Bannermen! We return for another look at the upcoming 2021 Updates.
Michael Shinall here, and we have previously covered both House Baratheon and Neutrals in this faction-focused series, so check out those articles before diving into this one! For today though, we are going to be focusing on the followers of the Dragon-Queen, House Targaryen.
FIRE AND BLOOD
House Targaryen is perhaps the most diverse band of characters in the entire A Song of Ice and Fire universe, with various leaders from literally across the world banding together under the house banner. While Daenerys herself is their queen, each figure usually has their own ambitions and reasons for joining her cause, whether they be loyalists or have more self-serving plots.
One of the core elements seen in the Targaryens is a focus on units that, while individually powerful, did not carry the usual synergies seen among units of other factions: Dothraki served a specific play - style and role, as did Unsullied, as did Dragons, etc etc. While other factions also have “sub-styles” spread across them, they still usually carried a central “theme” . Targaryens meanwhile could be described as a hodgepodge mix of interesting units that function in their own little bubbles.
This element is still present, but we’ve added a bit of a “binder” to help bring it all together. This was achieved specifically when we began evaluating their Commanders. As mentioned in the opening, it was these individuals and their diversities that sparked this style, so we’ve leaned into that by giving House Targaryen a unit trait when it comes to their Commanders: Each of their House Commanders brings with them a set of four Tactics Cards rather than the typical three. How this works is that each Commander has a specific card that replaces one of the Generic Targaryen Tactics cards, further customizing their Tactics Deck to better represent their unique personalities.
Today we’ll take a look at one element of the Targaryens as an example of this in action: The Dorthraki and their fearsome leader himself, Khal Drogo
TARGARYEN TACTICS CARDS
The Generic Targaryen Tactics Cards have a focus on positioning, mobility, and controlling the battlefield via those two methods. Regardless of Commander, these themes will still be present, but a diverse range of “sub-themes” unlock based on exactly who is leading your forces.
OVERRUN: The most aggressive of the mobility cards, having this card as a Generic Tactics card means that once the faction gets moving it can continue its aggressive momentum.
SUDDEN RETREAT: From one end of the spectrum to the other, this is the mirror-side of Overrun; rather than continue the assault, this always for repositioning after an enemy attack.
SWIFT REPOSITION: And completing the trifecta of movement we have Swift Reposition, the new incarnation of Swift Advance. As you can see from just these three cards, the Targaryens have a focus on the Maneuver Zone. Specific Commanders might put a focus on a secondary zone, or carry with them other elements they care about (such as Khal Drogo’s cards being focused on, well, himself).
FIRE AND BLOOD: Charging is perhaps the rawest form of mobility, and Fire and Blood can grant you the full gambit of “offensive” options in that regard.
FIELD CONTROL: Newly introduced into the deck, this is a potent zone replacement that can be used to boost your own effects of Claiming the Maneuver zone but, more interesting, provide a trap for an opponent that tries to deny you the zone: Weakening their own units and drastically reducing the potential movement the zone provides.
UNSTOPPABLE ADVANCE: Terrain is the bane of mobility-based forces, and this card allows the Targaryens to remove it as an obstacle. Alternatively, it also provides additional clearance when Surging Forth, should Overrun not be available or able to be played.
BLOOD OF THE DRAGON: While Targaryens do have access to a number of “cheaper” options when it comes to Combat Unit, losing their key units can really hurt. This card makes their elite that much more elite and their lesser units pack some additional staying power as the game goes on.
KHAL DROGO, THE GREAT KHAL
Now let’s take a moment to go over Drogo’s Commander cards and Attachment. Moving into 2021, Drogo’s Attachment has received a rework, namely in due to other changes that happened across his various units and cards. In his new version he now carries Expert Duelist, showcasing the fact he is one of the deadliest and individually powerful fighters in the setting. Iron Resolve meanwhile displays... Well, his Iron Resolve (which can be argued is actually what led to his death in the narrative... Being overly sure of himself... Spoilers for a 10+ year old book you should have read by now). As far as his individual cards go, they’ve been focused on Drogo’s “lead by example” mindset (ignoring that he literally has a card called “Lead by Example”).
LEAD BY EXAMPLE: When Drogo takes to the battlefield he inspires all those around him, urging them to greater displays of bravery and aggression. Should be slain, however... Well, you can discard it to draw a card.
RIDE-BY ATTACK: While Drogo doesn’t specifically key off of “Dothraki” units, he does make heavy use of Cavalry... Which just happen to make up most of the Dothraki forces. Ride-By Attack combines the best elements of mobility with some damage as well. Why have a fair fight when you’re on horseback?
ADDRIVAT!: Another unique element of (most) Targaryen Commanders is that they tend to have a Tactics Card that allows for the gaining of additional Victory Points... At a risk. With Addrivat you can essentially mark an enemy for death... Should they prove too much for you to handle, however, then your opponent will receive bonus Victory Points instead.
ASSAULT ORDERS: Aggression aggression aggression! This is what you get with Khal Drogo. Of course, Dothraki do not flee (at least that’s what their reputation says) . Drogo replaces the “Sudden Retreat” card from the deck with the ability to gain even more Attacks.
HORSELORDS OF THE GREAT GRASS SEA
Alright, now that we’ve gone over the Tactics available, let’s look at some units that can utilize these benefits (We also showcased some additional units, NCUs and Attachments HERE a few months back) !
DOTHRAKI SCREAMERS: The premier assault option for the faction, Dothraki Screams boast an impressive 3+ to Hit and 5+ Morale . Combine with this Cavalry mobility and Furious Charge and you have quite the assault package. Their weakness however does lie in their Defense Save of 5+ and the fact that, without additional aid through Attachments or Tactics, they do not perform well in prolonged engagements.
DOTHRAKI OUTRIDERS: The mirror - side to the Screamers, the Outriders represent some of the best mounted arch ers in the world. While ranged attacks are already potent on Cavalry, Dothraki bows are also known for their excellent range compared to Westerosi bows (again, should the tales be believed) and here that is represented by the bow’s ability to be shot at Lo ng Range, should the Out riders forgo their bonus movement.
DOTHRAKI VETERANS: Arguably there would be no group more ferocious than the battle-hardened veterans of a Dothraki horde, and that is saying something in a faction also containing Dragons and the Unsullied. In 2021 the Veteran’s tool-kit has been modified, but their overall role still remains the same: They hurt things, and they hurt things bad. Previously, however, they did this solely through charging and melee aggression - but a true veteran is much more adaptive than that. As a result, the focus has been shifted from pure melee to a combination of mobility, charging, and ranged combat. Depending on the Attachment choice, this can prove to be one of the most versatile options available (Oh, and they’re cheaper now as well!)
DOTHRAKI HRAKKAR: We previewed the Hrakkars a while back, so it only felt right to include them today in our Dothraki talks. Providing a cheap flanking option for your army, the Hrakkars act as a deployable “missile” that your opp onent is going to have to deal with or suffer the consequences. While they are pretty fragile, they can make excellent use of most of the Generic Tactics cards available and act as a deadly supplemental unit to your greater horde.
The Dothraki are a powerful element of the Targaryen arsenal, but as mentioned, are only one part of it. Combining these elements with others, such as the Unsullied, dragons, and even Stormcrows, is paramount to a winning strategy. What Targaryen Commander will you field?