|Seizing the Throne at Stahleck, Part One
A tournament report by the 2011 European A Game of Thrones Champion
|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 15 December 2011|
Congratulations to Martí Foz, the new European Champion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game! Martí besieged Stahleck with a Greyjoy Winter deck that cut off his enemies’ supply lines and then cut down his enemies.
Martí provides us the champion’s perspective on the 2011 European A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Joust Championship. Today, he discusses his deck design and recounts his progress through tournament’s Swiss rounds.
Martí Foz on the A Game of Thrones 2011 European Joust Championship:
This year the metagame seemed more balanced than ever, so the decision of what deck to play was quite difficult. My choice was between Baratheon Knights of The Realm and Greyjoy Kings of Winter. After thinking about it a lot, I finally chose the Greyjoy one:
My deck didn’t have too many surprises; it was a classic Greyjoy Winter Choke. However, there were a number of choices worth addressing.
Kings of Winter x1
A Time for Ravens x1
Search and Detain x1
Valar Morghulis x1
Rule by Decree x1
Fear of Winter x1
Carrion Bird x3
Samwell Tarly x3
Syrio Forel x1
Vale Refugee x3
Varys (Secrets and Spies) x1
Alannys Greyjoy x1
Baelor Blacktyde x1
Bandit of Winter x1
Dagmer Cleftjaw x1
Asha Greyjoy x1
Distinguished Boatswain x3
Euron Crow's Eye (A Song of Silence) x1
Ice Fisherman x3
Island Refugee x1
Maester Murenmure x1
Maester Wendamyr x1
Mercenaries from Pyke x1
Theon Greyjoy (A Change of Seasons) x1
Wintertime Marauders x3
Kingsmoot Hopeful x2
Street of Sisters x1
Street of Steel x1
River Row x1
Longship Black Wind x1
Longship Iron Victory x1
Naval Escort x3
River Blockade x3
Sunset Sea x3
The Iron Cliffs x1
The Iron Mines x3
White Raven x2
Burned and Pillaged x3
Support of the Kingdom x3
Total Cards (60)
As I said before, the deck can compete against almost everyone, but it has some problems against Maester decks that bypass choke with the Gold Link. I also feared Stark Siege of Winterfell due to its characters’ low cost and the aggressive nature of their setups. Finally, I also feared a mirror-match against another Greyjoy Choke because my deck is very poor in resources.
As you will notice in the decklist, I obsess over strong setups, and I included a load of cheap characters and locations to ensure setups of five to six cards.
There was no mystery here. I ran the classic choke plots plus Search and Detain. That plot was a late addition that proved essential. You can use it offensively or defensively, and it has a ton of combos. Strangely, I never got a real advantage from Blockade; it was only useful against Summer decks to ensure that Winter would last one more round.
I had two primary concerns for my characters: great setups and a solid intrigue presence. That’s why I included strange cards like the Vale Refugees and the Kingsmoot Hopeful. The Refugees offer a real threat combined with Naval Escort, Longship Iron Victory, or Longship Black Wind. Meanwhile, the Kingsmoot Hopeful offers protection against Game of Cyvasse, is immune to Venomous Blade, and is more difficult to burn than the typical weenies. Additionally, Alannys Greyjoy helped a lot in controlling my opponent’s hand.
The deck’s main strategy is economic control. The Ice Fisherman was crucial during the finals and semi-finals, and the Wintertime Marauders (plus Maester Murenmure) were easy inclusions. The absence of Gilbert Farwynd may seem strange, but after a lot of testing I decided he wasn’t worth inclusion. The Ally trait made him too expensive for three gold; I only have three Allies in my deck, Syrio Forel, Varys, and the Bandit of Winter. I had relatively few Noble characters, and my location configuration didn’t fit him–I couldn’t include limited locations to produce gold because I already had five limited cards, three Pillaged and Burned and two Kingsmoot Hopeful.
Some characters, I included because of setups and the metagame:
Finally, my star characters: Euron Crow’s Eye, Baelor Blacktyde, and Dagmer Cleftjaw. Euron is one of my favorite characters, but he’s not a logical inclusion in this deck. In fact, I couldn’t play him in any single round. On the other hand Dagmer and Baelor are two absolute beasts who helped me a lot to win several games.
In this part of the deck’s design, I took some risks. My gold curve was a little poor–only three Sunset Seas and three Streets (Steel, Sisters and River Row). However, the Greyjoys benefitted greatly from their warship pack, consisting of three River Blockades, three Naval Escorts, one Longship Iron Victory, and one Longship Black Wind. I included Longship Black Wind to win challenges to play Support of the Kingdom and threaten my opponent’s hand in intrigue challenges, not for its draw ability, which was anecdotal at best. Meanwhile, the combination between Naval Escort and River Blockade is terrific and can help the deck win even when it can’t control the enemy’s economy. Finally, the deck features four locations that provide saves: three The Iron Mines and one The Iron Cliffs, a very good card but useless in setup.
Only two copies of the White Raven. I needed space for other things, and attachments are bad for the setup. I have a plot to search for one and the Carrion Birds, so I thought that a third copy of the White Raven was unnecessary.
Finally, I included three copies of Pillaged and Burned, a card that’s absolutely essential to my strategy.
I pared this down to the essential, three copies of Support of the Kingdom. It steals gold from my opponent and helps me pay my costs. Each copy creates a two-gold difference (+1 for me and -1 for my opponent).
The tournament – Swiss rounds
Round One vs Baratheon, Knights of the Realm (Claudia, Portugal)
She raced to six power in the first turn with the new Knight of Flowers and Set Eldon Estermont. After that, I managed to control her economy, and the Knight of Flowers was bounced by my Search and Detain. A painful Rule by Decree and my Wintertime Marauders did the rest. (1-0)
Round Two vs Greyjoy (Austria)
He had a very special Greyjoy deck with no agenda and plots like Lineage and Legacy and King’s Law, but my setup was much better. Fear of Winter into Blockade and Rule by Decree decided the match. (2-0)
Round Three vs Greyjoy, The Maester’s Path (Antonio, Spain)
Everything was decided in the setup. He had very bad luck, and only flopped three cards, Archmaester Ebrose and two The Iron Mines. He won some intrigue challenges with Ebrose and started to put some chains on him, but he didn’t have any way to produce gold. Then, my Bandit of Winter destroyed one of his Iron Mines. With Ebrose alone on the board and no more Iron Mines, the match was mine. (3-0)
This match was very tough. He played very well, and I think that if we hadn’t hit the time limit, he would have won. He used a lot of strange combos, and Reek and Meera put a lot of pressure on me. I couldn’t contain him, but my Naval Escorts and a Rule by Decree that hit his thirteen card hand helped me to hold on until the time limit. Timed win. (4-0)
Round Five vs Martell, Kings of Summer (Germany)
This was a classic Martell Summer deck, but with The Viper’s Bannermen instead of Venomous Blade (lucky me). I couldn’t control his economy, but a huge fleet of Warships earned me the win. Again, Rule by Decree was amazing. After I played it, Baelor came to my hand and made me feel much safer since he could no longer play A Game of Cyvasse. Tough match! (5-0)
Round Six vs Martell, The Maester’s Path (Pedro, Spain)
I was at the top table, and facing me was one of the Spanish legends. He annihilated me. I made the mistake of letting him win some early challenges, so he started to play his chains and produced a lot of gold thanks to the Gold Link. With Ghaston Grey on the board, it was impossible for me to do anything. (5-1)
After the Swiss rounds, I was seeded 12th, and I was really happy. I was a little bit tired, but the adrenaline kept me alert.
–Martí Foz, 2011 A Game of Thrones: The Card Game European Champion
Next week, we’ll cover Martí’s exciting run through the elimination rounds on his way to the European Championship.
Based on George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, playable by 2-4 players, brings the beloved heroes, villains, locations, and events of the world of Westeros to life through innovative game mechanics and the highly strategic game play. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Chapter Pack expansions to the core game.
By the way - and please forgive the nitpick - but are you quite sure your second round opponent was Austrian? I don't think any of the Austrians present played GJ (although two played Bara Treaty with the Isles).
Excellent report, Ser!
@jerusalem: you will find the info here:
www.eaglecard.org/tourneyofstahleck/ (in the archive section)
Great TR - thanks! GJ is TOUGH right now to be sure...
Fun report. One thing that I find missing (both in this and the Warhammer report) is how many people were in attendance?
Thanks a lot Marti!