The Broken Sword

Guarding the Realm Is Now Available for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

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“The Second Sons are an old company, and not without valor, but under Mero they've turned near as bad as the Brave Companions.”
  
–Ser Jorah Mormont, A Storm of Swords

As the Great Houses of Westeros scheme and plot their enemies’ demise, the last scion of House Targaryen slowly travels west across the continent of Essos. Daenerys’s path leads her towards the Iron Throne and King’s Landing, but many obstacles remain before her—starting with the garish, opulent cities of Slaver’s Bay. Astapor, Yunkai, Meereen: these are cities that have stood since the days of Old Valyria, growing fat off their foul trade in human lives. But everything is about to change for the Ghiscari, and lead your faction on a new path with Guarding the Realm.

Guarding the Realm, the second Chapter Pack in the Blood and Gold cycle for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, is now available at your local United States retailer and online through our webstore! Like the other packs of this cycle, Guarding the Realm follow the events of A Storm of Swords, bringing key characters like Melisandre and Wex Pyke of House Botley to the foreground. If you’re going to protect the realm, there’s always a price to pay… and with new economical options and the bestow keyword, it’s up to you whether you’ll pay in blood or in gold.

A Dragon Is No Slave

The Great Houses of Westeros wield enormous power—politically, economically, and on the field of battle. Even the Night’s Watch has hundreds of sworn brothers ready to take up arms to defend the Wall. Yet at times, the supporters of House Targaryen could be counted on your fingers. As Daenerys Targaryen approaches Slaver’s Bay, she is only followed by a loyal few: the weak remnants of Drogo’s khalasar, her bloodriders, Ser Jorah Mormont, Strong Belwas, Arstan Whitebeard. It’s only natural that Daenerys would look to grow her forces with the strength of mercenary companies.

For example, you may attempt to turn the Second Sons (Guarding the Realm, 33) to your cause. Costing only three gold for six STR, Second Sons is an extremely efficient character to include in your army. The downside, of course, is that you’ll need to pay the mercenary company’s wages. Second Sons has bestow (3), allowing you to put up to three gold on this card when it enters play. Then, when the challenges phase ends, you must sacrifice Second Sons unless you discard one gold from it!

With the granular decision-making offered by the bestow keyword, Second Sons lets you determine how long you want to keep this character in play. If you’re planning on resetting the board soon with Varys (Core Set, 29) or Valar Morghulis (There Is My Claim, 80), or if you plan to win within a round or two, you might only need to bestow one gold on Second Sons. If, on the other hand, you have a long road to walk for victory, it may serve you better to bestow three gold on Second Sons. And of course, you aren’t required to bestow any gold—if you need every piece of gold to recover from a bad situation, Second Sons can give you a boost for a single challenges phase. But we’ve already seen Slaver's Bay Port (All Men Are Fools, 14) enriching the fortunes of House Targaryen, and with any luck, you’ll have plenty to pay your Mercenaries.

Still, House Targaryen doesn’t need to look to outsiders for its most lethal weapons—not while Daenerys commands the only dragons in the world. From the days of the Core Set, one of House Targaryen’s principal themes has been burn: lowering characters’ STR and potentially killing them if their STR reaches zero. The most lethal of these burning effects is unquestionably Dracarys! (Core Set, 176). With a standing Dragon and a single gold saved, your opponent always has to respect the possibility that you could kill a four-STR character participating in a challenge without warning. Still, the conditions laid upon Dracarys! can make it easy to play around—or at least predict. Now, in Guarding the Realm, House Targaryen claims another burn event.

On your first read-through, A Dragon Is No Slave (Guarding the Realm, 34) could seem like a poor trade for Dracarys!. It costs two gold instead of one, can only target a character without attachments, only reduces that character’s STR by two, and does not kill the character if its STR is zero. Still, there are a significant number of items that set A Dragon Is No Slave apart from Dracarys!.

First, A Dragon Is No Slave does not require a standing Dragon. If you’ve ever been caught with Dracarys! in hand and no Dragons on the board, it’s easy to recognize what an advantage this can be. Secondly, A Dragon Is No Slave can target any characters without attachments—even if they never participate in a challenge. By combining A Dragon Is No Slave with cards like Blood of the Dragon  (No Middle Ground, 75) and Plaza of Punishment (Core Set, 173), you can kill characters that prefer to stay out of challenges.

And finally, perhaps most importantly, A Dragon Is No Slave can be recurred from your discard pile. Dracarys! is inherently limited to a single use, unless you use a card like Isle of Ravens (There Is My Claim, 78), meaning that Dracarys! is usually saved for situations where you can kill a character. But since you can simply pay one gold to bring A Dragon Is No Slave back to your hand after you win a challenge with a Dragon or Daenerys Targaryen (Core Set, 160), it’s easy to use A Dragon Is No Slave to simply win challenges. With Astapor (The Fall of Astapor, 54) and Grey Worm (The Fall of Astapor, 53) on the horizon in the next Chapter Pack, the enemies of House Targaryen will soon fall to ash before your eyes.

The Fire Rises

The fortunes of House Targaryen have fallen in the past—but you’re gathering allies every day, and your dragons are growing stronger.

Pick up your copy of Guarding the Realm (GT17) at your local retailer today!

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