|Card draw simulator|
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
|Martell, Fealty Aggro Control||0||0||0||1.0|
Two months ago I decided I was going to try, really try, at the Minnesota Regionals. I had never made the cut at a tournament before, and that was going to change in July. I thought I knew the secret sauce to cracking the meta: Political Disaster to wipe the saves and First Snow to throw back the dragons and Night's Watch core. To take advantage of these plots I built a Lannister, Rose. It promptly went 1 and 4, two of those losses coming to a guy coming out to only his second open night. I rebuilt the deck as Tyrell, Rains with similar results. The problem was bombs. It didn't matter if they didn't have the chump claim if their Renly King was hiding behind dupes and Bodyguards or if I couldn't crack a duo of Stark 6-drops.
So I went back to Martell. Though I think the critical mass arrives with the coming Viper, the icon-stripping synergies and support intrigued me. Those are the anti-bomb tech. Who cares how many saves back up your Victarion if Condemned and Imprisoned turn him into an inefficient Iron Throne? The deck did okay, running a 13 and 3 or so record, mostly on Throneteki and mostly against jank, but I wasn't happy with it. It had double Wildfire, and I wasn't getting great value even from either as people were avoiding overextending in fear of Valar. I was enjoying the Southron Messenger, but it had anti-synergy with Wildfire. Strapped for ideas, I reached out on the global Facebook group, and through conversations with Bimbo Galit, Atlan Talon and Stefano Ricchi (thanks again), this deck took a much more aggressive turn. The double Wildfire became double Marched, and Tears, Blades, Ghaston and Pass came in to clear the way for Marched.
Anyway. The tournament.
Round one against the bye. Does it really count as earning a bye when you only win one round in a three-round store championship? I got the odd-man bye in the first round, won the second and lost the final to an Asmodee employee. Whatever. I'll take it.
Round two against A's Tyrell, Summer. A had been the new player to dismantle my Lannister, Rose deck a month earlier. It was a blood bath. Riddle into Harvest kept his first-round board small, and it only got smaller as Robar Royce drank the Tears and Elinor was Marched to clear the board by the second round. King Renly's Host staunched the bleeding for a while, but you can only staunch for so many turns of top-decking locations before the gauze is not so much holding back the blood as storing it outside the body. Martell wins.
Round three against C's Stark, Fealty. C is good. I had never before beat C in a tournament, and at open play earlier that week, he had won twice against the earlier draft of this deck. It changed that day. Even though I had a solid board with Nymeria, Arianne and 4-drop friends, I had to play defense against an Ice-wielding, Lady-riding Blackfish. Imprisoned allowed me to stabilize, though I had to continue to play around Arya's Gift. A dead Arianne or Nymeria would have swung the game all the way around. Roose came down to open a new threat and punched through when he had to burn Arya's Gift to bring over Ice to win an intrigue challenge. Fortunately, the Orphan of the Greenblood had arrived to save the most important characters from Roose's hate. The tide finally started to turn on the Retaliation turn. Even though Jory took care of the military claim by himself and even though Bran saved the Blackfish from Tears, his board was shrinking and Marched was finally a threat. Knocking out two Robbs in that intrigue claim was also pretty good. I thought I lost in the next round, when I missed Septa Mordane's power bump on Sansa and allowed her and the Blackfish to win a power challenge that I thought I was going to win with two Knights of the Sun on defense turning a two-power gain on my side into a four-power swing in his favor, but Tears on the Attainted Septa and another Marched left the Blackfish alone again. In the last round C made a final military push with Roose and the Blackfish, but the Southron Messenger sent the Attainted Roose back to hand, the Knights blocked out the Blackfish and three unopposed challenges gave me the win. It helped that C's only economy all game was a single Great Hall, but it felt good.
Round four against B's Lannister, Rains. What's there to say? He had Harrenhal, Tower of the Hand and a bouncing Tywin in the first round. Treachery stopped Nymeria from stripping his intrigue, and my board was cleared by Marched. Then I dropped Areo in before he declared the spry Tywin as an attacker in the second, and that was game. Can't strip icons of someone who doesn't stop by for marshalling.
Round five against M's Greyjoy, Lion. I've been in this situation before. I was 3 and 0 in the Wisconsin Regionals last year before getting blown out by Lannister in the fourth and scrubbing the fifth to miss the cut on strength of schedule. The plan was not to do the same this year. M started strong. Jaime and Victarion were out and ready to wreck my board in the first round, but drawing all my Bastard Daughters and plenty of other chumps allowed me to keep a presence. Icon stripping did wonders in this game. I think he only won a single not-military challenge the whole game as Attainted stripped Jaime, Red Cloaks and Wex Pyke all in a single turn. The game stayed close for a while as he rammed in the military, and I retaliated with intrigue and power challenges he couldn't throw bodies in front of. Venomous Blades performed the military claim that I couldn't get through on strength. M might have made it to 13 or 14 power (5 of which Jaime held and 3 on Victarion) before he stalled all the way out in the face of Ghaston Grey. The unopposed intrigue and power challenges finished him.
And so I took third in Swiss, B crowned King of Swiss and C and M both making the cut as well. Felt good, real good, but my top 8 match the next day was scheduled against Targaryen, Rose. I considered myself lucky to avoid Targaryen all day and was not looking forward to seeing all of my 4-strength characters burn, but I was playing with house money. I had achieved my goal of finally making the cut.
Top 8 against T's Targaryen, Rose. Despite never having more than three power on my house card all game, I always felt like I was just one good move away from tightening the game and making a comeback. Maybe if I had been more aggressive with Riddle in the first or second round when I could have hit Harvest and Counting Copper. I drew plenty of icon-strippers, but it doesn't matter much when core Margaery and dragons are driving your opponent's challenges. I made one significant mistake when I went heavy on an intrigue challenge with a duped Nymeria in order to throw the Tears on Randyll but missed the possibility of Plaza of Pride standing a Margaery-pumped Rhaegal after burning said duped Nymeria to still get the block, but T generally had the better board and characters. It was all over earlier but finished when Ghaston Grey couldn't stop Grey Worm, the Khal and the Knight of Flowers from having their way in the final round. At least I made good use of my Tears token on Viserion with Venomous Blade.
Still felt good. T went on to win the tournament against B, so my only losses came to the eventual champion and runner-up, and I was able to make the melee. I ran a silly Casterly Rock, Small Council Chamber and super Cersei deck that used Game of Thrones, Fortified Position and Whisper Campaign to slow the game down until all the pieces were in place. It got me as close as I ever have to winning a table, so that was neat.
Anyway. Thanks to my wife for watching the boy all weekend, thanks to E and R for running a tight tournament, thanks to all my opponents, thanks to everyone who discussed the deck with me to get it in fighting shape, thanks to the designers to getting the meta to a point where the only house that missed the cut was Baratheon (only one in the field). These are good times for the game, everybody. Enjoy them.