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    Tourney Report: Winter Crown, Stoke 1/12/2013

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    Mr_K

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    Tourney Report: Winter Crown, Stoke 1/12/2013

    Post by Mr_K on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:32 am

    Stephen asked for a tournament report so here it is! Warning - long rambling post ahead!

    Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my second ever Thrones tournament, The Winter Crown, hosted by Guys that Game down in Stoke. What was billed as a relatively small affair ended up with 27 players, which I think is a decent number and is not too far short of the attendance for their premier 'Winter is Coming' event that took place last month. (36 players, I think).

    I went down with Wedge (playing Stark Knights/Kingsguard), Caitlin (Martell no agenda - what else?) and Ama who played Greyjoy no agenda. In the run up to the tournament I was faffing over what to play - bearing no particular house affiliation can sometimes make these choices quite difficult. I had a Greyjoy Song of Fire deck I was quite happy with, but when it was announced that the latest chapter pack would be legal, I really wanted to play wildlings. The choice was between Lanni, Bara, or Stark. I felt Lanni would be a strong option, but I played PBTT at an earlier tournament and didn't feel like playing the Lions again. As for Bara, I had a working deck that I'd played a lot and knew how to pilot, but it was based on a regional winning decklist (see here) and I didn't feel comfortable about taking that. If I'm going to play at a tournament, and hopefully win, then I want to do it with a deck I've built, not something based on a netdeck. (Netdecking to win tournaments is lame - just my opinion). Also, I didn't want to rely on Val for draw all day, especially since one event or attachment can take her out of the game with relative ease.

    So, in the end I plumped for Stark as they have some decent in-house wildling characters (Osha, Abel's Washerwoman) and it meant I could try out the new Jon Snow without playing OOH costs. I built the deck one week before the tournament, tested it with Wedge on the Wednesday and then made some adjustments. One was to pack more draw to prevent top-decking every game, and I also put in Narrow Escape as restricted. My anticipated strategy was to get characters on the board and keep them there - plus Narrow Escape offers a way of dodging resets if I came up against KOTHH Bleeds or Storm the Gate decks. Asides from that, the deck is pretty much standard wildling fare, with lots of kill events and some defence tech that I hoped would catch opponents off guard. I also went with all three agendas, because if you're going to do something you might as well do it properly or not at all. Right? Right?!

    ---

    Swiss rounds.

    Round 1: Rupert from Sheffield - House Lannister, no agenda. Result: Win. (1-0)

    First game of the day versus what looked like typical Lanni no agenda, similar to the recent World's winner but with some personal touches and new cards. (Secret Orders, Coldhands). I remember getting a decent setup with 4 cards - Bay of Ice, a Frozen Outpost, an economy location and a wildling character, possibly Craster. His flop resulted in some economy, an Iron Throne, and a Pentoshi Manor. Things were already looking decent for him but I wasn't too worried about the Throne as my deck wasn't reliant on triggered character abilities.

    Going into the first turn, we both reveal King's Landing Coup and tie 8-8 for initiative. I win the coin toss and elect to go second as I want to try to get some cards from my plot. After his marshalling he has three characters on the board, one of whom is Cersei Lannister. He also has a second Pentoshi, and the Iron Throne is now duped. I marshal a bunch of good dudes including Mance Rayder and The Blackfish. Start of challenges, he leads with an intrigue using Cersei alone. I double checked that he was just using Cersei as it seemed obvious that I could defend it - maybe he wanted me to kneel as many of my characters as possible. If so, the plan backfired when I defended with Mance and stood him with the Frozen Outpost for a 3-6 win. After taking the free card from my plot, I played Routing the Charge (after winning on defence, kill an attacking character - cannot be saved) to get rid of Cersei. The unexpected kill probably knocked him sideways, and after killing one of his characters on the reverse I was able to take control and keep it. Between my kill events, military presence and 2 claimers, most turns resulted in me wiping his board and getting unopposed challenges. Also, Pentoshi Manor is not that good against wildlings! He Valar'd on turn 4 but I caught it with a Twist of Fate, making it very difficult for him to play anything out thereafter.

    ---

    Round 2: Jacob from Oxford - House Targaryen, The Maester's Path. Result: Win. (2-0)

    Another decent setup for me resulted in the new Jon Snow making his first competitive appearance. I also had a chud character, so when placing Jon I knew he'd be safe from first turn Marched to the Wall. After setup Jacob had a Linked Advisor, one or two economy locations, and a Meerenese Fighting Pit. I again led with the Coup plot and he revealed At the Gates, so I made him first with the intention of soaking up his attacks. After draw I had an amazing hand consisting of two kill events, Nightmares, Bay of Ice, The Blackfish, Longclaw and some decent wildlings. Longclaw went straight on Jon, making him a 6 STR beast with Deadly, Stealth, and Renown. Mance Rayder put in another cameo alongside one or two other characters, and I played Frozen Solid on Jacob's Fighting Pit to prevent shenanigans. We get to challenges and his board consists of a duped Marwyn, the Linked Advisor, and Viserion. He leads with an intrigue using only Marwyn. This presented an easy defensive victory, allowing me to play another surprise Routing the Charge to get rid of Marwyn (one of the key characters in Targ Maesters) and his duplicate. His next challenge was a power of 3, which I defended with Mance for 4. However, a Forever Burning allowed him to push it through and he got a chain onto the advisor. If memory serves, this would be the only challenge he'd win all game. His last effort was a Military with Viserion, but I blanked it with Nightmares to prevent stealth, played safe and defended it with two guys to kill the dragon with No Quarter.

    From that point it was plain sailing for me as I had board position and he had no Valar, though there was one dodgy moment when he played Ygritte and stole Jon off me. Luckily Coldhands came to the rescue and got Jon back immediately by taking Ygritte out of the game. We played about 4 or 5 rounds with him doing his best to prevent me from reaching 21 power, but I got there sure enough.

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    Round 3: Martin from Chester - House Targaryen, Heir to the Iron Throne. Result: Win (3-0).

    Martin was a fairly new player with only two months' experience, so respect to him for attending a tournament already - it took me more than a year to get that far. This was a tough game though - it's easy to forget how much power dragons can accumulate if you don't pay attention, which is what I somehow managed to do in the middle of this game.

    I got a decent setup with a Frozen Outpost, some economy and an Abel's Washerwoman or two. He had a five card flop but didn't have a good icon spread, with Strong Belwas, a military chud, claim soak Viserys, and two locations. First turn he revealed Counting Favors to my King's Landing Coup. Yes please, I'll take those three cards. I made him first and, after his marshalling, got Belwas out of the way with Coldhands. I then let him take an unopposed power challenge to bring some tokens into the game. Then, for the third game in a row, Routing the Charge was key, allowing me to kill Viserion after winning a military on defence. I also got a fair amount of power with the washerwoman thanks to the gaping intrigue hole that is so typical of dragon decks.

    Next turn, Brienne came out to play and joined the wildling horde to take care of his board with a military challenge and a tasty No Quarter which he couldn't do anything about. After that Martin played Valar, to which I offered a Narrow Escape. He discarded his hand, giving me a slight advantage as I could repopulate easily with the cards I had. After that he got Daenerys out alongside Rhaegal with two dupes thanks to green hatchlings. He also had another, possibly white, hatchling that he brought out of shadows. I took my eye off the ball and he got a bunch of challenges off and won dominance, taking him to 13 power. Shit! I checked my count and I realised I only needed 6 to win, so I started playing properly again. I decided a defensive win was possible, so I dealt out Renown to my Stark characters with a wildling bard, defended his first power challenge and took out his double-duped Rhaegal (holding 5 power) with my second Routing the Charge. Another round of defending allowed me to get the power I needed for the win.

    ---

    Round 4: Wedge, House Stark, Knights of the Realm. Result: Loss (3-1).

    I had already lost twice to Wedge earlier in the week during deck testing, so I wasn't particularly enthralled about this matchup. Even though I had made some changes to improve my chances, I knew his deck was better than mine and could easily get card advantage off the knights agenda and Ser Jaime. (Knights has got to be Stark's best deck right now). Nevertheless I resolved to give it a solid go and see what I could do. Unfortunately I messed it right up by making a horrible error in the first turn. I made Wedge go first and plonked down Ygritte to yoink his Barristan Selmy. I had done the same move earlier in the week - twice, no less - but both of those times had resulted in Coldhands making an immediate appearance to steal Barry back. But, because I'd gone second, he couldn't do that, so things were looking good. Going into challenges, I survey Wedge's board and after a bit of maths I lead off with Barristan on the STR 4 military challenge. I had No Quarter in hand so this could've been very destructive. Unfortunately, I hadn't accounted for the remaining 1 gold on his plot card, which could only mean one thing - yes, Meera Reed was in shadows, and he brought her out, won on defence and played No Quarter to kill Ygritte and get Barristan back. One word: Balls. From there it was a fairly easy win for him - I just remember a lot of head scratching and dawdling over challenges from me, him using frozen moat on my wildlings to get rid of their stealth, and Meera bouncing back into shadows every time I was forced to kill one of my Stark bodies. I lost after about 4 or 5 plots.

    ---

    Round 5: Carl from Stoke, House Stark, no agenda. Result: Loss (3-2).

    Unfortunately my luck had run out and I got absolutely slaughtered in this game. I got an okay setup with Maester Luwin, a chud, and a Bay of Ice or two. His setup was very similar to mine, with Luwin, a location, and Rickon Stark. After I drew back up though I had a very bad hand, with a lot of events and non-unique wildling chuds with low strength. This would prove to be terminal as his deck was based around slaughtering pretty much everything in sight using direwolves. Turn 1 he got Bran out with 2 direwolves attached. Next go he gets Grey Wind on Robb Stark and proceeds to chew through my entire board with wolves, military claim and No Quarter. Turn 3 I needed to draw a miracle and alas it didn't happen as I tapped into... wait for it... locations! I played them out and saw Carl wince when I said I was done. At this point I had 1 character out, a washerwoman, who was at 0 STR thanks to his Winds of Winter plot. I conceded shortly after that.

    When the top 8 was announced I was very surprised to hear that I'd placed 7th out of 27 players. This felt like a good achievement considering the one-sided nature of my last two games. However, as Steve announced that Wedge was placed 2nd with a 4-1 record, my heart sank because I knew I faced another difficult grudge match against Stark knights.

    ---

    Top 8.

    I decided a different strategy was necessary to my earlier games vs Wedge. First, I couldn't make any mistakes - a major mistake like the one I made in our earlier game would cost me the game, without question. Second, I needed board position, and the only real way I could do that against his superior draw was by not losing any of my cards to military or intrigue. So I set about playing a defensive strategy which I hoped would afford me the time to draw into my key events, i.e. Routing the Charge and Narrow Escape. My plan was to dodge Wedge's Valar, either with Outwit or my Narrow Escapes, and then see out the win (possibly with the game going to a timed win - hey, I'll take it) using 2 claim plots to apply pressure in the late game. Also, when Jaime appeared, I hoped to cancel his ability using my Wildling Wisewomen, (they're crappy, but were included for Outwit fuel and, as a bonus, can cancel any effect that allows a player to draw cards). Finally, I had complete knowledge of his plot deck, which I hoped would allow me to play mine in an order that would counteract the things I knew he could do.

    In the first turn, I was able to plonk down a wildling horde, setting up a defensive wall for military and power that would hold out for the rest of the game. He marshalled a fair amount of stuff, but nothing over 2 cost. This turn was cagey, and going into second plot phase I knew he'd do City of Sin to kneel my Horde. If they got knelt I would surely lose position, and potentially the game, so I was forced to Outwit his plot. Over the course of the game my shitty stalling tactics appeared to be working, though I couldn't get the cards I wanted to mount my counterattacks (namely, Frozen Outpost and Routing the Charge). I also started to wish that I'd run First Snow of Winter, a plot that I took out at the last minute but would've made a big difference here as he never marshalled anything above 2 gold. During the game I made him waste paper shields on my No Quarters, and I managed to kill two of his guys on the reverse with a 2 claim military challenge. I even got a Narrow Escape after winning a chump power challenge with Luwin. It was obvious that I'd use the event on the Valar turn, but, unbeknownst to Wedge, I'd been holding another in hand since setup. So I planned to use both after the Valar to retain my position and make him discard his huge hand of cards. We get to the Valar and I play both Narrow Escapes, putting me in the driver's seat. Proceed to challenges where the judge comes up and says Narrow Escape's been errata'd to 'Limit once per phase'. Here comes that word again: Balls! I ask to see the FAQ to check and sure enough it's there, so I sucked it up, rewound to plots and then conceded after challenges where he had 4/5 knights, including Jaime and Preston, and I had no cards and no draw.

    Needless to say this was a pretty crap way to end the tournament - it's very annoying when you can't play the cards as written. And I wasn't aware of the errata as I'd not used Narrow Escape as a restricted until now. But what was more annoying was that my hard work in this game was all for nothing! Well played to Wedge though, and I was pleased when he went on to beat the direwolf player which, to me, was more pleasing to see than his overall win. Razz I hate those bloody direwolves.

    Final Thoughts.

    Overall I was content with my performance given that I'd made the deck just a few days earlier and had been tweaking it (with relatively little practical testing) until about an hour before the tournament. I was not expecting to win any games in the Stoke meta, especially not with me needing 21 power, so three wins was more than I could've hoped for. And testing out Jon Snow was fun, he is amazing in this deck. My policy of not netdecking for tournaments lives on, and for now I'll be working on the wildling deck to see how I can make it more competitive for the next event. Though knowing me I will probably change what I'm playing at the last minute.

    Props: Wedge for great play and deckbuilding, and for winning the tournament; Caitlin and Ama for coming along when they were both knackered from travelling; GTG for hosting, cakes, and tea; my opponents for being very nice guys; and Wedge's family for free food on the way home.
    Slops: Narrow Escape for being once per phase, and Viper's Bannermen for causing so many erratas and restrictions.



    tldr? 3-2, Stark Wildlings is fun but Stark Knights is better.


    ~ Ryan

      Current date/time is Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:08 am