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|Greyjoy Stag "Khorane Pain Train" finalist Blackwater ‘19||15||8||10||1.0|
This deck was piloted by Simon Armitage and George Ankers at UK Thrones WAR 2019, with a Top 32 and 4-3 score line. This version is what Simon used at the event (George's changes posted below), and was one of the few ideas we wanted to post and talk about, because as a team we knew we had access to a lot of obvious builds that would get us wins #oprestrict , but wanted to try and find some more creative takes on what you can use in Greyjoy.
Once the draft was done, we knew we were definitely going to be using some version of the GJ/Stag posted by Callum/Adam, and we didn't give it much thought for a while beyond switching out Iron Mines for DGF. Once we started discussing ideas like the Qohor, we realised the stag had good access to a collection of maesters to enable using Outwit without completely changing up what made the deck good originally.
Card Differences for George
-1 The Roseroad
Simon's Tourney Report
R1: Win vs Ross Sampson, Martell/Faith
My memory of this game is quite fuzzy as I was tired and hungover, and I’d never played against a Faith Militant deck before either!
The key plays that I can remember include using Great Kraken to dig for a big, then Euron’s intimidate leveraging it to generate power very quickly. That, plus a We Do Not Sow on Ghaston Grey then stealing it with We Take Westeros!, protecting my bigs.
Ross didn’t make it easy. When I tried to First Snow his board away, he flipped into Forgotten Plans, which I obviously wasn’t expecting!
R2: Win vs Dan Gallagher, Lanni/Kraken
I think I arguably won this game by flipping the wrong plot at the beginning of the game! Wamma has told us that we should always open At the Gates, and who am I to argue with James? So in my tired state, I flipped Barring the Gates, thinking it was its similarly named cousin… I tried not to tilt too much at this mistake, but this helpfully stopped any of the shadows attrition effects on the first turn.
I’d played Dan the night before at our flat, when he thoroughly trashed me, so I knew the kind of shadowy nonsense he was trying to pull off. With that in mind, I used Nightflyer to get rid of his Bowels of Casterly Rock, then stole it the next round. On the third round I Outwitted his Trade Routes, and at that point the game was in hand.
R3: Loss vs Franke Roders, Bara/Alliance
I’d never played Franke before - lovely guy, but it felt like he was playing on another level. His deck went so quickly, he won on turn 3. I was thinking I should Valar him on turn 3 but I didn’t, and it cost me the game. Awesome deck, just couldn’t stop the speed of it.
R4: Win vs Michael Durr, Tyrell/Rains
This was the closest game I had during the event. I honestly think I only won this game because Michael didn’t use his Begging Brothers to cancel Vince. But my memory of the game is a bit of a blur. Michael was a gent and conceded before time was called.
R5: Win vs Luiz Bretas, Stark/SoB
Going into this game I had the fear; I was expecting Luiz to beat me around the table. Luckily I managed to set up Khorane and a warship; this allowed me to keep Greatjon and King Robb knelt all game, along with his econ. By turn two I had Euron, Maiden’s Bane and Lyseni Galley out, which let me keep his board stealthed and intimidated.
R6: Win vs James Bamfield, Targ/Crossing
Again I managed to set up Khorane and a warship and used this to slow down his power gain as much as I could, focusing on trying to stop his third challenge going off. I was slowing him down but it wasn’t enough.
On turn 3 I flipped Valar to kill Drogo and Daario. Bambi saw it coming and flipped Trade Routesto refill his board with Selmy and a bunch of 1-3 costers including King Viserys - what a pain he is!
The next turn, though, Bambi flipped YWOYD into my First Snow. He didn’t marshal a single character, then had to return his whole board apart from Selmy. I knelt Selmy with Khorane and started to get as many unopposed challenges as I could, before at the end of the turn Bambi had to discard 11 cards.
Brutal. Sorry Bambi.
R7: Loss vs James Parsons, NW/SoB
The first couple of turns, I managed to keep Jamie’s Blood triggers from going off through the use of Khorane plus a Vincing his Yoren. On my third turn, with a handful of saves, I went to reset the board with a Valar but Jamie saw it coming and flipped the Bloody Flux, causing me to kill my Asha, Balon and Khorane. From there, he got Sea of Blood off every turn, each time using Bound to the Wall. He took Euron and then Victarion in consecutive rounds - that was enough for me! Jamie played a good game to finish an amazing day of 7 wins.
Play in: Loss vs Ben Cotton, Targ/HRD
I had never played Ben before and only really know him by the legend of him always opening with Naval. But George had prepped me and told me that I didn’t need to worry about that, and just to make sure I could set up some Iron Fleet Scouts and Warhammers for the much needed strength boasts. Unfortunately I didn’t see them. But I went ahead and controlled Ben’s board as much as possible, through the use of Barring and Outwit, taking a 7-power lead. But Ben bided his time and eventually burned Euron to the ground, and from there he just killed my board and pulled the game back. I think the game went to plot 9, but really it was over by turn 6.
George's Tourney Report
R1: Win vs Caitlin Woods, Martell/Kingdom
Martell is comfortably this deck's most positive matchup, and Martell/Kingdom perhaps specifically so, especially as it ran cards in the WAR format that it wouldn't against a typically Greyjoy-heavy standard meta. (Specifically, the LotG Varys that I Vinced on round 1. Sorry, Caitlin.)
I kept Starfall and Flea Bottom locked down near-permanently with Vic, Khorane and Barring, and fished out all three Vinces to deal with the nastier triggers. Most of the time in this matchup, this deck just flips At the Gates -> Barring -> Outwit and that wins the game, as post-Barring the Martell player almost always has to flip either a reset or Trade Routes - cancel either of those in those circumstances and they are broken. I stuck to this plan, but the cancelled Varys led Caitlin to Valar round 2 even though I only lost Gorold and a chud or two, with Vic sticking around. Then I just carried on as if nothing had happened, and even though Archibald made the attrition start to bite towards the end of the game, I had too much of a headstart.
R2: Win vs Liam Sewell, Lanni/Blood
Having tested against other Blood decks I was pretty sure I needed to find Victarion fast in order to fend off early triggers that would start the snowball rolling. And I did find him, from setup, plus multiple boats. I won the round-one military outright and from there I was pretty much set.
Even when some liberal use of Treachery left me with Vic and Gorold (my only two characters of note) knelt, plus all of my boats knelt, I got to enjoy whittling Liam's four-character board to one. A Vince forced him to trigger two Painted Dogs in order to stand Gunthor for winning an intrigue, then Nightflyer on Gold Mine stood both Gorold and Victarion out of nowhere to kill that Gunthor and win unopposed power. I was able to close around round 4 without too much trouble.
R3: Win vs Callum Gillespie, Bara/Alliance
This one was recorded for the White Walkers so I won't go into detail, but it was an interesting one because the original Stag list was Callum's creation while I also knew his deck pretty well (however, he didn't know we'd added Outwit to the Stag). I mulliganed into a setup of just Khorane and Vince and thought I was screwed, but the deck forced its way back into contention. It's worth watching when the video gets posted as it's a great example of the deck doing well.
R4: Loss vs Andreas Aldrin, Tyrell/Kingdom
This was a fantastic game that I wish had been recorded! I mulliganed into setting up Pylos and Kerwin plus locations, then after redraw the only characters in my hand were more Maesters, so I had no choice but to heavily telegraph that I was probably running Outwit; of course, Buzz picked up on this immediately. This made plot choices very interesting! I got Euron round 2 to start making some headway and was able to build up a slight lead while Buzz curated his hand with Guile and Undercity. I took care to oppose as many challenges as I could, expecting Poisoned Coins, but when one got through on Euron I had to play two Risens to beat his Hand's Judgment. This felt safe enough if I could call his Valar to Outwit it, knowing I'd likely be pinning my own in this matchup. Around this time Buzz pulled Great Kraken for intrigue claim just before I was planning to Silence it into play. It hurt badly because I knew I was going to have to spend the next couple of rounds on things like Barring and Outwit before I could fish it back out of my discard pile, and I really wanted the acceleration as I hadn't yet found any renown to get extra profit from my superior board.
After a good Barring hit into his First Snow that bought me a lot of breathing room, I successfully cancelled his Valar. But I had to use most of my Vinces on things like Shadow Priestess, which meant that I couldn't cancel the repeated Sparrows who were keeping me out of closing distance. This meant that we did reach plot 7, so I had to damagingly Valar myself and at that point Buzz was set up to keep the win out of my reach at the time call. Such a great game that I was alright with losing. The GK intrigue pull was influential but probably would have needed a Raiding Longship as well or a renown character to have changed the result, and Buzz played excellently as he did all day.
R5: Loss vs Dustan Archer, Stark/Dragon
Delighted as I was to get the chance to play against Dustan, the matchup was a complete non-starter. Dustan's deck was all about Wolf King and Queensguard on big beefy Stark characters, and my intimidate/Khorane-focused deck never really had a shot of keeping it down. I Valared away Fast Eddie round 2, knowing he'd obliterate me quickly, but Robb came down straight afterwards and bossed the game to a straightforward win. I did enjoy the look on Dustan's face when I Outwitted his A City Besieged, though.
So at this point I was 3-2, but both of my losses were 5-0. Fair enough.
R6: Win vs Ben Cotton, Targ/HRD (Dragonpit)
If you've never played a game with Ben, you should. He's one of my very favourite opponents. Unfortunately this was a bit of a stomping. My mulligan was a Hulk, Galley, IFS, a Faithful, and a Fishmonger holding a Warhammer. That last part doesn't look impressive but it was particularly important as it meant that my chud could survive Blood + Dragonpit to provide insurance against Marched to the Wall. I dropped Euron early and studiously protected him with the boats, and Ben couldn't assemble the right combination of money and standing dragons to kill him off. With Euron safe, the intimidate was very valuable against a small board. Barring into First Snow prevented Ben from ambushing Drogon at a key moment, and he was never able to safely play him again. Soon afterwards, I got out Asha and began repeatedly searching for the Vinces that I needed to kill off any late attempts at resistance, with Maiden's Bane letting her run rampant.
R7: Loss vs Mira Byrd, NW/Wolf
Well, this one sucked. Our team's estimation of the NW matchup was that we'd be favoured against the defence decks, but that the recruiter/attrition games were crapshoots based on whether or not the opponents got big swings early or if we drew key cards. Not the vibe you want for a win-and-in.
In the first round, Mira Queenscrowned and Walled Asha, who I considered likely the most important card in my deck for the matchup. This was then followed by Khorane getting Milked, a setup Murder Arya preventing me from trying to line up a strong Valar, and then Victarion getting Bound a couple of rounds later. I don't think there was anything that I could have done. So that was a bit of a kick in the teeth - that said, thanks to Mira as she was a very pleasant opponent and we had a fun time regardless of the one-sidedness.