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Having already won a UK Regional this season and seen as I was TO for this event, I wanted something fun and fast to pilot at the Mad King's Regional. I had a first round bye and lost my last two games to NW Aloof and Bara Qohor, both tier 1 decks right now. If you're looking to compete with those decks, this is probably not what you're looking to pilot. But if you want to try something interesting... here's what the deck does...
Firstly, this is an update of a classic George Ankers build that I originally ran at Euros in 2017.
Using A Storm of Swords and Relentless Assault, you're looking to complete multiple military challenges with non kneeling King Balon and Jaime Lannister to load up on Renown. The agro and claim is not the aim of the build, but the pressure helps you close quicker.
What makes this build better now?
Mainly Heir to the Iron Throne, as this is the new tutoring addition that the original deck was lacking. With 2x Erik Anvil-Breaker and 3x Lancel Lannister, you should be able to use Go Fetch to quickly get Balon and Jaime on the board for a quick finish. Erik is a perfect target for Heir, as he is usually knelt when the plot is triggered. Lancel is a safe 5 str 2 cost chud with Jaime on the board. Of course, Heir to the Iron Throne is also a fantastic counter to your opponents reset.
The afore mentioned Heir to the Iron Throne can always be used to grab a dupe or even discard a Lord you can not save from an otherwise worse fate.
Maester Kerwin can save anyone he damn well pleases... except for himself!
You have 3x Risen from the Sea for your Greyjoy characters, and the new version of Bronn can save any of your (or your opponents) Lords. After you have triggered his save, Bronn can handily be loaded back up with gold and have his strength boosted by both Left-Hand Lucas Codd and Saltcliffe Sailor's.
Your Shipwright's offer protection against cards such as Starfall, Ghaston Grey and are fantastic for kneeling opponents economy locations. Fanatic's and Guildhall go a long way to protecting your main characters, as does Sweetsleep, which offers protection from all negative attachments including Milk of the Poppy, Craven, Imprisoned and A Pinch of Powder. Plot control comes from Barring the Gates and King plot. Remember, there's a lot you won't be able to trigger on your own King plot... but your non kneeling dudes still do their thing.
Open The Maiden. The gold might not be ideal, considering your expensive non kneelers, but the initiative will be key in later rounds. This is the only change from the deck I ran at the Regional, where I ran Summer Harvest instead. Harvest was a great opener for the gold and initiative in that round, but the lack of initiative that Maiden would have given me in later rounds was a big loss.
Your closing plot is ideally A Storm of Swords, but sometimes King plot can be just as good.
Bonus cards and Pressure cards:
Golden Storm helps you get your win by 5 and UO triggers off, while The Seastone Chair can ensure you rid your opponents board of their most desirable characters. However, Seastone Chair won't hit characters with attachments and it does compete with Relentless Assault for your faction card kneel. These are decent x1 pressure cards that make easier for you and more difficult for your opponent... which... is... nice!
You're really looking to tutor your two two main guys with Heir and go as fast as you can, so draw is not a big focus, although it should never be totally neglected. Therefore you have Balon's very own flagship Great Kraken to use as a draw engine early on. The Kraken also has the added bonus of giving Stealth to your King.
For 1 or 2 gold, Rhymes With Meek really fits the deck. You can actually trigger your Rhymes With Meek to draw into Relentless Assault and trigger Relentless in the same reaction window... which... is... nice!
Non unique support cast:
You have your 1 cost reducers. Running 4 of these really help for set up. Fanatics are never bad... and always good! Shipwrights control locations. Saltcliffe Sailor's give your characters stealth (very nice on Jamie) and load up Bronn as mentioned previously.
What this deck does not like:
Character abilities that would effect your heroes, such as Varys, Nymeria, Lysa, Coldhands, Melisandre, Selyse can be overcome with Fanatics and Guildhall. Know your opponents deck and use these wisely. With Balon and Jamie on the board, the two plots that you really don't want to see your opponent flip are Duel and Valar Dohaeris. Duel would be the worst out of these, but you are much more likely to see Valar Dohaeris in your opponents plot line.
Have fun and please let me know how you found the deck.