You’re Doing it Wrong: Underplayed, Undervalued, Unknown

by Johnny Wright

Week 1 – I wrote about how bad I was at this game. Everyone loved it. I was pretty happy.

Week 2 – I wrote about a popular agenda I thought was being overrated. People told me I was bad at the game. I really enjoyed this and was pretty happy.

Week 3 – What kind of fun can I have now?

I’m thinking I may make this feature a regular series. The general idea is to dig through the bottom of the card-storage box and pull out some cards that I think are being overlooked at the time. Maybe some of them are in that low slot for good reason, but every now and then, maybe we can uncover a hidden gem. Lucas Sydlaske did just that recently in here in Southern California; his BAMF! build started as an experiment to see if the overlooked cards Hear me Roar! and I Never Bet Against My Family had any value to them. Turns out they are the backbone of one of the top decks in the meta.

So, here are some subjective, somewhat random selections of cards we should maybe be playing more. Also note: I’m writing this piece on Wednesday (April 6), and Wolves of the North comes out tomorrow, so by the time you read this on Monday, maybe everything will have changed in the world and all these words will be extra inaccurate.

Dawncore_144_eddard-starkGT01_157core_058_lightbringerGT01_30core_32_seal-of-the-handcore_139_take-the-blackcore_025_the-winds-of-wintercore_155_the-wolfswoodcore_029_varysGT01_31house martell

This is one of my pet cards. And I think it lost some value when First Snow of Winter came out, since its best use was making small cost/low-strength characters (House Dayne Knight, Edric) into actual threats. However, I still think it is worth including in certain decks. Positive attachments are necessary right now with Greyjoys surging. A few extra points of strength can protect from burn, which particularly hurts Martell. And a Quentyn wielding the blade of the Sword of the Morning will be very uncomfortable for any opponent who wants to make a military challenge.

Eddard Stark (Core Set)
This one is preemptive, because I can feel everyone ready to leap onto the new power-grabby version. But, as you do so, just remember that participating in multiple challenges – even on defense – is extremely efficient. Plus he gives Baratheon kneel a real problem. These things should not be undervalued.

For the North!
I just wanted to mention one of my favorite combos. Shadowblack Lane + For the North! I think this is actually a pretty decent draw engine for something like Stark-Lord of the Crossing.

I think this is an extremely strong card which often gets treated like a throw-in. Gives you Mel triggers and gives you stand for Robert Baratheon (Lightbringer only goes on Stannis as a last resort), which are still the heart of almost every Baratheon deck. I feel like I would always want to find room for two copies, and there have been several occasions where I’ve had to suggest to someone that they should try and find room for at least a single copy.

Rattleshirt’s Raiders
This has been one of my favorites for a long time. I’m on the Bruno side of the argument that Confiscation is a suboptimal plot to play and clogs up a lot of valuable space in your plot deck. These guys just got even better, however, with the release of First Snow of Winter. The 4-cost price point is the new sweet spot for claim-fodder chuds with useful abilities, and being able to remove any attachment is an extremely useful ability.

Seal of the Hand
This card kind of fell out of favor quickly, didn’t it? Yes, it is expensive, but it’s also the only weapon against kneel decks for a lot of factions. And, once again, it should get bumped up with FSOW; getting an extra use out of your best remaining character on the board can be extra valuable in the thinning board states this plot creates.

Take the Black
Full disclosure: I’ve never played this card nor had it played against me. But stealing an opponent’s character for your own use has to be really good, right? Someone should definitely try to make this work. Of all the cards on this list, I feel like this card is the one that has the greatest chance to become meta-defining in the future.

The Winds of Winter
Because so much of your deck’s plot choices are determined by economic needs currently, the value of increased claim is frequently overlooked. However, the fastest way to get card and board advantage over your opponent is to hit them twice as hard as they are hitting you. This plot is unique in that it allows you multiple challenges, and that is unique in the game right now (until tomorrow).

The Wolfswood
For a long time I thought this card was the worst card in the core set. Then First Snow came out, and now I’m wondering if it is an essential add for mono-Stark decks. Tomorrow we get a bunch more Direwolf cards… and maybe this becomes very good?

I know that Lannister is everywhere right now, and that makes him difficult to trigger reliably. But you now what? There’s no other single card that can single-handedly change the outcome of a game, or alter how your opponent has to play. Yes, you have to work to ensure his safety, but if you get practice at it you will learn there are lots of small tricks you can use to help increase the likelihood that he survives until the Dominance phase. Varys represents a wholly different way of approaching AGoT. He’s not the kind of card you can throw in any deck, but if you plan your deck construction and gameplay around him he remains extremely powerful.

Wilding Horde
This card is another long-standing pet project of mine. I guess maybe I just have a thing for wildlings. My two favorite things about this card: it is one of the few cards that can go toe-to-toe with the Hound in pure strength, and it can stand up to Targ burn effects. Yes, it is on the expensive side for being essentially a vanilla big body, but strength matters in 2.0.

House Martell
Trolling here. But I think I have to keep on saying this at least until people stop playing it at a lower frequency than main-faction Tyrell… So, I guess that means I’ll stop once Vengeance for Elia comes out?

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