Ah, do you smell that in the air? That late summer warmth that tells us that the most wonderful time of the year is here – Melee Season!
With the bulk of the community’s most notable melee tournaments either just past or coming up within a few months, I thought it was high time to get some more written content out there and revisit some of my favorite things I’ve ever done in AGOT content – the melee archetypes!
First up, we’re going to take a look at the Cersei archetype. You can read her full explanation here, but the short version is that the Cersei players are most similar to the joust Jaime archetype. All power and brute force efficiency. They can be a bit single minded in heading for the win, and don’t much care about the social aspect of melee. With that in mind, let’s take a look at an updated Cersei style decklist.
This time around, the card pool has expanded quite a lot since we last tackled things, but most importantly, House Baratheon now has a whole deluxe box to itself. And conveniently, a house which has a huge faction strength and identity built around the power challenge seems like a great fit for Cersei. In fact, since she can be a bit one dimensional in her scheming, lets even see what we can do about a Baratheon deck that literally only cares about making a single challenge type – power.
The Must Plays
The Prince that was Promised (FotS) – The agenda introduced in the Baratheon deluxe is our starting point for the build as it keys off the main challenge that we want to initiate and it gives us the chance to get extra value out of standing that character so that they can participate in multiple challenges, power or otherwise. But mostly power. Thankfully, Baratheon doesn’t actually feature a great deal of renown or need to gain power for their own characters, so the drawback here is negligible.
The Stormlands (FotS) – Baratheon’s centerpiece 4 cost location is the other focal point of the deck. Not only does it grant a permanent extra power challenge every phase, but it can also be used to stand Stannis or Robert so that they can keep participating in those power challenges. Power is by far the most important challenge in melee, and making at least two every turn is huge both for pushing yourself forward and for reigning in the other players.
Stannis Baratheon (FotS) – The final of our trio of stars is the character that we will declare The Prince that was Promised. This version of Stannis is the best to date, with a beefy body that is difficult for opponents to deal with due to his immunity. As well, his ability to draw cards means that you keep getting a steady influx of new cards to really keep the pressure on all game. Between the ability of TPTWP, Stannis, and multiple power challenges/stand from Stormlands, it is very common to draw an additional 3 cards each turn.
Lightbringer (Core) – I considered putting this in the section below, but lets be honest here. If you’re planning a deck that uses Stannis to make multiple challenges, there is no way that you aren’t running this card. Stand and renown for your only character that can directly gain power? Yes please.
The Starry Sept (KotI) – If we’re going all in on power challenges, why not include a card that triggers off those power challenges and isn’t limited to once per phase? Here we can drastically increase our power gaining potential as well as having a bit of soft control to blank out opposing problematic characters for the turn.
Stormlands Fiefdom (TSC) – Conveniently as well, Baratheon offers a ready made way to move the power off of characters to house cards where it’s much easier for you to steal right back. Bonus points here for being able to blank a troublesome character by moving power to it with the Starry Sept and then just moving it to their house card so that you can take it right back.
Fury (KotI) – Here again, Baratheon offers a ready made way to take Starry Sept power right back. Of course, it can also help you take power from opposing copies of Starry Sept, Honeywine, Hellholt, and all sorts of characters with renown or renown adjacent abilities. Plus, giving a beefy, 7 strength Stannis intimidate (who you may remember, we’re planning on attacking with repeatedly) seems very strong.
Ser Justin Massey (TMoW) – Are you looking for more ways to stand Stannis? Because here’s a way to stand Stannis! Unfortunately, you can’t get Massey’s renown, but his stand effect is still worthwhile.
Ser Davos Seaworth (FotS) – Need more power gain and an alternate way to get power on Stannis so that you can stand him with Massey? Here you go again!
Ser Davos Seaworth (FotS) – While we’re deep into power challenges and draw, The Red Keep seems to fit the bill by helping encourage both of these. Particularly useful is the boost to your strength while defending power challenges, which helps protect itself and potentially give you that extra boost needed to win on defense and trigget Stannis an extra time.
2x Ours is the Fury (Core) – Speaking of defensive wins and ways to trigger Stannis extra times, Ours if the Fury is a great way to get a beefy character like Stannis back into the challenge phase once he’s been knelt. Bonus points for standing him again afterward, which can help you get around a lot of potential issues and get the main man moving again. Also handy when your opponents inevitably want to strike back at you for your quick lead.
3x Superior Claim (Core) – It responds to power challenges and gives us more power. What more is there to say?
Here we aren’t doing anything particularly surprising. There’s a pretty standard selection of income locations like 3x The Kingsroad (Core) and Dragonstone port. Thankfully, we usually only need one big income turn to play Stannis and after that, the plethora of stand effects to give action advantage helps with enough tempo advantage to equate to play several more gold worth of cards. Additionally, the steady stream of draw helps us dig down into additional income to keep it up over a longer game.
The rest of the deck is a variety of filler cards to help keep things churning along. From military claim chuds with replacement effects like Bastard of Robert (FotS) , to icon spread enhancing and possible dominance power winning Fiery Followers (Core) all the way to backup plan Robert Baratheon (Core). None of these cards are quite integral and could easily be tweaked to suit personal preference.
House BaratheonThe Prince that was Promised (FotS)
Packs: From Core Set to Fury of the Storm
1x Confiscation (Core)
2x Forced March (SoD)
1x Sailing the Summer Sea (JtO)
1x The Hand’s Tourney (FotS)
1x The King in the North (FotOG)
1x Wildfire Assault (Core)
3x Bastard of Robert (FotS)
3x Dragonstone Faithful (Core)
2x Fiery Followers (Core)
1x Maester Cressen (Core)
1x Maester Pylos (CtA)
2x Melisandre (FotS)
3x R’hllor Infiltrator (AtG)
2x Robert Baratheon (Core)
2x Selyse Baratheon (Core)
3x Ser Cortnay Penrose (SoD)
2x Ser Davos Seaworth (FotS)
2x Ser Eldon Estermont (PoS)
2x Ser Justin Massey (TMoW)
1x Shireen Baratheon (MoD)
3x Stannis Baratheon (FotS)
2x The Bastard of Nightsong (SAT)
3x Lightbringer (Core)
3x Dragonstone Port (Core)
2x Fury (KotI)
3x Spears of the Merling King (TFoA)
3x Stormlands Fiefdom (TSC)
3x The Kingsroad (Core)
2x The Red Keep (Core)
2x The Starry Sept (KotI)
3x The Stormlands (FotS)
2x Ours is the Fury (Core)
3x Superior Claim (Core)