Final Table – Daniel Machado playing Bara Rush, Sandy Barnabas playing Bara Rush, Wade playing Stark Siege

Oh god, I was at the final table. What was I doing here? I don’t belong here, I was just able to wheel and deal my way to the top! And none of that matters, because the standard “I can win this turn, are you ok with placing second” wasn’t going to work. I was already psyching myself out and the game hadn’t even started yet. Luckily I was playing with several of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, and it was one of the best games I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of. Now on to the actual match!

Things did not start off well for me. I had the weakest set up of anyone, involving several Seaside Urchins and Tarle. I had almost every location I control in play at one point or another, which was great for me financially but awful for winning the game. That’s compared to Dan and Sandy both flooding the board with a ton of guys with renown, and Wade having success pulling off some military challenges with Robb and Arya (Core Set) to get renown. At the end of the second or third round I was in last place with 4 power on my house. Everyone else had a fair amount more, and things were not looking all that great. The next round Wade flipped Take Them by Surprise, but I had Ahead of the Tide in hand. After some quick counting and examining my hand, I realized that if everything went according to plan I could win in two turns.

I played Ahead of the Tide and won initiative, making Wade discard his hand. I proceeded to make myself to last. The usual Crown Regent and Master of Laws were taken by Sandy and Dan respectively. Wade chose Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and I grabbed Hand of the King so that Dan couldn’t challenge me. None of my opponents played much of anything, but I dropped my hand which made by board become two Seaside Urchins, Tarle with Support of Harlaw, Dagmer Cleftjaw, and a Scouting Vessel. Sandy didn’t make any challenges, since even if he won a few challenges he would not hit 15 power and would be knelt out. Daniel’s challenges came, and he couldn’t challenge me or win a challenge against Sandy so Wade became his only target. He was able to win a few challenges, but I reminded Wade to steal Robert Baratheon’s (Core Set) renown with Arya. Doing this he was able to keep Dan down, as at the end of the turn he was 2 power away from winning. Wade’s turn came up and he did a power challenge against the now weakened Dan, but nothing else of interest happened. Then it came to my challenges. I won an unopposed power against Dan with Tarle, who then stood with Support of Harlaw. I played Assault of the Kraken to let me make another power challenge which I again threw at Dan. I then intrigued him with Tarle and both Urchins, winning the challenge. I activated both of the Urchins and discarded Bodyguard and Distinct Mastery off the top of Dan’s deck, scoring two more power. I made the military challenge against Wade, and was able to get the unopposed due to my Scouting Vessel. I was even able to win dominance due to Dagmer and my warship locations. This put me up to 13 power. At that point I was sure that the game was in the bag.

The next plot I flipped was Rise of the Kraken which allowed me to win initiative and go first. I took Crown Regent to keep any of the other players form messing with my challenges. I marshaled Nute the Barber and kept the rest of my cards in hand (three or four of them I think). At this point there was no stopping me, as I could make any challenge against Wade and get it unopposed. I could make the power and use my Scouting Vessels, make the intrigue since he had none of the board, or make the military with Nute and discard my hand to intimidate him out. I chose to go with the sure thing (intrigue) which went unopposed, scoring me the two power I needed to win the game and the championship.

So that was the story of how I was able to go from 4 to 15 power over the course of two turns without my opponents being able to make a single challenge in between. That is the explosive power of Greyjoy in melee, and in my mind the big difference between Bara and Greyjoy in the format. While both are fast power rush, Bara power rush makes it obvious that they are about to win and therefore make it easier for the other players to unite against the strongest player at the table. But with Greyjoy you really can just explode and win, demonstrated by the fact that I went from last place to winning effectively over the course of a turn.

Thanks for reading everyone, I hope it was at the very least a fun read. In tournament reports I’ve written in the past I’ve always included a list of props and slops at the end, and I’m now taking this habit into Thrones. So, without further ado:

Nate and the entire FFG team for running smooth and fun tournaments all weekend.
Rings for being one of the most awesome people I’ve ever had the chance to meet.
Alec and Erick for winning the other World Championships.
The rest of the Southwest MO crew who traveled up to GenCon with me. You guys are the reason I play this game.
Darryl for doing as well as he did in the joust. He’s one of my best friends and one of the newest players in our group, and he still managed to go 4-2 playing against players like Erick, Rings, and Jonathan Benton.
The pizza at the café outside the card hall. It was a little expensive, but it was quite delicious and I personally had most of my meals there during tournament times.
Girl pop on the way to and from GenCon in the car. It was magical.

Me for burning out in the joust after winning my first three games, when one more win would have tied me for overall with Erick.
The Lo5R kids for yelling “Banzai!” before every tournament. Very distracting.
The card hall when the lights went out during the joust. It didn’t last very long, but it did put a short halt on gameplay.
Husemann for dropping out of the joust after losing round one…baby. :P
All the people in my room (myself included) for snoring so loudly that there wasn’t a single night that everyone slept well.
The Westin in general, it was just an average hotel that I paid the price of a great hotel for.
Greg, Will, and Fox for not getting a room downtown.
Andy Vick (another friend who came with us who doesn’t play Thrones) for passing out in the hallway outside our hotel with his pants around his ankles. Long story.

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