Qyburn’s Laboratory #1: All Things Stannis

by Will Lentz

Welcome to the first edition of the column formerly known as All Things Shagga. As a brief history lesson for those who’ve joined us in the last year, I launched All Things Shagga as one of the founding articles in the player-run Small Council initiative to organize more AGOT content on CardgameDB during the middle years of the first edition of the LCG. Sadly, the pressures of personal life and time spent on other projects (like the podcast) led me to retire the bi-weekly series during the final year of First Edition. But now, I’m pleased to announce that I’m kicking the dust off the tires dreaming up some janky stuff once again! With the launch of a new edition of the game, it seemed appropriate to update the column as well. Thus, we launch today with a new name which is evocative of the experimental nature of these decks. This series is scheduled to be monthly, which works out nicely as it dovetails with chapter pack releases.

Ok, so the card pool is a little on the small side right now, which makes it a bit difficult to really dig in the way we used to, but there are still a few “build around me” cards just begging for an attempt to maximize their usefulness.

The Cards:

Stannis Baratheon – Here’s one of the first of those “build around me” cards in the game. Stannis gives a unique opportunity to negate many of the cards that your opponent is playing and force Action advantage to be an even bigger part of the game. Since both players are limited in the standing phase due to his ability, whoever is able to get a more efficient number of actions out of his or her characters is going to be coming out ahead (assuming roughly equal draw and economy, that is). Of course, the more one-sided we can make the impact of his ability, the better.

Lightbringer – The obvious combination here is to get it on Stannis as a means to both accelerate our game by granting him Renown and to generate Action advantage by standing Stannis. We also have some additional flexibility to place it on Robert for similar speed advantages as well as additional opportunities to negate our opponent’s actions by kneeling the few characters that are standing. And of course, don’t forget that it is a R’hllor card, so we can trigger Melisandre’s ability after playing it.

Seal of the Hand – Already a great attachment to drop on beefy characters to up their impact in challenges, Seal becomes even more valuable in Stannis decks. As with Lightbringer, Robert is a great choice to multiply his challenge phase impact.

Magister Illyrio – He’s pretty much the whole reason we’re considering Banner of the Dragon. As long as we have the gold to spare, his stand tech gives us maximum flexibility in the challenge phase, allowing us to account for different icon needs from turn to turn as well as unexpected complications from opponent’s effects that would limit our ability to focus on specific characters bearing Seal of the Hand or Lightbringer.

Fiery Followers – A workhorse of a character, Fiery Followers is one of the most solid characters in the game at the 3-cost slot. Its built-in ability not only helps sidestep Stannis’ lockdown and effectively means it can participate in two “challenges” per turn (let’s be honest, Dominance is essentially a challenge – perhaps more on that later), but as always, the R’hllor trait helps activate Melisandre.

Melisandre – Hey, as it turns out, targeted kneel is good! Who would have guessed? The additional benefit here is the timing. Since she’s a marshalling effect, we can always use her to kneel the choicest power characters that our opponent chose to stand in the prior standing phase. Conveniently, we know that character is important to his or her plans due to Stannis forcing the decision in the first place.
Ours is the Fury! – In a Jaime sense, I’m not the biggest fan of this card, but if it’s going to be used anywhere, this is the deck to do it. This gives us effectively another Action-advantage card that combos well with Robert Baratheon. It’s a bit more situational, so I don’t want the full playset, but it can do some work.

The Red Keep – This card already has my vote for the best draw location in the game, and in this deck, I think it’s even better! The Keep helps us draw cards at a quick pace to get combo pieces or just keep of a steady flow of control effects and new characters to augment our position while Stannis is on the board. However, most interestingly, thanks to the strength boost during power challenges, it’s nearly like having another character on the board that completely ignores Stannis’ effect.

Thoughts on Gameplay:

Our game plan, of course, is to try to abuse Stannis as much and as early as possible. Of course, to get all of that going we’re going to need a lot of cards and a lot of gold. Note that our plot effects and stats are pretty heavy on that front; if we’re still digging for a piece of the deck, we can’t be afraid to utilize Counting Coppers and then follow it up with Trading with the Pentoshi to fill the board with the cards we just drew. Thankfully, due to the nature of Stannis’ ability to mitigate the aggregate usefulness of opponent’s characters, we’re less worried about the overall impact the extra gold that you give your opponent with Trading or even the relatively low income of Counting Coppers, for that matter.

Of course, in the meantime, you might need to buy some time to get the lock in place. Thankfully, a variety of kneel effects afford us the control to draw the game and slow the pace. To that end, if we have Melisandre on board, we should go ahead and utilize an early Lightbringer for kneel, attaching it to a character that we can afford to kill for military claim so that we can it back for more kneel and/or Stannis later.

Speaking of slow pace, this deck is indeed a grind. Yes, you can speed things up with some of your standing effects, but with the only innate Renown on Robert and the ability to give it to Stannis being fairly specific, that gameplan relies on a very certain set of circumstances. To help with this, we’re including The Iron Throne to give us even better chances of winning Dominance as well as Chamber of the Painted Table to steal power from opponents. Once operational, this combination of cards (for a grand total of 4 gold) gives a nice clock to help try to close the game before the opponent can find an answer to Stannis.


So, here’s the deck:

Faction: Baratheon
Agenda: Banner of the Dragon

Plot (7)
1x Trading with the Pentoshi
1x Summons
1x Noble Cause
1x Calling the Banners
1x Counting Coppers
1x Wildfire Assualt
1x Confiscation

Characters (33)
3x Stannis Baratheon
3x Melisandre
3x Fiery Followers
1x Selyse Baratheon
3x Robert Baratheon
3x Magister Illyrio
2x Handmaiden
3x Dragonstone Faithful
3x Targaryen Loyalist
1x Jorah Mormont
1x Drogon
1x Viserion
1x Rhaegal
2x Braided Warrior
2x Vanguard Lancer
1x Maester Cressen

Location (15)
3x Kingsroad
3x Roseroad
3x The Red Keep
2x Dragonstone Port
2x Chamber of the Painted Table
2x The Iron Throne

Attachment (6)
2x Lightbringer
2x Bodyguard
2x Seal of the Hand

Event (8)
3x Consolidation of Power
2x Ours is the Fury
3x Seen in the Flames

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