Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Core Set - Card Power Rankings - Old Gods & The New Edition

In my last blog I shared my way of creating some power rankings for the cards in the Core Set, based on the scores that the cards got in the CardgameDB reviews for those factions.
As I've gone through the reviews I've been pointing out where I agree/disagree materially with how they've rated cards and for my last trick I'm going to re-rate the cards and factions having made some changes to a few cards, and I'll explain my rationale behind those changes.
Now I've deliberately avoided going through the reviews and saying things like "they only gave this 67% and I think it's easily 70%, maybe 71%" because differences that small are purely about personal taste.  I'm going to adjust for cards where I think they're out by 10-20% or more, which will have a bigger impact on the rankings and house standings.

So, in big bold letters so it's clear:
These ratings are affected by my own experiences playing the game and reflect my personal opinion at time of writing.  Ten other experienced players provided the original scores that I'm changing.  There's a good chance I'm wrong and they're right. 
With that out of the way, here is the summary of what I've changed...
What this creates is a much clearer distinction between the three strongest factions, which I think are the only ones people are really seeing more success from in Fealty builds, while casting the other five factions as all being very equal overall.

Up - I'm a massive fan of Iron Fleet Scout (CGDB rated 78%) and I think it's maybe the most obviously undercosted card in the entire set, or desperately needed to be Limited.  Having played Greyjoy a lot I'm also aware of just how important Stealth is to their battle plan and to my mind Theon Greyjoy (CGDB: 80%) is pretty much essential alongside Asha as part of that Stealth suite.
Down - I think the importance of Aeron (88%) is lower in such an aggressive Stealth-heavy deck as Greyjoy is, and while Maester Wendamyr (88%) has Stealth is still a good card I think he's less important than Theon.  Euron Crow's-Eye (80%) is a big hitter for 7 gold but I think he got a bit of a better rub of the green than he deserved for some relatively minor abilities (I think 2 gold from Tywin is much more important), and the Drowned Men (58%) are a pretty average Army to bring to the table, and if King's Hunting Party and Vanguard of the North only rate 48% I don't see why these are any better.



Up - none
Down - I broadly agreed with almost every card in Lannister, I just don't think Joffrey Baratheon (68%) really deserves his score unless you're handing him his crossbow every time.


Up - Stannis Baratheon's rating (64%) was a controversial mix of high and low scores, and I'm firmly in the pro-Stannis camp.  I think Consolidation of Power (65%) makes for great tempo control in a faction that can capitalise in it the best of all, and the Baratheon card that has most impressed me is Chamber of the Painted Table (62%), which forms a potent combination with The Iron Throne to make Baratheon a formidable foe - I've seen many games where Baratheon never really control the board but manage to win anyway by sucking power counters over to their side of board in Dominance.
Down - The one card I think they overvalued is Maester Cressen (88%), he plays an important role in saving Robert Baratheon from drinking Milk of the Poppy but outside of this narrow function I think he's a pretty average character.


UP - None
DOWN - As I pulled down the Drowned Men I'm going to do the same with the Unsullied (80%).  I said in my Targaryen review that I think a lot of cards got a bit overrated just because they worked with Dracarys! and that's part of why I bring down the Unsullied, and I also take a little bit off the three dragon Hatchlings.  The last card I changed was Handmaiden (78%) as she might have some nice interactions down the line but with only one Lady in Targaryen at present she's very narrow and I don't think she rates as highly as they put her.


Up - I like the character removal in Stark, and although Ice (58%) is expensive I think 3 Gold is a fair price to pay for something that's a hybrid of Widow's Wail and an improved Put to the Sword in one card.  Similarly undervalued is Grey Wind (55%), without Robb Stark he's a fair military body with Intimidate that you're not embarassed to play and when Robb is around he devours claim soak and makes all your military challenges that much better, a key part of Stark's battle plan.
Down - The flipside is that even thought Stark doesn't have much Intrigue I don't rate either of their Intrigue characters highly.  You'll play them just because you have to fill the Intrigue gap somehow, but I think both Catelyn Stark (95%) and Sansa Stark (85%) were given generous ratings compared to similar cards like Cersei (much better than Catelyn, just 5% more) or Alannys Greyjoy (similar stats to Sansa, though no Power gain, 54%) and I'd pull their scores down a bit.  I'd also slightly tweak down Gates of Winterfell (83%) because it's the worst card draw location in the game, card draw is still important and Gate is a Stark Fealty essential, but that doesn't mean it's actually good.


Up - I rate highly the 'much better when going second' combination of Sunspear (60%) and Palace Spearman (64%), which I think is one of the better Armies as basically a 4STR tricon.  I think Sunspear might actually be on the few reasons to play Martell in Core Set and I definitely value that card more highly.
Down - Arianne Martell (96%) is a solid character and the potential is there for her to do really dirty tricks in future but outside of Areo Hotah trickery there's not a great deal for her to do in Core Set.


Up - None
Down - I was pretty scathing about Old Forest Hunter (78%) in my review of Night's Watch cards and nothing I've seen since has changed my mind any.  I think Longclaw (85%) suffers in comparison to other weapons like Widow's Wail, Ice and even Dawn or Heartsbane, and really only adds significant value to Jon Snow.  The last card I would rate more poorly is A Meager Contribution (85%), as it never seems to annoy your opponent quite as much as you'd expect - in 2nd Edition the other player is often leaving a gold or two spare to possibly play events so Meager rarely blocks them playing the character they want and they still get most of the value out of their turn.



Up -  I waxed lyrical about Highgarden (already rated 89%) in the Tyrell review and I would definitely make it a near-essential card in Tyrell decks.
Down - I said in my review that I think the Queen of Thorns (84%) was overvalued compared to some of the other 7 Gold characters and I'd bring her rating down, along with Olenna's Informants (78%).  Outside of alliance with the Lannisters it's really hard to keep gold up to ambush the Informants into play without telegraphing your intentions, and that hurts the card.
So, if you agree with all of the above (which probably nobody but me will, that's the nature of opinions)...
BEST IN HOUSE (Old Gods & The New Edition)

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