The High Sparrow: You Better Have Faith

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The High Sparrow has seen his stock rise in a meta that uses panic to punish you and scatter your loyal troops to the winds. Essentially the anti-Cersei, that extra +2 to morale can’t be overestimated. Another advantage he brings to the Lannisters,a faction lacking cheap options, is a “free activation” as an NCU commander. Since Lannisters don’t have wolves or any other budget options (until the Mountain that Rides is legal), an NCU commander can help to even up the activation count. The high sparrow can lead any number of Lannister lists, but will really shine when paired with the “faith militant,” a Lannister subset of units which rely on the unique faith token mechanic. Let’s start by addressing the stats for the Warrior’s Sons and Poor Fellows.

Coming in at 8 points are the Warrior’s Sons, the backbone of any faith militant list.

 They are currently the only unit in the game capable of a 2+ defense save without cards or other effects. As they die they become harder and harder to kill. Not only are they capable of incredible defense, but their attack output is potent even without keywords like “critical blow” or “sundering.”. This is thanks to their 1.5 update faith token mechanic. I would argue that vulnerable and panic tokens are superior to sundering. Keep in mind that the High Sparrow’s tactics cards can help you push through enemies with strong defense as well. With their incredible morale of 4, they won’t be failing morale tests often, either. This makes the Warrior’s Sons ideal for scenarios like “Dance with Dragons”, “a Feast for Crows”, and the important middle objective in “Game of Thrones”. They can safely hold onto tokens without fear of losing them over a failed panic test. 

The Poor Fellows are the next “faith unit” to discuss.

At an initial glance, the 6+ defensive save and 5+ to hit are going to stand out as terrible, but don’t sleep on their ability to survive. Mighty cleave is a thing of the past and there just aren’t too many units who can throw out enough dice to make the unit disappear in one attack. As referenced earlier, panic damage is one of the most consistent ways to wipe models out currently, and the fellows are all but immune to it with a stout 3+ morale. They’re also effectively “immune” to sundering. It would take roughly 14 hits to actually kill this unit in one shot. That being said, it’s their ability to heal at activation and cause auto-wounds that makes them truly effective. Their “fanatical zeal” ability can be used to bring down targets with great defense saves or to mow through solo units, for instance burly giants take all those wounds directly, bypassing their standard wound rules. Keep in mind that this is a trade (wounds for wounds) so you won’t ever take more wounds than the required number to finish off the unit. Much like Styr – cruel tyrant, the real strength of this attack comes from the mandatory panic check due to the direct wounds.Just remember, these guys are specialists, they’re not meant to stand on the line and eat charges. They will reward you if you play them with a good plan and let them stick to their role. 

The Champion of the Faith also received an update with 1.5 and now fits faith units like a glove. All of the faith class special abilities require faith tokens, gained by passing a morale test. Guess who allows you to take a morale test at activation? (Here’s a hint, look at the above card) He heals 2 wounds on a successful test and 1 no matter what, but chances are the Sons and Fellows will rarely fail their test. The Champion will farm tokens to ensure our units are always at their optimal. He is nearly an auto-include for the Warrior’s Sons since they need a token for defense and offense, but he will keep the Poor Fellows around for a long time as well (healing d3+2 at activation? Yes!).

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Let’s talk about the father of the faithful himself – the High Sparrow. Looking back at the faith token system, we can see that units need to pass a morale test to gain one. Similarly to the Champion of Faith, all of the Sparrow’s tactics cards trigger a morale test which will improve the benefit of the card if you pass. For example, at activation, a unit of Poor Fellows with the Champion can trigger the Fellow’s healing ability, the champion’s healing ability AND play Mercy of the Mother. With one passed morale test, they heal a whopping d3 + 6 wounds AND gain a faith token.

Protection of the Father is arguably the best defensive card in the game. When you are attacked need only to pass a morale test to effectively block half of all unsaved hits coming in and discard the remainders. Wow. Even units like pyromancers and great axes who don’t allow defense saves will see half their hard earned hits go to waste

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Finally, Wrath of the Warrior is a fantastic offensive card. All the Warrior’s Sons would need to do is pass a morale test when they attack to hit on 2s with sundering. If that isn’t enough they can use that faith token they just received to make the enemy panicked and vulnerable.

The Sparrow’s influence “Unwavering Conviction” gives +2 morale to a unit for the remainder of the round. This seems wasted on a faith unit, but if you round your list out with some regular Lannister’s units, it can be useful. One unit in particular comes to mind….

Knights of Casterly Rock are already an excellent unit.. Throw them into your Faith List and let them take advantage of those sweet, sweet vulnerable tokens. After all, why use them on a vanilla Warrior’s Sons attack when the knights can pile on the hits and add sundering to the party. Then, to pile on a little extra hurt, if they dare to attack back you’ve got Lannister Supremacy to punish them,Mentioning that, at morale 6, (not terrible for Lannisters) those knights are a perfect place for the High Sparrow to spread his charismatic morale boost. It effectively puts them at faith militant levels of courage and it makes triggering Lannister supremacy so much easier.

Now if only we had a way to REALLY take advantage of those panic tokens……. oh wait

Cersei Lannister – Queen Regent fits right into a faith list. She and the High Sparrow have the good cop, bad cop routine down pat. Remembering that our Warrior’s Sons spam panic tokens and the Poor Fellows provide unblockable direct wounds, Cersei can ensure you cash in on those panic tests. She’s certainly not auto-include, but she will give this list some razor sharp teeth to shred through elite units and heavy armor. While we’re at it, let’s talk about her son, Joffrey.

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Joffrey Baratheon as an NCU doesn’t seem like such a great fit for Lannister’s who typically have average to poor morale, but with the Faith Militant, do we really care THAT much about a panic token? When you count as always controlling the crown in a Lannister list, there is some serious potency that comes with that. His downside is largely mitigated by our ever faithful and fearless warriors of the faith. If you’re running him, you might as well plug some Kingsguard in there and really capitalize on the whole “I always control the crown” shenanigans. Once again, our editor can add his own take on this subject because his faith militant list features Joffrey and some kingsguard attachments.

(Kolin’s Take – They’re a pretty awesome combo! Try out Mandon Moore in the Warrior’s Sons for an extra +1 to hit, and potentially vicious as well if they have fewer ranks.)

There are other NCUs who pair nicely with any Lannister build, but we’ve already analyzed them (House Lannister: Tactics Deck, NCU’s, and You) I wanted to focus on mother and son because they have a very unique role in this style of list.

The Faith Militant build will have disadvantages in scenarios that offer a bonus to a field commander, but I will argue that in 2 of those (dance with dragons and feast for crows) it is largely mitigated by the fact that once they grab a token, you will pretty much have to kill them to pry it from their cold, dead, holy hands because they aren’t failing a panic test any time soon. This is also why we have a 2 list format. Choose your field commander and back that list up with the boys of the faith and see how it works out for you! I’ve included a sample list that I have had success with. If it’s played correctly and the card gods are in your favor, it’s a tough nut to crack!

Faction: House Lannister
Commander: The High Sparrow – Father of the Faithful
Points: 40 (5 Neutral)

Combat Units:
• Poor Fellows (5)
• The Warrior’s Sons (8)
with Champion of the Faith (1)
• The Warrior’s Sons (8)
with Champion of the Faith (1)
• Stormcrow Mercenaries (5)
with Preston Greenfield – Kingsguard (1*)
• Knights of Casterly Rock (8)

Non-Combat Units:
• The High Sparrow – Father of the Faithful (0)
• Cersei Lannister – Queen Regent (4)

Made with ASOIAFBuilder.com

Have a little bit of faith and get your miniatures off to battle!

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