Bugatti Balon (w/ SC Report!)

Card draw simulator
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Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
None yet.

captainslow 1087

Vic’s my factional anthem
Drowned God’ll win some
On the Iron Islands
Bugatti Balon

-Lana Del Rey

Wow, who knew Lana was such a big Greyjoy fan? Pretty cool!

Bienvenue, concubines of Thrones! It’s been a couple months since I posted a TR, so I thought I would once again type words while thinking about our favorite paper pusher. The subject this time? A 17-player tournament at Round Table Games in Carver, MA. Read on for game recaps, opinion spewing, and adventure on the high seas!

But first-- a charge to community. Can we have more fun naming our decks? In particular, avoid the following banner-deck formula:


Examples: Flowers On the Wall, Dragons Under the Sun, Crows Over Winterfell, Lions Among Wolves, Deer On Boats, Suns On Deer, Deer On Deer, etc.

If you’re about to enter a deck name that fits this formula, or you haven’t ventured beyond “lani fealty,” just, backspace-backspace and give it a think, maybe?

At this point, you may be thinking, “ ‘Bugatti Balon’ isn’t such a great fucking name, get off your high horse, Brett.”


But at least let me explain. In case you didn’t know, the Bugatti Veyron is the fastest road car in the world and, for the phonetically challenged, “Balon” rhymes with “Veyron.” Bugatti Balon, a passing clever name, I thought, for a Greyjoy rush deck.

Quick aside: the Bugatti Veyron has over 1,000 bhp. It cost ~$8,000,000 to produce a single one. It gets about 10 miles/gallon. I was briefly obsessed with them and wrote an entire feature-length screenplay about a thief who steals a prototype “SuperVeyron” and ends up in a balls-out car chase, during which she achieves a top speed of 300 miles per hour but needs to pull over for gas after a minute or so.

Back to Thrones! Stay on topic!

As usual, before the tournament I was flitting from house to house, trying out jank, testing Valar, etc. While the new jumping Lions decks and my own Scorpion's Sting/Gossip and Lies Martell Special Bomb were fun, I inevitably found myself gravitating towards my beloved squids.

Greyjoy is obviously super popular right now (so that makes the hipster in me sad). I’ve been seeing an overabundance of saves in the current meta, often combined with half-baked attempts at “offensive Valars.” I wanted to be able to speed past these, and make their Valar/saves dead cards. At the same time, I wanted to be faster than passive power gain decks and have a chance to rush through Lanni.

The draw deck, I think, is fairly straightforward. Chintarion and King Balon’s Spin ‘n Lube are nice recent additions to GJ Crossing.

The only card choice that might jump out at you is 3x Aqua-Jesus. I ran him, and no Shepherd Books, because I could envision scenarios where I would actually want to marshal him instead of Balon. That’s a good sign. The Reader wouldn’t be played until turn 3-4 in this deck, at which point he is drawing you one, maybe two cards. Games are too fast for him. Aeron, on the other hand, can ruin an opponent’s Valar turn, helps a little in a bad matchup with Baratheon, rocks the same intrigue icon, and has a bit of synergy with Seastone chair/opponent’s duped bombs.

The plot deck is more interesting. Varys’s Death Panel was a meta call. So many decks are opening Building Orders for that key location, or Summons to fetch a dupe, or good old Coppers, or Calm, or Summer Harvest. Riddle rocks these; I’d open it most games. It virtually guarantees first-turn initiative and five gold is nice.

Counting Coppers was a day-of substitution, and was absolutely baller all day long. It makes for a fantastic turn three top-up, and you can actually play some useful cards for 2 gold with this build. Digging for a Risen on your opponent’s Valar turn isn’t the worst thing, either.

No Valar on my part because, believe it or not, you want bodies on the board to activate Crossing!

An important note for newer players:

If you have a SC coming up and you’re nervous or at a loss for what to play, I highly recommend this list. You can play it to 73% effectiveness--scientifically speaking-- if you just…

Open Riddle. Follow Calling if you need gold, Spikes otherwise. If you are above eight power, use either Weapons or Clash to close. The other plots fill resource gaps.

Go first every turn. Don’t forget your Solar gold!

Initiate a dumpy intrigue challenge, then a military challenge, then a power challenge. The power challenge is most important.

That’s...pretty much it! Because the deck is fast, it allows you extra time to read any cards you aren’t familiar with and methodically progress through your triggers. Plus, you can shortcut some of your decision-making.

On to the Tourney Grounds

I had a pleasant journey down to Carver, MA with Laura, Ian, and Mikey the Bear. On the way, we built Mike a jumping Clansmen deck based off of this Stahleck jackhammer. Classic. I told him, “My deck has no good answer for First Snow into Famine into Marched.”

Upon our arrival, we found Stephen and Sean brown-bagging beers in the freezing cold parking lot like total fucking badasses. I made a last-minute swap in the car while we chatted (dropping a Boneblouse Dildo-Pilferer for an extra Theon Greyjoy).

There was a fantastic turnout; I had a grand old time catching up with the extended Boston meta before the festivities began. We laughed together, and gently punched each other’s shoulders in expressions of friendship. Winter magic.

Than was going to play Baratheon, but the Drowned God intervened. Than forgot his Bara deck and had to play Greyjoy Fealty instead. Which is as it should be.

As usual, nicknames are pulled straight from my b-hole.

Round 1: Chris “The Celt” Lavin - Lannister Rains of Castamere

Chris and I talk fairly regularly about the meta at large and about the greatest sporting franchise in the history of the world, the Boston Celtics. Given our free and easy gaming relationship, I told him, “My deck has no good answer for First Snow into Famine into Marched.” We celebrated my impending doom with a giggle and a shuffle.

I had a solid setup of boats and chuds. Chris had the all-important Harrenhal (FFH) and--it doesn’t really matter what else. I pegged him for opening Building for Tower, or Noble if he had Chief Asshole (Core). Riddle would be fine. He flipped Trading! Worst case scenario!

I played Asha. He played Tower of the Hand. Now, GJ Crossing can do very little to stop Rains triggers and other intrigue shenanigans. First turn, I ate a Harrenhal-jumped Cersei bouncing my Asha, then Rains into Wardens of the West to discard two more cards from my hand, one of which was Asha. A prosperous opening!

Chris followed with the First Snow into Famine into Marched plot line, at which point my board was totally wiped.

This took about 15 minutes, so we chatted about the matchup and decided that my only chance was a combination of Longships, Shipwrights, and Nightmares.

L, 0-1

Round 2: “Randy” Bye

My undefeated streak against Bye continued. Bye plays a lot of different games and sucks at every single one. Yet, he always sticks with it, so you have to give him credit.

Devin said that Bye did top-8 in L5R at GenCon once, when one of Bye’s opponents was waylaid by a night of heavy drinking.

Anyway, this was a total blowout.

W, 1-1

Round 3: Owen “Red” Barron - Tyrell Kraken

I got paired up with Owen, who was 2-0. This could help my strength of schedule...

When I saw a Bodyguard on Margaery setup, I knew Owen was going to be playing towards a Valar. My setup wasn’t fantastic, but I had economy and Pyke and a Balon in hand.

He lead with Building for the Arbor (saw that coming) to my Riddle. I grabbed Great Kraken, which got pulled for intrigue turn one.

His positive attachments slowed down my Raiding Longship, and Owen was very careful to defend what challenges he could. He racked up some power on Disco Dickhead. On my side, I was protecting a Risen in hand for his Valar. Going into turn three, I had a narrow edge in power, 6-4 or so. He flipped Valar, I flipped Counting to try to hit another Risen or bomb character. He saved his duped Randy and Margaery, while I kept Balon and Theon. I was able to play Asha that turn and kept pressure on. I had all of the infrastructure I could want. On turn four, Owen flooded the board, but still couldn’t answer two Raiding Longships and a ‘roid-rage Balon. I grabbed five or so power to close it out. This is a hard matchup for Tyrell.

W, 2-1

Round 4: Stephen “You Can’t” Cope “With My Skills”, Stark Fealty

A rematch of my first ever game against Stephen, when he perfectly shut down my shenanigans. We fist-bumped knowing that whoever won was likely in the cut.

I had a poor setup of Chintarion, Iron Mines, Sea Tower. He led with Sansa, Ser Edmure Tully, and economy. Riddle gave me Marched protection, at least! He led with Noble Cause. A milk on Vicky and Edmure’s ability slowed me down, while my Iron Mines countered his Ice on Arya.

Turn two, he ordered the construction of a gigantic castle, very modern, with a spiffy geothermal heating system and marshaled Bran. I had Balon and a Seastone Chair...and two Nightmares in hand.

Bran was dreaming of super-oculared birds and needed to go away. Then everybody in the castle started freaking out and forgot what they were doing, so Balong catapulted his chair at Edmure, demonstrating better aim than that blundering fishhead ever could, and the heir to Riverrun died, and there was much rejoicing.

Turn three, my Spikes to his Summons. Robb answered the call. Robb died before he made it home. Lucky me! This was a turning point.

Winterfell was slowing me down considerably, but I was able to force through a military (renown on Balon) and power challenge each turn. On the other hand, a gigantic Sansa was getting unopposed intrigue every turn, along with renown (she had more than Balon!).

Turn six would decide it. I could either play Weapons at the Door to get the drugs off of Victarion, or Clash for the extra gold and claim. I went with Clash, thinking that if I couldn’t close, I might be able to keep him from hitting 15 through threat of a defensive win.

Ultimately, he didn’t draw the key body or nightmares that might have held me off, and through some complex, big board challenge math, I was able to close out the longest GJ Crossing win ever. I did have to be careful to split up my triggers between the power and military challenges so that he could only Winterfell out half of them. Yikes. So lucky Stephen never saw Naysay Cate.

W, 3-1

Top 4 were Chris, me, Tom, and Portsmouth NH’s very own Laura! Pumped to get a playmat depicting a character that even somebody who has read ASOIAF several times over the last 13 years doesn’t remember.

Top 4: Tom “LOOCH” Melucci, NW Fealty

Tom was fooling around with NW, a faction that he had never played before the tournament, because he was worried he might get drafted into playing them at Thrones WAR. He hated the playstyle, but dodged a bullet and got drafted into Targaryen that night.

Only a player like Tom could pick up a faction for the first time and pilot like he did. Well done, sir!

Anyway, I set up six cards, something like Solar, Scouting Vessel, Pyke, Raiding Longship Shipwright, Wildling Scout. You know, every piece you need to crush NW. My Riddle hit his Here to Serve for Blind Grampa, so I got Vendameer for free. Everything broke my way, to the point where I was using Nightmares on Benjen turn two, just to speed things up. I flipped Weapons turn three, Tom revealed something like two Milks and Craven in his hand, then conceded.

Quick aside: You generate great action advantage as GJ when your opponent is expecting a Valar that is never going to come.

W, 4-1

Final: Chris “The Celt” Lavin, Lannister Flipping Rainstorm

My one shot in this game came turn two. After his First Snow, I had Asha and a Drowned Men to his Tywin and duped Jaime. He also had this broken-ass piece of shit card to my Seastone Chair and Pyke.

“I have a shot, here. If this goes through, I have a chance. I have to take it,” I said.

I Nightmares his Harrenhall, Pyke the Drowned Men, and double stealth, shooting for a Chair kill on Tywin. He has three gold, not enough for the Hound, but…

He did have the Burned Men. Darn. We dissected it in the moment and agreed it was a chance I had to take, my only chance at any semblance of board parity moving forward. As it was, Famine into Marched cleaned me up pretty quickly.

L, 4-2

Chris had an outstanding day, going 6-0, including 5-0 against the rest of the cut.

I was overcome when presented with my acrylic tears of lys token. It’s just so beautiful. I’ll have to find a really special, dark, secure place for it so that I can never damage it or let the sunlight fade its miraculous luster.

We had a fun drive back to NH. We read aloud from the greatest piece of writing ever and had another grand old time.

Quick thoughts on the deck:

  • I think I'd drop Noble for a second Calling or Spikes
  • And then drop the Rattleshirt's for a third Theon
  • Seastone Chair wins you games! The Support is a second Chair when you need it
  • The deck does what it sets out to do.


  • The resin GJ house card my girlfriend gave me for Christmas. Pretty sure you could brain a zombie with it in a pinch.
  • The extended Boston meta for being so much fun to play games with. <3 <3
  • My opponents on the day. You are each as smooth and shiny as a freshly zambonied rink.
  • Laura for driving all day and making top four like a boss
  • The Portsmouth, NH meta! Come to our SC next weekend! Exclusive promos!
  • Bless Him With Salt for its titillating, progressive BJ depiction


  • Me for forgetting Balon’s Solar TWICE on the day
  • Me

Thanks for reading! If you liked this, give it a heart or star click and I'll write more. If you want to talk shop, leave it in the comments!


AisoRed 16

Interesting deck. Beautiful writing!

Geoman15 3

Standing ovation for the writing! :)

BreakdownofSanity 1

Did you ever wish you had Euron?

captainslow 1087

@BreakdownofSanity Euron is dead sexy. I missed him terribly, in spirit if not card form.

Euron has a few things working against him. He doesn't help you get unopposed; you don't have any Newly Made Lords or We Do Not Sow to give him juicy targets; you aren't likely to benefit from such locations for more than a turn if you did; and he can be difficult to marshall at that cost slot. Theon costs three less, has stealth, and has pseudo-renown. I like Euron better in every other GJ build.

It's sad, because those blue lips are a turn-on for sure.

Benji 509

"Examples: Flowers On the Wall, Dragons Under the Sun, Crows Over Winterfell, Lions Among Wolves, Deer On Boats, Suns On Deer, Deer On Deer, etc."

Thanks for the laughter.

Omahavice 1

Very nice write up of the tourney. We are just getting into building GOT decks and so far I totally suck at it. Interesting to read about all the different combos.

captainslow 1087

@Benji <3

@Omahavice Thanks! The game has a learning curve for sure. I recommend fully net-decking when starting out, just so you can get a feel for how each house is "supposed" to play. Also, ask any and all questions you can. The community is great!

lok839 27

Let's be real, Bless Him With Salt was the real winner that day, even if it wasn't in your deck

captainslow 1087

@lok839 Oh absolutely. Sometimes just thinking about Blessing somebody with Salt is rewarding.

Battlemind 1

So much fun to read. Thanks for posting!

JDThrones 7

Tom was the first Targ player drafted, and I just faced two of his teammates at a SC on Saturday. They are gonna be tough at Thrones WAR.

VixinXiviir 1

Man, your tourney reports make my life. I'm So Tired is easily my favorite one on here, but this one comes close.

captainslow 1087

@VixinXiviir So glad you like them! I'll try to write more.

Crabshack101 7

@captainslowany changes with Tyrions's Chain?

captainslow 1087

@Crabshack1011x Sea Bitch goes in for something...Pyke or a Navigator or a Scout, I'd say.

I'm not sure on Asha vs. Esgred. If Asha stays, then Relentless Assault replaces Superior Claim. I have yet to test the more Incesty AshGosh BgGosh, so I can't say what's right here. I'm inclined to say she's more of a Rains card, as core Asha really helps with getting three challenges through while protecting against PttS/T/etc.

BreakdownofSanity 1

Been testing Esgred in a similar build and i have to say she has some serious drawbacks vs things like; Asshai Priestess, Greywind, Plaza of Punishment etc

captainslow 1087

@BreakdownofSanity Yeah, and your precariously balanced machine really doesn't like wrenches like that. Sounds like it will continue to be AshGosh.

ehlihuht 1

How would you update this deck with tyrion's chain. thank you

ehlihuht 1


ehlihuht 1

what an oversight ... i meant All men are fools. apologies

captainslow 1087

@ehlihuht Neither of the new Greyjoy cards have a home here, unfortunately. If you feel like you really want to run Rattleshirts, Ygritte might be fun to (meet in a cave) try as a 1x.