Enter the Tourney Ground
A Final Player Archetype for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
“All those years I was a knight, I was truly a fool, and now that I am a fool I think… I think I may find it in me to be a knight again, sweet lady.”
–Ser Dontos Hollard, A Clash of Kings
The player archetypes of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game are an unquestionable part of the game’s lineage. From the earliest days of the second edition, Nate French defined the positions of Ned, Shagga, and Jaime, while Will Lentz continued to build more recently with four archetypes focused on melee games.
Today, we welcome Will Lentz back to suggest a final player archetype that you may identify with as you battle for the Iron Throne!
Will Lentz on a Final Player Archetype for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
I’ve had something on my mind for a while now. A little nagging thought that I couldn’t quite escape.
Many of you know that I love player archetypes. The Ned, Jaime, and Shagga joust types have long served the players, not only as shorthand for different aspects of the game that we enjoy, but also for the designers to keep different parts of the player base engaged. In fact, I love the discussion these archetypes bring to the game so much that a number of months ago, I also brought you the melee player archetypes of Cersei, Brienne, The Queen of Thorns, and Chella as a way for people to discuss and identify with the different parts of the melee game that they most enjoy.
That said, I’ve had this little thought nagging at the back of my mind: a whisper that we weren’t quite done yet, that there was still something left to explore.
So this time around, I want to present what may be the last of the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game player archetypes. What could possibly still be left to explore, you might ask? Ned focuses on the flavor, Jaime on efficient victory, and Shagga on sheer card impressiveness, while Cersei loves cutthroat action, Brienne stands by her word, The Queen of Thorns manipulates others, and Chella just wants to watch it all burn. With these broad bases already covered, is there still room for an aspect of the game to be represented by a single personality from the books? Perhaps.
If you listen to nearly any A Game of Thrones: The Card Game podcast you’ll hear a certain theme repeated over and over—the community rocks. Again and again, when we discuss our tournament coverage or offer tips to players preparing to attend large events like Gen Con Indy or the FFG World Championships, we spend a moment talking about how great the people that play the game are. One of the biggest highlights of an event is almost always heading to a local pub or bar-and-grill afterward for much-needed decompression with some of the coolest folks around. Over food and a good drink, stories are told, lives are shared, and some of the greatest bonds are forged. (And I should know: four of my groomsmen, my minister, and nearly half of my wedding guests were folks I know through A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!).
Yes, winning or even just placing feels good, but we all know that not everyone is going to do that all of the time. And so, in our tournament tips, we always tell listeners to take the time to become part of the community, because it’s worth it, and it can definitely take the sting out of a disappointing tournament performance and turn it into something worth remembering.
So what personality from A Song of Ice and Fire embodies this viewpoint? Why, Ser Dontos Hollard, of course!
Ser Dontos is a character that many know from his acquaintance with Sansa Stark in King’s Landing. I’ll avoid too many details for fear of spoilers, and instead, I’ll focus on a part of Ser Dontos that I think is often overlooked. While he’s certainly not the best of knights, he is still a knight and competes in tournaments. He makes alliances and attempts to do the right thing, even though life often does not work out very well for him. He’s not “in it to win it,” as it were, but he still participates. He gets his enjoyment from the partying and fellowship that surround the tournament. In essence, he knows that he’s not the best of the best, but he keeps on trying in one way or another.
I think this gets to the center of what I want this player type to encapsulate—those who view the experience and the attempt as worthwhile, who enjoy the celebration (sometimes a bit too much), and know that the best parts of life are how we connect with others.
With that said, here’s a deck that offers a little bit of everything. It may not be the most cutting edge, nor offer the best chance of winning any single event, but on the other hand, it should carry you through joust and melee respectably, with some options for effective play in each. I won’t detail the different categories of power and synergistic cards this time, but I will offer a few tips.
- Kneel is a powerful tool in virtually any situation. It handles threats or opens key opportunities in joust, but don’t forget that negotiating deals to not kneel your opponent’s best character can be just as effective (or just as fun) in melee.
- Sure, Valar Morghulis (There Is My Claim, 80) makes relying on renown a perilous strategy, but a wide smattering of characters gaining additional power is always a good way to put extra pressure on the opponent. And if nothing else, it gives you a shot at snatching a win, even from a losing position. Just don’t get too attached to those characters.
- Have fun! Now you don’t have to spend as much time tweaking different decks for different events. Just carry this one around and make the best tactical play you can in any given situation.
Ser Dontos Takes the Field
Total Cards: 60
Faction: House Baratheon
1x Banner of the Rose (Core Set)
1x A Clash of Kings (Core Set)
1x A Noble Cause (Core Set)
1x Calling the Banners (Core Set)
1x Close Call (True Steel)
1x Confiscation (Core Set)
1x Summer Harvest (Called to Arms)
1x Wildfire Assault (Core Set)
1x Alerie Tyrell (Lions of Casterly Rock)
2x Asshai Priestess (For Family Honor)
1x Brienne of Tarth (Ghosts of Harrenhal)
3x Dragonstone Faithful (Core Set)
1x Edric Storm (Lions of Casterly Rock)
3x Fiery Followers (Core Set)
3x Garden Caretaker (Core Set)
1x Littlefinger (Core Set)
1x Maester Cressen (Core Set)
3x Margaery Tyrell (Core Set)
3x Melisandre (Core Set)
1x Moon Boy (The King’s Peace)
1x Randyll Tarly (Core Set)
3x Robert Baratheon (Core Set)
1x Selyse Baratheon (Core Set)
1x Ser Barristan Selmy (True Steel)
1x Ser Davos Seaworth (Core Set)
1x Ser Hobber Redwyne (The King’s Peace)
1x Ser Horas Redwyne (No Middle Ground)
1x Shireen Baratheon (Core Set)
1x The Knight of Flowers (Core Set)
2x Bodyguard (Core Set)
1x Lightbringer (Core Set)
1x Seal of the Hand (Core Set)
2x Dragonstone Port (Core Set)
3x The Kingsroad (Core Set)
3x The Red Keep (Core Set)
3x The Roseroad (Core Set)
2x A Gift of Arbor Red (True Steel)
2x Consolidation of Power (Core Set)
3x Even Handed Justice (Wolves of the North)
1x Put to the Sword (Core Set)
1x Put to the Torch (Core Set)
2x Seen in Flames (Core Set)
Will Lentz is a long-time player of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, starting back in the Dawn Age of 2002, shortly after the launch of the collectible card game. Since then, he’s been an avid player of the joust format and constant proponent of the melee format. Over that time he’s written quite a lot about the game, co-founded the first A Game of Thrones: The Card Game podcast, claimed multiple top cut finishes, and earned the moniker of “championship-level player.” These days, you can find Will at www.whitebookpodcast.com, where new podcasts are launched each Friday, alongside regularly submitted articles, winning deck list archives, and event listings throughout the week.
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