Hi everyone, and welcome to another installment of The White Harbor Times! This week I’d like to do something a little different and discuss a deck I took to a Store Championship this weekend: Targaryen, The Lord of the Crossing!
Like most Thrones players, when new packs come out, I spend some time with my buddies talking about how they will fit into the existing card pool. The Lord of the Crossing (LotC) is the first agenda released since the core set, and it offers a new way to build and play decks. Naturally there was a lot of discussion about which factions could use it the best. LotC requires an even spread of challenge icons among your characters, since without the ability to initiate three challenges per turn, the agenda only offers a downside. Similarly, it also benefits from cards that allow additional challenges to be made, as this offers more flexibility in ordering your challenges and mitigating the -1 STR on the first challenge. Since winning the third challenge is so important, LotC also likes cards that can manipulate challenge math or can help to win challenges unexpectedly. Additionally, it’s a nice addition to decks that can run out of Fealty but might be a bit slow to close.
Tyrell seemed the obvious choice to many when the agenda was spoiled, given their decent icon spread and the ability to make additional challenges using Olenna’s Informant. Lannister has been popular as well. However, when we were discussing what house to use, I said, “Why not Targ?” As a frequent Baratheon player, I know the typical icon spread for each house. If there are two INT/POW characters on the board and a MIL/POW character, which one do you kneel? Without considering other factors, you should kneel the MIL/POW character—not because of the icon specifically, but because it’s useful to create challenge holes. Leaving the opponent with some options in each icon doesn’t do much. Going back to Targ, I know that even playing kneel it’s difficult to create holes in the Targ opponent’s board. They just have too even of an icon spread. Targaryen also has this guy: Khal Drogo.
Khal Drogo’s ability means that the Targ LotC player can initiate an extra challenge each turn, making it easier to arrange your challenges so that you win the third and claim that extra power. Furthermore, one of Targ’s best cards, Dracarys!, helps to win challenges by burning away defenders if necessary. Finally, unless they get optimal, multi-card combos like Daenerys Targaryen with Rhaegal and Drogon, or Khal Drogo and a Seal of the Hand, Targ Fealty decks, while strong, can sometimes be slow to close. With all of that in mind, Britt and I decided to make a Targ LotC deck.
Note: we’ve started calling these decks Lotsee decks (rhymes with Yahtzee). Doesn’t it just roll off the tongue?
Since we already had a Targaryen Fealty deck put together, we started with that. Both the original deck and the new LotC deck are posted on ThronesDB.
The Fealty deck had 34 characters which was okay for most decks, but we reasoned that in a LotC deck you would want more. We swapped a Drogon for a Magister Illyrio (more icons, plus stand) and added a Ser Jorah Mormont, who we planned to play aggressively, even winning all three challenges with him and discarding as long as we had another copy in hand. We increased our Unsullied to 3x, thinking that their passive ability could help mitigate the downside of the LotC agenda on the first challenge. We dropped a Plaza of Punishment and a Fire and Blood to make room for these characters, leaving us at 2x of each. Finally, we decided that Wildfire Assault didn’t make sense for a LotC deck and we replaced it with Winds of Winter for some sweet 2-claim.
Britt played the deck at a local tournament (not an SC) and went undefeated (3-0) in a field of 8 players, defeating me playing Baratheon-Banner of the Lion in the finals (thanks, hun!). Although I was disappointed that I didn’t win, I thought it was cool that a deck we had made as a what-if had done so well. However, it was a small field, so the true test would have to come in two weeks, when we returned to Battleground Games and Hobbies in Plainville, Massachusetts for a Store Championship.
I took the deck to the SC this past weekend after playing several test games and finding it to be a lot of fun to play. There were 23 players, including Tom Melucci, current Star Wars LCG World Champion, who has been bringing a lot of SWLCG players over to 2.0. We also had several carloads from Boston as it’s only about an hour drive, and several members of the New Hampshire contingent, which is made up of a group of former L5R players. You guys better not leave us next year!
The store wisely decided to ignore FFG’s suggested round structure and do 5 rounds with a cut to top 8. Everyone was excited to play more rounds.
Round 1: Matt Schreiner, Stark-Fealty
Matt had a relatively small board that got smaller when I Tears’ed his Robb Stark (I had to Plaza away his Bran but I managed it). The next turn he had Eddard Stark, Catelyn Stark, and Sansa Stark on the board, so I played Marched to the Wall, thinking he would choose Sansa, which he did. I had Daenerys on the board with Viserion so I was able to stealth past Catelyn when needed and Plaza away his chumps before making military challenges. Eddard with Ice made it difficult for me to make chump military challenges (often my starter towards the end of the game) since Ice works on defense, but I was able to close it out without too much trouble. I actually could have won a turn earlier if I had remembered the +2 from my agenda and just put all my military characters into the third challenge. Fortunately that didn’t cost me the game. 1-0.
Round 2: Geoff Prugh, Baratheon-Banner of the Rose
This game played out somewhat similarly to the first. I had Daenerys and Viserion relatively early and played a Tears of Lys on his Knight of Flowers turn 1. He didn’t see Melisandre and mistakenly tried to play a Seen in Flames without any R’hllor characters in play (he had made the deck the night before and was unfamiliar with some of the cards). I kept his board small with Winds of Winter and Marched to the Wall and drew like a champ off Dany. 2-0.
Round 3: Tomer Perry, Martell Banner of the Watch
Disclaimer: Starting with this game I only left the featured table once. Some of these games will be posted by A Meager Contribution soon! I’m sure there were other play mistakes I missed or things misremembered.
I mulliganed away a 2-card setup to get a 3-card setup. I was able to setup a The Roseroad and either an Unsullied or a Varys, plus Jorah. I figured the Varys would keep Tomer on his toes while I tried to come back. I played out a duped Drogon and used the dupe for military claim, then played Waking the Dragon on Jorah to return him to my hand. Tomer didn’t have a super impressive board but I figured with both the Unsullied in my hand plus Jorah I’d be able to come back. Tomer had marshalled Ghaston Grey that turn but couldn’t use it with Varys on the board (who I was careful not to attack with). Over the next few turns he got out The Wall and The Boneway, and did get power from both several times, but I was able to Dracarys away Obara one turn to kneel The Wall, and play Tears on Alliser Thorne the turn he was jumped in. I never saw Dany that game, so Counting Coppers was key for refilling my hand. 3-0.
Round 4: Than Dean, Greyjoy-Fealty
Than’s a good friend and we play a lot—most of the time he’s playing Greyjoy, so he’s very good at it. I got out Dany early but he was able to play out Balon Greyjoy, Seastone Chair, and an Iron Fleet Scout, meaning that even with Dany’s passive ability, Drogon, and Ser Jorah Mormont on the board, I had no way to prevent her from being Chaired turn 2. I did manage to play Tears on his Theon but it hardly mattered. I made a play mistake late by playing Crown of Gold on his Balon, thinking that I could then at least block his military challenges (I had plenty of icons up), but in retrospect it would have been better to kill Asha outright, since he just played Confiscation the next turn anyway. That didn’t change the course of the game as he had also played out Euron by then. I conceded when he stole a Plaza of Punishment from my discard pile. 3-1.
Round 5: Marc Berenbach, Tyrell-Lord of the Crossing
Marc is another close friend and former MTG player who dabbled a bit in 1.0 but has really gotten into 2.0. The speed at which he’s picked up the game has been scary, as he started off fine and has only gotten better. I don’t remember as much of this game as I would like, only that we got close to time due to the complicated challenge math involved when you have Dany on the board and two LotC agendas. The last challenge phase came down to me going first but only getting to 14. However, I won because I used Plaza of Punishment on his Randall instead of a chump, and because I had marshalled Drogon that turn. That meant that he couldn’t start with a chump intrigue challenge (Dany was standing and she could block and win on defense). He started with a military challenge which I couldn’t defend, giving him 12 power with Randall’s renown, but on realizing he couldn’t win either of the other two, he passed challenges and I won on dominance. Plaza was huge in this game for clearing the board of chuds as well as keeping Randall from winning important challenges despite Marc having Margaery on the board. Since we were the last high-stakes game we found out before we finished we were both making the cut anyway—me at 3rd and Marc at 8th.
Top 8: Geoff Prugh, Baratheon-Banner of the Rose (rematch)
Like our first game, Geoff had a tough time getting started while I was able to marshal Dany, Khal, and some other goodies. He did get The Red Keep out and was able to get it off several times. On a key turn I Tears’ed his Knight of Flowers, then baited him into a power challenge with Khal Drogo and Dany for 10. He defended with Shireen, Moon Boy, a Vanguard Lancer, and KoF for 11 (including TRK). I played Waking the Dragon on Dany to stand her, giving all of his characters -1 and bringing his total to 7. He then used Margaery to give KoF +3 but that only got him to 10, so I won. It was the second time I got him to discard from Moon Boy that game. He had miscounted the strength, understandable with so many variables in play. Winning the challenge also meant he couldn’t draw off of TRK that turn. The next turn he played Wildfire Assault and used Shireen to kneel Khal Drogo, which I believe was a mistake. I kept Khal, Dany, and Rhaegal after the Wildfire, so Khal kneeling meant I could still use Dany in two challenges. Geoff didn’t draw any useful characters for the rest of the game after I played Tears on his Moon Boy, so I was on to the Top 4!
Top 4: Chris Lavin, Lannister-Lord of the Crossing
Chris is probably the person I play the most games with other than my husband Britt. He also has an uncanny knack for beating me in tournaments. The deck finally pooped out on me and I drew no Dracarys! until the final turn. Chris had used Ser Gregor’s ability to put two copies of Viserion into the dead pile, so my dragon count was low and I was unable to use it. He also poisoned Khal Drogo when I had no intrigue icons to block with so I was left with unimpressive chumps. I never drew Dany or any power icons after Drogo, so there wasn’t much game to speak of.
Removal is so important right now. Decks rely on their good guys and if you can pay 1 gold to kill them with Tears of Lys, it can turn the momentum in your favor. Simple attrition through high claim military challenges and Marched to the Wall, though less tricksy, is also very effective. Counting Coppers was also huge, as it let me draw some of my key events mid-game when I usually had the economy to afford them.
The deck played great and I have no regrets about bringing a relatively untested deck to a big tournament. Though overall it played very well, I’m not sure the agenda helped more than it hurt. Only a few games were close (Marc) and most were a blowout one way or the other. Fealty might have been just as effective. This deck will also suffer hard from First Snow of Winter, seeing as it relies on its stable of 2- and 3-cost characters to flood the board and make challenges. I’ll put it away for a little bit to concentrate on some other builds, which I’ll tell you about next time!