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War of the 5 Kings Cycle: Community Poll RESULTS

It's that time again to take a look back over the last Chapter Pack Cycle and look at what people liked, what people didn't like, and of course, what on Westeros they think the "Hot Pie Medal" is supposed to mean.

Given that the AGOT community has demonstrated an increased shift over to the Facebook group (if you're not a member and interested, just search "AGOT 2nd Edition" and it'll show up), the polls that have resulted in the data I'm to analyse went up both on the Facebook group as well as the normal thread on CardGameDB.

I will be taking a look at the top 3 answers for each question (as well as any further answers that got at least 10% of the vote) and analysing why. So without further adieu...

Which faction(s) got the most love? (297 Votes)
1st: Night's Watch (83.50%)
2nd: Tyrell (8.75%)
3rd: Greyjoy (4.38%)

We start off with arguably the least-surprising result of the lot - in a cycle where they went from the joke faction in 8th place to the alleged NPE faction to beat thanks to a series of bomb cards (many of which will feature later on), Night's Watch were overwhelmingly voted the faction that got the most love, with over 5 times the votes of every other faction combined. Further to their own amazing cards, the Watch also benefited from the slowing down of the game brought on by Valar Morghulis, as decks that could previously win before the Wall combo was properly set up were reined in.

A distant second were Tyrell, who saw their own renaissance this cycle. A series of very solid utility cards, a great rush card in a non-unique 4 drop Renown character, a top tier bomb in Renly and Valar proving a boon for their previously-unreliable control builds all combined to help them out. Similarly, third-place Greyjoy benefited hugely from Valar Morghulis, as their glut of saves could finally be used offensively rather than just to block Put to the Sword. They also, though largely having chaff throughout the cycle, ended strongly with Esgred and Sea *****.

Which faction(s) got the least love? (291 Votes)
1st: Martell (39.86%)
2nd: Targaryen (24.74%)
3rd: Baratheon (14.78%)
4th: Greyjoy (11.00%)

There was no true runaway answer here, though Martell were still comfortable 'winners'. While some cards proved less useful than initially expected (Venomous Blade, Starfall Cavalry), and their few successes were relatively modest (Elia Sand, Myrcella Baratheon), the true knock to Martell seems to have come more from the rise of Night's Watch and Bara stall decks - it's no good controlling the icons of an opponent who is gaining power through other means than challenges, and their icon-removing attachments can't go on most members of the Watch, making this a rough time to be a Sunbather.

However, Martell were not the only faction with a rough cycle. Targaryen gained little from any direction throughout, with no new burn cards, mostly mediocre support cards, and no new themes introduced, while most factions moved forward Targaryen was stuck treading water. Baratheon similarly received only one real standout card, Asshai Priestess, and even then it was a supporting role.

Perhaps most interestingly, Greyjoy apparently had the third most love and the fourth least love. Despite their saves and dynamite pack 6, the faction did still struggle with Ours is the Old Way, Bless Him With Salt, Lordsport Fisherman, King of Salt and Rock and Helya, so perhaps this is understandable...

Which Chapter Pack was the Best in the Cycle? (192 Votes)
1st: There Is My Claim (58.33%)
2nd: For Family Honor (18.23%)
3rd: Called to Arms (10.94%)

Last cycle the votes were fairly evenly spread; this time round, the overwhelming winner was what I'm sure many people thought of as "the Valar pack". Aside from that it also was a strong pack for several factions, particularly Night's Watch and Martell.

Following further back were For Family Honor, the pack with Renly Baratheon, Asshai Priestess, Lanni Harrenhal AND Hot Pie, and Called to Arms, which most notably had the Seasons agendas. I don't know whether it was apathy with the agendas or love of the other two packs that led to it finishing third, as often agendas are what get people the most excited.

Which "King" Attachment was the Best in the Cycle? (263 Votes)
1st: Beggar King (64.64%)
2nd: Crown of Golden Roses (19.01%)
3rd=: King of Salt and Rock / The Wolf King (6.08%)

The overwhelming winner here was Beggar King - apparently the attempt to do something rather different with it resonated with the voters. Second place went to arguably the strongest in raw power, the Crown of Golden Roses, which is an auto-include in all but the controlliest of Tyrell builds, while third saw a tie between a janky card that encourages fun tier 2 decks and an incredibly efficient but ultimately very boring card. It seems the trick to this category was to be different AND strong.

Did you like the Cycle More or Less than the previous, Westeros Cycle? (215 Votes)
1st: More (51.63%)
2nd: About the Same (29.30%)
3rd: Less (19.07%)

Despite the constant doom-saying, our voters were overwhelmingly in favour of this cycle over the last, with over half the voters liking it more and only less than a fifth liking it less. Good job, FFG!

Are you More or Less Hyped for the next Cycle, Blood & Gold? (234 Votes)
1st: More (45.73%)
2nd: About the Same (36.75%)
3rd: Less (17.52%)

At the same time, people are only increasing their hype levels. This surprises me, given how many people were waiting for the day Valar Morghulis arrived; however, it seems that the Bestow keyword is broadly being well-received, and perhaps the "have-nots" of the AGOT econ world are looking forward to the promise of new in-faction economy locations...

As well as each of these polls, we have a series of Awards and Medals given out each cycle. As these are done by write-in votes rather than selecting from a list, the vote totals are significantly lower; however, hopefully enough people voted that they still provide worthy information.

Sansa Award (Worst card in the Cycle) (29 Votes)
1st: Ours is the Old Way (41.38%)
2nd: Rains of Autumn (17.24%)
3nd: Visited by Shadows (10.34%)

Arse is the Old Way is a worthy winner here, costing four gold for an effect that Greyjoy don't need. And due to the faction-specificity, it doesn't even work well in a banner.

Rains of Autumn is no less worthy in second place, however - the overwhelming sentiment among those voting for it was "it only exists to fuel one deck (choke), yet it doesn't even make the cut in that one deck". With upcoming economy locations that kneel to gain gold instead of providing a modifier for Rains to blank, it may be a card that sees literally zero play for the entire length of this game's life - an impressive feat, to be sure.

In third we have Visited by Shadows. This author is in a tough place talking about this card, as he ran it 3x in a deck that he went 5-1 at a Store Championship with and actually thinks it's fiendishly underrated; however, one can certainly appreciate that it's absolutely not what Bara needs right now, and is best used either in janky combo banners or in a STR-denial deck that just isn't good enough to actually work yet.

Balerion Award (Best card in the Cycle) (31 Votes)
1st: Craven (38.71%)
2nd: The Haunted Forest (19.35%)
3rd: Valar Morghulis (16.13%)

Here we see evidence of that love the Night's Watch received (and not for the last time), as the powerful Craven and Haunted Forest cards take up the top two spots. Craven is the card that moved the Watch up from basically being jokes to being capable of winning major Road to Stahleck events in the space of one pack. Since then it combined with Milk of the Poppy has given NW the ability to slow down their opponents long enough to win through stall.

The Haunted Forest has essentially made this stall an 'easy mode' deck of sorts. Reducing the number of challenges the Watch player has to concern themselves with by a third, it is undeniably powerful. If Craven got the Watch up from jokes to contenders, the Forest got them from contenders to top dogs.

Valar's power speaks for itself. Weaker than first edition's version, it has still defined the cycle with its meta-shifting effect.

Ned Award (Most Thematic card in the Cycle) (30 Votes)
1st: Jaqen H'ghar (33.33%)
2nd: Brienne of Tarth (10.00%)
3rd=: Podrick Payne / Shae / Valar Morghulis (6.67%)

This was a closely-fought category with one clear winner. Jaqen asked Arya to give him three names (uniques), she gave them, he killed them (well, sorta). It's as on-point as you can get.

Shagga Award (Most Jaw-Dropping Effect in the Cycle) (31 Votes)
1st: House of the Undying (41.94%)
2nd: Valar Morghulis (19.35%)
3rd=: Jaqen H'ghar/Roose Bolton (9.68%)

The effects that make our jaws drop apparently involve the words "Kill" or "dead". The only thing that impressed us more than the ability to kill everything with Valar Morghulis was the ability to bring it all back with House of the Undying. Several other death-related effects got 2 or 3 votes, proving the concept's impact continues to impress.

Renly Award (Card with the Best Art in the Cycle) (30 Votes)
1st: Tower of the Sun (20.00%)
2nd/3rd=: The God's Eye / "Wolf in the Night" (16.67%)

As possibly the most subjective category of the lot, let's move right along!

Hot Pie Medal (Given to an Adorable but utterly Useless card) (29 Votes)
1st: Hot Pie (37.93%)
2nd: White Raven (13.79%)
3rd: Every single other nominated card with 1 vote each (3.45%)

As ever people aren't entirely sure what this category is, with 14 different cards getting a single vote. However, if you weren't sure what to vote for there was a clear choice for the Hot Pie medal, the boy himself. In the eyes of many he also fits the criteria pretty well, as many people weren't impressed with his status of mostly being a fat inconless reducer chud.

Jaime Medal (Given to an ultra-Efficient card that will end up Hated) (31 Votes)
1st: The Haunted Forest (37.10%)
2nd: Craven (35.48%)
3rd=: Sea ***** / Valar Morghulis (6.45%)

As with the Balerion award, the Night's Watch's two top cards ran away with this one. Interestingly Craven only got 1 vote less than it did for Balerion, but The Haunted Forest got almost twice as many - apparently people think Craven is better, but The Haunted Forest is more efficient and despised. One wonders how much of that is the order the cards came out - Craven was powerful enough to pull the Watch up to everyone else's level, but Forest pushed them over the top. Would they have had the same impact the other way around?

Kettleblack Medal (Given to a card that was hyped but had little impact) (28 Votes)
1st/2nd=: Craster / Venomous Blade (10.71%)
3rd=: Aeron Damphair / Bear Island / Pyromancers / Renly Baratheon / Valar Morghulis (7.14%)

The votes were spread out quite widely here, with a mere 3 votes required to tie for first. It's tough to know whether this is a bad thing (lots of cards perceived to have little impact) or a good thing (no obvious candidates that completely bombed).

Tyene Medal (Given to a seemingly Innocent but ultimately Deadly card) (30 Votes)
1st: Varys's Riddle (16.67%)
2nd: Beggar King (13.33%)
3rd=: Captain's Daughter / Offer of a Peach / The Haunted Forest (6.67%)

Again the votes were fairly evenly-spread here, though we at least had a clear winner. Varys's Riddle had multiple layers here, both being underrated on the face of it, and also having the Summer Harvest interaction to catch people out. Beggar King in second also caught people off guard, being comfortably the best non-limited economy card in a cycle full of them.

Euron Medal (Given to the Most Controversial card) (31 Votes)
1st: Valar Morghulis (80.65%)
2nd: Craster (9.68%)
3rd=: Ghosts of Harrenhal / Varys's Riddle (3.23%)

To end on we have our most conclusive answer by far. Whether it was arguing about whether it was a good idea to add to the game, when it should come out, how good it should be, what impact it would have on the game and whether that impact was positive, what decks would and wouldn't run it, how people could mitigate it in their deckbuilding, how people could mitigate it in their play, and then how much it got screwed by cards like Craster and Ghosts of Harrenhal (two of the four other cards to receive any votes at all) if it indeed did get screwed by them, Valar Morghulis was the only plausible winner. Months and years from now when we look back on this cycle, it seems we will be thinking of it as "the Valar cycle".
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