Watchers on the Wall

Announcing a New Deluxe Expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

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“When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits the Iron Throne?”
  
–Old Bear Mormont, A Game of Thrones

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce Watchers on the Wall, the third deluxe expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!

At the northern edge of the Seven Kingdoms, there is the Wall. Built from massive blocks of ice and guarded by ancient, forgotten spells, it towers over 700 feet tall, forbidding entry to all who dwell beyond. A wall is only as strong as its defenders, though, and here, those defenders are the Night’s Watch. In the Night’s Watch, all men are brothers. Knights, lords, and the cousins of kings rub shoulders with slavers, murderers, and the scum of Westeros. Their task is grim and cold and thankless—no songs will ever be sung for them. Yet their vigilance is all that protects the southern lands from wildlings and the Others.

Travel north and join the Night’s Watch with Watchers on the Wall! Within this expansion, the Night’s Watch explores new and existing themes, as you find new ways to defend the Wall, new ways to conscript your opponent’s characters, and plenty of rewards for focusing on the three branches of the Night’s Watch: Rangers, Stewards, and Builders. Along with the nameless men who swell the ranks of the Night’s Watch, you’ll find new versions of iconic characters from throughout the saga, including Jon Snow, Old Bear Mormont, Maester Aemon, and Samwell Tarly.

And although the focus of this expansion rests on the Night’s Watch, you’ll find two new non-loyal cards for every other faction, expanding your options for any alliance. You’ll also receive an assortment of neutral cards portraying the Night’s Watch’s most common enemies, the Wildlings. With seven new plots (one loyal to the Night’s Watch) rounding out the expansion, Watchers on the Wall offers new pathways to victory for every deck.

Guarding the Realm

The men of the Night’s Watch have only one sworn duty: to defend the Wall and protect the Seven Kingdoms. Even when the Night’s Watch is drawn into the intrigues and power struggles that define the game of thrones, they play the game much differently than the Great Houses of Westeros. In fact, most of their power comes not from winning challenges, but from defending The Wall (Core Set, 137). The Wall gives you a significant source of power, but defending it against a concerted enemy assault can be difficult. Fortunately, Watchers on the Wall gives you the tools to strengthen your defenses, beginning with a new version of Jon Snow (Watcher on the Walls, 1). 

In contrast to the Core Set version of Jon Snow (Core Set, 124), which was purely offensive, the newest Jon Snow is equally useful on attack or defense. For seven gold, you receive military and intrigue icons and six STR, making him powerful enough to oppose someone like Balon Greyjoy (Core Set, 68) in a military challenge. More importantly, though, Jon Snow’s ability reads, “Reaction: After you win a challenge in which Jon Snow is participating, either: stand each attacking Wildling character, or stand each defending Night’s Watch character. (Limit once per phase.)

When you’re fighting to defend The Wall, any card that stands your defenders is worth its weight in gold. It even allows you to overcommit on defense to trigger The Shadow Tower (Wolves of the North, 34) or Thoren Smallwood (For Family Honor, 45), and then stand all of your defenders with Jon Snow, readying you to block another assault. Jon Snow even has stealth, ensuring that your opponent can’t simply slip past him to scale the Wall!

The Night’s Watch gains another exceptional tool for defense with their new plot, The Fire That Burns (Watchers on the Wall, 46). This loyal plot features above-average initiative and reserve with an ability that’s truly stunning for any deck that defends The Wall. While you have The Fire That Burns revealed, your Night’s Watch characters don’t kneel to defend challenges! Obviously, this makes defending The Wall much easier, but there’s still a drawback—this plot has zero claim, making your own challenges mostly insignificant. Still, it’s often worth giving up your attacks to protect the rest of Westeros.

We Take What Is Offered

At the Wall, many resources are scarce. There is no glory to be won, nor lands to be given as prizes for valor. The Night’s Watch cannot afford to be proud; they take what is offered, even if those offerings are nothing more than the dregs and the leavings of the Great Houses. 

In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, the Night’s Watch has a tradition of pulling characters from their opponent’s discard pile with cards like Yoren (Core Set, 129) or Night Gathers… (For Family Honor, 46). In Watchers on the Wall, the Night’s Watch gains more options for conscripting characters, such as a new version of Old Bear Mormont (Watchers on the Wall, 3).

When it comes to finding new recruits for the Night’s Watch, few characters are better than Old Bear Mormont—simply by winning a challenge with the Old Bear, you’ll be able to choose any non-unique character in the losing opponent’s discard pile and put it into play under your control! The non-unique restriction means that you won’t be stealing the Lords and Ladies of another faction, but you can still gain powerful characters like City Watch (True Steel, 108) or Starfall Cavalry (Called to Arms, 35). 

Though Old Bear Mormont can only summon non-unique characters to fight for the Night’s Watch, there’s no such restriction on Now My Watch Begins (Watchers on the Wall, 23). You can play this event whenever a character that costs five gold or less enters your opponent’s discard pile. Instead of being discarded, you bring that character into play under your control! It’s easy to imagine the power of units like Nymeria Sand (The Road to Winterfell, 35) or Tyrion Lannister (Core Set, 89) in the Night’s Watch. Ultimately, Now My Watch Begins is the perfect way to swell your ranks with more recruits.

The Fury of the Wild

Watchers on the Wall is primarily focused on the Night’s Watch, but alongside new cards for the seven other factions, you’ll also find a horde of neutral cards that invite you to play as the fearsome enemies of the Night’s Watch—the Wildlings.

You may begin your assault on the Wall by placing your forces under the command of Rattleshirt (Watcher on the Walls, 39). The Lord of Bones is well accustomed to raiding the Night’s Watch, and in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, he turns their greatest strengths against them. Many Night’s Watch characters bear the “No attachments” or “No attachments except Weapons” keywords, which is normally an advantage—but while Rattleshirt is attacking alone, characters without attachments can’t be declared as defenders! Even if your opponent has the full strength of the Watch behind him, he may be unable to stop Rattleshirt from making unopposed challenges without the proper preparation. And if you add Rattleshirt's Raiders (Core Set, 30) into the picture, you may even clear out attachments before you attack with Rattleshirt.

Then, once you’ve broken through the Wall, you need to ensure you can hit the Night’s Watch where it hurts—their locations. For instance, after you win a challenge with an attacking Wildling character, you may play Scaling the Wall (Watchers on the Wall, 44) to choose a non-limited location and return it to its owner’s hand. Most importantly, you don’t need to be unopposed to play Scaling the Wall—you just have to win. Even winning a single challenge with a Wildling would be enough to send The Wall or Castle Black (Core Set, 136) back to your opponent’s hand. 

Speak Your Vows

The men of the Night’s Watch take no wives, hold no lands, and father no children. They wear no crowns and win no glory. They live and die at their post. Night is gathering, and your watch will soon begin. Look for Watchers on the Wall at your local retailer in the second quarter of 2017!

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