|Hatching New Plots On Dangerous Grounds
An A Game of Thrones: The Card Game spotlight by guest writer Joe Becker
|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 08 December 2011|
The release of On Dangerous Grounds is quickly approaching. In previous spotlight articles, we’ve seen several new Ladies and how this pack rewards players for controlling more unique characters than their opponents. Now, in our final preview of the Chapter Pack, we’ll look at its two new plots and how they can change the course of the game.
Plotting and scheming
The process of selecting the seven plots that make up your plot deck often exposes the most important decisions in deck designs for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. Some decks are carefully built to mesh with their plot decks and take advantage of the synergies created. Other decks utilize plots to meet a number of temporary goals. Still, nearly every deck runs a character reset, many run a search plot (especially in melee matches), and it seems that every Maester deck runs At The Gates (Gates of the Citadel, 20). Both plots in On Dangerous Grounds can be useful in any deck, but both offer more advantages to decks designed to maximize their impact.
Called to Court
Called to Court (On Dangerous Grounds, 60) is one of those plots that can cut like a double-edged sword. It offers you high initiative but only two gold, and it allows all players in the game to immediately put into play from their hands an in-house character of cost three or less. Well, let me take that back, because any player running a neutral house doesn’t get to play a character. But they will get hit by the second ability of the plot, along with every other player. After the players all make what they can of the opportunity to play an in-house character, each must return a character he controls to its owner’s hand. This second ability may seem like a drawback, one that can counteract the play the card just gave you, but it can be turned to your advantage.
Played early, everyone should benefit from this plot, but if you play it at the right time, it can give you cunning ways to hurt your opponent. If your opponent played an expensive character during setup, he may suddenly find it back in his hand. Meanwhile, you can drop your Ser Arys Oakheart (Princes of the Sun, 9) into play, trigger his ability, and then return him to your hand to discard another Ally or Mercenary during the Marshaling phase. Or you can keep him on the board and return a cheap Refugee. With the high initiative on this card, most of the time you’ll be able to seize the opportunity to go first, so you can time the plot against a Valar Morghulis (Core Set, 201) and return an important character to your hand to save it (but then again, so can your opponent). Of course, your opponent needs to have characters in his hand to play them, and if you manage to deplete your opponent’s hand, Called to Court allows you to further press your advantage.
The First Snow of Winter
Our other new plot also returns characters to hand, but on a much larger scale. The First Snow of Winter (On Dangerous Grounds, 59) was designed by 2005 World Champion John Bruno, and his plot will strike fear into the heart of every aggro deck. When this card hits the table, you can almost guarantee that nobody is going to play a character that turn of cost two or less because once the first challenge begins, all of those cheap characters are going to return to your hand. Your Refugees retreat to your hand, some of your Lords and Ladies return to their holdfasts, and even a few Armies find themselves thwarted by the snows.
As far as resets go, The First Snow of Winter is one of the more powerful, as you can literally build your deck to be immune to its effect. Some builds even become more powerful, such as a Stark House Bolton deck, which can allow you to recover every character your opponent was able to take from you, returning them all to your hand. Clever players may find ways to initiate that first challenge in the Marshaling phase, or they may simply prevent any challenges from taking place. This plot can also make a nasty set-up if played a turn prior to playing Rule By Decree (Core Set, 206). Not only will you force your opponent to take those characters from the board, but you can then force your opponent to discard a number of them, denying him the chance to bring them back.
While the Knights, Lords, and Ladies attend tournaments during the A Tale of Champions cycle of Chapter Packs, they do not sit idle. A Game of Thrones: The Card Game is full of intrigues within intrigues, and concerns that threaten the great houses from all sides. The two new plots in On Dangerous Grounds continue to highlight the dramatic choices each house must make, the machinations they seek to start in motion, and the cruel twists of fate that afflict them. This third Chapter Pack in the A Tale of Champions cycle is coming soon!
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.
Hrmmm... maybe it's about time to pull that second copy of Ser Jorah out of my deck.
~Bleh, pretty crap Champ card ;) j/k - GREAT to see it back!
A couple of very interesting plots, very strategic ones.
@JerusalemJones - yeah, but they are immune to it if they are revealed -after- the first challenge of the phase... So, while I think this actually hurts Stark's Bolton deck options more than it helps them, it totally helps the already awesome Meera/Arya shadows ladies :)
Another thing to remember about First Snow is that it also hits the Shadow characters with a 0 cost to bring out of shadows, as the rules state that the "printed cost" of a Shadow card is 2 + the cost to bring out of Shadows. So it can hit Syrio Forel, the hatchling dragons and a few others.
These are plots that will make people wet their pants.
On Dangerous Grounds indeed... very cool plots!