The King in the North?

I’ll be honest here I haven’t actually been playing much in the way of games.  A combination of real life stuff has limited my game time to only a few lunches.  Those few have been spent playing Game of Thrones because I had a plan!  I thought I’d try to see if the Stark children could club together under the leadership of Luwin and Robb.

I had previously dismissed house Stark as pretty dull and lacking in synergy but Taking the Black added a couple of cards that made me change my mind.  Maester Luwin and Lady are both really good and fit the bill with regards to combinations.  So the core of the deck designs itself really:
3x Robb Stark – He’s key to the deck’s functionality so three are much needed.
2x Maester Luwin – Adding Insight to Robb is excellent and Jon getting stealth is neat.
2x Grey Wolf – With Robb in play he’s a bit of a monster.
2x Lady – +2 Strength for 1 gold and the ability to swap her around is awesome.
3x Bran Stark – Combo’s with Robb for shenanigans.
2x Summer – Combo’s with Bran for further shenanigans!

That’s all pretty clever stuff but we need some fundamentals.  A few removal pieces and cost reducers would be nice so that adds the following:
3x The Roseroad – All cards cost gold and one more each turn can’t be bad!
3x Heart Tree Grove – Probably better than the road and an auto include.
3x Winterfell Steward – Another cost reducer and potential sacrificial lamb.
2x Littlefinger – I can’t think of a good reason not to run him so he’s in.
1x Varys – Only one, just in case things go bad…
2x Tears of Lys – It kills the premier problem cards I face (Balon and Stannis).
2x Put to the Sword – Given the military strength I can bring to bear I like this here.
3x Ice – +2 Strength is great and the sac. ability is nuts so it’s in at maximum.

So with those cards locked down I started to think about issues and one of those is the high pressure Greyjoy decks driven by Balon and his seat.  To get around that I wanted some more attachments to protect Robb et al.  Then Stealth is a bit of a problem around here so I paired up with the Nights Watch for some Rangers led by Uncle Benjen.  I figure I can get around Baratheon Kneel a little with Robbs’ ability but felt that a little stealth of my own wouldn’t go amiss here either!  I added:
2x Benjen Stark – He’s stealth proof and has a decent power grabbing ability for late game.
2x Ser Waymar Royce – He’s a ranger with a pretty cool when he dies rule.
3x Ranging Party – More rangers to make a stealth proof wall.
2x Ghost – He’s a bit silly when you’re in the driving seat…
2x Jon Snow – Not probably his finest use here but with Stealth he’s a decent attacker.
1x Longclaw – Equip this to Jon or a Ranging Party for a bit of pressure.
3x Little Bird – Chair proof and Tears of Lys proof your best dude for 1!

That leaves a few gaps which I filled as follows:
2x Sansa Stark – She adds some reach and is the best target for Lady to move to.
3x Tumblestone Knight – Cheap and cheerful guys that Grey Wolf can snack on to stand everyone else…
3x Winter is Coming – This is pretty cool if you play it at the right moment!
3x For the North! – Playable in defence or attack it draws a card for zero!
1x Put to the Torch – Not sold on this here but can exert some early pressure.

It’s not the most competitive build I’ve ever made but it is a lot of fun to play and deals fairly well with aggressive strategies thanks to Robbs stand everyone ability.   It struggles against decks that stall like Bara Kneel or Martell; against both of these if it can’t gain enough traction early then the strength of their late game is crushing.  My honest opinion is that Stark are actually pretty good but desperately need some more reach to make them great.  They have some good tech and nifty combos that make them fun to play and I’m very much looking forward to Calm over Westeros so that I can get my hands on Chett to dig up Summer and return Bran to play each turn for a pretty decent lock-down!

Next week I’ll head to the Traxis Sector for a bit of Conquest I think!  Until then happy gaming – Mark


    • Thanks! The game is really good value; if you like the books/show it’s an easier sell because you buy into the fiction before you start and the mechanics give the whole thing the same ‘feel’ as the fiction. Athena games hold regular meet ups so I’m sure someone would be only too happy to show it off!

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