It’s time for another Rules Corner! This time we’re focusing on an Opus 19 card that’s causing a lot of head scratching – Lightning (19-138S)
Lightning is only a few weeks (and some delays) away from landing on playmats at the time of writing, so, since we know how it works for certain now, thanks to official Twitter responses (of course), I figured I may as well put something out before it gets into people’s hands. Let’s dig in.
Firstly, let’s take a look at this Lightning card:
The part of Lightning’s text that confuses everyone is, of course, “Haste”. Haste is a field ability that… okay just kidding.
The major issue with Lightning is her wording when it comes to the draw and damage parts of her effect, and yes, as a note, from “When 1 or more” to “point of damage.” is one single auto ability. The “If 2 or more” starting on its own line is unfortunate because it looks a bit like it’s its own effect, but realistically it wouldn’t make any sense on its own based on the way different types of abilities are worded, besides the fact the draw and damage use the word “also” in them. Although, given the main problem I’m addressing regarding Lightning is wording problems (at least in English), I guess it’s maybe a little ironic to say certain wording of an ability wouldn’t make sense, but you’ll just have to trust me!
The specific wording that created confusion is Lightning’s use of “were attacking.” The use of this word inherently makes you think of attacks that have been completed/happened earlier in the turn. Yet, Lightning triggers when the attack is declared, so, when she’s resolving, Forwards will usually still be attacking, which then brings in the confusion regarding if they count or not. As it happens, Lightning isn’t the first card to use this wording. The first card was actually Jecht (14-108H). As Jecht’s auto triggers when he enters the field, it caused less confusion because usually when you’re bringing him to the field and making use of the “were attacking” effects, it’s Main Phase 2 and attacks have been completed, so, it makes a bit more sense. As it happens, someone did ask what happens if Jecht is brought in after an attack is declared, with something like Tama (1-111C). The answer to that question gave us a pretty solid idea how Lightning works, provided HJ had answered it correctly at this point and hadn’t changed their mind on how it should work since answering. Unfortunately, given we live in a FFTCG world where it seems commonplace for things to shift, and for no one to believe “old” answers for cards until we have official responses. So, until we had answers specifically for Lightning, there would always be doubt. Luckily those answers turned out to align with the Jecht answer, and there are more than enough official answers now to act as proof and compliment our understanding of Lightning.
So, what does “were attacking” actually mean?
Essentially, it specifically refers to if an attack has been declared. It doesn’t matter if the declared attack is still happening, it doesn’t need to be fully completed, it simply has to have been declared in the first place during the Attack Declaration Step. In the case of Lightning, she checks for 2+ and 3+ attacks declared by Category XIII Forwards for her draw and damage respectively. To put it another way, this is what Lightning should really say:
When 1 or more Category XIII Forwards you control declare an attack, all the Forwards you control gain +1000 power until the end of the turn. If 2 or more attacks have been declared by Category XIII Forwards this turn, also draw 1 card. If 3 or more attacks have been declared by Category XIII Forwards this turn, Lightning also deals your opponent 1 point of damage.
Note that while Lightning’s auto has no restriction on how many times per turn it can trigger, Lightning’s auto trigger is worded in such a way as to prevent multiple triggers from a single attack, meaning in the case of a party attack, even if there are 3 Category XIII Forwards in that party declaring an attack, her auto will still only trigger once.
When her ability resolves, she will check how many Category XIII Forwards have declared an attack so far that turn. So, if the first attack you declare in a turn is a party attack with at least 3 Category XIII Forwards, this means you’ll get both the draw and the damage when she resolves, and then for each attack declared involving at least one Category XIII Forward you’ll get both the draw and damage. Note that you will always get the +1000 power each time Lighting’s ability resolves, regardless of anything else.
Note that the effect doesn’t care if the attacks made were by unique Category XIII Forwards or not. If the first 3 attacks in a turn were made by the same Category XIII Forward, then that’s still valid as far as Lightning is concerned for the damage (and draw after 2 attacks).
Let’s break it down a bit based on different attack scenarios:
Scenario 1: Declare an attack with a party containing 3 Category XIII Forwards.
Scenario 2: Declare an attack with a party containing 2 Category XIII Forwards.
Scenario 3: Declare an attack that has only 1 Category XIII Forward (be it an individual attack or party).
For scenario 1, when Lightning resolves, we get the +1000 power, and both the draw and the damage, as 3 Category XIII Forwards have declared an attack (“were attacking”) this turn now. Any subsequent attack made with at least one Category XIII Forward will result in both a draw and damage, on top of the +1000 power.
For scenario 2, when Lightning resolves, this will result in us getting the +1000 power and the draw. Any subsequent attack made with at least one Category XIII Forward will result in both a draw and a damage, and of course, the +1000 power.
For scenario 3, when Lightning resolves, we get no draw or damage (but still get the +1000 power). If we attack after this with another single Category XIII Forward, this will give us the +1000 power and the draw. Any attack that includes a Category XIII Forward after that will result in the +1000 power and both the draw and the damage.
If, instead, after scenario 3 we declare an attack with a party that contains at least 2 Category XIII Forwards, then when Lightning resolves from this attack, we get the +1000 power, the draw and the damage, and then any subsequent attacks that include a Category XIII Forward will give us the +1000, the draw and the damage.
Before I end with a handy breakdown of Lightning, let me note one final thing:
While, naturally, Lightning has to be on the field when the attack is on the field to trigger, she does not need to be on the field for any part of the effect to resolve, specifically, I note this because the damage part says “Lightning” (aka “this card”) deals the point of damage but this specific wording, besides maybe being potentially confusing, is more about identifying the “source” of the point of damage, rather than actually needing Lightning to be there.
Let’s end our look at Lightning with a breakdown of everything:
- Lighting’s auto triggers (once) each time an attack is declared that includes at least one Category XIII Forward.
- Lightning’s auto will always give the +1000 power when resolved successfully.
- Lightning’s auto checks at a resolution if:
a. 2 or more attacks have been declared by Category XIII Forwards in the current turn, and if so, the controller of the auto ability draws a card
b. 3 or more attacks have been declared by Category XIII Forwards in the current turn, and if so, the controller deals their opponent 1 point of damage.
- An attack by a Category XIII Forward counts towards Lightning’s auto as soon as it is declared in the Attack Declaration Step.
- Every attack declared by a Category XIII Forward in the same turn, including each Category XIII Forward attacking as part of a party, and multiple attacks by the same Category XIII Forward counts individually towards the count of declared attacks for Lightning’s auto.
- Lightning does not need to be on the field when her ability resolves for any part of it to resolve properly, including dealing a point of damage to the opponent.
Thanks for reading. I hope any confusion/questions you had regarding Lightning’s wording were rulesed. Or, in some form of actual English, I hope this article has helped and made things clearer. I initially was going to add another card into this article along with Lightning but then I remembered one of my nearly-sort-of-not-really-complete articles is covering that card and I quickly removed it. So, uh, maybe you’ll see that one day! I’ve been thinking about the way I lay articles out and going forward I’m going to aim to just jump right into the topic and I can have all my inane ramblings mostly contained to the final thoughts bit (that’s this part you’re reading now) going forward. While I’m sure everyone will be super disappointed, I figured it’s easier for those jumping in at any point, and, of course, keeps the article focused on the actual point, at least until the end.
Don’t forget the sources are at the bottom now, to avoid cluttering the article with sources to “prove” I’m not just talking out my ass (at least for the rules parts). I got a few questions as to where they were after my last article, which made me a little worried those people were blind, but may as well mention it in case more blind people were just not asking.
Anyway, bye bye.
“I am frequently attacked.”
– Indira Gandhi
- Jecht Tama’d In
- Damage after 3 XIII Attacks + Lightning Gone for Damage
- Forwards Don’t Have to be Unique
- Lightning Attack Scenarios
- Another Lightning Tweet
Rules Processing Material
Article updated 13/03/23 to clarify the +1000 power effect always applying when resolving, and some additional clarification/clean up in other parts.