The Global Operations Team’s Card Committee works to bring new cards to the community and to keep the game’s meta evolving for standard and competitive play. Today we will be sharing the game’s next Joust Restricted List update! These changes will come into effect Friday, April 21st, 2023.
First of all, we want to address a change in how the committee will be utilizing Pods. Previously, Pods had been utilized only to prevent unhealthy or unintended interactions between cards that were otherwise not too powerful or dominant and thus were not determined to require being placed on the Restricted List. Going forward, Pods will be used in the same way we have always used them. Additionally, we are expanding their role to specifically target decks or interactions that are overperforming, without restricting the specific pieces that make the deck or interaction so dominant. We hope that this change leads to more cards leaving the Restricted List and allowing more choices to be available during deck building.
With that new approach in mind, let’s dive right into the specific changes for the upcoming meta! We received a lot of feedback over the past few months, and in conjunction with our own observations and discussions, we are perhaps bringing the most ambitious list we’ve assembled yet. For those who want to skip ahead to see the final results, a PDF document with a summary of changes has been included as usual. Otherwise, find your seat at the Small Council and we’ll begin our summary of the changes to the Banned and Restricted List Document.
At this time we have not determined any changes necessary for our favorite Stags.
Greyjoy has always seen its success rise and fall as the meta shifts, but lately there has been an overwhelming dominance of efficient characters, location/attachment removal, unopposed challenges, and card draw. Today we are taking action to address this “good stuff” playstyle while returning other components back to their arsenal.
Drowned God Fanatic (R) has always been an easy addition to decks. Even despite a Redesign, he has simply become too efficient of a body alongside the ability to foil an opponent’s plan and return from the dead pile at little cost. Drowned God Fanatic (R) has been added to the Restricted List to help reduce the amount of overall utility Greyjoy accessed through this single card.
Likewise despite a Redesign, Victarion Greyjoy (R) has seen consistent play due to his strong synergy with Warship locations. It is not uncommon for Victarion to dominate each challenge phase in which he is present to unhealthy effect. Due to this flexible ability to control opposing locations, stand, and gain power without much available interaction, Victarion Greyjoy (R) has been added to the Restricted List.
While Drowned God Fanatic and Victarion Greyjoy join the Restricted List, there are some cards that will be sailing for clearer waters! Alannys Greyjoy (Km) and Raiding Longship have been removed from the Restricted List. I’ll address those specific cards later, but in short, these pieces are not overperforming on their own.
At this time we have not determined any changes necessary for our favorite Lions.
There isn’t a lot to say here except that with the change in the Card Committee’s approach to Pods, it was determined that more cards could be directly addressed by Pod rather than by restriction. Secret Schemes has been removed from the Restricted List.
At this time we have not determined any changes necessary for our Sworn Brothers.
Lord of the Crossing has long been the bane of any approach to a balanced Stark Restricted List. Without restricting Stark’s most efficient bodies, Lord of the Crossing had almost become a default agenda for Stark. Unfortunately, these problematic pieces are also necessary for nearly every other build Stark might use. This tenuous balance between efficient characters and Lord of the Crossing led to the now infamous decision to restrict Septa Mordane in our last update.
With that in mind and the new approach to Pods, the Stark portion of the Restricted List becomes a touch easier to address. Septa Mordane has been removed from the Restricted List, as she is only over-performing in Lord of the Crossing decks. In addition to Septa Mordane, Alysane Mormont, and She-Bear have been removed from the Restricted List. These cards were also most dominant in Lord of the Crossing, and the Card Committee believes these would be better addressed with Pods.
In a similar vein to the only kingdom they never conquered, there isn’t much to say about the changes here except that the new approach to Pods means that Incinerate has been removed from the Restricted List. At this time, the Card Committee will be monitoring how effective Pods can be at applying competitive balance and may return to address the remainder of this list in the future.
The Septon’s placement on the Restricted List was largely due to its efficiency in the Randyll Tarly (JS) deck, allowing for easy power gain and smoothing out the times when Randyll did not reveal a location. With the change in how Pods are used, Scheming Septon has been removed from the Restricted List.
Finally, one additional card has been removed from the Restricted List in conjunction with the Committee’s new use of Pods. The Annals of Castle Black has been removed from the Restricted List.
If the Card Committee’s decision to release so many cards from the Restricted List has left you feeling concerned about the return of some dreaded interactions, please bear in mind that most of these interactions have simply shifted to being addressed directly via our expanded Pod system. We’ll list out the changes to the Pods below, and offer some brief explanation.
Secret Schemes / The Annals of Castle Black
This Pod directly addresses one of the most problematic interactions with Annals, which was the ability for Martell to play previous copies of Secret Schemes to acquire resources necessary for a “One Turn Kill” with The Red Viper (Core) or other similar non-interactive combo wins. Even without Standing Phase shenanigans, the potential to replay multiple copies of Secret Schemes in a faction already able to leverage card advantage was deemed too risky. Notably, it is once again possible to play Secret Schemes and Host of the Boneway together, so there is definitely still good draw potential available. We’ll be monitoring this combo for potential abuse.
Incinerate / Daenerys Targaryen (TFM)
This Pod addresses the negative play interaction between Dany and Incinerate. Incinerate’s 0 cost to play is healthy enough without the terminal burn effect Dany provides but together allows for an unfettered ability to burn away opponents’ characters with little or negligible sacrifice.
Scheming Septon / Oldtown / Goldengrove
These cards formed a non-interactive combo with Randyll Tarly (JS). If Randyll’s action missed a The Reach location, a player could use Scheming Septon to draw the card and Oldtown to draw the Septon, largely negating the risk. Goldengrove remains a very efficient piece in conjunction with these two cards, and this Pod is aimed at reducing the overall efficiency of The Reach deck.
Lord of the Crossing / Alysane Mormont / She-Bear / Septa Mordane
This Pod aims to reduce Stark’s ability to replenish their board after a board wipe. While this Pod aims primarily at reducing the Lord of the Crossing deck’s efficiency, it should also assist in making Stark more vulnerable to resets overall.
We Do Not Sow / Maiden’s Bane
Greyjoy’s ability to control locations and attachments has always been a sort of pressure relief valve on the meta, but the ability to stand both the attacking character and Maiden’s Bane in an unopposed challenge has made this control effect trivial. This Pod aims to return some agency to the opponent facing risk of non-interactive unopposed challenges.
A Mummer’s Farce / The Smith / Someone Always Tells / Saltcliffe Sailor
This pod seeks to achieve a few different aims. The deck’s ability to entirely shut down its opponent’s locations for up to two turns, due to the number of attachments it gains that can fuel The Smith is simply too powerful. This combo provides too much of an edge for too little investment from the Mummers deck.
Likewise, it is too easy to protect all of those characters and attachments from what should be a natural predator – The First Snow of Winter. Since this plot triggers in the challenges phase, it is too easy for Martell players to simply hold onto a copy of Someone Always Tells, and keep the necessary gold around to cancel the plot’s resolution. Normally, SAT requires a plan on how to acquire the gold to play it in the plot phase, as well as the timing of knowing when it will be most advantageous to do so. But in this case, no planning or timing is required at all to completely shut down what should be a natural counter to this deck. Especially when we consider how much draw will be available to Martell with Secret Schemes unrestricted, Someone Always Tells needed to be included here.
Lastly, Saltcliffe Sailor made it too easy to spread the Stealth keyword around in the Mummers deck. However, after some discussion, we decided not to include it in the Shagwell pod, so as to allow non-Mummers decks to still use the Shagwell/Sailor combo. Saltcliffe Sailor is currently still accessible in conjunction with Unbridled Generosity, so we hope that this will still allow some flexibility for creativity.
Shagwell / Unbridled Generosity
One of the many ways a Mummers deck’s power can grow exponentially is through the use of Shagwell to spread keywords across the entire board. While we didn’t want to prevent the deck from using one of its key characters, it became evident that Shagwell needed to be reigned in. With how easily it became to spread gold around using a zero-cost event the most efficient way of handling it was to pod the two cards together.
Pod 1 (Asha Greyjoy (KM) / Scouting Vessel) – add Alannys Greyjoy (CoS)
While Alannys has been removed from the Restricted List, we have added her here to address the potential card advantage a deck with Asha Greyjoy may achieve. Placing Alannys here with Scouting Vessel, also reduces the amount of 0-cost Warship cards that may be utilized alongside her draw ability.
Pod 5 (Summerhall + The Silver Steed)
This pod addresses a combo in which a player with both Summerhall and The Silver Steed would potentially be able to make as many power challenges as they wish, so long as the character with Silver Steed was able to gain renown. Due to the wording on The Silver Steed, a player may initiate an additional power challenge even though Summerhall would prevent the attachment from leaving play. As there is no explicit limit on The Silver Steed, this would create a loop that could be exploited as many times as a player had the ability to stand The Silver Steed character, or indefinitely if that character did not kneel for power challenges.
The Card Committee will carefully observe the results of these decisions closely. We strive to make decisions that shape the environment towards compelling, fun, and diverse games that utilize the card pool for a variety of competitive options. As always we welcome your feedback and hope you’ll join our Discord group for conversation and engagement with The Only Game that Matters.
We wish you all good fortune in the wars to come.
The Global Operations Team’s Card Committee