"Schwarmies" - Martell/Lion - Winner Canadian Nationals 2021

Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
None yet.

Feuerbart 46

This is the first time I share a deck, so I hope my notes make sense to you. They have become way too long, I fear. Sorry about that.

The deck won the Canadian Nationals 2021 this weekend. It was a great event, thank you so much for all who organized and played (below is a sum up of the games)! https://thejoustingpavilion.com/tournaments/7982

I wanted to build a deck with which

a) I could have a lot of bestow interactions, because I had not used bestow a lot before

b) I would be able to (potentially) reuse all characters in the discard pile

c) I could draw a lot of cards

Motivation

The deck is immensely fun to play, because usually - even if you lose - you can just do a lot of stuff with the bestow engine. I also like that it centers around some cards which are not used so often in the current meta (Ser Harys Swyft, Cersei's Informer). Despite the fact that I love playing it, to my limited playing abilities it is difficult to play (medium to hard on the FO-Open scale, see below). It is much more unstable than Martell Wars, so if you want to win, Martell Wars is way more reliable (I went 6:1 this tournament, but in earlier version I had 1:5 and 2:3)… but less fun! Playing it live takes time, so 55 minutes become tight.

The winning condition is not so exciting and similar to Martell Wars decks: Slap a lot of armies on the board and trigger Doran’s game.

Key elements are:

Bestow engine:

Cersei's Informers have become one of my favorite cards in the game. They are very versatile, but not too strong. You can usually get 1-2 cards extra draw per round and can refill Begging Brothers or Flea Bottom. They can make the Iron Bank grow rich very fast.

Harys Swyft is half a Free Companies Agenda on his own. He is really good in the deck, refills Begging Brothers and especially Cersei’s Informers.

The Iron Bank : The deck is resource hungry, so filling the Iron Bank with the Informer’s is one of the top priorities if you do not need the gold to cancel 5 Shadow triggers per round or something like that.

Unbridled Generosity: Ideally you would not need it, but it can restart or boost the bestow engine (on Cersei’s Informers) and thereby save the day. I had 2x in earlier versions, but other things became more important (e.g. HJ, Milk).

Flea Bottom: Graciously takes gold from either the Informers or Ser Harys Swyft.

Begging Brother: After my real brother, the best brothers you can wish for, also taking generous donations from Harys and the Informers.

Ricasso: His function is similar to Martell Wars decks. Boost your Host, make PP more effective and gain gold (Doran’s name) or draw cards (Secret Schemes) like crazy. He can can be pumped with gold by the Informers (7 was my highest).

Recycling is important:

The Informers are not only in the deck to delegate gold and draw cards, but to create a reservoir of characters (and to a limited degree events for Annals) in the discard pile.

With Flea bottom you can sling the 3-cost onto the deck like in any other deck. Great are the The Hound, Dornish Spy, Shadow City Bastard. The new Windblown are insanely good because of their stand ability together with the Host of the Boneway (or Lord Ander's Host ).

The key event is Burning Bright. It gets you a nice Host or card-drawing Starfall Cavalry on your board through the challenges phase. This gets you cheap strong characters and makes you less vulnerable to resets than if you marshal them. You get a Schwarm (Swarm) of Armies: Schwarmies!

This strategy makes you also more resilient against claim of the opponent, sometimes it can even be helpful to have one card discarded.

Only Areo Hotah does not leave the discard pile. But he is strong enough when you often can ambush him for free and opponents tend to forget him.

Draw Engine:

Cersei's Informers, Starfall Cavalry (starting turn 2), Secret Schemes, Greenblood Trader

The draw can go insane. So satisfying to draw 10+ cards in one round sometimes (21 my highest, not really useful anymore, but hej… at least you can tell your grandchildren about the day you drew 21 cards…). 2 River gates as a fallback if your draw engine stutters or you had a bad setup.

Econ:

Traditional econ locations are very tight. Only 2x River Gate. The Iron Bank is very important and the 3 high econ plots (City Festival, City of Spiders, and Trading). 2x iIn Doran's Name are really good and can give you either a very early push to survive in round 1 / 2 or finance a whole army later on.

MVP:

Depends a lot on the opponent’s deck. Ideally the deck should be able to work without any one card. If I had to pick one overall, then Harys Swift. The flexibility he grants is just great.

Honorable mentions:

"On a Misty Morn" can totally save your ass (works on armies, cersei’s informers), include 2x if you expect a lot of kill decks/ attrition.

Weaknesses:

Strong location control. tends to be very hard. The deck can withstand light attrition, but usually falters against hard attrition (NW-Kraken, Lanni-Kraken, Martell-321, Tyrell-Lion). Here the recycling part becomes important. Rush decks can often beat you before you are set. It still has too few icons. It does not have a lot of location control except Red Keep, and Assault on Windblown and Lord Ander's Host. Anything that controls your discard pile is difficult. Citadel Archivist can be canceled with BB, but Isle of Ravens or the Meereenese Markets are tough.

The deck is difficult to play, because setup can be tricky due to the high number of events. You have to learn when to setup un-bestowed Flea Bottom, Informer or Iron Bank. Mulligan for some bestow tech and at least some draw cards. Additionally, the bestow tech is fun, but takes time getting used to, pre-marshalling actions with Harys are very important. You have to be very patient. Like Martell Wars, the deck is great at comebacks and catch-ups. Going first/second is also difficult to judge. Except for Hotah there is little in the deck that makes the usual Martells-go-second rule apply. Rough rule: In the first rounds, try to go second, later on especially with the Hosts go first (but see an important exception below in the description of the final).

Plot Line:

At Prince Doran's Behest --> At the Gates --> Trading with the Pentoshi/City Festival (trading early if the opponent is rather slow or you want them to overcommit, City festival, if you can recharge Informer's and Iron bank with Harys before Marshalling) ... then you have to be creative, do not wait too long with The Annals of Castle Black, never on the last plot! Don't fear your own VD (too much) if you have a strong board. You should usually be able to come back better than your opponent and supplement your board with Burning Bright and Flea Bottom.

Canadian Nationals 2021

Thanks to all my opponents who were really nice and fair (several of you let me do actions after I already pressed ‘pass’ at least once, great sportsmanship!).

Game 1 vs. BYE, win. Clear Victory, strong showing on my side!

Game 2 vs Stark/Fealty (argento). Win: Very tough match, I could dominate the challenges and Cat did not make an appearance. Lord Anders's Host ambushed and made a 5-power swing. This was lucky, Stark Fealty can often outrush you.

Game 3 vs. Targ/Aloof (Rein). Loss: Targ aloof in Reinhard’s hands is always one of the hardest things you can play. So much pressure, location control (Nothing burns on Iron Bank), and smart plays left me no choice but to concede after a great fight.

Game 4 vs Bara/Wars (Odrl), Win: I had perfect relative setup, I could milk Mel T1, discard fat Bobby, T2 and milk Delena T3, draw much more cards and use Windblown to kneel Summerhall. In other circumstances the kneel, power challenges and DOM could easily have turned the game the other way.

Game 5 vs Tyrell/Lion (Cypher),win: The Dread of the current meta (5 entries in the Canadian Nationals alone). I had enough cancels against the Shadow tech to stay on board and pull ahead with Doran’s game to win over time. Super close game.

Quarterfinal vs. Lanni/Kraken (Radek), win: Another super strong shadow deck. I think I had like 12-15 BB cancels over the game. Radek managed to get them off the board several times, but they popped up again and again. My great luck was that Radek did not draw Nightflyer. Else I would not have won the game. Even with RK you just cannot stop the onslaught of Nighflyers. Game was still extremely close.

Semi-Final vs. Tyrell/Lion (Cypher), win: Viktor wanted 'revenge' and in round 2 he got it. 3 claim kills including Harys and Ricasso ... But luckily, he did not have any econ to set the dreaded Tyrell/Lion machinations into motion. Still, he would have won if not for a Oldtown trigger that did not go through. Surprise-Hotah won the game.

Final vs. Targ/Aloof (Rein), win: This time I was seeking 'revenge'. I think I won the game on first round initiative. I got a Host and a Windblown on the board and could kneel Drogo and new Ser Barristan Selmy which together would have made short work of my characters if Reinhard could have gone first. Two milks on the two tough guys in T2 helped me survive the intense pressure. Lord Anders's Host had one decisive trigger again on Drogo. I could dominate and, in the end, finally get Doran’s game through (Reinhard used in total 6x HJ, 3x from hand, 3x in Annals). Great game and luckily won through the toss of the virtual coin in round 1, I think.

8 comments

Deathlysteve 154

Well done with this one! I was watching it here and there and was interesting to see a new approach on Martell tricks with all the bestow-tech. Congratulations on the win, was well played. :)

argento 577

Congrats, fantastic deck very well played!

mak 278

MVP: Taylor Swyft, look at her dancing, twice per round loll =)
Congrats again Feuerbart!!!

Thursday 205

I was watching the end of that semifinal, holding my breath when Cypher hit 14. Watching you hold off everything he threw at you after that whiff on Oldtown, only to have Areo Hotah get you to 3 CLAIM, was amazing. Great performance from a great player!

Derry 98

congratulations! sweet sweet list, fun AND competitive!

BlackFyre123 71

congratulations !

Evad 31

Congratulations to your deserved win! great deck and great player! thank you for bringing something new and fresh to the table!

Marco Martell 60

Nice description!

I sounds like it was pretty lucky triumph, as you faced all the best opponents with their best decks that they are known to play perfectly for months.

And you had to deal with a relatively new deck and with potential 7-events starting hands (I guess this never happened but still could).

Congrats for beating all the shadow monsters and the kneel monster. ;)

And for beating Khal Rein in the great final!

Conclusions:

  • City plot line with Gulltown is the best one, especially with much location control used these days. Some restriction would be nice.
  • Martell armies seem the strongest in Westeros nowadays and can shine even outside Wars decks. Some restriction would be nice.
  • Begging Brother is one of the best shadow counters and therefore necessary in any non-Stark deck.
  • Assault keyword is the best tool against Summerhall.
  • Valar Dohaeris is the best reset plot.