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No Middle Ground - seismic meta shift?

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#1
sparrowhawk

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So in an attempt to move attention away from the other divisive thread, I really do think we should discuss the impending cards (out tomorrow in the UK) and the meta implications.

3 of the plots have the greatest impact so let's start there.

First Snow of Winter (3-5-1-6 winter omen)
This promotes a more mid range build (4 cost = armies, Banner Lion decks may play Muster the Realm with their new army).
It also favours:
- playing high reserve plots
- ambush, especially burned men
- dupes/bodyguards on cost 4+ to survive military claim (so build tall, not wide, but Crossing needs to build wide)
- dupes on cost 3+ to survive recall (but this is card disadvantage assuming your reserve can take the recall)
- unopposed GJ nonsense, especially with Wildling Scout giving even more easy stealth and Priests filling intrigue very efficiently, buffing themselves and The Drowned that synergise with 9 ships
- any build that is weak in imposing card choke effects
- any build that is strong in imposing gold choke effects
- it weakens attachments that are placed on low cost (eg. mare)
- it strengthens enters play/leaves play characters such as:
* traders
* Areo
* R'hllor (Selyse & followers)
* lancers
* Viserys
* informants
* assassins
* Summer
* Arya (free claim first or survives)
* Sansa (weaker)
* others I haven't thought of

Wraiths in their Mist (4-1-1-5 winter)
This promotes playing cheap characters and is the counter play to First Snow. If your deck can play 3 cards with base 4 gold (+1 loss to intrigue) and is weak in intrigue, it is a very efficient method of imposing card loss as an opener when reserve is most punishing. It will make <6 reserve openers an even greater card loss risk.

Blood of the Dragon (2-2-1-5 legacy)
Only relevant to Targ players/match-ups, it instantly kills reducers and utility characters like Bran, Kennels, Shipwright, Arbor Knight, Lancer, Trader etc whilst threatening STR 3 dupes (eg. Margaery) with Plaza and extends Dracarys range with Dany and Unsullied.

So for the first time in 2E, I'm slightly unsure at what to build next.

I believe GJ is the biggest winner here (along with Lion Banners or Martell main) with Night's Watch and Tyrell the biggest losers (but they do get sexy cards in the pack).

I'm currently designing a GJ Lion build to try to navigate round all 3 plots. But the Sam Braatz deck, a variant won Copenhagen SC, should also see a revival. Targ Fealty with its new plot will have more match-up variance due to opposing First Snow but the high end Targ Lion (Khal/Jaime/Tyrion/Illyrio no Dany or Dragons) and Targ Rose (dragons + Dany, Horas, Hobber, Lady in Waiting) may become more popular. Which makes me think that Blood of the Dragon (a Fealty card) may not have much meta impact initially.

This is an interesting time to be deck building in Thrones, the first big meta shift. It would be great to hear everyone else's thoughts on how the meta will shift.

#2
dojireju2

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I have to disagree slightly here. I believe that Targaryen have the lead after this pack. While Blood of the Dragon has a horrible stat line, playing it as a finisher plot just levels the field. Really with no saves possible and as much burn effects and strength reducing effects, Targaryen will be a difficult deck to stop barring bad luck. They already have a strong military presence as well. With this, Dany and a possible Unsullied attacking, it makes it incredibly hard to defend. Even if the burn effect doesnt happen, atacking or defending with one or two strength wont win much. The answer is to employ higher str characters which cost more, effectively slowing you down, whilst the Targ player still running at high speed. I could be wrong as Im just estimating. After it releases and get some playing time in, we will see. I also dont believe that NW really loses here. with the addition of that event, you cant really go in to a Mil challenge without a Hands Judgement in hand. They now have a decent Mil presence with Practice Swords and Allister, so you have to send in a decent amount of military to try and win. It kind of makes you over commit and when yo do, you lose you whole army. That and their new plot, gives Old Bear a better chance of using his reaction. On the negative how ever, their reliance on The Wall will be greater as First Snow hits them the hardest imo. Just some opinions, but I am really looking forward to see how the meta shakes out with a new pack and a deluxe box releasing in such a small amount of time.



#3
ToucanPlay

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I've been playing a lot of Targ lately, and the deck is really strong. Copied the deck that won Batalla por el Muro and frankly I was impressed by how smooth it was, and how I seemed to draw into answers for everything. Also, perfect plot selection. I'm very interested to see how first snow affects the deck. I think you I will need to try to match their First Snow with my own Filthy Accusations or Summons. If I manage to do that, I think the deck will be alright.

 

Also, to Targ players out there: is the new plot the replacement for Wildfire? Certainly seems the more obvious substitution.



#4
sparrowhawk

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I have to disagree slightly here. I believe that Targaryen have the lead after this pack.


Disagreement is exactly what I was hoping to read! A healthy well-argued debate.

If someone told me that Targ would win the biggest tournament so far (151) during The King's Peace meta that introduces Lord of the Crossing, I would have been skeptical. My Targ Fealty deck has 1x Crown 1x Syrio as the only non-Core cards. As a Lannister player, when I discover my opponent plays Targ, I am confident. But it's even worse vs. Lannister Crossing. Now you can't even fry Tyrion or Cersei as I fish for control events with a +2 STR boost.

I keep evaluating the decline of Targ but every time, it surprises me with another big win.

So GJ unopposed surely gains most from the new meta? And Crossing that wants a large board is hurt hard by First Snow? As does all those Targ efficient characters of cost 3 or less.

Surely Targ must finally be in decline now?

#5
ToucanPlay

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So GJ unopposed surely gains most from the new meta? And Crossing that wants a large board is hurt hard by First Snow? As does all those Targ efficient characters of cost 3 or less.

Surely Targ must finally be in decline now?

 

Thing is, Targ has always been very strong against GJ lol. So a higher prevalence of GJ might increase the number of it's natural predator. GJ characters are mostly pretty low str, and their str pumps are ussually until the end of the challenge, not phase. So I honestly don't imagine Targ seeing a big decline. Maybe First Snow will actually be more impactful than I think, but I do believe that the ability to dupe dragons (and Jorah), or bringing them back from the dead mid-challenges will mitigate the damage done by First Snow enough to keep Targ amongst the top decks.



#6
theamazingmrg

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I think Targ will be strong for a very long time, until more factions gain str boosts.  That will be the point where Targ begins to decline (and even then here's a good chance that the faction will just shift focus from burn to Donthraki Mil/Power dominance).  The combination of decent icon spread, in-faction synergy (Dany and Dragons/Unsullied/Plaza) and powerful burn effects means that they'll remain potent even in a meta that focuses on a slightly higher cost curve because of Blood of the Dragon and Fear of Winter.  If anything, the introduction of Blood of the Dragon makes burn so potent that even traditionally stronger characters are in danger from the Targ Menace!



#7
jaycr0

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This was brought up in an episode of Banter Behind the Throne but I wonder what the impact to Bara being able to re-play Rhllor cards will be. Even things like throwing Lightbringer on a chud just for the kneel since it'll come back to hand anyway or getting those Fiery Followers back could end up having a sneaky impact.

It's no Blood of the Dragon but it's an interesting side effect.
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#8
JoeFromCincinnati

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Whenever I think of Targ, I can't help but feel FFG forgot to print "Without attachments" at the end of the first sentence of Dracarys!

 

Then they just went with it after they noticed their printing mistake.


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#9
Shadowist

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It's interesting, Targ loses the low cost curve they have been enjoying for a while with the advent of first snow, without a solid four cost unique mainly. Targ lion building tall will like it although probably drops the burn module entirely (Daenerys and dragons) although may still play plaza and the crown. Targ rose will be burns home for now I think, powering up daenerys having unsullied etc. Not even sure if targ lion will play the New plot

#10
sparrowhawk

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Thing is, Targ has always been very strong against GJ lol. So a higher prevalence of GJ might increase the number of it's natural predator.


This is indeed true - the person who plays one step ahead of the herd prevails - take for example Bara Fealty winning at the UK's biggest tournament, not a because of a Fool (good though he is) but partly a canny metacall choice because it has a good match-up against all Crossing builds.

So there is logic in betting on the natural predator of the deck the meta moves towards. And I agree that despite temporary buffs like Scouts (and Crossing) and Risen from the Sea, Targ has the advantage over GJ. But Targ Fealty often just runs 1 attachment (Crown) vs GJ Longships and Chair. And Targ has no natural defence vs stealth. I still think the match-up favours Targ but the advantage has been lessened. In theory.

Bara is Passive Control (like NW is Passive Rush): it may indeed be a good choice in the new meta...

#11
chriswhite

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I don't mean to shift the discussion away from plots, but there's one card that no one's talking about that seems like it might have a huge effect on the current meta––Condemned.

 

I'll admit that it seems underwhelming at first, but here's why I see the potential:  
Almost all the current game-winning superstar cards are basically large characters with Military + Power + Renown. (Tywin, Randyll, Loras, Balon, Robb, Drogo, Robert)  Most of the other 'best' cards and card combos are centered around the idea of capitalizing on multiple challenges with few characters (Seal of the Hand, Asha, Margaery's buff, Jaime, Randyll's trigger, Eddard and Robb's abilities, etc).  But when characters like Randyll, Loras, or Asha lose their Power icon, they start to look pretty crappy, and the end-game plans start to unravel.

 

The further this game goes on (both within a given match, and in general), the more often it seems that Military is the weakest challenge type, and when all of these big guys (Tywin excepted) lose their power icon, they will often become very mediocre as late-game cards, which really disrupts them as far as being "The Cards That Make Me Win When I Draw Them". A couple examples:  

 

1) Against Lord of the Crossing: Being unable to use Tywin or Oberyn in that big 3rd challenge really devastates the normal 'checkmate' move for these kinds of decks. 

 

2) Against Greyjoy rush: Balon/Asha/Wendamyr are juicy targets. Many of Greyjoy's best tricks (eking card advantage from Great Kraken, using Support of the People to Seastone Chair, closing with Rise of the Kraken) are based on the ability to throw inexorable Power challenges against the opponent. Greyjoy already can't do Intrigue challenges; losing Power challenges too seems like an unrecoverable state.  I would estimate that––even in the absence of having a good defense––a single Condemned in your hand will buy you an extra round against such a deck, and 2 copies might let you hold out for a good long while.

 

Furthermore, the new Night's Watch anti-Military event (The Watcher On The Walls) provides what is perhaps the biggest blow yet to Military challenges. I can imagine a NW-Sun deck whose winning condition could basically consist of getting 2 Condemned + 1 The Watcher on the Walls + The Wall (+ HJ) –– All cheap, independently powerful cards that can come together to totally shut down an opponent's offense.

 

It is eminently splashable at 1-cost, non-Loyal, non-Terminal. Maybe I'll eat my words, but I see this card as potentially game-changing as Nymeria was. 


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#12
sparrowhawk

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^^ This was great analysis and why I trawl (troll?) this forum.

What makes non-terminal negatives so pernicious is that barring removal, they stick around for the rest of the game, accumulating. Great long game design.

What a great debut post! More please!

Does anyone else have other insights about the impending pack?
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#13
Serazu

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Well, "Condemned" seriously hurts Bara, that's for sure. Unless of course, they start playing Banner of the Sun themselves to combat it. The Bara/Sun deck will mayhaps become their best build after this CP, which IS a meta-shake by itself, since Bara/Fealty will probably retreat to the shadows. Unless every Bara non-Banner of the Sun build starts running Cressen in multitudes, that is.

 

Banner of the Sun looks like the new Banner of the Lion. It's gonna be everywhere.



#14
Alexfrog

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Imo it helps:

 

Lannister the most.  With Gregor out its hard to lose a military challenge, or if you do because they stealth past him you at least nail them back.  They have Burned Men so they can avoid the claim on the turn that First Snow is played.  Also, the Hound ambush, and then help you win military.   The Queen's Assassin is also and interesting play, abushing in after the snow and forcing your opponent to choose a larger character to kill!

 

However, Lanni Crossing might fall as a result of this.  It will probably be replaced by Lanni/banner.  Rose is great of course, so is Sun imo.  Greyjoy banner could be interesting now as well to have save effects.

 

 

Greyjoy 2nd most.  They have Risen from the Sea to avoid the claim on the turn the chuds get bounced, they like the small board.  They will get Iron Mines too.  Greyjoy wants to get out several big guys (three of Balon/Euron/Asha/Syrio/Theon probably), and then crush you with First Snow and stealth and military claim.  Its possible that Greyjoy gains even more than Lanni.

 

Targaryen 3rd most, especially Targ/Lion.  Bouncing Jorah can be good sometimes.  Bouncing Viserys is good.  The only big drawback is bouncing your Dragons.  But Targ Lanni should play Burned Men now, and has the potential to murder you with Jaime/Drogo after clearing the claim soak. 

 

 

Stark murder decks are probably helped, but Stark power rush decks with lots of low cost characters and Sansa are hurt. 

Overall I think they are helped, but their deck construction will change.

 

 

I think Bara, Martell, Tyrell, and Night's Watch lose out, as none of those decks are really big on military killing, and having their chuds wiped away and then being forced to claim a big guy will be devastating.  But I could be wrong.

 

 

To summarize, I think most of the good factions got better and most of the weak factions get weaker.  I think the best strategy (kill your opponents dudes) got better, and power rush, small character, minicurve type strategies got weaker.

 

 

I think the variance of the game got worse, and people who set up three 2-3 cost characters against an opponent who setup a 7 and a 1 might get blown out by First Snow turn 1 and probably lose. 

 

I think this is terrible.  But I could be wrong.  I'm going to play it a bunch first before i feel confident in my opinions. 


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#15
Alexfrog

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Well, "Condemned" seriously hurts Bara, that's for sure. Unless of course, they start playing Banner of the Sun themselves to combat it. The Bara/Sun deck will mayhaps become their best build after this CP, which IS a meta-shake by itself, since Bara/Fealty will probably retreat to the shadows. Unless every Bara non-Banner of the Sun build starts running Cressen in multitudes, that is.

 

Banner of the Sun looks like the new Banner of the Lion. It's gonna be everywhere.

It doesnt, Condemned will never see play in any decks.  Its not nearly as good as Attainted, and you dont have room for tons of these cards.


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#16
Alexfrog

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It is eminently splashable at 1-cost, non-Loyal, non-Terminal. Maybe I'll eat my words, but I see this card as potentially game-changing as Nymeria was. 

I would stake my entire gaming reputation on it not being as game changing as Nymeria was. :)



#17
Alexfrog

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And Targ has no natural defence vs stealth. I still think the match-up favours Targ but the advantage has been lessened. In theory.
 

I'm playing 3 Syrio in Targ now.  It provides great defense against stealth.

 

Also, Ser Gregor can block Balon.  But he usually needs Syrio's help to do so, if they have a military stealther.



#18
Alexfrog

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Whenever I think of Targ, I can't help but feel FFG forgot to print "Without attachments" at the end of the first sentence of Dracarys!

 

Then they just went with it after they noticed their printing mistake.

Would be way more balanced.


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#19
theamazingmrg

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Whenever I think of Targ, I can't help but feel FFG forgot to print "Without attachments" at the end of the first sentence of Dracarys!

Then they just went with it after they noticed their printing mistake.


Honestly, that one change would make me feel a whole lot better about burn as a mechanic.
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#20
kizerman86

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I have built a Martell Banner of the Kraken deck that runs 3x Condemned, 1x Fishing Net, and likes to go 2nd then hit back harder on POW challenges (VERY similar to Wamma's Tyrell/Watch build he recently wrote an awesome TR about).

 

Going to test it some tomorrow, but I think Condemned has a place in some very specific decks.


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