The CORRECT look at how Retaliate works...
When Battle of Yavin hit the streets, there was a lot of talk about the new mechanic - Retaliate. Just how does this work? The rules seemed a little confusing, so we posted an article last week to help explain things. However, that's when the rules team came to us in order to clarify exactly how Retaliate was meant to work. Thus this note from the developer:
You were right, we were wrong. You have my apologies for adding to the confusion in the short-term here, but I think a revised ruling is necessary.
After re-examining the core issues that we've been dealing with concerning Retaliate, and listening to the concerns of our players, we'll be posting an update to the Battle of Yavin rulings.
The short version is this: Retaliate should function much like any other activated ability, without any special timing rules. Players have the opportunity to activate Retaliate after an attack is declared but *before* dice are rolled (and thus before damage prevention). As previously noted, the Retaliate ability will still have its effect even if the defending unit is discarded as a result of the attack.
Thank you for your patience and continued support of the game.
David Eckelberry - Lead Developer, SWTCG
So, with that said, I've revised my Retaliation overview to coincide with this decision
Retaliate X (If a unit in the same arena as this unit is attacking this unit, this unit does X dice of damage to that unit when the attack ends.)
Retaliate allows your units to strike back at their attackers. Most units with the Retaliate ability require you to pay a Force cost to activate the Retaliate ability. Once activated, the Retaliate ability resolves when the attack is over, even if your unit gets taken out by the attack.
Example: Darth Vader attacks your Luke Skywalker (F), who has "Pay 1 Force Retaliate 2." Before Vader rolls his dice, Luke may pay 1 Force to activate his Retaliate ability. Vader then rolls his attack dice against Luke and, even if Luke gets taken out, he’ll still get to roll his 2 dice of Retaliate.
While the example taken from the Rules gives you the nuts and bolts information on how the mechanic works, we've put together some further examples to show you of what can and can't be done with Retaliate.
Continuing the example from above, let's say that Darth Vader (E) is attacking Luke Skywalker (F). Luke can activate Retaliate by paying 1 Force or decline to use it against this attacker. Vader rolls his attack dice, scoring a number of hits. Luke can activate his Evade ability, but not his Retaliate. After the hits have been applied and the attack is over, Luke rolls his 2 dice whether he was taken out or not. If he did not activate it, it’s too late to activate it now. His last chance to do so was during the play or pass opportunity before Vader rolled his attack dice.
Now let's throw in some Intercept. Vader attacks Luke, who can pay 1 Force now to activate Retaliate or decline to use it against this attacker. Chewbacca (A) pays 1 Force to Intercept the attack. Vader now rolls his attack dice against Chewie. Note that if Chewbacca (A) wanted to he could activate Retaliate as well. Once the attack is over, the previously activated Retaliate ability resolves and Luke rolls his 2 dice.
Vader has Retaliate as well, but when he is hit by the Retaliate dice he is not able to activate it as he is not being attacked. An attack is when you tap a unit and declare a target.
Retaliate dice are just dice of damage, so they are not modified by any static abilities such as Critical Hit or Accuracy. Stun, however, is a triggered ability that just looks to see if your unit has caused any damage, so it can trigger off of Retaliate dice. This will be of limited usefulness as the unit you're Retaliating against has already attacked for the turn…
Hopefully these examples will help shed some light on all the possibilities that exist with this new mechanic. If, however, you are still confused and are looking for help, you can always contact our Game Support Team by the email form at http://wizards.custhelp.com