|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 29 July 2010|
Hello and Welcome Back, Loyal A Game of Thrones Fans!
This week we continue our look at the soon-to-be-released first Chapter Pack of the Brotherhood Without Banners cycle of expansions, Illyrio's Gift. The Brotherhood Without Banners cycle parts with the formula established in previous expansions in that rather than giving an equal number of cards to each House in each Chapter Pack, Chapter Packs in this cycle will instead focus on a particular House, with a few more cards for that House than for the other Houses*. For example, in Illyrio's Gift there are 6 Targaryen cards, compared to 2 each for the other Houses, 3 neutral cards, and 1 plot card. Non-Targaryen players have no reason to fear Illyrio's Gift, though: there are still plenty of cool cards in this pack**.
With that in mind, this week we thought we would take a look at some new developing themes for House Lannister that are being introduced in Brotherhood Without Banners. One theme is the deepening of the Clansman trait and the other is counter-intuitive (for Lannister) effects triggering off of having fewer cards in hand than your opponent. An example of the convergence of these two themes is Painted Dogs.
At first glance, Painted Dogs are pretty straightforward: they're cheap, with both the Army and Clansman trait, as well as typical Lannister icons. Army is pretty good for use with cards like Training Grounds (Lords of Winter, F44) and Clansman will see more benefits as Brotherhood Without Banners continues. (See Timett, Son of Timett.) Where Painted Dogs plays into the dual Lannister themes of this cycle of expansions is in its special ability.
More than any other House, Lannister decks can be built around hitting the draw cap and putting as much of your deck into your hand as possible. This means terrific flexibility, but also vulnerability to Intrigue challenges (which Lannister usually has pretty well covered), and effects like Rule By Decree (Core, B206) or For R'hllor (Return of the Others, F106). Cards like Painted Dogs work by playing against type and Clansman decks will open up some interesting alternative deckbuilds for House Lannister.
On the one hand, Painted Dogs' secondary special ability is a mere bonus - something to take advantage of should the opportunity present itself. An additional bonus here is that your opponent may hesitate to initiate Intrigue challenges against you if you are just a card or two away from your Clansmen blowing up. On the other hand, Painted Dogs and other Clansman cards like it get stronger at lower cost when the condition is met and you could build a very efficient deck by staying away from Lannister's normal card draw bonanza. You could also keep to Lannister's card draw, work in some voluntary discard, and play to filtering and recursion. House Targaryen is better at this than Lannister, but with cards like Die for your King (Ancient Enemies, F23) or Retreat and Regroup (Scattered Armies, F114)***, you can "store" cards in your discard pile for later use, while still maintaining your small hand size.
As you can see, the Clansman trait will become an interesting new factor in how you choose to build your Lannister deck as Brotherhood Without Banners continues and will present fun new challenges on both sides of a Lannister confrontation. We hope that the previews so far have whet your appetite for this cycle and we hope you've got plenty to talk about here in the comments and in the A Game of Thrones forums.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The weekly card spoiler will be taking next week off because we will all be at Gen Con Indy. We hope to see some of our biggest fans and best players there, and following Gen Con we will be posting some pictures, sessions reports from the championship matches, and more. See you in two weeks!
* Brotherhood Without Banners is also the first cycle of expansions to feature the new 60-card distribution. Where previously Chapter Packs would contain twenty unique cards, distributed into 10 cards with one copy each and 10 cards with three copies each, the new Chapter Packs feature twenty unique cards with three copies each. For more information, see this article.
** The next two packs will feature Baratheon and Lannister, respectively.
*** Or Street Waif (A Time of Trials, F32) out of House.
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.
Wasn't there a character announced the other week that meant that clansman characters couldn't die!?
Well, personally, I'm glad they don't just go down the list of characters in the book in order of prominence. I like having the major characters and factions spaced out in the card sets. It allows each one to have more impact when it does see print. Also, the mix of major uniques and anonymous backmatches the setting of Westeros well, I think. The Neck is really poorly named though.
I would like some decent effects when I have lower #'s of cards - I have always been just over the fence on draw - I want just a little in each deck, one of the things I see players do is put too much draw in. You can only use what you can pay for! :)
So, many times I am staring down Targ or Lanni or Martell with lower cards playing Lanni. If there are solid cards that get better with this, I am all for them!
However...this card is bleh. You print mass stealth and deadly and expect triggered strength boosts to be relevent? *roll*
BTW I am on Brewtown's boat, per the norm. Still amazes me what card names get printed, and what big-time favorites do not.
I'll take I'm Writ You Small and Insidious Ways. Painted Dogs can go play elsewhere.
Painted Dogs? Don't remember that clan mentioned in the books (though I'm sure they were). Even assuming they were mentioned or are in a future book, how do they get a card before the Black Ears, Burned Men or Stone Crows? This is just one of those little 'Ned' things I think they can do a lot better on in this game. Of course the 'Ned' in me also cringes whenever I see 'The Neck' (ranking as one of FFG's worst 10 all-time 'Ned' cards for abilites to title).
Interesting concept for Lannister going against type. I wonder if we'll see similar themes in the other houses as well.