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The First Tilt - Which House is For You: Lannister, The Lions of the Rock

Welcome to “The First Tilt”, a blog dedicated to helping new players get their bearings in A Game of Thrones LCG. We’ll be covering a wide variety of topics, from what to buy, basic strategies and tactics, and getting acquainted with basic themes. The next six articles for The First Tilt are going to be dedicated to discussing the various Houses of Westeroes and helping you decide which house is for you. This entry is going to cover House Lannister. Unlike last week’s article, which discussed in detail some of the Stark themes, this article is instead going to take a much broader look at the Lannister themes. But don’t worry, you’ll still learn what you need to know about the Lions of the Rock.

House Lannister is undoubtedly a power to be reckoned with: both in the game and the book series. The Lannisters are one of those families that no one really has a neutral feeling towards, you either love them or hate them. When I initially read the books, I despised them. However, when my wife read the series for the first time, she found the Lannisters to be very relatable and became very fond of them. If this article comes across a little biased, well, I apologize. I’m not a fan of the Lannisters or their money. But let’s move on.

House Lannister is the most powerful house within Westeroes. Current holding the Iron Throne, what few problems Lannister money can’t cure, Lannister steel can. Always a powerful family, the Lannisters really came into their own after Robert’s Rebellion, when Tywin Lannister betrothed his daughter Cersei to Robert Baratheon and securing the Lannister family’s position in court. On top of that, Tywin made numerous loans to the Crown, gaining even power and prestige. With their seat of power in Casterly Rock, the Lannisters don’t rule with an iron fist but a gold finger. Their motto is “Hear Me Roar”.

When you first get the Core Set and are looking at the Lannisters, you see potential. However, until the Lions of the Rock expansion was released, much of the Lannister potential went undeveloped. Sure, there were some strong Lannister builds before, but they really tipped the scales with this new deluxe expansion. The Lions of the Rock brought into play some ridiculously powerful cards. People usually claim that Martell is the undisputed power in the realm, but I think that the Lannisters are about to change all that.

The Lannisters have an interesting House keyword: Infamy. Playing off their celebrity status, the Infamy keyword gives you the option of any time you claim a power for your House, you may instead place on a card with Infamy. This is an interesting trait for several reasons. First, it protects your hard earned power from Power challenges by placing them on Characters. Secondly, there are several abilities that can use the power on Characters for various abilities, which opens up new strategies and tactics for you. However, there are a few setbacks. If you lose the card with Infamy on it, you lose the power that goes with it. And there are several cards out there that can steal power from Characters, so you need to be careful when using the Infamy keyword.

Now I’m going to discuss one Lannister theme in detail and then take a broader view of the Lannister play style as a whole. The theme we’re going to take a closer look at is the Clansmen theme. First introduced in the “Brotherhood Without Banners” cycles, the Clansmen theme is a powerful Military and Power theme. It functions in a similar manner to the Stark’s Direwolf theme, lots of direct kill, lots of raising your Claim Value, lots of ways to avoid of preventing your Characters from dying. “Shagga, Son of Dolf” allows your knelt Clansmen to be declared as defenders. This allows you to attack across the board and still have defenders available to fend off challenges. “The Burned Men” raise your Claim value by 1 if you have fewer cards in hand than your opponent, and with the “Deadly” keyword, they can really devastate your opponents defenses. “Timett, Son of Timett” can really throw a kink in your opponent’s plans by preventing your knelt Clansmen from being killed. The Clansmen theme is a lesson in violence. And you still gain access to the high income cards that the Lannisters have.

But let’s take a broader look at the Lannisters as a whole. The Lannisters can employ a variety of themes. They have a very popular Night’s Watch theme, which fueled by Lannister gold, can become a powerhouse theme. But you could also focus around Army, Knights, Kingsguard, and Maester. There are few themes Lannister money can’t back. However, there are a few key things to remember when focusing on a Lannister build. The first, and most important thing to remember is that the Lannisters, regardless of the theme, will always have a high income each round. Each turn, you should have plenty of gold left over with which to use Location abilities or Event cards. Lannister cards require a lot of gold, but that’s no problem for them. And with the Lannisters, you can literally use your gold to buy power. “Tywin Lannister” from Lions of the Rock can claim 3 Power if you have 4 or more Gold in your gold pool after you win dominance. “Lannisport” from the Core Set literally lets you buy power when you win an Intrigue challenge.

Lannister can do many things, but keep in mind that you'll be focusing mainly around Intrigue challenges and manipulation/control through kneeling other characters, card draw, discard, and gold flow. Almost every Lannister build will reflect this. Lannister is by far the most flexible house in the game. Play around with the various themes and find what suits you the best. Lannister can accommodate almost any play style with the right planning.

That’s going to pretty much sum it up for Lannister. If you were looking for a more detailed analysis, I apologize for that. The Lannisters just cover so much ground that it’s hard to condense it down into a single article. The Lannister’s could and should work for just about any player, so experiment with them. Next week, we’ll discuss House Baratheon, the Kings of the Storm.

Thanks for playing along,


Mar 13 2012 08:42 AM
True true. :D My clansmen are currently the deck to beat among my friends. :D Yesterday we went 2v2 (my Clansmen+Dragons vs two Martells) and our opponents were desperate trying to find the way through my defense without getting killed with my HIGH claim. Didn't really happen cause my deck killed what it could and dragons took the power.
    • BenStark likes this
Nice write-up. Infamy I don't think is much of a selling point, but the variety in deck builds and strategies I would say are. Lannister can muster so much gold now that splashing non-Lannister is trivial and might be worth mentioning as well.
n4m - Yeah, my wife's Clansmen is the current scourge of our Meta. The other players (all men) refer to that deck in hushed tones and fearful reverence.
Snowbird- The point isn't to necessarily sell someone on a House, but to inform them. I think that the Lannisters have the crappiest House Keyword of the lot, but the player needs to know what they can do and expect from Lannister.
Mar 13 2012 03:20 PM
Well I don't think that Infamy is crappy keyword it's just not on the right cards. 3 STR characters are just not good for that and neither is any attachment. You can get rid of attachments pretty easily and low STR chars are easy to burn. Make a 5 STR unique char with printed infamy and you can build a deck around this.
Well, and some of the Lanni uniques can use Infamy well. My point is, that Infamy is the "Weak Point" in the Lannister armor. It's not Stalwart, or Intimidate,or Ambush, or anything like that.
N4m - or, treat Infamy like the drawback everyone thinks it is, print under-costed characters with Infamy (possibly make Infamy compulsory?) and then wait for some Shagga-type to break it. It'd be good for a laugh, at least.

Our local Lannister player plays them mostly because he likes having loads of gold and his favourite card is Lannisport Brothel.
Mar 13 2012 04:51 PM
Mar 13 2012 04:59 PM
Well right now I got an idea how to make clansmen even stronger and how to use Infamy...
Devious Intentions (BoRF) +
Timett Son of Timett (MotM) +
Tyrion Lannister (LotR)

Put Devious intentions on Timett along with Vale Scavenger (MotM) and you've got yourself an immortal Infamy character. Vale scavanger to kneel when needed or kneel to save Tyrion and Timett.
    • i3ullseye likes this
Wow, i am new, and favor Lannister... but this little Clansmen trick is insane.