So I had idea. Let me know if you guys like it.
I’ve seen a lot of feedback over the last few months that the community wants more written content, a little less podcast and video content. The idea being it is easier and more time efficient to read an article than it is to listen to an hour long podcast.
So, I am gonna give this a shot. And it won’t work for every episode. And I may not even have time to do it for each episode. But I wanted to kind of…transcribe the highlights of our most recent episode of the Wardens of the Midwest Podcast. This episode is going to be easy because it was a straight forward episode. We talked about what 1.0 cards could potentially improve the 8 factions in 2.0. We didn’t stick strictly to 1.0 cards. Each member of the podcast was given two factions (2 x 4 = 8! :D). Some people deviated a bit from 1.0 cards, and that’s fine. The idea was just to identify a faction’s weakness or underdeveloped theme and provide a solution that is somewhat grounded in the balance that the game has already seen in past editions.
First up, as always, is The Night’s Watch. I obviously took this one for myself, as I am the voice of the Night’s Watch on this podcast.
The Night’s Watch
I will start by saying I feel a tad bit silly, because when I wrote up the agenda for this week’s episode on Monday morning, I was really excited to talk about this section because I knew exactly what I wanted to add to the Night’s Watch. My suggestion (or what I planned for it to be) was to have an event, 1 or 2 gold. “Reaction: after losing an unopposed challenge, target a character that is participating as an attacker. Kill that character.” Maybe cannot be saved, but that may be too powerful.
My thinking was that all of NW’s events kind of suck. You got meager, which is nice, but then sword in the darkness and take the black are both super circumstantial and not great to play in a lot of cases.
The biggest weakness of the Night’s Watch is any deck that can accumulate 2 or 3 renown per round. The Wall can withstand a power challenge per turn, because they’re not giving up much if any unopposed power and will get 2 power from the Wall each turn that they succeed in their goal, so it can still keep pace with relative ease.
But a Tywin with a Seal of the hand in combination with Jaime is very hard to keep up with. Being able to kill a renown character on defense is a very good way to slow your opponent down and pull ahead.
My idea was “Make it a consequence to win an unopposed challenge versus Night’s Watch.” So often, your opponent will just hurl all three challenges at you. No reason other than to kneel the Wall. Military especially, since Aemon makes military claim trivial, they wouldn’t do that except to try and eat up defenders. Now, they may pause and think “Maybe, I should just skip military this round.”
Then The Watcher on the Walls was previewed, which is somewhat similar.
So, yea. FFG beat me to the punch. So for Night’s Watch, I figure I can do something a little different.
They have Samwell who gives +1 reserve. Then you have The Watch has Need that lets you search the top X cards of your deck for rangers, stewards or builders based on your reserve. In previews, there is a location, Northern Rookery, which costs 2 gold, +1 reserve and lets you draw a card when you play it. They obviously want Night’s Watch to have plenty of reserve. So I think this would be really cool to expand on a little bit.
We already have deck searches. The next thing I want, which is based on a Night’s Watch theme from 1.0 would be event/ability immunity.
In 1.0, there was a Jon Snow printed that said “Your Night’s Watch characters gain immunity to events.”
Now, maybe that is a little too good in this edition. So, rather than doing a straight reprint, why not make a Jon Snow character, 5 cost for 4 strength, military and intrigue icons. Bastard trait. And he has an action (or maybe a passive trait) “Opponents with lower reserve than you cannot target your Night’s Watch characters with events.” This would protect your characters from unfriendly events, but it would not be unavoidable, so your opponent could potentially do something about it. This will not only make it so that your +1 reserves mean something, but it would also make it easier to defend the Wall against players with events such as Dracarys! and The Things I do for Love.
Next, we went to Martell, who I also took.
The lose to win theme is starting to take shape. Boneway is out, which I love ( I hope to write about this soon, as well). The Long Plan, Bastard Daughter, Unbowed Unbent Unbroken, Ghaston Grey, Maester Cal, Sunspear. All incentivize losing.
My suggestion is going to be very simple. A reprint of Red Vengeance from 1.0. It’s an event, after you lose a challenge, kneel influence (or in our case, spend gold) to cancel the effects of claim. Then, have the winning opponent fulfill that claim.
There is suspicion that this card is already set to be printed at some point in the next 3 chapter packs, as there was a spoiler ‘fan’ that had “Vengeance for Elia,” a 2 gold loyal Martell event that starts with “Interrupt: When Claim is applied…..”
That seems to be what we’re looking for with Martell.
I kind of took the easy way out, but honestly I couldn’t come up with anything more appropriate for Martell, as they stand today. They are beginning to develop a great “wait wait wait explode!” kind of gameplay, and reversing claim is the perfect addition to that kind of strategy.
After the episode, my friend James (Drakk), who listened to the episode, said that Martell really needs some card draw. I agree with that, so maybe a card could be added that could really help with card draw. There are a lot of 1.0 cards to extract here, and you have your choice of them. I scrolled through the existing Martell cards from 1.0 and I saw a card that interested me. Informed Acolyte is a character, 3 for 3 strength (probably will have to be 4 or 5 for 4 strength), intrigue power icons. Maester trait. Response: After an opponent draws 1 or more cards outside of the draw phase, kneel Informed Acolyte to draw that many cards.”
That would also draw on the whole interacting with your opponent. Making your opponent not want to do something, or be more cautious about what they’re doing. I think that would be a very nice addition to the Martell’s arsenal.
Following my two factions, we advanced to Baratheon!
Baratheon was covered by my brother Danny, who plays Baratheon as his main faction. His thought was, because of how high impact his high cost characters are, such as Stannis, Robert and Melisandre, he often found himself with a relatively lean board state, with few small characters to protect his major characters. Meaning, he could become victim to high military claims or Put to the Swords and Tears of Lys. His suggestion was an attachment that he based off of the original Lightbringer from 1.0. In 1.0, Lightbringer was an attachment that said “Reaction: Kneel Lightbringer to save attached character from being killed.” His idea was Kingsguard, an attachment for Baratheon characters. That said something along the lines of “kneel Kingsguard, get a copy of a unique Baratheon character you have in play.” Kind of like a Duplicate fetching machine. Mickey spoke briefly on his own idea for Baratheon, which was some sort of recursion. Bringing someone back from the dead, much like Thoros of Myr does to Beric Dondarrion throughout the book series, but with some sort of disadvantage. But we kind of got off track with Mickey giving incorrect spoilers for the third book, A Storm of Swords (claiming that Beric remained dead after the Hound killed him…which is so not true ) and Mickey never got around to his actual card design. But , suffice it to say, it would likely be something relatively similar to Aeron Damphair.
We finished the discussion by talking about how Baratheon is already pretty close to complete, as evidenced by the fact that even though there have been practically no new cards that Baratheon has added to their decks, they are still a top faction in the meta. We linked that to Targaryen because they are in a similar boat. Other than the Crone of Vaes Dothrak and Crown of Gold, there have been practically zero new cards added to the typical Targaryen deck.
And from there we segued to Mike talking about his favorite faction, Targaryen….
Mike started out by complaining that he is indignant that we gave him Targaryen because they don’t need anything. They’re already so good. He did mention that they really need to stop getting crappy cards like Merchant Prince. Mickey suggested maybe a re-print of The Hatchlings’ Feast, which read “Any Phase: Kneel 3 influence to choose 3 characters without any attachments. Until the end of the phase, one of those characters gets -1 STR, the second gets -2 STR, and the third gets -3 STR.”
So…more burn. Not all that thrilling. I asked Mike what about a card that makes Dothraki decks more viable. Or maybe something that would make Vaes Dothrak more playable. For a dothraki deck, he felt that any kind of bloodrider would be great. Something that would make Rakharo better, as he is currently the only bloodrider in the game (although Aggo was recently spoiled who is also a bloodrider.) However, we didn’t dive too deep into that because Mickey suggested Street Waif, which was a Targaryen character from 1.0 that read “Any Phase: Kneel Street Waif to choose an opponent. If you have more than 1 card in your discard pile, that opponent must choose a card in your discard pile. Return the card to your hand.” His reasoning was this could be good as a way to bring back attachments from your graveyard, which makes Vaes Dothrak actually playable. Another suggestion brought up was Lady Daenerys’s Chambers, which was a 2 cost location that read “Response: After you play a House Targaryen character, return an attachment with printed cost equal to or lower than that character from your discard pile to your hand.” That would really make Vaes Dothrak playable. Mickey cautioned that recursion is a very dangerous thing to start. The first house that gets recursion could really create some balance issues in the game.
I mentioned that Greyjoy already has recursion (in Aeron Damphair)….And away we go to discussing Greyjoy! (our segues were fuckin on point, you guys. Not even planned. Totally on the fly.)
Back to Danny, as he was the only one of us that even plays Greyjoy, even if it’s his second choice. Ever the skeptic about this card designing exercise, Danny went the safe route and suggested a simple solution. Better economy. We didn’t spend much time on that idea, because we quickly moved onto two archetypes for Greyjoy from 1.0, Mill and Choke. Danny really liked the Mill theme from 1.0. For those of you who don’t know, Mill is the act of discarding cards from your opponent’s deck. It is named Mill because of card from Magic the Gathering (where basically all card game lingo was created, apparently) called Millstone, which just had the ability to spend mana to discard cards from your opponent’s deck.
In regards to choke, Mike suggested some way to efficiently use Naval Superiority out of Greyjoy. As we tend to do, we went off on a tangent and just started talking about Naval Superiority, and its advantages and disadvantages. I think it is rather predictable, depending on who is sitting across the table from you and what faction they are playing. You expect it out of certain decks, and in those match ups, you just assume they’re going to open with it, as that is the best time to choke your opponent’s economy; when they have a full hand. I think it works best when you milk a character, you can predict a Confiscation. Mike called it a mind game. If you play a plot like Calm Over Westeros to avoid the Naval Superiority on turn 1, but then they don’t play it, will they play it turn 2? It could create some real problems if they don’t play it early. Who knows if they even run it at all!
With that discussion out of the way, we returned to the discussion on Mill. Wharf Rats were brought up as a potential way to improve Mill out of Greyjoy, as would a location such as the original Millstone, which would just be a pay to mill kind of card. We finished the discussion with a separate idea of benefitting from pillage in some way, similar to how Euron can grab a location after he pillages. The suggestion Danny came up with from 1.0 was Corpse Lake, which interacted with Pillage, to gain a power when you pillage a character off the top of your opponent’s deck.
With no good segue, Mickey just changed the subject to his favorite faction, Lannister!
Mickey briefly mentioned that he liked the idea of a card that he could use all his excess Lannister gold on each turn, such as an Arbor Knight, but for Lannister. Red Cloaks are a good idea for that, so instead, Mickey went rogue on this one and decided to invent his own card that he intends to introduce into the card pool “when” he wins Worlds. He suggested his card design of “Ser Pounce.” For those of you who don’t know, that is one of Tommen’s pet cats. Mickey’s idea is a 2 cost attachment for Lannister characters only. It gives +1 strength and stealth with the ability to move to other characters for the cost of 2 gold. Much like Lady and Nymeria of Stark.
Both Mike and Mickey agreed that, in lieu of that card, why not have more interactions with Ambush? They already have a few cards like Queen’s Assassin that have a special ability when it enters as an ambushed character. Maybe something like that, which gains an additional effect when played during the challenges phase. Another idea would be a simple location or character that had the text “when a character enters play during the challenges phase, draw a card.” It’s not a bad idea and we left Lannister there and segued to Lannister’s polar opposite…Stark!
We really struggled with this one. Mainly because we are about to get a HUGE influx of new Stark cards in the Wolves of the North Deluxe Box. None of us had any idea what to add until we could see how they are doing post Wolves of the North. So, instead, we just chose to spend this segment talking about how nice Stark’s new toys are. Winterfell Kennelmaster and Wardens of the North have really turned Stark into the Naval house. Naval was a 1.0 function that allowed you bring a character into a challenge after attackers and defenders were announced. We all agreed that we look forward to more fun challenge math stuff be added to Stark. Mike did bring up one good card from 1.0 that he felt would really help Stark: Siege of Winterfell. That was an agenda that read “You cannot claim power for your House except during a Military challenge. Response: After you win a Military challenge, claim 2 power for your House.”
This could be used to not only make Stark more military focused and still be able to accrue power very quickly, but it also makes Storm of Swords a good plot for them, as well as making King Robb’s Host a very strong card that could potentially claim 4 power for a military win. We ended with a discussion on epic events (link is just an example. It’s not the only epic event), which were events that added another phase after the dominance phase, in which you could do some sort of extra challenge based on what the card said. This could create another military challenge for Stark to really stack lots of power gained through that agenda.
With only 1 faction left to discuss, it was easy to finish up the episode with Tyrell…
The first thing brought up was a very obvious one. Tyrell needs more ladies. Even if it were a non unique lady with some sort of ability. This would increase the number of ladies in a deck and increase the chances of having the Lady Sansa’s Rose interaction between Ladies and Knights really come alive. Mickey mentioned that he isn’t a fan of having to go out of house to get more ladies, since right now all Tyrell has is Margaery and Queen of Thorns. Margaery is amazing, but if something happens to her (like a Put to the Sword or Crown of Gold), a Tyrell Fealty/LotC deck would only have Queen of Thorns left for the LSR synergy. And QoT is very expensive and some people just don’t run her at all. So a non unique lady that could fill the deck, increase the synergy and allow for more targets with Hobber and Horas would be greatly appreciated.
We had a brief discussion about whether that would work as a non unique, because then you could attach Lady in Waiting to a non unique lady, which would defy the duplicate rules from the RRG.
One other thing Mickey brought up was more draw effects. He wanted more draw out of one of the best draw factions in the game. We (mainly I) went on to mock Mickey for wanting more draw out of Tyrell.
And with that, we wrapped up another episode of the Wardens of the Midwest podcast. If you want to hear Danny’s stupid joke, go ahead and listen to the podcast here. Writing it down would not do the joke justice.
So how did I do? Was this a good way to bridge the gap between podcasts and written content? Or is this way too disorganized to enjoy via written media? Let me know in the comments, whether that be on this site, or on Facebook or on any of the other slew of places I’m sure to post this article.
Either way, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this podcast wrap up. If you have any suggestions or comments on how to improve the site, content or have a topic you’d like to hear about, feel free to comment below or email us.