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All Things Shagga - In The Magister's Burning Palace

Small Council All Things Shagga Devastacia

Welcome all to a very special announcement from All Things Shagga. No, I haven't finally convinced FFG to stop neutering my favorite deck. I have even better news! This week, I'm proud to introduce Joey Kreins (Devestacia) as my new sidekick here on the column. If I'm the Batman of Shagga players, Joey's most certainly my Robin.

Probably Jason Todd.

Ok, here's to hoping that he lasts longer than that! But seriously folks, I'm glad to have him aboard. No, I'm not stepping down from writing the column. Instead, I'm proud to announce that with Joey's help, we're actually going to step up the release of All Things Shagga to a weekly column here on the site. We're looking to keep it simple to organize, so I'll be keeping to a bi-weekly schedule of writing, with him writing bi-weekly on the off weeks so that we have a brand new column each and every Wednesday! So, without further ado, check out Robin's first contribution to ATS!


Chapter packs from Beyond The Narrow Sea have begun to roll out, and the first chapter pack brings players several fun new toys for creating misery for their opponents. One of the most Shagga worthy cards out of this pack is the new version of Magister Illyrio (VM). Illyrio takes many of the already existing Targaryen cards and mechanics and gives them a bit of an extra punch.

Ambush characters have always given Targaryen decks a strong element of surprise, but with Illyrio they gain an explosive potential. Cards like Queen's Knight (TWot5K) can jump into play to initiate or defend a challenge, trigger Illyrio’s ability, then do it again after the Queen’s Knight is inevitably returned to your hand. Dragon Knight (TBC) gets a little extra burn by being ambushed into play, plus the kill condition it sorely needs if targeting the same character as Illyrio. Dragon Thief (AE) becomes a two-trick pony by discarding an attachment while triggering the burn effect.

Targaryen features several others tricks for popping characters into play during the challenges phase to trigger Illyrio’s ability. Ambush from the Plains (QoD) allows you to put virtually any character into your deck in play for one phase, allowing you to trigger Illyrio’s ability and then do so again later. Thundering Calvary (QoD), Daario Naharis (WLL), Ser Jorah Mormont (WLL), and the previously mentioned Dragon Thief and Dragon Knight all have explosive potential with Ambush from the Plains as you can use their abilities more than once. Khal Drogo (Core) really shines with Illyrio as he has no cost other than winning a single challenge, and again will pop back to your hand for re-use. Horseback Archers (QoD) and Bloodrider (MotA) also add a little more surprise to the deck. Who expects Targaryen to cancel a character ability?

Illyrio’s ability also makes some other burn cards better. Although The Hatchlings' Feast (ASitD) is an excellent card, it suffers from having no kill or discard condition built in, and it cannot target characters with attachments, such as those you have already Flame-Kissed (Core). Illyrio’s ability gives you the chance to fully dispose of at least one troublesome character with the The Hatchlings' Feast when Threat from the North (PotS) is not your active plot. King's Landing Assassin (SaS) also becomes better as you can burn down larger targets or get rid of two smaller ones. Illyrio can also make Meereen Tourney Grounds (ODG) more fearsome by providing it a kill condition as well.

Now, the drawbacks. Illyrio is an Ally, making him very fragile. A deck revolving around him also requires a LOT of influence to work. Cards such as Kingsroad Fiefdom (QoD) and Advisor to the Crown (QoD) help with this, but if you are unable to draw into them the deck could run very flat. Illyrio's ability also works on only non-uniques, meaning the rest of your burn needs to be focused on unique characters. Despite these flaws, Illyrio can be incredibly potent as a recurring source of burn that will make your opponents struggle to keep more than a couple characters on the board.

The deck below has managed to be very explosive in testing play. Even on a two card setup the deck was able to recover and burn enough down to gain control of the game. Did I miss anything that might combo well with Illyrio? Think there’s something in the deck that isn’t necessary? Please feel free to comment and offer any tweaks, changes, or criticisms that you might make.

Agenda (1)
Kings of Summer (ASoS) x1

Plot (7)
Retaliation! (ASoSilence) x1
Threat from the North (PotS) x1
Search and Detain (HtS) x1
Summoning Season (Core) x1
Fury of the Dragon (AE) x1
A Song of Summer (ASoS) x1
A Time for Ravens (ACoS) x1

Character (31)
Magister Illyrio (VM) x3
Khal Drogo (Core) x1
Queen's Knight (TWot5K) x1
Dragon Thief (AE) x2
Dragon Knight (TBC) x3
Thundering Calvary (QoD) x2
Refugee of the Plains (RoW) x3
Ser Jorah Mormont (WLL) x1
Daario Naharis (WLL) x1
Advisor to the Crown (QoD) x2
Horseback Archers (QoD) x1
Drogon (Core) x1
Brown Ben Plumm (Core) x1
Green Hatchling (TWH) x1
Jhogo (OSaS) x1
Lyanna Stark (ODG) x1
Rakharo (IG) x1
Gilly (RoW) x1
King's Landing Assassin (SaS) x2
Bloodrider (MotA) x1

Meraxes (TBC) x1
Lady Daenerys's Chambers (Core) x1
Myrish Villa (QoD) x3
Eastern Fiefdoms (Core) x3
Kingsroad Fiefdom (QoD) x3
Bay of Ice (KotS) x2
Summer Sea (Core) x3
Meereen Tourney Grounds (ODG) x1

Event (7)
Ambush from the Plains (QoD) x3
The Hatchlings' Feast (ASitD) x3
Incinerate (VM) x2

Attachment (5)
Flame-Kissed (Core) x3
Black Raven (ASoS) x2
  • Reager likes this


Great build and very helpful to me since im also creating a burn deck! So what's the strategy? taking out illrio using summoning season? will this deck work with maesters or KOTHH instead? Also, i don't see the point in incinerate since you have few dothraki or any common trait to work with :S. I'll may take it out in favour of some forever burning or poison wine?

Great article btw, keep it up!
Rhaenys's Hill (TBoBB), duuuuh.
    • Voidy likes this
@Flint OMG thats sick
    • widowmaker93 likes this
Posted Image
    • Voidy likes this
Incinerate is nice because it has the kill condition built in.

I'm wondering if you need a bit more ambush and a bit more influence to run smoothly....like a Red Keep and go up to x3 Queens's Knight. Maybe that's just overkill or a holdover from my last burn-y deck.
For more shagga elements that synergize with Illyrio and that would take by surprise your opponent are: The Titan's Bastard (Core), and Pentoshi Guildmaster (Core)
In melee games I would even consider adding in Dothraki Honor Guard (Core) :D
Jun 06 2012 07:11 PM
I built a similar deck about 2 weeks ago using KotHH. It has pretty much all the ambush stuff from this deck and then adds a bunch more, plus a few of my own ideas. I will refer you to it's awesomeness...

I feel that after Valar Dohaeris comes out, Young Griff (VD) paired with Den of the Wolf (ACoS) should find their place in this deck
@Aelith: Summoning Season is only for fishing for Illyrio. Even if I draw a copy early, i'll summon for a dupe. I feel he's that good. KOTHH can work, but I don't particularly like sacrificing the flop in this deck. I tried it both ways and I preferred summer for the card draw. Maester's could work too, but you need to sacrifice some of your ambush tricks for it. I wanted the focus of this deck to be more about the fun ambush stuff. Incinerate works great even if you only have one character in play, because it has the kill condition, making it exponentially more valuable than Forever Burning on your non Threat from the North turns. It also can't be Paper Shielded.

@Flint Rhaenys' Hill is great and all, but it's honestly not necessary in this deck. I'd rather devote more of the deck to just keeping their board clear.

@Reager Pentoshi Guildmaster is pretty meh. Maybe if he came back from your dead pile too. Titan's Bastard is an idea I like though.

@Widowmaker93 I like your build as well. Pyat Pree is one that might eventually find it's way into my deck. I also noticed from your comments about how hard it is to choke, and I guess part of my leaning towards Summer instead is that i'm seeing very little winter and/or choke in my own meta right now.
    • Reager likes this
Rhaenys' Hill is such a great game winner though, especially since each character that enters play triggers Illyrio and I think deserves a spot. To be a dragon is great too, in case Illyrio dies
@Devastacia - that's exaclty what RH does - once you use it, depending on the number of chars you managed to kill already, he's left with unique chars only. Illyrio gets to response for every single character brought back via RH.
Jun 07 2012 12:02 PM
@Devastacia - yeah I just don't like giving my opponent anything if I can help it. Including 1 extra gold. :)
Hmm. I think that if you lose Illyrio too early(maybe multiple Ally hate discarding for example, or against another burn deck) then you may need some backup plan for him being killed or discarded early. Maegi's Promise (QoD)/To Be a Dragon (SB) are two possibilities. Stalwart Shield (ASitD) and Strong Belwas (Core) are a couple others.

Another idea(that may be too much extra crap for the deck) is Varamyr Sixskins (AKitN) with any of your dragons or other creatures you may use. More for emergency burn or last ditch effort challenge boosting.

One more quick and unusual idea here which was sort of what a poster above was getting at. 3x Dothraki Honor Guard (Core) should be a win-win for you. Not only do you trigger Illyrio, but you get them back if they win a challenge against you with them. The worst thing they are going to do is kill them off for claim, but who cares if their sole purpose is to reinforce Illyrio's burn.

The biggest issue I see with a deck burn focus like this is when you are against a deck with a lot of Unique characters. You'll need to rely on Incinerate (VM) and The Hatchlings' Feast (ASitD)(and whatever other sources of burn and kill you got) to kill off any unique characters because Illyrio's can only burn non-uniques.