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Strapping Swords to Direwolves - Dumb Fun Decks

dumb fun stark fealty muder direwolves casual deckbuilding

I decided to do an article! Welcome, all, to an in-depth discussion of my thought process in developing the most ridiculously designed, wildly ineffective but surprisingly nasty deck I've thought up in a while. I'm relatively new to the community, so I'll include a brief post below with my credentials (or lack thereof) and intro.

One of my favorite things about the Game of Thrones LCG is finding different, exotic ways to get to the same destination. One of the most popular destinations in this game is targeted kill in general, and a total board wipe more particularly. There are many decks that look to accomplish this, whether generic (Lanni banner X with kill events and First Snow), specialized (Targ/Lion Smash Bros), or creative (Martell/Rose Florent Knight).

However, none of these decks are dumb enough for me. I feel that many have been searching for the true “Stark Murder” deck of 2.0, with varying degrees of success, for quite some time. I've taken some cracks at it myself, but it's never turned out satisfyingly, as it's so fragile to be so mono-challenge-centric in a build without a tool to get you extra of that challenge. But one thing I've learned over my last year playing second edition is this: “If a theme deck's not working, you're not theming it hard enough.”

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With that in mind, I go to thinking about all the tools stark has available to them for murder and how they go awry. I came to:
  • Ice (Core) – Expensive, hard to deliver post First-Snow, cancel/trigger controllable
  • Like Warm Rain (Core) – Direwolves aren't versatile cards, good players won't be surprised
  • Winter is Coming (Core) – It's everywhere, but one untargetted claim isn't a huge amount in a void
  • Grey Wind (Core) – Honestly, I've never been a fan, but he's there and he murders
  • Robb Stark (AtSK) – Expensive, transparent, milk/craven are everywhere, 7 costers narrow setup
  • Ward (TS) – A less obvious choice, but the attrition value of it is starting to be more common knowledge. Crazy expensive.
  • Put to the Sword (Core) – Easy to see coming, easy to control, Stark doesn't have the most concentrated military strength-per-gold to afford to not spend two gold.... usually.
  • Tears of Lys (Core) – Still not awesome for Stark, delayed effect doesn't often synergize with military claim
Next I thought. Let's cram all of them in and see what I need to make it work. I started with the wolves, since they're the most particular, keeping King Robb in mind. I'd need two or three Grey Wind, three pups, and the obligatory one Summer. If I'm running King Robb, I like Rickon Stark (WoTN) for setup, and I've had success using Rickon with Shaggydog (WoTN) and Ice before, so lets throw in Shaggydog. I've got a lot of wolves now, so Like Warm Rain is covered, but who's gonna be reliably on the table to hold Ice? First Snow has historically hobbled much of the delivery brigade as Tully Knights, Rickon/Shaggydog, and Arya's military icon all get airlifted. So instead LETS STRAP THE SWORD TO THE WOLVES.

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This is where this idea really gained momentum for me. This would be catastrophically dumb but freed up the room I needed to fit all this; with the "No attachments" removed from the wolves, I could use them to deliver an Ice as well. I also decided to throw Hodor (NMG) in, since Bran Stark (Core) would be around and he too could be “activated” with Fortified Position, carrying Ice on the assault. So what to do about Ice's next bane, First Snow of Winter (NMG)? Dupes. Lots and lots of dupes. I upped Shaggydog, Rickon and Hodor to 3x apiece and added a second Summer[/GOT]. I'm running uniques where I'd normally not, so might as well just load 'em with dupes! I also figured Marching and remarshalling would be likely for any of these cards.

At this point the character suite looks way light on the intrigues icons, with the obligatory Sansa (WoTN) and Osha (WoTN) being the only icons around. Can't run Lords of the Crossing on that (Fealty is is), and Tears gets cut. Too unlikely to trigger, doubly unlikely in a tempo that works well with my military tech. A Donella Hornwood (CtA) (always great) and a Maester Luwin (TtB) (gotsta get my pillage on) round out the only intrigue in the deck.

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The deck has a clear shape now, so what to do for tech that assists these endeavors and mitigates control? These cards here and the plots are where the most wiggle room is.
  • Arya's Gift (WoTN) – Must have. Controls craven and milk, enables Ice shenanigans. 3x.
  • Syrio (TRtW) – Normally essential, but with a Fortified build and Arya's Gift not protecting him from milk, how helpful will he be? Tentative 1x.
  • For the North (Core) – Deck shortener, not expected, helps with needed triggers, generally a mediocre play? Yes, please! 2 or 3x.
  • Rodrik Cassel (TKP) – Military draw, I'm using unexpected uniques, loyal, unmilkable. 2x.
Winterfell, Blackfish, Hand's Judgement, Rattleshirts, Winterfell Castle, Lady, and Syrio's training were all considered and omitted, but could be very playable with the right tweaks.

With this tech decided on, I went with a very sleek economy package. The faster six limiteds (no Roseroad) and one Tourney Grounds with the fat event suite (helps threaten Puts that aren't there too). It's a quick deck and Fealty helps push some of the cards out.

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Rounded out the rest of the common cards and I'm off to plots!
  • Fortified Position (Core) – Crucial, the glue holding this deck together. Comically, not an every-game play.
  • Marched to the Wall (Core) – Removal!
  • Marched to the Wall (Core) – More removal!
  • Sneak Attack (Core) – Need the money, what other challenge do I care about?
  • Time for Wolves (WoTN) – Winter plot, plenty of wolves to pick from.
  • Building Orders (Core) – Two game-changing attachments to search for. Not enough to look for? Maybe.
  • Close Call (TS) – Extra draw without sacrificing gold. May get a crucial dupe replayable. Five gold winter plot here instead?
The completed decklist:
cardgameDB link

Total Cards: (60)
Faction: Stark
Agenda: 1x Fealty (Core Set)

Plot: (7)
1x A Time For Wolves (Wolves of the North)
1x Building Orders (Core Set)
1x Close Call (True Steel)
1x Fortified Position (Core Set)
2x Marched to the Wall (Core Set)
1x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

Character: (33)
2x Arya Stark (Core Set)
3x Bran Stark (Core Set)
3x Direwolf Pup (Core Set)
1x Donella Hornwood (Called to Arms)
2x Grey Wind (Core Set)
3x Hodor (No Middle Ground)
1x Maester Luwin (Taking the Black)
1x Osha (Wolves of the North)
3x Rickon Stark (Wolves of the North)
2x Robb Stark (Across the Seven Kingdoms)
1x Sansa Stark (Wolves of the North)
2x Ser Rodrik Cassel (The King's Peace)
3x Shaggydog (Wolves of the North)
2x Summer (Core Set)
1x Syrio Forel (The Road to Winterfell)
3x Winterfell Steward (Core Set)

Attachment: (6)
3x Ice (Core Set)
3x Ward (True Steel)

Event: (14)
3x Arya’s Gift (Wolves of the North)
2x For the North! (Core Set)
3x Like Warm Rain (Core Set)
3x Put to the Sword (Core Set)
3x Winter Is Coming (Core Set)

Location: (7)
3x Heart Tree Grove (Core Set)
3x The Kingsroad (Core Set)
1x Tourney Grounds (Wolves of the North)

This looks absolutely nothing like a traditional Stark deck, using exactly none of their baller 6-cost trio, no economy plots, and no trigger control. This is as murdery as I've ever managed to do. It looks ridiculous.

This deck has plenty of allergies, including but not limited to: Winterfell, icon stripping, Treachery, Plaza of Punishment, In the Name of Your King, and Gregor. But it's a fast, casual deck; it'll hit fast or splat fast and everyone will have a good time.

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So I built it anyway and it's 4-1 so far in casual play (lost the one because I failed to find one of 3 Ices left on Building Orders TWICE). It's by no means a good deck, but it's a blast to play and the surprise factor is off the charts. Give it a whirl, have a dumb, fun time! I've got plenty of ridiculous decks that play better than they deserve to if this is interesting enough for a sequel. Feel free to ask questions or postulate fixes below.

Deckbuiliding Contest: If you're interested, try tweaking the tech and plots to your own tastes (keep the feel of the deck intact) and PM me a decklist. I'll post another article or a thread in a week highlighting and celebrating my favorite if I get a good one.
  • JCWamma, 14Shirt, cml and 8 others like this


Sep 25 2016 10:15 PM

ThronesDB link (whoops): https://thronesdb.co...s-to-wolves-2.0


About me: I'm 25, live and play near Baltimore MD. I don't get a ton of play in, usually just one evening a week at my local game store, our group tends more toward casual play and creative decks. I don't have a history with LCGs, I played a very scant bit of first edition and hopped in at launch on second edition. This is the only LCG I have ever fully done. My only notable tournament participation or accolade is 2nd place at Maryland regionals back in May. I do not consider myself a member of the DC meta but have played with and against them.


This is the first piece of entertainment writing I've done in almost a decade, so it's probably pretty rough. I don't know if this concept has been done before, it was completely original for me. That said, after coming up with it I did think of that funny post of AlexFrog's a while back. Credit to sparrowhawk for lighting a fire under me.


Constructive criticism on the formatting welcome.

    • Zouavez and Euphius like this
Excellent write up.
I too am looking to build creative decks.
Going to your decklist a go.
    • bored2excess likes this

I'll definitely give you points for creativity on the text removal to let you put attachments on characters that normally can't hold them.  

As a note.  If you don't like Grey Wind its because you aren't running him with the Wolves of the North.  Their str reduction ability combined with Grey Wind's auto kill lets you kill just about anything in play in a wolf heavy deck.  I ran a Stark/Watch deck briefly with my group of friends that was brutal (mostly because my group doesn't run First Snow often enough in casual play) that had me running every wolf available including Ghost.  I really only got to do military attacks (or a power attack with a reducer or kennel master) but the deck kept a very clean board with several two claim plots, I was regularly able to stealth their 4-5 str characters to 1-0, eat them with Grey Wind, kill a chud or three with claim, and keep a pretty clean board.  With nothing in the deck costing over 5 I could afford to run more high claim and low income plots to run the deck.

Also, Where in the Baltimore area do you play?  I live in Columbia, MD and our little group of 6 players has yet to step out into competitive play, but a few of us are considering it if we can soon (me most among them).  We normally hang out on Friday nights at one of our homes right now, and usually end up playing a round or two of melee (or if numbers are low we do joust).  I haven't had much success locating a nearby place other than Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie that has a regular thrones night on a night of the week I can attend...life, my wife, and other hobbies tend to get in the way.