News for July 2012
Kneeling Before A Harsh Mistress
An A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Spotlight by Guest Writer Matt Ley
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 26 July 2012

In the current cycle of Chapter Packs for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, the Great Houses travel Beyond the Narrow Sea to the Eastern continent, Essos. There they act according to their old habits, but modified to the new locale.

Today, we get a look at how one of the Houses has prospered among the Free Cities of Essos. Guest writer and advocate of House Lannister Matt Ley explores how the House picks up some new tricks in A Harsh Mistress, the cycle’s fourth Chapter Pack.

Guest Writer Matt Ley on House Lannister’s Adventures in Essos

House Lannister has historically had the following main house strengths:

  • Efficient card draw
  • Money, and lots of it!
  • Trait manipulation
  • Kneeling

With the development of the present card pool, Lannister trait manipulation has not seen enough support to compete as a top-tier control strategy. During last year’s Regional Championship season we saw some people trying it out; I remember “Mathlete” and I had a great Top 8 showdown at KublaCon using Lion’s Gate (A Song of Summer, 17) along with You Killed the Wrong Dwarf! (Core Set, 167) and some other cards to control the board. Soon thereafter, however, Carrion Bird (A Song of Summer, 16) received an erratum, and that change, combined with the deepening card pool, meant trait manipulation went from a tournament contender to a fun casual strategy.

That leaves Lannister control to kneeling. Lannister rose to the top of the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game early competitive LCG play on the backs of some strong kneeling cards. Enemy Informer (Core Set, 48) has always been a favorite, and other cheap early kneel cards like Cersei’s Attendant (Core Set, 50) and Lannisport Brothel (Core Set, 56) helped keep characters grounded.

Recurring kneel effects made the house even more powerful. One of the first cards to be Restricted was Castellan of the Rock (Battle of Ruby Ford, 93), and the heyday of Lanni kneel was based around his effect and that of the Shadows crest location, Alchemist's Guild Hall (The Battle of Blackwater Bay, 103). Why did these cards make Lannister rise to the top? Because they were recurring kneeling. Other houses control strategies focused on permanently removing a threat from the table: Stark has kills, Targ has burn, and so forth. But kneeling a character only keeps them down for that turn. Castellan and Guild Hall could keep those characters down indefinitely, or change their targets depending on the board, assuming you kept meeting their triggers.

The Case for Temporary Solutions

Now, with the Beyond the Narrow Sea cycle, Lanni has gotten some more support for this control. First, Penny (Valar Dohaeris, 24) can force your opponent to choose between the unattractive options of discarding a card from hand or kneeling any character without attachments of your choice, all for the low, low price of a one gold character. Next, A Harsh Mistress will bring yet another cheap, recurring kneel card to help Lannister keep their boots on your opponent’s main characters, Volantis Inn (A Harsh Mistress, 63).

The Volantis Inn allows any Lannister character to act like the Castellan. By kneeling the Volantis Inn and any character you control, you make an opponent’s character of your choice sit out the next turn. Use that Cersei’s Attendant to kneel your opponent’s The Laughing Storm (Gates of the Citadel, 5) or Drogon (Queen of Dragons, 23); then you can lose her the next turn to satisfy Military claim and kneel another character of your choice. If you like playing Maesters, you can kneel one of them to keep your opponent down, and trigger all of their chains’ responses.

All things being equal, kneeling will never be as strong as kill or burn effects. Fortunately for the Lions, all is not equal. As the Beyond the Narrow Sea cycle brings us more recurring kneel cards at low prices, the game offers Lannister a strong control theme that is also agile.

Thanks, Matt!

The Beyond the Narrow Sea cycle offers House Lannister some new tools for old tricks, but it also opens up several other strategies. As Gen Con Indy draws near, we look forward to seeing what you’ll make of the cycle’s exciting new cards!

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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