Who I Am:
My name is Mattison Froese and I am a Game of Thrones 2nd edition player from Winnipeg. I started out my gaming in 2007 with the card game Chaotic. I got into Magic: the Gathering in 2013 and started playing at my local game store in 2015 after playing some prereleases. I got into Game of Thrones in 2012 when I saw the Core Set for 1st edition at Chapters. I was intrigued by the concept of lords fighting for power, and had never heard of the book series or TV show. I tried playing with my family but they didn’t enjoy it as much. But then I heard that Fantasy Flight was releasing a second edition, so I decided to try it out. And I found it very enjoyable. There were 8 semi-balanced factions, with a bunch of inter-faction combinations. And I fell in love with the Tyrells. Now let me note, I am not a 1st edition player, I have no knowledge of the meta-game or most of the cards. I am writing this from the perspective of a 2nd edition player.
So I looked for a community, and I found it at A Muse N Games, an incredible store. It is a very new player-friendly store, full of great people who enjoy playing the games. I have been working hard to help grow the community, and so has everyone there. You get league points just for teaching people to play, and plenty of people have extra decks to help people learn. Recently on March 12, A Muse N Games held their Store Championship. This was the only Store Championship held in Winnipeg and, as far as I know, in Manitoba. Six people attended with two Lannister-Rose decks, one Targaryen-Fealty, one Targaryen-Sun, one Greyjoy-Fealty, and my own Tyrell-Wolf deck. After three rounds, I emerged victorious as the store champion.
This is my first article for Wardens of the Midwest, hopefully the first of many. I intend to go over the Tyrells as they are favorite faction. I will also talk about a few other topics; including plot choices, melee, and my opinion on new expansions. But in this article I will be discussing my deck in the Store Championship and the Tyrell-Wolf deck in general.
Banner of the Wolf
First I will discuss how I built my deck. As soon as a I saw A Tourney for the King, I knew that I would be building a knights deck. So I built this deck using the knight tribal that was introduced with the Hedge Knight and the Mare in Heat, and combined it with some Lady support in Lady Sansa’s Rose (LSR) and Ser Hobber Redwyne, to create a power rush deck that I refer to as Chivalry. The basic idea of Chivalry is to aggressively gain power with low-drop knights who gain renown from A Tourney for the King; and from events that create lots of power fast, mainly Superior Claim and LSR.
Obviously the best faction for Chivalry is Tyrell. They have many cards that enable the strategy including the 2-drop Arbor Knight; as well as the Knight of Flowers (Knight of Power), who is a one-man powerhouse; and Margaery Tyrell, who is a lady that can allows you to reach the very useful ‘win by 5’ threshold. And the best part is, all of these cards are non-loyal. This means that you can run this deck under any faction, with the Banner of the Rose. And this is perfectly fine, because there are only 7 loyal Tyrell cards, and only a few of them are useful. However these few cards can be very useful. I am referring to Pleasure Barge, the Mander, Lady-in-Waiting, and Highgarden. Pleasure Barge and the Mander are cards I decided to use in my deck because they allow for very explosive card draw. The Mander can easily be activated, and Pleasure Barge’s downside isn’t so bad when you end the game on turn two or three. And Pleasure Barge becomes very powerful when you combine it with “The Bear and the Maiden”. You can reorder the top of your deck so that you are always getting the cards you need right away.
The next step is deciding upon an agenda. Tyrell-Fealty is laughably bad, out of the 7 loyal cards, 2 are cards you normally want to pay zero for. I will probably discuss just how bad Tyrell-Fealty is in a later article, but for now I will just say it is not a very good option that does not contribute to Chivalry in the slightest. Next is Tyrell-Crossing which is viable. With Mare in Heat, you can take advantage of the low strength challenge, either forcing your opponent to over commit or let you in unopposed. And the extra strength and power from Lord of the Crossing’s third challenge can be very useful for fast power. It also has the advantage of no deck building limits. However while it is a viable option, I decided to banner out for more knights and ladies. Currently there are three other houses with 2-cost non-unique knights, Baratheon, Martell, and Stark. Each of these houses also has their own ladies to provide more support, and activate LSR Baratheon has Melisendre and her kneel package alongside the Vanguard Lancer. The Martells have the House Dayne Knight with Arianne Martell. And the Starks have the Tumblestone Knight with Arya, Sansa, and Bran. I decided to go with the Starks, because the Martells don’t quite have what we are looking for; and while the Baratheons could make a deck, they don’t fit the power rush that Chivalry needs. The Tumblestone Knight also has more strength than the Vanguard Lancer. So I took Arya because her stealth can get unopposed challenges, and she can be knighted to get renown; Sansa provides nice steady power gain alongside and intrigue icon; and Bran can cancel events like an opponent’s Hand’s Judgement that is trying to stop your game-winning LSR.
Now that a House and Agenda has been decided upon, now all I had to do was fine-tune the deck list. Initially I had Randyll Tarly and Lady-in-Waiting, but I cut them because Randyll was too expensive and did synergize with my strategy; and Lady-in-Waiting didn’t justify inclusion over other cards. I cut Olenna’s Cunning because it cost to much gold for this deck; and Growing Strong because less than half of my characters were Tyrell. Highgarden was cut because it was very expensive to activate, and I needed the gold for LSR. For Locations, I made them all 1-ofs except for economy because Support of the People allows for tutoring. This deck is also rather event heavy, I have 5 power rush events, alongside Support of the People for locations, Hand’s Judgement to get my events through and prevent Dracarys, a Put to the Sword to kill troublesome characters, and “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” on top of the 60 to give more consistancy. For Attachements, Knighted is a good setup card, and bodyguard can be placed on KoF or any of the Ladies. Heartsbane is a solid 1-of, Mare in Heat wins challenges, and Milk of the Poppy prevents opponents character effects.
As for plots, A Tourney for the King is an autoinclude. It has high initiative, can net 3-4 power a turn, and makes your characters to events that could stop you like Dracarys, The Things I do for Love, or Tears of Lys. I originally included Calling the Banners for economy, but I found I never really needed it. Noble Cause plus economy allows you to play Hobber and a Lady, or KoF when you need him. One of the deck’s biggest weaknesses is powerful individual characters, so Filthy Accusations is a good card to kneel Daenarys or Tywin so you can get up to 7-8 power in the lead up for the Tourney. Confiscation gets Milk of off Margary or Kof. Summons can get you characters to recover from board wipes, or get the character you need for the finish. I put Wildfire Assault, because I can recover easily and it prevents board states of massive characters from developing in Lannister or Targaryen. And to top it off, I decided to add a second Tourney. Once I can set up KoF with a dupe or bodyguard and Margaery to support him, there is very little the opponent can do to stop him. 2 consecutive turns of Tourney is almost a guaranteed win. And if you don’t have KoF, you can instead flood the board with Knights, and just win a power challenge using 5 knights for lots of renown.
How to Play Chivalry:
Chivalry is designed to play fast and generate massive amounts of power in a single instance. You generally want a setup with KoF, another character, an economic location, and hopefully a bodyguard/Heartsbane/Mare in Heat on KoF. If not, a 5-6 card setup with 3-4 characters also works. Sansa makes a good set-up character as you skip her kneeling when you marshal her. However there are several cards you either can’t or don’t want to set up. These are your events; Milk of the Poppy; Arya Stark, Ser Hobber Redwyne, and Pleasure Barge as they work better when you marshal them.
The early game is based around setting up the KoF, or getting enough knights to rush on Tourney turns. You will also want to generate 7-9 power to be in a good position where your power spike wins the game. This can be accomplished either by getting several unopposed challenges, winning power challenges, winning dominance, renown, or standing Sansa. This can also be accelerated by a turn for each Superior Claim or LSR you play. You generally have early game of getting your board and hand in position, and a middle game of steady power game. You will notice I don’t mention an endgame. Because the most powerful part of this deck, is that it can finish at any time. I have been able to generate 9 power with a power challenge with KoF. You get 1 for unopposed, 1 for claim, 1 for renown, 1 for Street of Sisters, 2 for Superior Claim, and 3 for LSR. And that is from one challenge. Turn 2 win is somewhat possible, with a turn 1 win being actually plausible. All you need to do is have a knight, another LSR, and get one power from dominance or some other source. It is unlikely, but completely plausible.
Another strength of this deck is the consistency. Pleasure Barge generates 3 cards for no gold at all. Hobber can search out your ladies. Support of the People can search out any of your locations, including the Mander to draw more cards. But the real beauty is using “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”. It is technically card disadvantage, but it gets you the cards you need, when you need them. Lets say you play it after plots, and look at the top 5 cards of your deck. The first two cars are some knights, but the next 3 are Pleasure Barge, another BatMF, and the Mander. I will reorder the deck so I draw the BatMF, and Pleasure Barge; I will also put the Mander on the bottom so I can tutor it out with Support of the People. Then I play another BatMF and order the top of my deck so I draw what I want from Pleasur Barge. This enables some very good hands. There is also a combo when I win a power challenge by 5 or more, first I kneel my faction for Street of the Sisters to gain one power; then I play support of the people to search my deck for the Mander and put it into play;
then I play BatMF to put LSR and Superior Claim on top of my deck (This is incorrect, you need an action window to play BatMF. There is no action window in DUCK.); I draw using the Mander; and I play LSR and Superior Claim for a huge power gain. And this combo only requires 2 cards in hand and one gold.
The first round of my tournament was against one of the Lannister-Rose decks, played by a guy named Eric. We had played the previous night to get ready for the tournament and I wanted to test my deck. He beat me in 4 out of 5 matches using various decks I net-decked, and I would contribute the fine-tuning after this night to my victory. He played a very good game, and it was one of my closest matches. He managed to get Tyrion and Randyll out early, then added Margaery. I milked Tyrion first, then after he Confiscated and played Margaery, I milked Margaery instead. I consider this the right move in almost all cases. Milking Randyll only prevents his renown and standing, but it doesn’t help me win. Margaery is a huge threat because she alters combat math so fundamentally; she also is able to stand Randyll, so milking her also weakens him. But I cannot overstate how powerful altering the combat math is. The threat is there, and they don’t even have to do it. In fact I won because my own Margaery boosted the KoF to win by 5. Another good move on his part was using ‘The Things I do for Love’ on my Sansa, who was equipped with Knighted and had 3 power on her from LSR. This slowed me down by at least a turn. It is a very close match up since Lannister-Rose has several high quality characters who can block my knight swarm. The only way to beat them is to use the KoF for single defender challenges.
My second match was against Chris who I had not played before. He was running a Targaryen-Fealty deck. I was quite nervous about this match because Targaryen is one of my weakest match ups. But I managed to play it safe and avoid Dracarys, I was also very lucky to get Heartsbane on the KoF on setup. So declare challenge with KoF as the first player and immediately activate Heartsbane to avoid Dracarys. And it was here that I realized Put to the Sword was useless in this deck. I can’t win the military challenges by 5 often enough, and the 2 gold telegraphs it a lot. But once I picked A Tourney for the King for my plot, the game quickly ended when I could attack without fear of Dracarys.
My third and final match was against Brian who was running a Targaryen-Sun deck. Now Brian is someone I have played against frequently over Friday night open gaming, and during A Muse N Games’ Winter League. In fact, he managed to win the League by 5 points. So this match was different from my first two, because I was somewhat familiar with my opponent. This was actually one of my best matches. I won the game with twenty-two power after a 9 power challenge with KoF. Now Brian got a less than ideal set-up, he got Martell reducers, but he didn’t see any Martell cards. There is also a huge difference between Targaryen-Fealty, and Targaryen-Banner. I could attack without fear of Dracarys when he didn’t have any gold. It also made the economy less reliable.
So after 3 rounds, I emerged as the victor of A Muse N Games’ Store Championship. As of yesterday, they will also be hosting regionals in July, where I will put my Bye to good use. Now there were a few flaws with my deck. I found Put to the Sword did not justify itself; when there was a character I needed to kill, I was unable to get the Military win-by-five I needed. And using STR pumps to win it was counterproductive when my game plan is to win power fast. This was my usual dead-draw. The rest of the deck seemed to pull its weight when I needed it to. I would say the thing I learned the most, was learning how to space out my events. It isn’t necessary to play LSR right away. You just need to be able to play it fast enough to win. If you have 2, you should play both to win, but you don’t need to play it first turn. Support of the People is a much more important turn 1 play. This is the one event I would build my turn around playing the first turn. Superior Claim is good, but not at the price of sub-optimally completing my challenges.
I have received some advice over on the CardgameDB regarding my deck build. The biggest suggestion I have received is adding Shadowblack Lane. I decided against it however, because I don’t actually have too many Intrigue icons. Only Arbor Knight, Sansa, and Margaery; and Margaery is not someone you want to use in challenges too much, she works better with her threat of activation. While it is useful to get LSR, I can’t win enough to justify its inclusion. I also don’t have the space. Street of the Sisters and The Iron Throne are both useful power boosters, each generating 2-3 power over the course of the game.
There is still another Knight coming for Tyrell with the other Redwyne twin: Ser Horas Redwyne. I would say he is more useful than his brother, as standing any of my ladies is a very good move. There is also the Blackfish and some other knights in Wolves of the North, but that is a deck different from this one. So this deck won’t change too much in the future.
Unfortunately No Middle Ground brings two plots that kill this deck: First Snow of Winter, and Blood of the Dragon. Both wreck most of my deck. In fact FSoW hits all of my characters except for Hobber and KoF. So this deck will no longer be viable after the chapter pack releases. This is somewhat thematic, as my deck is of the Knights of Summer, and they are ill-prepared for Winter. However, the theme can evolve into a deck with more higher cost characters. Perhaps a Tyrell-Crossing deck to use a few renown characters to generate a lot of power quickly alongside Crossing’s bonus.
This is the end of my article. It was a bit lengthy, and most of my articles won’t be this long, but I wanted to go over my deck before it went obsolete and I also wanted to give a report of my tournament performance. In future Tyrell Tuesday articles, I will go over the Tyrell’s card pool, as well as some deck archetypes. Feedback is fully appreciated and I look forward to a long period of contributing to the community.