Hi everyone, I’m Steven Cantrell and I play Thrones in the Atlanta, Georgia area. After reading The Seer and the Snake Parts 1 and 2, I built my own variation of the deck, and despite not having played Baratheon much since Worlds, I enjoyed the deck enough to run it through the rigors of a Store Championship tournament.
And I’m Alex, I’ll be interjecting periodically (in italics to distinguish myself from Steven) because I’m editing this report and can’t help myself. Also, I want to continue The Snake and the Seer article with Steven’s Top 4 performance. Let’s continue looking at our iterative process for deck building and begin another round.
Step Two: Refine
I made a few modifications to Alex’s list because I expected mostly Greyjoy and Lannister in the tournament. I added 2 Bodyguards to hedge against Seastone Chair, and I removed A Game of Thrones (great against Greyjoy but weak to Lannister) for Filthy Accusations.
Steven has glossed over his refinement step, so let’s go through the changes he made.
First, in plots he removed A Game of Thrones, Naval Superiority, and Trading with the Pentoshi for A Clash of Kings, A Noble Cause, and Filthy Accusations. Naval for Clash is a good switch, one I plan to make. Noble Cause vs. Pentoshi is basically a wash, but I am curious to know why Steven chose it.
I wish I could have talked him into keeping A Game of Thrones instead of Filthy Accusations. The synergy between Attainted/Nymeria and A Game of Thrones makes it a good play, even against factions that aren’t weak in that challenge already (Lannister). It can also hard counter Greyjoy or Stark. And even if you can’t shut them out completely, you are at least dictating their order of challenges, which can allow you to get an advantage, especially with kneel and icon removal.
For the characters, he removed a Desert Scavenger, a Nymeria, a Rattleshirt’s Raiders, and a Royal Entourage. He then added three Bastard in Hidings, a Littlefinger, Ser Davos, and a Shireen. He also removed two Hand’s Judgments to make room for the additional characters. This definitely improves setups, but it also weakens some other aspects of the deck (Royal Entourages for going first, an extra Nymeria for the icon removal, the extra Raiders to make up for a lack of Confiscation). You will have to make this kind of decision in your own deck building and ask yourself questions like: “Can I afford bad setups in exchange for more events?” or “Do I need three copies or can I get by with only two?” Steven took the better setup approach, probably a good call.
In attachments, Steven has opted to remove King Robert’s Warhammer, as you know from my report, I never drew them so I have no idea if this was a good idea or not. All I know is that the initial strategy of the deck was to try and play first, so this attachment worked with that idea. Steven replaced them with Bodyguard, not a bad choice and probably necessary since there is no Hand’s Judgment to protect from Tears of Lys or Put to the Sword.
His final change was removing an In Doran’s Name to cut down to 60 cards from 61.
Now that the deck list is set, it is time for him to
Step Three: Dominate (?)
Round 1 vs Patrick, Targaryen Lion
I kept a borderline setup of 8 gold and 4 mediocre characters, with no economy. Patrick setup Khal Drogo, Viserion, and a Roseroad. He marshaled Ser Gregor Clegane quickly, either turn 1 or 2, and pressured my board with multiple military challenges. Patrick had very few intrigue and power icons however, which left me an opening to stay competitive in the game. On turn 3 he played Milk of the Poppy on my Nymeria, but I had a Cressen in hand to marshal next turn and remove the Milk. Unfortunately, Nymeria didn’t survive through the Challenges phase, as Gregor promptly Pillaged my Littlefinger and killed her. I still had potential paths to victory (namely Tears and Melisandre), but they didn’t show up in time.
Round 2 vs Rich, Lanni Dragon
I kept Nymeria, Fiery Followers, and Roseroad, with Kingsroad and 2 Tears in my hand. Rich setup 3 mediocre characters after a mulligan, which is bad luck considering his deck’s super-cheap curve. On the first turn, he saved 3 gold and used Treachery to cancel Nymeria, then Sword to kill her, which I saw coming a mile away but couldn’t prevent. It turned out alright, because Summons found Melisandre to take Nymeria’s place, and I took over the board position, fueled by Red Keep’s draw.
Round 3 vs Alex, Stark Fealty
This was a relatively straight-forward game. After Alex swung and missed with Naval Superiority against my Calm Over Westeroes, Nymeria and Melisandre both hit the table early and stayed there this time. I triggered Tears of Lys on successive turns, killing Rodrick and Robb Stark. Late in the game, Alex managed a cool trick, using Kennel Master to add Grey Wind to a challenge so he could Intimidate my Robert, but it wasn’t enough.
Round 4 vs Josh, Greyjoy Sun
I setup Nymeria with a duplicate and Summoned Melisandre on the second turn, so with their combined efforts I was able to prevent Seastone Chair from doing any significant damage. In the mid-game, Josh drew into too many chuds, and my Robert with Lightbringer took over the game.
Side note: In the other game between 2-win players (winner makes the cut), my first round opponent’s Gregor brutally Pillaged to kill Tyrion one turn and Randyll the next, turning a loss into a win.
Top 4 vs Shayne, Greyjoy Fealty
After setup, I drew into Shireen and 6 locations, attachments, and events (including an Attainted and Lightbringer that were dead cards all game). Shayne opened with Heads on Spikes, pulling Shireen, while I used Summons to look for Melisandre but missed. I used Seen in Flames during challenges to discard his Support of the People, but that left Shayne with We Do Not Sow to blow up my Red Keep. He then drew into every impactful location over the next couple turns – Chair, Great Kraken, and Raiding Longship – despite my attempt to forestall them by discarding Support earlier. Eventually I had too few characters and too little economy to keep up (his Lordsport Shipwright locked out my Kingsroad).
The deck does work, and while there are many subtle decision-points, it can appear “too easy” from your opponent’s perspective. So maybe don’t play it if you’re trying to make friends.
And once the tournament is over, back to
Step Two: Refine
Attainted did great work in my practice matches, but it was a non-factor during most of the tournament. I’m tempted to drop one copy for either Milk of the Poppy (more versatile) or something that would improve setups (maybe another limited location).
On the subject of attachments, the Bodyguards were also less useful than I’d hope because Nymeria isn’t a Lady, so they’re mostly for Melisandre and Robert. I’d cut one in hindsight.
I’m going to interject here and say the loss of A Game of Thrones from the plot deck really makes Attainted less useful, so before removing it, I would try it with that plot first. And making room for Milk of the Poppy is a good idea, I would probably swap the Bodyguard/Warhammer spot(s) for Milk of the Poppy if I play the deck again.
I only marshalled Stannis once during the tournament, and in that instance it was simply for a large renown body (with Lightbringer attached). He might be unnecessary, especially once First Snow hits the meta.
I am in absolute agreement, I had initially thought I’d see a lot of Lord of the Crossing and/or Knights swarm decks and I really like Stannis there since standing only two characters can make it difficult to win three challenges each round or for the knights to have a huge Tourney for the King turn. But, I never saw any of this and neither did Steven, so Stannis was pretty much a dud. This would probably be a good spot for a copy of Syrio, Littlefinger, Davos, Arianne, etc.
Thanks to Buz and Alex for providing me with the inspiration, and thank you for reading. Cheers!