by Nate French
With the onset of winter, the songs of ravens fill the sky. As the nights grow darker and the winds blow colder, the maesters and stewards of Westeros have taken to their castle rookeries, sending forth a flock of messenger birds with schemes and tidings that will shape the future of the realm.
The Raven’s Song, the fourth Chapter Pack in the A Time of Ravens expansion to the A Game of Thrones LCG is hitting stores soon. This pack focuses on the role of the raven as a messenger bird in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and it features the rookeries of the realm, along with some of the maesters and stewards that work them.
Thematically, the leaders of Westeros conspire and scheme by sending scroll-bearing ravens across the skies, and the plot of the story sometimes turns on a message that is sent via one of these birds. Mechanically, this is represented in the LCG by the concept of plot manipulation, a powerful category of effects that could change the way you approach the game.
“The game changed while I lay rotting in my bed.”
Grand Maester Pycelle is one example of the plot manipulation that is available in the The Raven’s Song Chapter Pack. In any given game, a single plot effect could turn out to be crucial, and the game can hinge on whether or not it lasts 8 rounds to allow you to play that plot a second time. Grand Maester Pycelle provides the ability to recycle your plot deck early, which can provide a strategic advantage by giving you a second chance to play that one key plot, and provide you with more strategic options (at least for a few rounds) than your opponents during the plot phase.
A Rookery for Every Raven
The Winterfell Rookery is another example of a new kind of plot manipulation making its way into the game in The Raven’s Song. What are the advantages of firing off a new plot in the middle of the challenge phase? Maybe you’d like to boost your claim, catching an unsuspecting opponent off guard. Or perhaps you’d really like to take advantage of a timely “when revealed” effect: your opponent just won a big military challenge and killed all of your characters, what better time to respond with Valar Morghulis? Or maybe you’d just like to change the table dynamic by revealing a plot with a surprising constant effect like Noose and Swordpoint.
The rookeries bring a number of interesting plot combos into the AGoT LCG, and in many cases the “threat” of a mid-challenge plot switch could be stronger than its execution. And for Stark players, an opponent who is second-guessing the consequences of winning a military challenge against you is going to be that much easier to keep on his heels.
“Why can’t I just be Samwell Tarly?”
What would a set about Ravens be without the presence of Samwell Tarly? This simple, innocuous-at-first-glance card provides some important support to both Summer and Winter themed decks, turning your Black Ravens, White Ravens, and Carrion Birds into draw effects that can keep these somewhat specialized decks running smoothly. (And don’t forget to trigger his effect if your opponent plays a Raven card, too!) As an efficient 1 cost character, Sam should find his way into numerous decks, and he’ll only get better as the Night’s Watch trait becomes more prominent in the LCG environment.
Look for these cards, and others like “King Renly, “ “The Tower of Joy,” and “Dawn” when The Raven’s Song hits stores near you!
The Ravenâ€™s Song
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Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:56 AM
by Nate French