After a fairly hectic January with two tournaments and quite a lot of play-testing, I struggled a bit to get along to the FLGS to play much Game of Thrones during February and March. Right at the start of the dry spell, I put together a fun little deck: it’s already faded rapidly into obsolescence with the rise of First Snow of Winter, but it’s still fun, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on it anyway.
The starting point for the deck was the event card which came out in the second chapter pack, Lady Sansa’s Rose – this is a Tyrrell event which allows a Knight who has just won a challenge by themselves to claim a power – or 3 power if you control a lady character. The reference is to the Tourney for the Hand when The Knight of Flowers gives Sansa a rose as he rides in to begin jousting, and it seemed only fitting therefore that I use the key players from that scene, meaning a Tyrrell – Banner of the Wolf Deck.
So, this deck wants lots of Knights, lots of Ladies, and should be able to call on a fair range of tricks. I’ll go through my thought processes now:
From the Banner
Starting with the Stark cards, cheap Knights are great for this deck, so
Knight of the Tumblestone… (sorry still thinking in 1st edition mode) Tumblestone Knight was an easy choice. Sansa and Arya are both non-loyal Ladies, so they go well here too. Bran doesn’t particularly fit the theme of the deck, but 2-cost for event cancellation is always good, and Ned’s ability to defend, defend, defend gets him a place in any Stark deck I build. Lastly, I threw in 2 copies of Lady. Sadly she doesn’t count as “A Lady Character” for triggering Lady Sansa’s Rose, but that +2 strength for a Stark character is still great.
On the Tyrrell side, there are more cards to wade through, but there are still some obvious choices. Loras and Margaery are both key components of this deck, with Loras being able to win most challenges where he attacks alone, and Margaery providing that final push where needed.
The Arbour Knight is cheap, and great for set-up and whilst his starting strength of 1 is poor, he can be boosted up, either by paying gold, or using some of the various in-house strength boosts Tyrrell can call on. Horror and Slobber aren’t cards you’re going to want to see repeatedly, but one of each is well worth including. For the other high-cost uniques, I tended not to bother too much: I took one Randyll and one Paxter, but no Queen of Thorns.
This deck already has Lady and Margaery for moveable strength boosts, but this was something I wanted to make more of, so I also put in Heartsbane and Growing Strong. Last but by no means least, the oh-so-thematic card for this deck, “Mare in Heat” adds to the headaches for your opponents.
Neutral cards for this deck are fairly unremarkable – the standard income locations are all there, as you’d expect, along with Milk of the Poppy. The only “unusual” inclusions are Hedge Knight and Knighted. Aside from allowing them to be targeted by Lady Sansa’s Rose, a knighthood is great for the rounds I use A Tourney for the King. Arya makes a great target for this, as she can often stealth the opponent for an unopposed challenge, gain renown, and be the target for both halves of the event card.
I only managed to get a few games in with this deck, but it did well. Having so many cheap characters really helps with set-up, and there are good options for draw and economy in Tyrrell. As noted at the outset, this deck lives in fear of First Snow of Winter, at least before it can get the big characters set up, although once Ned and Loras are out, life gets a lot easier. Burn is also a major concern, and a Targaryen player with Plaza out could really make life difficult for you, by picking off the weenies.
Overall, this is a fun deck to play – an Arbour Knight with Heartsbane and Mare in Heat doesn’t sound like it should be a thing, but it works brilliantly – you can attack for 1, remove a high-strength character who tries to block, and then boost your strength fairly dramatically, either to defeat remaining blockers, or to get up to “win by 5 or more” for triggering reactions.
Overall, now that First Snow is here, I don’t think this deck is usable in tournament play, but it’s good fun for casual games, and it’s nice to have been able to play it a bit. I’ve got a tournament coming up at the weekend, so will report back on whatever I end up running there…