There you are pootling about your business enjoying a wander around an abandoned Dwarven hold, or heading out to Buckleberry Ferry on a trip off-shire, when out of the darkness / bushes / whatever jumps a horrendous monster all swinging of Morgul blades and flicking of fiery whips.
You’re not expecting it and if you are, you just can’t feint* to one side and avoid the ruckus completely!
That damnable enemy has just made an immediate attack (this also includes all instances where an enemy makes an attack outside of the usual combat phase). Jigger, now you face the difficulty of not only deciding what to do, but working out the rules of what to do as well. Which is why in this weeks’ Rules You Didn’t Know Exist, we’re going to look at immediate attacks in Lord of the Rings LCG.
We’re going to find that as an immediate attack triggers a four-step combat phase, there are opportunities for canny players to take actions and mitigate some of the impact of the unexpected turn of events.
How to resolve an immediate attack
A key considerations are that an immediate attack still happens in a particular phase of the game. So it might be a Black Rider attacking in the quest phase as a result of a Hide test, or it might be a Wolf Rider attacking in the combat phase after being pulled as a shadow card.
Cards or actions triggered in a particular phase still can’t be used outside of their phase. Hence *Feint as a combat action can’t be used at all in a quest phase immediate attack.
Unless explicitly instructed otherwise, you always deal and try to resolve a shadow card for every attack an enemy makes. So if a card said ‘When Revealed: Make an immediate attack’ and the shadow card dealt and revealed said ‘The enemy makes an immediate attack after this one’, then they would get a second shadow card dealt and resolved for that second attack.
The FAQ instructs players to resolve an immediate attack using the 4-steps as outlined in the Combat section of the main rulebook.
The steps are, therefore:
Step 1: Choose an enemy. Note: This step triggers even if there is only one enemy making the immediate attack
Step 2: Declare defender. Note: As a player has to declare a defender there is an opportunity to use Sentinel characters to defend on another player’s behalf and a player can choose to take the attack undefended.
Step 3: Resolve shadow effect.
Determine combat damage
The immediate attack is essentially a normal attack taken out of normal sequence. So all of the lovely card effects that you use to help in combat can normally help here as well, so long as you’re in the right phase. For instance, if shadow cards are dealt face-up due to a Silver Lamp, then they’ll be dealt face-up here as well.
So what can I do about it then?
The important part of this sequence are the Player Action windows. These allow you to use event cards and actions, for instance:
- Sneak Attacking in a defender after the ‘choose an enemy’ step
- Standing a character to defend using any number of readying effects
- In multiplayer, another player could sneak attack in a Sentinel character to take the attack
- Use a Quick Strike to kill the attacking enemy before it gets to attack you
All of these would make the most sense played in the step after ‘choose enemy’, but a Hasty Stroke can be triggered as a response to the shadow card just as in a normal attack as well.
Once the immediate attack is resolved the whole thing shuts down and normal service is resumed. The players go back to the point of the game they were at and continue. An immediate attack doesn’t give the players a chance to strike back at the enemy and make their own attacks.
Immediate attacks will always remain at least an annoyance as they usually commit resources that would have been better saved to defend against the rest of the encounters. Exhausting your defender to the unexpected immediate attack means that you might not have the planned defender for the enemy you left engaged with you last turn.
However, by following this guide you’ll know how to resolve the immediate attack as well as hopefully have some more opportunities to exploit to mitigate the impact the attack might have on you.
Any questions hit us up in the comments section or at the usual places!