They fought with blunted weapons in a chaos of mud and blood, small troops fighting together and then turning on each other as alliances formed and fractured, until only one man was left standing. The victor was the red priest, Thoros of Myr, a madman who shaved his head and fought with a flaming sword. He had won melees before; the fire sword frightened the mounts of the other riders, and nothing frightened Thoros.
–George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
Knights and champions from across the Seven Kingdoms assemble at the tourney grounds to compete for honor, glory, and great riches. Meanwhile, the lords and ladies in attendance make their wagers and engage in subtle intrigues–anything to gain an advantage from their time at the event.
Entering the melee
As one might expect, The Grand Melee provides numerous cards to support both the new Melee keyword and the intriguing dynamics of the melee format. The Chapter Pack furthers the renewed focus on unique characters that runs throughout the A Tale of Champions cycle, and several popular characters return in The Grand Melee, ready to face opponents on all sides. Among others, Robert Baratheon, Euron Crow’s Eye, Doran Martell, and Varys receive all-new treatments, and their new abilities make them exciting options for melee matches, where giving your opponents cause to attack others instead of you can prove the difference between winning an early grave or the Iron Throne.
Competing in the joust
Of course, champions compete in the joust as well as the melee, and The Grand Melee provides strong deck-building options for joust games as well. Lannister gains attachment control, Martell reinforces their ability to manipulate opponent’s icons, Targaryen’s Dothraki sweep through challenges unopposed, and characters teem out of Flea Bottom.