You Win or You Die: Game of Thrones Fantasy League

If you’re like me, you’re sick and tired of watching HBO’s Game of Thrones with all these “book readers,” smirking and nodding every time another character gets knocked off. Well, now that ol’ Balon Greyjoy has been tossed to his death, and the series has entered mostly uncharted territory, I think we’re all on even ground here. So it’s high time we kicked off a Game of Thrones survival-style fantasy league.

Our concept is simple, but feel free to expand and modify for your own GoT fantasy leagues. In this case, we’re banking on more characters getting killed off over the balance of season six (otherwise this won’t be too much fun). If history is any indication, however, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Nobody wants to draft me? Fine.
Nobody wants to draft me? Fine.

To honor The Seven, seven Idlers comprise the league, drawing from a player pool divided into seven groups. We started with a strictly defined number of available characters — 49 divided equally among House Stark, Team Targaryen, House Lannister, Old Gods and the New, The Wall, Friends Like These, and The Rebels. Draft strategy was going to be important. Since each team has to roster one character from each group, avoiding a guy like Ser Alliser meant you had to draft a different character from The Wall before you ran out of options.

We used to randomly generate our draft order, but there are lots of ways to determine this, including some fun in-person draws that you can use to kick off your episode three viewing party on Sunday.

Scoring works thusly: starting with episode three of season six, each character earns one point per episode in which he or she appears. If a character dies at any point this season, all of those Appearance Points are voided. If the character was directly killed by another rostered character, then the killer assumes all of the Appearance Points that had been accrued by the victim up to that point and adds them to his or her Appearance Point total. Additionally, each time a character kills another rostered character, he or she earns an additional Kill Point. Kill Points stay with a character even if he or she dies over the course of the season, and cannot be stolen by another character.

The stakes: Each time a character on your team dies, you must immortalize his or her passing with body art. A quote, or artwork if you’re feeling ambitious. Level of permanence: Sharpie or better. Then, of course, share a pic with the world. Additionally, at the end of the season, the team with the highest point total takes home The Trophy. [We don’t know what that is yet, but rest assured we’ll argue about it over the next few months.]

The Teams:

Abominable Snow-Bran – hltchk

GoT Ftsy Team MH
House Stark: Bran
Team Targaryen: Missandei
House Lannister: Tommen
The Wall: Jon Snow
The Old Gods and the New: Lancel Lannister
Friends Like These: Olenna Tyrell
Rebels: Yara

Analyzing these groups was one of the most fun aspects of the draft. With the first pick, Jon Snow was the obvious choice (he can’t die AGAIN can he?), but also obvious for his group, as The Wall is a tough place to stick it out and I don’t imagine any of those characters lasting too long. And you know Mr. Snow is going to have a big kill or two. I was really surprised Bran and Yara dropped to me in the second round, so I quickly snatched both of them up with my back-to-back picks. I have no idea what to expect from Bran, but since he missed out on all of last season, I’m betting he appears in every episode this time around, with sweet new powers to boot. Yara, with her father killed by her uncle, is out for blood; hoping she racks up the kills soon. I felt like Tommen is a pretty safe pick. While being King doesn’t guarantee you safety as we’ve all learned, he is now surrounded by Jaime and Cersei, the latter of which has the Mountain at her beck and call. Tommen is Cersei’s last child left; she’s gonna give it all she’s got to keep him alive. He’s also excused from the whole mess the High Sparrows are investigating regarding Margaery and Loras. Olenna is probably not going to do much I imagine, and neither will Lancel. Missandei I’m a little worried about. While she does have the protection of Grey Worm, with Dany and Daario no longer around, I’m not sure how much longer she can last. I suppose it all depends on how quickly Tyrion and Varys can turn Meereen around.

Debt Payers – MMDG

GoT Ftsy Team MMDG
House Stark: Hodor
Team Targaryen: Tyrion
House Lannister: Cersei
The Wall: Eddison Tollet
The Old Gods and the New: Aeron Greyjoy
Friends Like These: Harald Karstark
Rebels: Theon

We were looking for proven veterans, players who have made their mark since the series started, and don’t look to slow down anytime soon. When Tyrion slipped to the fifth pick, Debt Payers immediately had a captain, and a direction. Cersei with my second pick? The pundits thought I was crazy to stick those Lannisters on the same team. Hey, there’s no such thing as clubhouse chemistry in Fantasy GoT. You win or you die. Those two Lannisters know how to win. Or, at the very least, not die. That Stark group was loaded, so I didn’t even bother until the end of the draft. As luck would have it, Hodor lands in our laps. Four O.G. season one Throners? Pass me the trophy now.

Masters of Cwnage – lebronald

GoT Ftsy Team MDDG
House Stark: Sansa
Team Targaryen: Grey Worm
House Lannister: Kevan
The Wall: Sam
The Old Gods and the New: The High Sparrow
Friends Like These: Littlefinger
Rebels: Ellaria Sand

I basically just wanted Jon or Tyrion so a late 1st rounder made me real bitter. Like scrawny pushed-around bitter. “Some men are born with other talents.” The Rebels was a shitty group, so wanted to grab the lead Sand there. Thought I could steal Euron or Aeron late, but you’re all some savvy merchants. Arya and Ramsay are the most fun picks. tyrannoflores’s team sucks; hltchk’s looks good. May the 7 shine on you all.

Many-Faced Team – MeanOldPig

GoT Ftsy Team BC
House Stark: Arya
Team Targaryen: Varys
House Lannister: Qyburn
The Wall: Ser Alliser Thorne
The Old Gods and the New: Three-Eyed Raven
Friends Like These: Margaery
Rebels: Euron Greyjoy

I don’t do this fantasy shit but I know how to play the game. First round, I know I need Arya. A little assassin-in-training whose first mission will be killing some important fools. First round goes as I’d expect. 2nd round has some interesting grabs but I think I need to grab someone across the Narrow Sea before that category gets shut out. Grab Varys ’cause he will be in almost every episode and will survive like the smart eunuch that he is. Davos and Yara are weak picks and I think their time draws near. rengstorff grabs FrankenGregor before me, but I still think he will die once Hound returns and Clegane Bowl is a go so I let it go. I debate picking Euron or Night’s King but decide Old Gods have better pool left so I swoop up my Ironborn. Bummed tyrannoflores took Night’s King but I think his appearance rate will be low. I draft the Queen because she is going to get some revenge on Cersei and will be a key player in King’s Landing. Also her category is weak and I felt like I got a steal. rengstorff steals my next pick of Jaqen but if anything I can see Arya killing him as a final test. Three-Eyed Raven aka Max von Sydow will be next. He may die but I feel like it will be of his own hand, if at all. tyrannoflores forces me to grab Thorne, but I can see him squirming by because Jon Snow is an idiot. Final choice of Qyburn gives my team a Dr. Frankenstein which is nice. I think a lot of teams picked people who will die early on and this will be their downfall. I got a team full of survivors who will outlive you all.

Limb-itless – LDG

GoT Ftsy Team LDG
House Stark: Meera
Team Targaryen: Jorah Mormont
House Lannister: Jaime
The Wall: Ser Davos
The Old Gods and the New: Melisandre
Friends Like These: Ramsay Bolton
Rebels: Tyene Sand

Honestly, I had no plan going into this – only that I wanted Jaime Lannister. His daughter is now dead; his lover has been paraded through the streets naked; and he has a fake hand. He’s out for blood. Being the kick-ass fighter he is, and the potential ahead of him (I’m anticipating he is going to kill the Sands – which is why I’m keeping Tyene close to home), I am expecting many kills and longevity. Ser Davos was an obvious next choice for me. The man has been through a lot. Now at The Wall with Jon Snow, I expect many appearances and for his plot to grow thicker. He’s still standing after everything, and I expect more of this. Many feel Melisandre’s duty has been served and she is no longer needed; I, however, believe this untrue. Her witchery will not die – especially with her swanky youth necklace. Jorah may be getting scaly, but I expect some kills before that. Ramsay was a bold choice, I’ll be honest. But I needed a little crazy on my team.

Briennes Over Bronn – tyrannofloresrex

GoT Ftsy Team RF
House Stark: Brienne
Team Targaryen: Daario
House Lannister: Bronn
The Wall: Gilly
The Old Gods and the New: Night’s King
Friends Like These: Mace Tyrell
Rebels: Obara Sand

When I saw that I had the last drafting position, I knew a lot of the heavy guns were gonna be gone before I got a turn. Even without a big name, there were plenty of characters left that are gonna have the opportunity to slay fools. Brienne and Bronn are both fan favorites who are consistently in a position to cut down other, lesser characters, so they are the meat of my team. I believe Brienne guarding Sansa will create a pretty decent body count, and whatever Jaime has in mind for Bronn, no doubt someone will die. Daario may have been a silly second pick, but I’m banking on him mercy-killing Jorah before he goes full gargoyle. If that happens, Daario is gonna get me all those tasty Jorah points, and that will be a fat bounty. Gilly is not really a “cool” character, but she has the chance of earning a few appearance points with very little danger of being killed off. The same is true of Mace Tyrell – if he gets me any points at all, I’ll be thankful, but I wouldn’t even care if he got killed. I actually hope he’s an offscreen death. I wanted Tyene Sand, seeing that she’s the favored daughter, but Obara is a good contingency. She’s named after the Viper, and hopefully she’ll get the chance to avenge her dad, maybe kill a Mountain. I’m pretty sure the Night’s King is gonna be around until the very end of the show. He has to be part of the final showdown, which I know won’t be this season. Very few characters encounter the Night’s King then survive, so if he gets into a fight, I’m confident he’ll be getting me points. I may not have a lot of high appearance characters, but I’ve got quite a few killers. Winning would be great, but I’d rather have the biggest body count.

Money for Nothing, Pod for Free – rengstorff

GoT Ftsy Team SS
House Stark: Podrick
Team Targaryen: Danaerys
House Lannister: The Mountain
The Wall: Tormund
The Old Gods and the New: Jaqen H’ghar
Friends Like These: Ser Loras
Rebels: Nymeria Sand

HAHAHAHAHAHA you guys GAVE me Pod! I have dragons. And I have Pod. A man will win this league.

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