The Rains of Castamere

Preview the Intrigues of House Lannister in Lions of Casterly Rock

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“And who are you, the proud lord said, that I must bow so low?
Only a cat of a different coat, that's all the truth I know.
In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws,
And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours.”
   
–George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords

Every lord, lady, knight, and servant in Westeros is intimately familiar with the power and wealth of the Lannisters. Under the leadership of Tywin Lannister, the House has risen to a position of power, commanding significant influence in the courts of King’s Landing even before Robert Baratheon’s untimely demise. Yet this position was not claimed with blades, but with whispered words and secret letters and the daggers of assassins.

With Lions of Casterly Rock, the second deluxe expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, you’ll gain the freedom to support the intrigues of House Lannister. In today’s preview, we’ll take a closer look at some of the new cards included in this expansion, starting with a new champion-designed agenda!

A Cat of a Different Coat

Throughout A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, your plot deck is a constant fixture. Though the plots you choose can change from deck to deck, you always have seven plot cards. You always reveal a plot of your choice with your opponent at the beginning of a round. You always have the chance to cycle back through your plots, if the game goes long enough. All of these facts have remained the same, no matter which deck you played… until now.

The Lions of Casterly Rock expansion introduces a single new agenda that can be used by any faction, and it promises to mix up the way you approach your plot deck like nothing else. This agenda is "The Rains of Castamere" (Lions of Casterly Rock, 45), designed by 2013 Joust World Champion, Álvaro Rodriguez. Immortalizing Tywin Lannister’s ruthless victory over House Reyne of Castamere, the song has become almost synonymous with unexpected betrayal and deadly schemes throughout A Song of Ice and Fire. As you might suspect, “The Rains of Castamere” has a similar effect in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.

From its first sentence, this agenda introduces a radical shift to your plot decks. It reads, “Your plot deck must be 12 cards, including exactly 5 different Scheme cards. During the plot phase, Scheme cards are not considered to be in your plot deck. Reaction: After you win an intrigue challenge by 5 or more STR, kneel your faction card to reveal a Scheme plot. If that card leaves play, remove it from the game.

Essentially, this plot allows you to trigger the ability of a Scheme plot on demand—provided you can win an intrigue challenge with enough STR. Imagine the power of triggering a plot like Filthy Accusations (Core Set, 11), Littlefinger's Meddling (Lions of Casterly Rock, 49), or Wildfire Assault (Core Set, 26) midway through the challenges phase in the right situation. After all, that’s the real benefit of “The Rains of Castamere.” It’s not that you just get to reveal a Scheme plot in the challenges phase; it’s the ability to reveal the perfect Scheme for your situation, no matter what that may be. 

A Lion Still Has Claws

Though any House can take advantage of “The Rains of Castamere,” House Lannister is uniquely poised to use this agenda, because of their natural strength in intrigue challenges. In our announcement of this expansion, we took a closer look at the new version of Cersei Lannister (Lions of Casterly Rock, 1)—a character who can make intrigue challenges without kneeling and gains power whenever cards are discarded from your opponent’s hand! And Cersei Lannister is hardly alone among the Lannister cards that reward you for making intrigue challenges.

The Red Keep Spy (Lions of Casterly Rock, 12), for instance, can be ambushed into play during the challenge phase. When she enters play using ambush, you may choose any character with a printed cost of three or lower. If you have more cards in hand than the chosen character’s controller, you immediately return that character to its owner’s hand. Not only does this remove a weaker character from the board, making your military challenges more potent, it also places that character back in its owner’s hand—leaving it vulnerable to your intrigues.

Other Lannister cards in this expansion reward you for demolishing your opponent’s hand. We’ve already looked at Golden Tooth (Lions of Casterly Rock, 17), which unlocks the fabled wealth of the Lannisters once your opponent has no cards in hand. You’ll find a similar effect on Tommen Baratheon (Lions of Casterly Rock, 15), a young King who prevents players without cards in hand from gaining power through challenge bonuses, such as unopposed power or the rival bonus. You may even use Insidious Scheme (Lions of Casterly Rock, 23) to suddenly refill your own hand of cards. This event can be played after claim is applied during an intrigue challenge that you won by five or more STR. If your opponent still has cards in hand, you can draw two cards, but if his hand was emptied, you immediately draw four cards!

You might even use the widespread influence of House Lannister to push your intrigues into places where they wouldn’t ordinarily be found. This expansion offers a new version of Ser Jaime Lannister (Lions of Casterly Rock, 5) in his persona as a member of the Kingsguard. Ser Jaime Lannister’s prowess in the joust inspires each of your Knights to gain renown when attacking alone, and he can also spread deadly intrigues to the rest of the Kingsguard. As an action, you can choose a Kingsguard character, like Ser Barristan Selmy (True Steel, 107), and give that character an intrigue icon until the end of the phase, helping to push your challenges through and protecting you from dangers like Tears of Lys (Core Set, 44). 

Mine Are Long and Sharp, My Lord

House Lannister’s armies and warriors are peerless, but it’s worth remembering where the House began—with Lann the Clever in the Age of Heroes. Your intrigues raised you to your lofty heights, and they still have the power to shape the fate of Westeros. Pledge your sword to House Lannister with the Lions of Casterly Rock expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!

You can pre-order your copy of Lions of Casterly Rock at your local retailer today.    

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