Mooooooooooooore Mandon pliz!!! 2x Top 16 @LSF

Card draw simulator
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Nimer 2757

Hi everyone! This is the deck me and Valerio Catellani builded and played at Late Summer Feast:

We both made the cut with 6-1 but lost in top 16 at time, against the two finalists. Sad cause we could potentially face each other in an hypothetical final game T_T.

Me and Valerio started working on kingdom of shadows decks really early, as soon as the agenda was available for "casual play only" on the ironthrone. We started with Lannister, continued with Tyrell and Targaryen, and switched to Lanister again before the tournament, cause we decided that we wanted to play our favourite faction.

The main thing we understood about KoS decks is that the choice of non unique characters can change the purpose of the deck completely: people tend to think that there are some "better" non-loyal cards than others and that all of them are autoinclusive, but I think that this is a huge mistake.

The perfect example is starfall spy for this particular build, but I will talk about this later.

This deck is totally focused on chocking the opponent: you need to keep hitting their hand while your attrition tools get rid of their board.

To do so, you need to play with all the action windows of all phases, which is something I really love: trade routes, golden tooth, bowels and the agenda are the cards that enable you all those tricks and it's absolutely wonderful in my opinion.

So let's start to see all the mechanics in detail.

Hand control: The most crucial card of the whole deck is probably Nightime Marauders. Having Mandon and cersei as an "enabler", and tools to use them more than once in the same phase, they allow you to stop opponents threats before they can even hit the table. Using them every turn in draw to try to get rid of the characters that would hurt you more, or simply to discard 2-3 cards to empty their hand in the challenge phase with cersei is usually the path for victory: preventing summer, desert raiders, big dudes in gj can win you the game, as well as getting rid of a no surprises, a secret schemes or a risen. The other important thing is hand knowledge: you know if your shadows cards will hit or not, which means you won't invest all your resources on a trigger that will be canceled, unless it's exactly what do you want. Marauders though are of course not very good by themselves: Cersei and Mandon Moore early game are the cards that make them so useful since the very beginning, for obvious reasons.

Attrition: First snow Valar Marched to the wall Bolton flayer Mandon moore Robert strong Poisoned coin Varys

All these cards need no further explanation: of course robert, mandon and varys are more lethal with shadows recursion, but we will see this later. Last, but not least, kings landing assassins: I think this is probably on of the choices that distinguishes the deck, and personally my favourite card.

Draw: All the draw comes from locations. Bowels, goldmine and lion gates provide resources and draw, which is awesome because you save a lot of slots. With multiple copies of key cards gold mine are fine, even without recursion from the discard pile.

Recursion: This deck has some triggers that are game winning against certain matchups, and the goal here is to focus on multiple trigger of those effects: clever feint is perfect for that, but once you have enough gold (trade routes usually) castle guard and regents guards become crucial. Multiple Hired assassins can easily win a mirror, while a turn discarding 6 cards with cersei is gamewinning against control (she resets her limit if she goes back to shadows).

Faction kneel: 3 bank and 3 clever feint may seem strange but in the end we decided we needed both. The deck needs tempo in the beginning and value in the late game: iron bank helps a lot in the aggressive turns, clever feint protects you from your own resets and help you gain that additional triggers that will allow you to hit with the final blow. Having both is amazing, and remember that you can use clever feint in standing even if you used the bank in the challenge phase.

Why not?: Starfall spy, pinch, shrewed diplomats are probably the cards you would expect to see in this list, followed by Jon Connington, penny and hagen daughter.

All of them were not enough impactful: they are of course very good cards, but we felt like they didn’t fit in the build. Pinch was hard to trigger so we preferred poison coin, even if its a one shot.

The spy has few cards on which he would cheat economy, and many of those need some specific conditions to be worth bringin out (see robert strong). We also didn’t need that extra challenge cause you either spend turn on defense or you start making uo on an empty board, so there was no time during the game where they prove to be useful. Same for connington: the extra body rarely was useful. Most of the times he was only someone to protect from dying for claim.

Warning: this deck is really complicated to play and also is tuned towards a very focused playstyle. It may not fit yours. Of course we are not claiming this is the best Lannister shadows deck possible: I think there are a lot of possible builds with a different focus and win conditions. That said, this build is absolutely awesome in doing what it is meant to do. :P

Second warning: this deck has no answers to barring the gates + king plot. We feel like it would lose too much potential to try to counter them, and that competitive decks shouldn’t play more than 1 or 2 of those plots because they would make them worse against the real top tier decks we all know. That said, you can adapt and leave more characters out of shadows if you are expecting those plots: that is absolutely the best counter and the only one viable option in our opinion.

Last but not least, I want to thank the two Francesco and Aureliano for helping in testing the deck and to be brave enough to bring the deck to the tournament despite not having enough time to test it properly. Unfortunately they did worse than us but at least they had a lot of fun and played an interesting deck.

Moreover, a special thank goes to Benji for sharing his thoughts about shadows builds with me and showing me a different point of view on some cards, and to Martin and Andras for helping a lot during the development of both this and the Tyrell deck.




Manfre 478

Ho montato il mazzo... cambiando qualche carta l'ho migliorato!

Reader 292

Awesome build buddy. It was a pleasure contributing and running this at a different event on the same day. I believe this is just the starting block for this build and for Kingdom of Shadows. I have tweaks/improvements in mind already. But lets see how the meta approaches this... should be interesting.

Nimer 2757

LoooooL. Domani miglioro il tuo! :)))

Elnor 15

@Nimer Great deck for a great house!! A few questions:

1) Is Close Call that essential to this build?

2) Also, do you usually find the resources to start discarding and attrition from the first round, or is it a put-cards-in-shadows, everything-uo first round?

3) No The Hand's Judgment for No Surprises or gj location hate?


Nimer 2757

Hi @Elnor and thanks. 1) nope. It clearly is the seventh plot. Still, among all possibilities, it was the one we wanted to bring at this event. The main reason is we wanted to feel "free" of flipping valar after we emptied their hand even if we had an important piece on the board. Sometimes bringing them out in marshalling to dupe them is inefficient, and also a valar with less dupes on your side is less predictable. 2) if you can, you invest everything turn one on economy and the most important shadows in the matchup. You let uo challenges than usually bring out a flayer after their mil. Sometimes you cant tho so you need to waste something like a bank or play one less location to oppose some challenges. It really depends kn the situation and their threats.

3) there is absolutely no space for hj imo. The goal here is to prevent rather than react. You can be hit by an early we do not saw or no surprises, but once one hits their discard (or another one cost does) you can "check" the one cost every turn in draw with marauders.

Nimer 2757

One important thing I didn't explain: How do you use shadows in plot and draw? During the trade routes turn its easy of course. The other turns tou can do that with taxation triggers: in taxation you can use gokden tooth to get 1/3 gold, or bring an underhanded method out to gain 2 gold. It will stack with the agenda discount so you do mandon in plot or marauders in draw. The other option is the iron bank. ;)

Elnor 15

@Nimernice! Let's see how the meta shapes up in response!

YuleOoze 234

poor game... rip thrones...

YuleOoze 234

@Nimer Congrats on your performance anyway, buddy!

Lannister 563

Hi mate, good job! What conclusions did u extract from your testing with Tyrell? I'm on it at the moment.

Nimer 2757

@Lannister the question is a lot generic... :P It really depends on what you want your build to do.

celric 414

Is Underhanded Methods more about 0g triggers for Bowels of Casterly Rock in any phase or having KoF get huge and blow people out, or something else?

Nimer 2757

@celricthat and be able to oppose against raiding longship... :P

Don Drogo 1

very nice deck, i like the style !

just one question how do you use castle guard in that deck ? is he that important or would you swap him ?

Nimer 2757

Hi @Don Drogo! Yeah it's very important in the trade routes turns to repeat the same triggers: multiple mandon moore, cersei, marauders, priestess or hired assassin can win the game. Usually the second marauder, after seeing the hand, is gamechanging.

Prevail 1

Great list!

What do you mulligan for? Do you prefer seeing econ + bowels or shadow characters that are good in the matchup you're playing?

Nimer 2757

Hi @Prevail, thank you. Econ is crucial, you need to setup at least one economy location, but there are plenty of them. Bowels is also a key card but it may be dangerous to setup it against certain decks. I think good shadows for the matchup is what matters most: underhanded against gj, cersei against control, assassin against other shadows decks etc...

Toaster 35

First of all thanks for sharing this wonderful deck, finally a more brainy deck after all these and bombs :)

@NimerIn my attempts to build and test the new and wonderful Kingdom of Shadows agenda I felt like Varys (DitD) almost never did anything or felt unnecessary. What are your thoughts on him?

Nimer 2757

Hi @Toaster! Varys is at worse a cheap stealth after a clever feint. But it has a lot of potential. He's good against fatties with renown, he's good if you discard it with goldmine (a good player will probably think u have another one in shadows and could decide not to take some renown), he's crucial against drowned god decks. I wouldn't play less than 2 to be honest.

PorcoRouxo 33

Hi Nimer !

First of all, congratz for this insteresting build and the performance at LSF ! It's cool to see different ways to play lannister shadow decks.

Although, instead of all the cards you explained why you didn't put them in the deck, I was a lot more expecting you talking about Catspaw there than the other ones : it's very good for attrition, a bit expensive but clutch against big dudes (and you have the economy for it with trade routes as restricted), and very good as well with that much hand control such as cersei/marauders (especially after destroying the opponent's hand... you can just trigger cersei after catspaw for a lot more fun ! :P )

Can you tell me a bit more about your thoughts on it ?

audioslavexxx 121

I think it was the best deck of LSF. @Nimer, @Valli sorry for my performance :)

Nimer 2757

Hi @PorcoRouxo and thanks! The main problem about catspaw is that, among all the attrition tools, it is like 4 times more expensive. Since the deck is already redundant on attrition, we did prefer to use the remaining slots for tempo plays like Shadow Priestess which can give you some time early game.

Catspaw is a late game card and the deck is full of them. I prefer to have a castle guard which can repeat a mandon for 6 (catspaw on a 6 coster costs 8) leaving a better body on the board and allowing multiple challenges. Moreover, castle guard is also good to use other cards multiple time.

So yeah, the main problems about catspaw are slots and cost.

Nimer 2757

Eheheheh thanks @audioslavexxx!!! Nothing to be sorry about, you had no time to test. I'm sure this deck still has a lot to say... ;)

Toaster 35

@NimerDoes the The Regent's Guard usually work out with only 9 targets available?

Nimer 2757

Well, those 9 are important targets. Sometimes they remain in shadows or you discard them with goldmine, but they are useful to remove negative attachments or use them again. The bara guard is better but only works if you bring them out during the same phase, so we decided for 2 + 2. Proportions may change with the new Tyrion.

Lannister 563

Two questions: -Did u ever miss a claim 2 plot? Such as retaliation? -Are u still happy w carrying x3 KOF? Perhaps x1 or x2?

Nimer 2757

@Lannisternah I don't feel like the deck needs a claim 2. Kof is there because of time limit, but I think that we can remove some copies. He's the number 1 candidate to make space for Tyrion. ;)

Lannister 563

Ive been playing around with it and or i never find the right time to play him or the copies annoy me

Toaster 35

KoF is amazing once your economy is set up and your shadows area is full.
But the duplicates are a bit annoying to deal with.

@NimerDo you usually marshal KoF or play him from shadows and attach duplicates later?

Nimer 2757

@Toasterhe costs the same (5+1 or 7) so I doesn't matter that much, unless u have bowels and you definetly want to pass through the shadows area.

samsara03 1

Thank you @Nimerfor sharing such a tricky deck. Have been playing this deck for a little while, and I always feel short at eco if the Bowels of Casterly Rock doesn't show up. Secondly, it seems like a pretty challenging match-up with Tyrell KoS. At the end of the day, tho being less aggressive then this deck, they usually get more eco & recursion hence better tempo. Any insights with this two? Appreciated!

Nimer 2757

Hi @samsara03. Besides assassins who can decide a shadows mirror (and that is true despite one deck being better than the other) I think Tyrell is better in draw and resiliency against location control, but the Lannister has a better matchup in general. The Lannister deck is more concrete: Tyrell KoSh usually relies on winning challenges to be able to bring cards out from shadows; that's a big part of their economy. Lannister doesn't need that: all the shadows have en effect when they come out. So your focus should be on two things: 1) don't make them win challenges. You have methods and Tunnels which will make it impossible for them to win a 1 vs 1 challenge, even if they have Guile. 2) get rid of the guile. As soon as you can, kill the character with the guile and try to discard it from their hand. The guile is literally the only card that can give them an advantage over you. Stop it and you are done. Again, their recursion passes through challenges and most of the character they want to have recursion on are targets for robert strong. Clever feint is less repeatable but it's more effective.

PhoenixInferno 15

Hey @Nimer, how do you feel about Pyromancer's Cache? Seems like a great tool vs The Wall or Silence or any other silly location. Too expensive, not effective enough, or just no slots?

Nimer 2757

@PhoenixInferno to be honest, all of that. I really don't like that card, and I also don't struggle too much against locations. Once their hand and board are empty, there's not much locations can do... :D

samsara03 1

Thanks a lot! That's so inspirational. Got to try this one.