I had the pleasure of trying out the new Assault on Icecrown Citadel raid set at PAX East. Cryptozoic was nice enough to lend us a set to take for a test run. The game comes with four decks: the raid boss, The Lich King, and three opposing heroes, Jaina Proudmoore, Sylvanas Windrunner, and Highlord Tirion Fordring. Players with their own decks or cards can modify their decks or play with their own setups against Arthas, but the box set contains everything you’ll need to get started.
Since the game requires four players, we rounded up some of our friends from other sites. I, Heartbourne, took on Sylvanas’ role, while Michael Sacco from WoW Insider played Jaina Proudmoore and Thespius from Raid Warning played Tirion. Seven from Raid Warning stepped up as the Lich King, and Joe Perez from WoW Insider and Raid Warning helped him out. Neither me nor Seven had played the WoW TCG before, so the guidance of Sacco and Perez were well appreciated.
Read about my experiences after the break.
Getting started was a little bit of a bumpy road. I haven’t played any TCGs since Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh! from a decade ago, so I was a little bit rusty on some general card game mechanics. Once I got some pointers from Sacco, I was good to go after a couple of turns. The Lich King has a mechanic where after 10 turns, he wipes the entire raid with Fury of Frostmourne, essentially setting a hard enrage timer. This meant that we had to do a lot of damage very quickly, making decisions about whether to attack the scourge minions and allies or the Lich King himself a difficult choice. My character, Sylvanas, dealt a ton of damage, while Jaina did decent damage and had some good utility abilities. Tirion was mostly healing, keeping us alive while we took down drudge ghouls and other scourge.
Seven also had a little bit of a rough start, but Joe Perez made sure he was making good decisions. The Lich King has the ability to search his deck for the Helm of Domination and Frostmourne and use them right away, but he didn’t realize that until the second or third turn. He was able to deal of ton of damage to us, and later got Blood Queen Lana’thel out as well as all three members of the Blood Prince Council. Lana’thel took control of some of the Horde allies I was able to add into the fight, and the first Blood Prince to enter the game was able to summon in the others from the rest of the deck. They each had an ability that disabled some aspect of our heroes, such as blocking abilities, powers, or equipment usage. They were very tough, but after Thespius and Sacco did some good AoE damage to them, I was able to pick them off with some Steady Shots.
Seven’s strategy of going after our healer seemed to not work out very well for him. Even if he was able to take out Tirion late in the game, he would still have to live through all the damage Sylvanas and Jaina could put out. His mistake got the best of him, and we were able to take him down! The deck is designed to be very difficult for the heroes to defeat, so I don’t take complete credit, as it was Seven’s first time playing. Still, the coordination and strategies we had to use to deal with everything he threw at us was very enjoyable and reminded me very much of a raid in World of Warcraft. I definitely want to pick this set up, and I feel like it might draw me into the WoW TCG. The game could play out completely differently: I could have had to face Professor Putricide, Marrowgar, or Sindragosa.
And that’s just with the base raid set. Assault on Icecrown Citadel raid set also comes with an Assault on Icecrown Citadel treasure pack, which is a 9-card booster pack that contains cards to specifically enhance the hero and Lich King decks. The booster packs are also sold separately for those who want even more cards for their sets. The treasure packs’ cards are all foils, with 20 uncommon cards in the set (8 per pack), and 7 rares and 3 epics (1 rare or epic per pack). You can find Muradin Bronzebeard and High Overlord Saurfang as new allies, as well as the possibility of loot cards from the Worldbreaker set: Mottled Drake, Grim Campfire, and Landro’s Lil XT.
The hero decks can also be converted to tournament-legal decks by replacing the heroes and legendary weapons, and player constructed decks can be used against the Lich King in place of heroes. Adventurous players could even try beefing up the Lich King deck.