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A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition Speculation: House Tyrell

A Game of Thrones Second Edition JCWamma House Tyrell Speculation

In part two of our eight-author series speculating on and examining our hopes for each faction in Game of Thrones 2.0, JCWamma offers his opinions on House Tyrell.

Note that the content of these articles are entirely speculation and wishes from players who consider themselves fans of each faction in question. Please do not take any predictions as fact. At the same time, if any of these guesses are correct, we demand all the credit.


[Spoilers through to A Feast for Crows]

There is entirely too much tut-tutting in this realm, if you ask me. All these kings would do a deal better if they put down their swords and listened to their mothers. - Olenna Redwyne, A Storm of Swords

House Colours: A golden rose on a green field. I anticipate green for their card backgrounds, with Baratheon moving to yellow.
What we know so far: Know? We don't even categorically know that Tyrell will be a faction! They are an anticipated faction though, based off their status in the books, and perhaps more pertinently this image that went up on FFG's old website (sadly lost with the move to their new website), which shows the sigils of the 6 houses from the first edition of the LCG along with the Tyrell Rose and the symbol for the Stewards agenda, indicating that our 7th and 8th factions will most probably be House Tyrell and the Night's Watch. Credit to 2C1C for finding this:


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The Tyrells in 1st Edition
As one of the two new anticipated factions, House Tyrell is in the interesting position of being a clean slate. Even more so than the factions that are carried over from first edition, we do not know what to expect from the Tyrell faction. Some of their key players did exist in 1st edition, but their themes were scattershot, depending on when they were released - the Core set featured Tyrell cards for both Baratheon and Lannister (House Tyrell Guard/Highgarden Honor Guard and Enemy Informer, respectively); The Queen of Thorns suggested gimmicky shadows power rush; Arrogant Contender (and later Margaery Tyrell) pointed towards dual-house themes based around winning challenges; Willas Tyrell was an anti-Lannister card; Mace Tyrell and Garlan Tyrell pointed towards anti-summer decks (despite the Tyrells making up a good portion of the army known as the Knights of Summer); and so on. There's very little in the way of fertile ground for a second edition theme.

It's also worth noting that the Tyrells existed in the CCG as a dual-house subtheme between Baratheon and Lannister. However, other than effects referring to other Tyrell cards and a small intrigue subtheme, there wasn't too much in the way of a consistent theme amongst these cards either.

House Tyrell and Theme
Given the lack of 1st edition material, let's look at the other resource available to us - the books. What follows is a brief summary of their plight so far, with spoilers up to and including A Feast for Crows.

The Tyrells began life as a banner house to House Gardener, rulers of The Reach. When Aegon the Conqueror defeated King Mern IX, Harlen Tyrell smartly surrendered and was rewarded by Aegon with a promotion to Lord Paramount of The Mander. Or, as Cersei Lannister prefers to put it, "The Tyrells were only stewards that the dragon-kings had upjumped far above their station. Their vanity was exceeded only by their ambition." Either way, by the time the books begin Mace Tyrell is Warden of the South for Robert Baratheon, though he is not a member of the Small Council.
After Robert dies, the Tyrells declare their support for Renly in a big way, with Mace's daughter Margaery marrying Renly and the Reach's military might being put at Renly's command. Renly's subsequent assassination rocks the house, forcing them to temporarily withdraw from the War of the 5 Kings. They return on the side of the Lannisters during the Battle of Blackwater Bay, proving decisive in the defeat of Stannis, and are rewarded with the betrothal of Margaery to King Joffrey. Additionally, Mace becomes the Small Council's Master of Ships, and his son The Knight of Flowers joins the Kingsguard, with Mace's mother The Queen of Thorns supporting the family in court. During this time period the Tyrells win overwhelming popularity in King's Landing by providing food for the starving population, even though the food-shortage had been created by their own tactics while supporting Renly. The marriage to Joffrey falls through after Joffrey is poisoned on the wedding day; instead, Margaery becomes betrothed to the new King Tommen, and soon marries him.
After the death of Tywin Lannister, Cersei removes Mace from the Small Council out of a fear that the Tyrells are taking over, and sends the Tyrell forces out to besiege Stannis's remaining strongholds, Storm's End and Dragonstone. With Tyrell strength removed Cersei attempts to remove the perceived threat of Margaery from power, but this backfires as Cersei instead finds herself incarcerated by the church, with Tyrell bannerman Randyll Tarly arriving to secure Margaery's release, leaving the Tyrells more powerful than ever before.

Given that, let's observe some of the key elements of the house:
  • **** doesn't stick to them. The story of the Tyrells in A Song of Ice and Fire is the story of getting ahead by doing very little, and, if you'll pardon the pun, coming out of any situation smelling of roses. They support the first loser of the War of the 5 Kings (someone who loses so early that he's actually killed before the 5th King is even crowned); they have a marriage alliance with a further dead King; they get away with poisoning the King at the wedding; they deal with Littlefinger and even he hasn't backstabbed them (yet).
  • The powerful figures in the house are women. Everything the Tyrells have done in the books has revolved around Margaery, but she is no Sansa-esque pawn being played. Margaery turns Tommen against his mother, resists Cersei's intrigues and is adored by the people of King's Landing for doing basically nothing. The Queen of Thorns is the mastermind of the House, pulling all the strings (most notably being the most likely candidate to have poisoned Joffrey), and proclaiming that "all men are fools". Meanwhile, everyone seems to view Mace Tyrell as nothing more than a self-important gasbag. To quote Cersei again, "his sigil ought to be a fat man sitting on his arse."
  • The Tyrells are not too proud to bow. Other houses care deeply about how they are perceived in the realm - Ned insists on being seen as honourable and not letting the Lannisters one-up him; Tywin is obsessed with the name Lannister being associated with greatness; Viserys insists on being treated like royalty despite having no power. All of these figures are brought down by their insistence on perception. The Tyrells are more obsessed with actually having power, even if they have to kneel and grovel when needed in order to achieve it.
  • When Margaery marries Tommen, the Tyrells have won a grand total of one battle yet are arguably the most powerful faction in Westeros. This is not a house that gets what it wants on the battlefield, despite the valour of Mace's sons Loras and Garlan, the great strategic mind and fierce battle prowess of his bannermen Mathis Rowan and Randyll Tarly, and the sizeable army the Reach can muster. Instead it is by arriving at the right place at the right time and playing the politics game that the Tyrells have advanced from mere stewards to rulers.
  • This is not a faction that falls to in-fighting. Disagreement between Sansa and Ned gets the latter beheaded in book one, and Catelyn and Robb wrangle back and forth. The Greyjoys fight amongst themselves with their Kingsmoot. Doran's "long plan" is in danger of falling apart due to issues between him and Arianne. Most notably, the Lannisters are in complete control after Blackwater Bay, yet in-fighting between Tywin and his children and Tyrion and Cersei (and Jaime and Cersei, and Kevan and Cersei, and everyone and Cersei) allows the united Tyrells to take control of proceedings. Everyone in the faction is loyal and knows their place, and the house goes from strength to strength because of this.
On top of these, it's worth noting that in terms of actions, at the start of the books the head of the house is Renly, despite Renly obviously being a Baratheon. He is the figure they back and support in words and in deeds - both militarily and providing him a bride. Their initial success lives and dies with Renly.

Given all this, what do I expect to see from the Tyrells in 2nd edition?

Firstly, from a character standpoint, Mace should not be the head of the faction. That honour should go to Renly, with Margaery his second and Olenna supporting them. I could almost see Mace Tyrell as a 1st Edition Core Set Viserys-esque card, running away from danger whenever he can. I also expect a suitably flashy Knight of Flowers, the jousting superstar who makes the ladies swoon - possibly a reprint of the version who claims power for attacking alone from Tourney for the Hand. Filling out the lower cost slots should be bannermen like Randyll Tarly and Mathis Rowan, as well as possibly Margaery's ladies-in-waiting, Elinor and Megga. Finally on Renly, though I think he should be the head of the house, Tyrell strategies should not revolve around him - they don't in the books, after all. Let's see him be nice to have around, but not mourned too heavily when he's gone.

From a strategy standpoint, though the Tyrells have a strong military presence this should not be how they profit in the game, as it isn't in the books. A house as famous for the ineptitude of its ruler in battle as it is for its success in the court, the Tyrells should benefit heavily from winning intrigue challenges and not at all for military (with power being neither a strength nor a weakness). A potential effect could be for a prominent character, most likely Margaery or Olenna, to gain power for winning intrigue challenges, in the manner of the Lions of the Rock Cersei Lannister - in fact, isn't that Cersei's exact text a perfect fit for the Queen of Thorns?

The times when the house makes the greatest leaps forward are playing prominent supporting roles - the most obvious being saving the Lannisters at Blackwater, though merely supporting Renly should not be overlooked. With this in mind, I would like to see the faction be strong in the Melee format, benefiting from helping other players. Maybe an effect along the lines of "[STR pump] a character controlled by another player. If that player wins the challenge, claim a power", or alternatively "choose an opponent, you and that player each draw 2 cards".

With their willingness to kneel if it benefits them, effects in the manner of "kneel to do X" seem entirely appropriate. Additionally, with the introduction of a "loyalty" mechanic to the game, it would be good to see the bulk of Tyrells stay loyal to the Reach. Let's not have any squabbles now.

The Tyrells never have their image tarnished in the books, and I expect the same in 2nd edition - while defence is clearly a theme for other factions, claim-lowering effects and perhaps even cancel seem a likely route for the faction to go. This could also be demonstrated through a stand-theme, and maybe a general resilience to typical soft-control effects. Finally, with all their resources they have available to them, I expect either a reserve-raising effect or draw.

Even more so than these other speculative articles, I do not know what to expect from the Tyrells in 2nd edition. However, if they are representative of the books, I do know this much - I will gravitate strongly towards them from the outset, and I won't understand why. What do you think?


JCWamma has been playing A Game of Thrones since December 2011, and his love of the Tyrells began the moment he first read a scene with The Queen of Thorns.

Expect another author's take on another faction in the near future. When FFG™ officially releases more information about the House Tyrell faction, we'll have another look.

  • WWDrakey, Amuk, emptyrepublic and 12 others like this


21 Comments

 

 

isn't that Cersei's exact text a perfect fit for the Queen of Thorns?

 

It really... really is.

 

While I might have minor quibbles on the in-fighting (the Army supporting Renly splits ~down the middle, although the Tyrells themselves don't), I found myself agreeing a lot, and enjoying the article tremendously. I do think your Tyrells need more weaknesses, though! Maybe a Greyjoy Unopposed Challenge to the Shield Islands? A hasty storming of Dragonstone?

 

Writing this up with so little (aside from the books) to go on can't have been easy, so thanks!

    • JCWamma likes this

Nice article James!

 

A big difference I find between Lannister and Tyrell when it comes to intrigue is that Lannister's on the spotlight while Tyrell is completely under the radar.  I think Lannister will represent more direct and open "intrigue" information while Tyrell will have more "sneaky" and hidden intrigue information.  So, maybe Tyrell will be strong on the front of cards being played from their hands(or other means of hidden information) as a result of intrigue prowess while Lannister will have more of their intrigue options printed on cards in play?

 

I think you're right when you say that Tyrell does it's best work in support of others.  Perhaps that is where they will be shining.   However, it does sounds pretty characteristic of a Frey, doesn't it?  Haha.  Doing what it takes for self-preservation, but instead they are looking further ahead for more power.

    • JCWamma likes this

It really... really is.

 

While I might have minor quibbles on the in-fighting (the Army supporting Renly splits ~down the middle, although the Tyrells themselves don't), I found myself agreeing a lot, and enjoying the article tremendously. I do think your Tyrells need more weaknesses, though! Maybe a Greyjoy Unopposed Challenge to the Shield Islands? A hasty storming of Dragonstone?

 

Writing this up with so little (aside from the books) to go on can't have been easy, so thanks!

 

Weaknesses? But they're the best house and are perfect and all the other houses should lose to them all the time! :D

    • WWDrakey, emptyrepublic and LaurenF like this

Really enjoying these articles so far Wamma. Thanks for organizing it. These articles give us just enough to spark our imagination while waiting for 2nd editions release. Kudos my friend!

    • JCWamma likes this
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JohnyNFullEffect
Mar 17 2015 03:28 PM

I wonder if they will focus on being Allies to other factions?  Most of their non-loyal cards are actually better as allies in other houses.  But they do need something to make the faction playable and great.

 

Maybe they don't out of the box.  Look at Conquest:  Orks and AM were way better as allies than main factions out of the core set.  Only recently with a War Pack cycle did they start to get the cards they needed to stand on their own.  Sounds a little like the story of the Tyrell's...

    • JCWamma likes this

What's that smell in the air?

 

Ah, Roses...

    • JCWamma likes this

Nice write-up, I like the article. But:

Renly head of the house? Never.

He is more of an puppy the Tyrells (Margaery and Olenna) adopted to get some claim for the throne.

They moved him around and made him things he didn't even want to (like, sleep with Margaery).

I think, they would made him feel like he was in charge, but like Mace, he just wouldn't be.

I think Olenna should be head of the house.

    • JCWamma, Flint and Zouavez like this

Great content, even though we have to rely on speculation for now. I'm agreed with DarkBlue too.

    • JCWamma likes this

I agree that Renly shouldn't be the focus of the house. I want the game to be more focused on the full story not just the first two books. Renly didn't have a big enough impact to be the main focus of Tyrell. Hopefully this gets discussed in the Martell discussion but I hope to see Doran and not the Viper to be the focus of Martell in 2.0 for the same reason. 

    • JCWamma and VonWibble like this
One thing I see Tyrell possibly getting it reserve value manipulation. They are supposed to be rich and have loads of land and food, and a large army, after all.

And I agree with the above poster, Olenna should be head of house.

And they should have cards for Left and Right in the core set.
    • JCWamma likes this

the circlejerk is strong in this one.

    • CameronD likes this
Great article, thanks a lot pal!
    • JCWamma likes this

Ha, that picture looks familiar!

    • JCWamma likes this

Aw crap, I meant to credit 2c1c in the article. I'll edit it in, sorry man.

Wonderful read. I do love these articles and what more experienced players think/speculate for 2nd Edition.

    • JCWamma likes this

There is new evidence for confirmation of House Tyrell and Night's Watch.

Just look up the forum in the 2nd Edition thread.

    • JCWamma and Ironswimsuit like this
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Ironswimsuit
Mar 19 2015 11:50 AM
    • JCWamma likes this

That looks like Lady Olenna behind Robert Baratheon.  Looks like she will be the head of their house if 7 gold cost is meant to represent that.

Oh, I was just giving you crap, Wamma. No worries, man.

No doubt, but I did mean to credit you guys and it completely slipped my mind. Still, I guess it's entirely superfluous now! :P

Great article, James. As a fellow House Tyrell fan I particularly enjoyed reading this. It has always frustrated me that I couldn't put a competitive tournament-level Tyrell-based deck together from 1st edition, even though the deck is aesthetically really pleasing to look at given that the Tyrell cards boast some of the series' best artwork in my view. So the prospect of them being a faction in their own right is very exciting... In terms of game play I fully agree with the various posts on here about Tyrell being the lords (or rather the ladies) of intrigue, and covert ones at that. So maybe something along the lines of "when house Tyrell player initiates an intrigue challenge, defenders must be declared first" etc. Also think the alliance aspect could be another key USP for Tyrell, with their ability to form seemingly unlikely alliances with an ease that no other house can match. So how about "House Tyrell decks may include up to [X] loyal cards from one other faction, ignoring the usual restriction". Finally, thinking of Margaery and her charming ways when it comes to kings, how about an effect that gives her a strength boost for each lord or king character controlled by the defending player...coupled with a reduction for each lady or queen character?
    • JCWamma and Kennon2nd like this