Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

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Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

Post by mouchliazo on Mon 22 Jun - 13:45

So, after the enormous fun I had in Leiden and the London regional, it was firmly decided that I would try to make as many UK Thrones events as possible. Couple that with the fact that there was enough people available from the Edinburgh playgroup for us to rent a so-called 7 seater (I-can't-feel-my-legs seater) and an epic road trip weekend was in the making.
Meeting up on Friday afternoon and driving through the bucolic scenery of the Edinburgh extended suburbs to pick up Helen from work, our happy group consisted of Alex, Even, Helen, Tony and Bryan and myself as the kids in the second-row back seats. The way down was marked with such amazing banter as the comparative sexiness of bridges, the specifics of two weapon fighting in D&D 5E, the conspicuous lack of ducks and the absence of all feeling down my left leg. I was dropped off to visit local friends in Manchester and was later informed (mostly by their terribly hungover faces) of all the shenanigans that occurred that night.
Roll on Saturday morning, and after an early registration and much needed caffeine injections, we settled for the first regional of the weekend. I chose to play Lanni City of Shadows. A couple of months ago I was lamenting the fact that there wasn't much control in the environment I was seeing at the time (Bara rush, lots of AaA etc) and set out to make something myself. My initial forays with Bloodthirst were dreadful, my Targ conquest GJ ambush-boats was delightful and dreadful at the same time, but I really enjoyed playing the shadows deck and it didn't do too badly while being something very new to me too. Thus, the Lannister Testicle Clamp was born, designed to excruciatingly crush the opponent's spirit – and testicles (or more likely scramble to stop him from winning when he's at, like, 13 power).

So onwards to Round 1: Fiona, Stark Aloof and Apart
Control with my locations and her relative lack of Intrigue icons went a long way in this game, coupled with the Cersei that kneels dudes. A Fleeing to the Wall made a bit of a mess with my plans, but I was already well established by that point.
1-0

R2: Becky, Lanni Aloof and Apart
I think I had a great gold start in this one, with Lannisport Treasury and another gold from something. My card draw was great too, I think mostly with Jaime drawcapping me almost every turn. I didn't see much recurring control, but what I saw coupled with my total card advantage was enough.
2-0

R3: Ryan Wood, Stark NA
Boy, was this brutal. I had on ok start, but Ryan set up a cancelling Harrenhal, Summoned by the Conclave Samwell and quickly drew into Meera. A couple of Umber House Berserkers killed my cannon fodder and his military challenges took care of the rest. Harrenhal tok care of anything that could touch Meera and she just took care of everything else. My set up Kingdom of Shadows worked overtime for her as well.
2-1

R4: Ryan Kelly, Bara KotR
Ryan was playing the Bara shadows deck that mirrored mine. I don't remember the specifics, but I think I managed to see more control than he did and matched his number of knights a couple of turns. My power gain was very slow, but finally the Queen of Thorns showed up and grabbed me 4 or 5 power for the win.
3-1

R5: Vince, GJ Old Way
I played Vince in London too, and was terrified at his deck and awesome play skill. This game was no different. I started off well, managing to sneakily kill Asha when he won a defensive challenge against me on T1 (surprise! Lannisters do pay their debts!) and won initiative on turn 2 to Enslave his lone Fishwhiskers and discard his naval escort. Things went quickly downhill after that though, as my card draw was lacking and his was working very well, with LIV and Bay of Ice giving him 2 extra cards a turn. When the Neutral Iron Throne eventually appeared, I hadn't managed to draw into my own and it shut me down completely. Board control was summarily lost and the game was done quickly after that.
3-2

The strong showing of my opponents bumped up my SoS enough for me to make the cut and I was paired with the infamous JC Wamma.

T8 Wamma, Stark NA
After the thumping I got from Ryan, I didn't go in with too much confidence on this one. My crashing defeat came from a different angle this time though. A quick Robb Stark received both Grey Wind and Shaggydog, stopping my Cersei from controlling his board and when I drew into A Lannister always pays his Debts it was too late as he was already duped. Things were pretty procedural after that. He happily went on to stomp his way to winning the event. It has to be said that we were extremely happy about that, not only because he was a worthy winner, but also because it meant we wouldn't have to try and fit the sword in our already packed to the brims car (do cars have brims? I don't see why not).

So that was it for Manchester, and after another evening of merriment and amazing BBQ (for the locals: if you haven't already, go to the Red's True Barbecue - I promise you won't regret it), we met early the next morning to make our way to Stockton. This time the ride was dotted with frantic deckbuilding ideas for mine and Helen's decks. I was originally thinking to play Stark Maesters, but a. I forgot to bring cards from the last chapter pack with me. b. I heard Rowan was playing that deck too and didn't want to feel like a scrub with my inferior version and c. I felt that my shadows deck was sufficiently janky for Sunday (quite a few people fielding their pet projects yesterday) and I bloody enjoyed playing it. I did change about 10 cards, including 2 plots, which turned out to be a great call. All of the changes proved at least marginally useful and some of them were outright game clinching. Roll on Stockton tourney:

R1: I decided to use the (undeserved) bye I got from the Stockton store championship. I was the only one in the top4 who didn't already have a seed, it was well amusing.
1-0

R2: David Halliday, Martell 2/2/2
There were lots of things to fear in this game for me. Favourable Ground, Westeros Bleeds and untimely He Calls it Thinking and Red Vengeance. David started with the First Snow of Winter and two House Messengers, who he of course replayed on turns 2 and 3. This was however his only draw engine for the entire game. I tried to push Intrigue challenges home as much as I could, to force him to use Red Vengeance on those and keep his options low. A triple Arianne with Taste for Blood was somewhat problematic (understatement of the year), and she held him dangerously close to winning at about 10 power, despite me locking her with the Black Cells. Eventually he was forced to use one dupe for military claim and my Valar + the Iron Throne removed her next turn. Pretty epic game though, and only a first taste of what was to follow.
2-0

R3: Becky, Bara Noble Cause
This went far better than I expected, I didn't really believe I could deal with as rush a deck as Noble Cause, but I was pretty darn lucky. Becky set up Bittercamp encampment and that helped her mitigate the agenda drawback to a great extent, but I got plenty of control options as well as renown dudes and pushed through quite a few challenges. I also pulled out a Narrow Escape from her hand with intrigue and I somehow rushed my way to victory (rush being T6 or something with this deck Razz )
3-0

R4: Dave, Targ 2/2/2
Oh man, more Hollow Hill loving, and now with jumping dudes I can't control with the Black Cells and company. Dave opened with the First Snow, but that meant he couldn't Ambush from the Plains Viserion to burn my Goldroad with Increased Levy on it. He did get rid of all my other locations though with Favourable Ground next phase. Luckily, Jaime helped me to redraw into gold and locations, sacrificing himself 2 and a half times in the process (saved by the Knight of Flowers once and coming back to fulfil his Oath before finally biting the bullet). Dave's draw, on the other hand, was reportedly on strike, and he was soon topdecking, with a lone Fiery Kiss bouncing back and forth in his hand. Despite that, it was an awesome, hard fought game, filled with jokes and one-liners.
4-0

R5: TBP, Bara Aloof and Apart
TBP was thrilled to be undefeated so far and even more so when we assured him that he had made the cut. Still, the honour of swiss champion was at stake (Vince would also go undefeated, but him being paired down meant that he'd have worse SoS than whoever won in our table). I had an ok setup, with Jaime in shadows, Golden Tooth Mines and I think Kingdom of Shadows. His was decent but not amazing, with decent economy, Wilas Tyrell and a Refugee. He opted for Fear of Winter first turn and I went for City of Lies (he had played Much and More pre-plot and I was scared of Rule by Decree). I let him go first to see what was in store despite the 2 claim and he went for some Rainbow dude, I think. I placed the Knight of Flowers in Shadows and put Jaime into play in challenges. He predictably swung for military, which I left unopposed and saved my Jaime with KoF. That meant I could push all three challenges back and things got to a very good start for me, with lots of Renown power. I did struggle a bit with gold after that, but a Black Cells soon locked a guy, Harry the Riverlands knelt another and I soon established control. Top seed, woo!
5-0

T8 Rowan, Stark Maesters
It was now time to see if I could do better than the previous two regionals. After a bit of recovery time, we sat down for another epic match. Rowan set up with cancel Vyman, Kyle, a refugee and economy, while I failed to see much gold but I had a Golden Tooth Mines. His first turn At the Gates fetched Luwin and my City of Lies helped me put cards in shadows but I couldn't get enough people out to defend any challenges. Vyman also meant that it would be very difficult to control anyone that mattered, so I didn't marshall any guys first turn, just built up some economy and location control. Rowan promptly Froze Solid my Mines (which only meant he had more Solids in hand, as he knew that more juicy targets would present themselves), kitted Luwin with Nymeria and got 3 unopposed challenges and 3 chains. T2 I valared, got rid of Vyman and fed Rowan some cards through Kyle. I again didn't get any guys out. He again got 3 unopposed challenges and a few chains, but since I didn't have power at any point so far, he was only sitting at 8. T3 it was time to start to try to get into the game. I flipped Taken captive and the Black Cells kept Luwin out of the equation and a Tyrion backed up with the awesomeness of Highgarden valiantly defended his challenges. T4 I obviously knicked Luwin, and that was Rowan's only proper mistake in this game, as he didn't use his Valyrian Steel Link pre-plot, thus drawing two less cards. My Aftermath promptly discarded him at the end of marshalling and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. In the meantime, the Black Cells and I think the Lanni Brothel got frozen as well. But with his draw engine gone, the absence of Intrigue icons on his side and no Cavalry Flanks or similar to threated annihilation, I managed to defend and stall the game enough to turn it around. As exhausting as it was awesome. One of the highlights was using Rowan's Tyrion figure when I used my shadows Tyrion, who was undoubtedly the workhorse in this game.


T4 Dave again, Targ 2/2/2
This was time for the epic Egg Off! We both had randomly won dragon egg plushies though obviously his Viserion egg was more in theme to his deck than my Rhaegal. This was another super fun slugfest. Dave opened with Dry Season, blanking all my swag locations while himself putting in play a Meraxes. This game was thankfully Favourable Ground free, phew. I eventually discarded his Meraxes with Pyromancer's Apprentice and later on his Rhaenys Hill with Condemned by the Council before it became relevant. Nevertheless, his 3 Ambush from the Plains, and 3 Company of the Cat, plus a Recruitment kept him with a steady flow of cards. I focused on keeping his board as empty as possible and was blessed by his complete absence of Power icons until it was way too late for him. The Iron Throne also showed up at some point, simplifying matters. Still, the casualties were numerous, Jaime again died at least twice and in the end the Queen of Thorns sped me up to victory on something like plot 9 or 10.

T2 Even, Lanni Aloof – Clansmen
By this point, everyone bar Josh and the Edinburgh squad had understandably left, We set up to play the final under the scrutiny of our road trip companions who longed for the confort of their beds and gently suggested that we fuck off and play this in the car or something. Alas, the Testicle Clamp hadn't yet drawn enough blood and we settled down for an hour-and-a-half final. Even started with a couple of Clansmen and Tyrion, uhoh! I hada rather poor economy and went for a couple of refugees and a Weaponsmith. I went first and attacked for Military, making Even kneel his clansmen. My gambit paid off when Tyrion attacked for intrigue, failed to pluck the Lannister Pays his Debts from my hand and there were no Clansmen to save him from my refugee's retaliation. *insert sigh of relief here*
There were lots more to be done before I won though. I weathered the storm for turn 2 while clansmen collected power and wrecked my gold with old Chella, I valared t3 and soon Even had about 12 power, some of it on Tywin. I kept Timmet knelt for a long time, (there were some shenanigans including Black Cells, a Brothel, a Volantis Inn and Preston in the Standing phase, keeping 3 people down per turn. We were saying, 2 cards are synergy, 3 cards are combo, 4 cards are jank Very Happy ) which meant that he couldn't trigger Harrenhal with his knelt clansmen guys and I threatened to take Tywin as military claim if I ever won a military – which I didn't. Nevertheless I managed to stall enough for his own valar to go off, and after an excruciatingly slow, painful grind, the Queen of Thorns gave me that little bit of oomph I needed to pull this through. Highlights also included a random clansman dude being enslaved by me, enslaved back by Even then getting re-Enslaved by me. Maybe there were better targets at the time, but the lulz were too strong to resist.
And so, to everyone's delight and cheers of 'thank God, we can go home now', I managed to grab the win and surprisingly avoid being stabbed to death. Go me!

Designated props/slops area:
Props
1. Organisers and players, everyone was incredible at both events and there more fun was had than I deserve.
2. The gods of BBQ for their blessing of glorious meat.
3. All the people from Edinburgh, as well as my opponents, who had to wait through hours on end of control bullcrap. Super special mention to Alex, who drove us around all weekend and arrange for car rental and everything. I owe you a dinner at least.
4. The fact that I didn't have to go to work today.

Slops
1. 'Seven Seater' cars. Legs are probably optional. Felt like a clown in a gag.
2. Eeer, I can't really think of any other slops, except that we can't do this often enough.


See you all at London next month!!!

TL, DR: We played cards all weekend. It was brilliant. I did alright. I will include a decklist when I can be bothered. Sorry for the 3000 words report.

mouchliazo

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Re: Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

Post by Mach on Mon 22 Jun - 23:11

Great report Kostas, and top work with the City of Shadows deck. It's made me want to get back involved with that deck...

See you at Blackwater!
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Re: Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

Post by cockbongo on Tue 23 Jun - 0:57

Jesus Kostas, you've got some memory. Well done again.

Good to see you all at the weekend. We finally got home at 2:30am, btw.
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Re: Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

Post by mouchliazo on Tue 23 Jun - 1:43

And here's the decklist!

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Re: Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

Post by markdrive on Tue 23 Jun - 8:10

First of all: congrats Kostas - first non paramour to win a regional this year Wink
2nd - very happy we are still managing 20+ people in almost every regional. I hope to see you all in Norwich for the last regional of the year
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Re: Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

Post by JCWamma on Tue 23 Jun - 9:27

Congrats on the strong showing in both days (Sunday in particular obviously), and thanks for the detailed report, it was great reading Smile.
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Re: Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

Post by MrDav on Tue 23 Jun - 22:53

Great report to match two great games. One note - Queen of Thorns was in the first game. Next game I kept a flame kissed in hand once you got close to make sure I could deal with her!
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Re: Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

Post by mouchliazo on Wed 24 Jun - 17:07

The Queen was so stupidly clutch in most games that they all merged together a bit. I'm sure I've tangled up other plays too, but those were two amazing, exciting games. I got fittingly recurring nightmares of recurring Companies of the Cat since then.

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Re: Manchester and Stockton report, read at your own risk.

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