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America 161


This is the deck I piloted to 4th place at Worlds 2017.

I drew a great deal of inspiration from the following lists:

I was really intrigued by this "Jumpman" (I'll refer to it as Lanni combo for the rest of this writeup) deck when I caught wind of it back in the summer. I was enamored by the Hyper Viper deck, but I felt it was too fragile given its "all in" nature. I really appreciated a deck that could get 15 power in one turn if it had to, but have the option to get there in two turns if needed.

After GenCon, I was pretty tilted by the meta. As a Lannister fanboy and the former Greatest Baratheon Player in the World(TM), the era of big guy decks was about to draw to a close. Warped attrition decks that slaughtered big guy decks were running rampant. My only real option for playing a big guy deck was to use Greyjoy, but I still have this terrible opinion of them as a house that has a lot of flash, but can't ever beat Lannister cards or a Tears of Lys.

I didn't really get to play much after GenCon due to work and family obligations, so I was on the hunt for a deck that I could get comfortable with and do so quickly so I wouldn't get totally wrecked at Worlds. I decided to play the Viper deck. Towards the end of September, my good buddy Brad Eier came over an we played a ton of games. It was here I started to fumble around with the Lanni combo deck in real life. I definitely botched a bunch of plays while Brad looked at me like I was a moron. Given that were headed to Atlanta for the Battle of Summerhall in early October, we wanted to narrow down possible deck choices for Worlds decks and figured it would be a good idea to take the decks that were in the running to Summerhall to test. Brad played Night's Watch/Wolf and I played the Lanni combo deck.

As you can see from the event standings, I did poorly:

My first two matchups were against Greyjoy meme decks that had Dagmer out on Turn 1 and had every answer to Nightmares to keep Dagmer from killing me and I ran into Barring the Gates both games. After going 0-2, I tried to rebound, but I couldn't beat a Catelyn Stark (WotN) sacrifice deck and lost on time to a big guy Tyrell deck piloted by Mean Mark Calloway. Here I am, trying to get ready for Worlds, and I can't even Top 8 an 18 man event. At this point, I was close to throwing the Lanni combo deck in the trash and resigning to becoming a beta Greyjoy player.

The next week, I was browsing looking for some inspiration and I saw my good old buddy Aaron Groth won an event in Germany with the Lanni combo deck. I sent him a message and we started chatting about the deck. I discussed why I thought it was terrible given the potential abundance of Greyjoy at Worlds, and he felt the deck had a good shot against a lot of stuff and may be under the radar of a lot of folks. We exchange various deck edits and even get on the phone to discuss some card choices and strategies with the deck.

About two weeks before Worlds, I still don't have a bunch of confidence in the Lanni combo deck. I'm doing what I can to figure out a list I can get comfortable with. I discuss various decks with some folks, and I end up brewing a Greyjoy The Lord of the Crossing deck with Jesse Carpenter, Chris and Jess Thompson, and Brad Eier that I felt was fast enough to hang with almost anything in the meta. On the Sunday before Worlds, Brad comes over for a playtest session and we hammer out tons of games and the Lanni combo deck is holding pretty strong. Also, the Greyjoy The Lord of the Crossing deck is doing well, but it feels too much like a glass cannon. After we end our playtest session, I have my Worlds deck choice narrowed down between two decks.

I get to Minneapolis on Wednesday and meet up with my good pal Jamie Abel. We rent the worst car ever manufactured (Kia Optima) and drive it over to the FFG Center to get some games in and chat with the folks. Eventually Day 1A ends and I start talking to some folks about decks. Once I disclose I'm probably going to play the Lanni combo, a number of people WHO SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS told me I should play something else because Lanni combo is garbage. I can't actually disagree with them given my performance at Summerhall. After getting some drinks at Joe Sensor's, I finally accept the fact I'm playing the Lanni combo deck at Worlds.

Playing a deck like this, which has a high degree of difficulty, also has some added benefits. Brad opined that if you are torn between two decks and deck is a combo deck, then you should choose the combo deck because you have more excuses when you lose. You're in a more sympathetic position when you claim you couldn't draw your combo pieces. So if I bombed out, I could just blame the deck and not more poor decision making/poor play skill.

Probably the greatest benefit to playing this deck, to me, is that it is a giant troll deck. It isn't trying to play the game as it was intended to be played, and this oftentimes tilts opponents. I figured people may be playing boring decks, so I decided to do a service to my fellow Thrones players at Worlds and play something unconventional.

Here are the games I played on Day 1(B):

Game 1: Loss - Collin's McMahon's Stark Fealty

He had Catelyn Stark (Core), Winterfell, Bran Stark (Core), Barring the Gates, and Last Hearth Scouts.

HFS was I tilted after this game. I felt like a total idiot for playing a deck that had so many hard counters.

Game 2: Win - Nate Collins's Targ Fealty

I think Nate didn't have a very good setup and I set up Taena Merryweather and filtered through my deck really fast. I believe I won on turn 2.

Game 3: Win - 2016 North American Continental Champion Chris Schoenthal's Lanni Rose deck

Oh cool, I get to play a friend! This matchup is a little weird because to get full use out of my Taena Merryweather, I have to give Chris's Cersei Lannister (LoCR) 3 power a turn. I give her about 5-6 power on turns 1 and 2, but luckily for me, Chris's deck isn't running super fast, so I was able to get everything in my discard pile for a giant turn 3 where I go from 0-15. Chris isn't the happiest after this game and pondered dropping, but I'm happy he stayed and rallied and made it to Day 2.

Game 4: Win - Myron Mychal's Stark Fealty

After a mulligan, I end up with Ser Gregor Clegane and Tourney Grounds on setup. I figured I could make him play his Marched to the Wall early so as to remove a high initiative plot early and also make him discard a 4 drop if he setup that and Winterfell. I believe he setup Sansa Stark (Core), Bran Stark (Core), and maybe Arya Stark (Core). I grab Counting Coppers and see this look of unease as he is selecting a plot. When we reveal, he shows his Valar Morghulis. I ended up winning on turn 3 after I gained a bunch of power on turn 2 with Cersei Lannister (LoCR) who was 16 strength and had intimidate thanks to "Lord Renly's Ride".

Myron wasn't a very happy camper after our game and said some pretty unpleasant things. He grabbed his cards in disgust and berated me for playing a deck full of events and Lannister characters. I was going to drop a, "U mad, bro?" but I figured that would be very sporting.

Game 6 - Loss - Sam Braatz's Dog Plot deck

This game was a grind. His board got pretty insane, so I played Valar Morghulis, but this was met with a A Time For Wolves and his board ended up getting pretty strong.

Towards the end, I thought I had a chance with Cersei, but she fell victim to Like Warm Rain and I didn't have a The Hand's Judgment, so that was the game.

I'm sitting at 3-2, need to win the last game to play the next day, and I just lost to Like Warm Rain. In this spot, I'm just hoping to avoid Greyjoy and Stark and I feel good about my chances.

Game 6: Win - Geoff Bergh's Targ Fealty

This game is pretty uneventful the first turn. I believe I get Taena Merryweather early and just spam events. Geoff build a pretty decent board and gets to 10 power by turn 2, but I have seeded my discard pile and I feel pretty good about going off on turn 3. On turn 3, I reveal The Annals of Castle Black and he reveals something with lower initiative. Due to his big board, I need to take some time determine the order of my challenges. After a long combat phase filled with me playing about 15 events, I get to 15 power. I say good game and go to shake his hand and he tells me that he's not shaking my hand.

I know getting eliminated sucks, but you can't allow yourself to get worked into a shoot by a meme deck.

I did it. I made Day 2 with a deck people thought were trash. Now I just need to go rest up for the next day so I can win the whole thing.

Due to my feud with Aaron Glazer, I challenged him to the Thrones grudge match as Worlds. Since he decided not to come, Sandy decided to step in on Glazer's behalf and challenged me to a heads up shots for plots game on Wednesday night. I rebuked that challenge and opted for a shotgun challenge. Luckily Chris Thompson intervened and rescheduled Thursday night's Jesse vs. Sandy joust shots for plots challenge into a melee adding Nick Hansen and me. Sandy, Jesse, and I were all set to play the next day while Nick made it onto everyone's fantasy team and played a Stark The Brotherhood Without Banners deck and didn't make it Day 2.

Things get degenerate pretty fast and I must be in for 10 shots of Tito's by the third plot. Somehow, someone allowed me to attack unopposed and that got me to 15 power and I won. While I was celebrating, the snakes I was playing against wanted to rewind my turn and whomever was Crown Regent wanted to redirect one of my attacks. Because I am a nice guy and didn't want the party to end, I allowed them to restart the game. Eventually, everyone starts cheating and Jesse ends up winning because he's the Sebulba of melee.

Then there is a drive into town, of which I don't remember much, and then Jamie drags me back into the hotel room so I don't sleep in the car.

After a short night, I feel miserable. Much like Donovan McNaab in XXXIX, I'm dry heaving and I'm a total mess. I get the FFG Center and I try to eat some breakfast, but it's not going down. I need to drink water, but I can't get it down. Eventually we get started with Day 2.

Round 7: Win - Lucas Sydlaske's Lanni Rose

This deck is very similar (if not the same) as the deck Schoenthal used in my game against him yesterday. Again, I give Cersei a ton of power via Taena. Syd builds up a giant board and gets Ser Jaime Lannister (Core) or Tywin Lannister (Core), Randyll Tarly, Margaery Tyrell (Core), and some other dudes out. But with no dupes or a Bodyguard, I pull off one of the most profitable Valar Morghulis of all time. I win the game the turn after the Valar Morghulis.

Round 8: Win - Chris Thompson's Martell Rose

Of course I have to play my good buddy CT in a win-and-in to Top 16. This just isn't fair. Rob St. John will post a video of this game, but it is the worst game of Thrones game of all time. I won simply because I setup Isle of Ravens. That was simply it. Sure, have my locations out that gain power didn't hurt, but Isle of Ravens put me over the top.

Thankfully strength of schedule reset. After the standings were announced, I was the 15th seed. I was pretty stoked. I had just made the top cut at Worlds with the trolliest of all decks. Now it was my opportunity to tell the Thrones community: Your time is up, my time is now.

I'm still hungover and it bad shape. During the break between Round 8 and the cut, I go sit at a table next to some guys discussing RuneWars strategy and I try to relax.

Top 16: Win - Adam Huang's Tyrell Rains

Adam is one of the most based dudes I met over the weekend. He's a really cool, funny guy. I was little worried about this matchup because most of his guys have intrigue icons. This game really turned on Adam at the beginning because I got Gregor out with Hear Me Roar! and I was able to pillage a Renly Baratheon (FFH), making him take the Bodyguard off the one he had on the table. This game went five plots because I had to Valar Morghulis at some point. Even though I cratered his board, he made it pretty difficult for me to get to 15 power on big The Annals of Castle Black turn. I didn't have all the pieces until midway though the conflict phase. I was lucky enough to pull my Superior Claim and that got me to 15.

Poor Adam. His deck was probably one of the strongest three in the cut, and he got a bad matchup. He was a terrific opponent and I hope run into him soon.

Top 8: Win - Neil Kimball's Targ Rains

Well, well, if it isn't the guy who ended my run 2015. Neil is a cool dude who did the Summer is Coming webcasts that I really enjoyed. Too bad Tiny Grimes became a dice thrower and shifted his focus onto Destiny. Neil's deck is pretty cool because I haven't seen "The Rains of Castamere" out of Targ. This game is pretty uneventful. I think I play "The Dornishman's Wife" three times my first turn. Come turn three, I'm full ready to get to 15, but there are tons of characters on his side. Between all of my Nightmares and The Hand's Judgment, I'm in good shape. It takes me about 5 minutes to play my events and figure out my challenge phase, but I sequence it right and end up with 15.

Neil was a great opponent. Congrats on your finish.

Well, things are getting serious. Throughout the day, my phone is going nuts with a bunch of messages. My wife Emily calls me and tell her to start looking into the possibility of coming to Minneapolis. Her and Brad have something in the works if I end up pulling it out.

Oddly enough, my terrible hangover subsided right before my Top 4 match. I take this as a bad sign.

Top 4: Loss - Eric Green's Greyjoy Rains

I was very lucky to dodge Greyjoy and Start in the cut, but it was my time to face the music. Being able to look at your opponent's deck list before the game was pretty neat, but I think I worked myself into a shoot by over analyzing his list. I saw the problematic cards in his decklist for me were:

We Do Not Sow x3 Dagmer Cleftjaw x2 Euron Crow's Eye x3 The Hand's Judgment x3 Nightmares x2 Barring the Gates

His setup was Euron Crow's Eye, Iron Islands Fishmonger, Sea Tower, and Iron Fleet Scout.

I see an exposed Euron with no dupe and he doesn't have a Bodyguard or Iron Mines. Euron gets his "The Rains of Castamere" going and he will eventually take all of my locations. So I get real aggressive here knowing that I can't win a long game against this deck, so I open with Valar Morghulis.

Unfortunately, he had a Risen from the Sea in his hand.


On his first turn, he pillages my Isle of Ravens and steals it and that's pretty much the game. I try to play some cards, but it's pretty futile.

In hindsight, I probably should have been more conservative, but I felt I needed to make a move to win the game early. His deck was filled with answers. I took a shot and I missed. No regrets.

What a whirlwind of a day! It was an exciting cut and I hit a Whammy. I don't think I made too many misplays over the weekend, and I left everything on table.

There are too many folks to identify individually, but special thanks to the following: My wife, Emily - thanks for allowing me to leave for five days and for taking care of Young Master while I was gone.

Brad - thanks for helping me get ready and for being my tag team partner in this goofy. I'm sure you will slay at Stahleck.

Chris and Jess Thompson - you guys are terrific pals. Thanks for all the discussions about Thrones and rasslin.

Jamie Abel - it's great when your card/life mentor reappears 15 years later to make another run at a card game. I'm looking forward to next year.

Jesse Carpenter - what a fine gentlemen! Best guy in the game. I appreciate you, man!

Sandy Barnabas - It's been hard to sell this feud with you because I like you so much. Always good to see Ohio guys doing well in life and at Thrones.

All of my opponents who showed poor sportsmanship - listen folks, losing sucks, but you don't have to be a shitlord about it. Also, the last thing you want to do is to make a Known Troll(TM) aware of your weakness.

FFG - I'm no fan of getting forced to go to Minnesota in November, but I think FFG does a great job with what they have. The Event Center is really nice and the food is solid. Could OP be better? For sure. But for an LCG, Worlds had some decent prizes.

Paul Steiner - thanks for volunteering to run all the AGOT events. You did a great job.

Folks from outside North America - thanks for making the haul to Minneapolis and for battling it out. It's a long journey, but I appreciate you coming.

Alex Black and Kevin Austin - thanks for taking me to the sushi place on Sunday.

Rob St. John – thanks for traveling with all of your equipment and doing all the work required to broadcast games.

Montreal guys – not all heroes wear capes.

I’m sure there are others I can’t immediately think of, so I will edit this as they come to mind.

I look forward to seeing everyone in the coming year.

James Booker


Atanas Keranov 291

Great run James! I really wanted to see you play in the finals! Also, thanks for mentioning my deck as an inspiration. :) Did you get to play Clash of Kings a lot? What would you consider changing after worlds?

America 161

`@at.keranov thanks for the kind words and for sharing your deck. Clash of Kings was in there for other decks playing Annals or for the Martell attrition matchup where you have to get all of your power over about 4-5 turns.

As for changes post House of Thorns, I don’t think the new set demands you switch any cards. Depending on your meta, you can drop a Treachery for something thar tickles your fancy.

Noogus 41

"Probably the greatest benefit to playing this deck, to me, is that it is a giant troll deck. It isn't trying to play the game as it was intended to be played, and this oftentimes tilts opponents"

Said enough for me about the author. This game does not people like that...

Noogus 41


iaan 17

Don't blame James, blame the designers. Its an absolutly legit choice to play a deck like this one in a competetive tournament.

Noogus 41

@iaan Its not about playing the deck, its about the fact he said he enjoyes to tilt other players and play Decks that are obviously NPEs.

Thats not the kind of player I want to face or want to be around in general.

As well I dont like Decks that have nothing to do with the fluff and are just mechanic exploiting. But thats personal taste

Saumur11689 1

Nice, keep spreading the cancer, then ppl will leave the game and you can play your cancer deck alone.

Atanas Keranov 291

@Noogus @Saumur11689 don't be so salty. I'm sure there will be a restricted list for joust soon and it will include Hear Me Roar! and Cersei Lannister (LoCR). What makes the designers include such cards in the restricted list is that there are people like James who are spreading cancer. When it spreads far and deep enough, the game designers will ban it and we all will be happy.

Noogus 41

Jeez, and again. I have no problem with the deck. I have a problem with people who get satisfaction by giving others a bad playfeeling. And thats what the author just said about himself. Those people are poison for the game and the community.

Zouavez 1

Did you really get so many poor sports? That's awful. There's no excuse not be respectful of your opponent.

Praetorian1011 43

Mate I take my hat off to him for even coming up with such a weird ass deck. Everyone plays by the same rules and sometimes playing a weird deck is a smart way to confound the best opponents. This deck would not have piloted itself, it clearly took skill. Haters are just jealous they didn't come up with it. I do agree though you shouldnt take joy in upsetting your opponents. That is not being a good sport.