Tyrell Cycle Five Review
When I wrote the previous Tyrell cycle review, the faction was top tier. Much of this was because of the neutral cards they printed. Tyrell benefited a lot from cards like The King in the North, Wars to Come and Breaking Ties. However, the situation is very different after cycle 5 and Greyjoy box. Tyrell has gotten decent cards, but the power level of the house has changed more with the two restricted lists. Firstly, the power level dropped hugely because not only you couldn’t use The Hightower and Mace Tyrell (HoT) together but the list separated above mentioned cards from Flea Bottom, Wars to Come or Breaking Ties. Tyrell has a lot of cards on the restricted list, but the faction could effectively use the strong neutral cards as well. However, the new restricted on February 2019 dropped the power level of Stark, Targaryen and Martell which made constructive Tyrell better. Greyjoy still remains one of the harder houses to deal with for Tyrell.
Anyway, here are the reviews.
By far the best card that Tyrell got in cycle five. Good icons, good strength to cost ratio, beneficial keyword, excellent synergy with the Oldtown and the ability to generate gold in mid challenges gives Scheming Septon a lot of versatility. The only negative is that in the aggro meta and with Forced March, Tyrell could really use some good chuds with military icons instead of the abundance of good intrigue icon chuds.
I’ve played this card in my Tyrell Qohor deck and in my Tyrell Rains challenge control deck which might be more than most of the Tyrell players. It’s not terrible but in the end there are too many disadvantages with this card. It’s a condition, it’s terminal and the cost is kneeling and a gold. In the end the card is just too easy to remove, too expensive and too soft control to find place in decks. Simpler and more efficient cards like Milk of the Poppy always take preference over Margaery’s Influence.
The Queen of Thorns
The third version of The Queen of Thorns is probably the strongest. One of my favourite characters shares similarities with the core set QoT but her effect is much easier to trigger. Stealth is rare in Tyrell and thus especially valuable. QoT’s effect works in any challenge and in attack or defence, and stealth with Tyrell’s strength boost helps to trigger powerful effects like Pinch of Powder. The new Olenna shines in Assault from the Shadows deck and is the key card in that giving tempo and versatility. One of the strongest cards of the cycle for Tyrell. Only disadvantage is that Queen of Thorns is vulnerable to burn, Martell control such as Shadow City Bastard and can be targeted by Robert Strong.
Oldtown Undercity is a card engine for shadows decks. Especially because The Hightower is restricted Oldtown Undercity is a strong option for draw. It has also high synergy with cards like Oldtown, Mark Mullendore and Hightower Spy. It might be short of couple more cards to make a deck relying solely on these synergies. The biggest weakness of Oldtown Undercity is its relatively high cost and the fact that it’s slowish against decks with good tempo. On the other hand, people seem to forget it’s not only draw but also tutor.
Lazy Leo continues the theme of cycling events in house Tyrell. However shuffling events back into deck seem to have anti-synergy with Emissaries and Annals of Castle Black and might not work in Hanno’s song event-based Tyrell Crossing. The box Queen of Thorns would love Lazy Leo but the shadow mechanic in the card would prefer Shadows Olenna. At the moment it’s hard to find a deck for Lazy Leo.
When Growing Ambition was spoiled, I and many others thought this card might end up being broken and an engine for combo decks. Thus far the card has seen very little play. It could synergize with Lazy Leo and Annals but because of the restricted list, the event-based decks lack a win condition. The simple interaction could be found with Flea Bottom when your opponent could be damned whatever he/she chose to return to your hand. However, the high cost of the event and increasing number of discard pile control would discourage using it with Flea Bottom. I don’t think Growing Ambition will see much play any time soon.
Mark Mullendore is a one more knight for Tyrell. However, Mullendore is less likely to be found in knights decks than decks running Oldtown tech. The solid icons and cost to strength ratio make Mullendore a good 1x in many Tyrell decks. I wonder if there’s going to be some future tech in addition to Mace Tyrell that might make this card super broken? If Tyrell gets some shadows economy even the Oldtown Undercity might do the trick.
Bonds of Chivalry
When this card first came out, it got crushing reviews. I must admit that I have trouble finding space for it in my knights decks for joust but in melee this card really shines. It’s perfect for sneaking in a chud challenge and then changing the knight to a big renown guy for Lady Sansa’s Rose like my Finnish meta mate Saana did in Stahleck melee. Also, it’s a perfect tool to bring Gregor into any challenge. It’s also difficult to telegraph since it’s zero cost.
Brightwater Host is one of the anti-shadows cards that came in the cycle. As typical for Tyrell, the card also gives power on your characters. It seems that if the shadows doesn’t become abundant it’s going to be difficult to include Brightwater Host in any Tyrell decks. You could build something around armies but there isn’t enough support around the theme. Muster the Realm is underwhelming in current plot stat standards.
The Might of the Reach
+10 strength is a lot even if it’s only until the end of the challenge. It’s enough to trigger Sea of Blood almost single-handedly and getting those counters helps you pay it again and again. It’s also brilliant in decks that want to win by five. It’s also a card that can makes the box Brienne tick.
Poor man’s Areo Hotah but a non-unique one which is nice. Tyrell control is soft, but this is one of the better cards in remove from the challenge deck. It can remove a defender or an attacker and the high cost can be split using shadows. A good card in the current meta to stop Sea of Blood triggers or allow your own. In addition, helps a lot the knight attacking alone tech although it’s quite expensive for that kind of deck.
I would really love if this location had The Reach trait. The Greyjoy one made Warships good and even though I think Tyrell Reach is already good this would have made it even more consistent. I’ve found the card itself somewhat underwhelming. The str boost is as bad as it can get and it’s a poor econ card too. It’s useful in some decks but can make your setups worse if you don’t build it right. It kind of makes you run 3x Highgarden Courtier too and I’m not a fan of that card.
Ser Talbert Serry
A good military chud for Tyrell is always welcome even though it’s in the awkward 3 cost slot. It has my favourite keyword and a good ability too. Now that Ward is restricted alongside Flea Bottom he is not as strong as he would be both running around wild. Anyway, it’s a solid addition if you are not running First Snow yourself.
The Shield Islands
I think most of the people see this card as a binder fodder but I’m going to give it a go just because of the trait. My meta mate Henri went even further and run an HRD deck with this beauty. I have to say that might not be the best deck but a cool idea anyway. Most of the time Oldtown is just better. Then again, The Shield Islands is less likely to get Frozen Solid. Anyway, I always welcome more cards for constructive builds.