I went to Liverpool to play some Thrones on the weekend. And it turns out the Uk meta is indeed competitively hollow. For your own sanity I recommend not reading any further.
Decklist located here:
Not sure what to really say about the deck, but in the week leading up to the event I was pretty sure I’d need to play Greyjoy or have Banner Kraken or Wolf. I was expecting a lot of Fleabottom shenanigans, and I hate playing against builders, so decided that location hate was the way forward. In the end it felt a bit like the decision came down to Euron + We Do Not Sow vs Danny + Drac. In the end having much more experience with Targ decided the coin flip, and I ended up with a deck that is mostly Targ ‘good stuff’ plus a good chunk of Greyjoy for some much needed location hate.
Yes, there is no Crown of Gold, only one Asha, no Astapor. Something just had to go to make space for all those tasty events.
And 62 is the new 61. Just deal with it.
Sadly I did not take any notes during the event, so everything below is clearly rubbish and a product of my addled mind. You’ve been warned, if you want insightful comments and analysis of the game just stop reading now.
Matt Whitlock, Stark/Kraken
First round is always rough when you’re still confused from lack of sleep and not having shuffled the deck properly after writing the deck list. Fortunately Matt was a complete gent and a pleasure to play against. Unfortunately he did not see any dupes or saves which I suspected his deck to be full off. This prevented him from doing any reset shenanigans and I could just keep up the pressure and inevitably push for 15 power.
Martin Lewis, Lannister/Sun
Big Cersei makes Plaza of Pride really sad. This was a tough game where the power came slowly for both players. He had a good start and played with a steady had that did not give up on the pressure, leaving me on the defence for the whole game. Big dudes makes normally it hard for drac to make a big impact, but this game I did not see any. Three copies of Treachery made my characters trying to stand sad, and cancelled Plaza stand with Cersei out is double sad. In the end I could not dislodge him before time was called and he got a mod win on about 11-8 in power.
(First opponent on my brand new hall of faces mat, yay! Thanks to Rebecca for organizing it and bringing the mat.)
Chris Sweeney, Tyrell/Lion
Yay, I get to spend some quality time with Sweeney! Unfortunately I have to be the crusher of his dreams. This was new Marge shenanigans which I find hard to play around. Arbor makes it double hard as I don’t see much econ. Even worse was me letting him drop Varys the first turn and ruing my good setup and strong first turn. Him pro, me n00b. This was definitely the closest game of the day, and it pretty much went all the way to the wire for both of us. In the end I managed to get some HJs out of his hand on intrigue, and he could only play around Drac + Danny for so long before having to turn up to challenges. Targ bullshit seals the deal. Super exciting game, super handsome opponent.
Rowan Gavin/Cobrabubbles, Tyrell/Rains
Rowan has a good setup but then seems to flounder a bit and doesn’t get the pieces he needs. Trag does the Targ thing where they keep on killing everybody on the board. Not sure there was a single Rains trigger in that game.
Chris Jordan, Greyjoy/Rains
I managed to hit his Summer Harvest with my Varys’s Riddle first turn. Take initiative and except Asha and Kharl D with Plaza to make short order on his side of the board. He counters with a cheeky Sea *****! Plus the Iron Fleet Scouts I’ve now gone from winner to loser and can only push through one challenge. To rub insult to injury he’s got two Risen in hand so my HJ make little difference. I was on the rear foot the whole game, and Chris drop Euron and controls the rest of the game with a steady hand. Oh Euron, why have I forsaken you!!!
Urgh. No offence to Kostas, but I did not want to face my meta mate, arch nemesis and slayer of dreams in the last round where we’d have to play for the chance to squeak into the cut. Kostas had a ropey start though, and I managed to have a decent Valar turn followed by Kharl D and Victarion just hammering the game home over a couple of turns. Another game where Vic with intimidate proves invaluable, and I would love to have more copies in the deck. Sad times for Kosat, but he’ll most certainly have his revenge at the next event we meet.
Special thanks to all my opponents who won enough games to ensure I manage to squeeze into the cut by a couple of microns on SoS. Sorry Gabbi!
Head is pounding from the excess of last night, I’ve realised this is a bad matchup, and while I’ve not met Isian before everybody says he’s a superb player. They only thing I got going for me is the curse of the king of swiss. Fingers and toes crossed. I decide he’ll start with Summer Harvey and correctly goes Riddle. This gives me a tiny bit of breathing room and seems to rattle him a bit. Unfortunately he manages to keep the game close and I struggle to keep him down. Euron comes online, and with all the dupes in the world and stealing locations I have little chance to keep his board small. I have to go for desperate measures, and use a dracarys just to stop him triggering rains one turn. I manage to keep getting some power myself, but it looks like I’m about to lose spectacularly on turn 7 if I have to flip into Valar. He decides not to kneel my Plaza with a Shipwright on turn 6, allowing me to use it. He’d hoped to steal it and use it himself with Raiding the Bay of Ice, but I had the necessary cancels in hand. He goes in on a big challenge and I chump block and stop him at 14. Fortunately I manage to get to 15, and avoid the doom of my own Valar
Josh Chambers, Martell/Wolf
Another good friend and bullshit talker supreme. I’m not sure it is the Martell card or Josh’s deckbuilding reputation that makes me go into full paranoia mode. The first turn starts a bit middling for both of us, except me being very happy to get rid of Ghaston with a NML. I refuse to turn up for both power and military challenges to avoid being hit by His Viper’s Eye before I’ve had a chance to draw into some HJs. Weakens my board state but I’m just happy to have all my tasty cards still in hand. Turn 2 I go for counting coppers and find the HJs, enabling me to be a bit more bold. It was all for naught in the end, as Josh has nothing of substance in hand and I believe didn’t even urn HVE!
Chris Jordan, repeat of round 5
Having hit his Summer Harvest in our last game, I assume he’ll skip to Trading first turn so chose to go with my own Summer Harvest. Bingo! Turn 2 he’s short of cards so I chose Riddle hoping for Counting Coppers. Bingo again! This feels a bit like the reverse of our previous game, where I’m constantly keeping pressure and he has to keep on the defensive. I think the game was decided when I manage to NML one of his Iron fleet scouts and Shipwright the second, preventing him from triggering Rains again.
I’ve been told we both made play mistakes and errors in this game of some substance. I fully expect the combined internet to tells us what happened in no uncertain terms, but hopefully it did not make a material impact on the result.
Darren Hazelden, NW/Fealty
I’ve only played Darren once before at nationals last year, but I’m still traumatised by being hit by Varys twice in that game. One the positive side this is the matchup I’ve been waiting for all weekend! With a deck packed with location hate I think this could go my way if I see the right pieces. I don’t know what version of the deck he’s playing, but is 95% sure a competitive Fealty/wall deck will not run Marched. So I keep my setup of duped Danny, Sea ***** and economy. I just could not afford seeing a copu of sea ***** disappear into the deck and really will need the draw from danny. Fortunately it is the usual NW start of Here to Serve. Phew!
He gets out the wall early, but I mange to stop him triggering it all game. Despite this he does and double Heads on Spikes plus power from Benjen sees him racking power up fast. After I valar and he’d on 13 power I’m starting to think that I’ve let him get too far. Highlight of the day was making sure I spent all my gold in marshalling. I go in for a intrigue challenge with a milked Danny, stealth past his cost reduced. He makes sure I have no gold, and proceeds to defend with Aemon to stop unopposed. The Iron Bank will most certainly have its due, and I return Viserys to my hand to get rid of the milk, and now have the gold needed to dracarys the duped Aemon. I was not sure if he was playing Valar, but in hindsight it seemed that losing Aemon made him reluctant to use it while he had the opportune chance. Darren made it to 14-2, but from there I manage to slowly claw back the game against his very weak board. Without the economy to keep putting big character out there was little he could do to stop me pushing challenges through. I used Sea ***** to take his wall and get power one turn, and the following turn I played a second copy, took it again and forced him to nightmares his own wall.
Quite a rollercoaster of a game. MVP definitely Iron Bank + Viserys (who came out 4 times during the match). Enough words said already. I think the last two games might be available on the tinterweb. I would probably not recommend watching them.
Thanks to all my opponents and fellow players for making it an excellent event. Apologies to the bar staff at Sound for the combined onslaught of the Thrones players on Saturday night. Big shout out to Liam and the Esdevium team for running a superb event. The feedback that came from last year’s event was clearly listened to and made for a fantastic weekend. Next stop Minnesota!