In the past 2 weeks I’ve gone 11-0 and took first place in 2 NY Store Championships playing my home-brewed Lanni/Sun list. My fellow Brotherhood host Keith took it to one of the SCs and his only loss was to me playing the same deck, making the deck undefeated to anything but itself in SCs. No one that is coming here for information needs to be told why Tywin Lannister is a monster, but I would like to discuss some of the more off-beat choices I made while constructing and tuning this deck. I think this is a valuable process for understanding why certain things work and others do not. For reference, the deck list can be viewed here:
37 characters is a bit on the high end for most of these types of decks and this was no accident. I find that in most of my builds I want more than the commonly accepted 33-35 characters. Particularly in a deck with Varys, I always want to have more guys to play. Having more claim soak, more ways to break board stalls and giving up less unopposed challenges are all benefits of this philosophy.
Why no bastard daughters in this list?
I found in my testing that the second icon on the House Dayne Knight was super useful in poking holes in the defense of the opposition as well as giving up less unopposed challenges in the early-mid game. They allowed me to not have to commit a larger more important character to a challenge that I wasn’t going to win anyway without giving up that crucial free power. They were also far superior when playing against the Targaryens. The second point of strength means they are still relevant to the challenge phase through a standing Danni.
Do you really need the third Hound?
The question should really be “why are you not playing 3 Hounds”. This card is consistently incredible. While in most situations he doesn’t necessarily play the best with his duplicates, this card is just too powerful to not be playing the full 3 copies. Simply put I will see a The Hound in a larger percentage of games because of the third copy and I am more than willing to accept any slight anti-synergy when I draw multiple copies to get this edge. I am playing 3 copies of The Hound for the foreseeable future and you should be too.
What is the role of Varys in this deck?
This is not a deck that uses Varys as a main piece of the engine. He is in here primarily for 2 purposes. Firstly, he often gives you the opportunity on turn 1 or 2 to come back from an unfavorable board position due to the inherent randomness of the setup phase. This is how he is used the large majority of the time. He is also there as an “oh shit” button when people start accumulating too much renown. Does this always turn the game from a loss into a win? Definitely not, but he gives you a chance when you were effectively drawing dead. Few cards in the game can boast this type of swing potential.
Isn’t 3 Seal of the Hands going overboard?
No, no, no, no and no! This was an MVP for me all day and the more the merrier. You want it early, you want it often and you want it in multiples. With the confiscation plot being the primary means of attachment removal at the moment, many decks are just cold to a duplicated seal of the hand. Those games are very hard to lose. If you’re playing Tywin, play 3 Seals’ and thank me later.
This deck looks great on intrigue icons, why is there no Lannisport?
Even with the almighty Tywin boosting our economy, paying 3 gold to play a location that has no immediate effect on the board state is often a recipe for disaster. You want to play to the board and control it in this style of deck. 3 gold is just a little bit too steep of a price to pay. Falling behind by committing roughly 50% of your income for the turn to a location that doesn’t add any strength to the table simply was not high impact enough to make the cut. In addition I found the burst draw from Counting Coppers and the singleton Cersei’s Wheelhouse to be enough draw power that I almost never run out of gas.
You’re not playing Wardens of the West, did you simply forget about it?
No, this would have been my 8th plot if this was allowed but unfortunately that is not the case. The decision really came down to being between Wardens and Calling as I deemed the other plots too central to the deck to cut. Wardens was in my list for the majority of my testing but the burst gold potential from Calling the Banners was just more consistently important in most matchups across the board. There are some games where Wardens of the West will shine, but I opted to play the higher economy plot for consistency and I am confident that I made the correct call.
Is there anything you would change going forward?
I think it is correct to remove the Obara Sand for another 2 cost character. It’s not that she was terrible, but she wasn’t impactful enough to justify that awkward 3 gold cost that can be ever so frustrating during the setup phase. The meta is about to get shaken up by the new chapter pack, but if you have any Store Championships coming up before that point I would highly recommend giving my list a shot. I put a decent amount of time into optimizing the list and I am very confident in its abilities. Feel free to post in the comments and I will try my best to answer any questions you may have.