Hear me Roar!; A Loyal Lannister Analysis

“Hear me Roar!”


It’s week three and we bring you an analysis on Loyal Lannister cards. I’m going to try and roll these out more frequently as I feel the game will be released before I’m finished. Our first card is, you guessed, the primary Lord or Lady; in this case Tywin Lannister!

Tywin Lannister


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“Engage.” – Captain Jean-Luc Picard

I’ve been trying to think of something to write about Tywin, but I’m coming up blank. He’s the most solid, solid card you could want. He has six Strength and all icons for seven gold, renown and a “pump” ability that he himself lends a hand to; not to mention gold counts for dominance. On top of that he also gives you the literal lifeblood to play the game if you don’t need him larger that turn. It’s ironic that he works so well with his son, considering events that take place.

Works Well With: Tyrion LannisterLittlefingerThe Roseroad

Joust/Melee Ranking: 5/5

Art & Flavor


Tommy Arnold brings us The Lion of Lannister. Why wouldn’t Tywin Lannister get “stronger” for each gold you have? He also gives you two gold a turn, an obvious nod to his House having lots of money. Fun fact, Tywin is the only card that produces more than one gold. This card exudes perfect character flavor.

“When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you. And any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king at all. Aerys never understood that, but you will. When I’ve won your war for you, we will restore the king’s peace and the king’s justice.” – Tywin Lannister

Cersei Lannister


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“Why don’t you come up some time, and see me.” – Mae West

Cersei Lannister is one of my favorite cards from the core set. Not only does she look awesome but she is actually quite an amazing card. She is one of the reasons you will play Lannnister as your main Faction. Her basic stats are great; the fact that they are in accordance with our Card Analysis Primer and she also has an ability make her well above the curve. Now let’s talk about her ability, while she’s attacking during an Intrigue challenge she raises your claim by one. I love this ability much better than the “you may attack a second time in a particular challenge icon”. You need greater commitment to the board in order to pull those off but not with Cersei; she inherently makes your attacks better in what I believe to be the best icon in the game. If your opponent can’t play the game you’re going to win.

Win More With: High Claim Plots.

Watch Out For: Dracarys!

Joust/Melee Ranking: 5/5

Art & Flavor


Tommy Arnold brings us Cersei Lannister. This picture is awesome and I love how the colors of the card and the picture bleed into one another. Her ability really conveys how wily she is and can make a specific plan (plot) work that much better.

“Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.” – Cersei Lannister

Grand Maester Pycelle


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“Would you like a little more tea?” – Mad Hatter

Grand Master Pycelle is a fantastic reason…not to play in faction. Don’t get me wrong he is great and if you plan on playing Lannisters for other reason he will be an auto include. As for the card itself, it’s actually quite good and I love drawing cards in any card game. Trading only one Strength to do just that is very good indeed.

Joust/Melee Ranking: 3/5

Art & Flavor


Grand Maester Pycelle is drawn wonderfully by Tiziano Baracchi. I love how he conveys his frailty in this picture. I suppose he draws cards because he’s knowledgeable and had to receive his chain for a reason.

“All I did, I did for House Lannister.” – Grand Maester Pycelle

The Queen’s Assassin


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“Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.”

The Queen’s Assassin is a two gold two Strength one icon character. I really can’t get behind this assassin at all. While he does have, in my opinion, the best icon he sacrifices another potential icon to get an ability that isn’t fantastic. Holding back four gold I suspect is going to be a huge investment for a situational ability. In addition to the four gold held back, an extreme telegraph, he needs to enter play with his Ambush, no tricky business, you need more cards in your hand than your opponent and he still gets the decision of which character to kill. This card may become better in the future if gold is easier to obtain or as an addition kill effect in a heavy Military challenge deck.

Works Well With: Tywin LannisterTyrion Lannister, Heavy Military challenge decks

Joust/Melee Ranking: 3/5

Art & Flavor

Mike Capprotti draws a rather shady looking character here with a fantastic nose to exemplify his “weasily-ness”. Is this the representation of the assassin hired to kill Bran? It says he’s the Queen’s Assassin and not Joffrey’s, whoops spoilers, but he could have easily taken on other contracts. Ha! Like Warm Rain, I get it.

“You weren’t supposed to be here.” – Catspaw

Casterly Rock


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Here is a card that sits between Lannisport and The Queen’s Assassin in terms of how good it is. I believe this card could be amazing in the future depending on what the House receives. As it stands right now this seems to be a card that’s good when you already have an extremely good board presence, winning already, or when your trying to pull off some gimmick (e.g. High Claim Plots/Cersei/Seal of the Hand). This card needs too much happening to be great.

Works Well With: Cersei Lannister, Lannisport, High Claim Plots

Joust/Melee Ranking: 3/5

Art & Flavor


I love vistas of Locations more than the alternative and there is no exception here as Sergey Glushakov draws just that with Casterly Rock. I also have no reason to disbelieve scheming and plotting is at an all time high in the home of the Lannisters.

“They say there is naught but stone at the heart of Casterly Rock” -Catelyn Stark

Lannisport


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I love the simple ones. While a bit expensive it is only one of the two cards in house that allows you to draw a card. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though; it can be slightly more difficult to trigger than the other locations as they could have a bigger force and it’s a prime target for Catelyn Stark.

Works Well With: The Lannisters

Watch Out For: Catelyn Stark

Joust Ranking: 4/5

Melee Ranking: 5/5 – There has to be someone you can attack!

Art & Flavor


While not a vista Juan Carlos Barquet still manages a great piece with an amazing sunset. It’s a port so this is how they get provisions, i.e., drawing cards.

Hear Me Roar!


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“For my life is simply unbearable, without a bit of courage…” – The Cowardly Lion

No, no, no, this is the house motto card and it’s terrible in my opinion. This is how it currently reads to me; pay one gold and two cards, Hear Me Roar! and whatever character your putting into play, to give myself a Strength pump. However the pump isn’t a surprise because it has to be used in the first action window before you attack. This card is awful right now and will only be saved by printing Lannisters that do something when they enter or leave play. As it stands it’s a very expensive, card wise, challenge pump.

Joust/Melee Ranking: 1/5

Art & Flavor


Cris Griffin draws a rather menacing Jaime Lannister. I suppose the house motto is Hear me Roar!…then run away.

Final Thoughts


While a few of the Lannister cards aren’t anything to write home about I do believe the other cards are amazing. They have, in my, opinion the best icon in the game, they’re immune to Tears of Lys, and a focus on hand and gold advantage. While their two card draws are a little harder to pull off remember they gain card advantage by denying it to your opponent. Part of me wants to say Fealty is good with the Lannisters because they have seven cards it affects but I think banner-ing is the play with them. Remember to like, subscribe and comment with any ideas or opinions you may have.


Next article; “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”.  An analysis of loyal Martell cards and why you would want to faction them.

A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition Stock Update!

Hello loyal readers!

Fantasy Flight Games has just updated it’s Game of Thrones splash page from “At the Printers” to “On the Boat”. With only two days left in the month of August we can expect delivery sometime in September.

The core sets are still not available to order but many websites are offering preorders at this time.

The core game will retail for $39.99.

Capture

We do not Sow; A Loyal Greyjoy Analysis

“We do not Sow”


Welcome to our second Loyal House card analysis. This time we’ll be delving into House Greyjoy and all their salty glory. If you would like to read our previous article focusing on House Baratheon you may do so here. The first card up is my main man Balon Greyjoy.

Balon Greyjoy


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“Tales from the Crypt!” – Crypt Keeper

Oh Balon, why do you have to be so good? Here’s another card that you just play and it’s fantastic; set it and forget it. Balon is extremely dangerous and will need to be dealt with immediately if your opponent has any hope of coming back. Milk of the Poppy and Tears of Lys will be thrown in tandem at him and I would also watch out for Daenerys sending a dragon his way. Normally the best cards (decks) in card games are ones that keep your opponent from actually playing the game or affect multiple cards by themselves, which Balon Greyjoy does in spades. If this wasn’t enough he also works extremely well with his children, ship and main event as well as any “win by 5” cards to put you ahead even further. Being a Lord and having Renown are also fantastic additions to this powerhouse and I don’t think Balon would be to remiss if he was Hand of the King.

Works Well With: Asha GreyjoyTheon GreyjoyGreat KrakenWe Do Not SowPut to the SwordPut to the Torch, The Targaryens

Watch Out For: Milk of the PoppyTears of LysDaenerys TargaryenDracarys!

Joust/Melee Ranking: 5/5

Art & Flavor


Sebastian Ciaffaglion brings us our first Greyjoy card. What are you doing Balon? You look very concerned about something in this picture. What are you burning? I’m sure everything will be fine. Balon’s ability could be interpreted in a few ways. One is that he’s on the Iron Islands and it’s very hard to attack him or that they’re a ship fairing house and they are able attack easier without there adversaries striking back at full strength or perhaps it’s based on the strategy he employed during his rebellion.

“I am the Greyjoy, Lord Reaper of Pyke, King of Salt and Rock, Son of the Sea Wind, and no man gives me a crown. I pay the iron price.” – Balon Greyjoy

Euron Crow’s Eye


“This is Sparta!” – King Leonidas

By the Old Gods and the New! Let’s just gaze in awe at the top half of Euron for a moment…no not like that I meant his statistics! Remember in our Card Analysis Primer we put our foot down for what we demanded in a high cost character. Euron cost seven gold, has all three icons and only trades one Strength for three abilities, unlike our favorite Viper. I’m done, I don’t even need to read the abilities, and he is an auto include in any Loyal Greyjoy deck…

Fine I’ll go over his abilities too. He has Pillage and Renown just like any Raider who sits the Seastone Chair should have. I don’t like Pillage as an ability because it doesn’t really affect the board state in anyway, but since it’s needed to trigger his Reaction it needs to be taken into account along with it. In my opinion his Reaction isn’t the best but it’s not bad either. Stealing your opponent’s locations that will most assuredly happen due to Pillage and We Do Not Sow is good depending on what locations they have, but since the core is small you should end up with something good while denying it to your opponent. Please read Dominic’s article for location denial ideas with Euron Crow’s Eye.

Dominic says, “People will play a lot of one of cards making Pillage more effective.”

Works Well With: Put to the TorchWe Do Not SowSeal of the HandA Noble Cause

Joust/Melee Ranking: 5/5

Art & Flavor


JB Casacop brings us a very angry Euron Crow’s Eye, looks like he’s raiding some locations. Speaking of which, Euron has such a great text box for who he is. He has Renown because he sits the Seastone Chair, Pillage as any pirate should have and when he’s done pillaging you he steals your own land! This card has great art and flavor.

“The Crow’s Eye worships naught but his own pride.” –Aeron Damphair

Great Kraken


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Balon Greyjoy needed to be better so we introduce you to his Warship, Great Kraken. Stealth is extremely strong, even more so on Balon as he negates all Strength under his. Sending Balon to attack and taking out the character that actually could go up against him is fantastic. Oh wait that wasn’t all Great Kraken does? It also has card draw on it, an ability that can close the game and it can be done twice per round! There isn’t much more so say about this card it’s absolutely amazing even at three gold.

Works Well With: Balon GreyjoyDrowned Men

Joust/Melee Ranking: 5/5

Art & Flavor


Jacob Murray Brings us the Great Kraken. Nothing too amazing here, Great Kraken is just going to Pillage some lands. The abilities on Great Kraken evoke Balon’s Rebellion very well by giving him stealth as well as card draw, the wind at your sails to keep going, and power advantage, raiding your most vulnerable lands.

The Kraken’s Grasp


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This cost zero? It’s a done deal; I’m playing three. Oh, I should read it? I’m still playing three. The Kraken’s Grasp is an amazing card and if it wasn’t for the first player restriction it would be down right pillaging. This card, to me, is the glue that holds House Greyjoy together. If they can’t do win on their own The Kraken’s Grasp has their back. Not only does it give you a huge swing it terms of winning challenges it also triggers the plethora of cards that need to win unopposed or win by five or more. The Kraken’s Grasp triggers so many cards in the game while also being amazing on its own.

Dominic Says, “I think ensuring you go first is a steep requirement that you can’t guarantee on the crucial turn you need it.” 

Works Well With: Balon GreyjoyAsha GreyjoyGreat KrakenTheon GreyjoyWe Do Not SowPut to the SwordPut to the Torch, Salty Navigator and other +1 Initiative cards

Watch Out For: The Hand’s Judgement – Free counter spell I shudder.

Joust Ranking: 5/5

Melee Ranking: 1/5 – Twenty five percent chance to go first, hmm.

Dominic’s Joust Ranking – 3/5

Art & Flavor


Tomasz Jedruszek brings us The Kraken’s Grasp. I love this art so much. Look its Victarion Greyjoy with his Kraken Helmet and plate mail! That guy almost got his face smashed in! Maybe he should have thrown that axe instead. The art syncs up with this cards effect so well. It doesn’t kill a guy but puts him off balance enough for you to win the battle anyway.

We Do Not Sow


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Finally, here it is the Greyjoy’s motto. They don’t sow, but pay the iron price instead. It’s a one cost event that let’s you destroy some of the best and most annoying cards in the game. Milk of the Poppy will most likely be a three of in most decks making this already worth it in my opinion. On top of that it protects your heavy hitters, gives Euron targets and even puts their economy on tilt. You have to win a challenge unopposed but that shouldn’t be too much trouble.

Works Well With: Balon Greyjoy

Best Targets: Milk of the PoppySeal of the HandLittle Bird

Joust/Melee Ranking: 5/5

Art & Flavor


Tomasz Jedruszek brings us the second Loyal Greyjoy event as well. Look at them not sowing; they’re actually doing quite the oppostie it seems. By the Old Gods and the New why are you burning that village!? Its fine, they probably deserved it.

Final Thoughts


And there you have it, Loyal Greyjoy. I believe this to be one of the better houses to choose as your main Faction. They have a healthy spread of icons; deal with multiple characters in combat, attachments and locations. They need to be relatively quick with their wins as you want to disrupt your opponents economy early and they need to go first to use one of their best cards but with the aforementioned and Balon I think you can work around some of their short comings. And remember to like, subscribe and comment with any ideas or opinions you may have.


Next article; “Hear me Roar!”.  An analysis of loyal Lannister cards and why you would want to faction them.

Counting Coppers: The Economy of Westeros

Counting Coppers: The Economy of Westeros

“Littlefinger’s gold is made from thin air, with a snap from his fingers”

-Tywin Lannister


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The dreaded resource system, the backbone of any card game and usually the most maligned and criticized part of it.  Many card games have been banished forever to the dead game table at Gen Con due to an “unfun” or overly punishing resource mechanic.

Designing a resource system is a slippery slope, make it too punishing and people will lose games to “Mana Screw” or “Mana Flood” drawing too much or too little of the resource causing you to fall behind on board presence. On the other hand, making your resource system too lenient removes a large portion of the strategic thinking behind the game and boils down to who can drop their giant characters first.

The resource system is the very first thing I look at when I’m introduced to a new card game because it is usually my main indicator on how enjoyable the game will be. So when I was shown Game of Thrones Plot/Gold economy system I was very intrigued. A game that allows you to effectively choose how much gold you get at the beginning of your turn combined with separate cards that add to the main pool was very unique to me and balancing this against your deck adds an entire new layer to the deckbuilding process.  In a game filled with rich lore, exciting characters, Valyrian Steel swords and Dire Wolves who wants to focus on such a boring part of the game like economy? But, this is hands down the most important part of the game in my opinion.

Plotting your plots

Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.

-Tywin Lannister

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When I played other card games and I was building a deck andcame to a tough decision between including one copy or another as the last slots I would instead include a blank card instead of either. During my play testing sessions with my friends, whenever I would draw that blank card I would then choose one of the two cards I was considering and substitute it for the blank card making a note on a pad of paper during my games. At the end of the evening I would consult those notes and see how many times I chose one card over the other helping me make the final choice.

This can be a valuable tool to help you smooth your curve in Game of Thrones, after you build your main deck forget about your plots and play some test games with your friend. Every turn take a look at every plot in the game and choose one and record it. After a few of these games you will start to see a pattern of what plots you choose and this will allow you properly design a plot deck to compliment your strategy. If you find yourself struggling to play cards from your hand using the entirety of the games plots as your disposal you may want to slim down on some of the higher costed cards in your deck or look into adding some more gold generating cards.

Now Plots are not just blank gold generators, they do a wealth of other things including affecting your hand size, which player goes first as well as tons of unique and interesting effects that can help you win your joust. Sometimes you will want to play a Plot for other reasons than gold but playing a plot with a fantastic effect but little gold value can backfire if you don’t have the right board presence down to keep up the pace with your opponent. Luckily, Game of Thrones solves this issue with other sources of income in the form of locations and gold generating characters.

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Location! Location! Location!

Ah, and what a castle it is. Cavernous halls and ruined towers, ghosts and draughts, ruinous to heat, impossible to garrison … and there’s that small matter of a curse.

-Petyr Baelish

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A main source of income that most people will play come in the form of locations such as the The Kingsroad and The Roseroad. The Roseroad gives you minimal downsides for plus one to your gold pool every turn for the low price of free! The Kingsroad allows you to sacrifice the card to gain a massive three gold discount on the next character you play that turn for one gold. The only restriction is that they contain the Limited Keyword, meaning only one of them can be played per turn, this seems reasonable enough to me. Now with this first set and its limited card pool I can’t see both of these cards not being played in every deck. So the question remains how many locations should I play?

Of course this varies depending on the deck you are trying to make but I recommend 10-15 locations per deck as an average. You want to have them in the early game to establish your economy but you don’t want to continuously draw them later when you require characters and events to finish the game. Each faction with the exception of The Night’s Watch have access to a zero cost location that kneels itself to reduce the cost of the next card of that faction you play this turn. Including them with locations such as The Rosewood and a properly played plot can allow you to play your hand with ease all the while wreaking havoc on your opponent with plot abilities.

The final piece of this economic equation comes in the form of characters that either produce gold or reduce the cost of other characters. These may be the most valuable of economic generators but they are also the most vulnerable.

Small folk big value

“The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are.”

-Jorah Mormont

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Look at the common people, they only have one measly Strength, one Icon and no cool abilities or keywords. These little guys don’t seem like much but just like Smallfolk they represent, like the series, the backbone that allows the lords and ladies to engage in their schemes and plots. Each one of these characters allows you to reduce the cost of your next faction character by one and these characters are not limited. By the use of their abilities you can play everyone you have in your hand by kneeling the one you just played! These characters are paramount to your end game and getting them out as soon as possible can be the difference between winning and losing. These characters have the added bonus of being able to attack in Power challenges and they can also be killed off by Military claim saving your more important characters to fight again another day. Being characters they are more vulnerable to removal then locations so make sure you have some Military icons available to protect them or you will find yourself without the support of the farmers, cobblers and merchants you relied on to live your life of luxury.

Lastly we have events and characters that blatantly generate gold for your faction. While these cards are rare and generally limited to certain factions, you should consider playing them if you have access.

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Lannisters and the Tyrells excel in gold generation so if you are building with the Lion or the Rose you may want to consider some of these economists in your deck. Not only is Tywin Lannister a huge bodied lord he helps your economy by giving you plus two gold a turn that also makes him bigger for every coin you have; what synergy! Tyrion Lannister is a little sneakier with his economy gains; He gives you two gold every time an intrigue challenge is initiated. This may not seem useful since you cannot normally marshal characters during the challenge phase but this effect allows you to play events that may route your opponent in combat. He also works wonderfully with the main Lannister mechanic Ambush, allowing you play characters during the challenge phase with disastrous effects. On the Tyrell side you have Paxter Redwyne who both gives you +1 gold on your turn as well as a discount to your first event you play this turn. Lady Olenna Tyrell the “Queen of Thorns” bypasses the economy all together and just places Tyrell characters in play when she wins an intrigue challenge.

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Last but not least we have Littlefinger, the only neutral character with an economic advantage giving you +1 gold every turn as well as drawing you two cards when you marshal him. Littlefinger’s effect along with continued economic effects makes him one of the most powerful cards in the game and deserving a slot in most decks we will see.

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To most players the economy is an afterthought or an annoyance, something they have to endure to play their favorite characters and do battle on the field of Westeros but to the player that takes on the role of Littlefinger and can rub two golden dragons together to breed a third will find himself in a position of power more often than an opponent with a hand of giant lords and no gold to play them with. Because in the Game of Thrones it’s not normally the strongest person who wins it’s the one who plans in advance for everything.


I hope you enjoyed this article and of course please comment below with any thoughts or suggestions and as always please subscribe to get updates on all the latest Game of Thrones LCG news and information.

Ours is the Fury; A Loyal Baratheon Analysis

“Ours is the Fury”


Welcome to our first main strategy article. These are the types of articles you’ll be seeing from us in the foreseeable future. We will be going in depth on the strategy, art and flavor of each card. Most of our thoughts match up quite well but where they don’t I’ll be quoting differing opinions. Our first card up is Robert Baratheon the First of His Name.

Robert Baratheon


“Oh oh oh!” – Green Giant

I’m happy that were starting with Robert Baratheon; It seems appropriate. Weighing in at a whopping seven gold he isn’t much to look at with his five Strength and two icons, but he gets an additional Strength for each other kneeling character in play. This is an ability that rewards you for playing the game naturally; there’s no gimmick to it. Sending him to attack with just two characters or attacking second will make your opponent think twice about defying a King.  If you do attack first his Intimidate will be more potent, but will only make him bigger at the end of resolution.  This reason as well as others makes him a prime target for effects that can stand him, perhaps he should have been his own Hand of the King and left Ned alone.  Being the King doesn’t have much of an impact currently as long as Robert doesn’t plan on going hunting. At this point being a Lord and having Renown is icing on the cake.  As you can see we have a great big fatty here, sorry Robert but you know I’m right.

Works Well With: Seal of the HandLightbringerStannis Baratheon

Watch Out For: Tears of Lys

Joust/Melee Ranking: 5/5

Art & Flavor


What fantastic art, kudos to Joshua Cairós.  He’s fat, jolly and he’s the King of Westeros welcoming you to play A Game of Thrones.  He obviously has a Military icon (because he can fight) and a Power icon (because he has a long legacy and name) but lacks an Intrigue icon as he’s not very wily.  His ability is easy to decipher; as long as the Realms are behaving themselves and kneeling before their one true King he is mighty!

“Fat? Fat, is it? Is that how you speak to your king? Ah, damn you, Ned, why are you always right?” – Robert Baratheon

Stannis Baratheon


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“I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.” – Vizzini

Next up we have Stannis the Manis, ahem I mean Stannis Baratheon. He costs six gold and comes with five Strength and two icons; respectable. Unlike his brother, who you can naturally maneuver, Stannis is going to be center stage in a deck. You will want to include three copies and strictly build around him, if you don’t he could cost you your own game. You can’t afford your opponent standing characters while you’re trying to lock the board down so attachment control will be a major component in a deck that includes Stannis. Tears of Lys will be the bane of  his existence, perhaps a certain priestess should have left a certain maester alone. Stannis doesn’t shine as well in melee due to players coming after you to unlock their board. Being a Lord has the same connotation it does with any Lord while being part of the Small Council means little, naturally. Stannis works very well with his brother and I imagine seeing them together a lot in the future, Melisandre told me so.

Works Well With: Consolidation of PowerMaester CressenLittle BirdRobert Baratheon

Watch Out For: Tears of Lys, The Starks

Joust Ranking: 4/5

Melee Ranking: 3/5 – To many characters to deal with and paints a target on you.

Art & Flavor


Joshua Cairós brings us Stannis just as he brought us Robert and I love it. Stannis is righteous and stern standing over The Painted Table. He’s the best military leader in Westeros and commands respect and does so by keeping characters knelt. He’s missing a very important icon and may need some help from his wife in that regard. It’s fitting that Wildfire Assault puts an end to his strategy.

“I shall bring justice to Westeros.” – Stannis Baratheon

The Red Keep


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As we said in our article, Card Analysis Primer, three gold for any non-character has to be exceptional.  Is exceptional an accurate word for The Red Keep? I’m not positive, as I have very limited game experience, but drawing cards in any card game is amazing and you draw two with The Red Keep. Including this card in your deck basically states you will win Power challenges. Luckily, save for two, all Baratheon characters have a power icon. If your keeping the opponent down with Stannis it will be even easier to win. I’m most likely playing only one, maybe two, of this as I don’t want to see it until I’ve established board presence. You will also want to keep an eye out on your reserve while playing The Red Keep.

Dominic’s Thoughts: “I believe in the current card pool there isn’t a loyal Baratheon deck that will not include three copies of The Red Keep.”

Works Well Normal With: Veteran Builder – Unfortunately Veteran Builder has no window to stand The Red Keep allowing you to use it twice. Thanks Zigur and widowmaker93!

Watch Out For: Put to the Torch, The Greyjoys

Joust Ranking: 4/5

Melee Ranking: 5/5

Art & Flavor


Tomasz Jedruszek brings us this sweeping vista of The Red Keep. I love the glaring sun in the background. The Red Keep belongs to the Baratheons and it’s Loyal!? I suppose to the peasants it seems that way.  I would think The Red Keep would help you with Intrigue challenges but I suppose Power makes sense as well. And after a long bout of defending against your conspirators you can relax as you get ready for the next day by drawing two cards.

Consolidation of Power


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Consolidation of Power has a lot of things going for it but one major aspect going against it.  As for the strengths of this card; It only costs one gold and kneels characters outside challenges.  This effect works extremely well for both Robert and Stannis and a certain character will hate it. The problem is it only kneels characters in the Marshaling Phase, as such it isn’t a good trick and you need to use your plot gold on it and not gold gained from other sources. The Power swing from this is a small price to pay to lock down a good character or a few annoying weenies and if you desperately need it yourself you can target your characters as well. This could have been amazing with Lightbringer (it’s only good) but alas you must consolidate your power before you gain renown.

Works Well With: Robert BaratheonStannis Baratheon, The Greyjoys

Best Targets: Cersei LannisterTyrion LannisterJon SnowCatelyn Stark

Joust Raking: 4/5

Melee Ranking: 2/5 – A small stone in the pond

Art & Flavor


Regis Moulun brings us a marching army and I love the little flaps on the banners. I believe the main fluff of this card is apparent when you use it on your own characters.

Ours is the Fury


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Ours is the Fury is a very restrictive card and has Robert Baratheon written, and drawn, all over it. I would have loved for this to cost only one gold but I’ll have to make due.  The effect is very strong if you’re the first or second player but shines when acting first as it’s a nice trick to throw your opponent off when they try and attack you back. If you do use this on Robert, and you should, remember you will most likely win dominance.

Works Extremely Well With: Robert Baratheon

Joust/Melee Ranking: 4/5

Art & Flavor


Joshua Cairós brings us Robert Baratheon once again. I believe this depicts when Robert and Ned’s party stop at The Inn at the Crossroads on the way to King’s Landing and Lady has a very bad day. The name and effect of the card doesn’t quite mesh with the art in my opinion and it would have made sense, to me, to swap Ours is the Fury and Consolidation of Power’s art.

Lightbringer


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Our last card is the Legendary sword Lightbringer, or is it, wielded by our rightful King; Stannis Baratheon. This card is expensive but on the right character, which isn’t Stannis, it’s brilliant. If I play this card it will only be a one or two of. If you want to try something neat you could put this on a weenie and consolidate power for a fun but probably wasteful trick. It’s Reaction is only limited to once per phase so if future cards allow you to gain power in each phase it could shine brighter.

Gamaran says, “Lightbringer is a 2/5 card on most banners, but its 4/5 in Fealty. With Fealty Lightbringer costs 1 gold, and you can equip it to your Mil claim for the turn and then bounce it to our hand after you lose Mil claim, with Melisandre on the board Lightbringer becomes the only bounce-able/recurring Kneel that Baratheon has.”

Joust/Melee Ranking: 3/5 – Could be slightly better in melee if an opponent wants to “kingmake” you.

Art & Flavor


John Matson brings us the famous Lightbringer. Stannis and Melisandre are making Lightbringer in this picture, obvious I know. Stannis gains the renown he wants so much by equipping this and when you gain power it keeps you going.

Final Thoughts


It seems playing Loyal Baratheon has a very control feel to it. You can lock down the early game as you establish the board then attack in with a big fatty repeatedly in the late game. Baratheon has two high costed Lords that need each other to function optimally so having a good economy is going to be paramount. The characters are lacking Intrigue icons so you will want to put Little Birds on them as soon as you can, so they don’t get poisoned, even more so on Robert as he’s your linchpin and you want to attack with him as much as possible. The Starks will most likely be the hardest match-up as they stand themselves, but they may also make a good banner so you can get out of your own Stannis effect. I love the flavor of this house but with so much riding on Robert it may not be the best main faction to choose.

Banners Well With: The Greyjoys, The Lannisters

Remember to leave any comments if you don’t agree on any of the above or if you have any input I will quote you with the handle of your choosing in the “thoughts” section.


Next article; “We do not Sow”.  An analysis of loyal Greyjoy cards and why you would want to faction them.

Reaving Uncharted Waters, Greyjoy Baratheon Location Control.

“We are ironborn. We’re not subjects, We’re not slaves. We do not plow the field or toil in the mine. We take what is ours.” -Balon Greyjoy


There is a certain purity going into a new card game blind, especially after playing games like Magic: The Gathering for years. Not knowing all the nuances, meta calls and archetypes free you to make your own decisions without a nagging voice in your head saying “No, this is wrong!”. So when I was shown the second edition of the Fantasy Flight Games Game of Thrones LCG my mind raced as to what decks I could craft in these uncharted waters.

So how does one design a deck for a game with no established archetypes, tournaments, decks and isn’t even released yet? Easy, just pick your favorite card and go from there. What could be more fun than that? So I present to you my man Euron “Crow’s Eye” Greyjoy the Third of His Name since the Grey King.

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Look at him! He’s huge and he has three icons and a whole lot of text, surely he has to be spectacular right? He discards cards off the top of your opponent’s deck, gains power and steals locations from their discard pile; Now that is something I can work with. First, Euron Crow’s Eye is loyal to Greyjoy which means I’m committed to that faction so let’s take a look at some of the cards I have access too.

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It looks like a lot of Greyjoy cards really get benefits from being unopposed so we should play cards that help them achieve that strategy. Luckily, they seem to give us a lot of options to accomplish this like Asha Greyjoy with her stealth, Balon Greyjoy with his ability and the event card The Kraken’s grasp.

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However, The Kraken’s grasp seemed a little weak to me so I decided to make Baratheon the house I bannered to.  I chose Baratheon due to a wealth of cards that kneel your opponent’s defenders making your stealth cards even more powerful and helping you win unopposed. Let’s take a look at some of the All-Stars from House Baratheon.

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Praise R’hllor!

Melisandre is perfect for a deck wanting to go unopposed as much as possible so she is an obvious include along with her Fiery Followers for maximum triggers. Having Baratheon as your banner also gives you some other goodies like Maester Cressen who is instrumental in removing that pesky Milk of the Poppy that might find themselves on your Euron or Balon.

Greyjoy has a lore appropriate theme of location removal/control, fitting with pillaging Vikings like Euron and Balon, so let’s use that as a focus of our deck. The more times we can remove and steal our opponent’s locations the harder it will be for them to stage a comeback. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can get our opponent’s locations into their discard pile in our Greyjoy/Baratheon deck.

We already saw “We do not Sow” but we will need a little more disruption to keep the pillaging going.

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First up we have Seen in Flames. In every card game I’ve ever played targeted discard has always been a very strong effect and I assume it will be here as well. The downside of having a R’hllor character in play is minimal since we will be playing enough copies and the effect is very important in disrupting your opponents curve, tricks and economy. Snagging a Kingsroad from their hand then stealing it with Euron to boost your economy next turn while limiting theirs is a pretty big swing.

The second card is actually a plot but it’s effect is so powerful in combination with other discard that I’m going to include them as part of the decks overall strategy. Heads on Spikes is a win/win cards in this deck because if they discard a character you gain two power and possibly prevent them from playing a unique character later on in the game, if they discard a location you can steal it with Euron and if they discard an event then you can get unopposed attacks easier knowing they are less likely to have combat tricks. With this in mind Heads on Spikes will be my duplicate plot card.

Now that I know what I want the deck to do and the cards I want to do it with this is my current list. I went with around thirty characters since I will most likely be the aggressor in most challenges and I want to always be able to dominate the field.

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So there you have it, a solid curve along with a good economy. Dragonstone Faithful and Fishmongers allow you to accelerate out larger threats like Euron and Balon and also soak up military claims saving your other characters. I included a lot of one copy uniques because they can serve a purpose but I didn’t want to have cards clogging my hand if they somehow were sent to the dead pile. I play six Rh’llor cards giving me ample chances to kneel characters and have the ability to play the event Seen in Flames. From the Neutral category I obviously chose Littlefinger for his draw and economy and Put to the Torch to facilitate Eurons ability.

The plot deck is self explanatory. You will want to setup A Noble Cause to power out a large threat like Euron. Heads on Spikes will be your go to midgame plot to disrupt your opponent’s hand and cards like Filthy Accusations and Confiscation allow you to gain board presence and unopposed attacks. Wildfire Assault can be a game winner due to your stealth characters. If you play it then attack with a stealth Balon preventing their largest guy from defending you are surely going to kill off a valuable character.

The basic strategy of this deck is to setup one or more unopposed attacks early using stealth and kneeling effects then use that opportunity to wreak havoc on your opponents locations using events like We Do Not Sow and Put to the Torch. Once you get Euron up and running each successful challenge should further your economy by bringing back your opponents locations. Cards like Risen from the Sea help protect your main characters from harm and Aeron Damphair can recur even unique characters from the dead pile if you win dominance.

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Cards like Great Kraken combined with Balon can win games outright if they cannot put up a defence against your unopposed attacks and even low drops like Lordsport Shipwright can prevent your opponent from gaining too much of an advantage with their locations.

A good overall mix of icons allows you to defend and attack in many different challenges and a superb suite of disruption can throw even the most careful control deck off its game.  Little Bird is included to protect Balon from Tears of Lys and The Hand’s Judgement is a late game catch all to stop a devastating event from resolving. Milk of the Poppy and Throwing Axe are included to neuter your opponent’s large threats and to deter defence from axe wielding ironborn.

Overall, I think this deck is powerful and sure is fun to play considering Greyjoy lore. Who knows what’s in store for us later this month when Game of Thrones LCG second edition launches. I’m sure veterans from the original game will have a leg up in the beginning months but as the game grows and changes even new players like myself will have a better understanding of the game and its many nuances. Trial and error is the cornerstone of deckbuilding in any game but the more you fail the more you learn so don’t be afraid to try new things because you never know when you may develop a new strategy. And of course I welcome any and all input, maybe you saw something I didn’t? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time and remember; “We do not Sow”.

Product Update! The Gen Con 2015 playmats are currently back in stock!

As reported earlier the special edition Game of Thrones LCG Gen Con 2015 demo play mats have been added to the Fantasy Flight Games store but have been listed as OUT OF STOCK… until now!

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As of this writing both playmats are currently in stock and able to be ordered. Jump on them quick as no one knows how long they will last. They are $19.95 each plus shipping, check out the links above the images to go directly to the Fantasy Flight Games site.

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Card Analysis Primer

The Standard


In the next few weeks, most likely months, I want to move onto the main reason we started this blog and that is to simply begin analyzing cards from A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition. I want to delve deep into each and every card. What makes it good? What makes it bad? What other cards it works well with etc. However, I need to talk about a few ideas and cards before I make the first official post. The first card I need to talk about is The Red Viper.

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I believe The Red Viper is the standard of what you should expect for your gold input. What I mean by this is barring an ability, which The Red Viper has a mediocre one, you should receive an equal amount of Strength to your gold input and all icons (tricon). If you aren’t getting at least this then something substantial is in that text box. As you move down the curve this obviously changes as it would be extremely good if you could play a cheap tricon character, but our old friend Tumblestone Knight will help us out.

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Tumblestone Knight, just like The Red Viper, is the standard of what you should expect with your gold which is matching Strength and two icons (bicon). My initial assumption is that a one through four gold cost character should have matching Strength and two icons if it’s text box is vanilla or mediocre; while a five through seven cost character, the highest currently, should have matching Strength and three icons.

As you move away from characters it becomes a little more difficult. All the remaining cards in the game, besides The Wall, cost between zero and three gold. Fantasy Flight is telling us that a three gold cost non-character is expensive and we should expect something amazing for it.

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As we delve into each and every card I’m also going to use a one through five scoring system as follows;

  1. This card isn’t very good and I need a strong reason to include it in a deck.
  2. This card is below average but it might fill a niche in a deck.
  3. This card is average and might fill out the remaining slots in a deck.
  4. This card is good and I need a good reason not to include it in a deck.
  5. This card is amazing and I need a strong reason not to include it in a deck.

As a final analysis on cards I’m going to be examining the art and flavor as well. This is perhaps even more important but I may need some help. The flavor of Ser Jorah Mormont is easy to distinguish but others may pose a challenge.

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Finally, we’re new players but I’m extremely excited about this game and can’t wait to analyze my favorite characters, places and events. On this note I welcome help. It’s impossible for me to touch on everything. So if I miss something important or obvious leave a comment and I’ll credit your ideas on the cards as I continually update these articles as expansions are released.


Next article; “Ours is the Fury”.  An analysis of loyal Baratheon cards and why you would want to faction them.

New Game of Thrones Playmat Alert!

Two of the Game of Thrones LCG playmats shown at Gen Con 2015 have been added to the Fantasy Flight Games online store. They are currently OUT OF STOCK listed at $19.95 each. The choices are “Knights of the Realm” and “Stormborn”. I suspect the others will be added soon as they were sold at Gen Con.

The two playmats feature artwork from Jacob Murray.

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Calling all Banners!

Gen Con, the best four days in gaming.


   Gen Con was and is the best four days in gaming. However, it could have been so much worse if I hadn’t sated my curiosity at the Fantasy Flight booth; which was piqued by an awesome banner of Daenerys Targaryen.

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   I have always known about A Game of Thrones LCG, but being a new player the amount of sets that were out was astonishing and overwhelming. So even though I enjoyed reading the books and watching the show I let this aspect slip by me. Something about that banner drew me in though as I waited over twenty minutes for a demo.

   It was very much worth the wait as I was handed a Stark deck and my opponent was handed a Tyrell deck; I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having no clue what to do I quickly focused on cards I thought were good enough to help me win a game between two oblivious players. Allow me to introduce you to my MVP’s.

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   Sansa Stark and the humble Tumblestone Knight. My opponent was plagued by his set up, but I was able to get these and Heart Tree Grove out early. My opponents cards were no slouches, but my Knights were able to make Military challenges when my opponent was devoid of the icon. On defense, Sansa was able to block his intrigue challenges then naturally standing at the end of the round granting me a power token of which you need fifteen to win. Suffice it to say the demo didn’t last very long as I collected my fifteenth power token to win the game courtesy of Sansa Stark

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   After the demo I stayed around admiring the art, which is gorgeous, when I heard that this was a second edition of the game. What this means is that they are essentially re-releasing the game and none of the older cards can be used. This was fantastic news for me as I was daunted by the immensity of the old game and this marked a perfect time to play the game of thrones.

   As I made my way over to the Fantasy Flight booth to buy my copy I was devastated to learn that it was sold out; sold out! I spent my remaining time pouring over the new rules and looking at all the cards in anticipation of this release and was utterly captivated. The rules were great, the art was great and even the flavor was great.

   I was so entranced by this game that a friend and I created this blog after I got home from my vacation. In the future we are aiming to go into great analysis about the cards and strategies that lie within as well as the art and flavor of each card. So until then I leave you with the best play mat art I have ever seen, but couldn’t get.


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