The Battle at The Wall

A Game of Thrones LCG 2nd Edition January 2016 Organised Play Event

TournamentThis Saturday we had our first Game of Thrones 2nd Edition Tournament at our FLGS. I took a Greyjoy / Banner of the Stag deck which had been played once in preparation, and basically relied on getting everything knelt, then getting as much value as possible out of unopposed challenges. My early play-tests had suggested that it could work well if all the big names came to out to play, but I wasn’t sure how consistent it would prove under tournament conditions.

Game 1: Lannister Fealty

For my first game, I was playing Liam, someone I knew from the Lord of the Rings LCG, and had played once in melee. It was a long, drawn-out fight, where neither of us managed to really dominate. I missed double-Tywin in the opening hand with Heads on Spikes and never really felt like I could match his board state, thanks to the sheer amount of economy he was generating with Tyrion and Tywin.

AGameOfThronesI thought I had a shot when I got Theon at +1 strength with Risen From the Sea, and brandishing a Throwing-Axe. I played Rise of the Kraken to really put pressure on with the double-claim and the unopposed… and wandered straight into A Game of Thrones. I had nothing that could get past Tywin to win an intrigue challenge, so was unable to do anything that round. We were both top-decking, and had  no real reset. It was slipping away from me when they called time on the round, and I lost on power.

Game 2: Baratheon / Banner of the Rose

Game 2 EndThe second game was against Moritz who had been on the receiving end of the entire Greyjoy family in the practice game (well, not quite, Alannys never made it out). This game saw my deck in proper steam-roller mode. I got Asha out early on, and was able to stealth Robert – my opponent forgot about her Throwing Axe, and ended up losing the Knight of Flowers to claim after the Fiery Followers defended only to find themselves summarily axed. Once Balon came out, it went into overdrive, as aside from Robert, no-one was big enough to count strength against Balon, leaving the challenge unopposed, so Asha could re-stand, then stealth again. Aside from missing a Little Bird on Asha, this was a pretty-much perfect game for my deck, and it was over in about 3 or 4 rounds. Quick and brutal.

 

ThingsIDoThe speed of Game 2 did give time to watch some other games – most notably the match between the eventual second and fourth-placed players. One got up to 14 power, (versus 5 or 6) then had his board wiped and seemed to have lost 15-13 before someone spotted an illegal play (apparently The Things I Do For Love requires you to kneel your house card as well as paying the cash and controlling a lord or lady) and the match went back the other way on forfeit.

Game 3: Baratheon

In game 3 I came up against Baratheon again, and my brain has already forgotten what agenda he was running. This was the first time I’ve had Balon and not smashed through things with him. Great Kraken proved entirely useless when I was unable to make unopposed challenges. I also had the Seastone Chair, but Melisandre was Bodyguarded then duped, and Robert came out and was immediately duped, so had the awkward decision between targeting to remove saves (costing me overall board economy) and leaving them alone (in which case he didn’t care about other characters, because he had Bob and Mel to do everything. This was the game where I most keenly felt the lack of economy in this deck: I couldn’t draw my Roseroads, and Melisandre sat in my hand for an age, before I finally pillaged my opponent’s Kingsroad with Euron – the slow early pace for me, combined with a large amount of kneel from across the table (R’hllor) and a few poor decisions (forgetting Bob’s intimidate), meant that Balon just never got going, and I lost this one fairly emphatically.

Game 4: Stark Fealty

Final game- both sides seemed to have good starts: I had Balon and Theon again, opponent had Ned and Sansa. Theon’s stealth was vital for going around Ned, and I got lucky with the first plot of the game, getting Catelyn’s head on a spike – he proceeded to draw two more copies during the game, which slowed him down, and left him very light on intrigue.

Game 4 End
From this angle, it is kind of obvious that the Playmat comes from another game…

I was never really able to leave enough standing to fend off the military challenge coming back from Ned, so I was constantly a bit thin on the ground: I got rid of Robb with Seen In Flames, and Winter is Coming from an Intrigue challenge, with kept me from having to sacrifice too many of the key players. Euron was Marched to the Wall on the final round, but he had already set me up with a Kingsroad, and I was able to add Wendamyr and the Damphair to Theon and Balon for a mass-stealth unopposed power challenge on Rise of the Kraken, netting a total of 6 power for the challenge (2 claim, Balon renown, Theon pseudo-renown, Unopposed + Extra unopposed for Plot) which gave me the fifteen for the win.

Victory

FinalThe overall final was a mirror-match of two Night’s Watch – Banner of the Wolf Decks, and it looks to have been a hard-fought contest, which saw brother against sister: at the end it was Jon, Arya and Ned who brought home the victory for overall winner Andrew, whilst Sansa and Bran were left with nothing but the bitter taste of defeat.

For the winner there was an Old Bear Play-mat and deck-box. I walked away with an alternative-art Knight of the Tumblestone, but missed out on any store credit in the random draw, so the third core set will have to wait. Luckily, I did get a snapshot of the goodies on offer before they were handed out:

Kit

Thoughts

Overall, I thought it was a good tournament – we had a good mixture of players, from a guy who had never played before, to some very experienced first-edition / Netrunner/Magic etc veterans. It was a friendly atmosphere, and good fun. There was certainly a lot of Greyjoy about, and a fair amount of Baratheon, but as noted, Night’s Watch / Stark was being played by both the top 2, and I saw Tyrrels, Lannisters, and even Arianne Martell. The only house I don’t remember seeing was Targaryen (and I may well have missed them) so a good spread of decks.

IronThroneI was struck by the power of some of the locations out there – the Iron Throne in particular is a beast, and the fact that it contributes strength to Dominance even whilst knelt makes it a real pain. The fact that it adds to reserve is also good, and I may have to consider swapping it in at the next revision of the deck

In terms of my deck, things could certainly have been worse: the lack of economy was a major issue, as was the inability to see things consistently. The lack of a third Core Set means the reducer-location and the cards from the chapter-packs are the only ones I have in triplicate. I still don’t know how soon I’ll pick up another though, as a.) I need to find the money and b.) If I do pick up a third I’ll need to develop some actual deck-building skills as I figure out what to cut.

I’ll probably try this deck again – I think the plots are probably the most obvious place to optimise: the effect on Here To Serve sounds great – searching for a Maester and putting him straight into play sounds great for Baratheon/Banner of the Stag, as it looks like a more flexible version of Confiscation, but with only 1 copy each of Cressen and Wendamyr, the reality is less useful. Something with higher income seems like it would suit this deck well, even if I had to sacrifice an ability to get there.

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