A Fearsome Old Harridan
A Deck for Queen of Thorns Players in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
Will Lentz is a long-time player of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, starting back in the Dawn Age of 2002, shortly after the launch of the collectible card game. Since then, he’s been an avid player of the joust format and constant proponent of the melee format. Over that time he’s written quite a lot about the game, co-founded the first A Game of Thrones: The Card Game podcast, claimed multiple top cut finishes, and earned the moniker of “championship-level player.” These days, you can find Will at www.whitebookpodcast.com, where new podcasts are launched each Friday, alongside regularly submitted articles, winning deck list archives, and event listings throughout the week.
Will Lentz Builds a Melee Deck for Queen of Thorns Players
In case you haven’t been following my recent series, I’m looking at the different player archetypes that exist in the melee format of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. We first outlined these archetypes in Choose Your Title Part 1 and Part 2, and now we’re taking the time to build decks that each of these player types might enjoy using!
Today, we get to turn our attention to the most manipulative of the melee archetypes and focus on the Queen of Thorns players. These players often try to look as unimposing as possible for as long as possible, before they strike and seize a sudden win. Queen of Thorns players are also the most likely to enjoy wheeling and dealing with the other players at the table. With those precepts in mind, let’s see where a deck build takes us.
In order to make ourselves look like less of a target, we’ll take a look at some less intimidating means of gaining power, like Joffrey Baratheon (Core Set, 86). We also want to look at improving our dealmaking ability with cards that target multiple players or offer a repeatable effect that can be directed at different players each round. This second category leads us to cards like Even Handed Justice (Wolves of the North, 26) and Brothel Madame (The Road to Winterfell, 29).
Conveniently, Baratheon and Lannister also feature a variety of renown and light control effects that combine well to help you dictate the pace of the game. In this case, I’ve opted to go with Baratheon for the primary faction so that we can use Robert Baratheon (Core Set, 48), who becomes even more insanely powerful in a melee game.
Let’s go ahead and identify some of the key cards that we’ll be using to make this work. We’re going to break them down and talk about how they fit into the deck in the following categories: the Must Plays, the Synergies, the Resources, and the Filler.
The Must Plays
Joffrey Baratheon – Joffrey is a cheap body for the table with the most important icon in melee—power. Also, with multiple players at the table, you’re much more likely to see a Lord or Lady die, allowing Joffrey to claim power. Since this trigger doesn’t happen as often, players are less likely to see him as a threat, even if you can potentially reveal Wildfire Assault (Core Set, 26) to kill enough Lords and Ladies to claim victory.
Brothel Madame – The Brothel Madame gives you a great way to manipulate the flow of the game by targeting opponents who can’t pay the tax. Because the addition of title cards and the support mechanic restricts the players that you can challenge, there’s a very good chance that you can combine that with the Brothel Madame’s ability to force your opponents to send their challenges elsewhere—doing most of your work for you.
Even Handed Justice – This card is a monster in melee. Because it scales out to affect each player, your return will almost always be greater than your investment. You can use this event to open gaps in your opponents’ defenses, and it can also stall their offensive power by kneeling big targets like Tywin Lannister (Core Set, 90) or The Knight of Flowers (Core Set, 185). This versatility is huge for controlling the flow of the game, and the threat of kneeling certain characters could easily be used as a bargaining chip to get concessions from other players.
Robert Baratheon – Robert Baratheon’s STR can get remarkably high in just a joust match, but in melee, his STR can grow to truly ridiculous levels. Of course, this means you can usually win any challenge you throw him into and earn some power from renown. Robert’s intimidate gives you an additional way to keep opposing characters out of way and slow your opponent’s rise to power. You do need to be careful, however. A huge Robert Baratheon quickly becomes a target, which is something most Queen of Thorns players prefer to avoid.
The Red Keep (Core Set, 61) and Kingswood (Calm Over Westeros, 87) – These locations take some pacing, because you don’t want to drop a lone Kingswood most of the time, but if you play some combination of The Red Keep, multiple Kingswoods, and the Hand of the King title, you can make the aggregate STR difference so annoying that your opponents send their power challenges against other players.
Wildfire Assault – Not only does Wildfire Assault have respectable initiative for melee and reasonable income, it also lets you keep the board to a reasonable size. Queen of Thorns players would rather not let anyone get too far ahead or push anyone too far down, and Wildfire Assault gives you the chance to keep the field as even as possible. Conveniently, it also gives you some potential to kill Lords and Ladies and snipe a victory with Joffrey.
Fiery Followers (Core Set, 54) – Getting multiple uses from your characters is a big advantage in any game, and it’s even more important when you’re fending off multiple foes. Fiery Followers lets you commit to challenges and still get some use from them in the dominance phase, hopefully netting you some power without looking very intimidating.
Ours is the Fury (Core Set, 63) – In the same vein of getting multiple uses out of our characters, Ours is the Fury provides a fantastic surprise use of characters like Robert Baratheon or Ser Barristan Selmy (True Steel, 107) to shut down incoming challenges and earn some extra power from renown. And of course, the standing ability gives you extra versatility for participating in future challenges.
Vanguard Lancer (Core Set, 57) – The Vanguard Lancer is another fine, inexpensive character for the deck. He’s mainly used to die before more impressive characters, but he can also help you pace the game by removing power from whichever player is currently in the lead. Using the Vanguard Lancer also gives you a great opportunity to communicate with the others at the table and come off as a team player.
Melisandre (Core Set, 47), Selyse Baratheon (Core Set, 49), Ser Gregor Clegane (The King’s Peace, 49), and Shireen Baratheon (Core Set, 51) – Sure, these characters all have their own useful abilities, ranging from temporary control to more power gain, but the real draw for this deck is that none of them are important enough to need multiple copies, allowing you to use them and kill them when you need more power for Joffrey.
The Roseroad (Core Set, 40), The Kingsroad (Core Set, 39), Lannisport Merchant (Core Set, 94), and Dragonstone Faithful (Core Set, 56) – There’s only so much to say here. These cards are the standard basis of income for nearly every deck, and this particular deck has no reason to deviate from that.
Tyrion Lannister (Core Set, 89) – Tyrion Lannister is, quite frankly, a beast of a card. Not only does he feature stealth and the crucial-for-melee power icon, but he’s a huge economic asset as well. At least one of your opponents will initiate an intrigue challenge every round, so Tyrion is nearly guaranteed to provide four additional gold in every challenges phase. This is extremely helpful for powering our two gold events and giving opportunity to ambush in surprise attackers or defenders.
This deck actually feels like it has less need for filler cards than some of our other melee decks, thanks to the singleton copies of several Lords and Ladies. Along with those characters, Ser Davos Seaworth (Core Set, 50) gives some solid additional stealth for our side. On the attachment front, we naturally include some standing effects for character economy, but we also want to take Milk of the Poppy (Core Set, 35) as a way to mess with enemy rush decks.
Total Cards: 62
Faction: House Baratheon
1x Banner of the Lion (Core Set)
1x A Clash of Kings (Core Set)
1x A Noble Cause (Core Set)
1x Calling the Banners (Core Set)
1x Calm Over Westeros (Core Set)
1x Taxation (Core Set)
2x Wildfire Assault (Core Set)
2x Brothel Madame (The Road to Winterfell)
3x Dragonstone Faithful (Core Set)
3x Fiery Followers (Core Set)
3x Gold Cloaks (Core Set)
2x Joffrey Baratheon (Core Set)
3x Lannisport Merchant (Core Set)
1x Melisandre (Core Set)
1x Moon Boy (The King's Peace)
3x Robert Baratheon (Core Set)
1x Selyse Baratheon (Core Set)
1x Ser Davos Seaworth (Core Set)
1x Ser Barristan Selmy (True Steel)
1x Ser Gregor Clegane (The King's Peace)
3x Ser Jaime Lannister (Core Set)
1x Shireen Baratheon (Core Set)
1x The Hound (Taking the Black)
3x Tyrion Lannister (Core Set)
3x Vanguard Lancer (Core Set)
1x Lightbringer (Core Set)
2x Milk of the Poppy (Core Set)
1x Seal of the Hand (Core Set)
3x Even-Handed Justice (Wolves of the North)
2x Ours is the Fury (Core Set)
3x Superior Claim (Core Set)
1x Dragonstone Port (Core Set)
3x The Kingsroad (Core Set)
3x The Red Keep (Core Set)
3x The Roseroad (Core Set)
1x Western Fiefdom (Core Set)
3x Kingswood (Calm Over Westeros)
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