Does an encountered card count against the "top cards of the deck"?


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

It came up with Shardra, who has a "When you succeed at a Knowledge check, you may examine the top 2 cards of a location deck" power.

Shardra encountered a bane, and succeeded at the BYA Knowledge check: can she now examine two new cards at her location, or the encountered Bane is still the "top card", so Shardra can only examine one more card?

For added relevance, in the above scenario, if you examined a Trigger that tells you to encounter it - how would the two encounters work, timing wise?

What about if the examine was triggered not by a BYA check, but by a Check to Defeat?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As far as the Rulebook is concerned, nothing states that it isn't the top card of the location deck. When you explore, it says to flip over the top card of the location deck. That card is still part of the location deck and is the current top card.

If you succeed at the Knowledge check as part of a BYA or When you encounter of a bane, the examine would mean that card and the next one, not the following two cards.

NOTE: There are banes that tell you to Display it here or there. (Usually as the first power on the card.) In that case, the card is no longer part of the location deck. And if you fulfilled a Knowledge check at that point, it would be two new cards.

Silver Crusade

I have to say that if this is true, Shardra's power before any power feats ("When you succeed at a Knowledge check, you may examine the top card of your location deck.") almost completely useless, because she's almost always going to be making knowledge checks during an encounter.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
I have to say that if this is true, Shardra's power before any power feats ("When you succeed at a Knowledge check, you may examine the top card of your location deck.") almost completely useless, because she's almost always going to be making knowledge checks during an encounter.

Yes, that was one of the arguments.

The opposition went something along the lines of what Theryon said.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Maybe since it doesn't say "you may immediately examine," that means that you can finish the encounter and then examine. Pretty sure that the intent wouldn't be to examine the card that you are already encountering!


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes, if you encounter the top card of a location deck, it is still the top card of that deck.

WotR rulebook, p8 wrote:
When you explore, flip over the top card of your current location deck. If it’s a boon, you may attempt to acquire it; if you don’t attempt that, banish it. If it’s a bane, you must try to defeat it.

When exploring, you flip over the top card. Flip over does not mean "remove from the location deck", it just means "make the card face-up so you can read it." As there are no other rules in the rulebook about encountering cards from locations being considered no longer in their location deck, the above quote is the only rule that applies to this situation, and therefore the encountered card remains on top of the deck.

@jones314: nice try, but it doesn't work like that. Finish one thing before you start something else is a rule, and that rule tells us that we finish processing that power (and therefore examining the top card of the location deck) before we start something else (the next step of the encounter).


skizzerz wrote:
Yes, if you encounter the top card of a location deck, it is still the top card of that deck.

I can't believe that's true.

Here's one reason:

Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
I have to say that if this is true, Shardra's power before any power feats ("When you succeed at a Knowledge check, you may examine the top card of your location deck.") almost completely useless, because she's almost always going to be making knowledge checks during an encounter.

I don't think Shardra's power is designed to only be useful when she isn't in an encounter. (Wrath has a lot of knowledge checks during encounters.)

In practice, I've never seen anyone actually keep a card they are encountering on top of the location deck (unless perhaps if it was a face-up card). They always flip the card over off the deck. I think this is what the designers intended.

Also, I don't agree the rules specify whether the encountered card is still the top card of the location deck. I think this is open to interpretation.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
elcoderdude wrote:
skizzerz wrote:
Yes, if you encounter the top card of a location deck, it is still the top card of that deck.

I can't believe that's true.

Here's one reason:

Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
I have to say that if this is true, Shardra's power before any power feats ("When you succeed at a Knowledge check, you may examine the top card of your location deck.") almost completely useless, because she's almost always going to be making knowledge checks during an encounter.

I don't think Shardra's power is designed to only be useful when she isn't in an encounter. (Wrath has a lot of knowledge checks during encounters.)

In practice, I've never seen anyone actually keep a card they are encountering on top of the location deck (unless perhaps if it was a face-up card). They always flip the card over off the deck. I think this is what the designers intended.

Also, I don't agree the rules specify whether the encountered card is still the top card of the location deck. I think this is open to interpretation.

Except nothing in the rules as written says that the encountered card is not part of the location deck. Read the rules about exploring. Yes, everyone takes the card off the deck to read and encounter it. But the rules actually say just to flip it.


I don't think an encountered card counts as being on top of the location deck.

The Horned Demon from WotR reads, "Before you act, succeed at a Wisdom 12 check; otherwise, shuffle a random card from your hand into your location and the difficulty to defeat is increased by 6." If you failed the Wisdom check and the Horned Demon was considered to be on top of the location deck, you'd have to immediately shuffle him back into the location...face up? Face down?

I don't think so. I believe there are other cards that can make you shuffle boons into the location during the encounter as well, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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The card you're encountering stays on top of the location deck, and is the top card. But we don't want you to count it for Shardra's power. The method we'll use to accomplish that is yet to be defined, as it has implications beyond this example.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Random suggestion: you could specify that you examine the top 2 face-down cards of the location deck for the power. Since you had to flip over the card you explore, that would exclude the card you encountered in an exploration, but would still get the actual top card of the deck if you were encountering a summoned card. It would also exclude cards left face-up on the location deck (such as barriers with the Task trait).

Random question: The rules tell us that when we explore, we unconditionally flip over the top card of the location deck. What if the card is already face-up (such as aforementioned Task trait barriers)? It seems obvious that we don't flip it back face-down when exploring the first time of our turn as we couldn't read it very well then, but do the rules need a tiny bit of adjustment to account for this?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I think those cards cover it. They tell you that you encounter it as your first exploration. So, instead of turning over a card when you explore, you encounter that faceup card.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

"When you succeed at a Knowledge check, you may examine the top 2 cards of a location deck, others than the ones you are currently encountering if any"?

And indeed Vic, do you want Shadra's power to examine face up cards on top of the location or to skip them and examine the first face down ones?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

The interaction between examine powers and cards that are deliberately left faceup is a major part of what I meant when I said it has implications beyond this example. Working on it.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Added a clarification on examining locations that have faceup cards.

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