Plotting Your Way to Success

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AGOT 2.0 is a game of many twists and turns. The tide of the game tends to change on a turn by turn basis until someone eventually is able to take control over the game and push their way to victory. Part of what allows you to take control of the game, and probably the most important decision making process of this game, is plot selection. Think about it. Until the Wolves of the North deluxe set comes out, there is nothing your opponent can do to prevent your plot from going off. There is nothing your opponent can possibly play that will prevent your plot effect from going off. So why not take advantage of this? I find that many people who play this game (whether it be casual or competitive) have a difficult time choosing plots for their decks. I do not consider myself an expert on deck building or plot selection but I do have a super competitive side to me that always wants to win so I take careful planning when selecting plots for any given deck.

First off, I think the best thing you could do is build your deck first. Your deck needs an identity, figure out what your deck does and choose plots that help you achieve your goal. Are you planning on playing a long grindy game? Maybe you wanna consider a card like Calm Over Westeros or Fortified Positions. Are you coming out of the gates aggressively to lock down your opponent’s board? Perhaps Sneak Attack or Winds of Winter are what you’re looking for. Are you looking for ways to acquire more power in a given turn? Consider Clash of Kings or A Feast for Crows. I’m not gonna dive into the logistics of deck building specifically, but these are just some of the questions you should have in mind when you’re selecting plots for your deck. If you’re building an aggressive deck where you plan on playing 3 or 4 characters off the bat with multiple MIL icons, something like Calm Over Westeros doesn’t quite make sense for your deck. Sure the 5 gold is nice, but you’re not gaining any advantage board wise, which is what you’re looking to do from turn 1. You’ve successfully managed to reduce claim on an opponent’s challenge in a situation where he/she is probably on their heels trying to defend against all of your challenges and won’t be attacking anyway. Once you have your deck built to the way you like it, now comes down to the 7 plot slots.

As I stated above, you want plots that help achieve your goal. With that in mind, it’s important to choose plots that are actually going to affect the game state in some way. You wanna choose a plot that either 1. Helps you affect the board state immediately (Marched to the Wall, Wildfire Assault, Filthy Accusation) 2. Increases your options (Counting Coppers, Summons, Noble Cause, Calling the Banners) 3. Has a powerful effect when triggered (stealing/gaining extra power, increased/reduced claim, hand destruction). One plot that comes to mind that a lot of Targ players especially fall for (even myself at one point) is Rebuilding. I will admit that the stat lines for the plot are strong at 5 gold, 5 initiative, and 1 claim. However, it doesn’t do anything that a strong plot will do. It doesn’t affect the board state, it doesn’t help you work towards your main objective, and it doesn’t increase your options. All it does is increase your chances of drawing a card you previously used/got discarded. The argument for it is always the same: “But I get to replay my Dracarys! and Crown of Gold and those are powerful cards.” Yes, those are powerful cards. But Rebuilding is not putting them back into your hand. You still have to actually draw those cards, which by no means is guaranteed you will draw them. And while you took the turn off to add cards to your deck, your opponent did something proactive with their turn like Filthy Accusation or Calling the Banners or Counting Coppers and increased their odds of winning.

One of the most common questions that every player has asked themselves during the tenure of this game is, “Do I play Marched to the Wall or Wildfire Assault?” A very tough question that can be answered by laying out your deck and assessing your needs and what your deck does. “How do I decided between Marched to the Wall and Wildfire Assault James?” Well my good friend I’ll help you with some advice. If you plan on playing a deck that’s looking to control the board via multiple MIL icons, then Marched is the way to go. You force your opponent into a situation where they may only have 1 or 2 or 3 very strong characters left and you turn over Marched to the Wall. Now they have to make a difficult decision while you throw away chud because you have so many characters where the Marched doesn’t hurt you. You throw away a Dire Wolf Pup while they’re discarding a Tyrion for example. That’s insane value. You probably don’t wanna ever see a Wildfire Assault because you’re losing multiple characters at once and it dramatically shrinks your once massive board position. Another deck that looks to play Marched to the Wall is a deck that plays Varys. After blowing up the world with his effect, your opponent may only have 1 character left and it can only be a unique character, typically a strong one as well. Flipping over the Marched to the Wall now completes the process of fulling wiping away your opponent’s board. It also has high initiative and going first is imperative on an empty board.

Now, what decks wanna play Wildfire Assault? Typically a deck that has an issue with large complex board states or an issue with multiple high STR characters. You might be playing a deck where you have a lot of high cost high impact characters and your opponent is flooding the board with multiple characters each turn. Wildfire Assault levels the playing field and makes your opponent’s seemingly insurmountable board position much more manageable. A deck like Lannister/Banner of the Rose will like to flip over Wildfire Assault because typically their 3 characters left are going to be stronger than what you have left. It seems pretty scary staring down a Tywin, a Knight of Flowers, and Tyrion and all you have left is Daeny, Drogon, and a Ser Jorah Mormont. If you’re not slamming out MIL challenges every turn and constantly shrinking your opponent’s board every turn, what value does Marched to the Wall give you? What does the 1 for 1 trade do for you? Think about it.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to take extra time to pick plots. You only get 7 plots. That’s it. You have to make each one count. You can’t just shove 7 strong plots into a deck and expect it to work. They have to be curtailed to what you’re specifically doing. Almost every deck will play A Noble Cause but does your deck really need Calling the Banners too? You’re playing Rattleshirt Raiders and 3 copies of We Do Not Sow to remove multiple attachments. Do you really need that Confiscation? You’re playing a deck that likes to go second but, all your plots have low initiative. Do you want to risk your opponent dictating who the first player is or do you want to be able to decide for yourself? Super competitive players will rack their brains for hours over just picking plots because they’re effectively trying to make sure they do something powerful every turn, whether they’re behind or ahead. There’s a lot of plots to choose from at the moment and only 7 to choose for your deck. Don’t “plot” your own destruction and pick plots just because they worked well in a certain deck or because they have 1 cute interaction with a certain card in an exact situation. Take the time, comb over all the possible ideas, and you’ll find that perfect 7 for your deck.

-James