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|Old School Stark - Italian National 4th place||14||7||0||1.0|
Hey all, I am switching out to different decks (going back to more janky stuff) and also I am rather sleepless after the action that was Stahleck, so I felt like I should share this deck, just so that other Stark players (or those who want to pick them up for the first time, as I think this is more new player friendly (not really) than the Skagos variant). I believe I could have pushed this to at least six wins to get to prelims if I didn't do dumb mistakes in a couple of games, but what happened has happened, and I can only blame my piloting on that day.
Also, it is still rather unrefined, especially considering it's missing several generally considered (and I agree on that) strong cards (namely, That Location and That Plot and This Character). However, I wanted to go to a more old-school variant of the Starks (which is awkward looking at pack composition - only two packs from first two cycles, and almost every Cycle3+ pack), and so, decisions had to be made. As I am not a great deck builder, nor is my memory that good to remember my opponents and play-by-play (I will do a very tiny summary in the end), I am picking out several cards to describe them in more detail.
The True Bolton Card - Everything about this card is awesome, and every little detail and thought put into using it is reflected. "Cannot be saved", "Shadows", "When" (being earliest in WUA, before Flea Bottom and other tricks) - Every single little detail of the card was used and "key" throughout the tournament and before it, and if you care well, it can outright destroy opponent hands. Just don't ever military claim a three-coster if you have two-coster on board.
Winterfel'lel - Winters are really, REALLY unpopular right now. Over the field, and outside, all the main decks currently at most play one - either The Withering Cold (Starks), The First Snow of Winter(selection of decks), or A Time For Wolves (Starks, duh). Considering that, it is basically running an extra set of Core Cat. Targaryens almost never got burn (and Drogon was extra sad against me), Starks got really stumped on their tricks (Starks? A tricky faction?), Greyjoys (if I would have met them) lost their Risens and Iron Mines on my Military, and Tyrells lost their STR bumps. Oh and right, people always forget +1 STR, and that +1 STR is almost always exactly what you need.
Fallen from Wyman - This was basically my emergency button "I didn't draw my Wyman, time for Plan B". Withering Cold with Robb, needing to hide Meera in Shadows, winning Initiative against both Valar Resettis to save a key card, or (once), getting a card out of Wyman, because I was that desperate. This is a plot I would change first, but it is also the plot that allowed me for a lot of shenanigans, so, I am a bit perplexed.
Last Kneel Scouts - All the time I was riled up by the friends "Why the hell are you adding them?", and after all this, I feel vindicated. Out of 8 decks in the tournament, all of them were utilizing Shadows/Flea Bottom/Ambush, and so all of them were stumped whether to play fair and marshal stuff in marshaling or not. Sure, this deck is also rather jumpy, however, I can allow myself to kneel most of the time. Meera, Bran, Summer, Bolton - all of them already give (some) value just be entering play/being there. There were a couple of games where I secretly wished I didn't have them, but the value gained in other games was too much to throw them out.
Ice - Targeted Kill is Targeted Kill (as well as STR Bump against that one challenge where I really cannot stop burn.) - as this is not an Attrition deck, instead of wiping boards (although Winter Is Coming and Flayers helped a lot in being close to that), I had to pick my targets. Extra Note: WitheringCold+Winterfell+Ice is the real if unrealistic murder.
Not Summer/Grey Wind - a) It can be used in more than military. b) It can be used on defense. Often claim-soaked though (Too many "valuable" weenies), so a card to replace.
Ser Awkward - Drew twice. Had my own Shadows cards both times. The opponent wasn't really into Shadows both times. Good in theory, lacked horribly in practice. Each time I wanted it to be a Nightmare/Meera Bait or a completely different card at all.
Honorable Mention: Greatjon Umber - Considering my luck, they should add a line on it "Can only be drawn after 3 plot cards have been used". To be fair, only 1x, so wasn't that missed.
Honorable Mention #2: Time Skip - too many people thinking they can buckle up and push through in one turn - never worked out in their favor. However, make sure you don't kneel out your economy on the turn you play it - almost always you want to have more gold on next turn than this one. Even though the usual order is T1 Something -> T2 Withering -> T3 Something -> T4 Valar D, sometimes you have to Valar early, or opponent one ups you (plays his own reset or Forced March), so you really want to do more deployment after Withering, not during it.
Onto the matchups faced:
Round 1 - Martell Wolf - Win. Slowly, but surely. Don't overcommit, but always keep a healthy board too, finding Frozen Solids for Flea Bottom and Starfall helped a lot. He did find all three Ramsays and Wards, but it was not enough.
Round 2 - Targ HRD - Win. Found both Winterfell and Cat immediately which heavily stopped both Drogon and general burn (at one point he started using burn as discard effect cards). As I drew both Frozen Solids on the start of game and opponent didn't get Qarth, I risked blanking both Meereen and Flea Bottom. He found Qarth T2, but it was Withering Cold, so second Solid was only dropped by T4, by which point he was card drained (Plaza of Pride really didn't help him in keeping healthy hand). Valar Dohaeris and Ice'ing Danny sealed the deal.
Round 3 - Stark Fealty - Loss. First 15 minutes I did several terrible mistakes completely misremembering how a generic Skagos list looks like. After that, a moral loss converted into an actual loss.
Round 4 - Stark Crossing - Loss. T2 ended with him having 11 power. I managed to draw out the game (I think I Ice'd Eddard crippling some powers) to almost time with six or eight plots in total, but it was not enough. Felt there were 'small micro mistakes' which might have helped me out be better.
Round 5 - Tyrell Assault - Win. Gratz for building such a deck, and at start it was really enforcing its playstyle (The Queen of Shadows stealthing through Cat is no fun, Mullendore getting perfect reads thanks to Undercity, The First Snow of Winter stopping Winterfell, and me generally). Key points - getting rid of all Highgarden Courtiers (I remember Warding one, and I think I even Ice'd one) and a timely Valar after Withering Cold slowing down.
Round 6 - Targ Lion - Loss. No matter how I could have changed my gameplay, the opponent just had the upper hand. While I Winterfelled Drogon, his Ilyn Payne appeared at the same turn as I drew Begging Brother on his initiative, and thanks to Plaza of Pride, killed two characters before I even could play it. And even though I staggerred him enough, so that he had four 6-costers (three of them duped), and Valar got rid of them, he just replayed them as he specifically kept third copies for that purpose. Props to my opponent on the whole match.
Round 7 - Martell Wars - Win. A really fun deck (Ser Gerris Drinkwater+At Prince Doran's Behest meant he ended T1 with two Winter Reserves in his plot pile, but that really slow start didn't help him out. Also, he didn't find a single card which would utilize "used plot pile" mechanic even though he ran Ricasso, so not like he had the best of his draw. A really fun deck, but alas.
Round 8 - Stark Crossing - Win. The only detail I remember is timing - Bolton Flayer kills before Flea Bottom wraps up. I don't remember what actually pushed me to winning this matchup - I remember him having Greatjon T1, but I also remember stopping him effectively somehow.
((By the way, shouldn't it be 2018 Formal?))