Daughters of the Viper
Preview House Martell in Sands of Dorne
The sand snakes, men called his daughters. So far as Tyrion had heard, Prince Oberyn had never fathered a son.
–George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords
All men may share a taste for blood, but none have the reputation to match Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper. He is a Prince of Dorne, and while his brother Doran rules their southern realm, Oberyn works closely with his brother—serving House Martell with daring and aplomb. Oberyn is a skilled warrior, and his bastard daughters are no less deadly. And now, you’ll be able to bring the Red Viper and his daughters to bear against your opponent with the Sands of Dorne deluxe expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.
You can pre-order your own copy of Sands of Dorne at your local retailer or online through our website today!
A Snake on the Sands
Some of House Martell’s most dangerous cards rely on losing challenges, and it’s easy for players to forget the true nature of vengeance. Certainly, you need to hold your grudges and absorb whatever attacks your opponent metes out. But then, when the time is right, you need to go on the offensive—striking down your foes with the utmost fury. Some cards, like Doran Martell (Sands of Dorne, 1), can punish your opponent for every challenge you lose. But when it’s time to attack, you'll want The Red Viper at your side.
There have already been two versions of The Red Viper released in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. In the Core Set, The Red Viper (Core Set, 109) invited you to push his STR as high as possible. Then, in the midst of the Blood and Gold cycle, The Red Viper (Oberyn’s Revenge, 95) rewarded you for stripping icons from your opponent’s characters. In Sands of Dorne, you’ll find a third version of The Red Viper—and more than any of the others, he’s ready to bring his paramour and daughters into the struggle for the Iron Throne.
Like the previous two versions, The Red Viper (Sands of Dorne, 3) is a loyal character with all three challenge icons. He’s initially weaker than either other version with only four STR, but he has the power to grow dramatically stronger—whenever you win a challenge in which you control an attacking Bastard, The Red Viper gains a power! Every power on The Red Viper raises his STR, and if that weren’t enough, he bears the intimidate keyword, which becomes more and more powerful as his STR increases.
Of course, The Red Viper needs plenty of Bastard characters around him to ensure that you can maximize the power he gains from every challenges phase. House Martell already has access to plenty of Bastard characters, including Bastard Daughter (Taking the Black, 15), Dorea Sand (The Archmaester’s Key, 16), Elia Sand (There Is My Claim, 75), and Nymeria Sand (The Road to Winterfell, 35). You’ll find even more Bastards within Sands of Dorne.
We’ve already seen Obara Sand (Sands of Dorne, 5), Obella Sand (Sands of Dorne, 10), and Shadow City Bastard (Sands of Dorne, 16) as new Bastard characters that can help bring power to The Red Viper. Tyene Sand (Sands of Dorne, 8) can spring into play without warning when you lose a challenge as the defending player—and her stealth can easily help you win challenges as the attacker. Then, to open up even more holes in your opponent’s defenses, look no further than the Red Viper’s paramour, Ellaria Sand (Sands of Dorne, 2).
Ellaria Sand can win challenges on her own, but she’s even better at tearing down your opponent’s defenses and setting up your future challenges. After Ellaria Sand is declared as an attacker, you can choose up to three of your opponent’s characters. So long as they’re able to participate in the challenge, all of those characters must be declared as defenders! By pulling your opponent’s best defenders into a challenge that you always planned to lose, you’ll create the holes to force your most important challenges through.
By packing your deck with Sand Snakes and Bastards, it can be easy enough to have the characters to trigger The Red Viper, Still, you can find the perfect Sand Snake when you need her with No Use For Grief (Sands of Dorne, 22). If one of your Martell characters was killed this round, No Use For Grief immediately makes up that loss—you can search your entire deck for any Sand Snake character that costs three or less and put it into play. What’s more, if The Red Viper is in your dead pile, all of his daughters are eager to avenge his death, and you can put a Sand Snake with a cost of six or lower into play! If you're recovering your board after a reset like Valar Morghulis (There Is My Claim, 80), No Use For Grief is the perfect way to summon your strength once more.
You’ve gathered The Red Viper, Ellaria Sand, and all of the Sand Snakes. When the time comes to launch your crushing assault, you’ll want to hit your opponent as hard as you can. So long as the time is right, you can call your people To The Spears! (Sands of Dorne, 24). You can only play To The Spears! if there are three or more plot cards in your used pile, but its effect is worth the wait: none of your Martell characters will kneel to attack in the next challenge you initiate.
Of course, it’s a simple fact that as you’re pressing your attacks hard, you probably won’t be winning dominance. Fortunately, there’s a new Bastard who can help with that. It means sacrificing one of your most potent Sand Snakes, but the new version of Nymeria Sand (Sands of Dorne, 7) offers a simple and powerful effect. Whenever you lose dominance, you’ll discard a card from your opponent’s hand and draw a card yourself! With the card advantage that can build up over the course of the game, Nymeria Sand may prove to be an excellent addition to your cadre of Bastards.
The Viper Strikes!
You’ve counted the sins of your enemies. You’ve sharpened your knives in the darkness. And now it’s time to make your opponent pay. The sun is rising on House Martell.
You can pre-order your own copy of Sands of Dorne (GT30) at your local retailer or online through our webstore today!
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