Visions in the Flames: The Will of Kings

We’re less than a week away from our release of the 1.5 Update for A Song of Ice and Fire Tabletop Miniature Game, and while last time we said that was going to be our last article looking into that release, we’ve had such an overwhelming response we decided to surprise you with one more - we know how long a week can feel when you’re eagerly awaiting it to pass!

Today we’re going to look at two more units that will be receiving some tweaks in 1.5, one for Lannister and one for Stark. Lots to talk about so let’s get right to it!

KINGSGUARD

Joffrey’s Kingsguard are receiving some quality-of-life improvements in 1.5. For their points, they boast more unique abilities and raw power than any other unit in the game. Of course, this came at a number of drawbacks, specifically, two primary ones: If Joffrey himself was destroyed it he grants additional Victory Points and causes rippling Panic through your army, and the unit itself cannot be healed in any way. While the nature of the Kingsguard is risk-vs-reward ("here is my incredibly powerful unit, I dare you to come try to kill it") the fact they had no sustain (outside the general Lannister methods, plus one of Joffrey’s own cards) meant that as long as they were focused by an opponent they would eventually be taken down - and even if was a tough job to do so, it was often worth the effort for the opponent.

In 1.5 we’ve removed the restriction that the Kingsguard could never be healed, giving them back a level of sustain on par with other units. Of course, they still have the drawback of only being comprised of 8 Wounds, but that aspect is more than mitigated by their other benefits, from cost to the usage of their Baratheon Banners.

Speaking of the Baratheon Banners, we’re also removing the restriction that each effect can only be used once per game. The Kingsguard should be adaptable to whatever situation their in (even if their current roster is… Less than admirable compared to the past…). As a minor benefit, players no longer need to track which of the four effects they have/haven’t utilized. As a major benefit, the Kingsguard can now utilize those effects in however way they see fit, continuously (well, up to four times). If engaged in prolonged fights, they can incorporate whatever tactics they need against that foe, each and every round, rather than a one-and-done hit. Against a foe that needs focused Panic damage? Keep hitting them where it hurts. Need extra mobility to reposition or get out of a bad situation? Free Maneuver or Retreat, round after round (leading to another Charge, of course).

These two changes drastically increase both the sustain and offense of the Kingsguard, making them the focus of the battlefield - which is exactly what they should be, given the nature of guarding The One True King of Westeros while he is on the battlefield!

Let’s now move from the Southlands up to the North, land of the Dire Wolves.

STARK BOWMEN

We’ve spoken before about, when it came to this update, we really wanted to keep any changes as low-impact as possible. We didn’t want to completely overhaul any units or completely warp how they functioned. An example of this would be seen in the House Tully Sworn Shields, which we covered in one of our initial updates. When it came to the Stark Bowmen, however, the matter was a bit more complicated than that.

This was a similar situation of the unit being individually viable but having little synergy with the rest of the army. While the Tully Sworn Shields filled a unique role within the Starks: a heavily armored unit capable of standing their ground (especially when combined with Brynden Tully himself as a Commander) the Bowmen didn’t have that luxury. While fine on their own, they lacked any major synergies with existing Commanders, and didn’t benefit greatly from the majority of the Stark Tactics Cards. Yes, the Bowmen could threaten an Objective from a distance, throwing down a hail of arrows, but by that same merit so could a Melee Unit for the Starks, and they would come at the added benefit of benefitting from other aspects of the overall “toolkit” available to the faction.

So to give them a place, the Bowmen have been refocused into more of a support role for the rest of the army. Now, rather than being a piece to just sit in an area and threaten an enemy that came close, the Bowmen grant a unique benefit in being able to throw down Weakened, as well as shut off enemy Orders until the end of the round, opening up avenues of attack for the rest of the army. Essentially, they have turned into a Long Range de-buffer that forces the enemy to split their attention. They can choose to ignore them, but by doing so they will be continuously hailed with arrows that can disrupt their tactics - and of course the unit still retains its trademark “Ignore everything between me and my target” effect of their attack.

They did end up losing their +4 dice if they didn’t shift aspect of their attack, but in turn we’ve also revamped their entire attack profile, granting them 8 dice across their first two ranks, as well as increasing their To Hit value from 4+ to 3+, giving them more bite when they do attack (and opening up their mobility a bit as well, as they can now Shift like other ranged unit).

And with that, Bannermen, we’ll complete today’s look at some changes coming in 1.5. You’ll see the full reveal on December 9th, so check back then for the full update, including rules, units, FAQ, the whole gambit. Until then!

Visions in the Flames: The Will of Kings

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