This is the first of what I hope will be many ramblings where I analyse each pack for the Game of Thrones LCG. For this first episode I’ll be taking a look at what is hot and what is not for the Chapter Pack Calm Over Westeros.
First card on the list is Greatjon’s Vanguard.
Power rush with Stark is fast becoming a thing and this character can be another weapon to consider for your arsenal. However, what sets this card back is its cost. A 5 for 4 ain’t that great. You would need to run three of them in your deck to ensure you are able to take full advantage of its renown and 2 strength buff otherwise this card will largely be a waste of gold. One plus is that it is non unique so technically you could field three of them and bank some serious power but such a circumstance is highly unlikely and not something you could count on.
This is a fantastic ambush card and a steal for only one gold. It’s also a loyal card so you can blindside someone with it by using Fealty. This card would be best used on a turn when you are going first. On your defensive turn if there’s a milked character that might be expendable then sacrifice it to take out one of their big guns. Another powerful use is if someone has used Put to the Sword on you. Once you Kill that character at the end of the challenge, react with this card and nail their best and brightest. Turn a negative into a positive.
This card is a little expensive and highly circumstantial, which makes it unreliable. It can’t be milked which is a good thing and stealth is always a wonderful thing to have but if you are up against Lannister or Baratheon builds you are not guaranteed to have the strongest character on the board. Having said that, this could be a nice inclusion in a Baratheon/Rose build but due to its unreliability, chances are you’re kicking out a better card in order to include it.
Pulling the Strings
Here we come to the first plot of the pack. There are a lot of awesome applications for this plot that would make it a very tempting card to include. Almost everyone runs a kingdom or edict plot for income but other nasty applications are using cards like summons or building orders to speed up your setup, Wildfire Assault to keep things tight, Heads on Spikes to interrupt their ability to consolidate the board, Confiscation to get rid of a second milk or even specialist plots like The King’s Peace. Those three keywords let you target a wide swathe of enemy plots that when utilised at the right time could turn a person’s deck against them.
Chett doesn’t add a lot to a Nightswatch deck accept its ability to recur any pieces you may have lost in its card drawing machine. A unique 3 for 3 in only one skill makes it unappealing but hey at least it’s un-milk-able.
This card probably wouldn’t make the cut in my Nightswatch deck. It’s too expensive for what it does. You draw a card then it gives you a persistent buff to your hand size. It is loyal so you could reduce it using Fealty but there are already a lot of loyal Nightswatch cards that could use the reducer as it is. Maybe if it was non unique it might be a more worthy addition but failing that it leaves me underwhelmed. If Nightswatch ever receives an ability to sacrifice locations in order to recur them from the used pile then suddenly this card won’t be quite so bad.
If there’s one faction that doesn’t really need any help it’s Baratheon. Thankfully, they aren’t really getting a lot this pack. Kingswood is okay, just not brilliant. When deciding to add a card to a deck you have to work out if it’s going to make your deck stronger than the card you’re kicking out. This one’s a tough call in that regard. Basically this card is designed to pair with Bob. You win initiative and choose to go second. Defend a power challenge with Bob and with this card on table his Intimidate keyword becomes that little bit stronger. It’s non unique so you can combine its abilities with multiple copies, but you can never lose a power challenge so be wary of cards like The Hound who can really wreck your day.
This is an interesting card, the humour of the fact that a stinking drunk is an attachment hasn’t been lost on me. I would probably only include it as a 1-of (2-of at most) as a supporting card to Milk of the Poppy. You play this card on a character, oopsy-daisy you couldn’t stand at the end of the turn, never mind, out comes confiscation next turn, and whoops here comes milk of the poppy. A neat little trick you can put into your deck in the hopes that it might come off one game.
This is a truly interesting character that almost has its own game mechanic. A 1 for 5 that while defending can do any challenge type. This character essentially goes up for auction during each marshaling phase. I play him, you pay 1 and steal him, then I pay one and steal him back etc etc until either player feels like they’ve wasted enough money on this venture. His effect on the game can be very subtle. A player might second guess their initial decision to save their gold for that trick they were going to play if it means their opponent has a 5-strength boost to any skill in defense. Smart players will be able to avoid having to attack their own character. I can see this card being used very skillfully and subtly to turn the tide of a match.
Trial by Combat
Whoa Dayumn! Now this is a kicker card! Lannister intrigue decks just got a whole lot scarier! Imagine this: I go in with Tyrion and Cersei for an intrigue challenge, stealthing past your best character. Cersei just raised the claim value by 1 and I get 2 gold. You token defend so it’s not unopposed and start shuffling your hand. I then drop this bad boy on the table. Suddenly you’re dealing with a military 2-claim and we have yet to have a military challenge. Brutal! You have been warned…
Raider from Pike
Not a bad little chud being 2 for 2 and makes great Wyldfire or claim fodder. If you happen to use it’s game text to ambush in a throwing axe then bonus.
This card is a simple 1 cost, non unique Greyjoy location with the interrupt: When a character would be killed, Sacrifice Iron Mines to save that character. Greyjoy kill decks need to win without losing any of their characters. Doesn’t always pan out, this helps give you an insurance policy against Tears of Lys messing you up.
*Mirri Maz Duur
Targaryen burn decks were already starting to get scary, now they are just downright dangerous! Even their non military characters are trying to kill you. Imagine coming in with her alone, using Dracarys! to burn their defense and then killing someone else! Nasty! Even though she’s a 7-cost, she is totally worth it. She’s a walking Seastone Chair!
Blood Magic Ritual
Not an overly awesome card. It’s a poor man’s Risen from the Sea which is superior in almost every way, but it will keep a heavy hitter on the table even though it is essentially milked. You can use Confiscation or Viserys to remove it once it’s an attachment though, so as far as insurance policies go it’s not completely unworkable.
Knights of the Sun
This card is designed to synergise incredibly well with Greatjon’s Vanguard mentioned earlier. They have identical game text and neither of them are loyal. I can see these being excellent assets in a Stark power rush deck as an insurance policy in case you haven’t won by turn 4. Most power rush decks though, should have won by turn 4.
Vengeance for Elia
House Martell just got another potent weapon in their lose to win fight. Basically this card says to your opponent “oh you’ve hit me with your 2-claim military challenge have you? hmmm…” and then slowly but steadily raises a one finger salute to your opponent. Good card.
Street of Steel
This card has a very specific use. It’s a must have if you’re using an attachment heavy deck full of weapons and items, otherwise its fairly useless. Like most tudoring cards in this game it only lets you search the top ten cards of your deck. The upshot is that you get to do this every time you win a military challenge. This can allow you to snowball your military supremacy. Not too many uses for this one just yet but wait and see.
A very expensive card but this card has some amazing potential as an insurance policy. The problem with this card is that if you’re playing this card then you are not playing something else. However, this card has the ability to ensure that your strategy goes ahead no matter what. The skill to this card is being able to anticipate when your opponent might play a kill card. One interesting note though comes from a recent ruling made by FFG. Actions that happen at the end of a phase don’t actually happen in that phase. An example is Tears of Lys. It kills a character that has a poison token on it at the end of a phase. So the phase is technically over when the character is killed. This means that effects that are in effect until the end of the phase wear off before actions at the end of a phase take place. That means you cannot use this card to prevent a character from being killed by Tears of Lys. Sucky I know, but thems the breaks.
A good disruption card that can set your opponent back a turn but other than that not an overly useful card. Quite often in order to fit this card in you would need to kick better cards out. Not my first inclusion.
This card (with the Gollum cosplayer in the picture) is one of those plots that if played at exactly the right time will be absolutely devastating. This is a card you play when your board is set up and theirs isn’t. This is the plot you play when you have them on the proverbial floor and you need to step on their throat. The downside is you’re not playing much this turn unless you’re a Lannister. The upshot is chances are they aren’t playing much this turn either. Then you hit them with 2-claim challenges, unless you’re a Lannister in which case you smash them with 2-claim challenges!
Overall this is yet another strong chapter pack in an ever growing list of strong chapter packs that will be changing how we play in the years to come.
Calm Over Westeros is available online at the Good Games website or at your local gaming store.