A Game of Thrones – IQ games 10/01/16

My first tournament for A Game of Thrones in either edition so I thought I’d write some words about it. Arriving literally just in time after negotiating the Huddersfield one way system was not a good omen, and I sat awaiting first pairings with veteran 1st edition players running sensible decks. Whereas I was the only Tyrell player there with a deck which lacked a clear archetype.

The Deck

House Tyrell / Banter to the Stag

Plots
1x A Feast for Crows
1x A Game of Thrones
1x A Noble Cause
1x Building Orders
1x Calm Over Westeros
1x Counting Coppers
1x Filthy Accusations

Characters
1x Littlefinger
1x Varys
2x Maester Cressen
2x Melisandre
1x Ser Davos Seaworth
3x Fiery Followers
2x Dragonstone Faithful
2x Left
1x Maester Lomys
2x Margaery Tyrell
2x Paxter Redwyne
2x Randyll Tarly
2x Right
2x The Knight of Flowers
2x The Queen of Thorns
3x Garden Caretaker
1x Olenna’s Informant
3x Wardens of the Reach
2x Arbor Knight
1x Renly Baratheon

Locations
2x The Iron Throne
3x The Kingsroad
3x The Roseroad
1x Chamber of the Painted Table
1x Highgarden
1x The Mander
3x Rose Garden

Attachments
2x Milk of the Poppy
2x Heartsbane

Events
1x Put to the Torch
2x Tears of Lys
1x The Hand’s Judgment
2x Seen In Flames

The overall idea behind the deck is to build a big board, attacking with big characters like Randyll leaving enough small characters for defence and dominance win. I chose to play Tyrell largely because of The Queen of Thorns, although she really would work better in a Fealty deck once the character pool is bigger. Bannering to Baratheon so that I could take a reasonable amount of kneel to suppress big threats.

The Deck has a very small number of events and attachments so most of the cards are fine for a set-up hand, typically 3 or 4 cards on the board at the start of the game. The events I did choose were probably questionable, only one each of Put to the Torch and The Hand’s Judgment to counter specific threats like The Seastone Chair, The Red Keep and Tears of Lys. Although with only one of each I was unlikely to see them when I needed them. My own Tears of Lys were there to make up for my lack of reliable military pressure.

Considering locations there were probably too many one offs and I would have benefited from more consistency with additional Chambers of the Painted Table, in the end I never used The Mander or Highgarden to great effect.

The characters have a reasonable cost curve peaking around 3 gold but the icon spread is not great being slightly lacking in power icons, making me regret removing 2 Courtesans of the Rose. I was happy with all my Baratheon characters except Renly who ended up being too expensive to put out. The Tyrell characters mainly had strong intrigue which I was continually pushing through, with The Knight of Flowers being a key character, usually able to get through a power challenge with renown.

The plot deck was the part that I agonised over the most, a Building Orders to offset my locations being one off when I would have rather had a Summons or a Marched to the Wall. My favourite plots were A Feast for Crows and A Game of Thrones, helping me to push forward my power and slow down an aggressive opponent respectively.

Round 1 Baratheon-Fealty

I went into the first round pairings very nervous, I was sat across from a reputedly strong 1st edition player, rocking Bara-Fealty a known strong archetype. I would have to pull out all the stops. I started with a 4 card set-up of a few weenies and a Roseroad, but shockingly he had managed to put down Robert Baratheon. Turn 1 I knelt his Robert with a Filthy Accusations and was able to follow up by using Tears of Lys on Robert, killing him and leaving me in a strong position. This lead to a few turns of unopposed challenges getting me a good power lead, however during this time he had got out Melisandre and Stannis and was kneeling my threats pretty consistently. Plot 7 rolled around and it was a Wildfire assault from him, decimating my board leaving me with Margaery, Randyll with Milk of the Poppy on him and Paxter Redwyne up against both Stannis and Melisandre. I was able to rebuild just enough to not lose immediately but it wasn’t looking good. I have a a board mainly of weanies, losing power challenges but retaining dominance. It boiled down to the 10th plot when I flipped A Feast for Crows and time was called, we determined that he could not prevent me from winning dominance and getting to 15 power so round 1 went to me.

Round 2 Lannister – Banter to the Dragon

For the second round I was up against a Lannister deck but I had a good start, a fair few characters for set up and able to drop The Knight of Flowers turn 1 racing up to 10 power in 3 turns, however he had been building his board and was ready to strike back. A big military challenge went in so I chump blocked it, but I was surprised by a Put to the Sword, killing The Knight of Flowers and setting me back immensely. An especially galling loss since I had wasted a Hand’s Judgement on Things I do for Love just a turn earlier. I attempted to build back up but at this point I was staving off the inevitable. Big character after big character, Cersei destroying my hand with Tywin and Jaime racking up renown. It was over before plot 7 and left me 1-1

Round 3 Greyjoy – Fealty

Greyjoy are the faction I feared coming up against, probably wrongly, largely due to Balon and The Seastone Chair for scary targeted kill. He had a pretty great set up, including Asha and an Iron Fleet Scout compared to my mediocre efforts, Paxter Redwyne and a couple of weenies. I felt pretty intimidated when he dropped Euron Crow’s Eye and Aeron Damphair over the next few turns but it got better with a successful intrigue challenge setting up Tears of Lys. However I made a terrible mistake, killing Asha while Aeron Damphair was still alive making my efforts worse than useless. After that it was all downhill, many unopposed challenges through stealth closed out the game in a few turns and I slid down into a negative win ratio.

Round 4 Baratheon – Fealty

Staring down another Bara-Fealty deck was not what I had in mind especially seeing Melisandre on the board straight away, although he was light on military icons. I took advantage of this, keeping the pressure up so he never had rarely had free characters to attack with. I was able to keep creeping up on power and board presence, wary of building too big in case of wildfire assault, but it never came. My main controlling pieces never really got used unfortunately, no Milk of the Poppy due to Maester Cressen knocking about and I didn’t see any Tears of Lys. In the end this didn’t matter as I was able to push for a fairly quick victory through a Feast for Crows turn, evening out my win ratio.

Round 5 Greyjoy – Banter to the Lion

Another Greyjoy deck for my last round, I didn’t feel like I  would make top 4, but I wanted top 8 for some of that sweet store credit so it was all to play for. Neither of us had a particularly good start, an Arbor Knight with some Fiery Followers and some economy for me and a Black Wind’s Crew with some economy for him. I opened up with a cautious Calm Over Westeros, as I had pretty much every game, just in case of Naval Superiority, and so I could relax on my weak military challenges. After a few turns of good gains, able to actually win attacking military challenges against Greyjoy, Balon arrived and put the fear in me again. I endured a couple more turns, throwing down Melisandre and keeping Balon down for a little while and racking up power with The Iron Throne and Chamber of the Painted Table. In fact I had build an almost unmanageably big board but he had not been idle either, supporting Balon with a smattering of smaller characters but crucially not Asha or Theon who might have made a stealth power challenge. He also had down The Seastone Chair so could start picking off my important guys using Balon. Through strategic use of Margaery I figured I could actually stop Balon’s challenges but then Widow’s Wail was played from ambush and all my maths was destroyed. The next turn I dropped Varys to try and stop the rot, either he would waste The Seastone Chair on Varys or I would wipe the board. What neither of us had noticed however was The Knight of Flowers who poked through a cheeky power challenge with renown to end the game just before time. A very close game with plenty of back and forth, I wouldn’t have the tournament end an other way.

I ended up placing 7th out of 18 earning a very pretty Tumblestone Knight and £5 of store credit, which I immediately redeemed on a beautiful Tyrell playmat featuring the two best cards in the game, Left and Right obviously. IQ games in a great venue and I’ll certainly be back if I have time to travel.

 

Final thoughts on the deck.

Having played the same deck with a few tweaks more since the tournament it has become clear that the deck is junk. Half heartedly trying to be like the popular Lannister/Rose decks that are going around but also worse than if it had been a pure Baratheon deck. Looking at the cards in The Road to Winterfell they seem continue to push Tyrell into being  a banner faction or at least not do enough to let them stand on their own. However, even though it probably is just me being a contrarian, I’ll still hold a torch for the boys and girls in green.

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