|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 01 April 2010|
"A fool. You're so clever, to see it. He's better fitted to be a fool than a knight, isn't he? You ought to dress him in motley and make him clown for you. He doesn't deserve the mercy of a quick death."
- George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire, Volume II: A Clash of Kings
Hello and Welcome Back Loyal A Game of Thrones Fans!
Happy April Fool's Day as well! In celebration of this semi-holiday we present as our Card of the Week, the one and only ... Ser Dontos Hollard!
Please stay with us, folks.
You see, as our weekly card review happened to fall on April Fool's Day, we thought it appropriate to give it a little theme, just for fun, such as we might do on Halloween or Arbor Day (Godswood, Core Set, S32). Naturally, the theme fell to Fools. We can hear quite a few power gamers out there sighing deeply.
Hear us out: Ser Dontos Hollard's (Tales from the Red Keep, F62) special ability is that he can stand to save a Lady character from being killed or discarded from play. It's kind of upside-down, given that most characters' special abilities trigger off of kneeling, but most characters that have a "kneel to save" ability have to stand in reserve, out of the challenges. Ser Dontos can at least be used in a Military or Power challenge first and then save a Lady from being killed or discarded.*
Granted, the situation in which Ser Dontos is super-useful may not come up that often, but it is thematic, and that's why we thought of him.
There are number of really efficient, really effective combos that power gamers will bring to the table - for example Maester of War + Refugee of the Citadel, or House Umber Berserkers + Icy Catapult - but sometimes it's kind of fun to just build a combo or a whole deck around a theme, no matter how inefficient and crazy it might be. Part of why we play games is the stories they tell as we're playing them. The Living Card Game offers another level of narrative: by building decks the way we want, we get to create our own story using the medium of cards. That's somewhat high-falutin', but who among us hasn't started building a deck with the story in mind first, rather than its pure winning power?** Deckbuilding lets us create compelling stories like "What if Khal Drogo was Lord Commander of the Night's Watch?" or "What if Bronn became Lord of the Eyrie?" Deckbuilding also lets us recreate some of our favorite stories. Wouldn't it be nice if once or twice in a game we let Ser Dontos Hollard be Florian to Sansa Stark's Jonquil?
Which leads us to the point of our meandering little rationalization for picking Ser Dontos Hollard as our Card of the Week which is: Theme is Fun. If it wasn't, someone would come up with that one most-efficient and winningest deck and then we would all just take turns playing it against itself. Theme is the whole reason there are different Houses in the first place: because some of us like decks with direct kills, some of us like decks with crazy card draw, and some of us like decks with Dragons because dragons are awesome.
So, we thank you for once again reading our weekly A Game of Thrones card review and we hope that the sight of Ser Dontos' bare legs hasn't scared you off of wanting to read the next one. We'll see you next time!
Bonus Question of the Week: What is your favorite theme deck? Did you build it around a trait like Maester or Night's Watch? Did you build it around a story from A Song of Ice and Fire like "The Red Wedding" or "The Battle at the Wall"? Did you build it around one crazy combo just to see if it could work? Tell us here or on the A Game of Thrones forums.
Based on George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy epic, A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game brings the beloved heroes, villains, locations, and events of the world of Westeros to life through innovative game mechanics and the highly strategic game play. The Living Card Game® format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Chapter Pack expansions to the core game.
*Consider, also, the power of Rhaegar's Harp (Battle of Ruby Ford, F84) to make anyone a Lady, if necessary. Not to mention the fact that Ser Dontos Hollard is a Knight as well as a Fool, so he can be Mustered (Core, B168) or participate in the Tourney for the Hand (Core, B186).
**Of course, even with a theme as goofy as Fool, you can still find a killer card or two like Motley (Core Set, B67).
Hmmm, well, I guess this confirms my suspicion that Ser Dontos was costed just a little too high to be playable competitively. Still, I like theme decks and all, but I wish they'd made at least a little more of an effort to actually discuss the theme of Ser Dontos/fools.
I just love constructing and playtesting subtheme decks, especially minor house decks such as House Umber, House Arryn, House Tully, House Dayne, House Bolton, House Tyrell, ...
The first thing I look for a new chapter pack is keywords with House ... and the best thing is when it also is part of the card text and has a game effect!! Therefore, what really annoys me is when minor house affiliations are missing from the keywords, e.g. when Ser Alex Florent (Core Set, B78) is missing the House Florent keyword. That is extremely irritating!!! So, for theme deck purposes I would have liked that Ser Dontos Hollard had the House Hollard keyword, even though he is the only known character from that house and it doesn't have any game effects yet.
I really hope that we will see more characters, locations, attachments etc. (with keyword affiliation!!!) for Tullies, Florents, Boltons, Mormont, Karstark, Reed, Manderly, Frey, Mallister, Goodbrother, Harlaw, Westerling, ... and each related a specific aspect of a play mechanic what fits how the house is portrayed in the books.
well... you can make a highlander deck out of it... and it might be feasable.
Ahhhh.... Magister Illyrio's Hot Tub of Love.... that was a fun deck!!!
AHoTh Magister Illyrio, Targ True Queen Agenda, and every Lady in the card pool.
It was seriously lacking in Mil icons, but who needs those when you have the Hot Tub of Love?