Nazgul auto-attacks at Balrog sites

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Wacho
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Nazgul auto-attacks at Balrog sites

Post by Wacho » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:43 am

There is some question about Nazgul auto-attacks at Balrog sites (Carn Dum, etc.) being detainment or not. See http://www.councilofelrond.org/forum/vi ... php?t=1293 for discussion.

Basically it had seemed pretty clear cut since the rules state that any Nazgul attacks vs. minion companies are detainment the auto-attacks will be detainment as well. However, a rule clarification was found that states that auto-attacks are not detainment unless stated on the card.

So the question is which rule takes precedence. My inclination is to say the auto-attacks won't be detainment since that seems to make more logical sense, but I'm not sure that this would be the most straightforward interpretation of these two rules.

Unfortunately there are no parallels to draw on. Nazgul auto-attacks for minions didn't exist until the Balrog, and other types of attacks that are detainment specify that the creature must be keyed to a certain domain or site type. Since auto-attacks aren't keyed to anything they don't need the clarification to be non-detainment.

Luckily it isn't a that big of an issue, but we should probably make some decision. Any thoughts?

miguel
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Post by miguel » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:37 am

The easy way would be to simply say that all Nazgul attacks are detainment because the rules say so, and it would be 100% valid. However, I do believe the Nazgul automatic-attacks were meant to attack normally:
  • (i) IMO the detainment attack list (by type) in MELE/MEBA rules is meant for creatures, and instead of "all Nazgul attacks" they should say "Nazgul attacks keyed anywhere"
    (ii) the clarification in MELE Companion supports (i)
    (iii) thematically it would make sense for Nazgul AA at Dol Guldur to attack normally, since any Nazgul keyed to the site would attack normally as well (due to site card text)
When the rules allow it, I prefer to take the more logical approach for consistency's sake. I think we have a good enough case to rule that Nazgul automatic-attacks in fact attack normally.

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Konrad Klar
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Post by Konrad Klar » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:04 pm

So we have basically two options:
- The Lidless Eye Companion, Part VI - Errata and clarifications (page 61) is just claification, i.e statement of the known fact.
- The Lidless Eye Companion, Part VI - Errata and clarifications (page 61) is new condition of determining detainment status of attack (other says which attacks are detainment and this that AA are not).

Suppose the second is true. If so, which situations existing at the time when The Lidless Eye Companion was issued* would be regulated by such rule? It is not true that Nazgul AA against minion could not occur before MEBA. It was just rare situation (minion imprisoned at certain hero under-deeps). Was ICE intention to make such automatic-attack non-detainment?
Of course there is possibility that such clarification was made for purpose of upcoming MEBA Edition and situation described above is only the side effect.


Other explanation is that clarification answers question that are (surprise) unclear. In Official Rulings Digest #47 player ask:
The automatics attacks at a shadow-hold are they detainment for minion
company ?
**
From my experience I may say that some players are confusing "attack keyed to" with "automatic-attack at" and trying to apply rules regarding first situation to second.

There are in fact two supplemental rules regarding detainment attacks.
CRF, Rulings by Term, Darkhavens wrote:Rules Erratum: Attacks keyed to Darkhavens are detainment. [effective 11/17/97]
CRF, Rulings by Term, Agent wrote:Rules Erratum: Agent attacks against minions are always detainment. [Effective 8/27/98]
both included also in CRF, Errata (Rules).

BTW. they are not even published in Detainment Attacks paragraph. Clarification from The Lidless Eye Companion does not have a prefix "Rules Erratum:" but is published under name "Detainment Attacks (clarification)" in Errata and clarifications paragraph. And it is a enough reason for treating it as a new Detainment Attacks rule be some disputants.


*) AFAIK The Lidless Eye Companion has been issued in 1997, MEBA in 1998.
**) shocking answer for thar question was:
*** All automatic attacks are detainment unless otherwise specified on
the site card.
corrected later to:
Official Rulings Digest #48

In Rulings Digest #47, I said:
*** All automatic attacks are detainment unless otherwise specified on
the site card.
and a lot of people pointed out that I missed a simple "not" in there.
The correct ruling is:
*** All automatic attacks are not detainment unless otherwise specified
on the site card.
Does not sound familiar?
We will not speak of such things even in the morning of the Shire.

Wacho
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Post by Wacho » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:56 pm

Well...I think the idea that ICE was considering the very rare possibility that pre-Balrog a minion player could face a Nazgul auto-attack is rather remote. In any case this situation lasted only a few months because once Against the Shadow was published minion players had access to their own Underdeeps sites. AtS was published in 1997 which was the same year that LE and WH were published as well. So by the time the Lidless Eye Companion was published in July 1997, Against the Shadow may have already been in print. I can't find an exact release date for AtS but it must have been no later than the summer since White Hand was also released in 1997.

In any case the question before us boils down to whether the statement that auto-attacks are non-detainment unless stated otherwise is supposed to be a rule or just a statement of fact. It is hard to say for sure, but I think that allowing the Nazgul attacks at Balrog sites to be non-detainment is logical and fits the theme.

Auto-attacks have many special rules that don't apply to regular attacks and this might be one of them.

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Konrad Klar
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Post by Konrad Klar » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:22 am

One detail: even after Against The Shadow it was (and is) still possible that player has no rescue site card in Location Deck - it may be not included at all, or be in Discard Pile.
My whole point was that such rare situation was AFAIK the only situation where rule (assuming it is a rule) published in MELE Companion would have any practical impact at time when MELE Companion was issued. If it was not a reson for creating such rule (sacrificing of thematical sense as only reason is doubtful reason) then what was reason?
Or in other words: what a sense (as rule) would have this statement at this time?
If it was (as some want to believe) preparing ground for upcoming MEBA, why such abstruse approach was choosen? If planned MEBA cards was known to the autors at this time, why statement in question was not clearly formulated as Card Erratum, like two other rules regarding detainment attacks? If making of Nazgul AA at balrog sites non-detainment was main (or even only) goal, it would be achieved by explicit text of site card, without disturbing other things. If it was planned as early as in 1997.

About thematical sense: if Nazgul AA as non-detainment against Balrog companies is thematically correct then what about Tidings of Bold Spies?
Copy of Nazgul AA ceases AA status and becomes plain Nazgul AA. Copy of non-detainment becomes detainment.

P.S. Breaking of thematical senses is unavoidable. Even beside this whole discussion it is possible that character controlled by Ringwraith or Sauron player will be imprisoned at Balrog version of The Under-Leas and Ringwraith/Sauron player will not have his version in LD. Nazgul creatures attacks as non-detainment Ringwraith/Sauron player's companies moving to this version of the site.

P.P.S. Last-minute thought - Whole Villages Roused played on minion under-deep site and consequences of this fact for covert companies (in context of new detainment attack rule).
We will not speak of such things even in the morning of the Shire.

miguel
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Re: Nazgul auto-attacks at Balrog sites

Post by miguel » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:33 pm

After giving this more thought, I believe we're just going to have to say the automatic-attacks are detainment. Ruling otherwise would open a small can of worms and probably create the need for additional rulings (like Tidings of Bold Spies Konrad mentioned).
Proposed Ruling wrote:According to the detainment attack rules, all Nazgûl attacks against minion companies are detainment attacks. This includes Nazgul automatic-attacks against a Balrog player's companies.

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