Hi all, here we are again – another weekly Joust tournament wrapup from Good Games Blackburn. Another fairly small field – only 7 players again, which is a real shame only two weeks out from the first of three local regional events. We had a field of 3 Starks (1 Brotherhood, 2 Siege), 2 Greyjoy (Maester’s, Treaty with the South), and 2 Martell (1 Summer, 1 KOTHH). Not as much variety as normal, but some pretty interesting builds represented nonetheless.

This week I opted to pilot a Greyjoy Choke build. My friend Andrew piloted a version of it last week to some success – I made some serious tweaks after running into some issues with it. My initial concern was that I was overly focused to early game choke and that this created avenues for opponent’s to exploit. I had been working on a Maester’s Path version because of the flexibility – after reading the article on CardGameDB, I was able to really develop that idea. You can really see the influence, especially in my choice of chains. I will be making some changes there, but I’m not entirely sure what will switch around yet.

My first match was against Gav’s Stark Brotherhood deck. He piloted another Brotherhood build (out of Bara) a couple weeks back and that was a fearsome build – nonetheless, I knew what I was playing was downright scary, so I liked the matchup. He struggled early and I was able to apply the choke pretty early on. I don’t recall the matchup too clearly, but from the first turn I had a Burned and Pillaged, The Sparr and it was Winter… essentially preventing him from ever really developing his board. Given that he really wanted a couple of key 4-cost characters, it wasn’t really happening.

My second match was against Andrew, playing Stark Siege. This was a horrible game for Andrew – he passed on a decent four drop setup, looking for better… and, of course, if you turn your nose up at a 4-drop, you end up with Blackfish and Carrion Birds only. Yeowch. He opened with Forgotten Plans to protect against Fear of Winter, but I led with Search and Detain and bounced Blackfish. That pretty much sums up our game – he never had a chance to develop his game and it wrapped up fast.

The final match was against Jason’s Stark Siege. Was quite a fun matchup – I enjoy both sides of the Choke v. Siege match. It was also quite an odd game – my start was pretty horrible; I just couldn’t find any locations. I did however have a few good characters – 2 boatswains and 2 wintertime marauders – and I was able to make it winter and stick a burned and pillaged on a location. I couldn’t push military, but I could push power and that allowed me to discard some of his non-unique troops from the board. Because I had no ability to develop my position, I opted to go ‘all-in’ and try and develop a board position lead, hoping that he would have decided against running Valar as I have in my own siege  build. With this strategy, I did manage to pull ahead in troops and I had enough choke effects to prevent him getting away from me in terms of economy: a Newly Made Lord and a Pyromancer’s Apprentice gave me some claim soak and also killed some economy locations. Nonetheless, he had 2 Frozen Outposts, a Frozen Moat and Jumpin’ Cat in his hand, so keeping in the game was tough.

At this point my fears were realised when he Valar’d my board, leaving me with no cards in play. A sad situation for the Greyjoys… lucky for me, however, he didn’t have the cheap characters to follow up his Valar, despite having a pretty sizeable hand. He had drawn his heavier hitters and the -2 gold effects were keeping him from capitalising on my weakness. At this point I was behind on power and in cards on board, but I was able to start to turn things around. My draws were better post-valar and I was able to start laying down some locations and I had a reasonably steady stream of characters.  As I took the advantage I realised that, to my horror, in the next couple turns I’d be forced to Valar it all away and let him back into the game. Luckily I was able to realise what was inevitable, so I started to squirrel away for the future – and when my own Valar came (7th plot), I had plenty to bounce back with. As a result, I managed to wrap up a very close fought game in the final few minutes.

Final standings were:

1 – Greyjoy Maester’s Path
2 – Stark Siege of Winterfell
3 - Stark Brotherhood Without Banners
4 – Greyjoy Treaty with the South (this was a really really cool deck – basically centred around pushing unopposed challenges across with icon control)
5 – Martell Kings of Summer
6 – Stark Siege of Winterfell
7 – Martell KOTHH

My list:

House Greyjoy
The Maester’s Path

Valar Morghulis
At The Gates
Winter Festival
Take Them By Surprise
Fear of Winter
Search and Detain
A Time for Ravens

A quick note on plots – this list changed wildly from my original plot list (which was, incidentally, identical to Jayke’s plots from the Tulsa regional). Originally I had Rule By Decree and Blockade in and opted to take them out – I’m still really unhappy with my plot selections overall. There’s definitely some more to get out of them.  Finding the right balance with plots is absolutely key – I think I need to really spend some time thinking about the kinds of matchups that are like to give this deck problems and plot against those. There’s definitely wiggle room.

3x Oldtown Scholar
Maester Aemon
Maester Murenmure
Maester Wendamyr
2x The Conclave
2x Samwell Tarly
3x Carrion Bird
3x Distinguished Boatswain
3x Island Refugee
1x Pyromancer’s Apprentice
2x Newly Made Lord
2x Ice Fisherman
3x Wintertime Marauders
2x The Sparr (this guy is an absolute boss)
Gylbert Farwynd
Baelor Blacktyde
Asha Greyjoy

2x Support of the Kingdom
2x Risen from the Sea

2x Bay of Ice
2x The Iron Mines
River Blockade
Flea Bottom
Street of Sisters
Shadowblack Lane
Street of Steel
Aeron’s Chambers
3x Gatehouse

2x White Raven
3x Burned and Pillaged
Tin Link
Pale Steel Link (an absolutely incredible card. I need to play with this in more decks!)
Iron Link (never useful)
Bronze Link
Valyrian Steel Link
Gold Link

In general, the deck is very good at what it needs to be good at – but I think some careful changes could position it better against potentially unfavourable matchups. I could drop the Iron Link and not miss it, so that is a very easy change to make. I think I could make use of some more events and Risen from the Sea is fantastic.

In any event, some things to think about. Also of note…

…got my Covenant House Pack! Aside from now being able to really build the Dothraki deck that I’ve been playing around with I also got a bitchin’ Team Covenant Temporary Tattoo. Now *that* is production values.