GoT football dragon

Illustration via Max Fleishman (Licensed)

'You’re in the great game now, and the great game is terrifying.'

The game part of Game of Thrones is about to get an even bigger dose of fantasy this season.

Last season, The Verge decided to launch a Game of Thrones fantasy league among some of its writers, and this year the league is getting even bigger. Teaming up with fantasy site Fantasizr, the Verge is making it possible for anyone to start a Game of Thrones fantasy league for season 6.

It’s brilliant, really. We’re in a landscape where everything from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette to the Kardashian-Jenner media empire can be turned into a fantasy sport, and Game of Thrones is a perfect show to do that. Like your typical fantasy football league, you tally up points based on the actions and plays made by the people on your team. But instead of tallying up touchdowns, field goals, sacks, fumbles, and interceptions, it’s all about power: what characters can kill other characters, who can play the political game, which characters are making love (and war), and how characters transform.

It’s also fitting way to celebrate a new season of Game of Thrones, considering how big of a football fan author George R.R. Martin is.

Whether you use the Verge’s league or decide to create your own point system among friends and family like Nerdist did a couple years ago, the most important part of any fantasy league is the draft. In the Fantasizr league, you can choose from dozens of characters and a list of “special teams,” which are made of different armies, groups, religions, and creatures.

As a Game of Thrones beat writer and the first winner of the Daily Dot fantasy football league, I’m here to guide you through that draft. And to make it more fair for show viewers, we’ll be sticking strictly to the show canon—a point that’s even easier as Game of Thrones goes off-book this season. Some of your top player choices may be obvious, but what happens once they're picked?

“You’re in the great game now, and the great game is terrifying,” Tyrion Lannister warned in one of the new Game of Thrones trailers, which is the perfect sendoff for those trying to game the game. Start preparing to pray to the old gods and the new.

Surefire picks

These are the players who have consistently stepped up their game and taken control. They are proficient in many of the scoring categories.

Daenerys Targaryen

Pros: Mother of dragons; has thousands of loyal subjects who love her; can command her paramour, Daario Naharis, to strip down; a political player and great at game of wits; has a rightful claim to the Iron Throne; will likely have at least one nude scene this season.

Cons: Starts off as a Dothraki prisoner; is led to Vaes Dothrak where the dosh khaleen (widows of former khals) live; the Sons of the Harpy probably want her dead; she commands that people die, but her followers and dragons do the killing.

Tyrion Lannister

Pros: Witty; is currently interim ruler of Meereen; has killed his enemies before; knows how to control a city and play the political game.

Cons: He may still be a drunken wreck over Shae; King’s Landing probably still wants his head; Varys may end up screwing him over.

Davos Seaworth

Pros: Stannis Baratheon’s righthand man; larger focus in footage and press; appears to negotiate with the Mormonts and joined Sansa’s cause in the trailer; not great at killing but does it anyway.

Cons: Going against the Boltons; a fan favorite, so ripe for an emotional death; the characters he was closest to, Stannis and Shireen, are dead.

Cersei Lannister

Pros: Motivated for revenge; politically savvy; has many allies; she understands the ties between sex and power. 

Cons: Had a fall from grace; unpopular both in King's Landing and among fans; guilty of many of the crimes against her; has others kill for her.

Melisandre

Pros: Red Priestess; has power to resurrect (in theory); likely to have nude scenes in the season; she's been politically influential. 

Cons: Has a crisis of faith; her chosen king Stannis is dead, her death count is only indirect.

Dragons (Drogon, Rhaegal, Viserion)

Pros: Kill rate is excellent; protective of Daenerys; seen releasing flames towards Tyrion in latest trailer; giant, adorable, flying killing machines.

Cons: Rhaegal and Viserion are still locked up (and pissed); Drogon was last seen exhausted and injured; they're not fully grown.

Risks that might pay off big

These characters might bring in big numbers for some episodes but may come up short in others.

Jon Snow

Pros: He’s totally not staying dead; he's good with a sword; he's been able to inspire loyalty among some men. 

Cons: HBO might not be trying to trick us after all.

White Walkers

Pros: They kill a lot; turn the dead into wights; have a bigger presence in trailers; interact with Bran; they're known as the one true threat to Westeros; have the massacre at Hardhome on their side.

Cons: They've historically only shown up about one episode a season; can be killed by dragonglass and Valyrian steel swords.

Jaime Lannister

Pros: Motivated by loss of daughter/niece Myrcella; brings an army to stand up to the Faith Militant; still a member of the Kingsguard.

Cons: Can’t really fight for shit ever since losing his right hand; Cersei is his weakness; he lacks political savvy. 

Arya Stark

Pros: Is aligned with the Faceless Men; a skilled assassin in her own right.

Cons: Has to get used to being blind; a bad liar; still holds onto her own identity; the Faceless Men aren't happy with her.

Sansa Stark

Pros: Can rally the entire North to her side as a Stark; politically savvy as Littlefinger’s protege; hellbent on revenge on the Boltons.

Cons: She's unlikely to do any direct killing; might be taken advantage of by new allies.

Could go either way

They're important players for sure, but they might not always bring you the points you want.

Brienne of Tarth

Pros: No longer hellbent on killing Stannis; skilled fighter; loyal to the cause; we already know she kills someone in possible rescue attempt of Sansa.

Cons: Just came off a somewhat aimless season; has to clean up after Podrick Payne’s messes.

Ghost

Pros: His master was killed and wants revenge.

Cons: Swords can sometimes be swifter than direwolves; may not appear after the first episode for budgetary reasons.

Samwell Tarly

Pros: Had the political smarts to get Jon elected to Lord Commander; heading towards the educational center of Westeros.

Cons: Can’t really fight or defend himself; not a big player in the political game.

Longshots

Will they even appear? Who knows!

Ser Pounce

Pros: He is the Pounce That Was Promised.

Cons: Hasn’t been seen since season 4—and there’s no known plans to bring him back.

The Hound

Pros: The sheer possibility of Cleganebowl.

Cons: No official confirmation that he’s returning.

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This article contains minor spoilers for Game of Thrones and A Dance With Dragons.
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