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|Ninguno. Éste es un mazo hecho de cero.|
A grim, Stannis-like nod at the gathered warriors of Thrones.
Welcome, compatriots. Come. Slake your thirsts with the chilled blood orange wine spritzer that is this tournament report. Relax in the high breeze of my mountain keep, with delicious game recaps and succulent strategic insights to refresh and revitalize. Take a dip in the babbling stream of my attempts at humor.
Thoughts on the Deck:
Today, we've planned a trip to Ricky's junkyahd, a one-stop shop for detritus and pre-owned miscellanea. They've got used, broken plots and a smorgasbord of discarded cardboard, a selection that even the most discerning vagabond/hoarder would love.
I absolutely love Martell's used plot mechanic. Is there a more thematic sub-theme than scheming over time and using long-laid plans to reverse your fortunes? Playing towards a ridiculous, 7-power Bobby Fischer trigger makes every game neat-o. I also wanted to work with Splashtown USA and The Prince's Pram, a recurrable combo that dishes out challenge math headaches.
The deck is able to leverage both Winter Storm Dickon (Red Vengeance, lots of 4-cost characters, jumpers) and Valar Dohaeris (Arianne, low-cost character curve, multiple Areo triggers). As such, I decided to rely on those two plots to control the board, and dropped attrition-y cards like Southron Messenger, Venomous Tip, and a second Marched. This left plenty of room for fun cards and power grab. Also, if one of them is going to be ineffective, you can junk it with Change of Prawns.
The win condition is setting up a solid Pillow Talk turn. It helps you get your Doran's Game off, and can give a few of your renown characters the ability to participate in multiple challenges. Oximoronic Knights love The Prince's Plan on that turn. It's like To the Spears! all over again.
If there was one glaring plot flaw, it is the lack of a clear opener. I often open Marched or Retaliation if I had things to trash at the end of the turn, and Heads on Spikes otherwise. Perhaps Spikes should be something safe like The Long Plan, which was in an earlier draft but didn't play fast enough for this deck.
Overall, the deck is quick and flexible and a joy to play. I would also recommend it for anybody who wants to practice their plot game, as you really want to have an idea of your plot sequence a few turns in advance with this deck as much as any other.
Twelve champions entered the lists for this GNK, a slight dip in attendance attributed to the holidays.
As extra motivation to win, this tournament had a special rule: every time you lost a game, you would be stuffed into a catapult and launched off of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. High stakes, indeed.
Round 1 vs Tim "Tim Hast Mich" Hasenbein (HRD Iron Throne)
The first tilt began with trepidation on both sides of the table. Sweat dumped from my armpits, while Tim gnashed at his lip to bleeding in worry.
The initial decision of the day would set the tone for the entire tournament: how to cut Tim's deck? A full, douche-y shuffle? The classic 50/50 Flipper? A gentlemanly tap, as if to say, "Pick your seven card hand, sir, and would you like a spot of whiskey?" Ultimately, I made the same daring choice I usually make, taking the top card off of Tim's deck and putting it on the bottom of his deck. Tim made a pained, moaning noise, while I offered only a hint of a confident smirk.
Both of us had relatively strong starts, Tim with a T1 duped Melisandre and me with Arianne, Dornish Fiefdoms, and a Knights of the Sun. A pair of Asshat Priestesses and Milks on Arianne and Nymeria slowed me down a bit turns 1-2. However, Mel was the only 4+ cost character on Tim's side, while I had a Knight of the Sun, Myrcella, Half of an Iron Throne, and Arianne. The moment was ripe for First Snow, especially with my three Dornish Fiefdoms. Even bouncing the two Asshat Priestesses seemed worth the near-total board clear. I bullied Tim this turn, accumulating a good bit of power.
I expected a Valar Dohaeris, and played an obvious March to the Wall to clear Mel and provide a pseudo-ointment for VD. I deliberated for a good while on whether to go first or second. The easy choice would be to go first, March Arianne and Mel, then Dohaeris Nymeria to the bottom of my deck. Going second, I would also have to lose either Myrcella or the Knight of the Sun, each with a renown power. However, I would get three of the four lost gold value back from the Feifdoms (with plenty of characters in hand), I could keep any chuds I played safe from Priestesses, and I would force Tim into some difficult challenge-phase decisions. I decided losing one more character didn't matter in light of all of those boons.
Tim flooded the board with chuds, while I countered with a Bastihd ah'Gawdsgrace.
Quick aside: don't you find that "The Bastard of Godsgrace" sounds like a gritty crime drama set in South Boston, perhaps about a ne'er-do-well orphan drug dealer who, after a life-changing encounter with an Irish priest, decides to turn his life around and take the fight to his former heroin cartel? Just me?
Back to the game! I continued to deny Tim his The Red Keep draw and crept up to 10 power. Plot 5 was his Yummy Dead Flesh Plot to my Retaliation, attempting to close the game. I made sure to kneel my Rey Solo at the earliest opportunity, as I really wanted to be sitting on 7 gold going into challenges phase and I was still fearful of those Asshat Priestesses. Tim, trembling with fear, dared make a few little challenges, forcing me to use my only power icons to defend and thus turn off Crossing, or so he thought...
My pulse galloped like a prized destrier as challenges were turned over to me. I jumped in Areo to grab an extra unopposed power, then The Prince's Plum gave me a surprise power icon, winning me a two-claim Crossing power challenge with renown to seal the deal.
Gold Cloaks locked Tim in manacles, led him away, and launched him off the Harbour Bridge. To his credit, he survived, and battled back to win his next two matches.
Round 2 vs. Nathan "Professor Exile" Van Ravesteyn (HRD Old Wyk)
It's hard to believe, but I was even more terrified going into round two. Nathan is almost as tall as I am, and more muscly, and with infinitely more beard. Even in the event of a glorious victory, the risk of physical harm to my person was real. Nathan gnashed his teeth and flexed his biceps, a sort of Maori haka, while I tried to mask my anxious whimpers. I steeled myself for the worst.
I had another decent start, with a Knights of the Sun, a House Dayne Night, and a Fiefdom, while Nathan started with a Roseroad and a Black Wind's Crew. This, I think, is demonstrative of HRD's drawback. It can make for difficult first turns, particularly if your HRD locale doesn't immediately help your board state. My own deck had started as HRD The Boneway, but I found that it put me too far behind for what I wanted to do with the rest of the deck (e.g., I'm not running Varys).
Nathan flipped Pentoshi to my Retaliation (I had plenty of quality parts to ditch to the junkyard). I had nine gold, which was just enough to afford Nymeria and a Dornish Spy, while Nathan pooped out Asha and a duped Victarion. I decided to apply heavy pressure, stealing both Asha and Victarion's military icons. Two military claim into my Marched left Victarion all alone. It wasn't long before he joined his neice in a watery grave. I had Flea bottom rolling with Areo and the Spy jumping in, and Nathan simply couldn't recover.
Nathan punched out a few Gold Cloaks before they managed to tranquilize him with some Milk. They loaded his large, limp body into the catapult, and flung him from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Round 3 vs. Tim "The Steward of Helholt" Robinson (Martell Rains)
We come to it at last: a hot, grimy, Martell-on-Martell grudge match in the sand, with a chance to prove once and for all who was the greatest Orange Card player in the history of early January 2018 in Western Sydney, in our known universe and dimension, that is.
Before the game, Humfrey Waters, Commander of the Gold Cloaks, informed us that a new, extra-large trebuchet would fling the loser from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I screamed in horror and vomited into a trash can; Tim curled into a fetal ball and muttered "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" over and over again.
Several days later, we managed to compose ourselves enough to play our match. Tim set up a lone Knights of the Sun, along with Ghaston Grey and economy. I had Elia, a Scavenger, Myrcella, and economy. Marched seemed like a decent enough trade to start the game. For the first few rounds, I did not swing for Crossing power, instead defending intrigue challenges and using Elia to hit Tim's hand on the rebound. Tim had a slight power lead, which let me go second when we tied for initiative at 8 (so common in Martell v. Martell!). In fact, I believe I won initiative every round; this proved huge.
Another key factor: Tim needed to spend most/all of his gold every round to keep up in board presence. This meant that I did not need to fear many tricks and could generally attack with impunity.
Eventually, a small advantage in board presence and a large advantage in hand size translated into two consecutive power-grabbing turns. A Pillow Talk flip with two The Prince's Plinth at the ready let me counter his Nymeria/Viper combo and seal the deal. I felt in-control throughout this match, generally playing conservatively until it was time to push.
While hints of tears welled in Tim's eyes as he was led to the Great Trebuchet, nobody can say they saw one tear fall.
And with that, I was awarded first place out of the twelve participants. With victory came the spoils: 4.4 billion dollars, which is just enough to buy the next chapter pack in Sydney, the second-most expensive city in the world. I mean, they have to fund the catapults somehow.
I also won one third of a set of Martell tokens.
-Each of my opponents on the day, who bore their grim fates with resolve
-The Sydney Thrones meta, for attracting dozens and dozens of dedicated players
-Special shoutout to Adem Kolar for organizing so much of the local community
-Prince's Plan, Doran's Game, Junky Ric, and Change of Plops for being fun cardboards
-The Western Sydney delicacy known as the HSP, a mountain of french fries, meat, and sauce
-FFG for devising such a dangerous tournament format. We knew their OP was bad, but the catapults exacerbate the issue
-FFG for the idiotic divying of faction token prizes into sets of five
-Me for making things up
-Me for writing so much about things I made up
-Just kidding, me again
Heart it if you liked it and I'll write more!