Hello and Welcome to Wardens of the Midwest!
It’s been a busy last few weeks here at Wardens, but we’re finally about ready to start the review series on the third cycle for the Game of Thrones LCG. Richard Walker played a large role in organizing the reviewers this series so there’s going to be more Brits than previous series reviews (not that that’s a bad thing! I love you guys <3).
The goal is to release the first article, my Night’s Watch Review (also the largest review overall due to the Night’s Watch box), on Thursday or Friday of this week and then release 2 articles per week from there until mid-December. Our reviewers are spending their own time writing these reviews and I’m not paying them a pence (as I am not paid a penny for my writing on Wardens of the Midwest either :P) so I hope you all enjoy and appreciate the content they produce.
Now, as an additional little piece of content to celebrate the end of the third cycle and the beginning of the fourth, I got some spolers here for you guys! These are the Night’s Watch cards from The Archmaester’s Key.
It’s a simple card so it won’t take much time to discuss the card’s nuances (as there are not that many), but the Young Builder is a 2 for 2 power monocon builder that has a bestow of 3, the no attachments except weapons keyword and, as a reaction to playing a Night’s Watch location or attachment, you can discard a gold in order to draw a card.
The most obvious observation regarding this card is…it belongs in the builder deck. But, unlike some of the builders, you could potentially play this character in non-builder decks as well. Trading economy for card draw is a very efficient process and triggering off of something that every Wall deck is doing anyway makes the card draw feel less conditional and more ‘part of the plan.’
I personally don’t care for bestow effects in general, but it would be pretty simple to have a turn with this card and a location in hand, you could play this guy, bestow 1 gold on him, and then play the location and draw a card, essentially paying 1 gold to draw a card that round. It isn’t fancy, but it’s not a bad effect at all.
Then there’s a few relatively janky things you could do like Flea Bottom him in, bestow a gold on him and ambush (or Donal Noye) a weapon into play to draw a card…
The next card is a bit more interesting but, also, a bit harder to gauge in its effectiveness.
“The Rat Cook”
“The Rat Cook” is a 2 cost event that allows you to temporarily take control of your opponent’s characters based on how many stewards you have in play. The first thing I want to mention about this card is the art. It is delightfully creepy! For those who aren’t familiar with the tale of the Rat Cook, to summarize, a cook for the Nightfort once served a visiting king a pie into which he baked the king’s son. He did this because, aside from being a twisted little shit, of some wrongdoing the king did to him at some point in his life (but what leader hasn’t screwed over the citizens of their country, amirite?!)
As punishment for killing a guest under his roof (violation of the guest right which, despite events in the story line of the books, was apparently a big deal to Westerosi), the Gods turned the cook into a rat who could only eat his own children from then on. The art depicts this well and is almost unsettling to look at. The pie is looking up at the Rat Cook like “You’re an ass for doing this” and the rat is looking back at the pie almost as if to say “Was it worth it?” (Note: probably not worth it).
Unfortunately, for the actual card, the theme seems to be lost entirely. Maybe I’m missing something, but this card doesn’t feel like a Rat Cook card to me. I would have thought a card based around The Rat Cook would be something about hobbling your character to kill an opposing character or something along those lines. Taking control of a character for one round based on the number of stewards you control and then having their text box blanked for the duration that you control them does not feel very thematic. And then the character (theoretically) returns to them at the end of the round? Why? Did the king get his son back at the end of the round (in a place other than his stomach)? If you can think of a way this card thematically ties into the story of the Rat Cook, please let me know!
The card text itself is pretty interesting. We already have the example of the Night’s Watch Rains of Castamere Stewards deck that can have plenty of stewards on the board at the same time. So being able to take control of a character that they need to win a critical challenge that round or taking control of a character with power on it to potentially win with the power on their own character both seem like legitimate uses for this card. And, unlike the last event we spoiled, Broken Vows, you don’t need to give your opponent a higher cost character in order to do it! This would not only deter your opponent from doing any military challenge that round, but it may also open the door for future effects that involve sacrificing or killing your own characters somehow (but then again, I may just be playing a bit too much Crab Clan lately XD).
Also, just like Broken Vows, this card is a marshalling action…which is stupid. Both of these events should have been any time actions, as that would significantly increase the flexibility of them. As it stands now, at the very least, your opponent is beginning their challenges phase with the knowledge of whether this card was played or not (obviously), so tricks regarding stealing their last standing defender in some specific challenge type are not possible, which is frustrating. But I digress…
I know they’re beginning to develop the “Song” events a little bit more with cards like the Blue Bard and Highgarden Minstrel, so that’s something to keep an eye on as well. If playing Songs actually begins to mean something, then this could be a part of that theme as well. We’ve already seen Dareon from the Journey to Oldtown Chapter Pack that allows you to steal a gold from an opponent when you play a song event. Right now, that seems pretty bad, but if more songs come out and more reactions to song events come out, there may eventually be a deck there.
And that’s all I have to say about those cards!
If you have any additional thoughts on the cards, feel free to comment in the Facebook thread, or Reddit thread or wherever you see these or if have any other general comments about the game, the website or anything else, I’ll be glad to listen!
Until next time, folks! 😀
EDIT: We found a Tyrell reviewer! Thanks to Jim Hansen for volunteering! 😀