Regional season has started! Well it started a month ago, but they were in the South and therefore not worthy of my time. This was my first tournament where I was representing two Thrones teams, the Port Street Elite (Wedge, Arwel and myself) and Team England (Wedge, Dave Bamford and Josh Chambers).
We were ready to intentionally draw our way to the cut, talk in a cliquey manner between rounds about the merits of First Edition, and – most importantly – use our Small Council baubles to police the tone of those hawks online when they’re talking shite.
The plan for this Regional was to play Martyrell, as they’re two houses I haven’t had much experience with so far in 2.0, and I had a list ready to take to Port Street. Then I lost faith in it on the drive home from work, kept the Banner cards and made it main house Lannister like a try hard.
The idea was Lannister and Tyrell good stuff, with a slight Knights sub theme, because really I am boring player and deck builder who’s just not very good. It did okay in testing, only losing one game against a Greyjoy Fealty deck it had already beaten twice when I was five pints in and not getting the luck of the draw.
I would type the decklist out, but really, who cares?
Round 1 – Dave Bamford – Baratheon – Banner of the Kraken
Disastrous start for Team England, as we were drawn against each other. This is also a bad start because Dave and I are supposed to play each other in 5th round “win and ins”. 2.0 has absolutely no respect for First Edition traditions. Anyway, Dave and I both go for the risky one character setup, Tywin with a Green Dreams attached and Asha Greyjoy. Neither of us March to the Wall turn one, however, I did get to use my Green Dreams earlier than I would have liked as Tywin got hit with some Filthy Accusations.
With Tywin locked down for a round, I Traded with the Pentoshi and went first to fill out the board. Dave got his kneel on the go with Melisandre on the board, which took out either The Hound or Tyrion. Then stuck a Stinking Drunk on Tywin, locking him out of next turn as well. Great start.
I did my best to recover board position in turn two, but Dave got a Lightbringer‘d Robert Baratheon out on the table and another Stinking Drunk on Tywin. With kneel at critical mass, and Bob defending challenges for fun, there was not a lot I could do.
Turn three I draw into a kill, but Robert gets a dupe, and Stannis hits the board. Tywin has participated in precisely zero challenges, The Tickler isn’t hitting anything, and given the number of knelt characters Gregor isn’t having the best time of things either.
Before long, Bamford has convincingly won.
Round 2 – Ash Eddon – Targaryen – Banner of the Lion
After a fairly terrible start, I console myself with the fact a 4-1 can still make the cut, and if Dave plays like he did against me for the rest of the day, I’ll probably have a decent strength of schedule. Ash was all over me in the early exchanges of this game, we both had Jaime on the board, but he had far more supporting characters backing him up.
I only just survived in round two thanks to a well timed Nightmares on a Storm of Swords turn, and even with a Wildfire Assault in turn three I was still struggling for board parity, had Ash drawn into a kill event or Khal Drogo, I would have been done for.
I managed to Much and More into a Western Fiefdom for a bit of much needed economy, and then drew Tywin Lannister. Ash let slip that he had to play his own Wildfire Assault soon, so I went into lockdown mode. For the next few turns I threw everything in the way of Ash’s challenges, and trying to stop his Jaime winning too many military challenges, and build a board around getting Tywin out, and keeping him and Jaime around.
I saved my Marched to the Wall to fire turn seven at the same time as Wildfire. leaving me going first with Jaime and Tywin against Ash’s Jaime and a lesser character. I top deck Gregor Clegane and Put to the Sword. With the tide fully turned in my favour, I had ground out a win from the edge.
Round 3 – Craig – Lannister – Lord of the Crossing
This was a fun game, I setup a duped Hound and a weenie of some kind, then opened up with Trading with the Pentoshi versus A Noble Cause. I go first and use my Trading gold to marshal a duped Tywin Lannister and a Tickler. My opponent does exactly the same in his marshalling phase, neat.
Given the stalemate in board positions, we both elect not to do any challenges and go straight to Dominance. As first player, I give my Tickler a spin and hit Tywin. Ouch. It’s difficult when such a random swing happens like this, because you have to look apologetic and earnest so as not to be a complete dickhead, but inside you feel like you’ve just pushed an seven year old boy out of a window and enjoyed it.
My opponent said this was a one in a million hit. I’m no expert in statistics, but I think realistically it’s more of a two in forty three hit. Still unlikely though, and a massive swing in my favour. Craig’s Tickler hits a Red Cloak, but I don’t have any on the board, so not a major deal.
Turn two, I have Ser Ilyn Payne in hand and go for Calling the Banners to get enough gold to pay for him. However, in quite a turn up of events, my opponent drops First Snow of Winter (with no 4 costers or above on the board) and I draw into Ser Gregor Clegane, who clearly takes priority when there aren’t going to be any 3 cost characters on the board in the challenges phase anyway.
Except for my Hound, who is still duped from setup. Seems legit.
Anyway, I go first and play Gregor, Craig marshals Cersei. The First Snow of Winter goes off and leaves Cersei on her own. She doesn’t last the military challenge. I swing the intrigue with Tywin and pass, with The Hound still standing.
Craig decides to play big with a I Never Bet Against my Family, and comes out big with Tyrion and Jaime. If I had that, I would’ve been tempted to use that satisfy military claim and keep big Cers about, but each to their own. Craig picks Jaime, forces the Hound back to hand with a military challenge and gets an intrigue away for free. Then he fucks off to the discard pile.
With just Gregor and Tywin on the board the chances of one of them being Marched to the Wall seemed pretty high. However, given that Ilyn Payne was still in hand, I was pretty confident I was going to kill whatever Craig marshalled as soon as he marshalled it anyway. From here I just ground out a win with the King’s Justice and a military challenges keeping the board small, and the lovely combo of Casterly Rock and Small Council Chambers (which I think is better than people are giving it credit for, just don’t play it against Greyjoy) closing the game.
Round 4 – Sternly, no – Night’s Watch – Fealty
At 2-1 I was feeling better about my prospects of making the cut, however I wasn’t that keen on playing against a very defensive Night’s Watch deck, especially not one that manages to get three Ranging Parties out very early on. However, I drew most of my renown characters, starting with Tywin, then following up with Randyll, Gregor and the Knight of Flowers.
Sternly was doing all kinds of Night’s Watch nonsense, throwing birds around and recovering them with Chett and had a reasonable board presence, just not quite enough to stop my big guys running about. If there’s one way of getting around a defence deck, it’s gaining loads of power from winning challenges.
Round 5 – Andy Hornby – Targaryen – Banner of the Lion
This was a very close game, which a win and in really should be. We were also deck checked, which put us about 10 minutes behind the rest of the field meant that by the end of the game we had quite an audience. I seem to play worse when people are watching me, or I play just as badly, but people point out my mistakes. Which then plays on my mind and I make further mistakes. The yips.
I see both of my Tears of Lys early in this game, which I use to take out a Dragon (meh, but attrition innit) and The Hound (Fuck yeah, him and Tyrion were causing many headaches for me), but generally Andy is coming out ahead.
By the time I get Tywin on the board, I’m facing down Mirri Maz Durr and Tyrion. Luckily though, I find my anti Mirri tech in the Red Cloaks and start to power them right up with the excess Tywin gold, I also manage to get a Knight of Flowers (plus a Little Bird) out, who kindly takes the “heat” off the Red Cloaks with a Crown of Gold.
I manage to win a clutch intrigue challenge when Andy miscalculates and goes in for 7 strength, not realising, that I haven’t moved a gold onto the Red Cloaks for the Challenges phase yet, meaning I can win on defence with a weenie and keep my good guys in play for retaliation.
With Tywin neutralising the Mirri threat even with Dracarys! lowering his strength, I manage to eek out a win with the Small Council Chamber, and renown slowly closing the game out. This was the closest a game going to time that I’d played all day, and I think I was quite lucky to get away with winning it.
At 4-1, I was definitely in the cut and had successfully pulled of the submarine. I was pretty pleased with the result.
Top 8 – Tom – Baratheon – Fealty
A high pressure game against Baratheon fealty, with kneel being the only thing I’ve lost to already today. This game was pretty much decided in turn one, I open with Trading against A Noble Cause, with Tywin, 3 other intrigue characters (Tyrion, Arbor Knight and Brothel Madame) and Tears of Lys in hand. Robert and Fiery Followers hit the board, with the already setup Melisandre taking out Tywin.
Tom was playing first, gives me a gold for the Brothel Madame, and fires intrigue with the Fiery Followers. If I block the challenge with Tyrion, Robert can intimidate the Arbor Knight and defend my intrigue challenge with Melisandre, meaning I don’t get to Tears Robert. So I have to risk letting the challenge go unopposed and hope that the one in five chance that Tom doesn’t pick Tears.
He does pick the Tears for intrigue claim and my big chance at killing Robert Baratheon early has been missed. This is most likely karma for the lucky Tywin hit earlier in the day, so can’t complain too much about not getting lucky, as I almost definitely did just chance my way into the Top 8.
From there it was just really difficult to recover board position with Melisandre and Robert wrecking my face. I put up what I could to try and stay in the game, but it was just too much trying get around Tom’s huge board and his draw engine coming from the Red Keep. Well played to Tom.
Arwel, Dave and I all went out in the Top 8, Wedge continued his winning ways all the way to final.
Six Person Melee Banter
Given that Wedge and Even had made the finals, the rest of us poor souls who travel with these annoyingly good players were sat about with nothing better to do. Add in Josh and Dave who were hanging about for the banter, we had enough for a six person melee game. I usually hate melee, as I’m not very good at it, but given that everyone involved is hilarious and we were playing our Joust decks, it could only be fun.
In this game we had:
- Josh – Night’s Watch – Lords of the Crossing
- Tony – Martell – Lords of the Crossing
- Me – Lannister – Banner of the Rose
- Andrew – Lannister – Banner of the Dragon
- Dave – Baratheon – Banner of the Kraken
- Helen – Stark – Fealty
We didn’t manage to finish this game, because the final finished (Wedge won, the bastard) before we got chance and really everyone wanted to go home, but that didn’t stop everyone being a dick to each other for a good hour or so.
Before we even began, I managed to incur the wrath of Helen and Josh for considering putting Weapons at the Door in my plot deck instead of Trading with the Pentoshi, apparently that was bad banter, but I don’t really see a problem with it myself.
Some other things that happened in this game:
- Andrew playing Game of Thrones to try and stop anyone doing anything.
- Andrew plays a Treachery on Josh’s Kingsroad, with the gold I gave him from Trading.
- Me introducing Bronn into the fray and missing my action window to buy him back at the end of marshalling.
- Josh firing back with A Meager Contribution when Andrew counted income.
- Dave kneeling my Hound for no good reason.
- Helen dropping Varys and everyone being terrified of Varys.
- Me throwing an Intrigue challenge and Tony, and then another intrigue challenge with a banter Olenna’s Informant. Tony forgetting to use The Long Plan.
- Me playing Much and More to try and find a Nightmares, but also to slow the game down giving everyone cards..
- My Tickler being the one chance of stopping Varys ruining everyone’s day.
- Tony Nightmares‘ing the Tickler to dick me over, rather than stopping Varys.
- All looking lost (as I was going to March anybody left after Varys) until Dave Nightmares Varys.
- Josh playing Trading to give everyone three gold.
- Fucking Andrew using another Treachery, stopping my Kingsroad going off. This was an attempt to stop me being able to afford Jaime, when I had 7 gold left. Varys, Melisandre and Nymeria were still on the board at this point.
- Me going first and winning as many intrigue challenges as possible to secure second place with the Small Council Chamber. Then everybody else won power challenges against me.
- Josh baiting Andrew into doing a military challenge against him then, Josh ambushing in Allister Thorne and then Watcher on the Walls‘ing to kill all the attacking characters.
- Everyone wanting to leave, but also finish that challenges phase.
- Tony winning.
- Josh getting the last action of the game kneeling Northern Rookery with Halder to give a Steward plus one strength.
- Thank you to Games of War, Seaham, for hosting a well run tournament. Also thank you for having all your stock severly reduced because the store is closing. That meant I could pick up Wolves of the North for bargain.
- Thanks to all my opponents, you were lovely.
- Team England – Josh, Wedge & Dave – 3/4 in the top cut! Who knows where our ceiling is with Thrones?
- Port Street Elite – Arwel & Wedge – 3/3 in the top cut! Who knows where our ceiling is with Thrones?
- Wedge for being good bants in the approx 5 hours we spent going Manchester -Seaham – Manchester in one day.
- No thanks to Wedge for winning, meaning we were some of the last to leave.
- Even, Tony, Helen and Andrew for bringing Scottish bantz south of the border.
- And of course, you the reader, for enabling this nonsense. I’ll see you next week for the Stoke regional.
Just one last thing…