Visions in the Flames: Baratheons in 2021

Bannermen! Michael Shinall here, designer of A Song of Ice and Fire: The Tabletop Miniatures Game, and per the results of last week’s poll, Baratheons gets the spotlight this time on our Faction Focus.

So we have numerous articles in our Visions in the Flames series going over the philosophies and design choices moving into the 2021 updates (all of which you can catch up on here) but in this article we’re going to go into more details on those changes with some real examples as to how they are applied to a faction.

The faction we’re starting with was chosen by fan-polling, and it just so happened to be Baratheons. This presents an interesting situation as, when it comes to who was affected the most by these updates, Baratheons were near the top of the list.

Why exactly? Well, they just happened to contain a number of key elements that were targets of these updates (namely free actions and some other raw “power” elements). This resulted in various shifts as to how some of their effects worked. When it came to discussing the overall faction, there was also the factor that they are still one of the newest factions, thus the pool of content to discuss was a bit more limited compared to, say, Starks or Lannisters… Compound this with the dual-Loyalty nature of the faction and deciding exactly what to focus the discussion on became a discussion in itself!

That being said, we’ve decided that for this Faction Focus we’d take a look at the Generic Tactics Cards for the Baratheons, how they changed, and what impacts this has on the overall faction. To go along with this (and not play favorites) we’re also going to show off the updates to both Stannis (The Rightful Heir) and Renly (The Charismatic Heir).

Lots to cover, so let’s dive right in!


The core faction identity of the Baratheons has always been focused on two aspects: retribution and prolonged engagements. This was seen through their (previous) generic cards such as Counter Charge, Ours Is the Fury! and Last Stand. These cards specifically allowed out-of-activation Attacks for the army, usually triggering from the enemy attacking them. Of course, this was the easiest method of feeding into the entire “retribution” mechanic of the faction. With the updates, however, we wanted to cull the raw number of “free” bonus Attacks, but also wanted to take this as an opportunity to expand on the retribution theme. As a result, we’ve expanded it to more than the basic “You hit me I hit you”, with it now covering the full gambit of effects ranging from Morale Tests, Condition tokens, and yes – being Attacked. The point now is that if you do something to the Baratheons, you are going to be punished for it.

The second element of the faction is their benefits for prolonged engagements: Baratheons are a faction that will grind you down. They might be slow initially, but they are inevitable, and the longer they stick around, the worse its going to be for their opponents. This was seen in their cards Baratheon Conviction, Hold the Line! and Stag’s Wit. This element of their faction identity has remained, and like their focus on retribution, has also been expanded on as well.

Finally, there was the concept of the numerous overlapping triggers found in the Baratheon deck. This was an intentional design choice to off-set the power available through their cards. While it did balance itself out, it also came at the expense of not being very player friendly. What that means is that, while yes, the effects were powerful, not being able to consistently use them was frustrating. Overall, players would prefer to be able to use their cards more often, even if it meant smaller overall impacts, rather than holding several power-cards that couldn’t be played in tandem. This mentality is actually one of the primary focuses of most of the Faction Deck revamps in 2021, but as we originally mentioned, Baratheons were affected by this more than most, thus see greater changes than most. While it is still true that there are some overlapping triggers present in the Baratheon deck, they usually originate from very common effects (Panic Tests, Being Attacked, etc) but their utility usage is different, and combo into each other and other cards to play the long game.

So with that bases discussed, let’s take a look at the new Generic Baratheon Tactics Cards and what they bring to the table:

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