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All Things Shagga - Martell-Lannister Recursion

Small Council All Things Shagga Kennon

Hi all! It’s so good to see all the old faces and hopefully some new one here in the first post-GenCon All Things Shagga. Sorry for missing last week, but it turned out that I needed a little time recover after the con. I’m sure those of you that attended know what I mean.

The good news, however, is that GenCon did give me an idea for a deck for the column. Ok, so the Con as a whole didn’t actually speak to me- that would be creepy. No, this actually popped up in conversation with a fellow Thrones player. It’s been a little bit and there has been some drinking, carousing, and sleep since then, so my memory is a little fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure it was Mike. Just don’t ask me which one. But, hey, I digress in my attempts to be mildly amusing. Instead, let’s move on to the deck!

The spark of inspiration struck and ignited a plan to utilize some under used cards with potentially very high power levels. The key card in this instance is Open Market (ASoS), which for a slight card disadvantage gives you a potentially very large increase in card quality. Another card that I’ve been looking at for some time, but hadn’t tapped the full potential of is Crawn Son of Calor (LotR). Interestingly, Open Market requires two cards to be discarded in order to return one, which leaves you down a card. If at least one of those cards is a Clansmen card, then during the Marshalling phase, you can bring it into play with Crawn, and remove the card disadvantage element of Open Market’s phenomenal ability.

So, in order to really explore this, we’re going to need a solid supporting cast for the deck. The first decision is choosing the house and agenda for the deck. Considering the level of Clansmen characters needed, it seems that we’re not going to want to pay a gold penalty for them. With the incredibly high power level of Martell cards in general and events in particular (probably the best option to return with Open Market) we’re not going to want to pay a penalty there, either. In fact, considering the powerful “House Martell Only” events and The Darkstar, it’s almost certainly best to use Martell for the house with the Alliance agenda letting us pick up the slack on the needed Lannister characters.

Of course, with Crawn being so important to making up our card disadvantage, we’ll need to run three copies of him, but what other Lannisters should back him up? Painted Dogs (IG) is always a solid choice as a cheap character that has a surprisingly useful ability to alter the challenge phase. The Burned Men (MotM) and Shagga Son of Dolf (DB) both give some solid options to bring Deadly to the challenge phase, and The Burned Men give us the potential at some impressive claim raising capabilities if we let the card disadvantage of Open Market drop our hand size below that of the opponent. Along with the Clansmen, Lannister actually features another character that is amazing for this type of deck- Greedy Councilor (ASitD). She’s arguably even better for the deck as you don’t even need Crawn in play, just pay 2 gold to put her right into play and thanks to her ability being Any Phase, you can potentially put her in on the same turn or phase that you use Open Market, meaning less time for your opponent to disrupt your way to return her to play.

The other big decision for the deck has to do with what which events would be the most annoying for your opponent to face over and again. When I think Martell, the most annoying event that I can think of is probably Burning on the Sand (RotO). Sadly, due to reasons that you’ll see in a moment, you won’t find it here as I opted to use the Restricted slot on a different card. A close second behind Burning, however, is Red Vengeance (PotS), which worries players all over when they see two influence under the control of a Martell player. Another event that nearly anyone in our meta can attest to as being incredibly annoying and powerful is Confession (KotS), and the thought of recycling it to constantly strip the most important card from your opponent’s hand makes me cackle in evil Shagga glee. With those two events, we’ve already made a decent influence commitment, and we’re already looking at manipulating the discard pile, so The Prince's Plans (TIoR) looks like a natural fit. The real kicker card, however, is Westeros Bleeds (Core). It slots right in with the influence, provides solid control, terrifies your opponent when you return it to hand, and The Prince’s Plans can be used to help you easily recover from the loss of your characters to the discard pile.

A trio of other Martell cards help round out the interactions with our events. Orphan of the Greenblood (PotS) brings solid control to the game to help us set up our engine pieces as well as being returned by either of our Martell recursion cards. The Red Viper (PotS) safely lives through our Westeros Bleeds and is just an always solid card. But the real kicker is my choice of restricted card, The Viper's Bannermen (PotS), which helps refill our hand and nets us even more cards when we use Westeros Bleeds to mop up the field. In fact, thanks to its ability to draw on the way in and the way out of play, it’s actually quite feasible to repeatedly return it with Open Market and potentially be up on cards in the end.

A few other cards of note round out the deck by hooking in to at least one of our themes. Since Open Market needs it to be Summer to activate, Samwell Tarly (TRS) and Carrion Bird (ASoS) are included to provide some draw along with our Black Raven (ASoS). This should help dig to the important pieces and keep our hand full once the engine is running. Hidden Vale Pass (MotM) gives another option to utilize our Clansmen (particularly those with Deadly) to alter challenges, as well as using Crawn to return them to play. Doubting Septa gives some early claim soak and draw, while providing an alternate way to play Confession in order to save our influence for some of the larger events. Marched to the Wall (LoW) gives more character control that we’re more able to recover from than the opponent, and it also doubles as a way to remove our own The Viper’s Bannermen from play so that we can “draw,” while putting the opponent down on characters.

All in all, I think it’s a pretty sweet deck with a ton of ways to weave together the various themes in new and synergistic ways. Unfortunately, I’ve once again had some difficulty in paring the deck down quite enough. Currently, we’re setting at 64 cards. What would you pull to get this down to 60?

Martell-Lannister Recursion

Total Cards (64)

House (1)
House Martell (Core) x1

Agenda (1)
Alliance (QoD) x1

Plot (7)
A Time for Ravens (ACoS) x1
At the Gates (GotC) x1
City of Soldiers (TBoBB) x1
A City Besieged (CD) x1
Loyalty Money Can Buy (QoD) x1
Retaliation! (ASoSilence) x1
Marched to the Wall (LoW) x1

Character (34)
Carrion Bird (ASoS) x3
Crawn Son of Calor (LotR) x3
Darkstar (PotS) x3
Greedy Councilor (ASitD) x3
Orphan of the Greenblood (PotS) x3
Painted Dogs (IG) x3
Shagga Son of Dolf (DB) x1
The Burned Men (MotM) x3
Doubting Septa (LotR) x3
Advisor to the Crown (QoD) x2
Maester Kedry (FtC) x1
The Red Viper (PotS) x1
Samwell Tarly (TRS) x2
The Viper's Bannermen (PotS) x3

Location (16)
Hidden Vale Pass (MotM) x2
Open Market (ASoS) x3
Summer Sea (Core) x3
Lord Doran's Chambers (PotS) x1
Queen Cersei's Chambers (Core) x1
The Red Keep (TftRK) x1
Street of Sisters (Core) x1
Street of Steel (Core) x1
Water Garden (PotS) x3

Attachment (3)
Black Raven (ASoS) x3

Event (11)
Westeros Bleeds (Core) x2
Confession (KotS) x3
The Prince's Plans (TIoR) x3
Red Vengeance (PotS) x3
  • Zaidkw and bigfomlof like this


Aug 29 2012 05:21 PM
As the first Mike to respond to this thread, I'll take full credit for this.

I actually do remember you talking to me about this, but I don't remember responding with anything more helpful than "that sounds cool," so I might be reaching a bit. ;)
Aug 29 2012 05:39 PM
As to the deck itself, I think you're a bit low on influence for the high-influence cost events you're running; I know you have the Maesters in there to round out the location-based influence, but I don't like relying on character-based influence. For cuts, I would suggest

-1 Black Raven
-1 The Prince's Plans
-1 Greedy Councilor
-1 Samwell Tarly or Carrion Bird

Cutting to sixty will help you get those influence sources more reliably, although I think it's still a bit shaky. Cutting the Prince's Plans keeps your 4-cost events to four total. I like Greedy Councilor, but don't think it's so amazing that you need three. I know Samwell is your main draw engine (as far as actual draw), but between TVB and the Septa, I'm thinking you should be fine as far as that. Another cut option would be to lose all three of the Councilors and either the Prince's Plans or one Black Raven (two should be quite enough.) Your character count, especially in a recursion-based deck, seems a bit high, so I don't think you'd miss the Councilors, although they do make excellent Ally-hate bait.
That Open Market/Crawn combo is pretty Shagga. I hope you find/draw the right cards you need to play this off.
Just to make sure: You can't discard Darkstar if you want to actually trigger Open Market, because he wouldn't be successfully discarded, right? But you can attempt to trigger it, and discard him, when you want to put him into play for free, am I correct?

Edit: Since you are already running Alliance and Westeros Bleeds anyway, I would add Hugor Hill (VM). But that's only because for some reason I really like this card and want it to be viable in some deck :P
How frequently are you actually able to get TVB out? Between running 3 of them and running 3 Burned Men (not to mention one TRV), I see you struggling badly for resources here unless I'm missing an obvious trick. If it wasn't for the fact that you need the influence from Kedry/Advisor and that it would involve redesigning the plot deck I'd suggest running Manning the City Walls (CD) to help, but I don't think that'd really do.
@Shenanigans- I did actually have the Lannister Seas in the deck to begin with as another source of influence, but, wound up cutting them in my efforts to trim the deck down from the 84 it started at. I'd agree that overall, location based influence is more sturdy, but having the multiple maesters to search for has been pretty solid for me in decks that wanted a similar level of influence. I will admit, however, that upping the 0 cost non-limited locations would be a huge boon to setups, so it's something that could be looked at.

Aside from that, I could get with you in spirit on some of those reductions. Dropping one Prince's Plans lightens up on the influence requirements and is still likely to be seen with enough regularity to be worthwhile. Likewise, dropping one Black Raven probably still leaves us sitting pretty, considering the capability to search with the plot.

Honestly, what I'm considering cutting, however, is Hidden Vale Pass. While I like the idea of jumping in some surprise deadly with one of the Clansmen, I'm a little worried that it just doesn't have enough overall impact to warrant the slots.

@theCrow- Actually, you can indeed discard the Darkstar to the Open Market because his text is a replacement effect. As far as the Open Market knows, he was still discarded, but his own text just changes the location where he goes as a result of that discard.

I've also been looking for a good home for Hugor Hill.

@JCWamma, There is the potential for income difficulties, I admit. I wouldn't at all be expecting to play any two of those cards that you mentioned together, but I think it shouldn't be terribly hard to get one TVB in play with 4 four gold plots in the rotation. On those turns, it only takes 3 more gold to play them, and since we want a Black Raven ASAP to activate Open Market, it's more likely that we only need 2 more gold. There are several gold producers and some reducers in the deck, and I think you'd be surprised at how often at least 1 Sea is going to be in the 4 cards that you get back with Prince's Plans. This means that it can be used much more frequently to reduce costs. As well, I think you're not going to have to keep playing characters at a particularly high rate due to the capability to keep bringing back Red Vengeance. Using it repeatedly eliminates the normal board attrition that most of us face in our games, and in fact, doubles to potential attrition that opponents are undergoing.
I love the Darkstar / Open Market combo
Observation Point (BoRF). Not sure how to fit it in but that would be sweet to get recurring.
Won't lie, I completely forgot about a) the fact that it's summer for the deck, and b.) the likelihood of recycling the seas (assuming you draw them in the first place). That makes it a lot better than I was imagining! That said, surely the attrition negated by Red Vengeance will be then made back up again from Westeros Bleeds?
Potentially, yes. Though there a couple nice things about Bleeds. You'll never be forced into playing it even while you're in control of the board like you might with plot based resets, and it discards rather than kills, so you have a few more options to get your key characters back from the discard pile than you're likely to with other reset options.
The four that I initially cut were:
-1x Black Raven
-1x Greedy Councilor
-2x Hidden Vale Pass

After I played around a bit with this deck a bit, the biggest issue I was having was the poor set-ups. But, running as many 5+ cost cards as this deck does, as well as 11 events, I suppose it is bound to happen.

It is definitely an interesting deck, but I've made a few more tweaks to try to help with set-ups a bit more. I plan to pull the 2xAdvisor to the Crown (QoD) and replace them with 2xRefugee of the Citadel (RoW). With less expensive maesters in the deck, I have replaced At the Gates (GotC) with City of Secrets (TTotH) for a bit more flexibility on the City Plot order and to supplement the recursion theme.

@JCWamma: I don't think Manning the City Walls (CD) makes much sense with only 3 in-house armies in the deck.

Also, in the few games that I played, I was left with Darkstar as a dead card in hand a couple times. I am thinking about replacing 1xDarkstar and 1xConfession with 2xPentos (CD) to help replace the influence lost by the removal of the advisors and to make it a bit easier to play the many armies in the deck. (Of course, 1xPentos (CD) and 1xTyrosh (AHM) might make more sense.) This change will also help set-ups.

Will try to test it out soon and will report back.
I'm a little surprised tyrion didn't find his wayinto the deck and if you're adding refugees might as well make them the lannister ones since they're clansman and can be brought back for free if you lose dom