Claiming Ears

A Deck for Chella Players in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

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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 Chella Players

Welcome to the final entry in our series on deckbuilding for the four melee archetypes! In case you’re just joining the series now, we’re building a variety of decks according to the melee format archetypes that I outlined in Choose Your Title Part 1 and Part 2. This week, we’re going to deal with the Chella archetype, which is fundamentally different from the other four personalities. Rather than trying to win the game, the Chella player gets the most enjoyment from stymieing other players and messing up their opponents’ plans as much as possible.

Thankfully, our final two factions, House Martell and House Targaryen, offer plenty of options for dashing your opponents’ schemes. First, we have to decide which faction’s loyal cards offer the best options. After a quick glance, it looks like loyal Targaryen cards like Dracarys! (Core Set, 176) and Plaza of Punishment (Core Set, 173) probably give us the best options to hurt the other players, whether or not they’re participating in challenges against us.

We’re also likely to attract some ire from the rest of the table, so Daenerys Targaryen (Core Set, 160) helps offset their desire to attack us just a bit. And thankfully, several of Martell’s most interesting melee cards aren’t loyal, so Banner of the Sun is a natural fit!

Let’s go ahead and identify some of the key cards that we’ll use to make this deck work. We’re going to talk about how these cards fit into our deck using the following categories: the Must Plays, the Synergies, the Resources, and the Filler.

The Must Plays

Varys (Core Set, 29) – Nothing quite says, “I’m just here to stop you all,” quite like discarding every character in play. Sure, that’s assuming no one kills Varys or stops his ability from triggering, but Varys is the ultimate way of setting a clean slate, wiping out renown power, and sowing chaos in the game.

Marched to the Wall (Core Set, 15) – Here’s another card that scales very well in melee. It’s the perfect follow-up to Varys that allows you to mop up any characters left in play through duplicates or other saves. 

Dracarys! – While other players may use Dracarys! as a negotiation tool or to secure victory during a crucial challenge, Chella players are much more likely to wield it as an active, unexpected threat. The capability to kill characters in challenges that you aren’t even involved in means that you can wreak maximum havoc, especially if you wait to play this card until the other players have worked out an agreement that you can upset.

Plaza of Punishment – Here’s another great way to interact with opponents who aren’t actually involved in the same challenges as you. Feel free to win a power challenge against a player who can’t stop you, then use the Plaza to burn a weenie character controlled by someone else. Freedom in targeting means that your opponents will never be certain what you’re up to.

Attainted (The King’s Peace, 55), Condemned (No Middle Ground, 77), and Imprisoned (True Steel, 116) – Sure, having this many attachments that can only go on opponent’s characters will hamper your setup, but the changes to attachments with the second edition rules make these negative attachments a boon for Chella players. Now, you can hamper the challenges of impactful characters across the board, and when those characters eventually die or are discarded by Varys, you get the attachments right back in your hand to keep ruining your opponents’ day.

The Synergies

Daenerys Targaryen – As we alluded to earlier, Chella players don’t tend to make many (or any) friends at the table, and while she’s expensive, Daenerys’s blanket STR reduction gives us a way to dissuade other players from sending challenges our direction. It can stop low STR weenie attacks completely, and conveniently, her ability also lets our STR-reducing effects take out larger characters when they do challenge us. 

Dornish Paramour (Core Set, 111) – If your opponent still has a standing character that you’d like to hit with Dracarys!, the Dornish Paramour is your opportunity to make it happen! This character is also useful for kneeling characters that your opponent would rather use on offense, like Ser Jaime Lannister (Core Set, 87).

Sunspear (Core Set, 117) – Sunspear is another nice “threat of activation” card that can potentially keep your opponents from challenging you out of fear of retaliation. On the other hand, if you have the Master of Whispers title, you’ll want to entice your opponents to attack you in intrigue, so you can resolve your increased claim against every other player at the table. 

Funeral Pyre (True Steel, 114) – We’ll need more cards to keep up our efforts against the other three players. Thankfully, a large amount of targeted kill, combined with our board wipes, makes it much more likely that someone will kill Lords and Ladies so you can refill your hand.

The Resources 

The Roseroad (Core Set, 40), The Kingsroad (Core Set, 39), Desert Scavenger (Core Set, 110), and Targaryen Loyalist (Core Set, 170) –  Again, there’s only so much to say here. These cards form the standard basis of income for nearly every deck, and this particular deck has no reason to deviate from that.

Trading with the Pentoshi (The Road to Winterfell, 39) – Trading with the Pentoshi is included here because this is a rather expensive deck overall. This plot gives us the highest possible gold income from our plot while also generating additional income for our opponents. In our case, we actually want our opponents to use that gold and commit more to the table so that we can wipe it all away with Varys.

The Filler

Of course, like the other decks that we’ve examined so far, we need a variety of other cards to round out the deck, all with varying levels of efficiency and potency for our chosen gameplan. Of course, we want more kill effects like Mirri Maz Duur (Calm over Westeros, 93) and the extra military challenges from Khal Drogo (Core Set, 162). We’ll throw in a few additional sources of STR reduction with Crown of Gold (The Road to Winterfell, 34), Dragon Sight (Wolves of the North, 36), and Blood of the Dragon  (No Middle Ground, 75). Some of Targaryen’s efficient smaller characters round us the character base as well as Martell’s Bastard Daughter  (Taking the Black, 15), who can help deter incoming attacks and randomly destroy opponents’ game plans.

The Deck

Total Cards: 61

Faction: House Targaryen

Agenda: 1

1x Banner of the Sun (Core Set)

Plots: 7

1x A Noble Cause (Core Set)
1x Marched to the Wall (Core Set)
1x Naval Superiority (Core Set)
1x Wildfire Assault (Core Set)
1x Trading with the Pentoshi (The Road to Winterfell)
1x Blood of the Dragon (No Middle Ground)
1x The First Snow of Winter (No Middle Ground)

Characters: 33

3x Varys (Core Set)
1x Maester Caleotte (Core Set)
1x Obara Sand (Core Set)
3x Desert Scavenger (Core Set)
2x Dornish Paramour (Core Set)
2x Daenerys Targaryen (Core Set)
2x Drogon (Core Set)
2x Khal Drogo (Core Set)
2x Rhaegal (Core Set)
2x Ser Jorah Mormont (Core Set)
2x Viserion (Core Set)
1x Viserys Targaryen (Core Set)
3x Targaryen Loyalist (Core Set)
3x Bastard Daughter (Taking the Black)
1x Nymeria Sand (The Road to Winterfell)
1x Mirri Maz Duur (Calm Over Westeros)
1x Jhogo (True Steel)
1x Quentyn Martell (Wolves of the North)

Attachments: 10

1x Crown of Gold (The Road to Winterfell)
3x Attainted (The King’s Peace)
3x Condemned (No Middle Ground)
3x Imprisoned (True Steel)

Events: 8

3x Dracarys! (Core Set)
2x Funeral Pyre (True Steel)
3x Dragon Sight (Wolves of the North)

Locations: 10

3x The Kingsroad (Core Set)
3x The Roseroad (Core Set)
2x Sunspear (Core Set)
2x Plaza of Punishment (Core Set)

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