Scary Little Cats (Top 8 at the Charity Christmas event)

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Odrl 102

Reposting this here now that the new cards are available on the main ThronesDB site. The following text was written on the 20th of December last year and originally posted on the redesigns version of ThronesDB. :)

I know some people thought it was interesting and/or amusing, so I would like to show you the deck I played at the Charity Christmas Barcelona tournament. :)

I built it as a bit of a joke last Sunday, but after it surprisingly won seven out of the first eight games online, I decided to just go with it and see how it would do in a proper tournament. Basically the idea is that three characters don't kneel to attack in certain challenges, and Ser Pounce gives this ability to a fourth one as well, so Casterly Rock and the extra keyword from the agenda makes your board very efficient when going first. I choose intimidate as the keyword most times, to stop the counter-attack, but there is some flexibility with insight for cards, renown to speed things up, or stealth if there is some character you need to get around. I rarely play decks that are so focused on just pushing challenges through, so I am not the best when it comes to sequencing everything correctly. But with a bit more practice, I think it should be simple enough. :)

Ser Pounce targets:

  • Anguy the Archer - Possibly the best choice, as he can potentially do four challenges and only kneel for power. The only downside is that his STR is fairly weak, so he usually needs some help to push the intimidate through.
  • Lem Lemoncloak - Also nice. He can't do both power and military, but he is always 4 STR, so it's difficult to defend him if he gets the intrigue icon.
  • Balerion - It's cute when this happens, but it's not entirely a joke. :) Needs help for intimidate, but it's also very difficult to remove him from the board. It's easy to forget that he can also discard gold from bestow cards. I definitely could have used that ability at least once in the tournament, but of course I overlooked it at the time. :)

Other important :

  • Myrcella Baratheon - One of the key cards when Ser Pounce and Casterly Rock are both on the board, assuming of course that her ability is turned on. You can basically do two 5 STR intrigue challenges for free, before any characters need to kneel.
  • Ser Jaime Lannister - Works nicely with Anguy in particular, and can get a little bit of renown as well. Unfortunately he is somewhat costly in a deck that doesn't really play any economy plots.
  • Ghost of High Heart - The ability to look at an opponent's hand is decent enough, but really she is here mostly for the STR boost. It helps a lot with intimidate when the little ones have a bit more punch.

The rest of the unique characters are only one copy, mainly to avoid dead draws. Syrio Forel doesn't work super well with the Ser Pounce characters, as they all already have a military icon. Works better with Myrcella in theory, but I haven't been able to use that successfully yet. Varamyr Sixskins offers some versatility with his trigger. Lysa Arryn is mainly here as a deterrent, and it's definitely nice that you can dig for her with The Hollow Hill, if needed. And of course Old Bill Bone is an easy include as well, and can sometimes mess things up for the opponent if you can trigger him on The Withering Cold turn.

The rest of the Lannister package are characters that I thought could take Ser Pounce if there was no better option, but I no longer think that's a real concern. I prioritised the power icons here. Shae was probably the best of them, due to her synergy with The Withering Cold. Joffrey Baratheon and Podrick Payne can be triggered occasionally, but their abilities don't really do a lot. The Hound is always good, but unfortunately there is no gold generation in the challenges phase here, so he doesn't shine as he would in some other decks. Gunthor Son of Gurn was a late include to replace Lancel who didn't really work. And of course I had to include Tommen Baratheon in a Ser Pounce deck. There aren't that many cheap unique characters in Lannister anyway, so we can pretend he is here on merit. :)

Overall, I would say this Lannister package (apart from Myrcella) is probably the weakest part of the deck. If those were at the level of the cheap Stark uniques, things would be much improved. As for the non-uniques, we only have two copies of Citadel Archivist, to shuffle the discard pile back if Gold Mines are used aggressively, and two copies of Begging Brother for the power icon and the late-game cancels.

The Roseroad and Gold Mine are pretty obvious choices for economy locations. Usually there is no way to get Balerion off the board, so throwing those dupes away to search for more useful cards is nice. Same with locations that are already in play, once Political Disaster starts looking unlikely. I struggled a bit with the third economy location. Goldroad doesn't really work as there are not many cards to spend gold on in the challenges phase, and Lion Gate can't draw in this deck. I went for Ocean Road in the end, despite its obvious anti-synergy with Withering Cold and King in the North. It's alright, but it always pains me when it's on the board and I'm not getting anything out of it. Maybe the thing to do here would be to swap two copies for a Gates of the Moon and a Great Hall (not the best deck for it, but it does still give 1 gold, as almost everything is unique). Not bad when you hit At the Gates with Varys's Riddle.

  • Casterly Rock - Key card of the deck, along with Ser Pounce. Almost always gives a free challenge with a non-kneeling character, and often the opponent's choice whether to block it or face intimidate is a lose-lose situation for them.
  • The Hollow Hill - Another easy call, all characters are potential targets. Helps to find dupes early on as well. Of course this location is easy to overlook if you are not really concentrated, so I miss some triggers here and there. :)
  • The Red Keep - Not as great as I had hoped. Gold is lacking, so it's too big of a tempo hit to play it. Besides, Supporting the Faith stops it, as does King in the North, so I think I only triggered it once or twice over the course of the tournament. Thinking about it now, Alchemists' Guildhall would probably have done more.

  • Ser Pounce - He is a good cat. :) Ambush is very nice here, as the opponent might not see a bunch of free challenges coming. :)
  • Milk of the Poppy - No comment needed, I think. Usually opponents don't like to give you Milks, which just increases the odds of getting Ser Pounce from Exchange of Information.

These are perhaps not as tight as they could have been. Quiet as a Shadow complements the agenda nicely, giving stealth to the character that already has intimidate, or giving it to Myrcella who can't be chosen with the agenda. Lay Waste definitely won me the game against a Wall deck, but apart from that I found it difficult to use. There either wouldn't be any gold leftover, there wouldn't be any worthwhile locations, or the key location would already be duped once I got my hands on Lay Waste. As for The Hand's Judgment, that didn't do much on the day either, but it's probably still worth it.

  • Varys's Riddle - I was thinking it would hit At the Gates, get a free Roseroad, and win initiative to go first. As it happens, it hit some Late Summer Feasts and other Varys's Riddles instead, so the plan didn't really work super well. :)
  • The Withering Cold - Great with non-kneelers and intimidate. Even when it doesn't fully work and the opponent still gets challenges through, having the board knelt the following round is usually favourable, because you might get something else that doesn't kneel on the board.
  • The King in the North - Stops my Ocean Roads, but the rest of the deck mainly relies on passive text, so this is actually really good. I'm glad it's found its place in certain strategies, without being oppressive as before. I've found that opponents sometimes leave their econ standing on the Withering Cold turn, thinking they might need it the following round, so hitting them with King in the North is really nice. :)
  • Supporting the Faith - It was decent enough. The reserve is not nice (although I did consider incorporating Crow Killers into this deck as well), but it stops shadows and all the other challenges tricks for a round. As I said, Red Keep doesn't like it, but the only other card that is affected really is The Hound, and even then you can just marshal him, I guess.
  • Exchange of Information - Was great all day, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I think I got 4 cards most times, with the occasional 3. It's lovely when the opponent is forced to give you Ser Pounce. :)
  • Valar Dohaeris - Another obvious choice. If you can keep something like Myrcella, Anguy, Lemoncloak and Balerion, it's almost always better value than what the opponent is left with. And of course I was expecting lots of Aloof decks here. I even considered Duel to go along with Valar D, but I ran out of space.
  • You Win Or You Die - I dislike this plot, I think it's probably the most overplayed card in the game. Usually I am on the other side of it, trying to control the opponent as they self-destruct with this, but I thought I would give it a go here. Reserve 0 sucks big time, and it probably cost me some games. Since this deck isn't going for military pressure, 2-claim will rarely make a difference there. The only challenge where it really matters is power, but that's also the toughest one to get through. I would maybe drop this now. Not sure what to replace it with though. Close Call would have saved the day a few times, or maybe just Trade Routes to play out my hand when it really matters.

Just a quick recap of the games:

Round 1 vs Valyrian Steel

Close game vs Tamás. He didn't get the Wall right away, so it was basically my non-kneelers going first against his Longclaw. I was a few power behind, then turned it around when there weren't enough icons to defend my intrigue challenges, even with a Haunted Forest on the board. The Wall never triggered, first it was blocked by King in the North, and then I played Lay Waste on it. Tamás was stuck with Valar Morghulis in the last round, losing his power on the Ranging Party, and Lysa Arryn was on the board to take care of Benjen, so any chance of a comeback was gone. And of course Craster got milked earlier.

Round 2 vs The Prince that was Promised

Stannis was the prince, but my opponent was never able to win power by 5 here, so he never saw play. And I had Ghost of High Heart on the board anyway, so I could have always discarded him after the search. My opponent made a promising start with Melisandre and Robert Baratheon, but a couple of Milks and Withering Cold allowed me to take control, and Valar D was effective here as well. I actually went for some renown in this game, as Anguy could win challenges easily enough without the need for intimidate. Pretty quick win.

Round 3 vs Aloof and Apart

I could have won this one, but I misplayed a little bit. It was streamed, so you can watch it if you like. :) It was an interesting start. Harren countered my Withering Cold with Old Bill Bone in the marshalling phase, so that backfired for me completely. I think even Myrcella was switched off that round, so I basically did nothing useful. I was lucky that Asha pillaged a Citadel Archivist, so she didn't get the super draw. Nothing Burns Like the Cold really hurt me in this game too, discarding a Milk from Asha and also my Casterly Rock. On the other hand, The King in the North worked in my favour, and I found a couple more Milks for Asha and Euron when I really needed them. I ran into Forced March on my Valar D turn, kneeling my entire board except for Myrcella, but I still managed to slowly turn the game around. Valar M worked against my opponent in Round 7. I actually thought I was lost when I only had Ser Pounce in hand, then drew 2x Ser Pounce in the draw phase, but luckily my opponent didn't draw anything useful either. Unfortunately I skipped a free intrigue challenge with Balerion here, which, in hindsight, would have been enough to get me to 15 power a round later. Since the game went to Round 9, it allowed Harren to replay his Nothing Burns and Forced March, both of which really hurt, and my Valar D only got me to 14 power with prized. I was actually close to winning on time, but we just managed to start another round with a few seconds left. :)

Round 4 vs Knights of the Hollow Hill

This can actually be a tricky matchup, but my opponent didn't get the best draw here. I was careful to avoid Fallen From Favour with my Riddle, but Dennis played some military icons, Harrenhal, and Ice, so I was up against it. Luckily I was able to bait him into using Harrenhal on Gunthor, then played a duped Lem with Ser Pounce, winning a bunch of unopposed challenges with insight. Dennis then played Exchange and forced me to give him Ward, which allowed him to take Myrcella. But... Lay Waste to the rescue again. :) He then conceded early once it was clear I would be able to dominate intrigue and power challenges, and that the military pressure had basically fizzled.

Round 5 vs Assault from the Shadows

I won't go into too much detail here, because I played Hanno again in the top8 straight after this game, so it's difficult to remember exactly what happened in each game. I basically had my non-kneeler and dominated intrigue and military challenges, but there was Black Cells and Red Keep on the board, so it was impossible to win any power challenge on attack or defence. Black Cells was duped as well, so Lay Waste couldn't touch it. And I kept losing dominance because of Edric. :) The pressure was off though, since it was clear that I had already made the cut due to my high SoS.

Top 8 vs Assault from the Shadows

I think the first one was something like 15-6, but this one was much closer and actually went to time. Unfortunately Black Cells was there again, and duped, as always, but this time I got a few more challenges through early on, with Casterly Rock and some intimidate, so I competed more in the power totals. Unfortunately Hanno still had an iron grip on the power challenges though, and was able to use Pinch of Powder at will (well, apart from the King in the North turn). I wasn't really prepared to lose a duped Lem Lemoncloak to double Pinch on my You Win Or You Die turn, but there was no way to stop it. Terrible plot. :) I misplayed a little in the last round, when I somehow failed to initiate my second intrigue challenge to get more intimidate through, but a Fickle Bannerman in shadows and Traitor to the Crown on all of my power icons were unstoppable anyway. Apart from a missed Hollow Hill trigger in one round, I don't think I could have done much better really. I guess one option would have been to go for some renown on Balerion, since he is the only character that can't be pinched, but I think I wouldn't have been able to win anything unopposed then, so it would have been the same. Besides, Hanno just might be a sharp enough player to play his Fortified Position and pinch Balerion anyway. ;)

All in all, it was a great day, and nice to see people join together for a good cause and to have some fun. Thanks to Lannister for organising it. :)

As always, thanks for reading, and please don't hold back with your comments and suggestions. :)

2 comments

Apopas 1

Odrl with Lions... This year is gonna be full of surprises... :-D

Odrl 102

What can I say, it had to be done. ;)