Manchester Store Championship – 2nd Place Report

The Powers that Be have told me that in this report I need to big up Manchester as a vibrant and exciting community for Thrones, especially with Second Edition on the horizon. And that while other metas are dwindling in antipathy, ours is strong and virile.

Of course, while I agree with the above, I’m not a puppet to the man, so I’m going to push that agenda but justify by layers of irony. That was admission was one of them. That admission was another one. Hey, doesn’t Manchester have a vibrant and exciting community for Thrones? Especially with Second Edition on the horizon.

Casually ignoring the fact that there were two other better attended Store Championships in the UK this weekend, our friendly Red Keep, Fan Boy 3, brought in 5 of the country’s best players (there’s not a lot of us, so everyone gets to be on that list) and me.

We democratically decided that instead of three rounds of Swiss with no top cut, that we’d just play a round robin instead and then make the TO Ben do maths to work out who won.

The Deck – Captain Troleo – Targ Conquest Lannister

The list is on AGOT Cards because I can’t be bothered to type it out here. This has been my main deck for awhile now, I took it to the top of the Swiss at the tournament in Stoke last December and then valiantly crashed out in the Top 4.

After that tournament I gave the deck a rejig and then last Tuesday just for a laugh decided that running a lean 60 cards is for suckers and just threw the kitchen sink at the deck. Said sink comprised of the two 8 gold armies that reduce if you have a King or Queen, Norvos because I’ve got loads of Lords in the deck, Ser Kevan Lannister for all round recursion goodness and Irri because she’s insane.

I decided to drop Valar Morghulis from the plot deck as well, because it had Fallen from Favour and I found in play testing that resets are for suckers. With Red Wedding and Threat from the North I had two plots that could get rid of most bombs, and They Lay With Lions paired with a Lannisport Brothel could help out with any Northern Cavalry Flank nonsense (in theory).

Have I mentioned that these kind of creative yet competitive decks are the very soul of the Manchester meta? We regularly have great back and forth games on Wednesday nights from 7. The community is vibrant and exciting, and all the moreso with Second Edition on the horizon.

Round 1 – Mike Moriarty – Martell Aloof and Apart – The Viper’s Bannerman

Unfortunately, this was a bit of a none game. Mike’s deck was still a little rigid from being built at 2am that morning, and he went 4 rounds without drawing a character. And while that meant Darkstar did a lot of what He Calls (it) Thinking, no characters versus characters resulted in a win for me, even if it did feel a little hollow.

Round 2 – Matt Cannon – Stark Night’s Watch x3 – Search and Detain

Matt and I play each other quite a lot on OCTGN, and had been subjected to playing against me while I was drunk on both the Friday and Saturday before the tournament. So he knew what my deck was about. And the Night’s Watch deck has been a pet of Matt’s for about a year now, but has recently come into its own with newly released cards, as evidenced by its performance in the OCTGN tourney. It’s the only deck I’ve seen that really utilises the neutral Iron Throne to great effect.

Matt setup 5 locations, including the aforementioned Iron Throne, I got Margaery Tyrell and few other weenies out, I didn’t take any notes yesterday, so you’ll have to forgive me if this isn’t as a comprehensive a play by play as usual. Matt opened with Search and Detain, and I retaliated with, err, Retaliation. Which was quite funny, but ultimately only meant a Street of Sisters getting popped.

I held a Condemned by the Council in hand, and not being able to trigger responses was really killing all my challenge control. With all the semi-ambush business Matt’s deck can do, I knew that winning one challenge was going to be tough, and then getting an intrigue through would be even more difficult. Luckily Matt decided he wanted to use a response after defending my token Military challenge, which left the gates open for my intrigue and the Iron Throne did not survive a Health and Safety Inspection.

I’d managed to accumulate a bit of power with Joffrey Baratheon, and knocking off some of my token lords, so I decided that it was time for a Red Wedding. Joffrey, quite thematically, made quite a big power grab here, at the expense of my own Maggy. But it did put me within 13 power going into the challenges phase, and I thought I could close it there. Unfortunately Old Nan and Dissension had other plans.

From here, I lost control of the game, another Dissension/Old Nan combo got rid of my Danaerys Targaryen before she could even do anything. I did get to do my favourite ever play though, which is dropping Janos Slynt out for free with Tyrosh. Matt was running away with power, so out of spite and wanting to end the game on my own terms, I played Fire Made Flesh at the start of the challenges phase and gave Matt the two power he needed to win the game.

Round 3 – Fiona Harvey – Greyjoy No Agenda – ??

I’d seen Fiona playing next to me in the game before, so I had an idea what to expect with this deck gutepotenz.deAt the Gates turn one to get a Maester, then make it Winter with A Time For Ravens, I did my best to play around this by hitting hard with 2 claim plots to start off with, and used Fire Made Flesh on Griff two challenges phases in a row.

Things swung quite considerably turn three when Asha Greyjoy managed to survive not only a Red Wedding, but also an offensive Valar Morghulis. Fiona had enough saves on the board that meant she mainly just lost weenies and kept all her best characters alive. The game was pretty much over for me there, the next turn I dropped Threat from the North to give the board another semi reset without the chance for saves but it was too late. Without any extra draw and Winter hitting my economy hard, I couldn’t get enough characters down to withstand any of Victarion’s Schemes and Pentoshi Manor really loses all it’s effectiveness when the opponent is so close to winning.

Round 4 – Dan Knight – Greyjoy Old Way – ??

I was now 1-2 and not feeling great about my chances, especially with back to back Old Way decks, all those strength boosts really mess my burn locations and make me sad. Dan had been talking up his deck at the start of the day as ‘unbeatable’ so of course, he hadn’t managed to win a single game up to that point. I was more than a little worried that might soon be changing.

I got a very good start however, with DanaerysPentoshi Manor and some economy. I was also lucky enough to find a Fire Made Flesh on my first turn and did a decent job of thinning Dan’s board with double Dany attacks and a two claim military challenge. I got quite lucky really that Dan only drew into Save locations and one of the Military only prized dudes and not something that could stop Dany.

Next turn, was more of the same from me, another high claim plot, dropped Mad King Aerys and Viserys but kept Queen Danaery’s Horde in hand. Again Dan didn’t manage to draw anything worthwhile, and couldn’t get a 2 strength challenge through because of Pentoshi Manor. Next turn he drops Valar but I match it with The Power of Blood, drop the Horde and Dan graciously conceded there.

Round 5 – Rob Seymour – Greyjoy Old Way – Naval Escort

The previous game went much better than I anticipated it would, but I was still dreading another Old Way match. Especially when this next one would decide who between Rob and I would come second or third, provided Matt won. Me losing this match meant, Rob would likely take first place and the Regional Bye, so it was quite a big deal…

I got another fairly decent start, but Rob’s River Blockade made my Great Pyramid of Meereen very sad indeed. I got Ser Barristan SelmyIrriKhal, and a Pentoshi Manor out in my first turn, thanks mainly to Tyrosh being a passive. I even had Janos Slynt in hand, but the other Ally and Lannister card was the far better play. I used Khal on Barristan and threw him and Irri into the a power challenge I knew I’d lose, just so Selmy could have a handmaiden attachment.

I think the following turn, Selmy found himself inheriting some Rich Lands and a Keep, and unfortunately for Rob he only drew into another River Blockade and a similarly useless duplicate location. I threw some more dudes down and managed to push through for a quick win.

We had enough time to play another game after this, and it was far different story. My deck just couldn’t get going, and Rob hit his Naval Escorts and Longship Iron Victory early this time, and he absolutely smashed me. But that was only a pickup game and didn’t in anyway affect my initial victory…

And that was it for the tournament, Matt beat Fiona, and Dan finally got a win against Mike’s monocon-less deck. Which left Matt in first place, myself in second, Rob in third and Mike and Fiona having a fourth place playoff. It was a close game but Mike eventually won.

What have we learned

  • Most importantly, we’ve learned that Manchester is an exciting and vibrant place to play Thrones. Especially with Second Edition on the horizon.
  • But really, thanks to everyone who came down/up/any direction for the tournament, it was a pleasure playing against you.
  • Congratulations to Matt, a worthy winner.
  • Thanks to Ben for running things, it is a shame your Beric, Asha, Balerion Lannister NA deck didn’t get the chance to have a proper outing.
  • I’m making the deck a regular size in time for the romantic Valentine’s Day tournament in Sheffield next week, hopefully without losing its soul. See you there!
  • And to you for reading this, it really does inflate my ego massively when I see my Google Analytics after I post these reports.

Oh look, another poll!

The poll on the last Tournament Report seemed to go down pretty well, and the answers in the other option made me laugh, a lot. So I’m going to share the best ones here:

  • Need more gin!!!
  • Bold is too strong, it needs to be a subtler mix, maybe make a class and give it a sllightly bolder.
  • It’s boldness is overshadowed by the bold and dashing author.
  • Love is a strong word that I only tend to use when I want sex.

Top stuff. Anyway, don’t forget to let your voice be heard in this week’s poll seen below!