I figured I might want to give a bit of a tourney report, now granted I took notes, but I can’t find them so I may get some things flipped around.
General tournament observations-(I only attended the joust) Having it in a hotel conference room: AWESOME! Why may you ask? More space to spread out, bring in all sorts of food and of course, beer. Lots and lots of beer. Kudos to Clu for selecting the location. 24 combatants competed in the joust. I do not have a house breakdown but from what I could tell there was a fairly even break down amongst the 6 houses. I ran Stark Knights. Similar to what Brett ran at the Moonboy, but I added Godswood, Feral Pack and Ser Dontos (FTW!). Took out the Flanks. Yes you read that right. Never really affected me. I think some tweaks are still needed, but the deck fit my play style wonderfully. The real strength of this deck is the intrigue icons.
Round 1: Luke Reed (MAester Luke)-Stark-Kindly Man The number of times I’ve started against Luke is staggering. Well here we go again. I really like what he did with the Kindly man, either bringing in the Flank, House Umber Berserkers or The Viper’s Bannerman. None of which is a bad choice. The game was a truly back and forth affair. I was 0 for 10000 on Maester Luwin pulls so that didn’t help and being Stark Bear Island didn’t work (though the one time I could have I forgot) But I did get to trigger Meera Reed 3 times in one challenge phase blanking 6 characters. Luke finally won 15-13 just before time was called. Luckily I got to revisit this match-up later in the day. 0-1
Round 2: Lindsay Elliot Baratheon-Seal of the Crown This deck attempted to use TLS-Val combo along with Threat from the East. I say attempted because even though she flopped TLS and played Val on turn 1 I had the perfect foils. I flopped Knight of Harrenhall so when Threat was played I discarded my choice of cards. Then first turn I was able to No quarter TLS and either Bear Island Val or City of Soldiers her on Turn 2 (mind is blank). Seal of the Crown doesn’t effect “drawing” via Maester Luwin and Knight of Harrenhall allowed me to pick and choose what I wanted. This game wasn’t close and it may have been a shut out. 1-1
Round 3: Jacob Horn Martell Brotherhood Good to see a Brotherhood deck, warms my heart since my only other top 8 was using one last year. I was sweating most of this game, he was able to by the end of the first marshalling have a Flamming Sword Beric and Ghost of High Heart (I blame you Rings!) And maybe a Taste for Blood, if not turn 1 then turn 2. I had Meera and lots of kill effects right, so no worries. Year, Ghost kept the kill out of my hand first turn and then a 2nd turn Valar ended that idea. So now I’m in trouble. A deck that triggers off of Military challenges and is fueled by card advantage through 2 claims intrigue challenges can’t really do either. With Beric getting double renown and Taste for blood I have to be REALLY careful with my challenges. Thankfully 2 claim plots help a bunch. I was at least making positive progress on a power challenge win. I would only do other challenges if I had the opportunity to trigger other needed effects. (Such as No Quarter or Price of War). One big moment in the game came when he made an intrigue challenge for 8 and left a 1 Str standing, presumably to prevent an unopposed by me later. However , he forgot that I had a Catelyn in my hand and prevented Beric from claiming 2 for renown. If he would have attacked with all 9 he would have won that challenge and maybe the game. I ended up winning the next round with a 2 claim power challenge for a 15-10(ish) victory 2-1.
Round 4: Ryan Smith-Burns Lanni Knights Oh crap, Knights v Knights. We joked that this was going to be a coin flip game and whomever had position by turn 2 would end up winning. Funny thing is that it didn’t really work that way. Most of the game we both drew 2 due to being tied. Luckily I was able to use Bear Island to keep her knight totally down and I know on at least one turn she only drew one card. But other than that we played that aspect pretty even. I did dominated board position with kill effects (just never drew my knights). I do not remember the score but it wasn’t a close score. 3-1
Round 5: But R Bumps (one Mr. Paully to everyone else) Lannister Kneel, no agenda Going in to this round I knew a victory put me through and 3-2 would be tight. Luke finished 2nd so that helped. As it turned out Paully was something like .08 points better on the tie-breaker to get in, so maybe I would have been alright. On to the match. For some reason I do not remember much about this match, I did manage to kill many of his characters off keeping the kneeling at bay. Most notably not allowing Castellan to remain around very long. The thing I remember most about this match is making wisecracks with Paully most of the time and just having a blast. 4-1
With my second top 8 in Iowa in as many appearances I’ve come to enjoy tournaments in this state. I finished 4th with my only loss being Luke who finished 2nd. Not a bad day.
Quarterfinals: Josh Staton Bara Rush (go figure) Josh puked out a bunch of cards as Bara rush often does. He had King Cost Reducing Renly, Fat Bob Unopposed Mel and Blanking Margery and other chuds early. I was able get Bear Island out. I had a nice internal conversation with myself to calm down and let me deck do it’s thing. And the deck did. I was able to kill off Renly with a no quarter. Josh asked why I didn’t get rid of Mel thinking her to be the bigger threat. (Granted that made me think he was pissed I killed his cost reducer but….) I killed off Renly to prevent slow his roll. I knew if I could just keep power off his house and on his characters I would be able to kill them eventually so I would chump block where needed to prevent Mel’s effect from affecting me. (English majors did I do that correctly?) Plus in hindsight Mel isn’t protected by Power of Blood so I could kill her anytime. It ended not being much of an issue as by the third round I had murdered Mel, Fat Bob and Margery. He scooped.
Semifinals: Jeremiah Duggan Greyjoy something. He claims raid, I felt more choke. If anyone recalls my Iowa report from last year Jeremiah and I had a 2 hour slog. Thankfully looking at our decks this wouldn’t be a repeat. I thought his deck was more choke because I was prevented from doing much of anything. I made 2 mistakes that cost me. Without them, I might have made it to the finals to lose to Tim. First was at one point I had all three Narrow Escapes in my hand so I felt ok using them whenever. I tried to bring back a refugee with one thinking I would then win Dominance and keep him on the board to start building some board presence. Well…..Jeremiah uses dice as gold counters. I personally dislike that practice since 90% of players use some tokens so it throws me off, a lot. It threw me off there that he had 3 gold left and therefore I was going to lose dominance oh and he got a Ice Fisherman back. That was a suck. The other one was more tactical (and might have been first in time) On his fear of winter turn I marshaled a zero cost gold producer to help break the choke, since it didn’t do anything this turn we both kind of forgot about it. I should have not played it since I had a Narrow Escape (or two) in hand. I played Narrow Escape to attempt to regain board position and after I did Jeremiah started thinking for a long time. He had a think hand that he needed and not that many characters. So the great debate was on. That’s until he realized that I had already played a card. Ugghhhhh……. After those two mistake it was all over for me.
Luke wanted a 3-4 game as he also lost in the semis. I was more than happy to oblige.
3rd Place game: Luke Reed This game went WAY different than round 1. In fact by round Luke might have had only 1 card on the table. Kill and Price of War devastated him. This wasn’t even close. My deck fired on all cylinders. [insert cliché] Game.
All in all a great day with great friends. Now granted I went 0 for the century in the L5R “side event” but I did make some good trades to help out my Kitsune/Naga and Battle Maiden deck.
Deck MVP:Meera Reed. This was tough to call as No Quarter did wreck people as did Bear Island. But Meera’s stealth on the two challenges that were the most important to me was huge. Either helping Luwin get me draw or being the unique for No Quarter all day she did great things.
Changes for the future. I might put the Flank back in, or I might leaver Ser Dontos in and add The Bastard of Bolton for his Tricon goodness.
Adding the 2 cost reducer was great with Kyle Condom. I drew the reduced all but 1 or 2 games and only had one in my deck, it made replaying Kyle quite simple.
Unsung hero: Jory Cassel. With Knights of the Red Fork pretty much unplayable after setup and a bunch of dupes that could become dead cards they were fuel for the Jory fire. If Kyle wasn’t out, or a 2 claim hit, this was nice and easy.
If you made it this long in the report you must be procrastinating as much as I am.