Profile photo of Larry Gross By Larry Gross On June 15, 2012 Posted In Game of Thrones LCG

Valar Dohaeris Chapter Pack (Top 5)

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June 15, 2012

So… I figured this time I’d post my Top 5 BEFORE I listened to or read about anyone else’s Top 5 to ensure my votes aren’t swayed by other posts/casts/whatevs. This way, if my selections are awesome, they’re all MINE (muahahaha), if they suck… well, those are mine too. Selecting my Top 5 was a bit harder than I thought it would because there is just so much awesome in this pack. So, without any further ado, here are my selections for the Top 5 cards, in no particular order, of the new hotness that is Valar Dohaeris.

Damon Dace-For-Me

What an amazing card! You’re almost guaranteed (in most games these days) that your opponent is running an Agenda, so this hot little card is suddenly 3/3/2 WITH Immunity, Deadly, AND Stealth… wow. I can’t think of many decks that wouldn’t want to run this card! He adds a much-needed Intrigue icon to the Stark arsenal while maintaining a Military icon (the Stark forte).

This card is going to win a lot of challenges. Stealth and Deadly are a powerful combination. Most decks have few Deadly characters, and, often there’s only one in play. Having your Deadly character also have Stealth makes him a powerhouse… initiate a challenge, stealth the other player’s deadly and, boom, you will either get an unopposed or force claim – either way, it’s good for you.

I will say, this card, along with the new Victarion are both cards that I was blown over by. Just great uses and synergies for existing deck types. Auto-incude? In some decks – absolutely. His 3 cost will keep him out of some Murder decks that rely heavily on weenie characters, but I would still say he should be strongly considered.


This is another crazy good card. Greyjoy really didn’t need any more saves – I mean, honestly! But, this takes it one step further – this is Burn proof. It would take two kill cards to eliminate him because you can’t lower below zero and he can kneel to buff himself +2 (since he’s also unique). Being able to save ANY unique character from Targ Burn is a huge boon for Greyjoy as Targ Burn is the Achilles Heel of Choke decks.

What really makes this guy amazing isn’t just his save ability… it’s that Holy Crest. His save ability makes him fabulous… add in that Holy Crest and suddenly Power of Faith decks become just that much harder to nuke. He becomes a non-kneeling tri-con on a Power of Faith turn AND he can then STILL activate his save action after you’re done with your attacks (since that 6 Initiative on Power of Faith tends to make you first player).

Will this be an auto-include?  I should think so in a lot of decks. He’s expensive, so that reduces it, plus he can be nuked by Venomous Blade. That said, he saves you from Burn… hard to not include him.

Strong Belwas

FINALLY! A Strong Belwas I really want to play. He’s almost a reason to include First Snow, or even Threat from the North in any deck running him. Save two characters, run First Snow… then do it again. Run Threat From the North… and do it again (from your hand this time). Run Narrow Escape… then do it again. And then add Illyrio… rinse and repeat. No, that’s not realistic… but I want this guy to recur.

Targ has really needed better saves. Our characters have tended to be a bit more fragile and you’ve had to run add’l dupes to try and overcome the problem of certain key characters. Belwas makes it possible to potentially reduce some of those dupes so that you can get some other characters into play and rely on him to do the saves. I can’t wait to see how he actually performs in play.

Auto-include? Not necessarily, but I can definitely see him in decks where I have a few uniques I need to protect (like a Dragon deck) and I don’t want to run too many dupes.

Victarion Greyjoy

It’s about time we got a new Victarion! It’s obvious that FFG is trying to boost Greyjoy Holy as a theme. Greyjoy has 11 warships, all of which can be knelt by Naval Escort. A lot of Greyjoy decks run Longship Black Wind, Longship Iron Victory, Scouting Vessel, and the aforementioned Naval Escort. There are so many ways to buff Victarion that it’s simply ridiculous.

What would be better? Give him an Intrigue icon and you have another tri-con during Power of Faith turns. Even without the Intrigue icon, this guy is a hoss. Kneeling warships for any other reason or to buff any other character automatically buffs Victarion. I’m disgusted with how often I’m going to face a buffed Victarion in a Holy deck. Just a truly sick card.

On a side note – pretty funny how they got the image switched. That’s the wrong hand. In a Holy deck, I think this guy is an auto-include – even at 4 gold. he’s a powerhouse.

Quentyn Martell

This is the first Charagenda that has really struck me as a golden card all around. Vengeful is one of the most annoying (and backward) keywords in the game. Lose a challenge, stand all of your Vengeful characters. He makes ALL unique characters Vengeful. That could be devastating in the right deck. I’ve heard some people say that he costs too much to kill… but, really, run 3X of him. Kill the first one, gain the ability and then play the other two (and they’ll have Vengeful!)

The only downside, of course, is running without an Agenda until you get him in hand. But, except for Knights of the Hollow Hill, Martell doesn’t tend to need and Agenda. Sure, they can take advantage of a couple of them and synergize well, but Martell is strong because the cards are strong – it’s why they have the most in-House restricted cards in the entire game.

Auto-include? Definitely not. You need to plan for him, but I could definitely see someone building a deck around him in particular.

Honorable Mention: Young Griff

I’m a Targ player first. A 3 Gold, 3 STR, Tri-con character? Yes, please! It was tough not to include Young Griff in my top 5 for those reasons. He’s a great Targ card, but those other cards just nudge him out, in my opinion, but I had to include an Honorable Mention (so my fellow Targs here on TC don’t completely hate me). Where do you put him? He doesn’t really fit Burn, but he can work in a Summer Shadows build and he could add some extra punch to an Aggro build, but he has no War Crest. His utility just isn’t as great as I’d like. His Shadows response is not usually going to be that helpful on a regular basis. I just can’t think of many scenarios where bringing him into play during the standard Shadows window is going to net me anything more than Dominance unless I’m facing a deck that kneels my characters pre-Challenges phase.

In a Maester’s build, if you kneel your Maester’s pre-Challenges phase to activate draw or some other effect, then he could stand them again, of course. Also, if someone hits you with kneel (like Lanni) during Marshaling, then, sure, his ability can save your hide AND give you another Shadows card the same phase. It’s certainly got potential and I’ll be playing around with him… but he’s not as awesome as I thought when I first read the card. If his Response were an Any Phase response… then he’d be unbelievably good (and probably OP).

Definitely not an auto-include by any means… but definitely worthy of consideration!

Honorable Mention 2:Penny

I know – two honorable mentions!! This is a cheat!? No, really, this is such an amazing set with so many cards, I really struggled with what my Top 5 would be. I also didn’t want to send Robert away crying again because I once again ignored a Lanni card (although, who knows, he may hate this card). This card isn’t awesome, but it adds this extra punch to a kneel deck by forcing that extra bit of choice on the opponent. Kneel your incredibly potent character or discard a card from a hand that is being constantly diminished by, arguably, the strongest Intrigue House in the game?

There are so many ways to use this card – and she’s cheap. The downside is that at 1 STR, she’s not going to last long because there are just too many game effects that could eliminate her in short order. She’s just too easy to kill. That said, her cheapness makes her incredibly appealing. She’s unique, so it’s hard to justify more than 1 of her (not sure if her ability is really worth protecting), but there’s really no downside to including another 1 cost character that potentially gives you repeatable kneel (or another discard effect).

Auto-include? Why not!

Okay – there you go – my take on the best cards in this latest set. Agree? Disagree? Think I’m crazy? Go ahead – tell me I’m nuts. I can take it!

    1. Yeah – that was a tough choice for me, but Belwas’s utility beat it out in mind. Young Griff is a great tri-con, no doubt… but Belwas edged him out because Targ needs saves – we have a lot of great characters – I don’t know who Young Griff would replace in a lot of decks.

      Now, yes, get him in with Illyrio and get two characters out of shadows – that’s a beauty… but, that’s still only a single effect really. Belwas is almost guaranteed to have three saves, or more if you can get him discarded or recursed.

      But, that’s only my semi-n00b opinion – you are likely to see play synergies that I don’t.

      1. Well, I’m just tired of mono-icon characters. He may have save utility, but TG has challenge utility. He’s going to help you win so many more challenges than SB will. Plus, using Belwas makes him weaker which I’m not a fan of. BUT, having said that, Belwas is still a BA and he will be definitely going into all my Targ builds.

      2. Well said, ser! Yes, YG has great challenge utility and I’ll be using him to see what I can pull off with him in play. Heck, in a Shadows build, just being able to get that second Shadows character into play during Challenges is pretty awesome stuff.

        Belwas though… wow. Only one icon, but I love that guy. I mean… he can save DRAGONS for goodness sake!

      3. Summer Encampment… yes. In a Summer deck, that would certainly recurse Belwas. I actually have a reason to consider that card now! (Although – at 2 gold… still unlikely for me to include it)

      4. Hmmm…deck idea flowing…

        The Maester’s Path – copper, lead, valyrian, black iron, tin link
        Daario Naharis
        Jorah Mormont
        Ser Arys Oakheart
        Summer Encampments
        Rhaegar’s Harp
        Young Griff
        Den of the Wolf
        Strong Belwas
        Magister Illyrio
        Black Raven
        Red Warlock

        That’s a good start :)

      5. Flop Balerion with dragon lore to kneel everyone. Then, bring young griff out of shadows to stand all your guys. Put Balerion back in hand with search and detain, young griff with xaro xoan Doxas. Do it again. Win.

      6. There are already plenty of repeatable ways to put BBlack back in ur hand, just ask Matt. And standing ur guys with griff is obviously good but does it really matter with the rest of the board knelt? What would be sick is to include him into your dothraki deck. No one would see the global kneel coming and then you get to stand and do evil high claim challenges.

      7. Putting them into the dothraki deck or the new concept deck that Nathan started?

        Either way I’m eager to see how it works out for you. If it works out well don’t tell Matt though. I don’t like giving him reasons to go back to Targ or using that damnable dragon!

      8. The deck concept Nathan started… there’s just so much fun to be had… the very idea of recycling Balerion (or anyone for that matter) using these tricks sounds like a blast. This really appeals to the Shagga in me. With these deck concepts, I just love seeing the combo fire… who cares if I win… the shock and awe alone is worth the effort!

        Plus, when it does fire… winning is much easier. The question I have yet to answer… Summer or Maesters… Summer or Maesters… (agenda-wise) – still tweaking. Summer is awesome for draw, but Maesters provides some great synergies and being able to use At the Gates to ensure you have a Maester out for Dragon Lore is hard to ignore… then if you have Maesters already… leaning towards Maesters. Valyrian Steel gives the needed draw and there are other ways to increase draw – Samwell with the Ravens, Jhogo, of course… not sure if Meraxes fits with what I need to do..

        Already sounds like another blog post in the offing.

      9. Yeah sounds like we need to cobble together a list and then compare notes on it. Shagga dragons….doesn’t get any better than that!

      10. The dragons draw a lot of attention in Melee and you better bet that they will be getting knelt/blanked/targeted by anything the other players have to offer.. being able to stand everyone with YG.. either for challenges, dom or epic phases/Den of Wolf phases is pretty awesome! You haven’t seen the last of the dragons Ben! With Fire and Blood! :)

      1. No list yet…we’ll see if I get bored this afternoon. I really shouldn’t get bored, but you never know. AGoT has a way of borrowing my productivity times….

  1. Once they have no cards in hand Penny is useless because they can still “choose” to discard a card. The resolution doesn’t have to be successful, only the choice. But I agree, she’s not as bad as some make her out to be. What do they really expect out of a 1 cost character?!

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      1. Exactly my thought when I saw that card… and every one of them Vengeful. Chump block a challenge, stand the card. Then hit them with everything you’ve got. Could be crazy good (or, at least, crazy fun.)

      2. Well you can already give every sand snake vengeful, uniques and non. What I really like is the additional card draw effect. Either way though his effect is pretty sweet.

    1. Yeah YG + Den of the Wolf means you get a second challenge phase at full STR while your opponent just sits and takes it. In a Maester build it will be great. Getting to activate those chains a second time during challenges is just money.

      With all these new Charagendas i bet we see more use out of the Heralds so get those characters quickly and not have to use Summoning Season

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      1. Sounds great to me! I agree with the comments about YG + Den of the Wolf.. I already have Den in my current Targ dragon deck so getting YG in there is power in the bank! I was able to pull off a turn 2 win in Springfield with Dany a couple dragons and the Astapor Epic card and Make an Example. I will certainly be restructuring a bit once I get my hands on Young Griff.

      2. Astapor is SOOO good against maester decks by the way! We had one go off in a home melee and I couldn’t stop grinning as I watched all the Chain attachments stack up in the discard pile!

  2. I apologize if this has been brought up already in the comments and I missed it, but Quentyn doesn’t actually give Vengeful to all uniques- just your Martell uniques. It’s a slight difference, but one that matters, as I believe they have less broadly usuable unique characters than some other houses. That said, if you want to go with a Sand Snake theme….

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    1. I actually hadn’t thought to look at the number of unique characters he’d help. Chalk this up to my lack of experience playing Martell, but doing some searches, I do see your point. That makes him less useful. Probably enough to knock him out of my top 5 and put Young Griff back in (yay!)

      1. There are 21 uniques in house Martell, but a few of those do already have vengeful. However, you would still get your card draw effect from those characters. But giving characters like The Red Viper, Arianne Martell or Areo Hotah vengeful is just awesome. Hotah especially.

      2. Immagine the terror he could instill. Finally I can actually attack with him and not worry about leaving him standing as a threat to not send much STR against me. Oh I lost that challenge, so sad, because passives (vengeful) trigger first, he stands, and I get to target murder you for attacking me. Add a few taste of blood attachments and a Red Vengence event and loosing never felt so good!

      3. Areo Hotah may be fragile, but he’s also a psyche-out You play an ally, they look at it and think maybe Arys of Varys. But they know you might have Hotah, and they either play to kill the other ally or hold a very tempting play and let your other ally live. I’d almost say the more allies you have in your deck, the stronger Hotah becomes.

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