Bannermen! Fábio Cury here. Although the year has passed, the Visions in the Flames continue to be seen!
As we’ve stated in previous visions articles, our intent with the 2021 updates was to leave No Card Unturned. And although there is a wide array of changes that were already discussed, we can be sure there are always Nooks and Crannies Unchecked. Lastly, while many battles can be won through blunt force, in most cases it is wise to bring Non-Combat Units.
Wordplay aside, NCUs are one of the elements that make ASOIAF TMG unique. We are very happy on how the Tactics Board currently functions and how NCUs interact with it, the Battlefield, and each other. Truth be told, there were only a couple of elements that needed to be addressed for NCUs as a whole, and these elements were the driving force for most of the changes we’re going to talk about.
The first element that was revisited throughout all NCUs was their point costs. We noticed that the basic “value” of an NCU was often more valuable than its actual effects. This meant that the base value of beingan NCU (an Activation, access to the Tactics Board, the effects therein, etc) was usually worth more than any single effectthe NCU actually had.
This in turn meant that it was preferable to choose a greater amount of cheap NCUs than having less, more expensive, inclusions. Again, this was primarily due to the difference in the abilities not being appealing enough for the difference in points.
“What does this mean in practical terms?” you may ask, and a great question it would be!
Basically, after evaluating the roles that NCUs play in the grand scheme of the game (contrasting to Attachments and Units), all 3 points NCUs were generally increased by 1 point.
Of course in a lot of cases it wasn’t so simply as to just increase their cost; numerous NCUs with lesser or weaker effects gained an increment to their ability as well. We’ve also reworked some of the 4 points NCUs to become even more powerful and increased their points cost by 1, to give a greater spread when it comes to these options. The full intent here is to provide players a wider array of tools through NCUs, in a way that they each change an army’s functionality uniquely. The consequences of these changes should push players to diversify in their NCUs when list-building as well as diversifying strategies. The choice of NCUs included in a list should be that they are selected for the unique abilities and tools they bring to the table, not simply because they are a cheap body.
Following this logic, will lead us to our second element that had to be revisited throughout all factions and NCUs: The Commanders.
NCU Commanders were posing a problem to the game for a myriad of reasons.Firstly, the NCU Commanders granted you a Unit (and therefore an Activation) without any points cost. This put the NCU Commanders ahead of their Attachment peers in a way that was impractical to compare and balance. Secondly, the existence of a “Free” NCU created an issue of perception, where other NCUs seemed expensive in comparison (Anything is expensive when compared to “Free”).
Third, since many game modes both previously and in the 2021 ruleset have rules regarding the Commander’s Unit, removing NCU Commanders as an option greatly helped us keep a level playing field. Sure, it allowed the option for players to neglect the bonuses granted by certain scenarios if they chose to run an NCU Commander but allowing that drawback to exist was not a direction in choice we wanted players to take. That being said, all NCU Commanders have been changed to become Attachment Commanders. Although it varies case-by-case, some also obtained a non-commander NCU version as well to keep their old ability or something reworked for the new update. By doing so, not only do we maintain the number of Commanders in each faction but also the number of NCUs, with the added bonus of allowing more NCU options since they can now be chosen without having to be a Commander.
To exemplify these changes, we’ve brought 2 Characters that were NCU Commanders, both now in their Commander and NCU versions.
Roose Bolton already had 2 versions. One as an NCU Commander, and the other as an Attachment. What was done here was make his Attachment the Commander instead of the NCU, while keeping the NCU (largely) the same. While this technically does remove the ability to field Roose as a normal Attachment (since he is now only a Commander and NCU) this also thematically made sense as, being honest, if Roose and Ramsay are both on the field we all know which one will be in charge. Mechanically, this was also done to ensure that Roose and Ramsay both carry unique effects and styles through their Abilities and Tactics Cards, despite both being “Bolton” Commanders.
Howland Reed existed only as an NCU Commander, so in this case we’ve created an Attachment version for him embodying the NCU’s identity onto the battlefield. His NCU, costed at 5 points,retains his old effect and has gained an additional benefit to boot. Thisplaces him as a powerhouse NCU, having strong battlefield presence which, in combination with the other changes we’ve discussed previously, really put him as an impactful choice when selected.