by Chris Thompson (WailingJennings) & Colt Humbert (Chumbert1834)
“Aegon…what better name for a king?…He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.”
– Rhaegar Targaryen
Life in George R. R. Martin’s world is brutal. From the war-torn Riverlands to the Red Waste, the Iron Islands to Braavos, only the strong survive. But the only game that matters is about more than simply surviving. One house cannot take the Iron Throne alone, and the alliances forged in the fires of war mold the political landscape for generations. A Game of Thrones LCG 2nd Edition took this theme to heart right out of the Core set with the banner agendas, but why not take it a step further? Tywin helped Robert win the Iron Throne from King Aerys II. Why can’t they both help you take it for yourself? I give you:
A GAME OF THRONES 2ND EDITION: ICE AND FIRE ALTERNATIVE FORMAT
“Ice and Fire” is a new format that encourages creative deckbuilding and the mental flexibility to shift from one house’s play style to the next. We all know some players that are “Baratheon” players or “Greyjoy” players. They know the other cards, but at the end of the day, or at the start of the tournament, they always turn back to ol’ reliable. No more. In the “Ice and Fire” format, you’ll need to use two decks.
Two decks? What is this, Netrunner?
Not at all. The gist: you’ll need two full decks to play in the event. You select which one you play during the first round, and then each round after that you switch. Let’s say I want to start the day with Stark, and my second deck is Lannister. I’d play round one with my Stark, round two with Lannister, round three with Stark – and so on until the end of the tournament. This rotation continues into the cut. Until the final, that is, which is a different beast all together. More on that in a minute.
The catch: no card, save a select few, may exist in both decks. You like Martell Banner of the Lion and Lannister Banner of the Dragon? You better decide which deck needs Tyrion Lannister more. King Robb Stark and Khal Drogo both love putting their enemies to the sword, but in this format only one of them may do so. If even one copy of a card exists in deck A, it may not exist at all in deck B.
“There are no men like me. Only me.”
– Ser Jaime Lannister
- Each player must bring two complete decks (a draw deck of at least 60 cards and a 7 card plot deck) and submit deck lists for each. These two decks may not share any cards, save the following:
- The Roseroad
- The Kingsroad
- Any in-house cost-reducing location (i.e. Blood Orange Grove)
- Any in-house cost-reducing character (i.e. Garden Caretaker)
- Note: this goes by card name. You may not use Eddard Stark (Core) in your Night’s Watch Banner of the Wolf deck and Eddard Stark (WoTN) in your Stark Fealty deck.
- The two plot decks may not share plot cards. Even though most plot cards are not limited to one per deck, they may not exist in both plot decks. So even if you only use one Marched to the Wall in your Stark deck (continuing the example deck pair above), you may not use it in your Night’s Watch Banner of the Wolf deck at all. You may, however, include up to the plot deck limit (2) in the Stark deck.
- The two decks must use two different main factions. Right now, this is a given, but there will come a future game state where having two decks from the same faction is possible. Is it presumptuous to future-proof a possibly short-lived alternative format? Probably. Am I doing it anyway? Yes.
- Each player must rotate between using their two decks each round. They may decide which deck to use in round one before the pairings. Each player will mark the deck list for the deck they want to use in round one “A” in the top-left corner and mark the other deck list “B” in the top-left corner.
- On the score card, write the faction and agenda used on the line for each round of the tournament rather than only at the top.
- Normal FFG tournament rules apply in terms of cuts and points.
- The championship match is best out of three. For the first two games, the rotation continues as normal. If a third match is required after the first two matches, each player may select in secret their deck from the two they brought.
- Each player is given a slip of paper. On it, they write their name and “A” or “B” to indicate the deck they will use in the final match. After both have written their answer, the judge collects the paper and announces the decks.
The “Ice and Fire” format encourages creative deck building and familiarity with more of the great factions of Westeros. Try out different play styles and new approaches to your favorite themes. Maybe after building your Targaryen murder deck, you don’t have any Put to the Sword or Tears of Lys for your usual Martell deck, so you decide to try out Tyrell knights power rush (please clap). Maybe that rush deck will work because you got matched up with someone who used The First Snow of Winter in their other deck and can’t clear your chuds. Do you make that gamble?
I hope the extra level of gamesmanship and variety will make this format one people will come back to in the future. I encourage others to tinker with it, improve on it, and have fun – I’m always looking for more ways to play Thrones. The Midwest will hold an Ice and Fire tournament in September, and we hope to see you there.
For more information, contact Chris Thompson (WailingJennings) or Colt Humbert(Chumbert1834)