|The Lions of the Rock and Their Clansmen
An A Game of Thrones: The Card Game preview by guest writer Will Lentz
|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 20 December 2011|
Today, we get a look at the Lions of the Rock Expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game from the player who created the decklists you’ll find inside the box, Will Lentz. A championship-level player who counts the LCG Days melee and the Missouri Regional among his victories, Will is perhaps best known among the community as one of the founding members of the 2 Champs and a Chump podcasts hosted on CardGameDB.
Will Lentz on Lions of the Rock:
Of course, this only surprises the folks that have never met me before, or listened to the 2 Champs and a Chump podcast, where it becomes obvious why I’m not one of the two champs. Shaggas don’t tend to care quite as much about crushing our opposition. We leave that up to the Jaimes in the community. No, Shagga players tend to be about the shiny bits. For the actual Shagga in the novels, those shiny things were arms, armor, and things to feed to goats, but sadly, I don’t own any goats. In the absence of a goat, I find shiny bits among the game’s interesting interactions and synergies and in my efforts to get these combo decks to work. I won’t regale you with all my old thoughts on my Army recursion deck. Instead, I’ll focus on something near and dear to the heart of any Shagga–Clansmen!
Introduced during the Brotherhood Without Banners cycle, Clansmen form a subtheme of the Lannister house that play counter to most of the house’s established themes. The majority of the house focuses on draw, income, kneel and intrigue icons–all of which are represented in Lions of the Rock, but none of which you’ll find among the Clansmen. Instead, they tend towards getting stronger when you have fewer cards in hand, participating in challenges even when knelt, and they are strong in military and power icons. While the Brotherhood cycle put emphasis on new themes and builds for each house, some proved to be stronger than others. The Clansmen were likely in the middle of that pack, but with new tools from the Lions of the Rock, may just jump to the top of the heap.
What we’ve seen so far
So to recap, what do we know so far that Lions of the Rock will bring to Lannister Clansmen decks? We’ve seen a new Tyrion Lannister (Lions of the Rock, 7) with a built-in ability to save himself by kneeling Clansmen, and an additional ability that lets knelt Clansmen provide him backup in any of his challenges. Tyrion may not be as much a game ender as Martell’s The Red Viper (Princes of the Sun, 1), but the fact that he’s tough to remove and gets extra use out of your other characters puts him in the same league.
Along with Tyrion, we’ve seen the new Crawn Son of Calor (Lions of the Rock, 19), who gives the Clansmen some much needed late game staying power. While the Clansmen are often quite intimidating characters, many of their abilities rely on having fewer cards in hand than your opponent, which leads to discarding your own cards, or overextending enough that your discard pile fills up. With Crawn around, however, any choice Clansmen in your discard pile can be played as if they were in your hand. After coming into play and then entering your discard pile through use of Hidden Vale Pass (Mountains of the Moon, 47), The Burned Men (Mountains of the Moon, 44) will be sure to come back for an encore performance.
What’s yet to come
First up is Joffrey Baratheon (Lions of the Rock, 4), everyone’s favorite jerk of a thirteen year-old king. This version brings unsurprising stats to the table with three gold for two strength and only a single icon. His real strength, however, lies in his punishing ability. The Lannisters have offered rewards for winning dominance off and on for years, and this new Joffrey demonstrates their house flavor in spades. If you let the Lannisters get dominance on you for even a little while, they tend to keep kicking you while you’re down. While the two strength is a low point while there are cards in the environment like Venomous Blade (The Battle of Blackwater Bay, 115), the addition of the Noble crest to this version of Joffrey does mean you can add a copy or two of The Power of Blood (Core Set, 194) to your plot deck to afford Joffrey two turns of relative immunity.
Along with Joffrey, Lannister gains access to a new house-specific plot, Edict of the Rock (Lions of the Rock, 54). With four gold, two initiative and one claim, the stats on this plot aren’t likely to raise many eyebrows. Like Joffrey, it becomes interesting when you win dominance. With an effect even broader than Joffrey’s, Edict of the Rock ensures that nothing at all will stand that turn, providing you a whole turn to save up on kneel effects to lock out an opponent.
With Clansmen in the mix, however, these cards really start to shine. While an opponent will likely grumble as they watch their non-unique characters get locked down from standing, many of the Clansmen are perfectly fine with this. From Tyrion Lannister, to Rise of the Mountain Clans (Mountains of the Moon, 48), to Shagga Son of Dolf, there are a variety of ways to make certain that your Clansmen continue looking for their shiny bits, regardless of what’s going on around them. House Lannister thrives on distracting and informing on their enemies to ensure that they have an edge in usable characters, while their opponents are knelt out. With these new abilities added to the already formidable might of the house, that disparity is about to grow even larger.
Will these new additions from Lions of the Rock be enough to move a Clansman deck from the middle range of trait-based decks into the upper echelons of tournament play? Only time will tell, but I feel confident that with these fantastic new tools, they’ll be worth a try.
Look for the Clansmen from Lions of the Rock to mob retailers everywhere in just a few weeks.
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.
The idea of Joff is great in a Clansmen deck since a lot of them are stronger while knelt.
This looks so much fun to play.
I think Robert Baratheon beats Joffrey in number of versions! :-)
That plot and Lannisport Brothel should keep most of your headaches down and out for a nice finisher round. The worst part of going against this deck is they can still fight on the ground in the next round! Better pack 3x Distinct Mastery!
~'Championship level player'. :) Anyways...great article Will! Glad to see you come back to the Lanni mold!
Is this the 5th Joffery we have in the LCG pool now?! XD
Not too sure about Joff like, but I love that plot :-)