Lord of the Braids - Top 8 at Worlds

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Derived from
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teamjimby 1788

This is the deck I brought to Worlds 2017 and placed in the Top 8. It ended up being the second best Targ crossing deck in the tournament, but it is very different than the champion deck. I'll point out that I played in Day 1B, and ended up swapping one plot and two or three other cards in response to the Day 1A meta. There was no way I was changing faction or agenda, but the whole 1A/1B thing was definitely a factor. Credit goes to Alex Black and Zack Decoto for helping come up with the deck.

Idea Behind the Deck

Going into worlds, I was expecting a lot of Greyjoy/Lanni Rains, NW defense or attrition decks, and combo decks. I've been high on Lord of the Crossing because it can out rush the combo and attrition decks, and it can win the power challenge against the defense decks. Greyjoy/Lanni rains don't have any huge weaknesses, but with a little teching it can be a positive match up.

As with most of my decks, they typically originate with a combination of two or three cards. In this case, the combination was Warrior's Braid with the various standing abilities that Targ has, such as Ser Barristan Selmy (LoCR), Plaza of Pride, and Aggo. With the ability to grab renown 2-4 times per round, the deck had the potential to rush very quickly. So, Lord of the Crossing was the obvious agenda choice. Khal Drogo is also great for his renown and ability to make extra challenges, which gives Lord of the Crossing a lot of flexibility.

Other key cards include:

  • Strong Belwas - Great for protecting the board from Valar and making sure I don't lose the renown from the Braids.

  • Jhogo - Stealth + STR boost on attack is great if you also have stand and renown.

  • Begging Brother - Protection from Varys, Euron Crow's Eye, and a million other things.

  • Ser Jorah Mormont - Great value that helps protect against Rains. The renown helps close out games as well. I'm glad I ran 3x.

  • Wildling Scout - If you already have renown and standing, adding stealth to that character is money in the bank.

  • 3x The Hand's Judgment - All the factions I was expecting rely heavily on events. I never got stuck with a HJ in my hand that I didn't want or use.


  • Summer Harvest - The typical opener. Initiative is high for an opener (Crossing likes to go second), Aggo likes summer, and it's a safe opener against Rains decks.

  • Time of Plenty - The backup opener, a second summer plot, and the only card draw I have.

  • Heads on Spikes - Usually a turn 2 or 3 play. High initiative is great, and if you hit a character that's gravy. I almost went to 2x to tech against the Hyper Viper and Wonder Woman decks, but decided that 2x would be overkill.

  • Retaliation - Doesn't necessarily support the rush idea, but with Drogo it can open up an aggro strategy and lead to a blowout.

  • Marched to the Wall - A somewhat unusual include for a rush deck, but helps if I'm playing more of an aggro game with Drogo and Retaliation. If not for the shared decklists in top 16, I might not have played it.

  • Varys's Riddle - This was my defacto Counting Coppers. Also helps protect against first turn Marched, Valar Morghulis, and was useful with all the Heads on Spikes in the tournament.

  • Fallen from Favor - High gold and high initiative. With 2x Viserys Targaryen (Core), it's also a defacto Confiscation. Also, with 2x Flea Bottom, having characters in the discard pile isn't always a bad thing. Great on the Valar turn to reflood the board and keep one of your uniques out of the dead pile.

  • No Confiscation - This was a result of playing on Day 1B and seeing much less NW and Stark than I was expecting. I went to 2x Viserys and took out Confiscation. I didn't miss it once the entire tournament.

  • No Resets - With limited card draw and saves, Valar would almost certainly hurt me more than my opponent. Also, Crossing wants to have a wide board. I considered Wildfire Assault, but decided against it.

  • No Counting Coppers - The deck wants to win initiative, needs high gold, and wants to win by turn 3. Also, Barristan doesn't mind having few cards in hand. I felt like this was a deck that could survive without Coppers, and Varys Riddle could occasionally serve the same purpose.

Tournament Recap

  • Round 1 vs GJ Rains - Rakharo was the MVP of this game. Euron hit the board on turn 2, but I was able to win initiative and intimidate Euron every turn. My Riddle hit his Coppers, and Barristan + Warrior's Braid closed it out. Win, 1-0

  • Round 2 vs Stark Fealty - I setup Roseroad, Wildling Scout, and a duped Drogo. His only military icon was a Direwolf Pup. I opened Retalation, claimed 4 military, and ran away with it. Win, 2-0

  • Round 3 vs GJ Rains - Euron was more annoying in this game as he stole a Roseroad, then pillaged and stole a Plaza of Pride. But Barristan was a beast, grabbing 4 renown on the winning turn. Win, 3-0

  • Round 4 vs Lanni Rose - Barristan was once again a big threat, although Nightmares and Treachery held him down. Eventually my opponent ran out of Nightmares and Treachery, I won initiative and barely closed it out with I think 7 power on the winning turn. If I had one less power that turn, he might have been able to swing back and win. Win, 4-0

  • Round 5 vs Lanni Rains - My Summer Harvest hit his Late Summer Feast, and Aggo + Jorah were able to keep him from triggering Rains all game. The combination of military pressure, stealth, and a lucky Heads on Spikes (hitting Tyrion) led to a smooth game. Win, 5-0

  • Round 6 vs Lanni Crossing (Nikolo, Italian Champ and King of Swiss) - This game was decided on the first turn. I had Barristan + Warrior's Braid online, going second and getting ready to claim a bunch of power, with a HJ in hand for safety. I send Barristan on a military challenge and cancel his Hear Me Roar!. But he also had I Never Bet Against My Family, which found The Hound (TtB). He blocked the military, which meant I couldn't stand Barristan or win any more challenges. If I could have won that challenge, it would have been a very different game. Instead, he had a ~7-0 power lead and I couldn't come back. Loss, 5-1

All the players with 4-2 or better made it to day 2 for two more rounds of swiss, then cut to top 16. FFG decided to reset strength of schedule from Day 1, so I knew that I just needed to go 1-1 to make it into the top 16.

  • Round 7 vs Tyrell Crossing (Daniel, Spanish Champ) - Daniel didn't see any key characters on turn 1. I was able to go second and swing back with Relentless Assault and Superior Claim. Barristan + Warrior's Braid closed it out on turn 2. Win, 6-1 and into top 16

  • Round 8 vs Tyrell Rains (Adam, Australian Champ) - He had a bunch of big guys with no saves while I had several saves. When I didn't Valar on turn 2 vs his Late Summer Feast, he knew he could go wide. Eventually he had Marge, Renly, Brienne, Randyll, and Mance Rayder and I couldn't break through. Loss, 6-2

  • Top 16 rematch vs Lanni Rains - This was an interesting matchup because we shared deck lists. That meant he knew that I was running no resets. If he had a turn 1 Tywin, he could go wide and I would be in big trouble. Luckily for me, he didn't see Tywin and his Heads on Spikes missed my important characters. Drogo kept pressure on and ate up a Nightmares or two. I don't think he was able to trigger Rains at all, and I was able to close it out fairly smoothly again. Win

  • Top 8 rematch vs Lanni Crossing - Nikolo mulliganed and was forced to setup a lone Tywin + Kingsroad, even though he knew I had Marched. So I March into his Trading with the Pentoshi. I had a Relentless Assault in hand and went first to try to get 2 military claim. He marshals another Tywin and Amory Lorch. I knew I couldn't get two military, but I tried hard to get 1. I stealth Lorch, but his I Never Bet Against My Family found a Jaime and he was able to defend the military challenge. Turn 2 was relatively uneventful, with each of us grabbing more power. Turn 3 I go first, top deck a Barristan and have no cards in hand. I knew I could win 2 challenges with Barristan and have enough characters left to defend at least 2 of his challenges. I send a Wildling Scout on the intrigue challenge, which he doesn't defend. We take claim, and I realize I discarded his last card and inadvertently turned off my Barristan. For some reason I thought he had 2 cards in hand. I immediately realized that I should have sacrificed my scout as soon as he declared no defenders. I sent a military challenge to kill Lorch and kneel Jaime, but by that point my fate was sealed. I got to ~11 power, but he was able to swing back and win the game. Big mistake by me, but I have to credit Nikolo for an excellently played game to come back from getting his Tywin marched on turn 1. Loss

Post-Tournament Thoughts

As evidenced by Lord of the Crossing winning the tournament and 3 Crossing decks making it to the Top 8, it is apparent that rush was the right choice to make. I was really happy with how the deck performed, and I'm not sure I would make any changes. Every plot performed well for me, and I really enjoyed the freedom of not running Confiscation, Valar, or Counting Coppers. The plots I was able to run instead - Riddle, Retal, and Fallen from Favor - were all excellent.

Having played 2 games now where you can see your opponent's deck list, I am a big fan. Previously, you had to spend those minutes before your match trying to gather information from all of your friends about your opponent's plots, events, and strategies. This was very uneven for people that didn't have a "team". Instead, I was able to just relax and go into the game. Sure, it changes the game to know your opponent doesn't have Valar, Marched, Hand's Judgment, etc. But, I'm not sure the change is necessarily bad, and it certainly isn't worse than the state of scouting that otherwise exists.

This was the first tournament for me that I traveled for outside my Seattle/Portland local meta. It was an amazing tournament where I got to see some familiar faces and make many new friends. What an amazing experience and unbelievable level of competition. I hope to make it back again next year!


Stormborn 301

Super Interesting deck and great write up - congrats on a great run!

AlexandertheBAMF 199

Cool build. Would you try and fit Qotho into this deck, and if so, what would you cut for him?

teamjimby 1788

Qotho would be very good in this deck. I'm not sure if he would be 1x or 3x. Cuts would probably be some combination of Waking the Dragon, Irri, and 1x Begging Brother. Another card I tested with but ultimately cut was Freedmen, and they might have a place in the deck if Qotho is there to put them in the discard pile.

AssortedNeedles 63

Great deck! Went 5-3 at Stahleck with it. A better player then me would have definitely made the cut :P

teamjimby 1788

@AssortedNeedlesAwesome! What cards were MVP for you? Any changes you'd make?

AssortedNeedles 63

MVP's were warrior's braid, Aggo, and Flea Bottom. There were a lot of summer plots being played by the opponents aswell, so Aggo was almost always turned on. I played with -1 Irri, -1 Waking the Dragon -1 begging brother for +1 Qotho and +2 Freedmen, which in the end I liked only so-so. I think I would go for fleabottom 3x . Won a couple of matches turn 2 or start turn 3.