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Crying and How to Get Over It

For a mere 1 gold, Tears is able to effectively kill off a lot of big characters that your opponent has at their disposal. Almost every single faction has an expensive (5 gold or more for the sake of argument) character that Tears can effectively take out. Stark has Grey Wind, Eddard, and Robb. Tyrell has Randyll Tarly and Knight of Flowers. Greyjoy has Asha & Balon. Night's Watch has Old Bear Mormont & Benjen Stark. Baratheon has Robert & Stannis. Targaryen only has one prominent target in Khal Drogo. All of the expensive Lannister and Martell characters have an intrigue icon so Tears is less effective against these factions.

With your opponent spending 1 gold to take out 5 or more of your own gold, Tears of Lys is one of the most, if not the most, crippling plays in the game so far. How does one combat against this? How do you counter players who will do all that they can to make sure your Tears can't be played?
If you're not playing Lannister or Martell, you need to address your intrigue icon deficiencies. Some factions have it worse than others when it comes to this matter.

The factions with the lowest amount of intrigue icons so far are Stark, Greyjoy, and Night's Watch. If this is the faction you choose to run 3 Little Bird attachments are by far the consensus to shore up the weakness you have in intrigue. Each faction does provide some defense as well against Tears in one way or another.

For Stark, Like Warm Rain is a fantastic counter to intrigue attacks. Direwolves aren't very plentiful as of yet but when the whole Stark litter is available to use, even a standing Direwolf Pup may give your opponent pause to making an "easy" intrigue challenge. As of now, Stark is the house most susceptible to Tears of Lys.

For Greyjoy, they have an old classic from the 1.0 days, Risen From the Sea. For all intents and purposes it cancels Tears of Lys and gives your character +1 to strength. Best of all, Risen is free to play. Further to that, Aeron Damphair can revive Ironborns so Tears may only be a temporary solution to a big character.

For Night's Watch, Maester Aemon is also able to negate Tears by way of his interrupt ability. Of course, your opponent shouldn't even play Tears if he sees Aemon standing. Preventing your opponent from playing Tears in the first place is desirable to say the least.

Baratheon is in a unique spot when it comes to reducing the effectiveness of Tears. Seen in Flames can cut Tears out of your opponent's hand before they have a chance to use it. Not only that, but everyone's favourite looker Selyse Baratheon can give pseudo protection against Tears for 1 gold. Selyse also has the R'Hllor trait, which allows you to play Seen in Flames.

Tyrell really has no defense against Tears other than having a lot of low cost intrigue icons in Courtesan of the Rose and, assuming you don't ambush her, Olenna's Informant.

Targaryen really doesn't need to fear Tears as much as other houses because, as how I said before, Khal Drogo is really the only big target Tears can hit. Waking the Dragon does provide a defense against Tears if you're the first player for any of your unique Targaryen characters.

Lannister & Martell are the two factions that Tears really doesn't impact as effectively as previously stated. The highest costed Lannister character that Tears can hit is a non ambushed Gold Cloaks or Joffrey Baratheon. For Martell, Obara Sand and Areo Hotah are the biggest targets you can hit with Tears.

For all factions, The Hand's Judgment can give you additional outs to stopping Tears of Lys. The less intrigue icon options you have (Stark, Greyjoy, Night's Watch primarily) the more consideration you should make to putting at least one copy of Hand's Judgment in. Another option is the plot Supporting the Faith. No gold means no Tears. Lastly, the attachment Bodyguard can protect all of your expensive characters from Tears mainly because every 5+ gold character without an intrigue icon can be protected by Bodyguard.

Not surprisingly, but Lannister and Martell are the best factions to play Tears of Lys. Knowing how other houses will try to stop you, what are the best ways to circumvent their plans?

To start off, one of the best plots to use in general is Confiscation. Aside from its versatility in taking out problem attachments on either your characters or your opponent's characters, its main use is removing Little Birds and Bodyguards from large characters so you can play Tears on them. Doubling up on Confiscation would not surprise me as a deckbuilding decision made by players in order to make Tears as effective as possible for your Lannister or Martell deck. Another plot to put in those decks is the A Game of Thrones plot. Play the one copy you're allowed to funnel your opponent's challenges.

Second, a few of the abilities players can use to disrupt you playing Tears comes from character abilities. This brings us to the other ubiquitous staple in the game, Milk of the Poppy. For 1 gold you can blank Selyse Baratheon, Aeron Damphair, and Maester Aemon as far as character abilities are concerned.

Lastly, The Hand's Judgment is just as good to cancel out some of your opponent's answers to Tears as it is to cancel Tears itself. Risen from the Sea, Wake the Dragon, and Seen in Flames can all be prevented rather handily and for a minimal gold cost.

What does a deck look like that embodies playing Tears at maximum efficiency? Here's a first draft:

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition Deckbuilder

Total Cards: (60)


Agenda: (1)
1x Fealty (Core Set)

Plot: (7)
1x A Game of Thrones (Core Set)
2x Confiscation (Core Set)
1x Wildfire Assault (Core Set)
1x Heads on Spikes (Core Set)
1x Summons (Core Set)
1x Taxation (Core Set)

Character: (36)
3x Cersei Lannister (Core Set)
3x Gold Cloaks (Core Set)
3x Grand Maester Pycelle (Core Set)
3x Lannisport Merchant (Core Set)
3x Lannisport Moneylender (Core Set)
2x Littlefinger (Core Set)
3x Ser Jaime Lannister (Core Set)
2x The Queen’s Assassin (Core Set)
3x The Tickler (Core Set)
3x Tyrion Lannister (Core Set)
2x Tywin Lannister (Core Set)
3x Joffrey Baratheon (Core Set)
3x Burned Men (Core Set)

Attachment: (7)
3x Milk of the Poppy (Core Set)
2x Bodyguard (Core Set)
2x Widow’s Wail (Core Set)

Event: (6)
3x Tears of Lys (Core Set)
1x The Hand’s Judgment (Core Set)
2x Treachery (Core Set)

Location: (11)
2x Casterly Rock (Core Set)
2x Lannisport (Core Set)
3x Western Fiefdom (Core Set)
2x The Roseroad (Core Set)
2x The Kingsroad (Core Set)

I hope that this sparks some discussion regarding Tears of Lys and I hope you enjoyed reading my article!
  • Rave, SirDragonBane, scantrell24 and 6 others like this


Nice article. Yeah unfortunately for me at the moment, almost every game I play is against Targ, with the only decent target for Tears of Lys being a duped and bodyguarded Khal Drogo.

Against Greyjoy I tend to target Aeron first. No point hitting someone else if they are only going to come back in dom after all.

Milk can't hit aemon due to the no attachments keyword. 

    • Khudzlin likes this

Nice catch Siroma, I've yet to play against a Night's Watch deck so that fell through the cracks!