News for February 2012
United in Their Trial by Combat
An A Game of Thrones: The Card Game spotlight
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 02 February 2012

“Come south with me, and I’ll teach you how to laugh again,” the king promised. “You helped me win this damnable throne, now help me hold it. We were meant to rule together. If Lyanna had lived, we should have been brothers, bound by blood as well as affection. Well, it is not too late.”
    –Robert Baratheon to Eddard Stark

Together, Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark led a war that won a crown. Close as brothers, they stood together in battles, seized the Iron Throne, and threw down an insurgency. However, the game of thrones is not fought on the battlefields alone, and the alliance between the two great houses, Baratheon and Stark, frayed and tattered as the result of myriad plots and intrigues.

The underhanded and shadowy work that split these two great houses led directly toward their precipitous downfalls. Isolated armies find themselves beset on multiple sides, and even the most cunning general knows the value of an alliance in a Trial by Combat.

A United Cause

Trial by Combat introduces three new events to A Game of Thrones: The Card Game that each offer tremendous rewards, but at no less a price than the expenditure of a power from your House card. These events illustrate the thematic ties between the Great Houses, enhance traditional house strengths, share those strengths across houses, and force players to make careful measurements of the tactical advantages the events may provide versus the loss of a power, and the step backward from victory.

Houses Baratheon and Stark gain strength by reuniting their efforts with A United Cause (Trial by Combat, 97). Perhaps the subtlest of the three dual-affiliation events in Trial by Combat, A United Cause combines Baratheon’s character retrieval with Stark’s search abilities. In a Baratheon deck, the character retrieval is nothing new, and likely not worth the loss of a power. Likewise, in a Stark deck, while the search ability is still welcome, the cost of a power appears a hefty drawback, especially when compared to cards like To Be a Wolf (Sacred Bonds, 44).

But when you have A United Cause, House Baratheon suddenly benefits from Stark’s search, offsetting their traditional weakness in card draw. House Stark suddenly gains Baratheon’s character retrieval, which opens up some interesting combinations, not the least of which is the ability to play Lucas Blackwood (Gates of the Citadel, 1) multiple times in a deck running The Siege of Winterfell (Lords of Winter, 48).

The character retrieval from A United Cause can even provide a key defensive advantage against a Targaryen deck running Rhaenys’s Hill (The Battle of Blackwater Bay, 112). Combined with Benjen Stark (Core Set, 135), A United Cause allows you to empty your entire dead pile multiple times, ensuring that even if your favorite characters don’t stay alive, they at least don’t stay dead.

The best of both houses

Each of the three dual-affiliation events in Trial by Combat gives one of the Great Houses the strategic use of an ability traditionally belonging to another house. The loss of a power may prove a considerable drawback, but it will hardly prove enough of a cost to prevent these events from making a splash in the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game community once the Chapter Pack hits retail shelves later this month.

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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