Queen in the North redone - Madrid Regional Winner 2017

Card draw simulator
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Derived from
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Inspiration for
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Manuel Cabezalí 446

Here's the deck I've used today in the Ludus Belli regional in Madrid. Finally, 15 players showed up (these small tournaments are declining in Madrid, unfortunately...).

So, basically, I've been playing Stark in every tournament I've attended since 2013. I've been loyal to the house in the good and the bad times, and I have to admit, the latest months haven't been very good to the Wolves, in terms of competitiveness. However, Flea Bottom is a very powerful card (one could say it's even broken, I'm not sure) and it's given Stark an important edge that they were missing: having the ability to repopulate the board so easily via Summer is very powerful. But that's not the only trick. There are many other uses, and the Stark 3-costers are quite decent in this aspect.

This is the evolution of the deck I've been playing for more than one year now. The original deck was "Mother Queen in the North" and it's the one I used to make top 4 in Spanish Nats 2016, plus some other nice achievements. It's basically a Stark deck that revolves around Catelyn Stark. However, this latest iteration tries not to depend so much on her, since nowadays keeping important characters on the board for too long is getting harder and harder, with all the killing and discarding present in the meta.

The deck has a basic principle of being super-defensive: it tries to negate the hazards that your opponent might throw at you, and at the same time it packs some ways of gaining passive power with cards like Catelyn Stark, Sansa Stark (Core), Winter Festival or The Iron Throne. When playing this deck, you usually only attack in power challenges, or intrigue if it's easy and/or it's gonna be an unoposed. You rarely do military, unless you have both Jon Snow (WotN) and Robb Stark (Core) and can stand your entire table. I've won games with this deck in which I've barely initiated a single challenge.

Marriage Pact is also a card that works wonders in this deck. I used to play it x3, but I finally cut one copy in favour of other cards. It was really useful today in round 3 vs Greyjoy, and generally speaking it fits the mechanic of the deck very well. However, the real novelty of the deck, and what makes it shine is Flea Bottom. During the games today, it was awesome how the deck could recover from my opponent's Valar Morghulis.

As always, any questions or suggestions are welcome. Thank you for reading!


zarius 163

Congratulations Manu! Always a top player with Stark, even in the hard times!

r480 134

Lovely performance today :) Grats again!

Adkadi 300

lucky us to have such a great player in Madrid, what a great performance, the Flea Bottom Manu show was amazing with all the hand in the discard pile.Congrats again!

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@zarius``@r480``@AdkadiThank you friends! Looking forward to the next tourney.

jvaldes2 7

@Manuel CabezalíCongrats friend , Im very happy when you win with Stark :)

Lannister 334

Congrats mate! Nice deck indeed Don't you miss having a bit more draw? You probably were running often out of cards?

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@jvaldes2Thanks! I only win and lose with Stark, though :)

@LannisterThanks mate! About the draw: not really. I mean, yes, there is very little "draw" in the deck, but there are several tutoring plots, some cards that bring you characters from dead/discard piles (like Ghost of Harrenhal) and especially Flea Bottom/Summer gives you a lot of recursion. When playing this deck you usually don't have many cards in your hand (hence the "no events" decission, they usually get discarded on intrigue anyway) but you have lots of options on the discard pile and draw decks.

Having said that, it would be nice to hace some more direct draw, but I don't like most of the options. The Blackfish is expensive, and you don't declare military challenges very often with this deck; Gates of Winterfell is worse when 15 of your 60 cards are neutrals, and IMO it's not a very good card per se (unless on setup, it doesn't pay its own cost until 2-3 rounds, and with so many neutrals in the deck, that might get longer...) and finally, I decided that it was better to run Summons and Building Orders than Counting Coppers, because f the extra gold, and because I usually found myself wanting a certain piece of the puzzle more than just draw 3 extra cards.


Just curious, how did ghosts of harrenhal do for you on the day? Did you ever need it?

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@GIMMETHEL00TYes, I used it on several games. And also during the playtesting before the tournament. It allows me to risk a bit more when playing characters (i.e. you can play a big character without a dupe) and it's also very useful and important in case Summer hits the dead pile. That's a very cool play, actually :) So yes, that plot stays in the deck for sure.

King Nothing 1

Congratulations on your win! Against which decks did you played and which is the worst match up? No problem against big boards or rush decks without valar? I like your deck and I tried it today but I guess it needs a little experience.

Good job!

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@King NothingThank you so much! :) During the tournament, I played against Baratheon Fealty (W), Martell Fealty (W), Greyjoy Fealty (W), Martell/Watch (L), Night's Watch/KoW (W) and Martell/Stag (W). Of all of them, the only deck that was able to rush significantly was Greyjoy, and in that game Marriage Pact did a great job. I guess the negative attachments in the deck are the best counter to rush decks here. However, my meta is not very rushy at the moment; most of the decks I faced were aggro or control. If I were expecting more rush, I'd probably make room for a third copy of Marriage Pact.

As for the worst matchups for this deck, I'm not very sure. I know Lanni Rains can be difficult if you don't find Winterfell or if they find their way around it. I know you also have to play very carefully against decks playing Mutiny At Craster's Keep and/or Varys. I guess I'd need to test the deck more.

And yes, the deck is somewhat difficult and weird to play with. Knowing when to declare challenges, and when to just sit down and defend is key. Also, knowing what to search for, and making the best use out of all the possibilities of Flea Bottom is not that simple. Anyway, it's a very fun deck to play and I'm glad you're using it, feel free to share your impressions about the deck in the future :)

Bloodyshade 1

Have you already tried to fit some The North Remembers to enable surprise Robb Stark (Core) or exploit the Flea Bottom? I`m also a loyal Stark since 1.0 and was trying to do a similar deck but with that combo... but im not sure if it works. By the way congrats on your victory!

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@BloodyshadeThe previous version of this deck packed Jon Snow (WotN) x2 and The North Remembers x1, but it ended up as the third copy of Jon. I guess you could make room for it, if you need more sacrificing mechanics. Jon is still better (if Robb isn't present, you still get to stand one character) but also more expensive. In some of my previous testing with the deck I found myself not wanting to sacrifice my own characters against aggro decks, but then again, that was before Flea Bottom came out. So yes, maybe it's time to try to fit a cheeky copy of it :)

jon-z 2

Isn't the Builders deck an awful match-up?

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@jon-zIn all honesty: I don't know. That deck isn't popular at all in my meta, and I don't play online. I guess you can cope with them trying to gain power faster, doing the minimum amount of challenges. That's what the deck does best, actually. I guess if that's a popular deck in your meta, you could try to squeeze in a couple of Arya's Gift to deal with the negative attachments. Or turning some of the negative attachments like Milk of the Poppy or Marriage Pact into Nightmares, which are probably better against The Wall decks. I guess you'll have to play it to find out :)

Lannister 334

Deck is working awesome to me. However ive changed time for wolves for valar and it works very well to me. Even to close games with Cat

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@LannisterVery happy to hear that :) In my testing, I found I sometimes couldn't cope with two Valar Morghulis in one game (mine and my opponent's) and it ended being bad for me, but anyway, I guess that's mostly up to tastes and playstile. I'm comfortable not playing a reset here. And I usually want to find Summer (Core) ASAP, to begin the abuse, hence the inclusion of A Time For Wolves. Thanks for playing it and letting me know!

Valharn 1

I had some great games with this deck last night and it worked really well. One change I made was Winterfell Castle for The Iron Throne and I did not regret the decision - it made it much harder to lose power challenges and I did not have to commit as many people to winning power challenges; it's especially good with Arya. Whilst I may have missed some power from dominance, I think it was a net gain in the end. However, I never played against a Bara deck, so I might have missed it then.

King Nothing 1

Did you tested it against Targ and Lanni? One of my biggest worry is the lanni rains theme.. Targ could be also horrible with burn and astapor to push the power challenge... Marriage pact and frozen solid are vanilla! Very important. But I miss nightmares. Will try to find 2 slots for it. Also north remember could be great... But where to find the slots.. :-)

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@ValharnThat's an interesting idea, actually. I found that The Iron Throne was very key in some very long games, but I guess Winterfell Castle could be key as well. It also frees up a neutral slot :)

@King NothingTarg is actually one good matchup for the deck, and for Stark in general. You have Winterfell (and a plot for tutoring it in case you don't draw into any copy) and you have Bran Stark (Core). Also, Frozen Solid and Marriage Pact may be vanilla, but they do work ;) Anyway, you have to play it very carefully vs Targ, attacking and defending just on the necessary challenges.

Lanni Rains can be a different story because of Treachery cancelling Winterfell. Bran is very important here, too. Anyway, I wouldn't say it's a terrible matchup.

Nightmares would definately help in the deck, but right now I don't what I would take out.

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@King NothingAnd yes, plenty of testing vs Lanni and Targ here. Maybe I didn't face them in the tournament, but those are two factions that Madrid players choose a lot.

OKTarg 27

Awesome deck! I have been afraid of including Marriage Pact lately because of the downside with Iron Bank....was that ever a problem for you?

Valharn 1

@OKTarg I had an opponent make the mistake of using Iron Bank whilst I had Fat Cat out - I sacrificed Bran to stop him getting gold (doesn't stop the character going to hand as it is a cost) and then sacrificed another character (forced by Marriage Pact) for 2 power on Cat. This gave me the win. :-) Sacrifice isn't necessarily bad in this deck as it can give you more power (Cat), stand everyone (Robb) and put key characters into the discard pile to use with Flea Bottom.

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@OKTargWhat @Valharnsaid :) Sacrificing your own characters can be very good in this deck, given the right circumstances. However, it's true that you don't always have such favorable board position as to be able to sacrifice two characters without any major damage. I guess you have to play carefully! :)

King Nothing 1

After playing a while with this deck is all I can say, it needs definitely more card draw. If you get the pieces you need everything is fine. But sometimes you just need a character for the claim or to sacrifice. Will try counting coppers instead of winter festival. Also changed 1 copy of jory to North remembers. Let's see how it goes. The more I play the deck the more I like it :-)

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@King NothingSounds good :) Counting coppers instead of Summons could be an option too.

King Nothing 1

I guess that will be the better option because of the winter trait.

Ysabeau 1

Hola Manuel, esta combinacion parece estupenda. Has considerado incluir a greywind en vez de quizas una copia de Jory?

Manuel Cabezalí 446

@YsabeauMuchas gracias! Greywind no me parece muy interesante para la baraja porque 1) no tengo especial interés en matar personajes del rival 2) es otro monoicono a militar, que es el reto que menos hago y 3) para activar a Robb prefiero mandar a los personajes a la pila de descartes, desde donde podría jugarlos después con Flea Bottom. Desde la pila de muertos, la única forma sería mediante Summer o Ghosts of Harrenhal.

En general creo que si sintiera que necesito más efectos que sacrifiquen a mis propios personajes, The North Remembers me parece mejor opción.