Chris: Greetings and welcome to The Gauntlet, a new deck-challenge series on The White Book. Every month we, your gentle, genial gauntleteers Chris and Patrick, will be doing everything one can do to a gauntlet. We will throw gauntlets, we will run gauntlets and, finally, we will gird gauntlets in a test of superiority for your amusement.
Patrick: Today we start with throwing the gauntlet and presenting the deckbuilding challenge. Our theme this month is Good Card/Bad Card. We give each other a faction along with two good cards we can’t play and two bad cards we have to play.
Chris: Patrick, seeing as how you created this month’s theme, please, do me the honor of posting your challenge.
Patrick: Of course, Chris! As we all know Baratheon has always been a pretty strong faction: they love denying people power challenges and power challenges win the game. You know what is really great at denying power challenges? The King’s Peace. Honestly, if you have such a powerhouse of a plot, you probably don’t even need to play The Red Keep or Robert Baratheon. Plus, with all that deck space you’ve freed up so, you can play even more R’hllor cards, like all three copies of Ruby of R’hllor.
Chris: This is a dive straight into the deep end. I was thinking of easing into this for our first month, but I’ll have to come back harder. Your house will be that classic Baratheon enemy, Targaryen.
Patrick: Why do I have a sinking suspicion I’m going to have a very expensive location in my deck?
Chris: Because I got wrecked by House of the Undying in a draft and want to know if it actually is any good. Also Shierak Qiya.
Patrick: Was that you on the other side of the 8 claim challenge?
Chris: No. He stole my Brienne and Blackcrown Knights to swoop eight power in a phase.
Patrick: Pretty much 🙁
Chris: Well, to truly make House of the Undying stand out, it should probably be the most expensive card in your deck. No Daenerys Targaryen and no Mirri Maz Duur for you. Challenging enough?
Patrick: Seems like it should be! I’m racking my brain, does Targ finally have draw cards not named Daenerys?
Chris: Funeral Pyre and Doreah. No problem. You’ll be killing plenty of Lords and Ladies and, once you pull them over to your side, Doreah can pair with them. Any initial thoughts on deck direction?
Patrick: Well, I’m thinking I should either go with a very aggressive pressure deck that kills a lot of your guys or maybe some kind of rush, especially with the Shierak Qiya. The problem with that is that I’ve stopped you from playing the best rush card I could have stolen…
Chris: I’m two steps ahead of you.
Patrick: What are you thinking?
Chris: I haven’t dabbled much in Baratheon myself, but I am intrigued at the possibility of a Baratheon Rains deck which might at least give the Ruby a chance to shine.
Patrick: If you go with Rains I better not see that King’s Peace hide at the bottom of your scheme pile all three games.
Chris: Oh, I’m playing Peace. I have to stop your rush somehow. Or mildly inconvenience it. One of those two.
Be sure to check back next week when we begin to run these decks through the gauntlet of actual games and make them less terrible.