|Defending the True Queen at the Tourney for the Hand
An A Game of Thrones: The Card Game spotlight by guest writer Dan Strouhal
|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 06 October 2011|
The longsword in his hand was red for half its length. Here and there the carpets had begun to smolder where some of the scattered coals had fallen. He could hear poor Qezza sobbing. “Don’t be afraid,” the old knight said. “I mean you no harm, child. I want only the king.”
–George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons
Knights and champions from across the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros have begun to prepare for the Tourney for the Hand and the subsequent Chapter Packs of the A Tale of Champions cycle for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. Today, guest writer Dan Strouhal takes a look at a knight sworn to uphold the honor of the true Queen.
An accomplished player, Dan is a 2011 Regional Champion and Top 4 finisher in the Gen Con 2011 Joust Championship where he played Targaryen. He’s considered a specialist with the House and edits and contributes to his informative Thrones Times online newsletter.
A Targaryen champion at the Tourney for the Hand
A Tale of Champions promises “a strong emphasis on the unique characters who would be at the forefront of a tourney environment.” Where House Targaryen is concerned, the first chapter pack delivers. Ser Barristan Selmy (Tourney for the Hand, 10) makes his second appearance in the LCG format as an obedient Targaryen Knight and Queensguard. Unlike the shadowy King’s Landing personality, this Barristan is bolder and deadlier than ever.
A knight for any occasion
At first glance, Ser Barristan Selmy may appear to be a standard character with three Strength and a useful ability for four gold. He cannot prevent a character from defending in the same way that Balon Greyjoy (Kings of the Sea, 1) or Stannis Baratheon (Core Set, B72) often do, but he can still push through challenges by reducing the Strength of opposing characters. Although discarding a card to trigger this effect may impose a steep cost, it becomes even more potent on defense, potentially deterring an opponent from attacking even without having to discard a card.
As many readers will immediately recognize, endless possibilities exist to combine this effect with other Targaryen cards. The effect will stand Killer of the Wounded (Queen of Dragons, 16), trigger Meereenese Brothel (Beyond the Wall, 30), draw cards with Maegi Crone (Beyond the Wall, 29), and conveniently combine with Forever Burning (Core Set, T174) and The Dragonpit (Tales from the Red Keep, 74) to kill those annoying three-Strength characters that tend to be more difficult to eliminate. And every time this knight wins a challenge, he claims Renown. He is not only a good addition to a control player’s joust deck, but also a rush player’s melee deck, and everything in between.
A champion like no other
What makes Ser Barristan Selmy uniquely efficient is not his printed text, but what it lacks. The triggered effect has no restrictions or limitations–a rare quality in House Targaryen. When the opponent attacks with a pair of two-Strength characters, one of them with attachments and the other with the No Attachments keyword, Barristan the Bold does not struggle to kill those who would harm the Mother of Dragons. The only question is this: Do both characters die, or do you just kill one to win the challenge?
What truly sets this knight apart, however, is his effect on the other cards in the Targaryen player’s draw deck. The worst card in your hand–that late-game duplicate of a character long dead–is now a kill effect. Hate to run duplicates? How about adding a Pentoshi Guildmaster (Core Set, T124), who can be discarded for Ser Barristan Selmy’s ability and returned to hand after you win a challenge by four Strength.
Ser Barristan Selmy represents a conceptual breakthrough in how Targaryen cards are designed, and one that I hope continues. The House that features the most conditional, restrictive effects like those on Field of Fire (Queen of Dragons, 37) and Red Warlock (A Song of Summer, 12), Targaryen now has an effect that treats every card in hand like a Dragon Attack (A Change of Seasons, 56). Those high-cost influence events, unneeded locations, and other dead cards that are frequently returned to hand with Street Waif (A Time of Trials, 32) are no longer useless. With a few more cards like this, recursion may actually replace draw as Targaryen’s in-house mechanic for card advantage.
This evolutionary step for House Targaryen is more than merely good synergy with Lady Daenarys’ Chambers (Core Set, T180) and other recursive effects. Excellent flavor has partnered with efficient design to form a truly epic champion character. Ser Barristan Selmy is unique, not just for the flag icon to the left of his name. This is Targaryen design like we’ve never seen it before.
Thanks, Dan! We’re looking forward to Ser Barristan Selmy in action when Tourney for the Hand releases later in the month.
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.
Master Selmy! A very Jedi-like artwork!
Nice. Now I can finally put a copy (or 3) of Barristan into a Targ deck. Gonna miss the 4str though, you could always count on Barristan to be one of the biggest bad-asses around. Then again, I guess he still is.
"An accomplished player, Dan is a 2011 Regional Champion and Top 4 finisher in the Gen Con 2011 Joust Championship where he played Targaryen."
reads very, very much like "chum..." er, i mean, "championship level player" :-P
I thought this was the kind of character FFG wanted to avoid for Targ. Easy repeatable burn on a decent dude. I think Targ has a new all-time quarterback...
I like the fact that he's not House Targ only. I think this is a card that will be in many decks.
Great card, great article!
Finally a Selmy that is powerful, and probably the best burn card we have seen in a long time too! Amazing.
I wish this was going to be availible for Days of Ice and Fire.
This guy is awesome.
Very nice article Dan; Targ has always been a sentimental favorite for me, and you've certainly rekindled my interest.
Ser Barristan Awesome!
Excelent Targaryen card!