We Don’ Need No Stinkin’ Allies! – Lanny Trait Manipulation

Over the past couple weeks here the TC website has had much discussion regarding whether ally characters are playable, whether condition attachments should be played, and how many duplicates you should run of unique characters. Well I’m not going to throw any more fuel on those fires. However, those discussions have inspired me to revisit my Lannister Trait Manipulation deck that I had built and played during last year’s Regional season. With all the new goodies that Lanny has received over the past couple months I figured is there really a better time to consider playing these scheming Lions of Lannister?

So, the first thought for the deck is that I don’t want to rely on any one card for the trait manipulation. Like any other tournament level deck you need to have multiple ways to accomplish your goal. The goal for this deck being to manipulate the traits on opponent’s characters and to punish him for having those traits. Seeing as how there’s not really an abundance of trait hate cards in the environment you will also need other forms of control. Something that Lannister has in spades with their kneel effects. But first thing’s first…where to start with the main theme.

The Maester’s Path is a great agenda to start with. It gives you immediate access to Copper Link, one of the main cards that we will use to add traits to opponents characters. It will also give access to other great attachments with effects that Lannister does not normally have access to such as attachment discard, str reduction, and icon manipulation. We won’t use all of the chains available, but the best ones that are suited for the task as hand. For now we’ll plan on Copper Link, Valyrian Steel Link, Bronze Link, Steel Link, Pale Steel Link, Lead Link and Tin Link.

To run the Maester’s Path you will obviously need Maester characters. The number of chains you put on the agenda will determine how many Maester characters you will need to run. For this deck just a few will suffice, and Lanny has access to some really nice ones.  So we’ll go with Maester Creylen, Grand Maester Pycell, and Qyburn. For some neutral help we’ll go with Oldtown Scholar, and The Conclave. Both of which are nice characters. The Scholar being a good cheap option that will help setup and the gold curve and The Conclave being a high STR character with a good ability that gets cheaper the more maesters you have on the board. Also, no Maester deck would be complete without Maester Aemon(Core).


Now that we have a good base from where to start, we need more manipulation. Let’s go with a nice combo that I used to great effect last year: You Killed the Wrong Dwarf and Lion’s Gate. This will turn any non-Noble character into a great target for Dissension or Aerys Oakheart. Another solid card that we can use here is Old Nan. Yes she is out of house and will cost 4 gold but for this deck(and Lannister in general) it will be OK. There will probably a few OOH cards in this deck so we’ll use Alliance to nullify some of those gold penalties when we need it. Lastly is another good plot card for this archetype – The Songs of Bael the Bard. With this, once again you can give any non-Noble the trait of your choice. Good for when you need an ally for KL Varys as the Songs lasts the entire round.

Lastly, time to throw in the control cards that will help you to win the game. Dissension is the cream of the crop here, allowing you to discard 2 Refugees or 1 Ally during Marshaling. A House Divided is a new card for Lannister that allows you to put a character back on top of your opponent’s deck whenever they play a character with a matching trait. This can be great against certain houses like Bara where they will be playing lots of Lord characters, or if you opponent is playing an agenda such as TMP or either of the North agendas. Just anticipate what they will play and give that trait during the marshaling phase. Abandoned Fort is another card from House Stark that lets you return an attacking House Bolton character to it’s owner’s hand. It can be very good as a way to force your opponent to over commit characters to a challenge and since you will be able to make any attacker a House Bolton at will, this is a no-brainer.  Then we’ll stick in the staples that have been mentioned earlier: KL Varys, Aerys Oakheart, and maybe even Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis for added uncancellable discard. This should be the bulk of the trait manipulation in the deck, now just stick in some standard Lanny kneel effects and let’s see what we came up with.


Lanny Trait Hate

House (1)
House Lannister (Core) x1

Agenda (1)
The Maester’s Path (GotC) x1

Character (32)
Brothel Gurad (LotR) x2
Old Nan (BoRF) x2
Carrion Bird (ASoS) x3
Enemy Informer (Core) x3
Grand Maester Pycelle (Core) x1
Lannisport Steward (Core) x2
Lannisport Weaponsmith (Core) x2
Maester Aemon (Core) x1
Maester Creylen (FtC) x1
Mountain Refugee (RoW) x3
Oldtown Scholar (FtC) x2
Qyburn (SaS) x1
Ser Amory Lorch (LotR) x1
Ser Arys Oakheart (PotS) x1
Ser Jaime Lannister (TftH) x1
Tommen Baratheon (SA) x1
Varys (SaS) x1
The Conclave (CbtC) x2
Daario Naharis (WLL) x1
Ser Jorah Mormont (WLL) x1

Location (18)
Abandoned Fort (RoR) x2
Golden Tooth Mines (Core) x3
Lannisport Brothel (Core) x1
Lannisport Treasury (LotR) x2
Lion’s Gate (ASoS) x3
Queen Cersei’s Chambers (Core) x1
River Row (QoD) x1
Shadowblack Lane (Core) x1
Street of Sisters (Core) x1
The Goldroad (Core) x3

Event (9)
Dissension (QoD) x3
A House Divided (WLL) x3
You’ve Killed the Wrong Dwarf! (Core) x3

Attachment (10)
Pyromancer’s Cache(TWot5K) x3
Bronze Link (FtC) x1
Copper Link (GotC) x1
Pale Steel Link (FtC) x1
Steel Link (TIoR) x1
Tin Link (CbtC) x1
Valyrian Steel Link (HtS) x1
Lead Link (CbtC) x1

Plot (7)
Alliance (PotS) x1
At the Gates (GotC) x1
Retaliation! (ASoSilence) x1
Search and Detain (HtS) x1
Valar Morghulis (Core) x1
The Songs of Bael the Bard (AKitN) x1
Fortified Position (LoW) x1

Now this is just a rough draft of course. It’s sitting at 62 cards right now so there is still some fat to be trimmed. It still needs play testing to see the validity of some of the new cards. Anyone out there feel free to throw this together and test if for yourself! If you do, let me know how things go.

  1. Very interesting. I like the idea of trait manipulation in general. I’ve considered the maesters path several times but always end up shying away. Have you ever used it before?

    I’m always curious how quick you can get all those links off of your house card. It does get you access to some nice abilities.

  2. Yeah I’ve built Mester decks out of every house. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses but they are generally very strong. Other than summer and winter it’s the strongest agenda you can play. The number of chains you play on the agenda will determine to a great extent how long it takes to get those chains off of there. Typically if you run 5-7 chains it should take no more than 3-4 rounds if the deck is built well enough. Just be careful not to run too many chains cause when that last maester dies and you still have a chain on there you can’t win

    Definitely try out TMP it’s alot of fun to build around.

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  3. This looks like a sweet deck. It makes perfect use of the cards we’ve been discussing, especially Dissension.

    Old Nan is just insane. That card can be abused 5 ways from Sunday. If it were Neutral, things would be intense. Oh how I wish she were Greyjoy. The things I could do…

    You’ve convinced me to put together a TMP deck to see how it works and what it’s all about. Is there an easy, default decklist to get used to the agenda? Doesn’t matter which house.

  4. Yeah i had a greyjoy maester deck built a couple months back. I can whip up a deck list for you after i get home from work. If i remember correctly it had some really nice combos in i involving playing pyromancer’s cache for free and playing burned and pillage mid challenge phase and bypassing the limited drawback.

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  5. @steven – Here is an updated deck list for a Greyjoy Maester deck that I was using a few months back. It’s got new stuff in it and a few nice combos. Since you play Greyjoy I’ll let you look it over and see if you can spot them. I’ll give you one… use the Copper Link to give your opponent’s locations the Kingdom Trait and then steal that location with Mance Rayder. 🙂

    Greyjoy Maesters

    House (1)
    House Greyjoy (Core) x1

    Agenda (1)
    The Maester’s Path (GotC) x1

    Character (34)
    Asha Greyjoy (WLL) x1
    Baelor Blacktyde (TIoR) x1
    Balon Greyjoy (KotS) x1
    Carrion Bird (ASoS) x3
    Craster (WotN) x1
    Distinguished Boatswain (TftRK) x3
    Euron Crow’s Eye (TGM) x1
    Ice Fisherman (TWoW) x2
    Island Refugee (RoW) x3
    Maester Aemon (Core) x1
    Maester Murenmure (CbtC) x1
    Maester Wendamyr (KotS) x2
    Newly Made Lord (TftH) x3
    Oldtown Scholar (FtC) x2
    The Conclave (CbtC) x2
    Theon Greyjoy (WLL) x1
    Wex Pyke (KotS) x1
    Wintertime Marauders (ACoS) x3
    The Sparr (APS) x1
    Mance Rayder (TWoW) x1

    Location (17)
    Aeron’s Chambers (KotS) x1
    Gatehouse (KotS) x3
    Longship Iron Victory (KotS) x2
    River Blockade (RoR) x1
    River Row (QoD) x1
    Street of Silk (LotR) x1
    Street of Sisters (Core) x1
    Street of Steel (Core) x1
    The Iron Mines (KotS) x3
    The Inn of the Kneeling Man (FtC) x2
    The Searoad (KotStorm) x1

    Event (3)
    Risen from the Sea (KotS) x3

    Attachment (16)
    Pyromancer’s Cache (TWot5K) x3
    White Raven (TWoW) x2
    Valyrian Steel Link (HtS) x1
    Tin Link (CbtC) x1
    Steel Link (TIoR) x1
    Pale Steel Link (FtC) x1
    Gold Link (TIoR) x1
    Burned and Pillaged (FtC) x3
    Bronze Link (FtC) x1
    Brass Link (HtS) x1
    Apprentice Collar (GotC) x1

    Plot (7)
    At the Gates (GotC) x1
    Retaliation! (ASoSilence) x1
    Search and Detain (HtS) x1
    The Winds of Winter (TWoW) x1
    Valar Morghulis (Core) x1
    Loyalty Money Can Buy (QoD) x1
    A Time for Ravens (ACoS) x1

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  6. I’m surprised no Horn of Dragons + Copper Link? That’s what I was looking at the most. Of course I’ll have to cut a lot of the 1x but thanks for the template!

    Now if only it was possible to find a Winds of Winter chapter pack. I literally can’t run winter because it’s simply unavailable.

  7. You don’t happen to play on OCTGN do you? I’ve been playing a bunch there. Would love to do some playtesting… although maybe a week off after regionals… 😛 – 2 regionals this weekend, Friday night joust… 2 weeks off then another regional. Thrones!

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  8. I’m on a Mac… So no octgn for me. 🙁 sorry bro! But i would love to playtest with you in the event that i LOSE MY MIND and put windows on my Macbook. 😛

    I do lots of playtesting for thrones already. But i’m guessing we’re not referring to the same kind of testing. 😉

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  9. Whew. That looks like one mean list bro. Wish I was in TN… would love to play against that just to see it in operation.

    I may have to try it here sometime… but need the hate to dissipate. Need to keep the game fun for my friends! They don’t want to play me when I’m playing burn anymore. 😀

    Hence… Dothraki testing! They get to win some games because I’m throwing all sorts of crap in to see what it does and how I can tune the deck. Then they see Incinerate and say – WHAT!? What’s Targ without at least ONE Burn card?

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  10. Would love to sometime… we’ll have to see how things move forward. Wife and three kids… the idea of traveling with me so I can play Thrones doesn’t exactly appeal to them 🙂 (Well, technically, it appeals to me eldest daughter, who’s 8, but she loves anything that requires strategy and thinking.)

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  11. Well since you specifically called me out I feel compelled to comment.

    This is Sick. And Awesome.

    I wonder how many useful non-uniques will be soon available to run. It seems popular to run 1-of uniques and 3-of nonuniques because of the dead pile, but I wonder if this won’t give you even fewer options vs. Targ. Maybe they’ll have to restrict Hatchling’s Feast and Illyrio if it gets too wacky.

    Rhaenys’ Hill is already ridiculous, and this just takes it to the next level.

    The only criticism I can level is economy–I’m sure you know better than me, but it seems gold-lite, especially for the Thundering Cavalry. With all the Ambush I’m sure it’ll work, but how are you planning to run those Cavalries out there?

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  12. Yeah – I’m feeling like we’re going to start seeing a lot of talk about Targ in the coming months… much of it negative (except for those of us who know she’s the True Queen and it’s only fitting that all others bow before her).

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  13. Au contraire… Not when it comes to allegiance to a king or queen… They’re more than willing to pledge fealty only to tunr their backs when it becomes obvious they’re backing the losing side… then they’re more than happy to even kill the current ruler.

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  14. Yeah, redundancy is key when it comes to Martell shadows. If you don’t draw Black Cells or Ghaston Grey(unlikely), you can still get A Game of Cyvasse, Prince’s Wrath, or any other slew of the deck’s control elements. Same goes for the Rush element of the deck. Well, I say rush, but what I really mean is the closers are redundant. Arianne, Tyrion, The Viper, Southron Mercs, Arys Oakheart, Darkstar, Ellaria, Doran all have Renown. So any of these can help win the game faster. Tyrion, Viper, and the Mercs all facilitate this even further. That being said, it’s still slow. lol

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  15. Yea sounds great to me. I’ve actually got a Lanni shadows deck that my girlfriend Sara is starting to play. So I’m definately curious to see what you have in mind for Lanni. In mine, I’ve included kneel elements to try to slow her opponent down so she’ll have more time to set up the pieces.

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  16. I’m glad there seems to be a decent amount of interest in the Lanny build(maybe I should have done that one first?…nah!)

    I’ll give you a teaser…my Lanny Shadows deck doesn’t run the CoS agenda. So that means no OOH shadow cards. 🙂 I’ll probably post it up in the middle of the week sometime.

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  17. Always fun to play Thrones! Well, I started a game with the deck, but another game ended and it was time to switch around some players, so we called it at that point.

    During that game, the draw was slow – I Mull’d the first draw (only 2 card drop) and then got a 3 card drop with nothing but expensive cards left in hand… just a bad draw, really. I did open with City of Lies to get two more cards out of my hand (one being VB – so that was nice, but the opponent only had a single 2 STR on field which I quickly eliminated).

    After that I just couldn’t get a good board position. I was facing a Stark Siege deck that had Blackfish and Jory in play and he dropped Take Them By Surprise first round, so he was able to take first challenges (and they had Meera in shadows which he used to great effect).

    He did get unlucky and pulled Darkstar on his Intrigue challenge (which was awesome). But we only finished Turn 2 before we called it and he had 6 power to my 2. (Darkstar was the only MIL icon I had out and he used Meera to stealth him every time).

    On the second game I played with the deck later that night – it won on Turn 4 against a Lanni PbtT deck. It wasn’t really a contest on that deck though. They kept pulling out 1 STR weenies and I kept killing them and either Knelt or nuked the icons on their Shadows Tyrion and Cersei… they just couldn’t pull any characters other than that… it went 15-0 as I kept winning Intrigue challenges and power challenges – they’d grab power, I’d take it back and grab more.

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