Hey all. This seems to be a large point of contention, and so I wanted to expand upon it for a bit. There has been a LOT of talk and confusion regarding the resolution timing of Counter cards, in relation to what phase they are used. A lot of these are for the more high profile cards like Cold Bloodlust and Whis's Coercion. People are using battle timing as reference for play timing and vice versa, but the fact is they are quite different. In this post I'm going to go in depth on the timing for both playing cards and attacking during your main phase free timing. You can find any referenced rulings in the official rules manual: here
There are currently 3 counter types in DBS: Play, Attack and Counter. (though there is one "Attack" counter that is specific to Battle Cards attacking, King Cold)
Counter: Play - Relevant Manual Section - 6-3-1-3-1 (Playing battle cards)
In playing a battle card, there are 3 steps (6-3-1-3-1-1 through 6-3-1-3-1-3). In order these steps are:
1 - Declare the card you are playing and switch the appropriate # of energy to rest mode.
2 - Counter Timing occurs - this is where Counter: Play skills may be used and resolve.
3 - Actually playing the battle card. This is where the card is placed onto the field and any "When played/evolved" auto skills would be triggered and resolved.
What does this mean? The only 2 current cards with a "Play" counter are Cold Bloodlust and Crusher Ball. Per the timings above, these would resolve BEFORE the targeted card hits the field. In the case of the former, it would hit the field blank (thereby negating ANY skills, including "when played" skills) and for the latter, the target enters the field in rest mode.
Counter: Attack - Relevant Manual Section - 7-1 (declaring an attack)
In attacking, either with your leader card or a battle card, there are 3 steps (7-1 through 7-1-2). In order these steps are:
1 - The turn player may choose their active mode leader or battle card in their leader or battle card area and turn it to rest mode to attack, declaring either their opponent's leader card or one of their opponent's Rest Mode battle cards as the target.
2 - Counter Timing occurs - This is where Counter: Attack skills may be used and resolve.
3 - A checkpoint occurs. This is where "Auto" abilities that trigger upon attacking occur as well as when the defending player may use the "Blocker" skill. NOTE: there is a special clarification on this step in Rule Manual section 7-1-2-1 that states that even if a "Counter: Attack" skill used in the previous step NEGATED the attack this checkpoint STILL occurs and these Auto skills will STILL resolve. There is also a clarification that Attacker's Auto skills resolve BEFORE blockers may be declared. (Q&A 63)
(after these steps come the Offense and Defense phases where combo and "Activate: Attack" skills may be used, but we're focusing on JUST the declaration phase at the moment)
What does this mean? Just as stated above, even if a card would negate an attack, any "Auto" skills that trigger when attacking(ex. Beerus, General of Demolition BT1-041) STILL resolve.
Counter: Counter - Relevant Manual Section - 4-7-3-2 (Counter Timings)
Whenever a Counter Timing occurs (see step 2 in both of the above examples), there are 5 steps (4-7-3-2 through 4-7-3-5)
1 - The player who DIDN'T play/use the triggering Card/Skill may use a relevant Counter card.
2 - The other player chooses to use a Counter: Counter card or does nothing.
3 - (situational) if the second player used a Counter: Counter, the initial player may use a Counter: Counter card or does nothing. (Repeat 2 and 3 until one player does not play a Counter: Counter and then proceed to step 4)
4 - Resolve all Counter skills in reverse order (First in last out)
5 - Carry out the original triggering action or skill if possible and then return to normal play.
What does this mean? While sections like 6-3-1-3-1-2 and 7-1-1 simply state "The Non-turn player can activate [Counter: ______] skills..." section 4-7 expands the counter timing window to its FULL form (final form?) in which players may bounce "Counter: Counter" skills as necessary. (This can deter rules lawyers who may try and claim that sections 6 and 7 ONLY allow the non-turn player to activate counters, when it isn't that simple.)
So that's it for now! You now have a hearty knowledge of counter timings in any (current) situation. Who knows what set 2 and on will bring up, but this is a good basis point for now. Any questions, comments or accusations of lack of reading comprehension may be left below for subsequent follow up.
Edited by Stryyder