I've got an Ice with subroutine: "Trash 1 program". What happens if the subroutine triggers and the runner does not have a program? The question is motivated by the next facts:

  • There are obligatory and optional abilities ("... if able", Enigma for example).
  • There is a rule clarification in the official FAQ: "A player cannot trigger an action/ability unless he is also able to resolve it".
  • Please let me know if there's a practical example you're thinking of that I failed to pick up on. I tried to answer the question as it's written. Thanks! Dec 29, 2016 at 8:11
  • Well, nothing happens. - text in Enigma is basically unnecessary. If you don't have it, you can't lose it. Maybe it is just clarification that this effect doesn't carry over to the next turn. - Subroutines are not an action/ability and are not triggered by players. They trigger automatically unless something prevents them. Corp doesn't have an option to choose not to fire them.
    – Deo
    Dec 29, 2016 at 8:32
  • @Deo, the interesting thing, as he points out, is that if a subroutine is a "Required Conditional Ability", which is a type of "Conditional Ability", which is a type of "Triggered Ability", then it truly can't "resolve" unless it changes the game state. But there's room for a rules clarification from FFG here, we'll see. Dec 29, 2016 at 18:17
  • I don't have any practical example, unfortunately. I and a friend of mine had an argue and wanted some experts' judgment. Dec 30, 2016 at 8:58
  • 3
    @Denis Gladkiy that is certainly not the case. FFG tutorial video has an example of this situation: youtube.com/watch?v=VAslVfZ9p-Y&feature=youtu.be&t=1109 "third subroutine has no effect"
    – Deo
    Dec 30, 2016 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


The subroutine isn't broken (matters for stuff like Oversight AI), but doesn't actually do anything (so, technically, not "resolved", based on the unresolvable effects ruling from FAQ 1.5 - but there are no currently-released cards for which "resolved" matters).

Update: @user30903 pointed out that Persephone is coming out soonish, and will care whether a sub "resolved" or not. It seems to me that a subroutine should not be considered resolved unless it has an effect on the game state, but FFG could possibly rule to the contrary. We'll have to wait and see.

  • After reviewing every card on netrunnerdb with "subroutine" in the text, I think any question other than "is the subroutine broken?" is purely theoretical. I think technically we can say the subroutine does not resolve, based on the ruling in FAQ 1.5, but until there is some card that cares about whether a subroutine resolves (so far there are many that care whether they are broken, but not whether they resolve), it doesn't matter, and there's no reason for there to be an official ruling on it. Dec 29, 2016 at 8:09
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    The upcoming Persephone [netrunnerdb.com/en/card/12042] does actually refer to whether a subroutine "resolved."
    – user30903
    Dec 29, 2016 at 16:27
  • Great point! I missed that one. For now it seems like the answer should be that a subroutine only counts as resolved if it changes the game state, but I'd certainly be interested to see an FAQ entry about it. Side note: your link is broken because it accidentally includes the right bracket in the link. It was easy for me to fix so I could follow your link, but it should be easy to fix with an edit too (and I don't think I can edit it myself). Dec 29, 2016 at 18:08
  • Ah thanks! On SE app and can't seem to edit comments, but oh well
    – user30903
    Dec 29, 2016 at 18:26

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