The backbone of any Greyjoy deck is its warship locations. There are 26 Greyjoy warships, more than the other five houses combined. This is for design and for thematic purposes. House Greyjoy’s power is the sea. Let’s take a look at Greyjoy’s fleet. The question is what kind of deck are you going to make? The fleets support different strategies.
The Unopposed Challenge Deck
Many of Greyjoy’s cards reward winning unopposed challenges. Adding the right fleets is critical to optimizing this strategy.
- Scouting Vessel: reduce a defending character’s strength to zero. Your opponent is going to have to defend with two characters if you use this evil ship. No Unopposed Challenge Deck can afford to ignore Scouting Vessel.
2. Naval Escort: knell X warships to give X characters +X strength. Got 5 warships? Give five of your characters an extra 5 strength each! Coupled with several other available Greyjoy abilities that state “Win by 4+ strength and this challenge is considered unopposed…”, Naval Escort is a necessity to win unopposed challenges.
3. Longship “Foamdrinker” will give your opponents pause before they commit to a defense. If you win a challenge against them, “Foamdrinker” will kill one of the participating losers of your choice! Unless your opponent has characters he is willing to lose, he’ll be sure to let you win unopposed.
4. Longship Maiden’s Bane is eligible to enter any type of challenge, cannot be killed and has strength equal to how many warships you control. Never build a Greyjoy deck without Maiden’s Bane!
5. Winter Armada gives you a massive punch to your characters with the Intimidate keyword. Intimidate means your opponent doesn’t count his characters’ strength if lower than the strength of the character with Intimidate. Give that character with Intimidate +4 strength and suddenly all your opponent’s defending characters are not counting their strength!
6. Freed Galley gives you +1 power after you win an unopposed challenge. Since Freed Galley is not unique, you could conceivably two or more power every round.
7. Longship Grey Ghost comes out of shadows and selects an opponent’s character that cannot defend this phase. It goes back into shadows after you win an unopposed challenge. This will prevent your opponent from chump blocking. Since it goes back into shadows automatically, you can bring it back if you played an Epic Battle.
8. Longship Black Wind will give your character Deadly. Your opponent may not be willing to block your challenge if he’s certain to lose a character. Coupled with any of the above ships, Longship Black Wind can help you force more unopposed challenges.
9. Longship Nightflyer duplicates the claim of an Intrigue challenge. Force your opponent to discard a card when you beat him in any unopposed challenge, not just an Intrigue challenge. I think this card is too expensive at 2 gold. I typically won’t run it.
10. Longship Iron Victory gives you +2 strength if you need it. And if you win, it gives you a card draw. This is a good card in the right deck. It’s cost of 2 gold can be too expensive in the wrong deck.
Raider Milling About
11. Training Vessel is useful to give your raiders, especially with Intimidate, a boost. It also mills (forces a deck discard) from your opponent which means Training Vessel can pull double duty.
12. Longship Silence can help you win unopposed challenges by giving your Raider Stealth. It also gives you a much needed card draw.
13. Longship Grief will give your Raiders the ability to attack in the first challenge each phase without kneeling. Since Greyjoy is setup to win initiative more often than not, you can be sure to use Longship Grief’s ability often.
14. Longship Great Kraken: the milling ability that just gets better and better. Coupled with any of your Raider milling abilities, this Warship will decimate your opponents’ decks.
15. Ten Towers Longship pulls double duty. When you win one of those all-to-often Greyjoy unopposed challenges, Ten Towers Longship lets you select an event card from the loser’s discard pile. With a mill deck, you will have plenty of event cards to choose from with Ten Towers Longship.
Location, Initiative and Dominance Control
16. Shield Islands Dromon sacks an opponent’s location or two of his power (his choice). For only 1 gold, this can be an economical way to slow down your opponent’s locations.
17. Longship Red Jester is similar to Shield Island Dromon. Both give you the power to control which locations your opponents bring into play and/or trigger for effect.
18. Refurbished Hulk costs you no gold but allows you to reduce your location costs by 2. Coupled with Longship Maiden’s Bane and Naval Escort, Refurbished Hulk can help you both win unopposed challenges and control locations.
19. River Blockade is just a pain in the neck for your opponents. It’s free for you to deploy. It cancels the first triggered location each round. It’s power doesn’t require it to kneel so you can use River Blockade with Naval Escort. You can use River Blockade with Longship Maiden’s Bane. All-in-all River Blockade is a necessary addition to your Greyjoy fleet.
20. Captured Cog is a cheap way to get +2 Initiative and +4 Strength. Plus it can be used with Longship Maiden’s Bane and Naval Escort. Captured Cog will be useful with Longship Grief also.
21. Farwynd Explorer allows you to cancel a triggered effect and then gives you +2 Initiative. Since Farwynd Explorer can only use its cancelling ability once a game, I think this ship is too expensive.
22. Iron Fleet Scout allows you to spend 1 gold to turn this Warship into a character with naval enhancements. It’s difficult for me to recommend this ship however. The extra 1 gold to use it as a character is too much. Greyjoy is run with a shoe-string budget.
23. Iron Islands Marines is similar to Iron Fleet Scout. Both turn into characters for one phase. Both have a cost that I won’t pay because it’s too high. In the case of Iron Island Marines, the cost is 1 card.
24. Longship Iron Wind will allow you to spring troops into play from your hand during the Challenges phase. This gives you a poor man’s Ambush. In the right deck, this can be vital. You can suddenly win a challenge. The Prized keyword here is a bit problematic. Add this card judiciously.
25. Longship Iron Victory allows you to kill a participating character. You do not even have to be participating in the challenge in question. It’s very useful for killing a character with lots of power on it. At a cost of Prized: 2, I would only add this card if absolutely necessary.
26. Longship Golden Storm is necessary if you are running lots of characters with the Holy Crest. It’s unnecessary otherwise.
Greyjoy’s power lies in the sea (a lesson poor Theon hadn’t learned when he sacked Winterfell). When building your Greyjoy deck, be sure to add the right sea power to it and your opponents will surely be paying the iron price!
-Chris on behalf of the Muskegon Area Gamers