If you live in Tulsa, I’m sure you remember that last summer we set a record for 16 days in a row over 100 degrees (for our Australian readers, that roughly translates as a lot of degrees Celsius). That Global Warming will get you every time. As we round into this year’s hot season, I thought I would celebrate with a Targ Summer deck concept. I may as well share the deck concept and get some discussion and insight going from the masses, but I’d also like to talk about my thought process in creating it as well as what I’m hoping to achieve with each new deck and each card I add. So it’s a micro-look at a deck as well as a macro-look at deckbuilding overall, I guess.
To start with, I always seem to get fascinated with a card or two and try to center a concept around them. I’ve already built one focusing on Pike Phalanx and Incinerate!, and, as expressed above, this particular one will look at Summer as a theme for Targ. Summer unlocks some great options, including Field of Fire, one of the strongest burn cards in the game. As a drawback, it costs 2 influence and it affects ALL characters in a challenge, not just those of your opponent. However, it is not limited in its scope to one or two characters and it comes with its own terminal effect, making it perhaps comparable to Hatchling’s Feast. Including both of these cards meant that I needed a lot of influence to run them.
Looking at the influence that I needed to drop my events, I got to thinking: What if I just threw gold out the window and tried to run my whole deck from influence instead? Also, I’m limited in the number of chapter packs that I pick up at a given time, so that enforces some creativity in choice. For this deck, though, Tales from the Red Keep netted the Red Keep (3 influence) as well as the Dragonpit and Syrio Forel to help fuel it.
The Red Keep made it realistic to try to run an influence-heavy resource curve, but I needed characters to really make the deck go–all decks do. So what characters can I get with influence?
Well, in a word, Dragons. This works well with Field of Fire as my dragons are unaffected by that card. Further, the hatchlings from the Queen of Dragons box are shadow cards, important for the Dragonpit’s requirement. Unfortunately, dragons are expensive and really tilt the resource curve required way up. They almost necessitate running 3x Danaerys Targaryen, as if she gets out the dragons are really tough to deal with. I’ve run dragons in melee for some time now, but never in joust so I’m interested to see how they do.
It’s tough to get all the influence you need for your burn and your dragons at one time, so I just stuck almost every influence-bearing card possible in the deck: 3x Summer Sea, 3x Eastern Fiefdom, 3x Kingsroad Fiefdom, Volantis, 2x Red Keep, Khal Drogo’s Tent–whew! I also added 2x Myrish Villa to take advantage of the Summer reduction.
With this influence-heavy, gold-light strategy, I needed characters who fit the bill. 3x Dragon Thief was a good start. 3x Advisor to the Crown is also a necessity as they each add 2 more influence. I considered Queen’s Knight, but decided against it as they would fall out of play too quickly. I added Magister Illyrio to get some ancillary benefit from this ambush technique. Syrio Forel also adds to this, hopping in and out of shadows every challenge phase.
Filling out the events and attachments was more burn. 2x Forever Burning adds recursive burn, 2x Flame Kissed and 3x Harried by Dragons each give more Ambush options. Add Lady Dany’s Chambers for recursion and Xaro’s Home for influence based draw and you have something. I’m using the Summer agenda, Xaro’s Home, Gilly, and Val for draw. Gilly may just be the best 0-cost card in the game, actually. You can’t leave home without your draw. I also like LDC as it can recur a Raven if it gets discarded. Since I only have part of a Summer pack, I will take all the protection I can get.
Probably the toughest cut was Ser Barristan Selmy. One of my favorites from the books, his newest iteration is strong, allowing targeted burn and a kill effect. However, his 4-cost was just too much for the resources to bear. He had to go. I’m also looking for a spot for Daario Naharis, but our meta isn’t filled with Knights at the moment.
So here is what I have come up with so far (looking below, it’s actually slightly outdated, but it will give the feel of it):
Plots are a problem. For one, I don’t actually own At the Gates. So I had to cut it. I also am crying out for a 2-claim plot, but none in my pool seem to fit. I almost went for Focused Offense, but I actually decided to try Above the Sorrows with Shores of Ny Sar–a little River plot action. Summoning Season isn’t the best ever for Joust, but Dany is probably worth it. Retaliation! would be a good choice, and maybe Twist of Fate or even Breaking and Entering may help. I may also need a Valar as the deck is so slow. Thoughts here are coveted.
I tested this deck twice today, and both times was hammered. Setup was slow, with only 3 cards once and 4 once. That’s a problem. Also, the deck is super vulnerable to location control, especially River Blockade, Newly Made Lord, and Maester Muremure. That was a tough run-in. However, I think the deck showed enough to keep going with it.
Thoughts for the future tweaks: 1. Is Summer agenda the way to go or do I go for Knights of the Hollow Hill to help address my resource problem? 2. Do I need a different character focus altogether, dropping the dragons? Or can something like this work? 3. Do I have too many attachments/events? Should I cut Forever Burning and replace with resources or weenies, or maybe even swap for Incinerate! and go for raw power?
Thanks for reading, and for commenting. I hope you’ve enjoyed it!