Song of Ice & Fire – Building a Tywin Lannister Army
Today we look at building a Armylist of the Lion with the man himself – Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock.
In my previous article, I gave you guys the rundown for how I go about building army lists. I always start with the Commander first and then try to take units that best take advantage of their tactics cards. Well, I decided to get the party started with my favorite character from GoT: Tywin Lannister. Lannisters, in general, have a ton of control elements and I think Tywin just adds to the flavor in a big way. He is a battlefield commander so that means you put him with your frontline troops in any one of the units that he can be taken in. Since he’s considered an infantry character, you have to put him in one of your infantry units. I decided to put Tywin inside a unit of Mountain Men because they have a pretty respectable save of 4+. Besides, having two chances to apply Panic-based damage is great. More on this later.
For now, let’s take a look at Tywin himself and his Tactics cards to see what he offers us:
From the get-go, you can see that Tywin is all about making your opponents’ units Weakened and then exploiting those tokens and effects to your advantage. Immediately, you can see that Tywin’s Commander card has built-in Lannister Supremacy and Fear of the Lion. Fear of the Lion combos really nicely with Tywin’s tactics cards because it allows him to place a free Weaken token on any enemy unit within Long Range of his unit when he activates. I put him with Mountain Men because MMs already have built-in Vicious so on the offense, they can make opponents take Panic Tests with a -2 modifier. When they attack back, Tywin’s Lannister Supremacy makes it so if I roll a 7+ on my Panic test, my opponent has to take another test at -2 again. This is some pretty silly free damage if my opponent rolls poorly and can also be a form of damage negation because the more models they lose to Panic checks, the less damage they will do because of the ranks lost. Throw Weaken on top of this from Tywin and it becomes a force multiplier.
The Tactics cards themselves are very nasty. Exploit Weakness is a perfect example of a card that kicks your opponent when they’re down. If you spend the Weaken token, you can force your opponent re-roll all of their successful hits and any 1s to pop up will deal automatic wounds to their unit on top of whiffing on their attacks. This is extremely effective at taking down heavy cavalry because it essentially turns that units attack into wounds that bypass saves. The Lion’s Wrath is a great card because it affects ALL enemy units on the board that has Weaken on them and it lasts until the end of the round. You will hear me say this a lot, but anything that lasts an entire round is super good. Players take alternating turns activating their units, but rounds last after all player turns are finished. This means that for the duration of the round, anything Weakened on the battlefield will be moving -1 movement AND suffering Disorderly Charge on a roll of 1-2. First, this card auto-applies a Weaken effect anywhere on the board, but Disorderly Charge is super frustrating when it happens. Another example of Lannisters kicking you while you’re down, but Disorderly Charge robs you from your ability to re-roll hits on a Charge AND essentially silences you for the rest of that unit’s turn. Players cannot play Tactics cards for the remainder of that unit’s action, and if you miss the actual charge itself, that unit has to take a Panic test. Lastly, we have Lannister Intimidation. This is pretty much a hard silence on the enemy unit and all of its attachments until the end of the round. Again, end of the round here folks, Tywin doesn’t F around. Almost everything he does is centered around making your opponents’ units weaker while giving slightly leveraging your battlefield position.
As for unit selection, there are quite a few things you can do and I think Tywin is one of the more flexible commanders for how you want to build the list. To make things a little easier, let me first start off by saying that you should probably take Pycelle as your first NCU. Pycelle is incredible with Tywin because he puts Weaken tokens on your opponents when he claims a zone. This is exactly what Tywin needs when playing his Tactics cards and Pycelle on the Tactics zone after The Lion’s Wrath will see 3 enemy units Weakend on a single turn. Now, Varys is pretty much one of the best NCUs in the game IMO. His ability is incredibly good even if you only have a limited amount of Order tokens. The ability to stop a crucial game-altering tactics board play or NCU ability from triggering when claiming a zone can be huge. Since Lannisters is a control-heavy faction in general, you will see me playing Varys a lot in my lists.
The Tywin List
Alright, enough talk, here’s the list:
Faction: House Lannister
Commander: Tywin Lannister – Lord of Casterly Rock
Points: 40 (4 Neutral)
• Lannister Guardsmen (5)
with Assault Veteran (1)
• House Clegane Mountain Men (6)
with Tywin Lannister – Lord of Casterly Rock (0)
• House Clegane Mountain Men (6)
with Assault Veteran (1)
• Lannister Crossbowmen (6)
• Knights of Casterly Rock (8)
• Pycelle – Grand Maester (3)
• Lord Varys – The Spider (4)
Made with ASOIAFBuilder.com
As you can see, I have quite a bit of diversity in there with 7 total activations (5 combat and 2 NCUs). Combat activations matter for deployment, but total activations matter for how much control you have over the board state. That will be its own article at another time, but this isn’t the first time I’ve played a minis game where activation and unit activation order matters a lot. Anyways, let’s take a look at the rest of the list I have here: You will see Guardsman with Assault Vet, Tywin in MM and another unit of MM because they’re a rock-solid unit. Assault Veterans because I love the aggression and they are great with Tywin because Weaken basically ensures that there will be a second round of combat and your guys will attrition quite well. For the Guardsman, you can also choose to bring along a Guard Captain to auto-pass Panic and therefore guarantees Lannister Supremacy every time.
When it comes to rounding out the rest of the army, Crossbowmen are there so they can pick off enemy units from range. From here, you can generally branch into any direction you want to bring for the meta. You can take another unit of Lannister Guards, another unit of MM, but for diversity and the ability to harass objectives, I decided to go with Xbows. If you think about it, if you’re running a pretty aggressive infantry army, having 7 shots of Sundering from Long Range that hits on 3s is no joke. On top of that, I’ve decided to go wih a unit of Knights of Casterly Rock because they’re a pretty decent unit to have for the points. Some people don’t like them because you need to play them well and they’re not push and win like the Flayed Men, but if you get them on the flank of a combat you need to win, you will like them a lot. They’re designed to win on the charge so if you’re not destroying units on the charge, think about saving them until you do or else you’ll have to waste turns (or Manuever on the Tactics Board) to set them up again.
Stay tuned for my next article where I cover one of my favorite Stark lists to play right now!