Now that there has been some time to absorb the changes to the format and reflect on shifting strengths of houses it seems like a ripe time to explore what some of the current crop of best cards are in Melee that haven’t yet been restricted.
Winter is Coming – This event gives Stark huge challenge phase flexibility to help hurt the most advantageous opponent in the most painful way possible by boosting claim. As well, it comes close to being a power grab event if used during a power challenge. The net two power swing compares well with Superior Claim in a vacuum, even if only gaining 1 for yourself is notably worse in melee than gaining 2. Still, there’s some capability to slow down opponents that may be counting on keeping that 1 power. The final biggest factor is that of surprise as this is one of the few non-restricted events that could gain more power for you than opponents were counting on and they can never be quite certain if you have it.
The Boneway – The vengeance mechanic can be very strong in melee and this is one of the prime examples. With multiple opponents you have a greatly increased number of challenges that you could potentially lose in order to power up this location. Deft opponents won’t walk into this needlessly, but even as a deterrent, it offers a great deal of value by deflecting chump challenges elsewhere. In the end, though, you should be able to trigger this at least once during most games and that three power swing is rather large.
The Honeywine – Here’s another location that makes the grade. While it loses the surprise factor that many of the restricted cards brought to the table, makes up for that in being something of a dependable workhorse. Just keep winning challenges by 5, regardless of which characters you have specifically and you’ll just keep ticking upward in power. Much like The Boneway above, however, it is rather vulnerable to Newly Made Lord and Frozen Solid, two cards that have really seen their relative value and prominence in the field at large steadily increase.
Retaliation – This plot has some of the highest initiative in the game which is often going to let you dictate turn order. Of course, you can’t pick yourself to go first, but you rarely want to in melee except during the turn you’re certain you can close. Expect this to be a popular first or second turn pick so that you can try to place yourself last in turn order so you can slam some two claim against opponents who have knelt out during earlier challenges.
Shierak Qiya– Another potent event in regards to challenges, Shierak Qiya shares some similarity with several restricted events in that it’s free (with faction kneel) and tied to power challenges. Qiya gives a lot of potential upside by allowing you to use any character multiple times, which can be awesome with stealth or renown and potentially allow you to claim extra power. However, it does depend on the characters that you have available. Thankfully, at the moment, the restricted list is very light on characters, with the only suspect that you might want to use this with being Eddard Stark. Thankfully other great targets like Khal Drogo, Balon Greyjoy, Victarion Greyjoy, Renly Baratheon FFH, and more are available for this non-loyal event.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this quick dive into the melee game.