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|Raiders, Thieves and Craven Men (DL&C Dan)||2||2||0||1.0|
Action_Johnny aka Daye Kaniel aka the real Dan Kaye from Decklist and Chill here, with a deck that netted me my first ever tournament win!
The idea for this deck came about a couple months ago after eyeballing the fantastic Qhorin Halfhand, the bomb that bully builds have needed for quite some time. I'm also a big fan of some of the new cards that have come out this cycle, notably Victarion Greyjoy, and more recently Esgred and my all time favourite, Sea Bitch!
I wanted to use these new fun characters to make a deck that could quite simply bully and clear the opponent's board through pressure. In my eyes, and are a match made for each other, as you get draw and economy in the forms of the humble Old Forest Hunter and Messenger Raven, and have fantastic location hate (which sorely lack) as well as loads of aggressive stealth characters, perfect for triggering things like Put to the Sword/Torch and Relentless Assault and of course Qhorin Halfhand as well.
The plot deck took a while to get right for this one, and to be honest after playing it all day at the tournament I think I'd swap Trading with the Pentoshi out for a second Time of Plenty. I just never seemed to need the 10 gold from Trading with the Pentoshi, and on more than one occasion I regretted giving my opponent extra gold. Valar Morghulis was obviously going to be essential in a deck with loads of saves, and Marched to the Wall/Heads on Spikes were in there to push advantage when the deck was doing what it needed to. The wildcard here is Battle of the Blackwater, which has been universally panned, but I quite like. You play it when your opponent has dupes and you don't, and what I found it did in most scenarios was delay my opponenet's Valar Morghulis, which is exactly what I wanted it to do. This is probably the flex slot of the plot deck though, and if you really don't like it then I'd swap it for either Sneak Attack or A Clash of Kings. The absolute rockstar plot was Battle of Oxcross - I cannot begin to emphasise just how good this plot is in a deck that needs to be able to ensure a win by 5 trigger. I could essentially guarantee triggering Put to the Sword and Relentless Assault on the turn I needed it, which meant a total of 3-4 potential dead characters on that turn (between 2 challenges, Qhorin Halfhand and Put to the Sword). Most decks can't recover from that kind of onslaught. It did work for me all day and outright won me games in 3 match ups.
Draw Deck Choices
So, the real stars of the show here are Qhorin Halfhand and all of the stealth characters. Qhorin Halfhand needs no explanation. He's as good as he looks. He's controllable and the strength 5 makes him balanced, but he's still a beast. In The Wall deck I actually think he's overpowered, as at that point he's 6 strength and that just seems a bit too much considering what he can hit target wise at that level.
has the best location hate in the game, and the addition of Sea Bitch to their roster just further cements this. I love this card. Being able to take your opponent's advantage for a turn and use it yourself just straight up wins you games. It's fun, and it doesn't feel broken or over powered. The Lordsport Shipwright go really well in alongside the White Tree and A Meager Contribution to help choke out their economy, or to control danger locations such as The Red Keep or Highgarden.
Victarion Greyjoy is a bit of redundancy for Qhorin Halfhand if you don't see him, albeit strictly not as good (no Milk of the Poppy on Qhorin is huge), and although he has a bit of anti synergy with the White Tree (he wants to go first, the Tree wants second), I found that a lot of the time I wanted to go first anyway to keep the pressure on, so I mostly used the Tree as resource denial or gold for events.
Esgred is another, fantastic card, and arguably better than Asha Greyjoy. A tricon with dual stealth is really, really good. Combine her with Ghost, Theon Greyjoy or Maester Wendamyr and you can basically stealth an entire board. And as an added bonus, play Asha Greyjoy when you're at 14 power for the win!
Speaking of Ghost, he's an incredible one of. Being able to get through and take out a defender at the same time is just awesome. I wish I could fit more copies of him.
Craster was in the deck for the match up. can run rampant on with all their burn, and it's important to be able to bring all your guys back to life should that happen. Watch out for the ever fucking annoying Crown of Gold though. Craster also helps combat "The Rains of Castamere" decks by providing a solid icon on the board, same deal with Dolorous Edd (who will be a 1 of at least in all decks from now until he cycles out).
Silent Sisters were the last card to go into the deck - I wanted more and icons and there were no really decent options at a good cost point, but my thinking here was that my dead pile would almost invariably contain 2 characters by the end of turn 2/3, so at the very least they'd be a 3 for 3 bicon if I played them mid game. If I drew them after a Valar Morghulis turn, even better.
Benjen Stark and the Ranging Party were obvious choices. My 5 cost slot was looking pretty competitive in this deck, and I knew I wanted at least 3 Grejoy 5 costers and 2 Crasters, so that only left enough room for 1 Benjen Stark. He played his part on the day, and I was grateful for him against all the I faced. The Ranging Party are the best 4 cost non unique character in the game, and one of the best cards has. They are a 3 of in every deck I build, and will be for all of time!
Rattleshirt's Raiders were in there for some token Milk of the Poppy/Craven removal, and with Battle of Oxcross in my plot deck I could guarantee triggering them. I didn't bother with attachments in the end. Originally I had 2 Milk of the Poppy but I swapped them for Nightmares and I'm soooooooooo glad I did, that card is just amazing.
The other events are all fairly self explanatory. I would never not run The Hand's Judgment in due to the ever persistent threat of Treachery and Dracarys!. There are just too many nasty events that you need to have a chance to stop as , or else you're fucked. The new Relentless Assault is a really fun card, being able to do 2 or 2 challenges in a turn is game swinging.
Anyway, that's the deck. There's not a huge amount I'd tweak at this point, maybe the plots, but other than that it's a solid concept. Have a play around with it, have fun and let me know what you think!
Below is the tournament report. It's rather lengthy so feel free to skip if you don't care. I hope you enjoy the deck and have fun with it/improve it in the future.
---------------------------------------TOURNAMENT REPORT --------------------------------------
Game 1 - James Harrison - /Banner of the Rose - Win
The first game of the day was vs James Harrison, an excellent player and all around lovely human being. James won the Bristol regional last year with a /Banner of the Rose deck at a time where everyone thought that running main faction Martell was a weak choice. Prior to this game, he also had a clean slate win-loss record against me (he'd beaten me twice out of two games in previous tourneys), so I was keen to try and give him a good fight this time! He was playing an absolutely furious rush deck - it was a false banner build, with not much but a lot of . It turned out to be a very fun game, ending up as a race to the finish line. I was incredibly fortunate to see both copies of Sea Bitch in my starting hand, which combined with winning initiative and and lots of stealth allowed me to gain 4 power off James' Great Kraken that allowed me to keep pace with him. The win turn came when I flipped Battle of Oxcross to his Calm Over Westeros, we had 12 power each. If I hadn't been able to get to 15 power that turn, he would've won on the counter. After a long think, I used Craster to force his Margaery Tyrell to block the first challenge, then Ghost with Qhorin Halfhand to bypass The Knight of Flowers (his only icon), triggering Qhorin and killing his chud, giving me 2 power for renown/unopposed and putting me on 14. With Margaery Tyrell knelt and Loras unable to block, I stealthed his last icon (Alerie Tyrell for the unopposed power needed for the win.
Game 2 - Daniel Mulchrone - /Fealty - Loss.
Dan is another great player and the regular tournament organiser for the Northampton meta. My one real worry for my deck was the match up, as my deck has very little stand tech. As it turns out, I was right to be worried - this was an absolute train wreck. I think I managed to initiate 3 challenges in total over something like 6-7 plots. He milked Craster and Victarion Greyjoy turn 1, and then kept Qhorin Halfhand knelt the whole game. He had Melisandre (Core) on setup and put a Bodyguard on her turn 1. He also had the down early The Red Keep and drew into all 3 Seen In Flames during the course of the game, keeping my nasty tricks in check and leaving me utterly powerless. The one copy of Rattleshirt's Raiders I saw was promptly lost to , and there nary a copy of The Hand's Judgment in sight. He also In the Name of Your King! one of my challenges. I did hit Robert Baratheon with Heads on Spikes for a brief moment of triumph, but that just ended up giving him power to steal and causing him to win the game quicker. I made a play error forgetting to trigger Sea Bitch at the correct time which allowed him to draw into cards with the Red Keep which I could've had for myself. Gah. In the end, it was a truly humbling 15-1 victory to Dan.
Game 3 - David 'Daisy' Guest - /Banner of the Stag - Win.
I'd never had the pleasure of playing Daisy before, but he was a thoroughly lovely chap. He was playing a /Banner of the Stag deck which seemed like a really interesting build. Sadly for him he didn't find Melisandre (Core) all game, and the abundance of stealth on my side of the board allowed me to grapple with his board for a few turns, before Qhorin Halfhand showed up mid-late game and I was able to close with Battle of Oxcross for the win.
Game 4 - Adam East - /Kings of Winter - Win
Having attended the Aldershot store championship a couple of weekends prior and seeing Adam's deck in action, I had an idea of what to expect, and was concerned his deck might be able to out-attrition mine. Adam was King of Swiss at Aldershot, even beating UK National Champion Ryan Wood's 'Deer Garden' deck in the Swiss with his claimtastic deck. He set up with 2 cards, signalling a classic The Arbor setup. Being a Kings of Winter deck, I figured he'd open with Wraiths in Their Midst and I was lucky enough to have both a The Roseroad and Nightmares in my starting 7. True to his build, he opened with Wraiths and I opened with Time of Plenty. We flipped for initiative and I won, which then allowed me to Nightmares his Arbor and and lock him out of being able to marshal anything significant. At the end of turn 1 we both had small hands, which stayed that way for the rest of the game. The match was fairly lopsided after that, he played the The Queen of Thorns early and was able to bring in characters that way, but I had Qhorin Halfhand down early as well as the White Tree, so I was able to clear his board faster than he was able to fill it. Another key point of the game was hitting his second Pleasure Barge with Heads on Spikes, preventing any kind of draw come back. After the game, Adam remarked that it was probably decided in the coin toss at the start, as being able to Nightmares the Arbor turn 1 really swung the tempo in my favour.
Game 5 - Dan Gallagher - /"The Rains of Castamere" - Loss
Another really nice opponent, I'd never played Dan but he was 3-1 at this point as well. I'd read prior to the tourney that the /"The Rains of Castamere" is a build that's done very well recently, going as far to claim some SC titles in the US of A, so again I was apprehensive going into the game. There was a slight misunderstanding of a card rule this game, concerning the new location Sea Bitch. I learned halfway through the game that Bitch on Bitch action is not a legal play - something which if I'd known would probably have affected the outcome of the game. Always remember to read the rules folks! I'm a bit hazy on some of the details of this game, but I know that he had Euron Crow's Eye setup turn 1 with a chud and either The Roseroad or a Sea Tower. I can't remember exactly what I setup with, I think it was Rattleshirt's Raiders, Messenger Raven, Lordsport Shipwright and Iron Mines. I started the game with/drew up into both copies of my own Sea Bitch and both copies of The Hand's Judgment. Anyway, we both ended up playing Sea Bitch in turn 1 marshalling, and he used his action to take my Sea Bitch in challenges, then he used my Sea Bitch to take my Iron Mines. He then won an challenge with Euron Crow's Eye, heisting my Sea Bitch and keeping me from playing my second copy. Turn 2, my plan was to murder Euron Crow's Eye with Put to the Sword. By this point I had my Iron Mines back and his Euron was unprotected, so I flipped Battle of Oxcross to push through PttS. Because he had my Sea Bitch in play, I was unable to marshal my second. He then marshalled his own Iron Mines, rendering my play for the turn obsolete. Shortly after, he flipped Valar Morghulis to wipe my board, saving his Asha Greyjoy with his Iron Mines and saving Euron Crow's Eye with 2 Risen from the Sea (I cancelled the first with The Hand's Judgment, sadly I had lost my second to claim earlier. l then promptly followed up with my own Valar Morghulis, but by this point I was in top deck mode and he had a clear card advantage, which eventually saw him through to the win.
Having lost my final game of swiss, I was convinced that my dreams of making the cut were over...
Until I found out that Dan Mulchrone had gone 5-0 in Swiss, Dan Gallagher was 4-1, and James had also managed to pull off a 3-2 score in the Swiss, losing only to me and Dan Gallagher! All this meant that my strength of schedule waaaaaaaaay high, and I managed to slither into the cut at 4th place! Not exactly glamorous, but beggars can't be choosers. Unfortunately for me, I was facing the freshly crowned King of Swiss Dan Mulchrone, who'd utterly spanked me earlier that day
Game 6 - Daniel Mulchrone - /Fealty - Win
This game was a very different beast from our first match of the day. I set up with Qhorin Halfhand, a The Kingsroad and a Messenger Raven. Dan opted for a 4 card setup of 4 non-unique characters. Being lucky enough to start with Qhorin and drawing up into good cards (White Tree, Lordsport Shipwright, Put to the Sword), I decided to open with Heads on Spikes, hoping to hit Melisandre (Core). This missed and hit a Bodyguard, which I actually think is what might have won me the game, looking back on it. I can't remember exactly what I marshaled in the first 2 turns, but it was some combination of Ranging Party and the White Tree/The Roseroad. Qhorin Halfhand started doing his thing and clearing Dan's board of non uniques. By turn 2 I had a Lordsport Shipwright out as well and really started to apply the choke by keeping his The Kingsroad knelt. Melisandre (Core) came out this turn and knelt Qhorin Halfhand, but no Bodyguard on her this time left her vulnerable, and she got Put to the Sword fairly soon after. After that, I was able to control Dan's board to a point where he couldn't keep pace, and the Lordsport Shipwright kept The Red Keep knelt. He played Stannis Baratheon (Core) with a dupe and a Bodyguard which kept him in the game, but the dupe was lost to Battle of the Blackwater and when I eventually flipped Valar Morghulis the only character he had left standing was Stannis. The game went to time, with me at 10-6 and looking to claim my final 5 power the following turn with a combination of stealth, renown and Relentless Assault.
Final - Game 7 - Dan Gallagher - /"The Rains of Castamere" - Win
I was jittering from a combination of nerves and adrenaline at this point, as I never actually expected to beat Dan Mulchrone and get to the final. Dan's deck was really nasty and full of tricks, and Euron Crow's Eye was a hard counter to some of the key elements of my deck, so I was relieved to see him not setup with him again. My setup was Benjen Stark, Lordsport Shipwright and The Kingsroad. Dan's was... loads of non unique characters, including his own Lordsport Shipwright. I drew straight up into Qhorin Halfhand and a second The Kingsroad. Turn 1 was his Calling the Banners to my Time of Plenty, which saw him go first and marshal a second Lordsport Shipwright and Sea Bitch. Ugh. I used A Meager Contribution to get myself an extra gold, which allowed me to marshal Qhorin Halfhand and an Iron Mines. He was able to trigger "The Rains of Castamere" and kneel out Qhorin Halfhand. Turn 2 I flipped Heads on Spikes and hit Asha Greyjoy which I feel was absolutely clutch. I played my second The Kingsroad which he promptly knelt out. I think Dan played Aeron Damphair (TIMC) this turn or the turn after, and I got all excited and went to try and use Qhorin Halfhand's trigger, only to have my Iron Mines taken by Sea Bitch and used to save the guy I was targeting. Whoops. He also used "The Rains of Castamere" to Varys's Riddle my Heads on Spikes. I think he hit Rattleshirt's Raiders.
Then turn 3 came, and I had both Put to the Sword and Relentless Assault in hand, so I decided to play Battle of Oxcross and attempt to wipe his board, as at this point I had 3 icons to his one. He ended up using Nightmares on Qhorin Halfhand, preventing him from his trigger, and Risen from the Sea to save Aeron Damphair (TIMC). GAH! I still managed to trigger Relentless Assault and get the second off, but it wasn't the board wipe-o-rama I was hoping for. The next turn couple of turns were a bit of a blur. The following turn we both played Marched to the Wall, as I was sure he was going to Valar Morghulis and kill my unprotected Qhorin Halfhand. The double Marched really thinned out the board on both sides, getting rid of all the Lordsport Shipwrights. Once again I found myself in top deck mode, and not a single Messenger Raven in sight. I finally managed to trigger Qhorin Halfhand, kill his Salty Navigator and Aeron Damphair (TIMC) was lost to claim, leaving just Euron Crow's Eye. The following turn I played Battle of the Blackwater. Despite his board taking heavy losses, he was ahead on , with 12 to my 8 or 9. Then the gods of top deck provided: I drew into Maester Aemon at the exact right time. I made a HUGE error this turn, doing a chump challenge with a Steward at the Wall that I did not need to do, causing him to block with Euron Crow's Eye and trigger "The Rains of Castamere". I was certain he was going to flip A Game of Thrones, only to see Wildfire Assault come down instead, leaving me with only Benjen Stark, Maester Aemon and Qhorin Halfhand. I found out after the game that he'd swapped A Game of Thrones for Forgotten Plans in his scheme deck, to deal with passive power gain plots. That one decision is probably what stopped me from losing the game right there. I managed to get up to 13 power, and we finished the turn with just Euron Crow's Eye on his side of the board (I think he was saved somehow). Realising I could win the game with Benjen Stark, and with only Valar Morghulis and Trading with the Pentoshi left in my plot deck, I opted to do the obvious and flip Valar Morghulis, wondering if he would do the same. It's worth noting he had my Iron Mines on his side of the board at this point. He ended up flipping Rise of the Kraken instead. He opted to go first, and then used my own Iron Mines to save Benjen Stark!!! What a play! Sadly this meant that his Euron Crow's Eye died, leaving him with no board, and me with Benjen Stark and Qhorin Halfhand still standing. I top decked Maester Wendamyr, and Dolorous Edd, and marshalled them both with the 2 The Kingsroads I'd had from the start of the game. At that point he conceded. Win to the Night's Watch ! What an epic final!
Thanks to everyone I played on the day, fantastic games throughout and a really high standard of competition.