Game of Thrones LCG - Taking the Black Review

Well this is the month for new ideas isn't it? First we started off with a review on a Steam PC port of a board game and now we're adding to that variety with a review on an LCG pack! Basically I keep up (for the most part) with a few LCG's from Fantasy Flight and enjoy my time with them highly. My current projects are Netrunner, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Now it's hardest for me to keep up with Lord of the Rings but that's just a solo co-operative experience so I can proceed with that at my own pace, and it still remains to this day in my Top 10 games of all time.  The other two I can keep up to date and enjoy the odd casual tournament scene at a local store, but mainly I just play for fun.

So what I'm going to start doing from this point forward is give my opinion on the cards that come in the pleathora of expansions that Netrunner and Game of Thrones receive, that being the cycle packs and the deluxe expansions. Now of course as a caveat, this is just my opinion from my knowledge of the game and experience in using the cards. I am not a Nationals 2015 Top 8 Winner or something to that effect and it gets on my nerves that some bloggers/podcasters seem to give off the impression that unless you are one of these things you don't have the authority to review LCG's (seriously there's one out there that takes forever to do the introductions because they have to spout out their tournament qualifications like they're reading out their bloody CV or something)!

I'm a casual player that enjoys the game and can hold my own in a local store tournament despite having much to learn myself. That's all. Take that for what its worth, but maybe that will allow me to consider combos and ideas that will be fun to use rather than simply dismissing anything that doesn't make a Tier 1 level deck or whatever! So that being said, let's start. You can already check out my Game of Thrones LCG 2nd Edition Core Set review on my site and I'll start my Netrunner reviews from the first pack of the Mumbad cycle that's incoming. Here now is the first chapter pack in the first cycle for Game of Thrones. If you want to see all the images for each card, I recommend you visit thronesdb.com and use their search engine.





Will

He's proven quite popular in a lot of Night's Watch decks. Insight is nice when combined with Stealth allowing you to gain some additional card draw, which The Nights Watch are already really good at in general. Intrigue is also something that most factions keep having to find suitable defense for. However watch his penalty for losing an unopposed challenge if you're not well defended.


The Watch Has Need

You have to trust a bit to luck with the tutoring, but this can be a highly effective targeted card draw utility for The Nights Watch. There are certainly some good choices for fishing out of your deck on all 3 traits used


Maester Luwin

I'm not a fan of Luwin here, for a start the 4th character on his list isn't even released yet! Most people are barely running Jon Snow and here you'll need to be running a hybrid Stark/Watch deck to make use of that. So you're left with Bran and Robb and even their boosts are not ground breaking. Maybe nice to throw in one of him, but otherwise he's a pass.


Lady

1 gold for a +2 boost to strength that can be transferred between characters is frankly a steal. It benefits from the Direwolf keyword if you're making use of the synergys and it's a cheap way to get Sansa to stand for her power gain when you want to as opposed to waiting till the very end.


Arbor Knight

The Tyrells can get a fairly good economy going especially when partnered up with their favourite companions of late, the Lannisters. Therefore having money to afford this ability isn't usually difficult to come by and can swing the tide of a close battle. Your opponents also have to consider your Treasury every time he's on the board when planning their turn which can throw in a spanner in their works. All in all he's a decent include.


Pleasure Barge

If you can get a strong economy going, this is a fantastic burst in card draw for the Tyrells. The -1 Gold penalty can't be taken lightly though. If you're in a struggling situation or haven't quite got a generous economy going, you risk putting yourself into stagnation.


Renly Baratheon

Not so great unless you're barely tapping into Baratheon for their cards and even then he's a high cost for a medium strength character. However don't underestimate the usefulness of having all 3 icons on a character.


King Robert's Warhammer

Stick this on Robert Baratheon and you get pure sickness. Absolute sickness. It's very much a one-hit wonder, but it's like throwing a bulldozer at your opponent. It won't hurt many high STR characters, but if you target a collection of cheap allies you can kneel most of the opponents force and boost Robert via his own ability while you're at it. Not as cool on anyone else.


The Hound

This guy is an absolute beast! So cheap to play for a high strength and 2 icons, but the downside is the discard or bounce effect of his wins. However if you've got card draw sorted or a decent economy you can make this guy go to town on the opponent. Just be warned not to keep him in your hand too long if your opponent is winning Intrigue challenges.



Cersei's Wheelhouse

I can vouch for how amazing this card is in a Joust game, though it loses effectiveness in a Melee with multiple players. The opponent has to think hard about whether to give you the bonus or not and it's just constantly giving you more against Martell or The Nights Watch who usually like to go last. My last Cersei Intrigue Control deck loved this card and you'll barely notice the penalty to initiative.


The Seastone Chair

On face value it appears to be amazing, however be warned. The requirement to succeed in an unopposed Military challenge coupled with choosing a character without attachments means that this targeted kill card won't be triggering as often as you would like. It's nice when it does, but not one I would base a deck around.


Rise of the Kraken

A new plot card for Greyjoy and it's usually an auto-include in any Fealty deck. The claim value of 2 as well as the 2 extra power for unopposed challenges means that this is effectively a super-bomb card to pull out when you've got the upper hand on characters. Potentially can win the game for you outright.


Merchant Prince

3 cost for a 3 strength Intrigue character isn't a bad deal to begin with, but put any attachment on him, however small and he improves further. One snag. What attachment would you want to put on him? I've seen nobody use Noble Lineage for the Power icon and he already gains the other two. High value attachments like weapons and Seal of the Hand are generally better spent on your powerful unique characters. So it's hard to really justify him apart from having some good Intrigue defense.


Vaes Dothrak

Targeted attachment hate for the Targ, but the issue is whether you want to discard your attachment in the first place. For dead cards this is a good deal especially to get rid of an annoying Milk of the Poppy. Otherwise you have to decide which is better. It's just a shame that there aren't many attachment choices out there that tend to be used, so this is one I see getting more love as time goes on.


Bastard Daughter

A cool chump blocker for Martell, yes she doesn't have much strength and only one icon, but the forced discard kicks in when she dies for any reason, be it a challenge or Wildfire Asssault for example. And the fact it's random can make it daunting for your opponent because he risks losing a key asset in his hand. Let me tell you I don't like having 2 or 3 of these sprung at once. And with the Sand Snake trait due to get a significant boost in a future expansion pack, she'll no doubt be a must include there.


The Long Plan

This is an unusual plot, but it fits in nicely with the theme of Martells who like to play the long game on the defense with swift retaliation. It can allow a player to store up gold for either a mass-marshal phase or for safe keeping when their hand is short on useful cards to utilise. Losing challenges will be painful in their own right to get that gold but hopefully you've got some ways to sting your opponent on successes.


Support of the People

This is one of those cards that you want to make room for and yet have so much competition. There are a ton of locations worth searching for with this card and there's very little location-hate in the game currently. Winning a Power challenge by 5 or more is the hard part, but Baratheon and Greyjoy in particular enjoy this card with their strength boosts. If a location is key to your strategy, this is one to consider.


Street of the Sisters

It's nice to gain extra power for winning a Power challenge, but there are other ways to gain extras for winning challenges and again, the competition for event cards is extremely tight. I personally prefer Support of the People for grabbing more useful locations to keep yourself in the game.


Muster the Realm

Currently there aren't really enough Army characters to make good use of this that I can see. Each faction only has one character with the Army trait plus the neutral Wildling Horde. That makes only 6 Army characters max in your deck and to make use of the card those characters have to win their respective challenges. I've yet to see anyone use it.




Here to Serve

This one is an interesting plot. It's effectively a 6 gold card as your 3 cost Maester becomes free. Again there aren't many Maester's to go around but some of them have great abilities on them. Better for some factions than others (The Nights Watch in particular), but it sees some casual play now and then.


Summary

Being so early in the cycle there's not much here that will dramatically influence new deck design ideas, but for those wanting to improve what was already given in the core set, they will find a decent amount of cards that make core set decks better. It's early days yet so we'll see what's to come soon.


If you are interested in this game you can find a copy at your friendly local gaming store - http://www.findyourgamestore.co.uk/

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