That howl in the wind you hear is not the baying of wolves but the collective shouts of joy from Stark players now that the 1.5 changes have arrived. The Old Gods have been very good to us.
With the most changes of any faction, House Stark has gained much from this latest update. By and large, the updates could be described as “cheaper and better”. We should start seeing things on the table that haven’t had as much presence as before.
Rodrik Cassel – Master-at-Arms, Greatjon Umber – Lord of the Last Hearth, Syrio Forel – First Blade of Braavos Greataxes, House Umber Greataxes, Stark Bowmen and the Stark Outriders just got all-around better abilities while the Stark children, Rickon Stark – Prince of Winterfell and Bran and Hodor – Protector and Ward, as well as the Tully Sworn Shields, saw their points reduced.
All the houses will be contending with the changes to both panic tests and charging that dropped along with 1.5.
In order to charge, you must now align 50% of your base with your opponents for a charge to be legal. This makes positioning even more key than it was before. Thankfully, the Stark army is well equipped to handle this with their strong focus on mobility. If you want that flank charge with Grey Wind or your Outriders though, make sure you’ve got the base coverage right.
Even a simple frontal charge needs a proper set up now, be it a counter from Ned or Greatjon’s overrun. Try to leave room for your second wave and watch out for canny players making the most of screening units.
The panic changes are a mixed bag the Stark forces. Our morale tends to sit on the high side so we’re less likely to fail a panic test. That being said, with the new rules for panic, once we do fail that roll, we’re as susceptible to the damage as anybody else. That Umber pride can still lose you 4 men on a failed check. The strategy of dogpiling a ton of morale debuffs isn’t what it use to be. Cersei using the crown zone in your unit near a corpse pile is a bit overkill now. What you’ll want to watch for as well as utilize is generating a larger amount of panic tests. That’s going to be the more reliable way of getting those extra wounds now.
I’ve seen talk about whether this makes the wolves worth it now. While I understand the concern of losing a wolf to the crown zone, I feel like it will play out less in practice than in theory. If nothing else, try to edge out that spot if you can. Batting over tactics zones is certainly nothing new.
The real winner from this batch is hands down the Stark Bowmen
Besides an across the board stat increase, they also keep the LOS ignoring rules and receive the fantastic suppression ability on their Arrow Volley. This new ability should make anyone approaching the Stark lines keep a wary eye out for a rain of arrows. Nobody wants a weakened token put on them in addition to the regular wounds from failing a panic test, but NOBODY wants their abilities turned off from range as well.
My other favorite change is to Syrio Forel – First Sword of Braavos. His 1.5 change gives him a new lease on life. Not only does he retain his offensive debuff, bringing a little survivability to his unit, but he can make them hit a lot harder too. It might take some experimentation to figure out where he sits best, but Stark Sworn Swords with Stark Fury and Syrio attached are going to put out some big damage with their crits.
Keeping in theme with cheaper additions, we have little Rickon Stark
For 1 point, Rikkon Stark – Prince of Winterfell, can now find himself in just about any list you’ve got. For just that small investment, you get Osha taking down dudes when her unit’s ranks drop, which if you heal, can happen over and over again. You also get the extra activation out of Shaggydog.
I’ve put a new list together that gets to put a lot of the new changes together. You can think of it as a starter set version 2 or the Stark Family Reunion. Eddard’s Honor Guard is the backbone of the army while a unit of Bowmen sits behind. Syrio and a unit of Sworn Swords take one flank while Rickon hides out amongst the Umber Berserkers on the other. This should give your opponent some hard choices to make. Do they bare down the middle to try to take the stout, hard-hitting, Honor guard out all the while exposing their flank to charges or do they veer to one side or the other? Neither flank should be appealing since taking down the Umber Berserkers now not only means they hit harder, but Osha will also be returning wounds and on the other side tangling with Syrio’s Sworn Swords can chew them up as well.
The Stark Ladies serve as your NCU’s. Catelyn keeps the attack dice up, Sansa lets you reuse one of Ned’s great tactics cards and Arya brings not only Syrio but also Jaqen H’ghar, who we’ve attached to that vanguard unit of your opponent who has suddenly lost the urge to expose the unit to danger.
STARK FAMILY REUNION
Faction: House Stark
Commander: Eddard Stark – Lord of Winterfell
Points: 40 (0 Neutral)
• Stark Sworn Swords (5)
with Syrio Forel – First Blade Of Braavos (2)
• Stark Bowmen (6)
• House Umber Berserkers (7)
with Rickon Stark – Prince Of Winterfell (1)
and Osha – Spearwife Guardian (0)
• Shaggydog (0)
• Eddard’s Honor Guard (7)
with Eddard Stark – Lord of Winterfell (0)
• Arya Stark – The Wolf Girl (3)
• Sansa Stark – Little Bird (3)
• Catelyn Stark – Lady of Winterfell (4)
• Jaqen H’ghar – Mysterious Prisoner (2)
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