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Announcing Fire Upon The Grass

by Alexander Watson
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Hello, Thrones Community!

Following A True Telling and Children of Summer, the GOT Design Team now presents the third chapter in the Mists of Memory cycle: Fire Upon The Grass, named for Terrio Erastes’ account of life among the Dothraki, and introduces the first of this cycle’s largest innovation: Tapestry cards, a new Trait family of loyal attachments exclusive to unique in-faction locations, balancing significant strength & potential with specific play criteria. Keeping that strength in mind, alongside the brutal, deadly and unpredictable people in which the pack is named for, let us take you through this pack, releasing on the same day as this post; the 6th of May, 2024.

House Baratheon begins this vicious pack with saving those to be killed and dominating those defeated. The first comes with Ser Andrew Estermont, a Knight whose faith in The Seven led him to save young Edric Storm from the Red God’s flames. This tense relationship with his faction’s dominant religion is seen through the conditions of his useful save ability, requiring you to kill a R’hllor character, conflicting with his own Traits with inefficiency. Accompanying Ser Andrew is the first of our powerful Tapestry cards, The Laughing Storm, which is inspired by the identically named champion card by Alec Irwin from first edition. Similar to that existing card, this attachment prevents random cards being discarded from your hand whilst standing but can trade that benefit for a relatively straightforward character kneel effect. Once you find the conditions to get this in play, there is no doubt your opponent will have their options limited by the legacy of the laughing legend, Lyonel Baratheon.

From the Greyjoys we have another variant of Tarle the Thrice-Drowned and a devastating new event, The Drowned God Wakes. Second only to the Damphair in devotion to the Drowned God, Tarle brings the ability to immediately return any Drowned God character placed into your dead pile back into play – albeit at the small cost of killing a character. This effect can functionally deflect a targeted kill effect onto another character you control, or alternatively allows you to kill the same character twice in a row. It can also circumvent the effect of cards like Heads on Spikes, whose victims cannot be saved through normal means. The Drowned God Wakes instead calls to the watery halls to kill all but 1 character by each player after proving significant dominance over your opponents. The bar of winning by 10 or more STR may be high, although with existing dominance-related cards, such as Nagga’s Ribs and Priest of the Drowned God, those wishing to wipe the board shouldn’t have too much trouble getting there.

Moving on, we see House Lannister receive the Warrior’s Sons, now in-faction so as to better pair with Ser Lancel Lannister. An Army of The Seven always ready to fight for the faith through their ability to stand when they gain power or when power is moved to them; appropriately, this second criterion makes them uniquely effective in serving The Faith Militant, providing a unique addition to that style of deck over other factions. From the sword of faith to a Valyrian steel dagger in the back, we have a look at The Sack of King’s Landing, where Tywin decides to sack the city which he once served near the end of Robert’s Rebellion. Reflecting this bloody betrayal, this new plot boosts the Pillage and discard themes by forcing an opponent to kill a character they control after a location is discarded of equal printed cost. This effect, already cruel and evocative of cards like Mountain’s Man, is made all the more likely to occur through the plot giving each of your Lannister characters the pillage keyword during Intrigue challenges.

In House Martell, it is typical for paramours like Ser Arys Oakheart to force at least one defender to be declared against them. Unlike previous instances, however, the effect is not triggered and instead a passive ability; this gives greater control to the defender, but is also impossible to counter through cancel effects. It does mean, however, that this non-loyal Kingsguard might benefit from combining his variant of House Martell’s forced participation with House Tyrell’s support for the Knight family. A Tourney Lance or Mare in Heat would serve to restrict or curate these mandatory defenders, and be familiar tools to a Reacherman abroad in a foreign land. The Vulture King attachment is an even stranger merging of mechanics, with the elusive Title granting both pillage, and the ability to “self-pillage” in exchange for icon control. This is quite ideal on strategies which involve one character in multiple challenges, or which align with aggressive icon control.

For the Night’s Watch, we have another Tapestry attachment. In Legacy of the Watch, the second Tapestry of this cycle, we find a potent and versatile tool for decks interested in having Ranger, Steward, and Builder characters participating side-by-side; it encourages players to include all 3 Traits in their deck for maximum value in gaining power, drawing cards, or standing locations, without easy reliance on few characters with multiple Traits, such as through Sworn to the Watch. Accompanying this symbol of unity is Marsh’s Conspirator, who encompasses those who questioned their lord commander’s authority with daggers held in the shadows, and is able to blank key characters for the phase.

House Stark receives two new tools of control and denial. The first focuses on economy, with Galbart Glover increasing the cost of the first character an opponent marshals or ambushes each phase by 1 while Winter plots outnumber Summer plots. The second is another variant of House Stark’s Valyrian Steel greatsword, Ice; in addition to giving its attached character +2 STR, this Weapon can be knelt to kill any character that was just saved. This has obvious utility in a faction so fond of Military challenges, but can also be used to kill a character saved for other reasons; saving a character from to discarded, returned to hand, or shuffled into a deck can all be followed with a swift execution. In this we can see a reminder of the blade’s role in denying a reprieve to those thought safe, from Gared to Eddard.

And now we come to the horselords of House Targaryen, with the champion card of Francis Cote which sees a Daenerys variant who proudly embraces her Dothraki status. Bringing the insight keyword for herself and providing the intimidate keyword to her husband, Khal Drogo, this khaleesi can serve as the heart. Beyond that, she also rewards a victorious attack by generating 1 power each attacking Bloodrider you control. From overwhelming violence to insidious subversion, we remember Aerys Targaryen’s pyrophilia and paranoia with Naught but Ashes. This event reduces the STR of a character without attachments by 1 for each card in shadows, regardless of controller in a way that turns a reliance on shadow into a double-edged sword.

Finally, we have the oft-forgotten oldest son of House Tyrell, Willas Tyrell. Unable to participate as a Knight like so many of his faction’s fellows, his positioned instead provides some valuable insight – and, almost uniquely, the ability to contribute his STR to any challenge in which you control exactly 1 participating character. Willas’ own STR is rather low, but that is easily changed and he doubles the potential targets of such challenge-determining boosts. From the son to the father, we have The Warden of the South attachment. This Title grants the Commander trait, +1 STR, and an effect reminiscent of Randyll Tarly that stands the attached character when their STR is increased.

Beyond the factions, we have the Belligerent Heir of House Frey, who uses the placement of gold on your attacking characters in pursuit of power while gambling with their lives – his placement of gold might work well for its own STR boosting passive, or with supporting other House Frey characters such as Black Walder or Frey Bastard. The clever timing of the card’s reaction also allows it to work alongside The Late Lord Frey, making this non-unique character a fantastic target to cheat into play with their latest plot. Moving downstream from the Twins we have The Red Fork, a new unique neutral location to compliment a previous release, The Trident. While providing a boost to Initiative in itself, it also returns to your hand after a sufficiently successful Military challenge, making it ideal fodder for retaining control of claim-raising river.

Next is the dreaded Greyscale, the champion card of Reinhard Schefcik. Each turn, this Condition evokes the looming threat of plague by revealing random cards from foes’ hands, perhaps to kill the attached character or perhaps to grant the foe an additional card. And if this were to kill the host, the infection will spread to another character anywhere in play! And finally, we have City Blockade, a City plot card which can be played as a new starter to that lineup, and conveniently acts as a counter to the previous starter, At the Gates, by preventing limited cards from being marshaled, played, or put into play.

We hope the community enjoys the mixture of brutal effects, risky saves, and innovative mechanics that come with Fire Upon The Grass. The Mists of Memory cycle’s goal is to revitalise the familiar and explore the unknown, and we see both goals achieved with cards like Daenerys, Willas, Greyscale, and the new Tapestry attachments – and we’ll be back with more in a few months!

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