|The Grey Death Comes to The House of Black and White
An A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Spotlight
|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 20 September 2012|
Jon Connington shrugged off his wolfskin cloak, slipped his mail shirt off over his head, settled on a camp stool, and peeled the glove from his right hand. The nail on his middle finger had turned as black as jet, he saw, and the grey had crept up almost to the first knuckle. The tip of his ring finger had begun to darken too, and when he touched it with the point of his dagger, he felt nothing.
–George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons
In George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, greyscale is a disease that mortifies and hardens the skin, turning it a mottled grey or black and drying it out, causing it to crack and flake. It deadens the nerves, numbing the afflicted areas, and though it’s not always fatal, it can lead to a slow, drawn-out death.
Victims of the “grey death” who gaze at their scaly flesh must stare face to face into the reality of their eventual demise. Confronted by eternity, they may be driven to acts of nobility, realizing they have nothing left to lose and, thus, nothing left to fear. Or they may rush heedlessly and headlong into battle, thinking of a death in battle as little more than a blessing.
In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, Greyscale (The House of Black and White, 97) appears in the form of a tactically rich Condition attachment. Available at zero cost to both Baratheon and Targaryen players, Greyscale gives the attached character renown. However, it also forces the character’s controller to put one gold token on the attached character each time that character claims one or more power. Then, the character loses one Strength for each gold token on him.
Thematically, Greyscale thrusts characters into momentous decisions as they look at what they can do with their lives. Will the attached character shy from challenges, afraid to lose Strength? Or will he lend his aid, hoping to make a name for himself before he dies?
In a Baratheon deck, Greyscale can add some welcome renown to such popular characters as The Laughing Storm (Gates of the Citadel, 5) and Brienne of Tarth (Princes of the Sun, 37). The extra renown can help Baratheon players drive their rush home for the win just an instant sooner, or it can fuel effects like those on Obey the King (Kings of the Storm, 33) and Maester Lomys (Called by the Conclave, 45).
In a Targaryen deck, it can give you the same added boost, or it can attach to your opponent’s character for an extra measure of control. If your opponent’s character already has renown, Greyscale presents you no real downside while your opponent’s characters who can participate in multiple challenges each turn, like King Robert Baratheon (The Tower of the Hand, 46), become a lot less troublesome. Given all the burn effects Targaryen players can include in their decks, including such reusable abilities as that of Drogon (Core Set, 111), inflicting one of their opponent’s characters with Greyscale may be akin to removing them from challenges entirely.
Profiting from the Plague
These two primary effects are enough to make Greyscale a fantastic addition to a number of different deck types, but clever players will also find ways to make use of the fact the attachment can move gold tokens from the gold pool to any attached character. Several of these ways open up with Alliance (Queen of Dragons, 47), another treaty agenda, or the Free Cities from the Beyond the Narrow Sea cycle that reduce out-of-House gold penalties. A few Lannisters and some of Martell’s House Dayne characters gain strength for each gold token on them, meaning they remain at their base strength while they are afflicted with Greyscale, but for their suffering, they gain renown. Tywin Lannister (Core Set, 40) goes one up on all of those characters, however, as he can simply spend whatever gold tokens he gains.
Still, other Houses can make use of their gold tokens, and Targaryen players may find new uses for Grey Worm (Queen of Dragons, 10), who seems a perfect fit for the disease. His ability to spend gold tokens to raise or lower characters’ strengths (even when he’s not participating in a challenge himself) fairly well ensures that the fearless Unsullied will feature more prominently in decks built by players who seek to spread the grey plague to their opponents’ characters.
Death is Coming
In Braavos, Arya Stark discovered that the House of Black and White is a shrine to the god of death. Now, as we look forward to the release of The House of Black and White Chapter Pack for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, we may expect an outbreak of the grey death. Greyscale is coming. The only question is how you’ll respond once your House is afflicted.
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.