Today’s situation isn’t one that has caused a lot of judge calls. In some ways, that makes it even more important to know and get right than a head scratcher. If this came up in one of your games, would you even notice if something went wrong?

 

The situation has a couple important pieces, so I’ll include a picture.

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My opponent played a Windmill Punch and made a Multiple copy. I enhance with 8000 Degrees, then half block, and declare that I’ll play a second Shirai Ryu Kan as a Reversal.

 

The red dice represent damage penalties. The green dice represent damage bonuses. Take a look, and check if everything is how you expect it to be.

 

Floating Effects - A Deep Look at 8000 Degrees

“If this attack deals damage, the next attack this turn gets +1 or -1 damage.”

 

Let’s break this down. To be perhaps excessive pedantic, whenever you resolve an ability, everything it does is its immediate effect (J.3.1), though often, this immediate effect simply creates other effects, of other types. “If this attack deals damage” signals that we’re dealing with a fired effect (J.3.2). This effect will fire during the Damage Step, at which point it will create a modifier effect (J.3.3). Modifier effects are broadly fairly similar to fired effects, but they look for cards rather than events.

 

How does this effect actually work? I love how Shane summarized it once: Lift up the entire text, and evaluate it (make decisions) when the effect is finally going to apply. So the immediate effect creates a modifier effect with the text, “The next attack this turn gets +1 or -1 damage.” Once a card matches “the next attack”, you decide whether to give that attack a bonus or penalty.

 

J.1.4 Any decisions that are made as part of an effect, are made as they are reached during that effect's execution.”

 

Now, precisely when is this decision made? The modifier applies as soon as the reversal becomes “valued”, which happens as soon as it enters a public zone - specifically, the Transit Zone in the process of playing the card.

 

J.3.3.1 Modifier effects apply their modifications as soon as a card is valued and meets the requirement(s) if any.

 

Wait, that’s not quite enough - what precisely does “next attack” mean? Because there’s more than one candidate for “next attack” hanging out here - either Shirai, or the Windmill Punch multiple copy. The LGR has a helpful definition for us.

 

K.3.9 A player's "next attack" is the next attack they attempt to play that turn, or the next attack of theirs to enter an attack sequence that turn, whichever comes first.

 

Now we have enough information for the answer. As soon as I began playing my reversal, I decided what happened with 8000 Degrees. If I hadn’t attempted to play an attack, then 8000 Degrees would fire at the beginning of the Enhance Step of the multiple copy.

 

Note that “next attack” and “next attack you play” are very different! “...you play” won’t trigger until you pass the control check and finish the process of “playing it”.

 

Modifier Effects part two Featuring Windmill Punch

Windmill Punch reads, in part, “Your attacks with printed damage of 3 or less get +1 damage.” This is an archetypical modifier effect. And recall that --

J.3.3.1 Modifier effects apply their modifications as soon as a card is valued and meets the requirement(s) if any.

 

Did you notice the card I didn’t mention in the screenshot above? Because of the rules around effect classes, Telekinetic Mastery has a lot of potential to behave counter-intuitively.

 

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Telekinetic Mastery reads, “After your opponent increases the speed or damage of their attack, that attack gets -2 speed or -2 damage.” This ability makes the precise timing of various modifier or fired effects very important. Attacks most commonly become valued at two times:

  • When a player begins the process of playing an attack

  • When an attack is added directly to the card pool without being played

If your opponent has a Windmill Punch in their card pool, and creates a Multiple copy, Telekinetic Mastery will respond as soon as that multiple copy enters the card pool. And if they begin to attempt to play another small attack, you need to respond with Telekinetic before they make their control check.