Power Is Power (Stahleck Top 32, 2023)

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

jcwamma 2842

This is the pile I took to Stahleck, where I went 6-2 in the swiss before bowing out in the win-and-in round for the top 16. I'm thoroughly out of the meta right now so maybe the choices are old hat, but a quick look on ThronesDB suggested people aren't building many decks with Long May He Reign or Kingswood (CoW) in, so I figured it was worth sharing.

Gameplan is roughly as follows:

  • Play cards that are very powerful with the downside that they go away when you lose a power challenge
  • Use Summerhall so they don't actually go away
  • Use Storm's End to stop opponents getting to do non-power challenges, while Kingswood and Traitor to the Crown mean I probably win the power challenges that do happen
  • Grab power quicker than is perhaps expected to win quickly

The deck has multiple obvious flaws that I went into Stahleck completely fine with - I wasn't exactly trying to win! But yes, it struggles greatly to handle location control (be that Political Disaster, Mad King's Command, or more bespoke stuff). It also is very good at protecting important characters from being killed; less good at protecting from other forms of removal. Removal is, on my end, very lacking. I can remove an unduped character with Valar Morghulis, but that's it. If they choose to kneel it I can potentially keep it knelt with Robert Baratheon (FotS), and I can use Traitor to have their STR not count in power challenges, but if they offer a threat in any other way (or don't kneel, or don't care about power challenges/can't hold Traitor), the character runs me over. And lastly, if you don't see Storm's End, it has a slight weakness to Intrigue. I'm honestly kind of annoyed Maester Colemon has an intrigue icon, really sullying an otherwise-perfect bar chart for icon distribution. On the plus side, I didn't use him in an intrigue challenge (attack or defence!) all day, so there's that at least.

Quick tourney report:

Round One: Win vs DrBoeserich (Night's Watch Kraken)

This was a "my deck worked" kind of game. DrBoeserich got several pieces out, including lots of stealth and Victarion Greyjoy (LoCR), but utilisation him was difficult when he had Traitor to the Crown on and I could change military challenges to power challenges. The key turn was when DrBoeserich wanted to close and I think flipped You Win Or You Die, but I flipped A City Besieged to win initiative and got to close before he could. ACB was a card I literally added to the deck about 30 minutes before round 1 started, and as you'll notice from the number of times I bring it up it was very important for me all day.

Round Two: Loss vs Víctor marquina (Bara Free Companies)

This wasn't very close, but it was a fun time. Víctor was on Smugglers, and got Khorane out with a dupe, plus Prince of the Narrow Sea on Salladhor Saan (FotS), to make a mockery of my attempts to use Storm's End or Summerhall to control anything. I had out Robert who helped a bit, but there was enough stand that Víctor could control me anyway. I had Long May He Reign in hand but it wouldn't have been able to stick so I couldn't play it, which meant I was never in a safe position to clear Víctor's board. Lo and behold, I lost badly.

Round Three: Win vs Duckbringer (Targ Wolf)

Rough match for Duckbringer, this one. He had almost no power icons throughout the game, and I had The Red Keep (Core) out early. Additionally, I had a duped Robert with LMHR on him. This set up possibility of getting me to sacrifice/discard him. First we got Blood of the Dragon to make me lose all the other characters I had out, and Unexpected Return played on Ramsay Snow in the discard pile - cancelled with Privileged Position. Then, at the end of the challenges phase, I got to ambush in Balerion to stop Marched to the Wall. I figured if Duckbringer had another Ramsay in hand and went first he could clear my board anyway, so I flipped A City Besieged and won initiative thanks to The Kingsroad - he did have another Ramsay in hand and would have cleared me if I'd flipped any other plot. Instead I got to marshal a couple of bodies to soak the attrition and, with the reasonable ways of clearing my board gone, got to run over with power claim for the win.

Round Four: Win vs Andy Boyd (Targ Kraken)

Andy was also on the burn/attrition game, with Greyjoy providing stealth to take advantage of the small boards and some more removal - most notable card I came across here being "The Bloody Cup", which Andy used to get a foothold over me in the first round. There was a point about round 3 or so where it felt like I had no chance of winning this, but I was just able to come back into it with Robert w/ LMHR slowing Andy down while I drew into more bodies to control the power challenges, which, as long as I'm not running out of cards to provide board presence, are ultimately the ones that matter. Andy wasn't helped by the way events went - firstly he whiffed on two separate Shadowblack Lane triggers, plus a Wheels Within Wheels (OR) trigger, and then Dracarys! and Consuming Flames both found themselves PP'd at key moments. On the final power challenge, Andy was able to burn Fickle Bannerman down to 0 STR, but because of Summerhall the Bannerman wasn't able to leave play until after his renown gained me the 15th power needed to win.

Round Five: Win vs Libor P. (Night's Watch Aloof)

Regrettably I don't remember too much about this game other than that I won and I think it was mostly a "quite straightforward, my deck worked" thing. I PP'd Great Hall (R) on round one to stop Libor being able to afford Jon Snow (MoD), and while Qhorin Halfhand was a powerful consolation prize, it still slowed him down from getting a proper lock in. He got Great Ranging out but I either had him kneel-locked with Robert or Valar'd him, I forget which, and I was able to close before Libor could get back into it.

Round Six: Loss vs Raius (Lanni Kingdom)

This was pretty one-sided. Cersei Lannister (DitD) was duped from round one onwards and I left every challenge phase with 0 cards in hand, which made it very tough to go into any round with a coherent plan. It also meant when I drew the PPs they were immediately discarded and Raius could safely use The Iron Bank Will Have Its Due and Clever Feint to stop me every being able to meaningfully remove anything. I essentially had no answers to anything Raius did and he ran over me.

Round Seven: Win vs Dennis Luke (Stark Crossing)

What. A. Game. Dennis is one of the very best Stark Crossing players in the entire world, being incredibly familiar with the deck, and he played like it here. The one thing that stopped me getting completely run over in the first couple of rounds was Robert Baratheon, who meant Dennis had to manage his characters carefully to stop himself just being kneel-locked. Dennis was able to get to 14 power on three separate occasions in the game, but I was just about able to stop him reaching 15. Once again, ACB was key, letting me not just go first on Dennis's YWOYD turn, but with Storm's End get 4 power claim. That turn is the one round that Dennis made a mistake - he had Meera Reed (R) in shadows but saved bringing her out until during my power challenge, which Summerhall stopped him from doing. The extra power for renown on Robert that wouldn't have been there if he'd been blanked meant that Dennis had to oppose at least one of my challenges to stop me reaching 15 power, which in turn meant he couldn't make his Crossing challenge. Next turn, with Dennis's board knelt out and an empty hand following YWOYD, I was able to close.

Round Eight: Win vs Chroust (Night's Watch Aloof)

Another amazing game. I was able to control the power challenges, despite Chroust having Ser Jaremy Rykker out, thanks to King Stannis's Host and two Kingswoods. I had Stannis Baratheon (FotS) providing me a steady supply of cards, which helped a lot. Chroust had Jon Snow (WotW) with a dupe, Samwell Tarly (BtB) with a dupe, Three-Finger Hobb (R) with a dupe, and several other cards, and it allowed him to win either military or intrigue (whichever I couldn't turn to a power challenge) fairly comfortably. The moment the game changed for me was when Chroust played The Watch Has Need for Stewards, found Great Ranging and Maester Aemon (Core), and played only the former. I knew that with the stealth from Jon plus Ranging's assault, I was going to get completely run over, so I took the one chance I had and Valar'd, even though it would leave Chroust with Jon/Samwell/Hobb and me with only Stannis, and I'd lose the 3 power on the Host plus a 4th on a Fickle Bannerman. It took me from 7-6 down to 7-2 down with a weaker character-base, but it needed to happen or I was going to lose. The rest of the game was then a slog of trying to catch back up as Chroust continued to accumulate power. The game went to time, and on the final round I had ACB for 2 claim. I made a small but nearly-crucial mistake here - I knew Chroust was running "The Rat Cook", and he started playing Steward at the Wall and kneeling them for more Stewards. I had a Privileged Position in hand and could - and should - have triggered Fealty during his marshalling. I didn't, and Rat Cook took away Robert Baratheon. Luckily he'd been Milked, or any power he'd got on him would've lost me the game. As it was it just determined whether I reached 15 power or not. I was able to stall Chroust at 14 power, win a power challenge (just the one as Storm's End had been knelt during Chroust's challenges to stop him reaching 15), and get ahead 14-13 after dominance to take the lead for the first time all game at the one point where it mattered. Phew!

Top 32: Loss vs kantzsot (Martell Many Faced God)

If you want to see this one from the other side, check here for kantzsot's excellent write-up. Short version from me: The Red Viper (SoD) was out duped on setup; I got Robert bounced in a huge tempo loss on round one because I, not having followed the game since 2020, didn't know Elia's Lance was a card that existed and didn't know to play around it; I arguably made a play error on round two, replaying Robert on a The Father turn to try to get some short-term presence when playing out my other characters might have been more useful; and it all became immaterial because the only characters I drew all game were Shireen Baratheon (Core) (taken for military claim at some inconsequential point), Poor Fellows (ditto), Ser Imry Florent (pulled with His Viper Eyes before I could marshal him) and two copies of Robert (bounced and then discarded, both of them). What I drew instead was, and I kid you not, literally every single location in my deck except for the 3rd copy of Summerhall. On one turn I had 0 characters on the board, kantzsot played The Mad King's Command, and I had 7 cards in hand - and passed without marshalling a single character, because I had none to marshal. My one regret is not shuffling the cards in my hand to choose which three to keep, because they were all equally inconsequential! Obviously sometimes your deck craps out on you so I'm trying not to be too bitter about it - it's just really unfortunate it chose to wait until the cut to do it, then did it so very, very hard. Oh well. Congrats to kantzsot for playing everything perfectly and deservedly pipping myself and the other double-cutters to the Overall Champion title!

Friendly Game: Loss vs Dave Bamford (Stahleck Challenge Deck)

I got to use Fealty + Privileged Position to cancel a draw phase Deckcheck, and that's all that matters.

If I were to continue playing this deck, I think I'd try to find some better control options for when I have problem characters. Open to ideas on what! But Cersei, Viper and Khorane/Salladhor ran the games I lost, and Great Ranging very easily could have done so as well. Still though, it was fun, and rekindled some of the itch to play, so that was nice! Cheers to Schwaig and the other castellans for all the hard work they put in, as well as my opponents for fun games all day.

7 comments

Odrl 1206

Lovely to see some obscure cards being played. :)

I remember trying out Kingswood and Long May He Reign when we did playtesting for Summerhall. I did like LMHR with Wildfire and Morghulis, and I even had Mance Rayder in there as an extra King. Kingswood, on the other hand, I could never make work. :)

Congratulations, a beautiful idea. :)

Just a small note... You don't need to panic about renown if you lose your characters to Rat Cook. They are blank for the round. :)

Req 7

Your characters icon chart is amazing! Why not run a second copy of Cressen to get rid of that green bar from Colemon entirely?

Jokes aside, it's always nice to have a champion back in the game. I hope you'll keep playing and delight us with your deckbuilding skills.

jcwamma 2842

@Odrl I meant more that I hadn't accrued any power on him myself, so there wasn't a power swing in him actively being stolen. Thanks for the kind words!

YES @Req, next time I run this deck I'm cutting Colemon for Cressen, thank you.

Odrl 1206

Ah, that makes sense. :) And of course Stormlands Fiefdom can sometimes come to the rescue as well.

FranciscoG 64

Lovely deck as always.

Ps: Its so easy to spot old 1.0 players just by the amount of 1x characters 🤣🤣🤣 Most of my decks have similar spreads.

Johannes 441

Did you consider Ser Eldon Estermont to make Storm's End (BtB) even more ridiculous?

jcwamma 2842

Cheers @FranciscoG!

@Johannes I considered him, but could only really justify 3 slots in that 4-5 cost character region. If you were comfortably playing a higher curve then you could cut for lower from him (I wouldn't want to cut from higher). Penrose/Massey/Nightsong/Eldon is a conversation to have, there are advantages and disadvantages to whichever combination you settle on. Ultimately I like Penrose and Nightsong because they don't require another card in play to be useful, and while Massey does, there are more cards he works with. But it's definitely a tough call.