Song of Ice and Fire: House Lannister

Welcome back to our coverage of the A Song of Ice and Fire miniatures game. If you missed the first article in our series with an introduction to the game, you can find it here.

A disclaimer before we begin: I have not played this faction competitively at a tournament level. This is my understanding of how to play the faction after a year of playing 1-3 games a week against tough, competitive minded opponents.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the Lannisters.

Faction Core

House Lannister wins fights through attrition. Their game plan revolves around sapping the enemy’s will and ability to fight – weakening their foes, undermining their plans, countering their plots, and intimidating their soldiers. They are phenomenal at defense, have a number of powerful healing options, and have tactics cards with reliable long-range effects. They also have a number of extremely high quality attachments and the synergies to make them work. The bulk of their power is in reliable and powerful medium and heavy infantry.

What they lack is decisive action. All the political maneuvering in the world can’t stop a unit of spearwives making a long range charge and slamming into a flank, and while Lannister units often excel at engaging infantry blocks in single combat they’re vulnerable to being outnumbered or destroyed by monsters like giants or dragons.

Lannisters are also very vulnerable to being shut down in turn. A lot of their abilities are based off complex synergies and they have relatively few independent operator units. A lot of their effects hinge off control of the Crown in particular and if your opponent has a way to deny it to you then your army can be thrown into disarray. Also, while you can go very deep into the morale game, opponents can go very deep into shutting it down and you should expect to be facing things like an army of 4+ morale saves if your opponent knows you’re coming.

 

Tactics Cards

Most of these are less directly effective than the tactics decks of other faction. The advantage is that House Lannister’s tactics cards are extremely permissible in when you use them – it’s possible to empty your hand on turn one before the lines even meet – but the price for that is that most of them are very tepid effects. The most you can expect out of the basic Lannister deck is messing up an opponent’s much better card at a critical moment.

Intrigue and Subterfuge: When an enemy NCU activates it loses all abilities until the end of the round; if you control the purse an enemy becomes Weakened. Sometimes this won’t make a difference and sometimes it can explode an entire gameplan. For example, in a Lannister mirror matchup, being able to disable Joffrey on an important turn can lock your opponent out of crown control which switches off the special abilities of the Redcloaks and any Kingsguard attchments, which might be your opponent’s entire army.

A Lannister Pays His Debts: Attach to a combat unit; when a friendly unit is destroyed gain Vicious, and with the Crown +1 to hit. Absolutely savage when it’s switched on, with the caveat that Lannister units tend to be really hard to destroy, making triggering it hard. One of the best reasons to bring the Mountain that Rides is that he can go and die and turn this on.

Hear Me Roar: This is a key card in House Lannister and you need to be very disciplined about exactly when you drop it. The +1 wound is worth far more than the -1 to the morale check, so the ideal place to throw this is onto a check which already has a lot of penalties – and ideally, one that already adds a lot of automatic wounds. Putting this on a fully ranked Lannister Supremacy counterattack is the ideal use case.

Bribery: If you draw two of these in your turn one hand it’s the best thing ever as you can halve your opponents combat potential from across the board. On any other turn it ranges from ‘whatever’ to actively useless because it costs a valuable NCU activation and most everything else you can do with that NCU is better than doing this.

Counterplot: A lot of factions have extremely good cards. The Lannisters, by and large, do not, but they do have this. The value of counterplotting a powerful enemy card is not just in them not using the card but in potentially throwing an entire turn that hinged off the use of that card into turmoil. If you’re looking at Lannisters in isolation you might not realize how good this is, but just know that there are cards out there that can make a charge roll an automatic 6 for distance and being able to stop that can be the difference between taking a unit of spearwives into the flank and not having that happen.

That 3+ will fail you every time, though. It’s more cursed than Expert Duelist. It’s genuinely worth taking Joffrey, even in the lack of any other synergies, to make Counterplot a sure bet.

Fealty to the Crown: Really good when it works but it’s deeply unreliable for a healing card. You need to stack up an enemy failing a panic check while in long range with an injured unit which does more than 1 wound – and that’ll happen, it’s just not a sure thing. I generally advise playing this one as soon as the opportunity arises because those opportunities might be frustratingly long in coming.

Subjugation of Power: An enemy performs a morale test with -2 for each crown and purse. On a failure they lose all abilities and can’t be targeted by friendly tactics cards. You can combine this with Hear Me Roar, and often should. This card isn’t as reliable as it may first appear. Firstly, it activates on the enemy’s turn and only lasts for that turn, meaning you can’t switch off defensive abilities. Next, the enemy unit that’s the biggest housewrecker in the game, the thing that you want to use this card on, will likely activate first in a turn before your NCUs have had a chance to get on the board so you can’t rely on the penalties to be in place. Like most Lannister stuff, when it works it’s great, but it comes with a lot of caveats and riders.

After being on the wrong end of Subjugation a couple of times I’ve come to believe it’s actually one of the best cards in the Lannister deck. It turns off all abilities – and a *lot* of things are abilities. It can, for instance, make a Frozen Shore Chariot just not even bother attacking you because all of the ways it deals damage are through abilities and tactics cards.

 

Commanders

Joffrey Baratheon

The reigning king of Westeros, Joffery in his Commander edition comes with a unique bodyguard retinue – the Kingsguard. The Kingsguard are a monstrously good unit, absolute blenders on the attack and with powerful defenses, including Counterstrike, that will make mincemeat out of poorly trained units. They pay for this by giving up two victory points if they’re destroyed. At this point I don’t believe this is worthwhile – Joffrey overall has come to strike me as a significantly below average commander.

Joffrey has no native commander abilities other than the fact that he brings the Kingsguard. His tactics cards are a mixed bag. You Will Obey Me is a seriously good attack card, easily adding 3+ wounds to an attack. It’s a great card to use on the Kingsguard themselves because with 2+ to hit they’re unlikely to miss more than one of their hit rolls. Traitors! I will Have Their Heads! I’ve cooled a lot on – Lannisters like having access to Vicious, but they like it a lot more on a unit targeted by Joffrey the NCU. I Am The King is a panic button that can save a critical unit from being wiped out, and is again especially good on the Kingsguard because they care very little about panicked and weakened tokens – still, that price is harsh.

Really, the biggest drawback to Joffrey is that you can’t use him as a NCU and all the Kingsguard are not available as attachments. This made him previously a standout for a Lannister list trying to play without any sort of morale offensive but there are now better ways to do this.

Credit: Ian Doughty

Gregor Clegane

Clegane is a really interesting commander because he brings the raw force that Lannisters otherwise lack. Not only does he turn the unit he leads into a wrecking ball (and is a favourite for killing giants), his tactics cards bring some House Stark style aggression to the ordinarily pretty standoffish Lannister tactics deck. They’re so welcome it’s worth bringing Tyrion Lannister specifically so you can get more of them. Assault Orders is a fantastic way to have the Mountain attack three times in a single turn and Overrun is a card that is absolutely amazing when it goes off because it breaks the activation economy – and potentially lets the Mountain attack again if you happen to have it along with Assault Orders. The Price of Failure is an interesting card in House Lannister – it goes against the attrition focused play the rest of the House is built around. It is, however, the correct card to play on Pyromancers.

Jamie Lannister

One of the most focused commanders in the game, everything about Jamie’s cards and abilities is about making Jamie personally a wrecking ball and hell with the rest of the army. He’s good at it too – with Counterstrike and Disrupt he performs magnificently when outnumbered by low quality infantry. An attacker with a native 4+ hit roll will stab themselves more than Jamie when they attack him, and if you place Jamie in a unit of halberdiers use him as a ‘Come At Me Bro’ piece. The problem is that there’s only one of him and so you’ll need to build the rest of your army so that it can handle itself, and he’s not nearly as effective when fighting high quality elite infantry. There’s not much to say about his cards; they’re all just Some Cool Shit that Jamie can do.

Jamie is joined by Addam Marbrand from Lannister Heroes 3, and as a two point attachment he does not feel worthwhile. Your opponent is already incentivized to not attack Jamie if at all possible and if having a new way to spend your tactics cards just lets you spread the same amount of butter over more toast.

The High Sparrow

A really interesting commander, and one of the better ones in the Lannister roster the High Sparrow gives an aura of +1 morale – very relevant because Lannisters are generally poorly motivated – and Incite, which is a really good rule in Lannisters because many of their high quality swordfighting units lose nearly half their attack power as they’re reduced in ranks. His tactics cards are really good, too – with the caveat that they all ask you to make morale checks and don’t work if you fail it.

Notably, there are quite a few effects available to the Lannisters that give +1 to hit and Sundering – the benefit granted by the excellent Wrath of the Warrior card – which means that you might have fewer ideal targets to use that card on than you might think. It’s not useful on Halberdiers, Knights, Pyromancers, and Warrior’s Sons which is almost half the Lannister roster.

Tyrion Lannister

The Smart Guy, full of Smart Guy plays. Tyrion is what I’d call an Advanced Commander because his effects are all about disrupting your opponent’s plans, and that does not work if you do not understand your opponent’s plans. This means that he’s potentially very good, but also potentially completely ineffective. Counterstrategy, for example, is a great way to charge onto a pike unit and not take damage, but what if your opponent doesn’t bring a pike unit? Tactical Reposition is a great way to set up or to dance back from a charge, but what if the board position is not such that those three inches will be useful? False Agenda is a great way to ensure you get a critical tactics zone like the sword zone, but if you already have it?

Intercept Orders is a garbage card, unfortunately. It turns out that the ‘if able’ caveat is devastating here – if your opponent claims the swords to shoot you with archers, the card is worthless because there’s nothing else they could be targeting with the swords at that moment, so you still get shot by archers. Cunning Ploy is best used in conjunction with Knights of Casterlie Rock. Tyrion is fantastic when he works and is the last word in Lannister control play, but you need to know your enemy as well as you know yourself.

Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister is the best support and synergy commander at House Lannister’s disposal. His natural home is in a unit of Bloody Mummers or Lannister Halberdiers, acting as an un-chargeable center anchor. He can still contribute to the fight while acting as a dterrent – both by throwing out Weakened tokens at distant enemies and by exchanging Tywin’s activation for another’s with Issue Commands – though frustratingly these share a trigger so he can’t do both at the same time. With the removal of commander scoring, though, the appeal of a do-nothing commander has dropped quite a lot. His other two cards, Broken Resolve and Exploit Weakness, are just generally great all round cards that help House Lannister do more of what they already want to do. He synergizes particularly well with Pycelle, Jamie and Vargo Hoat.

Kevan Lannister

“Good Guy Tywin”, Kevin is a horrible almost-synergy with everything House Lannister. He’s almost good, but he’s good in a weird, frustrating way. Let’s break it down.

The big thing he brings along with Lannister Supremacy – which is amazing – is the ability to attack off a Crown claim. This on the surface this is good – House Lannister gets a lot of power out of having the Crown, but generally doesn’t want to claim the Crown. But this implicitly means not taking Joffrey, and opening yourself up to having the crown blocked – and in an army with 7+ morale average, your opponents will generally feel much happier about using the crown against you than normal under those circumstances.

It feels like Kevin wants to be in Lannister Crossbowmen as a result, and he’s actually really interesting in that role. He becomes an anti-archer archery piece, able to blow out a unit of low-quality archers easily (Lannister Supremacy works against ranged attacks), and the ability to march into range of enemy archers, let them claim the swords and make an attack against you which you then retaliate against using both Lannister Supremacy and an attack from claiming the crown will blow units like Ironborn Bowmen straight off the table. Seeing Their Flaws also gains from being on a ranged unit, giving you the chance to shoot at a unit that’s actually relevant rather than the one you’re locked in close combat with.

Wealth of the Rock is also a generically good card, but Predictable Maneuvers merits some discussion because it’s a fantastic – if highly situational – card. There are two ways to play it – to zone the enemy out from doing something at the start of the round, or to force a forfeited action at the end of the round. Option one is usually not worthwhile unless the stars have aligned.

Addam Marbrand

Just straight up the best all rounder Lannister commander at time of writing. Hardened and Iron Resolve are straight up two of the best abilities you can have, and his tactics cards are extremely good as well. Better than good, they give a vector for some things House Lannister can’t ordinarily do. Lash out in particular, as an autowounds effect, gives House Lannister real game against Free Folk giants.

I think Addam belongs in Lannister Guardsmen. The story of Lannister Guardsmen is taking 6 hits, failing one save, and then losing 3 more to the morale check. Addam secures against both problems. It’s the kick of reliability that pushes them over the edge into outright frightening. Valiant Example as a bonus way to get a rank back at before a key Lannister Supremacy is just icing on the cake.

 

Infantry

Poor Fellows

It turned out that these were actually so fantastic that they needed to be nerfed into oblivion. Previously they stood as a low cost tarpit objective holder, now they’re worse than Stormcrow Mercenaries and have lost the 4-point slot decisively to Clegane.

Lannister Guardsmen

The best five point unit in the game, these basic infantry are the envy of almost every other faction. With their 3+ saves they’ll tarpit above their weight, and Lannister Supremacy is great for objective juggling – say your opponent snatches an objective from you in Dance with Dragons, this immediately forces a panic check that could give it right back to you. Where the Guardsmen fall down is their awful morale stat and anaemic killing power. They live and die by the panic check, the once they force on others and the ones they make themselves. A unit of Guardsmen holding a flank objective by themselves can be shockingly difficult to chew through but remember that they’re just buying time for the rest of your army to win.

As time has gone on I’ve become increasingly convinced that these are the best units in House Lannister. The worst thing you can do in this game is failing to rank a unit of Lannister Guardsmen – with a corpse pile, Joffrey’s influence and Hear Me Roar – all things you can *guarantee* – you can force a -5 panic check that deals +5 wounds on failure. A unit of Sworn Brothers will go into this and not come out again. You can give them an Assault Veteran for -6/-6 you’re feeling particularly spicy

Notably, I think it’s not worth going heavy on these – two is right. House Lannister can spend resources to make panic checks worse and the more panic focused things you have the thinner you’re spreading that butter. Concentrating force lets you deal devastating counterblows while still having a ‘real’ army to face a broadly good morale enemy.

Lannister Redcloaks

The Lannister Redcloak nerf was inspired. They went from 3+ to hit to 4+. Everything about their morale offensive remained the same but now they’re not good against things that aren’t vulnerable to morale. The result is a unit that has gone from faction-warping to complex; they have a clear weakness in direct combat now.

Each time they perform an action – which includes attacks triggered by things like the swords tactics zone – they can force an enemy in long range to make a panic check with potentially a -3 penalty. Three units of Redcloaks in midfield can do six wounds reliably to a unit of 7+ morale troops just by looking at them funny. They’re no slouches on the attack either, with a 3+ attack that isn’t much on its own but is great at taking buffs from a variety of sources and attachments. Mixing Kingsguard into Redcloaks is a natural move because all of their abilities trigger off the Crown zone. Lannister Justice is also a really good defensive ability.

The catch with the Redcloaks is that they’re low initiative units – they generally don’t want to activate until Joffrey (and it will be Joffrey if you’re going hard on these) is on the board. This means that if you’re deep on Redcloaks you’re going to be very predictable at the top of each round which can give your opponent multiple safe back to back activations before you’re ready to start the turn properly.

The Mountain’s Men. Credit: Ian Doughty

Mountain’s Men

We’ve entered the tricky part of House Lannister – the Six Point zone. Units that have to compete directly with Lannister Guardsmen while arguably being sidegrades to Lannister Guardsmen. They’re better than they used to be but they’ll lose in a mirror match against Lannister Guardsmen, and there are better hammer units to go with those anvils.

Lannister Crossbowmen

After multiple rounds of buffs these have ascended to the lofty heights of ‘as good as stormcrow archers’. They’re now a real ranged unit, but the question still remains if House Lannister has any place for a ranged unit. In conjunction with Warrior’s Sons and Kevan Lannister they almost get there, but you need to think really hard about how they all fit together.

Lannister Halberdiers

Really good minimum-initiative professional soldiers, the Halberdiers are a great add to a list because they can just generally go last, meaning that they’re not a unit you need to worry about when planning your order of operations. They also make a great place to park a variety of commanders and attachments who you’re trying to not have killed. Tywin Lannister loves being in a unit of Halberdiers.

They hit on 4’s, though. That doesn’t seem that bad until you get charged by something with counterstrike and disrupt.

Lannisport City Watch

I wanted to like these, but they’re actually rubbish. Discount lance cavalry that are murdered by their 4+ to hit, and Adaptive Style is an order which means that you can’t even pour combat resources through them like the Sword to good effect. This is another unit that feels like it would be neat if it cost the same as a unit of Lannister Guardsmen but would lose to Lannister Guardsmen in a 1v1 fight. I’d take Mountain’s Men above these, and I’d take Guardsmen with an assault veteran over either.

Pyromancers

These have some real flex to them. More dice on the attack, ignoring defense entirely for a solid 4-5 wounds per volley (at the cost of one in their own), no loss of efficacy in close combat and Horrific Visage to add even more counterpunch to a unit they’re brawling with, the Pyromancers are worth a serious look – especially if you’re playing against highly armoured factions like House Baratheon. If you’re feeling particularly mean to poor Mr. Sandor Clegane, he’s a great way to give them some self healing which will reliably trigger because of their massive offensive output, which can go a long way to making up for their fragility.

The Warrior’s Sons

There is one clear way to play guys: as the bodyguard to Barristan Selmy. With him you’ve got a 3+ morale unit which will restore 2 wounds for every morale check it passes. This combination is straight up immune to low quality opponents – anything that can chip a wound or two off past the shield of faith will have to watch as the Sons just heal back up to full. These guys can fight an endless quantity of Free Folk raiders and never break a sweat or lose an objective.

They also work great with a Faith Champion attachment. War Cry is such an amazing ability in general, and these are the only units in House Lannister with the morale stat to send it off reliably.

Casterlie Rock Honour Guard

These are, unfortunately, a joke unit. You can spend a vulnerable token in exchange for a cool ability that works out as barely more useful than just, you know, spending the vulnerable token normally. Spending a Weakened token for highest dice +sundering is actually wildly worse than just using it as a weakened token, especially when you’ve only lost one dice at one rank. And if you’re not spending tokens they have the intimidating statline of… Lannister Guardsmen with a two point attachment, what? Putting Young Lion Jamie into Guardsmen is better than these for a point cheaper.

Cavalry

Gregor Clegane, The Mountain That Rides

If you’re not up against the Free Folk (who will bop him with Wildling Diplomacy) or a dragon (he dies instantly to dragonfire), or things generally that inflict automatic wounds, Clegane is an extremely good add. He’ll inflict about three wounds per turn automatically, Intimidating Presence is great to have on a mobile platform, and just having a cavalry unit in reserve can give you a tonne of flexibility for dealing with opponents sneaking around behind you.

Clegane’s secret most important use is that when he dies he turns on Lannister Pays His Debts, and for that reason alone he should make every list.

Clegane Brigands

Mysteriously passed over by the update that reduced all light cav of this type from 7 points to 6. They’ll be really good contenders when they inevitably do get reduced to six points to match their peers, in the meantime they’re not serious contenders.

The Knights of Casterly Rock

The Knights of Casterly Rock don’t have a lot of synergy with the rest of House Lannister. They’re best on the charge in a House with no retreat cards and no desire to claim the horse zone. They can win sustained melee engagements better than other lance cavalry due to Lannister Supremacy, but it’s still not where they want to be. They’ve got a punch to them, but they’re not great at killing things. They’re also very expensive and its hard to justify their inclusion but you should always try to anyway. A cavalry unit can just perform a fundamentally different role from the rest of your army in a way that you won’t fully appreciate until you’ve seen it in play. It is particularly hard to flank an enemy with even one unit of cavalry because the free maneuver just gives so much flexibility in responding to sudden threats or incautiously placed units.

 

NCUs

Cercei Lannister

Her rewrites have made her excellent, actually. My standard two NCUs these days are Joffrey and Cercei – the ability to consistently have Hear Me Roar and Subjugation of Power is very good, and potentially throwing out four Hear Me Roars in a game is great. More than that, though, she represents an ability to mill a lot of cards out of your deck, increasing the chances that you’ll get a hand full of commander cards in critical terms.

Tommen Baratheon

Cercei that gives you Bribery and Fealty to the Crown – this is a tough pick. If you don’t draw a Bribery in your initial hand you’ll need to pointlessly grab the bags with Joffrey to pull one out of your deck which feels like an inferior move to taking the letters. Fealty is a lategame card and Bribery is an early game card, so you’re maybe left holding onto a Fealty for multiple turns before the situation where it’s useful arises. It feels like this is the super gambling play – if you don’t draw Bribery in your initial hand then Tommen just isn’t as good as the reliability of Cercei.

Pycelle the Grand Maester

Just a solid, wonderful, reliable ability you can take to the bank every time. Absolutely killer with Jamie or Tywin in your list. You’ll never regret having him.

Joffrey Baratheon

An absolutely faction defining piece for the Lannisters, the reigning King of Westeros provides an indispensable combination of effects. Firstly, if you’re at all investing in Kingsguard attachments or Redcloaks his ability to guarantee control of the Crown zone is mandatory. Secondly, his presence pairs beautifully with a variety of Lannister tactics cards and effects. Finally, if you’re playing the morale game, he can add a significant extra punch to each of those effects – +1 wound on a d3 is +50% damage output, and if he does this to a unit that’s about to take three Redcloak attacks then it’s a serious power blow. If you’re not taking him you need to explain why you’re not taking him.

The High Sparrow

This is another excellent piece to take to support Joffrey and Redcloaks doing a morale offensive, able to make all the wounds inflicted by the Redcloak stare turn into healing for your own faction. It’s very powerful when it works, with the caveat that it may not work – as mentioned previously, if you’re fighting a list that has come specifically intending to lock its morale down then you might find that this just never gets the chance to go off to its full effect. Still, the threat of it is powerful enough to force your opponent to build against it specifically.

Tyrion Lannister

Deeply reliable and such a huge quality of life enhancement. With him present you likely will go through all 20 tactics cards in your deck over the course of the game, and having an emergency Counterplot up your sleeve can save you the game. He’s especially good in combat-focused Lannister lists because getting through to, say, the Mountain’s excellent tactics cards is a great advantage.

Kevan Lannister

Good guy Tywin, Kevan brings to the table a once per game suite of buffs and heals. Unlike Tywin, I do not think this gets there. Essentially, these are all comeback buffs – lategame things to throw onto crippled units engaged in combat, and that is not the Lannister gameplan. The most tempting of these is the ability to clear all condition tokens, but what that means in practice is that you’re likely going to be clearing one War Cry or one Surrounded and Exposed off in the best case, and your opponent knows that’s on the table so will work to spend all those tokens in the same turn they generate them. I think Tyrion’s automatic counterplot can potentially do most of these effects by itself, before considering the virtue of the improved hand size.

Qyburn

A lot of the new Lannister stuff has the vibe of being subtly worse versions of old stuff, and I don’t think that’s ever clearer than with Qyburn standing next to Varys. You could heal two wounds or deal one wound – you could shift 3 inches or have your opponent travel 1 inch slower, you could add 2 extra dice to an attack or land 3 hits automatically. Don’t worry kids, we’ve got a Master of Whispers at home.

Tywin Lannister

This is a massive cocktail of effects. Firstly, the timing is extremely permissive – at the start of any turn. Secondly, the effects are very powerful. Drop the hits, the panic test, the weakened and the panicked token on a unit of average soldiers (4+ save, 7+ morale), and you can expect seven casualties. Importantly, these are seven casualties that happen exactly on your own terms and at your own timing, meaning you can polish off a crippled unit on an objective that’s otherwise out of reach moments before it scores for example. But even that’s not the real selling point – the real selling point is turning off all abilities on a unit for an entire turn – and this includes attachment effects. Many lists center around a single elite key unit with multiple synergies and defenses, and if you’re just able to focus it down in a single massive explosion of damage – well, that’s easily worth the two extra points you spend on Tywin.

I think he works best in conjunction with Knights of the Casterlie Rock. Together they allow you to concentrate a ludicrous amount of force on a single point and potentially blow out an entire flank.

 

Attachments

Arys Oakheart: While controlling the crown, reroll defense dice. Perfect in a unit of Lannister Guardsmen because with rerollable 3+ saves they can hold a flank by themselves.

Qyburn: One of the main reasons you’ll take him is to unlock Ser Robert – so the question is where to put him? I strongly favour Bloody Mummers – they’ll hit on 2’s, and their 5+ save is going to be made into a 6+ by everyone who has sundering anyway. The add of vicious gives them real teeth on the counter offensive too.

Assault Veteran: -1 to morale tests, +1 wound on failing morale tests. Great if you can afford it – I generally really like to have two sources of Intimidating Presence in a list, one being Clegane.

Boros Blount: Was buffed from an earlier, terrible incarnation. Probably still bad though.

Champion of the Faith: War Cry – pass a morale check to apply Panicked and Vulnerable. Importantly can be done at the start of any friendly turn, not just the unit’s activation. It’s one of the best abilities in the game, but the only real place for him is in Warrior’s Sons.

Guard Captain: Hold the Line is an extremely good ability, and when this guy came out I was extremely keen to use it widely. The timing is much trickier to pull off than I initially thought though – you might only fire it once or twice in an entire game.

Mandon Moore: When controlling the Crown melee attacks are +1 to hit and Sundering. It’s kind of hard to know where to put him, though – so little of House Lannister’s damage comes from making attacks. I’ve tried him in Lannisport City Watch and was disappointed.

Meryn Trant: When controlling the crown, melee attacks cause Panicked and Weakened. I actually like this much less than the Champion of the Faith because the range and timing so massively favours War Cry.

Preston Greenfield: Can replace the Crown with ‘perform a free maneuver or march action’. The additional march is very cute and could mean a lot on a unit of Pyromancers, but the timing and conditionality makes it unreliable and low value.

Sandor Clegane: After an attack, if the defender took wounds recover 1 wound + 1 per destroyed rank, and inflicts Vulnerable on the charge. Sandor is great, but it’s hard for House Lannister particularly to find a place for him because so few of their units want to be charging in and getting victory through direct confrontation. As mentioned previously, taking the guy famous for being afraid of fire and putting him in a unit of Pyromancers is clutch because he can heal them from their self-inflicted casualties

Sentinel Enforcer: Terrain isn’t placed randomly in SOIAF. You can absolutely build a gameplan around putting some stakes down under a midfield objective, running this guy in a unit of halberds up to it, and dragging your opponent through the spikes onto your spears. Not really as good in House Lannister as in other factions though.

Tyrion Lannister: This effect might not seem like much, but damn is it great when it goes off. You can, for example, charge directly onto a wall of spears and turn off Set for Charge, or you can crack the shieldwall of otherwise invincible House Tully Sworn Shields. It doesn’t stop tactics cards from being used against your units, only against enemy units, and it relies on smart play to get Tyrion somewhere he can do his thing but it’s definitely an ability I’ve come to value.

Barristan Selmy: +2 Morale is a big deal – it’s enough to push an already good at morale unit into ‘never fail a check ever’ territory. A unit like, say, the Warrior’s Sons. And then if a unit like, say the Warrior’s Sons regenerates each time it makes a morale check, and gains faith tokens to empower its attack and defense, and then gets the opportunity to make bonus morale checks because the High Sparrow is your commander, then that unit becomes essentially unkillable.

Clegane Butcher: Spread Fear is surprisingly hard to get mileage out of, and two points is too much for what this brings.

Gregor Clegane: Put this dude in a unit of Stormcrow Mercenaries. It’s a 6 point unit that’ll be the stabbiest thing in House Lannister, inflicting two automatic wounds per action and potentially activating three times in a turn (sword, purse, normal activation). You want him to fail the morale check for the automatic 6 inch charge most of the time too so the stormcrow’s low morale helps rather than hinders. There’s a mounted attachment but it’s extremely Not Worth.

Ser Robert Strong: He’s three points, which is a lot of points, but in exchange you get the two best abilities in the game. You kind of don’t need anything else on a unit to make it a wrecking ball so I favour just putting him in a unit of Stormcrows. If you put them on a table edge or in the centre of the line so they can’t be engaged 2v1 they’ll duel almost anything in the game to a standstill. Extremely vulnerable to archers or even just crown zaps, though.

Jamie Lannister, Kingsguard: Attachment assassination is a very powerful effect, especially against factions like Free Folk that live and die on their attachments. He’s especially good paired with Tywin because even if this version of him doesn’t come with Disrupt for -1 to hit, Weakened tokens are the next best thing. He’s also a model that works great in Stormcrow Mercenaries.

Jamie Lannister, Young Lion: Objectively, this is a great attachment. The problem is just that it has practically no synergy with the rest of House Lannister’s gameplan.

Jamie, Maimed Captive: Attach to an enemy unit; gives you a VP if you destroy that unit, and if you control the Crown inflicts -1 to hit on that unit. This is a seriously good effect in a Joffrey/Kingsguard list; simple, easy to trigger, and a massive drag on your opponent’s key attack unit. This stacks with Disrupt, and with wide access to Weakened tokens you can make a unit not even bother taking a swing.

Turncoat: Once per game, inflict a wound on the unit this is attached to, take a condition, not use orders, or be the target of tactics cards. If you have a point to spare try to get this guy into your list – it’s hard to know what you’ll use him for in the abstract but as soon as you see the enemy’s army you’ll usually see some absolute homewrecker piece that you just want to turn off for a turn.

 

Sample Lists

The Trial

Lannister Guardsmen with the High Sparrow Commander

Lannister Guardsmen

Warrior’s Sons with Barristan Selmy

Warrior’s Sons with Faith Champion

The Mountain That Rides

Joffrey Baratheon NCU

Cersei Lannister NCU

 

This is the best Lannister list I can write and what I recommend you play if you’re unsure of the game and playing against more experienced opponents. Deployment is rigid – Selmy goes in the centre and then everything goes towards one flank, refusing the other. Selmy is exposed but that’s okay – he can fight three times his numbers and be okay. The goal is to get onto an objective and just score points while refusing to die.

Clegane is a mobile reserve, designed to hang out slightly behind the lines to engage an enemy that flank charged Selmy or provide additional force to crack something that Selmy is engaging solo. The High Sparrow’s morale bubble counteracts any corpse piles around and gives just a little resilience to the Guardsmen.

There’s an alternate version of the list which replaces the High Sparrow, Selmy, the Faith Champion, and both NCUs for Pycelle, the High Sparrow NCU, Addam in guardsmen, and Golden Company Officers in both Warrior’s Sons units. They’re not as invincible as Selmy but they’re immune to a *lot* of stuff that otherwise kills Warrior’s Sons.

The Judge

Lannister Crossbowmen with Kevan Lannister

Knights of Casterlie Rock

Warrior’s Sons with Faith Champion

Lannister Guardsmen

The Mountain that Rides

Joffrey NCU

Cercei NCU

 

This is the little bit of everything Lannister list. It’s got more moving parts than the brutal clarity of warrior’s sons and guardsmen but I enjoy it more because of that; it’s got a lot more decision making and initiative than relying on big numbers. This is House Lannister as a mobile, offensive force capable of concentrating force in pinpoint locations and it’s a lot of fun to play.

 

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.