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San Francisco Regional Tourney Report, 1st place

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This will be a brief report of my experience winning the San Francisco A Game of Thrones Regional that took place yesterday. I will be writing a more detailed discussion of the deck and its performance, including a complete deck list for an article to be tentatively published on cardgamedb. 
 
The deck: Stark House of Dreams, and every game I used The Dreadfort as my HoD pull. 
 
You read that right, I played a dedicated House Bolton deck. I also played with 5 City plots in my plot deck, and Meera Reed as my restricted card. The decks basic approach was get out cheap Boltons with a couple Stark traditional characters as support. I know that playing Boltons can be scary, but they also represent Stark's best chance at controlling intrigue challenges. Dreadfort gave me reliable, consistent draw, and the low cost of Bolton characters allowed me to run City plots with their relatively low gold yield, giving me solid, powerful character/location control. 
 
The Rounds:
 
round 1 - Mike B, running Targ Maesters Path with 7-8 chains attached.
 
Mike got off to a great start. He had two beefy Maesters with a lot of chains on them, and was able to win dominance every round until I valared. After the second round I began saving cards in hand for the Valar. I was worried about him playing Outwit, but when I valared he flipped something else. With his two big Maesters gone I was able to spill out quite a few Boltons and slowly but surely crept back. We went right up to time, but I pulled out the win in the final round. 1-0
 
Round 2 - I received a Bye. This was strange, and I questioned the TO since it is not typical to give a winning player the Bye after the first round. The TO for this regional was a staff member of the store, and despite players informing him on a few points from the Tourney Rules, he ran it his way no questions. Later he admitted that he didn't really know the game or the rules…so there you go. In the end it worked out (obviously, but there was a bit of low grumbling throughout the tournament). 2-0
 
Round 3 - Garrett, running Lannister Knights of the Realm
 
Garrett ran a very strong deck and his top four finish is a testament to that. He was running Beric in triplicate, flaming sword in triplicate, other strong Brotherhood characters, kneel; basically a lot of good stuff. Unfortunately he had to Summoning Season first plot to get Beric, so naturally I grab Meera Reed to counter it. Knowing I have Meera, he holds off and marshals other, non-Beric stuff. Knowing I might have a chance to get Garrett to Valar early for fear of Meera's blanking, I play Meera and leave her out there going into plot two. Sure enough he Valars, but I was holding back quite a bit and I flood the board with Boltons, control most of his characters with key events. We went all the way to six plots, but with no reset left for Garrett the flood of Boltons was just too much to overcome. 3-0
 
Round 4 - Michael, running Lannister HoD Tunnels. 
 
I got out to a huge jump in this one and Michael had a fairly poor setup. He had a lot of cards in shadows but was unable to get more than a character or two on his side at a time. My Boltons came out swarming, and after the reset they swarmed again. It went quickly, in just a few plots.
 
CUT TO TOP FOUR
 
Me vs. Jeff L. running Targ Maesters
 
Garrett vs. Michael
 
Semis 
 
Jeff's deck had a lot of similar pieces that Mike Bs deck had, so I felt good about what I had to do to beat it. This game really went my way. I was able to get The Bastard's Boys out early and really destroy his board position and his hand. Jeff was running Wildfire as his reset so I was able to maintain the pressure with the Bastards boys a gain a fairly quick victory.
 
Michael def. Garrett in the other semi match.
 
Finals, Me vs. Michael in a round four rematch. 
 
Michael got off to a much better start and I got off to a very weak start (1 card flop) he claimed 3-4 power very early and grabbed some brutal cards from intrigue challenges. He was even able to steal a few Boltons and his board was looking huge. I spent two turns gathering resources and cards in hand (I had the luxury of him running a slow deck) and then timed the Valar just right. I was able to drop 3 characters and by the next turn I had Meera out and was able to lean on him, slowly reducing his options and countering his kneel. It went to the 7th plot, and I was able to kill his non-kneeling Littlefinger in the plot phase. After that it was inevitable. A great match and a great opponent. Well done Michael on your second place finish.
 
Well that's it for now. I feel blessed to have won the SF Regional two years in a row. I look forward to seeing folks at our metas Regional in Concord on May 11th, and again at Kublacon over Memorial Day weekend.

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Luke's deck had a few very unique and cool tricks, which seemed to be there to tech against kneel, which makes a lot of sense given the strength of city plots and how City of Sin would hurt his character base, as well as Lannister having such great kneel effects and (at least my opinion) is one of the hardest houses for Stark to deal with. Overall, I really liked Luke's deck, as the Dreadfort allows him to replace his cheap, cost effective Bolton characters with better characters to hold in hand for after resets and after his opponent plays A City Beseiged on the Dreadfort. Both of these games started out very one-sided, with me having a terrible start and him having a great start the first game we played, and the reverse being the case the second time. I managed to lose the game in the finals by making two major blunders back to back on the fifth or sixth turn which allowed Luke to claim 7 power that turn, and was unable to stall the game out until the plot deck reset so I could Valar again. That said, he definitely deserved the win by outplaying me (it's not the deck it's the driver after all), so congratulations to Luke for winning the regional undefeated and thanks for a very fun final game (the first game was not so fun for me =P )

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