- June 19, 2018 at 1:07 PM #136153
scantrell24ModeratorInfluence: 530Title: ModestRank: Knight
Welcome to the comprehensive new-player FAQ and guide to community resources.
In the Game of Thrones LCG players use customized decks to assume leadership of one of the great houses of Westeros vying for control of King’s Landing and the Iron Throne. To achieve their goals, players launch military attacks against their opponents, undermine their opponents’ plans with intrigues of their own, and make brazen power plays to win the support of the realm. Players choose to represent one of eight factions vying for control of or influence over the Iron Throne: Targaryen, Lannister, Baratheon, Stark, Martell, Greyjoy, Tyrell, and the Night’s Watch.
The Game of Thrones card game launched as a CCG (collectible card game) in 2002. It was designed by Eric Lang at Fantasy Flight Games and based on the novels written by George R.R. Martin. In 2008 the game rebooted to accommodate a switch to LCG (living card game) format. In August 2015, the game rebooted again, still with the LCG distribution model but with streamlined rules, sleek new designs, and additional factions. Previous cards are not compatible across editions. However, the new edition does maintain the essential game elements (plot deck, three challenge types, victory condition) of the first edition. For Fantasy Flight’s reasons behind the reboot, please read then-lead designer Nate French’s letter to the community.
The Thrones LCG can by played head-to-head (called “joust” — the usual format for competitive tournaments) or with 3-6 players (called “melee” – more like a board game). The 2nd edition Core set hit shelves in October 2015, with small expansions following monthly. For reviews of the Core set, check out Ars Technica, Shut up and Sit Down, Paste Magazine, and Drive Thru Review.
The LCG (Living Card Game) Model
The Core box for 2nd Edition contains 211 distinct cards. You get single copies of most cards, but a few neutral ones are duplicated to reach a total of 234 cards in the box. Casual gamers may find one Core sufficient, but tournament players need three Cores to obtain a full play-set of every card.
If you’ve already enjoyed playing with a single Core set, consider enhancing and customizing your decks with cards from additional Core sets, Chapter packs, Deluxe boxes or starter decks. Under the LCG model, additional cards are released in monthly chapter packs (approx. $15 USD) and bi-annual deluxe expansions (approx. $30 USD). Both product types contain a fixed distribution of cards, and each card comes 3x so you have a full play-set immediately. You know exactly what you’re getting when you buy a pack — no chasing rares, and no shelling out big bucks just to play on equal footing in tournaments.
Chapter packs contain 2 different cards per each of the 8 factions factions, plus 4 different neutral cards, all at 3x each for a total of 60 cards. As of April 2019, there are 31 chapter packs available, beginning with Taking the Black.
Each deluxe expansion features one faction prominently, but includes some cards from all 8 factions. Tyrell, Stark, Lannister, Martell, Night’s Watch and Greyjoy boxes are currently available, beginning with Wolves of the North.
To ease the burden of entry for new players and keep the tournament scene fresh, chapter packs rotate out of the tournament-legal card pool after about 4 years (so starting in 2019 or 2020). The Core set and deluxe expansions will not rotate but rather remain “evergreen”. In addition, aspiring players can jump in quickly by purchasing an Intro deck or even a prior World Champ deck.
The LCG model makes Thrones a relatively cheap investment compared to collectible card games like Magic, Yugioh and Pokemon. Furthermore, players can easily share a collection with a friend or two by divvying up the 8 factions.
A player forms his draw deck by choosing a Faction card (such as House Baratheon), which allows him to use all loyal AND non-loyal cards from that faction. Additionally, players can optionally use an “Agenda” card. Agendas generally provide an extra benefit at some cost. A “Banner” Agenda (such as Banner of the Kraken) allows him to add non-loyal cards from his Banner faction. The Banner agendas are currently the only method to include out-of-faction cards. Alternatively, you can choose a non-Banner agenda, such as Fealty or Lord of the Crossing. Finally, neutral cards without a faction crest can be added to any deck.
A player must also build a plot deck consisting of 7 different plot cards (one plot may repeat). Each player chooses and reveals a new plot each round. Plot comes with game abilities as well as stats that determine income, player order, claim value (how impactful your attacks are), and reserve value (how many cards you can keep in your hand at the end of the round).
Store championships are the bottom of the organized play pyramid, and the season runs from November to February. Regional tournaments, the next step up, run from May to July. North American Continentals is held at Gen Con in August, the European Championship is held at Castle Stahleck in late November, and the World Championship is held at FFG headquarters in Minnesota in early November. These Champions earn the right to design their own card, which is included in a future chapter pack! Additionally, many player-organized tournaments are held throughout the year, and local stores can host tournaments with game night kits including prizes like alternate art promos, deck boxes, and playmats.
The Iron Throne is web-based and free to play, but not affiliated with FFG. You can build decks on Thronesdb, then copy them over and get started right away. You can also watch other player’s games in the lobby. Here’s a video tutorial for thronesdb and Ironthrone to help you get you started deckbuilding and playing online.
The Annals of Castle Black (worldwide tournament data)
The Jousting Pavilion (individual tournament results)
Champions of Westeros (online league play)
Upcoming Spoilers (scantrell’s google sheet)
The Stone Drumm (card popularity in meta)
Random Thrones (play with a random deck for fun)
Active Podcasts, Videos, Article Series, Blogs, and other Content Creators
The White Book
Banter Behind the Throne
The Second Sons
The Wars to Come
In Search of Jank
Missing the Cut
The Mummer’s Farse
Essential Articles, Discussions, and Videos for New Players
Choosing An Agenda
Optimizing Your Setups
The Relative Importance of Challenges
Building Your Main Deck
Building Your Plot Deck
How Many Copies of Each Card?
Thrones from a Magic: the Gathering Perspective
Stark and Tempo
Tyrell and Archetypes
Night’s Watch and Plots
Watch Games on Youtube with Commentary
South Jersey Thrones
The Master’s Path
Knight of the Blackwater
Rob St. John
The Gaming Hall
The White Walkers
Joe from Cincinnati
The Bristol, UK Meta
When you’re stumped, first check the RRG (Rules Reference Guide) that came with your Core set. It’s also available on FFG’s website under “Support”, along with the official FAQ and tournament restricted list. Next search for the specific card on Thronesdb.com and scroll down to “Reviews” (here’s Catelyn Stark for example). Then, if you still don’t have an answer, feel free to ask in your preferred discussion group! With each new release there’s an unofficial (but always correct) Rules FAQ posted on here on agot.cards. There’s also an old column series devoted to rules intricacies and explanations called Quill and Tankard Regulars, and finally an official forum thread where answers are posted in a timely fashion.
Thrones Timing Rules
If you’re joining us from Magic, it’s important to note that Thrones doesn’t use a “stack”. Each time an action or reaction window opens, players alternate turns to play a card or use an ability, and the window closes when all players pass consecutively. Details can be found on pages 24-25 of the Rules Reference Guide.
It’s important to resolve game and card effects in the proper order.
At the end of a challenge follow D.U.C.K.
1. Determine winner – this is where you’d trigger reactions to winning/losing, like Tears of Lys, Lannisport, and Ghaston Grey
2. Unopposed bonus – this is where you’d trigger reactions to claiming the unopposed bonus, like Rise of the Kraken
3. Claim – this is where you’d trigger reactions to claim, for example if a Lord or Lady is killed for military claim, Joffrey can trigger here
4. Keywords – finally, keywords and their reactions happen last, for example, when Robert gains a power for renown, you can trigger Lightbringer
At the end of a phase follow W.U.A.
1. “When the phase ends” effects take place, such as The Wall
2. “Until the end of the phase” effects expire, such as Nightmares
3. “At the end of the phase” effects happen, such as Flea Bottom
Player types include Ned, Jaime and Shagga
Deck archetypes include Combo, Aggro, Rush, Tempo, Toolbox, Soft Control and Hard Control
Game terms includes Burn, Mill, Choke, Resets, Voltron and Metagame
Swag and Prizes
2015 Gencon Kingslayer (Game of Thrones card, Jaime playmat)
2015 World Championship (Eddard Stark card, Eddard Stark playmat)
2015 Winter GNK (Fortified Position card, Tumblestone Knight card, Old Bear playmat)
2016 Store Championships (The Eyrie card, Pulling the String playmat)
2016 Spring GNK (Noble Cause card, Tyrion Lannister card)
2016 Summer GNK (Trading with the Pentoshi card, Daenerys Targaryen card)
2016 Regionals (Varys card, Wolves playmat)
2016 Nationals (Forgotten Plans card, Iron Throne playmat)
2016 Gen Con (Forgotten Plans card, Jon Snow card, Forgotten Plans playmat)
2016 Continentals (Night’s Watch card)
2016 Worlds (Winds of Winter, card Tywin playmat for Joust, Naval Superiority playmat for Melee)
2016 Battle of the Trident (Summons card, Red Keep playmat)
2016/17 Store Championships (Syrio Forel card, Ser Robar Royce playmat)
2016 Limited Edition Books (Daenarys Targaryen card)
2017 Spring Kit (Stannis Baratheon card, Marching Orders card, Bara tokens)
2017 Summer Kit (Summoned to Court card, Brienne of Tarth card, Tyrell tokens)
2017 Regionals (Arbor card, Lanni faction card, Martell tokens, Greyjoy playmat)
2017 Nationals (Jaime Lannister card, White Tree playmat)
2017 European Championship (Red Wedding card, Challenge coins, deckboxes)
2017 Fall Kit (Rise of the Kraken, Aeron Damphair, Greyjoy tokens)
2018 Store Championships (Knight of Flowers, Chella box and mat, Ear tokens)
2018 Spring Kit (Marched to the Wall, The Wall, Night’s Watch tokens)
2018 Regionals (Nightmares, Bara tokens, King’s Landing mat, Greyjoy/Botley card)
2018 Nationals (Milk of the Poppy, Conclave/Rains agendas, Bolton tokens, Val mat, Stark/Mormont card)
2018 Summer Kit (Tears of Lys card, Harrenhal card, Lanni tokens)
2018 European Championship and North American Championship (Retaliation card and mat, full art faction cards, Tyrell tokens, Wars to Come agenda, March on Winterfell mat, Melee titles)
2018 Fall Kit (Targ tokens, Daenerys alt art, Plaza of Pride alt art)
2018 Worlds (Tywin Lannister alt art, Greyjoy tokens, and much more)
2018 Winter Kit (Eddard Stark card, Winterfell card, Stark tokens)
2018 “Great Hall” Rookery event (Great Hall cards, Faction cards, Asha/Viper/Mel/Margaery playmat)
2018-19 Store Championships (Hand’s Judgment, Time of Plenty, Ser Gregor, Kingsguard deckbox)
2019 Season Open Play (Missandei, Forced March, Sansa Stark, Trade Routes, Cersei Lannister and Exchange of Information cards)
Major North American Tournament Champions
2015 Worlds – Sam Braatz from Wisconsin – Martell Banner of the Rose
2016 US Nationals – Nathan Tarentelli from Ohio – Stark Fealty
2016 NA Continentals – Chris Schoenthal from San Diego – Lannister Dragon
2016 Words – Joe Mirando from New York – Lanni Wolf
2017 US Nationals – Seth Low from New York – Stark Watch
2017 NA Continentals – Alex Black from Seattle – Martell Stag
2017 Worlds – Reinhard Schefcik from Austria – Targ Crossing
2018 North American Championship – Tyler Phillips – Martell Wars to Come
2018 U.S. Nationals – Dustan Archer from Texas – Stark Crossing
2018 World Championship – Lennart Paga from Germany – Martell Wolf
Major European Tournament Champions
2015 Stahleck – Martell de Poitiers from France – Baratheon Fealty
2016 Batalla por el Muro – Albert Lorenzo Polo from Spain – Targaryen Fealty
2016 Stahleck – Florian Maas from Germany – Stark Fealty
2017 Batalla por el Muro – Daniel Correas from Spain – Tyrell Crossing
2017 European Continentals – Reinhard Schefcik from Austria-Hungary – Targ Crossing
2017 Stahleck – Marti “Harren” F. from Catalan – Tyrell Rains of Castamere
2018 European Continentals – James Waumsley from England – Tyrell Wars to Come
2018 Stahleck – Wilco van Dijk from the Netherlands – Stark Lion
In November 2013, FFG introduced 1st edition draft packs, which allowed players to hold draft tournaments. Previously, the LCG fixed distribution model made drafting difficult, but now each player just needs a reusable starter pack ($5) and a randomized draft pack ($15). FFG introduced the 2nd edition Valyrian draft set at Gen Con 2016, and draft was held as side events for Worlds 2016 & 2017. Check out the Valyrian card pool and a video overview.
Beyond the Wall
Wardens of the Midwest
The Jank Tank
The Copper Link
The Southron Bannermen
Decklist and Chill
Great Beards of Westeros
No Funny Stuff
A Meager Contribution
Summer Is Coming
Thanks for reading this guide! Feel free to bookmark, share with other players, and let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see included.June 25, 2018 at 2:02 PM #143299
themountainParticipantInfluence: 76Title: LowlyRank: Man at Arms
Really glad to see this over here now too.August 2, 2018 at 9:56 PM #144924
MATTHEW JENKINSParticipantInfluence: 12Title: DestituteRank: Flea Bottom Scavenger
how did i never know this existed? I am gonna learn how to play thrones now…see you at nationalsAugust 6, 2018 at 4:29 PM #145155
Michael SetoParticipantInfluence: 438Title: CommonRank: Maester
This link can be added into the list of prizes and sway for 2018 continentalsAugust 7, 2018 at 2:32 AM #145233
blackwoodParticipantInfluence: 656Title: ComfortableRank: Knight
May I suggest an additional category? “Content creators on patreon” (or a similar title). So it’s easier to find and support those who make podcasts / videos etc.August 7, 2018 at 8:21 AM #145257
KennonKeymasterInfluence: 3,568Title: LuxuriantRank: Warden
Paging @ScantrellThere are no men like me.September 24, 2018 at 4:06 PM #147925
Michael SetoParticipantInfluence: 438Title: CommonRank: Maester
on the promo section, you’re missing the 2017 winter GNK which is Red Viper, Confiscation and Martell tokens.
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