Overly Long Regional Weekend TR

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Overly Long Regional Weekend TR

Post by JCWamma on Tue 23 Jun - 17:56

With two regionals in two days, last weekend was essentially the largest UK Thrones weekend since Blackwater 2014, and I had no plans to miss out. It was going to be a long weekend, with a 5am start on the Saturday, a night out in Manchester followed by another early start on Sunday, no getting back to Stevenage until close to 1am Sunday night, but it was always going to be worth it.

With Mike, Vince, Ryan and Becky Frith (MA (Pending)) helping making the long drives tolerable, we set off to attempt to conquer the north!

Saturday - Manchester

The Deck: Stark N/A Meera
This is obviously not the most original of decks. It might, however, be the first time I've taken a deck universally recognised as T1 to a tournament, having spent weeks refining it beforehand. So I actually quite liked my chances here. As for the exact list, I'm sorry to say I don't want to share it for now - firstly, there are a billion lists like it available online; secondly, if the presumably-imminent FAQ nukes it then what's the point; and thirdly, if the presumably-imminent FAQ doesn't nuke it, I may very well want to take this to the UK Nationals (if the event ever actually gets a date!). Apologies, because not sharing it makes me feel dirty. Rest assured that there are no incredibly weird choices, but I find when you're dealing with a known archetpye the devil is in the detail. About the most controversial thing I did was make sure I got it down to 60 cards and run Meera Reed in 3x rather than considering 2x, to maximise my chances of top-decking her at any given time.

Upon arriving at the store on Saturday morning, I found myself unable to procure the copies of Northern Patriarch I had hoped for, and was forced to include my last two cuts instead - a second Wolf Dreams, and Maester Vyman. The Wolf Dreams was important, but I didn't see Vyman all day.

Round One: BYE
Something about getting up at 5am and driving for close to 4 hours made me think that using my bye from winning the London SC here was a good idea. I don't particularly regret that choice, either.

Round Two: Bryan 'Emperor Octavius' Bradley (Greyjoy Old Way LMB)
Bryan got a strong start with a lot of boats out, including Longship Iron Victory (the first one, which does need to be pointed out since he ran both of them!), but only a single Damphair's Drowned for characters. With Jeyne Westerling and Wolf Dreams to hand (and exactly enough resources to pull it off) I was able to search for Robb Stark and Grey Wind, play them and use Grey Wind to kill the Drowned, making it so LIV knelt out all his locations. That gave me a major tempo boost, and with Meera blanking LIV and LMB on turn two, and Bryan having to kneel out all his locations again on turn three, I basically just won through unopposed. I think it went 6 plots, but it was a very quick game.

Round Three: Wedge (Greyjoy House of Dreams LMB)
I had a pretty tasty set up here, with Sam on the table and Meera in shadows, and two Frozen Solids in hand. Wedge was pretty much able to win whichever challenge he wanted to with LMB, but I made sure that I was blanking his ways to stand it again, Frozen Outpost and Great Wyk. With some careful deliberate dominance-losing to get Meera back in shadows, followed by the freezing solid of Captured Cog so I could win dominance on my Minstrel's Muse turn, I was able to push through a victory here without any real issues.

Round Four: Sam (Lanni N/A Castellan)
Short version: I was raped so hard here I got bought a Sansa badge by Jack and Dave.
Having had to tutor for Meera turn one in order to control Sam's board, I found myself subsequently drawing no characters - or rather, exactly the correct number of characters for Sam to kneel my board out every turn, between Castellan, Harry the Riverlands and King Joffrey's Guard. Meera made it take a lot longer than it would've done otherwise, but Sam completely rolled me here, and it was not close. About the only mistake he made all game was forgetting to trigger Arbor Guardsman to win dominance one round, so fair play to him!

Round Five: Dave (Martell N/A Blade)
This was the closest game I had all day. Not for the last time, an early Grey Wind and Shaggydog in play helped me control his initial push very well - do you really want to attack, Arianne? I had the option of playing Nightmares for a one card advantage here, but decided to save it and it was a good job I did - next turn, Dave put down Ghaston Grey, but I was first player. This meant that, rather than him bouncing my wolved-up Brienne, I got to blank Ghaston Grey and stop him being able to attack for another turn. Turn three I had a choice between Summoned by the Conclave for Meera to blank Ghaston Grey (but give Dave a search too), or Minstrel's Muse to go first since blanking Ghaston did nothing for me if he'd already bounced away my Brienne and discarded the wolves. I made sure to go first by playing Minstrel's Muse, then had the incredibly good fortune to top deck Meera - this topdeck is ultimately probably what won me the match, and in my opinion entirely vindicates the work I did to get this to exactly 60 cards. Before anyone thinks I was TOO lucky here, I'd point out that any of my Frozen Solids would've done just as well, so the chances of a lucky top deck were actually reasonably high! ...Yeah, it was a lucky topdeck. Meera came out of shadows to blank Ghaston as the first action, but wasn't able to escape back to shadows, which telegraphed the Valar. My next piece of luck came with Dave not having a single He Calls It Thinking in hand, which meant that both my dupe'd Edmure and Meera Reed (via A Time for Wolves/Nymeria) survived the Valar, and I got to go first again (and trigger Meera). My first action in marshalling was to bring Meera out to blank Dave's Bloody Gate and another reducer, leaving him one gold short of being able to play The Red Viper. A play, trigger and play again of Ghost put Meera back in shadows, and I discarded Vipes from Dave's hand that turn. I stupidly didn't trigger Ghost again and let her get Venomous Bladed, but with Edmure on the table I just shuffled her straight back into the deck and played another copy next round. This was also the round I was finally able to FroSo Ghaston, although the damage was long-done by then, and I was able to roll out to victory thereafter.

This placed me third after the swiss, behind the undefeated Ryan and Sam, and left me a top 8 match with Kostas.

Top 8: Kostas (Lanni CoS Preston)
I didn't remember to take notes for the games after the cut, so I'm relying more on my memory - expect this to be somewhat more spartan than the swiss, because the games blurred together a bit to boot.

Kostas opened with Fury of the Lion and played multiple cards into shadows as well as Cersei Lannister on the board, looking to kneel out whatever I played. As he had left 0 gold I wasn't expecting any nasty surprise from shadows, so took a chance and played out Robb with Shaggydog and (after fetching him with Wolf Dreams) Grey Wind. With Nymeria in my hand this left me highly vulnerable to Valar next turn, but I did still have Samwell and a bird in hand, so fancied my chances to recover - ultimately shutting down his turn one plan and, with my last gold, playing FroSo on his GTM to keep his draw down, was more important than maintaining Robb and the wolves. At the least I hoped to bluff for A Time for Wolves. And after all that I found out he didn't run Valar! With Cersei unable to attack I could Grey Wind one weenie and military to kill the other, leaving Kostas in a bad way after turn one. After the no-Valar, I was able to hit back with impunity, Nymeria protecting Robb and a couple more small characters hitting the board to make control tough. Turn 2 or 3 Kostas brought out Tyrion, deliberated which boost to give him and ultimately decided on Deadly rather than Immune to Events. I was able to push through a military challenge and No Quartered him. As a last gasp hoorah Kostas brought out The Queen of Thorns, but next turn I played Winds of Winter and Grey Wind munched her, 2 claim clearing his board and leaving me free to roll home to victory.

Top 4: Sam (Lanni N/A Castellan)
This time my deck fired on all cylinders. This is the match I remember the least about, but I just remember it being pretty much a walkover. I got Robb and Meera out early, A Time For Wolves caught a Valar nicely and I kinda walked it, Minstrel's Muse speeding the victory up.

Final: Ryan (Stark N/A [Kindly Man] Meera)
Ryan had done tremendously well, going undefeated all day with his first time playing Stark, and with the two of us and Vince having made some changes to his deck on Friday night I knew that his deck was strong and was anticipating a fun, tough match. Sadly this did not happen.

Turn one Ryan brought out Meera to blank some stuff (I forget the specifics, maybe Brienne?). I brought my own Meera out, and blanked his, won a military challenge and No Quartered her. That left Ryan in a seriously tight spot, but that tight spot became untenable because he drew literally zero resources all game. From set up to the conclusion he saw only one Narrow Sea, and even that he didn't actually draw, he had to search for it with Sansa! I felt really bad about this, because after being king of the swiss and coming through a couple of very tough matches in the cut to make the final, Ryan's deck just crapped out on him as hard as it possibly could at the worst possible time. Didn't stop me laying the boots in, mind - Nightmares on The Kindly Man to Grey Wind him away, anyone?

And with that somewhat anticlimactic series of games in the cut, I was fortunate enough to take home the trophy for the Manchester regional, as well as the legendary valyrian pine sword "AGoT Wood"!

Saturday night, we went out. I was wrecked from the early start, long drive and long day's Thrones, so I hit the hay earlier than others, but I vaguely remember being attacked by a psychotic kitten, a ritualistic burning of Shireen, and arguing about Uptown Funk.

Sunday - Stockon(-on-Tees)

The Deck: Wun Wun's Cock (Lanni HoD The Giant's Lance)
I love this deck. The HoD location shuts off all the ravens that are everywhere right now, with Lyanna out I can shut down refugees too, and past that Pentoshi Manor shuts down the fun stuff. With Threat from the North it becomes a powerful board wipe, and that is in turn backed up by Secret Orders, which in turn is backed up by City of Soldiers/Spiders (with Besiged and Sin always great). With so much focus on STR reduction, I then run STR-efficient cards to try to take advantage of it. The Regent's Spy probably doesn't feature in most decks, but it was great here. Insidious Ways and I'm You Writ Small become much better than they already are. I could wax lyrical about this deck for ages, but instead I'll just post a link to the list once I bother to type it up in the deck forum.

Round One: Ben (Stark N/A Meera)
Ben had been a non-playing T.O. at Manchester the day before, so it was cool to get the chance to play him for the first time in a while. Turn one I was able to hit him pretty hard by dropping A City Besieged to blow up his Street of Silk, and he didn't see any major resources for a while. He had a Flank on setup (one of this decks many weaknesses), but between You've Killed the Wrong Dwarf! and Fury of the Lion I kept it turned sideways until turn three, when (after getting in a couple of attacks) I was able to kill it for claim. I was able to draw cap every turn via GTM, Janos, Tommen, Widow's Wail and an Insidious Ways, and with the constant stream of cards (and the help of seeing all 3 Pentoshi Manors) I was able to slowly canter to victory.

Round Two: Mike M (Stark HoD Harrenhal Meera)
My notes for the tournament stop here, so expect less info.
I was able to use Pentoshi to control his board well enough for the first three turns while I built up cities, then discard Harrenhal on turn four (I think Mike had only actually been able to trigger it once beforehand anyway). The Giant's Lance actually proved useful for me in a weird way here - Mike had a Northland Keep out, and it meant I was able to negate the ability to remove some of the efficient characters like Coldhands and the Regent's Spies, as well as sticking Widow's Wail on an Enemy Informer without it having more STR than cost. As with round one this was a slow roll to victory, as I recall. Second Sons on the table let me clear the board on a Threat turn by draw-capping in challenges - thank you Mander and Insidious Ways! - and I cleaned up from there.

Round Three: Wedge (Bara KotR Mel's Favour)
So one of the best players in the UK, playing a hard counter to my deck? Splendid. In case you're questioning the "hard counter" part, my deck is built around controlling knelt characters, and Wedge's characters were almost entirely non-kneeling or standing. He opened with the Withering Cold, and I wasn't able to get out any characters (I could've played two refugees and saved one, but one refugee vs multiple knights wasn't too great). I knelt the Knight of Flowers, so naturally he stood with Forced March. This left me absolutely terrified of a second turn Fear of Winter from Wedge - it's a common restricted card for Bara Knights, and with the power grab he had on the table he probably could've closed (or at least gotten close enough to make my position untenable) had he run Fear. I knew it was a risk, but absolutely had to play around the possibility, so I dropped Threat - and was promptly met with Forgotten Plans, superb. With lower resources I struggled to get much of substance out and Wedge took several steps closer to victory. Next turn I played Tywin, Wedge took him with Mel's Favour and that was game.

Round Four: Vince (Greyjoy Old Way Naval Escort)
So one of the best players in the UK, playing a hard counter to my deck? Splendid. This was even more of a hard counter than Wedge's - my deck revolves around making everyone's STR low, and Vince pumps everybody. What's more, a lot of my control effects are responses, and he runs the neutral iron throne! I didn't help myself here though, with a number of bone-headed plays that I'll put down to a combination of general fatigue and a defeatist attitude going into the game. First error was a simple one - going with Giant's Lance for my HoD location. As Vince pointed out to me, if I'd gone with the Lanni Iron Throne, his neutral one would've been worthless! On top of which, the Lance did basically nothing this game. I should've played the deck more aggro instead, but tried for a stupid "business as usual" approach. This was compounded when my first city was A City Besieged - instead of saving it for the second one so I could actually discard the Naval Escort causing me trouble, I chose to waste it on a Bay of Ice when I was already outdrawing him. I finally got my act together and stopped playing badly around round four, but the game was long since over at that point.

Round Five: Ryan (Stark N/A [Kindly Man] Meera)
Ryan got his chance for vengeance after the previous day's final. With only one 3-2 making the cut I knew my chances of making it were slim-to-none, but I was determined to give it my best shot anyway, and despite Ryan obviously being an amazing player with a great deck (see: performance, his saturday) I felt semi-confident, with Stark Winter being a specific deck I'd teched to beat. However, what I hadn't counted on was a Northern Patriarch on set up. My deck has a healthy number of events (Cool, all of which are very important in practice. I do have targetted removal answers for problem characters - sadly however, they are almost entirely in the plot deck, and in order to survive the N/A onslaught I couldn't avoid putting power on the Patriarch between events and Pentoshi Manour. This left me waiting to topdeck Coldhands, but he never came and Ryan did a great job of targetting my draw, stopping me from digging for him. However, despite Ryan having strong card advantage and a board advantage too, I was keeping up in the power count, to the point where I actually had more power on my house card than Ryan did. I then drew Lady of the Leaves and Secret Orders. A route back into it! Blank the Patriarch, reduce his STR to 0 pre-plot, then Threat/City of Soldiers him away! The only problem was that aforementioned more power. I tried to manipulate it so that Ryan had more power on his house card than I did, but the only way to do it would be to let him get up to 14 power after dominance, at which point my Secret Orders on the Patriarch would in fact just give him the win. I had to instead use Secret Orders to stop a 2 claim power challenge, abandon that idea and push for a straight up victory, with me on 11 power and him on 12 on plot 8, time called so we knew it would be the last round. I'd gone with Threat to keep his board down, Ryan going for Minstrel's Muse. With my ability to push through a power challenge, an unopposed intrigue challenge and Renown on Lyanna Stark, it was going to be close. Ryan very, very nearly gave me the game at the end here - he thought that he couldn't oppose with Patriarch, because between Threat, Lyanna and the Lance he'd drop down to 0 STR. Because I'm too honest for my own good I pointed out that the Patriarch wasn't just immune to the discard from the Threat but also the -1 STR, meaning he could oppose the power, which he then did, leaving me at 14 and letting him claim dominance for the 15-14 win off Minstrel's Muse. An amazing game against a worthy opponent!

As a small sidenote, Rowan had the decency to make me feel better by getting a mod loss in the last round, which ensured that he had 1 more point than all the other 3-2s and made it so I wouldn't've made the cut even if I'd won the last round. Jolly decent of him.

After Ryan and Vince very selfishly didn't just drop from the top 8 so we could go home and instead insisted on losing to Even in the top 4 and top 8 respectively, we then drove home and finally got back home about 1am. From waking up on Friday to going to bed on Sunday, I was Thrones > Driving > Sleeping in order of time spent, and when a weekend this great comes along I wouldn't have it any other way!

Major props to the following:
- Beanie Games and Fan Boy Three for hosting two great tournaments, and Josh and Ben for TOing their respective events (even if Josh was playing the wrong Arys Oakheart).
- Jack for letting the 5 of us (amongst others) crash at his house Saturday night, basically enabling everything else.
- Vince, who works for Sony, for repaying me for being his weekend chauffeur by gifting me a stack of brand new PS3 games. Let nobody say he isn't an incredibly generous man!
- Becky, Ryan and Mike for making great passengers as always.
- Everyone I played against for being cool opponents to a man.
- Tony 'cockbongo' Makos, for proving that he really exists by finally showing up to a tournament I'm at after missing each other for like two years.
- Kostas, Ryan, Wedge, Vince and Even for making the top 8 both days (particularly Kostas for winning Stockton, and Wedge and Even for accomplishing it with two different decks)
- Everyone who went out on Saturday night - sorry for being too sleepy to be properly sociable.
- Bryan for making me laugh by accidentally including 8 plots (and no Betrayal at the Wall) - not only in his deck, but in his list he submitted. All hail Emperor Octavius!
- Everyone who turned up and helped make both days amazing.

Thanks to everyone who's stuck through and read this report to the end, and I hope to see you for Norwich! If anyone travelling from the North is on the fence about attending somewhere so out of the way, let me try to help you make your minds up - I'm driving there from the much more accessible Stevenage, so anyone who wants to attend and can get a train to Stevenage station in time (either Saturday morning or Friday night, both are fine by me), please let me know and we can get those spare spaces in my car filled up! The offer's also open to Southerners, but I'm going to give Northerners priority for obvious logistical reasons.

(Also if anyone wants to stay at mine for Blackwater the offer's open there too)

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Re: Overly Long Regional Weekend TR

Post by MrDav on Tue 23 Jun - 19:03

Bryan was also running a proxied valar. Classic Bryan.

Great report as always. Jammy bugger.

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Re: Overly Long Regional Weekend TR

Post by markdrive on Wed 24 Jun - 9:16

Great report James!

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Re: Overly Long Regional Weekend TR

Post by totalgit on Wed 24 Jun - 10:58

MrDav wrote:Bryan was also running a proxied valar. Classic Bryan.

Great report as always. Jammy bugger.

All Blame goes to Usman, we were meant to play some games the week before which would have sorted everything out but he bailed on me!


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Re: Overly Long Regional Weekend TR

Post by ShiftyMcNinja on Wed 24 Jun - 11:21

Proxied Valar... What a champ

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Re: Overly Long Regional Weekend TR

Post by mouchliazo on Wed 24 Jun - 17:03

Brilliant report, mate. Congrats again on the win on Saturday! Your Sunday deck also inspired some jank-tastic ideas for me, I'll hit you up with them in private! Smile


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Re: Overly Long Regional Weekend TR

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