Prince Imrahil, 22nd Prince of Dol Amroth, Uncle to both Boromir and Faramir and Father-in-law to Eomer, King of Rohan (after Theoden died of course!) and second only to Glorfindel in the list of major characters omitted from Peter Jackson’s films, has been released in Ally form in Flame of the West for Lord of the Rings LCG.
And what a card it is. Not only does it win Best Art in Box, it has a powerful ability: everyone goes “oooh, wow, that’s cool” and then immediately goes “if the player cards are that strong, how badass is the encounter deck?” But this article isn’t about that card alone; the question we’re here to socialise is what happens if you discard Caldara with Imrahil on the board? How many allies do you get out?
And this, it turns out, is a question of timing.
The Two Principles at play
The basic principles here are, firstly: an action only resolves at the point that it’s cost is paid in full. Once that cost has been paid then the action resolves and any conditional elements then get calculated.
And secondly, passive effects are constantly checking the boardstate and if they are dependent upon a set of circumstances they immediately resolve themselves at the same time as their trigger. Note, they aren’t responses that occur after their triggers; they immediately come true once the trigger is true. No gap, no pausing and going “ummm”. Nothing. Nada. The same exact moment.
Putting it together
So let’s look at how this works then.
The cost for Caldara’s action is for her to be put into the discard pile. Until she is in the discard pile her cost has not been met and the result of her action won’t be calculated.
BOOM! Caldara has hit the discard pile. Look at her swimming in there, surrounded by a Hasty Stroke, a Test of Will and what looks like a Curious Brandybuck (hey, I didn’t build this deck!).
At the very moment that Caldara hits that discard pile, Imrahil dings and feels like he’s just had a magic potion immediately becoming a Hero. His sphere is Spirit, so he becomes a Spirit Hero at that.
Then (as the action of Caldara in the discard pile and Imrahil’s heroism) occur at the exact same point, the action resolves and the game checks how many spirit heroes there are.
Well, one, two and Imrahil… Three! That’s right, three allies come bounding out of discard and straight into play for free. Let’s hope they were useful.
Source and Conclusion
The Imrahil / Caldara situation came from this forum post, but the logic that is used applies to all equivalent situations.
So remember: passive abilities constantly check the game state, an action’s resolution occurs after the cost is paid. If that cost being paid triggers a passive ability then it occurs before the action resolves.
Use the comments below to wax lyrical about how you used this to your advantage pulling all those hard hitting allies out of discard!