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Never Say Never - Ballarat Regionals Report

Ballarat 2013 Regionals Lannister

Yesterday, well away from Kryal Castle (which would make a great AGOT nationals location...), 16 mighty Lords and Ladies of Westeros clashed over the right to own a sparkly piece of plastic with some sort of etching.

After a whole lot of umming and ahhing I opted to stick with the deck I had actually played a lot of - Lannister Tunnels. This particular archetype is my favourite deck currently and I have played a lot with it - I turned away for a bit post-FAQ, but overall tried to salvage the build. If you're not familiar with it, it is a build centred around using Shadows cards to buff large numbers of small characters. It packs quite a lot of control through city plots and kneel effects. Due to the strength buffs, it does well against burn decks, which are usually a common fixture of the Melbourne meta.

We played five rounds of swiss then cut to a top four. I had one of the toughest runs - I played the other three top four players in swiss. Rough.

Round 1 - v David (PBTT) 1-0

My first round opponent was David - he's a fairly new Lannister player, last week's event being his first tournament. Already in a week his deck has improved and I expect that he'll have a lot more success throughout the rest of the regionals season.

Unfortunately, not for this event, though. This game is a horrible matchup for him and he never got started. I drew from his agenda every turn and had enough control to completely gimp his board. I House Divided his Cersei and stuck Littlefinger to the board for the win - his control effects weren't much chop for him between my Iron Throne and a number of my key threats coming out of Shadows during challenges.

Round 2 - v Stephen M (PBTT) 2-0

Poor Stephen. Another lopsided Tunnels v PBTT match. Virtually the same as the first round. Hard to win when your agenda feeds your opponent cards and you can't do your thing.

Round 3 - v Dread Pirate Andrew (Siege) 3-0

Unlike our later meeting, this one was mine pretty much from the get-go. My shadows and spiders took the teeth out of his first round and I was able to thereafter keep his key threats knelt or otherwise controlled. He got about 7 power, but just couldn't really get out from under me.

Round 4 - v Bert (GJ Choke) 3-1

I love my games against Bert. He's a very very tough, considered opponent - he rarely makes mistakes and is always prepared to punish my sloppy plays. In this matchup, I should have the edge - I have a massive amount of economy, and my strat is not generally vulnerable to event cancel... but this was horrible.

I was ready to scoop on the first turn. My mulligan showed me no love - I had no real income, drew only one shadows card and otherwise was completely gimped. He came out swinging with (from memory) -3 income and a Wintertime Marauders. He dropped more on the board, played 2 iron cliffs and an iron mines and I scooped on turn 3. I was never even playing the game... taken to school on the bus of pain. We did play a rematch afterwards (since our match took all of 5-10 minutes tops) and I managed to win it. Not as nice as winning this round would have been!

Round 5 - v Mini (Rusted Maesters) 4-1

This was probably the toughest game I played all day. He managed to double-dupe Marwyn and load him up. I couldn't really stop him from rampaging all over the place - make a challenge, stand. Defend mine. He got all his chains off rather fast and it was all I could do to oppose his challenges and slowly chip away at his dupes. Syrio did the heavy lifting, allowing me to pick off his supporting cast and slowly chip at his saves and City Besieged (and spiders) cleared off his standing effect location. I managed to hold onto the last plot, where he had to valar away Marwyn.

At that point, I was on 2 power to his 13. I basically couldn't allow him to win any more challenges from here on - and thankfully, I was able to do just that. I was able to flood the board with new characters and swing the game back with some big 2 claim power challenges.

Finals - we cut to a top four here, which was myself, mini and bert on 4-1 and Andrew on 3-2 with the strongest schedule.

Finals - v Dread Pirate Andrew (5-1)

This was very close and very fast. He got to 12 power before I won it - I was able to keep Roose knelt out the whole game (all four plots of it) which was great. He Forgotten Plans'd my Shadows and Spiders... which was not so great. Honestly, I was pretty lucky to win it - I won a War of Five Kings on him and he randomly got Respect of the Old Gods. I managed to draw almost all the control effects in the deck and I won initiative in the decisive turn which allowed Syrio to clear off his NCF before it would have pushed the win, allowing me to take dom for the game.

Finals - v Bert (Win)

A rematch from swiss and yet another final fought out between us. I had lost the last two (the nationals and the previous regional) to Bert, so I definitely had to win this one or I'd have brought shame upon my house. After the last couple matches, I'll admit, I was a little frazzled, so my recollections aren't perfect here. I opened with 3 gold weenies and a goldroad, which went into city of lies for an essentially 11 gold start. I also had the Iron Throne for his Marauders... but he had the River Blockade to answer. Nonetheless, against choke, my start was amazing and forced a turn 2 valar. I had City Besieged - I opted to kill his River Blockade rather than his only save, so he kept his Marauders, but I had the Throne up, which would prove to be *massive*.

Post-Valar I didn't have a lot of economy, so the next couple turns were a little rough. But I was steadily drawing into them and my Golden Tooth Mines were doing a huge amount of work for me. Before long I was generating 6-8 gold a turn and slowly getting out from under him.

After another 2 Valars and City of Soldiers, a huge amount of Bert's characters were dead. Unfortunately for him, Negotiations for 9 new cards netted him nothing playable. The game closed out on plot 10 - four valars in. I was able to edge it out. Ultimately, the Long Voyage failed him in the end - he drew a fistful of dead uniques, but, on the other hand, the agenda had drawn him an awful lot of cards throughout the game anyway. I'd have likely pulled ahead much sooner with my GTMs (I ended up sticking two of them to the board) if not for the agenda.

For those interested, I've provided the deck lists for the Tunnels deck and the fourth placing Siege deck

Total Cards (60)

House (1)
House Lannister (Core) x1

Agenda (1)
House of Dreams (ARotD) x1

Plot (7)
City of Spiders (TftRK) x1
Shadows and Spiders (LotR) x1
City of Lies (CoS) x1
A City Besieged (CD) x1
City of Soldiers (TBoBB) x1
City of Sin (AToT) x1
Valar Morghulis (Core) x1

Character (32)
Tommen Baratheon (SA) x2
Tyrion Lannister (CoS) x1
Qyburn (SaS) x1
Silent Sisters (KotS) x3
Enemy Informer (Core) x2
Littlefinger (SaS) x2
Hedge Knight (KotStorm) x3
Lannisport Weaponsmith (Core) x3
Varys (SaS) x1
Cersei Lannister (AToT) x1
Gold Cloaks (AToT) x2
Lannisport Councilor (RotO) x2
Lannisport Moneylender (LotR) x3
Gilly (RoW) x1
Syrio Forel (TftRK) x2
Ser Arys Oakheart (PotS) x1
Summer Sea Corsair (RotK) x2

Location (18)
The Goldroad (LotR) x3
Kingdom of Shadows (KotS) x3
The Iron Throne (LotR) x2
Tunnels of the Red Keep (CoS) x1
Golden Tooth Mines (Core) x3
Alchemist's Guild Hall (TBoBB) x2
Shadowblack Lane (Core) x1
Pentoshi Manor (AHM) x3

Attachment (5)
Enslaved (THoBaW) x3
Increased Levy (LotR) x2

Event (5)
Terminal Schemes (LotR) x2
A House Divided (WLL) x3

Total Cards (60)

House (1)
House Stark (Core) x1

Agenda (1)
The Siege of Winterfell (LoW) x1

Plot (7)
Negotiations at the Great Sept (TPoL) x1
Respect of the Old Gods (LoW) x1
Burning Bridges (QoD) x1
Forgotten Plans (KotStorm) x1
Valar Morghulis (Core) x1
Attack from the Sea (PotS) x1
After the Mummer's Ford (KotS) x1

Character (34)
Bolton Refugee (RoW) x3
Maester Luwin (FtC) x1
Catelyn Stark (LoW) x2
Guard at Riverrun (LoW) x2
Northern Cavalry Flank (SA) x3
Syrio Forel (TftRK) x2
The Blackfish (LoW) x1
Arya Stark (CoS) x1
Craster (WotN) x1
The Bastard's Elite (RoR) x3
Hungry Mob (CoS) x3
Ser Jorah Mormont (PotS) x1
Reek (MotM) x1
Sansa Stark (TftRK) x1
Ser Kyle Condon (APS) x2
Jory Cassel (CtB) x1
Roose Bolton (DB) x1
Damon Dance-For-Me (VD) x1
Carrion Bird (TWoW) x3
Lucas Blackwood (GotC) x1

Location (12)
River Row (QoD) x1
Street of Sisters (Core) x1
Narrow Sea (KotStorm) x3
Frozen Outpost (LoW) x2
Ocean Road (WLL) x1
Street of Steel (Core) x1
Great Keep (LoW) x3

Attachment (3)
Frozen Solid (LoW) x3

Event (11)
War of Five Kings (RoW) x2
The Battle of the Whispering Wood (EB) x3
Battle of Ruby Ford (BoRF) x1
Die by the Sword (LoW) x3
Battle for the Shield Islands (TGF) x2

1st Justin Shearer - Lannister - House of Dreams (Pentoshi Manor)
2nd Bert Perry - Greyjoy - The Long Voyage (Fury of the Kraken)
3rd Justin Dyson - Targaryen - Maester's Path (Maester's Path)
4th Andrew Glouftis - Stark - Siege of Winterfell (Bolton Refugee)
5th Jeremy Parker - Baratheon - Black Sails (???)
6th Chris Howes - Stark - Siege of Winterfell (Search and Detain)
7th Nathan Ash - Targaryen - Maester's Path (Maester's Path)
8th Tom Stephen - Martell - Brotherhood without Banners (Game of Cyvasse)
9th Jack Swann - Baratheon - Knights of the Realm (???)
10th Stephen Mahoney - Lannister - Power Behind the Throne (Pentoshi Manor)
11th Jon Delacy - Targaryen - The Long Voyage (???)
12th David Bagdasarian - Lannister - Power Behind the Throne (Castellan of the Rock)
13th Merric Blackman - Greyjoy - ??? - ???
14th Sarah Nicholas - Stark - Siege of Winterfell - ???
15th Alex Tzioras - Stark - Siege of Winterfell - Fear of Winter
16th Jesse Litchfield - Baratheon - ??? - ???

Hopefully some of the other guys will be able to fill in the blanks for me.
And, in proud AGOT tradition, some props and slops:

Props - To Nash for hosting a tip-top event and for taking us foreigners out for a great meal afterwards.
Props - To Mini for those *sweet* door prize house cards... amazing!
Props - To everyone who came for an excellent day of gaming!
Props - To the Dread Pirate for driving us to Ballarat
Slops - To Jason Ryan. Shame.
Slops - To Jesse... that'll learn ya to set aside your murder!
Slops - To FFG. Compared to last year's regionals prize support, this one is light on. Ahhhhh well!
  • zordren likes this


Apr 22 2013 02:44 PM
I'm glad to see Lanni Tunnels win a regional. What made you choose Pentoshi Manor as your restricted? Did Gilly work well? How about Terminal Schemes? Your deck is constructed quite differently than mine.
Great report dude! (Love the title :P)

As always, well played! What a great meta decision in the end! You deserved it. I look forward to our next top 2 game :)

What do you think about the Summer Sea Corsairs? Cheers - Bert
It was really good to see the range of decks being played - five Houses in the Top 5! I played a no agenda Greyjoy deck with a Raider theme which was a lot of fun to play in my final three matches against the bottom end of the draft - and horrible against Stark Siege, which were my first two matches. :) I'm sorry I didn't get to watch Justin in the finals, as the games looked really interesting.

Congratulations on the well-deserved win!
Cheers Merric.

And yes, unfortunately, trying for a MIL strat against Siege will usually result in a speedy loss. I was surprised to see so many Stark Siege builds around, but it is a strong build, so I guess I shouldn't have been.

A few of you guys should try and make the trip down to Melb for the next event (or one of the two remaining!). We can organise dinner and drinks afterwards.