Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken Tournament Report – Top 4

After the huge events that were the National and Blackwater Bay, it was quite refreshing to go back to a smaller event at the heartland of AGOT in the UK, Guys that Game. 25 players turned up, including a few Blackwater Bay veterans who helpfully reminded me that I was quite drunk there. The Manchester Meta, Sam (who doesn’t even live in Manchester), Ben (who very kindly offered to drive us both over to Stoke) and myself were all feeling somewhat mixed about our chances with a Greyjoy Song of Ice Fun Sponge, a Targ Maester’s Path and a silly knights deck respectively.

I had originally planned to play a Greyjoy HoD Longship Iron Wind deck with loads of Holy characters manlig-halsa.se. But it seemed like too much effort to build that. So I went with…

The Deck – Lannister – Knights of the Realm – Ser Preston Greenfield – BEST FRIENDS FOREVER

I built this deck when I was little drunk on the Friday night before the tournament. After my brief foray into ‘competitive’ builds with my No Agenda deck, I thought I’d have a go at some janky fun that I’d been mulling over since picking up a couple of Hedge Knights and the Knights of the Realm agenda in draft a few months ago.

I was generally pretty pleased with the cost curve and the deck ratios from my No Agenda build so my deckbuilding process while putting this together went a bit like this:

  1. Look through entire deck, sort it into IN/OUT piles for the new deck based on a first glance.
  2. Split both piles into types, then look through the out piles and switch like for like cost wise with knights or whatever else I could find to throw in there.
  3. Drink more beer.
  4. Test setup and turn one through to the challenges phase.
  5. Make small changes.

That seemed to work. I was planning to have two Alchemist Guild Halls in there, but my card pool is a huge mess at the moment and two of them are lost in a pile of rejected City of Shadows cards so I could only find one. Scientific deck building at it’s finest.

Plots (7)

1x Fury of the Lion
1x Men of Pride
1x Retaliation
1x Cersei’s Scheme
1x Valar Morghulis
1x City of Lies
1x On My Oath

Characters (30)

3x Mountain Refugee
2x Hedge Knight
3x Doubting Septa
2x Ashemark Knight
2x Silent Sisters

1x Tommen Baratheon
1x Penny
2x Ser Preston Greenfield
1x Syrio Forel
1x Lancel Lannister
1x Ser Boros Blount
1x The Hound
1x Qyburn
1x Ser Arys Oakheart
1x Ser Mandon Moore
1x Tycho Nestoris
1x Varys
1x Cersei Lannister
1x Ser Jaime Lannister
1x Tywin Lannister
1x Tyrion Lannister
1x Littlefinger

Locations (20)
3x Goldroad
1x River Row
1x Street of Sisters
1x Twilight Market
1x Shadowblack Lane
2x Kingdom of Shadows
1x The Kingsroad
1x The Westerlands
2x Golden Tooth Mines
2x The Iron Throne
1x Harrnehal
1x Lannisport Brothel
1x The Mander
1x Alchemist’s Guildhall
1x King’s Landing

Events (9)
3x Harry the Riverland
2x Condemned by the Council
2x A House Divided
1x Nightmares
1x The Hand’s Judgement

Attachments (1)
1x Warden of the West

It wasn’t until Ben and I were listening to Beyond the Wall in the car on the Stoke the next morning that I realised that Royal Decree might havve been a better call than the Hand’s Judgement, but by that point it was too late.

Round 1 – Ryan Kelly – Baratheon Black Sails – ???

Ryan was another Blackwater Bay veteran, although we hadn’t played at the tournament, we had spoken a bit between games. As is generally the plan when playing kneel against a Black Sails, I knew that keeping the the naval icons knelt and therefore stopping access to the hold would be key to victory.

Which on the whole I did, a Harry the Riverlands (I love that card so much) turn one dealt with a River Runner and then I just kept going and kneeling stuff to the win. I think Ryan was quite unlucky here with a lot of his economy being locked in the hold. But I’d played and won one game without the deck falling over and dying, which was good enough for me. Sam and Ben had also won their first games, with Ben curb stomping a tournament virgin playing Bara Knights and Sam drinking orphans tears with his choke deck. MANCHESTER META REPRESENT.

Round 2 – Sam Wilson – Greyjoy Song of Ice – Fear of Winter

Until we got drawn against each other. I knew that if we all wanted to do well at the tournament, we’d have to play each other at some point, but it would have been nice to play someone I don’t get to play against on a regular basis.

I got pretty much a god hand setup for playing against a choke deck, a goldroad, a kingsroad, a kingdom of shadows and a reducer. I also took a risk that he wouldn’t blockade turn one and opened with Fury. The kingsroad in particular was useful at stopping Sam’s winter kingsroad from acting as intrigue claim against me.  I got Jaime and Preston doing their best friend dance for a little while, until Preston was marched to the wall, and Jaime fell victim to some surprise deadly.

Luckily though, I drew into my second Preston and rescued Jaime with an Oath and the best friends were back together. FOREVER. I wrapped up the game around there, popping Preston out of shadows for the 15th power in dominance. Sam was unlucky not to see more of his choke elements in this game, although I was particularly pleased not see any of my locations burned and pillaged.

It was around this point that Sam pointed out that this deck:

  1. Didn’t need the Knights agenda at all.
  2. Would be much better as a No Agenda.
  3. Is essentially all the legal parts of my City of Shadows deck re-purposed in a different deck
  4. That if I came up against another Knights deck that took it seriously I was screwed.

I told him to shut up, and that, very much like Jon Snow, he knew nothing and all his claims were way off base. They were all entirely accurate. And seriously, WHO ELSE would be running Knights of the Realm, ESPECIALLY out of Lannister…

Round 3 – Big Mike – Lannister KotR (LOL) – Preston

Oh how Mike and I laughed when we got drawn together. Especially when Mike said he was running 24 knights compared to my casual splash of like 10 (I haven’t/can’t be bothered to count how many I’m actually running). So for the first few turns I was only drawing one card in the draw phase, luckily however I saw both my Golden Tooth Mines and King’s Landing early on. So I wasn’t too far behind card advantage wise. We traded various Harried parts of the Riverlands in the opening exchanges and kept reasonable close together in terms of power levels. Mike dropped Robert Strong quite early after my early Valar, which actually ended up doing him a fair bit of harm, especially as I kept cancelling Preston’s attempts to send him back into shadows with the Iron Throne.

On turn 6 Mike needed four power to win and I needed 6. I top decked Tywin, and risked playing him, knowing there was a Valar coming next turn. Mike kept two cards in hand, while I emptied mine, so Tywin was active. I had enough weenies out to block but lose the two challenges thrown at me, and then had a clear run of three challenges with unopposed and renown for the win.

I got seriously lucky in this game by top decking Tywin, and I was sure that if we had to play again, I would almost definitely lose. But I was sat at 3-0 and with a cut to top 8, feeling reasonably confident. Then Eddie announced I’d be playing against Sam Burdock on the ‘Top Table’. Just to add to the pressure, Ben casually mentioned that Sam had just well and truly beaten him and I should watch out for a certain combo.

Round 4 – Sam Burdock – Greyjoy Black Sails – Fury

So I was at the exact same table that Michael Hayes and I had been sat at when his Greyjoy Black Sails ended my good run at the Regional. The result was very much the same. I started fairly well and managed to keep some of his board presence knelt, but not quite enough to keep him out of the hold.

And what came out of the hold? Alannys, and then a To Be A Kraken, and more cancel, and more cancel. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong against this deck type, but I’m really struggling to kneel things when all my tricks keep getting cancelled. Still I was 3-1, and the only person I’d lost against was undefeated, so I felt fairly confident that I could make the cut, possibly even if I lost my next game. And you know what’s popular at the moment that I haven’t ran into at all yet today…

Round 5 – Matt/The Moneylender/Bastard of Stokeros  – Stark No Agenda (Kindly Man) – Fear of Winter

Stark No Agenda. I’d been chatting with NuFenix on CardGameDB about what I was playing while deckbuilding on the Friday. He left me with this nugget of knowledge:

My main advice is, can you beat Stark NA? If you can, you should be in good stead for the day.  NuFenix

I, being an idiot, completely ignored this advice and didn’t even consider Stark No Agenda while deckbuilding. Because that’s how a stringently average player rolls.

I got a reasonable setup here, but a Fear of Winter Turn 1 stopped me really flying out of the gates. It also stopped me dropping some more guys into shadows with a City of Lies. I managed to avoid losing an Intrigue challenge, but lost a mil challenge, losing The Hound and a power challenge, with nothing to steal.

Turn 2 I brought back the the Hound by swearing an Oath in the presence of the Old Gods and the New. Over the other side of the table, Matt’s Kindly Man found himself Summoned by the Conclave. I grinned and dropped Varys into Shadows. Then I looked at the Ashemark Knight on my board, Edmure Tully on his board, and the Hedge Knight and A House Divided in mine. Thinking that the Knight trait on Edmure might cause me a few issues later in the game, I dropped the Hedge Knight. BUT NOT THE HOUSE DIVIDED. BECAUSE I AM STUPID. I’m positive that this lost me the game.

Varys got rid of the Kindly Man though, that was lols. Then Edmure shuffled him back in. The game was rapidly running away from me. Matt played the Kindly Man again, just as I drew into Arys. I lost, but at least he didn’t get to become an agenda.

So I was 3-2, Sam Burdock had lost to Big Mike, so no one was undefeated and I had a reasonable chance of making it through. In the time between the cut being announced, I played a quick friendly game with Ben, where I hit two Harry the Riverlands, A House Divided and two Condemned by the Councils very early on. It was a short game. Finally they announced the cut, but I was a little too slow getting down stairs so missed my name being read out. I did get paired up for a match though, so I must’ve been in there. Now on to my opponent.

Top 8 – Big Mike – Again

Yes, we were mirroring the mirror match. If anything this was more one sided in Mike’s favour than the previous game. I was well and truly on the ropes, but managed to keep scrapping in the game. I made a huge mistake turn 6 playing Tycho when I knew there was Valar coming next turn. I think it was to trigger Warden of the West, still it was a stupid play with my opponent on eleven or twelve power. Luckily Mike bailed me out by taking Tycho on a journey north with Coldhands, which meant he avoided the Valar next turn.

I recovered from the Valar quicker than Mike did and managed to swing the game back in my favour. And with that I was in the Top Four for the first time ever.

Top 4 – Sam Burdock – Again

I’d love to say that this game went much better second time around. It did not. I was lucky to start with x2 A House Divided, one of which I used to bounced Victarion. Sam then dropped a swarm of Goodbrothers, and I hesitated using the second one, saving it for Victarion next round. Of course, this meant that I’d lose an intrigue challenge that turn, and guess what got pulled? The two Goodbrother’s with intrigue icons proved particularly pesky in this game, as their strength stopped shadows kneel Cersei from doing her thing. ALWAYS USE A HOUSE DIVIDED WHEN YOU HAVE IT IN HAND. ALWAYS.

I kept a reasonable board presence, so never really felt like flipping Valar. Of course this gave Sam the chance to stock up on cancels and saves. So when I did Valar turn 6, there were too many saves on the board for it to make any difference. Sam also completely outplayed me here by flipping Seizing the Prize, so my attempts to cancel the saves with Harrenhal were completely useless. By this point, I had lost, so we went through with the Harrenhal dance anyway. Sam went through to final and got to finish happily in the Top 4.

The Final

The final was contested between Sam and the Bastard of Stokeros, and I was relatively pleased that they were the only guys who’d beaten me all day. The Bastard made an error in turn one and under committed to a military challenge he had to win. Not entirely sure how it happened, but losing the challenge meant that his Northern Cavalry Flank got discarded, his cheap Bolton army switched sides and Asha Greyjou would receive some Quarter, rather than none. Matt tried to keep in the game after that, but it wasn’t to be and Sam pretty much tied things up from there.

With all that wrapped up,  my top 8 finish meant that I had a one in seven chance of winning a playmat. Sam had picked the Greyjoy one, obviously, so the second prize was a mat that matches the core set box art. A lot of the top 8 had already left, and some of them already had the mat, so I was pretty odds on to be the one taking it home, which I did. Look out for it across a table from you at a Thrones tournament soon.

On the way home Ben and I discussed plans for the Manchester meta, how we can grow it and hopefully get a ‘big’ tournament organised in the coming months so look out for that.

photo (3)

What have we learned/thank yous

  • Lanni Knights is a thing, but my version of it probably would be better as No Agenda.
  • Thanks to Eddie & Steve for another great tournament.
  • Ben for driving.
  • Sam for lending me Lego Marvel Superheroes, which is why this TR is slightly late.
  • All my opponents, especially those who I got to play more than once.
  • And finally, you for reading all 2500 words of this.