Bannermen! Michael Shinall here, and we continue our Faction Focus article series today with the defenders of the realms of men: The Night’s Watch!
To catch up on the rest of the series, click any of these links below:
“Our honor means no more than our lives, so long as the realm is safe.” - Qhorin Halfhand
Carrying loyalty to none of the Great Houses, the protectors of the Wall only care for the greater defense of the realm. While a mere shadow of their former glory, the men of the Watch are still some of the most battle-hardened soldiers in the Seven Kingdoms. With elite training and a firm adherence to their Vows, the Night’s Watch is a formattable enemy on the battlefield composed of stalwart units that begin elite and only get tougher as the fight goes on.
AND NOW MY WATCH BEGINS…
The Night’s Watch make use of a unique series of Tactics Cards representing their Vows. Unlike the standard “play and discard” method of most factions, Night’s Watch Tactics cards function a bit differently. Without a specific focus on Tactics Zones, the Generic Night’s Watch deck is a toolbox of various benefits and booms. More importantly, however, is that when a Night’s Watch unit is targeted by one of these cards, it attaches to them, granting them a powerful benefit for the remainder of the game. This means that, should a unit find itself tempered by the battle, it will only grow in power as it begins to amass more attached cards.
THE SWORD IN THE DARKNESS: Striking when least expected, this card grants a number of bonuses to the combat unit, ranging from dishing out Condition tokens to a permanent +1 Attack die.
THE FIRE THAT BURNS AGAINST THE COLD: Aiding the already impressive morale of the Night’s Watch, The Fire That Burns Against the Cold also has the added benefit of preventing Condition tokens, which can vastly deny certain opposing strategies.
THE SHIELD OF THE REALMS OF MEN: Preventing damage is always welcomed, and few cards do it better than the Shield of the Realms of Men. Not only does this allow re-rolling of Defense Dice, but also ups the survivability of the unit for the remainder of the game.
THE WATCHER ON THE WALL: Defense and Offense are all well and good, but mean little if the unit can’t make it to the fight. Watcher allows just that, granting extra mobility when needed.
THE LIGHT THAT BRINGS THE DAWN: Even the toughest unit can eventually be brought down by continuous onslaught. This card makes it so that even in the darkest moment your unit can press on and make a comeback.
TAKE THE BLACK: Speaking of comebacks, Take the Black not only allows the restoration of Wounds following the successful defeat of a foe, but allows the Watch to take their most valued asset (Attachments) and make their might their own!
AND NOW HIS WATCH IS ENDED: While you never want your own units to fall, should it happen you have a fail-safe even then, gaining some lost resources from that unit but, more importantly, granting your unit additional Actions as a result.
PROTECTORS OF THE REALM
Of course, the most valuable resource available to the Watch are the very men who comprise its ranks. When it comes to Night’s Watch units, “elite” is the name of the game. Almost acting as a mirror opposite of their foes North of the Wall (who specialize in cheap units purchased en-masse) the roster of units available to Night’s Watch has few low-cost options, instead focusing on elite, highly-focused pieces to best make use of the multitude of benefits and boons available to them.
SWORN BROTHERS: The “basic” soldier of the Watch, Sworn Brothers are your option when you want to deal as much damage as you can. With a combination of Sundering and Order: Martial Training Sworn Brothers can cut through most any defense.
RANGER TRACKERS: Quick and maneuverable, Trackers work to assist the “heavier” units of the Watch by debuffing enemies and providing a quick response option to your army.
VETERANS OF THE WATCH: Representing some of the most battle-hardened fighters in the roster, Veterans have a focus on punishing enemy forces. Against less or untrained opponents Veterans will prove to be a deadly foe to attack, while against more elite options Veterans can absolutely stand their own ground. When an opponent creates a problem unit that you need to deal with Veterans are the answer.
BUILDER CROSSBOWMEN: A dedicated ranged unit, the Builder Crossbowmen are best as a supplemental force to more “front-line” troops. While capable in their own right, they do not want to see melee combat, preferring to let their Crossbows do the talking from a distance.
RANGER HUNTERS: Whereas Ranger Trackers seek to aid friendly units, Hunters exist to fill holes in your own battlelines (being excellent at both Ranged and Melee combat) or to exploit weaknesses in the enemy. When quick flexibility on the battlefield is needed, Ranger Hunters rise to meet the challenge.
“The Lord Commander of the Night's Watch is a lord, first and foremost. He must be able to treat with other lords ... and with kings as well. He must be a man worthy of respect.” -Denys Mallister
As well trained as the men of the Watch are, it takes a powerful personality to bring out the best of them. Luckily, when it comes to the Commanders available to the Night’s Watch, there is no shortage (gameplay-wise, anyway…) Each bring their own distinct tactics and style to the battlefield, molding the men under their leadership in various ways.
(We won’t be covering Jeor Mormont here, as he already got a specific focus in his own article, available HERE!)
JON SNOW, 998th LORD COMMANDER: For those who enjoy the various benefits and boosts available to the Watch, Jon Snow is your Commander of choice. With a heavy focus on stacking additional bonuses to combat units at key moments, Jon might not be cunning or trixy, but his contributions will not go unnoticed.
ALLISER THORNE: While bringing out the best in your own troops is admirable, sometimes exploiting the weaknesses of your opponents is the way to win. Alliser brings the rare elements of Panic and Morale destruction/manipulation to the Watch, focusing your strategy on debuffing and denying your opponent of their strengths and abilities.
DONAL NOYE: When a point needs defending, when an objective needs guarding, Donal Noye is the one you want leading your forces. For players who think the best offense is a good defense, Noye rises to answer the call. When under his Command, a Night’s Watch army not only becomes a bulwark of defense, but also punishes any who would come to attack them.
OTHELL YARWYCK: Bringing the full ingenuity of the Builders to the fight, Othell specializes in bolstering the Builder aspects of the Watch, whether this be the Crossbowmen or the various War Machines used to guard the wall. Of course, these bonuses are not limited to merely these units, as Othell can boost the armaments of those he leads, as well as shape the battlefield itself through quick creation of fortifications and barriers.
With that, brave veterans/new conscripts, we conclude our time here at the Wall. What aspect of the army appeals the most to you? What style do you see yourself playing when the time comes to face off against the growing darkness?