Blood of the Dragon
Preview House Targaryen in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
“I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, khaleesi to Drogo’s riders, and queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
Almost three-hundred years before the reign of Robert Baratheon, Westeros was conquered by Aegon Targaryen and his two sisters. The Targaryen family hailed from the ancient freehold of Valyria and with their mighty dragons, these three siblings were an unstoppable force that united the Seven Kingdoms into a single realm, ruled from King’s Landing and the Iron Throne.
The unbroken dynasty of the Targaryens ended three centuries later with the rebellion of Robert Baratheon, and only two Targaryen children – Viserys and Daenerys – were known to escape from Robert’s bloody coup. Although they fled across the Narrow Sea to Essos, the last scions of House Targaryen still remember the lands they once ruled and look forward to the day they will return to Westeros.
In the second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, you can lead House Targaryen to gather new warriors, awaken the first dragons in years, and march to reclaim your throne. Last week, our faction preview entered the court of the usurpers, House Baratheon. Today, however, we raise our banners with the Targaryen loyalists!
Nate French on House Targaryen
The Targaryens in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game are in the position of attacking from outside of Westeros, and as such, they tend to focus on building up and snowballing potential, as well as rising from the ashes with standing effects. This faction relies on its leadership more than most other factions, rallying and coming together around strong leaders like Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo. As the only House with access to dragons, burn (reducing STR and killing characters in this way) is still a central element of House Targaryen. Building your momentum and using that momentum to pressure your opponent are important parts of House Targaryen’s identity.
One living Targaryen commands the loyalty of the world’s last known dragons. When you fight for House Targaryen, you can strike fear into the hearts of your foes by rallying your forces around Daenerys Targaryen (Core Set, 160).
In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, Daenerys Targaryen is a powerful leader for her House, and she offers two powerful effects to aid your conquest of Westeros. First, Daenerys bears the insight keyword, which allows you to draw a card whenever you win a challenge in which she participated. More importantly though, Daenerys Targaryen’s mere presence and force of will can wear down your opponents. While Daenerys is standing, each of your opponent’s characters participating in a challenge against you has his STR reduced by one. By reducing the STR of every character that opposes you, you’ll find it much easier to return to Westeros and battle for your ancient throne.
Of course, Daenerys Targaryen need not enter battle alone. Her three Dragons are perhaps the last such creatures in the world, and in addition to being useful characters individually, each Dragon enhances Daenerys by granting her new abilities. Drogon (Core Set, 161) offers the renown keyword, allowing Daenerys to gain a power whenever she wins a challenge. Viserion (Core Set, 166) grants stealth, allowing Daenerys to choose a character that cannot defend whenever she attacks. Finally, Rhaegal (Core Set, 164) allows you to stand a Stormborn character like Daenerys Targaryen after you win a challenge in which a Stormborn character participated. In other words, after you win a challenge with Daenerys, you can stand her again, reinstating her punishing, STR-lowering ability.
With all three of her Dragons around her, Daenerys becomes truly formidable. She boasts the insight, renown, and stealth keywords, she can stand after she wins a challenge, and while standing, she lowers the STR of every character participating in a challenge against you. Such a dangerous leader will certainly make the enemies of your House think twice before they choose to stand against the return of the Targaryens!
Fire and Blood
As the only faction with access to Dragons, House Targaryen has a special affinity for burn tactics. In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, “burn” refers to reducing a character’s STR through a variety of card effects. Although reducing a character’s STR to zero does not automatically kill the character, many cards do allow you to kill your enemies once their STR reaches zero.
For example, you can support the return of the Targaryens with armies of Unsullied (Core Set, 171). These fearsome warriors are deadly in battle, and while the Unsullied are attacking, the STR of each defending character is reduced. If you combine this effect with Daenerys Targaryen, you can significantly reduce the STR of any character who dares oppose your challenges. Even if you only have the Unsullied in play, their ability forces your opponent to devote more characters to a successful defense. Rather than facing the Unsullied, your enemies may simply bow to your superior claim and allow you to make your challenge unopposed.
Your opponents may choose to stand aside and let you pass, rather than opposing your challenges and suffering from a lowered STR, but you can take advantage of this strategy with the Plaza of Punishment (Core Set, 173). You can kneel Plaza of Punishment after you win a power challenge to choose any character without attachments. The STR of your target is reduced, and he is killed if his STR becomes zero. Best of all, this lowered STR lasts until the end of the phase. When you you use Plaza of Punishment in conjunction with Daenerys Targaryen or the Unsullied, you can burn your enemies even if they stand aside and let you pass.
Plaza of Punishment can be excellent for dissuading a character after some challenges have been made, but sometimes, you need a character dead before he can throw your plans into disarray. You can consume these troublesome foes in billows of flame with Dracarys! (Core Set, 176). When you play Dracarys!, you can kneel a Dragon character or Daenerys Targaryen to choose a character participating in a challenge. Until the end of the phase, that character’s STR is massively reduced, and he’s killed if his STR is zero. Obviously, Dracarys! is even more powerful with Daenerys Targaryen standing, but in any circumstance, this event can easily eliminate rising threats to Targaryen rule.
These burn effects predominantly offer ways to kill your opponent’s characters or reduce their STR so much that they pose no threat to your invasion. Not all of House Targaryen’s battle tactics revolve around dragon fire, however. You can slay your opponent’s characters in pitched battle with the help of Khal Drogo (Core Set, 162). Khal Drogo is a fearsome Dothraki warlord, and his renown keyword helps you gain power faster than ever. The khal also leads your armies into battle by allowing you to initiate an additional military challenge during the challenges phase. If you have the STR to accomplish it, winning two military challenges can significantly disrupt your opponent’s board. When you combine Khal Drogo with a high-claim plot like The Winds of Winter (Core Set, 25), you could wipe out your opponent’s forces in a single challenges phase.
Waking the Dragon
As a ruler of House Targaryen, you have the power to restore your House to greatness. The Iron Throne is yours for the taking. Unleash your dragons, and rain fire and blood on Westeros until you can return to your ancestral home!
The Targaryens are not the only faction separated from the mainland of Westeros, though. On the Iron Islands, the hardy ironborn look to the east and remember the days when they ruled the seas. Soon, you’ll push your longships into the ocean and pillage in the service of the Drowned God! Join us next week for our preview of House Greyjoy.
Pre-order A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition at your local retailer today!