A Song of Ice and Fire: House Targaryen

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Before I get into it, I want to acknowledge that the Dothraki as they are presented in Game of Thrones are kind of a racist caricature of steppe nomad culture. Bret Devereaux has written a fantastic series examining this in detail, which also provides a really insightful and respectful look at the lives of actual historical steppe nomad peoples. You can, of course, enjoy problematic things despite their problems, but you should take the time to learn so that you don’t make those same mistakes yourself. Problematic doesn’t mean ‘cancelled and memoryholed forever’, it means ‘let’s pay close attention to this so that we can do better in the future’.

 

Faction Core

House Targaryen is a faction of immense personalities. The faction has the best roster of Commanders in the game, and each of them has an outsize impact on the faction’s playstyle with their additional personal tactics cards. This more than anything of the faction’s diversity of play – it’s not a flexible, do-anything faction, but it can skew in some wildly different directions.

The main direction it can skew is towards a glass cannon configuration. Dothraki, dragons, and even Unsullied Swordmasters are all *fragile* for their price point. The lack of a cheap tarpit unit is a major problem for the House, so listbuilding is about making sure you have the ability to take a hit when it’s not your turn. In exchange, the spike damage output you have access to is huge and your mobility is unmatched, letting you completely reconfigure your army’s direction after the first turn to crush a weak flank before turning on an exposed centre.

The faction’s real and serious lack is in a shortage of attachments, which is a real deficiency given that they have to rely on Stormcrows as their cheap line infantry. In the one point infantry in-roster range you literally have three choices (compared to eight for the Starks), and there’s three more available to the faction total on top of that. They’ve got more choice than most factions when it comes to cavalry attachments but your infantry are overwhelmingly going to show up without support other than your commander. Likewise the Targaryen NCU bench is very underwhelming. If you’re going to win you’ll need to do it on the battlefield, Khaleesi.

 

Tactics Cards

Credit: Thanqol

 

House Targaryen has one of the better basic tactics decks in the game. Every card here is a winner, and the Commanders bring even better ones. The Targaryen gimmick, though, is that each commander switches out one of these basic cards for a fourth special commander card, and some of those hurt more than others to lose.

Overrun: When it goes off, this card is fire. A free charge at a critical moment in battle can turn a chink in the enemy’s line into a full-scale rout. The trick is, of course, to getting it to go off.

Killing your target is hard enough as a starting ask, but the further complication is that you don’t get to pivot before you make your charge. This means you’ve got to position well in advance to have a chance for this to go off at full effect. Whenever you get Overrun in your hand you have to make a serious judgement call if the board is set up in a position that means that it might go off, and if it isn’t then discard it at the first opportunity.

Sudden Retreat: Just such a sweet card to have when you need it. At minimum, it’s worth full rerolls on your next activation as you make a charge, at its best it can pull a unit of archers out of a bad situation or let you leave a unit of heavy infantry completely out of position as a unit of cav whirls across to the opposite side of the table.

Swift Reposition: 2/3 inches and a pivot is almost always appreciated, and the timing is wildly permissive – at the start of any turn. The only catch is that you have to use it before your opponent selects a unit to activate so it’s not as perfect as it might be. This is the difference between a 50% charge and a 5/6 charge, and on speed 6 cav that means you can credibly threaten targets 10 inches distant.

Fire and Blood: With House Targaryen being what they are, you’ll have tonnes of opportunities to use this – you’ll be making more charges than you receive and have lots of opportunities and incentive to manoeuvre or retreat. Adding Sundering and Vicious to an attack is just a good combination of effects.

Field Control: Field Control is one of the most oppressive tactics cards in the game and a huge psychological pressure on a number of different armies. The timing is important – say a Free Folk player uses The Endless Horde to replace the Horse zone with bringing back a unit of spearwives. Then when they claim the zone Field Control triggers and replaces the zone’s effect again, thereby negating The Endless Horde and shutting down one of the opponent’s strongest cards. This can also be used to keep Outflanking units straight up off the table – if you’re lucky with your draws, alternating with claiming the horse yourself, you can give your opponent a ‘sir, the reinforcements aren’t going to make it’ moment. It can also make a unit that tries to retreat just sit on their hands uselessly. I’d almost never use it offensively unless I was sure my opponent was never going to go near the horse zone themselves, such as if you’re up against a one-NCU Lannister list.

Unstoppable Advance: It’s a testament to how good the Targaryen tactics deck is that this one, that is merely OK, feels like such an absolute letdown whenever it shows up in your hand. Now, it absolutely has its place and its place is really important – it lets your units punch straight through stakes and destroy them in the process, which is potentially a game changing effect in the right situation, and you’ll find yourself charging across hindering and rough terrain often. But if I ended my turn with this card in my hand and didn’t know that I was immediately going to use it to get rid of spikes next turn then I’d pitch it and hope for one of the better Targaryen cards.

Blood of the Dragon: This is another amazing card, just all upside. Targ units have pretty great morale natively but this can push them into full immunity. Drop it on Khal Drogo’s unit and he’s taking -2 wounds from failed panic checks.

 

Commanders

Credit: Thanqol

 

Khal Drogo

With the release of Khal Drogo’s Bloodriders, whenever Khal Drogo is not leading your army all of your NCUs should be asking each other: Where’s Khal Drogo?

Drogo was a good commander before the Bloodriders, but after them he’s great. The Lannister Kingsguard are an amazing unit chained to a terrible king in Joffrey, who goes on to give up victory points for his trouble. The Bloodriders are Targaryen Kingsguard lead by a masterful commander and the alternate history where he made it all the way to Westeros things do not go well for the Lannisters.

Fuelled by Slaughter is the operative ability here. At minimum it’s one wound back each time they attack, which is already significant on a unit with a 3+ save. But more often it’ll be 2-4 wounds given the offensive output of a unit with warcry and Khal Drogo’s Expert Duellist to add to the damage outpouring. And even better, Khal Drogo comes with Assault Orders to let him do it more often. If your opponent is going to come for the Khal they need to bring the most force they possibly can, or they need to fob him off with sacrificial units – having a half-hearted swing at him will end badly. Of course, given that this unit is also speed six, chances are it won’t be up to them. Expert Duellist on a cavalry unit is also spooky because your opponent can’t counterdeploy their important attachment units elsewhere – he can come and get them, and then probably kill the unit that was hiding them. He may need to – giving up Sudden Retreat is a pretty big blow, even if Assault Orders is one hell of a balm.

Addrivati is more of a gamble against some armies than others, but more often than not you’ll get an extra VP out of it. Ride By Attack is great, and on Speed 6 cav you can punch right through an enemy unit and land entirely in their rear arc (slower cav can’t do this because of the lack of room to place their entire base). Lead by Example is just a fantastic buff card. Honestly one has to reach really hard to think of any part of Khal Drogo that isn’t just intimidatingly good, I think he’s easily the best commander in the game when leading his Bloodriders.

The only downside to Khal Drogo – and this is a legitimate downside – is that he’s not great at objective play. He constantly wants to be in the thick of fighting, he’s not a hang back and score bonus points kind of commander. That’s a problem with fighty commanders generally, though, and Khal Drogo is the king of fighty commanders.

Belwas the Strong

Belwas the Strong has a dream.

In this dream, he is standing behind a row of sharpened stakes, watching his enemy impale themselves in their fury to get at him following a particularly well placed wisecrack. The enemy, having finished impaling themselves on the stakes, then proceed to impale themselves on the spears of his Unsullied Pikemen. In his dream he blocks four hits automatically with his shieldwall, in addition to whatever save rolls he makes, and sends those blocks right back at the enemy in sundering hits with his Expert Parries. Then Belwas looks down at those few of the enemy who have survived the charge and tells them that they have made a pathetic attempt, and the sheer force of his contempt banishes them to the Shadow Realm.

Then, in Belwas’ dream, his turn begins.

Dream. Dream with Belwas.

Barristan Selmy

A not insignificant part of Selmy’s appeal is that he has a tactics card – Legendary Boldness – that is basically just a free victory point every time you draw it. And that’s a really good effect! It also panics your enemies!

At a glance, Selmy doesn’t seem like he stands up next to the other Targaryen commanders but he’s the Targaryen version of Tywin Lannister in that he’s a second line workhorse of a unit. He’s resistant to dying, he’s got a good range of tactics cards that give really solid, enduring effects. He lacks the wow factor of dragons or bloodriders or getting to watch your opponent’s unit wipe itself out from full health on their own turn while you drop an action movie one liner, but two victory points for essentially no risk is a lot of victory points. That’s like 20% of your way to victory just for showing up.

Dario Naharis

For when you want to go deep on Stormcrows. Dario is fantastic at running an army where you’re trying to cheat your way to a victory – you’ve got so many opportunities to make extra out of sequence attacks with widespread Motivated by Coin and Hasty Offense that you might just snatch a victory you didn’t deserve off the back of speed. As such, Dario quite likes going heavy on the burst damage, making him a great fit for taking a single dragon and Daenerys to back it up. Make sure to take Petr Balish to help guarantee control of the purse.

Grey Worm

The best all-purpose Infantry commander in the faction, Grey Worm is the complete package. Boldness and Courage and Counterstrike are two of the best Commander abilities to walk around with and his tactics cards are all menaces. The presence of Issue Orders is a bit of a complicating factor – it means that you’ll have the option to give up Grey Worm’s activation to an ally, and that’s potentially a very powerful effect that’s wasted if Grey Worm is in Unsullied Swordmasters and can’t afford to skip an activation. To this end I quite like him in Bolton Bastard’s Girls, who can double dip on Boldness and Courage, and are much less effective once they’ve finished their initial charge and so are comparatively fine handing off.

Jorah Mormont

Well, there had to be one that was just okay.

Mormont was in the shadow of Khal Drogo before the Bloodriders, and now he’s in serious trouble as ‘the other cavalry commander’. His biggest problem is his commander abilities – Ambush and Stubborn Tenacity – are two of the worst and do nothing when it comes to giving his unit unique capabilities. His tactics cards are generally okay but not great. Marshal is okay, but the timing is hard – how often do you have an unengaged, injured cavalry unit that doesn’t want to manoeuvre? That manoeuvre is often the difference between a front and a flank charge. Betrayal is a lot of words but it costs a NCU’s activation so it really just works out to 1VP maybe while applying chip damage to your best unit. Opportunist is okay, but damn that’s a lot of qualifiers to get its full effect. Feinting Maneuver is genuinely good, but is it worth putting Mormont, the worst character in Game of Thrones, in charge? The world wonders

Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of Mereen

Targaryens do Lannisters. Daenarys opens the door to an otherwise inaccessible Targaryen morale game and is the key figure in the Targaryen/Bolton alliance. Her tactics cards are almost all just straight up lifts from the Lannisters with the added benefit that you can pull a Counterplot into your hand on turn 1, and you should because there’s nothing like having a Counterplot when you need it.

Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons:

Bringing three dragons is a hell of a way to make your case. You’ll probably want to leave her on the shelf for friendly games, though, because ya girl is stronk. If your opponent has made the mistake of bringing an ordinary heavily armoured infantry list then she will obliterate them in a way that will make you think about all those plate-amoured skeletons outside the dragon’s lair. She’s not unbeatable and not overpowered, per se, she just hard counters certain army compositions in a way that not much else in the game does. Anything that relies on morale or defence saves – such as the entire House Lannister – is going to have a real bad time with dragons.

 

Infantry

Credit: Thanqol

 

Freedmen

Surprisingly dangerous in the right circumstances. 7 dice on 4’s is straight up a normal attack pool for a real infantry unit, and all you need to pull that off is keeping them sufficiently close to a real infantry unit. They cannot take a hit, though, and odds are they die the moment they are counterattacked – if they’re not crownzapped off the table beforehand. How to think of them, then, is a way to make one attack and absorb one attack in exchange for three points, with the understanding that they’re more like a particularly chunky attachment than a real unit.

The worst mistake your opponent can make, though, is attacking the unit they’re supporting without killing the Freedmen first, relying on Untrained Masses to finish off the Freedmen. If they do this try to conceal your smile. If they can kill the real unit in a single round, sure, That’s Bad, but totalling a unit in a single round is hard and getting another full strength attack from the Freedmen is much more valuable than the 2-3 dice you’ll lose from getting ranked.

Stormcrow Mercenaries

So, at last, we talk about the ever present Stormcrow Mercenaries – the infantry unit against which all other 5-point infantry units must be judged. The essential character of the Stormcrows is that they exist to cheaply place your faction’s attachments, and how good they are will depend entirely how good those attachments are. And in House Targaryen things aren’t great for them.

In practice, you’ve got three choices: Belwas, Grey Worm, or a Stormcrow LT. Belwas is the favourite for keeping things cheap; he can make an ordinarily pretty okay unit stand up surprisingly well in the lategame after it’s taken a few hits and really punish the enemy for swinging and missing at him. Grey Worm is a good choice as a healing unit – claiming the purse ordinarily lets you heal 3 wounds, but using it on Grey Worm’s Stormcrows lets you heal 2 wounds and make an attack, which is very solid. The Stormcrow LT is generally appealing – Stormcrows lose effectiveness really quickly when they lose rank – and it’s not like you’ll be rushing to activate the Stormcrows as your first pick each round. However, it’s an offensive buff on a unit that’ll land 4 hits on a good day, and most of the time when I’m bringing Stormcrows it’s not expecting them to do damage so much as take hits for the real units. For this reason, Stormcrows in my lists are almost always lead by Belwas.

Stormcrow Archers

Much like the Mercenaries, the Stormcrow Archers are the baseline each faction’s archers need to justify themselves against – and in House Targaryen’s case they have stiff competition from Dothraki Outriders. Still, the Stormcrows make their case as very effective low initiative units. They like going later in a round after all the NCUs have placed themselves, but once they do go with their buffs up there’s a lot of punch to their volleys.

A particular note goes to giving them an Unsullied Officer. This is a really expensive play, making them a 9 point unit and almost a quarter of your total army strength, but it’s a serious right hook of a unit that’ll shred any infantry that comes at them before they can connect. It’s also a good way to aggressively threaten on the first turn – marching the Stormcrows into midfield and the immediately claiming the Swords in response to anything coming into their range, added to the Officer’s activation, can give you multiple volleys or a huge swathe of area denial. With this quantity of arrows coming down you can actually Agincourt a lot of enemies, and the fact that the Targaryens have the Sudden Retreat tactics card can prevent them from getting bogged down in melee.

This, specifically, is why I recommend that you should always bring cav. With cav the chances of getting archer’d in this way are much lower. Notably, some tournaments have taken to banning the Unsullied Officer for this exact reason and I can understand the logic there; it’s not the most satisfying play experience to be crushed this way.

Stormcrow Dervishes

These are some of my favourite sculpts in the Song of Ice and Fire range. Shame that they’re garbage for seven points. You pay essentially 3 points premium over Stormcrow Mercenaries for +1 to hit, Ambush and Swift Strike. They do make fantastic proxies though!

Unsullied Pikemen

Absolutely iconic unit and the backbone of the faction, the Unsullied are the ultimate in Come At Me Bro and the anvil for the hammer of your Dothraki. Their morale and orders are all incredible but their durability is built on technicality and is vulnerable for that reason. Getting engaged by multiple units is bad (though you spend Shieldwall after seeing the dice results, so you can opt not to use it if a bigger hit is coming). Tactics cards that shut down your defensive orders are bad. Getting hit in the rear is super bad. One on one nothing’ll push through the Unsullied, but they’re not invincible. They also start to fall apart as they take casualties, so keeping them healed is a priority.

They’re pretty aenemic on the offense, but the best way to solve that is to add Belwas to the unit. It might be overkill, though – your opponent might see that and simply opt to not even contest the Unsullied and instead engage every other part of the board. That’s a decent effect in and of itself, but if you’re bringing them with Belwas placing them in the centre where they can’t be easily ignored is the clutch play.

Unsullied Swordsmasters

The Swordmasters are a unit that has always had amazing results whenever I’ve put them on the table, and so I’m kind of torn when I say that they’re not actually the best option for House Targaryen. They’ve got the superstar unit price tag at 8 points but they do not have superstar damage output. They’ll often have a hard time chewing through even basic enemy infantry just because they’re not throwing enough dice, and that makes them easy to stonewall. They also fold hard on the defence. It’s hard; you can see why they’re costed this way, but they’re competing for the same slot with dragons and Dothraki veterans and other Targaryen centrepiece units, and I don’t think they hold up in the comparison.

 

Cavalry

Credit: Thanqol

 

Jorah Mormont, Wandering Knight

You’ll see this guy all the time because he’s an activation for three points, and that’s something House Targaryen can really use to ease the pain of very elite builds. He is, however, the most delicious free victory point in the game and some factions can telefrag him straight off the table by claiming the crown and adding some tactics cards, or using Wildling Diplomacy to run up and brain him with a rock.

Scout Openings is a good ability, though, not least for the fact that it works with ranged units. Having Mormont sitting back by a unit of Outriders telling them who to shoot adds a vicious amount of firepower to an already very good unit – a synergy which is twice as good with Veterans – and he’s very flexible at repositioning where he needs to go. He brings a lot for his price point, just be aware of how fragile he is and keep him far, far away from the front lines.

Dothraki Outriders

One of the game’s better archery units. They forego all of the stormcrow archer buffs in exchange for 3+ shots and cav mobility. There’s nothing sadder than watching heavy infantry trying to close to melee with Outriders.

They’re particularly effective with a Fortune Seeker attachment. That gives them the option to activate multiple times from multiple tactics zones, and that’s a potentially very powerful effect. Not least because on turn 1 people generally want to be claiming the letter/horse and have no use for the sword/purse, but if you march Outriders up into midfield then suddenly both of those zones are worth additional archery volleys and your opponent may be forced to claim them preventatively. If the opponent is close but hasn’t made contact then the Outriders can manoeuvre into a flank and then use their shift to carry them out of LOS before volleying into the side, which is a terrible punishment that can be inflicted on cav-free armies – but in general these want to doing their work from long range.

Dothraki Screamers

Amazing cheap light cav who fold like light cav, putting a hard limit on the number of them you can take before your army fractures like glass. Personally I’d peg the number of light units you can support at two because when these start dying they really start dying. Adding an Outrider Ko is a great way to add some durability to them – a Screamer Ko is perversely useless here.

It needs to be emphasized that you need to be really careful with how and when you commit the Screamers. They’re excellent at countercharging units coming for your archery line or slamming into insufficiently screened archers, but you cannot plough them into heavy infantry and expect them to be okay. They lose combat ability quickly and decisively when stuck in a slugging match fight so in the ideal world they only charge things that they immediately kill.

Dothraki Veterans

The Veterans are a stupendously vicious unit, putting out twice as much damage as most other units – but it has to be emphasized that you can only ever bring one unit of them. They’re intensely hungry units, demanding constant support from tactics zones and cards to stop them from being cornered and overwhelmed, because they die like Screamers if left unattended. So if you’ve got the Veterans you’ll need to be pouring resources into them to keep them at full capacity, so the rest of your army needs to be able to take care of itself.

They pair well with Khal Drogo’s Bloodriders. The Bloodriders are so durable they can tank like few cav units can but they’re not actually hugely more damaging than regular Screamers, so the added spike damage of the Veterans is a great way to ensure the Khal never stops killing.

Monsters

Dothraki Hrakkars

Hrakkars present an enormous and unique threat. Essentially, they are guaranteed to get the rear charge off. Those six dice plus vicious is going into the enemy’s rear and there’s not really anything they can do about it. The question is, then, is that rear charge enough to justify that the Hrakkars are made out of cotton candy and will dissolve when faced with even mild opposition. When it comes to ambushing archers or scattering poorly motivated troops they’re amazing but they’re just a little too expensive to be entirely expendable.

I think they’re at their best in combination with the Queen of Mereen, who can really make the most out of that near guaranteed failed panic check. Otherwise it depends on your opposition, but I wouldn’t take more than one of them.

The Dragons

The Dragons can totally upend the logic of Game of Thrones, and nothing dies harder than a Lannister morale list up against three dragons. Three activations from dragons will wipe out any unit, allowing them to concentrate ludicrous spike damage on a single point. For crushing elite heavy infantry there is nothing better than a dragon. They are fragile, though, and will get swarmed under by mass infantry or ranged fire, so you want to deploy them judiciously.

Even though the obvious play is to bring three of them with the Mother of Dragons, you should also strongly consider just adding one as a damage spike unit in an otherwise normal list. Paired with the Unburnt you can guarantee that it’ll attack twice each turn and still have an entire normal army left over to go with it. Having just one lets you focus enormous violence on your opponent’s most durable unit, too, without the risk that you’ll get hard countered (or unsatisfyingly hard counter your opponent) at list selection. Incidentally, dragons are extremely good at killing giants, who *hate* automatic wounds – though maybe don’t commit the dragon if the giant hasn’t activated/isn’t down a wound or too already or you’ll get punched off the table.

 

NCUs

Credit: Thanqol

 

This is the worst NCU bench amidst any faction. You’ll be reaching immediately for the mercenary NCUs when you look at this list and it’s not hard to see why. Walder Frey surprisingly makes the cut with a lot of Targaryen lists; your units are all so initiative hungry that leaving a NCU until last feels like accepting the reality of play more than anything else.

Daenerys Targaryen, Khalissi: The one good Targaryen NCU, she’ll make every list and it’s not particularly close. Removing a condition and full rerolls for an entire round, literally can’t do better.

Illyrio Mopatis: He’s reliable and plays in well to the more attrition focused Targaryen commanders like Belwas. It’s entirely possible you’ll play the entire game without needing to use his ability, though, which isn’t great.

Pyat Pree: Hm. Um. I don’t get it. Using a NCU to make your opponent discard one (1) tactics card when they can immediately claim the letters and draw two (2) tactics cards and put down a condition token. Why this?

Xaro Xhoan Daxos: This guy’ll be your second NCU choice kind of by default, just given how rubbish everyone else is. He’s particularly sweet in a morale focused Targaryen list under the Queen of Mereen where his crown effect can get its maximum power.

Barristan Selmy: Oof, the fact that it’s once per turn though? Well, to be fair you can use it to turn off a very powerful order like Shieldwall potentially for the entire game, but on a five point NCU it just doesn’t quite get there. Especially because there’s no guarantee your opponent will even have a good target for you to use it on.

Daenerys Targaryen, the Unburnt: Absolutely worth it if you have bought one dragon and want to get the most out of it, irrelevant otherwise.

 

Attachments

Belwas, Veteran Pit Fighter: It’s basically always going to be Belwas. Who’s he competing with? Mormont? Get outta town. It’s not that Belwas’ ability is amazing, though it is unique and very good for one point, but because House Targaryen just doesn’t have any other reasonably priced options. Take the big man.

Dario Naharis, Reckless Mercenary: He’s almost a great fit for Unsullied Swordmasters, except for the fact that they already have Precision. That’s a shame; Dario is at his best with high volume attacks that have built-in rerolls, but sadly the Targ infantry lineup doesn’t quite have a place for him.

Jorah Mormont, Penitent Betrayer: His effect is so worthless and counterproductive he should be free. Him dying costs your unit a wound, so you have to convert at least two hits into misses with the Weakened token to make his death even have a chance at being worthwhile. The worst incarnation of an absolute failson.

Outrider Ko: Disrupt is a fantastic defensive ability and it’s an easy point to spend if you’ve got too much melee cav to easily handle. Also a great pick into Hedge Knights for an absolute tank of a unit.

Screamer Ko: This is absolutely worthless to have in Screamers, who already get vulnerable/rerolls on the charge, so he’s obviously meant to show up in some other cav unit, something more likely to get in a slugging match like Bolton Flayed Men.

Stormcrow Lieutenant: I’ve got my eye on these because they actually make great attachments for Unsullied Pikemen. See, the problem with Unsullied Pikes is that they’ve got no offensive abilities, and due to their role they’ll almost always be hitting people in the front. In that situation getting them Sundering gives them the ability to push a little harder than they might otherwise, especially if you’ve got a Stormcrow themed list already.

Grey Worm: He’s good, but he kind of doesn’t want to be in Unsullied as much as he wants to be in Stormcrows. If you’ve got Unsullied Swordsmasters you want them to be receiving Grey Worm’s healing rather than giving it to other nearby units, as it were.

Jorah Mormont, Exiled Knight: It’s really hard to judge the effects of Tactical Reposition in abstract but I’m inclined to disfavour it for House Targaryen specifically. The house is already speed 6 across the board for cav it often hits the enemy line with speed to spare. What’ll really do for this version of Mormont is that for one point more you can have him as an independently capable solo piece.

Unsullied Officer: A really interesting piece that is let down in the end, I think, by the fact that Unsullied Swordmasters aren’t powerful enough to make this more effective than bringing a unit of Freedmen as support. Very interesting to the point of being unfriendly in Stormcrow archers. Do note that the timing on Relentless is actually very good because you can delay it infinitely, even when you run out of activations – it’s at the start of a friendly turn, even if you’ve already activated everything. It prevents your opponent from starving the ability out by denying targets until it’s deep into a turn.

The Bloodriders: Khal Drogo’s A-team when they’re leading individual units, the winning prize goes to Qotho, whose Intimidating Presence and Prey on Fear can add some serious sustain to a normally fragile Targaryen cav unit, especially if the rest of the list is configured around getting the most out of him. Rakharo stands out as the second pick; Sentinel is a fantastic ability and on speed 6 Screamers he can threaten a huge chunk of the board before you claim the Horse to pull him right back out of combat to cycle charge in the flank. Cohollo comes in third place, being twice the price as Belwas for Belwas’ ability on horses – though Vicious and Sundering are both deeply appreciated on Dothraki, he’s a hard piece to justify. Haggo comes in last by asking two points for To The Last!, which though nice on 5+ save cav is very easy for an opponent to play around. Specifically, it’s very easy to zap a panicked Haggo off the table by claiming the Crown after he’s triggered his ability, and two points for a NCU action is not an amazing trade. You’re kind of relying on your opponent to fumble the answer to To The Last! in order to get full value out of it, because it’s an easy thing to circumnavigate.

 

Sample Lists

Credit: Thanqol

 

The One True Queen

House Bolton Blackguards

– Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of Mereen

Dothraki Veterans

– Qotho

Stormcrow Mercenaries

– Belwas the Strong

Dothraki Hrakkars

Freedmen

Jorah Mormont

NCUs:

Roose Bolton

Xaro Xhoan Daxos

 

This list is Daenarys in full evil queen boss mode, playing a morale game that nobody will expect out of House Targaryen. The idea here is to maximize the number of attacks coming out without worrying so much about the quality of those attacks. Each attack is another panic check, and the panic checks are where the game will be won. It’s fragile overall, but it’s got some real sustain to it with Dany’s unit as an anvil and Belwas keeping power into the endgame. It only has three ‘real’ units, though, so if you lose any of them things could turn bad sharply.

 

The Veteran

Unsullied Pikemen

– Barristan Selmy

Unsullied Pikemen

– Belwas the Strong

Dothraki Outriders

Jorah Mormont

Rhaegal

NCUs:

Tycho Nestoris

Daenarys Targaryen

 

This list has a very clear centrepiece: the dragon. The idea here is to hold the line with the pikemen while the dragon goes on a rampage, supported endlessly by both NCUs and any relevant tactics cards. This is raw hammer and anvil configuration, but your hammer is extremely fragile so you want to keep it in the shadow of the pikemen until it’s time to pounce. The Outriders can provide ranged pressure to push your opponent to engage your pikemen on your terms, but the fight will be won and lost with the dragon. I chose Rahegal amongst the dragons because the worst thing that can happen is that your dragon might get killed by a counterswing, so weakening the relevant unit reduces the chances of that occuring for long enough for Tycho’s healing to kick in.

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