So I went one and two at the Imperial Assault tournament. That’s fine. It’s not my main game. It’s a dice game. Whatever.
Sunday, though, is Thrones at the newly christened Grey Duck Games & Toys, and it’s the only store championship I can make this season. It is my only chance to win that handsome Ser Robar Royce mat. I get my game face. I pack “I Want A Do-Over” with location hate for Night’s Watch and Baratheon nonsense. I leave the boy. I am ready.
Against M, World Champion Lannister, Wolf
And I open against this jerk literally running the World Champion deck with no updates from the intervening three chapter packs or deluxe box. I set up The Arbor. Nothing else matters. Right? He sets up less well with The Hound, Arya Stark, Red Cloaks and some economy. I feel good. Then he dupes Tywin Lannister off A Noble Cause and finds the dupe for Arya. My hand’s expensive, even with Arbor and summer gold off Calm Over Westeros, and I opt not to drop any of my hitters since it’s obvious that I’ll be digging for Varys to clear the dupes for Valar. House Florent Knight clears out the Red Cloaks.
The rest of the game is me playing defense to slow it down while I dig for and fail to find Varys. Two Time of Plenty and two “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” and one A Gift of Arbor Red only find me Varys on plot seven when it was far too late. While I dick around, M gains renown on Tywin and pokes power challenges with Arya while grinding my board with Tears of Lys (claiming King Renly’s Host and Brienne of Tarth’s dupe) and Put to the Sword (claiming Renly Baratheon). It could have ended earlier, but I managed to pull the good Eddard Stark for intrigue from twelve cards in the second round.
The only other small win I managed came in the fourth round when I dropped a Knight of Summer and Rattleshirt’s Raiders to try and remove some of the Bodyguards that M had found to further protect his hitters. Of course he had Ward for the Knight. I toss the Raiders alone into a military challenge anyway. M debates for a while, thinking that I’m trying to trick him into putting power on the Knight before I take him back with Confiscation, but ultimately blocks it. No. I’m taking him back now. The Knight has Nightmares, loses his strength buff, and the Raiders remove Ward. Cute. It gains me a second knelt character who quickly goes to claim.
Losing to a four-month old deck is not how I wanted to open the tournament, but you don’t get to choose how you open the tournament, do you?
Against J, Expensive Night’s Watch, Fealty
Qhorin Halfhand arrives in setup with a Practice Blade. I have something less good. Then Benjen Stark drops with some Haunted Forests, but that’s okay because I Arbor Red draws Varys out of hiding, and a Margaery Tyrell with a Lady-in-Waiting gives me a body post-wipe.
He drops his Valar on the second plot to clear Margaery, and that’s pretty well game there. I get too many bodies on the table, and even though J is playing plenty of economy, he can never drop more than two characters at a time. Military keeps the pressure on, and the game’s over on the fourth plot.
Against C, Lannister, Banner of the Watch
I set up The Arbor and Paxter Redwyne. That was possibly the one thing I did right all game. He sets up The Wall and stuff, which is pretty great, but I have a chance to blow this game wide open in the first round because I hold Put to the Torch. He opens Time of Plenty to my Calm Over Westeros. He drops Jaime Lannister and a Ranging Party, his only two military icons, and I drop Syrio Forel. He makes his challenges, and I coyly wait to pass military and stealth to Paxter, my only other character on the board. Then C plays Nightmares on Syrio, and I can’t push the military anymore. There goes that plan. It was going to be so good, too, because Paxter was going to reduce the cost and everything.
Oh well, I’ll do it in the next round. No. Now Syrio’s Craven. And Varys drank the Milk of the Poppy.
Fine, I’ll Torch the Wall in the third round after my Valar clears out his defenders. No. Now the Wall has a dupe.
Well, maybe I’ll Torch the dupe, and he’ll do something dumb when I play Political Disaster. No. He does not discard The Wall.
So The Wall is only knelt once in five rounds, and Winter Festival gains him another two power. Tywin in the third round really wasn’t necessary.
Against T, Lannister, “The Rains of Castamere”
You know what feels good? Setting up The Arbor and playing Marched to the Wall as your first plot to get rid of a duped Tywin. You know what feels terrible? Still managing to lose the game.
He only trips Harrenhal and uses it to bounce in The Hound, killing my Lady-in-Waiting, but leaving an empty board against my House Florent Knight.
Big Cersei Lannister comes out alone on the next plot against my duped Renly Baratheon. You may think that’s the most important play of the round, but you’d be wrong. The important play was his Isle of Ravens. The first Tywin is recycled. The Hound bounces in again but is only claim to protect Big Cersei. I prefer to let Harrenhal kill him.
Little of note happens in the third round except for the second Tywin recycling.
The game starts to open up in the fourth round for him. Hear Me Roar! brings in Tywin and Relentless Assault, allowing Cersei two intrigue challenges and two power. The third Tywin is recyled.
I find Varys in the fifth, but it’s too late. Another Relentless Assault gets Cersei her two power, and Harrenhal drops Tywin whose renown with Jaime’s finishes the game. He drew Tywin four times. Granted, he had an early Casterly Rock and Time of Plenty was played twice, but he drew Tywin four times.
Seriously now. I set up The Arbor in three of four matches and managed to lose every single one of them. My only win was the game I never saw The Arbor (perhaps coincidentally, also the only game Varys successfully cleared the board). I need to do something different.
Thanks to my opponents. Thanks to J for opening Grey Duck Games and continuing to support Thrones. Thanks to M for the alt Roseroads. Thanks to my wife for watching the boy the second day in a row.
No thanks to my inability to win a single game I set up The Arbor.