News for August 2011
The Gen Con 2011 Joust Report, Part Two 3
Gen Con 2011 Joust Champion, Brett Zeiler, recalls his matches
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 26 August 2011

Welcome, fans of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!

Yesterday, we posted The Gen Con 2011 Joust Report, Part One, in which the Joust Champion, Brett Zeiler, shared his deck choice, card selection, and intended strategy. Today, we present Brett’s match summaries as he recounts his epic effort to claim the Gen Con 2011 Joust Championship.

The Gen Con 2011 Joust Championship

As I mentioned earlier, I had done most of my testing for Gen Con using Greg’s version of my deck. So while I was familiar with the archetype, I had not played my deck before the first round of the joust, and there were a few big differences.

I went in to the tournament feeling more than a little uneasy; on top of the fact that I had not practiced with my version, I also knew that the Martell Summer deck featuring Ghaston Grey and A Game of Cyvasse was not only my deck’s worst matchup but the best deck in the format and one of the most popular decks at the tournament.

Round One–John Krause, Targaryen Burn

Well this was a bad first draw! John is one of the nicest guys I know in the game and was one of my favorites to win after his strong showing in the melee the day before. Either I was going to give him a round one loss that would set back a really nice guy, or he would beat me and put me behind. Either way, I wouldn’t be too happy. Still, I wanted to win.

The game started off fast for my deck. I believe I played Alliance turn one to get out a Jeyne and search for a duplicate to attach to my Robert. After I played Robert, John dropped a Flame Kissed onto him, but on my next action, I had a Bodyguard to turn off his burn. Had I not had the attachment, he would have been able to burn down Robert, and the game would have been very different.

My deck kept coming together quickly, and Robert was chained up within the next couple turns. Plot three, I played Threat from the North and wiped his board over the course of the round. He wasn’t able to come back from this and didn’t draw into his Meerenese Brothel early enough to knock off my Apprentice Collar. My deck worked the way I hoped it would; I got the game and my first win of the day.

Round Two–Ulrich Hergl, Greyjoy Winter

I had the pleasure of playing Ulrich who had traveled to Gen Con from Germany. My German was far too rusty to make much conversation, but we had some fun chatting anyway.

My deck got off to its usual start with a duplicate on Robert and some other good stuff. He got out a few Wintertime Marauders early but didn’t get the White Raven until turn two. By then, my Robert was big enough that he could win every challenge into which Ulrich threw his Marauders, so I wouldn’t have to worry about them. Round three, I played Threat from the North to wipe him out and he wasn’t able to recover. I was able to win either that turn or the next, putting me at 2-0 for the day.

Round Three–Corey Faherty, Martell Summer

Ugh, the dreaded Martell Summer matchup! I knew this game would be a struggle, but I had no idea just how bad it would be. My starting hand was alright, but I knew the deck could do better and took a mulligan for a one or two card setup. I believe my character was Ser Guyard Morrigen, so I needed to draw a character who could take attachments just to get started. I wasn’t able to do it; I was barely even in this game. I never had more than two power or more than two cards in play. It was one of the more one-sided games I’ve ever played. Corey was able to win with scarcely any opposition on my part, giving me my first loss.

Round Four–Jon Lee, Martell Brotherhood Without Banners

This round was rough for the Southwest Missouri group as we had three different tables where we each played against our travel partners. I had the pleasure of playing against Jon and his Brotherhood deck. He had spent the months leading up to Gen Con playing a solid Targaryen Brotherhood that beat me all the time, but a few weeks before the tournament he decided to change it for a Martell deck similar to Will’s, but with a few key changes.

My start was decent, with a Pyromancer’s Cache and Robert. I also had Bodyguard for a little protection. Unfortunately for me, Jon played Beric with two Taste for Bloods as well as a card in shadows, so while I was able to get a fair amount of power on turn one, he got almost as much, even after my Tin Link knocked off one of the Tastes.

I believe it was turn two that he played Valar to kill off almost all of my characters, and he played an Aegon’s Blade onto Beric. It was a rough turn for me, but I was able to play several characters, including Archmaester Ebrose. Off of all of my challenges that turn, I put the chains onto Ebrose hoping for a huge power jump on the next turn. It worked, and I was able to shoot up to around 12 power.

The next turn, he played his secret tech onto Beric–War Scorpion! Using that along with his Stealth, he would be able to kill every character in a challenge other than Beric. However, it was too little too late, as Ebrose gave me the win before he had a chance to pop the War Scorpion. With that, I was 3-1.

Round Five–Wade Freeman, Martell Summer

More Martell Summer…

Wade’s a good guy and a great player, so I figured this would be my second loss. Luckily my deck had a fantastic start while his was mediocre. Though he got Ghaston Grey out early, he didn’t see any Noble crests to complete the combo. He drew all three copies of his A Game of Cyvasse, which really slowed me down.

I eliminated all his characters with Threat from the North and hit 15 power, but when I started to pick up my cards I glanced over and noticed there were still two cards attached to my agenda. We resumed the game where we had left off, and while he put up a really valiant struggle, I only needed another couple turns to win two more challenges.

At 4-1, I realized if I could win my next round I was guaranteed to make the top 16.

Round Six–Ramesses DeLeon, Lannister Shadows

While a shadows deck may seem like bad news for Robert, it’s actually not a huge problem. All I need to do is get Lead Link and a couple other chains onto Robert and flip The King’s Law. If my opponent has a Venomous Blade, then I just don’t make any challenges, and use Threat from the North on the next turn to wipe their important characters before they have a chance to play any more cards into shadows. The only problem card is Syrio, if he can force through the challenge.

I was able to get out a protected Robert on my first turn, but Ram played Milk of the Poppy on him. Then I made a huge mistake that cost me the game. I knew if I could win two challenges I could get Lead Link and Tin Link onto Robert. Then I could use the Lead Link and discard the Milk with the Tin Link. The next turn I would be able to use the King’s Law, follow it up with the Threat from the North, and wipe his board. However, on my military challenge, I stealthed the wrong character and lost the challenge. It was entirely my mistake, and it cost me the game as he was able to control everything else.

I was around 5 power when he won the game.

At 4-2, I knew I needed tie breakers to work my way to get into the top 16. However, since one of my losses was to the undefeated Corey and my other loss was to Ram at 5-1, I figured I had a decent chance. Of course, it turned out that I did make top 16… at the 16th spot!

That meant I started match play against the number one seed, Corey.

We took a dinner break, and I chatted with Greg who was also in top 16. We knew my deck was a bad matchup, and there were only so many things I could do to stay in the game. I left dinner early to chill out and collect my thoughts, then got ready for my worst matchup.

Round Seven–Corey Faherty, Martell Summer

What can I say? This game was the exact opposite of our match up in the preliminary rounds. He didn’t see his control cards, so I was able to pretty handily dominate the game.

I got a Robert early and was able to clear away his Venomous Blade in shadows with The King’s Law. I followed that up with the Threat from the North to wipe his board, and there wasn’t a moment that I didn’t feel in control of the game.

At the last possible moment, he was able to bounce Leyton Hightower back to my hand to hold me at one power away from winning, but using the Lead Link to lower his only defender down to 0 strength got me the unopposed power–which put me 15.

While I always felt in control of this game, I cannot say enough about Corey’s skill! He played the game perfectly, and if my deck not been at its best, I would have lost.

Round Eight–Jonathan Benton, Martell Summer

More Martell Summer!

Playing against Benton is always a weird experience–even when he is crushing you, you’re always having a good time. It didn’t help that I was playing another game against my worst matchup, but once more, my deck was at its best.

I don’t remember a lot of details. At this point I’d been playing all day and was starting to get fatigued. I know there was a turn where I wiped most of his board with Threat from the North, but I know he also had Ghaston Grey with Nobles early. They slowed the game, but when time was called, I was far enough ahead to get the win.

Round Nine–Casey Galvan, Greyjoy The Maester’s Path

This game started out poorly for me. The first turn or two went completely in his favor until I flipped Threat from the North and wiped his board with Lead Link. He had a card in shadows that I needed to discard with The King’s Law, but after clearing his board, I was in full control.

Casey played well, and if not for a rules mistake, may have been able to slow me down enough to control my Robert. But with this win, I reached the final table against Greg Atkinson…

Round Ten–Greg Atkinson, Knights of the Hollow Hill

When I sat down at the table, I felt absolutely no pressure. I did probably 90% of my playtesting against Greg, so while he knew my deck pretty well, I played against his deck almost as many times. While in my other games I had to be completely serious and on my guard, in this game I felt able to relax. It felt more like we were playing another casual game than at the final table of the Gen Con Joust Championship.

Again, my deck performed almost flawlessly, getting out Robert with two duplicates on the first turn as well as some other support cards. I rushed quickly, hitting 15 power on the second or third plot.

There was applause, and people began heading over to congratulate me. However, when I began picking up my cards, I saw that I still had two cards attached to my agenda. Not again! And this time I was in a really disadvantageous position.

On the next turn, though, Greg made his own huge mistake by forcing me to go first. This allowed me to use my first action to discard his characters before he could use Ghaston Grey against me. However, it didn’t matter too much because he was still able to bounce Robert back to my hand, having already worked the duplicates off of him, and then discard him off of an intrigue challenge.

I needed to draw something great in order to stay in the game, and I got two Loyal Guards onto Renly. At that point, he didn’t really have anything to stop me, and I was just able to force through enough challenges to win it!

In conclusion, I want to give some props to Corey, Erick, Greg, John, and everyone else who made the top 16 of either tournament; you guys really are the best at this game and I wouldn’t have minded had any of you won.

Props, too, to Rings, Jesse, Dan, Wade, Benton, Luke, and all the other guys who I only get to see once or twice a year at these big events! All of my opponents in both events were great, I didn’t have a single bad game and enjoyed every minute of my tournaments.

Finally, thanks to Ktom, Nate, and Damon for running great events!

Thanks, Brett, and congratulations on your championship! We were happy to see everyone at Gen Con 2011 and had a great time. We hope to see everyone again next year. In the meantime, keep playing the only game that matters!

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.

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Comments (3)

Published: 12/24/2011 9:16:00 AM

 No worries.  Pretty sure the FAQ from 9/11 nuked this type of deck

Published: 9/5/2011 3:03:23 AM

We need a FAQ please. People in my area (Spain) have started to stay at home instead of coming to tournaments because the chain decks are too strong and abusing. We are playing chains or decks with a lot of meta against chains, and some people don't feel comfortable in this situation, so they are not coming to tournaments and maybe they leave the game if nothing changes.

we want a FAQ!!!!

Published: 8/28/2011 9:57:10 PM

Congrats man.  Glad I could get you started off on the right foot!

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