Lords of Casterly Rock

Preview House Lannister in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition

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“There are no men like me. There’s only me.”
  
–George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

Among all the Great Houses of Westeros, none are so wealthy or have such a reputation for cunning as those of House Lannister. Made rich by the gold and silver mines of the Westerlands and the trade that flows through Lannisport, the Lannisters’ wealth has positioned them as the power behind the Iron Throne for years. Now, you can make your own schemes with the Lannisters of Casterly Rock in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition.

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game is a new Living Card Game® of deadly battles and intrigues in the world of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Eight unique factions join  the battle for the Iron Throne, and in our last preview, we ventured into the icy northern lands of Westeros to look at House Stark. Today, we travel south and west to the ancestral home of House Lannister!

Designer Nate French on House Lannister

In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, the Lannisters are devious, manipulative, and indirect. They are ambush specialists, they play the intrigue game aggressively, and they are extremely wealthy. Figuratively, they are “monsters.” They’re not averse to using torture and intimidation to achieve their goals, and this faction is the home for a number of characters who can be quite frightening when they hit the board. There’s also a chaotic aspect to this faction – the Lannisters deal with a fair number of wild cards and unpredictable entities on their path to the Iron Throne, and being able to make the resultant chaos work in your favor is an important skill for leading this faction.

Intrigues and Schemes

As a loyal member of House Lannister, you’re no stranger to lies, deception, and trickery. Skulduggery may not be pleasant, but it’s the key to getting ahead in the game of thrones. After all, those who hold too closely to ideals often end up dead. In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, these tactics are most closely related to intrigue challenges, so it’s no surprise that the Lannisters would excel where intrigue is concerned. In fact, House Lannister features several cards that drastically increase the power of your intrigue challenges, beginning with Cersei Lannister (Core Set, 84). 

Cersei Lannister can make your intrigues much more dangerous than they would be otherwise. She can participate in intrigue or power challenges, but her specialty is attacking during an intrigue challenge. In this situation, her ability raises the claim value on your revealed plot card by one, stripping more cards from your opponent’s hand and reducing his options for coming rounds.  

Of course, when you specialize at intrigue challenges, you’ll want to make as many as possible. Under normal circumstances, you’re limited to one challenge of each type per challenges phase. Fortunately, you can increase this number with Casterly Rock (Core Set, 97). While you hold this location, you may initiate an additional intrigue challenge during the challenges phase, giving you more opportunities to tear apart your opponent’s hand and reap the benefits. 

Casterly Rock is impressive enough on its own, but you can also take advantage of the bustling trade business that flows through Lannisport (Core Set, 98). Whenever you win an intrigue challenge with Lannisport in play, you may draw one card. Drawing additional cards is crucial to victory in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game and Lannisport gives you a consistent way to draw more cards. Best of all, this ability is not conditional to intrigue challenges in which you attack, so even if you successfully defend an intrigue challenge, you can draw a card with Lannisport.

You can make a little money from the Lannister proclivity for intrigues with the help of Tyrion Lannister (Core Set, 89). Tyrion Lannister bears the stealth keyword,  which enables him to sneak past your opponent’s defenders. When you attack with a character that has stealth, you may choose one of your opponent’s characters that does not have stealth. The chosen character cannot defend against the challenge, allowing you to slip past and perpetrate your schemes. Stealth isn’t Tyrion’s only attribute, though. Whenever any player initiates an intrigue challenge, you may gain two gold if you have Tyrion in play! 

Gaining gold during the challenges phase may not seem extremely useful. After all, you can only play characters, locations, and attachments during the marshaling phase, which has already occurred. However, many events have a gold cost that you can pay with Tyrion’s gold. In addition, the Lannisters are masters of the ambush keyword. Some cards, such as the Burned Men (Core Set, 91) bear the ambush keyword. By paying a card’s ambush cost, you may put it into play during the challenges phase. After you gain gold from Tyrion’s Reaction, you may surprise your opponent by suddenly playing the Burned Men to attack or defend in a military challenge.

Put Your Gold to Work

Hiring mercenaries and playing events aren't the only ways you can use your gold when you play as House Lannister. In fact, you don’t even need to spend your gold to increase the power of Tywin Lannister (Core Set, 90). Tywin Lannister would be a formidable force without any ability – he boasts all three challenge icons and six STR. But a Lord of House Lannister should do more, and Tywin Lannister certainly delivers on this promise. He bears the renown keyword, allowing him to claim a power when he wins a challenge, and he adds two gold to the total income granted by your plot card. 

With so much gold at your disposal, you’ll almost certainly leave some unspent. Tywin Lannister makes you unspent gold work for you by gaining an additional STR for each gold in your gold pool. It doesn’t take much gold to turn Tywin Lannister into a veritable titan, easily capable of winning a challenge without assistance. Then, your unspent gold adds to your total STR in the dominance phase, increasing your odds of gaining additional power and claiming the Iron Throne.

Of course, House Lannister’s riches can also support their back alley deals and intrigues. You never know when you may need to buy the services of a spy, a mercenary company, or a similar rogue. One such character who can help you destroy your opponent is The Queen's Assassin (Core Set, 95). When you ambush The Queen’s Assassin into play, you can choose an opponent. If that opponent has less cards in hand than you, he must choose and kill a character he controls. If you’ve been making drawing on the full power of the Lannisters’ intrigues, you should have no problem forcing your opponent to have less cards in hand than you. For the right price, The Queen’s Assassin gives you an easy way to kill your opponent’s characters.

You’ll find another tool to rid yourself of bothersome characters in The Things I Do For Love (Core Set, 101). This event can only be played if you control a Lannister Lord or Lady character, and it allows you to kneel your faction card and pay a character’s printed cost to return it to its owner’s hand. Because you can play The Things I Do For Love as an Action, you can use it to suddenly remove an attacker or a defender, tipping any challenge in your favor. Naturally, it's expensive to remove a high-cost character like Robb Stark (Core Set, 146), but if anyone has the money to accomplish the task, it’s the Lannisters!

Hear Me Roar

When you fight for House Lannister, there are games within games and wheels within wheels. Your coffers overflow with gold and you’re willing to pay any price to destroy your opponents. Whether you stand brazenly on the tourney ground or skulk in the shadows, the Lannisters can claim the power they need to win the game of thrones.

House Lannister’s untold wealth and cunning deceptions may be your path to the Iron Throne, but some factions seek to influence the Iron Throne for far nobler reasons than mere power. Join us next week and learn how you can defend Westeros alongside the Night’s Watch faction!

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