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Subject: Opinions on "Treaty"/Alliance Decks rss

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Stephen Sekela
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So since I haven't been able to play for a while, I find myself planning, plotting, and scheming all these crazy deck ideas...

Especially with a relatively limited card pool - which might make it more difficult to get all the synergy/combos/etc one might like for a certain deck "theme" or type with just one house - it seems a bit more necessary to use a lot more out-of-house stuff (and maybe I just want to try it for fun, too...).

For instance - I've lately been musing on a Targ/Bara Asshai & Shadows deck, and a Bara/Stark Nobles deck, which look really fun, cool and kick-butt (theoretically, on paper...). Question is, does a deck based on a "Treaty" or "Alliance" agenda stand a snowball's chance to win (or even hold it's own)?

The drawbacks, of course, seem staggering (with the "Treaty" Agendas seeming even more brutal than the "Alliance" Agenda). Other options I suppose are to just minimize as much as possible the OOH stuff and get by with 1 "Alliance" plot card, and just suck-up/plan for the extra expenses. I guess another option is to just use the Neutral house card (BTW - when's the resin card coming out for THAT one??? Bet it will be super-cool!), but that of course restricts you from any "House X Only" stuff you will want to run (and of course you are paying some extra bucks for almost EVERYTHING).

Couple of assumptions/considerations:

- Not looking for "tournament level" performance here. Having read/listened to various articles, threads and podcasts over the last year or so, doesn't seem like these "dual house" decks have had much (or any) representation. Not an issue for me - just wondering how they might hold up at a local/friendly meta level.

- I realize that SO MUCH depends of course on how good the deck itself might be, how good the player might be, what decks/builds you are facing, etc.

- Perhaps NOT doing dual-house and keeping your OOH cards to a minimum might always be the best road to go.

Given the above stipulations, any experience/wisdom/insight from anybody on this topic? Haven't heard much about this on BGG, on FFG's forums, CardGameDB, the GoT podcast, etc (well, I think there was one podcast where one of the guys mentioned using the "Alliance" Agenda once or twice, but other than losing with that deck I don't think much was discussed on it). I'm sure a lot depends on WHAT exactly you want the deck to do, and what kind of mixture of houses you're going to use.

For arguement's sake, let's say you've got about a 40/60 or 50/50 split, both in terms of actual card count and cost per card. What's the better (or "least worst") option?

1) "Treaty" Agenda
2) "Alliance" Agenda
3) "Neutral" House Card
4) 1 X "Alliance" plot card
5) Other options???
 
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Rich Johnson
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I think you can build fun decks with the treaty and Alliance agendas, but they're not going to be totally competitive at tournament levels.

1. Many players can hit 10 power in one or two turns, so your deck should be fast. But if you're going to go 50/50 with a house I think this is probably the most viable option.

2. Giving an opponent gold or a card every turn is huge. At this point in the LCG there are so many cards available that I can't see how mixing stuff is going to give you that much of an advantage over your opponent. People spend 3-4 gold just to run an out-of-house golden tooth mines or pyromancer's cache just to draw 1 card a round. You're essentially giving that to them for free. Not to mention rush decks now have more gold to play with and speed them up. one other downside to Alliance is that you don't get the discount on setup.

3. If you're only mixing two house, neutral doesn't make much sense. You also lose the ability to play any cards with a "house x only" restriction.

4. I like the idea of the alliance plot, but you have to draw the character you need, and then you have to waste a valuable plot space to use it. Plus, if you're running 40-50% of your deck as a single house this is far from ideal.

5. I will be interested to hear what others have to say. Like I said before, you can build fun duel-house decks, and probably pretty powerful decks. But they're not necessarily going to win you a tournament.

One player in our meta has a Greyjoy/Stark treaty deck. It's pretty cool, but I don't feel like it's any stronger than a Stark only deck. And getting to 10 power is really not hard.
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Daniel Ach
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Zordren wrote:
For arguement's sake, let's say you've got about a 40/60 or 50/50 split, both in terms of actual card count and cost per card. What's the better (or "least worst") option?

1) "Treaty" Agenda
2) "Alliance" Agenda
3) "Neutral" House Card
4) 1 X "Alliance" plot card
5) Other options???

I guess first of all, speaking to your basic assumptions, I wouldn't really want to do a 50/50 split, simply because it reduces the ability to focus your reducers. The reason neutral is weaker is because of a lack of good neutral resource locations. Yes, you could do straight up income locations, but if you want to run something like Seat of Power, it is better to focus on Bara characters, and not any others really. The main reason I would run a treaty is to get access to house specific plots and events that I can abuse in combination with other houses, something that totally shuts down my opponent fast enough and consistent enough to win within 3 rounds.

1) Any Treaty deck is going to have to be rush because it's not hard for your opponent to get to 10 power as Rich said. There are probably some Bara rush decks that can get 10 power turn 1, so you wouldn't want them to be your match-up. So you have to look at your meta.
2) Rush is only complemented with additional draw and/or gold, so you're really helping your opponent out. It's a pretty big handicap, but is it worth it? It's hard to tell at this point. I'm trying some things out, but I think it would be more viable with certain houses, such as Bara, Greyjoy, and Lannister.
3) Again, the problem with Neutral is the resource curve is higher than any house since you pay +1 for characters (non-neutral), and +2 for locations (non-neutral), and so they will probably be less viable until more neutral reducers come out. They're getting closer though, with Hollow Hill and River Row.
4) In a 50/50 split, one Alliance agenda won't cut it. I would probably only have up to 4-5 OOH cards to run this agenda.
5) The City of Shadows agenda is the only way to get around the House X only restriction, so it can give you access to some crazy combos. Some of the best cards out there are Shadow (Tyrion, VB, Dragon Skull, Alchemist's Guild Hall).
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Stephen Sekela
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Interesting thoughts and comments! Certainly agree with all the points regarding resource curves, "rush" issues, etc.

I guess if one were to use the "street" locations, income boosters, and/or a house combo that shared the same "Seas" cards, that would help to maybe balance out the resource strain (e.g. a Bara/Stark deck that could both use the Narrow Sea). Nothing much can be done I guess about the "rush" risk.

rwjohnson wrote:

one other downside to Alliance is that you don't get the discount on setup


Good point about the setup. That could certainly be significant! Still, I wonder if - combined with the draw/income benefit for the opponent - it's the "lesser of two evils" compared to 5 less power to win the game.

rwjohnson wrote:

One player in our meta has a Greyjoy/Stark treaty deck. It's pretty cool, but I don't feel like it's any stronger than a Stark only deck.


What was the purpose/theme of the GJ+Stark treaty deck?

danach81 wrote:

5) The City of Shadows agenda is the only way to get around the House X only restriction, so it can give you access to some crazy combos. Some of the best cards out there are Shadow (Tyrion, VB, Dragon Skull, Alchemist's Guild Hall).


Good point about the Shadows Agenda! Guess that still requires you to pay the 2 OOH penalty, though, PLUS another for the "House X Only"? Pretty expensive for 1 card...

Appreciate the feedback so far!
 
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Drew Dallas
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Zordren wrote:

Guess that still requires you to pay the 2 OOH penalty, though,


No, Shadows cards never have an OOH gold penalty because they are not played from your hand. Note that the gold penalty rules refer to play

Quote:
If, during marshalling, you wish to play a character,
location, or attachment that is affiliated with
a different House, the gold cost to play that card
is increased by 2. This is called the gold penalty,
and it is the price that must be paid for playing
characters that are not loyal to your House. You
pay no gold penalty when playing neutral cards.


and played is defined in the FAQ as
Quote:
(4.4) "Play" and "Put into Play"
Character, Location, and Attachment cards are
“played” from the hand during the marshalling
phase, by taking a player action and paying
their gold cost.
...
"Put into Play" is a game mechanic that
bypasses all costs (including all gold penalties)
and play restrictions.


Quote:

At the beginning of the any phase, a card that is in Shadows can come
out of Shadows and into play at the discretion of the player controlling
the card. Each player has the option of bringing one card out of his or
her Shadows area each phase. When a card is brought out of Shadows
in this manner, the non-Shadows portion of its gold cost (the number
printed after the “s” in the card’s cost), as well as any applicable gold penalties, is paid, or the card cannot come out of Shadows


So Shadows cards don't have out of house gold penalties as defined in the core rules, which is why they are all house X only if they have a house affiliation. So you are forced to use the agenda to play them OOH and pay the 1 gold penalty.
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Stephen Sekela
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Thanks for those clarifications on shadows (have only played against shadows a couple times so far, and never used any in my own decks to date...)

Don't hold out regarding the topic at hand, though! Surely a man of your experience has some thoughts on Treaty/Alliance???
 
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Drew Dallas
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Zordren wrote:
Thanks for those clarifications on shadows (have only played against shadows a couple times so far, and never used any in my own decks to date...)

Don't hold out regarding the topic at hand, though! Surely a man of your experience has some thoughts on Treaty/Alliance???


Honestly I don't like the treaty agendas, although if I was to play one It would be Alliance. The original ones just give your opponent the ability to win too quickly. A couple of decks in my meta can bank 10 power in one turn if not regularly often enough that I'd be in trouble so it would be extremely easy for them to win on turn 2. Just too much of an advantage to my opponent for very little advantage to me.

Alliance is alittle better but still the massive advantage you are giving them means that on those games where you get a below average start your opponent will have the tools to keep you down. I have considered it though in a heavy warcrest/army Targ/Stark deck recently. Using Stark as the primary house and Targ as the secondary house. But so far I'm still leaning toward my stark version with a splash of Targ (running Siege agenda instead)

Now I do quite often have OOH cards splashed in my deck but I make sure I'm either comfortable with paying their increased gold cost, have a way to put them into play instead (yay Pale Steel Link), or I run Alliance the plot.
 
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Stephen Sekela
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Thanks for the input.

Yeah it seems like the best option all around is just to splash the occassional OOH, as the benefits of the extra synergy/combos whatever with dual-house usually won't be enough to overcome the disadvantages of the Agendas.

Well I'll hopefully get a chance to just try them out for myself one of these days (ever since I saw the spoiler for "Shadow Seer" I've been thinking of cool Bara/Targ Asshai Shadows...).

I did listen to the 2Champs1Chump episode again (#19?) and they did actually speak a little more in depth than I originally recalled on the "Alliance" agenda. Haven't been able to read through too much of the "Regionals" reports yet, and I'll be looking forward to see if any of them show up there or at GenCon.
 
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