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|Q'hllor 2: Return of the Kings - Polish Grand Champ (8-1)||26||15||14||2.0|
|The Night is Dark and Full of V'hllor||2||1||0||1.0|
Worlds was amazing! Not only did I get to hang out with the lovely Thrones community (meeting old friends again and some for the first time), but I also managed to get to Top 4 with my favourite house.
I was considering playing Conclave, but in the end decided to play the more established (and faster) deck. Qohor is without a doubt the most successful deck I've ever built. It's the deck that won me 2 Grand Championships and brought me to Worlds after all. I'm especially happy that other loyalists succeeded with it, too (which is rather uncommon with my decks :P)! Q'hllor gave Baratheon a chance again to compete at the top tables.
This version is based on the tweaks by Andras and Yotam, who increased the deck's consistency a lot by including the Heir to the Iron Throne package. Thanks a lot to both of them for improving this deck! I basically follow Andras's advice with this version of the deck, because Andras tested this deck a lot more than me before Worlds while I was busy refining my Conclave deck. :D I will post my Prime win and Knight of the Laughing Tree experience with Conclave later this week. Back to Q'hllor! Andras came up with the following solutions to the meta decks:
- Parley at Storm's End vs. Sea of Blood, because Rationing does not stop claim 4.
- Wildfire Assault vs. Steel and Crossing
- Delena Florent vs. Voltron decks and Shadows Loras, although Andras didn't play her in the end because she also blocks Lightbringer and Seal of the Hand. No Bastard in the deck, but at least she draws a card with her uncle.
- The Hand's Judgment after I reported that my Bob got bribed twice in the Prime the weekend before Worlds. So good right now: Black Gate, Arya's Gift, Mutiny, Bribery, Gifts, Shadow of the East, TIBWHID, Clever Feint, Superior Claim, all canceled for free! Canceling SoB or burn events also helps buy one round, which might be all you need to win the game.
- Back to one Maester Cressen to have an answer for Strangler on our Azor.
- I suggested Kingsroads, which help a lot in all matchups, but especially in the mirror and against slower control decks like Kingdom of Shadows.
Round 1 vs. BYE
Round 2 vs. Parker Fealty
I had the Throne in setup and thought about naming Wyman all game. Then he had duped Wyman in setup. Well, Robb Stark then :P I marshalled Hunting Accident on Wyman and cancelled Arya's Gift. Hand's Judgment justified its inclusion in the very first game! Heir round 2 got us Fat Cat and Bob respectively. Good thing I discarded a Milk for claim the round before. No Azor meant I needed another round to win. Fun fact: Delena stopped his Northern Armory and my Lightbringer round 3...
Round 3 vs. Alejandro SoB
My 3 character setup got valared, and Parley at Storm's End was entirely wasted. Round 2 he won STR 8 to STR 8 and wiped my board...game over.
Round 4 vs. Horea Fealty
Horea's deck: https://thronesdb.com/decklist/view/13769/the-last-of-the-targ-fealty-burn-top-32-worlds-1.0 His Barring the Gates blocked my Heir to the Iron Throne. I even had put Red God's Blessing on Shireen to protect Shireen from a Blood of the Dragon opening. Not a good start... I marshalled a Red Priest and looked at this hand: Econ, Aegon Targaryen, Qotho, Dracarys!, Khal Drogo (Core), Crown of Gold, and 3x Consuming Flames! Ouch, that's even worse... I chose Crown of Gold. He dracarysed my Acolyte of the Flame attacking . I killed the dragon with claim, then qohored Hunting Accident on his Drogo. Round 2 I played Barring, so Qotho had to wait another round and he killed my Shireen with Blood of the Dragon. I drew the Throne and could name Consuming Flames, that was lucky :P I qohored the Azor on Selyse into a Seal of the Hand. Round 3 he played King plot and marshalled Hizdahr, but I had Loan from the Iron Bank, so I could marshal Bob without my Kingsroad. The Kingsroad was then used for Beric Dondarrion. Renown on Azor Bob, Selyse and Beric was enough to close.
I opened Loan, marshalled a Red Priest, who got fanatic'ed, and then instead of playing a 2nd Priest I had to get Fast Bob out. He marshaled Mercenary Contract and Milk of the Poppy on Bob, Aegon searched for Daario Naharis, he won , stole Bob, and killed him with the Fanatic. Ouch! My Heir didn't find any target (well, Beric...) and that was it.
Round 6 vs. Dave Wars
Ok, no pressure, but after going 2-2 I had to win this game to make day 2. Luckily, Dave didn't see Ghaston Grey, I had Azor Bob round 1 and won plot 3. Phew!
Top 64 vs. Storm Crossing
Stark, that's a good matchup for me. Duped Wyman in setup had a deja-vu, because he had a little Hunting Accident round 1 and died in a Wildfire Assault round 3, exactly like in my first game in swiss. I had Stannis in my starting hand and knew he didn't run Marched, so I could set him up, but instead set up only 7 gold including Shireen. I correctly suspected Storm would use one of his 2 Barring after seeing my setup to stop Heir and opened Loan instead. ;) I marshaled Stannis with Bodyguard and Blessing, but he had Rickon to stop Qohor. I sacrificed Bodyguard for Qohor anyway to get Hunting Accident on Wyman with the 3rd challenge (Cat blocked Qohor on the 2nd challenge). Round 2 I had the King plot and could initimidate Catelyn doing the challenge first. I lost Seized by the Guard for claim, which would be my only help against his Karhold (besides Barring), but he didn't draw it anyway. Round 3 Wildfire killing both Alester Florent and Shireen meant I could easily close.
Top 32 vs. John Dragon
This game was streamed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQyMWJFPCjo My Heir found Selyse. Great Hall and Kingsroad allowed me to marshal Stannis with Lightbringer, Blessing and Azor. I also had Bob in hand, but I had seen Bribery and The Watcher on the Walls in his list, so he would also need a Milk to threaten Stannis. Round 2 I played Bob and won the game with an extra renown power on Selyse from Disputed Claim. The only mistake I could make in this game was going second in the first round because Yoren would have stolen Selyse.
Top 16 vs. Joe Shadows
Joe's deck: https://thronesdb.com/decklist/view/13771/a-tool-for-every-task-top-16-worlds-1.0. Boy, this game was tense. It was going well after I had put Seized with 3 gold on his Bowels of Casterly Rock and Milk of the Poppy on his Bolton Flayer round 1. I had Stannis instead of Bob (who was a complete no-show this game), so I didn't gain power quickly enough to close round 2. Then plot 3 he played Forgotten Plans into my King plot, brought Varys out of shadows for free, played Clever Feint and sadly no Hand's Judgment to cancel it, and here comes Varys again to kill Voltron Stannis... Beric held the line, I had 2 Red God's Blessing to still win challenges, but he had Tunnels of the Red Keep, which meant STR 10 Loras participated in 3 challenges...Luckily he wasn't duped, so Joe couldn't valar with Red Keep canceling Beric's save. We finished plot 5 10-8 in my favor, then time was called and we played a final round. Parley at Storm's End forbidding challenges saved me. I won dominance 25-22 or sth like that thanks to the 2 Blessings. 11-10 Phew!
Top 8 vs. Lennart Shadows
This game was recorded by the White Walkers, everyone's favourite content provider! I successfully convinced Lennart, my good friend and Thrones nemesis (well, everyone's I suppose), to play his house and we had played this very matchup the day before Worlds, which I barely won. A Pinch of Powder and Ghaston Grey are annoying. I had duped Bob and Shireen in setup, so I opened Heir. Luckily, Lennart opened The First Snow of Winter instead of Marched to the Wall, so after plot phase round 1 I had Stannis and Bob in setup. Sadly, he had Ghaston Grey in setup. I marshalled Selyse and Blessing on Bob. Because of Ghaston I passed challenges...so Lennart valared Stannis and his wife away. :/ I had played Loan to refill the board, but only had Ser Davos and Alester. Hands canceling his TIBWHID on Ser Robert Strong allowed me to qohor Seized by the Guard on Ghaston Grey and bestow 2 gold. Phew, that was close! I expected Forgotten Plans next round, so I played Parley at Storm's End, but Lennart played Late Summer Feast instead, brought Arianne out of shadows and totally controlled the challenge phase. I played Barring into Forgotten Plans, at least newly marshaled Beric won one challenge this round. King plot (and Seal of the Hand on Beric) enabled me to win the next round: 2 power on Beric, 3 power on Azor Bob, 2 Bob triggers, claim, dominance and 1 unopposed thanks to Davos and intimidate...that's 10 power right there :O This win got my personal record vs. Lennart to 6-6 :)
Top 4 vs. Francis SoB
This game was also streamed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-h5wvQDr08 I had Bob and a chud in setup, and he didn't open Valar Morghulis :) Parley stopped his Vanquish the Unbelievers. Bob with a Seal of the Hand won the challenge to get Azor Ahai Reborn. Well, technically he didn't win the challenge, but all of us weren't familiar enough with the Devoted Bloodrider alt art... :/ That way I had 3 power and a Qohor trigger more than I deserved... Loan from the Iron Bank made my board wide enough round 2, so I didn't have to care about Sea of Blood. Womb of the World found Jhogo, though... I could have won round 2, but thought I could get to max 14 power, so I only qohored a Hunting Accident accident on STR 6 Qotho. If I qohor Disputed Claim, then Warhammer, then Lightbringer I would get to 15 power. I didn't think of Disputed Claim on Alester, because Alester is supposed to leave play at some point. :P I often use Disputed Claim to win the final power, but usually on Selyse or Mel. Round 3 I played King plot instead of Barring because a Red Priest saw Khal Drogo in his hand, which would mean claim 4. Well, Francis found one of his Overwhelming Numbers and put 2 Deadly Khalasars into play, so he got his claim 4 anyway. I only needed 1 more cost 3 or cheaper character (or 1 Hand's Judgment or the Iron Throne) to survive even that, but my final 4 cards that round were Selyse and 3 limiteds.
Congrats to Francis, our new World Champion! :)
I am very happy to have made it this far in the final official tournament, but honestly, I'm even happier that I have made the trip at all. It was such an amazing event! Many thanks to my travel companion Alex, my other friends from Germany (and Austria), my co-builders Andras and Yotam (who ended up playing Lanni Shadows), all the friendly opponents and people I've met before, between and after the games. You made this journey unforgettable! See you at next Worlds, everyone! :)