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Another Stahleck 2011 Tourney Report

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Got back from Stahleck on Monday, and I thought it might be high time to write out everything that I remember, before I get even more of the details mixed up in my head. I'll also have to do the usual "Rings Disclaimer" on having a horrible memory for names...

I'm posting this in two parts. First the Melee, then the Joust. Stand back, this is one long wall of text.


The Deck

I was running a Baratheon with no agenda, but with lots of knights, based around double-power challenge Robert and as much repeatable stand as I could fit in. And when I say that, I literally mean it - banners, arena knights, Marya, and even 2x King's Ground just to make my stand-locations (Massey's Hook, King Robert's Hammer, Highgarden) vigilant. If someone's interested, I can post the decklist for that sillyness. Mainly built it for the fun-factor, since Baratheon tends to get pummeled to death due to their initial speed in almost every Melee-game, while I still wanted to fly the stag banner and drink like Robert...

Table #1:

One Greyjoy, one Lannister Clansman and one Bolton. We had big power challenges from the clansman, Ingrid (the Greyjoy player) was flooding the board with saves and non-uniques without any power gain abilities and removing my key locations with Newly Made Lords. I think I lost the Hammer on turn 1 or 2, and Stormlands on turn 2 or 3... for some odd reason, people thought that 3x 2-claim power challenges would have been unfair in some fashion, go figure? Despite that, I was able to push up to 14 power on turn 2 (or 3?) with only 2 on my house, and the rest divided between Estermont and Bob. The Clansman was already pretty high at this point as well in power and I think the GJ not far behind either.

And then a repeat performance of my traditional "screw up spectacularly in your first game" -performance was in order. Last year I Red Wedding'd my own Melissandre to death in my first Joust game against another Baratheon, and this year...

Robert still had his vigilant banner, so I made a military challenge with him, taking with me the two boltons I had acquired at that point. And I left Ser Parmen Crane standing, assured of my victory. Of course I forgot that there were 2 Abandoned Forts in play. And of course I would've won if I had committed Parmen as well. Bolton's bounced, I was stuck at 14 and next turn we had a joint effort from the Stark and Greyjoy, with Assault on King's Landing and Valar in one turn. And me with only one Power of Blood that I had already played. From 14 to 1 in one plot, and I was left last, while Ingrid took the game. An auspicious start... Time for my Plan B: playing with a beer in hand.

Table #2:

Two Stark players, neither of which had played a lot of Melee and one GJ, I think. One of the Starks was running a Kingsguard deck, while the other was probably doing Siege. I think I was graciously nicking stuff from the Stark, since he was an easy target, but otherwise getting pretty much stalled by the Starks. We were all around 4-10 in power, but nobody except me was really paying any real attention to the GJ who was ahead. I think it was plot 3, and I was at 7 power... tried pushing through one power challenge with large strength against the siege, when the Stark players (for some completely unfathomable reason) decide to team-up to stop it at all costs. And when I say all costs, I mean with 4 Frozen Outpost boosts on one or two war-crest characters, thus spending all of their effects, even though GJ had Rise of the Kraken revealed. I was a bit stunned, since I wasn't even going to really go ahead of the GJ player with that power... Oh well, Greyjoy goes ahead and wins, I tie for second.

Table #3:

This table had one of the Portugese guys, Nunu, running a tricon'd Joffrey with ~10 strength due to devious intentions, me pushing away slowly to get close to striking distance, one Martell guy playing something that looked mostly like a Joust deck (Bannermen, Cyvasse, Ghaston Gray...) and one Targ dreaming of dragons in the corner. For most of the game, it looked like either Nunu or me would be taking it, but then suddenly the Dragon deck explodes out of nowhere after a Valar, getting Balerion and 4 other dragons (one of them a traited Dany) on the table. With Rhaegal to boot. He wins from something like 6-7 power, in one or two challenges if I recall correctly. Talk about out of the blue... After the game is over, me and Nunu stay to chat at the table, then suddenly realize that "Wait, didn't the Martell guy have Ghaston Grey + Arianne and Edric?". Huh. I guess he forgot about it as well. I did feel happy for the guy who won though, always nice to see black wings filling the sky...

End Result:

8 points and some time to relax and think about the Joust.

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The Deck

While I also like playing Targaryen (for obvious namesake reasons), but for some reason I'm never able to make a Targaryen deck I'd really feel happy running at a larger Tournament... Too prone to making small mistakes, and with Targaryen that's usually pretty fatal. So, I always end up going with Baratheon, and this time was no different.

Now, the cards Baratheon has been getting lately have mostly been horrible, compared to what everyone else has been getting. And I really dislike running Maesters with a vengeance. The only options that I felt I really had for running Bara were:
I) Running some first turn wonder rush aka. Absolute Power
II) Running Bara Wildlings (oh no, not me, never)
III) Trying to figure if I could break TLS

Naturally, I went for option III. ;) Especially since it allowed me to run the only good recursion card Baratheon has...

Here's the decklist:

House Baratheon - Knights of the Realm


Herding the Masses
Search and Detain
Wildfire Assault
Loyalty Money Can Buy
Winds of Winter
Threat from the East

Characters (33)

1x Brienne of Tarth
1x Ser Guyard Morrigen
1x Renly Baratheon
2x Ser Parmen Crane
3x Highgarden Refugee
3x The Laughing Storm
3x Stormlands Bastard
1x Ser Cortnay Penrose
1x Robert Baratheon (Core)
3x Royal Entourage
1x Marya Seaworth
1x Selyse Baratheon
2x Knight of Flowers (Secrets and Spies)
3x Vanguard Lancer
3x Hedge Knight
2x Ser Eldon Estermont
2x Melisandre (Return of the Others)

Events (11)
2x Obey the King
3x Direct Assault
3x See who is Stronger
3x Seductive Promise

Locations (16)
3x Narrow Sea
2x Massey's Hook
1x Highgarden
3x Smuggler's Cove
3x Seat of Power
1x King Robert's Chambers
3x Stormlands Fiefdoms

Attachments (0)

NOTE: If you wann try this out, there are 2 loose cards, Highgarden and Winds of Winter, that you could change to something more appropriate. I had the Highgarden in there just for the fun of it, and couldn't decide on the plot properly.

The Plan

"They are no real knights, not one of them."

I was going to steal everything in sight, go with really agressive starts (play steals on the first plot on key non-uniques and locations, grab a huge chunk of power) and force my opponent to Valar really early. My knights + TLS + See Who is Stronger should help me bounce after their Valar nicely, with them struggling to keep up. I was expecting people to run powerful nonuniques (Conclave, Chained Advisors, Wintertime Marauders etc.) and I really wanted to steal their best weapons and turn them against them...

Search and Detain was going to help me retreat Mel or a noble in case of Valar, or just to bounce some of their nasty characters. Threat from the East provded me with some amazing draw and also served nicely to interrupt my opponents decks. I decided to not even run a single attachment, for the simple reason of adding more aggro to my build and making some of their control cards/chains completely useless.

The mental image for this deck is a host of knights descending on a village, burning down houses, looting everything in sight and riding away with a local girl thrown over the saddle.

What I was expecting

Plenty of Maester decks. Greyjoy Choke to be really efficient. Targaryen to be quite popular due to anti-Maester teching. I even had a small inclination that Siege might crawl out of the woodwork, due to looking at the results of the Spanish Tournament. Martell to still be a force to be reckoned with, especially with Hollow Hill.

I was expecting to do quite well against Targ, Stark, Lannister and suffer against Martell and Greyjoy... But running Baratheon, I didn't really see any way to even the odds against those houses any better.

What I really saw

Stark Siege didn't just crawl out of the woodwork, it exploded out like wildfire. There were some Maesters, but Maester-heavy decks weren't making nowhere near as big an impact as Wildlings last year. Martell wasn't really anywhere to be seen, but at least I was right about Greyjoy Choke rising out of the depths with tentacles slashing...

My matches

Round 1 vs. Baratheon

A (belgian, dutch, swiss?) guy running Baratheon Asshai Shadow Control. First turn I steal his Shadow Enchantress and hit him hard. I think he Valar'd next turn, but I exploded back onto the table in no time. I remember hitting him with Threat from the East plot 1 or 2 and having TLS most of the game. He got a second Shadow Enchantress out, and I stole that one as well... I think I also stole a Kingsmoot Trail (just to remove it from him) and the game was over pretty fast. As I was guessing, Bara-shadows is sadly just too slow to handle aggro, and too vulnerable to survive against some of the choke/control running around.

Result: 1-0

Round 2 vs. Targaryen/KotHH

I think I flopped Knight of the Flowers, a weenie and maybe a Cove and Hook. He started off with Bungled Orders and proceeded to play Dany's Chambers and a Kingsroad Fiefdoms. So, a Valar was on the way... Well, I think I played one more weenie to make sure, and a Narrow Sea for next turn. Maybe even a Seat of Power, not sure. I made power challenge with KoF and stole his fiefdoms with Direct Assault. 'cause playing fair just don't cut it ;) Next turn I See Who is Stronger'd KoF back into play (with his own fiefdoms, to add insult to injury!) and also dropped a huge pile of other power characters. He managed to get out only a King's Landing Assassin, which I promptly stole, and used to make a 2-claim intrigue against him (since I had no I icons myself). His hand was pretty empty, my power grew at a huge speed and the game was over.

Result: 2-0

Round 3 vs. Baratheon/Knights

Ouch. This was a nice italian guy, and we were both groaning even before we started drawing our setup hands... These mirror games are just plain horrible. The whole game is pretty much decided on Round 1 - blink and you've missed it. Well, I managed to set up 2 knights, he got 3 and a Bay of Ice. He outdrew me 4-1 in the first round, I stole his Bay of Ice and Wildfire'd away his knight advantage. However the first round's draw meant he had many knights also in hand, while I hadn't drawn a single one... He was quickly able to reclaim majority, and his two Vanguard Lancers stopped me even from drawing with Bay of Ice. And no TLS in sight. I previously had a Counting Favors in my plot deck, for these very occasions, but I thought I wouldn't run into many mirrors... More fool me. I still managed to somehow even out the knight count at Plot 4, via Seductive Promise, but he was already so much ahead that he was able to win with Stannis.

Result: 2-1

Round 4 vs. Stark/Siege

Ok. Stark Siege. Finally. I was waiting for this all day long, since I had been hearing stories of the Sieges running rampant... I had a really good setup, and hit him with Threat from the East on Round 1... He lost one epic battle to my plot, but was still able to play the other one. And then I made some horrible mistakes... First I made a power challenge with TLS+Smuggler's to steal his Northern Cavalry Flank, but forgot all about his Lucas Blackwood. Got the Flank, but also got hit by an army, and he was able to discard both a Cove and the Hook with Price of War and then kill the stolen Flank with Die by the Sword. Ouch. And I hadn't I even stood TLS yet. The next few plots I was badly hurting, but somehow managing to stay in the game... I don't actually know how, but somehow I still managed to stall and was able to keep TLS alive through See Who Is Stronger's and copies... By the skin of my teeth (and the help of Ser Eldon Estermont) I got a better board position than him, and he had to go with a Valar. After the Valar I bounced back nicely with Melissandre and also had a 2-claim plot to boot. On the final plots he probably had ~12-13 power and A Storm of Swords, with only The Blackfish on the table, while I had a 3-4 characters, ~8 power and Retaliation!. And then he didn't draw a single character and I had Highgarden. Probably the wierdest game all tournament... Based on cards I should have won, but based on playing and errors I should have clearly lost, but somehow it still swung to me. Car not the Driver, definately. :)

Result: 3-1

Round 5 vs. Stark/Summer

This was an eastern european guy, maybe Jaszek? He was running some kind of Summer/Shadows -build with Meera and other Shadow-nastyness behind it, but got pretty much ran over by my knights. I flop TLS, and play Threat from the East. He loses his only Paper Shield to that. He searched for summer and played the raven and also a Carrion Bird. I promptly steal the birdie and use it to remove his own summer (Knight of the Flowers making another one of his seductive promises...). At this point he's already looking quite dumbfounded... Second plots, he doesn't Valar quite yet, which allows me to push up in power. He has out a duped Robb, a Guard at Riverrun and Meera. I promptly steal the guard and then force him to either remove Robb's dupe or kill of Meera. He's going to have to Valar, so he chooses to kill Meera. I think I brought TLS or KoF right back out again with See Who Is Stronger after the Valar, and promptly crushed him. Looks like I might be making the cut!

Result: 4-1

Round 6 vs. Stark/The Maester's Path

Finally a maester. I had been expecting to run into one of these all day long. Both me and Gleb were pretty relaxed, since were pretty sure about making the cut already, so this was a really nice and relaxed game. I knew I had to get an early aggressive board to keep him on the ropes, but instead he gets a 7 card flop. Ehh... I have to stall quite a bit, since he floods the board and has Reek, and me with not a single I icon in sight and only power characters in hand... not good. Next turn he bounces Reek with Search and Detain, and promptly plays him again. Not good. Another turn of stalling, thankfully I could tie his Conclave up all game with Highgarden. But I also had to outwait his Outwit with my Wildfire... Finally start to hit the table on Plot 4 after Wildfire, but it's too late. He'd been drawing with Valyrian Steel Link and is easily able to reclaim board position and take the win. Ended up at 21st and made the cut to 32 (of something like 131 players).

Top 32 vs. Greyjoy/Kings of Winter

I was hoping for a Lannister, or maybe a Stark/Siege, since I would have been pretty confident against one of those, but a choke... And played by a spaniard to boot (some exremely competitive players). Ouch. Looks like this was going to be the end of the line for me. I probably should have kept my initial hand, since it had TLS, but I was a bit wary about not having any resources in it... Ended up with a decent, but not good setup, and had to throw Search and Detain as my first plot. Which was a bit stupid, since I would either let him go first with winter, or have to bounce one of my own cards... I guess the long day was finally getting to me.

I bounced his Baelor (figured that the low resources would hurt him as well), while he searches for the white raven. He makes it winter and also drops a Burned & Pillaged on my Massey's Hook. I have out Renly, an entourage, and a Stormlands Bastard... maybe also a hedge knight. He has Wendamyr, Baelor and a Distinguished Boatswain. He goes first, and does a power challenge, stealing my fiefdoms with Support of the Kingdom. I return the favor with a Direct Assault + Seductive Promise, but I can only steal a Distinguished Boatswain and his River Blockade. If only he had dropped a Wintertime Marauders or an Iron Mines...

Next turn he holds his Valar, thinking that I might be running Power of Blood. I get a reprieve and try to draw into either some resources to bounce back, or a copy so that I can keep somebody alive through Valar. Or any cheap characters for that matter. Nothing. Only events that I could not play (Baelor, no influence). I reach around 10 power, but I know that it's not gonna help me much if I don't draw into characters... He Valar'd, and I can't play anything afterwards, even with a 4 gold plot. I somehow manage to stay in the game with a refugee making a 2-claim power challenge with cove and hook in the next round, but that doesn't help me much, since I can't keep any board presence whatsoever and he chugs away at me, with my events standing useless in my hand.

Time for me to play the special Plot: "Heavy Drinking with the Portugese". It's a Power Struggle.

In this game I really never felt like I had a real chance of winning it... except by maybe pure stupid luck. His deck was really well honed, he didn't make a single mistake and he was a nice and generous guy to boot. This guy was actually Marti Foz (excuse me if I misremembered/spelled the name), and he went on to win the whole tournament. And deservedly so. Congratulations!

Random Comments and Shout Outs from the Weekend:
- A big shout out to our telepathic Portugese friends for some memorable times (and cows)!
- Thanks to our finnish mini-meta (Ire, Anette) for helping me play something *almost* sensible for once ;)
- Any spoilers for Johnny Martell yet?
- Kudos to Ratatoskr for some nice company and for keeping me going with a pile of chocolate during the Joust...
- Oh, and to Skeletonator, for making me a fun toy to try and break... should be fun once Ghost of The High Heart comes out... ;)
- Rings for allowing me to borrow his usual "don't remember anybodys names, but then I went drinking" -approach
- Gilles for borrowing me the third Seductive Promise that I was missing.
- Thanks to the people from our our casual Melee on Sunday that lasted for 4 hours, with Anette using Illyrio to play my own Slander and Lies on my Beric with 12 power on him... Her personal bank, she called him lovingly and burned all my other Brotherhood characters.
- Enrique for this brilliant definition of what Red Vengeance means to him.

I warned you about the wall of text...

Drakey Out.

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 That joust deck is pure win. I'm actually working on a deck like this right now, and its given me a really good place to start. Thanks for the awesome report, and grats on making the top 32! I'm going to be running Heavy Drinking with the Portugese in every Bara deck I run! Also does Nunu post on these boards? He also plays Lol I'm guessing?

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 Also, any plans to incorporate joust into bara knights? I'm having a hard time trying to keep everything I want in there with the joust. I had to take out See Who is Stronger, but I have joust + direct assault which is hilarious lol. Also Seductive promise because pretty easy to play with smugglers cove and joust too. I wish there was an easier way to give vigilant!

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I think Nunu lurks around here as KissingCrimson. Emphasis on the word 'lurks' here.

I think Joust effects will become truly playable in Knights the moment that 'You Swore an Oath' is out, since that will give one solid turn of Joust to rely on... I guess you could just drop Highgarden from here, and maybe make room by dropping some of the events (or a Stormlands Bastard) to make room for Tourney Lance. At least it'll always net you the card, so it won't be completely useless even if it gets removed quickly. Joust, Cove and Direct Assault do create an almost unstoppable way of pushing through Seductive Promises, so it is quite tempting. I'm not yet sure about the Highgarden Squires, since the Lord traits on Stormlands Bastards tend to tip the scales in their direction.

Too bad the new Baratheon Tourney Grounds isn't nearly as solid as the ones that the other houses are getting...

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It was really fun playing you!

The deck looks a lot more interesting then the usual rush, knights burning down houses, looting everything in sight and riding away with a local girl is just great :)


And See who is stroger really surprised me with its usefulness

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WWDrakey said:

Too bad the new Baratheon Tourney Grounds isn't nearly as solid as the ones that the other houses are getting...

One of the guys in my meta likes it to cycle his dupes... especially since all you need is a character that has joust in the challenge.

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Thanks a bunch Drakey for this thoroughly enjoyable report. Congrats on making the Cut. I'm really glad I didn't have to play against your deck. Was great fun hanging out with you, and yeah, the Red Vengeance thing was epic.

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 Great TR Drakey!!

A big shout out also to you from the portuguese crew!

It was a real pleasure having the "Finnish mini meta" among us! What a crazy night!

I guess Johnny Martell will maintain the usual Martell thing of being OP, I heard something like some effect that will blank your house card making everything you play out of house... lol

Henrique's definition of Red Vengeance is just brilliant! gran_risa.gif

I knew I was missing some good plot in my bara melee deck! I should have taken "Heavy drinking with the portuguese". Miguel was definitely using it during the melee and made it to the final table while I lost in the top 16 table... ahahaha

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