We Do Not Milk: Las Vegas Open and Local GNK winner (6-0)

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FredInRealLife 240

So after a lot of testing I finally started to have some success with this build. I'll explain some card choices below.

I should start off by saying that there were slight changes made in between the two events I won with this deck. I played in a GNK event on 1/28, and then exactly one week later at the Las Vegas Open Thrones tournament, 2/4. My overall record is 6-0 (7-1 if you count two friendly matches played here and there).

Those changes were as follows:

+2 Qhorin Halfhand:

What a beast card. He won me a game at the LVO tournament against a Lanni Rains deck. My opponent seems to think it was the Nightmares topdeck, but I digress.

To make room for him, I cut the following cards down to their current totals:

-1 Craster (down to 1)

I haven't yet had to use Craster. My opponents tend to build up their board rather than play Valar, and I find that I'm the one who's playing it 100% of the time. More on that later.

-1 Thoren Smallwood (down to 1)

It hurts, because Thoren is amazing and has won me games before. But he's a little expensive and I'd rather not curve this deck too high by cutting a cheaper character for Qhorin. Benjen wasn't an option, for reasons that I'll explain below.

Other changes:

+1 Benjen Stark (up to three)

This is a meta call against Greyjoy. Our local Greyjoy player has gotten pretty good at playing around the Haunted Forest. The Haunted Forest is still a solid S tier card, easily the best single piece this deck has to push for victory. But it only will stop one challenge if it's not your For the Watch! turn.

That being said, Benjen is a very common milk target. So it's maybe not as good of a Greyjoy speedbump as I had thought.

-1 Ser Waymar Royce (down to 0)

To pay for +1 Benjen, or +1 Qhorin, depending on how you look at it.

Now, NW fealty is nothing new to the game at this point. Loyal NW players, like Joe from Cincinnati, have written numerous paragraphs about how to play this deck. So I'll just explain a few points of difference of this deck.

1 Milk of the Poppy

This was actually a mistake. I had intended for this to be 2 Milk. But as I was taking apart my deck to make changes before the LVO tournament, I noticed there was only 1 in there. Since I'd already won an event with it, I decided to keep it on a whim. It hasn't yet been a problem for me.

The reason this happened was because on the day of the first event, I decided to swap one of my Milks for a third Nightmares, thinking I had put 3 in there rather than 2. The reason for this is as follows. Most players are going to force you to go first. If you Milk someone, they have a marshalling phase to plan around this, playing other cards as needed to make sure they can do what they want to do to kneel your Wall. Nightmares is a surprise and it can catch your opponent 100% off guard. This is a highly nontrivial factor in this game, I've found. Frustrating your opponent's plans, waiting until they commit to a maneuver and spoiling it after they can't take it back, these are how you force errors that allow you to survive.

The value of Milk is also quite diminished in any deck that plays Valar. I really haven't missed it in any of the games I've played so far. Trust me, try a few games with 3x Nightmares and you'll find that you've got plenty of answers for what your opponent is trying to do. Craven is a much better attachment anyway, in my experience.

1 Bridge of Skulls

Solid card. This started in a previous version of this deck that ran 3x Thoren. It stayed in because it was a cheap way to activate my Shadow Tower Masons. With Qhorin its value goes up even higher.

2 Building Orders

I prefer this greatly over 2x Counting Coppers. I know Joe and several other players do 1 and 1. I like the consistency of Building orders better. When I need my Craven, I want it immediately, and I don't care if my opponent knows about it.

1 Fallen from Favor

Ok, so this isn't totally unheard of in NW Fealty, but I made a very conscious decision to include this over other economy like Trading, Time of Plenty, etc. And that's mostly due to the initiative. Again, partly a meta call against Greyjoy, but even if you never use it to win and go first (turning off their damn longships), it's still an amazing card, especially in any deck that plays Valar.

On to the matches:

Match 1: Martell/Rose

My opponent was running a knight-heavy deck. He got a wide board with Knight of Summer, House Dayne Knight, etc. Lots of non-unique characters, and an unprotected Nymeria that was giving me headaches. I had Ranging Party, duped Aemon out when I dropped the Valar. Dupe saves Aemon, Aemon saves Ranging Party. Then Ranging Party, a chud int icon, and Castle Black shenanigans allow me to survive that Valar turn with the Wall intact, and after that I rebuild my board and run away with the game. 1-0.

Match 2: Lanni Fealty

This game was one of the craziest games I've ever seen. He was off to the races, with the classic Tywin/Tyrion combo out by turn one, and a duped Cersei Lannister (LoCR) by turn two along with Small Council Chamber, Casterly Rock, and everything else that I needed to have my day ruined. I don't remember the intricate details of this game, but by turn 3 or 4 when I was considering a Valar, he had already triple duped Tywin, duped Tyrion, and there was no way I was going to be able to get any of them dead.

I thought I'd lost this game for sure, but I just started vomitting characters onto the board. Cersei didn't get to trigger very often, because I made sure that I had no hand most of the time. By the end of this game we both had, and I'm not joking, at least 20 characters on the board. Cravens for Tywin and a good number of Thoren triggers ended up winning me this one. 2-0

Match 3: Targ/Wolf

This was a somewhat janky Roose Bolton kill deck. Normally this opponent runs a pretty scary Targ/Summer or Targ/Fealty burn and murder deck, with Isle of Ravens to recycle Dracarys, Crown of Gold, etc. Another quick lead gained by my opponent, another Valar with a duped Aemon and another bomb to secure good board presence, and then coasting to victory on the Wall. 3-0

Matches 4/5: These were friendly matches, both against Greyjoy/Watch. I went 1-1. Unfortunately I don't remember very many details, but I do recall deviating very strongly from my strategy in the game I did lose, and I also recall not seeing a single power icon for that entire game. At least they didn't count.

Match 6: Night's Watch/Fealty

The mirror match is not something that I studied against very much, because there's not a lot of NW in my meta. I knew this would come down to who could find the Wall first. We both dropped it on the very first turn. A little bit of trickery with Will and a lucky draw with the Haunted Forest to cover my missing power icon allowed me to keep mine standing while kneeling my opponent's. That advantage was the difference in the game. 4-0

Match 7: Lanni/Rains

Wooo, topdeck. And the first game with Qhorin. My opponent was playing your standard Lanni hand destruction deck. He setup Tyrion with two bodyguards and a chud plus a roseroad. Two bodyguards!

He was starting to seriously screw with me. Casterly rock, LotR Cersei, and the works again. I thought I had lost the game when I built wide only to get hit with a very predictable Wildfire off of the Rains trigger. But then something awesome happened. And that something was Qhorin Halfhand. Qhorin won a military challenge and killed the poor Lannisport Merchant. One of Tyrion's bodyguards ate the claim. Valar Morghulis. Aemon saves Qhorin, Aemon's dupe saves him. Tyrion now has no bodyguards, and Cersei + the Mountain are in the dead pile. Tyrion eats a Nightmares on the Valar turn (a topdecked Nightmares), and a craven on the following turn. Qhorin goes off. By the end of the game, Qhorin had 5 power on him from renown, and I was very happy with him. 5-0.

Match 8: Greyjoy/Summer

This was for that sweet, sweet acrylic Night's Watch House card. This game had a lot of back and forth. One big play mistake nearly cost me the game. My opponent had already used We Do Not Sow to remove one of my Cravens, something that I'm not sure I could have prevented. But I made a huge blunder when I Cravened Balon while my opponent had a Rattleshirts and an Asha. I had a milk in my hand which should have gone onto Asha, but I played a Haunted Forest instead. After the second Craven hit the discard pile I thought I was dead. The following turn I milked Balon instead, which bought me some time. Thoren hit the board, and sadly I didn't see Qhorin, who I lost to intrigue claim early in the game and never saw the second copy. The turn after I milked Balon, I played Building Orders into Confiscation and went to look for my third Craven. Finding nothing, I had to resort to the Heart of the Cards to save me. A huge hit of The Watcher on the Walls killed his Asha and it was all down to Balon, no Craven, no Milk, at full strength. Behind Balon stood 1 Raiding Longship and two Iron Fleet Scouts. At the end of that turn the power total stood at 12-12.

I flip For the Watch. He flips Rise of the Kraken. One power challenge is all he needs to win outright, with two claim and Balon's renown. And then I drew my Nightmares. My sweet, sweet Nightmares. He does an Intrigue challenge. I block with my chud, despite For the Watch being up, because I wanted that Thoren power. 13-12. Then Balon goes in. A wildling scout sacrifices itself to give Balon stealth. 2 defenders left standing. Nightmares. Raiding Longship. He wins, but it's not unopposed, and Nightmares has taken his renown. 12-14. He runs out of steam finally. I come back hard and take three unopposed challenges to win the game, with my Wall still standing for spare.

So that's it. Smaller tournaments, yes, but it's been an amazing run regardless. If you're in the Vegas area, check out Power 9 Games in North Las Vegas. We've got a nice, steadily growing community up there that meets every Saturday at noon (and sometimes Friday evenings as well). You can find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/322679841104317/.

Cheers folks.

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