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|Baratheon KOTHH - For Friendly Open, by Miha Vrbanec||9||6||0||1.0|
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Friendly Open Beginners deck: House Baratheon Knights of the Hollow Hill.
Note One thing to remember here is that Consolidation of Power can be played on your own characters, so it's even possible to win in marshalling if you are on 13 or 14 power!
For those of you who enjoy the control playstyle, this is a fairly simple deck to play. The idea is to use kneel effects to stop the opponent from pushing their challenges through, then win mostly with dominance and unopposed power.
Knights of the Hollow Hill is a great agenda for control decks, but it does mean that you basically sacrifice the opening round, so be prepared to be on the back foot in the early game. As you can see, The Iron Bank is the only economy card in this deck. It is possible to play without it and just use the additional 3 gold the agenda gives you, but obviously it is much better if you can play it immediately and then basically enjoy unlimited gold for the rest of the game. It's the card I would recommend mulliganing for. I think the odds of getting it with a mulligan are something like 51% if I've calculated it correctly, so you should be getting it every other game. :)
Plots: Fallen from Favor is a perfect opening plot here, as it gives you good gold without having to sacrifice anything. Just be careful not to play it if you have a reasonable suspicion the opponent is opening with Naval Superiority.
The second plot you will usually want to play is Building Orders, to grab The Iron Bank if you don't already have it, or to get one of the other key locations for this deck. I would say Blackwater Bay is probably the next most important one, as it is the only real source of draw in this deck. It helps you get all the other stuff you need. You will also want to get the The Iron Throne and Chamber of the Painted Table on the board as soon as possible. This combination serves as a stall effect in the early game, to prevent the opponent running away with it after your inevitable slow start, and it serves as the main source of power once you manage to control the board. The one copy of Devan Seaworth helps you put these locations on the board. Obviously take the The Iron Throne first if you have a choice. And if you can spare it, don't hesitate to put 3 gold on Devan Seaworth. You can always use 1 to grab The Iron Bank, even if it's just a duplicate.
The main reason duplicates matter here is in the inclusion of Political Disaster. This plot is played a lot at the moment, which means location-based control decks tend to have a difficult time. With Knights of the Hollow Hill, there is less need for economy locations, so you are not only able to survive that plot, you can even play it aggressively yourself. This will help immensely in matchups like The Wall (Core) defence, shadows, Greyjoy Warships, and also against other The Iron Throne and Chamber of the Painted Table decks. The downside of having so few locations though is that Nothing Burns Like The Cold can hit you really hard.
Everything else in this deck revolves around kneel. You will always want to go second, just so you can target the biggest threats after they are marshalled. I guess the only exceptions to this would be if you are on the verge of victory, or if you really want to trigger When Revealed plot effects in a particular order. The agenda is very useful here, as you tend to win initiative most rounds. Your key kneel cards are Selyse Baratheon and Robert Baratheon. Ideally you want to play Selyse Baratheon in combination with The Withering Cold, which leaves the entire board knelt for two rounds. If you can follow that with Heir to the Iron Throne and trade Selyse Baratheon for Robert Baratheon, you can extend the lockdown even further. This is the dream scenario though. In reality, you often have to settle for a less convenient sequence. The last part of your "big 3" is of course Melisandre. She can't do the kind of mass kneel the other two can, but you should be able to trigger her every round. When used in combination with Selyse Baratheon, Melisandre can target any Ladies that are left standing, and in combination with Robert Baratheon she targets whatever is left, based on the choice you made with Robert Baratheon. Usually you will want to go for quantity over quality with Robert Baratheon, but in some matchups you might just want to keep the biggest threats knelt (against Greyjoy, for example).
What you generally want to do with your plots in the middle of the game is to make sure none of your key characters die. Selyse Baratheon will always be unprotected as you are hoping to play her multiple times, so you will want to get her off the board with Heir or Valar Dohaeris at the earliest opportunity. It's also a decent choice to play Heir to the Iron Throne if you have an unprotected Robert Baratheon or Melisandre, to either find a free dupe, or to trade them for characters that like to die, such as Alester Florent and Shireen Baratheon. Your only other Heir to the Iron Throne target is Delena Florent. Use your judgement here. Obviously trading Delena Florent for Robert Baratheon will work out brilliantly in some games, but sometimes Delena Florent can be a key character for you, particularly against characters that stand a lot, whether it's voltron or just something like Victarion Greyjoy or Randyll Tarly. Your only other answers to those cards are Hunting Accident and Dragonstone Castle.
There is a decent number of events in this deck, again mostly due to the agenda. Skipping setup removes the main downside of this cardtype, and the same goes for negative attachments. Consolidation of Power is another card where you usually want to go for quantity over quality, particularly with Blackwater Bay on the board. Against some Martell decks you might even be able to kneel four targets. It's also useful when you want to target specific icons, usually to stop military claim, or against The Lord of the Crossing. It's a key card whenever you are forced to go first, but it does require some communication with the opponent in online play if you wish to use it while you are not the active player in marshalling. Even Handed Justice is the opposite case, you probably don't want to waste it unless you are hitting a big target with it. Saving the Kingdom can also be a key card in some matchups, but it does require holding onto 3 gold to repeat it every round.
Some of the key decisions you will need to make in games is how to use Red Priest. Sometimes the choice is obvious, just take any threats you can't possibly deal with. Other times you will want to target characters, especially if the opponent hasn't drawn a lot of them. I also like to target any source of draw if I can. The downside is that you need to carry Red Priests through resets if you want their ability to stick, so you might need to lose a card like Robert Baratheon if you want one or two of your Red Priests to survive Valar D. Don't forget to kill them for military claim when You Win Or You Die is revealed though, that's the perfect moment for them to leave the board. Also, be aware that Seen In Flames is the better removal when you have both in hand, so make sure Red Priest takes the second-best card instead. Also, you might not want to trigger Melisandre in the marshalling phase if you intend to play Seen In Flames, particularly when going first. Just be sure the opponent can't play out their entire hand though, otherwise Seen In Flames can't be played and you are wasting the Melisandre trigger.
Just a few comments about other, less-obvious cards:
Acolyte of the Flame - There is a bit of versatility here as to which R'hllor chuds you take, but I do like the Acolyte's ability. You can use it any time you intend to play Selyse Baratheon, or any time your opponent is relying on topdecking something useful.
Vanguard Lancer and Bastard in Hiding - Generally the Vanguard Lancer is the better card, especially as you often need to take back some power after a slow start, but I do like a copy of the Bastard in Hiding as well, just so Delena Florent's search doesn't miss when you already have Edric Storm in hand. I wouldn't recommend additional copies of Anguy the Archer and Godry the Giantslayer here, because you don't want dead draws when they die. They are useful though, especially with Valar Dohaeris as your reset.
Ser Imry Florent - While Ser Imry Florent is a wonderful card, be aware that you might not be able to use him to his full potential in this deck, because you won't have a surplus of locations to sacrifice. You can use him if his ability gets you to 15 power, you can use him if you're out of other means to survive the game (although you are probably only delaying the inevitable in that case), or you can use him whenever your locations are blanked with negative attachments. I guess he can get rid of knelt locations too. Using Blackwater Bay on the The Withering Cold turn as well as the turn after can get you a crazy amount of cards.
Citadel Archivist - It won't happen every game, but sometimes you might be drawing way over reserve after a Selyse Baratheon or Robert Baratheon trigger, so a copy of Citadel Archivist is always nice, just to be on the safe side.
Barring the Gates - The last plot slot is probably the most flexible, but one thing this deck definitely doesn't like is matchups where characters jump in and out of play a lot. They avoid your kneel triggers in the marshalling phase, and you are left with no draw from Blackwater Bay. Barring the Gates stops that for a round at least. If you take it out, additional copies of Shadow Priestess could be considered, perhaps instead of Begging Brother if you find it difficult to pay for.
In terms of matchups: Jumpers and shadows decks can be difficult, but The Iron Throne, Chamber of the Painted Table and Political Disaster do give you a decent chance. Stark can be tricky with all of their stand, so you need to time Valar Dohaeris correctly to stop them getting too much renown on the board. The decks with all the Ladies are almost impossible to beat though, as they are completely immune to the mass kneel from Selyse. Targ burn is not pleasant, but at least you have some hand knowledge, and you can play passively with the Chamber and try to stay out of challenges as much as possible. Targaryen voltron can be difficult too, but they do fold against Delena Florent and Dragonstone Castle if you manage to draw them. Annoying cards that any deck can play include Heads on Spikes (no way to counter it if it hits something like Selyse Baratheon), and Balerion (The Iron Bank is dead if he hits the board early). Cancels are annoying too, but at least you have Milk of the Poppys for Begging Brothers and Privileged Position for the Lannister locations.
On the positive side: The Wall (Core) defence should be a favourable matchup for you. Even if they find a Milk of the Poppy for Robert Baratheon, they are not going to beat The Iron Throne and Chamber of the Painted Table after Political Disaster is played. Most Greyjoy decks should be favourable too, as they don't have enough stand to counter all the kneel. The exception here is Drowned God, which can only really be stopped by drawing all the Milk of the Poppys at the right time. Martell is among the easier matchups too. Their chuds kneel really well, and often they can't deal with decks that just win passively.
If you want to customise this deck a little to fit your personal preferences, one thing you could look at is economy. Obviously Knights of the Hollow Hill stops most of it, but you could still use locations that reduce cost, particularly if you're not a fan of The Iron Bank. Be careful though, The Withering Cold is a key plot here, so anything that kneels loses some value. The Kingsroads still work though, and they don't care about Political Disaster either.
You could also play around with plots a bit. Forced March is always great in a kneel deck, and you do have a decent number of chuds with a military icon, though a couple more wouldn't hurt. The The Annals of Castle Black is a plot I've used a lot, though it's lost some of its appeal now that you can no longer win with 3x Consolidation of Power on your own characters. :) It's still good though. Just remember to take out Citadel Archivist if you're playing it, and try not to waste Saving the Kingdom while that plot is revealed. Uneasy Truce could also be considered if you find the deck to be too slow, but I haven't used it lately. I've never used Siege Preparations myself, but I've seen it used to great effect with this agenda, as it can draw up to 8 cards in a perfect situation. Worth a try perhaps.
But of course the best way to make useful changes is just to try it out for yourself and see what you need. :) One advice I always have for new players is to play games out even if you're losing, because that's the best way to learn. This deck in particular is quite good from behind, so try not to get discouraged too easily. One Selyse Baratheon trigger on a The Withering Cold turn and suddenly the game can turn around completely. And do always try to stall the game until Plot 7 if you can, because you never know whether the opponent is stuck with a plot they really don't want to play.
Have fun, and thanks for reading. :)
This deck is by Miha Vrbanec. Miha is considered to be one of the most creative deck builders and players in the scene. Miha plays a huge variety of decks, and tries to pull off crazy things like this:
When Miha plays for real, he really shows he is one of the best in the world at the moment, with a second place in Champions of Westeros Winter League. If you got a question about anything game related, Miha (Odrl at discord), will always contributes with his knowledge about the game, and are very respected in the scene! Miha (JP Profile) is a big part of the Friendly Open, and is one of few which has played in all 15(!!!), Friendly Open tournaments so far, and are together with Raius the referee of the Friendly Open tournaments! Friendly Open can be found at Friendly Open's Discord where you can find more decks, discuss with those who made them, and join our weekly tournaments. Hope this decklist will help you, leave a comment if it has, and join us for some thrones at the discord channel