“Oberyn was ever the viper. Deadly, dangerous, unpredictable. No man dared tread on him. I was the grass. Pleasant, complaisant, sweet-smelling, swaying with every breeze. Who fears to walk upon the grass? But it is the grass that hides the viper from his enemies and shelters him until he strikes.”
–Doran Martell, A Dance with Dragons
In the southernmost reach of Westeros lie the sweltering deserts of Dorne. Under the rule of House Martell, this region stands separate from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, divided geographically by imposing mountain ranges, and culturally by an indomitable spirit and a thirst for vengeance. Today, you have your chance to join them.
Sands of Dorne, the fifth deluxe expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, is on sale now at your local retailer or online through our website!
The princes of House Martell are unmatched in their cunning, willing to spend years awaiting the opportune moment to strike. This forbearance and restraint shines in cards like Doran Martell (Sands of Dorne, 1). As the head of House Martell, Doran can kneel your faction card, using the influence of his House to remove a chosen character from a challenge, provided they only have a single challenge icon. It takes great patience to endure the wrongs inflicted on your House by your opponents, and fortunately, House Martell’s Patience (Sands of Dorne, 20) is unparalleled.
If you, like Doran, possess this Skill, you can attach it to one of your characters, returning them to your hand as an Action during the challenges phase, either ensuring that a favored character has an exit strategy or making the most of characters with strong "enters play" abilities. By continually playing cards like Dornish Spy (Brotherhod Without Banners, 115), you can continue to manipulate the battle at a low cost. Or, by returning Areo Hotah (Core Set, 103) to your hand and bringing him back out, you can deny your opponent's challenges, leaving them open to attack the moment your restraint wears thin.
The Prince of Dorne also has a Reaction that you can use whenever you lose a challenge. After you lose a challenge, as you'll undoubtedly do several times in the course of any game, you may choose a character to either lose or gain a challenge icon of your choice until the end of the phase, By picking apart your opponent's strategies and removing key icons, you'll have the power to control any game as it unfolds.
Beyond Doran himself, the incredible amount of icon manipulation that you can use when playing as House Martell is sure to make you deadly against any opposing enemy. Sands of Dorne equips you with the ability to choose your fights and manipulate the challenges phase like never before. If one of your enemies becomes Beguiled (Sands ofDorne, 21), you can kneel this attachment to have the entranced character become distracted and lose a challenge icon of your choice until the end of the phase. Otherwise, if you control the House Dayne castle of Starfall (Sands of Dorne, 18), you may kneel the location to apply the same ability to any character. Combine these cards with existing cards like Attainted (The King's Peace, 55), Condemned (No Middle Ground, 77), or Imprisoned (True Steel, 116), and you can decide what type of battle you want to fight and deprive your opponent of their star characters.
The Martells are all about the slow burn, biding their time to prepare for one fell strike, but the key to playing the long game is to not shy away from the moment of opportunity when it arises. To begin your assault, you may start by eliminating your enemy’s defenses to ensure that they cannot stand against you. By sacrificing a Shadow City Bastard (Sands of Dorne, 16), you can choose any character with a printed cost of five or lower to lose a military, an intrigue, and a power icon until the end of the phase, leaving a character defenseless and providing you with the perfect window of opportunity.
Once you have gained complete control over the field of battle, you can seize your moment and call your people To The Spears! (Sands of Dorne, 24). This event can only be played if there are three or more plots in your used pile, encouraging you to cunningly lay your plans and ensnare your opponent while they think they're safe. Once the time is right, your Martell characters won't kneel to attack in the next challenge you initiate—and you're prepared to send in your full force to not only defeat your opponent, but make a display of their demise before the entire realm. By lying in wait and combining a few well-placed cards, you can destroy your opponent’s board and steal every ounce of their power. Once your enemy is exposed before the world, all will see that your vengeance is, in truth, justice.
After years of quietly plotting in the shadows, the time has come to take your revenge. Calculate your assault, strike at the heart of your enemies, and remain unbowed, unbent, unbroken!
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