As everyone knows, Journey to Oldtown, the second Chapter Pack in the Flight of Crows cycle is almost upon us and along with it, The House with the Red Door. This agenda is the spiritual successor to the 1st Edition card House of Dreams, the brain child of one of the pantheon of A Game of Thrones of multiple card-design winners, Corey Faherty. In both of its incarnations, this card is an incredibly interesting design, opening a bevy of potential deck archetypes. While not all Tier 1, there are several options that this agenda facilitates in both Joust and Melee that simply wouldn’t be close to practical without it.
Additionally, after a first appraisal, it feels like it bumps some existing strategies/archetypes into legitimately competitive territory.
I am sure everyone had more than a couple ideas that jumped to mind the second this agenda was spoiled. The list of possible applications for this card is already incredible (and growing with the cardpool). As soon as I read the FFG announcement article, my mind was racing. My hope in writing this is to quickly share a few of the first ideas that came to mind for an old, out-of-touch, 1st Edition player, at worst inciting some dialogue (even if it is people telling me how wrong I am), and at best possibly sparking some inspiration in myself, or others, to build some new/exciting decks. Here we go:
- Casterly Rock
So this one was a slam-dunk for me. In 1st Edition the very first legitimate deck I ever played was a Lannister The Power Behind the Throne build with Cersei Lannister as the center- piece. I really enjoyed this deck with its combination of 4 challenge+ turns with serious rush potential and the ability to flex to a more long-game, hand destruction deck with spot control. Having the ability to start with Casterly Rock reliably in play every game and Cersei Lannister LOCR now available, it feels like a similar build could be possible now in 2nd Edition. The 4 gold setup limit is certainly a significant downside, but if any house can overcome it with a combination of great economy and jumping characters, it is House Lannister. That said, I am not sure that this build will ever be stronger or more consistent than a The Rains of Castamere build without committing entirely to rush, wherein the obvious question becomes whether The Lord of the Crossing isn’t better nine-times-out-of-ten. Regardless, it is something I will fool around with at some point for sure, even if it is solely for nostalgia.
- The Iron Throne
The Iron Throne can be a really game changing card. Unchecked, it will almost always put a clock on the game, and with complimentary pieces like Chamber of the Painted Table, it can feel oppressive without answers. House Baratheon has been ‘down’ for the last several major tournaments.
However, I can’t help but wonder, given the ability to consistently start with The Iron Throne in play and use a tutor like Here to Serve (for Maester Cressen) to solve problems like Frozen Solid (on top of Confiscation) could the time of the Baratheon dominance deck be here? Additionally, the splashy 7-cost Melisandre GTR has looked interesting and tempting, but she hasn’t really seen any serious competitive play; perhaps this could be the home she has been looking for?
- Great Kraken
This build felt to me like it could be one of the most obvious yet threatening options the agenda opened-up from a tier 1 perspective.
With a twice per round trigger and the ability to flex to the current game situation by providing power or cards, this gives House Greyjoy one of its best cards, guaranteed. While it certainly shines with either Balon Greyjoy or Balon Greyjoy CTA in play, it is strong in any situation, possibly not more so than on an offensive Valar Morghulis turn to close out the game. I absolutely expect this to be a build that sees significant competitive play, and likely wins more than one Store Championship.
Another option I consider to be an absolute no-brainer is Oldtown. This build should see significant competitive play out of House Tyrell.
Oldtown is everything Tyrell wants with the ability to push card advantage and quality, but also provide more power, faster. I haven’t played much House Tyrell (because it is my wife’s faction of choice), but this really gives me the impression of a tier 1 build in the making.
- The Wolfswood
This one is a bit of a joke, but kind of super cereal too. I will be the first to admit, I am not going to be the one to figure it out/optimize it, as I unfortunately simply don’t have the time to put into the game that I used to (though I still would like to), this card starting in play, granting Direwolf characters and attachments the ambush keyword, could really make for an interesting build. I envision a deck with tons of decision points, when put in the hands of a strong pilot, would be very frustrating and potentially paralyzing to play against. With such low cost and potentially high impact (and the lack of Terminal) the Direwolf attachments like Nymeria and Summer could really over-perform. The constant threat of ‘surprise’ Like Warm Rain could also be extremely dirty. If I find the time, I will definitely be trying to figure this one out. If someone else comes up with a build first, by all means, share it with me so I can play it and give you all the credit!
While there were certainly at least a couple more I considered touching on (like Corpse Lake for Melee), this is where I am going to leave it for now. I am excited to see how all of the new possibilities this agenda presents impact the metagame as well as how miserably I am proven wrong on all of my selections above. I hope you all enjoy this agenda’s return to the game as much as I will and happy building!
Written by Tommy Plis from Chicagoland. An A Game of Thrones player since 2012, along with his wife Darlene, both of whom were playtesters for A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition. He has made the Top 16 at World Championships in both Joust and Melee, won the Windy City Winter Cup, a Regional Championship, and made several final tables including the First Player Championship in 2017. Additionally, Tommy has been an on-again-off-again co-host on both the 2 Champs and a Chump/2C1C podcast, as well as its successor, The White Book.