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|House Tyrell Winter reset||0||0||0||1.0|
Here is the deck that I used to win the "Battle of the Trident" tournament at I'm Board! Games & Family Fun in Middleton, WI. I went 4-0 on the day.
Leading up to the event, I knew that I wanted to play a deck no one had really seen before and as House Tyrell doesn't get much love, I figured they were the place to start. Over the last week, I had built and tested two different House Tyrell decks: "The Rains of Castamere" and Kings of Winter. After five or six games with each on OCTGN, it was obvious that the "The Rains of Castamere" version just wasn't consistent enough, whereas I hadn't lost a single game with the Kings of Winter version.
One of the goals I had with this deck was to play the almost universally-panned card There Is My Claim. Which automatically meant, that I needed to focus on having a lot of House Tyrell characters over other types of cards. I also needed draw to keep those characters in my hand while dealing with my own agenda's reserve hit. In a way, this is a deck of opposites: it oppresses your opponent by choking their hand / resources AND by boosting your hand / resources. On top of all of that, it keeps their board low or clear. The final thing I wanted to try and avoid was being worried about Milk of the Poppy, Nightmares, and Treachery. Those cards are so prevalent nowadays and while there are amazing abilities to be utilized in this deck, I didn't want to rely on those abilities for my win-condition. I wanted to rely on the strength of my characters alone. I put a couple of Rattleshirt's Raiders in there to help combat the House Martell and The Night's Watch match-ups.
I am not going to go into all of the decisions why I chose certain cards. But I will talk about my plot choices and the most valuable cards in the tournament.
PLOTS The plot choices for this deck weren't tough. It's a Kings of Winter deck so you want to focus on the Winter plots. The original plots did not include Sneak Attack, but another Famine to further the choke theme (I also tried a game with another The Winds of Winter). After a couple of games of testing, I realized I needed a higher gold plot in the event that I didn't set up the The Arbor and a better reserve. I don't like Sneak Attack necessarily, but it has high gold, the best initiative, a better reserve, and is in line with the pressure focus of the deck. A Noble Cause is there for the gold and the fact that I have a lot of Lords and Ladies. Marched to the Wall is there because it's my favorite plot in the game and it keeps their board light.
MVCs The Arbor - I set it up all four games. The best setup with this deck that you can get is The Arbor, a 2-drop knight, and Courtesan of the Rose. Getting economy out early is a key to victory with this deck.
There Is My Claim - I triggered this five or six times on the day usually resulting in a three claim military challenge. There usually weren't enough characters left on the board to intrigue away the characters my opponent saw as part of the cost of the event.
Olenna's Informant - There were whole marshaling phases where I just sat on gold. This card did work all day. Drop them in during the challenges phase via The Queen of Thorns or straight-up Ambush on a 2-claim turn (after already There Is My Claim'ing them). My opponents didn't know what to do with the gold I had sitting there, I usually had a pretty dominant military presence so it was either Olenna's Informant or Put to the Sword.
TOURNAMENT REPORT Game 01: vs House Lannister, Banner of the Kraken: Of course my opponent sets up dupe'd Tywin Lannister (Core) and Lannisport Merchant. Early on this game didn't look good. He dropped The Hound first turn and over the next two turns Put to the Sword both Renly Baratheon (FFH) and Randyll Tarly. It wasn't looking good, but I eventually clawed my way back with the help of Highgarden and high claim military losses. The nail in the coffin came on the eighth plot when I flipped Marched to the Wall and he lost Tywin Lannister (Core) with four power on him. Win
Game 02: vs House Tyrell, Fealty: This was really an economy race. I flopped The Arbor and he did not (the entire game). My biggest annoyance in this match-up were Left and Right, especially with choice Growing Strong after I sent too little in a military challenge. I used The First Snow of Winter to wipe out his board and the economy advantage, Olenna's Informant, and two There Is My Claim triggers ended this game. Win
Game 03: vs House Stark, Fealty (a version of UK National Champion Ryan Wood's deck): My deck was suited well for this match-up. I ran Winter-plots and said screw you to Winterfell. I kept his board low with a There Is My Claim trigger and he really couldn't build it back up again. I threw big military challenges and he almost always had to over-commit on defense as he feared Put to the Sword. Best play of the game, I marshalled House Florent Knight with the intent of hitting Syrio Forel and I forgot about my Garden Caretaker. Oh well...Win
Game 04 - Final: vs The Night's Watch, Kings of Winter (a version of the Spanish National Champion Adrián Capristén's deck): It was super important I setup the The Arbor in this match and thankfully, I did. The low reserve on both our ends was also going to be a problem. Ghost is also annoying. Anyhow, I was able to build up a pretty good army of characters and I kept hitting him with high-claim plots (to get past Maester Aemon). Again, There Is My Claim, Olenna's Informant, and The First Snow of Winter did their work. His hand was low and at least one time, he needed to eat the Messenger Raven as claim soak. I was sitting on like ten power to his zero and he conceded. Win
ISSUES / MITIGATION (11/15/2016) There were two main issues with the deck identified by the community after I originally posted the it: reliance on setting up The Arbor and not getting beaten by my own low reserve. Before I get into those, I just want to thank everyone for the overall positive reception of the deck and that I truly appreciate your input. I also can honestly say, I've never felt limited by either of those two factors (and I've only setup The Arbor half the time). Despite that, I can certainly see the community's point and have the following suggestions for mitigating them:
Plots There are two plots I would consider adding to the deck to help combat both the gold and reserve issues: A Noble Cause or Winter Festival (which also helps the Winter-themed gold choke). The two plots that are probably the most expendable are Sneak Attack and Marched to the Wall. To be honest, I don't like removing either of those options as they've performed so well, but the other two-claim plots provide you three challenges and maximum use of There Is My Claim.
Locations There are two locations I would consider adding to the deck to help combat primarily the reserve issues (but to a lesser extent, the gold issue as well): The Iron Throne and The God's Eye. The two locations provide +1 reserve. The two cards that are probably the most expendable are Highgarden and The Roseroad. You might also consider one of the Put to the Sword, Tears of Lys or a character.
Events There is one event I would consider adding to the deck, especially if you include either of the two previously mentioned locations: Support of the People. It is not hard to win a power challenge by five with this deck. To do that, tutor and play The Iron Throne, The God's Eye, or The Mander to help combat the reserve issues for one gold is exceptional. I'd probably want to run at least two. The cards that are probably the most expendable are Put to the Sword, Tears of Lys or a character.
FINAL THOUGHTS So there you have it. There were probably other details in those games that I missed and they were draw-fueled throughout as well. Prior to this, I had only played in one other tournament (a Spring tournament last year, where I was 4th out of 10). While this is just a casual tournament, it felt good to get the win and to get it with a deck that no one was expecting.
We had nine players. The votes went: 13 for the Maesters, and the other six votes split four and two (though I can't remember which got which...not that it matters #greenfork).