And Lo, it came to pass that Paul T played Expecting Mischief unto the staging area as the hordes of Mordor beat upon the gate of Minas Tirith in the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Verily did this card sit there until an Orc was revealed. Said 2hp Orc was about to call upon it’s friends: “Surg…” it started to cry in the black tongue of Mordor; but then, the players sayeth unto it: “Hold on one minute sunshine… Aren’t you dead before you Surge?”
Which led to puzzled looks around the table, murmurs of “assume the worst in rules questions” and a grabbing of the rulebook to see what might be gleaned from it.
Before we head to find out exactly what was revealed, let’s take a quick look at the card…
Whilst the card says “action”, implying its effect happens in an action window, the text says that it triggers after the first enemy is revealed. So let’s sort out the timing on this thing first.
Basically, this card will triggers immediately as an enemy card type is revealed from the encounter deck. If no enemies are revealed then the card simply whiffs and the effect ends. It doesn’t persist past the phase.
So what about keywords such as Surge? Surge happens after any when revealed effects are completed and therefore if an enemy is killed by this card no when revealed or keywords would trigger. This is confirmed in this post on the FFG forum (scroll down for confirmation from Caleb).
What about if the quest is completed before staging finishes and the quest card reveals an enemy from the encounter deck? So long as they were actually revealed and not ‘put into play’ (or some other wording) this would trigger.
What about if I’m running spirit Merry and want the threat reduction, but this kills the blighter? The enemy can still trigger the threat reduction as it fulfils the criteria for both cards. The fact that damage was dealt (and perhaps destroyed) the enemy doesn’t change that it was also there to allow Merry’s response to trigger.
What about if the enemy is immune to player card effects? The card tries to fire, but no legal target can be found so no damage dealt. Having tried to fulfil it’s purpose the card’s effect expires. Because the enemy was immune doesn’t mean that it wasn’t the next enemy.
What about if there’s an effect that stops enemies being damaged in the staging area? Again, no damage dealt and the condition would then cease. Even if the immunity was granted after the card had been played (for example a location that granted this whilst it was in the staging area).
Expecting Mischief is a great card, particularly in multiplayer where it can be pretty much guaranteed to pull an enemy out. Scrying through Denethor or Henamarth can also be pretty good at indicating when to play this card in pure solo.
That it occurs in the Staging step means that any enemy killed will be an encounter card staged, but contributing no threat thus helping with questing as well.
Any thoughts or questions? Ask at the usual channels!