The Pack Survives
Preview the New Stark Cards in Wolves of the North
“The winters are hard,” Ned admitted. “But the Starks will endure. We always have.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
The winter winds wail across the north of Westeros, whipping the snow off the trees of the Wolfswood, stinging the skin on the watchmen’s faces and howling around the towers and parapets of Winterfell. In a land where winter can last a decade, the Starks have been weathered and hardened by cold. Though their manner can be harsh and unforgiving, their sense of honor is as unbreakable as midwinter ice—even when that honor drives them to make the uttermost sacrifices.
Wolves of the North, the first deluxe expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, invites you to take up arms alongside the honor-bound Starks. Whether you fight to establish the Starks as new Kings of the North or only wish to undermine their ambitions, you’ll want to know what new characters, locations, and events you might encounter north of the Neck.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at the some of the ways the Starks can sacrifice their own characters for a greater purpose!
Promise Me, Ned
Throughout A Song of Ice and Fire, the Starks are known for the sacrifices they are willing to accept for the sake of their honor and family. With the release of Wolves of the North, you’ll gain a host of new abilities that invite you to benefit from your characters’ sacrifices.
You may decide to count the names of your opponents and take revenge with Arya Stark (Wolves of the North, 7). Arya offers you a valuable intrigue icon, which can be hard to find in House Stark, but her true value is found when one of your Stark characters is killed. After any Stark character is killed, you can sacrifice Arya Stark to immediately choose and kill a character with a STR of three or lower. Although Arya doesn’t have the resources to target many of the strongest characters in the game, she could certainly kill an irritating character like Maester Caleotte (Core Set, 107) or Margaery Tyrell (Core Set, 181).
The natural downside of sacrificing a character like Arya Stark or Bran Stark (Core Set, 142) is that it’s an inherently single-use effect. Though you could certainly draw into another copy of Arya Stark and use her effect again, for the time being, you’ve used her effect and you’re also out a character. Fortunately, Wolves of the North also offers some cards to mitigate the downsides of sacrificing your own characters.
For instance, you may equip Arya or Bran with Needle (Wolves of the North, 20). When you sacrifice a character with Needle attached, you may sacrifice Needle to immediately return the sacrificed character to your hand instead of placing it in your discard pile. Not only does this essentially give you another chance to use the character, Needle gives the attached character two additional STR while it’s attached, making the character more dangerous in challenges and protecting it from effects like The Seastone Chair (Taking the Black, 11) and Raiding Longship (The Road to Winterfell, 32).
You can sacrifice your characters to take revenge for the deaths of other Starks, but you may also sacrifice your characters to foil your opponent’s plans and prevent a greater misfortune. Jory Cassel (Wolves of the North, 8), for example, offers his own life to guard the most important characters of House Stark. When one of your unique Stark characters would be killed, you may choose to sacrifice Jory Cassel in order to save that character. Then, if there is a Winter plot card revealed, the saved character gains a power. With four new Winter plots entering the game in this deluxe expansion, you’ll have plenty of options to ensure that Jory’s sacrifice isn’t forgotten.
Even as Jory Cassel helps you protect your characters from death, The Pack Survives (Wolves of the North, 23) gives you a chance to stop any cunning events that your opponent has snuck past your defenses. You can play this free event when the effects of an opponent’s event would initiate to cancel those effects. This powerful effect isn’t truly free, however—you must either sacrifice a Direwolf card or kneel two Stark characters to pay its cost. Though the price may be steep, The Pack Survives can save your game by stopping a cunning Tears of Lys (Core Set, 44) or an unforgivable Treachery (Core Set, 102).
Finally, the time may come when your defenses are weak or you desperately need to press the attack to win the game. At that time, you may choose to use the new Stark version of Jon Snow (Wolves of the North, 5). Jon Snow only bears a military icon, but with his ability, he offers enormous flexibility—you can sacrifice any Stark character to choose and stand any unique Stark character! As always, you’ll need to pay the price of sacrificing a character, but with cards like Catelyn Stark (Wolves of the North, 2) and Robb Stark (Core Set, 146) in your House, even the harshest sacrifice can offer powerful rewards.
Don’t Ask Your Men to Die for a Stranger
The Starks’ willingness to sacrifice for honor and family may give them the edge they need to win power in Westeros, but they also have exceptional allies in the lords and ladies of House Tully. Wolves of the North expands the options that House Tully can offer to the Starks, and in our next preview, we’ll take a closer look at House Tully and the new ways House Stark can rush for victory.
Until then, you can pre-order Wolves of the North at your local retailer today!