Total War players are baffled by the tactics used in Game of Thrones' Battle of Winterfell

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Game of Thrones.

Last weekend, Game of Thrones fans were treated to its most climactic battle yet: The Battle of Winterfell. Called The Long Night, the episode saw a small army of men fight a winner-take-all battle against the Night King and his army of the dead. It was supposed to be a cathartic and dramatic end to one of the series' longest running story arcs, but for members of the Total War subreddit, that moment was ruined by the laughably stupid tactics employed by the Winterfell defenders.

After the episode aired, hundreds of Total War fans congregated in an reddit thread to play "armchair general" and critique the episode's ridiculous use of medieval tactics. Meanwhile, Total War YouTubers started pumping out videos using games like Total War: Warhammer 2 (which conveniently has an entire faction of undead) to replay the events of the episode. But while their own strategies differ greatly, there's one thing they can agree on: The tactics used in The Battle of Winterfell were beyond dumb.

In the video above, YouTuber 'milkandcookiesTW' offers an excellent breakdown of all the problems in the episode. Easily the most hated moment for Total War fans happened before the battle itself even began. After the sorceress Melissadre ignites the weapons of the Dothraki cavalry, they stupidly charge headfirst into an undead army that feels no fear, is enormously large, and completely concealed by the dark of night.

"What the fuck was that cavalry charge?" reads one of the comments in the thread. "You're facing a fragile enemy with no missiles, no spears and no cavalry of their own so you just decide to Leeroy Jenkins your only mounted guys. Alexander the Great is rolling in his grave."

That's just the beginning, though. Others are quick to point out how dumb it is to put your artillery beyond the confines of the walls, where they can quickly be overrun and destroyed. Similarly, the vast majority of the Winterfell army is also placed beyond the safety of a flaming palisade that ultimately ends up trapping a good number of them.  And, as one redditor points out even the walls of Winterfell were barely defended, all but allowing the undead to quickly swarm and take them.

Even the Night King's own strategies has glaring holes in it: "Why is the night king attacking the castle from one side only? Why doesn't he flank the defenders? Why does he wait to resurrect the fallen?" asks redditor Emberwake.

Of course, these questions don't compare to the much bigger ones Game of Thrones fans are left with after that episode and this week's episode aired. But clearly Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow need to pick some better generals or their claim to the Iron Throne isn't going to mean much.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.