Visions in the Flames: Commanders of the Watch

Bannermen, today we’re going to venture far to the North and take a look at the brave men manning the Wall!

As we spoke about in our previous article both the Night’s Watch and Free Folk will be receiving Updates in the coming time. Today we’re going to talk about some of those changes and how they impact the faction.

When it comes to these Updates, its seldom so simple as “This Attachment/Unit isn’t performing well, boost its numbers”. We always have to take an analytical look at why its not meeting our expectations. Sometimes it is indeed as simple as raw numbers, but sometimes (more often) it’s the case that the specific role the unit should be performing is where its lacking. The Night’s Watch has a focus on elite units, supplemented by powerful Attachment options. While we are majorly satisfied with where most of the units are, their Attachments were the areas that we kept arriving to that needed the most evaluation. Specifically, it became an issue of what I just mentioned - the elite nature of the army. By having the focus be on expensive units, it then caused a ripple effect that, by also having expensive Attachments, things got… Well, too expensive, which in turn lead to restrictive list building, among other issues.

In the end, we’ve refocused some of their Attachments to not only be a touch cheaper but serve a very defined role. Essentially, your Combat Unit will act as your “base” for what you want the unit to do, then your Attachment will either supplement that unit’s natural advantages or work to reduce their shortcomings. Given this modular nature, which is also one of the key trademarks of the faction (as seen by their Tactics Zone diversity) Attachments are fairly important, so another overall theme you’ll see is that, comparatively, said Attachments are a pretty attractive value for their points- more so than in most other factions. This is a balancing point to the higher baseline nature of their units, again, focusing on the elite nature of the faction.

But enough of generalities, let’s look at two specific cases:

WATCH CAPTAIN

The Watch Captain is a prime example of an Attachment that you knew what he wanted to do - but he just didn’t do it as well as he should. The old one allowed you to attach two Vows to his unit, and also allowed you to start the game with one as well. The issue here is that it was a bit random in which Vow you’d actually get and, as most Night’s Watch players can attest, attaching the Vow meant losing out on its Tactic Card benefit as well. A pretty steep cost. Speaking of costs, he also clocked in at 2 points - a steep investment.

Looking at his new version you can clearly see his focus. He has retained his original benefit of allowing the unit to have two attached Vows, but his random first Ability has been replaced with the new Order: Oath of the Black, giving him control over actually triggering the Vow effects on your unit, independent of the Tactics Zones you control. Of course, to gain the biggest benefit (the effects of both Vows you can attach) you’ll still need to have your interplay on the Tactics Board, but overall he works to give you more control in your Vow game, and expand your options. In addition to all of this, he has received a points reduction, dropping him to 1 point. It’s an impressive array of Abilities for the cost, but they do in fact need other elements of your army to work properly, so it isn’t mindless, but you can clearly see the defined role of “I am utilizing Vows” when it comes to the Attachment.

JEOR MORMONT, 997 LORD COMMANDER

Let’s continue the focus on Vows with one of the main figures of the entire faction, the 997th Lord Commander. Being a Commander, one must first take into consideration Jeor’s Tactics Cards, which all had a heavy focus on Vows and the manipulation thereof. His Ability meanwhile allowed you to begin cycling them from your discard. While all that sounds good in theory, his Attachment effect was already present elsewhere in the faction and compared to other options it didn’t really add much to his unit, since you then needed to control the respective Tactics Zone to even gain any benefit from the card you cycled.

It ended up being a lot of work for minimal payoff, which is a shame, since Jeor should embody the ideology of the Watch and what Taking the Black actually means. To better represent this, we’ve overhauled his Attachment entirely and really made him the centerpiece of your army: when the 997th Commander takes to the field, it means something. The men he leads represent everything the Watch (could/should) stand for. They are the Shield That Guards The Realms of Men, they are the Sword in the Darkness, and they will mess you up.

With the changes, Jeor’s unit now becomes absolutely beastly via a combination of Stalwart (given most of your units already impressive Morale) but, more importantly, he has an amped up version of the Watch Captain’s Ability- his own allowing now only two attached Vows but also making it so you always gain their bonus effects. This transforms almost any unit you place him onto one of, if not the biggest, threat on the battlefield - just as it should be with such a legendary figure.

And with that we’re going to wrap up our look at the updates coming to the Night’s Watch. Next time we’ll be venturing even further north, well past the Wall, into the realm of the Free Folk. Join us then!

Visions in the Flames: Commanders of the Watch

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