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QuestionEdit

You've confirmed in the past that Parasite's "if" ability is constant[1]:Ruling, so I've extrapolated from there that all "if" abilities are constant abilities, and I think it makes a lot of sense for a lot of cases.

  • It would pretty clearly explains how "if successful" abilities work
  • It would make traces make a lot of sense in game terms
  • It would make "if {condition}, gain {attribute}" abilities make a lot of sense
  • It would make play conditions on events and operations make a lot of sense, but there is some weirdness as to how play conditions become active.

EITHER:

(A) Play conditions are constant abilities that become active with the rest of the text after being played, evaluating if that play was legal. But then what happens if you attempt to play an event/op with an unmet play condition?

OR:

(B) Play conditions are constant abilities that are always active, constantly preventing you from even playing the event/op until that condition is met. This would make a lot more sense, but begs the question, what about other constant abilities? If, as a general rule, constant abilities on events/ops are always active, then a lot of other problems seem solved. Certain problem cards make a lot more sense (Fetal AI, cards that need to be revealed from R&D, and of course Subliminal Messaging's return from Archives ability), and certain rules contradictions make more sense (non-agendas that can be advanced and cards with "about" abilities that allow interrupting rezzing like Zaibatsu Loyalty and Tyr's Hand). But, of course, this is in direct conflict with the rulebook specifically saying that "constant abilities continually affect the game as long as the card they appear on is active," as well as introducing a lot of concerns of deciding when a constant ability is active on inactive cards.

So which is it? Is it (A) that play conditions are abilities that retroactively decide if you were allowed to play that event/op, or is it (B) that there is some kind of special rule for play conditions (or all/some constant abilities in general) that they are active even on inactive cards? (Or of course something else entirely.)

AnswerEdit

Tybb-sly Play conditions have to be met before a card is played. Like Subliminal Messaging or Fetal AI, many cards break the rule that “abilities can only be used if the card is active.” I do admit that there is no good way to know which abilities these are, other than using common sense and asking “If this was not active, would it ever have any effect?”

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