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Subject: Winning with Lannister rss

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Joe Incognito
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Last night I managed a Lannister win! The win rate of Lannister in our group is now a surprising 2/7. Both victories also came from a different basic approach, so let's talk some Lannister winning strategies!

1. "Go Pyke or go broke!" (untested). Going for Pyke is based on getting complete control over the seas in an area with 4 strongholds and a castle. The hard part is of course getting Greyjoy to abandon it with his strong navy and the valyrian blade. So the second part of this strategy takes advantage of the inability of grejoy to muster. Basicly, you'll be mustering ships all day and praying that no mustering comes up. An early clash of kings can be bad if Greyjoy grabs a star (his goal), but a later clash of king helps as mustering with a star takes another turn to take effect while he'll lose the fiefdoms advantage immediately. Take the sunset sea, attack his one or two ships, take Pyke. Note that you'll want to attack the sea and then Pyke in the same turn (probably using a siege engine from Lannisport) or else a mustering/naval counterattack (who goes first on the iron throne track?) will screw you over.

After that, you'll have complete control over the sea and can take the shores at will. Throw in Harrenhal and with supports in Ironman's bay and Riverrun, you will end the game on at least 6 castles and the strongest tiebreaker possible. Somewhat surprisingly, getting that seventh castle is prevented by very strong supports (Moat calin, Winterfell, Cracklaw point) or by distance, which if spanned will be supported strongly (King's Landing, The Reach, Highgarden). So you'll basicly want to load up a siege train in Seagard and get a high position on the iron throne track so that if (rather: when) web of lies comes up, you'll instantly win.

The strategy is high risk and the moment it fails due a mistake or because of a mustering, Grejoy will utterly crush your fleet and walk over your puny land army for the rest of the game.

2. "The Slowpyke" (Winning) Make the classic peace pact with Grejoy ("early fighting gets us nowhere"), get into your fist of support around stony sept and load op on supply, get Grejoy to go deep against Stark (which he should). Keep your fleet small until Grejoy is weak due to overextending in the north/supply limits and army count/track positions and then rapidly expand your fleet with a CP* the same turn as you take the sunset sea (if you haven't already). Next turn, crush his fleet and take Pyke (you do have a siege engine right?). Exploit your strength at sea and land to take all surrounding castles and you win.

Note that high supply is a must as you'll need both a large knight army for you fist of support, a large fleet to do the crushing with and a siege army. So in the early game, your goal is to get into the blackwater and set up the fist of support before any Baratheon shenanigans. Secondly, you'll need to get power to get into the good fiefdoms/court needed to assault Pyke. As your power farming options are limited, not bidding in the first clash of kings should be considered - provided you are in a 'safe enough' position - as if such a thing exists for Lannister!

3. "Expanding the fist" (Winning - I used it!). Starts out the same as the SlowPyke but instead of going all in on taking Pyke, you'll try to grab 5 castles and win on strongholds on turn 10. You'll go for Lannisport Riverrun, Harrenhal and most likely Seagard + another. With Greyjoy, you'll want 'peace in our times' and let him fully focus on Stark, which may prevent a strong Stark end game.

Focus on getting supply as you'll NEED lot's of armies so again, go for the blackwater. After a couple of musterings you'll end up having a land army of all five knights and two siege engines. While this is happening, focus on shoring up your defenses against a Grejoy invasion using your fleet only. Have three ships in port and two in the golden sound means you can fend of an opportunistic Grejoy strike. In defence + support you'll threaten to use Tywin or Tyrion (against Victarion) while in a counterattack situation you'll threaten Tywin or The Mountain. Do not load up on a big army in Lannisport - you want to prevent Grejoy from being able to reach it. Without an army there, your position looks less threatening to Greyjoy because you won't be able to attack at sea and then take Pyke. Additionally, if he decides to come by sea and wipe out any Lannisport siege engines that he fears, you'll take more land losses. If the worst comes to the worst, you'll still have your support from Stoney Sept that is protecting riverrun as well.

Note that in the second half of the game you'll want two stars at least to (be able to) play support+1 and/or def+2 and a decent fiefdoms position. In the final turn, you'll also NEED three march orders. So again, getting some power and considering not bidding in a first clash of kings is important to achieve this goal.

So under these conditions, you'll want to set up for a last turn strike to Seagard from Riverrun and to Cracklaw Point, King's Landing or The Reach from Blackwater. You'll need two knights in Stoney Sept, two knights in Harrenhal, Siege engines in Blackwater and your last knight goes in the best of these positions. Turn 10, march-1 from one of your knights regions to riverrun while supporting from the other. Attack Seagard from Riverrun and do your final move against an appropriate target from the Blackwater, avoiding a counterattack. Note that your army from the Blackwater will probably need to take out the siege train of Tyrell, who (tries to) use Loras in the same region or simply has an attack on King's Landing. In my game I attacked his siege train in The Reach?

In this setup, I ended up taking Cracklaw Point on turn 9 with a (now doomed) siege engine to a) cycle my cards (don't be a afraid to do some card trading attacks to prepare for turn 10 - you'll NEED your good cards) b) prepare to retake Cracklaw Point if possible on turn 10 using a +5 support from Harrenhall. The area is often strongly supported from the sea... c) have a say in who ends up in Cracklaw point. I had to go early in the turn, so someone else was most likely to take it with Barathean, Stark (and in my case Martell) having a shot at it. In my game, Baratheon took it from me first with two knights, I supported his strong army there against a weaker Stark attack (tried to get Martell/Lannister support as he was also weak) so that I could prevent Martell from taking it as his 6th castle with a strong siege train. This move ultimately won me the game.

The above approach with Seagard is only possible if Grejoy is weak enough in the endgame. If Greyjoy looks strong enough to threaten a counterattack with a third attack, you may want to forego on Seagard and try to do an alternative load up for an extra strike on Cracklaw point from Harrenhal or on Highgarden from Searoad marches (you will probably need siege engines for that to work). Needless to say, the endgame with a weak Grejoy is easier as you won't have to worry about him and your forces will be shielded from Tyrell's options: a fouling attack with queen of thorns on the Searoad marches or a Loras through the Searoad marches. You still have Tyrion, right?

4. "The unholy alliance" (untested) Set up your standard fist of support, use the same fleet based defense as in "Expanding the fist" to deter a Grejoy invasion. Then side with Martell in an ongoing Martell/Tyrell war. If Tyrell was winning, his army will be spread out and Martell will gladly accept your support and use raids to take out Tyrell support. You'll be on the good side of Tyrell to take Highgarden and The Reach. From there, Oldtown + King's Landing would be the dream. You can also use your army in Stoney Sept for a lightning strike on Seagard or Cracklaw Point as an alternative seventh castle. Note that I emphasise getting a seventh castle soon (best with high iron throne track position) as your army will be spread out and is holding castles that can probably be attacked by anyone except Stark (or maybe also Martell). On the other hand, a winning Martell looks like a worse proposition as he'll be competing with you for the Tyrell castles. Dividing the spoils of war helps Martell massively: it's his 5th, your 4th castle and while he is insulated from most aggression, you are in now positioned between Grejoy, Baratheon and martell.
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Dante
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I've played the game once and chose the Lannisters without realising they were the hardest play as. Nobody had played the game before but I had played a lot of Diplomacy, which served me well... I played everyone off against each other and hardly had to fight. Won like a true Lannister.
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Nick V
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Good set of different strategies for Lannister. Hopefully you can get a good feel of the players before the game really gets going because I think that can really influence which direction you would want to go in. The SlowPyke/Expanding the Fist options I think are the better odds since they allow for flexibility. Starting strategies are important but from that point I think its as important to have a strategy that can change as the board changes. Good write up.
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Trent Boardgamer
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Mountainthatskates wrote:
Good set of different strategies for Lannister. Hopefully you can get a good feel of the players before the game really gets going because I think that can really influence which direction you would want to go in. The SlowPyke/Expanding the Fist options I think are the better odds since they allow for flexibility. Starting strategies are important but from that point I think its as important to have a strategy that can change as the board changes. Good write up.


That's the biggest issue in our group, you can't start to appear to be building a lead over the other houses or you can expect a smack. It generally comes down to needing to grab the last couple of strongholds on the last or second last round.

In short, I tend to find my strategy changes several times throughout the average game, simply due to what other players end up doing.

Having an idea of ways to win never hurts though, so I'm sure some Lannister players will appreciate the share.
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Balon Greyjoy
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Dazir wrote:
Last night I managed a Lannister win! The win rate of Lannister in our group is now a surprising 2/7. Both victories also came from a different basic approach, so let's talk some Lannister winning strategies!


I am fairly certain an aggressive Greyjoy can either crush a Lannister with luck, or ruin the game for the both of them. These tactics rely on a distracted Greyjoy which is sub-optimal.
 
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Thomas
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If Greyjoy and Tyrell form an alliance it's game over for Lannister. And it's the logic thing to do because you can get strongholds easily and effectively take a player out of the game. Why ally with a player you can crush?

Why they didn't fix this Lannister weakness in the second edition I do not understand.
 
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Mattias R
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the tickler wrote:
If Greyjoy and Tyrell form an alliance it's game over for Lannister. And it's the logic thing to do because you can get strongholds easily and effectively take a player out of the game. Why ally with a player you can crush?

Why they didn't fix this Lannister weakness in the second edition I do not understand.

Heh. It's not in Tyrell's interest to do this. Greyjoy will get all the victory areas and win the game. No need to "fix" poor Tyrell play.
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Martin Hall
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mr18196 wrote:
the tickler wrote:
If Greyjoy and Tyrell form an alliance it's game over for Lannister. And it's the logic thing to do because you can get strongholds easily and effectively take a player out of the game. Why ally with a player you can crush?

Why they didn't fix this Lannister weakness in the second edition I do not understand.

Heh. It's not in Tyrell's interest to do this. Greyjoy will get all the victory areas and win the game. No need to "fix" poor Tyrell play.
I agree it is not in Tyrell's interests generally, though there may be exceptions.
Importantly, a skilled Greyjoy playing a weaker Lannister can break Lannister so that he has no chance of winning, while putting Greyjoy in a relatively strong position. At that point Stark and Tyrell (and possibly Baratheon) have to respond or Greyjoy will walk away with the game.

But if you think they have fixed this compared to First Edition, think harder. 1st Ed has no ports, and 2 Greyjoy ships in Ironman's Bay. So Greyjoy can do worse with less chance of fight-back from Lannister.
 
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Thomas
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We played this a few times with 5 Players. Tyrell allied with Greyjoy against Lannister and once Lannister was neutralised just took the strongholds in the South unopposed.

Ports or no ports: if Tyrell and Greyjoy unite against Lannister the Lannister player has no chance at all. No other house can be wiped off this easily.

So at least in our gaming group this just happens because it's so easy and obvious to do.
 
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Björn Grafström
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On the other hand, what house can actually make a run for the win (yet survive) if two houses decides to gang up on them? If Tyrell and Baratheon decides to bury Martell in the sand I'd say that the Martell player stands no chance to win at all and could possibly be wiped out. If Stark and Martell goes for Baratheon the hope lies in other houses letting them survive on the mainland. If Baratheon and Greyjoy both attack the north Stark has little chance to survive etc...

I'd say that Greyjoy (with the combination of good house cards and board position) can win even if both Lannister and Stark attacks them, but only if other houses interfere with Lannister and Stark. If others leave them to it, Greyjoy won't stand a chance. And there will most likely be a tie breaker win with most strongholds (Pyke, Seagard, Riverrun and Winterfell most likely).
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Pas L
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Everyone loses in a 2v1. But the game only ever a 2v1 if you're playing a three player game (why would you?). If ever it is a 2v1 otherwise then some people are just playing really poorly.
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Ben Master
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greyjoy365 wrote:
Dazir wrote:
Last night I managed a Lannister win! The win rate of Lannister in our group is now a surprising 2/7. Both victories also came from a different basic approach, so let's talk some Lannister winning strategies!


I am fairly certain an aggressive Greyjoy can either crush a Lannister with luck, or ruin the game for the both of them. These tactics rely on a distracted Greyjoy which is sub-optimal.


Totally disagree. Greyjoy has got nothing on Lannister in the opening setup if Lannister knows how to play. There's no luck to it. Few lannisters play well but greyjoy is wasting their time and setting up a loss to stark if they go all out against a good Lannister. And Tyrell helping greyjoy get all the strategic gains from killing Lannister (which they will) is also a mistake by Tyrell.
 
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Björn Grafström
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eumaies wrote:


Totally disagree. Greyjoy has got nothing on Lannister in the opening setup if Lannister knows how to play. There's no luck to it. Few lannisters play well but greyjoy is wasting their time and setting up a loss to stark if they go all out against a good Lannister. And Tyrell helping greyjoy get all the strategic gains from killing Lannister (which they will) is also a mistake by Tyrell.


Do you care to develop this further? How should a Lannister play to get the upper hand on Greyjoy? Because you can't deny that on turn 1, Greyjoy can take either Riverrun or The Golden Sound. And if that is the case, please elaborate how a good Lannister maintains advantage in this position on turn 2 (with less tokens, less mustering points and less areas with strategic value).
 
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Ben Master
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bagisbjorn wrote:
eumaies wrote:


Totally disagree. Greyjoy has got nothing on Lannister in the opening setup if Lannister knows how to play. There's no luck to it. Few lannisters play well but greyjoy is wasting their time and setting up a loss to stark if they go all out against a good Lannister. And Tyrell helping greyjoy get all the strategic gains from killing Lannister (which they will) is also a mistake by Tyrell.


Do you care to develop this further? How should a Lannister play to get the upper hand on Greyjoy? Because you can't deny that on turn 1, Greyjoy can take either Riverrun or The Golden Sound. And if that is the case, please elaborate how a good Lannister maintains advantage in this position on turn 2 (with less tokens, less mustering points and less areas with strategic value).


Sure thing and sorry for the extremity of my initial statement. There is some chance involved but very reasonable.

Standard Lannister opening is consolidate/muster on lannisport and move to harrenhal (leave power token). Upgrade catapult and build ship in port. standard (strongest) greyjoy opening is two troop March orders and take seaguard riverun and flints. Standard stark ends in moat cailin which allows a easy raid of seaguard on turn two.

If no muster occurs, Lannister is in good shape. Raid from boat to riverun to kill greyjoy raid. March plus one from harrenhal with support plus one for a strength 9 attack on riverun. So strong you might opt to play cersei to prevent greyjoy counterattack or could use Gregor to kill greyjoy unit and let him counter your infantry.

If a muster occurs, Lannister is still in good shape (and stark should be alarmed enough to build a boat in western seas and start chipping in). But for turn 2 Lannister can have knight and 2 catapults in lannisport to support the attack from harrenhal, and Gregor has more enemies to kill. Greyjoy also lacks sufficient March orders to utilize all the guys he built. And as I said before if stark wasn't already mobilized they would be then and so there is room to contain greyjoy in more collaborative fashion.

Things can go worse if bidding occurs at the end of turn 1. Lannister has a need to try to bid to go before greyjoy (or switch strategies and build ship and inf rather than a second catapult if a muster also occurs). So greyjoy will easily get some star orders. However, in all likelihood greyjoy will lose the valerian sword to someone else, which helps to dull his military edge. So it's not a disaster in most cases.

Basically it's up to greyjoy whether to start the early war and hope that the end of turn cards reward them and let them utilize all their early castles. Because bidding in GoT is always a crapshoot unless you have an edge in power, it is not really optimal for greyjoy to risk everything in the hopes of that coming up and make their "reach" on turn 1 of the game when everyone has 4-6 power. Rather than risk being cerseid or gregored on round 2 if things don't go my way I would try to negotiate with Lannister. Leaving riverun empty by both parties on round 1 and Lannister-owned from then on is a reasonable compromise that can support a long term alliance.

Fundamentally, the reason lannister is not horribly disadvantaged is that they move/raid first (with better orders), are guaranteed a mini-muster, and can use the raven as needed. Greyjoy, on the other hand, lacks the orders to utilize both their fleets and troops, even if they get a muster. This is where the balance comes from. Once bidding occurs, a new reality will set in, but the fact that greyjoy can grab 3 empty castles on turn 1 is not a game-changer by itself, even if they are lucky enough to get a muster.
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Ben Master
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bagisbjorn wrote:
eumaies wrote:


Totally disagree. Greyjoy has got nothing on Lannister in the opening setup if Lannister knows how to play. There's no luck to it. Few lannisters play well but greyjoy is wasting their time and setting up a loss to stark if they go all out against a good Lannister. And Tyrell helping greyjoy get all the strategic gains from killing Lannister (which they will) is also a mistake by Tyrell.


Do you care to develop this further? How should a Lannister play to get the upper hand on Greyjoy? Because you can't deny that on turn 1, Greyjoy can take either Riverrun or The Golden Sound. And if that is the case, please elaborate how a good Lannister maintains advantage in this position on turn 2 (with less tokens, less mustering points and less areas with strategic value).


Separately, I think attacking the golden sound (i.e. putting a move order on a ship) is a poor play by greyjoy turn 1.

Lannister base orders can be +2 defense on golden sounds, CP* on lannisport, move +1 on stoney sept.

If Greyjoy plays a ship move, then lannister can switch lannisport to be a move +0. Then, since greyjoy has to do his move out of pyke before he attacks the golden sound, he will move his unit into riverun and unit into seaguard/flints as his first move. Lannister will move into stoney sept with all, and then will get final move, with a strength 5 attack option on riverrun. Kevan lannister is sufficient to win that in all cases, while grejoy may have to risk a good card such as aeron.

As an aside, Lannister can also be playful here and use Tywin with a 4 strength attack while the spare infantry takes Harenhal as well. In that scenario, Lannister can only lose if Greyjoy uses Balon (but he may well play aeron first since he pans to use Balon in the water if he wants to attack the golden sound). In the worst case, taking harrenhal, drawing out Greyjoy's best cards and costing him 2 power, and having a secure base in stoney sept is almost as good as re-taking Riverun, if a bidding round occurs. In the best case, you take riverrun, harenhal, and get +2 power in case bidding occurs. Probably not worth the risk though, since riverrun is more critical in more scenarios for round 2.

If there's no bid at the end of the turn, then lannister has first action to leave riverun by default. If there's a muster, then lannister builds boats outside of pyke (since it builds first from riverrun). Disaster for greyjoy.

Also, lannister ship should have retreated to sunset sea, after playing tywin (and drawing out Balon). If tywin was used in riverun, then the hound would be needed here to be safe.

Greyjoys best option is just burn his move order on his ship and don't use it. Then at least he won't be totally screwed by lannister taking riverun.

I believe that this scenario demonstrates how a single mistake (that on the surface seems like a reasonable move) by Greyjoy OR Lannister in round 1 can be game-changing. But the exposure is not solely on the Lannister side.
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Björn Grafström
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Some valid points here, and some of them I use myself if ending up against an aggressive Greyjoy. I do, however, think that Lannister's room for error is a lot smaller than Greyjoy's. And to my experience (both in PBF and tabletop sessions), Stark rarely want to draw the attention from Greyjoy in the early phases of the game. When it happens it usually ends with a Greyjoy-Lannister agreement to stop fighting and Greyjoy turns north instead. And Stark doesn't want that to happen too early.

I believe I've stated this in another thread about these two lovely houses, but the biggest problem for Lannister when fighting an aggressive Greyjoy is the lack of areas for CP orders. You need to play other orders in Harrenhal and Stoney Sept to fight Greyjoy, and a CP more south or east (should you have units there) is up for grabs from other houses that see your predicament and uses it to their advantage (it's not that Lannister can try to bring the fight to Tyrell or Baratheon if Greyjoy is constantly beating on them). When that Clash of kings eventually comes is usually your point of no return as Lannister.
 
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Ben Master
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bagisbjorn wrote:
Some valid points here, and some of them I use myself if ending up against an aggressive Greyjoy. I do, however, think that Lannister's room for error is a lot smaller than Greyjoy's. And to my experience (both in PBF and tabletop sessions), Stark rarely want to draw the attention from Greyjoy in the early phases of the game. When it happens it usually ends with a Greyjoy-Lannister agreement to stop fighting and Greyjoy turns north instead. And Stark doesn't want that to happen too early.

I believe I've stated this in another thread about these two lovely houses, but the biggest problem for Lannister when fighting an aggressive Greyjoy is the lack of areas for CP orders. You need to play other orders in Harrenhal and Stoney Sept to fight Greyjoy, and a CP more south or east (should you have units there) is up for grabs from other houses that see your predicament and uses it to their advantage (it's not that Lannister can try to bring the fight to Tyrell or Baratheon if Greyjoy is constantly beating on them). When that Clash of kings eventually comes is usually your point of no return as Lannister.


All fair points. I certainly agree Lannister has to know their optimal move cold, whereas greyjoy is little easier to not mess up. And since most Lannister players don't know their optimal round 1/2 moves, they are losing games at a higher rate. Other than that, some counterpoints:

Fortunately, if greyjoy does fight lannister they will use up their scary cards fast and stark will get increasingly less worried about foiling them. If stark can't be relied on to raid greyjoy in seaguard, then... that's the kind of overdone alliance where greyjoy pays in promises while stark pays in deeds (i.e. poor play). Not all that important if no muster occurs, but if muster occurs and Stark does not even place a helpful raid order, then they're idiots.

There's no accounting for mistakes by players, but while Stark should certainly make a truce with Greyjoy on turn 1, after a muster happens on turn 1 they should re-assess their situation (And have more ability to gain from meddling). Stark has a great position with few enemies who can (or want to) mess with them, so if greyjoy exhausts himself without a breakthrough against lannister, stark can secure some real permanent gains in a war of attrition with weakened greyjoy (which is pretty much what happened historically in the books!). If lannister can cersei (or gregory) greyjoy on turn 2 then stark can take advantage of that to great effect, perhaps especially if a muster occurred.

With regard to the PT, I agree, and the first round is the most dangerous for lannister PT. The second round they will also have a disadvantage, but also a little less reliant on things staying the same forever, with a more secure position in place such as your port.

The other minor (and sometimes not so minor) PT advantages lannister has is likely knowledge of the wildling card and the ability to (rarely) pick whether bidding or collection occurs on a given turn . That can be worth a PT or more in some circumstances. In my most recent (won) game as Lannister, I turned a round one knowledge of the wildling card into a turn 1 bid where I skimped on the raven track and then won the wildling reward of being placed to the top, dominating the charts. Other wildling cards can be similarly important in terms of troop deployments or survival, and only you know how to bid properly if wildlings come out. So you have more 'outs' than it may appear.

All this assumes that greyjoy WANTS to pick this fight in riverrun on rounds 1/2. Since the net effect may well be getting cerseid on round 2, and since greyjoy could instead strike a deal with lannister and consolidate their own power instead of grabbing all 3 castles, they shouldn't generally prefer aggression versus a skilled opponent.

In a game where Lannister can use their real threat to secure a truce with greyjoy, they can keep up much more easily in the PT game. Since when not fighting greyjoy they won't need to fight for the iron throne, they should be able to a) still get some star orders; and b) someone other than greyjoy will take the valerian sword. So they will weather the early bid fine and enjoy a secure long term position.


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