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|Captain Rykker (Rangers, Top4 SoCal regional, Top8 KublaCup)||13||11||9||2.0|
This is the new and improved version of the Ranger trait deck that I played in regional season. After testing some different ideas for GenCon, I ended up returning to this deck to fix a few of its problems and try to update it for current matchups. The deck finished 5-2 and 17th in the Swiss, just missing the top cut. Due to a giant fiasco involving scheduling, the 16th place player was DQed for showing up at "the wrong time". I'm not going to go into how he was screwed over by FFG OP here, but you can find the details on cardgamedb and in the Facebook group if you haven't seen them already.
As a result, I was bumped up to 16 and placed into the cut. I won my first match against the #1 seed and lost to the finalist in the top 8. I was the only NW player to make the top 8.
The deck concept is to use ranger trait synergy for efficiency. We have far fewer tools than the builders, who in some way represent the purest form of a wall defense deck. Somewhat fittingly, the ranger trait deck turns out to be best played as a hybrid aggro/defense deck, depending on matchups, draw, and opponent's play.
Your primary hitters here are Ser Jaremy Rykker, Jon Snow, Qhorin, and the Lost Rangers. Rykker turns the Rangers into very efficient bicons that can be used for offense or defense. At 5 str with the wall out, they are at a sweet spot for leveraging board state, which I say to mean that you can force your opponent to kneel more than one character to defend. Jon Snow is self explanatory; he defends the wall and can still attack, or can just attack twice. Qhorin is your only printed renown and is extremely important for your bad matchups as he can kill a number of problem characters.
You can make this deck more aggro with the following changes, which performed well in testing, but are not consistent enough for me to bring for big tournaments:
- -2 Eastwatch
- -1 Grenn
- -1 Pyp
- -2 Shadow Tower Mason
- +2 Sworn to the Watch
- +3 Crow Killers
- +1 Ygritte
If you make this change, I would swap some plots. The Red Wedding can be effective. Other low reserve plots that are worth considering are A Feast For Crows and Supporting the Faith. Sworn to the watch targets Jon Snow, the Crow Killers, or Ygritte, making any of them a tricon with Rykker.
I do not think that this is the best aggro wall deck out there. The NW/Kraken deck that made top 8 at Flea Bottom is almost certainly the perfect form of this deck. Unless some truly bomb Ranger trait synergy cards are printed, that one will be better.
Plots: I made a meta call to prioritize high initiative thanks to the Martell matchup and our superior economy with Underground Vaults and icon efficiency. So we run Calling the Banners instead of more traditional summer economy cards. Summer Harvest is also an option. Heads on Spikes was an impulse include after I saw Tamas use it. It hit for me 3 times in the day, but it's probably better as a Riddle, to be honest.
Here's a breakdown of all the games I played:
Rd 1: Martell / Stag - Win
Rd 2: Lanni / Rains - Loss (he pulled the wall for int claim out of 12 cards in hand, I already had 8 power from normal play before)
Rd 3: NW / Rains - Win (this was the Northeast Rains deck, which I think you should check out as well)
Rd 4: Don't remember - Win
Rd 5: Greyjoy Rains - Win (he didn't trigger varys on the turn he marshalled him. I offensive valared, cancelling a risen with HJ, and just won)
--- Graduated cut: 4-1 record and 13th of 172 ---
Rd 6: Targ / Fealty - Loss (Melucci is a great player, and I made one huge mistake by forgetting he had two claim when he opened retaliation)
Rd 7: Tyrell / Rains - Win (Offensive Valar to kill QoT, and just blocked rains triggers with Edd and Jon)
--- 17th after 7 rounds, 16th after FFG fail ---
Top 16: Lanni / Rains - Win (Marched Cersei, drew 2 cravens and a milk, and FFG tilted him by DQing his buddy 2 seconds before)
Top 8: Martell / Fealty - Loss (He had 2x pyromancers and I never drew Qhorin or Milk for them. Great player too, knew the matchup well)
I'd like to thank the thrones community for being awesome. Props to everyone out there who helped me test, you know who you are. Props to Nate French and the few judges I met who seemed like solid dudes. Slops to FFG OP for ruining a great weekend by poor communication with your top 16.