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JerusalemJones

The State of the LCG

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I may not be the best person to start this thread, but I think it is time we got back to talking about the game and its direction. And how well the LCG format is working.

I think that we are starting to really hit the stride for the LCG. Between the Core Set and the 10 available Chapter Packs, the LCG has a wide variety of cards and options available to it. True, the variety is not the same as it was when there was still an official Standard format, but that in no way dimishes what is happening with the game at present.

I am starting to see a greater variety in deck builds in our Leagues, which is about the only place we play true LCG in our meta. In fact, those of us playing are playing almost exclusive LCG right now, and the decks vary greatly. The Winter/Summer mechanic is allowing for some interesting builds, the "sudden discovery" of the abuse of Carrion Bird with trait manipulation is affecting most metas, and people are really starting to notice the themes and combos found in the game.

When we learned that Valar was going to be reprinted in the Core set, there were many of us that groaned. Didn't the game mature past the need for this card? Well, in LCG this card is proving to be incredibly useful -- and potentially dangerous. I've had games where playing Valar saved me long enough to win, and times were I had to hold back since I had board control the whole game and couldn't afford to lose it. It is a perfect double edged sword, and there are enough saves to make it not the ultimate game breaker. In our League one player bought Calling the Banners just for Jory Cassel and his ability to use other Stark uniques to count as duplicates.

Because of the limited card pool, recursion cards like Selmy and Benjen also see alot of play, but they are starting to become less necessary. Both of them affect both players, so they can be dangerous (I've avoided playing Selmy one game where I had 1 card in my discard pile and my opponent had 7). Imagine if Roadblock was an available plot, or the Greyjoy location that didn't allow cards to move from the discard pile. That could create some amazing synergy for these cards.

The Chapter Packs are giving us more King/Queen options (lets hope for a few more in the next two packs -- Alanys Greyjoy perhaps? Another King, without spoiling anything even though the card itself could), even though Dany shuts down all our current Queens. But they still assist in playing the 8 STR armies -- always a good thing. The Night's Watch seems to be getting characters again, and in Winter isn't it great to play the Wall and watch as Maester Aemon or Ghost saves Robert Baratheon from being killed!

And these are just some of the more obvious facets of the format. I'd like to see what other people think, and if they are enjoying this relauch of the game as much as I am.

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I'm still underwhelemd.

Talk to me when there are more Plots.

Talk to me when there is more location control.

Talk to me when there is more weenie control.

and I'm not convinced there are more than one or two viable builds for each of the main houses.

I like the League format a lot more than I thought I would - but I still find playing Standard decks a much more inetresting adn engaging proposition - both in terms of actual game play and in deck building.

I think it won't be until next summer until we really have an interesting LCG environment - barring some sort of Legacy Pack reprint.

 

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Stag Lord said:

Talk to me when there are more Plots.

Talk to me when there is more location control.

Talk to me when there is more weenie control.

 

Seconded. These are also  the three main points why my decks are still standard and not LCG legal.  

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Ah, I see. You are comparing the LCG to Standard. Of course the LCG is going to fall flat -- it just can't compete. Standard has so much variety it isn't even a contest. It would be like the New England Patriots vs. the local high school football team.

But does that mean high school football isn't enjoyable?

What I find I am enjoying the most about the LCG format is, literally, the evolution of the game each month. As a new CP comes out, the came changes, ever so slightly. More options become available. Do we have multiple options like Standard has? No, but they do change the aspect of the game. And as more and more cards become available, the game itself grows. So far Ravens has given us 3 plot cards -- a small number to be sure, but I keep reminding myself that when Ravens was developed Standard was still expected to be a part of the environment. As for King's Landing (is that what they announced the next cycle to be themed) perhaps we'll get more of the cards the LCG is missing, because some of those cards were expected to be in the format. But I wanted this thread to be about the possibilities and growth of the LCG format, and not its limitations. For someone just getting into the game, I'm willing to bet they don't have the same sort of problems with the game -- they are probably more concerned with why Stark has Jeyne Westerling but no King, or what's so great about Mance Rayder's ability?

I've recently gotten into Call of Cthulhu, and I can say that I am enjoying this game immensely. And I've no experience with the history of the game to date as far as deck builds and card growth. I am looking at the GoT LCG through those same lenses, and seeing it in a whole new light. I first just accepted the LCG only format, but now I am starting to see it for what it is. I still lament the loss of Standard format, and feel that it was a mistake, but I don't see anything wrong with LCG only, and am appreciating it for what it has, and looking forward to where it is going.

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Which is kind of funny when you consider that for some people, their favorite and most reliable weenie and location control cards were plots....

Give it time. FFG has got to be aware of the organized play issues. They'll respond, but doing so through the product cycle is going to take more time, now. (I would have preferred phasing things out as the product cycle filled in the mechanics and such, too, but it is what it is.)

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JerusalemJones said:

But does that mean high school football isn't enjoyable?

For a professional player to watch? Probably not. But for a professional player to play?

(Not that the CCG players were "professionals;" I'm just expanding the metaphor.)

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the only thing I really miss in LCG is cancle. I don't like that in a westeros themed environment your plans can't be sabotaged suddenly and with little effort. I mean the End of the first book with Ed making all these plans and thinking he was ina secure pistion got suddenly sweept out from under him....

There are some strong events in the LCG (support of the kingdom, seductive promise, pays debts, to be a ... (btw the only cancle event card in the game.....they really need a GJ/Martell location pack but see below on that), etc) that beomce twice as strong because they can be abndied about without fear of cancle.

RE: locations pack....i dunno why this hasn't happned or doesn't seem to be happening (with the advent of the agenda 'solution'). I know martell has some strong cards, we've discussed it, what hurts is when i have to pay 2 gold for +1 gold while CS houses get +1 gold for free. I'd be okay with just 3 0cost +1 gold locations, don;t need, but they would be nice, the 2 gold 2 reducer or the 1 gold one influence reducers.

Re: valar. this card is finding its way out of my deck. I wind up getting burned by it too much. If i get a lead i don't want to play it, if i do want to play it i am usually not in a good position afterwards. Bleeds also has been used that much in the LCG enviornment (4 influence is a lot it appears). I'd be sad, but not heartbroken to see first snow back (first time i saw the plot it lost me a tournament against my GJ deck, which didn't rely on weenies but had more then it apparently should have). I think the plots are ok and getting better, mutual cause is brutual in joust (no drawback), Rains of autum is sweet in a reducer deck (which i can't make my martell deck into sadly) and as JJ points out it just requires a little more creative to find the plots that work best. I know my 1st 7 plots are all but out of my deck (i think i have like 2 left which includes the soon to be removed valar)

RE: Location control. I think this is needed solely for the fact that Lannister owns the power locations right now. out side of toll gate, the brothel, and golden tooth mines, i can't really think of power locations. Claw island is nice in bara, but just tacks on to what they already do. Bear island is nice in stark but limites either your deck building or your play chopices. Targ has the nice recursion/draw locations, but they require a lot of set up. Den of the Wolf is nice, but i think its real power is in a lannister deck. Tower of Joy (?) has the potential to be one, but again is nuetral so doesn't even out the balance.

Re: deck evolution. i'd say about 33% of the chapter packs add to a deck whith another 20% allowing for creative players to get use out of. There is still a little two much traited plot stuff that kills some cards (when they release the location pack maybe then can release one of each traited plot with it.....) and still some junky cards in the chapter packs (look at sleyse baratheon or Northen Cave or half of A Change of Seasons). Overall, i've found winter and Raven's Song to be the best of the packs in the new cycle with Ancient enimies and sacred bonds in the previous cycle.

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Lars said:

RE: Location control. I think this is needed solely for the fact that Lannister owns the power locations right now.

I´m disagree with this. Targ Locations are a nightmare, and even if you need some influence to play, once you have Xaro´s Home + L. Daenery´s Chambers it´s soooo easy.

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ktom said:

JerusalemJones said:

But does that mean high school football isn't enjoyable?

 

For a professional player to watch? Probably not. But for a professional player to play?

(Not that the CCG players were "professionals;" I'm just expanding the metaphor.)

Not to sound like a jerk, but yeah, entirely.  My cousin is an ex-NFLer.  He player for Jacksonville, St. Louis, and Seattle.  And do you know what he enjoys more than anything?  High school football.  He (and his other retired buddies) all talk about how much better football it is than pro ball.  People protect themselves in pro ball.  They worry about the bottom line, their playtime, and the minutiae.  They toss blame and nitpick.  He says, and I believe him, that it's high school ball where people still really play ball.  He says it's even broken in college.  In high school ball people still play for fun, they still use trick plays, they still audible constantly, they still go no-huddle play both ways.  I've personally met ex-pros who'll tell you high school ball is the only place football is actually still played.  And biggest reason is because that's where it's still fun.

Which really plays even better into JJ's points.  Maybe we'd all be better off remebering what it was like to just play for fun and not rabid competition.  Maybe, we should enjoy trying to build new, innovative decks instead of min-maxing and just tweaking "the top builds".  Get back to the roots of play.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm often too competitive, but I'm really enjoying the LCG precisely because it's resetting that, forcibly.  There are good mechanics, good options, and they're growing.  I'm really enjoying playing for fun and surprising people.

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dienekes00 said:

In high school ball people still play for fun, they still use trick plays, they still audible constantly, they still go no-huddle play both ways.  I've personally met ex-pros who'll tell you high school ball is the only place football is actually still played.  And biggest reason is because that's where it's still fun.

Which is, more or less, the point I'm trying to make (and have been trying to make for months now): the community changes with this emphasis on the local focus. You ex-pro cousin loves his local high school football scene. And who can blame him? But does he know what the high school football scene in the next state over is like? Does he keep up on the stats nationwide? Does he particularly care about what's going on in high school ball outside his local area?

The LCG emphasizes a casual, "for fun" environment, which is predictably resulting in a lot of little metas with less focus on "cross pollination." Even though a majority of players never really traveled to play the game, there was a "national" feel to it when it was a CCG. Like following pro teams that we're never going to go see live, we kept up on what was happening in competition across the country. That "national feel" is what is going away because there's not as much need or value in it for the LCG. And that's okay, it's just different. The game is fine, and fun, but the competitive emphasis is different.

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I definitely have to agree it's totally changed around, and I like it, but I do certainly see what you mean.  I'm one of those that never travelled or got heavy into the global meta (read: notorious forum-lurker).  I'm trying to change that with the new incarnation.  I'm helping set up games and teach newbs here in San Antonio, TX.

And I think you're right in your earlier statements, as well.  I think it will grow over time.  That national vibe wasn't there when the first set of the CCG dropped, nor the second.   It took time.  This will, too.  I just hope that, like you and JJ and Lars, some of the real, serious old guard stick it out and help shape the next generation of GoT players and competions.  I think it'll be great, we just need to give it time.

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 Anyone who thinks high school football isn't competitive has never played high school football.

The LCG is very competitive, it just offers very different challenges. If you want a game that has every possible option available and an answer for every question built in, then it isn't surprising that the LCG is disappointing to you. HS Football is challaneging as a couch and a player because of the limitations of the field of players. The coach and players need to min/max hat they have, if Johnson is the best QB and tight end where do you put him? Is the second best in one extremely close and the second best in the other a much more noticable gap? How you use your players is extremely important. Creating plays and team cohesion to get the most out of what you have is challenging. When you go up against another team who has to dothe same you really get tested. A surprise play suddenly makes a team which on paper should have lost soundly ****** the lead right at the buzzer.

The LCG has parallels for all of this.

The game is really developing in a new way. I find the more I let go of my preconceptions about Houses, deck types, even how to build decks, the better my decks become. I had to relearn a lesson I taught in the military, stop planning on fighting the last war and work on fighting the future war.

We do need some more plots, Greyjoy and Martell are in desperate need of an update/surge to stay viable, traited cards need to be brought into the LCG... but these are really the only things I see the LCG REALLY needing. Cancels, location and weenie control, and everything else has existing work arounds. It may not be as easy as it was, but there are answers. Those "must-includes" that we used to talk about has changed, and a lot of people haven't really noticed. They keep asking for the old stuff, rather than playing in the here and now.

I'm actually enjoying my games more right now, win or lose, than I was with Standard which just seemed so formulaic, that I had to create decks ad accept massive loss ratios just to find a challenge and have fun. By no means is this intended to disparage anyone, it is just to show what I am learning from the LCG.

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I enjoy playing the game a lot with the lcg format, more than i enjoy standard. In fact I haven´t touched standard since the Core Set came out.

I love how my Gates of Winterfell Stark deck works and that I don´t have to live in fear of players discarding it with something as cheap as Saladhor Saan or High Tide. Also I see something in every Cp to work into my decks and something that tells me: "Build around me". There are still Holes to fill, but those have been mentioned a tousand times and they start to fill out. The absence of generic cancels is welcome as well, most decks usally don´t play that many events and just having them canceled is no fun imho, same goes for filling the few event slots you have with cancel events. The plot selction is filling out as well, I already have a hard time cutting my 8th plot.

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Needed (IMHO):

1.  Location control. 

2.  Nuetral balanced card draw (again, something like Market Street would be fine, especially unique).

3.  Just more playable and fun cards.  I loved 5kE...with some exceptions (Arya, I am looking at you...with the Kingdom locations close behind) I believe it to be the best, most fun, and most balanced set ever.  Losing it was tough, to be replaced by Bannermen and 1 cost plot recurson and cards that reduce Clansmen costs.  The chapter packs were sold to us as "cutting out the crap" with the lower # of total cards...and that has been laughable so far.  

4.  I am going to say it again...more FUN.  Would it kill sales to make a brotherhood chapter pack?  To make a Bolton vs. Reed pack?  Wildlings vs. NW (okay, maybe too many nuetrals there...).  I know some of it has been done before, but who cares?  Get Martell and GJ back ASAP.  I open a chapter pack and have to hold back yawns much of the time.  We play the game mainly for the books, people...is that a surprise?  3X locations that mess with plots or bannermen or locations that really are only powerful in the Epic phase?  Really?

Unluckily, I have to agree there just isn't enough variety...even for fun decks.  That will solve itself a bit over time...but I said that six months ago and it isn't true yet.  Lanni kneeling vs. Targ burn vs. Stark kill every time = monthly tourneys, not weekly :)

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i am still giving the evolution of the LCG game time.

The PDX meta is at two...and always trying to expand.  We cannot play league because a league of two is a really lame circle jerk (am i the jerk or the circle?).

We have pretty much stopped playing since GenCon because of the lack of variety and the predictability of our builds.  Myers loves Stark Kill and i just love to build decks that will piss him off, even if i lose.

i would love diversity and something that does not corner Greyjoy into using overcosted warships.

i would love to play Lanni without knowing i have to use the kneel mechanic just to round out a viable 60 card deck.

The only time Myers and i have played since GenCon i literally had to throw in 5 or 6 unexciting and overcosted cards into both my Lanni and Targ builds just to reach 60.

i could do without the ITE block, although there are some cards i like and did not get to explore enough.  The loss of 5KE, however, kicked me square in the nuts.

i would much rather have a chapter pack with only one copy of each card.  If i want more of them i will buy more chapter packs = more $ for FFG = greater variety and diversity for the game = happier players = a very upset wife and children in my home because i am weeing in glee while i play again.

Someone throw this old dog a bone before i have to go rolling home.

 

aloha,

binder

 

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rings said:

The chapter packs were sold to us as "cutting out the crap" with the lower # of total cards...and that has been laughable so far.

 

Amen.  As much as I like the Rookeries, reading essentially the same card six times for each house bites.  I get that they allow some sort of control for each of the houses' "favorite challenge", but this kind of thing really isn't what I expected from the CPs.

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About the Rookeries, I can understand why there are separate ones for each house, and am actually glad they came 3x to a chapter pack. I'd hate to see just one rookery, as these seem to fall into some wierd sorta house theme (though why some are lose and others win by 4 are beond me).

Also, in the new LCG format isn't the current deck size 50 cards, or is that just for the league? I know Call of Cthulhu dropped down to a 50 card deck, and I think that might be better for Thrones as well. Plus, now you only need to buy one package of sleeves -- which also helps me fine tune my deck. No more expanded growth. If I want to add a card, I have to remove a card.

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From the tournament rules in the support section (http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/agotlcg/support/AGoTTourneyRules.pdf):


In constructed formats (LCG and Legacy, Melee or Joust), decks must contain a minimum of sixty cards. There is no maximum deck size; however, you must be able to shuffle your deck with no assistance. Plot decks must number exactly seven cards and have no more than one of any plot card with the same title.

...

League decks must have a minimum of 50 cards, with no more than 3 copies of any card (by title) permitted in any deck. Plot decks must contain 7 plot cards, with no more than 1 copy of any plot card (by title) permitted in any plot deck.

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