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|The North Remembers||0||0||1||1.0|
Hello everyone, I'm back!
I haven't played GoT for a year and I was slowly accepting that I'll never return to the game, but my buddies from Polish meta - Radek and Makak - convinced me to participate on German Nationals in Berlin. While I had my doubts, it was a fantastic option to get back to the best game in the world ;) what is more, I've had an unexpectedly great run and managed to claim the title. I had really fantastic games, seen a lot of new builds and cards and finally met im person many great German players that I've only recognized from internet. Huge thanks to Alex for organising this and I hope we will all meet again!
About the deck
After last restricted list most of my old decks became illegal and because of my long break I didn't want to try anything really new. I had to decide either I want to modify our choke deck (NW/Kraken) from Battle of the Nations or choose my version of Stark - The North Remembers. Radek convinced me that choke may be tricky in current meta and Starks are always viable, so I've made the choice.
The main point of the deck, as opposed to (I suppose?) more popular Crossing rush decks, is to control the board and deny most opponents' tricks. The key concepts were focusing on winter plots and effects and adding more kill/sacrifice cards to keep the board small.
What was unexpected, but interesting in terms of ASoIaF lore, the deck contains all core Stark characters besides dead Eddard: Robb Stark (Core), Catelyn Stark (Core), Bran Stark (Core), Arya Stark (Core) and Sansa Stark (WotN). On the other hand, there are representations of all Stark bannermen and these cards specifically make this deck slightly different:
House Bolton - Bolton Flayers are sometimes unexpected in Fealty, though they are bonkers good against all small dude decks (most NW including builders, A Mummer's Farce, even other Starks). With my own auto-sacrifice effects and cost curve of the deck it is quite easy to set up good targets to flay.
House Karstark - here we have absolute centerpiece of this particular deck, Rickard Karstark. He allows me to either reduce opponents' economy or set up better military claim, recurs my own locations and on top of that triggers Robb and Wyman. I think he is severely underplayed and I really encourage everyone to try him. On the other hand Karhold stops most rushes that may win before I will hurt them enough.
House Mormont - Dacey Mormont aids Robb in collecting power and Alysane Mormont is an amazing small character, but Mormont House provides also the best Stark eco - Bear Island. Great location, impossible to assault and also a good target for Rickard.
House Reed - ok, we all know Meera Reed (R), but let's talk about Greywater Watch. While I was never a huge fan of "add-to-challenge" mechanic (Wardens of the North, Blood of the First Men), Greywater Watch allows me to put a defender in challenge, where all my characters are stealthed or miss the icon. Then - if I have spare gold - I may use it again. With standing e.g. Catelyn Stark (Core) combined with Northern Armory or Robb, it effectively means no stealth and denies most attack effects by my opponents'. I mean, I saw it in 6 out of 8 games and it was one of my most important cards in each of them. Play it!
House Umber - last but no least, House Umber brings ofc solid 1-ofs Greatjon Umber and Last Hearth, but most important - provides additional draw with Umber Loyalists. Between them, Wyman and Old Gates there is enough draw to have it consistent.
Support and plots - all these cards are supported with a lot of denial and high claim cards. Winterfell and Rationing prevent a lot of tricky agendas and effects and Barring the Gates hits many decks as well. These plots also have a decent amount of gold, what was important factor in choosing them over e.g. A Time For Wolves. Also The Long Winter is better than Famine. 4 events to raise the claim (2 recurring!) and The North Remembers help in wiping either board or opponents' hand. Note - you may get back this card with new Wyman, if opponent doesn't help.
Missing cards - most notably I don't have Ice, because it has several downsides. It's not that hard to cancel it, it's expensive and telegraphed and I have to use it before Nothing Burns Like The Cold or don't marshal it earlier. I think that it's better to just leave all attachments in the card album and make all these Confiscations and Sweetsleep useless. I don't have Bear Island Scouts (R) anymore since there are too few Mormont cards. Right before the tournament I have removed Donella Hornwood and second Summer (Core), but I didn't miss these cards too much.
Round 1 - Dennis A Mummer's Farce - win
I don't know these fools decks, it is an interesting idea, but they were easily chewed by Grey Wind (Core) and slaughtered by Bolton Flayer. Second turn Dennis had a lot of renowns and icons, but after killing Shagwell twice it was over.
Round 2 - Hanno A Mummer's Farce - win
It is always a pleasure to face Hanno, though I have never good feelings about these games - he plays perfectly, but also builds unusual decks and has a lot of surprises. In fact this game was quite similar to previous one, quick Flayer decimated his board. Greywater Watch did miracles here since Hanno played both Great Kraken and Maiden's Bane - all his characters had stealth due to Saltcliffe Sailormoons, but sneaking defensive character with the Watch was enough to destroy his gameplan. Also this deck doesn't have draw besides Highgarden Jesters and relying on agenda effects, so killing fools early forces it to topdeck quickly.
Round 3 - Marius Alliance Dragon Qohor - loss
Definitely my toughest matchup this day, I should have predicted The Prince Who Came Too Late and prevent it with Barring the Gates. I've hit Here to Serve, though... only to leave my Meera blocked in the shadows. In this game I really missed Karhold and while I was able to survive long, Marius was WAY ahead when the termination started. I've also made a misplay (or better: Marius made a real proplay), when I attacked him on power assuming he can't defend since Jon Snow (MoD) was knelt, Seal of the Hand as well and Grey Wind ate Spare Boot. Craster triggered, Spare Boot helped Jon to stand, Longclaw and Lord Commander and the game was done.
Round 4 - Alex Alliance Qohor Companies - mod win
Oh god, builders. I've hit his board really hard: 2 claim, 4 claim, Flayers and he was still able to rebuild. It was good for me though that my slaughterfest made him kill his characters with attachments (also Nothing Burns Like The Cold hit Milk of the Poppy + The Wall (Core)) and I think I received additional gold from Trading With Qohor 3 or 4 rounds in a row. Alex' MVP was Balerion, who effectively negated my Flayer and worked well with Mole's Town. We were both collecting power quite slowly and eventually finished on time with result 7-6 or 8-7, thanks to my Winter Festival missing his summer plots.
Round 5 - Lukas Rains - win
Third different NW in a row! As several people know, I LOVE this type of deck, but considered it good matchup for me. Lukas had great setup with Recruiter for the Watch and it was hard to me to deal with t1 Jon Snow (WotW) - I had to trigger Meera and let her die to claim right after. Lukas' aggresive start forced me to Valar Dohaeris t2 and then I was able to deal with him - Catelyn with the Greywater Watch stopped Jon effectively. In consequence he was forced to Valar Morghulis my Cat and Karstark, met Rationing, so I was able to marshal Robb, someone else and just rush for power.
Quarterfinal Hanno A Mummer's Farce - win
Hanno saw Lady Stoneheart in first hand, but I had dupe on my Karstark which let him survive one round and on subsequent round Hanno's The Crone backfired - he had a lot of small chuds, but most of them had printed STR1 and my claim 3 forced him to choose Lady Stoneheart for military. In other aspects it was quite similar game to the one from swiss, he had great deck, but very vulnerable to Flayers (and Recruiters, on the other side).
Semifinal - Jeff Hollow Hill - win
Jeff had interesting deck which depended on mamy resets and Selyse Baratheon (FotOG) to control the board, but in this game for the first time Karstark really shined. Together with North Remembers and Shadow of the North he have put very big pressure on Jeff's board and Jory + Cat's dupe saved me from early Valar. When Jeff tried his last chance with "The Last of the Varyses", I made 3-claim intrigue challenge and he was left only with IKEA set + single card in hand and wasn't able to rebuild after that.
Finał - Marius Alliance Dragon Qohor - win
We've started the game after 9 pm and were both really tired. I decided to try all-or-nothing opening with Barring, but hit Exchange of Information. Jon appeared a turn later, though in this game I found Karhold early and once again Karstark shined. We both collected quite a lot of power early in the game and then I had to play defensively after losing Meera because of either Valar Dohaeris or The Mad King's Command (I don't remember now). On 8th płot I hit his Isle of Ravens and Sworn to the Watch with Nothing Burns, but still lost initiative to A Clash of Kings. I've defended military with whole board, got renowns on Robb and Dacey and then was able to trigger Karstark, stand everyone, win power in defense and finish 15-14 in dominancie phase. After the game we realised that actually Marius could have put Seized by the Guard on my Greywater Watch (he had no Milks already, so Robb and Dacey were safe) and this one stealth that I couldn't bypass would possibly win him this game, but at this point - after 12 hours of tournament - it was a tough call. VERY intense game with a lot of topdecking and twists.
That's all, folks. Once again huge thanks to Alex, Lukas (who gave me Greywater Watch!), Makak, Radek and all my opponents, see you soon!