Littlefinger’s Meddling, The Dragon’s Tail, Taena Merryweather, A Mission in Essos, To the Rose Banner!
Banning these Combo cards allows us to free a lot of cards from the Restricted List. Mission to Essos and To the Rose Banner! are exclusively used in Combo. The Dragon’s Tail is also used in Mill decks, but it’s a card that helps Combo dig for the pieces it needs. Same goes for Taena Merryweather, our playtesting showed that she would make the Lady Combo deck too consistent again. Littlefinger’s Meddling has its uses outside of Combo, but it is the engine that makes many event-based Combo decks broken. With these cards banned, a lot of cards can come off the Restricted List.
This choice is very obvious. Sea of Blood has been terrorizing the meta for too long. It can just blow out the opponent turn 1 if you don’t have your answer right away. The constant pressure will also prevent you from grinding your way back into the game. Banning Sea of Blood will amplify deckbuilding options again.
This ban choice is a bit less obvious, but the reasoning is the same. With Sea of Blood banned, Kingdom of Shadows would easily step up to be the most oppressive deck in the meta. There are few options to counter Kingdom of Shadows decks, mainly plots. Return to the Field and King in the North are now restricted, so the options are further limited. Banning Kingdom of Shadows will make plot choices a bit more flexible. Fewer anti shadows plots will also lead to new shadows decks like Banner of the Kraken/Lion/Rose or Assault being more viable.
The agendas from the Things We Do For Love pack are all fair game (and their artwork is tolerable!), so these will be legal for competitive play. I don’t want anyone to feel obliged to buy the pack (it’s not even available in many countries anyway), but agendas can be easily proxied. And those cards are perfect alt arts for future tournaments.
The Annals of Castle Black -> Wheels Within Wheels, Oldtown Informer
- Wheels Within Wheels will be removed from the Restricted List. It was only on the list because of the interaction with Annals of Castle Black. Pods can handle this more elegantly, so Wheels will only be unavaible if your restricted card is Annals. Oldtown Informer is another card that can fuel a big Annals turn and hence is not allowed together with that plot.
- After the restriction of Drowned Disciple and Desert Raider, the Drowned God archetype was dead in the water (pun intended). Removing Drowned Disciple from the Restricted List gives Drowned God players more liberties, but we don’t want the passive power engine to become oppressive again, so Disciple appears in pods with both Fanatic and Desert Raider.
- We want to see Drowned God decks return, but we do not like the broken (and unthematic) interaction between Disciple and Desert Raider, and this pod solution ensures this.
- Yoren’s power level is so much above the other NW restricted cards that every reasonable NW player chooses him, be it for a defense, goodstuff, rush or attrition deck. That’s why we added some additional opportunity costs to Yoren. Forfeiting the Watch’s best draw and best defense card is now a sizable price to pay for Yoren. He will still find his place in attrition decks, where he belongs.
- Stark has been playing “good stuff” decks with Wyman as their restricted choice for a very long time now. To make Wyman less of an auto-include we add 2 cards as additional restrictions to him that make the cost of his sacrifice trigger/reaction too cheap: Bear Island Scout and the newly freed Skagos. This additional opportunity cost for Wyman and the unrestricted Skagos will hopefully inspire Stark players to come up with new decks.
- Targaryen is the other faction besides Stark that is at the top of the meta. I’m convinced that Dothraki decks applying pressure via claim raise will still be viable without Sea of Blood. To prevent them from being oppressive we make them choose between Qotho, who combos nicely with Overwhelming Numbers, and Womb of the World plus a different restricted card.
- Restricting Gifts for the Widow was a good choice in the last update, as Targaryen Steel is one of the best decks right now and Gifts is that deck’s most popular restricted choice. It completely nullifies Steel’s disadvantage of running only 1 copy of each attachment in a 75-card deck. To make their Voltron decks a bit less consistent, they will have to choose between the 2 available tutor effects: either Gifts or 8 cost Dany. Late Prince into Dany, then protecting her with Gifts into Bodyguard will be a bit more difficult.
- This is what Tyrell players have been waiting for: free to play The Hightower without Mace. Tyrell is the worst faction right now, and this should give them some more options to explore.
ADDED TO THE RESTRICTED LIST:
Aloof and Apart
Aloof and Apart will start on the Restricted List as it can provides a very powerful reduction, especially in Greyjoy decks. We considered a pod with Great Hall, but in the end decided to take the safe road and restrict Aloof and Apart normally.
We don’t want Builders and Valyrian Steel to be the standard choice for Night’s Watch, so with Halder we restrict a key card of those decks that can become very tedious.
This card is a centerpiece of Stark Crossing, one of the dominating decks in the current meta. It made the “swarm” decks overly efficient. Restricting it will hopefully lead to a greater variety of Stark decks.
Targaryen as the best faction right now still needed a hit. I suggested Drogon (IDP) due to his ability to single-handedly decide games early on. He makes running expensive characters with STR 4 very risky. The same is true for Crown of Gold, an even more annoying card as there is almost no way to counter that card. The card’s design has been criticized since its release in the first cycle: an overpowered card with draw deck limit 1 makes for random swingy plays. The point-and-click removal of a character also feels very out of place for Game of Thrones. We are well aware that this is basically a ban for the card, but we only restrict it for there may be one crazy person out there that wants to play it.
REMOVED FROM THE RESTRICTED LIST:
Wheels Within Wheels
Wheels Within Wheels was only on the list because of the interaction with Annals of Castle Black.
Removing Drowned Disciple from the Restricted List gives Drowned God players more liberties.
Tower of the Sun, The Red Viper (Core)
With other Combo cards being banned, these two cards can be added back to the Martell card pool.
The Night’s Watch:
Night’s Watch decks have disappeared a bit from the meta, so we will give them free access again to Three-Finger Hobb, one of the best draw cards in game.
The unrestricted Skagos will hopefully inspire Stark players to come up with new decks.
Dothraki Sea of Blood will no longer be possible, so removing Overwhelming Numbers from the Restricted List seems reasonable. Without Sea of Blood’s tutor effect and cost reduction, Overwhelming Numbers is less scary.
Highgarden Minstrel, Growing Ambition, “Six Maids in a Pool”, Oldtown Informer
These cards have been collateral damage from Combo decks, so they are now removed from the Restricted List. This should give Tyrell fair options to play decks based on events or the Lady trait.
Download the PDF list here: RL_June20_joust
We’d like to give a big thank you to the Playtest team for your tireless work on this list. Happy deckbuilding!