As my many fans will know, I love playing Targaryen. I also have largely used the strategy of having someone else build my decks so far. I think that this has gone far enough and it’s time to strike out on my own and see what I can do. We’ve been having a decent turnout at local tournament night (Thursdays in Tulsa, FYI) and I’d like to see what I can do on my own two feet. (your comments below excepted, of course).

So I knew I wanted to run Targaryen, and, as I won a Valar Morghulis Chapter Pack for my win last week at the Team Covenant Tournament, I thought I would like to include Incinerate. I think this is an awesome card, and I flipped through my Targ cards to see what trait I could feature. I don’t have many Dothraki, so they were out, but I did have a decent number of Armies, Mercenaries, and Allies. I further noted that many of them featured War Crests. Is there something there that can synergize around those crests?

Well, looky there: Pike Phalanx. This card lets you raise your claim for the entire PHASE when you declare Pike Phalanx as an attacker with a War Crest character. Not too bad. If I could go first often and run some claim-2 plots (rising to claim 3) it wouldn’t take too long to grab the elusive 15 power that I needed. I did some thinking, and put this list together. I’ll admit it still needs focus and a look at the resource curve, but I think I’ll post the true early version rather than the one with the tweaks I want to make.

Note: my cardpool is 2x Core, Lords of Winter, Kings of the Sea, Queen of Dragons, War of the Five Kings, Ancient Enemies, Refugees of War, Defenders of the North (entire cycle), Valar Morghulis and Tourney for the Hand. My plan to expand is probably to buy the new one as it comes out and work backwards, buying about one a month or so. Tale of Champions seemed like a good start as they have some awesome characters in there for all the houses. Without Further Ado, the list:

House Targaryen

Heir to the Iron Throne

Plots (7)

Siege of Riverrun

Take them by Surprise

Fury of the Dragon (restricted)

Threat from the East

Muster the Realm

Power of Arms (x2)

Characters (32)

Queen Danaerys’s Horde

Jorah’s Cohorts x3

Ser Barristan Selmy x3

Khal Drogo (QoD) x2

Randyl Tarly x2

Pike Phalanx x3

Jhogo

Danaerys Targaryen

Magister Illyrio

Dragon Thief x3

Hired Swords x2

Jack of All Trades x3

Horseback Archers x2

Green Hatchling

Brown Ben Plumm

Refugee of the Plains x3

Locations (17)

Training Grounds

High Ground (x2)

Plaza of Pride

Khal Drogo’s Tent

Great Pyramid x2

Volantis

Street of Sisters

Street of Steel

Temple of the Graces x2

Summer Sea x2

Events (11)

Incinerate! x3

Ambush From the Plains x3

Die by the Sword x3

Support of the Kingdom x2

So that’s the list. In testing, it’s done OK. It beat a Clansmen deck (which is a tough deck) twice but lost to the Power Behind the Throne build. It also beat a Stark Army. However, there are some things I need to take a look at. Basically, I try to win initiative and lean on the opponent, standing armies with High Ground and using Ambush from the Plains to bring in big armies as needed, another use for the initiative on the plots and the Bays of Ice. Three claim 2 plots is a boon, and the high gold on a few others is necessary to marshall everything.

1. Bay of Ice can give its benefit to an opponent. I did not realize that when I stuck it in there. I’ll have to look at that, but the weakness in the deck is certainly draw. Khal Drogo has a pseudo-draw effect, but I need something more reliable. Like Summer, maybe, but I don’t want to sell plasma to afford the pack.

2. Intrigue is a huge weakness. I have a few Intrigue characters in there for defense, but I need a better look at how to handle this.

3. I need more influence in the deck. I need to be assured of triggering Incinerate! and ambushing characters if need be. I probably need to up a Summer Sea and probably an Eastern Fiefdom or two.

4. Volantis doesn’t kneel to reduce and is an influence, but it’s unreliable at best.

5. I may be adding Where Loyalty Lies to the pool, so Jorah and Daario will have a good home here in the deck.

6. Is six targeted kill events too many? Should I take out some Die By the Sword for Price of War? Or something else entirely? Our meta isn’t too location-heavy, so I’m not sure about this one….

7. Free Man is a good fit here as a weenie. I may add a few of him as well. (He stands a War Crest upon leaving play)

Well there it is, with all its warts and flaws. I’d love to hear your thoughts!