Chris Hall
Canada
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Hi - I'm a bit of noob, been playing off and on for the past eight months ago, and I get thrashed often. I'm looking to change that...

One of the things I've learned is how crucial having a draw engine is. With that said, even having lots of draw tech in my Martell deck, I'm still finding that I'm losing a tons of cards. It's not unusual to have a blank hand by turn 3 or 4 - and I find that, once that happens, losing board advantage soon follows and then I'm sunk.

This could be a function of the decks I usually find myself playing against (Lannister/Power Behind the Throne, how I've grown to loath you), but I'm also wondering if I'm doing something wrong strategy-wise. My basic philosophy is "get the weenies out" - try to establish board presence with small cards, even if that means not playing big cards until the middle of the game.

Am I wrong about this? Should I be reserving small cards in my hand to try to maintain hand advantage, or at least be a little insulated against intrigue? As a general rule, is it better, on setup, to go with a 3-2 or a 4-1, rather than three 1's and a 2 (say) and sacrifice drawing more cards?

My other deck is a Greyjoy, which I find very hard to find draw for. Right now I'm using Kingdom of Shadows (sucks with Distinguished Boatswain, but still worth it, I think), Val, and a few of the discard-and-draw cards. Bay of Ice got rotated out once my opponents activated it a few too many times (I know, I should get more initiative...). I considered Sam and the Ravens, but my no-season deck is already weenie-heavy. Any options I'm missing?
 
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James Griffith
United States
Monkton
Maryland
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Pyromancer's Cache is out-of-house but it's pretty reliable draw - esepcially with a King or Queen. It's a Restricted Card though and there are alot of Martell cards looking for that one. Viper's Bannermen are also good for draw as well (but also restricted).

In the end, a Lanni PBTT will destroy anyone's hands so the answer is usually to gut their "big guns" with targeted kills or a well-timed Valar.
 
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Daniel Ach
United States
Maryland
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I think it's a little odd that you can't stand up to some intrigue challenges with Martell against Lanni. Martell is pretty much on par with Lanni interms of intrigue icons, as well as having a lot of challenge and icon control. If you are playing Martell summer with Sam, carrion birds, black raven, and house messengers, you can usually get a significant hand. You want to focus on cheap characters for setup (as that translates to card advantage), but then focus on tempo, trying to outpace your opponents board position. Martell plays better as a control build than as a rush build.

In terms of GJ, they do suffer from draw, and I feel personally that many of their "draw" options are red herrings (such as Fishmonger's Square, and some of the warships). For this reason, winter with Sam is really one of the best draw options, as it also provides a little hand control for your opponent. Another option is a maester build with Valyrian Steel Link. You should also always have a couple Iron Ship Victorys for draw. I don't like Pyromancer's Cache because GJ has so many good locations, and there is so much good attachment hate right now (such as Tin Link), paying 3 for the Cache is too much. Because of GJ's lack of draw, I've considered running the Seal of the Crown "attachmagenda", but I'd have to test this before I recommend it - it might work, though.
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Chris Hall
Canada
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Yes, part of me thinks I've just been unlucky - my Orphans get nuked right away by some Ally hate, and what I usually have on the board isn't enough to really help against two int challeges once I lose initiative to my opponent's 2-claim card (A Time of Ravens seems like the logical first step for a seasons deck, but as a first plot it has crappy initiative.). I was also running the Bannermen, which I think I'll switch out for Burning on the Sand for some challenge control.

I did have Seal in my Greyjoy deck, but I didn't get to play it, and I've removed it since it worries me a little with its "gives with one hand, takes away with the other" aspect. It would also making using Val suck.
 
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Daniel Ach
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chall wrote:
Yes, part of me thinks I've just been unlucky - my Orphans get nuked right away by some Ally hate, and what I usually have on the board isn't enough to really help against two int challeges once I lose initiative to my opponent's 2-claim card (A Time of Ravens seems like the logical first step for a seasons deck, but as a first plot it has crappy initiative.). I was also running the Bannermen, which I think I'll switch out for Burning on the Sand for some challenge control.

I did have Seal in my Greyjoy deck, but I didn't get to play it, and I've removed it since it worries me a little with its "gives with one hand, takes away with the other" aspect. It would also making using Val suck.


Venomous Blade imo is the best restricted card for Martell. It takes out one of their chumps (such as the 1 cost deadly guy, or the Payne Enforcer, or their income guys) so they can't use it for claim soak or the additional intrigue challenges. And it's repeatable. If Lanni doesn't have an answer to attachments then in a few turns you can really control the board. In addition, there's no reason not to run a couple copies of Dissension, in addition to Ser Arys Oakheart, for your own Ally hate. Lannister has as many allies if not more than Martell.

I think you're right that a typical first move for Lannister is either Fear of Winter or Breaking and Entering turn 1. Loyalty money can buy might be a good counter to that so that you can last through that turn and turn it summer turn 2. Also watch for the opponent overcommitting on intrigue, which they might do if you have enough intrigue guys on the flop; then it may be worth unopposing so you can get the draw off your own intrigue challenge from their agenda.
 
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Chris Hall
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Okay, here was my rather convoluted thinking about Venomous Blade: VB calls out for Spending the Winter Stores, which means adding a low initiative, low claim plot card to a deck that already has too many low plots among its "obligatories," like Time for Ravens and Power of Blood (seems like a given for a deck running Ghaston Grey). But I agree it's likely worth it, and if I managed things a little better while I'm second player (I like your suggestion) I probably wouldn't need to worry about it.
 
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Drew Dallas
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Tennessee
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You don't need Spending the Winter Stores for VB. Search plots should only be used for absolutely critical portions of your deck, something you need on turn 1 or your deck will pretty much just not function. VB isn't that type of card. Run it 3x in the deck and rely on luck of the draw to pull it.
 
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