Late Lord Theon - Cardiff Regional Winner: 7-1

Card draw simulator
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Derived from
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action_johnny 745

Hello everyone!

So this is the deck I ran at the 28 man Cardiff regional that took me through 8 games to a regional victory, netting me that sweet, sweet Nationals bye.

First off, a couple of disclaimers. The Bristol regional was the day before - Bristol is the place I call home and the city I love and I managed to place top 4 there, so as far as I was concerned my work for the weekend was done. I had no intention of try harding Cardiff and just wanted to play a relatively simple and fun deck. I had 0 expectations of winning anything and just wanted to blow up some locations. I also started drinking at 11am in the morning as the Cardiff store had a bar (whut whuuuuuut), so I blame that entirely for sloppy play later on in the day ;)

I'd been flirting with the idea of playing a for a while because a) I never play them and I quite fancied it and b) I think Greyjoy are very well situated in the current meta. The game has shifted towards an incredibly location dense meta, and has also started to see the pendulum swing back to stall/control decks away from aggro/rush. So what better faction to take than the Kings of Salt and Rock!

I need to give a shout out to @Hagarr aka Richard Walker, my dear friend and fellow Rowdy Boy, whose advice helped streamline my own uninformed choices into something more consistent and undeniably more effective.

So, onto the deck itself. It's pretty hard to be original with at the minute, and I don't think there's any specific brilliance in this build other than the mighty Theon Greyjoy (TFoA) who is just utterly fantastic in The Lord of the Crossing. I was running him as a 2 of initially and after speaking with Richard I decided to bump him to 3 of, a choice I didn't regret. I had several games where I was able to get a 1 strength power challenge through unopposed on my A Clash of Kings turn, and more than one instance of being able to trigger We Do Not Sow using the same trick.

I was very lucky in that, for some weird reason, there was only one (!!!) player on the day, as otherwise I'd imagine I'd have had less fun with Theon. Still, that wouldn't deter me from taking him a 3 of. If you're worried about the matchup, I would drop Aeron Damphair (Core) for a third The Hand's Judgment. The rest of 's tricks can be soundly handled by your huge amount of location control.

My basic strategy was to target economy locations with We Do Not Sow and use my Newly-Made Lords and Lordsport Shipwrights to keep my opponent's trouble locations in check. Plan A was to win as quickly as possible while simultaneously shutting down their locations, plan B was to Valar with saves if Plan A started going to shit. Luckily I didn't have to Plan B once over the course of the day.

Location wise, I made one HUGE glaring error during deck building - I didn't do enough testing with the Iron Islands Market prior to playing in the regional, and having now played 8 games with the deck all I can say is, in retrospect, these would 100% be The Kingsroads. I have no idea what I was thinking putting these in - I think I maybe got the 2 gold trigger once over the course of the day.

Other than that, the rest of the deck is pretty simple. Win renown with big guys, using to pressure/gain /lever an advantage. Esgred is for the Wall match up. Black Walder is good for an extra bit of power rush even though he lacks a icon - you'll mostly be doing this challenge 1 unopposed with Theon anyway. Rather than focus on one specific location I took a few 1 ofs, just to keep a bit of flexibility in regards to draw options.

Regarding plots, I was very happy with the choices I made. Summer Harvest was a last minute swap in over Heads on Spikes on the day, as I was worried about having a high curve and only running one economy plot. It did not disappoint. Weapons at the Door is such a good meta call at the moment, totally shutting down attachment based control decks for a turn whilst also all but guaranteeing you the initiative. It also bounces Bodyguards if you want to Valar Morghulis the next turn. Much handier than Confiscation, which I absolutely loathe putting in decks. A Clash of Kings is obviously the closer and Winter Festival also helps your power gain, as long as you don't forget to trigger it >:(

Tournament Report

Round 1: vs Matt Hoskings playing "The Rains of Castamere" - W. Matt's a great guy who is part of the wider Bristol meta (see: Cornwall) and a strong player. Unfortunately, he made one absolute howler early on (forgetting to Winterfell on an unopposed challenge) which allowed me to Sow the great Castle and take it as my own with Euron Crow's Eye. I think he'd only slept for something like 4 hours the night before because of the early start and the Bristol regional the previous day. The game went pretty lopsided after that and I was able to close in 3-4 turns.

Round 2: vs Matt Such playing Banner of the Kraken - W. Game number 2 was against my good friend and fellow Decklist & Chill host screaming Matt Such. Matt was running an iteration of Old Mother Jankers' (aka George Ankers) brilliant "The Bitch Remembers" deck. The Heart of the Cards truly smiled on me in this game, as I was able to pull off the oft spoken about but rarely seen Greyjoy 7 card setup, consisting of duped Theon, a chud, Pyke, 2 Iron Mines and my location reducer. I was absolutely buzzing about that. I then drew back up into a ridiculous hand consisting of duped Euron, duped Balon Greyjoy (Core), We Do Not Sow and some other stuff. I was able to Sow his own Sea Bitch early on, which I then stole with Euron, and used to steal his Winterfell each turn for the rest of the game. All of my big guys came out pretty quickly with dupes and I closed the game on turn 4. Poor Matt, it was a bit of a rough one for him :/

Round 3: vs Tagore Nakornchai playing Banner of the Kraken - L. This was basically Tagore's tweaked version of Ryan Wood UK National Champion's deck from the Bristol regional the day before, and I really did not fancy my chances against it. My deck has basically no answers to passive kneel effects, and control combined with saves and aggro basically rendered my strategy as a fairly inane. In retrospect, I think I made a couple of poor choices in this game. The first was on setup - I chose to setup a Newly-Made Lord, Wex Pyke, Salty Navigator and reducer location rather than mulligan for something better, then spent the entire game wishing I has the Newly Made Lord in hand. I then chose to spend all my gold on marshalling Euron turn 1 rather than Asha + saving some gold for events. He played Melisandre (Core), knelt Euron (who stayed that way all game) and played Support of the People in challenges to get the Chamber of the Painted Table into play. I was on the back foot after that and never really recovered, especially after he drew dupes for his guys and 2 Iron Mines. I was smashed in 20 minutes flat.

Round 4: vs Ben Hunt playing Banner of the Kraken - W. Ben's a fellow lover of Martell and was playing the same faction/banner I had the day previously. However I discovered pretty early on that his build was much more aggressive than mine after he opened with Retaliation. My draw back up after setup was totally devoid of chud, so after setup and turn 1 marshaling I only had a Iron Islands Fishmonger, Balon and Victarion Greyjoy in play. By the end of his turn 1 marshalling, he had Sunspear, Asha and Nymeria on the table. I had 2 copies of Risen from the Sea in my hand so I could survive the claim fest early on. Turn 2 he played Duel and promptly killed off Balon and knelt Victarion. I can't remember what I played that turn but I was able to blow up Sunspear, maybe thanks to a Raiding Longship. If the turn 2 Duel wasn't enough, he then hit me with a turn 3 Valar Morghulis which I saw coming as he Orphan of the Greenblood'd out his Nymeria in taxation of turn 2. Bye bye Victarion. I was able to play one of my bigger gold plots and managed to get a board back down thanks to playing Time of Plenty and getting Esgred down. I'd managed to gain quite a bit of power throughout the game and by turn 4 or 5 I saw an opportunity to close with Esgred, providing Nymeria didn't take her power Icon. I had Euron in play by this point, and Ben decided to take Euron's over Esgred's allowing me double stealth on my Clash of Kings turn to get to 13 power, and get the 14th and 15th from Euron's unopposed challenge.

Round 5: vs Chris Meeuwsen playing Fealty - W. I'd met Chris at Dockside Brothel Days and he was one of three lovely Dutch chaps to come over for the double regional weekender. I made a couple of errors this game, namely by accidentally triggering his Robb Stark twice causing his whole board to stand (stupid... I blame the beer). Eventually I learned my lesson and settled for no challenge (he was first player a few times early on). Grey Wind was a huge pain in my ass in this game, as he promptly gobbled up my Theon, however a mid game Balon with the Iron Fleet Scout was doing work on my side of the board and allowed me to keep getting unopposed power challenges through. I was able to close with Clash of Kings on his Wildfire turn, allowing me to go first and get the power I needed to win.

At the end of the swiss I was 4-1.

Round 6: vs Kev Richardson playing Fealty - W. This was the first of two games to be streamed, and I can only describe it as grueling. Kev is a really strong player who knows his faction inside out and backwards and has a positive tournament record against me. He'd actually beaten me on live stream the day before in Bristol. I feel this gave me a slight edge in the follow up game as I knew a few of the tricks his deck was packing. Turn 1 saw me have to save a Lordsport Shipwright from Venomous Blade in order to prevent the inevitable Marched to the Wall the following turn on either Asha or Littlefinger. I then proceeded to walk straight into a Vengeance for Elia, losing him anyway. Turn 2 was a mind game - Kev knew I was running Summer Harvest and I knew he was running Varys's Riddle from the day before, which he'd played turn 2. I took a gamble and thought that he might make the same play again to Riddle my Harvest, and played Winter Festival instead. He flipped Riddle and made me feel pretty happy about my choice. I then promptly forgot to take the 2 power for the Festival trigger at the end of the challenge phase which I was super pissed off about, as I rarely ever forget that plot. He hit my copy of Euron Crow's Eye for claim at some point, and then "The Last of the Giants" a Varys in to wipe the board. Luckily, I'd managed to Sow a fiefdom and limit his economy, which really started to slow him down as the game went on. I top decked a second Euron with Time of Plenty and then started to grind my way back into the game, eventually stealing the Fiefdom with Euron while whittling down his own board. The end came when he had to Valar and I was able to save Euron and play a Shipwright to kneel his Ghaston, winning me the game. A tough but very enjoyable game.

Round 7: vs Ben Davy (the Knight of the Blackwater) playing "The Rains of Castamere" - W. Ben is an all around great guy of Thrones and does a huge amount for the community via his streaming at UK events, his live streaming sessions and his Deck Talk youtube channel. He's also an absolutely lovely guy who consistently does well at tournaments. Castamere was a slight worry for me here, but luckily I had Euron in my starting hand so that helped enormously. He opened with Calm Over Westeros and played the Arbor to go along with his board of knelt chuds, a Lady in Waiting and Renly. Rubbing my hands with glee at the prospect of blowing up that sweet Arbor and plundering its riches for myself, I promptly Sow'd it! However I was unable to steal it that turn as I'd already used Euron to defend , and turn 2 saw Euron knelt to a Castamere trigger (bloody A Song of Summer made the win by 5 unavoidable). Turn 3 he played The First Snow of Winter and had a load of big guys with renown and intrigue icons out. He came swinging at me hard with all 3 challenges, only one of which I could afford to oppose (), also forcing me to claim my newly played The Reader for claim over the now unduped Theon. I was then able to swing back for 3 unopposed challenges and steal the Arbor! WOO! Life goal achieved. At this point the power totals were something like 13-11 to him, and after a deliberation of whether he was going to Valar my board (I had no duped characters and 1 save, he had 4 duped characters), I opted not to play my own Valar, and did Clash of Kings instead. Thank god I did, as he wasn't actually running Valar and I would've nuked my own board. I played out my entire hand and then Theon the wonder boy netted me 3 power from an unopposed Clash of Kings challenge, and I was able to close with Asha and a Pyke'd Euron for the last power. Squeaky bum time but just about managed to cinch it.

FINAL: vs Isian Hasmuja playing "The Rains of Castamere" - W. First off, I want to say that I was completely outplayed in this game. From my perspective, this game was an absolute shit show of my play ability. Isian is a very strong player and a loyalist squid lover through and through, so he had me at a disadvantage in the faction mirror match. I was, at this point, also slightly drunk as I'd been drinking beers for most of the day and never expected to make it to the final. Turn 1 I hit his Trading with the Pentoshi with my Summer Harvest, and played out most of my hand. I then realised later on in the turn that this is exactly what Isian wanted me to do when I plucked a copy of Varys from his hand. That single claim probably won me the game. The rest of the game was fairly grindy. He was unable to trigger his agenda thanks to having Euron from turn 1, and I was unable to rush as his faction card had very little power most of the game. He also kept my renown guys from getting power with clever use of his Iron Fleet Scout. There was a particularly banterous play where he boosted my Theon with his Scout to block my challenge with his own Theon, who I then boosted with my scout to make it unopposed again. He hit me with Valar Morghulis turn 4 which stung as he cancelled my Risen from the Sea on Asha Greyjoy, however I was able to keep Euron alive and also had Winter Festival in play which gave me both decent gold and power. I'd also been holding Victarion Greyjoy back as I suspected he was going to hit me with it at some point. Rather than play my own Valar, I opted to go for initiative and played A Clash of Kings followed by Weapons at the Door on turns 5 and 6. This allowed me to control the game via Victarion and Euron and slowly grind my way to the finish line, finally sealing it on turn 6 with a double renown challenge he was unable to block thanks to Pyke.

I had an absolute blast at the Regional and it was truly hilarious to be able to take a Regional with my first proper outing with the Squids. Their play style made a nice change from the usual factions I love to play ( and ), and I'm looking forward to seeing where their faction mechanics are taken in the future.

Thanks for reading :)


akenathon80 1

No Silence's Crew? great deck anyway congratz ;-)

action_johnny 745

@akenathon80 Silence's Crew wasn't legal for this event. If I were to add them in, I'd probably cut Black Walder and maybe a 2 coster for a second. Most likely a Salty Navigator. In all honesty I'm not sure how necessary they are. The work horses of the deck are are Greyjoy uniques. Still, nice to have another big body to put down I guess. Worth testing with.


Congrats on the win man and I really like the deck!

So the deck seems like it has pretty good econ to me. What are your thoughts on playing king Balon over core? How good for you was core Balon on the day? I feel like king Balon's ability to be in multiple challenges with renown is exactly what you want in a crossing deck and possibly more valuable than what core Balon brings to the table here. Obviously the king is worse for setups, but I feel like GJ has great set ups as it is, and it wouldn't affect you very much in that regard making the change. Curious on what your thoughts are.

Jools 46

Isn't The First Snow of Winter mandatory vs Targs in current meta? Regardless that you didn't face any.

akenathon80 1

thanks for the reply @action_johnny i was thinking the same of @GIMMETHEL00T about king Balon, could be a nice try.. what about great hall? are unique characters enought? or you can drop 1 ? why 2x scout and not salt wife? thanks

action_johnny 745

@GIMMETHEL00T @akenathon80 I'll try to answer your questions as best I can in regards to my thought process: In regards to Balon Greyjoy (CtA), I think that's a preference thing. The curve on this deck is tight, and sometimes running that extra 7 cost over the 6 cost can mean the difference between winning and losing a game, especially if you're unlucky and don't see econ. However, I really like King Balon as a card, I think 2 challenges in Crossing is great and I think if you can get him on the board reliably he's great. What I wouldn't do is put him in and then start cutting chuds for more 4-6 costers in (i.e. Silence's Crew) because I could see that leading to getting hand locked mid-late game/post reset.

In regards to Balon Greyjoy (CtA) vs Balon Greyjoy (Core) - I would not underestimate Core Balon's value in Crossing. If you're vs Targ, for example, you will not be able to abuse Theon like you can vs other opponents. In this scenario, Core Balon is great, because you can use him to get the UO power challenge on the 3rd challenge. If you have a single boat out, this is basically guaranteed. On Clash of kings turn, he gets you 5 power by himself, 6 with Great Kraken. King Balon can't close games like that.

Regarding the Scouts over Salt Wives, this comes down to the simple fact that the Scouts have the icon. If you look at the deck's icon distribution, it's pretty good for a and that spread is just downright essential for being able to do your 3 challenges. I like Salt Wives but have too many monocons as it is and in this deck I choose Newly-Made Lord for mine ;)

@Jools Nothing is "essential" really, I try not to think of cards as "essential" as that limits your deck building options. In the USA, they stick x3 Nightmares in most decks as apparently it's "essential". I very rarely run Nightmares as I think it limits how you build and also creates a dependency on it, where your win/lose mentality comes down to whether you see Nightmares or not. I wouldn't run First Snow in this deck because a) it's gold value is kind of whiff and b) it hurts Theon and clears my chud/claim soak off the board.

Hope this helps!

UrosK 13


Either Political disaster, or Supporting the Faith which can be played with Greyjoy's are better counters to Targ than First snow, especially Targ versions with Daenerys, Khal Drogo, Great Worm and Mirri. Supporting the Faith is also great vs Viper Combo deck and some other matchups.

UrosK 13

@Jools in fact

akenathon80 1

@action_johnny it can be strange but yesterday i tested 2x silence's crew THEY DIDN'T SATISFY ME.. always preferred other choices on the play and not so much gold to spend on them! you were right in my opinion the original set up is already good , is not so easy to change the curve cost.. the same for the characters (32) with aeron back and not the third counter..or you start to screw sometimes.. IMO.

Jools 46

@VrgmaisterPolitical Disaster hurts GJ pretty much too ;// And Supporting the Faith won't stop Fealty's Dracarys which is common agenda in Targ decks i think.

Jools 46

@action_johnnyhow do you handle Cersei Lannister (LoCR) + Casterly Rock. These two cards tear my Greyjoys aprat everytime.

action_johnny 745

@JoolsApologies for the long reply, missed this one. Cersei Lannister (LoCR) and Casterly Rock are pressure cards, and therefore they really want to go first. So, you deny them that. You have the tools to win initiative, you also have the tools to put their nasty characters on the back foot.

Casterly Rock can be taken care of pretty handily with a single UO challenge and We Do Not Sow, or failing that a Newly-Made Lord. Apply your own pressure via your stealth/intimidate/Euron Crow's Eye (if they have locations in the discard) and if you're lucky to see it, The Seastone Chair.

When playing vs a faction like Lannister, you have to put them in a position where if they don't defend your challenges, you make them pay for it. That puts them between a rock (hurr hurr) and a hard place where they either have to act to stop you and thus give up their own pressure, or they let you run rampant on their board.

Honestly, Lannister only really should be a problem if they get an incredibly strong start and see all their bigs+saves early. They'll typically come worse off against a Valar Morghulis than you will, and they also suffer from a lack of formidable power actions, so you can normally outpace them fairly easily. This is especially true if you get Theon Greyjoy (TFoA) or Balon Greyjoy (Core) out.