What's going on with Martell and Greyjoy?
Can you give us any more information on where we're going with Greyjoy and Martell?
Are you really getting rid of the Greyjoys and the Martells in LCG format?
Of all the questions that have come in about the LCG format, this "Martell and Greyjoy" question is the most frequently asked. So I wanted to take a moment to provide a hint of where we'll be going with these two Great Houses over the course of the next year of the AGoT LCG.
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, especially early on in the series, House Martell and House Greyjoy are both on the periphery of the story. (An argument can be made that Targaryen is also on the periphery of the story, but an equally compelling argument can be made that the Targaryens are the main story and everything else is peripheral.) In the LCG, we are going to represent this aspect of House Greyjoy and House Martell by setting them up as "treaty" Houses.
To those of you who are new, a treaty is an Agenda card that essentially allows you to play with cards from two different Houses without an out of House gold penalty, for a slight drawback. So instead of playing a single House, you can play two Houses at once!
To those of you who might remember the old Treaty agenda (how can one forget it?), the new treaty Agendas are different in three key ways. First, they are House specific: "Treaty with the Isles" allows you to only treaty with House Greyjoy, and "Treaty with the South" allows you to only treaty with House Martell. Second, these new treaties don't only eliminate the out House gold penalty, they also allow you to play with "House Greyjoy only" or "House Martell only" cards, depending on which Agenda you are running. And third, instead of increasing the amount of power you need to win the game, they reduce the amount of power any opponent not running his or her own Treaty agenda would need to win.
These two agendas, which will be released in the first of the six Chapter Packs in the King's Landing expansion, add a number of new deck possibilities to the metagame. Each of the four primary Houses that were released in the AGoT Core Set now have the option of treaty-ing with either Greyjoy or Martell, and don't overlook the rogue possibility of pulling out a Greyjoy or Martell House card and combining them with the other "treaty" House. And of course, the Greyjoy and Martell House cards still exist in the Core Set, and any player who is out for a particular challenge can try to play one of these factions as a stand-alone House.
Beyond the constructed game, I am working up similar "treaty" rules for House Greyjoy and House Martell so that cards from these Houses will be "fair game" in league play. There are a couple fine points regarding the storyline voting that are being worked out, but I do feel the possibility of treatying any of the four Core Set Houses with either Greyjoy or Martell will make league deckbuilding and play a much more satisfying experience.
And what about the future? The possibilities are open, and everything will be considered. I can envision either or both of these Houses being the centerpiece of a six Chapter Pack expansion set designed "around" a House in the way A Sea of Storms, A Flight of Dragons, and A Crown of Suns were all designed around their own Houses, way back when. These expansions could pave the way towards making Greyjoy and Martell playable as standalone Houses. (Just as the Houses started off on the outskirts of the story in the novels and moved more to the center, they could follow a similar trajectory in the LCG.) Another possibility, of introducing other new Houses as treaties (Treaty with the Vale?), is very real, and tempting.
The main point, though, is that anything is possible in this new era of the LCG, and I'm looking forward to exploring as many of the options as I can.