You know the feeling. You’re building a new deck, excited to try out some new ideas, and you’ve built your cool new plot deck… except you’ve forgotten that one plot that you always need to include. Oh, and that one too. It’s not exciting, but you just can’t justify ignoring the staples. By the time you’re finished, that plot deck you were psyched about testing looks pretty much the same as all of your other ones.
Welcome to Plot Rehab, where every two weeks we will endeavor to thwart that feeling of resignation by admitting a lesser-played plot into our clinic and trying to find a way for it to finally sleeve up and hit that playmat. If you encountered this column at its previous home on cardgameDB, welcome back. Now let’s put some pizazz back into your plot deck.
THE KING’S PEACE
“George, why are you starting your White Book career by tackling one of the worst plots in the game? What are you trying to prove?” Shut up, surprisingly Thrones-literate spectral voice of my non-existent mother-in-law. The King’s Peace was indeed roundly panned when it was initially released in the third chapter pack, entitled… er… hang on, it’ll come to me. But we’re a year further into the game’s lifespan and the least-loved faction plot of the first cycle has acquired a little more potency than it did before.
Why it might be worth considering:
The value of a faction-card kneel has increased significantly since the release of this card. At the time, only a handful of frequently seen cards cared about the trigger. The most important of those was Fealty, with a handful of other effects largely separated by faction (The Seastone Chair, INBAMF, In the Name of Your King! and a couple of other cards) meaning that most decks wouldn’t care about the first part of the King’s Peace’s trigger.
Now, however, the release of the Rains of Castamere agenda and effects like Moon Brothers and Dolorous Edd, alongside the continued popularity of Fealty, make that price harder to pay than it used to be, and that will never slow down. Faction-kneeling as a limitation will always be baked into the game, and it is already becoming harder and harder to build decks that don’t have to identify how many such effects they can afford to include. Just in the most recent chapter pack, the introduction of Relentless Assault adds an affordable neutral card that can be attractive for all manner of top decks.
So suddenly the King’s Peace becomes a real annoyance for a lot of decks, just on the first trigger. The real meat is yet to come when opponents can’t or won’t meet that price, and they must weigh up whether or not it’s worth their while to initiate three or even just two challenges in a round. Depending on how desperate your opponent is, this card represents a valuable opportunity to either stall them out or profit significantly from their need to initiate challenges.
Speaking of which, Lord of the Crossing decks hate the King’s Peace. If they don’t pay up, their agenda is wasted, saddling them with all of the drawbacks (weaker first challenge) without the payoff (stronger third). This plot could act as a great meta call against plentiful Crossing, Fealty or Rains decks in your environment.
Finally, the cornerest of corner cases: this plot really annoys Khal Drogo, Olenna’s Informant or A Storm of Swords.
Why it’s not seeing play:
While the card is particularly potent against those aforementioned agendas, it has less of a kick against decks that aren’t necessarily kneeling their faction cards or focused on all three challenges. Banner decks or Kings of Summer/Winter don’t inherently have issues in dealing with the King’s Peace, although that will vary immensely on a case-by-case basis.
Let’s face it: the stats are still bad. Four gold is average, especially if you’re hoping to use this plot as a stall tactic to set up your board while frustrating incoming military challenges. Zero initiative is quite literally the worst possible option and five reserve seems unnecessarily harsh. Put them together and compare them to the power level of the reaction and it’s easy to see why Bara players felt short-changed compared to some of the stellar plots handed to other factions in that first cycle.
If Baratheon players are looking to stall, they could just as easily play more Filthy Accusations to kneel out problem attackers. If they want to siphon power away from opponents, A Clash of Kings could be more flexible with better stats and a tighter focus on the only challenge that’s really important to most Bara decks: power.
Decks that could use it:
An interesting aspect of this plot that we’ve not yet discussed is its second trait: Scheme. Bara/Rains might not be the most obvious faction/agenda combination but some players have had success with it, using Selyse Baratheon to distribute the icons necessary to fire off agenda triggers. Flipping into King’s Peace mid-challenges phase has some clear advantages: firstly, you no longer care about two of the three mediocre stats that are printed on it (gold or initiative) and, secondly, it forces your opponent to rethink their entire challenge phase after the chance to marshal with your plot in mind has passed. Going first and looking to leverage this plot’s power in challenges has tremendous situational potential.
Anything that disincentivises the initiation of challenges is of interest to decks running The Wall, so Bara/Watch could find some application for this bad boy. Is it worth their knocking down your Wall if making the required challenge would prompt a two-power swing in your direction?
On a jankier note, this column has recently been experimenting with a different sort of Bara/Watch build that leverages the many cost-efficient armies available to it. In a plot deck free of many of the usual constraints applied to typical Bara builds, the King’s Peace did some solid work in a flex slot thanks to its strengths against several frequently seen agendas. Disclaimer: the deck was taken to one Store Championship and went 1-3 (the one being a bye).
What a deck running this plot might look like: