Those who dwell in the north of Westeros can be as harsh and cold as winter itself, but words like honor and trust still have meaning there. Fearsome in battle and uncompromising in negotiation, the men of the north are hardy and well equipped to survive winters that can last for years. Though they may scorn the laws that come from King's Landing, these warriors are fiercely loyal to the lords of House Stark, and some believe the time has come for the north to rise once more and become a true kingdom of winter.
Journey northwards and take your place among the knights, lords, and ladies of House Stark with Wolves of the North, the first deluxe expansion to be released for the second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. In this expansion, House Stark takes the spotlight as they gain new cards to bring your Stark decks in new and unexpected directions. You may use Direwolves to cow and overpower your foes, rush to victory with the aid of House Tully, or draw strength from the Winter itself. Throughout the box, you'll find new versions of iconic characters like Eddard Stark, Catelyn Stark, Jon Snow, and Arya Stark, alongside characters entering the game for the first time, including The Blackfish, Shaggydog, and Rickon Stark.
Though the focus of this deluxe expansion rests firmly on House Stark, every other faction receives two new non-loyal cards to push your deck exploration forward. An assortment of neutral cards, including six new neutral plots, change the options available to every deck, and you'll be able to call on dangerous new allies like Mance Rayder, Quentyn Martell, and Aggo.
"Why shouldn't we rule ourselves again? It was the dragons we married, and the dragons are all dead!" He pointed at Robb with the blade. "There sits the only king I mean to bow my knee to, m'lords," he thundered. "The King in the North!"
-George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
House Stark has held sway over the lands north of Moat Cailin since before the arrival of Aegon the Conquerer. Among the northmen, the name of House Stark commands great loyalty, even among the wild mountain clans and the crannogmen of the Neck. The allies of House Stark are not solely limited to the north, however.
In recent times, House Stark has intermarried and forged a close alliance with the lords and ladies of House Tully-Catelyn Stark was born a Tully, and Riverrun, the ancestral home of House Tully, served as Robb Stark's headquarters during much of his military campaign. Now, with the Wolves of the North deluxe expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, you can bring the iconic characters of House Tully into your Stark decks with greater force than ever before.
Today, we'll take a closer look at what House Tully can offer you as you rush for victory to crown a King in the North!
The House Tully cards included in Wolves of the North have plenty to add to your decks. In fact, we've already taken a look at two of the most powerful House Tully characters: Catelyn Stark (Wolves of the North, 2) and The Blackfish (Wolves of the North, 4). The Blackfish bears the renown keyword, and once he's accumulated enough power, your House Tully characters don't kneel to attack, making your attacks almost impossible to block. Catelyn Stark, on the other hand, simply gains power when your Stark characters are killed or sacrificed-and every power gained makes her grow stronger.
As you may be able to see from just these characters, House Stark places great importance on holding your power on individual characters rather than your faction card. As you collect your power on your characters, few characters give you more power for your effort than the new version of Eddard Stark (Wolves of the North, 3). With six STR and two icons for six gold, Eddard Stark already has the raw stats to make him dangerous in combat. More important for seizing victory, however, Eddard Stark has renown, and whenever he gains power using renown, you can choose another of your participating characters to gain one power!
Not only does Eddard Stark accelerate your power gain, you can combine him with The Blackfish to quickly mobilize your House Tully forces or use Eddard alongside Catelyn Stark to increase her STR. To that same end, you may employ the services of a Riverrun Minstrel (Wolves of the North, 9). This non-unique House Tully character offers a valuable intrigue icon to your forces, and you can choose a House Tully character to gain a power when the Riverrun Minstrel enters play!
Obviously House Tully has a variety of ways to quickly amass power on your characters. If you want another character who can gather more power for your characters while still dominating the battlefield, look no further than King Robb's Host (Wolves of the North, 1). This massive character boasts eight STR, though its cost is equally hefty, almost necessitating that you play a plot like Marching Orders (Core Set, 16) or Trading with the Pentoshi (The Road to Winterfell, 39) in order to pay for it.
Still, once King Robb's Host takes the field, they can be extremely dangerous. Rather than choosing between gaining power and killing your opponent's characters, King Robb's Host allows you to move a power from your opponent's faction card to one of your attacking characters after you win a military challenge. Even better, if there's a War plot revealed, you can move two power instead of one, giving your power a significant boost, even as you slaughter the enemies of House Stark!
Protecting Your Power
Gathering your power on characters offers both benefits and drawbacks. Claiming power through renown and other abilities can allow you to gain power much faster than simply by winning power challenges. The downside, of course, is that your characters are inherently mortal-in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, death is never more than a few steps away, even for the mightiest Lords and Ladies of Westeros. If you want to keep the power on your characters safe from your opponents, you might do well to play some of the protective cards included in Wolves of the North!
We already saw the power of Winterfell (Wolves of the North, 17), the winter-bound stronghold of House Stark. Not only does this location boost your Stark characters' STR, you can kneel it during a challenge to prevent your opponents with non-Winter plot cards from triggering card abilities, meaning you'll be safe from any southron intrigues like Tears of Lys (Core Set, 44) or Dracarys! (Core Set, 176).
You can gain similar protection from the Bear Island Loyalist (Wolves of the North, 12). While this non-unique character is participating in a challenge, each of your other participating Stark characters gain "immune to opponent's events," ensuring that your plans go off without any unforeseen difficulties.
You might also want to protect your characters from your opponent's plots with the Winterfell Heart Tree (Wolves of the North, 18). After a phase begins, you can sacrifice the Winterfell Heart Tree to choose any Stark card you control. Until the end of the phase, that card is immune to your opponent's plot effects! Obviously, the Winterfell Heart Tree is useful when you believe your opponent is going to play Wildfire Assault (Core Set, 26), since it allows you to keep four characters instead of three. However, the Winterfell Heart Tree can also enable a completely different approach to the game's setup!
Due to the prevalence of Marched to the Wall (Core Set, 15) in many players' decks, setting up a single character is often a mistake, even if that character is one of your strongest cards. The Winterfell Heart Tree opens up a completely new possibility, however. If you have the Winterfell Heart Tree in your hand, you can set up a large, seven-cost character like Catelyn Stark alongside the Winterfell Heart Tree without fear of Marched to the Wall. Though you can often play out more cards by setting up lower-cost characters and locations, starting with your most important characters in play just might be the crucial start your deck needs.
Blood of My Blood
House Stark rules some of the coldest regions of Westeros, and they even seem to draw strength from the winter itself. With the advent of Wolves of the North, you can be sure that House Stark has an incentive to run plenty of Winter plots, especially with cards like Winterfell (Wolves of the North, 17) and As Hard as Winter (Wolves of the North, 22). You may find your Stark opponent searching his deck for a Direwolf with A Time for Wolves (Wolves of the North, 46) or even launching a full onslaught with The Long Winter (Wolves of the North, 49).
One good way to combat the power of Winter is simply by supporting the opposite season. If you want to crush the servants of the Usurper with House Targaryen, for instance, you may play Aggo (Wolves of the North, 35), a new Bloodrider character introduced in this expansion. Aggo can attack on the field of battle or subtle intrigues-or even both! As an Action, Aggo allows you to choose and stand any Bloodrider character, provided that there is a Summer plot revealed. When Aggo joins Rakharo (The Road to Winterfell, 33), you can be sure that any opponent will fear the power of the Dothraki.
Alternatively, you could unleash your dragons' fire on your enemies with Dragon Sight (Wolves of the North, 36). This event simply reduces the STR of each participating non-Dragon character until the end of the challenge. On its own, Dragon Sight may just allow you to win a challenge, but combined with effects like Dracarys! (Core Set, 176) and Blood of the Dragon (No Middle Ground, 75), this event can prove lethal to even the most powerful characters.
His Viper Eyes
In the volatile politics of the Seven Kingdoms, even Houses whose domains lie countless leagues apart may find that their ambitions lead them into direct conflict. As a Prince of Dorne, House Stark may seem distant, but it's wise to prepare, and the new Martell cards in Wolves of the North can help you battle your foes.
The first card you gain is none other than Quentyn Martell (Wolves of the North, 31), the son of Doran Martell. Quentyn Martell naturally supports House Martell's proclivity for going second-while you are not the first player, Quentyn Martell's STR is raised and he gains stealth, allowing you to slip past your enemies all the more easily.
Stealth can help you evade the defenders of House Stark, but the Starks are also known for killing your best characters. If your enemies choose to slay Quentyn Martell, however, they must prepare for the consequences-when Quentyn Martell is killed, you can choose and kill any character with a lower STR. Normally, this ability might be unable to target your opponent's most powerful characters, but Quentyn Martell is also a Lord of House Martell. When you combine him with Doran Martell (Core Set, 105), Quentyn's STR can reach high enough for him to target nearly any character in the game when he dies.
If there's one thing you can count on from House Stark, it's that they'll prefer to focus on military and power challenges whenever possible. It's safe to assume that you'll lose some of these challenges, but you can make the most of it by playing His Viper Eyes (Wolves of the North, 32). This free event can be played after you lose any military or power challenge as the defending player to look at your opponent's hand and choose a card to discard!
Gaining full knowledge of your opponent's tricks and discarding his most powerful card is dangerous enough, but His Viper Eyes can work even more to your advantage. Because House Martell's preference for playing second is so well known, many players may choose to make you the first player to counter some of your schemes. This does have a subtle benefit, however-it gives you the first chance to trigger Actions and Reactions throughout the game. If you're the first player, you play His Viper Eyes immediately after losing a military or power challenge, before your opponent has a chance to play a card. Then, you can discard whatever card would do the most damage, whether it's a copy of Put to the Sword (Core Set, 41) or Lady Sansa's Rose (The Road to Winterfell, 24).
Melt the Ice
From the sands of Dorne, through the alleys of King's Landing, and north to the Wall and beyond, change is coming to Westeros. Wolves of the North introduces a host of new cards and tactics to the game-will you fight for House Stark and establish their might, or will you attempt to bring the Starks to their knees? The choice is yours.