A Bridge Too Far

So I am pretty excited to report that I came out of semi-retirement and made it into the Covenant Store Tulsa for the weekly Game of Thrones event. I had to get some more testing in for regionals and attempt to actually PLAY the game once in awhile now that our online options are fewer than they were. In Tulsa, we do one round of melee before the jousts, which meant a new melee deck build for me.

I really love melee, but usually I try to build decks that amuse me rather than super-efficient lists. For this week, that meant a Lannister Kneel deck with some trickiness tucked away. I used House of Dreams as the agenda and set up Casterly Rock along with a few weenie characters. Penny, Joffrey (PotS) I think was my setup and it didn’t get a ton better after that in terms of economy. Fortunately, my first marshalling phase dropped Jhalabhar Xho (the old one) who keeps your opponents from collecting renown power. Going against two Bara Knights decks meant that their win condition was going to be a lot harder to reach. I also quickly had two Queen’s Knights and a Castellan, kneeling three dudes every marshalling to go with Penny and my Distractions. It was pretty fun, and my esteemed opponent to my right ended up getting so demoralized that I was able to push to the win via some unopposed challenges. I think we went five plots, and the fact that neither of them had a Valar was pretty key. With my melee win assured, I headed into the joust with a good chance to collect the Stark power tokens, which were the prize for the evening.

For the Joust rounds, I was torn between my Martell revenge/Quentyn/Knights of the Realm deck, but I thought with actual prizes on the line I would go ahead and play Targaryen, as usual. Sometimes I feel like it’s cheating to use my jumper deck, but I have been playing it before it was cool, so why should I give up now that it’s powerful? I guess you could say I’m something of a Hollow Hill Hipster, amirite?

But because I love ridiculous tech, and because I needed to replace the card advantage from the Lances/Street Waif combo (I used Hatchling’s Feast as my restricted) I am trying out an attachment-heavy build, utilizing Flame-kissed, Harried by Dragons and…..Greyscale to give me more terminal effects. I’ve included Lady Daenerys’s Chambers x2 and the new Captain Groleo to add card advantage. Then, I tried some experimental plots from my last blog post about card advantage tech. I don’t necessarily want to point anyone to the time stamp on that blog, but it does advocate for Waste Their Time before the World Champion included that to good effect in his winning deck. Just sayin.

The other cards in that blog that I call attention to are Shores of Ny Sar and On Dagger Lake. These create card advantage for you, which is EXACTLY what Hollow Hill builds need more than anything else. I lost one restricted plot slot and, with the crimping of setups via the restriction of refugees, tossed out First Snow of Winter and went ahead and included a suite of River plots–Shores, Dagger Lake, and At the Palace of Sorrow. I always get that confused with Above the Sorrow, but it’s the one that puts a card from play on your deck and your opponent does the same. I’ve been telling Steven that that card is great when you have come-into-play effects, such as Dragon Thief, Dragon Knight, or Newly Made Lord for the non-Targs (or splashers) among us.

I matched up with Sara’s Power Behind the Throne in round one, and I think that’s just a horrid matchup for Lannister. Her Enslaveds are always easily discarded, and, unless she can push through two 2-claim intrigues on round one, it’s too easy to use the burn to punish the drawback on the agenda. I Marched Cersei to the Wall and it was basically over. In fairness to Sara, basically everything went right for me that game. Play of the day? Flood Waters to repeat At the Palace of Sorrow and further clear her board. Who says Targs don’t have location control!

That put me against Sean and his Stark Nobles. Since Sean (rightly) fears burn, he’s got several attachments in there, including Crown of Winter and Ramsey’s Hunting Dogs, making it hard to burn out his key guys. With the renown and Power of Blood and cancel Eddard, it was a tough slog. I waited patiently, blocked unopposed challenges, and let him burn his two plots. Then, round five I Valared and had him topdecking. Unfortunately, I only drew into one Eastern Fiefdom and no other resource cards all game and Sean didn’t help me out by making any mistakes. That meant he could creep slowly towards the win condition while my board remained clear since I had too many expensive cards in there. MVP cards for him? Winterfell Training Yard and Isle of Faces. He ended up topdecking the one still-living Noble that he had and pushed through for the win. I’m sure that given one or two more plots I would’ve turned it around, but I did not do so. Good job to him even though I’ve been mad about it for sixteen hours now. Play of the Day on my side? Three Harried by Dragons and a Greyscale on Eddard on my Threat turn, making him useless! Not that it mattered.

I’m basically in love with my plot deck and won’t change it ever. I am less convinced by my attachment suite. I never used Groleo, Lady Dany’s Chambers hardly fired (though that was more a function of running out of resources, perhaps) and I need to reduce the overall curve of the deck. The moral of the story here, though, is that nothing beats playing Thrones against Real People over the table. I should do it more often!