|Card draw simulator|
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
|None. Self-made deck here.|
Welcome to the next installment of "Alex brings an agenda no-one plays to Worlds, then does surprisingly well with it!"
I've gone off-meta before, but I don't think anyone will argue if I say The Long Voyage is probably as off-meta as you can get. That said, it is surprisingly effective in a huge number of matches, and is definitely WAY more consistent than you'd think for a hundred-card deck.
Okay, so, Long Voyage. Huge deck, little bit of extra draw that uses up your faction kneel. So if you want to see specific characters it's probably a bad idea. However, if you only care about spitting out challenge icons - and those icons can come out for super cheap - it becomes a bit more reasonable, no?
Mulligan for a resource location - you need to play a few sub-standard ones in order to find them early - then just maximize your setup. Standard opener is obviously Maiden, which helps down the road when you're trying to force the opponent to go first. You'll usually follow it up with the second copy but occasionally a Duel or VD is better.
After that, you're just looking to cover your bases as far as icons go (so favor playing characters with icons you're short on), and putting out your extra draw. Conveniently, Maiden helps you maximize Hobb and Eastwatch as well, since you play the other Seven plots too. Smith is amazing with 11 attachments, Father can be another huge tempo swing in the same vein as Mutiny (with the benefit of getting past bodyguards and the like), and Supporting is excellent against any deck hoping to ambush or shadows-in a card in challenges. Three already excellent cards that just get better with Maiden helping out.
Duel, VD, Craven, Milk, and Mutiny are all excellent against houses that actually play good characters, each one typically giving you a huge tempo advantage (keeping five characters on the board on a VD turn, tossing a three-cost character with Mutiny to ditch their seven-coster, etc). In a hundred-card deck, yeah, you're unlikely to find any given specific card, but if you're drawing twice as many cards as your opponent every turn, you'll fairly quickly find something that helps you out.
You DO need to be concerned about First Snow, potentially. You basically need to always think to yourself "if the opponent plays FS next turn, how will I be prepared to survive it" (you kind of need to think that way about the other resets as well, but less so). It might not be worth playing Mutiny if it gets rid of one of your only characters above three-cost.
My two losses at Worlds were both to Greyjoy Fealty, unsurprisingly. In the first loss against Wolf Bian, I was unable to find any resources to speak of - the one Underground Vault I found on turn three or four was burned with WDNS that same turn. In the Top 16 match, against Marti, he got a Raiding Longship out turn one, and I couldn't spam out enough characters (or attachments on the ones I had) to keep up - that plus a couple of well-placed WDNS locked it up.
The normal strat against this deck is pretty much what you'd think - Craven/Milk on Balon, Euron, or Asha, and get tempo on them with well-timed VD, Father, and Mutiny plays. If Greyjoy stays on top of the meta it may actually be worth playing an extra copy or two of Old Tattersalt to help find those attachments earlier.
Against most everything else - vomit out characters (keeping maybe one or two back to help after a reset), try to make the opponent go first, and just block everything you can. After they've gone, throw whatever icons you can at them to sneak in a few challenges of your own. The deck seems like it relies heavily on The Wall - and you definitely want it in play as soon as you can - but the deck has won many times in games where the Wall just hasn't shown up. When you're stopping all of their unopposed, and forcing them to commit hugely to any challenge they want to win, it's not hard to pick up one or two power of your own here and there. And dominance usually isn't too hard to get either.
The only other deck that stands out as different is Targ Burn. Thankfully, you don't have any truly important characters, so you don't really need to worry about whether or not you can commit anybody to a given challenge. It's obviously best to do so with your strongest guys whenever you can, so that it takes the Targ player more resources to kill them, but this is basically a war of attrition, and you've got more characters than they have burn spells. It can be tricky if they find a good turn to play Blood of the Dragon, but I haven't seen many burn players using that plot recently, as they tend to focus more on draw and gold these days.
Lastly, a few thoughts on specific cards:
Aged Craftsman: this guy probably has a solid 30-40% chance of whiffing. That's okay. When he hits he's super worth it.
Grenn / Thoren Smallwood - a little pricey, but worth it to get an extra couple of ways to generate power. Especially since they can benefit from Jaremy Rykker every so often.
Will - it's shocking how infrequently his text is important. He's usually just an excellent source of stealth and draw.
Janos Slynt - you ARE playing Duel, so it is VERY IMPORTANT you don't forget that this guy actually costs 6. Don't ask me how I came to learn that. If you think you might play Duel next turn, you may wish to conveniently lose a military challenge and kill him off first. That said, I HAVE had games where my opponent only had one 6+ cost guy in play, and it was actually worth it to play Duel and let them kill my Janos, just so you get a kneel on their expensive guy.
Maester Aemon - not as important as you'd first think. You don't really care about preventing one claim per turn. Use him on a VM turn to save a better character.
Owen the Oaf - guaranteed INT defense or guaranteed unopposed on your own INT can be amazing, and it works out that way in most matches. However - don't sleep on potentially putting a Practice Blade on him! I've won more than one Martell matchup by doing so with Castle Black up. With no common way to stealth past him, he completely invalidates the two most frequent challenges you get from Martell. Even if they have a few monocon weenies, you have more than they do and can add some of your own to the challenge.
I think that's about it - feel free to hit me up in the comments with any questions. This deck isn't really a secret - I've been playing some variation of it on TheIronThrone for over a year now - but I think when people lose against it they've had a tendency to say "pfft, all he did was vomit out guys and claim power with The Wall, what a stupid deck" and then immediately forget about it.
Well, they weren't wrong. But maybe it'll be harder to forget about it now. :P