A House Divided

Many are seeking claim of the Iron Throne. While King Robert did leave an heir, claims of his legitimacy are in question, and Robert’s brothers are making strong claims that one of them should govern from King’s Landing. And while Stannis and Renly each have only some of the allegiance of House Baratheon on their side, that still amounts to a very strong fighting force on the battlefield. Though House Baratheon is a House divided, the might of the Stag is one to be reckoned with. Soon, a new contender will take to the field in the A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. The Baratheons are coming to the field in a big way with a new starter set. Let’s take a deeper look into how the faction worksand what players can expect in this new box set.

Let’s start with something that helps define a faction’s playstyle: its Tactics deck. For House Baratheon, they excel in making their own units punishing to attack. They have cards to counter-attack enemy units, get final strikes when a unit is destroyed, or issue a charge from a close-by unit when someone is attacked, among others such as restoring wounds to their units.

The main focus for the Tactics deck comes from controlling the Crown and Tactics sections of the Tactics board, granting extra bonuses for their cards such as adding in Condition tokens to other effects, or bolstering a unit depending on which zones the House controls.

Something that sets House Baratheon apart from others is the severe infighting between the House’s two leaders, brothers Stannis and Renly. Other members of the house have had to declare their support for one or the others. This comes into account in the Loyalty special rules. For the Starter Set, only Renly and Stannis have this rule (obviously, the two brothers refuse to work together, due to their common goal). The Starter Box’s two NCUs, Shyra Errol and Alester Florent, can be used with either brother. However, it is important to keep note of where Loyalties lie for future expansion of one’s army.

The House Baratheon Starter Set comes with four units: two units of Baratheon Wardens and one unit each of Stag Knights and Baratheon Sentinels. All are cornerstones of any Baratheon force. Let’s take a look at how each unit plays on the battlefield.

The Baratheon Wardens are the average rank-and-file troops of House Baratheon and epitome the faction’s fighting style. What House Baratheon calls “regular troops,” most other Houses would call “heavy infantry.” The Baratheon Wardens have a very respectable 3+ Defense Save and a good Morale value of 6+. Though that armor slows them down to almosta crawl with a Speed score of only 4. On the offensive side of things, they roll 7 dice when at full ranks, hitting on a respectable 4+. They have two special abilities attached to their melee attacks, both of which react with one-another. The first, War Hammer, gives the enemy unit they’re attacking a Weakened token if they roll any 1s when making Defense Saves against their attack. The other, Target Opening, allows the Baratheon player to treat Weakened tokens like Vulnerable tokens on their target. So, whether the player wants the enemy to have less of a chance of hitting back, or just wants to crush them where they stand, it’s up to them. This is a rather versatile ability that will certainly come in handy, depending on what unit stands across from the Wardens on the field.

The next unit in the Baratheon Starter is the Stag Knights. They are the elites of the Baratheon forces. They are only mildly less armored than the Wardens, having a 4+ Defense save. However, their Morale is slightly better at a 5+. They also gain a point of speed by loosing that slight bit of armor, having a Speed score of 5.

The one special ability the unit has, also named Unwavering Fury, grants the unit bonuses to their attacks as they lose ranks. For each destroyed rank the unit has when it attacks, it can pick one of the following to be added to the attack: Critical Blow, Sundering, and Vicious. The Stag Knights are at their most dangerous when they are down to just their last rank, still rolling 7 dice when attacking and getting to pick any two of those abilities to add to it. While, when some units have been reduced to almost nothing, the enemy might decide to just let them be and go hunt more dangerous foes, the Stag Knights must be entirely removed from the field before they stop being a danger.

The final type of unit in the Baratheon Starter is the Baratheon Sentinels. They could be considered the “light strike force” of the Baratheon forces. Their Defense save is a 4+ and their Morale is 7+, making them the most vulnerable unit in the Starter Set, though they’re still much heartier than many other House’s forces. Their Movement is a respectable 5. They have strong offensive capabilities, rolling 8 dice with their Double Hammers when attacking, hitting on a 3+. Their one special ability for their attack is Sundering, making the enemy get -1 when making Defense Saves. They are a very straightforward unit, getting into combat and swinging wildly.

Along with the units, NCUs, and Tactics Cards, like all A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game Starter Sets, the House Baratheon set comes with everything a player needs to get started. There are tokens, movement trays, measuring stick, punch-out terrain, and even special House dice so players can show their affiliation to the Stag with every roll. It also comes with a full game rulebook and reference cards. Players can simply open up the box and get going right on the battlefield.House Baratheon is a lumbering tank out on the battlefield. Generally slower than most other factions, they make up for it with some of the heartiest units that can beput on the field of battle. Each of their Starter Set units is equipped with some manner of war hammer, and when you’re armed with nothing but hammers, every solution looks like a nail. House Baratheon is here to hammer those nails down as hard as they can, making sure that it is Stannis or Renly that will be next seated upon the Iron Throne.

The House Baratheon Starter Set hits store shelves November 15th.

Read more about the House Baratheon Starter Set here.

A House Divided

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