News for June 2010
Grand Opening, Grand Closing 9
A Card of the Week for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 17 June 2010

"I only sing the songs that better men have made."
- Mance Rayder

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

This week, our card spoilers return to the closing Chapter Pack of the Defenders of the North cycle of expansions, coming soon to a game store near you. Fittingly, this week we will take a quick look at automatic game closers. Not exactly "surefire, can't fail, slam dunk" game-closing combos, although they probably exist somewhere, so much as cards that you play to give you that last little bit of power you need to win the game.

As everyone who plays A Game of Thrones knows, the game instantly ends when one player achieves fifteen power. This number can be adjusted up or down by cards like Treaty with the Isles (City of Secrets, F11), Formal Petition (Princes of the Sun, F44), or Summer Tax (A Song of Summer, F3), but in any case, as soon as the magic number is hit, in any phase, the game is over. There usually isn't much recourse for the person who hasn't just hit 15 power, since the game ends instantly, rather than finishing out the round. As such, surprise power drops can be quite useful in your arsenal when you're close to the finish line. Rather than slug it out in the challenges, when not just get the game over with in the Plot phase or Marshalling phase?

House Stark seems to be pretty good at this sort of power grab, and right out of the Core Set we have Eddard Stark who not only has renown, but comes into play with one power on him. If you've got 14 power and 4 gold in the Marshalling phase, with Eddard in hand, you've pretty much got the game won.

Going one step earlier, into the Plot phase, we have Winter Festival, introduced in Wolves of the North. It's not particular to House Stark, but given Stark's inclination towards the winter environment, it's a pretty good fit for a game closer. There are some conditions that can turn Winter Festival against you, for example if both you and your opponent have 14 power, but she has higher initiative through locations or characters and she plays Good for the Gander (Core Set, B185), or if she plays Valar Morghulis and wipes out all of your renown or infamous characters. Still, barring those conditions, Winter Festival is very like a slam dunk.

This brings us to this week's card spoiler, The Minstrel's Muse. The Minstrel's Muse was actually voted into the card pool by league participants a while ago, but is just now coming out. (Thanks to all league players!) It's not exactly a surprise to your opponent, given that its effect kicks off in the Dominance phase. Your opponent will see those three power barreling down at her right from the plot phase and have plenty of opportunities to deal with it. However, in a situation where you have more characters than your opponent, or higher strength, you can just lean back and pass on the challenges phase, except perhaps to defend against a power challenge, or a military challenge that might cost you a renown character. If you're feeling especially mean (and rich), you can play the new Iron Throne (A Sword in the Darkness, F46) out of house and just sit back.

So there you have it, one more weapon in the Stark arsenal. This card alone probably won't make Stark the ultimate master at Worlds (Gen Con Indy: August 5th-8th, be there!), but it's one more thing to watch out for if you're playing against them. Good luck and see you next week for more A Game of Thrones card previews!

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 (9)

Published: 6/20/2010 8:13:20 AM

Thanks, LGR, I had forgotten about that.  I might possibly have voted for Stark myself then, though it is a weird card to be House Stark only rather than Baratheon.

To me, "if you win dominance, do X" is a passive ability (single point of initiation) and as such resolves during the "Reward Dominance" framework action window.  If you repeat the dominance phase, there will be a second dominance count and the plot ability will resolve again.  For the effect to only trigger once per round, it would need to have an additional timing restriction like "claim 3 additional power for your house at the end of the round."

Published: 6/18/2010 10:42:59 PM

@schrecklich: The first Story Line vote (a chance for players who participated in AGoT leagues to vote on card design questions) had this plot (just the name was revealed, not the stats or effect) up for grabs to the house that got the most votes. It appears that Stark was the top vote getter (as I recall, it was during Kingsmoot in the East 2009 where each participant got a ballot).

@fatmouse: My guess is this effect is evaluated at the end of the round. "Did you win dominance? Yes. Ok, collect 3 power." It doesn't matter that you won dominance twice or more in the round, the effect only cares that you won at least once, and rewards you the 3 power for it, but not the 3 power multiple times.

Published: 6/18/2010 6:39:06 PM

I don't get the comment about Valar. Wouldn't the characters that are killed still be "moribund" when Winter Festival triggers, which could still win you the game?

Published: 6/18/2010 2:58:02 PM

 Den of Wolf, a neutral location, lets you repeat any phase other than the marshalling phase, so I see no reason you couldn't use that to get the 4 total power twice.

master yoda
Published: 6/18/2010 1:16:51 PM

@fatmouse It's not a power challange, so no, you can't repeat. Unless of course there is a card out there that lets you repeat the Dominance phase.

Still it's a nice card with a bonus 4 gold on it even.

Published: 6/18/2010 12:33:28 PM

A nice effect.  Can anyone explain the flavor of this card to me?  I don't understand why it's House Stark only.  Isn't Baratheon the dominance house?  Aren't minstrels more of a Southern thing?

Published: 6/18/2010 5:56:39 AM

Given the popularity of the Siege at Winterfell agenda right now for Stark, this plot may not see a lot of play for a while. Still, I would agree the Den of Wolf combo with this plot is a pretty scary thought...

Published: 6/17/2010 11:21:03 PM

 Wow...repeat phase, win twice = 8 power...not bad at all. 

Published: 6/17/2010 5:17:42 PM

It may not make Stark the ultimate master at Worlds, but it will make House Tully decks a bit nice.

Question:  If you won the dominance phase and repeat (and presumable win again) does the plot give you 3 additional power again?

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