I won't hide in the Shadow - TOP 4 at Stahleck

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Raius 550

Hello everyone! I am Ondrej Kubis aka Raius. This is a deck i've played at Stahleck this year and made TOP 4 with.

Here is the link for the tourney. https://thejoustingpavilion.com/tournaments/7174

I've been testing the deck for quite long time and at the end decided for this version. I've provided the deck to Martozar as well. He won smaller tourney undefeated which showed us this is a good choice. At the end he made TOP 32 as well.

What to say about the deck. There is a few non standard decisions made.

Plot deck:

Trading with the Pentoshi This was the first choice in Barring meta. If you have enough gold to marshal the cards despite the gold penalty, you basically don't care about the plot. You have some non character shadow cards to trigger Bowels of Casterly Rock or The Knight of Flowers (AtG). Also 3 gold for opponent allow him to wider his board and therefore Valar Dohaeris hits even harder.

The First Snow of Winter is quite traditional here, but i've played Close Call for majority of time, as there is bunch of 3 copies in key characters, but it showed up to be the key card in NW Steel matchups. Close call was often just 1 card draw, as our characters doesn't die too much here.

Rest of the plots is quite self explaining.


Interesting choices might be Catspaw. It was added after i found out there is not always strength to push A Pinch of Powder by 5, but sometimes you have enough gold to return key character or just return defending character to kneel the wall etc. I still think it was good choice even when i used her just once in 10 games.

Only 1 Hired Assassin. I know he is key in Mirror, i just believed there won't be as many Shadow decks in the meta, which was right call. I lost 1 game in mirror with Tyrell KoSh, but these are mirrors. The better draw in setup / early game looses.

2 Ser Mandon Moore. We decided he is least useful in this meta full f draw and added 1 more The Regent's Guard. One of the best decisions we made.

3 times Shadow Priestess was a difficult decision. I went with 3 instead of substitute 1 with Shrewd Diplomat. I don't like to stand the char (even if it has attachments) to allow him another challenge. It doesn't solve anything. You can just kneel the char right away before it gets the attachment. Still i believe 3 was right call.

The Knight of Flowers (AtG) in 3 copies is the decision no Shadow player i've talked with has supported and i don't know why. He is the key card. He is winning so many games, speeds the deck so well that i don't get why would i play less copies.

Varys (DitD) in 2 was the worst for me. I've never used him and i believe i could have played different card for him. He is great in Tyrell, but Lanni has other good choices (Still, 1 copy should be fine.)


Just a few shadow decks plays A Pinch of Powder. Not sure why. It was bonkers all the time. I was even considering to play 3.

Pyromancer's Cache is great. It just wort against Harrenhal (GoH), Winterfell, Dorne, The Wall (Core) and much more. Also, do not forget you can play it on your Roseroad to get 1 more draw. Such a great card (no Condition is great too).

Underhanded Methods - There is going to be second copy for "On a Misty Morn" again. This was the most stupid decision to go to 1.


This is quite self explaining i guess. Ask if there are some things unclear.


Never used "On a Misty Morn", but Martozar claimed it was good in his (same) deck. But we play it a bit differently, so i guess it might fit some game styles.

Some of you might be surprised by 2 Clever Feint and 2 The Iron Bank Will Have Its Due, but it was important and also great decision. With Expose Duplicity, Barring the Gates and The King in the North you can't play Shadows as it was in the old days. You need to stay on the table and fight regular games. You need bank and feint just in some situations to hide before you own Valar Morghulis or Valar Dohaeris. In majority of the games i finished before i was forced to play them. In most games i've played Valar Dohaeris just to save my own characters from Valar of my opponent. And if you misplay them, you have to accept to have them discarded by duplicity. Therefore, don't leave many cards in shadow :)

At the end, i have to say i am not the player who enjoys playing the same deck over and over again. I am trying to play different decks with all the different houses, but this one is an exception. Every game is different and it is so difficult to play. There is so many triggers and decision points i just fallen in love with it.

If you have any questions, just ask me! I will be happy to answer.

I would like to thanks to all my opponents (Especially to Sam Braatz, our game was amazing to me. I didn't believe i can win this after your first 2 rounds. For me that was the best game of the tournament)

Thanks to Martozar who helped me test a lot.

Thank you all who prepared this awesome event this year and can't wait to see you all again next year!

Hear me roar!


Lannister 479

Haha we carried the same plot deck! Great tournament mate.:)

sirkamlot 1

that catspawn got me 3 times in team final :) danny, dario, khal - real pain in ass. Great deck, great perfomance and great players.

HouseCatofWar 40

What are your thoughts on Pinch vs Poisoned Coin? They seem to fill the same role but I have preferred the slightly cheaper Coin.

Did you ever find the Tunnels strength buff too expensive? Now that we have to play the board more I found I often only have 1-2 cards in shadows when I use it and cut it. Was it a key part of holding the line with KoF on Barring turns?

Do you think you will add Red Keep and what would you cut? I thought Pyromancer's Cache was the best cut since Red Keep can counter locations. I went from 2x Cache 2x Guildhall to 3x Red Keep 1x Guildhall and have been fairly happy.

Dimi 1

Nice deck :) Gratulation !

Raius 550

Hi @HouseCatofWar, thanks for the question, I forgot to mention it in the deck decision points. The deck has high amount of the meta calls. Poisoned coins are kind of one of them. In the meta full of NW with walls and not really impacting characters it's hard to make an unopposed challenge and hit a good character. Pinch has more use. It can trigger bowels and The Knight of Flowers (AtG)during the Barring turn, then hide it with Clever Feint. Also Bodyguard do not save character from being returned to hand, so I've always preferred Pinch.

When it comes to Tunnels of the Red Keep, I feel like it's one of the most important cards in the deck. If you have plenty of gold, it draw a cards for bowels in each turn. It helps during the Barring the Gates turn. It helps to push the Pinch through. Still, 1-2 Strength all over the table is just amazing. Even the smallest chud can defend the challenges. Against Sea of Blood with 2 mil icons having +2 or +3 each is a huge deal. I would have been playing 3 in the different meta.

Pyromancer's Cache is the different Story. I really like the card in the deck. The best trick is to play it on your own location, draw a card, hide it with Tyrion to distribute it to some good location when it comes on the table. So it's not only location hate, but possible draw. I would still consider to keep both or at least one. There is always bunch of important triggers to cancel, so just using cache might be a deal. Let's say Dorne or Oldtown Undercity is a great example why it might be important. Still, I would considered to cut 1 Pyromancer's Cache and 1 Alchemists' Guildhall for 2 The Red Keep (DotE), and maybe even finding slot for 3rd one, but I can't really tell and it would still depends if it's currently the right meta call.

movac 1

The problem with the red keep is that its cost of 4 gold is a really big tempo loss. Its hard to find a round where you can spare 4 gold its theres a lot of pressure being put on you.

Gerion Lannister 241

@movacthat Is true but cancel one kingsroad and your tempo is back. :)

Raius 550

@Lannisterthanks mate! I see the plot deck did some good work for you too! :)

@sirkamlothehe, that is the Lannister thing!

@DimiThank you my friend :)

@movac You are right, but as Gerion mentioned, that cost worth it in many cases.

Benji 758

Super adjustments. if you want my 20 cents :

  • I play Forgotten Plans and Close Call mainly because I am concerned by the "overall" behavior of my deck.
  • I am aware that players stopped playing Barring because they realized Forgotten Plans is standard, and that Shadow players have adapted to Barring. But people badly play Barring vs Shadow usually... When it is well-played it is gg. So players reverted back to not making the metacall, or x1 if they have other interests. At this point of the metagame evolution, not playing Forgotten Plans over the 9 games of a tournament and assuming being crucified by KitN is ballsy, but ok. Read below.
  • Close Call is mainly because in early Shadow decks, you were dependent of few unique characters and did not want them to ends up in dead pile. especially because at that point, Assassin was common. Nowadays, it has dramatically decrease in utility. It frequently has no interests in triggering the effect. I did not changed it because I wanted to be sure that "overall" I could assume doing so, but in my mind I was already thinking about stabilizing the economy curve by playing Trading with the Pentoshi.
  • If I had to go to a tournament nowadays, I would know that Shadow is an underdog. I am not concerned by playing for a Top. Therefore, I would remove any protection or metacall to optimize the intrinsic performance of the thematic.
  • If I have to go to a tournament in a more mature metagame, I would still expect people to not play more than one Barring, to not play Exposed Duplicity, because Shadow players are not numerous (it is not new anymore and it does not perform enough) and the remaining ones. If I want to play Forgotten Plans, it would be up to the RList and the prevalence of Wars to Come (= Double Barring / Political) or decks with King in the North. Because all of this is public information, I would run a Randon Number Generator with different weights and let hazard decide. I would assume my karmic guide knows my best path in this reincarnation.
  • As a Shadow player, I do not play KoF because I play on Internet and have no 50 minutes time limit. Moreover, my style has never been to simplify my life by avoiding problems with NPE mechanics, or make Power challenge and claim renown for the victory points. I just want to take the best of my opponent in a technical fight in the basic rules of this game. But would I play KoF in a tournament ? Yes, x3.
  • You need Varys x2 only because Robert 6-gold must claim power to trigger his ability, which can lead to problematic situations for him if he has not the 2-gold location. He is unuseful most games, but can reveal crucial vs NW for his stealth. I think the best reason to remove him is to create a consensus on the fact he is not played, so that players can grab renown again and open the door for him to comeback. In a mature metagame he is x0 / x1 / x2 according to the player, and I do not think there are optimal choices, but x1 would probably overall be slightly superior to the rest.
  • Pinch of Powder is super expensive and the metagame revolves less around expensive characters. Moreover, those big character still can do their textbox before you send them back to hand. I have never found it bonkers, but metagame changed and slowed, potentially making it worthy. However, if Aloof and Appart comes back, I would not be convinced that it is economically worthy of it.
  • I am not convinced about changing Pyromancer's Cache by The Red Keep in the next chapter. I became averse to play a 4-gold location that cannot cancel 1-gold event destroying her (Sob, WdnS + Euron CS). I would perhaps keep it as the location control, since Red Keep would most likely be one copy, except if the metagame is favorable to more.
  • I mentioned Valar Dohaeris in my previous publication to say the same thing than you : It is mainly saving your character from opponent's Valar M. Because now I have almost no utility of Close Call (and because games in tournament are shorter), I would probably make the switch because it is also a reset.
  • On a Misty Morn : This deck needs to have specific effect at specific points, while losing character on mil challenge. This is paradoxically a tutor and a Shadow recycling. I find that evolution very interesting indeed, and will for sure try a event line with all in x2. CFeint and TIBWID simply do not overperform like before.
  • I do not think that your location lineup is so obvious, even it makes complete sense to me. You need economy too much to automatically discard the third copy of Gold Mine and Lion's Gate. What is your experience with The Iron Throne ? He might be played in this deck (like in all others deck), but there are only few tec' rentabilizing him so it's mainly educated guess from you about what yo really do not want to see.

Ilja Muromez 1

Great Deck! What about Jon Connington or Starfall Spy? Or Nefarious Acolyte to cancel BtG or tKitN?

Raius 550

Hi @Benji, thanks for the feedback. Lets take it point by point

Forgotten plans is only great if you hit the The King in the North, because in my opinion you can simply play around Barring the Gates by paying the penalty. You play shadow a lot, so you probably know that you have to anticipate Barring in every situation, so the characters you need have to remain in your hand if they are not coming out of shadow right away. I don't agree Forgotten Plans is standard in Shadow decks. Good players stopped playing Barring in 2 copies and some of them stopped playing them just because their deck is able to defeat Shadow even without it. I think Forgotten plan does basically nothing once you learn to play shadow deck correctly.

I've played Close Call over The First Snow of Winter. First snow was only added bcs of the high amount of NW in the meta. Yes, close call is sometimes great, but in like 9/10 game I had a problem to even use it for non unique character.

At the point of meta game, you are right. I didn't anticipate more then 1 barring in the plot decks, but I've expected to have it combined with Political Disaster and/or The King in the North. This was often a good call. I've faced Political Disaster in most of my games.

The Knight of Flowers (AtG) is the must in every game. In my point of view you are basically crushed by a good player in what you call Technical fight. I understand it it is just pure shadows with no involving fight for the board, which might be a reason why people are mostly not able to withstand Sea of Blood and some others. At this point I agree that good Barring can destroy Shadow deck.

A Pinch of Powder is just great even in meta full of small guys. It won me several games. Again, that's the card who allow you to use Bowels of Casterly Rock in Barring turn. You can just play it before challenges. You trigger The Knight of Flowers (AtG) in Barring turn etc. In the meta full of Steel decks, you return the voltron or small char with a few attachments to counter with Nighttime Marauders. In some games it allows you to return your own char to hand if it is milk or if you need to Valar next turn. Still I would prefer it over Poisoned Coin in most of the games as it is repetitive.

I completely agree with Pyromancer's Cache. Same with Dohaeris. Sometimes it can win you a game against rush and also can save your characters. Still far superior over Close call.

As I said - "On a Misty Morn" was not useful for me, but might be caused by drawing it in early game. Otherwise I think it can be useful.

With so much Political Disaster in the meta you have to consider what locations will go down. For me these two are the most logical step. Gold Mine is too much tempo hit and Lion Gate is awesome, but 2 copies felt like enough with Cycling of Mines and bowels.

The Iron Throne (LMHR) was just great. If you do not forget to trigger him, of course :D But you can prevent Risen from the Sea, No Surprises, The Hand's Judgment if you want to play Clever Feint. Or prevent the character you have returned to hand by Pinch. I think every control deck should play at least one copy of it these days.

@Ilja MuromezThank you! These guys does nothing but allowing you to reduce the cost to play card's on board from shadows. I felt like Jon is too expensive to play him. He doesn't have a power icon, which bother me (If he would have mil,power, I would still play him), and the fact he can pull out the char is not any useful to me. Often you don't really need to pull another char with him, as it doesn't do any good effect. Starfall Spy is cost 3 from shadow. Which means it only reduce the cost of the most expensive guys by 2 and you really can't rely on them. One cancel or blank or defended challenge and it ruins the plan for you. And again, so as with Jon, often you don't want to pull another guy. It's just non efficient reducer to me. They have one upside - additional challenge or challenge icon, but it doesn't worth the risk to me, to be honest.

Benji 758

Okay thanks ! We agree on most thing. About Forgotten Plans, this is indeed right that good players have understood that you do not need to metagame Shadow in order to counter it (Greyjoy Prince ). Average players are the one playing Barrings, yet it remains an excellent technique to place it Turn 3. Supposing Rains of Castamere would be the metagame, they could also place Barring + Exposed Duplicity...

Considering Political Disaster, this is also a reason why I fill so much economy. I try to put 4 of them asap, bait the PD, expand again afterward.

KoF is very good to me, being the kind of guy playing UM x3 and Tunnels x1. Yes, he is the one dealing with board presence. Yes, I would play it in tournament because I heard it was 33% of time limit at Stahleck, a logical consequence of making economy scarce and emptying textbox to make the game "accessible" and "inclusive" : nothing much happen anymore (I was hallucinating to see Wamma being told he had 30 minutes left to win in his semifinal while nothing had happened...). So yes, I would take the powergrab and the pow challenge. But also because yes, this version of Shadow decks want to deal with military claim.

  • I tried Pinch of Powder and it has dramatically changed. It was mediocre before (Nimer agreed it was just for finishing an opponent after being setuped), nowadays it's decisive. Thinking again about potential A&Appart, playing high cost characters might in fact make it even more decisive.

  • I have kept the x2 copies of Poisoned Coin instead of Misty Morn, finally. I decided it was better to have direct kill. Otherwise you are vulnerable to 6-gold character matchup.

  • Regent's Guard gave me additional tempo that was stellar. I consider it x3 now, probably completely cutting Varys and Tyrion (who are terribly slow or unreliable).

  • One additional point would be Old Bill Bone. x3 seems mandatory to me (SoB, Rains, Valyrian Steel jump, mirror...)

  • I have the reverse opinion than you on Starfall Spy, interesting. I have used it a LOT and rarely faced issues. And if I suspect facing issues... I just do not play it !

Benji 758

So I would play Forgotten Plans over Trading. I prefer make sure that I will not be crucified on the decisive turn by an excellent player, rather than compensating a terrible economic situation after Political with Trading. For me, it's either between being subtle with economy and playing 3 resets (FSoW is mandatory to me, otherwise you open yourself for cheap cost decks. And you can cycle your own characters (kneel !) with it), or going straightforward with 3 economic plots and deal with Political Disaster.

Raius 550

@Benjiwell, i completely disagree with Forgotten Plans. I would rather play Trading with the Pentoshi so i can play characters directly into play. If you miss the Forgotten Plans, it does nothing and Pentoshi is still 10 gold for all the shenanigans. Additionaly even excelent players use the 3 gold to flood the board, so Valar Dohaeris has higher impact. And you can bluff so he waste Return to the Fields for nothing, so it has even higher impact another turn and you ususally know he is going to play Return to the Fields.

Adding a lot of locations into deck doesn't get your deck better against Political Disaster. You just do have a lot of cards which does nothing. If you play against a good player, he just wait and you can do nothing but substiitute the cards with Mines anyway. These are wasted slots. By the way, i can play it without issues just on the Bowels of Casterly Rock and The Goldroad. In majority of games, i got just 3 or 4 golds for my Trade Routes, so i would sometimes even cut Trade Routes for the Trading with the Pentoshi if you insist to play Forgotten Plans :D

When it comes to Old Bill Bone, in new meta i would try 2 copies. Still, with 3 Tyrions .