Bannermen! In today’s Visions, we’ll talk about the upcoming updates for ASOIAF. We'll hit the main points of the update and detail some of our intentions. Note that this article does not cover all the updates, but you will be able to see the complete change log and update on August 7th.
We’ll go through the 4 main aspects of this update, separated by topic:
General Game Balance:
As usual, many units and attachments have been affected by this update. Our focus for this update was bringing under-par units and attachments closer to their expected output and playstyle. In this, our main focus was commanders and their tactics cards. Commanders have a strong presence in the game and should be a meaningful choice for army building, and there should always be an army list where they can stand out.
Greyjoys And Pillage:
The first major change in this update is to the Greyjoy faction and their pillage mechanic. Pillage is intrinsic to the Greyjoy’s playstyle and their focus on snowballing through the rounds, becoming stronger as they destroy enemy ranks. As this game mechanic matured throughout the last couple of years, we noticed that the increasing power of a unit through pillage could not solely depend on that unit’s abilities.
So, to further develop how units interact with pillage, all Greyjoy units will have the pillage ability through a faction rule "Raiders Of The Iron Islands" where each time a House Greyjoy unit destroys an enemy rank with a melee attack, it gains 1 pillage token. A unit may have up to 2 pillage tokens at any time. If that unit has 1 or more pillage tokens, they gain +1 to morale test rolls. If that unit has 2 pillage tokens, they also roll +1 attack die.
This is a twofold improvement to how pillage works with the Greyjoys.
Firstly, it brings consistency to all Greyjoy units and their pillage, granting units more survivability through better morale, then granting them improved offense through the additional attack die.
Secondly, it opens up more design room for unit abilities and how each unit interacts with pillage in its own unique way.
Consequently, this change evoked an almost complete overhaul of the Greyjoy faction as each ability and card that interacted with pillage had to be looked at and rebalanced.
Neutral units were always meant to complement armies and provide tools that some factions might not have as readily available in their rosters. By having up to 50% of your army points as neutral, it was possible to have a very neutral-focused army while using the tactics deck of any faction. This was making factions less unique and more congruent and also discouraged players from playing as pure neutral.
“Why limit my options for commanders and tactics cards if I can pick the best neutral units and place them in any faction?”
To solve this issue, the limitation of 50% of a player’s army points in Neutral units has been reduced to 30% (in a 40-point army, that would be 12 points). We hope this change will encourage players to really choose their neutral units with attention and prioritize their faction’s roster.
Passing The Turn:
As most seasoned players will tell you: Activations matter!
To further encourage players to create more diverse army lists, we have added a rule for passing your turn. It goes as follows:
“At the start of the game, both players will count how many total Non-Combat and Combat units they have in their armies. The player with the least amount of total units in their army at this time gains the ability to Pass their Turn twice per game. If both players have the same total number of units, neither player gains this effect. Once per Round, at the start of their Turn, the player that gained the ability to Pass may elect to forgo activating a unit, instead moving from the Start of Turn step to the End of Turn step. They may do this twice per game.”
This will allow players that focus on elite armies with low activation counts to mitigate some of the tempo control their opponent may gain by having additional units at the start of the game.
Bannermen, thank you for taking a look at the flames once again, and we hope to see you in the battles to come!