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Author Topic: The Witch-king, Lord of the Nazgul  (Read 118 times)

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April 14, 2022, 09:47:53 PM
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Phallen Cassidy

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The Witch-king, Lord of the Nazgul
« on: April 14, 2022, 09:47:53 PM »
Here's the situation: you have Frodo with The One Ring, Such a Weight to Carry and Sam, Son of Hamfast. They're both exhausted and Frodo is not wearing The One Ring. The Witch-king, Lord of the Nazgul wins a skirmish against some third companion and the Shadow player exerts him to wound the Ring-bearer twice. The first wound kills Frodo and Sam responds to Frodo dying by taking the ring. Now where should the second wound from WK's effect go? On Frodo (i.e., nowhere), because that is the character being wounded twice; or on Sam, because that is the Ring-bearer and WK has only applied one wound to the Ring-bearer so far?

Gemp currently wounds Sam if Frodo dies to The Witch-king's first wound. Here's a replay where this happens at site 5. Note that Sam can only take the ring after the threat wounds have been distributed, so it wasn't a threat that did him in. https://play.lotrtcgpc.net/gemp-lotr/game.html?replayId=JRMitch$1gmp30shvvxj58ay

This has come up a handful of times in the game hall; I used to see it one way and now I see it the other. In essence, the argument in support of Gemp's implementation is that The Witch-king is targeting "the Ring-bearer" rather than any particular character. Usually it's going to be the same character but in a very particular set of circumstances (Frodo is exhausted and not wearing The Ring, Sam is on the table) this opens the door to the interaction seen in the replay. Merrick made a case in the game hall which I will repeat here and mirror to another card: Gimli, Sprinter. Similar setup, Gimli wins a skirmish while two arbitrary hunter minions with one vitality are assigned to other companions. Just for fun we'll say it's an exhausted Gorbag, Filthy Rebel and an exhausted Shagrat, Tower Captain.

Merrick's Key Points
Phallen's Key Points
  • The only valid target for the WK's wounds is a character with the loaded keyword "Ring-bearer"
  • There can be only one character with the loaded keyword "Ring-bearer" in play at any one time
  • The character with the loaded keyword "Ring-bearer" can change
  • That change can happen only in response to Frodo dying
  • Required actions take place before optional actions
  • Responses can interrupt required and optional actions
  • The only valid target for Gimli's wounds is a minion with the loaded keyword "hunter"
  • There can be only one character any number of minions with the loaded keyword "hunter" in play at any one time
  • Don't really need the other points. I agree this is a change, but I don't think it's a substantial change. At least not for the purposes of the points below
From these facts we have
the following results:
1. WK, Lord of the Nazgul wins a skirmish1. Gimli, Sprinter wins a skirmish
2. The wound is placed on the character that the WK is skirmishing - including all responses to placing that wound2. The wound is placed on the character that Gimli is skirmishing - including all responses to placing that wound
3. Then the WK optional ability is used, "Each time the Witch-King wins a skirmish, you may exert him to wound the Ring-bearer twice."3. Then Gimli's optional ability is used, "Each time the Gimli wins a skirmish, you may add a threat to wound a minion (or wound a hunter minion twice)."
4. Exertion token is placed on the WK to pay the cost of the action4. Threat is added to pay the cost of the action, the FP decides to wound a hunter minion twice
5. The target is the Ring-bearer, who at this time happens to be Frodo5. The target is a hunter minion, who at this time is selected to be Gorbag
6. First wound is placed on the exhausted Frodo6. First wound is placed on the exhausted Gorbag
7. Required responses and actions to the character death (Frodo goes into the dead pile, threats trigger (if any), etc.)7. Required responses and actions to the character death (Gorbag goes into the dead pile, etc.)
8. Sam's game text (optional response) comes into play. "Response: If Frodo dies, make Sam the Ring-Bearer (resistance 5)." Sam is now the Ring-bearer8. For the sake of simplicity, neither player has any optional repsonses
9. NOW we complete the action that was started by the WK winning the skirmish. Is there a character with the loaded Keyword "Ring-bearer" in play? Frodo is not a valid target - he is in the dead pile and not in play. Sam has the Keyword Ring-bearer. Why would he not be a valid target for it since the WK targets "the Ring-bearer"?9. NOW we complete the action that was started by Gimli winning the skirmish. Is there a minion with the loaded Keyword "hunter" in play? Gorbag is not a valid target - he is in the discard pile and not in play. Shagrat has the Keyword hunter. Why would he not be a valid target for it since Gimli targets "a hunter minion"?
10. Sam is wounded by the WK and dies10. Shagrat is wounded by Gimli and dies

Same argument goes for about a dozen other cards that do something "twice" or some number of "times." And it doesn't have to stop there: why does Gorbag have to die? Indeed, it seems as if this interpretation of The Witch-king reads as a special case of "for each": you do the action "wound the Ring-bearer" two times, rather than the action "wound the Ring-bearer twice" once. Wounds are placed one at a time so there's a certain appeal to it I admit, but I think it has a muxh broader impact than anyone is proposing.

My contrasting view is that "the Ring-bearer" is just a filter on who the Shadow player can wound. Who, not what. At point 5 I would not say the target is "the Ring-bearer" or "a hunter minion," I would say it is Frodo or Gorbag because they are characters who meet the criteria and were selected by the appropriate player. Once you make that selection, "wound the Ring-bearer twice" effectively becomes "wound Frodo twice" and "wound a hunter minion twice" effectively becomes "wound Gorbag twice." My justification from the rules comes from the instructions for "Playing a Card" in the Current Rulings Document:

Quote
...
6. Perform effects of The Card. This includes choosing cards to be affected, if necessary. ...

And that's my argument: you choose the cards in order to perform the effects, and if "wound the Ring-bearer twice" is one effect then I don't think the door is left open for you to choose a different card halfway through. Thoughts?

April 15, 2022, 03:02:53 PM
Reply #1

Ringbearer

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Re: The Witch-king, Lord of the Nazgul
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2022, 03:02:53 PM »
I am more on the idea that Sam does not take a wound. The Ring-bearer is defined in the CRD as one of the characters, aka its a keyword given. When the WK fires off his skill, that targets the character who is at that point the Ringbearer. See it as two arrows fired at Frodo. If the first kills Frodo, the second one is still aimed at him.

A better solution would be is looking through the wayback files from Decipher, because I am 100% sure this situation is asked a million times in their rules forum.