#1 – Tywin Lannister
This stalwart from Casterly Rock finished with another perfect record after a big win over Robb Stark at the Twins to close out the season. Sure, he’s evil. He’s cruel. But that’s what makes him so good. He hasn’t shown a chink in his armor since he saved King’s Landing from Stannis’ invasion. He’s got more gold and armies than anyone else. Plus, he manages King Joffrey’s better than any front office to date. Watch out for this conference leader to have another stellar season.
#2 – Daenerys Targaryen
A powerhouse still on the rise. She’s coming off fresh wins at Astapor and Yunkai with 3 dragons and a nice pick-up of 8,000 unsullied at her back for some much-needed ground game. Look for her to go deep this season. Her support staff is only growing in number and experience. You really have to hand it to this young phenom. We’ve got nothing but high hopes for her.
#3 – King Joffrey Baratheon
If there is a ranking list that does NOT include the reigning king of Westeros, get a new list. Yes, he’s petulant. Yes, he has glaring character flaws that some coaches worry will affect the locker room, but look where’s he’s sitting. The Iron Throne. See anyone else there? Didn’t think so. Young as he is, he’s managed to order the death of Ned Stark and the (unsuccessful) assassination of his uncle Tyrion. He’s got balls, even for a powerless figurehead.
#4 – King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder
Our first real surprise on the list. Mance’s dominant presence here might shock some. But look at those stats! He’s the first man in history to organize the entire Wildling population behind him. And get a load of those actual giants on his offensive line. Plus, no one really knows he is coming south. That’s surprise. Add this to the fact that he’s the only “free” man on the list and #4 might actually be too low! Potential sleeper pick, a real contender, especially in a 12-man draft.
#5 – Lord Varys
Another dark horse. Varys doesn’t look like much. 5’7”, 120 pounds soaking wet (it’s the lack of hair and genitalia) but what he doesn’t have in physical attributes he more than makes up for in cunning and on-field vision. He’s got dirt on just about everyone; notably, Tyrion. He also seems to want to help Sansa, he scrounged up a bag of diamonds for Shae, and he’s the only one on this list with an ancient wizard in a box.
#6 – Tyrion Lannister
A fan favorite, Tyrion is clearly one of the smartest players in this game. And his nickel defense of King’s Landing is the stuff of legend. Too bad his father took all the credit. Just one more reason Tywin holds our top spot this pre-season. But don’t count Tyrion out yet. He has more potential upside than anyone here and shows a surprisingly powerful aspect of his personality through his care of Sansa. But tenderness is also a weakness in this league. Frankly, he’d be ranked higher if it weren’t for all his liabilities, on the field and off.
#7 – Cersei Lannister
Although I’m sure it pains her to be put just below her brother, even Cersei knows she’s on the decline. Last season she was Queen Regent and, ostensibly, ruled the land. But with Tywin now Hand and Joffrey exerting more willpower, she’s dropping quickly in the rankings. A definite bench player, if not a trade. Sure, her brother/lover is back in her arms but Cersei has been pawned off in marriage for the greater Lannister good. We’re afraid this veteran doesn’t have much more to give.
#8 – Stannis Baratheon
An old school rival from yesteryear, he has never been flashy but his work ethic is unparalleled. He looked strong coming in to last season but has since been decimated at the Battle of The Blackwater. Stannis still has a strong claim to the Iron Throne, which we respect, but now with very little muscle to back it up. Then again, he does hold some cards. Most notably, Melisandre and her (award-winning league Sixth Man) Lord of Light. True god or no, many powers have been witnessed and now, with Gendry in hand, Stannis stands at the peak of possible advancement.
#9 – Lady Olenna Tyrell
A bit of an odd choice, we know, especially considering the hype the rest of this list gets in the press. She’s old and has lost a step but she’s still sharp. “Gramma Tyrell” seems to understand more than she lets on. Her control over Margery – the future queen – is a remarkable power to wield. And, most notably, her spar with Tyrion over the upcoming wedding costs shows us that she still has a lot to give. We don’t have a ton to back it up but we just can’t shake the feeling that she’s one or two steps ahead of everyone else.
#10 – Melisandre
Say what you will about this religious zealot, she can make smoke demons come out from her crotch. Anyone who can do that gets on our list. Unfortunately, her devotion to an, as yet, untested Lord of Light and the newly emasculated Stannis, keeps her ranking lower than it could be.
And that’s the list, sports fans! Once the season gets underway, make sure to tune in here every week for updated power rankings. Disagree with me? Let me hear about it in the Comments below but remember, we’re watching these games live on TV so don’t bring any outside (book series) facts to the table.