It’s been a long time since I’ve written some form of content for AGoT; four years since I published anything so formal, and even then, it was just random scribblings about pack reviews, rating bad cards as bad and overpowered cards as the norm. But these days, I am on the other side of the fence, helping out the Design Team in their quest to bring forth some new cards for your playing pleasure.
Today I am here as Bringer of Information about the latest initiative from the Design Team; the Mists of Memory cycle. A glorious cycle of 120 cards to evoke the memory of those 20 card chapter packs we feverishly bought from FFG like cards were gold dust.
“Once you have mastered your gifts, you may look where you will and see what the trees have seen, be it yesterday or last year or a thousand ages past. Men live their lives trapped in an eternal present, between the mists of memory and the sea of shadow that is all we know of the days to come.” – Lord Brynden
Mists of Memory is a cycle that embodies things of permanence in the eight factions. Things that, regardless of the petty squabbles that crop up every generation, have been there for hundreds of years and will be for hundreds more. Or conversely, ruins, things that were thought would be around forever, before history took a turn…
As such, this cycle will feature Valyrian Steel weapons, ancestral seats of power, tapestries of specific historical figures that personify faction philosophies, weirwood trees, things from the present that illustrates the past in some way, and ruins of note, that in some way identify with a faction’s theme.
So, how will this be achieved? First of all, the preliminary selection of 120 cards will undergo a playtesting and development period. During this time, cards will be playtested both online and offline, discussed, adjusted, demanded to be redesigned, tested some more, mechanically confirmed, and marked ready to go (subject to the painstaking process of ensuring that the wording is consistent and correct!). This playtesting and development period is tentatively estimated to finish in early 2024.
The Design Team is not seeking to release all of these cards into the card pool in one giant meta shake up to cause absolute chaos. Whilst that might be amusing, it doesn’t really lend itself to a prolonged, diverse meta-game. Instead, the objective is to release the cards in batches of 20 cards at a time over the course of the year.
There are two reasons for this approach. Firstly, it makes sense to drip-feed these cards into the competitive scene as a way to introduce meta changes and diversity, without the need for more frequent adjustments of the restricted list and pods to achieve the same goal.
One thing I missed about the FFG model of release is the excitement of having meta changes from small and consistent releases of 20 cards every month. Hopefully, this release model would reintroduce that feeling, rather than having to wait over half a year for some new cards and synergies to try out.
The second reason for this approach is the acquisition and templating of the art. Now, the acquisition of art is becoming more and more difficult as the pool of available options is exhausted, with only a small number of artists responding to requests for permission, with even fewer accepting. There have been some donations into the Global Operations Team (GOT) to help this process by commissioning new art, but art commissions are costly and donations are meagre. AI art has been used more often in recent packs, more out of necessity than preference, and there are no intentions to heavily rely on AI out of respect for the art community at large. Templating the final card images also takes quite some time, with that increasing exponentially with the amount of cards to cover. With smaller batches being released at once over a longer period of time, the team will have more time and room to focus on producing quality card images for our community with, hopefully, less stress!
It is likely that the art process will go on past early 2024, and this means that when the first release of 20 cards occurs, there will not be an available printing sheet for all 120 cards at that point in time. The Design Team understands that whilst some people might be happy to order 20 cards at a time, others would simply prefer to wait until the cycle is released in order to take advantage of bulk printing and shipping costs. In order to allow those who do not wish to print in 20 card batches but still compete in offline events, a procedure is proposed below.
The art department will generate a file for those who want to get the 20 cards printed, and will also provide a print file for those who wish to print and play using proxies. Once the following 20 cards are confirmed with art, and are released as competitively legal, there will be a file containing these 20 new cards for those who wish to have them printed, in addition to a 40 card file of all those cards in this cycle released to date. This will be the same process at the 60, 80, 100 and 120 card mark. Print and play sheets will be made available, and GOT have recommended that proxies from these sheets should be considered legal for competitive play, provided the tournament organizer allows it.
Therefore, if you would prefer to wait until the full suite of 120 cards are released before you have them professionally printed, you may do so without affecting your ability to compete in competitive real-life events! Any player that plays solely online will be completely unaffected, as all cards will be implemented and uploaded to theironthrone.net as usual.
Ultimately, the goal is to have the full cycle released well in advance of the annual Castle Stahleck event in November 2024, so that there is time for all cards to be ordered, printed and played together at the pinnacle of the competitive season.
If you have any reason to be angry at any of these words, and you just want to spit vitriol and call me names, feel free to contact me on Discord and I will happily listen. Thank you so much <3
Alternatively, you may wish to participate in the playtesting process! If you wish to do so, please click here for an invite to the Playtest Discord server.