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Bhelliom

Can Scuttling Horror be used to exit terrain? I think not.

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So our good friends @flightmaster101 and @xelveki brought up a good question today: can you use Scuttling Horror to disengage from combat while occupying terrain? We went back and forth about treating as touching front edge, moving sideways, the way shifts resolve while exiting terrain, etc, and it has led me to believe this: Scuttling Horror can never be used to exit terrain, engaged or not. Here's why:

  • Scuttling Horror reads: After each Command Phase, you may perform a speed-1 (shift) sideways, even if this card is exhausted.
  • Excerpt from 55, Movement: To move a unit, a player places the appropriate movement template so that the start guide on the template is aligned with the tray edge that matches the direction the unit is moving. Then, the player holds the movement template firmly against the play surface and slides the unit along the template until the same tray edge that was aligned with the template’s start guide is aligned with the template’s end guide.
  • 55.4: Units can move forward, backward, or sideways. If a unit is moving forward, the movement template’s start guide must be aligned with the unit’s front edge. If the unit is moving backward or sideways, the movement template’s start guide must be aligned with the unit’s back edge or one of its side edges, respectively.
  • 81.3: While occupying terrain, a unit can perform all of its actions and modifiers as normal with the exception of the (march) and (shift) actions. If the unit performs a (march) or (shift) action while occupying terrain, it immediately exits the terrain.

Since a shift exiting terrain cannot satisfy the definition of "sideways", it is impossible to legally trigger Scuttling Horror's shift.

 

This is not a bullet-proof case, and ordinarily I probably wouldn't even consider it, but if ever there were a case for a pedantic restriction on a clear use for a card, Scuttling Horror is it. At least I think it's a strong enough case to warrant a ruling.

Edited by Bhelliom

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37 minutes ago, flightmaster101 said:

There’s no way this argument holds any water for the simple fact that it was allowed by the devs at GenCon.

I agree it's probably an incorrect argument, but your justification send flimsy, too. I know when I played Josh, who scuttled out of terrain several times, I did not ask for a judge or marshal's ruling. Just because they were present doesn't mean they observed it in play, let alone were consulted.

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Well shoot. I submitted a rules question, but after reading your conclusions, @Bhelliom, I realize that my question was too narrow. I specifically aksed, "1) Can a Spined Threshers unit inside terrain who is engaged with an enemy use Scuttling Horror to exit terrain and disengage, even though the movement is sideways? 2) When any unit in terrain performs a shift action to disengage from an enemy unit touching that terrain, are they obligated to shift 'directly away' from the enemy unit, thus ending the shift with their front edge touching the terrain?"

I had always taken it for granted that you could shift to disengage while in terrain, picking up your unit and placing it in any legal position touching the terrain. Now I'm not so sure.

But then you took it a step further to ask whether you can shift "sideways" out of terrain at all. Man, I just want answers. I feel like there has been a lot of unresolved questions lately.

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1 hour ago, kaffis said:

I agree it's probably an incorrect argument, but your justification send flimsy, too. I know when I played Josh, who scuttled out of terrain several times, I did not ask for a judge or marshal's ruling. Just because they were present doesn't mean they observed it in play, let alone were consulted.

You don’t think a judge or Brooks would take the initiative and step in?  I can’t believe that.  It’s a premier event and if one person is getting a competitive advantage through misinterpretation that can lead to skewing the entire tournament score and standings.

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Personally I don't think you can Scuttle out of terrain. As mentioned before, you are not meeting one of the requirements of the card, which is to perform a sideways shift. 

If it was just "perform a shift" then I would agree but this has specific condition. 

I would really like to know what the ruling is on this. 
 

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1 hour ago, flightmaster101 said:

You don’t think a judge or Brooks would take the initiative and step in?  I can’t believe that.  It’s a premier event and if one person is getting a competitive advantage through misinterpretation that can lead to skewing the entire tournament score and standings.

Oh, I absolutely think Brooks or TallTonyB would have stepped in (or anyone else judging)... if they were watching when it happened. But there's no reason to automatically assume they were at any given Scuttling Horror-out-of-terrain instance. Like, that's maybe 2 minutes out of my opponents' activations for the day, and it's not even like it's a dialed-in command they could spot set up during other activations.

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It was always my understanding that the edge of your tray touching terrain on exit is what dictates which direction it was:

  1. If it's the front, it was a backward shift
  2. If it's either side, its was sideways shift
  3. If it's the back, it was a forward shift

So as long as the Threshers are touching with their side on exit -- isn't that a sideways shift out of terrain?

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Glucose98 said:

It was always my understanding that the edge of your tray touching terrain on exit is what dictates which direction it was:

  1. If it's the front, it was a backward shift
  2. If it's either side, its was sideways shift
  3. If it's the back, it was a forward shift

So as long as the Threshers are touching with their side on exit -- isn't that a sideways shift out of terrain?

 

 

That's certainly an intuitive approach to the situation, but the rules reference makes no distinction between what you call a backward and sideways shift out of terrain.

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4 minutes ago, Budgernaut said:

That's certainly an intuitive approach to the situation, but the rules reference makes no distinction between what you call a backward and sideways shift out of terrain.

It also doesn't seem to allow you to forward shift out?  The only way to let your backside touch is with a march apparently?

 

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81.3 While occupying terrain, a unit can perform all of its actions and modifiers as normal with the exception of the march (?) and shift (?) actions. If the unit performs a march (?) or shift (?) action while occupying terrain, it immediately exits the terrain.

81.4 When a unit exits a piece of terrain, that unit is removed from that piece of terrain and placed on the play area so that part of one of the unit’s edges is touching the edge of the terrain. Which edge of the unit must be touching the terrain edge depends on the action the unit performed to exit the terrain. • If the unit exits a piece of terrain by performing a march (?) action, any part of the unit’s back edge must be touching the edge of the terrain. • If the unit exits a piece of terrain by performing a shift (?) action, any part of either the unit’s front or side edge must be touching the edge of the terrain.

At first glance, seems pretty clear to me...I perform a shift action (Scuttling Horror is a shift action) while occupying terrain, so I immediately exit the terrain. In fact, I have to - I don't have the choice to stay in. Regarding the italics above...instead of putting my template down and moving the unit, I pick it up and put it back down. 

@Bhelliom - I think your original question brings the movement rules in when they don't actually apply to exiting terrain - there is no part of that process that requires you to put the template down. In fact, from the L2P: To exit terrain, a unit does not use a movement template. Instead, the unit is removed from the terrain and placed on the play area such that one of its tray edges is touching the edge of the terrain it just exited and none of its tray edges are touching another obstacle.

So here is the real question - is a shift exiting terrain defined with a direction of movement? Do you have to specify a direction when you are doing it (I am shifting backwards/sideways out of the terrain). If so, then units using a standard shift to disengaged would always have to have their front edge touching after the shift, and Scuttling Horror could not get you out of engagement in terrain.

If you don't specify a direction, but simply pick up your unit and put it back, then you can put either side touching. If that's the case, then any unit could shift out, put a side or front in contact, then take a panic for disengaging. If that's the case, then Scuttling can disengage you - but then we still have the question of if the wording of Scuttling forces you to do a side and not the front.

One last little bit, from 81.8: When a unit exits a piece of terrain that an enemy is touching, it counts as disengaging from that enemy, receiving the panic token and suffering any other game effects that would trigger from disengaging.

So do you do the shift any way you want, then go through the steps of having disengaged (take a panic)? 

Whew...@Zetan and I had a long discussion about this, and we can't come to a conclusion either. It's not completely defined in any of the rules documents. I think, right now, I'd fall on the side of Scuttling can get you out of terrain if you are not engaged, but not if you are, and if you disengage with a normal shift, you have to use your front edge. Basically treat it like normal front-to-front engagement?

I don't know if that's right, but it makes the most sense to me.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Bhelliom said:
  • 81.3: While occupying terrain, a unit can perform all of its actions and modifiers as normal with the exception of the (march) and (shift) actions. If the unit performs a (march) or (shift) action while occupying terrain, it immediately exits the terrain.

This states specifically you can shift action out of terrain. It doesn't matter which direct you shift because you are leaving terrain and can literally choose any side. I could shift backwards out of terrain. There is absolutely no reason you can't shift sideways out of terrain if you're not engaged.

Now having said that, I don't think you can shift sideways out of terrain if you're engaged because when you're engaged and in terrain it says treat the whole outer edge as your front edge and you can't unengaged sideways from a front facing engagement.

 

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42 minutes ago, Curlycross said:

Now having said that, I don't think you can shift sideways out of terrain if you're engaged because when you're engaged and in terrain it says treat the whole outer edge as your front edge and you can't unengaged sideways from a front facing engagement.

I was looking for wording on that, did you find somewhere it says for the unit in the terrain to treat the terrain edge as your front edge? All I could find was this: 

image.png.dc50596d18db70562d858abf6b29ef12.png

Of course, I think that the engagement is reciprocal, so I would agree with you that it's treated as front-to-front contact, and thus does not allow the unit to shift sideways out while engaged in terrain.

Edited by FranquesEnbiens

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1 hour ago, FranquesEnbiens said:

I was looking for wording on that, did you find somewhere it says for the unit in the terrain to treat the terrain edge as your front edge? All I could find was this: 

image.png.dc50596d18db70562d858abf6b29ef12.png

Of course, I think that the engagement is reciprocal, so I would agree with you that it's treated as front-to-front contact, and thus does not allow the unit to shift sideways out while engaged in terrain. 

That is the conclusion we came up with.  Since you are considered front to front in terrain you cannot scuttle out.  However 81.8 also states the edge of terrain is only considered your front edge when engaged with another unit.  Therefore when you are not engaged with anyone the edge of terrain is geometrically meaningless and you can shift out however you desire with side or front touching the terrain you are leaving.

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2 minutes ago, flightmaster101 said:

That is the conclusion we came up with.  Since you are considered front to front in terrain you cannot scuttle out.  However 81.8 also states the edge of terrain is only considered your front edge when engaged with another unit.  Therefore when you are not engaged with anyone the edge of terrain is geometrically meaningless and you can shift out however you desire with side or front touching the terrain you are leaving.

I was typing up something much less succinct.

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3 hours ago, Glucose98 said:

It was always my understanding that the edge of your tray touching terrain on exit is what dictates which direction it was:

  1. If it's the front, it was a backward shift
  2. If it's either side, its was sideways shift
  3. If it's the back, it was a forward shift

So as long as the Threshers are touching with their side on exit -- isn't that a sideways shift out of terrain?

That makes good intuitive sense, but it's not defined that way anywhere in the rules. If indeed you can Scuttling Horror out of terrain (engaged or not), I can find no reason that you'd be restricted to your side edge touching the terrain.

2 hours ago, FranquesEnbiens said:

81.3 While occupying terrain, a unit can perform all of its actions and modifiers as normal with the exception of the march (?) and shift (?) actions. If the unit performs a march (?) or shift (?) action while occupying terrain, it immediately exits the terrain.

81.4 When a unit exits a piece of terrain, that unit is removed from that piece of terrain and placed on the play area so that part of one of the unit’s edges is touching the edge of the terrain. Which edge of the unit must be touching the terrain edge depends on the action the unit performed to exit the terrain. • If the unit exits a piece of terrain by performing a march (?) action, any part of the unit’s back edge must be touching the edge of the terrain. • If the unit exits a piece of terrain by performing a shift (?) action, any part of either the unit’s front or side edge must be touching the edge of the terrain.

At first glance, seems pretty clear to me...I perform a shift action (Scuttling Horror is a shift action) while occupying terrain, so I immediately exit the terrain. In fact, I have to - I don't have the choice to stay in. Regarding the italics above...instead of putting my template down and moving the unit, I pick it up and put it back down.

All correct, but the crux of my argument is that in terrain it's impossible to satisfy the condition of "sideways" in order to trigger the shift at all. I agree that if the unit is allowed to perform a shift action then all of these priorities take over, but it is impossible for the shift to be strictly sideways, and therefore an illegal maneuver.

 

2 hours ago, FranquesEnbiens said:

So here is the real question - is a shift exiting terrain defined with a direction of movement? Do you have to specify a direction when you are doing it (I am shifting backwards/sideways out of the terrain). If so, then units using a standard shift to disengaged would always have to have their front edge touching after the shift, and Scuttling Horror could not get you out of engagement in terrain.

If you don't specify a direction, but simply pick up your unit and put it back, then you can put either side touching. If that's the case, then any unit could shift out, put a side or front in contact, then take a panic for disengaging. If that's the case, then Scuttling can disengage you - but then we still have the question of if the wording of Scuttling forces you to do a side and not the front.

One last little bit, from 81.8: When a unit exits a piece of terrain that an enemy is touching, it counts as disengaging from that enemy, receiving the panic token and suffering any other game effects that would trigger from disengaging.

So do you do the shift any way you want, then go through the steps of having disengaged (take a panic)? 

Whew...@Zetan and I had a long discussion about this, and we can't come to a conclusion either. It's not completely defined in any of the rules documents. I think, right now, I'd fall on the side of Scuttling can get you out of terrain if you are not engaged, but not if you are, and if you disengage with a normal shift, you have to use your front edge. Basically treat it like normal front-to-front engagement?

I don't know if that's right, but it makes the most sense to me.

The only time direction of movement is defined, it's in the context of placing the maneuver template. Since exiting terrain replaces that process with its own, maneuvers exiting terrain cannot be said to have a direction. Considering that, there cannot be a restriction on which edge you place touching the terrain when disengaging - you simply follow the rules for a shift while in terrain.

 

14 minutes ago, flightmaster101 said:

That is the conclusion we came up with.  Since you are considered front to front in terrain you cannot scuttle out.  However 81.8 also states the edge of terrain is only considered your front edge when engaged with another unit.  Therefore when you are not engaged with anyone the edge of terrain is geometrically meaningless and you can shift out however you desire with side or front touching the terrain you are leaving.

Scuttling Horror can still be used in (most) front-to-front contacts though, to reposition along the contacted edge. So, since there is a case for being able to trigger a shift, wouldn't you then follow 81.3 regardless? 

 

It's a stretch, but consider this: after the command phase, I say I am using Scuttling Horror to perform a speed-1 shift with my 2x1 Spined Threshers, who are standing out in the open. I take my speed-1 template, align the starting line with their front edge, and shift them 1 forward. My opponent says "oh, that can only be used to shift sideways" and I respond only "yeah, I don't feel like satisfying that condition." Obviously this wouldn't be allowed, so how is it that exiting terrain changes the argument?

edit: taken another way, exiting terrain is innately directionless since it can't satisfy the written condition for being in ANY direction. If sideways were defined as "neither forwards nor backwards" then we'd be ok, since a move without any direction would satisfy that condition, but it is not, it requires placing the maneuver template.

Edited by Bhelliom

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9 minutes ago, Bhelliom said:

how is it that exiting terrain changes the argument

Becasue 81.8 says the edge of terrain is only your front edge if you are engaged.  If you are not engaged there is not geometic relationship to the edge of terrain and your front edge.  I've said this already.  Lets not make this a circular thing. 

I quote 81.8:

"If any pare of a units tray is touching a piede of terrain that an enemy occupies, the edge that is touching terrain is treated as touching the front edge of the enemy unit."

So only when you are engaged in terrain does the edge of the cardboard count as your front edge.  You may concede now.

 

Edited by flightmaster101

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3 minutes ago, flightmaster101 said:

Becasue 81.8 says the edge of terrain is only your front edge if you are engaged.

In fact, the edge of the terrain is never treated as the unit's front edge. I truly thought it was, but it's only effectively treated that way - an enemy touching the terrain is treated as touching the unit's front edge, you measure range and LoS to and from the edge of the terrain, etc. 

Can you ever say that you're shifting sideways (as a rules term, not a conversational one) while exiting terrain?

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1 minute ago, Bhelliom said:

In fact, the edge of the terrain is never treated as the unit's front edge. I truly thought it was, but it's only effectively treated that way - an enemy touching the terrain is treated as touching the unit's front edge, you measure range and LoS to and from the edge of the terrain, etc.  

Can you ever say that you're shifting sideways (as a rules term, not a conversational one) while exiting terrain?

That's not much of a concession, I expected better.

81.3 Says you may shift out of terrain and does not specify a direction.  81.4  says when you exit via shift as long as your side of front are touching when you exit. 

Since it doesn't specify a correlation to the shifting direction and how the trays must be placed, not only could you "sideways" shift out of terrain, you could "backwards" shift out of terrain if that card text ever comes into play. 

So exiting terrain via the shift action has no restriction to any geometric direction.

 

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4 minutes ago, flightmaster101 said:

That's not much of a concession, I expected better.

81.3 Says you may shift out of terrain and does not specify a direction.  81.4  says when you exit via shift as long as your side of front are touching when you exit. 

Since it doesn't specify a correlation to the shifting direction and how the trays must be placed, not only could you "sideways" shift out of terrain, you could "backwards" shift out of terrain if that card text ever comes into play. 

So exiting terrain via the shift action has no restriction to any geometric direction.

 

I would describe those are conversational uses of the words, not rules text. I realize that 81.3 and 81.4 supersede direction, but Scuttling Horror does not - how can you satisfy its condition of "sideways" - a defined term - without obeying that definition?

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1 hour ago, Bhelliom said:

Scuttling Horror can still be used in (most) front-to-front contacts though, to reposition along the contacted edge. So, since there is a case for being able to trigger a shift, wouldn't you then follow 81.3 regardless?

My answer is based on accepting the fact that a Spined Thresher in terrain, engaged with a unit, is considered engaged along the front as the contacting edge. As both you and I have pointed out, that is not explicitly stated in the rules anywhere, so we are inferring that it is reciprocal based on the wording from 81.8. 

But if that is indeed the case, this is how I would reason it out:

-You are contacted along the front edge, and you trigger Scuttling Horror.

-The only legal shift in that case keeps you engaged - it has to be a Reposition, since a Disengage can't possibly happen with Scuttling Horror in front-to-front contact. (This has to dip in to direction a little, which is problematic, of course.) 

-Since you can't legally Disengage with a shift in this instance, you can't exit the terrain, since this would Disengage you.

The question with that is can you say that a Scuttling Shift has to be a Reposition in front-to-front contact in absence of the movement templates? Also, do the Threshers in the terrain technically count as having their front edge in contact, or is that concept not reciprocal, and thus direction has no meaning.

Basically, if you are in terrain:

giphy.gif

 

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10 minutes ago, FranquesEnbiens said:

My answer is based on accepting the fact that a Spined Thresher in terrain, engaged with a unit, is considered engaged along the front as the contacting edge. As both you and I have pointed out, that is not explicitly stated in the rules anywhere, so we are inferring that it is reciprocal based on the wording from 81.8. 

But if that is indeed the case, this is how I would reason it out:

-You are contacted along the front edge, and you trigger Scuttling Horror.

-The only legal shift in that case keeps you engaged - it has to be a Reposition, since a Disengage can't possibly happen with Scuttling Horror in front-to-front contact. (This has to dip in to direction a little, which is problematic, of course.) 

-Since you can't legally Disengage with a shift in this instance, you can't exit the terrain, since this would Disengage you.

The question with that is can you say that a Scuttling Shift has to be a Reposition in front-to-front contact in absence of the movement templates? Also, do the Threshers in the terrain technically count as having their front edge in contact, or is that concept not reciprocal, and thus direction has no meaning.

 

This line of reasoning is exactly what got me down this road in the first place, as a matter of fact. 81.8 says "If any part of a unit’s trays is touching a piece of terrain that an enemy occupies, the edge of that unit that is touching the terrain is treated as touching the front edge of the enemy unit." This means pretty certainly that the unit in terrain is treated as touching (with their front edge) the edge of the enemy that is touching the terrain. 

Now, terrain has pretty specific rules about what happens when you shift or march, which replace the usual procedure. Since we don't have trays aligned or templates to use, if you shift, you place your side or back edge touching the terrain, resolving a disengage if you leave an engagement. So, if you resolve a shift action, by whatever means, you follow the rules for shifting while occupying terrain. 

So, "how can a disengage from terrain possibly be sideways?" is a good question, and I believe the answer is "it can't." The next question is "how can ANY shift from terrain be sideways?" 

Same answer.

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1 hour ago, Bhelliom said:

"how can ANY shift from terrain be sideways?"

Same answer.

False. Terrain is only your front edge when an enemy is touching it.  When no enemy is touching your terrain the terrain is not your front edge.  When you shift out no matter the direction, you exit the terrain.

Edited by flightmaster101

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