Dreadfort Horror Story (Top 64, Stahleck Joust 2019)

Card draw simulator
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Derived from
Hungarian WC Stark player : Stark - Knights 0 0 0 1.0
Inspiration for
None yet.

Atanas Keranov 291

"Lord Roose never says a word, he only looks at me, and all I can think of is that room they have in the Dreadfort, where the Boltons hang the skins of their enemies."

This deck got me 6 wins during the swiss rounds and made the graduated cut. I also played it in the team event where I went 3:1 and the Bulgarian team managed to snatch the bronze medals. I apologize to all of my opponents who got flayed, iced, marched, married, and so on, during the event, but I tried my best to include the most dreadful cards I could find in Stark (with the notable exception of Roose).

Since Knights of the Hollow Hill leaves you with no setup, the idea is to catch up to the opponent and then leave them behind by controlling their board presence. I usually open with Fallen from Favor but thanks to the agenda you can afford to Valar Morghulis right away, especially if there is no econ on the opponent's side of the board.

About some card choices:

Arya Stark (TFM) is 3x and helped me even the board out multiple times, especially against a Greyjoy Fealty in the team event.

Dreadfort Maester was initially Catelyn Stark (Core). However, in most games I found myself keeping her in hand unless I had a dupe, since I want to reset the board often. Dreadfort Maester felt like a natural fit in the deck due to the much needed intrigue icon, the ability to survive The First Snow of Winter, and the option to wipe the opponent's board/hand with a 4 claim challenge on my You Win Or You Die turn.

White Harbor Watchman was initially No Surprises, but I often find myself without characters on the board, and I prefer to top deck a military body, instead of an event.

In many games I was scared that I am going to mill myself, thanks to Umber Loyalist, I Am No One, Bear Island Scout, Exchange of Information, and You Win Or You Die. Once I was left with 7 cards in the deck.

Marriage Pact was included to specifically counter Azor Ahai Reborn. However, it proved incredibly useful the whole day to control the opponent's icon spread on the board.

Joust Report:

  1. Stark Fealty (Axlan), Loss. Axlan had a Wyman Manderly on setup and duped him the first round. I managed to remove the dupe with Ice and Valar his whole board. Unfortunately, I did not see Ward, Ramsay Snow, or Harrenhal (FFH), which let him refill the board just like Stark does and crush me.
  2. Baratheon VS (Sam Wilson), Win. My deck does well against big bodies in general, and this time I had enough hate cards to stop Sam in his tracks.
  3. Greyjoy SOB (Jan Bezucha), Win. I am not really worried against any SOB triggers in my deck, as most of the characters are 1x or not unique, and I can play carefully with my Harrenhal (FFH). In an initial version of the deck I had a single copy of Bear Island Loyalist which I can scout and include in the challenge to stop Put to the Sword but later on I removed him for more impactful cards.
  4. Stark Fealty (David Kennedy), Loss. Almost the same story as in my first match. I hoped that I'd draw Arya Stark (TFM) and come back, but that never happened and I took a beating.
  5. Targaryen VS (George Ankers), Win. George is a lovely guy and I did feel bad that my deck worked perfectly that game and I managed to clear his board and lock it down without even using the reset.
  6. Targaryen Crossing (Koos van Vliet), Win. Koos had an amazing start round 1 with Viserys Targaryen (AtSK), Khal Drogo (Core), Qotho, and more, and managed to reach 9 power in a single turn. Unfortunately he did not draw a single dupe, which allowed me to turn the game after a Valar on round 2.
  7. Stark KotHH (Lukas Abels-Vehns), Win. I was really nervous about this game, as I thought it will be a mirror match. Fortunately, Lukas played less hate cards and tried to establish a board using 3x Passing the Black Gate. I managed to control his board well throughout the 9 or 10 rounds we played and I stayed on top in terms of power count most of the time.
  8. NW Summer (SadYear), Win. I was extremely happy with a Bolton Flayer in my starting hand, and he did not disappoint when he killed Three-Finger Hobb on the first turn. He got milked the next turn, but in this game my characters were No One and I managed to keep The Wall (Core) knelt most of the time. I believe this game went to time, but I still had a substantial power advantage and I still had Valar in case things went awry.

Top 64:

  1. Targaryen KotHH (Alex Trigonakis), Loss. You can watch the game online and Alex's deck is already published here. I won't spoil the match. I'll just say that I get punished every time I get greedy in AGOT. You cannot have it all, and sometimes it is better to let go of your Winter Is Coming in hand in order to protect what matters most. :-) This game was a rollercoaster for me and I even enjoyed watching it on the stream after the event was over. Thanks to Alex for teaching me a lesson there!

Last but not least, I'd like to thank all of my opponents for being good sports and a huge thank you to the organizers of Stahleck! I saw the teary eyes and the hype during the winner's ceremony, the enthusiasm and motivation of the players to come back next year and fight for the throne. This is a unique event which gave me so much positive emotions and friendships, and I will attend it as long as there is a castle standing up there!

P.S. A special thank you to my lovely wife Elena Keranova! She playtested numerous decks with me and supports my AGOT endeavors with everything she can. Btw, she piloted the only Targ/Assault from the Shadows in the tournament and was close to getting in the cut as well. You can always write us a note here or in FB, and we are eager to see you at our Road to Stahleck event - Vaes Bulghar.

3 comments

Dani 14

Love it! Very original deck with some cards you don't see very often. 5 out of 5 stars! Would add a copy of the Dreadfort just for the flavour! Haha!

Toaster 28

Thank you for the unique deck and the report.
Would you consider adding a Citadel Archivist to make the self-milling a little less scary?

Atanas Keranov 291

Thanks @Dani! A single copy of The Dreadfort would totally catch the opponent off guard! :D

Thanks @Toaster! I was not particularly worried about mill decks being popular in Stahleck, which is why I skipped the Citadel Archivist. I think having the Archivist in addition to 3x Bear Island Scout and 3x Arya Stark (TFM) would trigger too much friendly fire from the Bolton Flayers. However, I'd definitely include it in our local tournaments, where Vancho (uBaHoB) is always trying out new jank/pillage/Retinue shenanigans.

During the joust and team event I had trouble dealing with The Iron Throne (LMHR), since I have a single shadow card and two different events in my entire deck, and most of my opponents could accurately guess what to name depending on the board state. Those who did not know what to guess and were not afraid of the hate cards, just said She-Bear to stop me from gaining tempo. Exchange of Information didn't help about the new Throne situation either. I think including one or two Frozen Solid might help, or making room for Nothing Burns Like The Cold. Maybe I'll drop the Last Hearth since it doesn't work with my Begging Brothers and, although useful in one or two matches where the opponents totally forgot about it, I had to discard it sooner or later for Political Disaster.