My girlfriend and I are big fans of Game of Thrones. We’re huge fans of Game of Thrones. We are such big fans of Game of Thrones we spent our 5th Anniversary in Croatia doing a Game of Thrones Tour. Recently, we went to a convention just to meet Yara Greyjoy, Podrick Payne, and Hodor. We have posters, wooden wall art and pop vinyls. We have a small version of both Jon’s and Brienne’s swords. We are enormous fans of Game of Thrones. We have been there, done that, and got the t-shirts.
Here are some pictures to prove what I say is true. We love Game of Thrones. We are, as our Dubrovnik Tour Guide called us, Thronies.
See? I wasn’t lying.
Needless to say, and since you read the title you know where this is going, when the Card Game came out, or the Second Edition to be precise, we jumped at the opportunity to play it and start collecting.
The Best House
When talking about the best house in Game of Thrones, everyone has their opinion. Some like the Greyjoys, some the Starks, some the Lannisters. There are some huge names and even bigger characters, and because of that it is actually incredibly easy to forget about some of the biggest houses even though they are so influential to the plot. For instance, and again you should see where this is going seeing as what the title is, it is really easy to forget about the Baratheons.
The Baratheons are the catalyst in Game of Thrones. Without them there would be no Game nor would there be a Throne. Or there would be both, but neither related. The Baratheons (along with the Lannisters) start the whole ball rolling, but of course their lineage predates the show. Robert Baratheon is the successor of the Targaryen rule, and with the aid of Jamie “the King Slayer” Lannister he manages to take control of the Iron Throne. He is then bumped off by Cercei and her minions and the Game begins.
But let’s talk about another Game – the CARD Game. Yeah, smooth transition. There has been a trend over the past couple of years of Lannister, Greyjoy, and Targaryen decks winning tournaments. It has, until recently, been considered that Night’s Watch are weak and the other houses are support houses. They aren’t worth playing.
That being said, I disagree. I love using Baratheon as a house, and there are a few reasons as to why.
Why Play Baratheon?
To make this simpler I thought I would put this in bullet points. So here we go, reasons to play Baratheon:
- Robert Baratheon is a badass. No, I’m not just talking about the TV show, but generally. Robert is, like with the mythos actually, one of the few characters who can take on The Mountain. The Mountain, in the card game, has a Strength of 10. He is really difficult to beat in combat; however Robert gains +1 Strength for every kneeling character in play. Note, that isn’t just with your characters, but everyone’s characters. In a melee match this means Robert can conceivably get a strength of 20+. It’s incredible when you think about it that such a character can be in the game.
- Ser Barristan Selmy makes the perfect support for Robert. Ser Barristan has the ability that if he is used and is knelt, rather than having to kill another character you simply stand Ser Barristan. That’s right, you get to use him twice, as well as not kill a character. So long as you keep using Ser Barristan Selmy, and don’t get him killed, you can keep Robert alive with an insane amount of power. Of course, when Barristan stands, Robert loses one strength, but that is inconsequential when he is still the most powerful character on the table.
- Ser Davos Seaworth is immortal. Ser Davos is impossible to kill, except when a card that forces characters to be discarded from a hand is played. Whenever Ser Davos is killed he just returns to the hand. That’s it. He can’t die and that is absolutely freaking awesome. Of course, the Baratheon’s own Moon Boy can mess that up, as he can force a card to be discarded, but the simple solution is not to to take Moon Boy.
- Maester Cressen can destroy the Martells. Maester Cressen is fantastic at getting rid of attachments and conditions. This means that he is incredibly useful, once again, at keeping the Super Robert alive. He is a superb character who is defensive enough to be of real use.
Melisandre can automatically Kneel Characters. So there are plus sides and negative sides to the Red Woman. With her in play, after you marshal or play a R’hllor card, you can choose and kneel a character. It doesn’t matter who, but what this does is take R’hllor cards and turns them into personal nukes. Facing The Mountain? Not anymore. Note that she does need a lot of R’hllor cards to make her truly worthwhile and they are quite hard to come across.
Those are very strong reasons to choose Baratheon. Essentially, the idea is bulk up Robert and use combos of other cards to keep him alive.
Baratheons have one large problem and that problem is with money. That is their main issue; however, they can easily be teamed up with House Lannister in order to change that fact. Using non-loyal cards like the Lannisport Moneylender can reverse the Baratheons’ fortune and make cards like Robert and Ser Barristan Selmy more affordable.
This is something I would recommend as doing so also allows for some of the non-loyal Lannister cards to be brought into the deck. The right cards can bring in a fair amount of cash for a Baratheon core.
The other thing is to stock up on all the neutral cards that allow for cash. This includes, I am afraid, Littlefinger, who can help bring money in. Once again, solving the Baratheon money problem.
Interestingly, the best deck I ever played was a “Start of Season 1” deck, where I recreated the characters at the start of Season 1 (or Book One for you purists out there) using Baratheon as a main faction and Lannister as a banner faction. It was a really enjoyable deck, walking over Greyjoy and Night’s Watch. I would whole heartedly recommend the combination.
So there you go, my reasons why I love playing Baratheon. I will do a post at some point breaking them down further, but for now that is my logic. I hope you see the value in the Baratheon deck like I do.