(Nobody expects the) Dragon Inquisition [2nd place German GC

Card draw simulator
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Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
(Nobody expects the) Dragon Inquisition [2nd place German GC 2 2 0 1.0

mythras 712

Link to the tournament: https://thejoustingpavilion.com/tournaments/6927

When Knights of the Hollow Hill was released in April, I was immediately intrigued by it because there were some interesting decks with this agenda in the 1st edition. What this agenda does: You forgo your setup to start the game with two Refurbished Hulk and one Summer Sea Port in play that are immune to everything. The gold bonus is of course the most important part because it allows you to use plots with awesome effects but bad economy right off the bat without investing turns into building up your limited locations. After playing a lot of games with or against Greyjoy with Silence and Refurbished Hulks most people have probably realized how important even a small initiative bonus can be. Going first is actually necessary if you want to beat stuff like Euron Crow's Eye (KotI).

Another big advantage of not having a setup is, that you don't have to care about having a good setup when building the deck. You don't need a lot of limited cards or stuff like reducer chuds (like Targaryen Loyalist) and can play more impactful cards in general and especially events. That also means that every card in your hand has in average more impact on the game/is more valuable than your opponents. In topdeck-wars you should probably win in the long run.

Why Targaryen? When I first saw the prizes for Grand Championships, I decided to build a Targ deck for the German GC because I didn't have a Targ playmat so far. And besides that you have to catch up to your opponent during the first turns because you are starting without cards in play. With characters like Qotho, Missandei, Aegon Targaryen and some other stuff, Targaryen is probably the best faction to do that. Oh, and burning your opponent's characters is just fun. :)

Plot Choices

  • First the one plot that gives this deck its name: Unexpected Delay. In probably at least 90% of games this is the opener and the whole deck is build to (ab)using its effect. How it works in a perfect world: You win initiative first turn, because there are not a lot of openers with more than 2 initiative (and everyone is playing At the Gates anyways ...) and let your opponent go first. During your marshalling you don't marshall any characters. You either just keep your gold or put something into shadows, maybe put out a limited or a Plaza of Pride. When the challenge phase starts your opponent has to choose one of their characters for Unexpected Delay first, because he is the first player. After that you can choose another of their characters and both go back to the hand. Your opponents board will probably be pretty small by now an they won't be able to do any damage with their challenges because you have no characters in play that could die. When they pass their challenges to you, you ambush Drogon (IDP), get Qotho and Missandei into play, bring Aegon Targaryen or Shadowblack Assassin out of shadows and do some more damage to their board with a military and maybe Consuming Flames. A lot of times your opponent won't have any characters left or they have 1 big guy left (that was protected from Delay by a dupe or attachment), but that will be Marched to the Wall on the next turn. Of course you won't always have this perfect situation but you have solutions to most of the stuff your opponent can do to mitigate the damage Unexpected Delay does.
  • Next the attrition package: 2x Marched to the Wall, Blood of the Dragon, Valar Morghulis. These plots try to answer the stuff the typical deck is doing at the moment. Especially against Greyjoy you would probably like to play Marched to the Wall every turn but two are enough most of the times. Don't be afraid to March one of your decent characters to get rid of a threat on your opponent's side. With this deck you need to keep up the pressure and your opponent's board small. Marched can also help with protecting one of your important characters from Valar Morghulis.
  • Blood of the Dragon is the reason I have a near 100% win rate against Stark with this deck. It has so many targets there that Stark can't recover after Blood into Marched. Against other factions it will probably bring targets into the range of your other burn effects: Shadowblack Assassin is a lot better and A Dragon Is No Slave is deadly. Even if your opponent's Euron Crow's Eye (KotI) survived your Crown of Gold thanks to Risen from the Sea you can just follow up with Blood of the Dragon and kill the guy before Nothing Burns Like The Cold can remove the Crown.
  • I rarely have to actually play Valar Morghulis but the threat alone makes your military challenges more impactful when your opponent has to keep duplicates on important characters. I finished a lot of games just in time in turn 6 before I would have to nuke my own board with VM. Keep that in mind when you decide who to claim for your opponent's military challenges. Also: Remember that you will beat Stark's Heir to the Iron Throne on initiative and kill their lords or ladies before they find a duplicate.
  • I love Political Disaster in the GJ-infested meta we are in at the moment. Even better when you don't need locations for your own economy. Keeping one fueled Slaver's Bay Port is usually enough for everything you need to do in a turn. In all the games against GJ-Prince during this tournament my opponents didn't have any characters on the board at the end of turn 1, the follow up Disaster destroyed a lot of their economy and they could never recover their board. Even if you get just two limited locations it is worth it. You also probably destroy their initiative boni because they want to keep their Iron Gates for card draw later and you will always win initiative after that with Marched or You Win or You Die.
  • Last You Win Or You Die. This plot is not really a finisher in this deck but more of a pressure tool. I can't overstate how much pressure you can put on your opponent with a high gold, 2-claim plot when they are struggling to keep a board against your burn and military challenges anyways. What makes this plot even better in Knights of the Hollow Hill than usual is the +1 reserve you get from your agenda. You can just keep your most important card and will be able to keep up the tempo. Playing YWOYD turn 3 or even 2 is often the play correct in this deck, especially if you have Qotho in your hand to produce a lot of tempo with the extra cards in your hand. Just try not to lose the one important card you want to keep against your opponent's intrigue claim. ;)

Card Choices

  • the "Aegon-Package": Aegon Targaryen, Daario Naharis, Raiding Khalasar. Aegon gives you an pretty awesome tempo advantage if you can use him to fetch Daario and use him to his fullest. Why only 1 Aegon then? Getting Aegon cancelled by Drowned God Fanatic is really bad and I don't want to use more deck slots for a character that can be completly neutralized by a card that every deck of the dominant faction has three of. With only 1 Aegon it is also fine to just let him die after he has done his job. Raiding Khalasar is in there because you just need a power icon sometimes and Daario wouldn't give you that. And once in a blue moon you can use the Khalasar's ability to increase your claim.
  • Bloodriders: Besides Qotho and the Khalasar, we have Jhogo, Haggo because they have solid strength for their cost, have power icons and won't get hit by The First Snow of Winter. You can also do funny stuff with Haggo sometimes: Bring Qotho back to your hand or just get a more expensive card to stand stuff like Drogon or Khal Drogo with Plaza of Pride.
  • Burn: This deck packs all the usual burn stuff but the Shadowblack Assassin is a pretty new and cool addition. The reviewers were talking down this card but when I opened the pack with the Assassin I got really excited because he fits perfectly in here. It's another shadow-character with good strength for the cost and the icons that you want during the first turn. It's also another kill effect and it can extend the "reach" of all of your burn effects by one. You can now Dracarys! a strength-5-char and then kill it with an Assassin.
  • Unexpected Return: The second card that gives this deck its name. It really is unexpected by a lot of opponents. If you keep 6 gold into challenges, most will think of a Drogon flying in but Unexpected Return can do a lot of cool stuff: Returning Daenerys Targaryen (TFM), triggering her reaction, then Dracarys!, triggering her reaction again and burn a strength 6 target. Another one that I managed to pull off once: Military with Drogon (IDP), ditch Khal Drogo to Plaza of Pride to stand Drogon (IDP), Return the Khal and do another Mil with Drogon and Drogo together. Most opponents probably won't see that coming. You have a lot of ways to get characters into your discard pile and Unexpected Return is also the reason it is often okay to throw away characters like Drogon, Drogo or Dany for your discard effects.
  • Meereen: It is not easy to get card draw into your Targaryen deck when you are not playing attachments for Dragon Gates or Daenerys Targaryen (Core), so the restricted choice was always pretty clear for me. Most of the times it is correct to use Meereen during the challenge phase to find some burn (or at least let your opponent think you have burn) or Unexpected Return. Just be aware what is still left in your deck. It is almost always correct to you use Meereen even if you are only fishing for duplicates. The characters you have to discard can be brought back with Unexpected Return, Freedmen are probably free bodies at some point, A Dragon Is No Slave can be retrieved. And on top of that you should know your deck better than your opponent and you can get a better grasp of what you are most likely to draw next turn.


So, in my experience the mulligan decision can be difficult with this deck because you are not trying to get a decent setup but you have to think about what you need against your opponent's deck during the first turn. If you don't have one of following you should probably mulligan:

But Old Bill Bone, with Consuming Flames, Slaver's Bay Port can be enough. One of the limited locations is nice to have and will make the rest of the game easier but if you can't to anything during your first turn you will still probably lose even with money. If didn't find any of the above cards even after your mulligan, I think you should still trust the deck and open with Unexpected Delay. The chances are pretty high that you will draw something to do. Worst case you just marshal a Port, Meereen or Plaza and just look like you are ready to burn everything that kneels for a challenge. :D


  • Greyjoy The Prince that was Promised or similar decks: This matchup is probably at least slightly in your favor. If GJ has a perfect start and your Delay does not work well enough you are in trouble but if you manage a decent first turn into Political Disaster they will really struggle to rebuild a board. Just remember to always go first (which should be possible with Marched and YWOYD) to prevent your opponent from triggering their Iron Gates. Even if Victarion is out of reach for your burn, burn the stuff around him and just send him to the Wall. And prevent The Prince that was Promised at all costs. Your goal is to run them out of important characters with military, intrigue and your plots.
  • Stark Fealty or similar decks: Should be a win most of the time. Winterfell is rare these days and without it the Stark army is vulnerable to burn. Meera Reed, Bran Stark (Core), Rickon Stark all die to Blood of the Dragon. If they don't have any small bodies left Wyman Manderly is also struggling to get any value. Try to counter their Heir to the Iron Throne with Valar Morghulis or Blood of the Dragon, depending on the board situation.
  • Greyjoy Banner of the Sun (Drowned God): Difficult. If your opponent finds some Desert Raiders early, you are in for a bad time. You have to find a way to kill their Tarle the Thrice-Drowned. If your opponent is smart, they won't use him for any challenges so you have to Crown him or find some other way. Be aware that they are probably running His Viper Eyes. If you really want to tech against this deck, just replace Nightmares with Burning the Dead. :D
  • Lannister/Tyrell Kingdom of Shadows: Loss. I don't think there is more than a 15% chance you will win this. The only way I can see is getting out Khal Drogo with a dupe early and just try to rush it down. Use Political Disaster early before they gain any gold from Trade Routes. If you want to try to get a better matchup, slot in the third Hired Assassin, The Hand's Judgment to cancel Clever Feint and The Iron Bank Will Have Its Due. But I don't think it is worth trying ...

That should be enough for now. It is a lot of fun to have your opponent realize that you won't have a setup. Or the confused look on their face when they see your opening plot (some of them also won't read the attachment part of the plot ;)).

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.


Mats Wunderbar 1

Congratulations on your amazing run! I will give it a try. Greetings from Berlin

badass_bard 20

Thx for the write up and congratulations again on your great performance!

zack 126

This plot line and game plan is just amazing, thanks for sharing. Only things that puzzles me is the low amount of attachment hate (1x Viserys); is that enough? Frozen on Meereen would really be annoying, no? How about trading 1x Plaza of Pride with 1x Shadow of the East, and maybe do the same with 1x Nightmares?

adam_geek 462


Toaster 35

Great insightful write up and great deck, well done!

Toaster 35

Could you elaborate on the low amount of Attachment hate (zack asked about as well)?
Also do you think cards like Isle of Ravens (for recursion) or The Dragonpit (for even more reach) are usable in this deck?

I really like the Unexpected Delay opener and already tried to use it in some of my Knights of the Hollow Hill decks.

mythras 712

@zack @Toaster Yeah, there is not a lot of attachment hate in there mostly because Greyjoy usually plays no attachments. And negative attachments are rarely a problem because you can March your characters with Milk. Against Stark, don't dupe your Meereen or Plaza and if they freeze it, get rid of it with Political Disaster and replay another copy.

I would not add attachment hate to counter Stark, that is just not needed. If decks with more positive attachments get popular, best idea is probably to cut Nightmares for Shadow of the East.

The Dragonpit is really expensive to make it work. You need 5 gold (3 for the Pit and 2 for the shadow card that you have leave there for the Pit to work) and your opponent can disable it playing something into shadows. Too unreliable in this deck I think.

Toaster 35

@mythras Thanks for the quick reply makes absolute sense how the deck is set up :)

Are there any cards that you felt underwhelmed by?

mythras 712

@Toaster Hired Assassin never did anything. They were a last minute addition to have something against KoSh but I never faced those decks. In theory the Assassins are at least ok against Hagen's Daughter and Meera Reed but it just never happened. And Str 1 characters are dead cards during Blood of the Dragon.

Daario Naharis is also surprisingly bad most of the time. His react never does anything and 7 gold is expensive. A lot of times I end up discarding him for Flames or Qotho or Plaza instead of marshalling him. But he is still one of the best targets for Aegon so he should stay in.

Toaster 35

Interesting, I'd expect that the number of Kingdom of Shadows decks will increase, that agenda seems really strong.

zack 126

Thanks for your feedback ! About Assassing, unfortunately they don't do much against pure shadow decks, there are usually too many targets to pick something impactful. And I agree that they aren't great when you depend on Blood of the Dragon. I think that in this deck, thanks to Meereen, the upcoming Covert Loyalist will be great replacements for the assassins.

mak 308

Congrats @mythras

Alastair702 75

Any thoughts on the update to this deck in the light of Dragons from the East?

Dave007 1

Why is Unexpected Delay the better opener than First Snow Of Winter?