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This is the list I took to World 2019, going 4-2 on Day1B and eventually making my way to winning the event. I have always been a Targaryen loyalist from the core set, and it was the perfect moment to take them to my very first Worlds.
Targ SoB has been very popular with the release of the Targ Deluxe expansion, but I have been on this deck for a few months prior to the box as I always enjoyed playing with the Dothraki's. I started playtesting Targ SoB more seriously when I joined the World Cup for team Canada, where I went 5-0 in the swiss rounds before the release of the Expansion. One of the person I have enjoyed talking about Thrones was Alejandro, and when he saw me having success with the deck in the World Cup, we exchanged ideas about making it better as he was getting ready to go to Stahleck. The deck was already very good before the Deluxe box, and it just made it so much more consistent and powerful with the release of a few cards that fit right into the deck. The issue we were now facing was, how do we make it good against the counter decks that are going to be everywhere.
Alejandro and I discussed a lot of things between November and Worlds, and the deck did change a lot between the Prime I won in Ottawa, the Prime he won in SoCal, and the list we took to Worlds (which was 2 cards different from each other). The following are the deck changes we made to be able to survive against the other top decks in the meta.
+1 Marched To The Wall was added to counter the set ups of only 1 big guy that would be able to slow us down. Removing Fast Robert/Stannis/Wyman/Fat Cat/Robb Stark could often mean the game was over on turn 1
+1 Valar Morghulis was used for the Bara Qohor match up. While playtesting Lanni Shadows vs Bara Qohor, we saw that opening VM against a set up of Robert or Stannis was often the game winning move. We decided to make our Bara Qohor stronger and Lanni Shadows weaker by adding it in
-1 Return To The Fields: As good as being aggressive on the Return To The Fields to make sure we always have gold and cards to keep the pressure on, and to be able to avoid resets more easily, the deck could run smoothly without it and use something more useful. Marched was also a bit of a safety valve against Resets like Wildfire or VM.
-1 Summer Plot (Exchange or Close Call): Early in the testing we had Exchange in the list, while later we had Close Call to help against the Lanni Shadows match up (and the natural fit with Overwhelming Numbers to bounce cards back in hand). In the end, I don't believe I ever missed having Close Call.
+1 Drogon (IDP): I never went around to testing him, since he didn't have the Dothraki trait. Right before the event, Alejandro convinced me to drop the 2 Iron Thrones (LMHR) that I had in the deck for the Lanni Shadows matchup. I saw Drogon once in my round 6 game, and he was also used against me during my top 16 game. I still think he's the right call, as his ability to run through dupes is just too good to pass.
+2 Rakharo (DotE): One of the early switches that Alejandro convinced me to do when the box dropped was to switch to box Rakharo. I wasn't sure at first, since my Targ SoB decks from before the box was very rush oriented as well, and 6 drop Rakharo was part of the rush. Also, intimidate when you always go first is super good. After my win in Ottawa, one of the first things I told Alejandro is to find a way to squeeze in 2 more Rakharo's, as the added hand removal was too good to pass.
-1 Dothraki Steed: These guys were so good to help trigger the Agenda without having too many big guys on the board, but I had to cut something to make room for more important cards, and in the end, triggering the Agenda isn't always the goal, just claiming the board to get advantage later on was enough.
-2 Iron Thrones (LMHR): This was probably the toughest cut for me. I had gone from not really liking the card, to testing it as a 3x for a long time. It just answered so many problems, but in the end, the deck just wants to put pressure, and this card does not put any pressure at all.
+1 Lay Siege: This card was added to counter The Iron Throne (LMHR), as PttT could not be used to remove it. It happened to help me in a few games that I drew it even though I never faced any Thrones.
-1 Gifts For The Widow: Removing attachments from the deck meant that this card could go down to a 1x. It was mostly used to fetch Gifts For The Widow, or just tossed for the discard pile if it wasn't needed anymore.
Round 1 Vs Chris Schoenthal Stark Fealty
The tournament starts vs a very strong player, playing a deck that is built to stop mine. He sets up Winterfell, Alysane Mormont and Rickon. I don't fully remember my set up, but I know I am able to put some pressure early. I get Qotho in to play round 1, and I remember debating tossing Shadow of the East or Overwhelming Numbers. I end up tossing SotE, and Chris makes sure I regret it the following turn when he goes on to Milk my Khal Drogo. Chris had full control of this game, getting a king attachment out, making me not want to use King Plot, and going on to power rush me before I am ever able to get enough pressure on his board. Down 0-1 after round 1, not where I wanted to be.
Round 2 Vs Kristen Lentz Greyjoy Prince That Was Promised
Kristen names Euron her Prince for the game, sets up Asha Greyjoy (KotI) along with a chud and 2 locations. This time I set up Khal, Braided Warrior and Estate for the dream start. I get Qotho into play R1, while Kristen was using Iron Mines as her restricted card. I was able to get her hand down with Intrigue, trigger Sea of Blood on Military to get Torch on Iron Mines, had Sword in hand for Asha, and the game was pretty much over from there. 1-1 after R2
Round 3 Vs Kevin Austin Targaryen Sea of Blood
Neither Kevin nor I have the Kingsroad in play on set up, so we go to a coin toss and he ends up winning it, and gets the first crack at me on R1. Our boards are very similar, with both of us having Womb in play, but he has the Plaza of Pride to be able to use his bigger bodies more. Kevin keeps 3 gold after Marshalling, and I thought he was keeping it for a Blood of my Blood. I defend his military challenge 14 to my 16, keeping a few military icons standing to attack back, but forget he can use Overwhelming Numbers. He proceeds to getting Khalasar into play, triggering SoB to kill my standing Khalasar with Sword, and me having to claim 3 chuds because of it. Good news is, I still get to hit back, make him lose 2 characters but don't get to trigger my own Agenda. The game was back and forth, until I am able to cancel his King plot turn by using Shadow of the East to remove Beggar King, and also when I got a top deck of Lay Siege to control his Womb and get a turn in where I have an extra character from Womb
coming in. It was the turn that allowed me to fully take control and put Kevin in a corner until I am able to get the 15 power needed. 2-1, which is where I want to be after 3 rounds.
Round 4 Vs Matthew Ley Stark Sea of Blood
This game was both pleasent to play, because my opponent is just a very nice guy, but also a messy game we both played. I think the main point that needs to be known is that Matt is on King Robb, is able to play him the turn I decide to King plot, I was never able to put enough pressure even if around 10 characters were in his dead pile, and that the game ended on 15-14 power in his favor. I wish we would have played a cleaner game, as I believe both of us are able to do so, but a fun game nontheless. 2-2 after R4, not where I want to be.
Round 5 Vs Cameron Davisson Stark Fealty
Cameron and I both sit down at the table, and funny enough, both of us are not super happy about the matchup, having both lost to it earlier in the day. Good news for me, Cameron doesn't get around to having Winterfell, I am able to put the pressure needed to wipe his board, and proceed to keeping the pressure for a blowout. It feels good to finally beat Stark, as I have only lost to them so far. Cameron and I got the time after the game to talk about Thrones, Laughing Tree and FFG. He was a good sport even though the game was one sided. 3-2, onto the Win and in game.
Round 6 Vs Tagore Nakornchai Stark Crossing
Stark #4 of the day. I guess they either bring me down or I go 50% against them, which Tagore proceeds to remind me before the game. He is able to set up Last Hearth Scout, which is annoying since I have Womb of the World on set up. I also have Lay Siege in hand, while he has Gates of the Moon on set up. I decided to blow it up considering he is a rush deck and don't want him to flood the board. He also has Rickon, Bran, Fat Cat and another character by the end of Marshalling since he was able to use Black Gates to get more bodies on the board. Turn 1 I am able to trigger my SoB, which he cancels with Rickon, I torch his econ, which he doesn't cancel so that he can keep both Cat and LHS on the board to hit me back on Military. Turn 2 I decide to play Marched, he decides to keep Cat and is just not able to get any military presence on the board. I go on to sweep the game, and make my way to day 2 with a 4-2 record.
Top 64 Vs Tom MacKenzie Targaryen Sea of Blood
Tom is playing the exact same list that Kevin was playing the previous day, so I know what I'm in against. Once again, none of us are able to set up Kingsroad, we go to coin flips and I am now 0-2 on those coin flips. It didn't matter much, as I was able to get all the cards needed to survive his military attack, and put pressure on him with both intrigue and military. My board is 5 characters to his 1-2 characters after Turn 1, so I decide to play Return, as I can see the VM coming on, and if he doesn't VM, I want to dig deep into my deck to get the pieces needed to keep pressure and take over the game. Tom ends up going VM, I save my unique characters on the board and proceed to keep the control on the game until the end.
Top 32 Vs Harrison Anderson Stark Crossing
Harrison is from Nor Cal, so we did test together heading up to Worlds. I knew how fast his deck was, and I knew I needed to put a lot of pressure on his board to be able to keep his return attacks at a minnimum. I see he doesn't run Winterfell, which is really good for me. Although I was able to get a lot of pressure and get a 4 claim military challenge, Harrison went on to reach 13 power on the turn before I was able to finally wipe his board. Rakharo was huge all game as I was able to both intrigue his hand away and remove any remaining cards to make sure he doesn't have Superior Claim in hand to close me out.
Top 16 Vs Sam Braatz Night's Watch Conclave
I know very well what this deck is trying to do, beat Targ SoB. Sam was paired vs Alejandro in the Top 64 game and gave him his first (and only) loss of the tournament. I feel like I know how to beat him, but it won't be very easy. I set up 2x Devoted Bloodriders and Aegon in Shadows. I open Fury into his Late Summer Feast. I didn't want to get hit by Naval Turn 1. I know I need to hit his hand early and often to remove The Crow is a Tricksy Bird and The Watchers on the Wall. Dupes are also very important. I go first Turn 1, proceed to not marshall anything, sit on 3 gold for Aegon in the challenge phase. My plans quickly changed after he marshalls Clydas and only has 1 gold left on board, with only 1 ranger on the board as well. When Clydas hits the board, Sam goes to steal a gold, but I let him know that I might have an action before he has one. I take the time to consider all my options for the turn, as I know I will use Khal Drogo with Fury of the Khalasar, and proceed to using Aegon in the Marshalling phase to fetch a Khalasar. That Leaves Sam at 1 gold, 1 Ranger on the board and no way for him to gain any gold. He had an Old Forest Hunter in hand and regrets not playing him on board before Clydas. I proceed to attack with intrigue, get cards out of his hand, and then go for military to trigger SoB, get 4 bodies off the board round 1 and get both a Torch on his econ, and Beggar King for my King plot turn. The rest of the game, I made sure to always try to poke intrigue first, and attack military with dupes on the board, and always recycling the dupes with Overwhleming Numbers. I eventually get too much pressure on the board for Sam, and I am able to get his regular hand empty as well. I close the game and proceed to the Top 8 against a more favorable match up, but a very strong opponent.
Top 8 Vs Ryan Wood Baratheon Trading With Qohor
I beliebe both Ryan and I mulliganed our first hand, and fortunately for me, unfortunately for Ryan, I was able to get a decent Mulligan. I set up no characters but have Womb, Plaza and Kingsroad on set up, going for the T1 VM if needed. Ryan only gets Anguy with a warhammer, Acolyte of the Flames and a few other cards that didn't matter. Ryan never got the chance to get a board presence, and I went on to get to 15 power fairly quickly on UO power all game long. Not the game we were hoping for, especially for Ryan to end his Thrones career on bad draws. I felt super bad for him, but also super great for me to keep on the dream to the top.
Top 4 Vs Hanno Lunser Baratheon Trading With Qohor
This game is streamed by FFG, so I won't go into too much details. Turn 1 when Hanno attacks me for power with Robert with 5 strength, I defend for 6 but forget the strength buff of Devoted Bloodrider for Rakharo, Hanno misses it, and the Judge misses it as well. This was huge as it got Hanno going for that turn, and I only realized it in between turns, as well as the judge being notified by it. I am currently down 7-1 in power, and by the end of round 2, I am down 13-3, and could have lost if Hanno took his time more to figure out a way to get to 15. Turn 3 I go YWOYD vs his KitN turn, get an Overwhelming Number to get both Khalasars into play and get a 4 claim, PttS turn to wipe his whole board and Hanno Concedes from there as his last 2 cards in hand are limited locations. I feel super bad for Hanno, as he truly is a nice guy, and I was able to draw the answers needed that turn. Barring could also have stopped it all if he flipped that over. I have a huge adrenaline rush knowing I am going to the finals of the biggest event I have ever attended.
Finals Vs Alex Black Targaryen Sea of Blood
This game was also streamed by FFG, and Alex is the third person I face running the exact same 67 cards. If you look at the video, you can see it took me less than 5 seconds for me to see my hand and decide to keep it, as I had Qotho, Womb, Market and Braided Warrior in hand, along with Shadow of the East, Plaza of Pride and Haggo. This puts pressure on Alex to try and get a Kingsroad, which he does on his Mulligan, but is forced to also set up a duped Qotho along with a braided warrior. I decide to still open Vanquish, because I want the gold and claim from the plot, and also I happened to draw Aegon as my 2 draw cards that turn. I got all the answers I need for his turn 1 Assault, and manage to both defend his first military challenge, and get mine off, without triggering the agenda, and get to put pressure on Alex from the get go. I know I have control of the game from that point, as long as I keep playing properly and making sure I don't put to much on the board for a VM board Wipe. Womb just makes it easier for me to keep putting the pressure that is needed, and I manage to win the first ever Worlds I attend.
People who know me (which was very little before this big run) know how much I have enjoyed playing Targaryen since the beginning, either with the Dragons and Dany, with the Dothraki cards (I was a huge fan of Sam Braatz Dothraki Crossing list from Worlds 2016), or any other lists that were played during the whole of 2.0. I was glad I was able to bring them to victory in the biggest event of my Thrones Career.