“Joffrey, when your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you. And any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king at all. Aerys never understood that, but you will. When I’ve won your war for you, we will restore the king’s peace and the king’s justice.” – Tywin Lannister
The Lannisters are the richest and certainly the most powerful of all the families in the Seven Kingdoms, not least thanks to their gold mines in the west. Also called Lords of the West or Lions of the Rock, they descend from an ancient line of the First Men, and are feared not only for their military power, supported by their immense fortune, but also and above all for their skill in intrigue. For them, the end always justifies the means. And since they do not lack ambition, they never hesitate to use all the means at their disposal to achieve their goals, whether it is to work in broad daylight in an official court or into Shadowss of an alleyway…
Because for them, everything is crystal clear: in the game of thrones, you win or you die, there is no middle ground.
In Game of Thrones: The Card Game, House Lannister is a versatile faction with a clear tendency to schemes and plots. They have access to a wide range of powerful characters such as Cersei, Jaime and Tywin Lannister, as well as the terrifying Gregor Clegane, allowing them to defend themselves in all three domains of combat. This fact is even more reinforced by their impressive financial power. However, it would be a serious mistake to reduce the Lannisters to their gold mines. Indeed, their strength lies in the effect of surprise and in exploiting the opponent’s weaknesses. Patiently biding their time, they strike where it hurts most, when the enemy least expects it.
In the first edition, the Infamy keyword allows Lannister characters to accumulate power over them rather than over your house card. This prevents the opponent from taking that power from you while allowing other effects to be triggered. Therefore it is important to protect your Infamous characters with sacrificial troops and other defensive effects. In addition to this, Lannisters have a range of events and other cards to turn the tables in their favour with some great moves.
In the second edition, the Lannisters are once again the richest and most scheming faction, with which it is easy to deploy a large force very quickly to take the opponent by storm and crush him. But they also have a fearsome ability to create surprise with numerous characters with the keyword Ambush and other events. By always keeping gold in stock, you’ll leave your opponent under pressure, wondering what kind of insane trick you’re holding in your hand.
First Edition Deck – Joust – Hiring the Mountain Clansmen
“I try to know as many people as I can. You never know which one you’ll need.” – Tyrion Lannister
Lannister are unscrupulous and recruit all available blades. In this rather military deck based on the Clan trait, the formidable synergies of Tyrion’s henchmen will make the enemy tremble under an avalanche of challenges. Financial dominance will be a determining factor, and the deck also has effects that take advantage of a low number of cards in hand.
Tyrion Lannister is one of the keys to this deck, allowing all Clan characters already knelt to attack with him. Moreover, he can be saved from death by kneeling one of them, so always keep a few of them standing, for example with Mountain Tactics and Tyrion’s Thug, to ensure his safety.
On the financial side, the Inn at the Crossraods will provide you with a substantial income as soon as you have enough Clan characters in play.
This extra gold will strengthen your advantage with Secret Orders, Ser Addam Marbrand and Lord Tyrion’s Host to attack with even more strength.
Timett Son of Timett prevents your knelt Clan characters from being killed, while your many Deadly characters will be able to clean up your opponent’s mess, even in defence thanks to Bronn and Shagga Son of Dolf.
Finally, some discard effects will strengthen you even more and allow you to activate other effects if you have fewer cards than your opponent, for example with Black Ears or The Burned Men.
Take care of Crawn Son of Calor and the Milk Snakes, they will allow you to recover your discarded characters.
First Edition Deck – Melee – into Shadows of King’s Landing
“You want to be hand of the king? You want to rule? This is what ruling is. Lying on a bed of weeds ripping them out by the root one by one before they strangle you in your sleep” – Cersei Lannister to Tyrion Lannister when he asks about babies and children being killed for their supposed Baratheon blood.
Intrigue is commonplace in King’s Landing, both in the sordid streets and in the highest spheres of power, and the Lannisters are there like a fish in water. In this resolutely shadowy, intriguing and disruptive deck, you have plenty of cards into Shadows to surprise your opponent.
Start by putting two cards into Shadows for free thanks to the City of Lies plot, ideally in the first round if possible.
This orientation of the deck can be combined with places like King’s Landing (to draw cards), the Tunnels of the Red Keep (to reinforce your characters) and The Red Keep for influence.
Cersei Lannister is one of the keys of this deck to kneel opposing characters with your cards into Shadows. For more efficiency, the deck comes with strong initiative plots. Accumulating power over Jaime Lannister thanks to Infamy will allow you to defeat opposing characters even better than just kneeling them, while The Hound will increase his strength even more with your cards into Shadows.
Jaqen H’ghar and Qyburn are the elements of surprise to be brought out of Shadows to use the opponent’s dead, while Tywin Lannister allows you to send your cards back into Shadows to better bring them out when the time is right.
Other kneeling or disruptive effects such as Turncloak Mercenaries, Varys or Misinformation ensure easily won challenges, especially in intrigue.
The Edit of the Rock plot makes it even more interesting to kneel opposing characters, while many other plots such as Frey Hospitality benefit from your intrigue victories.
Finally, play The Iron Throne to drive the nail in, paralyse your opponents and win.
Second Edition Deck – Never Change a Winning Team
“I will hurt you for this. I don’t know how yet, but give me time. A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid.” – Tyrion Lannister to Cersei Lannister
This treacherous deck makes intensive use of intrigue challenges while having a decent ability to fight military and power challenges. As a true Lannister deck, it also has a lot of surprise effects including cards with the Ambush keyword to disrupt the enemy plans during challenges.
The agenda The Rains of Castamere allows you to reveal new plots after winning an intrigue challenge for deadly effects, such as The Red Wedding or Wildfire Assault.
Casterly Rock, combined with Cersei Lannister and Myrcella Baratheon, is the base structure of this deck that will allow you to win many intrigue challenges and empty your opponent’s hand.
These numerous intrigue challenges will earn you precious gold thanks to Tyrion Lannister, thus allowing to play Ambush cards such as Burned Men or The Hound.
In military challenges, you have Ser Jaime Lannister and the terrible Ser Gregor Clegane to defend, but you might also prefer to let the enemy win and strike back with Podrick Payne to kill an important attacking character.
Don’t forget to play duplicates or Bodyguard on your important characters before wiping the table with Valar Morghulis, if your opponent’s troops begin to be a serious threat.
Finally, use Alchemist’s Guidhall, The Red Keep and Treachery against the most dangerous enemy abilities. You can even use these to prevent your opponent from using your The Red Wedding plot!
Oh, and don’t forget to grin at your enemy once you have snatched victory out of low blows.