Ranger, Steward, Builder
Preview the Orders of the Night’s Watch in Watchers on the Wall
The Night's Watch needed leaders with the wisdom of Maester Aemon, the learning of Samwell Tarly, the courage of Qhorin Halfhand, the stubborn strength of the Old Bear, the compassion of Donal Noye.
–George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons
North of the wolfswood, the Wall stretches three-hundred miles across the breadth of Westeros, shielding the realms of men from the supernatural terrors that lurk beyond. The Wall towers hundreds of feet tall, constructed from enormous blocks of ice and bound to a foundation of old spells—yet it is not enough to protect Westeros alone. Without the men of the Night’s Watch guarding the Wall, wildings and Others would ravage the southern lands, and the Seven Kingdoms would fall to darkness.
With the Watchers on the Wall deluxe expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, you can take the black and stand atop the Wall. But you won’t stand alone. The brothers of the Night’s Watch may belong to different orders, but without all of them working together, they would have small chance of survival.
Today, we take a closer look at the orders of the Night’s Watch in the Watchers on the Wall expansion!
Choose Your Calling
There are three distinct orders within the Night’s Watch, and each has its unique place within the greater body of the Watch. Rangers are tasked with patrolling the haunted forest, defending the Wall, and fighting the enemies of the Watch. The stewards are responsible for hunting, cooking, farming, smithing weapons, and serving the commanders of the Night’s Watch. And finally, the builders must maintain the Wall and its castles, shoring up any flaw that an enemy could exploit. Each order of the Night’s Watch has a vital function, and none can survive without the others.
With the Watchers on the Wall expansion, more than ever before, you’ll find cards that reward you for giving your characters the support of their brothers in the Night’s Watch. For instance, consider the Lost Ranger (Watchers on the Wall, 14). With four STR for just two gold, the Lost Ranger is an excellent investment—but when the challenges phase ends, if you control no other Ranger characters, you must sacrifice the Lost Ranger. In other words, you can only keep this efficient character if you keep other Rangers in the Night’s Watch.
Of course, the most common trouble with Rangers is their spread of combat icons. Most Rangers only bear a military icon, making them vulnerable to other forms of attack. Fortunately, Ser Jaremy Rykker (Watchers on the Wall, 8) can lead your Rangers: while Ser Jaremy Rykker is in play, each other Ranger character that you control gains a power icon, making it much easier to defend The Wall (Core Set, 137) or attack your opponent's power.
If the Rangers are the military branch of the Night’s Watch, it’s the role of the Stewards to give you the tools that you need to survive. Bowen Marsh (Watchers on the Wall, 2) is the Lord Steward of the Night’s Watch, and although he costs six gold—which can be expensive for the Night’s Watch—he helps ensure your hand will stay full of cards. With Bowen Marsh in play, each of your Stewards gains insight during intrigue challenges, helping you refill your hand and making characters like Jon Snow (Watchers on the Wall, 1) more powerful than they already were. And as an added bonus, Bowen Marsh increases your reserve, helping you hold onto the extra cards that you draw from your newfound insight. You may even convert the extra cards directly into gold with the Old Forest Hunter (Core Set, 131).
You could also put your Stewards to work in The New Gift (Watchers on the Wall, 17). As a Marshaling Action with The New Gift, you can kneel a Steward to gain a gold, and as a Challenges Action, you can kneel a Steward to draw a card! Whether you’re short on gold or cards, The New Gift lets you get exactly what you need—making it perfect for harnessing cheap, non-essential Stewards like the Steward at the Wall (Core Set, 133).
The final order of the Night’s Watch, the Builders, is perfect for pushing up your defenses and turning back even the strongest enemy assault. Castle Black Mason (Watchers on the Wall, 9), for example, allows you to kneel two Builder characters to search the top ten cards of your deck for a location or attachment and add it to your hand. Kneeling two characters may seem like a steep cost, but consider the benefits of finding The Wall, The Haunted Forest (There Is My Claim, 66), or Craven (Called to Arms, 26) when you need it.
The number of Builder characters that you control directly corresponds to the defensive potential of a card like Abandoned Stronghold (Watchers on the Wall, 18). You can kneel this location as an Action to choose a defending character and increase that character’s STR by the number of Builder characters you control. Even if it gives only a small boost, an Abandoned Stronghold could be enough to win a critical challenge, giving you a window to trigger cards like Thoren Smallwood (For Family Honor, 45) and The Shadow Tower (Wolves of the North, 34).
It may seem like these orders work separately, and in one sense, they do. The cards don’t reference the other orders. Your Stewards, for instance, won’t get an explicit benefit from having more Rangers or Builders. But in truth, it’s hard for one order to survive without the others. Without Rangers, your Stewards and Builders can’t maintain a military defense. Without Stewards, you’ll be apt to run out of cards and resources, leaving your characters stranded. Without Builders, your own defenses will crumble beneath a concentrated enemy assault. The Watch needs all types of men, and you’d do well to follow a similar mantra when building your own deck. Even if you use a Banner agenda to swell the ranks of the Watch, any man can be Sworn to the Watch (Watchers on the Wall, 22) gaining new traits and becoming a crucial part of your Night’s Watch.
Now My Watch Begins
Whether you take your place among the rangers, the stewards, or the builders, your watch begins now. Join us next time for a look at the cards from other factions included in this expansion, but for now, take your place at the Wall.
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