An exhausted character is any character that only has one vitality remaining. Such a character can't exert. Exertions place a wound token, but no character can be exhausted to death. Only an effect that wounds a character can inflict the last wound on a character. You cannot exert an exhausted character to pay a cost, and other effects that exert or exhaust that character do nothing.
An example: Orc Ambusher (1C261) , a minion with two vitality at baseline, has a wound on it. The Shadow player cannot use it to pay the required exertion cost of Hate (1R250) , because the Ambusher can't exert. If the Free Peoples player assigns Éowyn bearing Brego (4U263) to skirmish the Orc Ambusher, Brego's text that says "each minion skirmishing bearer must exert" does nothing, because the Orc Ambusher cannot be exerted. Likewise, while Sméagol, Always Helps (7R71) could use his assignment ability to assign himself to the Orc Ambusher, exhausting a character that is already exhausted does nothing.
All of the above examples would work the same way with a minion that has only one vitality at base, even if that character has no wounds on it. Goblin Runner (1U178) , for example, is always exhausted.
Exhausted characters may be immune to further exertions, but they are very vulnerable to direct wounding if you don't heal them.
Comprehensive Rules 4.0
A character who has only 1 vitality remaining is exhausted.
A character with a vitality of 2 is exhausted with a single wound. A character with a vitality of 1 is always exhausted.
No player may exert a character who is exhausted. If the effect of an action says a character “must exert” and that character is exhausted, then nothing happens.
A mount says, “At the start of each skirmish involving bearer, each minion skirmishing bearer must exert.” If an exhausted minion is skirmishing a character bearing this mount, this exertion is ignored.
To exhaust a character means to exert that character as many times as you can.If a card tells you to exhaust a character with a vitality of 3, then you must exert that character 2 times by placing 2 wound tokens.
- Exhausted section
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