You’ve already purchased the “Starks vs Lannisters” starter kit and now you’re ready to expand your collection. Since the Lannisters are one of the original factions and have had a steady stream of releases over the past year, the question ‘what should I buy next?’ can be a little overwhelming. The answer will depend on your playstyle, commander choice, and even your experience level. But, you might be asking, what if I don’t yet know my playstyle, or commanders, and have no experience? Never fear, little lion cubs. There are some boxes you will want to buy no matter what, and I’ll provide a break-down of the other units, including their playstyle, strengths, and weaknesses.
Lannister Heroes 1 is an almost “must-buy.” Purchasing this box will unlock commanders and attachments alike as well as our only 3 point NCU, Pycelle. Many newer (and experienced) players prefer to use the High Sparrow as their commander due to his well-rounded tactics cards, which include one healing, one defense, and one offensive. His commander influence (+2 morale) is also universally useful to supplement the very average morale stat of many Lannister units. Commander Tyrion, a perennial tournament winner and favorite of many Lannister players, is also in this box. If you favor battlefield control and denial strategies then both his commander and attachment versions are well worth a look. Last but not least, check out Tywin – an amazing NCU and very solid commander who leverages both weakness tokens and elements of control to dominate the battlefield. For the beginner Lannister player, no other box will provide you with the amount of army variety as you’ll see here.
Knights of Casterly Rock would be my next purchase. Lannisters don’t have the maneuverability options of other factions, no dire wolves or cards that can assist infantry in closing the gap. Not only do the knights hit like a pain-train with no brakes on the charge; they also give you much-needed mobility. Used properly knights will present a threat to other elite and highly maneuverable units, either protecting your flanks from pestering dire wolves or providing a very large hammer for your anvil. The knights are also very flexible and can be effective with every commander. They have great defense (3+) and the best morale (6+) this side of the faith troops. And the cherry on top of this elite cavalry is their Lannister Supremacy, which is more reliable than the Guardsmen due to their better morale. One tactical caveat to keep in mind with the Knights, even though they’re a tough unit, don’t let them get bogged down in melee!
These two unit boxes are a great starting point for expanding your Lannister forces. From here, your preferred commander and play-style will dictate the next purchases. Let’s briefly break down some of our other units available and where they might fit.
Let’s start with the Lannister’s zealot reinforcements. The Warrior’s Sons introduced a new mechanic to the game in the form of faith tokens, which they receive every time they pass a morale test. Faith tokens can then be expended for either offensive or defensive purposes. Their solid morale score of 4+ practically guarantees the easy accumulation of faith. List creation with them can get a little tricky; at 8 points they compete with the always solid Knights. While they can function in a variety of lists, they will really shine in High Sparrow lists and Tywin lists (supremacy triggered by a 4+ morale??? Yes!!). If you want to run either of these commanders I would strongly suggest buying them.
One note though, if you use them do your best to avoid attacks by powerful opponent units before they get a faith token, as it can be devastating. If you want to run either of these commanders I would strongly suggest buying them.
The Poor Fellows
For your budget faith list-building needs, look no further than the aptly-named Poor Fellows. At a stunning 3+, they are the highest morale infantry unit in the game (at this point), with a morale stat that is generally reserved for solo models like Dire wolves and Giants. Much like the Warrior’s Sons, they employ the faith token mechanic, although rather than providing a general-purpose attack/defense buff, their faith ability allows them to trade wounds with higher value targets. There is little more satisfying than watching your opponent’s Flayed Men lose models to a ragged mob of farmers with pitchforks.
As you can imagine, they are almost an auto-include with the High Sparrow, but they can fit into other armies. Consider the role you want them to play because their standard attack is lacking punch and a 6+ defense save won’t let them stick around long. If you want a specialist unit these might be the guys for you. However, I would hold off on buying (unless you’re running the High Sparrow) until you build some experience, as the guardsmen can fill a similar niche in many armies with a lower skill curve.
Lannister Heroes Box 2
Lannister Heroes 2 is different from other hero boxes we’ve seen released so far, as it only contains Joffrey and the Kingsguard. Joffrey can either be a battlefield commander that enables you to field the Kingsguard (with him attached), or a 4 point NCU. Each member of the Kingsguard can also be fielded as a character attachment under other Lannister commanders. Using Joffrey as a commander is a matter of balancing powerful strengths with serious drawbacks. For instance, the Kingsguard unit. They are a two rank unit that never loses attack dice, can never be panicked or lose morale, only costs 6 points, and have 4 flags that can be used once per activation to gain powerful effects. On the other hand, they can’t restore wounds and if killed give your opponent extra victory points and panic the rest of your army. The boy-tyrant’s tactics cards also contain powerful effects, like allowing you to block wounds after defense dice are rolled, but after resolving their effects allow your opponent to drop panic tokens on the rest of your army. He’s a high skill curve commander that needs careful play. Joffrey in his NCU incarnation has the ability to count as controlling the crown zone of the tactics board regardless of placement, while also allowing your opponent to place a panic token on any of your units. Not only does this synergize well with many Lannister tactics cards, but it also (fittingly) works very well with the Kingsguard attachments, who, with the exception of Jaime, all have abilities that only work when you have control of the crown. Get this one after you’ve become more comfortable with Lannisters and are ready for high risk/reward play.
Speaking of high risk/high reward, the pyromancers could use that for their slogan. I’ll argue for them being the best offensive unit in the game. A ranged attack and close combat attack that ignores armor and has vicious (both ranged and melee) is absolutely devastating. In a Tyrion list, these guys can become your MVP quickly. Used with Gregor Clegane as a commander these maniacal old men will cackle with fiery delight as they rampage across the battlefield. They take some finesse to use properly due to their nonexistent armor and flatly average morale, but they can be very rewarding if used the right way. The High Sparrow can add to their defense with his morale buff as well. If you enjoy burning units to the ground and don’t mind a steep learning curve (these guys die easily), they are a great addition to the army and possibly our best hammer.
Our longest ranged shooters. These guys offer some amazing damage potential with sundering and 7 attacks on a 3+ until they’re down to the last rank. They offer zone control for dire wolves and they keep other heavy hitters like pyromancers and berserkers at bay. They truly shine at disincentivizing objective camping. While their morale of 8+ is terrible, the addition of a guard captain can provide them with needed battlefield longevity. A commander like Tyrion who doesn’t need range for his ability will find them to be a great bunker. They are also an easy way to add faith tokens by shooting into combat and triggering friendly fire panic tests on your own units. Very much a support and utility unit, they’ll rarely be a unit to build a list around, but can fill a necessary niche role in many Lannister armies.
Now that we’ve looked at the Lannister units, we should also take a look at the neutral boxes that can also be fielded with your army. Since all neutrals released up to this point are Bolton themed, and thus have a heavy panic focus, you’ll find that there is a place for them in many of your Lannister armies.
Neutral Heroes Box 1
Neutral Hero Box 1 could arguably be called the Lannister Hero box 1.5, as its focus on panic and control fits in perfectly with the Lannister playstyle. It includes two commander options, Roose Bolton and his bastard son Ramsay Snow. Roose gives you a second NCU commander option besides the High Sparrow, based around raining panic tokens on your opponent and using them to trigger his control tactics cards, which have effects like allowing you to look at your opponent’s hand and eliminate cards or strip units of their abilities. Ramsay is a battlefield commander who also uses panic tokens, although rather than control he buffs your attacks, gives you free attacks, and passes out panic tokens with his cards and the assistance of his little buddy Reek. Both of these commanders also have an attachment version with a similar theme of panic.
Arguably the biggest draw of the neutral heroes box is its two NCU’s, Varys and Petyr Baelish. Both characters are designed to grant you greater control over the tactics board, as Baelish can take one zone while using the effect of another, and Varys just straight up blocks either a zone effect or NCU ability four times a game, once per turn (as long as you can roll a 3+ on a dice, that is.) You’ll find these two employed in many, many different Lannister builds, and even if you have no interest in the Bolton family, they alone will be worth the price of the box.
House Bolton Flayed Men
If you like cavalry and you don’t mind paying 10 points; these guys have the best defensive save in the game and they can throw punches just as well in a static fight, as opposed to your Knights of Casterly Rock who quickly lose their offense when bogged down. They can be a hammer and an anvil all in one nasty package. They can soak up charges from other nasty units and set you up for counter-charges. They are useful in nearly any list and become so much more defensive in a High Sparrow list. Their biggest drawback is that hefty 10 point cost, which at a fourth of your total points in a standard 40 point game ties up a lot of your army into a single unit. Worth a look, but don’t become overly dependent on them, as there are many units out there like Giants, Pyromancers, and Greataxes (and even the lowly poor fellows) that can ignore their defense entirely and quickly slag your most powerful unit into a pile of expensive corpses.
If you like cheap and fast infantry units that don’t necessarily have great defense stats, you might want to check out the cutthroats. Vicious stacks really well with Cersei and other standard Lannister tactics, and these guys are just as fast as the mountain’s men but a point cheaper. If you have plans to use lots of attachments, then the cutthroats can fill a cheap offensive niche to allow you to fit them all in. However, the Lannisters do tend to have a focus on defense and reactive play, and as a result, it can often be difficult to find a place for the cutthroats when you have the fantastic defensive anvil of the Guardsmen. Be careful adding them into lists, but if you like running Lannisters with a Bolton commander, or just need a cheap source of vicious, they’re definitely worth a look.
Bolton Bastard’s Girls
Oh, the Bastard’s Girls. A favorite of game creator Michael Shinall, they’re an odd, expensive unit that requires a lot of finesse to use well, but when used well can be a very powerful presence on the battlefield. They have both a long-ranged 4 dice attack that hits on a 3+, and a melee attack that rolls 6 dice, also hitting on a 3+. And, much like the halberdiers and crossbowmen, they don’t lose any attack dice until the second rank. This is very useful for them since their defense stat of 6+ means they lose units fast in any sort of combat. Their decent 5+ morale mitigates this to a degree, but they’re certainly not a frontline combat unit. The most interesting ability they possess however is their Sic ‘em order, which allows the Girls to immediately perform a charge after their ranged attack. The girls are the definition of a high skill curve unit and will need practice and experience to use properly in a Lannister army.
As you can see, your commander of choice will shape the list you bring and t what boxes you buy. Use this as a basic guide, but the choice is always yours, just make sure you get some models on the table!!!