Final Fantasy Trading Cards Games
producers blog July 19 2019

RULES: “When” and “If” Wording


Hello everyone! We’ve already entered the second half of 2019. I hope you all will keep enjoying FFTCG for the rest of this year, too!

Well then – Opus IX: Lords & Chaos is finally out, and its new cards have been revealed across various media all around the world. But, taking a closer look at them may have you wondering about some rules related questions. So, in this article, I’d like to talk about a certain feature in the new card text, which I hope players will keep in mind not only for Opus IX but also for FFTCG as a whole.

“When” and “If”

Here, we have two cards with two kinds of abilities that act in a similar manner.

Rain [8-021R]

When Rain enters the field or attacks, choose 1 Forward. You may pay 1 Fire CP. If you do so, deal it 3000 damage.

Fusilier [9-013C]

When Fusilier enters the field, you may pay 1 Fire CP. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Deal it 5000 damage.

Both are similar in that “when they enter the field, you may pay CP to deal a Forward damage.” However, you can see that the wording differs slightly.

In fact, these two abilities also differ when it comes to the actual order in which they are resolved.

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In the case of Rain [8-021R]:

[When Rain enters the field or attacks, choose 1 Forward.] This is put on the stack.

Decide whether you will pay the 1 Fire CP when resolving [step 1 text]. Once you pay, immediately deal damage to the Forward you chose.

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In the case of Fusilier [9-013C]:

[When Fusilier enters the field, you may pay 1 Fire CP.] This is put on the stack.

If you pay the 1 Fire CP when resolving the [step 1 text], [choose 1 Forward] is put on the stack.

When resolving [step 2 text], deal damage to the Forward you chose.

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The clear difference between the two abilities is the number of motions that are added to the stack.

From the perspective of a player against whom these abilities have been used:  

Rain [8-021R] => Must respond before CP is paid.

Fusilier [9-013C] => May respond after confirming that the CP has been paid.

In this way, the window of opportunity during which a response can be made differs by just a little bit.

Additionally, all text that includes “when” and “at the-” is Auto Ability text.

Auto Abilities are always added to the stack when the conditions are met. Conversely, if no such language is included, then it isn’t an Auto Ability, so it isn’t added to the stack.

*If the Auto Ability calls for you to choose something when there is nothing that you can choose, then that ability is put on the stack but immediately removed, so you cannot stack anything on top of it. Similar to this example, there are a number of exceptions, so if you are interested in more details, please refer to the comprehensive rule book or send inquiries using the method included at the end of this article.

Just looking at the example above by itself, you might wonder, “Why did they go out of their way to include this difference?” However, there is a reason – depending on how the “when” and the “if” are used, we have more freedom in developing the card text. I think this is an element that’s easy to understand once you’ve grasped the concept, so I hope reading this article will help you tuck this information away in your mind for later reference.

Furthermore, in every language available for FFTCG, this rule of “when” and “if” has been translated in such a way that allows you to distinguish clearly between the two. 

Additionally, Opus IX features a number of cards that use the “when” wording like this.  

Vincent [9-062H]

When Vincent enters the field, you may put 1 Backup you control into the Break Zone. When you do so, choose 1 dull Forward. Deal it 8000 damage.

Here, similar to Fusilier [9-013C] from earlier, the Auto Ability can be addressed “after 1 Backup is put into the Break Zone.”

It’s a powerful ability, but there’s a chance that you could lose your advantage in an unforeseen way, so it would be best to assess your opponent’s situation before placing the card onto the field.

Moving forward, I’d like to keep posting these articles and share more knowledge about FFTCG rule elements that will make the game even more fun.

Here’s to another great summer full of FFTCG!

The Game Development Division | Hobby Japan