News for April 2012
A Tale of the Cards
The design team's favorite cards from the A Tale of Champions cycle
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 26 April 2012

Robert slapped Ned on the back. “Ah, say that I'm a better king than Aerys and be done with it. You never could lie for love nor honor, Ned Stark. I'm still young, and now that you're here with me, things will be different. We'll make this a reign to sing of, and damn the Lannisters to seven hells… Who do you think our champion will be today? Have you seen Mace Tyrell's boy? The Knight of Flowers, they call him. Now there's a son any man would be proud to own to. Last tourney, he dumped the Kingslayer on his golden rump.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Valar Morghulis, the first Chapter Pack from the Beyond the Narrow Sea cycle for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game is nearly here. With it, we’ll see the introduction of characters who can become agendas, Kingdom locations that reduce the costs of various traited cards, and a multitude of new characters, locations, and events that expand the struggles between the Great Houses of Westeros into the Eastern continent, Essos.

However, before we launch into the new cycle, let’s take a moment to look once again at some of the cards from the A Tale of Champions cycle. In recent spotlights, guest writers Will Lentz and Dan Strouhal both remarked that the metagame for A Game of Thrones has reached a new height for parity and diversity. Each of the Great Houses is enjoying its share of tournament successes, and the field has been nicely split among a number of agendas and even a good number of decks without agendas. The cards from A Tale of Champions have played a large part in developing this robust environment, and today members of the LCG Design Team tell us about their favorite cards from the cycle.

Queen’s Guard

Nate French: Senior LCG Designer: My favorite thing about the A Tale of Champions cycle is how it has enriched the melee game, and my favorite card that exemplifies this aspect of the cycle is Queen's Guard (Trial by Combat, 83). As a player who prefers House Lannister and, generally, decks focused around control, the fact that the melee metagame tends to favor rush decks has always left me a little uneasy. To me, it frequently felt like a poker game where everyone was going “all-in” before the flop. In a multiplayer environment where you’re faced with the prospect of having to control multiple opponents, many of your control cards lose a great deal of efficiency, particularly those with single, targeted effects. This leads many players to favor a faster, rush-oriented approach. Cards like the Queen's Guard, that extend the scope and effectiveness of some of these control effects, and tempt more players to explore control possibilities in the melee game, are just what we need to help keep the multiplayer metagame evolving in an exciting manner.

Daario Naharis and Ser Jorah Mormont

Lukas Litzsinger, Associate LCG Designer: I’d have to pick both Daario Naharis (Where Loyalty Lies, 73) and Ser Jorah Mormont (Where Loyalty Lies, 72) together because they came out in the same Chapter Pack and fulfill the same role in my Targaryen deck. In a deck that can manipulate your opponent’s character’s traits, these cards allow for fun and powerful combinations. Basically, they are my Targaryen deck. Paired with cards like Knighted (Kings of the Storm, 43), Rhaegar's Harp (Battle of the Ruby Ford, 84), and Summer Encampment (Scattered Armies, 120), Daario and Ser Jorah allow for a Targaryen control build that doesn’t focus on “burn.” Because they add such control and variety to Targaryen, these two characters are my favorite cards in the cycle.

Euron Crow’s Eye and Corpse Lake

Erik Dahlman, Associate LCG Designer: My favorite card is a toss-up between Euron Crow's Eye (The Grand Melee, 29) and Corpse Lake (Trial By Combat, 87). Paired together, these cards have brought the Greyjoy raiding strategy to a place where it actually works as more than just a novelty. It might not yet have become as effective as Greyjoy’s choke builds, but it's a fun strategy to explore, and there’s little in the game to compare with look on your opponent's face when you've raided their whole deck in about four turns – and claimed power while doing so!

Raiding the Reach

Damon Stone, Lead Developer A Tale of Champions: Raiding my opponent’s deck has always struck me as a fun form of psychological warfare in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. When your opponents watch extremely useful cards and, occasionally, lynchpins of their deck hit the discard pile before they have a chance to draw and play them, they often start to panic. They alter their play style and depart from their deck’s main strategy to compensate for the loss of the tactical choices each discarded card represents. 

Raiding the Reach (The Grand Melee, 31) presses that same advantage and then doubles down on it by allowing me to filter out the most useful cards my opponent would draw and leaving him stuck with the chaff. If I am playing a choke deck, I can remove his gold-providing locations and cost reducers. If I am playing a deck built around unopposed challenges, I can get rid of his strongest characters. This event allows me to exert control over my opponent’s choices, and as Martha Stewart would say, “That is a good thing.”

There you have it! Four of the designers in our LCG team offer their favorite cards from the A Tale of Champions cycle. Their choices represent three of the Great Houses, as well as the cycle’s focus on the melee format, its focus on the unique personalities from A Song of Ice and Fire, and the maturity it has lent to new strategies.

We hope you enjoy experimenting with more of the cards from A Tale of Champions while you wait for the release of Valar Morghulis. We also hope you enjoy all these exciting cards while you participate in the season’s exciting Regional Championship tournament season!

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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