Written by Jesse Bergman
A few weeks ago I discussed the first steps of the Attack Phase. This week we will dig deeper into the attack phase. In this phase of your turn you get to use your combatants to declare attacks and deal damage to your opponent. The attack phase is the most complex phase in Battle for Sularia. It is the phase where most of the games heavy lifting and strategy come into play. It is recommended to read my previous articles in this series before continuing. As a quick reminder I've listed the phases of the turn below.
The Turn is defined as each player taking the necessary steps of their turn before play is passed to the next player. The turn is comprised of the following phases of the game.
Reset Phase(Link to Blog Post)
Influence Phase(Link to Blog Post)
Site Phase (Link to Blog Post)
Sularium Phase (Link to Blog Post)
Combatant Phase (Link to Blog Post)
Attack Phase – Part 2
In part 1 we went through the steps of declaring attackers and declaring defenders, we also discussed the Keyword value step. Our chart above is a reference image from our quick rules and doesn't highlight all the automated steps that occuring during each phase. It also doesn't show all the command windows that players may take advantage of. However, it does reference one command window in the attack step and it is the most important one of all.
Command Window Step
- The first step of the command window opens up the command window and the player with priority is allowed to take or pass on any actions.
- The second step of the command window allows the player without priority to take or pass on any actions.
- Steps 1 & 2 repeat until the player with priority and the player without priority have passed in succession. We cannot proceed into step 4 until all players are finished taking actions.
- Next each action that was placed on the command chain resolves Last In First Out.
This all probably sounds very cryptic and needs to be be explained. So you may have a few questions? What is an action? What is Passing, and why is all of this important? In Battle for Sularia timing is everything and it can drastically effect the resolution of a command chain and what happens to objects.
In Figure 1 we have the first steps of the attack resolved. A Jotune Battle Commander has declared an attack into the Sularium Mining Station controlled by the Synthien Battle Commander.
We can now proceed to the Command Window Step. Above I mentioned that the player with priority gets to take the first action. So what is an action and what does an action look like.
Hopefully all of that is pretty easy to understand at this point however for the sake of explanation I will go through all the information in detail. Command is our terminology for cards. Every card in your hand/deck that has not been played is a Command card. Objects in Play are Conditions, Sites, and Combatants that have been put into play on the Battlefield. When a player takes an action any player may respond to this action. Establishing a Site is an action, deploying a combatant is an action. The actions we are most specifically interested in here are actions found on sites, combatants, tactics, or conditions. These actions refer to three types of abilities.
Continuous modifiers are modifiers to the game that do not end during the discard step. These modifiers are generally present on sites, combatants, and condition cards. Other types of continuous modifiers are counters, and any effect that does not require a payment in order to use it. Other than the action of placing a continuous modifiers command on the chain continuous modifiers function after resolution until the object that created it leaves play.
Payment modifiers are modifiers that are written [Cost]: [Effect]. The cost section of the modifier must be paid first in order to put the effect of the modifier on the command chain. If a payment is made and the effect does not resolve for some reason the payment is not refunded back to the player.
Triggered modifiers occur when something happens during the game that meets the requirements to trigger the modifier. Triggered modifiers trigger on their own from either player created or game created events. They typically use words such as during, at the start of, whenever, when, etc… triggered modifiers are not an action but they do put their effect on the chain. A player may add actions to this chain providing that the game allows for it at that particular phase.
Now that we understand all the different types of modifiers we can get into how to take actions that would suprise our opponent during the command window step. In Figure 1 the Vassad Sabotuer has an ATTACK VALUE: 2 , DEFENSE VALUE: 2. The Sularium Mining Station has an ATTACK VALUE: 2, DEFENSE VALUE OF 4. If we just compared the base ATTACK and DEFENSE values we would see that the Sabotuer cannot do enough damage to remove the Sularium Mining station from the Battlefield, but the Sularium Mining Station would do enough ATTACK to remove the Sabotuer from the Battlefield. This is obviously not a very smart attack unless we have some tricks up our sleeves. This is where we can take actions to make our attack more beneficial.
In Figure 2 we are illustrating a command chain. This chain would start with the Jotune Battle Commander passing on his first action.
1. The Synthien Battle Commander adds a Feedback to the Command Chain targeting the Vassad Sabotuer for a total of 2 damage to the Sabotuer.
2. This action means that the Jotune Battle Commander may respond and in step two is uses a payment ability on the Strom Citadel targeting the Sabotuer. When the effect resolves this will give the Sabotuer an ATTACK value of 4 and a DEFENSE Value of 2. The Synthien Battle Commander Passes and play returns back to the Jotune Battle Commander. If he doesn't add another effect then the damage from the Feedback as well as the ATTACK value of the Sularium Mining Station would still be enough to remove the Sabotuer from the battlefield.
3. The Jotune Battle Commander adds an Art of War, a Continuous ability to the command chain. This will resolve and give his Sabotuer a +1 ATTACK/ +1 DEFENSE.
This is not a very effective use of feedback, because the Art of War will resolve first and the Sabotuer will have ATTACK: 3 DEFENSE: 3, then the Storm Citadel will resolve which will result in the Sabotuer's ATTACK becoming 5 and it's DEFENSE becoming 5. Now the Feedback would resolve and the Sabotuer would have its DEFENSE value modified by 2 DAMAGE, leaving it as a DEFENSE value: 3.
Timing is Everything
What if the Synthien Battle commander hadn't used Feedback first.
In Figure 3 the Jotune Battle Commander realizes he needs more damage from the Vassad Sabotuer in order to destroy that Sularium Mining Station.
1. So their first action is to put a Storm Citadel on the command chain, the Synthien Battle Commander passes.
2. Jotune Battle Commander gets greedy and reveals Art of War putting it on the command chain.
3. The Synthien player now chooses to respond and does a Feedback for 2 Damage.
This is an effective use of the feedback as the command chain resolves as follows. The Feedback resolves dealing 2 DAMAGE to the Sabotuer, and reduces it's DEFENSE value to zero. The Sabotuer cannot remain on the Battlefield with a DEFENSE value of zero, and it is placed in its owner's DAMAGE PILE. The Art of WAR and Storm Citadel will still resolve but their intended target is no longer on the Battlefield and their effects provide no benefit to the Jotune Battle Commander.
Phew! That was a lot to cover this week. Of course if you have any questions please leave them below or on our Facebook page and I'll try and clear any of those up. We are not quite done in the Attack Phase yet and I hope you'll come back to learn about how damage is dealt and when.
Until next time, go play some games!