[Ruling] Attacking Procedure (Judge: Samuel)

We’ve managed to cover two important updates to the game rules in the last 2 articles. Today we will look at the attacking procedure, which once again received a ruling update.

So basically the attacking procedure is the sequence you have to follow when you want to declare an attack with the Digimon. Here’s the (now outdated) flowchart which you can find in the current English Official Rules Manual on the official Digimon Card Game website:

Looks kinda intimidating, but don’t worry, I’m here to break it down for you. But before we start, some interesting trivia and a walk down memory lane: let’s look into the evolution of the attacking procedure from the start of the game.

Well game rules aren’t deep magic, but the reason why we’re looking back on the digivolution of the attacking procedure is because we occasionally get people who are still playing by the old rules. Yes, I’m not kidding, and they’d be arguing like Aslan over there, except that the game rules have changed and their knowledge is no longer relevant. So things can get really confusing, considering the fact that this is actually the fourth version of the attacking procedure. 4 versions of the rules is pretty crazy considering this game is barely 4 years old.

The Original Attacking Procedure

Anyway, the earliest version of the attacking procedure was simple. When you suspend your Digimon to declare an attack, you will trigger all your [When Attacking] effects and “When 1 of your Digimon attacks” effects, and also your opponent’s “When 1 of your opponent’s Digimon attacks” effects, which used to include <Blocker>. Due to Turn Player’s Priority, the turn player would activate their effects first, then after all pending effects have been resolved, the opponent would activate theirs. This, coupled with the old “effect queue” system (this deserves an article on its own, I’ve got it scheduled in the future so stay tuned) caused a lot of confusion, because you had <Blocker> Digimon that got de-digivolved by a [When Attacking] effect still being able to block because <Blocker> was already triggered. 

Similarly if a non-blocker was de-digivolved into a Digimon with <Blocker> by a [When Attacking] effect, it could not block because it appeared after the timing to trigger <Blocker>. Plus as the defending player, you could also choose to block first before activating your other “when 1 of your opponent’s Digimon attacks” effects, and you can also activate multiple instances of <Blocker> if you have more than 1 in the battle area – the final target will be the last Digimon to activate <Blocker>. But most of it changed somewhere around BT5 for the Japanese version (the English version applied that change a few months later), along with the revamp of how the effect queue works (again, to be discussed in the future).


Version 2.0: Introducing Reaction Timing

I’m not sure what the reason was, or maybe they did explain but I forgot, but Bandai came up with “reaction timing”. This timing was where “When 1 of your opponent’s Digimon attacks” effects trigger. Yes, you saw it right. Trigger. So the attacking sequence became:

  1. Suspend Digimon to declare attack, this timing will trigger all the turn players’ [When Attacking] effects and “When 1 of your Digimon attacks” effects.
  2. After all pending effects are resolved, you go into Reaction Timing, where the defending player’s “When 1 of your opponent’s Digimon attacks” effects trigger.
  3. After all pending effects have been resolved, move onto the battle/security check.

This meant that if a [When Attacking] effect results in a <Blocker> appearing, the defending player would be able to activate <Blocker> to block the attack, unlike the previous version, where the <Blocker> would have missed the timing. Although similar to the last version, you could still activate <Blocker> before your other “When 1 of your opponent’s Digimon attacks” effects, and you still can activate multiple blockers if you have more than 1 of them in the battle area.

Version 3.0: No more Reaction Timing

With the introduction of Ace Digimon, [Counter], and Blast Digivolving, the rules took another change. This time they split Reaction Timing into two timings: Counter Timing and Block Timing. With this change, <Blocker> no longer became an effect that triggered “when your opponent’s Digimon attacks”. Instead, the effect now says “this Digimon can block during Block Timing”.

In addition, you can no longer activate multiple blockers, because you would only be able to block with 1 Digimon during Block Timing. As for Counter Timing, it is similar to Reaction Timing, where “when 1 of your opponent’s Digimon attacks” effect triggers. However, after all those effects resolve, you activate 1 [Counter] effect. This is basically illustrated in the Attacking Flowchart I posted above.

Latest update: A mixture of the present and the past

Now that we’ve taken a walk down memory lane, let’s focus on the present.

With the latest ruling updates, they made a change to counter timing (source). Counter Timing is now known as “the timing when the non-turn player’s [Counter] effect is triggered. What about “When 1 of your opponent’s Digimon attacks” effects? It’s back to the OG attacking procedure – they will activate on the attack declaration. Meaning if a Digimon with “When 1 of your opponent’s Digimon attacks” appears as a result of 1 of the attacker’s [When Attacking] effects, it will not trigger as the trigger timing has passed and it “did not see the attack”. However, Digimon with <Blocker> that appears as a result of [When Attacking] effects can still block, because Block Timing and <Blocker> is still the same as the last version, hence as long as the Digimon with <Blocker> is present during block timing, it would be able to block.

Based on the latest version of the Comprehensive Rules, the attacking procedure goes through a sequence of 5 timings in the exact order they are listed in:

I’m sure most of you are pretty familiar with all of them except for #4. “Confirmation of Outcomes is actually a term I came up with myself to describe 成立の確認 , which (if we directly translate it) means “Confirmation of Establishment”. I noticed that the English Comprehensive Rules has a section called “Attack Success”, however since it is an outdated copy and I don’t have the same version in Japanese on hand, I can’t confirm “Attack Success” was used to describe 成立の確認 , so I took the liberty in coining my own term for it (plus it sounds less weird for a timing than “Attack Success”). Well anyway, this timing is when you confirm whether the attack on the Digimon/player was successful, and proceed with the battle/security check/win.

So to briefly summarize the whole attacking procedure, the sequence will be:

  1. Attack Declaration: Suspend Digimon to declare an attack on a target. This step will trigger all the attacking player’s [When Attacking] and “When 1 of your Digimon attacks” effects, and the defending player’s “When 1 of your opponent’s Digimon attacks” effects. Other than attack related effects, effects which are triggered by a Digimon suspending would also trigger at this step, hence having the same timing as [When Attacking] effects.
  2. Due to turn player priority, activate your triggered effects in a sequence that you like. If activating one of your own effects triggers a new effect, the newer effect will activate first before other pending effects, regardless of whether or not the effect is yours (further explanation here).
  3. After you finish resolving all your effects that triggered from the attack, it’s your opponent’s turn to activate their triggered effects.
  4. Counter Timing: When all pending effects from the attack declaration timing are resolved, you move onto counter timing, where your opponent activates 1 [Counter] effect.
  5. Block Timing: If the attacking Digimon is still here after the counter timing ends, you move to block timing, where you can declare a block with 1 of your Digimon with Blocker.
  6. Confirmation of Outcomes: After all pending effects have resolved, you will proceed with the battle or security check.
  7. End of Attack Timing: After the battle or security check and all pending effects caused by the battle or security effects are resolved, it will be the end of attack timing, where [End of Attack] effects trigger.
  8. The attack will end after all pending effects from the end of attack timing have been resolved.

It’s been a fun walk down memory lane, and I hope that this would clear things up for all of you. At the time of writing, the English Comprehensive Rules and the English Official Rule Manual has yet to be updated, so you might need to rely on the Japanese versions (Comprehensive Rules & Official Rule Manual) instead. Of course, it sucks if you don’t know Japanese, so let’s hope they translate it soon.

If you learn better by watching videos, here’s a short video I made on the subject:

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