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Hey all, I've been a devotee of Baratheon decks good, bad, and ugly for some time and this has been my latest attempt at creating a deck that can hold it's own against the most competitive factions. My loyalty to the One True King finally paid off this time, with this deck earning me my first tournament win!
How can the Stags even stay on the board in a meta filled with Squids, Ships, and Seas of Blood? Well, by utilizing some Super Efficient Beatsticks and leaning into what they do best - The only challenge that matters.
Captain Khorane had told him of the end of Stannis's hopes, on the night the river burned. The Lannisters had taken him from the flank, and his fickle bannermen had abandoned him by the hundreds in the hour of his greatest need.... Well unless... you know, you never lose a challenge
Keep the faith, Fickle Bannermen!
Go second and win challenges on offense and defense to trigger The Starry Sept, renowned characters, The Bastard of Nightsong, and keep The Red Keep and Privileged Position active. Keep the Fickle Bannerman loyal to win challenges on defense and maintain your board position. Use the draw and control tools to frustrate opponents' game plans.
Wars is just so versatile with the extra plot spaces. I allows you to run 2 resets and Political Disaster in case your opponents' warships get too out of hand. Additionally it frees up the faction card to kneel for In the Name of Your King! and Selyse Baratheon (FotOG). There's really no downside - it's not like Bara gets much mileage out of the other cards in the restricted list.
- [Peace and Prosperity](/card/10047), the default opener as it has good initiative compared to most economy cards and there's enough attachments in this deck that I will usually save all 6 gold with the discount. You will want to use the initiative on this plot to go second so you can play out your [Traitor to the Crown](/card/08009) on any characters that hope to threaten your hold on power challenges.
- [Barring the Gates](/card/06019). This deck is built with characters who are efficient to marshal. One of the primary reason Bara has gotten so outstripped in the past 2 years is that they don't have efficient ways to cheat characters into play like almost every other faction. 2 turns of Barring the Gates helps level that playing field.
- [Duel](/card/06060). With 6 out of the 8 factions running big guys, this plot is an ultimate control plot when you run a minicurve deck like this. [Duel](/card/06060) wins games.
- [Political Disaster](/card/02040). A good insurance policy if your opponent's locations are getting out of control. It has saved games for me before. If you end up having the bigger location spread, just don't play it. Another plus for Wars.
- [Trade Routes](/card/09051). Autoinclude these days.
- [Exchange of Information](/card/11020). Obligatory draw plot
- [Valar Dohaeris](/card/08020). The only big guy in this deck is Selyse, who you will want to get off the board anyway. Best reset for minicurve.
- [Valar Morghulis](/card/04080). Insurance reset. Play if your opponent is spread super wide or if you're behind. Most of your characters are non unique so you'll rarely run into the issue of drawing dead cards.
- [A Clash of Kings](/card/01001). 2 purposes. Use it has a finisher and go first (this is basically the only time you will actually want to go first). Or, use it to choose to go second, drop [Selyse Baratheon (Core)](/card/01049), and get a big power challenge through.
- [Fickle Bannerman](/card/06007). Star of the deck. You're paying 3 gold for a renowned body that has the strength of [Randyll Tarly](/card/01183), [Robb Stark (Core)](/card/01146), or [Balon Greyjoy (KotI)](/card/12001). Use him to defend military challenges to prevent SoB triggers and to keep him knelt in case your opponent does manage to win a power challenge. Bonus tip, you can use [The Starry Sept](/card/12042) to blank him if things are looking dire.
- [The Bastard of Nightsong](/card/08107). His reaction does work. Pulling 3 power off a faction card on a [A Clash of Kings](/card/01001) turn will either finish a game or put you real far ahead.
- [Melisandre (Core)](/card/01047), [Shadow Priestess](/card/11008). Kneel is still great when it happens (just assume that GJ will not kneel because of [Vince](/card/11051), but the R'hllor augment brings much needed icons to this deck.
- [Selyse Baratheon (Core)](/card/01049). Big Selyse is a 6 cost kneel everything event that will really only be surprised cancelled by GJ (Lanni you'll at least know you're safe when they have 0 gold). Save her for when you really need some control and you know your opponent doesn't have dumb ways to cancel/stand all of their characters.
- [Shireen Baratheon (MoD)](/card/11067). The best Shireen! She's most effective on power defense (especially paired with the Red Keep).
- [The Red Keep](/card/01061). Still the traditional core engine for Bara. It's flawed in the fact that [Nightmares](/card/02099), [Lordsport Shipwright](/card/01075), and [Maester Murenmure](/card/12010) all can stop the draw aspect of it even if you don't lose power challenges, but the +2 power contribution is not to be underestimated in keeping the Bannermen loyal.
- [The Starry Sept](/card/12042). This is the card that finally makes Bara Power Decks resilient. It accelerates power gain on defense and offense and acts as a portable nightmares. There's only 1 in the deck as I prefer not to marshal it due to the tempo hit, it's more efficient to tutor it with [Support of the People](/card/02017) as you will be able to trigger the reaction anyway.
- [Stormlands Fiefdom](/card/11009). Use this to move the Starry Sept blanking power into a place where The Bastard can steal it. Alternatively, keep offloading power from your own cards to keep it safe on your faction card. Another neat trick - if your opponent manages to capture your [Fickle Bannerman](/card/06007), the power you move off of it will go on your faction card!
- [Traitor to the Crown](/card/08009). This card is the MVP. This makes it incredibly difficult for your opponent to break your stranglehold on power and it's impossible to get rid of without hard attachment control.
- [Disputed Claim](/card/05026). A late addition to this deck that improves setup and the [Peace and Prosperity](/card/10047) opener. You will consistently have more power on your faction card early and this card enables your mid and low cost characters to hit far above their weight. There are 12 targets in this deck so you usually won't have a problem playing it.
- [Milk of the Poppy](/card/01035), [Seized by the Guard](/card/08078). Control for opponents' big characters and locations.
- [In the Name of Your King!](/card/02028). In the days of SoB and Krakens, this is a must include. The presence of [Fickle Bannerman](/card/06007) will encourage SoB players to kneel out most of their board to get that +5 margin against you, and if you play this event, you'll completely break their tempo.
- [Privileged Position](/card/11068). In this deck it almost never gets turned off. This card is perfect against SoB and GJ, who will rely on surprise events to destroy locations. There's the added bonus of cancelling [Silence](/card/12016) and [Flea Bottom](/card/06098).
- [Support of the People](/card/02017). Makes the deck consistent. I see the [The Starry Sept](/card/12042) usually by turn 3 at the latest in most games because of this.
Dream Wizards SC Report
It was only a 10 person SC, but most of the NuDC meta showed up so I knew there was going to be some competitive matchups.
Round 1 Win vs Sea of Blood (Martin)
He setup Drogon (IDP), Missandei, and a Roseroad to my Fickle Bannerman, Poor Fellows, The Red Keep, and Roseroad. First Round his Summer Harvest hit my Peace and Prosperity and he was only able to marshal a duped Hizdahr zo Loraq. I marshalled a Begging Brother with 1 gold bestowed, a Fiefdom, and Traitor to the Crown on Hizhdar, leaving 2 gold for In the Name of Your King! and Support of the People in my hand. I stopped his military swing with ITNOYK and pulled Sept with Support. Next turn I played Duel and that set me ahead the rest of the game.
Round 2 Win vs Fealty (Jose)
This was a war of attrition that went to time with me ahead 9-7. He Warded my Shireen Baratheon (MoD), and my fully bestowed Begging Brother at two different points in the game and got off 2 Winter Is Coming military challenges on me. I had 2 Traitors to the Crown throughout the game to protect my power hoard and The Bastard of Nightsong on the board to finish, with The Starry Sept blanking my warded BB to enable Nightsong's reaction.
Round 3 Win vs Wars (Kaleb)
Kaleb and I built these decks together so we both knew what was in store. He was able to prevent my The Red Keep from drawing cards all game with Lordsport Shipwright and Maester Murenmure, but he was unable to win unopposed challenges though because of ITNOYK and the R'hllor intrigue icons. 2 Traitors to the Crown were in play once again and the Sept just kept bringing in extra power.
Round 4 Win vs (Todd)
I've been asked by my opponent at this time not to describe the game at this time.
Overall, I've found this deck a decent choice in the Aggro meta with all of the blocks that it naturally packs. This deck is by no means perfect and is definitely vulnerable to Stark's attachments and Martell's tendency to go second and strip icons. However, when piloted right, it shows that Bara can hold it's own! If you've made it to this point, thanks for reading this essay and feel free to leave questions or comments below. Keep the faith Fickle Bannermen!