This ruling was made official in FAQ 1.5. See Unresolvable Effects.

You cannot trigger an action or ability if the effect would not create a change in game state.


1. a) Can you play an event or operation card that cannot be fully resolved? For example, playing a Diesel with only two cards left in the stack or playing an Archived Memories with no cards in archives. Precedent set with tutors leads me to believe the answer is yes (as you can search your deck for something, fail to find it, but then still be required to shuffle your deck and trash the tutor).

1. b) Are there any limitations to (a), and if so can you give me a list of the game functions that can force an operation or event to be unplayable if said function is impossible. For example, a list like so:

  • Search for a card: you can fail to search for a card if it is not in your deck, but this does not prevent you from playing a card that searches for that card
  • Drawing cards: you can fail to draw cards if there are no cards left in your deck, but this does not prevent you from playing a card that draws cards
  • Choosing ice: you can fail to choose ice if there is no ice installed, which prevents you from playing a card that requires an ice be chosen

And so on for whatever that list looks like.


Tybb-sly.png 1a. Yes (kind of). If you play a Diesel with two cards remaining, you can still draw those two cards. Therefore it has an effect that can be resolved. If you play an Archived Memories with no cards in Archives, it cannot be resolved so you cannot play it. Searching your deck still requires action, even if there is nothing to find.

1b. If the effect changes the game state in any way, then you can use it. If it does not change the game state in any way (other than the card itself, obviously, being trashed) then it cannot be played. You could think of it as "Would a prevent/avoid effect do anything against this ability?" If the answer is yes, then you can do it. If the answer is no, then you cannot.


This answer gives a rule of thumb for determining whether or not an action or ability can be triggered: "If a prevent/avoid effect would do something to this effect, then it can be triggered. Otherwise, it cannot be triggered."

This ruling directly contradicts the Activate Blank "When Accessed" Ability Ruling.


Posted to Board Game Geek by Jacob Morris on May 30, 2014

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