The Seer and the Snake, Part 2

Continued from Part 1, this includes OKTarg’s tournament report, my further refinement of the deck, and lastly, my own tournament report.

Step Three: Dominate (?)

Having built the deck, it was time to run it out at the Games of Berkeley SC. We had 17 players turn up, originating from San Francisco all the way to Sacramento. That meant 4 rounds cut to 4. Sadly, the store didn’t have King’s Peace in stock so I had to forgo Moon Boy and Attainted. I weakly attempted to borrow them from strangers, but I had no luck. Hopefully it wouldn’t bite me too badly!

Round One: Eric (Lanni Stag)

Eric was the TO and a great guy. He ran a smooth tournament and made sure everyone had an excellent experience. Turn one, he summoned and took Tyrion, overlooking Tywin, reasoning that against Bara he would need to go more ‘sideways’ and invest in more characters. He ended up with a duped Jaime and we played dudes out….one of which was his Varys. I had perhaps a slight edge in board presence, but he felt (especially with Lannisport in play) that he should trigger, simplify, and try to out-topdeck me. It was a close call, and I think he played the percentages right, but unfortunately for him, I was able to get a paramour out to neuter Jamie (deck working as intended!) since I could make him defend INT rather than hit back with non-kneeling MIL.

core_017_naval-superiorityMidgame, I hit his Confiscation with a Naval Superiority, locking him out for a turn while I In Doran’s Named for $$$ (deck as intended again!). Following that, I just attritioned him down to a full win. (1-0). I never felt like I was way ahead, but the deck just grinds out marginal gains each turn, especially if you pay attention to the proper challenge (power).

Round Two: Matt (Greyjoy Stag)

Matt had a Tyrell playmat, so you know he did well at an SC already. That meant my “1.0 Intimidation Swag Package” didn’t have the desired effect (though you have to admit the Stannis at the Wall mat fits the deck too!). I thought to myself “Matt is probably going to try to go first and get unopposed challenges through here.” (I’m a genius.)

Lo and behold, Matt did exactly that. He had Asha out early, but I had my Stannis from turn one. He controlled Nymeria with a Fishing Net, but the Stannis lock meant that he had a bit of trouble achieving unopposed at will. He was able to get a clutch We Do Not Sow onto my Lightbringer, but my deck was able to protect the Red Keep, draw into enough chuds to feed the claim-monster, and grab enough character control to keep me on top. Unfortunately, he had those super-annoying 0-cost Warships to keep buffing his characters, and since we were both Stannis-locked, I had to work to achieve parity in the Power challenge. The key here was Obara Sand–she works when knelt, and with the Red Keep buff, she’s amazing. I recommend using her! Fiery Followers also showed up at the right time (both for me and for him).

core_048_robert-baratheonMidgame, I was falling behind a bit and fished for Mel with Summons. I found her, kneeling his key threat in Asha. Late game, I was able to seize initiative with Clash of Kings, right as we were going to time. I finally had gotten Robert out, with a Warhammer. That meant I could play first, kneel his whole board, and get unopposed power to finish it off. (2-0) If he had drawn his Balon before I found Robert, the game would have been different, I think. Or if he had found Great Kraken, or the Seastone Chair. I don’t think Matt drew terribly, but I was very happy with my topdecks. For my opponent to draw terribly, look no further than round three.

Round Three: Michael (Lanni Sun)

Ah, the true test! Can my deck, designed to control Lanni, actually do it? We each mulligan marginal setup hands, and I flop pretty okay, with a resource, Nymeria, two reducers, and a Street of the Sisters. He flops…. well, pretty much worst possible, with Kingsroad and Gregor.

Of course he braces for a Marched, but with a “Stannis go sideways” feel to my deck, I don’t run it. I sense an opportunity, and plot Naval instead. He goes Noble Cause(!). So, GG, right? But wait, there’s more! He draws into a Tickler, that he uses his Kingsroad on. I Nymeria Gregor’s MIL icon, so he hits for an INT challenge with Tickler. He doesn’t pull my Tears for the claim, so hitting back with my own MIL challenge causes him to claim the Tickler, and then Tears takes care of Gregor. He had no gold for his Hand’s Judgment (so sad). Then, insult to injury, I pull his Tywin for intrigue claim, leaving him with no locations and no characters in play, and like six events in hand.

Michael’s a good player, and he was able to scrape back a bit, but I was able to close with relative ease. (3-0)

Round Four: Philip (Targ Fealty)

With both of us 3-0, we knew we were in the cut and were just playing for placing. I resolved to not show my Naval Superiority this game, since I would rather lose in the Swiss and then surprise him with it when it mattered (the final, hopefully!) Unfortunately for me, I would have lost regardless of what I plotted, since Philip just outplayed me with a very strong deck.

core_162_khal-drogoHis turn one was a Summons to my Calm. I went first, and I can’t remember exactly why, but I’m sure it was a good idea. I let him Summons before I named a challenge type, and upon him showing me Daenerys I named “Intrigue.” I had a good character presence and wanted to protect my events. Come marshaling phase, he doesn’t marshal Dany but instead drops his Drogo! Thus began a game of me protecting the Red Keep’s draw (with Obara, once again) and furiously trying to draw into a Tears to deal with Drogo’s threat. I tried to See his Dracarys! in the Flames, but a well-timed Hand’s Judgment precluded that from happening. This meant that I had to be very careful with Mel in challenges….

Even with Dany in hand, turn two saw Philip play out Illyrio, a great idea against a kneel deck with Drogo in play. That’s not what most people would do, but it was 100% the right choice. He kept eating my lunch in MIL challenges, but the Keep kept giving me dudes to die. It wasn’t, however, giving me anyone powerful. Finally, I drew into Robert to go along with my duped Mel and won a challenge with him, only to get Obara Tears’d and lonely Robert and Mel on board to face his inevitable Marched to the Wall. Robert got tossed since I desperately needed a control option, but either way, just too much pressure and Philip easily closed me out. I couldn’t solve Drogo’s relentless clocking of renown power nor the duplicate claim that I had to suffer each turn. (3-1)

As a result, I was second after Swiss due to tiebreakers. Unfortunately, I had to drop before the cut to go take care of my four young sons as something had come up for my wife. Alex, playing Targ Lion, defeated the heretofore unvanquished Philip in the finals. I wish I would have had a second shot at Targ this day, but alas… until next time!

core_041_put-to-the-swordOne key factor in deck building is to look back and see how your deck and plots performed on the day. I was very, very happy with everything, with the exception of the very hard to trigger Put to the Sword. Those will be coming out for my Confinements, something will come out for Moon Boy, and I’m waffling on the Hand’s Judgments for Consolidation of Power, to give me another control option.

I encourage each of you who wishes to try this deck out and let me know in the comments how you refined and tweaked it to suit your own needs! Thanks for reading!

And here is where I take over and continue the story, thanks Buz!

Now that we’ve envisioned, refined, and dominated, what comes next?

Step Two: Refine

That’s right, back to step two! We’re now in the “feedback loop” of deckbuilding. After you envision the deck and get your first draft together, the Refine/Dominate cycle just keeps repeating, especially if “dominate” looks more like “yes, I have at least 60 cards in the deck and 7 plot cards.”

tkp_47_moonboySo, Buz had some success, but now that King’s Peace has been out for two weeks: Syd has popularized Lannister Crossing, Tyrell knights have become a thing, and for some reason everyone is playing Greyjoy (locally). Does this deck still work? I was convinced yes, because I like the matchup against Greyjoy (kneel and icon control are both very good); I really like the damage it could do to a crossing deck, with the soft control and Stannis; and I think that it’s the best way to handle Lannister, though barely.

We knew that we had to make room for Attainted and Moon Boy, since Buz was unable to use them initially. I swapped Shireen for Moon Boy and cut a Lightbringer and something else for two copies of Attainted. Buz also thought that A Game of Thrones would be fantastic against Greyjoy and Crossing decks, so we made room for it. His thought was to switch Naval Superiority, but since a lot of people (at least locally) have been using Trading With the Pentoshi, I really wanted to keep it in the plot deck. So we decided to take Clash of Kings out to make room for A Game of Thrones. And as Buz suggests above, he did not like Put to the Sword in the deck, so we changed those to Consolidation of Power, another way to slow down Greyjoy, Knights, and Crossing decks.

Note that this refinement step is noticeably shorter and that’s because each iteration will require fewer and fewer changes, until eventually, you just make small meta-game based adjustments each time. Now that the deck was ready, time to use it!

Step Three: Dominate (?)

And so, with absolutely no play testing (who has time for that anyway?), I decided to bring this to the Tulsa Store Championship. There were 33 players and, as predicted, a whole lot of Greyjoy and Lannister. Unfortunately, I played none of these Greyjoy players despite having a deck built for it.

Round One: John (Targ Fealty)

trtw_34_crown_of_goldNot exactly what I was hoping to face, as I think Targaryen is generally favored against Baratheon, however, I was able to discard his Daenerys turn 1 and use Nymeria to keep things in my favor. Eventually John was able to Crown her with Gold, but I had Melisandre ready to play next. Turns out that Robert Baratheon and Lightbringer can help end games pretty quickly. 1-0.

Round Two: Jeremy (Stark Fealty)

I had Melisandre and Nymeria early and was able to keep his Robb (with Ice!) and Grey Wind locked down and neutralized. I was slowly grinding out power challenges and eventually Jeremy couldn’t take it anymore and conceded, saving us ~3 hours of game time. The highlight was definitely playing Attainted on Robb Stark after he had been given a Little Bird. 2-0.

Round Three: Jacob (Lanni Sun)

Lannister is always tough, he started with Nymeria, played Tywin, followed by Jaime the next turn. In other words, I lost. Highlight of the game: with no Melisandre or Nymeria in sight, my lone hope was a Dornish Paramour I played when going first on turn 2 (in order to kneel Tywin and hopefully push some power challenges since I had the Red Keep and was unable to trigger it), of course he has Attainted. 2-1.

I should also mention that Jacob is my brother and took the top spot in Swiss.

Round Four: Will (Lanni Dragon)

tkp_55_attaintedYou should totally ask Kennon about this game, I think it is truly his story to tell. Let me just say that he had exactly what he wanted and I crushed him. Ask him how I shut him down on my A Game of Thrones turn, despite his deck being built around the intrigue challenge. You should also ask him how great two Attainteds are for Cersei. 3-1.

Round Five: Jason (Lanni Dragon)

If you thought one Lanni Dragon was strange, how about a second (and doing well of course!)? He had Tywin early, but I had Melisandre (or Nymeria, one of them anyway…). I managed to get Robert (with Selyse to save him from a Tears of Lys) to close out the game, winning those all-important power challenges. 4-1.


So I finished 3rd in Swiss, my reward was to play against…

Semifinal: Greg (Targ Lion)

tkp_49_ser_gregor_cleganeI really want to forget this game ever happened. I had an amazing start, amazing hand, and played so very poorly. I should (and very nearly did) have opened with Naval Superiority, because Greg opened Trading With the Pentoshi. This was the reason I left the plot in the deck, but I just didn’t have the reckless abandon to give it a go. Despite this, I should have still controlled this game and come away victorious, except it turns out that never playing Baratheon means that you are unfamiliar with some fine details, such as the fact that the icon granting attachments are Conditions and Cressen can take care of those. This allowed Gregor (with an assist from Illyrio and Seal of the Hand) to crush my skull even though I had Melisandre and Nymeria turn 1.

All said, it was a good showing. Which leads us back to

Step Two: Refine

Now that I played with the deck, I feel like I was justified in bringing it. Unfortunately I was not paired with all the Greyjoy, but I felt good about making the right decision anyway. One of the biggest oddities of the deck is the inclusion of King Robert’s Warhammer, which I did not have in hand in any of my games. Those two cards could have literally been anything and it would not have changed my day. So I have no idea if they are good or not. I definitely had situations where I could have made use of them, but they could also have been Put to the Sword or a second Lightbringer, etc.

Attained, on the other hand, was amazing, as was Moon Boy. I would honestly consider a second copy of Moon Boy because draw is very important. Consolidation of Power was also a great inclusion and I would keep it again. You may be tempted to use Confinement with Bara Sun, but Consolidation is better.

core_052_stannis-baratheonI never really used Stannis, and I never felt like I wanted to have him. Maybe this would have changed if I had faced the knight swarms, but I would strongly consider taking out those two copies for some other stuff. Maybe a Davos or second Paramour. Not sure.

Also, I felt good with the plots, except I never wanted to play Trading With the Pentoshi. Buz mentioned that he had cut Calling the Banners instead of Trading With the Pentoshi in order to fit Clash of Kings originally, I would have preferred the other way. I’m likely going to swap Trading for Calling and I may change Naval to Clash of Kings, Naval Superiority is great, but I may just not be that type of player.

I hope you enjoyed this lengthy report and if you want to see the deck I took to my Store Championship, look no further than ThronesDB. Do let us know what you think of the deck and help us crowd-source the next iteration of The Seer and the Snake.

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