The Importance of Plot Choice
“Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens”
These seven cards may be the most important seven cards you choose to include in your deck, yet I still see players (and have been guilty of myself) throwing in plots while uttering the phrase “that’ll do “or “should be ok”. What they (and yes, I) fail to sometimes realise is those seven cards are the only cards you can 100% depend on and have complete control over throughout the game (at least at the time that this article is written). With this is mind each plot should be selected to fulfill a specific role and complement the archetype you are creating (aggro, control, rush, etc.). Hopefully this article will help players when choosing their plots; to that end, I have broken them down into the categories I like to use when deck building.
These plots are usually played as your starting plot to help you get characters and resources on the board and help solidify your set-up. Cards such as A Noble Cause give you the ability to drop those “power” characters you couldn’t or didn’t want to drop on set-up; Here to Serve can grab you that Maester Aemon for a save, Maester Cressen for that milk of the poppy protection or Grand Maester Pycelle for that sweet, sweet card draw.
On the other hand, a card such as Naval Superiority can be used in decks that have consistently good set ups to stop an opponent from having such a good opening whilst not being punished by the low income of the plot and taking advantage of the high initiative. This sort of momentum can finish a game before the game has begun.
Pressure plots are plots that are used to apply as much pressure as possible to the opponent either pushing board advantage or pressing for the win. Most high claim plots are pressure plots, such as Winds of Winter or Sneak Attack (with the latter being somewhat narrow in scope but still good). Other cards that also come under this banner are A Clash of Kings essentially being a two-claim plot for the power challenge but also notably different as is works when you are defending as well, allowing you to close games even if your opponent goes first and is trying to steal power back to stop you from winning. Storm of Swords can be devastating with cards like Sunspear or allowing multiple triggers of Put to the Sword or Winter is Coming. For every deck other than a pure control deck I would always advise at least 1 pressure plot.
These are the plots that fill a specific purpose in the deck helping fill a gap where the main deck may struggle. Examples are Counting Coppers for factions such as House Targaryen, which is scarce on draw-engines, or Confiscation for factions that lack inherent attachment removal (namely everyone who isn’t Targaryen or Greyjoy). Summons may be used in decks where certain characters are integral to the deck’s function, with the same going for Building Orders for the likes of The Wall in The Night’s Watch.
Control plots are plots that are used to exert some measure of control over the board. A prime example is Wildfire Assault; this card is the only plot we currently have that can help try and bring the board to a near equal state and can flip a board dominated by quantity to one dominated by quality. A Game of Thrones is a great blanket-control plot, allowing decks that are light on military or power but strong on intrigue to render the opponent’s challenge phase obsolete for a round, whereas a plot such as Filthy Accusations can deal with a specific problem character for the turn.
If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be to ensure you have put some thought into your plot deck, because when your back is against the wall and your draw deck has decided that you get a poor set-up or you’re getting nothing but locations for the next three turns, these seven guys will always have your back. Treat them well J.