A Missive from the Conclave
A New FAQ for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
The great tourney and heated intrigues of the 2018 World Championships are fast approaching, and with these changing times comes a new FAQ for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, challenging your existing decks and promising to shake up the metagame.
You can download the new A Game of Thrones: The Card Game FAQ (PDF, 7.3 MB), then read on for designer Danny Schaefer’s thoughts behind the newest additions to the restricted list! This new FAQ goes into effect on October 8, 2018, and the current FAQ will continue to be available for download on the website until that time.
Danny Schaefer on the New Restricted List
Hello A Game of Thrones: The Card Game players!
This FAQ update adds five new cards to the Joust restricted list, and I’d like to take the time to explain some of the thought process behind those changes. While previous updates to the Joust restricted list focused exclusively on curbing the impact of combo decks in the metagame, this update has a different goal. The five cards being restricted are not part of some game-breaking combo—they are simply powerful cards that have an outsized impact on the metagame. My aim in restricting these cards is to weaken some of the dominant strategies in the current metagame, opening up opportunities for other deck types to be competitive.
Three neutral cards are being added to the restricted list. The first is The Wars to Come (Sands of Dorne, 45), an agenda which has dominated the field in recent tournaments. The agenda provides unparalleled plot flexibility with very little drawback, making it easy to slot in for almost any deck. Restricting The Wars to Come should make other agendas more appealing, allowing a wider variety of deck archetypes to compete at the highest level.
The second card being restricted is Flea Bottom (Oberyn’s Revenge, 98). This neutral location has been near-ubiquitous in competitive decks since its release, with its exceptionally high power level making it a default inclusion in most decks. Flea Bottom is particularly potent with cheap characters that can be sacrificed or discarded for an effect—factions with access to such cards benefit greatly from Flea Bottom’s presence in the metagame, while other factions suffer. Flea Bottom also has the indirect effect of weakening faction themes by outperforming in-faction engines for card advantage—why build around an in-faction card when you can get a better, easier to use effect from a one-gold neutral location? With Flea Bottom restricted, I’m hopeful that we’ll see some new deck builds appear.
The third neutral card being restricted is Breaking Ties (Sands of Dorne, 50). This plot allows for dramatic tempo swings when a player sacrifices a cheap loyal card to return a far more expensive non-loyal card to the opponent’s hand. Breaking Ties works particularly well in conjunction with Flea Bottom, allowing the sacrificed character to immediately be returned to play (and potentially sacrificed to Breaking Ties again). Splitting up Breaking Ties and Flea Bottom should make the plot less of a metagame force. This in turn opens up more deckbuilding options, as players will again be able to lean on expensive non-loyal characters and locations that were largely forced out by Breaking Ties.
Finally, two Tyrell cards are being restricted: Mace Tyrell (House of Thorns, 1) and The Hightower (House of Thorns, 17). These cards were designed to work in conjunction with one another, forming the backbone of a Tyrell deck that brings characters into play at unusual times. Unfortunately, they ended up working a bit too well together, combining to allow the Tyrell player to build up an immense resource advantage while also gaining large amounts of power. These cards also tend to encourage more passive play, since they allow you to gain power, gold, and cards without requiring challenge wins. The result is an exceptionally strong Tyrell deck that is difficult to interact with and frustrating to play against. Restricting these two cards should help weaken that deck significantly, putting the other factions on a more level playing field with Tyrell.
I believe that these changes will disrupt the top tier of the metagame and encourage more diverse deck options. As time goes on I will continue to monitor how the metagame is developing and adjust the restricted list accordingly. For now, I’m just excited to see these changes in action.
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