So, with the new cycle, we are seeing some usefull new mechanics, those naval enhacements surely give you flexibility.
BUT, as most of you probably saw, there are NONE on Martell characters (I have missed 1 of the boxes, none on the other…4?). Someone may argue that Martell has no naval power in the serie. And I would answer that half of the houses don´t ever show more than a couple of boats in the books, wich I have read fully.
Now, take this and add the fact that Martell got so bloodyly hammered by restrictions in FEB´s update and I start to think, as the title says, that someone in FFG´s design sector hates Martell.
Of course it´s just a joke, but I was wondering if someone has seen recently a pro Martell deck going far in an important tournament, and maybe the list for it. I heard something about a martell-maestres deck, but other than that (and I also heard maestres is better with other houses), it seems like I´m the only one playing Martell.
I personally like them a lot (both in the game and in the books), and have 2 decks now, 1 House Dayne-based and the other one with some "when I lose a challenge you lose more than I" events and chars. They are fun to play, but I feel as if they are a bit below my meta´s level, and can´t find better cards to include.
I think you should take a look at reviews for Chaos in the Old World. I'm happy that AGoT is taking a page out of that book. In Chaos in the Old world, you could easily level this at any given faction. "Why does everyone get good combat units except Tzeentch?" "Why does everyone get more cultists than Khorne?" These are simple and obvious observations and yet you will hear many say that it is one of the most well-balanced, asymetrical games around. AGoT seems to be taking a page from that book and for the better. Rather than have each house be uniquely good at one thing, theme and flavor can be gained instead by detracting things.
Martell isn't particularly strong at Naval, which gives them a pretty cool theme. A player may be like "Yea, that's right. I don't need no stupid boats." And as people indicate, it hasn't yet affected their tournament-worthiness except in a few builds. Even better, these aren't core game mechanics. While being weak in Military, Intrigue, or Power icons can severly hamper a houses ability to win, being weak in a game mechanic that does not directly equate to winning challenges is meaningless. You could just as easily ask "Why doesn't Martell have kill effects like No Quarter and Terminal Schemes?", but I think people would look at you weird if you did.
TL:DR - Martell lacks Naval icons for the same reason they lack direct kill. It's not part of their color wheel (it's not meant to be one of their strengths thematically).