“Ryman Frey has raised a gibbet. Every day at dawn he brings forth Edmure Tully, drapes a noose around his neck, and threatens to hang him unless the castle yields. The Blackfish pays his mummer’s show no mind, so come evenfall Lord Edmure is taken down again.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Feast for Crows
The Captain’s Command, the fifth Chapter Pack in the A Song of the Sea cycle for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, is now available at your local retailer and online through our webstore!
Deep into A Song of the Sea, the Great Houses of Westeros are still marshaling their navies for the cycle’s final battles. The Master of Ships, Aurane Waters (The Captain’s Command, 100), makes his debut in The Captain’s Command, as do seven other characters who feature the cycle’s new naval () enhancement. Additionally, you’ll find two new Warships, new Shadows-focused cards for House Targaryen, more support for House Manderly and The North, and three new Prayer events, each of which invokes the blessings of one of the seven southron gods.
Earlier in the A Song of the Sea cycle, we saw the introduction of an agenda that raises its player’s minimum deck size from sixty to eighty-five cards. In return, The Long Voyage (The Pirates of Lys, 60) allows you to draw one additional card each draw phase.
Interestingly, many veteran players spoke out against the agenda when they first saw it. They didn’t think the extra card draw was worth trading away the greater statistical probability of drawing any specific card that comes with the lower deck size. However, recent tournaments have belied this mentality, and The Long Voyage has been among the game’s top-performing agendas throughout the current tournament season. Instead of worrying about the chances of drawing their best cards, players have simply built decks with more good cards, each of which are roughly interchangeable in their use, and they have taken advantage of their extra card draws.
So does this mean that the combo deck is dead? The Long Voyage has moved the metagame away from slimmer decks built around a few key cards and toward larger decks that rely upon overall card quality and card advantage. On the other hand, combo decks rely upon the ability to draw several specific cards as quickly as possible. If The Long Voyage were the only indicator, we’d have to say, then, that the combo deck was dead, but it’s not the only indicator.
In fact, the combo deck may soon come back in force. Coming in The Captain’s Command, Desperate Measures (The Captain’s Command, 99) allows you to kneel one influence to search the top five cards of your deck for any one card, which you can then reveal and add to your hand. Though you have to discard the other cards, the chances are that if you’re playing a combo deck, that just helps you thin your deck to set up your combo. In fact, if you’re playing cards like Lady Daenerys’s Chambers (Core Set, 180) or Melisandre’s Scheme (Reach of the Kraken, 9), you may be able to pull pieces of your combo into play from your discard pile.
So what combos are worth milling yourself to play? Very few combos in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game can win games outright or completely lock your opponent, but there are still a good number of combos that provide solid punches:
- Desperate Measures can help you find Viserys Targaryen (Kings of the Sea, 36), Lady Daenerys’s Chambers, or any of the attachments you want to start playing on him. If you play Viserys out-of-house in a Martell deck, the cards you discard with Desperate Measures might return to your hand with The Prince’s Plans (The Isle of Ravens, 74).
- If you can force your way to an early game advantage with your House Tully characters, you can use Den of the Wolf (A Change of Seasons, 58) to trigger Riverrun (Lords of Winter, 24) twice and rapidly accelerate your power grab.
- Will Daenerys Targaryen (Core Set, 108) take gold from the Lannister’s Coin Mint (Lions of the Rock, 27) and resort to treachery? If so, her Shadow Politics (City of Secrets, 18) may leave your opponent starved for gold several turns in a row.
- An early plot twist from Counting Favors (Core Set, 203) into Rule by Decree (Core Set, 206) can leave your opponent reeling, especially if you can follow it up with a twist into Threat from the East (Queen of Dragons, 55).
- Finally, if you’re running a deck built around Beric Dondarrion (Illyrio’s Gift, 17), you won’t likely feel the sting of Westeros Bleeds (Core Set, 176) nearly so much as your opponent.
Additionally, because it’s a Small Council event, Desperate Measures lends itself to a couple of combinations:
- You can return Desperate Measures to your hand when you bring House Baratheon’s Small Council Chamber (Secrets and Spies, 87) out of Shadows.
- If you have Joffrey Baratheon (Princes of the Sun, 36) on the table when you play Desperate Measures, you can kneel another three influence or a Noble crest character to discard an opponent’s character with one or more power on it.
Still, you don’t need to find a game-winning combination to make good use of Desperate Measures. Sometimes, you just need to build your forces, getting your pieces into place. Decks that focus on control may need one specific card to stop an opponent’s rush. A rush deck may need one final push to get to fifteen power. An aggro deck might need one extra kill to secure board position. As any Any Phase action, Desperate Measures can help you whenever you need that help most.
Call in the Reserves
Use Desperate Measures to find the card you need, at the time you need it most, or navigate the ins and outs of the Challenges phase with the different naval characters in The Captain’s Command. This fifth Chapter Pack for the A Song of the Sea cycle is now available at retailers, as well as through our webstore, so pick up your copy today!