Why Play Stark
"Winter Is Coming" You like being honorable? Or maybe you like playing the keepers of the old way ? OR even maybe you wanna play as the guys who are kind-of-sort-of to blame for most of the bad things that happened in setting in one way or another? Or maybe you just want to play one of the harder hitting armies in the game and like to zip around the battlefield and making the longest charges in the game
- One of the hardest hitting armies in the game
- Multiple cheap solo units in the form of wolves
- Not failing charge distance is great
- Good moral
- High mobility
- No responsive ability
- You need to attack at multiple front at the same time to ensure you can take the enemy force out
- Lack of autowounds
- No panic user
- No real tricky plays except maneuver
House Stark is mainly about aggression. You move quick, charge far and hit strong and accurate. This idea is simple and your units and NCU double down on it. If you want to hit fast and heavy this is your factions. Your alpha strike is a multiple alpha strike, strike at many different places at the same time, by using your superior mobility and outactivate beforehand via your doggos
Unit and Attachement Analysis
You have 4 main theme in your unit choices. Defensive Tully, fast, and ranged Crannogmen, Hard-hitting and Beserker Umber/Stark, and your wolves
- Rob Stark: Your mobility commander. He is fun to use, and has a lot of tactical play. He himself has a buff, which on the first look seems weak, but not being able to reroll hurts and not being able to play card can throw a wrench in a lot of plans. Positioning is the problem though. "Hit and Run" is a great card, if you have a plan for it. But just running 6 + 5 away forces your foe to usually risk a panic test to follow you. "Tactical Retreat" is another retreat action but with better Timing. Even if you just use it to force a reroll it is worth it, but the bigger benefit is that you can throw in your shitload of stark charge cards too. Unlikely though that you can force a side charge, but with a bit of luck, he will pivot to face your troops after the retreat, giving the rest of your army better positions. The last card is a card you can keep in your hand, and it'll be worth gold, IF you are a player who mastered staying at the edge of the enemy charge distance. Rob also comes with a wolf btw, making him already worth atleast 1 points. The best units for him is flexible, put him in a unit which can stay close to the front, but won't want any dmg buffs. If you are feeling lucky, bowmen fit quite nicely, as Superior Positing can make you quite invulnerable against charges. But meh, as you don't really help the damage output of your bowmen, and people can safely declare a charge outside of long range.
- Greatjon Umber: Aggression Commander (NEED MORE INFO)
- Brynden Tully: Defensive Commander (NEED MORE INFO)
- Eddard Stark: Aura and Eddard based Commander (NEED MORE INFO)
- Howland Reed: Tricksy and auto hit Commander.
- Rodrik Cassel: Slow aggression Commander
- Brynden Tully (Cav): Mobility and Cav.
- Stark Sworn Swords (5pt): They do their job They are your cheap unit to hold your frontline. With above average defense, above average moral and average offense, they are here to fill your army, and even moreso then other factions, attachement determine their ability. Rickon and Osha in this unit have a great interaction, where you can voluntarily lose ranks via abilities, to deal wounds to the enemy. With that interaction, you can easily punch above your points.
- Crannogman Trackers (5pt): The other filler. This one has a unique role in their mobility and ability to move and take a free attack action. Keep them away from cavalry and know if the enemy faction can do some suprise attacks (counter charge from the baratheon for example). They really don't do well in melee, and attachment are probably a waste in this unit. There are interaction with Bryden and using this unit to force a moral test for a friendly Bryden-commander unit to heal. Fun to use but meh to be honest.
- House Tully Sworn Shields (6pt): Tully are a weird unit for you. They don't hit hard, are slow, but they do have the activated ability Shieldwall; which, gives them a defensive boost of blocking D3 hits from their front every round. Having a resillient unit shouldn't be underestimated in certain game modes, and costing only 6pts makes them a reasonably priced anvil, primed for a Commander or 2/3 point attachements. Play them if you really want to have a defensive unit, but keep in mind they won't really gain much from you general deck, besides some mobility which is one of their weaker stats. For an anvil, they work fine but are a bit slow. More defensive attachement will lead people to just ignore them tbh, so best choices are naked unless there is a place you really wanna defend or the attachment adds some movement like attachment Rob or Crannogman Survivalist. A solid unit especially in a Robb or Brynden Tully list.
- Stark Bowmen (6pt): One of the best ranged unit in the game in a faction all about charging, the ability to ignore intervening unit makes them passable. I wouldn't recommend them to a beginner, and playing more then 2 is hard to pull off, but 1 can work good. Warden is probably the only thing you'll put in them if ever. Can do the same thing Bryden does with trackers just easier.
- House Umber Greataxes (7pt): The unit you want if you are facing 3+ armor on the field. Generally Starks are not known for throwing out auto-wounds, for such a foe, they have this can opener. They are slightly slow, but your cards can remedy this. Best choices are to get them in as your last activation in a turn with an opponent initiative, so you can ensure executioner fury via swords spot. Bran works to stop give you more hit and protect them in a pinch, Robb makes them faster, but these are fine naked.
- House Umber Berserkers (7pt): Fast speed, good morale, sundering (armor reduction). They even get more offensive output as their numbers dwindle! People used to make lists consisting of only these units. These have traditionally been interchanged with Umber Greataxes depending on personal preference. Overall this unit has seen consistent play since the birth of the game.
- Stark Outriders (7pt): Solid. Quick and can hit way harder than they have any bussiness to with the right support, Mounted Brynden can keep a unit of them in reserve to have them come from a table side to throw a wrench into your enemy's plans.
- House Tully Cavaliers (9pt): Good if enemy is playing death star style. These are mostly compared to Lannister's Knighst of Casterly Rock since their profiles are farily similar, but while they are just there to charge and delete units your Cavaliers can also buff the morale of other units, keep them close to your battleline to countercharge an enemy unit or just let them ride around the field since you can give them way better mobility than any other heavy cavalry unit in the game.
- Arya Stark (3pt): The little girl is useful not just because she is cheap. Forcing a free maneveur can grab an early objective, pull off a flank charge, for a rob attachement unit or get you out of danger. Keep in mind it is at the start of the round and commit to your movement, don't chicken out after you do a movement.
- Sansa Stark (3pt): Sansa is meh in a hand of a beginner, but if you know your deck well you can pull off some insane maneveurs. Likr Arya her ability is one off, but it does have some better timing if you are unsure about your plan. Good choices to draw for beginners are Swift Advance, Devastating Impanct and Winter is coming. Make sure you know what you want and ypu might even toss a Winter is coming early to enable this. Highly recommended.
- Catelyn Stark (4pt): Condition removing can be useful to stop Roose and Tywin, and a weaken token can gimp you if you are feeling unlucky. Attacking on the highest number can be good on certain unit, beserkers have a stronger alpha strike, while some unit will feel the damage less (good for sworn swords); in total you gain 2 dice. Her and Rodrik is a personal choice.
- Rodrik Cassel (4pt): Rodrik gives on average around 2-3 vulnerable tokens in the game and critical gives out around 2 extra hits. Not bad and there are some cool effects with using him with Syrio. Claiming swords is always nice to pull off, but keep in mind, if you are the one charging your enemy can claim swords, so it might be harder to pull of then you think. I would say the critical blow is the better benefit, just as it makes your initial attack so much more impactful. He gains more from repeated attacks.
- Eddard Stark (4pt): Eddard is your last infaction NCU. In total he can heal between 6 and 3+3d3 wounds. This is more then Tycho and Aemon on average but keep in mind that you require some conditions. But unlike Aemon you can heal someone 3 times in a turn without an issue. Good interaction with the bowmen for forced moral checks, while Greataxes like some sustainability.
- Meera Reed: Good for the points. Auto wounds and disorderly charge force is useful. But as you usually want to charge, the thing you probably enjoy the most will be the auto-wounds.
- Rickon Stark: My Boy. He gives you a dog, the best one of the bunch. He is also the cheapest of the three wolf attachement, of which you usually field 2. But the Dog and Rickon give 2 VP together, is that worth it? For the cheap package yes, affitionally you get Osha, one of your best attachement. Go down fighting, for a stark is usually 3d3 auto-wounds. Smart use of heals can even increase the amount. Add her to Sworn swords, and you can force the ability yourself, which can be strong enough, to punch way above your point total. For Rickon sending him off, always ask if you can achieve more with 1 Wound more, and d3 Auto-wounds or if the 1 VP saved won't matter. Rickon has synergy with eddard and with bryden commander, best units are sworn swords, stormcrows mecenary (5 points for 2 activations) and maybe Tully (beserkers are fine, but you might want to put more aggressive stuff on them.
- Bran and Hodor: Good and solid. Good in greataxes.
- Brynden Tully: Stalwart is a good ability, but your faction doesn't really need it. Most of your unit will pass moral test anyways. 2 Points is saving around one panic test probably not worth it, but luckily he comes with a second ability. 2 dice and +1 to hit is not useless, especially as you won't have a reroll due to already being engaged. The best fit is probably greataxes, as they already gain bonus from being battles, and every new hit is basically another wound. Beserkers might be a good choices, as this just upps their dmg after getting stuck in. The moral buff js wasted though unless you regulary face neutrals or lannisters
- Jojen Reed: 3 good abilities by itself. 3 really good ability, but three abilities which are situational in their use. Guiding Hands you want if you can't charge this turn, so best for a ranged unit or a melee unit, useless if you planning on charging.; 4-5 you want to set up a flank charge, charge or even pivot before shooting if they are right out of LoS, useless if you are actually already in melee, and useless if you set up your ranged attack. The last is just generally useful. But as 2-3 and 4-5 deal with wildly different scenarios, and you can't even ensure you have the one you want, he can hurt you more then he is worth. And because you roll on the activation, you can't even plan correctly. Not worth for the 2 points, unless you really want a unit to be crannog. In that case, best with ranged units.
- Syrio Forel: Only fieldable with Arya, and not actually bad for his ability. It isn't flashy but can help you out of a pickle. If you want good fun, use him with either Sworn Swords or Rodrik. Precision works perfectly with Critical Blow, and even pillowfisted units, can push through an insane amounts of wounds.
- Greatjon Umber: Expensive but good if you pull it off. Prob too expensive
- Maege Mormont: Overpriced. Stalwart is a good ability, but true value comes from ensuring passes and gaining something from each pass. Your best unit on average would pass most times already. Her active ability unlike Bryden Commandee is also an order, so usually not worth it and you can't even build around it.
- Bryden Tully (Cav): Expensive but I'll talk him up now. You can outflank a unit, quite useful on some game modes, especially the newer ones. Regroup vibes well with the outriders, if you are lucky (or the enemy is weaken) you can pretty much ensure you will keep your rank. Retreat is a great option, if you can retreat via the tactics spot and the targetted unit won't activate next. Your cavalry unit, can position themselves in such a way, that the enemy can't pivot to be save for a flank charge. Both cavalier and Flayed men enjoy cycle charging. Keep in mind, the outflanked Outriders won't have to have Bryden in them, so that opens up a lot of things. Outriders are an natural fit, with the weaken from bushwaker and the autoretreat, you can pretty easily keep 2 ranks. The Cavalier and Flayed men enjoys retreating to set up an easy next charge, but Bryden doesn't help you here, unless you been hit. It depends on your playstyle then, if you are charging early with your Cav, get attacked back, and then as your last activation claim the retreat spot, this might have some values, otherwise he might be a waste. Play him if you can make use of his outflanked unit. BUT then you realize he is 3 points, that is a lot.
- Crannogman Warden: Opportunist is a reroll for all yout missed attacks. Usually you gain a reroll on a successful charge, and as a Stark you should always successfully charge. So who is useful then. On the first look, ranged can benefit the most, and I agree. If you play bowmen, these guys can ensure you actually hit. With their ability, you should get enough attacks to be worth your investement. But the second problem is the condition itself, as a stark player you usually await your opponent, using cheaper unit to wait them out, attacking an unactivated unit always puts his risk on yourself. There is one situation where this is actually useful on a melee unit, on the top of the round after you started your attack on the enemy
- Sworn Sword Captain: One of your best attachement. Vulnerable usually give you 2 more wounds, it can be used by other units and if you play certain mission, vulnerable is even better. Rodrik loves them.
- Umber Champion: Also one of your best Attachements. use him for Greataxes, or if facing 6-7 moral unit. Watch out not to overuse it, if you you deal the same amount of wounds you take, something is wrong.
- Mormont Veteran (1 pts): Auto-block a hit for every missing rank whenever you get attacked, for the price its not bad at all and your units could def use the added resilience when they start getting the hurt piled onto them.
- Winterfell Guardian (1 pts): A cavarly attachement, gives stubborn tenacity (D3 autowounds when you pass a Morale test), definetly better on Tully Cavaliers than Outriders since they have enough morale and staying power to trigger the order multiple times.
- Crannogmen Survivalist (2 pts): Re-roll retreat distance rolls, d3 wounds when disengaging and pathfinder for that sweet +1 movement ignores rough/hindering/dangerous terrain, put it on something that can make good use of the mobility but wants to go around bouncing from unit to unit.
- Jaqen H'ghar: Jaqen is quite unique. You attach him to an enemy and the effect only triggers if you kill that unit. Taking out a NCU is definitly game changing but you need to ensure that happens. The normal rule for such a thing apply, put him on a cheap unit to easier kill it, or put him in a expensive unit to make the enemy hesitant. Make sure that you kill that unit early enough otherwise you have wasted 2 points. Worth it but you need to work for it.
Building your Army
As always, your list depends on your commander and objective. Make a list which can make use of your commanders ability and tactics card.
In general you want around 9+ activation in your army. Use wolves to pad your force. Most everyone wants 3 NCU, and for you 3 NCU means you have 1 more cheap activation, and you don't have to waste a NCU for a slot you usually ignore. But because of your wolves, you can easily ignore going 3 NCU's if you want to stuff up the table. You generally play more attachment then most factions due to your wolves and because of your good 2-3 point attachements. Get to the activation count you want, then start filling out your points with attachement.
You don't have enough tools to weaken the enemy counter attack, so you need to have your army take out the enemy forces first, so fast and hard hitting units are good.
Running either/both Beserker and/or Greataxes is probably a good idea.
Commander: Robb Stark – The Wolf Lord
• House Umber Berserkers (7) with Robb Stark – The Wolf Lord (0)
• Grey Wind (0)
• House Umber Greataxes (7) with Bran and Hodor – Protector and Ward (2)
• Summer (0)
• Stark Sworn Swords (5) with Sworn Sword Captain (1)
• Stark Outriders (7)
• Sansa Stark – Little Bird (3)
• Rodrik Cassel – Combat Veteran (4)
• Catelyn Stark – Lady of Winterfell (4)
General rule of thumbs in ASOIAF Miniature Game is to play your card more often then just keeping them in your hand and combo them if you can to one-shot units. Starks do that not as rigidly as others. Starks have some very strong card, but some of them have specific conditions. Unlike some other factions you will try to hold unto your cards. But what Starks excel at with their Tactics deck is comboing the fuck out of their card.
In general your Tactics Deck is supplementary to your play style and not the basis, you also lack card raw Keep in mind nearly all your card are for getting into combat and then attacking, so fuck me you are screwed if you can't charge anymore because you are all stuck or just dead.
- Winter is coming: One of your best card. Charging and turning off tactics card and orders is in certain scenario a killer. Use this card later in the turn, so he'll won't have a chance to use his tactics card (and order) later in the same turn, this way that card will continue shitting up his hand. The additional effect is useful, but not required. Decide based on your target.
- Northern Ferocity: Good effect, use it often, there isn't really a point in keeping it for longer, you don't have a unit who immensely profits from it.
- The North remembers: One of your best cards. Holy crap this is good, but don't fall into the trap of it. You may hold unto it too long, and gain nothing by it, and secondly keep in mind the effect. You have to have a unit having activated, and throwing away unit might not be worth it if the other unit won't help you win the game. Usually wolves are sacrificed but make sure it is worth it
- Devastating Impact: Another one of your homerun cards. Don't be too obvious while using it, and more importantly don't overcommit your charges and get dog pilled.
- Swift Advance: I know I sound like a hype man, but damn this is a good card. Use it to either make it to their flank or get closer
- Sudden Charge: Another charge card, now you know the problem I have with everything being about 1 thing. It's good, use this NCU to claim the Horse spot, then trigger this card (but see below). You usually can use it best by keeping it in your hand, use 1 turn to set up the motions. But keep in mind, if your first activation is claiming horse then your opponent is free to just take swords, getting a free attack in.
- Direwolf's Fervor: Honestly meh, just use it ASAP unless you really want those d3 autowounds
Wolves only have 2 wounds, protect them well. Walder has easy targets on your wolves but he should only use his ability on the turns, his ability wouldn't trigger. Don't attack easy sources of auto-wounds: Rose Knights, Gregor. Honestly just hide them.
In general, due to the change of wolves that they cost 1 VP, they suck tremendously. Not in the game terms, they are still worth those points, but on a fluff level. The nerf didn't weaken wolves, but nowadays the best bet for wolves is to just keep them in the far back, maybe let them sit on a objective, and never move them anywhere close to the battlefield. Attacking with them should only be done if a unit is close to death, and even then this is a big risk for you.
This change sucks, as they went to useful road bumps, to cheerleaders, and unlike infinity they don't wear miniskirts (look up caledonian volunteers).
The point of this is to explain list building a bit.
With this list I started with an idea: Make use of the Dervishes.
While you usually won't use Motivated by Coin effictvely if you go for their role as flankers, I am convinced they have some hidden use in anvils. If you get charged early, you can then freely claim either money or swords ensuring you can always flee, and then charge in with their activation, fleeing again.
First choices is always the commander: I went with Bryden. He is a defensive Commander, he wants some good moral unit for himself, and does require you to maneveur competent in the field. For the dervishes Set for Charge is a fun interaction, and Dervishes can benefit from some sustainability, of his other cards. Bryden himself I put in them.
Next step for me is often assigning blanket 11 points for NCU, as I often play with 3 NCU.
Because this is a Dervish list, I really want to make Set for Charge happen I take another Dervish. We now choose our other combat unit. As you are stark you want between 9-10 units. I decided for 2 more units; 1 unit of Tully Sworn Shields as they are another anvil in your tully army, and playing bryden without tully is just sad.
To get to 9 activation, I want 2 of the wolves attachement. I throw Bran into the 2nd Dervishes, and decide on Rickon as the second, as Robb can't fit. I like Rickon in the sworn brothers, as they allow some nice plays.
For the NCU. I still have a point left, so I am quite free. Rodrik fits well, as both dervishes can attavk multiple times, which his influence likes. Eddard helps heal my Dervishes back up, and I can decide to heal if I need to go back to a rank. Arya would help my slow Sworn shields and a 6 inch free maneuveur is just plain fun, I am going Sansa instead because I need Set for Charge in my life more.
With my last point I get myself a Mormont Veteran to make the Baratheon feel inadaquate.
So this should be the way to think about a list, think how your Commander can use his cards, get your prioritse done, and choose your NCU to complemante your army.
There was always different choices, instead of the Sworn swords and veterans, Rickon could have gone into the Sworn Shields and we could have added bowmen to force more moral tests.
Instead of Bran we could have thrown Robb unto the Dervishes for 7 + d6 retreats.
Faction: House Stark Commander: Brynden Tully – The Blackfish
• Stormcrow Dervishes (7) with Brynden Tully – The Blackfish (0)
• Stormcrow Dervishes (7) with Bran and Hodor – Protector and Ward (2)
• Summer (0)
• House Tully Sworn Shields (6) with Mormont Veteran (1)
• Stark Sworn Swords (5) with Rickon Stark - Prince Of Winterfell (1) and Osha - Spearwife Guardian (0)
• Shaggydog (0)
• Eddard Stark – Warden of the North (4)
• Rodrik Cassel – Combat Veteran (4)
• Sansa Stark - Little Bird (3)