|To Conquer the Lands of Essos
A Report by the Days of Ice and Fire 2012 Melee and Overall Champion
|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 25 May 2012|
Last Saturday and Sunday, the Fantasy Flight Games Event Center played host to the Days of Ice and Fire 2012 A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Regional Championship tournament. More than fifty players journeyed “across the Narrow Sea,” traveling to Roseville, MN to participate in the “only game that matters.” But in the end, only one was able to fend off all challengers and rise to power amid the intrigues of Essos.
Anthony Christie rose to the top, claiming thirty-six points from the melee and fifteen from the joust for a combined total of fifty-one points over the weekend, four points ahead of Bradley Ring in second place. Jeremiah Duggan took third overall, and Brett Stefanski rounded out the top four.
Melee and Overall Champion Anthony Christie on Days of Ice and Fire 2012:
This year’s Days of Ice and Fire tournament was extremely exciting. It was great to see a diversified field of decks in both the melee and joust events and to compete against so many talented players.
Since the majority of my success came in the melee I will be focusing on that. The melee game is the closest thing to the actual game of thrones. You need to tread lightly and keep the other players happy. If you jump out to a huge lead, or push a certain player too far, your opponents will turn around and attack you. It is for this reason that I was expecting to see several Maester and power rush decks. Rush decks allow players to position themselves for a final strike and a win before their opponents can counter them. Meanwhile, I believe maesters are still the most powerful theme in today’s card pool. The scholars can play events that allow you to initiate additional challenges, and they can win chains that add powerful abilities that can stand locations, discard attachments, and grab additional gold.
Because I was expecting to see several Maester and power rush decks, I decided to play as Greyjoy. They have a strong ability to control locations and events, and cancel effects, all while presenting a force on the battlefield. My deck was inspired largely by one card, Corpse Lake (Trial by Combat, 87). This card is good in joust, but in melee it is a true heavyweight. In melee, each universal discard effect, such as those from Frostfang Peaks (The Wildling Horde, 78), Euron Crow’s Eye (The Grand Melee, 29), and The Knight (Tourney for the Hand, 8) gives you as many as three chances at a power, instead of the usual one. Once Corpse Lake brought victory within sight, I used The Knight, Scouting Vessel (Kings of the Sea, 29), and Assault of the Kraken (Kings of the Sea, 17) to string together several unopposed challenges.
In my first match, I drew into a perfect discard setup, with two Frostfangs and two Sunset Seas. During the plot phase, my Stark opponent revealed The First Snow of Winter (On Dangerous Ground, 59), and I discarded two cards from everyone’s decks. During the marshaling phase, I played Corpse Lake, Fishmonger's Square (Tales from the Red Keep, 72), The Knight, and two Desperate Looters (Scattered Armies, 101) to discard six more cards between my opponents, and then an additional six when the Looters returned to my hand when the first challenge was initiated. This meant I was able to draw two cards and claim three power for my house before the first challenge had finished resolving.
My second match, I thought I had lost. I was only at three power, and my Lannister opponent was already at thirteen. I had out my key locations but had suffered multiple attacks from each opponent as they didn't seem to appreciate having their decks thinned. In my hand I had all three copies of Assault of the Kraken, but I had no opportunities to win an unopposed challenge. I did have one Scouting Vessel on the table and decided to play Rise of the Kraken (Kings of the Sea, 54) in a last ditch effort to get the best position possible before the Lannister player won. To my great surprise, I drew The Knight and an additional Scouting Vessel. I had first pick of titles and grabbed Crown Regent to limit my opponents’ redirects and then marshaled my cards. I was able to initiate a power challenge against an unsupported opponent with The Knight. He only had two characters with power icons. Using the Scouting Vessels, I made the first two challenges unopposed and continued on with Assault of the Kraken for the victory.
In the third match, it was more of the same. I was actually facing another Greyjoy discard deck running Corpse Lake. By the time the third plot card was revealed, each non-Greyjoy player had already discarded most of their decks. During this game, I ended up running challenges exclusively against my Greyjoy opponent as we were both tied in power after getting three power each round off Corpse Lake. By doing this, I was able to make his position more vulnerable, and my other opponents turned fewer of their challenges against me. I was again able to finish the game through three unopposed power challenges via Assault of the Kraken
At the final table, the matchup had me worried. I was facing the Lannister Maester deck that I had already seen and to which I had almost lost, a Targaryen dragon deck, and a Baratheon power rush. I was excited that Intrigue challenges would be kept to a minimum, but concerned that I might have my key characters burned or that the Baratheon player would win too quickly for my deck to get going.
The top four melee players prepare for their match.
My setup hand was my worst of the night. I was only able to get two reducers and two Distinguished Boatswains. With no draw or discard potential, I was unsettled, but then I was able to marshal Euron Crow's Eye with a duplicate and Support of Saltcliffe (Gates of the Citadel, 8). This is one of my favorite defensive combinations! Over the next two rounds, I was slowly able to gain power while keeping the Lannister and Baratheon players in check. I kept choosing my title to force the Lannister player to support me and thus protect myself from Intrigue challenges. The Targ player had been neutralized because he was running Heir to the Iron Throne (Queen of Dragons, 48), had been attacked by everybody on turn one, and then played Across the Summer Sea (A Poisoned Spear, 120) as his second plot in order to recover. Euron Crow's Eye and Corpse Lake combined to serve as my shield this entire game. My discard effects weren’t coming together to trigger Corpse Lake, so my opponents were hesitant to attack me. With each challenge they declared against me, I was almost guaranteed a free power thanks to Euron’s discard.
By the fourth round, the Lannister player had climbed to a dozen power and was ready to win, the Baratheon player was also ready to make a run, and the Targ player had three dragons with Daenerys (Queen of Dragons, 22) and was ready to pounce. I had tried and failed to win the previous round and was at fourteen power. I flipped my highest initiative plot, hoping to go first and seize victory before everybody could challenge me. The Baratheon player flipped Shadows and Spiders (Lions of the Rock, 55) to force players to make Intrigue challenges before they could attempt Military or Power challenges. That was a brilliant move because I only had one Intrigue icon on the board at that point, and he had a Black Iron Link (Mask of the Archmaester, 99) to strip my icon, and he was first player. This also caused a huge problem for the Targaryen player as he couldn't initiate Intrigue challenges at all. Ultimately, what saved me was that I drew into a character with another Intrigue icon and was able to play him during marshaling. Then the Baratheon player had a difficult choice: He had to win an Intrigue challenge to initiate any other challenge. He couldn't win his challenge against Lannister, and he didn't want to attack Targaryen because they were helpless unless somebody did them the favor of challenging them. That left only me. I had enough gold and strength on the board that I would win dominance if everyone left me alone. The Baratheon player made the choice to attack me, and when I triggered Euron's ability, a character was discarded, and the Greyjoys once again sailed to victory on the strength of Corpse Lake!
Days of Ice and Fire 2012 Melee Champion Anthony Christie.
In the joust, I was running a Lannister deck with The Power Behind the Throne (Lions of the Rock, 48). I had figured to see a good mix of Martell, Lannister Intrigue, and Targaryen burn decks in the tournament. For this reason, I designed my deck a little differently than most. The new meta focus has shifted towards unique characters, but in my deck, I had mostly cheap, non-unique characters with Stealth and Deadly: House Payne Enforcer (Mask of the Archmaester, 83), Bronn’s Hireling (Lions of the Rock, 17), and Carrion Bird (A Song of Summer, 16). The rest of the deck was Maesters. The idea was to spam the board with cheap characters, keeping up with Martell’s inexpensive characters, presenting too many targets for a burn deck to take out efficiently, and to overwhelm a fellow Intrigue deck focused on unique characters. Along with the Maesters, I was using Schemes of the Scholar (Here to Serve, 119), The Conclave (Called by the Conclave, 57), and Citadel Politics (Here to Serve, 116) to gain a third Intrigue challenge where I could gain renown without kneeling my characters. Finally, I had meant to include three copies of Bastard (Lions of the Rock, 39) and only realized at the tournament that I hadn’t. They would have proven tremendously effective, allowing me to counter chains, and the two games I lost in the joust were both to Maester decks, one Stark and one Martell.
Anthony went 3-1 through the first four rounds of the joust, defeating a Targaryen burn deck and a Baratheon power rush deck before losing to a Stark Maester deck, then defeating another Baratheon power rush. In his fifth round, he played the eventual Joust Champion, Jeremiah Duggan, and knew that if he won he’d likely advance to the Top 8.
Players compete in the Days of Ice and Fire 2012 A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Regional Championship tournament.
I actually thought I had a good setup with three characters and a couple of reducers, but I played right into Jeremiah’s trap. On turn one, I flipped At the Gates (Gates of the Citadel, 20). I wanted to get a Maester into play because I had two copies of The Conclave in my hand and knew if I could get them out quickly I had a good chance of winning. Unfortunately for me, he played The Art of Seduction (Lions of the Rock, 52), trapping me with a low-income, low-initative, low-claim plot on my next turn.
He tried to play A Game of Cyvasse (A Change of Seasons, 57) on my first Intrigue challenge, but, luckily, I had a Paper Shield (Queen of Dragons, 46) to counter it. I was able to win three total Intrigue challenges against him and thought I was in decent shape until the third card I discarded turned out to be Darkstar (Princes of the Sun, 4). The next turn, he flipped To the Spears! (Princes of the Sun, 60), and I couldn’t change my plot. I drew two unhelpful event cards, and it was the beginning of the end. He quickly played The Scourge (On Dangerous Grounds, 55) and blanked Cercei’s icons. When I discarded a card to save her Intrigue icon, he played He Calls It Thinking (Princes of the Sun, 21) for which I had no answer. He went on to initiate two Power challenges, two Intrigue challenges, and one Military challenge against me – all unopposed. I wasn’t actually running a reset in this deck, but even if I had, Jeremiah played Outwit (The Isle of Ravens, 80) and would have negated whatever I had hoped to accomplish. Once he played an Orphan of the Greenblood (Princes of the Sun, 15) to guarantee Cercei would stay stripped of icons, it was over.
Anthony missed the Top 8, but his melee victory and 15 joust points were enough to claim the Days of Ice and Fire 2012 A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Regional Championship.
We hope everyone enjoyed their games at the Minnesota Regional Championship tournament, and we look forward to reports from Regional Championship tournaments around the globe.
For more reports and insights into the current metagame, visit our community forums.
Based on George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, playable by 2-4 players, brings the beloved heroes, villains, locations, and events of the world of Westeros to life through innovative game mechanics and the highly strategic game play. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Chapter Pack expansions to the core game.