You can collect swords with HOTK lit, and at least one will be available. More swords = bigger playfield multipliers.
It’s disappointing to me that now that Stern has gone all LED, the rules on lighting have changed. You have an extra ball in the bank or something good available (like swords)? Sorry, but the light show is way too important to show you those things all the time like we used to. The shoot again insert on GOT doesn’t even act consistently for the ball saver. Ball 1 starts with no flashing until the playfield is validated. Then it flashes until the ball saver runs out. Normal enough. Balls 2 and 3 may or may not start with the insert flashing before the playfield is even validated. I haven’t played the latest code, but I’m guessing that wasn’t fixed.