|What Is Dead Can Never Die
A Preview of Valar Morghulis for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 03 May 2012||Rating||11 votes|
Every other priest lost a man from time to time, even Tarle the Thrice-Drowned, who had once been thought so holy that he was picked to crown a king. But never Aeron Greyjoy. He was the Damphair, who had seen the god’s own watery halls and returned to tell of it. “Rise,” he told the sputtering boy as he slapped him on his naked back. “You have drowned and been returned to us. What is dead can never die.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Feast for Crows
This inventive cycle is set to bring several exciting changes to the game. The Great Houses of Westeros extend their ambitions to the Eastern continent, Essos. River plots provide players intriguing design options; these new plots spill into each other, triggering their own effects and those of the top-most River plot in your used plot pile. The Free Cities of Essos appear as Kingdom locations that support trait-based decks, potentially supporting new alliances between Houses. And each House gains the support of new characters who can advance your hidden agendas.
We Do Not Sow
With Valar Morghulis, House Greyjoy gains strength from its beliefs. The Ironborn follow the tenets of the Drowned Gods, a harsh deity of naval conquest, reaving, fire, blood, steel, and song. Ironborn believe the Drowned God made them to take what they wanted by right of strength, to take salt wives, and carve out kingdoms.
The Drowned God’s followers are often strict and severe. They disdain jewelry and ornament bought with coin, respecting only such decorations taken from the corpses of those they have slain. One of the strictest and most severe of the Ironborn is high priest Aeron Damphair (Valar Morghulis, 10). An amiable and feckless youth, Aeron had been a drunkard fond of songs and women, but after he came close to drowning he turned hard toward his faith. It gave him purpose, and his purpose gave him strength.
Likewise, the new Aeron Damphair can strengthen your Greyjoy deck with his clarity of purpose. He’s a strong character with three Strength, two icons, Stealth, and a Holy crest for three cost, but he offers you even greater options in your deck construction and play. If he would die while you’re not running an agenda, Aeron attaches to your House card as an agenda, providing you the ability to draw two cards after a Greyjoy character is saved.
Rises Again, Harder and Stronger
House Greyjoy is one of the most military-focused Houses, but it also excels at saving characters. The House can save characters with everything from events, to characters, to locations. Aeron Damphair may provide Greyjoy an interesting twist on deck-building by allowing you to focus your character icons toward Intrigue and Power struggles, then use the House’s numerous saves to soak claim and trigger the card draw Aeron provides while attached to your House as an agenda.
Of course, characters who can become agendas (or “charagendas” as players have dubbed them) exist primarily to increase the flexibility of your deck during match play. As long as Aeron Damphair remains on the table as a character, your opponent’s Northern Cavalry Flank (Scattered Armies, 103) must kneel to attack. Or you can choose to penalize your opponent’s card draw with the Seal of the Crown (A Poisoned Spear, 117). But if you find yourself in need of the card draw, you can maneuver to attach Aeron Damphair to your House Card as an agenda. Killing him off isn’t difficult. You could use him to fulfill military claim, or you could sacrifice him with either a Valar Morghulis (Core Set, 201) or Wildfire Assault (Core Set, 191). Then, once he goes moribund, Aeron attaches to your House Card as an agenda, and because this ability is not a response, it can’t be cancelled.
Blessed by Salt, Stone, and Steel
Much like Red Vengeance (Princes of the Sun, 25), Aeron Damphair and a deck full of save effects may allow you to rethink the way you approach your Military challenges. You can leave yourself exposed, and when your opponent's Military force sweeps in for the kill, you may be able to gain greater benefits than you would by winning the challenge. It's a new way to gain the advantage in actions and, ultimately, to carve out your victory.
Look for Aeron Damphair to lend the strength of his beliefs to House Greyjoy next week when Valar Morghulis arrives at retailers everywhere!
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.