Organized Play Policies Update: Takebacks and Missed Triggers

Hello again all!

I’m here to follow up on the previous announcement about revisions to the takeback and missed triggers policies in the Organized Play Policies (OPP). We really appreciate the nearly two hundred of you who filled out the survey. Your answers helped guide the discussion on what the rules should be going forward, and hopefully you can see that input manifested in the proposed changes. The organization’s name throughout the document has also been updated to reflect the recent rebrand.

Rule Changes

To see the new rules in full, check out the newest version of the Organized Play Policies. This is the version tournament organizers should use, but we will continue to take feedback on the changes to further improve the policies in future versions. Sometime in the first half of next year we are hoping to continue to upgrade this document both in terms of coverage and usability.

In summary, the most important aspects of the new policies for players and judges to be aware of are as follows:

  • Judges should not issue warnings for missed triggers, mandatory or otherwise, unless those triggers are detrimental to their controller.
  • There is a new repair policy which advises judges on when and how to go about correcting or ‘repairing’ the game state after a missed trigger has been identified or a take back has been requested.
  • This repair policy states that repairs should only be granted if the player who controls the trigger or asked for the take back gained no information about their opponent’s board state that they would not have otherwise gained.
  • Judges should tend towards not allowing repairs unless they can establish with confidence that no such information was gained. 
  • In most cases, judges should not ask the players for their opinion on how a situation should be resolved.

Rationale for Changes

Missed Triggers Changes

Ultimately the missed triggers policy feedback we received, both through the survey and talking with players, led us to the conclusion that the player responsible for a card being in play should be the one responsible for its mandatory trigger. While doing that, we also know that most missed triggers are not intentional, and having missed triggers be an automatic warning was ripe for abuse. So the solution was to make mandatory triggers not an offense meriting a warning unless a player is missing a detrimental trigger.

There are fair reasons to be disappointed with this change. Ultimately, however, this approach seems the most correct to us because it is a policy that is enforceable and equitable. Holding players responsible for their opponent’s triggers is often asking them to take an active role in their own defeat. That is a large ask in tense games, and differentiating both players missing a trigger and one player intentionally not reminding is nearly unenforcable. The other element is there can be wide information disparities in knowledge about the decks and cardpools. As written, the older version of the policy would require warning a new player for failing to understand all their opponent’s triggers. And given the diversity of decks and cards that exist in the game, it is not an even expectation to hold both players responsible for the triggers on cards that only one person brought to the table.

I did see a few people ask “what if I want a mandatory trigger of my opponent’s to occur”. The trigger is still mandatory, so if you observe it as a player, you can in the moment remind the player to take the trigger or call a judge (see more details below on the repairing rules).

Repairing the board State

In prior versions of the organized play policies there were instructions to repair a board state, but not a lot of instructions on how. We’ve tried to unify those cases where a repair should occur, and start to outline guidance for judges on how to carry out those repairs.

The idea behind repairs is that you roll back the game state to where a fix needs to occur, the fix is applied and then you roll actions forward to get back to when the judge was called. But, crucially, if the player requesting the takeback received information, and they could have acted in some different manner based on that information, then the situation cannot be repaired.

All repairs are based on this idea of “information”. Currently we don’t have a formal definition of information because so many things in Netrunner can provide information, including no actions giving implicit information. Information can also be highly specific to the board state. The common things to check for are cards drawn, cards being rezzed (or being left unrezzed), or their opponent making any decision to use or not use a card ability. Under this setup, there are a lot of situations at the competitive level where repairs are not possible. 

This repair policy is fairly strict. The reason for that is not because it is the way that all Netrunner should be played. The goal of the OPP is to create clear guidelines for judges and players, so that when a difficult situation arises, a judge can have some clear guidance, and players can understand why a ruling was given the way it was.

One common thing I saw in discussions around repairs was that the judges should ask the opponent about how to resolve certain elements of the missed trigger policy. I think broadly those ideas, while sounding very clean, do not actually function in practice. First, most judge calls are because the players can’t agree on an obvious and fair path forward. Depending on who called the judge, the social pressure of the situation can be extremely uncomfortable for either player. The judge’s role should not be to place additional stress on either player. Placing potential implied moral burden on a player should not be a go to solution. Second, letting a player choose how missed triggers resolve opens up a plethora of cases for abuse. An example of this could be the Corp waiting until the end of the Runner’s turn to remind them they forgot their Rezeki credit, taking them from 3 credits to 4, which would allow the Corp player to play the Economic Warfare they have sitting in hand. Under the new policies, because the Corporation player has gained information about what the runner wanted to do over their previous turn, there is not a fair way to undo that trigger.

Survey Breakdown

There were nearly two hundred submissions to the survey, with 60.3% coming from people who did not attend the world championship this year. In the following sections, write-in answers have been omitted from response counts.

Missed Mandatory Triggers

A player runs HQ and accesses a Snare! with 2 cards in hand. However they realize they forgot their DreamNet trigger (which is a mandatory trigger). How should the judge resolve this?

78%: The Runner draws a card, then the Corp player may choose to trigger Snare!
17%: The Runner does not draw a card, and the Corp player may choose to trigger Snare!

If the Runner had accessed a Hedge Fund instead of Snare! should they get the DreamNet trigger?

83%: Yes
17%: No

The Runner runs HQ and accesses a Hedge Fund. Then takes a click to draw a card. Then the Runner realizes they forgot to place a power counter on the Endurance (which is a mandatory trigger). Should the Runner get their power counter?

77%: Yes
23%: No

If the Runner had clicked for a credit instead of drawing, should they get the power counter?

85%: Yes
15%: No

If the Runner realized they forgot the Endurance counter before taking any clicks (but after seeing the Hedge Fund) should they get the power counter?

92%: Yes
8%: No

The changes to the rules as currently outlined would mean the majority opinion (the Runner gets their trigger) would apply in every case. However, one case that is worth clarifying, once the runner starts another run and the Corp chooses to rez or not rez Ice, Endurance’s trigger could not be repaired because the runner gained information about the hidden board state..

The Runner clicked Stargate. The corp player rezzed their Spin Doctor but forgot to draw during the Stargate run. Then their opponent used Stargate and revealed the top 3 cards (neither player had any info about the order of R&D before the Stargate ability was used). The corp did not have any ice protecting R&D and had no other assets installed and both players agree that the Spin Doctor draw was missed.
45%: The Corp should get nothing
26%: The Corp player should draw the next two cards (below the top 3)
18%: The cards Stargate revealed should get shuffled, the Corp should draw 2, and then the Stargate resolves

This niche interaction was directly referencing a situation that arose at worlds. The new OPP rules that the Corp should draw the next two cards if there was no ice that the corp could have chosen to rez. The missed draw is considered equivalent to the mandatory DreamNet draw, and drawing the next two cards is equivalent to the draw the Corp would have made if they had remembered the trigger, provided neither player had prior information about the top cards of R&D. This is preferred over shuffling because it makes the smallest change to the board state without granting an advantage to either player.

Take Backs and Gameplay Errors

The corporation has scored a False Lead and the Runner starts their turn with 1 tag, 0 credits, and a Liberated Account installed. The Runner clicks Liberated Accounts twice, pauses, then asks for a take back. Should the judge grant the take back?

57%: Yes

36%: No

7%: Write ins that offered a variety of intermediate solutions

I think I did not word this question very well. The intent was to indicate that the Runner was intentionally trying to gain information by seeing if their opponent would use the False Lead ability. After talking to a few people, it’s clear that this was not the obvious reading of the question.

In that same situation, the Runner clicks Liberated twice, then the Corp player removes False Lead from the game. Then the Runner player calls a judge and asks for a take back. Should it be granted?

94%: No

6%: Yes

It is correct that this take back should not be granted – some very important information was gained. These questions illustrate that seemingly innocuous take backs can have significant potential for exploitation, which is why the take back rules outline a strict policy on when take backs can be permitted.

A corp player reveals the top card of R&D so both players can see it off a single access (the runner cannot steal or trash it). What should the resolution be?

42%: Warning for the Corp player, play continues

30%: Shuffle the Corp’s deck, the runner should access a new card, warning for the Corp player

8%: Shuffle the Corp’s deck, warning for the Corp player

7%: Game loss

This is a difficult process to fix. The repair for this situation would depend on where things are in the turn. If it is early in the turn and there are unrezzed cards on the board, the second most popular option is likely correct, because the important thing in this situation is to remove the erroneously known information. If this is last click and the Corporation player is about to draw, then the most popular option fits best with the OPP.

A player plays Red Level Clearance and installs a Project Vitruvius illegally (by accident) with the 3rd mode. The runner takes their entire turn. Then the Corp goes to score the agenda and the runner player calls the judge. What should the resolution be?

85%: Game loss

8%: Unwind the board state to the Red Level Clearance play

4%: Unwind the board state to the start of the runner’s turn (shuffle back any drawn cards for either player)
3%: Write in answers

While game losses are not the preferred outcome, in cases like these it is the only equitable outcome.

A player has exposed a Bellona in a remote where all the Ice is rezzed and the corp has no other installed facedown cards or card abilities that can affect the run. The Runner has two clicks left and makes a run. They are one credit short of stealing the Bellona. Should the Judge grant a take back to click for a credit before making the run?

62%: No
38%: Yes

I was surprised by the answers to this question given that most people allowed repairs for DreamNet and Endurance triggers. In this case I think most people read this as a play error, and distinguished it from a missed mandatory trigger on that basis. The new OPP rules that, if any information was gained, a take back should not be granted. In this case, if the Corp gave up no information during the exchange, the policies would have the judge grant the take back. But this requirement is extremely strict. The wording on the question was meant to imply this, but I saw at least a few players mention niche interactions that were not explicitly mentioned in the question setup. This takeback would be required in the OPP only if the Corp had no unrezzed Ice, Assets, or Upgrades and had no opportunities to pay into traces or make other similar decisions during the course of the run (for example if the Bellona is protected by a already Ping and there are no other cards installed).

What if the Runner doesn’t know it’s a Bellona, but asks for the take back before accessing but after the run is successful (so after the Paid Ability window where the Corp could fire an NGO Front) – should they be granted a take back by the judge?

93%: No
7%: Yes

I agree that no take back should be granted here, consistent with the OPP.

What if the Runner doesn’t know it’s a Bellona, but asks for the take back before breaking the last piece of ice – should they be granted a take back by the judge?

62%: No

38%: Yes

Again the OPP rules that a take back be granted here, provided the Corp had no decisions to make other than rezzing and using an NGO Front or similar advanceable trap, and there exist no other advancable cards that would gain significant advantage by being used earlier in the run.

A player declares a run on HQ, their opponent rezzes an Ice, and then the runner player says wait I want to take that back. What should the resolution be from the Judge?

90%: The run should continue

2% The ice should be derezzed and the run should continue

1% The ice should be derezzed and the runner should continue and the Corp player should be given a warning

7% Write in options

A player declares a run on HQ, their opponent rezzes an Ice, this time the runner player tells the judge the Corp rezzed before they could choose to take it back. What should the resolution be from the Judge?

81%: The run should continue

6%: The ice should be derezzed and the runner may take any action

4%: The ice should be derezzed and the runner make take any action

9%: Write in options

These two questions fell a bit outside of the scope of the other feedback. These questions were based on situations that occurred at Worlds, but also will happen commonly for judges. Having thought about this more, I think in the first situation the run should continue as the current OPP would suggest. In the second scenario the judge should take some time to talk to both players and determine what sort of interval was allowed and how the players had been communicating prior. But the roll back should not occur but the Corp player may be given a warning if the judge determines the player acted out of turn.

A Runner makes a successful run on a remote server, and accesses the first facedown in a remote, and accesses an Anoetic Void. The corporation player then calls a judge and says “I forgot I needed to rez my Anoetic Void before the run was successful.” What should the judge do?

70%: Leave the board as is – with the runner accessing the Anoetic Void
25%: Unwind, and allow the Corp player to rez and use Anoetic Void

The new OPP recommends that the Corp be allowed to unwind provided that the Anoetic Void was the first card accessed. This particular wording is not the clearest, but responses seem more consistent with the missed triggers policy survey participants were broadly in favor of in responses to earlier questions, and the results of the next question.

If, instead, the Corp player had called for a judge when the Runner gained a credit from Desperado, but had not accessed any cards yet when the Corp player then calls a judge and says “I forgot I needed to rez my Anoetic Void before the run was successful.” What should the judge do?

63%: Unwind, and allow the Corp player to rez and use Anoetic Void

30%: Leave the board as is – with the runner accessing the Anoetic Void

I specifically chose a successful run trigger introducing minimal information. In cases where the Runner uses a Paragon trigger, for example, this could not be rewound as the Runner has gained information about the order of their stack that is likely unrecoverable as they gained information about the top of the stack while also knowing information about the order of other cards in the stack.