|Card draw simulator|
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
|None. Self-made deck here.|
I was really undecided what to play after seeing the GenCon meta and obviously the release of Flea Bottom. I believed GJ Rains to probably be the best overall deck in the meta, but after playing some with Mutiny and seeing some NW/Wolf in action I was also thinking attrition decks would be very strong. I messed around with NW/Kraken and NW/Sun, but just couldn’t quite find the deck in those ideas (especially after doing a Collin at the King in the North tournament in MN about a month before Worlds.) I was really leaning GJ Rains (or maybe Fealty, despite underperforming with it in Indy over the summer), but as a break I decided to build a Targ FB deck, since I hadn’t played it in Targ yet. I like pushing my deck ideas to their limits, so I decided on running a minicurve deck and cramming as many 3 or less characters in as a could. Crossing seemed like the natural fit, both to reward the wide boards made possible by such low curves and to help enable me to actually win challenges. Some discussion of the important choices:
2x Heads on Spikes - Stolen straight from Yurop. As a rush deck, a potential 2 free power is hard to pass up. But taking a card out of your opponent’s hand turn 1 can be just as devastating. This played a big role in at least one of my games during worlds, in fact. As Nicolò Merusi said when we were talking decks Saturday morning, “Worst case it gets you a card. Medium case you kill somebody and get 2 power. Best case, it wins you the game.”
Winter Festival - 2 free power! Plus 5 gold, and the power not arriving until after challenges would make this my ideal opener. Unfortunately, most other decks open summer, so you usually can't.
Varys's Riddle - This was initially my flex spot, because I felt like I was really bad at hitting anything with it. But as I played more (and with some darn good players), I worked on predicting what plot my opponent would flip, and found myself getting some good use out of it. It's key in the Greyjoy matchup, as they try to offensively Valar and you can take them from keeping 3-4 characters down to 1-2, which is huge. Of course, both my losses to GJ I missed on that, but c’est la vie.
No Marched to the Wall - I don't like getting rid of my own guys, and if somebody sets up a single character against me I'm generally fine with that, especially if I see Drogo early.
No Daenerys Targaryen - yes, I'm running all 3 dragons, but she's too expensive for what I'm looking to do. To run her I'd either need a high gold plot or be content marshalling just her, which works totally counter to the deck. In the end I’d rather go fast.
No Aggo - he was 3x in my initial build I believe, but quickly got cut to 1x, and eventually removed totally. He has my favorite icon spread for crossing, but not running any summer plots (and no real desire to cut anything for one) makes it hard to justify the 5 gold.
No Black Walder - my last cut from the deck for a second Irri. Again he's hard to afford, meaning I basically need to spend a kingsroad on him, but I'd rather save them for Drogo or sometimes Begging Brother if I need to bestow him for the cancel. He's also mediocre unless it's the 3rd challenge, and usually I want that to be the power challenge.
3x Frey Lordling - this guy is an absolute rock star. 7 strength in a crossing challenge for 3 gold? And I can stand him with any card in my deck via Plaza, use Irri on him, or pop him in with Flea Bottom? Yes please. More or less the engine that makes the deck run.
2x Irri - originally just 1x, went up to 2 as my final change. 2 for 2 plus the potential to stand Drogo or the Lordling means she's a subtle workhorse.
2x Second Sons and 2x Wildling Scouts - the typical Flea Bottom suspects. They both enable repeated use and help with power gain (by turning on Superior Claim and helping get unopposed, respectively). Only 2x for each because you don't really want to see two copies most games.
1x Magister Illyrio - probably the card I'd cut from the deck. The problem is there wasn't really another int/pow that's more than 3 gold (First Snow wrecks the deck enough as is). Qotho is my first pick as a replacement, even without a pow.
2x Fire and Blood - helps tremendously against Valar, also helps going second as you can claim a Dragon for mil and then pop them in to make sure you hit all 3 challenges.
Round 1 - Matt Ley, Lanni Kraken - W I set up Khal Drogo, and combined with a T1 Heads on Spikes and a T2 Winter Festival he scoops plot phase T3 on my second Spikes at 13 power.
Round 2 - Jon Peters, GJ Rains - W He sets up a few intrigue/power icons, then doesn’t see a military icon the first 3 turns except for the King Balon I pulled for intrigue claim. Fire and Blood saves me against the Valar, and a T4 Clash closes it out.
Round 3 - Tagore, GJ Rains - L Again I set up a duped Khal Drogo, but a whiff on turn 1 Spikes lets him play both duped Core Balon and Asha on his Trading. I make a big mistake by flipping Riddle turn 2, thinking he might Valar. But he has no need to, since his board is still superior to mine and I’m not in danger of winning, so my Riddle harmlessly hits First Snow (my biggest weakness). I at least ambush in Quaithe, then claim the dupe off of Drogo to bait his Valar. Of course, since I already used my Riddle, I follow up by failing to Valar, and to make matters worse don’t see a dragon to go with my two Dracarys that could’ve been huge vs Asha.
Dinner Break - this was great timing for me, as it let me settle down after making a mistake I had talked about avoiding in testing. Getting out and cooling off was just what I needed.
Game 4 - Ryan Lenard, NW/Wolf - W This was a matchup I had been worried about. I knew there were a couple different good NW/Wolf decks from Wausau, the steal stuff version and the aggro version. When he set up a Crow Killers to go with Harrenhal and a Raven I figured it was the aggro version. Fortunately for me, because I set up duped Jorah (who hates the Recruiter), Lordling, Plaza, and a Kingsroad. Felt ok, but then after my redraw my hand was 2 Dracarys, 2 flea bottom, 1 kingsroad, 1 hands judgment, 1 reducer. Not great against an aggro deck. My Coppers turn 1 gets me a Rhaegal, but Meager + Retaliation means my board gets pretty small. Thankfully he takes 2 Flea Bottom for int claim when I had all 3 in my hand. The next turn I nightmares his Harrenhal to make sure I get Rhaegal out. I use one Dracarys on his int challenge, then stand him with Plaza to Drac Asha on the military challenge (another 2 claim plot). That lets me block it and not suffer the claim, and essentially turns the game around. We go back and forth, then turn 4 I’m able to drop in Drogo and use him in 2 challenges to get the win.
Game 5 - Chris Heinrich, Lanni Rains - L I set up Viserys, Jorah, a Lordling, and a Kingsroad vs his Red Cloaks, a Rattleshirt’s Raiders, and a Gold Road. My opening Spikes hits Tywin, so I'm hopeful I just won this game. Unfortunately for me, he also has Queen Cersei in hand, which lets him get off a Riddle to kill one of the 2 characters in my hand, and then picks the other for intrigue claim. That means I can’t Valar turn 2, which I likely would have if I had characters in my hand. He plays First Snow, and I make my second (well, third) big mistake of the tournament - he cancels Viserys’ trigger with Treachery to save his bodyguard on Cersei, and I just plain forget I have a Hand’s Judgment. The third turn his Supporting the Faith means I can’t use Flea Bottom, and Gold Road lets him Nightmares my bestowed Begging Brother to get his Cersei trigger and hit 15 power.
This sets me up for a win and in situation. I'm tense, because I feel like I've lost two winnable games due to bad mistakes.
Game 6 - Rob St. John, GJ Rains - W This game was greatly helped by the fact that I pulled 2 Risens and an Iron Mines from Spikes and intrigue claim, meaning he couldn’t really Valar without hurting himself at least as much as me. We go back and forth early, then turn 4 he plays Rise to my Spikes (which hits this time). I finally get a dragon, we trade Nightmares (his on Flea Bottom, mine on King Balon), I cancel one Scout trigger to force him to use Flea Bottom to push through the military challenge stealthing both my military icons. Dracarys on Asha means he can’t push through a power challenge, and I let the intrigue go to swing back with an unopposed Jorah intrigue to win with dom.
I have to take a minute and say that even though this was the game that decided which of us would go to the graduated cut, this was one of the most relaxed, friendly, and fun games I had all tournament. Rob is a super friendly guy, and I very much enjoyed played against him.
Game 7 - Jesse Carpenter, Hyper Viper - W Friday morning is the graduated cut, and I know I have to win both my games to have a shot. Unfortunately, not only am I matched up against a friend the first round, it’s also a Hyper Viper deck that I don’t have much experience against. In theory I should have a good matchup, but against somebody like Jesse who I know has played this deck a ton in preparation, I’m very worried. Turn 1 I hit 8 power, turn 2 I hit Hand’s Judgment with my Spikes, and also make a misplay by canceling a Nightmares to keep Jorah’s renown when I should have kept the Hand’s Judgment to protect my Superior Claim - I forgot about the power I’d get from winning dominance, and thought I would still be one short. Turn 3 my Spikes + Kingsroad lets me go first against his Annals + 2 Kingsroads, but I hit Varys to make it academic. He thinks he would have won otherwise, I think I could have closed it out. Fortunately for me, we didn’t get to test those theories.
Game 8 - Alejandro Pantoja, GJ Rains - L This was another win and in game (or at least, it should have been - unfortunately Alejandro was one of the two 6-2s that missed top 16). Despite my best efforts to get him to think of his fantasy team, though (apparently I was on it!), he decided to play it out. Turn 1 spikes hits King Balon, but he puts out Dagmer and a pair of Iron Mines and steals my Plaza. Turn 2 he has the Risen for the Dracarys on Asha (after I pulled one turn 1), which probably was the edge he needed to win the game. He also uses a Nightmares to avoid taking double military claim from Drogo. Turn 3 I feel like I have to Riddle because if he flips Valar and I don’t I lose. He makes the smarter play and plays Time of Plenty, putting out Beric. Turn 4 he Valars, I don’t draw enough to keep myself alive with all his renown and stealth, so he takes it.
Overall I was pretty happy with my performance, and very happy with the deck. It seems the meta-call I made was pretty spot on, given the performance of both Crossing and Targ during the tournament. It was also very interesting to see 3 Targ Crossing in the top 32 all with very different builds. Even more than all the great games, though, I had a blast getting to meet and hang out with so many people from the Thrones community, both from the US and abroad. A big shoutout to the Chicago meta, especially AJ Valle and Matt Clemens, for helping me test and refine my deck. Similarly shoutout to the Discord for being a great place to talk decks, cards, and various other things. My first Worlds experience was a fantastic one, and I’m already looking forward to hopefully attending next year!