Just some notes from my testing experience since the release of Mondays RL update from the Conclave. This week I've been playing a NW Summer deck along with Bara 321 and Stark Fealty in order to test these decks and to see how my opponents decks fair under the new Conclave RL.
First I want to say that I very much appreciate the release of a list and the later post to explain the thinking behind the RL. We are very grateful for the list and the efforts of the Conclave. Non of the following is a complaint, just some feedback from my testing this week, which due to lockdown and my keenness to test the Conclave RL meta... exceeds 50 games!!!
So what is a RL for? In the communication from the Conclave we are told that...
We focused on hampering the top decks in the meta
These decks are stated as...
Targaryen Sea of Blood, Lannister Kingdom of Shadows, Bara Qohor, Night’s Watch Valyrian Steel, and Stark Crossing/Fealty
Now Badrach has published the results on how Targ SoB has been affected by the Conclave RL, I don't need to go there...
I'm also yet to run or play against Lannister Kingdom, NW VS, and Stark Crossing. But a quick word on these before I comment on Bara Qohor. Since the release of the Kingdom agenda Shadows has become the worst thing about the game. With Assault, decks were interesting, and the 1 gold you lose on your plot was a significant downside, especially before At the Gates was released (another RL candidate? "make round 1 plot phase interesting again"). Now... this sounds like complaining, so I'm going to leave Kingdom here. Like I say, I've not tested in post Conclave RL, so don't have any data, but I will say that I feel that the restriction of King plot helps Kingdom, therefore I feel it needed to lose something else on top of Marauders.
What does the Stark Crossing lose? is it hampered by losing King plot or Return? I think that the only hampering to Stark Crossing and Bara Q losing King plot and Return is to make them slightly more vulnerable to attrition. But is their ability to close in 2 rounds hampered at all when facing non attrition?
The NW VS loses 3 cards, all of which hamper the semi competitive NW decks much more than VS itself, which still has a broken agenda to fall back on. In my opinion VS is so strong an agenda that it would happy to join its OP companions on a RL. Maybe this way you wouldn't need to hamper the other NW decks or restrict a card like 'Gifts for the Widow' which is a fun card for any faction to use. VS would have been a much more balanced agenda if its ability could only be triggered once per phase with a max of 3 times a round.
Having tested Stark Fealty in casual and tournament online games I feel it loses nothing by dropping 1x Return. I just added 3x Bodyguard, Fallen From Favor and a second Heir to the Iron Thong. I even dropped I Am No One to test for Trial by Combat meta and felt the deck was unaffected, but now I can add this back in. With twenty four wins and five loses from my testing over the last two weeks, using the Trial by Combat meta the first week and the Conclave RL this last week, I can honestly say that I feel it loses nothing. It might be worth noting that two of those five loses came at the hands of the Long Night finalists running multiple broken bin pack cards in their decks. To hamper Stark's top two decks, you will need to restrict I Am No One and Bear Island Scout. This does not kill those decks, but it does something to open the meta beyond restricting their use to a neutral plot or two.
I started this conversation mainly to comment on how I found the effects of the Conclave list to Bara Qohor, so I should go there.
Having tortured online players all week with NW Summer, going 12-0 using the Conclave RL (adding Halder back in to support his building brothers, after testing without him for the Trial by Combat meta), I came across Baratheon Qohor... twice. Both games had Selyse as restricted and both games ended with the Bara Qohor deck winning within the first three rounds. Game one featuring Azor Ahai Reborn Stannis, second game featuring Azor Ahai Fast Bob. Game one specifically ended when my opponent got to 15 power in round two without a single challenge coming from myself due to Warhammer. My opponent admitted he had a lucky start and also stated that he was not experienced with Bara, but wanted to test the deck with the new RL. So we thought we'd try again. This time it was Azor Ahai Fast Bob, who was not even affected by Milk as my opponent stormed to fifteen power in three rounds... the Milk extending the game past round two. I did get to make one challenge in this game, which was of course easily defended... I just did a chump challenge that I knew I'd lose, in order to say I'd done something in the game.
I believe the Conclave RL has weakened the Bara Qohor against attrition, but to anything else it seems like business as normal. Maybe the top 3-4 decks were so far above the curve that the Conclave RL will not actually open up the field to the semi competitive decks.... and in the case of NW, only weakened some of the builds competing with the VS for top spot. We will see. There's a lot more testing and playing to be done. This is just a quick note on my weeks findings so far. I'll jump back on when I have more to say. Stay safe people 🙂
My conservative suggestion to achieve the hampering (not killing) of the top meta decks:
Bara Q - Azor Ahai Reborn
Targaryen SoB - Womb
NW VS - Seasoned Woody (the agenda if I'm not being conservative)
Stark Fealty/Crossing - Scout/I Am No One
Lannister Kingdom - burn all the cards