|Card draw simulator|
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
|None. Self-made deck here.|
|The Sun in Their Eyes (1st place 5-0 at Game Cafe SC 10 Play||36||32||47||1.0|
Some quick background:
I'd finished in the top 4 at the Brighton SC before Christmas playing a dirty NW wall deck. While this is an undeniably strong deck, and a great 'tournament' deck (in that it is consistent, and evens the odds heavily in the player's favour, both by putting all the stress of challenge maths and creative play on your opponent, and being a lot easier to play than it is to beat, meaning a weaker, less practiced player like myself could take games off players I shouldn't), it is exceptionally boring to play. After a tournament where I made ~5 challenges in the whole day en route to being knocked out in the Semis by one of my practice partners (JoePerson) I certainly wasn't interested in playing it again.
Instead, as a Martell loyalist, I knocked this up at 2am before the Aldershot SC. If there's one thing that Martell is, it's fun to play.
A few comments on the state of the game in general:
When choosing this deck, I had a quick think about what decks, and particularly deck shapes, were likely to be prevalent. Luckily the three of us in Reading who play fairly regularly travel and play in the South East of UK, where there are a lot of very strong players in close geographical proximity. We tap into the thrones Meccas of Northampton and London, whilst also acquiring regular travellers from the South Coast and elsewhere, notably Southron Bannermen Joe Zimmer and Ryan Wood, and Wamma and Keb, and Joel is an exceptionally strong player in his own right. There are a lot of large and diverse events in the South East of the UK and it gives us a good chance to feel out decks.
At this point personally, I felt there were a reasonable number of viable deck archetypes, and I wanted to just take a deck I felt had some game against the majority of the field. Critically, right now I think the deck shapes controlling the game are decks I'd describe as 'clock decks'. These decks are based around 2 main shapes, either the Wall (mostly Night's Watch) or Table and Chair decks using the combination of the Chamber of the Painted Table and the Iron Throne (primarily out of Baratheon, supplemented by the Red Keep which lets them find the combo and gives the power challenge bonus to help lock people out of comebacks). Clock decks accelerate the end of the game, and heavily limit player interactivity, making them threatening and resilient. They also present severe problems for less experienced players and deck builders, if they haven't brought a deck with a game plan against these decks or don't know what strategy to employ. Consequently, while there are good decks in the rest of the field, they are constrained by the requirement to go fast enough to have a game against the Clock Decks. The other notable other deck shapes were basically just 'renown guys' in the form of Stark Fealty or Tyrell-anything, they're all good, or Lanni attrition decks. The Lanni decks are generally just powered by good red cards and have a lot of Renown as well. On the other hand, I felt kill decks were fairly poorly placed at the moment when a lot of the clock decks don't particularly care about specific characters, whilst the renown rush decks are running quite a lot of saves, as people are worried about Valar.
With this in mind, whilst I still wanted to play Martell (and don't buy that they're as bad as people are claiming), kill decks were totally out. I reverted to Crossing, because it's got a game plan vs clock decks in the form of the agenda, where often they aren't really able to win many challenges, but also has the speed to compete with the renown decks. As an aside, I think at the moment, you can build Martell with a fairly balanced icon spread which is highly relevant with Crossing, and they happen to incidentally have a strong intrigue presence which helps vs ever popular Rains decks. Some of the new cards have quietly been very good for Crossing, particularly Trys and Elia. Along with Caleotte, these two characters now give you 3 highly relevant characters for making your first (weak) challenge. All three of them have a decent effect when losing this chump challenge (and Elia doesn't even need to be participating). The now released (but not legal for this event) Myrcella will be a great piece for a fast deck like this, and I wanted to try the Doran Lords/Ladies synergy, since I was going to be running Trys and Harmen Uller (renown) anyway, and Myrcella will only boost this. I've always struggled with draw in Martell, and Doran can provide some. In this deck, the Red Viper (if not controlled) provides the ultimate answer to clock decks, as well as presenting a reasonable wall vs bigger renown characters in a pinch.
If you're going to be playing Crossing, you're probably going to be losing quite a lot of challenges, both offensively and defensively, so the Boneway is an absolute no brainer (I should probably have been playing 3 copies). Whilst not great against clock decks, it's very very good against any of the other decks which are actually trying to win challenges to advance their gameplan, providing a strong clock of your own. The new Burning on the Sand provides a powerful effect to curtail an opponent's attempts to destroy your board while also providing the potential for stalling their attempts to frantically recover power from you, viper eyes allows you to control your opponents' options when they inevitably win challenges against you. It's obviously good for stripping out problematic cards like treachery/nightmares, as well as having obvious synergy with GG and providing strong counterplay to Lanni jumper decks. Critically these events can all be played from 0 gold, which is a lot better than trying to hold 2 gold for Vengeance. Whilst the icon stripper attachments would theoretically be good in this deck, I don't think you can run them while NW provide a serious amount of the field. As such, the only attachments I included were a couple of bodyguards and some milk. Bodyguard is pretty good with so many Lords and Ladies, and obviously provides a recourse against Valar. Sadly can't be used on Nym, but whilst still incredible, she's not the lynchpin of this deck in the way she was in the Strip and Kill style decks.
The plot deck provides a mixture of consistency and fast power gain. The winter festival and HoS are obviously both good cards. GG and Viper Eyes/Bastard daughter pressure makes Spikes a very solid plot here, and both have the ability to rapidly accelerate your game plan. The double Summons is very good when you're trying to build a bit of a combo board, as well as sometimes looking for a specific character to chump first challenge. It helps with resiliency vs valar and is just a bit of draw. Close Call was a card I don't think I used at all all day, though provides good money, draw and in a deck with lots of characters at 3x can help out if you get valared/make a mistake. It could easily be another economy plot (best choices probably Time of Plenty for money/draw combination or banners for the higher initiative), or a tech slot. Confiscation is noticeably absent, but I figured I could get away with the Rattleshirts on the crossing challenge (and did), it also has decent initiative, so not a bad choice. The only other plot I really wanted was Clash of Kings for the Initiative and closing power. Take your pick. Not a flashy plot deck really, but it gets the job done. Could prob do with some tinkering.
On to the event:
JoePerson was inexplicably busy, so it left it to ChannelDelibird and myself to represent Reading, so we got up reasonably early on a cold day (hats in hand) to head to Aldershot. I drove, CDB felt sick in the car, which wasn't a good start.
Game 1: Phil Gedge (Night's Watch - Winter)
I have an embarassing start. I'm dog tired from staying up building the deck the night before, and can't actually remember how AGoT works. I tried to plot up twice before the game actually starts, and Phil has to walk me through how to set up. The match up is favourable for me in my opinion, he sets up a few chuds and the wall, and I know he's on Winter, so my festival antics can get started unabated. He has a weak start and I get an early Caleotte and Nym, and he can't handle the icon stripping, which leads to unopposed power as well as getting crossing to fire constantly, for a straightforward win.
Game 2: George Ankers (Lanni-Rains)
I get matched up against my practice partner in round 2. He's playing JoePerson's deck from Brighton, so I know it card for card. George sees the Harrenhall early, and I desperately have to defend a Littlefinger who's providing much of my early econ, george uses a lot of the jump events to break down my early tempo. I've got a Boneway rapidly accumulating power. I have to milk a Timmett and put Nym on Mountain duty to stop him breaking my board. The double summons helps. Gregor is an Iron Throne, but I hear that's a very good card. Close close game but I weather the storm. George gets to 14 power, and jumps in a Casterly Cersei to try to close, but she gets nightmares. He gets off a Mountain challenge but doesn't hurt my mostly duped board and gets GGd. It looks like I can close, and George makes a weak intrigue challenge, and I fire off a defensive Doran's game for the win. George couldn't find a Treachery to stop the Boneway, but Treachery is a dumb card, so I'm not exactly sympathetic. Sorry George, I always have the Doran's Game.
Between game 2 and Game 3 we have the hat competition. My cat themed concoction gets shouted down by all the dirty dumb dog lovers in the audience, I'm apparently the only one on Team Cat. It's fine, cats are loners anyway. Gabbi wins for her spectacular attempt at the Crown of Gold, and gets the Bastard Walker as Yeezus hugging AGoT 2.0's most odious troll playmat.
Round 3: Richard Walker (Baratheon-Summer)
Richard's a well known dog lover (boo) and Northampton player, who plays a lot of Greyjoy, so obviously he's got questionable taste. While a gent, Richard put me down brutally in last year's Reading SC when I walked Mel into a waking the dragon dracarys, so it's time for a little revenge. I get a decent set up, and start pressing him, while he tries to piece together Table and Chair. I milk Mel, and he can't find Cressen, I also discard Big Bob with Viper Eyes. He resorts to using other methods to trying to control my board, but Nym is taking his only Mil icon and I'm accumulating power rapidly, and using the Crossing bonus to break through his wall of power provided by the Red Keep. His attempts to slow my power gain end up just Burning on the Sand, and while he's drawing cards from Tobho Mott's armoury, it's not enough to stop me, he delays a turn by Nightmaresing the Boneway. While I think Table and Chair is very strong, I'm not sure pure Bara is the best option. I was testing it in Bara-Wolf with Standy Sansa and Fast Ed which felt a little more agile, and Ryan's deck seemed even stronger than that.
Round 4: Joe Zimmer (Southron Bannermen; Targ-Fealty)
Targ's not a particularly fun matchup for Martell, as Dracarys provides a brutal answer to many of the workhorse characters in my deck (Nym, Arrianne, Doran). He's on a Bloodrider build which is interesting and feels really strong. I set up the Boneway, and he's loathe to make a lot of challenges with that in play and the Long Plan, which gets me a sizeable lead from Crossing early. I spike a character (Viserys?) to put him in a rough position power wise, but my board is shrinking. I'm using my Burning on the Sands to keep it from becoming unmanageable, and I discard a Dracarys from hand with a Viper Eyes to feel pretty safe. Crunch turn comes when he drops a famine with Drogo on the Board. Crucially Jhogo is a monster when attacking, but isn't providing much on D. He's losing power icons to Caleotte and Nym, and Ghaston is preventing him getting too aggressive with Drogo. He Famines, but doesn't have too much econ. I Summon and find Hotah, which is basically what I need. I manage to marshal Arrianne, and he knows he can't boardwipe me now. We exchange some long thinking, he knows he needs to close this turn before I can fire the Boneway for the win, and I only need 1 power. He has to be exceptionally careful with challenges as I have a decent board, and critically a Knights of the Sun with Renown. He has to play around the fact that if he makes a mil or power, I can dump in Hotah, bounce someone big from the challenge and win immediately on Renown from the Knights. He elects to make an intrigue first and try and discard Hotah from my hand, which I think was the right play. Unfortunately, this challenge wasn't safe either, and he faceplants a defensive Doran's Game after I overdefend allowing me to close. Tough game, could easily have gone either way.
Round 5: Adam East (Tyrell-Winter)
Adam and I are the last 2 undefeated players, and basically both guaranteed to cut. Not a lot to say about this one, he mulligans, finds the Arbor, I have a middling setup with weak econ. I'm tired and miss 4 triggers on The Long Plan which is basically game ending. He proceeds to choke me out over the next few turns, and gathers power at a much faster rate.
My SoS obviously isn't so great as I finish 4-1, but 5th overall in the top 8 cut. Joe Zimmer is 4th, and we rematch. Neither of us is happy about it, as the previous game was exceptionally close.
Quarterfinals: Joe Zimmer (Targ-Fealty)
This game follows a similar pattern to the first one. Joe sets up no locations, so I gamble and open Winter Festival expecting him to building orders to try to find some econ. He does so, and picks Beggar King. I get a good start, accumulating power and Boneway tokens, while he builds his board and begins to chip away at mine, this time though, he has the Beggar King, which is supplementing his econ at a frightening rate. I'm annoying him with chump challenges with Trystane and eventually he crowns Arrianne. I GG a Rhakaro and then subsequently spike him to race ahead. I'm lucky that he doesn't have any Dracarys, and we get to a final turn where he, again, has to first or he knows I'll close. This time my board is weaker, and I have Edric, 2x Renown powered Knights of the Sun and Nym. I drop a second Ghaston, which is brutal for his attempts to close, he has no gold saved. He has the ability to make 2x mil challenges, and I need to oppose everything. Luckily I have some flexibility with a gold spare to give Edric whatever, and Nym. This necessitates some mind bending order of operations planning late in the day. I'm honestly not sure what his best option was here. In the end, I have the ability to defend all 4 challenges (even with Jhogo's stealth) and win on a Boneway fire. Again, could so easily have gone the other way.
Semifinals: Matt Such (Tyrell-Rains)
Tyrell had been doing work all day, with 4 Tyrell main house decks in the top 8, the rest of the field a NW wall deck, my crossing, a Bara Dom Table Chair and Joe's Targ. I'd not met Matt before, but he mulligans into an Arbor-Mander setup which is obvs good. I get a really mediocre set up hand, but it's got Nym and a bit of econ and a solid icon spread, so I let it slide. Matt protects his board first plot with Calm military, and to boot he stuffs my opening Winter Fest. I drop Arrianne with the aim to get off some crossing shenanigans and Arrianne in Nymeria, but he makes me first player and reads me like a Mr Men book, milking Arrianne, putting me behind from the off, whilst dropping KoF and a few other cards. Next plot he starts dropping disgusting cards like Renly's Host. Turns out he's playing a lot of summer plots. I marshal a few chumps and save 4 gold to ambush in Nym for efficiency off Harmon Uller. This is obviously a large telegraph and Matt has the card ready to deal with it, and Harman gets Nightmaresed, leaving me with 4 pretty useless gold and even further behind. Renly's host makes a S11 military challenge. I clearly can't defend, but he's only got 1 gold, and at least I'm not getting PTTSd. He can intimidate anyone on my board anyway, so I let it through unopposed. He Torches a Ghaston! I'm so far behind. I'm keeping level on power. His board is building at a better rate than mine though, due to draw and the Arbor, he's got Tarly out now. My board is ok, and I'm not out of it. I flip spikes to try and keep the pressure on, into his Summons. I go first and make him draw a character so I can spike it. His summons draws gasps from the crowd (postgame I was informed he had 3x Renly and some other amazing options, as opposed to my earlier summons which saw nothing of import). He safely elects to take someone of no consequence, and I fail to hit anyone, meaning I'm really lagging. I have a tripped Doran though, and he's pumping Arriane and Harman, I've got a Littlefinger, my own board isn't embarrassing, though his is heavily slanted Mil/Power, whilst mine is a little more balanced, heavier on the intrigue. I keep up what pressure I can, getting some renown on Harman, getting Elia down. He's used a rains trigger already on Filthy, and he's not in any position to trigger it again, with only 1 int icon on the board, and a weak one at that. I'm still letting him in though, and he discards a Viper from my hand. I can't remember what plots are up, but he makes me first player. I've not got a lot in hand, but I top deck the Viper and my econ is enough to play him. I play out a Greenblood trader and draw into a Bodyguard, which is a strong result with 1 gold left to cover TRV. My board looks really pretty Valar resistant now, he plays out some dupes, and has 4 gold left over screaming shenanigans. I can feel this game slipping heavily away, but there's a line of play available to me on turn 4. We move to challenges and he's only got one Int icon on the board. I have a long think. I'm 7 power short. I'm too tired to do all the maths completely in my head, but I reckon I've got a shot at it. I take his only Int int. I reckon I can get a massive Int challenge through unopposed and he can't do anything about it. Doran's pumping Harman, Arrianne and TRV by three. I just need to make three challenges... I quickly work out my optimal route, which is Doran needs to make the power challenge, as he doesn't pump himself for so he's less effective than Arrianne in the Int challenge, but I start off with a str 4+3-1 Mil from Harman. If I can get 1 power here it makes the last challenge less of a mountain to climb. Either way, he has to overdefend it (getting value out of Doran!). Doran goes next, and he has to defend this too, and does. I get to trigger Elia twice but it's faintly irrelevant since he has no intrigue icons. I think I can close, but even if I don't, a lot of his relevant board is already knelt out this turn to grab defensive renown, so retaliation will be minimal. I tap out for the Int, and it begins to dawn on Matt what might be happening. With the crossing bonus, I'm swinging with TRV for 12, Arrianne for 9, a Trader for 3, Elia for 5, Nymeria for 6, total 35. He desperately ambushes in an Informant to stop the unopposed power, but I'm winning by 33. With the Reaction from Oberyn and the Crossing bonus I close out the 7 remaining power on turn 4 in a cinematic win out of nowhere.
Final: Ryan Wood (Southron Bannermen, Tyrell-Stag)
Ryan's on Table and Chair, and has all the Tyrell glue cards to back it up. He gets a fantastic setup with some of the pieces and the Arbor, and I mulligan an unplayable hand into a 2 card setup with no further econ. I know Ryan is running valar, and as I dig for money, he completes his combo. I've got a bit of power, I know he'll Valar to reset, crippling my ability to make 3 challenges and leaving him siphoning my power with the Table. I get the Viper down with a bodyguard, hoping it'll be enough to stop the Valar and let me make a game of it, but in a crucial moment he finds Cressen, takes the bodyguard, and Valars me, and I can't rebuild at all quick enough and get ground out. I couldn't maintain the Reading streak of pipping Ryan to the post, sadly, and due to a poor mulligan and drawing little Econ, couldn't really get into the game at all.
Ryan wins a well deserved SC, one of the largest events thus far in the UK. I think it's well worth noting that the Table-Chair combo is really strong with a smaller board, and it's highly oppressive and nigh on impossible to dig yourself out of an unfavourable reset when they have the combo out. Many of the Table-Chair decks aren't running serious resets, opting instead to build more passive, large boards. This variant was incredibly strong, with the Tyrell filter and draw giving him the ability to assemble the pieces he wanted very quickly. BAMF pulls double duty after a reset by choking your opponent out of Characters. Monstrous deck design.
Thanks to all that attended the Aldershot SC, and thanks to Alec for running it. Really smooth event, lots of fun stories and sub events going on and it was well worth the trip!