Table Thoughts: House Lannister v1.5

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Don’t Panic

With 1.5 officially out and ready to be played; I want to take a moment to address the lion pack. Let’s not get it twisted guys, Lannister’s absolutely received a buff in 1.5. We are still the undisputed kings (and queen) of panic. Since we only need our enemy to fail by one; we can simply spread all that negative modifying goodness all over the place. Sprinkle some here, sprinkle some there, and thoroughly enjoy your buffet of panic. 

Let’s go over a few of the unit and attachment changes that will apply to us. 

Champion of the Faith 

Well, somebody with a flashy cape just became very usable. The two main arguments against Poor fellows, their poor defense and lack of faith token generation outside of the High Sparrow, has been answered with one fell swoop. Instead of a vulnerable token, he gives you a morale test and either 1 or 2 wounds back depending on the result. When is healing ever a bad thing?? This guy will work in many units, but he becomes exponentially better in a unit that hinges on faith tokens.  Throw him in Blackguard for a 3+ wall of “nope” or plug him into your faith loving boys and watch those tokens pile up.

The Warrior’s Sons 

Another unit that looks to have benefited from1.5. With their new default 3+ to hit and impressive attack stat line, the Sons now bring pain even without the faith tokens. A Champion of the Faith can easily be attached, but the reworked faith defensive mechanic doesn’t make that mandatory since we can’t use a token on the first defense anyway, although it never hurts to charge up a few extra. On the offensive side, these guys will expend a token to make an enemy panicked and vulnerable. Lannister’s lacked a mechanic to get vulnerable tokens (outside of the letter zone, Meryn Trant – Kingsguard, and the original Champion of the Faith) so these guys being able to hand them out like candy is going to be a big plus. Keep in mind that you don’t have to expend the token on their vanilla attack – you can save it for those heavy-hitting knights or House Bolton Flayed Men, or if you need some extra defense. Do not sleep on them anymore, the Warrior’s Sons are worth the points now. 

Jaime Lannister – the Kingslayer 

He has the same counterattack as before, but his secondary ability has been reworked.. When he activates, use his order to return one of his commander cards from the discard pile back to your hand. Now, anyone who knows this game knows commander cards are generally the cream of the crop. Jaime may have some cards that don’t seem too impressive, but being able to cycle those cards over and over again is going to be huge. I’m seeing a lot of value in cycling expert parry over and over to keep a death grip on the objective token he should be babysitting. 

Kingslayer’s Renown is yet another way to generate weakened and panic tokens. Jaime is definitely worth giving a fair shot. 

House Bolton Flayed Men 

These guys didn’t get nerfed. Sure, they lost the 2+ save, but they also dropped a point and gained ferocious assault instead of “spread fear”. This simply means they are now similar to the Knights of Casterly Rock and should follow the ABC rule… Always Be Charging. You should choose different targets with the Flayed Men than with the Knights. They are going to maul low armor troops (who also generally have less morale with some exceptions). Combining vicious with a panicked token is going to be a nasty business and I think, for the most part, we can safely save “hear me roar” and Cersei’s influence for something else. These boys can handle the panic game all by themselves. The change also makes elite units like veterans of the watch chargeable though. Why? I think we can sneak in a few wounds and the follow-up panic will do 2-4. By my calculation, we should be taking out a rank at this point. Don’t banish these guys to the dusty shelf because of the armor change. You’ve played with Knights. Treat them the same way and let them reward you for it. And they can still fight a static fight just as well when necessary. 

Lannister Halberdiers 

Some folks swore by them pre-1.5 so they will be all too happy to see an extra attack dice and an extra point of morale to boot. While they still make a free attack when charged from the front (set for charge), don’t be afraid to use them offensively and charge them right in for damage. The stat line of 8,8,4 means that mathematically we should be hitting 4 times when charged and should do at least one wound – thus triggering panic (since this is an attack action, unlike counterattack). With the change to panic rules every single panic check matters. The Halberdiers are essentially giving you a free panic check on an enemy – if they dare to charge. A unit that is a bit damaged is going to be very hesitant to make a frontal assault because we ideally haven’t been burning through “Hear Me Roar” (since we don’t have to play it as often) and that one wound might turn into 5 and finish the unit off. The attack is great. The panic can break the game open. They have a place in any army. 

Kingsguard 

Everyone’s favorite tween tyrant is back with his bodyguards, and better than ever!  The 1.5 updates to the Kingsguard unit has brought it back into relevance. Their 8 attack dice can bring opponents to their knees with a simple attack and are not even heavily reliant on a charge because hitting on 2+ means few, if any misses. Counterattack with a 3+ defense save (and two cards that can mitigate any damage they take – “wealth of the rock“ and “I am the king” – they can be played on the same attack) is sure to punish an attacker for defying the true king of the 7 kingdoms. The Baratheon banner abilities can now be re-used as well, each flag signifying a usage rather than an ability.. Using the free maneuver effectively makes them a cavalry-like missile, but unlike cavalry they could also use it to make a free retreat and potentially rear charge an unsuspecting target. Critical blows and sundering with their attack profile is amazing. Vicious and panicked tokens pair together perfectly and their vulnerable and weakened tokens have infinite potential. They are something you can definitely build a list around and the unit itself is bargain basement shopping for 6 points. It is important to note that with Uncle Walder Frey , Kingsguard have very little to lose through influence. The only abilities lost will be the entire downside of Joffrey, counterattack, and fearless. An opponent will have to think twice before attaching Walder Frey and losing the chance to earn 3 victory points. Baratheon banners are NOT an ability and cannot be canceled and none of their effects can be canceled either. 

House Bolton Bastard’s Girls 

“Sic ‘em” was streamlined to “charging volley” so we have a universal term for the ability. They also gained “vicious” on their melee attacks. It’s a subtle change, but it’s big. With no sundering, they now have a weapon to put a dent in defensively oriented units. They have always been a powerful unit with a steep learning curve and this boost will only increase their value. Their better than average morale is also a defense mechanism for the new panic change. Shoot them up the enemy flanks and then use them as a finisher. 

Lord Varys – The Spider 

Varys and Lannister’s (particularly with Tyrion commander) have gone hand in hand since his release. He has always doubled down on the Lannister control aspect and it has been so potent he is near auto-include. Varys, however, has recently been changed and on the surface, it appears to be a “double nerf”. With his ability timing occurring at enemy NCU activation (like *intrigue and subterfuge), the enemy is now able to wait and see if Varys succeeds before choosing a zone or playing a zone replacement card. A Lannister player will still be able to play “Intrigue and Subterfuge” as well as using a Varys order since his ability is not a true “order” This has effectively removed his ability to block cards like “sudden charge” or “orders to destroy”. Additionally, his points cost has been increased to 5. Many players will now find him too difficult to work into lists and will find him less rewarding. Varys is still very potent against very predictable moves. Round 1 turn 1 will always be a time for an opponent to play the tactics zone or free maneuver in order to get to a key token faster. Varys will still be able to block these plays. It will still be fairly obvious when a powerhouse unit is going to use the free attack zone to start a round. So Varys will still be useful here. It will take some adjustment but Varys still has a place if you want to pay for him. If you can’t make room for him, his buddy Petyr Baelish is an excellent backup because he provides zone control and the potential to “double-tap” a zone. Petyr is also far more reliable since he doesn’t need to roll. The choice is yours! 

Now let’s go over some general changes to keep in mind, as well as some “low key buffs” that have happened. Lannister Crossbowmen were always nasty but they may be even nastier now. With the change to charge rules it is easier to provide an effective screen for our crossbowmen. If they can’t align to at least 50%, we cannot be charged. That means they can safely hide behind trusty guardsmen and launch sundering bolts with immunity. This almost obligates your opponent to charge the guardsmen (or halberdiers – either way) and be in a situation where they will be punished for attacking (Lannister supremacy or set for charge) AND the crossbows can shoot into them as well. This is a great place for Cersei to come in and double down on these panic checks. If the crossbows and infantry are holding an important spot on the field – the enemy will have to react. This is where the lion can strike and remove their will to fight. Additionally, there is no longer any need to worry about losing more than 4 crossbowmen to a panic check from the crown. They have 7 attacks until they are down to the last rank so they stay potent longer. Mathematically, it is going to take 2 crown bombs (with perfect d3 rolls) to reduce their output. Realistically, it will take 3 on average. This is great news! 

Lannister Guardsmen with guard captain are just as good as ever. Lannister supremacy may not force 8 guys to run off anymore, but it is still sure to grind them away and our poor, hapless guardsmen can even trigger some panic checks themselves. We only need 1 wound to trigger a check. The guard captain is also just as good or better. Our low morale Troops have benefits and drawbacks from the change. We won’t lose 7 Mountain’s Men anymore but we are just as likely to fail by 1 and lose 2-4. The guard captain is a cheap insurance policy and defense in disguise. Nothing has really changed, guys. It’s business as usual, but business is now booming because we can finally put a dent in Veterans of the Watch, Umber Berserkers, and even the lumbering  Giant with our morale reducing shenanigans. Don’t fret. Stay the course. Trust the process, and your games will show you that the lion is even more frightening than before! Every panic test will be dramatic and have the enemy full of fear. So instead of retreating to another faction because of some misconceived “nerf”; stay steadfast with your Lannister’s and KEEP those models… on the table

Below, I have included a sample list with some of the changes in mind. The crossbowmen create some area denial and an easy way to get faith tokens on Warriors Sons and Poor Fellows by shooting into combat. The army is relatively high morale to mitigate Joffrey and his downside. The Kingsguard and knights can function as cavalry units (thanks to the Baratheon banner upgrade) and Cersei and Pycelle make a solid offense and defense team. The Warriors Sons can generate panicked and vulnerable tokens for our heavy hammers to use (sundering from knights, bows, and Kingsguard). Let us know how it works for you! 

I AM THE KING 

Faction: House Lannister

Commander: Joffrey Baratheon – First Of His Name

Points: 40 (0 Neutral)

Combat Units:

• Kingsguard (6)

  with Joffrey Baratheon – First Of His Name (0)

• The Warrior’s Sons (8)

• Lannister Crossbowmen (6)

• Knights of Casterly Rock (8)

• Poor Fellows (5)

Non-Combat Units:

• Cersei Lannister – Queen Regent (4)

• Pycelle – Grand Maester (3)

Made with ASOIAFBuilder.com

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