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|Hod The Dragonpit 5-2 UK Thrones WAR Top 32||12||9||9||1.0|
This is the deck that I took to Stahleck and I'm happy to say that I did quite well. If you're interested in my tournament report, please see below, but please take a moment to read the appropriate crediting to others first. :)
I'd like to start of with crediting UK Thrones WAR 2019 team Targaryen and their player Acloakofred for building the deck that mine is heavily based on (the draw decks are only 7 cards different and I've switched Counting Coppers for Exchange of Information because of the Summer trait). Please find the original deck here: https://thronesdb.com/decklist/view/13332/hod-the-dragonpit-5-2-uk-thrones-war-top-32-1.0
I'd like to thank the Stahleck organizers for making it a fantastic tournament with amazing prizes! Thanks as well to all my extremely nice opponents who were great sports about all their characters dying. I promise that I'm not a mean person.
Having just moved house, and even countries, I had had very little time to test decks. Hence I decided to take either Targaryen or Baratheon, the two factions with which I'm most comfortable. On the night before the joust, I was still in doubt between playing this deck or the Baratheon Qohor deck that I brought. One of my old metamates however needed some cards for his deck, as he accidentally brought non-original alt-arts. I had the right cards in my Bara deck so I could lend them to him, and I was happy to have a good reason to break my indecision.
I went 7-1 in the swiss, taking the top Targaryen spot at the time. Sadly for me the best of house prizes were awarded based on the results including the top cut, so I missed out on an amazing banner.
Why did I do so well? Having the full three copies of Shadow of the East did miracles for me! Against Trading With Qohor and Valyrian Steel they do some good work, removing the occasional (king) attachment can be valuable, and otherwise they happily fuel The Dragonpit. This card is also the reason that I wanted the Summer trait from Exchange of Information rather than Counting Coppers. By the way, playing Trade Routes and taking three or four attachments in the marshalling phase is good vs Qohor! Moreover, this deck can absolutely murder anything that relies on an army of smaller characters, such as Stark or the Night's Watch (which I only saw in round 8 even though they formed 23% of the field).
Round 1: Christian playing Greyjoy Alliance Qohor Dragon -- win
One of my at the time somewhat local players has been playing this style of deck since before last year's Stahleck and he absolutely smashed me at least three times in smaller local tournaments in the past year. It was nice to finally have a little bit of vindication. Shadow of the East did most of the heavy lifting, but the death blow came on the turn where I played Blood of the Dragon, Christian played Trading with the Pentoshi, and I went first. His only non-chud was a Gorold Goodbrother with 4 power on him. I passed marshalling with 7 gold, he played out Balon Greyjoy (KotI) and Euron Crow's Eye (Core). The challenge maths was on my side and an attack with ambushed Drogon (which was opposed by all) + Dracarys! on Euron cleared the board. I believe this was the only game where I actually reached 15 power. All other opponents would concede before that happened.
Round 2: Tony playing Tyrell Alliance Qohor Stag -- win
He started with Brienne of Tarth (GoH) on turn one with Garth the Gross and some 1-cost attachment(s). He was playing first and I had two copies of Drogon in hand. I decided to not marshal him and keep 6 gold for the ambush (because he would surely be intimidated by Warhammer). The first copy was discarded for intrigue claim, which probably gave Tony the feeling that he was safe. I ambushed the other copy and started on murdering his board. This game was the only time I saw my Shadow of the East fall to a Hand's Judgement, stopping the attachment removal barage.
Round 3: David playing Targaryen Valyrian Steel -- win
He saw an early Drogon that I had to play around a little bit, but I had first turn duped Daenerys + duped Viserion from setup. Drogon's fire killed my Viserion but I had Fire and Blood in hand, so all was fine. I think his Drogon died to my Dracarys! + trigger from Daenerys. I removed a few of the most annoying attachments (such as Tokar) with Viserys + Shadow of the East and kept throwing out burn where needed.
Round 4: Michael playing Stark The Lord of the Crossing -- win
His setup was duped Robb Stark (Core), Bran Stark (Core) and some econ. First turn he added Bear Island Scout, She-Bear, Arya Stark (Core), and Sansa Stark (WotN). I protected my hand with A Dragon is No Slave on Sansa for the first (-1 from Crossing) challenge. Second turn I played Blood of the Dragon to do heavy damage to his board, switching on my Slaver's Bay Port. I played out Drogon to kill Robb and I didn't let go of the control of the board that I had.
Round 5: Lukas playing Stark Knights of the Hollow Hill -- win
Lukas got off to a great start, with having a Last Hearth Scouts on turn one, and Eddard Stark (WotN) and Greatjon Umber on turn two. However, he didn't really have much econ so he played You Win Or You Die on turn two. I decided to keep my board empty as he had no intrigue icons and I had no power on my faction card. Next turn I had to play Valar, which he naturally anticipated with Return to the Fields. He saw a new fast Eddard with a The Wolf King. Turn four he found a second Greatjon Umber on his The King in the North plot, but I was happy to be have Beggar King in hand, and I discarded his Wolf King with Shadow of the East. He was at ~10 power at the time, but the control of the game flowed to me and I was able to turn it around.
Round 6: Bambi playing Targaryen The Lord of the Crossing -- win
Having been on team Targaryen for UK Thrones WAR, and talking to me throughout the day, Bambi new my deck and its tricks very well. His deck was filled with 2-strength chuds and a handful of bigger characters. Before I even sat down, he told me that he believed to have 0% chance of winning the game, and playing it, that felt accurate. On turn 2 I played Exchange of Information and he was forced to give me Crown of Gold while he had Khal Drogo (Core) in hand. I was happy to obtain another win, but very sad that I had to give such a friendly guy (and prize support organizer) such a hard time.
Having scored 6-0 so far, I was guaranteed to make it to the (graduated) cut.
Round 7: Lennart playing Martell Valyrian Steel -- loss
Only a fool would feel overconfident when playing the current world champion, and I (correctly) feared that my winning streak was over. I was somewhat hopeful however, as I believed that the matchup could be favourable, especially if he played a lot of chuds (which he didn't). Lennart had Dorne on setup, and him playing Starfall after I happily put down Drogon made that I had just paid 6 gold for a cool-looking The Iron Throne (Core). As expected, I saw him expertly use Arianne Martell (Core), Obara Sand (SoD), Areo Hotah (Core) and all the icon stripping attachments to take complete control of the game. When we went to time and it was 6-3 in power in his favour, I knew that I couldn't win unless I could lure him into a mistake that he didn't make. This is why the last challenge phase of that game looks a bit desparate - it is. This game was played on stream, so those who are interested can watch it back. If you like playing Martell, I strongly recommend it as his deck was very cool!
Round 8: Eric playing The Night's Watch Valyrian Steel -- win
Everyone had been telling me that this deck/agenda combination was the bee's knees, so I knew that I had to be careful. The matchup however was extremely favourable to me as he almost exclusively saw small builder characters and low-impact attachments. I don't think that he played out any intrigue icons before the last round, so Shadowblack Lane gave me a lot of scary cards. He played Yoren (TB) on the last round to steal my Daenerys, but as he was going second and I still had Drogon against whom he couldn't defend, that was only for the sake of it and he conceded straight afterwards. I think this is the only game where I actually played Music of Dragons, and only to find Rhaegal in order to stand Drogon with Plaza of Pride to defend a military challenge.
So I went 7-1 and that earned me a ...
Top 64: bye
Top 32: Sebastian playing Stark Fealty -- loss
This is the only game where I did not open with At the Gates because Sebastian had Rickon Stark on setup, as well as Wyman Manderly. In hindsight I should probably have done it anyway. He opened Heir to the Iron Throne and Rickon turned into Robb Stark (Core). As I have no other opening plot, I played Exchange of Information and mostly got some useless things. Robb got a duplicate, and Last Hearth Scouts entered play as well. I played that round knowing I would Valar the turn after. Robb lived, and was joined by his mum and Sebastian played No Surprises that he found through sacrificing his Old Gate. Next turn Catelyn was Marched to the Wall and I was able to develop a small board while Smalljon Umber came out to play as well as two Winterfell Stewards. The turn after I played Blood of the Dragon and A Dragon is No Slave to kill the Smalljon and the reducers, but by that time Sebastian had accumulated enough power to finish it on round 6. The fact that he had played Winterfell in round 5 also didn't help my game plan.
So the joust ended for me there, while my only two losses were against the current world champion and now current Stahleck champion. Not too bad I believe. Many congratulations to Sebastian for winning the event. In my eyes that was well-deserved!
One last bit of information as a gift to the Dutch meta. At some point I considered booking an early plane ticket home that would prevent me from playing on Sunday. Some context: I have had to drop from the cut during Dutch Nationals in 2017 (I had to go to my sister's birthday party that evening), as well as during Dockside Brothel Days 2018 (I was getting married the week after and needed to do some preparations so I couldn't play day 2). In both cases I would have been able to play the first game in the cut but I believe that dropping during the cut after possibly a win is worse than dropping before and letting someone else play. Luckily I booked an evening ticket, which would have allowed me to play all the way until the finals. I'm happy to say that in 2019 I finally learned from my misakes.
Thanks for reading, and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have!