JUDGE! 004: Triggered

Posted January 12th, 2022 by Joe Pangrazio


Over the last year or so, it seems like no single core game mechanic is causing as much confusion and questions as Triggers. As the last year has gone on, it feels like only more and more questions or misunderstandings are happening. So, I thought I'd try and help the matter by doing a deep dive on Triggers and how they work.

It is a good idea for you to download the Comprehensive Rule Book (available at 
https://wizkids.com/heroclix/gameplay/rules-format) and read Section 8 to have some frame of reference.

Triggered Effects all have two parts to them. The Trigger and the Resolution. So, let's start with the Trigger.

Some effects trigger based on the phase of the turn (such as, At the Beginning of Your Turn), some effects trigger off of the Beginning of the Game, some effects when a character Starts the Game. Some effects trigger When, Whenever, Each Time, Would or Is. These are words that you can look for to see what the triggering event is. Let's look at some powers.

Blades/Claws/Fangs When this character make a close attack against a single target and hits, you may roll a d6.

So, what's the triggering event? Making a close attack against a single target with an additional requirement of hitting. That's the trigger/requirement. Any time that happens, you may roll a d6. You don't have to. It's optional.

Super Senses When this character would be hit, you may roll a d6.

So, again, what's the triggering event? When the character that can use Super Senses “would” be hit. So the roll has been finalized and as far as we all can see, it would hit, Super Senses triggers. And then you again get the choice of rolling a d6 or not.

Note: Critical Hits, as they are currently written, bypass this trigger. If a finalized attack roll is a Critical Hit, you hit, there is no “would be hit” moment.

FuFo #055 Uatu I AM HERE TO OBSERVE THE IMPORTANT COSMIC EVENTS THAT ARE ABOUT TO UNFOLD When an opposing character rolls to attack or break away, after resolutions, if one or more friendly characters within range and line of fire used Probability Control to reroll it, gain 1 MISSION POINT.

So what's the triggering event? When an opposing character makes an attack or breakaway roll. That is the trigger. Which then sets up an after resolutions check (which we'll come back to when we talk about Resolution).

Then we have the Resolution of the trigger. Some triggers resolve After Resolutions (which would be after the action or other trigger has finished resolving), some resolve Immediately, and if a trigger does not say when it resolves, by default it resolves immediately after the trigger. So, let's look at those powers again.

Blades/Claws/Fangs When this character make a close attack against a single target and hits, you may roll a d6.


Because there is no resolution described, the trigger resolves immediately after hitting a single target. Which, in this case, is rolling a d6 and then dealing damage based on that.

FuFo #055 Uatu I AM HERE TO OBSERVE THE IMPORTANT COSMIC EVENTS THAT ARE ABOUT TO UNFOLD When an opposing character rolls to attack or break away, after resolutions, if one or more friendly characters within range and line of fire used Probability Control to reroll it, gain 1 MISSION POINT.


This one tells us when it resolves. “After resolutions.” So, the trigger sets up and then we resolve the action. After we resolve the action, we resolve this trigger and check to see if 1 or more friendly characters used Probability Control. And if they did, you gain 1 MISSION POINT.

Now this is also a good time to clear up a misconception: “after resolutions” has no impact on how many times an effect can trigger. Let's say Uatu was within range and line of fire of an opposing character using Flurry. Flurry allows them to make two attacks. Uatu's trait will trigger twice during that Flurry and then both triggers will resolve after resolutions.

If that character can somehow move during that Flurry and rolls for breakaway, that would be three triggers that have to resolve. The check for Probability Control would still be against each independent roll as well. But the timing of the resolutions has no impact on how many times it can trigger.

If multiple triggers resolve at the same time, the active player will decide in what order to resolve them. The exception being that triggers that resolve “immediately” will resolve before those that do not. And, in general, “would be” triggers will resolve before “is” triggers. IE, a trigger when a character “would be hit” must resolve before a trigger for when a character “is hit.”

The other important note here is that a Trigger, once triggered, will resolve no matter what. It may resolve with no effect, but it still has to resolve. Recently this has become important for Beginning of Game triggers, but it's just an important part of triggers to remember in general. The most common example is KO'ing a character with the Mystics team ability. Mystics will trigger on the damage being taken and then resolve, even if the character is KO'd.

And that's triggers in a nut shell. They're a widely used mechanic and as such, can seem complicated. But when you break them down and look for the Trigger and Resolution, they become much easier to understand.

And always remember, when you have a question, that's a trigger to call a JUDGE!

If you'd like to read past JUDGE! articles, you can head over to the archive.

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