News for April 2010
No Foe More Implacable 7
A Card of the Week for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 22 April 2010

Hello and Welcome Back, Loyal A Game of Thrones Players!

This week we present another article on the theme of Champion cards, this time brought to you by 2009 A Game of Thrones Melee Champion, Jonathan Benton. For those that don't know: if you win an A Game of Thrones championship (and there are three: Joust, Melee, and Overall), we invite you to design a card that will enter the future A Game of Thrones metagame. Jonathan's contribution, Qhorin Halfhand, will be found in the upcoming expansion for House Stark, Lords of Winter. Without any further ado, take it away, Jonathan!

When I sat down to make my champion card, I didn’t have quite as lofty goals in mind as Erick [Butzlaff, AGoT 2009 Overall Champion], who wanted to “make as powerful a card as the AGOT team at FFG [would] allow [him] to print, tailored to further [his] own favorite game mechanic, promote the house [he] love[s] most, fill what [he] perceive[s] to be a gap in the environment, or create a card that enables totally new strategies [he] think[s] players will enjoy for years to come,” although that would have been a great starting point for me as well and certainly was accomplished admirably in The Blackfish.

I did have one goal in mind: to bring one of my favorite characters from the books into the game who wasn’t currently represented. Once I got the confirmation that this was feasible, I knew I wanted a card of Qhorin Halfhand. This also seemed timely since I was told that the Night’s Watch, sans Qhorin, was a major upcoming theme.

At first, I was hoping my face could be used for Qhorin, but this was not allowed for understandable reasons. After I talked to my good friend and Thrones-mate Sean Wiggins and told him of my plans to turn Qhorin into my Champion card, he suggested that I attempt to have the artist depict me as the Wildling swinging the axe at Qhorin during the fateful battle that gave him his moniker, which I thought was a fantastic idea.

I toyed with the idea of making as Nedly [thematic] a version as possible of the Halfhand who would send a character you control on a “mission” to the opposing player by giving control of that character to your opponent, in exchange for certain benefits such as control of an opponent’s character and/or information (spying on an opponent’s hand). Ultimately such a card was too complicated for its own good once I tried to balance it with optimal costs and benefits.

I also looked at making him a plot card which would search the top of your deck, placing some of those cards into the discard pile and some into your hand, in an effect that would have emulated the ranging of a storied scout of the Night’s Watch, but was informed that a similar plot was already being included in the upcoming Lords of Winter.

Thus I was left with the other aspect of Qhorin that made an impression on me from the books: his fighting skill. The story of Qhorin stopping the blade of the Wildling’s axe, then using his spurting stumps to blind and kill his adversary made such a vivid impression on me when as I read A Song of Ice and Fire*. I decided to attempt to capture this legendary prowess of the character.

The easiest way to do this, I supposed, was to have Qhorin be able to kill opposing characters. This led me to a final version I was happy with, able to trigger his response even if he was knelt or otherwise controlled. I feel non-unique characters should be more vulnerable than unique characters, and we have plenty of devastating characters who fit that description, from Wintertime Marauders to Castellan of the Rock. Plenty more utility characters like the Carrion Bird, Salt Wife, and Lannisport Steward will feel a little more vulnerable when the Halfhand hits the table.

Accompanying Qhorin Halfhand in the Lords of Winter box will be a couple of fitting additions to the Military challenge theme: Siege of Winterfell and Storm of Swords. Couple Siege of Winterfell with Storm of Swords and some epic battle events like Battle of the Whispering Wood, and Stark’s ability to send waves of military challenges and rush at the same time will be frightening indeed.

Qhorin should fit right in with such a deck which can kill lots of opposing characters, as he will add some targeted kill to the abundant military claim. However, while using effects which allow more military challenges will increase the Halfhand’s utility, as will using him in a Night’s Watch deck, I’d like to think that he’s ready to make a splash in any deck which needs a renowned ally admired for his lethal combat skill.

Thanks Jonathan for this week's Champion card spoiler and some more insight into the Lords of Winter expansion. Tune in next time for more A Game of Thrones action in our weekly card preview. In the meantime, we hope to see you at our LCG Regionals Tournament this weekend at the FFG Events Center!

* The relevant passage can be found in A Song of Ice and Fire, Volume II: A Clash of Kings.

Based on George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, playable by 2-4 players, brings the beloved heroes, villains, locations, and events of the world of Westeros to life through innovative game mechanics and the highly strategic game play. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Chapter Pack expansions to the core game.

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Comments (7)

Published: 5/7/2010 6:40:18 PM

stark is getting some amazing stuff over the summer release sched.

looks like im making a stark deck now

Published: 5/4/2010 9:45:00 AM

 @King Blith - you move power from your opponents house to your own during a power challenge you don't "claim" it. So the card prevents claiming power form unopposed and from card effects outside of the military challenge. It is very strong though and one of the main rush tools from back in the CCG days for Stark.

King Blith
Published: 4/22/2010 12:35:42 PM

well when that agenda comes out you going to see stark run both the plots that give them more then one mill challenga e so its going to be something

Published: 4/22/2010 12:00:21 PM

That Agenda brings back old memories. I will say that without a reintroduction of a card like 'Lord Eddard's Command' (please don't bring it back guys) it is not quite as scary as it was in the old environment...but it's still scary.

The big problem is that the opponent playing against the player with this Agenda need not worry about unopposed power for intrigue and power challenges, or even dominance. This can be misleading, because a good deck using this Agenda will make lots of big plays in the Mil challenge to make up for that. This plot changes a game in a HUGE way, for both players.

Cards that reduce a player's choice for challenge type would be a great counter to a deck that uses the agenda.

Published: 4/22/2010 11:38:35 AM

Ahhhh crap..... it's back.

Yes, King Blith, it is worth running.

Published: 4/22/2010 11:31:42 AM

 Thx Jonathan... with Erick you are making the game greater!!! And both cards are dreamed card so... Welcome!!! :-)

King Blith
Published: 4/22/2010 11:15:05 AM

strom of sword so should be Military Battle plot but hey still a great plot i like that the night watch has an icon great card

i wonder if that agend worth running no claim for power but  and i am not sure it is a response can you cannel the resons of an agenda?

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