spartasaur is the sole survivor. That brings us to 6 amber, and leaves the opponent on 5. Check!

Answer: Yes.

Self-reference: Armageddon Cloak

2a Armageddon Cloak self-referential.jpg

The first in the self-referential conundrum series: we know from the rules that cards which refer to themselves by name refer only to that specific copy of that card, and not to any other card with the same name. By extension, any card that refers to another card by name does not refer to a specific copy of that card, but rather to all cards with that name. Armageddon is a weird mixture of those. It gives a creature all the text between the quotation marks, including the part that refers to Armageddon Cloak by name. That means that once a creature is upgraded with the Cloak, that creature now has text referring to all Armageddon Cloaks, not a specific Armageddon Cloak. This is because the text which says the words "Argmageddon Cloak" is on the creature, not on the Cloak. We know that this text literally transfers into the creature's text box because of FFG's ruling on Shadow of Dis affecting upgraded creatures.

Therefore, when the Brain Eater takes lethal damage and triggers its Cloak, the Brain Eater generates an effect telling it to destroy an Armageddon Cloak, and lo and behold, there's another Cloak available to destroy. So you can destroy the opponent's Cloak instead, and still have your Brain Eater survive.

March 2020 update: Crucible Cast 17 declared that the upcoming V1.6 of the rules will have an update to the self-referential text rules. We don't know what that will look like yet, but they explicitly used Armageddon Cloak as an example of a self-referential text transferring to a card other than the named card while still retaining the reference back to the card which generated the self-reference. This means that the double Cloak trick will no longer work.

Answer: No.

Self-reference: Jedi Blasters

2b Jedi Blaster.jpg

This follows on from the Armageddon Cloak issue (see above in Resolved). This is a similar self-referential problem. We know from the rules that cards which refer to themselves by name refer only to that specific copy of that card, and not to any other card with the same name. By extension, any card that refers to another card by name does not refer to a specific copy of that card, but rather to all cards with that name. In this scenario, the text which refers to the Blast by name gets added to the textbox of the Officer, so it shouldn't refer to the specific copy of the Blaster, but rather to any copies of the Blaster in play.

March 2020 update: The 17th Crucible Cast gave us a lot of good information about how to deal with self-referential text, including the issue of Star Alliance Blasters bouncing between two of the same officer, but this scenario is actually closer to the Armageddon Cloak issue than the bouncing Blaster issue. The self-reference to the Blaster transfers across when the text is added to the Officer, so it still only refers to that specific Blaster.

Answer: No, you can't jedi the Blaster. No, Molina will die.

Self-reference: Creed of Nurture

2c Self Nurture.jpg

The third in the self-referential conundrum series. We know from the rules that cards which refer to themselves by name refer only to that specific copy of that card, and not to any other card with the same name. By extension, any card that refers to another card by name does not refer to a specific copy of that card, but rather to all cards with that name.

With Creed of Nurture that gets really weird. In the first case in this scenario, the Tantadlin gains text which refers to Hexpion, but Hexpion isn't in play so can't be interacted with. When Tantadlin dies, you'd archive the top card of your deck, and then you're told to archive Hexpion. It's not clear if that lets you archive Hexpion from your hand or not. In the second case, Tantadlin gains text referring to Terrordactyl. If that reference to Terrordactyl transmutes into a reference to Tantadlin, then you're left with two conflicting instructions, one telling you that the creature can only deal 2 damage, and another telling you that the creature can only deal 4 damage. With the third case involving Eldest Bear, Tantadlin shouldn't gain amber for attacking because Eldest Bear is in your hand, not in the centre of the battleine, unless the reference transmutes. With the last case involving The Feathered Shaman, when you put the Shaman's text onto Tantadlin and then play the Shaman next to Tantadlin, fighting/reaping with Tantadlin should result in the wards on the Shaman's neighbours, not Tantadlin's neighbours, which would mean a ward goes on Tantadlin.

March 2020 update: Crucible Cast 17 declared that the upcoming V1.6 of the rules will have an update to the self-referential text rules. We don't know what that will look like yet, but they explicitly answered these questions about Creed of Nurture as an example of self-referential text transferring to a card other than the named card. Strangely, they went the opposite way with Nurture than they did with Armageddon Cloak; they ruled that the transferred self-referential text changes which card it refers to, instead now referring to the card that the text is transferred onto. That means that Creed of Nurture now has a bunch of neat tricks that work, because you can Nurture self-referential cards onto other cards and still get the full effects. Unfortunately, that also leaves us with contradictions like the Tantadlin-Terrordactyl hybrid, which remain unresolved.

June 2020 update: A Chinese preview of a big Q&A by the new head designer Danny Schaefer has given us the answer to the last remaining piece of this puzzle. It declared that when more than one "this creature deals X damage in combat" ability conflict each other, the one with the lowest value of X takes precedence. So that means that "Tantadactyl" (the hybrid lovechild of Tantadlin and Terrordactyl) will deal 2 damage in combat, not 4.

Answer: A: Just the top card of your deck. B: 2. C: Yes. D: The Shaman will be warded, not Tantadlin.

Phoenix Heart + Shadow Self

1b Aurore's Heart.jpg

This one was designed as proof and public service announcement of the fact that cards resolve sequentially, verb by verb (unless different parts of the same ability deal damage). The Shadow Self takes lethal damage, so its Destroyed ability from Phoenix Heart triggers. There are two parts to this ability, separated only by an "and", and the timing of them is critical. If they happen simultaneously, then the active player could choose to resolve the damage part before the returning to hand part, meaning that the Shadow Self would be able to absorb the damage and keep the Witch alive. If they happen sequentially in the order in which they're written, then the Shadow Self will have to return to its owner's hand first, and then the Witch will be all alone and will be killed by the damage from the Phoenix Heart.

As a separate bonus question, the Hapsis will definitely die, because all of the Phoenix Heart ability happens before the fight has concluded, so Hapsis will take 3 damage from Phoenix Heart earlier than it's ability to ward itself can kick in.

October 2019 update: FFG confirmed in an email that card abilities should always be resolved in the order in which they're written. That means Shadow Self must return to hand first, and the Witch will not be protected.

Answer: Nothing will survive.

Double Scowly Caper

1c Double Scowly.jpg

Like the Heart of Aurore above, this one is another PSA. We know how this works, but unfortunately there's still a lot of misunderstanding about timing in the wider Keyforge community. Both of the Scowly Capers will trigger at the same time, of course. But unlike other cards games which have a stack, in Keyforge we don't line up all the simultaneous triggers and then inevitably resolve them all. Instead, we pick one trigger and resolve it, and then check to see if there are any remaining triggers that need to be resolved. In this case, the first Scowly Caper will kill the other one, and then we check to see if there are any other remaining triggers, and we see that there are not. The second Scowly is now in the discard pile and it can't trigger from there, so the surviving Scowly will not be killed.

Answer: No, one of the Scowly Capers will survive.

Replacing Destruction: Automata

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In February 2020 the rules guru community discovered a bizarre corner of the rulebook that had been previously overlooked by the whole Keyforge community. The rule in question is the Replacement Effects glossary entry, which says "If a replacement effect causes something that is being destroyed to not be destroyed, this removes the tag from it. The replacement effect remains as a lasting effect while any destroyed abilities are triggering and does not fully resolve until the card would be put into the discard pile." That rule only applies to 3 cards: Armageddon Cloak; and both of the Automata.

I'm not sure why nobody noticed that before, but everyone was playing as though that rule didn't exist. The quintessential scenario where it was being played incorrectly is this puzzle: previously, basically everyone assumed that the active player could choose to resolve the Automaton ability before resolving the Soulkeeper, which would remove the tag for destruction from the Automaton, hence the Soulkeeper would not resolve at all. However, we now know that even if you choose to resolve the Automaton ability first, resolving the Automaton ability doesn't actually do anything immediately; it does nothing until later, at the very end of the destruction process. Resolving the ability merely puts the replacement into waiting; meanwhile, the Automaton keeps its tag for the time being, and you continue resolving any other Destroyed effects. After resolving all of the Destroyed abilities, at the point when you would otherwise put all the tagged creatures into the discard pile, instead of the putting the Automaton into the discard pile you finally resolve the replacement effect. That keeps the Automaton alive, and removes the tag for destruction from it. The upshot of that is that there's no way to avoid having the Soulkeeper resolve, regardless of how you sequence the triggers.

This rule doesn't apply to Wards. Wards prevent tags for destruction from being put on creatures at all, hence preventing their Destroyed abilities from triggering, which means that Wards have to do their destruction replacement at the beginning of the destruction process rather than the end.

Answer: No, Groke must die.

Replacing Destruction: Armageddon

2h Replacement Doom.jpg

This is the same as the Automaton-Soulkeeper puzzle above, but a slightly more advanced expression of the same problem. The Bane tags one of the Harbingers for destruction, which makes it trigger and tag the Imp and other Harbinger too. Under the previous paradigm, before we discovered the destruction replacement clause, we believed that you could resolve the Imp's ability next (giving its controller 2 amber), then resolve the Cloak to un-tag the Imp, then resolve the next Harbinger to tag the Imp again, then resolve the Imp again (giving its controller another 2 amber), then the Imp would die. Alternatively, you could resolve both Harbingers, then the Cloak, to remove the tag before resolving the Imp's ability. Hence, we believed that the active player could make the Imp pay either 0, 2, or 4 amber to its controller, by creatively sequencing the trigger. The active player also had the choice of whether the Imp would ultimately survive or not.

Now that we know how destruction replacement actually work, those shenanigans are a thing of the past. Now, regardless of how the active player chooses to sequence the Destroyed triggers, the Cloak's replacement won't kick in until the very end of the sequence, meaning that the Imp will pay amber exactly once and then survive. The range of amber outcomes went from 0-4 to only 2, and the Imp's survival is no longer optional.

Answer: Yes, the Imp must survive. The Imp's controller must get exactly 2 amber.

United Action

1d United Action.jpg

This one is also kind of a PSA, since there's not really any ambiguity here. It explores the finer details of how United Action works. The key point here is that United Action effect doesn't lock in the houses you're allowed to use at the time when you play it; instead, it locks in the ability to play cards from houses which you have in play. That means that it doesn't matter that you don't currently have a Brobnar or Saurian card in play; you can use Kirby to play a non-creature card from one of those houses, and then use United Action's effect to play the creature from the same house. A corollary of that is that United Action doesn't prevent you from playing Kirby; United Action gives you additional play options, without removing any of your existing play options (apart from not being able to use cards).

The twist here is that United Action's restriction against using cards prevents you from getting a second use out of Kirby this turn. If it weren't for that, you could use Ganger Chieftain to ready Kirby and then reap with Kirby to get the Saurian cards into play. You couldn't lead with Saurian into Brobnar though because Hissaro would turn Kirby into a dinosaur instead of Star Alliance, so you wouldn't be able to reap then anyway. But regardless, you can't reap with Kirby after playing United Action, so the maximum cards you can play is 4.

Answer: 4. United Action, then Kirby, then either both of the Brobnar cards or both of the Saurian cards.

Plague Puzzle

1-64 Plague puzzle.jpg

A fun little diversion while everyone's stuck at home in hiding from the plague!

You reap with the mystery card, which puts 3 damage on Lion and the Monk, killing Lion. When Lion dies and stops supporting its neighbours, Brend and the Monk get tagged for destruction, and Brend steals your 3 amber. That shrinks your Swarm, triggering Soulkeeper. All the enemy creatures are currently 3 power, but only one of them is still un-tagged, so you have to choose to destroy Redlock. The end result is that everything's dead, except for the lonely mystery card.

Answer: Click here!

Poltergeist vs Auto-Legionary

2e Poltergeist Legion.jpg

Poltergeist lets you use the opponent's Auto-Legionary's Action ability. This will make it attempt to put itself into your battleline. Whether this attempt can be successful is a deep shade of grey. If the attempt is successful, then it will become a creature, which leads to the second problem, which is somewhat simpler than the first problem. If it becomes a creature, then the final step in resolving Poltergeist will attempt to destroy "that artifact", however if it is no longer an artifact then that part of Poltergeist's effect may fail, or it may remember what it was targeting and still destroy it. The closest thing we have to go on for this is the Special Shadow ruling (see puzzle above in Resolved), but in that scenario both the original target and the new target are creatures, so it's more reasonable for the "that" to dynamically update.

The initial problem is more difficult. We know from the Replicator + Sanctum Guardian FAQ that creatures can't move from one player's battleline to the other player's battleline without the latter player gaining control of the creature. However, it is arguable that the ruling doesn't apply here because it's an artifact at the time it switches sides. This is further complicated by the fact that the Auto-Legionary doesn't become a creature until the second sentence of its ability resolves, which is later in parse-time than the first sentence (ie, other stuff count happen in between the two sentences as a result of resolving the first sentence), therefore the artifact can spend some amount of time in a battleline as an artfiact, despite battlelines normally being solely the domain of creatures. We don't have any rules to govern that mess. Even if it's impossible to have an opponent's creature in your battleline, it's possible that the artifact will go to your battleline briefly and then return to its owner's side once it becomes a creature; or alternatively the initial instruction to go to your battleline might simply fail right off the bat. Yet another possibility is that entering your battleline might automatically make you control it, in which case you'd keep it and it would become a creature under your control (whether or not it then survives due to the second part of Poltergeist's ability).

April 2020 update: Aaron ruled on this by email! The Auto-Legionary cannot enter your battleline because you don't control it, therefore its Action ability will fail. If you used Remote Access to do this rather than Poltergeist then the opponent's Auto-Legionary would become exhausted, and then remain as an artifact under the opponent's control. With Poltergeist that same process happens, and then the Auto-Legionary is destroyed by the 'Geist.

Answer: No, you don't take control of it. Yes, it will be destroyed.

Peace Accord

Peace Accord.jpg

A fun little false-flag operation! Mogghunter kills Harland Mindlock after attacking, but before you resolve the trigger on Peace Accord. Mogghunter returns to your opponent's control, then Peace Accord resolves and punishes the current controller of the creature which was used to attack.

May 2020 update: Mass Mutation reprinted Peace Accord with updated wording! The new wording changes "used to attack" to "fights", which isn't relevant here. But it also changed "the creature's controller loses 4" to "they lose 4". That changes the frame of reference from the creature which attacked to the player who attacked. That means that the creature swapping sides won't affect who loses the amber, hence this trick no longer works.

Answer: You lose 4 amber from Peace Accord.

Backup Imp

Backup Imp.jpg

This one is a plea to FFG to hurry up and add this scenario to the rulebook FAQ. This mechanism is fundamental to understand how Keyforge mechanics work, but sadly we only have a brief and vague Discord comment from Brad Andres from the dawn of time confirming how it works. There's also an oblique reference to a similar scenario in one of the examples following the Destroyed glossary entry, however that example is so riddled with poorly worded explanations and outright rules contradictions that it hardly counts.

Here's how it works: you kill the Imp somehow, and then as the active player, you can choose which of the Imp's two "Destroyed:" abilities to resolve first. If you resolve the Backup first, then the Imp leaves play immediately at that point. Because it's no longer in play, the remaining "Destroyed" ability, the one that grants 2 amber, cannot resolve. Of course, if for some reason you want the Imp's controller to have the extra 2 amber, then you can choose to resolve that ability first.

Answer: Yes, you can.

Positron Bolt

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There's a lot to unpack with this one. This puzzle arose from the CC18 ruling that individual sentences resolve separately, even when both sentences deal damage. That means that Positron Bolt now deals 3 separate batches of damage, overturning Brad's old ruling that all damage dealt by a single keyworded ability would be dealt simultaneously. But there are also other issues at play here, such as the CC17 ruling about how to track the neighbours of creatures that are no longer in play.

First, the Bolt deals lethal damage to the Automaton, triggering its Destroyed ability, which will keep the Automaton alive and move it to whichever flank you like: CC17 ruled that you can leave it on the flank it's currently on. If you leave it where it is, then next you'll deal 2 damage to Weasand and kill it, gaining an amber from Tolas, then finally deal 1 damage to Tolas, gaining no amber of course. Alternatively, moving the Automaton to the opposite flank makes things considerably more complicated, but also opens up the possibility for a total board wipe.

If you move the Automaton to the opposite flank, then Weasand will immediately die of loneliness, before you resolve the second sentence of the Bolt. Tolas will pay an amber for Weasand's death. Then you resolve the second sentence of the Bolt and things get interesting. CC17 tells us that the Automaton's neighbour could be Weasand, because that was the neighbour at the time when Automaton would have otherwise left play, even though Weasand is no longer alive. However, since the Automaton didn't leave play, perhaps we ignore the CC17 ruling and instead use the current neighbour of the Automaton, which is now Tolas. Assuming Weasand gets locked in as the neighbour, then we have another problem. We can't deal 2 damage to Weasand since it's not in play at this point, so it's possible that the rest of the Bolt will fizzle and Tolas will survive, but it's also possible that the CC17 ruling will kick in again and tell us that Weasand's neighbour at the time when it left play was Tolas, even though we didn't get as far as damaging Weasand. If that's the case then Tolas will take 1 damage and die. It's also possible that Weasand dies quickly enough after the Automaton switches flanks that the Bolt skips over it and goes straight to locking in Tolas as the Automaton's neighbour, even with a rightward directed damage sequence, in which case Tolas will take 2 damage and then Tolas' new neighbour, the Automaton, will take the final 1 damage double-tap, this time dying because it will be the only creature in play at that point.

June 2020 update: Crucible Cast 20 reversed the ruling on sequential sentences, returning damage from a single card effect to being simultaneous. That means that all three creatures will be tagged for destruction simultaneously, the Automaton's Destroyed effect will keep it alive when the other creatures disappear, and Tolas will be none the wiser.

Answer: Weasand and Tolas will die, the Automaton will survive, and Tolas will not pay any amber.


Shadow of Dis vs Upgrades


We don't know how upgrades actually affect creatures, whether they paste text into their text boxes or instead hold the text on the upgrade themselves. For some upgrades (like Bonerot Venom) it's fairly clear that the ability remains on the upgrade, but for others that explicitly say that the creature gains text, it's more likely to add that text to the creature's text box, and hence be blank-able by Shadow of Dis, but we just don't know for sure. Jehu the Bureaucrat is presumably unaffected because Blood of Titans only affects the power, which is separate from text boxes anyway. Hayyel the Merchant is probably blanked because Jammer Pack adds text to the creature, most likely to the textbox where Shadow will affect it. Anahita the Trader is presumably unaffected because Bonerot Venom operates independently of the creature it's on. On the other hand, many believe that no upgrades can be blanked, because they think Shadow can only affect actual paper-&-ink text boxes. Unfortunately this wasn't resolved in the rules update either, so we have to wait for a ruling...

October 2019 update! In an emailed rules response in October, FFG announced that Shadow of Dis does blank upgrades, but only ones where the upgrade says that the creature "gains" or "gets" text from the upgrade. This means that those upgrades put the text directly into the creature's text box. However, this answer still leaves questions unresolved, because all upgrades we've seen so far with "gets" only grant numbers, not text, to the creature. (Eg, Blood of Titans' creature "gets +5 power".) It's hard to believe that Blood of Titans would be blanked, but we can reconcile that by interpreting that statement as only relating to actual text, ie, words. In which case, it's simply a redundant statement, unless it's future proofing for something in set 4 or beyond.

Answers: 3 or 8? No. Yes.

Nexus - Bauble - Oath

Oath of Poverty.jpg

This puzzle, and the Shard puzzle (see above), are partial reformulations of the Remote Access + Nepenthe Seed problem. We know that the Nexus effect lasts for the entire duration of the chain of nested abilities, so the control, whether actual or simulated, which is gives you over the Bauble is still in effect when the Oath resolves. The ruling on the Shard version of this implies that you do control the Bauble, however it's possible that the Oath is too far removed from the Nexus to utilise that control.

Version 1.4 update: The new rules don't explicitly answer this, but they take us a little closer, by ruling on the Shard question below. That ruling implies that you are treated as controlling the Bauble here, so you should be able to destroy it with the Oath. Questions remain about whether and to what extent the pseudo-control granted by Nexus is transitive.

Answer: Maybe

Po's Pixies + Sir Marrows

Pixie Marrows.jpg

We still don't know what would happen in this scenario. Some think that only 1 Marrows can take an amber because there was only 1 amber reaped. Others think that both can, because when each one attempts to take it it's still there available due to the Pixies giving the previous one a different amber from the common supply instead. And still others think that neither Sir Marrows can take amber because it's impossible for either of them to take "the" particular amber that they're targeting.

Version 1.4 update: The September rules update gave us a few scant clues, but nothing substation. We now see how Key Hammer refers to "it", and we see how Nerve Blast interacts with the Pixies, but neither of those cases really solve the question here.

Answer: Unknown

Pain Reaction

Pain Reaction.jpg

We don't know how the timing of Pain Reaction is supposed to work, specifically the point at which it checks for neighbours. Most likely, we have to fully resolve the first sentence before moving on to the second sentence. This would mean that the Panpaca would die, and it would take the Ganger Chieftain with it because the Panpaca's power boost was the only thing keeping the Chieftain alive. Then we move on to reading the second sentence, and deal 2 damage to the Panpaca's neighbours. This is the complicated part. The Panpaca is dead already (and must always be dead if Pain Reaction is ever going to utilise its second sentence) so how do we figure out who the neighbours are? If we look at the neighbours of the position where the Panpaca was before it died, those neighbours are currently Timetraveller and Eyegor, so they'd both die. But if we look at the neighbours as they were immediately before the Panpaca died, then they'd be Timetraveller and the Chieftain, so then Pain Reaction would only deal it's second wave of damage to the Timetraveller.

Version 1.4 update: We still don't really know how Pain Reaction works, but it got a little easier to speculate with v1.4 of the rules. The introduction of clearer timing steps for destruction processes generally made it plausible that Pain Reaction could comply with the simultaneous damage rules. However, it would still require a creative interpretation of destruction, because it should be checking for actual destruction rather than mere tagging.

March 2020 update: In Crucible Cast 17, FFG said that the rules are going to be updated to make Smite and Pain Reaction lock in the neighbours of the target create when the central target leaves play. Unfortunately, that still leaves a little room for interpretation, because it's unclear whether "when" means "immediately before", "immediately after", or "as". However, in all other cases, "when" means "after", so in this case Ganger Chieftain outlives Panpaca, even if only for an instant, and hence the Eyegor will probably survive. Hopefully this will be clarified in the Mass Mutation rules update.

Answer: Eyegor probably survives, but we're still not completely sure.


2-06 Smite.jpg

Following on from the Pain Reaction puzzle above, Smite has very similar issues. We're not sure when Smite locks in the neighbours of the central target. In this scenario, Firespitter swings into the Fila as the central target. Firespitter's Before Fight ability will tag Fila, Spymaster, and Penny for destruction, and Penny will fly away. When Penny returns to hand, the Silver Imp will slide across and become Fila's new neighbour, and then Fila and the Spymaster will be discarded. Then the actual fight between Firespitter and Fila won't happen, because Fila's already gone. If Smite locks in Fila's neighbours when you play the card, then it will lock onto Spymaster and Penny, and the splash damage will be wasted. If Smite locks in the neighbours when you get around to dealing the splash damage, then Fila's no longer in play and technically doesn't have any neighbours. At that point it's not clear whether the damage is wasted, or whether you figure out the neighbours with reference to the slot in the battleline that Fila used to be in. If that's the case then both of the Imps will die.

March 2020 update: CC17 clarified that Smite locks in the neighbours "when the central target leaves play". That's an improvement on our previous confusion, but unfortunately it's still not crystal clear, because we don't know how they define "when". In all other situations in Keyforge "when" actually means "after". If it means that the neighbours are locked in immediately after Fila leaves play, then both Imps will die, but then we're back to referring to an empty battleline slot to figure out the neighbours. If it means the neighbours are checked "as" she leaves play, then perhaps the Spymaster is still the neighbour at that point, meaning that the Silver Imp would die but the Bronze Imp would survive.

Answer: At least one Imp dies. Hopefully the next rules update will clarify the other one.

Exterminate! Exterminate!

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The one takes the prize for the ruling that rankles me the most. As such, I'm unwilling to put it into the "resolved" category, since the ruling stinks so badly.

The V1.4 rules made this considerably little clearer. "For each" effects allow you to divide the effects however you wish. More importantly, we assume that the whole effect is simultaneous, because there's only a single events (sentence/verb) happening, which means that none of the possible targets have been tagged for destruction until they all simultaneously die. Therefore, you can target Inka three times and you don't have to kill your Ambassador, and there's no way to kill Gub.

October 2019 update: FFG finally started answering emailed rules questions! They answered one about this, and said that the tagging and destruction of the targets happens simultaneously, but the selection of the targets before that happens sequentially, and that you "cannot choose to destroy a creature twice". Therefore, you must choose to destroy your Ambassador, and you cannot choose to destroy Gub.

That answer is problematic, to say the least. If the creatures are not tagged for destruction yet when all the selecting is happening, then there should be nothing to prevent you from choosing Inka the Spider for destruction multiple times. This indicates that either Exterminate! Exterminate! is about to receive errata, or the destruction rules are about to be changed. Or, it could just be an incorrect ruling...

Answer: No, and Yes. But FFG clearly got this one wrong, so expect it to be changed at some point.

Archimedes + Lion

Archimedes Lion.jpg

Look who's back! Archimedes makes a triumphant post-1.4 return to rules ambiguity. ;) This one hinges on how to deal with a creature gaining a "Destroyed:" ability at the same exact instant that it gets tagged for destruction. Both those things happen immediately when Lion ejects from the battle line. The new rules are clear on how to deal with triggers gained before, or after, being tagged, but not on simultaneous tagging & destruction. It could be active player's discretion, or it could be slightly less simultaneous than it appears, but until we get an official ruling we basically have to flip a coin on this.

Answer: We don't know...

Replicator vs Remiel

Replicator Remiel.jpg

This one is pretty far out there, and generates a lot of disagreement. It was first raised a few months ago, but the new rules update unexpectedly made this even more reasonable. The new FAQ entry about using Nexus to activate an opponent's Shard states that you treat the Shard as being friendly for the purposes of the Shard's ability, and the Replicator + Sequis entry further supports this, and also proves that Nexus and Replicator are fundamentally comparable. Therefore, logic dictates that we should also be able to treat the maverick Remiel as friendly for the purposes of resolving Remiel's effect. That means that Remiel must be a legal target for its own triggered effect. What happens next is a bit more controversial: does Remiel's ability resolving targeting itself allow you to use Remiel, or not? There doesn't seem to be anything in the rules which would prevent it. Next, we don't know what happens if you reap with an opponent's creature. The reap rules say that the creature's controller gains an amber, but you should be treated as the creature's controller. Weirder still, we don't know if you'd be allowed to attack with Remiel, and if you are, are you allowed to attack your opponent's other creatures? Weirdest of all, there doesn't seem to be anything stopping Remiel from attacking itself!

Answer: The rules are vague on whether you can use opponent's creatures when forced by a card effect rather than as a normal Step3 action. Intuitively it's clear that it shouldn't work, but we need more than intuition to guide rulings. Hopefully it will eventually be clarified by FFG.

Master the Theory

Master Theory.jpg

The issue here is whether Master the Theory lets you decide whether to archive for each of its iterations, or whether the option applies to whether you archive at all, and then having chosen to archive, being forced to archive the full number of cards. In other words, does it say [you may] [do X, Y times], or does it say [you may do X] [Y times]...? The general consensus seems to be that if you choose to archive, then you have to go all the way with it. But that doesn't necessary mean you have to archive cards you don't want to.

We know from the V1.4 glossary and from emailed answers about other "for each" effects that each iteration of the card should resolve simultaneously, but with sequential selection before the resolution. However, it's unclear whether you can choose the same card multiple times, before then archiving all the chosen cards simultaneously. Since none of the cards are archived yet at the point when you're choosing them, there doesn't seem to be anything preventing that. However, this interpretation leans heavily on the Exterminate ruling, which is almost certainly an incorrect ruling, so this one is still open to interpretation.

Answer: Probably, but we're not sure.

Containment Field vs Stun


This one is doubly ambiguous. Firstly because the rules for how to un-stun things are currently so badly written, and secondly because they've now announced that they're now in the process of rewriting the un-stunning rules, so we don't really know where this stands.

According to the current v1.5 rules, normally un-stunning a creature as a standard Step3 action is considered using the creature, so it would trigger Containment Field and kill the creature. However, the very next sentence in the rulebook states that if a card effect forces a stunned creature to be used, instead of using it you exhaust the creature and remove its stun. So that's actually pretty explicitly not using the creature, so the Field shouldn't kill it. We'll just have to wait and see how the final wording in the next rules update pans out.

Answer: Probably not, but we need to see the next rules update to be sure.

Lethal Distraction

Lethal Gub Stars.jpg

Each of the three targets of Throwing Stars has issues here, with varying degrees of ambiguity. Working from right to left, Mother Northelle is the easiest part of this. She almost certainly dies "this way" because of the Stars, rather than only half because of the Stars and half because of the damage already on her, so you almost certainly get an amber for killing her. Gub probably doesn't pay an amber, because it was big enough to survive the Stars until its neighbours died, so it wasn't killed as a direct result of the Stars, even though is dies only a very tiny instant later. The Curator's death is the most problematic here, because it highlights the profound ambiguity of Lethal Distraction. In short, we don't know whether Lethal Distraction deals an additional 2 damage after the target receives damage, or whether Lethal Distraction increases the original damage by 2. If it's the former, then The Curator is killed by the damage from the Distraction, whereas if the latter, then it's killed by the enhanced damage from the Stars. The "additional" wording is unclear. However, note that if Distraction deals an additional 2 damage rather than enhancing the original damage by 2, then as currently worded, Distraction triggering would always result in an infinitely lethal amount of damage being dealt, because it would trigger again from its own 2 damage, and again, and again, and so on... Whether or not this infinite damage loop is a problem, or indicative of one reading of "additional" being more correct than another, is wide open for interpretation. Personally, I think the damage loop is a separate issue from the matter of how to interpret "additional", and I'd prefer to see "additional" clarified along with errata to Lethal Distraction to prevent it from infinitely looping. On the other hand, it seems like a reasonable flavour fit for a card named Lethal Distraction to be lethal...

March 2020 update: CC17 finally resolved the Gub part of this, confirming that Gub doesn't get killed by the Stars; it gets killed by friends it lost along the way.

April 2020 update: CC18 clarified how Tendrils of Pain works, confirming that the "additional" damage is a separate wave of damage, not combined with the initial 1 damage into a single wave. Taken literally, this must also apply to Lethal Distraction. Where Tendrils is two separate sentences, Lethal Distraction is too, except that with the latter the first sentence is on the source of the damage (Throwing Stars) and the second sentence is on the Distraction. Therefore we know that the additional 2 damage from the Distraction is a separate batch of damage, meaning that The Curator was killed by the Distraction damage rather than the Stars damage, and hence we won't get an amber for the kill. This is the only logical conclusion from the wording on the cards and the wording used in the Crucible Cast. The only reason I'm leaving this in the Unresolved status is that the way Lethal Distraction works now is almost certainly unintended, and completely broken: any time it triggers, it will loop infinitely. Therefore we can reasonably assume that errata for Lethal Distraction will be incoming, or else we'll get clarified wording regarding the CC18 sequential damage ruling.

Answer: 1. But expect something to change soon.

Jargogle + Haruspex

Kompsos Jargogle.jpg

Worlds Collide introduced a few different ways to get additional cards underneath a Jargogle, which left us trying to figure out what to do with the cards when Jargogle dies. Complicating this issue is the fact that some of the facedown cards may even below to the opponent, for example, because of Favor of Rex. In this scenario, we assume that both of the cards belong to Jargogle's owner because they were put there by a double-trigger from Kompsos Haruspex.

November 2019 update: Brad Andres verbally ruled at a Vault Tour that you can play all of the cards underneath Jargogle when it dies. The reasoning was stated as "because it's more fun!" Never mind the fact that it essentially contradicts the Key Hammer ruling that set a precedent for dealing with references to "it" when "it" can be more than one card.

March 2020 update: CC17 finally overturned Brad's off the cuff ruling. They've now stated that you choose only one of the cards to play or archive. I've left this in "Unresolved" status despite the core question being answered, because we still don't really know how to choose one of the facedown cards. Facedown cards aren't allowed to be looked at by either player, so you shouldn't be able to look at the cards when you decide which one to play, which is even worse if you're the opponent trying to decide which one to archive.

Answer: No (but ambiguity remains).

Spending Shrix

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The problem here is that we are allowed to spend the amber on Senator Shrix, but it's not clear if we can spend that amber only to forge keys, or also to pay for other effects like Customs Office or Tentacus. The only place "spend" appears in the rulebook is in relation to forging keys, so it's likely that you can't do this, but the common English definitions of "pay" and "spend" are very closely related. Until we get an official clarification, this is open to interpretation, although I'd personally floor-rule the answer as No.

Answer: Probably not.

Infinite Loop: Automaton

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This is the first in a series of unfortunate infinite loops that are possible. These are especially problematic since it's entirely possible for them to be created through no fault of the players. In this specific scenario the opponent could have avoided the loop by choosing not to play the King of the Crag, but in the following scenarios I go on to demonstrate that these can all be created completely accidentally. The loop works like this: King of the Crag reduces the Automaton's power to zero, because it's currently a Brobnar card due to Experimental Therapy. The Automaton's ability saves it from death, but it's still zero power. (Note that it doesn't get +1 power counters because it didn't heal any actual damage. So it dies again. And again. And again. Ad infinitum. Importantly, once this loop begins, there's nothing either player can do to end the loop.

July 2020 update: The v1.6 errata to Experimental Therapy means that the Automaton in this scenario no longer counts as a Brobnar card. That short-circuits this problem neatly. However, the issue of how to deal with the infinite loop remains, because the same situation could come about using a Brobnar-maverick Automaton.

Answer: Nothing happens, due to the v1.6 errata to Experimental Therapy. However, the issue persists because the same loop can be achieved with a maverick Automaton. In that situation, an unstoppable infinite loop ensues. We don't know the consequences of that. Perhaps the universe implodes.

Infinite Loop: Replicator

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In this infinite loop, the Replicators are forced to trigger each other endlessly. Note that the Wormhole into Inspiration here proves that these loops can be unintentional, meaning you can't rule them as infractions or bad sportsmanship. And like the previous loop, this one cannot be ended by either player once it gets under way. With all these loops, the real question is how to deal with the game state when this happens. Should the game immediately end and go to tiebreaker procedures?

Answer: An unstoppable infinite loop ensues.

Infinite Loop: Mimicry

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Double Mimicry is similar to the previous double Replicator loop. The two Mimicries are forced to trigger each other endlessly. An important distinction here is that Mimicry is exceptional in that it never counts itself towards the Rule of 6; it always counts the target card instead. In this scenario, each Mimicry also cannot count its target card because the target card itself tries to count the following target card. And so on, and on, and on, ad infinitum.

Answer: An unstoppable infinite loop ensues.

Infinite Loop: Numquid

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Rounding out the loopy quartet, Numquid the Wardslayer will keep repeating its effect until the end of time, because it will not and cannot ever run out of targets, nor can it ever even out the number of creatures. Once again, this loop cannot be stopped by either player once it gets going.

Answer: An unstoppable infinite loop ensues.

Gub Mindlock

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Both players start with 1 amber, then you get 1 more from the bonus pip on Berserker Slam. You Slam Harland Mindlock. We know from the Heart of Aurore rule (see resolved puzzle above) that we have to resolve the first sentence of Slam completely before beginning the second sentence. So Mindlock dies now, but then a few things happen in quick succession. Tolas is going to pay you 1 amber for killing Mindlock, but that won't happen until the "after a creature dies" window, and before that happens Gub is going to try to do two things simultaneously: it's going to get lonely on the flank and revert to 1 power and die; and it's going to no longer be controlled by the opponent because Mindlock is no longer exerting control over it. When Gub dies, Tolas is going to trigger and pay an amber to the opponent of whoever controlled Gub when it left play, so the order of the two simultaneous effects on Gub is the crux here. It's possible that the active player can order the two simultaneous pressures however they like. In that case the sensible play would be to let Gub shrink and get tagged and die first, giving you the amber while it's still controlled by the opponent. But it's also possible that the tagging process takes a moment of parse-time before Gub can die, and during that moment Gub might return to your control, giving the opponent the amber when Gub dies under your control. It's not clear whether the tag-trigger-remove process of destruction takes any parse-time at all when the creature in question doesn't have a "Destroyed:" ability to slow the process down.

Answer: We're not sure.

Ward Manipulator

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Like the Gub Mindlock puzzle above, this one hinges on the timing of two simultaneous, or very close to simultaneous, events. The 7 damage from Mega Narp redistributed by Entropic Manipulator is enough to kill both of the other creatures. We know that the armour on the Tank won't help against this damage because the damage is not being dealt, it's just being moved, as proven by the Shadow Self ruling. For the same reason, we know that the ward on Neffru won't prevent its damage either, although it will prevent Neffru from being tagged/destroyed. However, after protecting Neffru from destruction, the lethal damage still remains on Neffru, so it will (immediately? quickly? soonish?) get destroyed again. So we know that Neffru and Tank will both die, but the question is whether Neffru will live longer than the Tank, and if so, does it live longer enough to trigger off the "after Tank dies" window and pay an amber. It's just not clear how quickly the damage re-checks Neffru's condition, nor whether the "after a creature dies" trigger can interrupt that process, nor whether Neffru potentially having a "Destroyed:" granting upgrade might affect the interaction.

Answer: We're not sure.

Hunter or Hunted?

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The rules are clear that when a creature that is already warded gets warded again, it does not get another ward counter. It's also clear that when a creature's ward pops, all the ward counters on the creature are removed. Which is odd, because there's not much point having multiple ward counters removed unless it's possible to put multiple ward counters on a creature. It looks like Hunter or Hunted? is the only card that might possibly be able to make that relevant. In this scenario, you obviously want to get the amber from playing Hunter or Hunted, and you also obviously don't want to ward a currently unwarded creature. We know that you could simply ward one of the creatures that already has a ward, in which case nothing would happen. But it would be better for you if you could get rid of the ward on the opponent's Alaka, without putting one on Gravelguts. The part where this is unclear is whether moving a ward to a warded creature counts as "warding" that creature. If it does, then the new ward will disappear, which is fine and all; but if it doesn't count as "warding" it again then we're able to get a second ward counter onto our Plant. Of course, that is extremely unlikely to matter, because if one of the wards pops then they both pop. However, it's also possible that there could be a card in the future that moves wards around like Hunter or Hunted does without also giving you the option to simply place a new ward on a creature, in which case having a spare ward counter on your Plant would be useful.

Answer: You probably can, but it probably doesn't matter. Aren't rules fun?

Destroy Them All!

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This one is a fun puzzle, in the proper sense, while also including a rules ambiguity. The rules issue is simply the timing of Destroy Them All!. The general consensus is that all three targets are destroyed simultaneously, because there's only one verb involved. Other interpretations are that the targets are destroyed sequentially in the order they're written (artifact, then creature, then upgrade), or that the active player chooses the sequential order of destruction. Those three different interpretations lead to different answers to this scenario.

Based on the most likely correct interpration (ie, simultaneous destruction), the answer is zero: you can avoid having the opponent gain any amber. Finding the path to that answer is tricky though, and depends on noticing a sneaky little "if you do" clause on Spike Trap.

Answer: Zero, probably. Destroy Them All targeting Spike Trap, Jargogle, and Soulkeeper. Use Jargogle's Remote Access to use the Spike Trap, which will fail to deal damage to Brend because of the Trap's "if you do" clause, since it can't be sacrificed due to already being tagged for destruction. The only question is whether our assumption that the three kills happen at the same time is correct or not.

Elusive & Hazardous Timing

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There are two separate issues here, one slightly more ambiguous than the other.

Firstly, hazardous: the Sanitation will gain additional Hazardous damage potential during the Before Fight window, which is the same window as Hazardous itself resolves. We know that when a creature has two instances of Hazardous, they merge into one aggregate ability. If the active player chooses to resolve Mega Cowfyne's Before Damage ability first, then the Engineer's natural Hazardous count of 1 will merge with the additional Hazardous 3 granted by Armsmaster Molina, so it would deal 4 damage in one burst to Cowfyne. However, the active player could instead choose to resolve the Engineer's Hazardous 1 first, putting 1 damage on Cowfyne, and then resolve Cowfyne's ability, putting Molina next to the Engineer. At this point, the Engineer does have Hazardous 4, but its Hazardous has already resolved. It's not really clear from the rules what we should do in this situation, but it seems sensible to only resolve the Hazardous once, even if the Hazardous potential increases during the same resolution window. So we assume that Mega Cowfyne can limit the damage it receives to only 1, if the active player chooses to.

Secondly, elusive: this has similar timing to the hazardous problem, but elusive triggers differently. Or rather, elusive isn't really a trigger at all. Elusive says "The first time a creature with the elusive keyword is attacked each turn, it is dealt no damage" etc. When we get to the damage exchange part of the fight, and the Engineer does have Elusive, (gained from the Cloaking Dongle on Yshi during the Before Fight window, which is after the attack took place, ie, it's in the window at which it's too late for gaining Taunt to matter) but when it was attacked, it didn't have Elusive. Most likely, Elusive will still function, because during the Fight damage exchange Elusive will see that this was the first time the Engineer was attacked, but we probably need an FAQ or something to confirm that.

Answer: Mega Cowfyne will probably only take 1 damage, and Sanitation Engineer will probably surivive. But it's kind of iffy.

Red-Hot Armor

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For reference, the rule about Lasting Effects: "Some card abilities create effects or conditions that affect the game for a specified period of time, such as 'until the start of your next turn' or 'for the remainder of the turn'... If a lasting effect affects cards in play, it applies to all cards in play during the specified period, regardless of whether they were in play at the time the lasting effect was established." Based on that, we know without a doubt that Red-Hot Armor is a Lasting Effect, because it applies "until the end of the turn", therefore it will also apply to creatures that enter play later in the same turn.

The confusing part is whether or not the whole effect of Red-Hot Armor is subject to the Lasting Effect rule, or just the part about losing armor. If it's just the armor loss part, then Spangler Box will put the opponent's Collector Worm into play, and then the Worm will lose its armor but still survive. On the other hand, if the whole effect is subject to the Lasting Effect rule, then the Worm will enter play, lose its armor, and also be dealt 5 damage, killing it. That would make Red-Hot Armor a unique snowflake, because no other cards deal damage at different times throughout a turn like that. However, being unusual shouldn't be a basis for ruling, and the fact is we have no precedent for how to apply a rule to only part of a card's effect.

Answer: We don't know.


2-26 Roxador.jpg

This puzzle grey out of the complications that resulted from the partial clarification of the self-referential text mechanic on Creed of Nurture (see unresolved puzzle above). Roxador "only deals 2 damage when fighting". It's not clear whether that "only" means that 2 damage is the only possible amount of damage that Roxador can deal, or if it's the maximum amount of damage it can deal. If it's the only possibility then Roxador will deal 2 damage here, even though it currently has only 1 power. Personally, I feel it's more likely to be the only possibility, rather than a maximum, which would mean that the Imp would be killed. But we're not sure.

This issue also applies to Tantadlin and Terrordactyl etc, and most importantly to hybrids of them like the Tantadactyl in the Creed puzzle. The "only deals X" mechanic only appears on rather large creatures, so it's very unlikely for their power to ever get below that number, so this Roxador scenario is basically just a demonstration case.

Answer: We don't know, but it's probably Yes.

Techivore Qincan

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At first blush, this looks like a corollary of the Spectral Nexus, along with the several other corollaries we already have (Greking Tolas, Wormhole Access, Murkens Witch, and solo Harmonia). But this one is a little bit more complicated by the wording of Officer Qincan.

When you choose Dis as your active house, only Techivore Pulpate triggers, because Qincan can't resolve at this point because you control a Dis card. So Qincan must trigger either after Techivore or not at all. If Qincan was worded as "After a player chooses an active house, if there are no cards in play of that house, steal 1" then you would be able to resolve Qincan first and simply let the ability fail to steal. But as the condition of having none of that house in play is part of the trigger rather than a conditional on the outcome, you can't resolve Qincan's ability at all unless the house is bereft of cards.

The open question is whether or not Qincan's ability fits into the same "after a player chooses an active house" timing window, or whether it has its own unique "after a player choose an active house for which no cards are in play" timing window. The latter is probably the most literally correct, while the former is probably the easiest way for FFG to decide to rule this without making the game more complicated.

May 2020 update: FFG responded to this by email, but unfortunately the answer raises more questions than it resolves. They declared that the active player can choose the order they want to resolve Qincan and Techivore. This is probably an incorrect ruling, since Qincan's trigger condition is more than simply choosing a house. If this ruling is correct, then it implies errata to Qincan to add an "if" clause to replace the weird trigger condition. So we'll have to wait and see whether errata is forthcoming, or else we're in the dark until they clarify further.

Answer: Probably not.

Enhanced Bonus Icons

Rad Penny.jpg

We're in the ambiguous window after the Chinese release of Mass Mutation made all the new cards public, but before the English update of the rulebook makes everything clear (hopefully!). From what we know so far, bonus icons resolve after creatures enter play but before their Play: ability resolves. We also have reason to believe that the bonus pips resolve one by one from top to bottom, but that hasn't been made official yet.

If that's all correct, then Rad Penny will enter play, then resolve her first Damage icon completely, including any triggers that result from it, before resolving her second Damage icon. That means that there's no way for Penny to survive this process: assuming you kill Q-Mechs first, then you either kill Penny second or Dark Minion which results in Penny dying anyway. Then, we know that abilities only trigger/resolve if the card is in play, so Penny's steal effect will not resolve.

Answer: No, unless it turns out that bonus icons resolve simultaneously.