News for May 2010
Cold Nightmares 8
A Card of the Week for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 27 May 2010

Sleep came at last, and with it nightmares.
- A Song of Ice and Fire, Volume II: A Clash of Kings

Hello and Welcome Back, Loyal A Game of Thrones Fans!

This week's card preview comes from the upcoming last Chapter Pack in the Defenders of the North cycle of expansions, Return of the Others. Lately we've been doing a lot of characters and locations, so this time out we have decided to present an event card, one which we think might work its way into a few decks: Nightmares in the North.

In terms of its basic strategy and usage, Nightmares in the North fits squarely into the type of deck that has lately been dubbed the "Raid Deck", that is, a deck whose theme or subtheme is the discard of cards from an opponent's deck. This cuts to one of the most basic elements of the game: if your opponent's cards are in the discard pile they can't be used against you. It's not exactly a winning strategy on its own, since you still have to get enough power to win and if your opponent manages to do that before you do, in spite of your card denial, then your raid deck has failed.


House Targaryen, with its stronger-than-average recursion through cards like Street Waif (A Time of Trials, F32) and Lady Daenerys's Chambers (Core Set, T180) can also come back strong against raiding. Granted, it is not super-easy for Targaryen to pull cards out of the discard pile - there are costs and conditions inherent in Targaryen's recursion - but a card in the discard pile, while certainly worse than a card in your hand or deck, represents a known, rather than an unknown quantity. What is more, if you can meet the conditions of recursion, such as being able to play a Targaryen character from your hand for Lady Daenerys's Chambers, then your discard pile can act almost as an ancillary (albeit high-cost) hand that is immune to the intrigue challenge.

Still, recursion or no, raiding your opponent's deck will tend to make things more difficult for her, and hopefully give you the breathing space you need to achieve your other in-game goals.

House Greyjoy is currently the best at raiding, with in-house cards like Drowned Disciple (Kings of the Sea, F13) and Drowned Fanatic (Wolves of the North, F7), but given the neutrality of cards like Frostfang Peaks (The Wildling Horde, F78) and Nightmares in the North, any House could take on raiding as a subtheme.

Where Nightmares in the North probably fits in best is in a deck that has a strong military leaning or emphasis on direct killing as its main strategy. This naturally leads us to House Stark, or again to House Greyjoy, but there is no reason why it couldn't fit in anywhere: a stealthy Martell deck, a Lannister Clansman deck, etc.

Played mid- to late- game, Nightmares in the North can put you at a further advantage after several rounds of successful military challenges both on offense and defense. If you are playing House Stark, for example, and have been pouring your opponent's characters directly into her dead pile while managing to keep your own relatively empty, you can have a pretty strong raid lined up for Nightmares in the North, with the added bonus of being able to draw a card afterwards.

Of course, given the fact that Nightmares in the North has to be played during the Dominance phase, there is always the risk that an unlucky intrigue challenge can throw it right into your own discard pile, so beware. Still, the best defense is a good offense, so if the threat of the intrigue icon looms, just be sure to kill your opponent's intrigue characters through a relentless military assault!

So that's it for this week's card preview. Hope you've enjoyed it and we hope you have plenty to discuss here in the comments or on the A Game of Thrones forums. Until next time!

Based on George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, playable by 2-4 players, 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.

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Comments (8)

Published: 6/4/2010 4:20:34 AM

Indeed, we've run games of 5-6 before now. However you always feel sorry for the last player to recieve their 'role'.

Published: 5/28/2010 3:46:07 PM

Technically, you're only suppose to play up to four (official tournaments will have a maximum table size of four at melees), but you can certainly play with more.  I've done so many times.

Published: 5/28/2010 1:48:09 PM

"Based on George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, playable by 2-4 players,..."

hm id thought AGOT is for 2-6 Players?!

did we made somethink wrong by playing with 5 Players?


Published: 5/27/2010 10:45:00 PM

 JJ: Same thought here of using this with a character-lite deck (I already run a war crest one and I did the same for my milling deck in CCG), but so far GJ's raiding characters are pretty weak and/or expensive.  Some even involve having to kill them to mill/raid cards (what lame cards those Drowned Disciples are and Desperate Looters sort of fit here too).  Card denial is important, but card denial really boils down to denying your opponent having cards in hand.  Raiding doesn't really do that.  It helps remove cards but I played Lanni decks back in CCG that would still have 7+ cards in hand.  Raiding instead should be initiating effects that help you win (i.e. standing characters, canceling events, winning challenges, etc).  I haven't really seen any efficient card that does that.  Nightmares in the North sort of does it with the draw, but not really as I would have drawn that card anyway if I didn't run Nightmares...Raiding isn't there yet.  Like I said the next CP will hopefully change that.

Jmccarthy: Yeah the hill idea is nice, but expensive.  Cape Kraken back in CCG did sort of the same thing, but was better costed and had a better effect.

Published: 5/27/2010 6:09:24 PM

I'm thinking this would combo well with the Hills...

Published: 5/27/2010 6:07:55 PM

A really good Greyjoy deck will be full of saves, protecting your cards from dying and thus filling your dead pile. I'm already looking at ideas to capitalize on the different raid effects Greyjoy has, and building a "character-lite" deck with lots of saves. It may not work, but I want to try this idea and see where it goes.

But, if played correctly, I could discard a 3-1 ratio between my opponent and me. If I have the cards I want, that's a price I'd be willing to pay. You have to know your own deck to decide if it is worth it to discard cards from your own deck. But card denial is a large part of winning games, and nobody does the raiding better than Greyjoy.

Published: 5/27/2010 4:22:08 PM

I think I'm still going to call it milling for a while, but I suppose eventually the terminology will be common enough that "raiding" will be the "hipster" thing to say.  Maybe it already is :P

One thing I don't like about "raiding" is that it seems to often ignore who the "raider" is.  I want you to lose cards, not me!  The article mentions using raiding as card denial to hurt your oppnent.  I'm having a tough time seeing how denying myself cards is a good idea then; even if it can let me draw a card (especially because it's only one card).  Of course there is Balon (better hope I have him in my hand or in play and don't raid him out of my own deck) and some warship discard pile recursion, but I don't think the level of recursion that GJ warrants wanting, or at least not minding, raiding your own deck.  I'm guessing the next CP expansion will change this.

Published: 5/27/2010 12:12:39 PM

JJ's "raid" term is catching on! (JJ, I've been using it since you coined it.)

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