“What are our words? Our words? “We do not sow”. We are ironborn. We’re not subjects, we’re not slaves, we do not plough the fields or toil in the mine, we take what is ours. Your time with the wolves has made you weak.” ― Balon Greyjoy to Theon Greyjoy.
Salt. Iron. Wind. Raids. Four words that might be enough to present House Greyjoy. Isolated from the main landmass of Westeros, and yet close enough to be part of the Seven Kingdoms, the Iron Islands are the inhospitable home of the most famous sailors and raiders of the world. The deeds of Euron Crow’s Eye and Victarion Greyjoy are heard of – and feared – in many ports. House Greyjoy is probably the faction that desires independence the most among the houses of Westeros. Their warlike temperament has pushed them to secede from the Iron Throne more than once, and although it never ended well for them, they have kept their importance as the most powerful fleet of Westeros and thanks to their ability to create surprise with sudden, violent raids. They might not be the most powerful house, but they are certainly to be accounted for.
In Game of Thrones: The Card Game, House Greyjoy embodies speed at its perfection. More often than not, their strategy relies on seizing victory even before the opponent has had the time to set his strategy up. To achieve this, they heavily rely on high initiative plots, unopposed challenges and other effects to maximize the effect of surprise. They are obviously not well versed into intrigue and other schemes, and instead put all their efforts in killing enemy characters without mercy through sudden attacks. Once that’s done, they may claim power and reap what others have sown.
In the first edition, the Intimidate keyword is very often the key to Greyjoy victories in challenges. A few strong characters can win easily unopposed challenges and reap victory with many effects triggered by unopposed challenges. In addition to that, as true raiders they have many interesting Warship locations, and as ways to cripple the opponent’s economy, by discarding or even taking control of locations. This adds up nicely to their high speed plots and other effects such as discarding directly from the opponent’s deck.
In the second edition, House Greyjoy has remained the fastest faction in terms of game mechanics. They have as many effects as before to benefit from unopposed challenges, including the new Pillage keyword, and effects to kill enemy characters. They still have many ship locations that can participate in challenges, but also have powerful characters, such as the old and dire Balon Greyjoy, but also his brothers, Victarion the Lord Captain of the Iron Fleet, who reinforces your Greyjoy ships, and Euron Crow’s Eye who can muster enemy discarded locations.
First Edition Deck – Joust – The Raiders of Euron Crow’s Eye
“I shall give you Lannisport. Highgarden. The Arbor. Oldtown. The riverlands and the Reach, the kingswood and the rainwood, Dorne and the marches, the Mountains of the Moon and the Vale of Arryn, Tarth and the Stepstones. I say we take it all! I say, we take Westeros.” – Euron Crow’s Eye at the kingsmoot
Dominate the clashes thanks to the infamous Raiders led by Euron Crow’s Eye. The Raiders trait and the Stealth keyword are the backbone of this deck, along with unopposed challenges and location control.
Euron Crow’s Eye gives Stealth to all Raider characters attacking with him, so if you don’t have him in your starting hand, either do a mulligan or go fetch him with Summoning Season.
To win even more unopposed challenges, gain more Stealth with Support of Harlaw and Longship Silence, or use attachments such as Fishing Net.
You can also reinforce your Raiders with Longship Grief and Training Vessel. If your opponent dares to defend, kill weak characters with Nightfall.
Once you’ve managed to win unopposed challenges, trigger nice effects such as those of Orkmont Port, Iron Fleet Captain or Longship Nightflyer.
To cripple your opponent’s winning machine, prevent him from using his most important locations making good use of Newly Made Lord and The Drumm, and kill his important characters with Orkmont Reaver.
Finally, to establish your dominance and achieve victory in a crushing last blow, play Assertion of Might ideally combined with the Rise of the Kraken plot.
First Edition Deck – Melee – The Iron Fleet
“Words are wind, and the only good wind is that which fills our sails.” — Victarion to his captains
Led by Victarion Greyjoy, the Iron Fleet has a large number of Warship locations with formidable effects. Your opponent’s strategy will be disrupted by the fact that you will mostly rely on locations to win your challenges.
This deck relies more on locations than characters, so depending on the situation you can limit the impact of opposing characters and take advantage with plots such as Fortified Position and The Aftermath.
Iron Islands Marines or Longship Maiden’s Bane can directly participate in challenges, putting pressure on your opponent. If you can add Outfitted for War to them, they will become an even more serious threat.
Longship Grey Ghost will help to prevent the enemy from declaring too many defenders while other warships like Longship Iron Victory or Longship Foamdrinker multiply the effects of your victories.
Victarion Greyjoy’s strength will become unstoppable thanks to your numerous Warships and cards like Naval Escort.
You also have a few cheap characters that combine perfectly with Warships, such as Fishwhiskers, Gran Goodbrother and Grey on Goodbrother.
To even more reinforce your fleet use Command the Winds that you’ll be able to get back to your hand easily, or the amazing We Do Not Sow in case of a really difficult challenge.
As soon as you have deployed a large fleet thanks to the victory effects of First Mate or Set Sail, Dagmer Cleftjaw will ensure you systematically gain dominance to send the opponent to the bottom as an offering to the Drowned God.
Second Edition Deck – We Do Not Have Time To Sow
“No fight is hopeless till it has been fought. I have the best claim. I am the heir of Balon’s body.” – Asha Greyjoy to Rodrik Harlaw.
The ability to win in less than 4 turns is the best way to describe the strategy of this deck. Rather than trying to cripple the opponent’s economy or to kill his characters, this deck focuses on the only thing that really matters: lightning-fast power struggle. High initiative plots and other effects ensure you will gain power faster than your enemy would expect, ending the game even before it really started. The agenda Lord of the Crossing is the backbone ability upon which all the deck relies. Attack relentlessly, lose maybe one challenge at first, and reap the bloody fruits of your victories during your third challenge.
To secure easy unopposed challenges you have a lot of Stealth granted by Syrio Forel, Master Wendamyr and Wildling Scout.
If that wasn’t enough, Balon Greyjoy will intimidate opposing characters and Raiding Longship will negate their strength while Asha Greyjoy will stand to attack again.
Theon Greyjoy, Great Kraken and Superior Claim will give you even more power when winning power challenges.
The Iron Mines and Risen from the Sea will ensure to keep your most important characters alive.
Against dangerous attachments or character abilities, use the Weapons at the Door plot or the Nightmares event.
If all goes well, you will be around 10 power by turn 2, that’s when you would play The Rise of the Kraken to achieve a blazing victory with a last challenge.
If things get a bit more complicated, and your opponent has managed to muster a big army, play either Wildfire Assault to wipe most of it or Calling the Banners to muster your reinforcements.