Attack from the Sands
Preview House Martell in Sands of Dorne
“No more should you doubt this, my prince—my sisters and I shall not wait ten-and-seven years for our vengeance.”
–Nymeria Sand, A Feast for Crows
Dorne has only once been taken by force. Daeron Targaryen managed to conquer the southern realm, but as soon as he returned to King’s Landing, the kneeling Dornishmen stood up and rebelled. Lyonel Tyrell, the king’s regent, stayed alive for a short time by constantly moving, sleeping every night in a different castle—until he met his death in a bed of one hundred red scorpions. Even when their rulers surrendered, the indomitable spirit of Dorne kept its people from subjugation, and with the Sands of Dorne deluxe expansion, you can bring that same spirit to House Martell in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!
Sands of Dorne is the game’s fifth deluxe expansion, bringing the forces of House Martell to greater prominence and providing an influx of powerful new cards. Pre-order your copy of Sands of Dorne at your local retailer or online through our website today; then, read on to see some of the new tactics you can expect to see from House Martell.
A Lethal Ambush
House Martell and the people of Dorne are masters of stealthy, unexpected attacks, as they’ve shown whenever an ambitious fool decides to try their hand at conquering the south of Westeros. From the red desert mountains that guard Dorne’s borders, to the endless sand dunes in its heart, to the narrow alleys and overhung streets of the shadow city, there are few places that cannot be used in a sneak attack.
Many of the new Martell cards in Sands of Dorne give you ways to surprise your opponent as a new character joins the fight without warning. Obara Sand (Sands of Dorne, 5) can bring nearly any character into play without warning. By returning one of your Sand Snake characters to your hand with Obara Sand, you can bring any Martell character with a lower cost into play for free! At face value, this can give you a surprise defender, let you make an additional challenge, or save key characters like Nymeria Sand (The Road to Winterfell, 35) from an impending reset. When you look closer, however, Obara also lets you use characters like Areo Hotah (Core Set, 103), Southron Messenger (Watchers on the Wall, 31), and Dornish Spy (The Brotherhood Without Banners, 115) without spending a single gold dragon.
One new character that makes an ideal target for Obara Sand is the Shadow City Bastard (Sands of Dorne, 16). This character can be ambushed into play by spending three gold, and as an Action, you can sacrifice the Shadow City Bastard to strip all icons from a character that costs five gold or less! Not only can this open gaping holes in your opponent’s defenses, it can give you the power to use the Southron Messenger or the new version of Doran Martell (Sands of Dorne, 1) to better effect. And it goes without saying that the Shadow City Bastard is a natural target for the recursion offered by Flea Bottom (Oberyn’s Revenge, 98).
Obara Sand also works extremely well with a new version of Areo Hotah (Sands of Dorne, 6). Giving up on the Core Set version may be hard, but Doran’s captain of guards has a few new tricks to show you. As in the Core Set, this version of Areo Hotah can be ambushed into play, but his ambush cost decreases as more plots enter your used pile. More importantly, after you win a challenge as the defender with Areo Hotah, you can return him to your hand to increase your claim until the end of the phase! If you’re already using a two-claim plot like Retaliation (Watchers on the Wall, 47), then the damage you cause with Areo Hotah could be irreparable.
Winning challenges on defense is much easier if you’ve armed Areo Hotah with Hotah's Axe (Sands of Dorne, 19). This attachment greatly raises the attached character’s STR, and more importantly, when a Martell character enters play during the challenges phase, you can immediately put Hotah’s Axe into play from your hand, attaching it to that character! With his axe in your hand, Areo Hotah is a powerful force whenever he launches an unexpected ambush.
Victory Turns to Ashes
Even when your opponent pushes past your defenses and wins challenges against you, the Martells can ensure that any victory is ultimately joyless. Cards like Burning on the Sand (There Is My Claim, 76) and Vengeance for Elia (Calm Over Westeros, 96) remove many benefits that your opponent may gain from the challenge. With Obella Sand (Sands of Dorne, 10), you’ll find a new twist on a familiar idea.
Obella Sand can play a role on the battlefield or waiting in your hand—whenever she’s discarded for intrigue claim or killed for military claim, you’ll move a power from your opponent’s faction card to your own. Then, you shuffle Obella Sand back into your deck, ready to be drawn and strike again! Your opponent may be dissuaded from making intrigue challenges altogether, especially when you combine Obella Sand with a new event from Sands of Dorne, False Plans (Sands of Dorne, 23).
False Plans can be played as a normal Action, choosing an opponent to discard a random card from his hand. It’s almost more useful, however, by simply lying in wait in your hand. If you play False Plans as a Reaction after it’s discarded for intrigue claim, your opponent must lose two random cards instead of one! Military and power challenges are already risky for your opponent’s hand, due to His Viper Eyes (Wolves of the North, 32). Between His Viper Eyes and False Plans, the enemies of House Martell may simply abandon any hopes of holding onto cards. Then, once your opponent’s hand has been destroyed, the time is ripe to reset the board and turn the tables in your favor.
A Thirst for Blood
Turn your rivals’ joy to ashes in their mouth. Embrace your vengeance. The power of House Martell is rising in the south, and it’s time for you to choose a side.
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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