Rules Question:The "Master" Tier 5 talent says: Once per round, your character may suffer 2 strain to use this talent to reduce the difficulty of the next check they make using that skill by two, to a minimum of Easy. You should use this talent in all settings. If upgraded dice are used to determine the difficulty, how is the difficulty reduced by two? Are upgraded dice downgraded which counts as one reduction itself?
Reducing the difficulty of the check is not the same as “removing dice” (even though the effect is similar). So you actually reduce the difficulty of the check before you upgrade or downgrade the check, so upgraded dice shouldn’t matter.
So this is how it would work:
The GM sets the difficulty.
You use your Mastery talent to reduce the difficulty.
You and the GM add dice based on abilities and environmental effects. (this is usually adding Boost and Setback dice).
You and the GM upgrade the dice pool based on skills, the Adversary talent, other talents, story points, etc.
You and the GM downgrade the dice pool (if there’s anything calling for that).
Finally, you and the GM remove dice based on talents and abilities (this is usually removing Boost and Setback dice).
Obviously this is a very long-form version of what can be a pretty fast process at the table. In a practical setting, what’s actually going to happen is your GM will say “you need to make a Hard check” and you respond with “well, I’m going to use Mastery to make it Easy instead.” Then your GM will shake their fist and glare at you, and you’ll do the rest of what you need to do to form your dice pool.