The Sword in the Darkness
Preview the Night’s Watch Faction for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children.”
Founded in the aftermath of the Long Night, the Night’s Watch has guarded Westeros against the nameless threats beyond for centuries. Bastards, fallen men, criminals, and knights come together as sworn brothers of the Night’s Watch, and together they hold the Wall – a massive barrier of solid ice that stretches across Westeros.
The vows of the Night’s Watch forbid them from taking wives or holding lands, but that does not mean they have abandoned the game of thrones. Some would use the Night’s Watch to claim personal power. Others wish to influence the Iron Throne and bring more support to the Night’s Watch, the better to defend Westeros against wildlings and the Others. No matter what your motives are, you can fight for the Night’s Watch in the second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!
A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition is a new LCG® of deadly battles and cunning schemes in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. Eight unique factions stand ready to answer your call to arms, and each of them offers different tactics and strengths. In our last preview, we explored the gold and secrets at the heart of Casterly Rock with House Lannister. Today, we return to the North to stand atop the Wall with the Night’s Watch.
Nate French on the Night’s Watch Faction
The Night's Watch are the scavengers of the realm in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, and they’re adept at picking up scraps and using what others have thrown away or left behind. They are sworn to defend the Wall and because of this, they’re fierce when defending challenges. The Night’s Watch also has a specialized character base as they divide their tasks and strengths among Stewards, Rangers, and Builders. As a faction, playing the Night's Watch feels the most distinct from the others. After all, they’re not a Great House and they operate with a different set of goals.
“I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post.”
For the first time in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, the Night’s Watch are a fully formed faction in their own right. The Night’s Watch plays the game of thrones much differently than other factions, however. Rather than riding forth to challenge their opponents, the Night’s Watch is at its best when it focuses on defending Westeros and holding The Wall (Core Set, 137).
The Wall is a massive bastion against the threats of the North, and standing atop it gives the Night’s Watch numerous advantages. Firstly, The Wall enhances the prowess of the Night’s Watch by granting an additional STR to each of your Night’s Watch characters. What’s more, you can kneel The Wall at the end of the challenges phase to immediately claim two power for your faction! The ability to gain power quickly and easily is not without drawbacks, however. If you ever lose an unopposed challenge, you must kneel The Wall, preventing you from using it to claim power.
When you fight for the Night’s Watch, you want to get The Wall in play as soon as possible, but once it’s in play, you’ll need to defend it. Fortunately, the Night’s Watch excels at defending with characters like Old Bear Mormont (Core Set, 126). As a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Old Bear Mormont is a potent character. He’s even more powerful with The Wall at his back: while you control The Wall, Old Bear Mormont does not need to kneel to defend. Old Bear Mormont can also rally the Night’s Watch around himself with his second ability, which reads, “Interrupt: When the challenges phase ends, if you have not lost a challenge as the defending player this phase, put a Night’s Watch card into play from your hand.” By bringing more of the Night’s Watch into play for free, Old Bear Mormont grants your faction a powerful boost in strength.
“I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls.”
You can also maintain your defense of Westeros by playing The Sword in the Darkness (Core Set, 140). After you win a challenge as the defender by five or more STR, you can play The Sword in the Darkness to prevent your attacker from initiating any more challenges against you this round! Essentially, by playing this card, you can shut down your opponent’s challenges, giving you a tempo boost and making it much easier for you to defend The Wall.
The Night’s Watch may excel at defense, but there is undoubtedly a time for attack as well. When you do go on the offensive, you’ll be thankful to have Jon Snow (Core Set, 124) helping the warriors of the Night’s Watch. While Jon Snow is standing, he is considered to be participating in each challenge in which you control another attacking Night’s Watch character, offering his STR to support the challenge. This repeatable STR boost can make your attacks overwhelming, and Jon Snow is even more powerful when equipped with Longclaw (Core Set, 135). This Valyrian Steel blade gives the attached character an additional STR and the renown keyword. When Jon Snow is paired with the renown keyword, you could claim up to three power on Jon Snow every challenges phase, helping the Night’s Watch push forward to victory.
“I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.”
The goals of the Night’s Watch are noble, but they are not wealthy. Instead, they must take what they are offered, including the leavings of other factions. You can collect your opponent’s rejected characters to serve the Watch with the help of Yoren (Core Set, 129). After you marshal Yoren, you can search your opponent’s discard pile for any character with a cost of three or less and put it into play under your control. By turning your opponent’s characters against him, you gain another way to quickly increase the strength of the Watch.
You may also encourage some of your opponent’s characters to Take the Black (Core Set, 139). This event allows you to choose any non-unique character with a cost of six or lower and take control of that character! After all, the men of the Night’s Watch hold to no House, and their only family are the sworn brothers of the Watch. Taking command of one of your opponent’s characters can quickly swing the course of the game in your favor as your opponent finds himself battling his erstwhile ally.
The Night’s Watch takes men where it can find them, and it also accepts the kingdom’s gold to support its aims. After your opponent collects income for the turn, you may ask them to make A Meager Contribution (Core Set, 138) to the support of the Night’s Watch. This free event moves one gold from your opponent’s gold pool to your own, swelling your own coffers while decreasing your opponent’s. You may even keep your opponent from playing his most powerful characters when you steal his gold.
“I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."
–George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
The brothers of the Night’s Watch may seek to influence the Iron Throne, but many of them have a nobler goal in mind than mere personal power. If all of Westeros is to be safeguarded, the Wall and the Night’s Watch must stand strong. Say your vows and stand ready to defend Westeros!
Next week, we’ll turn to the Great House that took the Targaryens’ place as rulers of the Seven Kingdoms: House Baratheon.