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|Embrace The Baldy (14-3 Bristol/Cardiff Regionals)||26||16||9||1.0|
There are a lot of GJ Rains running around at the moment but most are using Varys. I tested this deck a lot in the last few weeks and liked the consistency it has without Varys. I took it to the Regional in Kassel yesterday, went 4-1 in swiss and was kicked out in the semifinal. The deck also won me a small GNK a few weeks ago.
Some thoughts on card choices:
Most GJ Rains use Varys to fuel their Iron Islands Markets, but without Varys it just takes too long to make markets better than really expensive Roseroads. The first few turns always feel a little bit sluggish if you are only drawing Markets for economy. So I went back to Roseroads, Reducers and Great Halls which works great most of the time. Although there are turns where the Great Halls are useless because sadly GJ has to run a few non-uniques.
Again, without running Varys myself, it didnt feel necessary to have Bodyguards. Iron Mines and Risens are usually enough. Just keep your dupes around if possible and you expect your opponent to run Varys.
After a few people decided to try out Dagmer in the location infested meta at the moment, I took another look at him and put him in. If he works, which is a big if, he can be game deciding, but even without his react he is another Renown char that can get reduced by Great Halls. He actually won me one game yesterday on his own, his renown helped to seal the deal in another game and he was choosen for Seen In Flames over 8 other cards in my hand.
This one is on and off in my list and it rarely actually does anything. Most of the time it acts more as a threat and forces my opponents to defend an otherwise useless military. But I might be better off with another Sea Bitch.
The tournament run-down:
Round 1: Loss against Christian with GJ/Dragon
I tested the list Christian was playing a little bit myself and knew what to expect. Kept a hand with a good enough setup, but with Newly-Made Lord and We Do Not Sow for his possible Plaza of Pride. I choose Calling the Banners as first plot just to go second and have a chance at nuking one of his locations with my NML. He actually plays the Plaza but sadly has a dupe and his intrigue pulls the WDNS out of my hand. Next turn he pulls Risen from the Sea out of my hand, the only save I had seen so far and Valar kills my board. I even Varys's Riddled his Counting Coppers to maybe draw into another Risen, but as it turns out the Risen was the fourth card.
Round 2: Win against Johannes with GJ/Crossing
First turn we both didn't do much, but in the second round it got interesting. He marshals some stuff, including Great Kraken and two Iron Mines. On my turn I get out Dagmer Cleftjaw and Appointed him. He has no way to stop Dagmer's intrigue, triggering Rains for Power Behind the Throne, stealing his Great Kraken. Dagmer gets back up and gets an unopposed military through and stealing one of his Iron Mines. In the next round Dagmer got to steal the Iron Mines, sealing the game. MVP: Dagmer!
Round 3: Win against Werner with Tyrell/Rains
Interesting game, where we were both afraid to let the opponent trigger Rains in a meaningful way. I was able to We Do Not Sow his Great Hall first turn which killed his economy. He used his Varys to get rid of King Balon but his Renly was also discarded. He finally played his Arbor but from then on had to defend all of my challenges in fear of another We Do Not Sow. This game goes on to turn 6, both of us getting a little bit of power each turn. Turn 6 he finally lets one of my challenges unopposed which I use to discard the bodyguard on his Margaery Tyrell (AMAF). Now she only has 1 dupe left and can't surive the two Valars both of us had to play on turn 7. Thanks to two Iron Mines my Balon actually survives while his Renly dies because Werner forgot that Renly can't be saved in the presence of King Balon. MVP: We do not Sow
Round 4: Win against Jens with Martell/Wolf
A typical reset deck with Venomous Blades, Wards and 3x Frozen Solid. He steals my Theon with Ward first turn, but luckily lets the power challenge from my Victarion go unopposed and let me We Do Not Sow the Ward. I drew all of my Iron Mines in the following turns but he also got out his 3 Frozen Solids but he was never really able to recover from the first turn. MVP: WDNS again!
Round 5: Win against Zifan with Tyrell/Sun
As Zifan is from my meta, I already played against his deck a bunch of times. He had a typical Tyrell setup with Arbor and Margaery Tyrell (Core). He was not able to get out enough characters to stop my Rains trigger, kneeling his only power icon (Margaery), letting me do an unopposed power with Euron Crow's Eye, WDNS his Arbor and stealing it with Euron. He dropped a lot of economy locations in the following turns, but I was able to play everything I wanted with the additional gold from the Arbor and could close out the game a few turns later. MVP: The WDNS-Euron tag team
Quarterfinals: Win against Jannis with Martell/Stag
Jannis likes to tell everyone what he's playing, so I knew fairly well what to expect. He had a strange setup with 3 characters and no econ. Played Euron first turn and get 2 challenges with him and Power Behind the Throne, sadly only discarding characters. Pillage discards another character turn 2 and he is able to clear the board with "The Last of the Giants" + Varys. I draw a lot of economy and am able to drop enough big characters to let my power creep up. Going into turn 4 or 5 he has Melisandre + Bastard Daughter out, while I got King Balon, a Priest of the Drowned God and a reducer. Because there are not that many plots left I hope Jannis goes for a Marched and play my own Marched. I was correct and get rid of his Melisandre. He decides not to give my Balon nightmares on turn 5 and I get up to 13 power. He flips The Annals of Castle Black on turn 6, but because he is lacking economy can't do enough to stop me from getting the last 2 power.
Semifinals: Loss in a rematch against Christian with GJ/Dragon
My setup was pretty good, while Christian could only get out locations including two Iron Mines. But what follows may actually be one of the worst tournament matches I have ever played. After his Valar on turn 2, for some reason decide to marshal Victarion and my Seastone Chair, while keeping 1 gold for WDNS. I somehow completly forget how useful my Chair will be against his Iron Mines and that he can steal the Chair with his Sea Bitch to have military claim during his Valar turn ... He defends my challenge with his Asha, takes the Chair, stands Asha back up with Plaza of Pride, murders Victarion and I never recover from that turn. Christian also wins the final after that. At least I only lost to the tournament champion!