Do you like to gamble? Do you like playing the greediest decks conceivable? Well dear sir/madame then this is the deck for you.
So Tyrell got this new card in the last chapter pack called “The Arbor” and it has been causing a little bit of a stir. Half the people think that the card is super broken and half seem to think its unplayable. Well the answer is both, if you set up the Arbor it is super broken. If you haven't gotten it into play by the end of turn 1 marshaling phase then its pretty unplayable.
So do you want to play a deck that is potentially the most broken degenerative play experience (except for every deck Lannister has) or potentially a turn 3 scoop? Then keep reading and see what going all in on the Arbor is all about.
Ok the first step to making any deck (according to people that are way better at this game than me) is to build your plot deck. We know we want to build a deck that gets the Arbor into play and abuses the economy advantage that it provides. Since we are playing the worlds greediest deck, we are assuming that we will have it in play when we build our plot deck and so we can choose some plots with less than ideal gold values that do some better stuff. However since we are playing the worlds greediest deck, our cost curve is amazingly high so we don't want to go too low on our plot economy or even with the Arbor we won't be able to play our stuff.
Defensive Plots – Playing the worlds greediest deck means you are going to be slow out of the gates, sacrificing your set up/turn 1 marshaling for long term economy. That means we need a few plots so that we don't get blown out by early military challenges. The options here are Calm over Westeros, Filthy Accusations, and A Game of Thrones. I would suggest running at least two of these, I myself tend towards Filthy and GoT. While Calm is more common in most decks, the other two plots are more flexible and powerful in their ideal situations so we can sacrifice the 1 economy for a slightly more powerful effect. Some people will inevitably see that GoT is not as strong in a Lanni heavy environment, but GoT will singlehandedly win the game against Stark Kill or Greyjoy Aggro. In a super heavy Lanni environment however Calm/Filthy is probably the better combo.
Economy Plots – But we have the Arbor why do we need Econ plots at all? As mentioned before the cost curve of the deck is very high so running no econ plots is generally going to choke our hand with big characters. Our options here are A Noble Cause, Calling the Banners, Taxation, Fallen from Favor and Trading with the Pentoshi. I would avoid Trading just on the principal that while it can be good in decks where you know you can put out more bombs than the opponent, giving them 3 extra gold neutralizes our own gold advantage in a way and often the 10 gold from Trading is overkill so I have found the others to be better in most situations. I also tend away from Noble Cause because initiative control is so important. I think 2 of the other three plots are fine, I tend to favor Calling and Taxation for maximum turn 1 greed putting out limiteds and better initiative, but Calling and Fallen is good as well. I know running 2 econ plots is a little bit of a hedge especially since the idea of the deck is to go all in on the Arbor, so if you really want to gamble then go with 1 econ plot only and add an extra tech plot to let your Arbor really do the work. (When you are testing a deck with a friend and thinking that maybe a different plot is better in the deck, after the turn is over, walk it through with them what would have happened if you had played the other plot in mind and that helps you to see what may have happened)
Draw/Closing/Tech Plots – So I grouped this last three plots together because they can vary wildly depending on your own local meta and your personal playstyle. There are a number of viable choices here, Building Orders as a panic switch to dig for the Arbor, Summons to get a key character, or Counting Coppers because 5 gold draw 3 is really good right? First Snow/Wildfire to keep the board down to just your big dudes where you should be at an advantage. Tourney for the King or Clash of Kings to close out the game. Confiscation to get rid of attachments or Wraiths in their Midst to gain some card advantage, Naval Superiority to leverage your economic advantage even further, or Winds of Winter to apply some pressure.
I have found that having a closer is necessary in this deck since it is slower you want to be able to end the game before timed rounds in tournaments, or you get into situations where you are slightly behind and need a large jump in one turn to end the game before they can. Tourney for the King has been working for me as it has a larger potential burst than Clash. In my last two spots right now I am running Naval Superiority which is an AMAZING opener if you set up the Arbor but can also wreak some havoc in the midgame, but Wildfire/First Snow is probably better here and will make the deck more consistent. Lastly Building Orders as a way to put the Arbor into play turn 1 if all else fails. These last slots are fairly flexible though and you can make arguments for a variety of plots.
Next we will build the the draw deck, and the one thing that will be a little unique is that we want to aim our curve in two ways, first we want a lot higher ratio of the expensive people since Arbor allows us that, and second we want to go very heavy in the 2 cost slot to maximize good Arbor set ups where we can get a few bodies into play as well. This means we will be low in the 3 and 4 slots. Does this mean we will potentially get First Snowed on turn 1, yup that's a thing that can happen, but if you set up an arbor and smell a first snow then you can drop a big economy plot (Fallen from Favor is amazing if you know you are going to get First Snowed) and usually get out a couple of people to either soak the military (if you can drop Queen of Thorns and one other character then you are usually fine) and you have initiative so you can push at them first and force them on the defensive. Your other option is to Filthy their military threat to let you set up a board. Worse case scenario you eat it that turn and they wipe you with Marched next turn and you have to set up for a Varys or let your bigger economy do some work for you which isn't always a loss for this deck.
With the Arbor Knight hitting that sweet spot of 2, we can go to Hedge Knight as a 3 of also to help us in this department and let us run Tourney for the King over Clash of Kings. One of each of Left and Right for funsies and to make certain parties cringe.
Queen of Thorns is going to be the most important character in the deck because once she gets rolling then the economic advantage just landslides. And then all the usual goodness of Randal, KoF, and the new Redwyne brothers. I would recommend including a Varys or two since this is a slower deck you will probably fall behind early and he can be a good way to reset the board.
For our attachments we want Heartsbane and probably a Mare in Heat or two to go with our knights.
On to events. The staples of Tears and PTTS, combined with some Tyrell goodness like Growing Strong for Challenge Math and the higher cost but extremely powerful Olenna's Cunning to let us tutor for cards. In Tyrell I usually run 2 Support of the People to allow early access to both Highgarden and the Mander, but with Olenna's cunning you could cut the Support of the People for some Hand's Judgement.
Locations should be fairly standard, since we are running 3x The Arbor however, you can trim the limited's in other areas like cutting a Roseroad or Rosegarden, and of course as mentioned above the one two punch of Mander/Highgarden. Streets of the Sisters might not be a bad idea to try and push some power late game to get over the hump you need to close.
Lastly lets touch on Agenda's, I think that primarily it will work out of Fealty or LotC, both have their upsides, Fealty can help get the Arbor into play with slightly less of a tempo hit past set up, while LotC will help you push your events like PTTS and Tears through while gaining you some more power which is what I would lean towards. You could also play it as banner of the Lion and ramp up the greed by adding Jaime, Gregor, and Tyrion in place of some of Tyrell's 5 costers.
Playing from Behind
Since the majority of this article is based around the idea of having the Arbor really early in the game, you are probably wondering what happens when you don't draw it early. Well then the Queen of Thorns is even more important to start alleviating your hand choked with big guys, and you will probably have to set yourself up for a massive Tourney for the King turn to win. You could even consider running 1x Lady Sansa's Rose for this scenario since you have the ability to tutor for it, and even if they know you have it they can't block a KoF if you have a Mare in Heat on him.
In these cases Varys can also get you out of a jam but I am not going to sugarcoat it for you it is an uphill slog that isn't going to fall your way sometimes.
Link to the decklist on ThronesDB: All in on the Arbor