My name is Ryan and I’m part of the San Diego/SoCal/California/America (in that order) meta and here’s my Joust TR. I got 8th (aka 11th) in melee, but that’s just something to do until the main event, so I won’t bore you with the details.
I ran a Targ KotHH deck that was very similar to John Bruno’s. Like Bruno, I ran it during regionals as well, but had much less success with it than he did. We probably had 10-15 cards different between our decks, including one plot: my regroup for his search and detain. That’s right; no restricted card *******! (just more evidence that he is a far superior deck builder than me). I took voice recordings after each match, so hopefully there are some interesting plays in this report that i wouldn't have remembered otherwise. Now onto the matches!
Round 1 – Win - Lannister PBTT – Nick (Minnesota?)
Nick flopped two weenies and a gold road after a mulligan. Out of respect, I decided not to flop any cards. I used Waste Their Time first plot and shuffled Cersei back into his deck (score!). First turn I had street waif and 2x incinerate, which took care of both of his 2 claim int challenges. Enslave got a lot of my little guys, including the waif. Got Cersei with Aegon’s Hill on his valar turn (when he had 3 gold). He had three Golden Tooth Mines by the end of the game, but I was able to burn everything he threw at me and got the win.
Round 2 – Loss – Baratheon Maesters – John Andrews/darknoj (Canada)
John had an awesome deck, utilizing Maester Pylos (or any master that he gave stealth with smugglers cove) and the steel link with massey’s hook to stand the maester after using him. I spent burn on shadows bob when I should have been more worried about pylos. By the time I realized what the deck wanted to do, pylos was duped and had multiple chains and the game was over. Lomys saved everyone from being killed on the obvious valar turn, so I played threat instead. It did not matter. I got rolled by a deck that I wasn’t ready for in the least. Props to darknoj for a killer deck design and great execution! (also being taller than me…is this how the rest of the world feels?)
Round 3 – Win – Baratheon Maesters – Mike Pandorf (Indy)
Well, here’s the same damn deck I just got rocked by, being playing by darknoj’s playtest partner. I wasn’t very cheery. Luckily, I now knew this deck’s tricks. His third chain on turn one was the draw link, so immediately jumped in the Dragon Thief to take it off, then do an int challenge. The biggest difference in this game was that I played threat from the north instead of valar on round 2 and he played outwit. It was a 50-50 shot and I came out ahead. My hatchlings feasted on his dudes to keep me alive, and the valar on the next turn cleared all but super-lomys off the board. The extra 2 claim from the regroup and the hatchlings I got back were money. From there it was mostly decided since he didn’t have any draw out and the longer the game goes, the better it looks for my deck. Mike was a great opponent and a cool guy to hang out with later.
Round 4 – Win – Targ KotHH - ??
I can’t remember this guy’s name, but we had a very cool game. I thought we might go to time based on the matchup, but he was running a shadows version that was much more control based and we actually ended the game with 20 mintues or so to spare. We had an epic pre-plot phase, psyching each other out for RBD, but he ended up playing City of Shadows while I played Waste Their Time. Dragonpit=shuffled=BOOM! Biggest play of the game and it was the first one. My Red Keep kept his King’s Landing from drawing, which was huge. He slipped up a couple times (tried to illyrio my illyrio which is a no go). I capitalized on being a faster deck and was able to keep his board and hand low on the way to the victory.
Round 5 – Win – Lannister Wildlings – Brett Zeiler (Missouri)
I tend to get pretty nervous when I know my opponent is better than me. This was one of those times. I don’t remember a whole lot from this game, but his pentoshi manors were killer; I think this is my new favorite card. The Iron Throne was a ball buster all match, but I was able to limp along in spite of it. I think Rhaenys’ Hill was a big deal in this game, as I was able to Aegon’s Hill the 8 cost lanni army early on and I believe I played it twice with a regroup. Illyrio was a big player this game with all the nonunique wildlings. A nerve-racking game against a great opponent that I feel lucky to have won.
Round 6 – Loss – Targ KotHH – John Bruno (Los Angeles/SoCal/California/America, in that order)
Well, here I am again in a “win and you’re in, lose and you’re out” situation, and yet again its against a former world champ. I was 4-1 at gencon, then got destroyed by Casey and missed the cut by one. I was 3-1 (5 rounds) at KublaCon, then lost an absolute heartbreaker against rings in which we were tied at 14 for three rounds. Without the fancy first round bye that everyone was walking around with, I knew that I had to win out, tie, or go to time to make the cut. It was over in 15 minutes. No influence, no draw, no chance. I was upset at first, but I know that in a fair fight, Bruno will get me 9 times out of 10 anyways. The rest of my evening was spent at Bruno’s side, cheering him on to his second joust championship.
So I ended up 4-2 and in 21st place. It reaffirms what I’ve thought for a while: I’m a little bit better than average, but ive got a long way to go before I beat that world champ in the last round to make the cut. I plan on focusing harder next season, but not being upset if it goes similarly!
Thanks go to:
-Bruno for the deck inspiration, constant support, being an awesome travel buddy, and bringing home the hardware!
-The rest of the California crew (Brooks Mitchell, Jimmy Bagels, and Danny Machado) that made it out and came to party!
-My entire SoCal meta for all the help testing this deck and for being a great group of guys. In particular, James Speck encouraged me to prepare as much as possible and was the opponent for the majority of my testing. He's a powerful, attractive man and I wouldn't have been anywhere near ready without his support.
-FFG for hosting a great event and having a kick ass pre-reg gift. The streaming really made it special; tons of our meta were cheering bruno on online.
-Kid, Rick, and Chad for the shots we shared that night and for listening to my touchy-feely “we’re all part of the same American meta” rant.
-Missouri for hosting the after party and being incredibly fun guys. Also for having the focus to play thrones now matter what else is going on around them.
-Everyone at worlds. Some crazy **** went down, but everyone held it together. I love this community and can’t wait for the next event!