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|Q'hllor: How to beat GJ Prince - German Grand Champ (8-1)||63||39||13||1.0|
NOTE - This list contains the wrong Robert. I used Fast Bob from LMHR not Chef Bob from FOTS. Unfortunately I can't edit the list once it has been published.
I took Bara Qohor to two successive 2nd place finishes at the Victorian Prime Championship and the Australian Grand Championship.
This is a deck I've been tweaking and playing over the past three months. I certainly didn't create it; that honour goes to the German mastermind Hanno Lünser. When he released his first Bara Qohor list in August, I contacted Hanno to discuss it. I was enamoured with the idea of Bara rush after playing Bara control almost non-stop for the past four years.
I took Hanno's original list to local games nights and monthly events, as well as practicing with it online. Over time, I made edits to the deck, most of which were discussed with Hanno in-depth. Some of the edits were Hanno's idea (for example, adding Return to the Fields and The Iron Throne). Other edits were my own (such as adding a Disputed Claim and going down to one Hunting Accident following Euron's restriction).
This long period of practice and discussion was critical to learning the deck inside out. I had previously never seriously played with the Trading With Qohor agenda, so learning when and how to use it, including effectively 'chaining' attachments to get maximum tempo effectiveness out of them was important. The deck might look simple, but looks are deceiving. It's certainly not a brain dead "turn big dudes sideways" deck.
Over the course of this report and summary, I'm going to be referring to two different versions of Hanno's Bara Qohor. They can be found here:
How to beat GJ Prince - https://thronesdb.com/decklist/view/13183/how-to-beat-gj-prince-german-grand-champ-8-1-1.0
Q'hllor 2: Return of the Kings - https://thronesdb.com/decklist/view/13447/q-hllor-2-return-of-the-kings-polish-grand-champ-8-1-2.0
THE DECK ITSELF
If you want to know the intricacies of how the deck works, you're better off checking out Hanno's explanations when he posted his two versions of the deck.
A simple summary is that the deck uses Qohor to simultaneously control the opponent's problem characters while kitting up your big boys (Fast Bob and The Stannis That Isn't Shit) with positive attachments to turn them into high strength voltrons that can participate in multiple challenges and close out the game with renown.
The ideal scenario is you have Fast Bob in play and anointed as AA Reborn, with his strength boosted to the high heavens thanks to blessings, and surrounded by priests, acolytes, and infiltrators ready to help Bob collect all the renown. Here, Fast Bob becomes Blessed Bob. Stannis can also serve as the AA, and often will be a better candidate than Bob if you fear a PTTS, burn, or Mutiny. But for maximum speed, you go with Blessed Bob.
In general, the deck plays in such a way that you'll be able to breeze past Control decks, 'Goodstuff' midrange decks, and even some Aggro match-ups. The Rush match-up is dependant on who is faster, so you'll need a fast start there. The problem match-up is Attrition. Any strategy using choke or character attrition (or a combination of the two) is bad news for the deck.
Choke decks using White Tree, Botley Crew, Meagre, and Naval Superiority prey on this deck's greediness as it needs every gold coin it gets. Attrition decks easily clear out the chuds with Ward, Bolton Flayer, and Recruiter, leaving the important characters vulnerable to the likes of Ramsay, Yoren, Harrenhal, Marched and Mutiny.
In short, if your opponent is playing a constructive deck and generally minding his or her own business, you will win. If your opponent is playing a soft control deck and trying to slow you down with one-off control effects, you will still probably win. If your opponent is playing extremely disruptive attrition and hard control, you will lose.
In most match-ups, you'll be able to close out the game in two rounds, but sometimes it takes longer. That's where the plots come in.
The plots are straightforward. At the Gates is the opener. Barring, Rationing, and King Plot are there to stabilise your (hopefully) strong board presence and stop any shenanigans from disrupting your march to victory. Return is if you sense a VD or VM coming. YWOYD is the closer.
The version of this deck I took to the Victorian Prime Championship ran double Rationing. This was because I found Drogon, PTTS, and Bound particularly disruptive to this deck. In the lead-up to the Australian Grand Championship, however, I knew many of my meta mates were testing choke decks, so I took the second copy Rationing out for Late Summer Feast to guarantee a more explosive start.
Not much different to Hanno's list. I followed his lead in removing Shireen and Davos, which he did in later iterations of his deck. Originally I, like Hanno, had 3x Anguy and 1x Alester, but after I slotted in Return, I swapped it to 3x Alester and 1x Anguy. The chud reducers were also a late inclusion to smooth out setup and help the economy against choke decks. I played with Fat Bob for the majority of the testing before swapping to Fast Bob in the last few weeks.
Great Hall the obvious and necessary restricted choice here. Unlike Hanno, I added in a King's Gate to help smooth out the econ as I personally prefer to play with 10 Limited cards rather than 9. I experimented briefly with Citadel Archivist before ultimately settling on Isle of Ravens. Like Hanno's second iteration, I slotted in The Iron Throne and then boosted it up to two copies to deal with the problem cards I expected in certain match-ups, and also because of how well it works with the Red Priest.
After originally testing with 3x Warhammer and 3x Hunting Accident, I eventually went down to 2x Warhammer and 1x Hunting Accident, especially following the recent restricted list update. Unlike Hanno who had a Light of the Lord, I opted for Disputed Claim (which Hanno ended up putting into his second version anyway). Disputed Claim is a great source of emergency renown for when Robert and Stannis get hit with Milk.
None! Well, I did test Privileged Position for some time but ended up cutting because slots m8
Time now for the tournament reports. Let's see if you can spot the trends:
VICTORIAN PRIME CHAMPIONSHIP
Win vs. Targ Blood
I played defensively for the first couple of turns to stop SOB triggers and allow my board to get set up before eventually closing.
Loss vs. NW Blood
Win vs. Greyjoy Prince
A relatively straightforward win in which the Greyjoy bombs were controlled through Milks and Hunting Accidents as the big boys rushed to victory.
AUSTRALIAN GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP
This was a tournament in which all of my games were decided in the first two rounds: either for me or for my opponent.
Win vs. Bara Wars
Loss vs. NW Kraken
I was caught off-guard by my opponent opening Naval. I opened King plot to negate the threat of Yoren and choke effects. Managed a half-decent board by turn 3 where I had Imry, Selyse, Mel, and Acolyte. Imry and the Acolyte even had a Blessing and Warhammer attached to them as I feared a Yoren on Selyse Baratheon or Mel at any moment. Then it came: Breaking Ties hit Imry, Acolyte was stolen by Recruiter, and Mel was stolen by Yoren, leaving Selyse alone to eat the mil claim. I went from "I'm in with a chance here" to absolutely crushed in about 30 seconds.
Loss vs. NW Wolf
No answers for multiple Wards, Ramsay, and Harrenhal. A clear and resounding defeat.
Win vs. Greyjoy Fealty
Win vs. Martell Wars
My opponent opened with VM to kill Mel immediately. This proved to be the wrong decision as I was able to flood chuds and play unprotected big boys with impunity. The Iron Throne protected me from Burning and Rationing protected me from Ghaston as I rushed to victory.
Win vs. NW Kraken
Yet another NW choke/attrition deck. I had no right to win this one. The last two choke/attrition decks brutally dispatched my deck. Yet somehow I managed to negotiate the first round without too many hiccups, crucially hitting Maester Murenmure with a Milk. I had two copies of Stannis in hand and was blessed to draw into two copies of Bob too. A huge Late Summer Feast allowed me to play both of them out, then a Red Priest on the following turn to take out the Mutiny At Craster's Keep, and from there I was able to slowly inch my way to an upset win in a clear negative match-up.
Win vs. Stark Crossing
Loss vs. NW Kraken
This was a rematch with my second round opponent. I kept it semi-competitive for about three rounds, but the critical mass of choke and character steal wiped me out as I fell short of winning the Grand Champs.
So did you spot the trends? Across both tournaments I had resounding losses against attrition and choke, and emphatic wins against all other decks. This deck oscillates between these extremes.
Thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions!