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Stallion That Mounts Texas

Greatest battle commanders at the start of ASoIaF

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Not sure how anyone is ranking Tywin this highly.

He is fought off his feet, both tactically and strategically, throughout the entire War of the Five Kings.  His one "victory" at the Green Fork was a strategic loss, and one in which his opposite number (Roose Bolton) was almost certainly doing his best to throw the battle to the greatest extent possible.  At every turn, GRRM has his finger firmly on the scales for Tywin to triumph - he's completely incapable of making any alliances in the run up to the war, and his strategy before Robert dies is pretty much guaranteed to lose him everything he's worked for his entire life.  Robert's death is the only thing that saves him then, and Renly's (completely unforeseeable) death is the only thing that saves him later.  His only "victories" in his career come against vastly outnumbered vassals being surprised by a completely extra-legal attack during the Rains of Castamere.

So... yeah.  Contrast a guy like Stannis, who has consistently shown an ability to outthink his opponents (Fair Isle, Storm's End) and to have inspired incredible loyalty among his men (post-Blackwater, Siege of Storm's End)... I think he's pretty clearly top dog.  Robert is also hinted/shown to be a good commander.  As is Ned Stark, though more in a planning and logistics sense than in any tactical role that we're shown.

I would love to be fighting Tywin.  He's incredibly emotional and easily manipulated if you prick his pride, constantly making dumb decisions and being bailed out by narrative plot armor.

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1- Robert Baratheon (he is very underrated as a commander) 

2- Stannis Baratheon (Impressive curriculum, the most versatile commander)

3- Robb Stark (also an impressive curriculum)

4- Randyll Tarly (The only man who defeated Robert Baratheon)

5- Tywin Lannister (Crushed the Reynes/Tarbecks and the sack of King´s Landing)

6- Ned Stark (Led the northern armies during Robert´s Rebellion and the greyjoy rebellion, won the battle of the bells)

7- Jon Arryn (Led the vale armies during robert´s rebellion)

 

 

 

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Trying to group in tiers, because it is hard to directly compare commanders that have never engaged each other in any way.

Beginning of the books:

Tier A: known to have won battles by skill alone, or with comparable forces against a decent commander. Unlikely to blunder.

Khal Drogo. Dothraki fight a lot among themselves. Never losing a battle there must mean something. He didn't become Khal for nothing.

Stannis Baratheon. Held Storm's End against all odds. Known to have been an effective commander in the Greyjoy uprising.

Randyll Tarly. Dealt Robert Baratheon his only true defeat with just the vanguard. Out of action for most of the war besieging Storm's End.

Tier B: good commanders

Robert Baratheon. The reason he's not tier A is that his impulsiveness makes him prone to run into traps. Won the trident.

Tywin Lannister. At least decent as a commander. Brilliant strategist, usually wins his battles before the fighting begins - but this is not the focus of this thread.

Ned Stark/Jon Arryn/Hoster Tully: led armies during Robert's Rebellion and commanded their forces at the Trident.

Jon Connington. Held his own despite likely being heavily outnumbered in the Battle of the Bells. Managed to pull out most of his forces and retreat them to safety once it became clear the battle was lost.

 

Throughout the books (not including characters who only fought in the past or died very soon):

Tier A:

Danaerys Targaryen. Her cunning plans defeated both Yunkai and Mereen with minimal losses on her side. Never lost a battle.

Tyrion Lannister, for his ingenious defense of King's Landing.

Robb Stark. Never lost on the battlefield, and known to take his enemies by surprise. Blundered a lot off the battlefield which cost him his life and his crown.

Randyll Tarly. Did nothing that cost him his Tier A rank. Annihilated the enemy at Duskendale just as expected of him against an inferior foe.

Tier B:

Stannis Baratheon. No longer Tier A because he ran into a trap at the Blackwater.

Tywin Lannister.

Jon Connington.

Jon Snow. Held the wall against the assault of Mance Rayder.

 

 

 

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