A Song of Ice and Fire
Preview the Targaryen and Stark Cards of Watchers on the Wall
A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness… mother of dragons, bride of fire.
–George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
For the Night’s Watch, standing atop the towering ice of the Wall, it may be easy to forget the rest of Westeros. The Night’s Watch looks north, into the lands beyond, defending the realms of men from the terrors that stalk the night. Yet even in a time of encroaching danger and supernatural threats, the Seven Kingdoms do not cease to exist. The game of thrones plays on.
Similarly, though the Watchers on the Wall deluxe expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game is primarily focused on the Night’s Watch faction, you’ll also find two non-loyal cards for each of the seven other factions, alongside a wealth of neutral cards that bring the Wildlings to the fore. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the cards supporting House Targaryen and House Stark!
Bride of Fire
When playing most of the factions in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, you want to keep your hand full of cards. More cards means more options—more ways to counter your opponent’s plans and pursue your own plots. Being caught without cards in your hand can be a death sentence—especially if your opponent is able to reset the board with a card like Varys (Core Set, 29) or Valar Morghulis (There Is My Claim, 80). If your only options are the two cards you draw at the beginning of the round, you’ll soon be forced to yield to an opponent with more options.
Still, there is one faction that has learned to survive without options—perhaps more than any other faction. Life is hard on the Wall, but the Night’s Watch still has the support of their brothers. Daenerys Targaryen lacked even that. Through Daenerys, House Targaryen survived the fall of Khal Drogo, the red wastes beyond the Dothraki Sea, and the treacherous schemes of the Ghiscari. Now, two new cards in Watchers on the Wall follow the example set by Ser Barristan Selmy (Lions of Casterly Rock, 35).
The first card is the Dothraki Honor Guard (Watchers on the Wall, 35). With ten STR for just five gold, the Dothraki Honor Guard has one of the best cost-to-STR ratios in the entire game. There is a catch, however—the Dothraki Honor Guard loses one point of STR for each card in your hand. In other words, it’s only at full STR when you have no cards in hand. Still, high STR characters can fill an important role in your army—especially if you’re planning on pushing multiple military challenges with the aid of Khal Drogo (Core Set, 162) and Relentless Assault (Tyrion’s Chain, 118).
Still, you rarely have precise control over the number of cards in your hand, which can make it very difficult to reliably use the Dothraki Honor Guard or Ser Barristan Selmy. Fortunately, the second Targaryen card in Watchers on the Wall gives you an exceptional way to reduce your hand size and stand your characters. Plaza of Pride (Watchers on the Wall, 36) reads: “Action: Kneel Plaza of Pride and discard a card from your hand to choose and stand a character with printed cost X or lower. X is 3 higher than the printed cost of the discarded card.”
House Targaryen already excelled at rising from the ashes and standing its characters with cards like Aggo (Wolves of the North, 35), Magister Illyrio (Core Set, 163), and Waking the Dragon (Core Set, 178). Now, Plaza of Pride gives you yet another tool that you can use to consistently and easily stand your characters. Most likely, you’ve already seen the uncertainty that can affect your opponent’s challenges by saving two gold with Magister Illyrio in play—with Plaza of Pride, you just need to have a single card in your hand. Whether that card costs enough to stand your high-cost characters is hardly important. What matters is the way that your opponent must play around the Plaza of Pride and respect its effect. After all, standing Daenerys Targaryen (Core Set, 160) without warning could easily result in sudden death.
A Blue Flower
Another faction that’s no stranger to standing its characters is House Stark. With Robb Stark (Core Set, 146) leading their forces, Stark players have long been using death or sacrifice to stand their characters and fuel additional challenges. Still, some of House Stark’s most important characters are its Ladies. Catelyn Stark (Core Set, 143), Sansa Stark (Wolves of the North, 13), and Arya Stark (Core Set, 141) are each incredibly potent characters, and you’ll want to keep them on the board as much as possible.
That’s where Jeyne Poole (Watchers on the Wall, 33) comes in. As a cheap, dual-icon character, Jeyne Poole has little STR to offer to your cause, though her icons can prove useful in a deck using The Lord of the Crossing (The King’s Peace, 60). Still, as a Marshaling Action, you can sacrifice Jeyne Poole to return any Lady character from your discard pile to your hand, helping to ensure that your key characters stick around when you need them.
And finally, House Stark gains another versatile Direwolf with an attachment version of Summer (Watchers on the Wall, 34). When Summer is attached to a character, you can kneel that character to have it participate in a military challenge on your side—making Summer perfect for characters without a printed military icon, such as Catelyn Stark. And like Lady (Taking the Black, 4) and Nymeria (Wolves of the North, 19), you can pay one gold to attach Summer to a different character. Whenever Summer is in play, your opponent’s math could quickly become impossible, especially if you choose to use the King version of Robb Stark (Across the Seven Kingdoms, 2) as well.
The Wall of Ice
Jon Snow and the other brothers of the Night’s Watch are sworn to protect Westeros, but that doesn’t mean they’re above accepting aid. Whether you use these new cards to uphold the Wall or tear it down, you’ll soon have your chance to make your choice.
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