|Card draw simulator|
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
|None. Self-made deck here.|
I think I've drawn enough, I might get a little gold. I play what's in my hand, I might do a faction kneel.
'Cause all my attachments, Draw me more attachments.
Now I'm SevenFiveCards in my list, And we got three more shuffles 'til I'm pissed. I'm just tryna make it back to the fields by plot phase I swear I wish that my deck would give me,
A Sworn to the Watch.
Drew up a Miner's Pick, Lord Commander and Janos Slynt. Then I saw you play a 5 gold card, Took it with Yoren, not too hard.
Now I'm SevenFiveCards in my list, And we got three more shuffles 'til I'm pissed. I'm just tryna make it back to the fields by plot phase, I swear I wish that my deck would give me,
A Sworn to the Watch.
And I know you're awake tonight, Thinkin' "How could he draw that one-of?" But I drew 'bout a thousand times, Even that one Crave-en.
And I know you're awake tonight, Thinkin' "How could he draw that Reckless?". I can only apologise, For having it in my ha-and.
If you play your big tonight, I'll March it to the Wall. If you leave it in your hand, I'll just Bound it after all.
See all my attachments, Draw me more attachments.
Now I'm SevenFiveCards in my list, And we got three more shuffles 'til I'm pissed. I'm just tryna make it back to the fields by plot phase, I swear I wish that my deck would give me,
A Sworn to the Watch.
As I've outlined in my recent Tyrell and Greyjoy Valyrian Steel posts, I think the agenda is amazing. I knew I wanted to play it at Stahleck, but wasn't sure on the faction. It soon became clear, however, that Night's Watch was the top faction of the moment. This is off the back of Yoren (TB) and Bound for the Wall, of course, but I already liked the faction before. I'm not a fan of it being everywhere, but I do enjoy a 'defend the wall' approach, and the various Jon Snows are cards I like (well, except the core one). They also have a ton of cards that synergise perfectly with the agenda, which I'll get to shortly. So I ran with that.
The initial draft of the deck came from George Ankers, who I thank greatly for turning me on to this; his version was very different, and evolved greatly, but it is still what gave me the impetus to play it. I'll thank the usual suspects for helping me with refining the list (you know who are), but I want to throw a special thanks to Colt Humbert. Before we played in the final of the Second Sons Invitational I mentioned to him that I also had an NW VS list, and asked him to have a look at it. We compared lists and mine ended up changing fairly substantially. I was originally on other Jon (MoD), and I do still really like him, but Colt gave me the breakthrough I needed, namely that by swapping Jons it would allow me to use Fresh Recruits, which was amazing all tournament long. He also helped turn me away from Here to Serve/Outwit onto a second Return, which was absolutely the correct call.
So I've already outlined some of the key parts. Let's hit up the gameplan:
- Open At the Gates, usually for Gates of the Moon but sometimes you'll want a Kingsroad for tempo.
- Play out as many characters as possible and chain attachments, usually trying to draw at least 2 cards. Alternatively if you're going second and have Yoren (TB), play him and take something.
- Usually flip the first Return on round two. This allows you to get back attachments and cover an early Valar, although it may often also be a blank plot. Sometimes you'll want to flip one of the others instead based on context of the game, but that should hopefully be fairly obvious.
- Across the next round or so you establish an overwhelming position by virtue of your superior draw and economy, helped further by Three-Finger Hobb and Old Forest Hunter respectively (with Seasoned Woodsman helping out both causes depending on what you need).
- Win with some combination of Longclaw, Lord Commander and The Wall, or sometimes just ol' fashioned power claim and unopposed.
Games were rarely won quickly, because the plot line-up is mostly attritional (I often find this with my decks - I like my draw decks to provide nice effects for me so I can play constructively, then let my plot deck bail me out and/or keep my opponent honest). However, with the exception of one game (and I guess early concessions when the writing was on the wall), I never won with fewer than 15 power either. Be prepared to be thinking long and hard about triggers for 45-50 minutes, typically, if you want to win with this.
Why The Wall? In short, because it gets you power. Once you have a 'lock' of boardstate (this isn't really truly possible because the boards tend to fluctuate quite a lot due to resets, Return, etc.), anything that speeds up your victory is helpful. I run only two because I don't particularly want it on setup, as I need to get tempo to stop opponents running away. With the CB Masons I can fetch it when I need to anyway. It also means I usually won't draw it (or won't want to play it) until after I've safely flipped Political Disaster, a plot that was great for me in several games. People don't expect it out of Wall defence.
Only 2 Bound? Really? Yup. I just plain don't like the card. And not in an "it's bad for the game" sense; it's just not my type of card. It can be incredibly swingy and win you games; it can also whiff, or get discarded for intrigue claim after you've taken the tempo hit of saving two gold, or have your opponent play No Surprises to stop it, and it doesn't work against Barring or Rationing. (All of these hypothetical examples came up in one game or another for me at the event.) I'm not going to pretend I didn't get some good hits with it over the event - Lord Commander Jon Snow, The Knight of Flowers (AtG), Varys (DitD) and more - but I don't believe any of them actually changed the results of the games I got the Bound off in. The most positive impact I felt from it, genuinely, was discarding it for gold with Old Forest Hunter. I think I would keep the 2 that are there in if I had to play it again, but I certainly don't regret not having the third. Cutting 1 gave me room to justify the Hand's Judgments, which I found much more important for a million different events over the course of the day, especially (but not at all limited to) Risen from the Sea as I faced Greyjoy after Greyjoy.
All that's not to say Night's Watch didn't get a busted* card in The Blackwater chapter pack though - hi there, Yoren. George's original list only had 2 in, and the first thing I did was insist very strongly that he needed to be 3x. The man wins games, pure and simple, and is the second-most important character in the entire deck, just ahead of Seasoned Woodsman and just behind Hobb, who is for my money the strongest unrestricted card in the entire game. (Tangential sidenote: if when the watch inevitably get hit in the next restricted list, they'll be very lucky if Bound gets hit before Hobb. You remember the games your opponent won because they Bound a key character, but you don't remember just how often Hobb wins you the game just by drawing you 4, 6, 8, 10 cards over the course of a game.) You'll have noted in my summation of the gameplan previously that you change literally your entire approach if you have Yoren on round one, that's how strong he is.
*I really hate the word 'busted' when it comes to Thrones cards, and feel it's overused to hell and back. "Busted", to me, aside from being a terrible band from the start of the millennium, is a word that implies that a card fundamentally breaks the game. Halder, good though his ability is, is not 'busted' just because it doesn't have a limit. The Red Keep (DotE), while not a card I'm happy existing for the sheer amount of denial it can provide, is a 4 gold location released in the same box as a card that can discard it reliably that it itself cannot cancel. It's not busted. Calling cards "busted" just because they're strong cheapens the word and makes it seem overused when you apply it to something that deserves it. All that being said, Yoren is busted. And Hobb is busted-er.
The only other main noteworthy thing I guess is the Castle Black Masons. I've always been a bit of a sucker for them, going back to the Builders deck, and I was happy with the job they did here. They made some important plays for me - for example, in one game they allowed to me to fetch a Milk of the Poppy to stop Balon Greyjoy (KotI) from stealing Yoren - and they were loyal bodies I didn't mind sacrificing for Breaking Ties. Arguably they should have been Stewards, and in the final I wish they had been, but overall I'm happy with their inclusion. If you don't have a particular affinity for them I'd recommend changing them to Stewards for consistency and more targets for the non-weapon attachments, but I think I'd keep them the same if I ran this again.
I'll keep this somewhat brief (by my standards) as the games ran into each other somewhat and this is already a super-long post.
MII - Greyjoy Fealty. This was GoodStuff Greyjoy boats with Euron Crow's Eye (KotI) as restricted. I benefited in this game from getting down Strangler on Euron early, Craven not long after, then Milk on Balon after the reset (this is where the CB Mason came in handy). Deck worked, quite straightforward victory.
Tamás Albeck - NW VS. A mirror, albeit with Tamás on his usual Tamás-style defensive list rather than the more all-over-the-place version I had. Round one he got The Wall on the table, but only some smaller non-unique chuds to prevent unopposed. This represented a tempo hit for him and I was able to marshal Qhorin Halfhand with a duplicate, and Qhorin just chewed through his characters. Round three he played The Crow is a Tricksy Bird to make me Valar myself, but I had duped Halder by that point too, and the following round Tamás had to make it a double-Valar meaning he couldn't capitalise to restore tempo. On that Tricksy round, instead of playing out more characters I held back gold for Bound and managed to take Tamás's Jon Snow, which meant he died for the Valar too when Tamás had him in hand. While that helped me for sure, I was already significantly up by that point on both power and cards, and won out from there.
Sirvo Luiga - NW SoB. I set up a Ranging Party and politely asked Sirvo not to Yoren them round one, but the meanie did it anyway, finishing his marshalling with 19 STR of military available and 1 gold saved. I looked at my options in hand and could only get to 14 military STR, annoyingly, so instead I just marshalled some chuds and Jon Snow with a duplicate, focusing on attachments and draw instead. Of note this is one of the games I fetched Kingsroad instead of Gates of the Moon round one, as I knew Gates would get blown up anyway. This meant there was no optimal target for Sirvo to Put to the Sword, and no optimal location for him to Put to the Torch, so instead he fetched Bound and... the top 5 cards of my deck were all attachments. See, this event is bad, I swear! Next round I could use a Messenger Raven to Breaking Ties my Party back, get out Qhorin to support Jon (followed by Halder the following round), and not only did Sirvo not get a win-by-5 against me for the rest of the game, he didn't win a single military challenge from thereon out.
Martozar - Lanni Kingdom. This was an intense game, and the only win I had where I didn't reach 15 in time - Martozar conceded with me on 14 power to ~3 with time called. Bolton Flayers were a massive pain, as were Nighttime Marauders. However, I was able to keep putting out more stuff, cancel a Clever Feint to make a reset hurt, and surprise Martozar with PD when he had out Bowels, Guild Hall and 4 econ locations to really mess up his tempo. It was a really hard-fought game against a great opponent, but I just had enough tempo to stay on top throughout.
Radek Z - Greyjoy Fealty. This was a choke deck, and not only that but it was one with a Botley Crew on setup. I tried to Yoren it round one, but Drowned God Fanatic cancelled it, and a second one joined. In challenges I pulled a Risen for intrigue claim, and then got to do a trick I really enjoyed. When the military challenge came back at me, I killed Yoren for claim - then triggered Craster, who I'd set up, to bring Yoren back into play and take Baelor Blacktyde. Neither lasted too long (maybe I had to Return them, I forget), but it was still a fun play. Despite this I was massively behind, unable to properly establish board due to choke, and Asha Greyjoy (Km) was fetching several cards. A second Fanatic cancelled something. I stalled with Breaking Ties as long as possible, but eventually I reached a point where I had to reset and hope Radek hadn't found two Risen. I was lucky, as despite all the Asha triggers (maybe 4 goes with her?) he only had one, and I had HJ ready for it to cancel. With the Crew gone and Asha gone, there was space for me to afford characters and have them not die, and so I did that and was eventually able to turn the game round and win.
Konstantinos Gkoumas - Greyjoy Winter. This was, you'll be surprised to learn, also a choke deck. It didn't get the Botley Crews out so early though. Round one I marched Alannys Greyjoy (CoS) to the wall, as I feel like if the choke deck gets draw, it wins. This did however mean that I didn't have my economy set up, and Konstantinos got out Euron Crow's Eye (Core). Round two I fetched Gates of the Moon, aware of the possibility of Nightflyer but needing to take the chance... and, sure enough, Nightflyer'd. I did have one unusual saving grace though - Konstantinos kept stealing my Kingsroad with Euron, and each round I would put Improved Fortifications on it, triggering my agenda for gold. So while it was a Kingsroad for him, it was practically acting as a Roseroad for me! Of course, the downside of this is that he had a Kingsroad each round, and soon Euron was joined by Balon Greyjoy (KotI). I had been able to afford Qhorin Halfhand on one round though, and this is where Konstantinos made an error. He was knelt out and had out Balon, Maester Kerwin and Euron. I did a military with Qhorin, and he used Drowned God Fanatic to defend, killing Kerwin - but he forgot that this meant Qhorin would kill Fanatic, leaving his board as just Euron and Balon for mil claim. He tried Risen on Balon, I cancelled it with HJ, then next turn Marched Euron and won it from there.
Andreas Aldrin - NW VS. A combination of bad luck and bad play cost me this one. Andreas had a better setup and better economy with more attachments, and round one put out Qhorin Halfhand going first. I had a hand of bigs, and had to decide between Jon, Qhorin, Craster and Coldhands who to play. I decided to focus on short-term gain for long-term potential pain, and played Coldhands to bounce out Qhorin so I could try to get into the game. I had to over-extend, and it got to a point where if Buzz Valared, I was in trouble. I could play Return to the Fields to mitigate the damage, but probably Buzz would win anyway as his board would still include Halder and Qhorin (as Qhorin would come back and be saved by Aemon). Instead I decided to Breaking Ties so that if for some reason Buzz didn't Valar I could clear his saves. Sadly for me, Buzz did Valar and that was basically game.
Lady Eliz - Stark Crossing. This was a tight game. Eliz got off to the usual quick Stark start - although I was able to cancel Passing the Black Gate, which helped a lot - and was comfortably ahead in power. I had to hold on and stall, and got Craster out with Lord Commander. With Eliz at 14 power (some on characters, some not), I could Valar to clear the board apart from Craster, and from there turned it around very quickly with me getting power at a rate of knots. I reached 15 the round after Valar, when the round I Valared I was on about 2 power.
(Top 64) Nobody - Bye. Well this was easy.
(Top 32) Ryan Wood - Bara Qohor. This started out interesting, with Ryan having Selyse Baratheon (FotS) + Bodyguard on setup, and getting Stannis Baratheon (FotS) with Lightbringer and Red God's Blessing on round one. I had Strangler for Stannis, and was very lucky that Ryan didn't see any of his 3x Cressen at any point in the game. Bound got me a Red Priest, who let me see... 2 more Priests, Melisandre (Core), Alester Florent and a Seal of the Hand. Oh. I took Seal as I figured I didn't mind too much if he overextended on board. Next round Ryan marshalled Mel and Alester, and I played some chuds. At this point I had duped Hobb on the table, and Halder, Jon and Qhorin in hand. I knew next round the Priests would start taking stuff, so I flipped the first Return to the Fields and sacrificed 3 things (Yoren, Priest and a chud) for 3 gold, so that I could play Fresh Recruits in the draw phase before Ryan got gold to potentially cancel it. He did indeed play a Priest, and his expression when he saw I had dupes of all 3 was something fun to behold. He took something else instead, and I put out duped Qhorin and duped Halder that round. An Old Forest Hunter meant that I was able to put Ghost onto Janos Slynt later on in the round, and with 4 saves on the board my play was obvious - Ryan countered my Valar with Return to the Fields, and knelt Qhorin with Alester, but even so I had just too strong a board presence for him to handle. He played out his two characters - Acolyte of the Flame and R'hllor Infiltrator, stacking attachments on the latter - so I took it with Yoren. And I was far enough ahead that I gave it back in dominance for a power, partly because it was funny and partly because Ryan had to Valar next round, which I countered with my second Return. Ryan drew up into not-characters and conceded.
(Top 16) Alex - Greyjoy Prince (Balon). I kept a very, very strange hand here on setup - my setup was Roseroad, then Coldhands (heh) with Practice Blade (good), Noble Lineage (lol), and Ghost (LOL) - because one of the other two cards in my hand was the 1x Craven. Alex's setup was Maester Murenmure and locations, so I ended up opening Marched to clear the board, leaving me with only a Roseroad on the table. And yet, with 5 gold, 5 reserve and 12 cards in hand at the start of marshalling, I still finished the round by triggering Hobb to draw more cards. It was a fun round one, all-in-all (although not for Alex who had his Balon Craven'd). Despite the Craven, it was still an interesting game, but Alex didn't see a We Do Not Sow in the first two rounds. On round three, he flipped You Win Or You Die. Unfortunately for Alex, I flipped Breaking Ties on that round. This meant I could bounce the troublesome cards that were actually allowing Alex to get unopposed - Grey Ghost and Theon Greyjoy (TFoA) - and know that they wouldn't come back all game long. Worse was to come for him, though - after successfully defending the challenges that were made, I was able to also win intrigue by 5 and get A Pinch of Powder on Balon, returning him and the attachments on him back to hand (well, except the Craven) too, right before Alex had to discard his entire hand due to his plot. I also, in amongst this, got out Craster with Lord Commander. With Alex's hand lost, his board weak, and a quick route to victory on my side, I closed comfortably, with Craster finishing on I believe 6 or 7 power.
(Top 8) Estupe - NW VS. The NW VS mirror can be really interesting; sadly, this was the worst game of the whole tournament, because Estupe's deck... well, it wasn't unkind, but it wasn't nice either, and mine basically gave me everything I could possibly want. I had Wall on setup, plus a Vault and a Carpenter, while he only had a Roseroad and some chuds as I recall. Round one he was first player, and marshalled a couple of characters including Hobb (saving 2 gold); but Yoren meant Hobb was soon mine - so not only a 2 card swing on board, but an additional 4 card swing once we reached taxation. His inevitable Bound didn't hit anything too relevant, maybe a Janos, and the Hobb trigger drew me... my own Hobb and a second Yoren. I flipped Return, sac'd both, and replayed both, stealing Halder instead this time so I could completely dominate challenges. Estupe played his own Wall, and I was able to use the agenda to drop in a 0g attachment onto my Woodsman (gain 2 gold on top of the 2 I'd already saved), then in standing phase drop in Seized on the Wall and bestow it for 3 gold. That about summed up the game. Estupe took the incredibly poor luck he had really well, and I'd love to have the chance to play him again sometime under fairer circumstances.
(Top 4) MartellDePoitiers - Targ SoB. As the link indicates, this was streamed. I won't spoil it for you, as I think it was hopefully a really good game to watch. Short version: it really looks like I'm not going to win early, but then by the end it really looks like I'm going to win, and then I win. Thanks to The White Walkers for their commentary, and apologies for the majority of it being lost after the technical issues! I will at least explain my reasoning for not mulliganing an obvious Marched-bait setup: firstly, I wanted to get Marched out of the way as it's a scary plot for Targ SoB to sit on; secondly, a 4 card setup with non-terminal attachments meant I was getting card draw anyway and fancied my chances to repopulate; thirdly, there was a chance MDP would set up only a big of his own and I'd get away with it; and fourthly, I had Yoren in hand, so if MDP didn't set up a big I hoped to steal whatever mil icon he left behind and be fine anyway. Overall it was a calculated risk and while it backfired, I'd take it again.
(Final) SGE - Stark Fealty. (SGE's deck here) Sadly, unlike the previous recorded game, this one was not one to write home about. I had a terrible mulligan and woeful draw for the first three rounds - in my first 27 cards I only saw 3 attachments! All the good luck I'd had in previous rounds deserted me - this particularly felt like karma for the top 8 game. Petty, stubborn man-child that I am, I dug my heels in as best I could and gave it my all, but Sebastian is a great player and executed perfect game control. His write-up of the game gives an excellent example of that, as he deliberately saved a gold to play around a potential Bound when I hadn't even marshalled yet, and was correct to do so. If anyone wants to slog it through the final, a game in which I am never remotely likely to win and can at best do damage control as I watch a potential victory slip ever further into the future, I will happily answer questions on choices made. It was a disappointing end to a great tournament, but I cannot possibly be sad, either with my performance, with my luck over the tournament, or with the winner. It was an amazing event and I'm privileged to be in a position where I can write one of these long indulgent deck reports. Congratulations to Sebastian, a humble and worthy winner, who I look forward to seeing again in a future tournament!
Thank you so much to everyone who helped with the deck; to Keb, for helping keep me some vague level of sane; to all the people who were excitedly congratulating me and/or wishing me luck as we got deeper into the event; to all of my opponents, especially those in the cut, and especially especially those I played on the Sunday; and most of all to the many people who helped organise and run the tournament, be that helping with prizes, with matchups and reporting, with commentary, one of the many other jobs that needed performing, whatever. The weekend itself is subjective, but as far as the cards-on-table bit goes, this was I think the best Stahleck so far, and it's a testament to the ridiculous levels of effort and hard work put in by a lot of people. And thanks to you for reading, especially if you got to the end without skipping anything!
Questions, as ever, I will answer to the best of my abilities in the comments below.