“Fear is what keeps a man alive in this world of treachery and deceit.”
A Dance With Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.

The cold and calculating Roose Bolton serves his own dark interests. Trusted by none, the Lord of the Dreadfort is feared by his enemies and allies alike. Ever-cautious he prefers to command his forces from afar, viewing men as no more than mere playthings.

Mike’s Off the Wall Roose Bolton List

Faction: Neutral

Points: 40

Commander: Roose Bolton – Lord of the Dreadfort                        

Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort adds unique options to any faction foolish or willing to work alongside this master manipulator. Selecting an NCU commander provides its own inherent benefits, providing a zero-cost activation while freeing up points to use on other options. Additionally, Roose’s tactics cards allow you to play a control game, thereby limiting your opponent’s options. Fear Keeps A Man Alive, while situational, can completely shut down your opponents game plan, preventing an attack at a key moment. Calculated Cruelty, on the other hand, is incredibly flexible. Being able to shut off a unit and its attachment’s abilities can really blunt an attack or put the hurt on a tough unit. Finally, my favorite card, Calculated Cruelty, allows you to look at an opponent’s hand and discard a card of your choice. This ability is stronger than it seems, allowing you to not only get rid of a nasty tactics card but see what other ticks your opponent may have in store.

The Neutral deck alone deserves its own article for the amount it brings to the table; from card recursionextra hits, or even the best heal in the game. This veritable toolbox, lets you deal without just about any problem. Your tactics cards are one of the most important resources, even more so in a pure neutral list. To that aim, always grab the tactics zone when possible, not only will this allow you to draw more cards, it denies your opponent the opportunity to level the playing field. This combined with Calculated Cruelty can be absolutely crippling to your opponent, allowing you to maintain card advantage throughout the game.

Importantly we should mention Horrific Rumors, as panic is essential for using  Roose’s tactics cards. (Remember, this effect can’t be countered by cards such as The Fire That Burns Against the Cold) There will be times you would rather use the effect of the claimed zone than Roose’s ability. As such you should view Panic Tokens as a resource that needs to be managed. Be selective about what you spend them on, but don’t hoard them.

Combat Units:

  • Bolton Cutthroats (5)
  • Bolton Cutthroats (5)
  • Bolton Cutthroats (5)

The core of our list consists of three units of Bolton Cutthroats. Arguably one of the best 5 point units in the game, these scoundrels hit well above their weight. Boasting an attack profile that rivals most elite melee units, they can also dish out the vulnerable condition to unactivated opponents. This can create a lot of board pressure early in the round, forcing your opponent to make tough choices about what to activate first. While many might balk at their poor armor and average morale., this weakness can be mitigated by playing cautiously. Always be mindful of your opponent’s threat ranges and keep your cutthroats away, this is especially true against Starks and Freefolk, who have many ways to get an extra maneuver. If push comes to shove, don’t be afraid to sacrifice a 5 point unit to a charge if it means another can return the favor.

 The Bastard’s Girls (7)

These dogs require finesse to use properly, but once your opponent sees what they can do, they will be given a wide berth. Trading defense saves for morale, the Bastard’s Girls are a hard unit to panic off the board. While only boasting a 6+ save, this unit does not lose any effectiveness until that last rank. Their signature ability is the Sic’em order, allowing you to make a charge after completing a ranged attack (don’t forget the 2” shift!). This allows you to force up to two panic saves on a unit in a given turn.


• The Flayed Men (10)

The infamous Flayed Men. Once viewed as an unstoppable monster, now much more manageable. While certainly a force to be reckoned with, they will die if you let them run off. This is a toolbox unit, adding some much-needed maneuverability while offering excellent armor. These guys can slug it out with just about anything, but be careful of anything with armor cracking potential. The hidden value of this unit is in deployment. Savvy opponents will wait to deploy their counters after you place your Flayed Men. You can ‘bait’ out this deployment by placing your unit a little out of the way and then using the calvary ability to quickly reposition, leaving your opponent’s unit scrambling to keep up.

Non-Combat Units:

• Roose Bolton – Lord of the Dreadfort (0)

Besides Roose, there are currently only two options available to neutrals, but what options they are! A quick thing to consider is that against other 3 ncu lists, it is important to claim the zones as quickly as possible in order to avoid being activation starved.

• Lord Varys – The Spider (4)

Varys has the ability to deny your opponent’s best-laid plans on a 3+. Be prepared for the inevitable game where he does absolutely nothing (besides claim zones). I tend to use him early to cancel the opponent’s claim in the tactics zone. You always want to have more cards than your opponent and preventing them from drawing early can really tip the scales in your favor. He’s also great for preventing Stark shenanigans like Rapid Assault. If your opponent starts playing around Varys, all the better, as this means they are less likely to contest you on the tactics board.

• Petyr Baelish – Littlefinger (4)

Baelish is an excellent piece, allowing you to block your opponent’s preferred zones while gaining the effects of the one you want. One of my favorite attack combos involves claiming the tactics zone (do this only if you don’t need the cards) and triggering the attack zone. Additionally, Baelish allows you to double-dip on zones, allowing you to attack twice or potentially drawing 4 cards in a turn! Woe betide the opponent who lets you get away with this.

Final Thoughts

It tends to do very well in Objective-based games such as Game of Thrones, and Winds of Winter. It is also an excellent list for Clash of Kings, as your opponent cannot gain 2 victory points for killing your commander. If you’ve always wanted to have an answer to everything, while hitting deceptively hard, this is the list for you.


  1. Really like the tactics articles. Roose Bolton’s was no exception. Excellent read. Please do more. Would love to see some on Ramsay and my fav, The Blackfish. Tony

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