A good day for the Starks
Last week's Blood Red Snow event at GTG proved to be a rather interesting tournament, least of all for me. I grabbed my Stark house card, House of Dreams Agenda and a copy of Widow's Watch and tagged along to see how this zany build would fare in the first tourney where the aforementioned agenda would actually be legal.
First up, thanks to all you 25 + lovely people involved on the day. I really enjoy AGOT, and it's nice to get the chance to play against people from outside our local group (even though 4 of my 7 games were against local players). And thanks to Ed and Steve for putting these events on. It's partially down to you guys that I'm a whole arc of chapter packs better off.
Personal high point of the day: Eddie Skelson attempting to get everyone to swear the oath of the night's watch before the tourney began, and being met with stony silence.
Anyways, onto the decks, matches, people and other joys of the day.
As mentioned before, my deck was built around Stark HoD, with a sub theme of trait manipulation. The basic plan was to edge out card advantage and thin my deck using Widows Watch, which also helped to mitigate the danger of a valar by playing a duped character each turn. This also stopped me from drawing into characters that had been killed, as I ran two copies of most uniques in the deck.
Key cards were Old Nan (she tipped the balance for me in two games), winter +2 STR Robb Stark (my main beater) and riders of the red fork (for Widow's Watch to grab if dupes were not needed). Bay of ice, Jeyne Westerling and Maester Luwin helped to supplement my draw, and Rickon Stark let me pull some weird doubling tricks alongside to be a wolf and at the gates.
Round 1 - Bye.
"Winter is coming."
I started by being in the lead. This was good.
1 - 0
Round 2 - Greyjoy Winter Choke (Josh)
"The winters are hard, but the Starks will endure. We always have."
I must admit that I don't like playing against choke. When it's working well (and if often does when Josh plays it), it really sucks the life out of me. Josh started with a 6 card flop, and by the end of plot 1 he had about 9 characters on the board to my three. Refugees, ice fishermen, ravens, botswains… it was a good job that earlier in the day I decided to swap my valar for a wildfire assault. After that, Josh was left with two botswains and an ice fisherman, and I drew Meera reed. Popping her into shadows gave the botswains-2 str, allowing me to keep control of the challenges from then on with Robb Stark and the Blackfish. Josh was forced to valar turn 4, and my duped uniques were able to clean house from there.
2 - 0
Round 3- Stark Armies/Murder (Platty)
"Call the banners. Now we'll see what their words are worth."
Platty and I have a chequered history when it comes to tournaments. We have swapped the fool's crown of bad plays often, and have been responsible for each other's demise on more than one occasion. This was one of those games where he simply smashed me.
Early on he was able to drop several of the Bolton armies and a frozen outpost. I was able to get Robb and Brienne down to help me push military challenges through, but when he got Meera reed it rendered Brienne useless. His armies backed by the outpost were just too big for me, and while he wasn't able to kill many of my characters he was able to stop me winning any challenges. He quickly took the lead in power thanks to renown on Damon Dance for me, and sealed the deal with The minstrel's muse on plot 4. I got some small measure of satisfaction when Grey Wind ate Meera though.
2 - 1
Round 4 - Lannister choke/PBTT (Dave I think)
"If we do it your way Kingslayer, you'd win. We're not doing it your way."
This was a rather quick and brutal game. Dave was a very patient and thoughtful player, and the first turn kind of worked against him. My setup was Old Nan and two +1 gold locations, while Dave had a treasury and two +1 gold allies. His first plot was a blockade, while mine was Fury of the Wolf. As I went first I was able to drop a refugee and a duped Hodor, and dissension out one of his allies reducing his income. He was only able to marshal one dude, and no mil icons. My refugee was able to win the challenge, and due to my fury plot both dudes were ganked. Next turn he put deadly on defence Bronn into play, which did give me some trouble, but I was able to continue marshalling duped dudes (Robb, Blackfish and Luwin) and push my board advantage home. The dupes kept me safe from a valar, and I was able to take the win on plot 4 (I think).
3 - 1
Round 5 - Targaryen Dragon Maesters (Nice dude whose name I forgot)
"Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honourably. And Rhaegar died"
I was in luck again here - this was the first game Old Nan salvaged for me. I got the Old Girl in setup, with a few cheap locations. I actually have a similar dragon maesters deck to my opponent, and they both revolve around using dragon lore to drop Balerion the Black in the early turns and then beat face to victory. Fortunately, Old Nan was able to remove the maester trait from the character my opponent played dragon lore on, preventing him from getting any dragons on the board early. After two turns he was able to get an apprentice collar on his linked advisor so that was that - he dropped Balerion. I did have Cat o' the Canals in play, so she didn't kneel. I also had a Lucas Blackwood. When Balerion came in on a military challenge I triggered Lucas and Cat came in for the kill. Balerion wasn't kneeling due to Dany being out, but didn't oppose Cat as he had plenty of claim fodder. I was able to no quarter Balerion, and that sealed the game for me.
4 - 1
Semi Finals - Greyjoy Winter Choke (Josh)
"Don't look so grim. It's all just a game."
I did say Josh runs a solid Choke deck. I was his only loss, so he made it into the top cut with me, Platty and Ross. Unfortunately for Josh, the game went entirely may way.
My recollection of setup is a bit hazy - I think he started with Tarle thrice drowned and a location, while I had a refugee, two gold locations and Meera Reed in shadows. I can't remember his first plot, I think it may have been time for ravens. I played fury of the wolf, and my only drop was a duped Brienne (thanks Widows Watch). He dropped the white raven, Wendamyr and Dagmer. After I popped Meera from shadows I easily won the military challenge. Due to Brienne none of Josh's saves would work, so he gave Wendamyr to the claim and I killed Tarle with my plot effect.
Red Wedding was my next plot, killing Dagmer with Meera claiming power. Josh didn't drop any dudes this turn, and I played a duped Blackfish. He used valar on Plot 3, which I saved from and it was pretty much game from there.
Finals - Stark Armies/Murder (Platty)
"The North Remembers"
So, here we were again, Platty and I. At this stage I was pretty resigned to the fact he was going to take the crown, as I don't think I won a single challenge in our first encounter. I drew my setup hand, and went for a 2 card setup. I flopped Old Nan, along with a kingdom of shadows. Platty set up a bunch of locations, but no dudes. That was much needed for me.
I kept my hand as I had 2 dissensions in there. My hope was to take out two big armies with Old Nan in the first 2 rounds, and hopefully give me some kind of board control.
And wouldn't you know it, it worked.
Round 1 I flipped fury, forgot what Platty had (retaliation I think). I went first and marshalled a bay of ice, Robb, (double duped - thanks to Widows Watch) and the crown of winter. This effectively gave me a 7 str beater with Robb's ability.
Platty marshalled Roose Bolton and the bastard's eilte (I think he was struggling for characters, and he had no frozen outpost this time). Old Nan allowed me to dissension Roose, and then Robb killed the elite in a mil challenge. This left Platty with no board.
Round 2 I used Take them by surprise (drew a card from bay of ice), while Platty used at the gates to drop the bastard's boys in. The Old gal earned her stripes here, allowing me to ditch the army with dissension. Platty could only marshal one dude which would die to my mil challenge, and wasn't able to get back into the game after that. And my dupes kept me safe from Valar.
So with that, the throne came to House Stark. I was as shocked as anyone else when I took the last game, and I can't take anything away from Platty. Until the final, he had been unbeaten all day, including our earlier encounter. His deck stalled on him in that last and most crucial matchup, giving me the space I needed to capitalise on.
So thanks again everyone. I had a great day, and look forward to the next one.
"Three victories don't make you a conqueror."
"It's better than three defeats."