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|King of Swiss @ Dance With Dragons IV, 5th Place Overall||19||14||15||1.0|
|Hungarian WC Stark player : Stark - Knights||0||0||0||1.0|
Hello everyone, this is my first public decklist and I am posting it because I had my first success at a major tournament recently at the Dance of Dragons IV in Philly, PA on June 22nd, crowned the King of Swiss (5-0). I have lots of fun with this deck and I hope you will too!
I just edited a few cards since I originally published the deck. I removed Robb because his stand ability is not important due to lack of renown and high strength characters in the deck. I also reduced the # of Rooses down to 1 since he gets milked/nightmared too often! Also, citadel archivist is better in this deck than Isle of Ravens because of the fact that Political Disaster is in my plot deck; now I don't have to burn my discard pile manipulator when I play Political Disaster; also, Citadel Archivist can be used reliably by discarding it at the end of YWOYD, or by choosing it to discard with Marched. Finally, I added in 1x of White Harbor Watchmen due to the increased prevalence of Shadows decks and the fact that he can be marshalled for free with Bear Island Scout.
I came in 5th place at this tournament, losing only to the other Stark Hollow Hill deck, which placed 4th. https://thejoustingpavilion.com/tournaments/6779
When Knights of the Hollow Hill first came out, I thought it was bad and I passed it over thinking that its handicaps of no setup and no gold modifiers were entirely too debilitating. However, nothing excites me more than to revisit a card I initially thought was bad and finding ways to make it better, if not even good. The drawbacks of Hollow Hill are apparent, but if you can find a way to equalize your boardstate rather quickly, the boons of the agenda quickly allow you to snowball. That's exactly what this deck does.
So what is good about Hollow Hill? The +3 gold is an instant econ buff, so theoretically you can run fewer econ cards and run more impactful cards. For every econ card you cut, you are 2x likely to draw an impactful card (sounds right). This deck just runs 7 econ cards. The +2 initiative is amazing since it helps you win ties. Winning initiative is huge! Especially with this deck. The +1 reserve is very handy too. In all, the agenda pays for itself over the course of the game. The first couple rounds can be rocky, but if you play well you can control the game by round 2 or 3 and clinch it by round 4 or 5.
The goal of this deck is to keep your opponent's board empty (or hollow, as it were) by using all of the attrition tools at your disposal, backed up by a stealthy chud swarm to rack up points with unopposed challenges and continually chip away at whatever remains of your opponent's board or hand. Your goal is to jealously erase their setup advantage and overrun them with character removal. When you win with this deck it feels very dirty, but it's still a win :)
This deck includes most of the attrition tools available in Stark: Ramsey, Roose, Bolton Flayer, Ward, Harrenhal, Ice, Skagos (when used on Ramsey), WIC, all of which are compounded by the plots Marched to the Wall, Valar Dohaeris, and Political Disaster. After your Boltons do their dirty work, your cheap ladies clean up what remains: core Arya, Alysane, Meera, Summer to keep them alive, and any 3-cost chud that you've enchanted with I Am No One will put lots of pressure on whatever is left standing. Your standing army will survive and outlast whatever your opponent hits you back with thanks to your wide board and Summer.
Control the opening:
- Always look for Harrenhal or Ward in your starting hand, depending on your matchup - Ramsey is always a good 3rd option too.
- Ward isn't as good vs. NW and Targ (no attachment chars etc.) but it's very good against the other houses. When you have ward in hand, maybe go second.
- I recommend mulliganing Harrenhal away if you are up against GJ because you don't want to play it too soon/until after they've played We Take Westeros. When you have Harrenhal in hand, maybe go first.
- Be careful of opening with Ramsey vs. NW for fear of him being stolen by various means. When you have Ramsey in hand, use your judgement as to going first or second.
If you are smart about your opening hand vs what you are up against, you should be able to dictate the tempo of the match. I love watching my opponents squirm as they try to play around t1 Harrenhal, their hopes evaporating after I ward core Catelyn or Courtnay Penrose, or when I Ramsey + Skagos Ramsey their board on a Marched turn.
Opening plot is often Fallen from Favor if your opponent set up mostly locations and/or one or two lowly chuds. Don't waste your Marched on a lowly chud, UNLESS they set up a chud + a big character. They will think that they are safe, but they are not. As soon as there is a good target for your attrition to run down, apply the pressure. If you March their little away, you WILL win initiative, and you can follow up with Ramsey.
For draw, I like attacking with I Am No One; marshalling Umber Loyalist and being careful to blank them with Meera if I think they might leave play; and I like holding on to Maege until AFTER they play their reset and/or after I have played mine. She turns into a very safe, very effective draw engine in the later stage of the game where she is safe from reset, and the opponent's milks have been wasted on Alysane or discarded through intrigue claim.
-The secret sauce really is in the Mormont engine. She-bear is extremely cost-effective. Use your noggin to determine when to pull her with your scout, and what to drop with her (I call them bear drops). Dropping Umber loyalist with her is a very efficient way to draw and go wide with your board; I also like dropping Ice onto Alysane or Arya with her since they are the main warriors of the deck. Just be careful not to put Ice onto a character that you intend to also use I Am No One on - it will fall right off.
-If your opponent is also swarming, prioritize winning with Roose to try to mow them down a bit. Meera is Roose's best friend as she can stealth him into a challenge, trigger off his sacrifice, and shadow back into play for another stealth empowered challenge.
-Marshalling a low-cost chud like Bear Island Scout, then sacing it with Ramsey, then Skagos Ramsey to clear 2 of their characters at minimal cost.
-Keep Summer alive as he is probably your most important character, constantly reviving your ladies for the next turn after they fall in battle.
-Fun plays using Skagos and Ward to f*ck around with their characters (bonus points when done in the middle of challenges)
-No Surprises and then shredding their shadows cards with Jason Mallister.
-Not really a trick, but going first and throwing down Harrenhal. Guaranteed to make your opponent squirm and make you feel smug.
Room for Improvement?
I eventually lost at this tournament to another Stark Hollow Hill deck which was very interesting but did not perform as well as my deck did. This other deck went pure swarm and I opened with Harrenhal, waiting for his Wyman or Robb that never came, meanwhile his board went extremely wide and I was eventually overrun. An idea from his deck that I liked a lot was the inclusion of Lady Sansa's Maid to buff his warrior ladies. She would be a good addition to this deck if I wasn't running 3x Bolton Flayers. On average, there aren't many other 2g characters that would be let standing when Bolton Flayer triggers.
Alternative to Lady Sansa's Maid is Winterfell Castle. I don't want to go too heavy on locations since I am running Political Disaster, so I would swap Isle of Ravens out for Citadel Archivist, and put Winterfell Castle into this location slot.
I am also not sure if Robb is the best inclusion in this deck. Since my fighters are way more impactful on attack than they are on defense (due to stealth, not kneeling on attack re: Alysane and I Am No One), I don't think standing them is as high a priority. I would test swapping out 3x Robb for perhaps another Maege or Roose, or another She-Bear or perhaps something lower cost. I had many a game where Robb hung out in my hand all game because there were better options for me to spend my resources all game.
I hope you enjoyed my writeup and that none of my wisdom shared is considered too blasphemous (i.e. who the f*ck plays Harrenhal?!)