Game of Thrones LCG - The Road To Winterfell Review

So far so good on the LCG reviews so let's continue the Game of Thrones saga with Road to Winterfell, the second pack in the Westeros cycle. Currently deck building ideas are limited due to the small card pool and it is clear that some factions have fared considerably better than others in the tournament scene. Road to Winterfell appears to have only widened that divide at first glance, which is of some concern, but let's see just how it's done so.

To repeat a previous disclaimer, 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 review on my site. If you want to see all the images for each card, I recommend you visit thronesdb.com and use their search engine.



Winterfell Kennel Master

I so want to make a competitive dog deck and this is one step closer to achieving that. This leaves your opponent unsure about whether to initiate a challenge against your Starks for fear of having one of the quality Direwolf cards join in the fray to swing the battle, though this will probably only be of major use in military challenges. Note that this also works with Lady, the attachment that usually ends up on Sansa Stark because it's a Direwolf card to benefit in intrigue or power challenges as well.


Winterfell Castle 

I like this card, but the cost of 3 puts it in a high price bracket where only the most coveted of locations sit such as The Red Keep or Great Kraken. Stark has access to a lot of unique characters and the list will only grow higher with the upcoming deluxe expansion on the way, but it remains to be seen how effective this will get in the long run. Currently though it's not bad at all and worth considering a splash in a deck, but avoid running 3 copies.


Lady In Waiting

Unless you are REALLY desperate to keep your Lady characters in play, this isn't a particularly good card. 2 cost for only one icon and one power is not efficient and Knights have plenty of ladies to offer a rose to (more on that later) already. I can't see it being used much and it certainly won't feature in a Tyrell deck of mine.


Lady Sansa's Rose

And here is what suddenly brought Knights not only into the tournament scene but possibly even slightly broke it. This card in the hands of Tyrell (or even Stark with Sansa & Arya about) is downright sick. 3 power is such a huge gain and it can be achieved with a lowly Arbor Knight as well. Expect to see a ton of Tyrell/Stark combo decks in the future and pack some Hand's Judgement cards in preparation.


Unsworn Apprentice

He may not appear like much, but look again. I'm not saying he's an awesome card, but when you think about it, The Night's Watch are all about defense, particularly from unopposed challenges. This guy can generate whatever icon you need to defend against at a moments notice without needing any gold to do so and even if he loses the challenge, he at least opposes it. And cards that steal icons don't work against him because he doesn't have it printed on the card. This works on the offence as well, but typically you won't be doing much of that.


Brandon's Gift

Garbage. . . . . yeah that's about all I can say. How many builders do you know that exist in The Night's Watch or in Game of Thrones in general currently? One? I can only think of one anyway. I'm sure in the future we'll see more builders turn up, but it beggars belief why this card was brought out this early before it's anywhere near being viable. I hope it gets more support because currently this is about as close to a coaster as you can get.



Royal Entourage

I don't like cards where you get such a marginal benefit yet have to put up with a nasty side effect when losing challenges. It's why I don't much care for Will in The Night's Watch. 2 gold for two icons and 3 STR isn't bad, but you just know that one day you're going to lose that challenge and it's going to bite you hard for it. The odd one or two may work if you're really going for The Red Keep and all it's glory, but otherwise there's probably better choices unless you're running Fealty.


In The Name Of Your King

Some limited use if you're the second player, but if you're able to go first, this is pretty nifty. You can do your military challenge and resolve it without fear of a rebuttal. Should they come your way you just throw this down and cancel it there and then. Of course be wary if you know they are packing a Hand's Judgement, but otherwise this provides some good security for your key characters.


Brothel Madame

Possibly the second most annoying card in this set. But in a good way! She is a pain to see when up against Lannister. First off, you're giving a faction that loves gold even more gold, but the main irritation is that you're stuck deciding whether to save a gold from your Treasury every round or forgo doing any military challenges. It's a quality control card that will frustrate many an opponent, though not as much one we'll get on to in Martell's roster . . .


Wardens of the West

I look forward to these plot cards the most in new expansions as they make for a good basis to build your deck around. Now previous cards have shown that Lannister love their intrigue challenges and hinted that a hand destruction deck was potentially viable. This is a new card that helps to make that a reality, able to decimate an opponents hand in a single round in conjunction with other intrigue claim boosting cards such as Cersei. Two gold isn't difficult for Lannister to acquire especially if you're got Tyrion in your line up as he'll provide you with the gold by himself just for initiating the challenge in the first place! A quality plot card, but maybe a little restricted to that type of deck.


The Reader

Not someone I would put 3 of in my Greyjoy deck which seems to be the main faction I play at the moment, but he's certainly worth at least one if not two. Being able to draw cards for doing what you already are doing is a big boost to a faction that doesn't tend to draw many cards outside of Great Kraken. The second choice of discarding the opponents deck is pretty lame unless you've managed to get Euron Crow's Eye working, but otherwise you're pretty much going solidly for the card draw. It's also good to get a powerful intrigue icon in Greyjoy from a defense perspective.


Raiding Longship

This is an amazing location, which has seen its way into pretty much every Greyjoy deck at two copies. The restriction of the character not having attachments isn't as bad as it seems, but expect this to not always apply to the big hitters if the opponent is buffing them in any way. It's a great way to use low strength characters to do challenges as the opponent may not want to waste their big guy defending a mini-challenge, but at the same time they can't just use one defender because your ship just negates it.


Rakharo

When more Dothraki come out I'm sure this guy will get more attention, but for the moment there are just far too few characters to make this guy any good especially at a very high cost. Not much else to say, he's not worth it until a few more packs come out and boost the trait.


Crown of Gold

So powerful that it's the first non plot card to be limited to one per deck. Minus four strength is enough to kill a ton of annoying characters outright and severely nerf some of the larger ones. It's costly at four gold, but it's targeted removal and always an auto-include in every single Targ deck out there. Bye bye Margarey, bye bye Nymeria, there's so many good choices for this. Targ players are very happy.


Nymeria Sand

Dear god is this girl annoying. The most annoying card in this set to deal with. Removing a challenge icon is only the first part by nerfing one of your main characters you're using, but to then give that same icon to every single Sand Snake on the board, of which there are not many, but all solid choices for a Martell deck, is just plain evil. I've nerfed one of your attacks and I can defend really easily against that challenge. It's perfect for a Martell deck that's playing the long game, but she's a must have in any deck that's even using the Martell banner. She is just that good, period.


In Doran's Name

Remember the card that gets you power based on the plot deck discard pile? Well here's the same thing but for gold instead. This is powerful in the late game, but even earlier than that it still surprises the opponent because they might think you have no gold for events and then all of a sudden you play this and then you've enabled some more shenanigans for the turn. Now of course as with all cheap events, watch out for Hands Judgement, but combining this with Doran's Game is a cool combo and it just makes Martell great in Melee matches.


Syrio Forel

A really cool character from the TV series and a pretty cool card in the game too. Now I rarely if ever see more than one copy of him in a deck, but he's getting to the point where he's almost a must include in 90% of decks out there. Stealth is already pretty powerful but to then be able to give stealth to another character along with a military icon is sickness. He is incredibly annoying to face against and he doesn't even have to be the one issuing challenges. His main downside is his high cost, but it's more than justified here. You can't really build a deck around him, but he will support many out there.


Shadowblack Lane

Currently this card is only semi-useful in a Lannister deck, because they have some of the best events going. But even then there aren't many out yet. However as more packs release and events start piling, this is going to get better and better with age. Lannister love intrigue challenges anyway so it's definitely best suited to them, but soon I think many factions will make good use of this with high quality events filtering in. Not worth it just yet, but give it time to mature for a bit like a good wine.


Trading With The Pentoshi

Now I'm not as big a fan of giving opponents gold despite the high amount it gives you. There are already plenty of ways to get high cost characters out and you never know what your opponent might do with all that gold unless he has a low hand size. It's also a Kingdom card which means a Naval Superiority will make you an incredibly sad panda! It gets seen in decks now and again but personally it's a miss for me, I'd rather find another way with less drawbacks, i.e. Kingsroad.


Political Disaster

It's nice to see more location hate, but considering we all like to use locations I've never seen anyone leave any deck space for it. You just know the most it will do is get rid of a Roseroad or a similar discount location and is highly unlikely to destroy that annoying Wall or Red Keep, etc. Most decks are able to cope with the opponent having their locations out anyway due to using their own or just being faster then them. It's a dud for me personally.


Summary

Already the meta is constantly in flux with some of these game-changing cards. Martell is getting banner love though Nymeria from many factions and Greyjoy has gotten a solid pair of cards which is good to see. However I still worry that Lannister, Targ and Tyrell are just getting better and better cards pushing them far ahead in the tournament meta compared to other factions. In fact the "Knight" trait is starting to get a little ridiculous and it's only getting worse in the next pack. The Night's Watch is still pretty underpowered and is going to need some serious boosting to be tournament worthy.


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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