Detect explained

Looking at discussions on Destiny forums recently, there seems to be confusion over how the Detect mechanic introduced by the Continuing Committee works exactly. So we thought we’d do a little article to walk through how it works, how various effects interact with the mechanic and are resolved, and some ideas as to how this can be played out in practice.

As a reminder, the Detect Rules Text states that cards with the Detect keyword work as follows:

After this card is activated, reveal a random card from an opponent’s hand that is not Detected. The card remains revealed until the end of the action phase.

Cards in any player’s hand that are revealed are considered to be Detected. When the card is no longer in the player’s hand or is no longer revealed, it stops being Detected.

In practice, this means that when your opponent activates new Jyn, they randomly select a card from your hand which has not yet been Detected, and place it face up in front of you for the rest of the round. This is what that might look like:

If I’m facing Jyn, I can’t play that face up copy of Counterintelligence (thanks to her ability) but I can play the other copy in my hand, and I can discard the Detected copy to re-roll my dice. If I’m not facing Jyn, I can play that card as if it were in my hand. So far, so good.

What happens if my opponent reveals cards randomly from my hand, for instance with Secrets Laid Bare or Probe, or resolves a Discard side on a die?

This isn’t straightforward. In the case of Secrets Laid Bare, If you were to collect up your Detected card, shuffle your hand together and get your opponent to randomly select 3 cards for you to reveal, they may well reveal a Counterintelligence. But neither of you will know whether this was the previously Detected copy, or an extra copy.

I had previously asserted on Discord that this doesn’t matter for effects which only reveal cards. Apologies for that because of course this does matter: it is valuable information to the opponent to know whether you have one or two copies of this card in your hand, so knowing that the revealed Counterintelligence is not a Detected copy is significant.

Knowing whether a randomly selected card is a Detected copy is especially important for effects which discard cards, like Probe or Discard sides of dice. I’d obviously much rather my opponent discarded the Detected Counterintelligence rather than the un-Detected copy, especially if playing against Jyn.

So what do you do?

Solution 1: Use a die

The Player’s Committee suggest this approach, and here’s how that might look:

If you lay the cards out and assign a number to each card, leaving Detected cards face up and un-Detected cards face down, you can roll a D6 to decide which cards are revealed. Of course if you roll a 6, you just re-roll. If you had more than 6 cards in your hand, you’d need a D10.

This is relatively straightforward, and I think will become second nature quite quickly. Alternatively:

Solution 2: Mark Detected cards somehow

If you can mark Detected cards, in a manner both you and your opponent can see, you can shuffle your hand together prior to randomly selecting cards, knowing that you can the place all Detected cards back on the table when the effect completes.

One such approach would be to flip detected cards in their sleeves. If a flipped card is randomly selected, you know it was the Detected copy. When the effect completes, un-flip the cards and put them back on the table. This is even easier on TTS where you can flip a card before bringing it into your hand, then hit the discard card button.

Alternatively, you could put a slip of paper into the sleeve of Detected cards, to signify that these are Detected, before shuffling your hand together.

Solution 3: Hidden shuffle

A third solution which does not require dice is to bring your hand together with Detected cards face up, cut it a couple of times under the table, hide the top card by placing the top card of your discard pile on top of the stack, then place the stack in front of the opponent. They then name a number between 1 and the number of cards in your hand, and that is the card that’s discarded/revealed.

If playing casually, you could easily keep the stack under the table when your opponent names a number to speed things up a bit.

Detect in Action

Remember, if you bring a card with Detect to the game and you plan to discard cards or reveal cards from the opponent’s hand, the onus is on you to bring a solution to randomly select cards, such as a D10. You can’t expect the opponent to do it for you, and you also can’t expect a player to flip cards in sleeves for you or put bits of paper in their sleeves if you fail to do so.

Of course, if there is a copy of a Detected card in the opponent’s discard pile already (and they’re not playing Double Down), they can just shuffle their hand together. If a copy of the Detected card is picked, you know it must be the Detected copy as there’s no other copies left. Once the effect has been resolved, you just put the Detected cards back on the table.

One final thing to note: since the Continuing Committee have stated that “cards in any player’s hand that are revealed are considered to be Detected [for the duration of the effect]”, this has some minor effects on existing cards. For instance, if you trigger Rally Aid, the card revealed from your hand is considered to be Detected for the duration of the effect. Because of this, if you’re facing new Jyn you will not be able to play the card revealed thanks to her ability.

This kind of interaction is going to be pretty rare (in fact, possibly unique) as very few cards reveal cards to the opponent and play them while they’re revealed. And remember, when the card is no longer in the player’s hand or is no longer revealed, it stops being Detected.

Complexities aside, I do like this new mechanic from the Renewed Hope team. I think it introduces ideas which will be interesting to use and which for the most part should play out pretty easily. Let’s face it, decks which Detect cards are unlikely to feature much random discarding, as the value gained from such an action diminishes with each Detected card in the opponent’s hand.

The above solutions are not particularly complex, and if they only are required once in a while, I think this is unlikely to create messy play. Detected cards provide targets for other cards, and open up interesting possibilities of play. I’m looking forward to seeing what Detect interactions they’ve come up with in this set, and what else they’ve got in store for us in the 81 cards left to spoil.


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