The Lion and the Kraken
Developer Danny Schaefer on the New FAQ Update
“Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.”
–Tywin Lannister, A Storm of Swords
A new version of the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game FAQ is now online! Most notably, this update (which goes into effect immediately) includes a few new additions to the Joust Restricted List. Today, lead developer Danny Schaefer goes into detail on why these changes were necessary for the game and how they will affect the overall meta moving forward.
Danny Schaefer on the FAQ Update
Hello A Game of Thrones: The Card Game players!
An updated version of the FAQ has just been released, featuring updates to the restricted list and a couple of minor card errata. I’d like to take a little time to talk about the rationale behind these changes.
The most significant change in this update is to the Joust restricted list. The previous version of the FAQ included some sweeping changes to the restricted list, aimed at balancing the metagame by bringing down the power level of Stark, Targaryen, Greyjoy, and Martell. This goal was mostly successful, with one notable exception—House Greyjoy, buoyed by the recently released Kings of the Isles expansion, vaulted to a dominant position in the metagame.
The new FAQ aims to address Greyjoy’s dominance with two additions to the restricted list: Drowned God Fanatic (Streets of King’s Landing, 51) and Sea of Blood (Kings of the Isles, 45). Drowned God Fanatic is an incredibly efficient character that is simply providing Greyjoy with too much for its cost: free cancel, self-recursion, dead pile seeding, etc. Sea of Blood, while not a House Greyjoy card, has gone hand-in-hand with the faction since its release. It has been the most prevalent and best-performing agenda among Greyjoy decks, while seeing significantly less play out of other factions. Restricting these two cards, along with the previous restrictions, should force Greyjoy players to make some tough deckbuilding choices and bring the House more in line with other factions.
Also being added to the Joust restricted list is A Mission in Essos (Music of Dragons, 76). This card was added to the Melee restricted list in the previous update due to its role in a fast combo deck that could potentially win the game on the first turn. It is now being added to the Joust restricted list for the same reason. While combo has not been too prevalent in Joust in recent months, it’s important to proactively monitor the metagame and ensure that noninteractive combos don’t rise to the top again. With Mission already on the Melee list and having few non-combo implications, it feels like a natural addition to the Joust list.
Finally, one card has been removed from the restricted list: Hear Me Roar! (Core Set, 100). This card was added to the restricted list at the same time as several other cards that could be used in combo decks. Unlike those other cards, however, Hear Me Roar! is also a very useful card outside of combo, providing a powerful tempo effect that can be used in a variety of different Lannister decks. With Lannister struggling in the current metagame, unrestricting this card gives them another effective tool that could help boost them back to respectability. And given the current state of the metagame and the rest of the restricted list, the risk of Hear Me Roar! enabling a powerful combo deck seems relatively small.
The last thing I want to touch on is the errata to two cards from the Fury of the Storm expansion: Kingsgrave (Fury of the Storm, 30) and Dothraki Steed (Fury of the Storm, 36). Neither of these cards is receiving a functional change; the errata simply corrects some minor templating mistakes on the two cards. In Kingsgrave’s case, the word “Kingsgrave” in the card’s text box was improperly formatted as if it were a Trait. This update clarifies that that formatting is a mistake, and that the text simply refers to Kingsgrave itself. Dothraki Steed, meanwhile, was mistakenly given the text “Max 1 per character.” This has been updated to “Limit 1 copy per character,” properly matching the rules for an attachment which is limited to a single copy per character.
That’s all for now. I can’t wait to see how the new metagame shakes out!