By Larry Gross– May 29, 2012
Over at CardGameDB.com, I got the opportunity to participate in a mass review of the entire Valar Morghulis chapter pack as part of The Small Council. While that was fun (and I’m still honored that I’m even rubbing shoulders with those folk), I wanted to expand a little on my thoughts regarding this pack and what I think are the best cards here in my “home” AGoT community and hear your feedback on what you agree with and disagree with in the comments!
So, in no particular order, these are what I consider the best five cards in this chapter pack and what I think about the card itself.
The Bastard of Nightsong – Response: After you win a challenge in which The Bastard of Nightsong participated, move 1 power from the losing opponent’s House card to The Bastard of Nightsong.
This is just an all around amazing card for Baratheon. I’ll have to see how this plays out in an actual deck, but what you’re getting with this character is a two-power swing every time you win a challenge in which he participated. Just think about that for a minute. This is better than Renown because you’re actually taking power away from the opponent. If he had a Power icon, that would just make it ridiculous.
Time will tell if he fits into the standard Bara Rush because those kinds of decks move so fast that there might not actually be any power on the opponent’s House card in the early game. If your deck is designed to win on Turn 2, you may not get much… but all it takes is for your opponent to grab a couple power per turn and then this card just steals it away while they’re rushing for victory. Any Bara players tried this yet? The Shagga in me really wants to know if this is as frustrating for the other player as it looks like it could be.
Willas Tyrell - While Willas Tyrell is participating in a challenge against an opponent running an agenda, he gains renown. While Willas Tyrell is participating in a challenge, participating Lannister and Martell characters do not count their STR.
Another great Baratheon card. He’s cheap and he will get Renown around 90% of the time in the current meta (almost everyone runs an Agenda these days). Those two things make him a very good card. He help with setup a bit and can help to lower your gold curve. He also adds to your Rush capability with Renown. All in all, a solid card… but wait, that’s not all.
Put him in a match against Lannister or Martell and suddenly he’s CRAZY-good. Granted, he’s a Venomous Blade target, but that card seems to not be as popular as it used to be (cards like this might make that card return as the Restricted card of choice, though). So, let me get this straight… I declare a challenge against you and you’re now stuck defending with Neutral of OOH characters? Yep – that’s pretty killer right there. If you’re Lanni or Martell, you will want to get rid of this card as quickly as you can if you actually want to win any challenges!
Aeron Damphair - House Greyjoy only. Stealth. If Aeron Damphair would be killed, instead attach him to your House card as your only agenda with the text: “Response: After a [Greyjoy] character is saved, draw 2 cards.”
What is the one thing Greyjoy has a hard time doing? Drawing cards. Yes, you have LIV and Fishmonger’s Square and the new Euron… but, those cards are weak when it comes to Draw unless you’re running a Mill deck that’s discarding a LOT of cards and even then you can’t consider these enough to guarantee that you hit draw cap every turn. Now, add this guy to the mix as your agenda and, BAM!, you’ve got draw for every save. Couple that with a few other draw cards and now you’re talking about serious draw.
Beyond that, this guy is still a Holy character. He’s still military on a Power of Faith turn and, yes, once you’ve added him as an agenda, you can STILL play his character card as a character because, once he’s an agenda, the version that’s become an agenda is no longer “in play.” If you want to go nuts and somehow risk Summoning Season, you could even run BOTH Aeron’s in the same deck (1X of this and 2X of the other) so you gain the benefits of both… but Summoning Season is insane. Why Summoning Season? You have to ensure he gets played first so you can use him to soak claim and become an agenda. Then you’re free to play the other Aeron’s as characters. (I will add that I don’t think Summoning Season is much of a risk at all in Melee.)
Incinerate – House Targaryen only. Challenges: Kneel 1 influence to choose a character and name a Trait. Until the end of the phase, that character gets -X STR and is killed if its STR is 0. X is the number of Targaryen characters you control with the named Trait.
I gotta say – I LOVE this card! Now, I’m primarily a Targ player, so Burn cards hold a special place and this one is just amazing. Some folks don’t think it’s that amazing due to the trait limitation, but frankly, Targ has SO many traits in relatively high numbers that this card is a mean card in almost any Targ deck, whether it be Burn, Dothraki, or Dragons.
What makes the card so amazing is the fact that it does this incredible effect for the low, low cost of a single influence kneel. I’ve done terrible things with this card. Killed characters whose strength was already buffed to 8 because I marshaled a number of weenie Dothraki’s and played two Drogo’s Horde’s for free. It was a vicious turn! (And great fun for me!) There is just no way I’m not including this in a deck unless I can tell (due to trait count) that I’m not going to pulling it off to much effect in a game.
Magister Illyrio - Response: After a character enters play during the challenges phase, choose a non-unique character. Until the end of the phase, that character gets -1 STR and is killed if STR is 0
Another great Targ card in this pack. On his own, he’s a 3 gold, two icon character card that adds a much needed Intrigue icon to the Targaryen arsenal. So, right there, he’s a great card to include in a lot of decks. Add his Response and you have a whole lot of awesome going on. With the sheer number of Ambush cards Targ has, you’re sure to be able to trigger his ability multiple times. Our very own Nathan Bradley has already concocted a mean looking deck list using him to essentially make keeping non-unique characters on the board a very hard thing to do.
Add him to your deck and the wonderful Dragon Knight now becomes a -3 AND gains a terminal kill effect to a non-unique. Every. Single. Ambush. Minus one and killed if zero. There is just no downside to this card. Now, if he could kill uniques… then he’d be OP for sure – but there are a lot of juicy non-uniques you want dead out there.
So that’s my top 5 list of cards from the latest CP – would love to hear what you think of my choices and what your top five are and why they’re different from mine. So… sound off in the comments.