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Stealth and Greatjon Umber


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#1 Proxymor

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:05 AM

Salve,

First - just to check if I understand correctly, The stealth keyword means you can choose a character whithout stealth keyword, who can not defend against the attack. If you have for example three characters with stealth, you can choose three character on the opponents side who can`t defend?

Second, if he/she choose Greatjon Umber not to defend, because of the stealth keyword , can Greatjon Umber defend if he is kneeling because of his ability: "Challenges: Kneel Greatjon Umber to have him participate in the current millitary or power challenge as either the attacker or as the defender"? I mean he cant because of the stealth, but he can, because of his ability. Which one wins? The stealth or the ability?



#2 KristoffStark

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:15 AM

My understanding (and I haven't double-checked wording) is that stealth prevents characters from being declared as defenders during the defending player's normal Declare Defenders step.  Greatjon's Ability puts him into the challenge as a defender without being declared.  Therefore, he is perfectly able to defend via his ability, even after being targeted by stealth.



#3 KristoffStark

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:19 AM

Actually, I just did what I should have done in the first place, and checked the Core rules wording.  It says:

"For each of your attacking characters with the
“Stealth” keyword, you may choose, before defenders
are declared, a character without Stealth
on the defending side. That character may not
defend during this challenge."

In which case, I would read "may not defend" as being an absolute, preventing the character from being a defender under any effect... unless there's some previous ruling that I am unaware of.



#4 ikatowi

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:43 AM

 But then wouldn't the counterargument be "Greatjon isn't defending, he's participating as a defender" ?



#5 KristoffStark

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:47 AM

ikatowi said:

 But then wouldn't the counterargument be "Greatjon isn't defending, he's participating as a defender" ?

Would you then say that he couldn't be targeted by cards that give bonuses to defending characters?



#6 ktom

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:53 AM

Proxymor said:

First - just to check if I understand correctly, The stealth keyword means you can choose a character whithout stealth keyword, who can not defend against the attack. If you have for example three characters with stealth, you can choose three character on the opponents side who can`t defend?
Yes. Just before defenders are declared, the attacker can choose a number of characters controlled by the defender (that do not have the Stealth keyword) equal to the number of attacking characters with the Stealth keyword. Those characters cannot defend in that challenge.

Proxymor said:

Second, if he/she choose Greatjon Umber not to defend, because of the stealth keyword , can Greatjon Umber defend if he is kneeling because of his ability: "Challenges: Kneel Greatjon Umber to have him participate in the current millitary or power challenge as either the attacker or as the defender"? I mean he cant because of the stealth, but he can, because of his ability. Which one wins? The stealth or the ability?
Couple of things:

First, let's make sure you're reading Greatjon correctly. He doesn't get to use his ability to participate as an attacker or defender because he is kneeling. He has to successfully kneel (ie, go from standing to kneeling) in order to pay the cost of his effect that makes him an attacker or defender. So your comment "defend if he is kneeling" is a little off (or not quite what you mean to say). The question here is whether he can defend when he is Stealthed by triggering/using his ability (which he has to go from standing to kneeling to pay for).

Second, Greatjon's ability lets him become a defender (ie, defend in the challenge) without being declared. Most of the time, this distinction is enough to let him use his ability because the limitation is usually on being declared (eg, Joust says you can only declare one defender; but Greatjon isn't declared, so you can get a second defender in there, no sweat). However, Stealth says that the character "cannot defend," which is much broader than "cannot be declared as a defender. So Stealth can stop him from using his ability to defend.

This is because (third) because the word "cannot" always "wins." The word "cannot" is considered the absolute in this game. So in most cases, "cannot" should effectively be read as "don't even try." If Greatjon "cannot defend," he is effectively prevented from even triggering his ability in an attempt to defend.

However (finally), remember the timing. Greatjon's ability is a Challenge ability. It can be used in two different places: 1) After attackers are declared but before defenders are declared, and 2) After defenders are declared but before the challenge is resolved. Stealth happens just before #2 starts, which means the "cannot defend" limitation would stop Greatjon from using his ability to become a defender at #2 (after Stealth is applied). So all you have to do with Greatjon is have the sense to use his ability in #1, before the attacker has the possibility of assigning Stealth. That is because once a character is defending, nothing removes him from the challenge - short of an effect that specifically removes him from the challenge or from play.

 

So in the end, Stealth can stop Greatjon from using his ability to defend, but someone who is paying attention can use the timing of Stealth to his advantage and get him into the challenge anyway.



#7 ktom

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:55 AM

ikatowi said:

 But then wouldn't the counterargument be "Greatjon isn't defending, he's participating as a defender" ?

Which is like saying "he's not walking down the sidewalk, he's moving down the sidewalk on foot at a walking pace."

 

There is no difference between a character "defending" and "participating as a defender." The two terms are synonymous. 

 

In which case, I would read "may not defend" as being an absolute, preventing the character from being a defender under any effect...

"May not" and "cannot" are considered synonyms for all practical purposes, too.



#8 KristoffStark

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:59 AM

Huh.  I play with this Greatjon in my Melee deck, and that loophole had never even occurred to me.



#9 Proxymor

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:08 PM

Thank you ktom, I understand it now.  I did mean that I use Greatjon`s ability while he`s standing with kneeling him down, sorry for the mistake.

I will pay attention for the timing, so I can use his ability perfectly.

 



#10 swornabsent

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 03:04 AM

ktom said:

However, Stealth says that the character "cannot defend," which is much broader than "cannot be declared as a defender. So Stealth can stop him from using his ability to defend. This is because the word "cannot" always "wins." The word "cannot" is considered the absolute in this game.

Can you point me to where Stealth is described as "cannot defend"? My printed Core Rules and the PDF available on this website says:

For each of your attacking characters with the “Stealth” keyword, you may choose, before defenders are declared, a character without Stealth on the defending side. That character may not defend during this challenge.

This may seem like semantic hair-splitting, but considering the absolute authority of the word "cannot" and the fact that near as I can tell that word doesn't actually appear, it seems like a hair worth splitting. In short we need clarification on intent here: whether that sentence is intended to read "may not [be declared to] defend" versus "[cannot] defend".



#11 Bomb

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 03:58 AM

swornabsent said:

This may seem like semantic hair-splitting, but considering the absolute authority of the word "cannot" and the fact that near as I can tell that word doesn't actually appear, it seems like a hair worth splitting. In short we need clarification on intent here: whether that sentence is intended to read "may not [be declared to] defend" versus "[cannot] defend".

What do you think "may not defend" would mean if it did not mean "cannot defend"?  They either can defend or they cannot defend.  You may or may not defend with a character who isn't stealthed already, so I have no idea what else Stealth could mean other than to be used to keep a defending players character from being able to defend.



#12 swornabsent

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:52 AM

Well, Bomb, as I said what I think it might reasonably mean is "may not be declared to defend", which is the whole point of this discussion. The explanation offered by ktom is predicated on the use of the word "cannot" which has special meaning in this game, but that word doesn't actually appear, so it's a reasonable clarification to ask for. If it turns out that it does mean "cannot", great! I happily accept the answer. But (unless printed/clarified elsewhere that I don't know about) I don't think it's obvious that it does mean that. Precisely because of the special nature of the word "cannot" I don't think we should be assuming things mean that when not explicitly stated.



#13 Bomb

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 05:12 AM

I guess I am just failing to see where your point is applicable here and with characters that have been chosen as Stealth targets.   I am merely interested in where you think "may not" versus "cannot" makes any difference in with Stealth.  Are you saying you think the difference allows Greatjon Umber to defense even if he is Stealthed?  Are you saying that somehow there is a way to ignore Stealth against a character?  All you are saying is that there may be a difference between the two but did not offer where that difference has any application to a challenge.

Anyways, "may not" versus "cannot":

"You may not eat ice cream." would mean that you do not have permission or there is a restriction in place.  This also means that you may still physically be able to eat ice cream but doing so would be breaking or violating a trust or a rule.

"You cannot eat ice cream." could mean several different things, but in the end you cannot physically eat ice cream because you are unable to eat or the ice cream does not exist.

 

If the game says you "may not do something" there is no option to break that rule/restriction/permission and still be playing the game without having cheated.  The only way you can override that is if a card specifically allows you to. 

See Quaithe of Shadow:

"Opponents may not choose Quaithe of the Shadow as the target of an event card or character ability while she has at least 1 attachment."

Do you think that opponents can still choose her as the target of an event somehow? 

I just don't see how this is any different with "cannot".



#14 swornabsent

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 05:36 AM

Right, so it is agreed (I think) that if stealth means "cannot be declared to defend" then Greatjon Umber could effectively bypass being stealthed because he can jump in as a Challenges action after not being declared. There is no issue there. So to answer your first question, I am saying yes, I think the difference would allow Greatjon Umber to defend even if he is stealthed if stealth were interpreted this way. But the interpretation offered is that stealth doesn't mean this but rather, more broadly, "cannot defend". This is interpretation, not explicitness. Your ice cream example doesn't quite have parity here because in AGoT "cannot" carries heavier semantic consequence than "may not" - we're not just talking normal everyday language but the fact that in this context "cannot" means something extra that "may not" does not. Unless a rulings authority wants to (or has) clarified that wherever "may not" appears it does in fact mean "cannot". If there were a multitude of cards with the text "may not" I might be inclined to just make that assumption, but Quaithe of Shadow is literally the only card (per cardgamedb) that does, so yes, if some card or effect interacted with Quaithe the same way stealth interacts with Greatjon I'd say a similar clarification would be needed.

So, I'm not at all disputing any rulings or explanations offered for either way of interpreting Stealth. I am merely asking for clarification on that interpretation: "cannot defend" or "cannot be declared to defend". And I'm not even advocating one or the other, I'm just saying "In everyday normal language 'cannot' oftens amounts to the same as 'may not'" is not a good enough reason to assume that one means the other in this context where one is affored special status.

That help?



#15 swornabsent

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:04 AM

To simplify, one of three clarifying statements would satisfy my question:

  • Stealth targets cannot be declared to defend
  • Stealth targets cannot defend
  • An occurrence of the phrase “may not” is equivalent to “cannot”

edit: somehow I missed Ktom's addendum saying they are in fact synonymous terms, probably because I skipped over the garbled quote tag. With respect to Ktom I'm still curious as to the source of authority of that statement, though. (Still with respect :) if it's just his interpretation, the question is unchanged.)



#16 Bomb

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 07:40 AM

"may not be declared as a defender" and "may not defend" mean something completely different.  Clearly if the Stealth rule had "may not be declared" there would be no question as to what is allowed. 

"may not defend" is placing a restriction on which characters are allowed to defend the challenge.  Even without using "cannot", I just don't see any other way to interpret that.

On an ending note, Stealth has been a keyword in this game long before it became an LCG.  This version of Greatjon Umber is also from the CCG era of this game.  FFG did not put the clarity you seek in the FAQ because they didn't feel it was as ambiguous as you seem to think.  OR a ruling/clarification has been communicated to the veterans of this game long ago and it has been accepted since that time.  Interpretation or not, it has been interpreted or clarified in this fashion for years now without the need of additional documented clarity.  They did not change the rules of Stealth to increase this clarity because they probably felt they didn't need to.



#17 swornabsent

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:15 AM

Just got this back from Damon Stone (quick!)

swornabsent said:

Hi - this question is regarding clarification on Stealth and/or the phrase "may not". See http://www.fantasyfl...=4&efidt=638668 for lengthier discussion: in short, I'm looking for an authoritative clarification on (a) whether the core rules for Stealth which read "may not defend" should read "cannot defend" or "cannot be declared to defend", and/or (2) whether occurrences of the phrase "may not" in rules and on cards have the equivalent absolute force of the phrase "cannot". What's prompting the question is whether Greatjon Umber (either) can defend by using his Challenges action after being declared a Stealth target. There's no confusion about whether he can or not depending on how Stealth is interpreted, my question is about that interpretation: "cannot defend" or "cannot be declared to defend" (or, "may not" == "cannot"). Thanks!!

"Stealthing a character means that character cannot defend. I understand the distinction you are trying to make about "may not" and "cannot," but they are functionally the same in this game. This is not true in all of our games but it is in regards to A Game of Thrones."

 

Thanks Damon et al! (And considering there is in fact a distinction even in other FFG games let alone anything else I as a veteran of CCGs but newish to AGoT am feeling just fine about asking for clarification on the ambiguity.)



#18 ktom

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:36 AM

I think some of the confusion in the discussion here may have come from the fact that there were effectively 2 different lines of reasoning going on here:

1. Is "may not defend" functionally the same as "cannot defend." It is, everyone said, an extremely fine hair to split, but it would NOT have been out-of-character for games such as this (FFG's and others) to make that distinction. Historically, the distinction has never been made in this specific game, and now we have Damon's verification of that. "May not" and "cannot" are effectively the same in AGoT.

2. The other question that was, perhaps inadvertently, being asked is whether "may not defend" and "may not be declared as a defender" are functionally the same. This question may have manifested itself as "if 'may not' and 'cannot' are different, would it be appropriate to kind of default the interpretation of 'may not defend' to 'may not be declared as a defender'?", but that's the equivalency that swornabsent seemed to be trying to draw, absent the clarification from Damon. Since there are a fair number of card effects that can get a character into a challenge beyond the standard "declare" mechanic, and in all of those situations, FFG has been pretty clear that "defend" and "declared as a defender" are different, it was probably hard for someone with Bomb's experience to fathom that FFG would ever not say "be declared" when that's what they meant.

So even acknowledging the possibility that "may not" and "cannot" might have meant different, the consistent difference the game has drawn between "defend" and "declared as a defender" made it kind of hard to believe that that might have been the difference.

 

And, as they say, it looks like the the discussion snowballed from there.



#19 Khudzlin

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 07:31 PM

But don't forget Greatjon can become a defender before Stealth targets are declared. The first player actions sequence in a challenge is between declaring attackers and declaring stealth.






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