The Shadow Calling the Kettleblack - T4 Midwest Champs (7-1)

Card draw simulator
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Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
None yet.

teamjimby 1648

This is the list that I took to the Midwest Circuit Championships and made Top 4 and King of Swiss (7-1). I'd like to start by thanking Chris Thompson for hosting the tournament and the Midwest Championship Circuit. It was a great event. I also played the deck at Jesse's Name Day and went 4-3 after running into 2 unwinnable matchups. I'd like to give a big thank you and Happy Name Day to Jesse for that one.

This deck was more of a collaboration than most of my decks because it was developed from scratch for Jesse's Name Day. I'd like to give credit to Colt Humbert, Eric Swanson, and Scott Anderson for being the primary builders with me. I also appreciate the feedback from the rest of team Tyrell, Eric Greene, Collin Weir, CT, and others that I'm probably forgetting.


DECK ORIGINATION AND CONCEPT

House Tyrell has a lot of good tools for leveraging shadows cards. The Queen of Thorns (TMoW) and Oldtown Undercity are the most obvious, but their economy from The Arbor and Redwyne Straits straits may be their best tool due to the necessity for large piles of challenge phase gold. There are some fun Assault from the Shadows builds out of Tyrell, but in my experience, that agenda relies too heavily on The Queen of Thorns (TMoW) to generate value.

So, we started by looking at Banner of the Lion. There is an abundance of strong, non-loyal Lannister shadows cards headlined by Ser Robert Strong, Clever Feint, and the super efficient Penny. Tyrion Lannister (Core) is also quite appealing due to his gold generation. However, this deck really started to take shape when Colt suggested adding Ser Osmund Kettleblack, who turned into one of the best characters in the deck, as I'll describe below. We also looked at Banner of the Sun, but their shadows synergies weren't very good other than Starfall Spy.

This deck at it's heart is about attrition and setting up for big reset turns by investing into the future with cards like The Arbor, Osmund, or simply having more cards in shadows. We pretty much win the game when we can flip Valar Morghulis or The First Snow of Winter, still manage to kill/discard 3 characters, and finish the round with 3+ characters in play. Especially when we can follow it up with Political Disaster to kill their economy.


KEY CARDS

  • The Arbor and Redwyne Straits - I'm putting these two first because they are vitally important to the deck. Not only do they provide excellent economy, but the recent change to the FAQ that allows for duping of limited locations made them immensely better for leveraging Political Disaster.

  • Ser Robert Strong - Not much needs to be said about Bobby Swole, other than that he is an enormous threat. He is hyper-efficient if you are able to kill a 5-coster, and he can single-handedly win military challenges.

  • The Iron Bank Will Have Its Due - I would run 5x Iron Bank in this deck if I could. Not only does it provide surprise challenge phase gold for shadows shenanigans, but it lets us reuse the numerous "comes out of shadows" effects at our disposal. This is also great from clearing negative attachments like Milk of the Poppy or Craven.

  • Ser Osmund Kettleblack - Arguably the second most important character in the deck. The main thing about him is the ability to both invest in the future and to generate incredibly efficient interactions. His most obvious synergy is with House Florent Knight, especially on a First Snow turn, because we can discard a character mid challenge. He also synergizes amazingly with Ser Mark Mullendore as we can potentially spend 1 gold to both win a challenge and to put another card (like The Arbor or Ser Gregor Clegane) into play for free. Osmund is one of the best economy cards in our deck because, with The Iron Bank Will Have Its Due, he can turn 1 gold into 5 or more gold.

  • The Queen of Thorns (TMoW) - An obvious threat in any Tyrell shadows deck. She provides amazing economy when used with Ser Robert Strong or The Knight of Flowers (AtG). The stealth is also very handy for triggering Poisoned Coin, which may be the new best kill spell in the game.

  • Oldtown Undercity and Uppercity - This is the card draw engine that compliments our robust economy. Between Undercity and Scheming Septon, we can almost always guarantee a successful trigger on Oldtown. Undercity also allows us to setup profitable triggers with Ser Mark Mullendore.


PLOTS

  • Fallen from Favor - The default opener because we usually setup no characters. The dream setup is The Arbor or Redwyne Straits and 2 or 3 cards in shadows or locations, respectively. FFF gives great gold and allows us to go second. Usually we don't marshal any characters turn 1, which means that our opponent's military and power claim are both useless. FFF can also be good later in the game for setting up Flea Bottom targets, clearing negative attachments, avoiding resets, or getting Ser Robert Strong off the board so he can strike again.

  • Varys's Riddle - The alternate opener, which has become even better with the introduction of At the Gates. Riddle is great for those occasions where we do setup a character, because it also provides protection against Marched to the Wall.

  • Trading with the Pentoshi - Our high gold plot that allows us to play our economy or put several cards in shadows without losing too much tempo. It's great when we are planning to reset the following turn or on the same turn as our opponent's reset. This should virtually never be used as an opener.

  • Political Disaster - Tyrell can leverage PD better than anyone else right now. We have 5 unique locations that can all be duped. Which means that after a PD, we will often have a massive economy advantage in addition to keeping high-impact locations like Oldtown, Oldtown Undercity, and Flea Bottom. Just remember to trigger your Gate of the Gods before you lose them to PD.

  • The First Snow of Winter - This plot absolutely wins games. Particularly against Martell and Night's Watch, our opponent will often have 0 or 1 character left after First Snow. And most of our cheap characters can come into play in the challenges phase via shadows or ambush. Add in an extra kill or two and this often sets up a very juicy Marched to the Wall.

  • Marched to the Wall - As mentioned, this is a great plot after The First Snow of Winter. It's also a great opener, since we usually setup no characters. We can often position for a strong Marched by killing/bouncing a chud the previous round via House Florent Knight, Ser Robert Strong, or Catspaw.

  • Valar Morghulis - Valar can blow the game open, especially when we start the turn with several cards in shadows and have our economy base in play. Even with zero claim, we can often kill/discard several characters via HFK, Bobby Swole, Ser Mandon Moore, Varys (DitD), or Poisoned Coin. Bonus points if we see our Clever Feint the turn before to protect our board. A timely Poisoned Coin on a dupe the turn before can also help to wipe the board.


GENERAL STRATEGY

The ideal setup is The Arbor and Redwyne Straits and the rest of our gold spent on locations or cards in shadows. The deck needs a lot of gold to trigger its various effects, so mulligan any hand without econ. We can maybe keep a hand with Gate of the Gods if the rest of the hand is good. By setting up no characters, it makes Fallen from Favor and Marched to the Wall very strong openers. And if we can go second and have no characters in play at the start of marshalling, it makes our opponent's military challenge pointless (unless they are Sea of Blood, in which case look for Old Bill Bone, The Hand's Judgment, or Shrewd Diplomat to slow them down).

If our opponent's first turn marhsalling leaves them vulnerable to The First Snow of Winter or Valar Morghulis, we should consider just not putting any characters in play. If we setup the Arbor and open FFF, we have 10 gold to potentially play Redwyne Straits and put 4 cards into shadows. This leaves us with +5 gold and many weapons in shadows for a turn 2 reset. Usually we want to try to wipe their board with a reset on turn 2 or 3, then keep our foot on their throat with our numerous weapons and economic advantage. Usually we close the game via unopposed challenges or occasionally with some help from The Knight of Flowers (AtG).

If you are itching for some video content, I actually recorded a few games with the deck to help coach my team for Jesse's Name Day. They are with old versions of the deck and aren't necessarily the best games in the world, but you may still find them informative and you get to listen to my sultry voice (I recommend 2x speed).


FUN INTERACTIONS

As mentioned before, Ser Osmund Kettleblack has numerous synergies. Jump in a House Florent Knight and do a challenge, then bounce them back with The Iron Bank Will Have Its Due to use them the next turn. Even if we started the challenge phase with no gold, we now have 5 gold and can trigger Ser Robert Strong. Or do the same thing with Ser Gregor Clegane and net 7 gold. Or jump in Ser Mark Mullendore and trigger his ability before he leaves play. Or jump in The Knight of Flowers (AtG), then put him back into shadows via Clever Feint.

So many of the shenanigans in this deck come from generating challenge phase gold. With Flea Bottom and Scheming Septon, we can turn 1 gold into 2 gold and a card (plus another card and power if we have Oldtown). If our opponent flips Supporting the Faith, we can marshal a Scheming Septon, then trigger him and play The Bounty of Highgarden to get to the dreaded 5 gold that lets us trigger anything we need. With an Emissary of the Hightower, we can Flea Bottom her for 1, then use The Iron Bank Will Have Its Due or The Bounty of Highgarden to get 5+ gold. Gold Cloaks are also a fun card that we can profit from. Ambush them for 2 gold, win a challenge (noooobody expects Gold Cloaks!), then Bank them back to hand for a profit.

A lot of the Flea Bottom shenanigans can be setup by ambushing an Oldtown Informer and then discarding our ideal target. With all the cards coming out of shadows in this deck, the Informers will be triggering quite frequently.

Shrewd Diplomats can be quite effective. You can trigger them from shadows, ambush, or via Flea Bottom. Also, you can bring them out of shadows with The Queen of Thorns (TMoW) to stand her after you have won the challenge and get extra uses out of her.


MIDWEST CIRCUIT CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Round 1 vs Colt Humbert (Martell Qohor) - Of course my first game is against my King and co-deckbuilder. He knew what my resets were, but he still had no chance. I setup an Arbor and wiped his board early with First Snow, then wiped his locations with PD. Martell Qohor doesn't do much when I have no characters in play. At one point he hit my The Queen of Thorns (TMoW) with Milk of the Poppy and Beguiled, but I just returned he to hand via Iron Bank and used that 5 gold for other shenanigans. Win 1-0

  • Round 2 vs John Mowrer (Martell Sea of Blood) - I don't remember the details of this one, but it wasn't particularly close. Once again, Martell's attachments don't do much when there are no characters around in marshalling to put the attachments on. First Snow did work, Ser Robert Strong killed Darkstar (Km), and odds are one or two Desert Raiders got discarded by House Florent Knights. Win 2-0

  • Round 3 vs Tom McKenzie (NW Shadows) - Tom was playing a pretty janky builders deck. Normally this is a very favorable matchup because PD and First Snow hits builders hard, but it ended up being fairly close in part because I didn't setup any econ. I recall the turning point was when I bounced his Maester Aemon (Core) with a Catspaw, then hit the dupe on Halder with Poisoned Coin, returned my board to shadows with Clever Feint, and wiped his board with Valar Morghulis. Win 3-0

  • Round 4 vs Andrew Christian (GJ Crossing) - Andrew setup a reducer, econ, and Victarion Greyjoy (MoD). I had a decent setup and had The Hand's Judgment, so I opened Valar Morghulis to kill Vic. He played a few chuds, which I bounced turn 2 with The First Snow of Winter, then marched his Euron Crow's Eye (KotI) turn 3. He started gaining some power on Theon Greyjoy (TFoA) via Red Rain, but then I killed him with Varys (DitD). Win 4-0

  • Round 5 vs Nate Tarantelli (Martell Wars) - I was pretty sure Nate was playing Naval Superiority, which he was, but Naval isn't so effective when I setup The Arbor and was still able to play Redwyne Straits turn 1. The First Snow of Winter and Political Disaster were very effective and the game wasn't close. Win 5-0

  • Round 6 vs Daryl Webber (Targ Crossing) - I forget the details from this game because I was already in the cut, but I believe Daryl got up to ~10 power even though I was able to keep his board pretty small. I'm pretty sure I got off at least one good Poisoned Coin. Win 6-0, King of Swiss

  • Top 16 - BYE

  • Top 8 vs Gerry Crane (Stark Rose Qohor) - I had a good setup and Gerry setup only chuds with no econ, so I opened The First Snow of Winter into his Summer Harvest. He was able to play a Great Hall and duped Randyll Tarly, so I just setup econ/shadows and Marched turn 2. With his board wiped and my engine already in place, the game was pretty much over. Win

  • Top 4 vs Colt Humbert (Martell Qohor) - Once again, I had to play against the guy that knew my deck card-for-card. Unfortunately I didn't setup any econ and he saw his few First Snow-proof targets in Nymeria Sand (SoD) and Ser Archibald Yronwood. Since he knew all my resets, he played well to prevent me from being able to fully leverage any of them. After a close game he eventually won with me at ~10 power Loss


JESSE'S NAME DAY


CONCLUSION

Of all the decks I've made, this one might be the most fun to play just due to the sheer volume of synergies, decision points, and shenanigans at its disposal. Its ability to leverage Political Disaster is quite strong against many decks in the meta. It definitely has weaknesses, primarily against fast decks or multiple duped bigs, but generally I always feel like I have a fighting chance (let's ignore the GJ and Lanni games from Jesse's, shall we?).

Going forward, I expect this deck to only get stronger due to growing synergies with shadows and the kingsguard trait. I think this is a very strong starting template for the upcoming Kingdom of Shadows agenda, although you would have to lose Ser Osmund Kettleblack.

As always, I'm happy to answer questions. And let me know if you have suggestions or bring the deck to a tournament.

18 comments

Diomedes 1792

Hey Jim! :) I played this deck a bit with some changes (3x "The Last of the Giants" with Varys, Jaqen H'ghar, Rattleshirt and Mag the Mighty), and most games went like this: If I have The Arbor in setup, I win, if I have neither the Arbor nor Redwyne Straits, I struggle.

Beknirvana 184

I have seen this deck in action and it is so fun to watch. Thanks for posting!

teamjimby 1648

@DiomedesThose sounds like some fun changes! And yes, it is very econ-reliant. But the odds are like 80% of getting at least an Arbor or Straits, so usually it's fine.

@BeknirvanaI'm glad you like it!

Crabshack101 7

This deck look so fun!! I am gonna try it at a Late season SC this weekend. Do you only have the three videos or are there anymore i would love to see more play, before i get to run it tonight on iron throne

teamjimby 1648

@Crabshack101Unfortunately I only have the 3 videos. I think those videos plus the strategy discussion should get you in pretty good shape.

SpiriT 166

Brilliant deck, very smooth and fun gameplay. Would to slot in valar dohaeris too, but had to cut any of the plots

Benji 606

Hi,

Very interesting list, since it's the first time I see a Tyrell-Lannister list that is developed with the Shadow cycle. What i find interesting with this list is the fact that she plays with few cards in Shadows, because it tries to rapidly release them and benefit from their effect.

This is in contrary to the Martell-Lanni version, which tries to put many cards in Shadow and play with very few (this list has no interest in playing TIBWID, for example).

My concern is basically the fact that you need Arbor or Straits, otherwise you do not have the economical power to run your deck. So basically, there is one point of the top where you are fucked. Also, you do not explain how you pass the SoB matchup. You have been lucky on both tournaments to not face it with Stark/Greyjoy or even Targaryen, but for everything I know from Drowned God, this is pointless to hope saving your Nagga's Ribbs (if not protected by HwtRD).

What I dislike in facing this list is the No Play Experiment that it is. It was basically "Put Cards in Shadows, Reset, Political Disaster, Control the remaining cards, Score points alone with Oldtown + Septon and KoF, gg wp see you".

But at least it opens the ability to do something different with a different way to run the economic curve. So it's more interesting in theory than the enjoyment it is to play against.

teamjimby 1648

@BenjiThanks for the feedback. As mentioned, the deck does struggle if you don't see Arbor or Straits (or at least Gate of the Gods). Thankfully this is pretty rare if you hard mulligan for econ.

Regarding Sea of Blood, there are several answers. Old Bill Bone and Shrewd Diplomat can often shut it down for a turn. Ser Robert Strong can usually stop it by killing one attacker and then defending for 8 STR. Ser Osmund Kettleblack can also be effective by jumping in an HFK (or better yet, Ser Gregor Clegane) to stop it. That said, if they get a dream T1 (i.e. Euron w/ 2 Vinces) and put our Arbor to the torch, we're in bad shape. But that happens sometimes with any deck. I don't think this deck is more vulnerable to SoB than any other deck.

Regarding the "No Play Experiment," I think you misunderstand how the deck functions. It doesn't win off of passive power from Oldtown (this helps, but not enough to win). The deck wins by leveraging resets to wipe our opponent's board. The first turn or two can be off-putting when there are no characters in play, but the deck wins by having more characters and getting unopposed challenges.

I can understand why people might not enjoy playing against the deck. But that is just a function of the shadows mechanic in general. I think we will all need to learn how to play against decks like these, because they will only become more and more prevalent as the cycle continues.

Benji 606

Thanks for your explanations. I already had to face the SoB problem with Martell-Lanni, but this is very clear that with Shrewd Diplomat and Ser Osmund Kettleblack you reach a critical mass of SoB counter (I guess that Diplomat is enough by himself...

The "No Play Experiment" is more because Shadow decks have different behavorial profiles. The Lannister Kingdom of Shadows will be very agressive with Bowels, multiple Shadow leavings and come back with Clever Feint. The Martell-Lanni is "hard control" since you put a maximum of cards in Shadow thanks to The Shadow City and you rely on few of them at the right time.

So your type of behavior is not "general" to the Shadow thematic. In fact, your economic profile (Few loc, duped loc, big eco bonuses) is specific because you can do Political Disaster, something you cannot do with another house ( One may say : The economic profile of your House determines which kind of Shadow deck you play).

And thus the "NPE" : FSoW + political, I control the remaining ones, I score points alone with Oldtown / KoF.

teamjimby 1648

@BenjiInteresting perspective. I think I see what you're saying now. I don't fully agree that it is NPE, but I can see how the addition of PD makes this different from other shadows decks.

dahaka 21

Cool deck and really fun to play . Thanks for sharing! @DiomedesWhat did you cut to put all those cards? I want to try those changes .

Peterko220 1

Hi @teamjimby You wrote about changes in rules about duping limited locations, can you explain please ?

teamjimby 1648

@Peterko220 Until the recent FAQ, if you wanted to dupe a unique limited location (like The Arbor or Redwyne Straits), that counted as your limited card for the turn. It made duping these locations very cumbersome because it prevented you from playing any other econ. With the new FAQ, duping a limited location no longer counts as playing a limited card. So you can now dupe your Arbor and play The Bounty of Highgarden, for example, on the same turn. Note that this change doesn't apply to setup, so you still can't setup a duped Arbor.

This is very important against Sea of Blood and Greyjoy because it makes it easier to protect your crucial economy location. But it also makes it a lot easier to use Political Disaster offensively for the same reason.

Peterko220 1

Thank you very much @teamjimby Can you please send me link, where this editation is? i Can´t find it and my friends don´t believe me :D

teamjimby 1648

@Peterko220 You can find the most recent FAQ at www.fantasyflightgames.com

Just scroll down towards the bottom of that page and they have links to the rules and FAQ. The rule you are looking for is at the bottom of page 3 in red.

rbad_r 3

Hi Jim! I'm going to give this Devin spin over the next few days, would you make any changes with cards out of City of secrets (or whatever the last pack was called)? Nothing jumped out at me as inclusions from it myself.

rbad_r 3

Sorry typo devin=deck

teamjimby 1648

@rbad_rI haven't tried any of the new cards yet, but I would definitely take a look at The Regent's Guard as a 1x or 2x. They would synergize well will Ser Mandon Moore (to get extra uses) and Ser Osmund Kettleblack (since you can return characters you have jumped in or return Osmund to reload him). I'd also recommend going to 2x Mandon Moore, since he has been a beast.

To make room, I would look at cutting Gold Cloaks, Emissary of the Hightower, and/or Catspaw first.