Is Herald of Chaos bugged?

I’m inclined to question “is this a bug?” rather than assume “this must be a bug” – it’s fairly minor and doesn’t significantly impact battles involving this Troop, but regardless:

Troop: Herald of Chaos

Spell text: “Destroy a Row. Deal # damage to the first enemy and eliminate # points from a random Skill, boosted by Blue Gems destroyed.”

Naturally we assume that a spell’s effects should occur in the same order as phrased in the text, but as shown by the screenshot it is clearly the reverse: the stated damage is inflicted first, and any damage from Skulls contained in that row is inflicted second (passing on to a second target if the first target died).

By contrast, most spells that both destroy/explode gems and deal damage (e.g. Possessed Urska, Volthrenax) will deal damage after the destroy/explode is resolved, which has a convenient side effect of being able to de-barrier/de-reflect the first opponent before striking. Possessed Urska specifically is a great comparison because its spell also targets the first enemy, where it is easily observed that any destroy/explode damage occurs before the main spell damage.

And this may be related to a larger issue where spelltext on many troops doesn’t seem to match the actual order of effects – e.g. Spiritdancer summons a troop before converting a mana color to Green (allowing said troop to collect Green Mana) and Amira steals 2 Magic before dealing True Damage (thus boosting the damage by up to +2). BUT on the other hand, I can speculate a consistent intent behind this being common: Spells that involve user interaction (e.g. select an enemy, ally, or gem on the board) generally state this interaction first regardless of whether or not it is actually the first effect processed when the spell is cast, and this seems actually important for the user to know first. After all, you don’t see spells that execute partially THEN pause for user input before executing the rest.


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Interesting and difficult topic…

Concerning your main question about Herald of Chaos: my idea of how things should happen always was, that any interaction with the board is applied first, then the spell effects of a troop. I never thought about the fact, that this would be consistent with the text of the spell description, because if I remember well, things like “explode a column”, “explode a gem” and so on are always in first position in the text. However, Herald of Chaos is a clear exception to that rule (and I am not sure, if this is the only one) and it is difficult to say, if this a bug. It is obviously a different code used than for units like Possessed Urska, Volthrenax and so on. If this happened unintentionally, I would call it a bug, if this was done on intention, then the question would be, what was the reason to code it different than for all the other cards. Overall, I think it is a bad situation, because as a player I want to know, how a card will behave before casting it. If cards with similar effects behave different, this means, I have to learn the behavior for every single card, which is rather annoying.

That being said, for me the more interesting part of your post is cards like Amira. Similar like Amira are for example the Piper and the Satyr Musician. Let´s compare them among each other:

All of these cards behave in the same way: They all increase their own magic FIRST and inflict the increased damage AFTER that. For Amira, this is a close call for me, as the “deal damage” and the “steal magic” part are at least in the same sentence. One could argue, that it is not completely defined, what will happen first, although for me, the order of the text matters and I would expect first the damage, than the stealing of magic. For the Piper, I was surprised, when I first noticed, how it works, as there are two seperate sentences and the “steal” part is the second one. It still surprises me, that it works the way it does, as I am very inclined to follow the order of the text, if there are already two different sentences. And for the Satyr Musician, in my opinion this is 100% a bug, because here the card clearly says “deal # damage…, THEN steal # magic…”. Nevertheless, the Musician always inflicts the increased amount of damage (as long as the affected enemies offer magic larger than 0 to steal, of course).

To summarize this, I think, there are many cards in the game, that do not work exactly the way one would guess by reading their spell descriptions. The question is, how big is the chance, that things like this will get changed at any point in the future. And to be honest, this question is what kept me from taking the effort and create bug reports every time I found an issue like the ones described above.

Yea there are. And I think it is small. Anyone who plays for an appreciable length of time just learns to remember which troops work “different” (See for example: every troop that targets multiple enemies, except sometimes when they don’t, except some still do)

And the answer to that question feels like (ahem) RNG. The bug with Druid, for example, got fixed pretty quickly after it was reported and confirmed.