NW KoS Builders [9-0 @ Northampton regional]

Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
NW KoS Builders 0 0 0 1.0
NW-Buiilder (4-0 / Tourney of a New Era - The Red Wedding) 2 1 1 1.0
Siege Of Meereen Champion (8-1) Builders! 18 15 7 1.0

jeermaster 616

This is the first deck I've really felt excited about in 2nd edition. It takes a lot of the expectations of the Night's Watch and the game in general that players seem to tacitly agree on and turns them on their head.

JC piloted the deck at the European Championship earlier this month, where he went 3-3, but we didn't let that discourage us. The First Ranger had decided: It was builders or bust for regionals this season! So we improved the deck by adding Duel and Underground Vault, and shored up the Night's Watch mirror with 2 copies of Nightmares. That appears to have worked out just fine, as JC went 9-0 at the Northampton regional yesterday. I'll leave the report to him though.

If you're in for a challenge, I highly recommend you give this deck a try. It's definitely one of the more mechanically taxing decks around and also requires a thorough understanding of each match-up. The reward are the turns when you play 20 gold worth of stuff right after your opponent's reset. To ease you in, here are some tips and tricks:

Don't be afraid of The First Snow of Winter, unless it's backed up by Famine you can just replay your stuff on the following turn. Use the turn to develop your location base instead.

The Wall is your best card, but Brandon's Gift is a close second. Yeah, that sentence has just been uttered. Prepare to say "Trigger the Gift." a lot and marvel at the wonder that is a 2-cost unlimited Arbor. Also mind your sequencing, Grizzled Miner's cost cannot be reduced below 1 for example.

If your opponent plays an aggressive deck, search/mulligan aggressively for Cravens.

Once your deck is thinned out to ~20 cards (believe me it will), you can start cycling negative attachments with Castle Black Mason and Isle of Ravens, which basically removes the terminal clause from them. The Isle also helps prevent you from decking.

Nightmares + Milk of the Poppy is a legitimate way to deal with Qhorin Halfhand.

Dupe your locations if you're smelling a Political Disaster.

Naming "builder" with The Watch Has Need is mandatory. There are almost no scenarios where naming "steward" is better. And let's not get started with hunting for hunters.

That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure JC will find more (in quantity and quality) interesting tidbits of information to talk about on the Deck Talk. Link to Knight of the Blackwater's channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD9I-7Nn-UKBqYEdrAPyhMA

Happy building!

39 comments

imabunneh 307

triggerthegift

Barnie25 221

Brandon's Gift OP :D

RDude 145

@jeermaster what bout an Iron Throne?

jeermaster 616

Got cut for Nightmares after Euros. While the Iron Throne is useful, it's not absolutely essential. We felt like Nightmares would give us more of an edge in the common match-ups.

Dydra 1392

Florian, is that you? =)

UrosK 13

Why only 1x Castle Black while having 3x Abandoned Stronghold? And what about Aemon and Valar?

jeermaster 616

@DydraOh, hey! Yeah, it is. How're you doing?

@VrgmaisterThe stand that Castle Black provides is useful if you need a single Builder at the Wall to defend two challenges. That being said, Abandoned Stronghold's raw STR buff, which can easily exceed 5, is usually preferable.

jcwamma 1262

Firstly, if you want to see the deck in action (and are a member of the AGOT 2nd Edition group on Facebook), here is a link to a livestream of the final: www.facebook.com

This deck has several names (Florian's decided to give it a boring-but-accurate title here), including "An Unusual Build", "A Gift of Arbor Black", or simply, "I Trigger the Gift". The last of those is your catchphrase while playing this deck, I can assure you.

Before I get onto the TR, a brief FAQ:

Q: how do you have enough icons?

A: For military, you have 8 (2x Old Forest Hunter, 3x Shadow Tower Mason, 3x Practice Blade); for intrigue, you have 6 (3x Dolorous Edd and 3x Shadow Tower Mason); and you have 3x The Haunted Forest as well. On top of this, in the early game you can often tactically deploy your Cravens to lock the opponent out of a challenge on an icon you currently lack. Lastly, you can very easily find the parts you need - 3x in 60 cards for Shadow Tower Mason may sound like poor odds, but when you can use The Watch Has Need to search for the top 7-8 cards? Chances of finding him increase greatly. Likewise, the Forest and Blades can be fetched by Castle Black Mason triggers.

Q: 3x Brandon's Gift, seriously?

A: Yup. It is, no joke, the most important card to making the deck work (The Wall more vital overall of course, but not so specific to this deck). The reason for that "Gift of Arbor Black" name is that the closest comparison point I have to it is the Arbor - most turns you will trigger it 2-3 times. Except this Arbor costs 2 and isn't limited. When it came out it was panned, but it was always positioned as a card for the future, and in that regard the future has arrived. Someone check, maybe you can download rice now.

Q: Why Close Call and Confiscation?

A: For Close Call, it's like a second Time of Plenty, only with slightly worse numbers but not dual-sided; it also allows you to be more bullish with using Dolorous Edd in the burn matchup. If you drop Edd in then the Targ player has a window to Dracarys! him before you have an action; with Close Call, not only is this not game-breaking, but it can actually be a neat way of baiting a Dracarys!. For Confiscation, it's simply Frozen Solid on the Gift. Yup, one Brandon's Gift is so important that one of the plot choices is dictated by it. It's not only useful there, of course; generally a Valar will be quite easy to see coming, and getting rid of a Bodyguard on that turn is consistently fun. There's a chance it backfires of course, but then you just sit on it until plot 7, at which point you have enough redundancy of your own attachments that you can afford to discard one.

Q: Have you considered [insert good Night's Watch card that would obviously go in a normal build here]?

A: Probably. But deck spaces are too tight. When we made the change to add in the 2x Nightmares after Euros, we had a devil of a time finding acceptable cuts (eventually going with the second Shadow Tower and the Iron Throne, for those interested); if the card you were thinking of is a character, my guess is it's not a Builder (because I mean really now). Given that there are only 7 non-Builder characters in the deck, what are we cutting to fit these characters in? You cannot afford to cut Builders, the deck relies on having copious amounts of them to function. Additionally, most suggested cards are just too expensive. We of course considered the likes of Benjen, Qhorin and Arry, but look at the cost curve - the 'top' of the curve is the reducible Grizzled Miner, and below that the only 4-cost cards in the deck are 3x Castle Black Mason and 3x The Wall. Are we really going to break the cost curve 'just' for GoodStuff?

Q: This deck looks like hell.

A: That's not a question. But yup, you have to enter into a certain frame of mind to play this, both with it and against it. It's actually really good fun to play - it's full of decision points throughout near enough every round, if played correctly. The problem is that, there's a certain point in the game where you will know you're going to win - sometimes as early as turn one. A round or two later, usually, the opponent will realise you're going to win. There may then be anywhere up to about 3 rounds after that before you actually go on to win. If your opponent is still giving it their all every round while you slowly grind away at them, it's a miserable experience. I try to have fun with the deck myself by playing the last couple of rounds in something of a novel manner (seeing the craziest ways I can oppose a challenge, or how many times I can shuffle my deck in a single phase), but some people may tilt hard against this. If they do I don't blame them as such, and I would just offer this advice: don't be afraid to concede if you know which way the game is going - if the fun bit is already over, there's no point in extending it after that.

Q: Is this deck bad for the game?

A: Tough one, and a question I've gone back and forth on. Firstly, the deck is genius, and I have masses of respect to Florian for coming up with the basic concept. However, once you get past the originality and the deck just exists in the meta, it can be close to an auto-loss for several decks. In my opinion that's not -necessarily- a bad thing. I was discussing this with some friends, and one of them, Iiro, correctly pointed out that there probably should be decks which an opponent has to keep in mind when deckbuilding, because if those decks don't exist then there's really no reason not to just go all-in on GoodStuff lists that play every matchup identically. My only wish is that this deck could shorten that gap between being on the track to victory and arriving at the station.

Since this post has gone long, I'll make a separate comment for the TRs.

jeermaster 616

Some sort of reset that doesn't hit the deck itself very hard would be great but Valar, Wildfire and FSoW don't quite check that box. That's not a big problem though, since it's unlikely that your opponent can overwhelm you on board if they're not super aggressive. Maester Aemon (Core) is tempting but I would feel uncomfortable cutting a builder for him. I'd imagine he'd be a solid one-of, if you could find room for him. Maybe if your meta is a little more aggressive with fewer NW decks, cutting Nightmares for Aemon might be a good shout.

jeermaster 616

Holy smokes, tournament report ambush by JC. That last bit was still in response to @Vrgmaister.

MelisandreSwagg 55

What are the last three cards? Looks like this list is at 57.

jeermaster 616

Hmm, displays 60 for me. Maybe the Underground Vaults are bugged?

jcwamma 1262

@MelisandreSwaggtry refreshing - it might not include cards from the latest pack for you? If there aren't 3x Underground Vault, then that's what's missing.

Dydra 1392

@jeermaster I really wanna commend you for doing something interesting with a Wall deck. Not running like some people NW/Fealty over and over again ... which is such a basic deck at this point, that even I (who hasn't played a wall deck for 6-7 months ) put something together for 10min and went 9-1.

I think it would make for a very challenging match-up for you, if you met my latest Night Gathers (NW/KoW) deck ... It runs 2 hard ressets + varys, attachment hate won't work because NW cards, - Reserve for you ( Agenda will nullify each other) and The Frostfangs. I don't think it will be easy on my side either, but as I said - will make for an interesting match-up =)

When I saw the game live I was honestly expecting some r Unsworn Apprentice for Icon flexibility? Very surprised that I don't see any =)

jeermaster 616

Yeah, it's quite surprising that you don't really need a lot of INT/MIL icons to defend the Wall successfully. Of course, if Unsworn Apprentice were a builder, we'd be all over that. ^__^

jcwamma 1262

Firstly, the Euros. I went 3-3 with an altered version of the deck here, which I was honestly very disappointed with - I knew the deck was capable of much more.

The previous version of the deck had the following changes:

-1x Duel, 3x Underground Vault, 2x Nightmares

+1x Forgotten Plans, 3x The Roseroad, 1x The Shadow Tower, 1x The Iron Throne

Round One: W Vs Andre (Tyrell Dragon)

Andre's list was, from what I could tell, Tyrell GS backed up by Targ's stand effects and Mirri to play off the STR pumps. Tyrell is one of the easiest matches for the deck, because if they don't get the bomb setup, and/or you see at least one Craven/Milk, they'll struggle to get to 15 before they get the lock in. So it proved here. I remember this game including me Confiscating Randyll's Bodyguard on Andre's Valar.

Round Two: W Vs George (Targ Fealty)

George went on to make the top 4, so stiff competition here; however, he was pretty much swept aside. Round one he got out Mirri and Drogo, both duped, and with plot 2 Marched to the Wall wiped my board. I then re-flooded enough that he had to Valar round three; I then re-flooded again, Craven'd Mirri and Milked Drogo, and he didn't get a challenge through for the rest of the game.

Round Three: L Vs Tamas (NW Fealty)

So, the Wall matchup is high variance, and that was proven again here. I actually got the Wall out a turn sooner, but then drew nothing but dupes of the Gift and the Wall for two consecutive rounds (which is obviously exceptionally unlikely). In that timeframe Tamas was able to push through military challenges with Qhorin, reducing my board while also getting renown power and allowing himself to push through mil challenges to boot, and it left him up by 2 power. He then was able to get Benjen out right after I'd lost a Milk to intrigue claim, and his Wildfire let him reach 15 to my 11.

Round Four: L Vs Josselin (Stark Fealty)

I was annoyed at myself here. I was in relative control, up maybe 8-5; he had Robb, Arya, Grey Wind and Eddard out, but I had 2x Craven in hand. Now, I knew he ran Arya's Gift because it's a very popular card in the French versions of Stark, and I also hadn't threatened him with intrigue challenges all game so if he had seen one, he'd have it. What I absolutely should've done is double Craven Eddard, which would prevent him from having enough STR to win the power challenge. Instead I put one on Eddard and one on Arya. He Gifted the second one onto Arya, went in with power with Eddard and Robb to get a 5 power swing, then ate Arya with Grey Wind to stand his board and go in with military for another 3 power. After dominance he was up to 13 power, and with 2 of my Cravens newly in the bin I couldn't stop him closing.

Round Five: W Vs Gabbi (Stark Watch)

This was before US Nationals, keep in mind. Gabbi's list wasn't as negative, trying to make a few more challenges while using core Eddard to provide extra defense. ...As you've probably noticed, it sounds like a near-auto-win for me, and it was. Sorry Gabbi!

Round Six: L Vs Isian (NW Summer)

Somehow I found the only other NW Summer Builders deck in a field of 156, an eerily similar experience to last year at Gencon when I found the only other Tyrell Sun player there. Isian and I both got the Wall out round one, but he got out Qhorin too and I wasn't able to get enough military out early to stop the attrition. Coupled with a Nightmares on my Wall one round, Isian closed without too much issue.

After that I knew the deck could do better, so took it to Northampton with 2x Nightmares (primarily to help with the mirror) and cards from the latest pack as the only changes.

Round One: Vs Rebecca (Stark Watch)

This was the US Nationals-winning deck. Rebecca had been drinking heavily the day before as it was her Birthday, and wanted an easy deck to play here; unfortunately for her, it was a maths-a-thon. I was routinely winning initiative, so she had to venture into the abyss, then I could counter, win a power challenge and/or dominance at my leisure, and close relatively comfortably. A turn one Nightmares on Qhorin helped - changes doing work!

Round Two: Vs Gabbi (Tyrell Wolf)

As mentioned previously, Tyrell is a very easy game if they don't see the key pieces early. Gabbi had out Brienne and Margaery early, but no real beef, and I was able to handle it very easily in the end. Through the magic of swiping right we got Renly, Eddard and Randyll appearing in sequence; but the negative attachments were waiting. Sorry Gabbi!

Round Three: Vs Dave (Lanni Wolf)

I don't want to give away too much about Dave's deck, as I'm hoping he'll post his list, it was very spicy. In short, he was hurt by Duel and negative attachments, and First Snow wasn't enough for him.

Since I missed out this in the FAQ post before, I'll quickly address "what about First Snow"? In short, you reflood. The opponent might, depending on their board, be able to kneel the Wall that round (and even then, between Craven for their bigs, Miners being cheap but staying on the board, Practice Blades and Edd being tough to get past, and Haunted Forests staying in play, it's not a given that they can do so). Big whoop, they delayed your victory by a turn. Next round you reflood, and they're back to square one. Unless they can get an obscene amount of power on that one turn, you're not worried. The one caveat to this is Famine. If they chain First Snow and Famine together, it can be back-breaking for the deck. In previous versions I had Forgotten Plans to try to time this (not too difficult if the opponent doesn't know you run FP, but much trickier if they do); it's now been replaced with the much more reliable Duel, which is also a great counter for First Snow more often than not.

Round Four: Vs Kostas (Targ Rose)

I don't remember too much about this one sadly. I remember early on Kostas had out Randyll and Dany, and Duel was a big help, killing Randyll (and I followed up with a Milk on Dany for good measure). The game went long, and I was caught out by "Lord Renly's Ride" once, but with about 10 minutes left Kostas smartly saw the writing on the wall and conceded so we could both go and get a drink before the next round.

Round Five: Vs James (Martell Rose)

This was a super-fun game. James decided to take an attitude of "get rid of all the Builders", which is a fine attitude to take in this match-up. His deck ran double Marched, Florent Knights and the like, and establishing any sort of board presence was a constant source of stress for me; unfortunately for James, he couldn't stop me from triggering the Wall each round. Every round we'd have a back-and-forth, I'd feel like he had me on the ropes, but I'd be 2 power closer to victory. This basically never let up, with me always having just barely enough.

Round Six: Vs Matt (Targ Fealty)

Another one I'm somewhat hazy on. This was, across both tournaments, the only game that went to time. Matt Nightmares'd The Wall 3 times, which helped keep the power counts low. I was mostly able to play around the Dracarys!, as a big factor in this matchup came into play - normally, you obviously want to go second; against Targ, unless Halder is in play then you NEED to go first, simply because you need to have first action window after defenders are declared to allow you to boost with Castle Black and/or Abandoned Stronghold. This prevents the Drac' window. I knew this going in but Matt didn't, possibly understandably, and that allowed me to stay ahead when time was called.

Top Eight: Vs Darren (Stark Watch)

Darren had, to paraphrase him, been working on his own Stark Watch deck when the DC list was published, at which point he changed his heavily based on the recognition that their list was better, then tweaked it further to make it more surprising. The result was a list that was strong and broadly known, but where I couldn't make any firm assumptions. Ultimately the game was actually really easy for me. The Wall came out turn one for Darren but not for me (I had it in hand but no intrigue to protect it); however, I was able to Nightmares his Wall to stop him running away. Round two he went with Trading to my Calm, so we both got to spam out cards - but when he put Jon Snow and Catelyn Stark out, Catelyn was Milked and Jon Craven'd. That gave me a huge gain in tempo to set up and get the lock in, and I was in control from that point onwards. Helping was the fact that Darren had loads of negative attachments in hand and I obviously had no negative targets - once the game was obviously going to me, he got 3x Milk of the Poppy, 1x Craven and 1x Marrige Pact on my Builder at the Wall, and I added a fourth Milk of my own for good measure (this goes back to what I said before about having fun when you know you're winning!). Santa had a lovely opium party and I went on into the top four.

Top Four: Vs Alex (Martell Fealty)

This game would've been very easy for me, if it weren't for an interesting dynamic - Alex was running Political Disaster, and I knew he was running it, and we both knew that we both knew he was running it. This made the game a lot cagier, with me trying to hold onto some locations for afterwards while Alex tried to attack my hand to get rid of them. I was able to get duplicates on both Brandon's Gift and The Wall, which meant I'd be able to keep four locations afterwards; on the flipside he had a good turn where he Arianne'd in an Orphan, bestowed three tokens onto it, then bounced his milked Nymeria, Areo Hotah and someone else, and got to Valar with my board brimming and his consisting of only the Orphan and 2x Bastard Daughters. This set me back, although I was able to recover before too long. Alex started to get back into it around plot 5, but I had a lead by then, and while he was climbing in power faster than me, I had a slight headstart. He repeated the Orphan/Valar trick later, but I was ready this time and had enough to reflood straight away, and I was able to close it out to 15 - but if it had been a race to, say, 25 (and somehow neither of us had been decked), I think Alex would've won.

Final: Vs Kostas (Targ Rose)

A rematch from round four, which is why the first one was somewhat hazy. Unfortunately, it means this one is too. Thankfully, if you're a member of the Facebook 2nd Edition group you can see this match in its entirety in the link I posted in my previous comment; if you can't watch it, please let me know and I'll furnish you with whatever details I can. In short, I won in a really long, cagey, intense game that went I believe 9 plots.

slanderandlies 30

If you can find room for garbage like isle of ravens and close call surely you can make room for a card that is the best kill spell in the game and on the very short list for best card in the game.

Astinus 1

Awesome deck and awesome indepth write-up.

I gree that the game needs some staples which require precise deckbuiling choice. That's why I strongly push toward more deck publications and you guys just showed how it should be done.

Congrats on the build and the results and thank you for sharing so much content.

r480 47

Wait wait, Florian is behind this deck? Kudos man, and also kudos to the pilot.

FranciscoG 41

Fantastic build! Anyone that says it's a cancer deck is wrong. If you can feel very satisfied or frustrated in a "long" game it was a fantastic game. Way worse to play against Lanni go to zero decks were you just feel bored and can't even play your stuff. There is a new joffrey deck that could be a challenge if played in a way around duel here in chile, indirect kill seems to be a good way to deal with some of the builder stuff :).

OKTarg 1

This deck has both Close Call and Isle of Ravens while featuring 0 Tears of Lys. The Choice Is Yours.

Hybrid92 51

How does this deck fair against more traditional NW Fealty Wall decks?

Azighal 13

do you care about nightmares on your deck or is the deck so reliable that if they nightmares your wall it just delays the game an additional turn?

Jamiezxiv 13

Amazing Deck

Kakita_Rinsei 20

why no veteran builders??? I run a similair deck and use the veterans. Nothing like giving up a challenge to bow the wall and surprise opponent by gaining 2 power anyways. Nice deck and I love your plot selection.

TMind 1

Cudos for such an amazing deck. It plays really really well and is full of synergy and theme. Do we have space for a second Isle of Ravens in case one gets destroyed ?

jeermaster 616

@Kakita_Rinsei Veteran Builders are fancy but I have no idea what I would cut for them. The Eastwatch Carpenters are probably the most likely candidates but the gold boost they provide in the mid- to late-game when your engine gets rolling is quite powerful. @TMind Don't think adding another Isle is the way to go. For the second copy to justify itself, you have to get into a scenario where you actually need to recycle a card in order to win the game and have your opponent blow up your first copy of the Isle. That seems unlikely enough that I wouldn't want to make the trade-off and risk drawing a useless second copy of a card that doesn't even help me when topdecked in a pinch.

Azighal 13

with this deck becoming a powerhouse I have started to see Political Disaster starting to make decks. the second isle might be a big saving grace for that eventuality.

TMind 1

The Gold boost from the Carpenters also helps against opposing Iron Thrones. I would like to have a bit more valar resilience. Currently testing an Arry instead of one Forest Hunter. Also thinking about an Aemon instead of one Edd. Political Desaster is a threat , and not many (only 2) Locations can be duped.

jcwamma 1262

The decktalk episode on this deck is now up, for those interested.

Part 1: www.youtube.com

Part 2: www.youtube.com

Snozberriez 2

A guy in my local meta brought this deck last night... It's not fun at all to play against lol. kudo to the guy who made it, but i sincerely hope nobody plays this in any tournaments just out of respect for other players. It's pretty game breaking to most factions/decks.

Azighal 13

I think this is the deck the environment needs to have in its. A deck like this was created because of the prevalence of the BIG GUY decks and renown we see everywhere(that my experience was at US Nationals). This deck will have to make people who play the iron triangle decks something new to worry about. It means that new decks are needed to be created that are capable of defeating the builder wall deck. So what becomes a bigger deck type. Possibly Greyjoy kneel/stealth decks that allow them to get that 1 challenge that matters off which would be enough to slow them down or Martell reset decks. When decks like these that are an NPE for the standard decks it creates the need to experiment with new decks that will change the environment.

RDude 145

@TMind What about a Craster to replace an Edd?

TMind 1

@RDude I was thinking about putting him in. If you can get him back with Isle of Ravens, its pretty ridiculous. Currently I run a Sam for an Edd. I like the extra Reserve and Inisght on Edds wins so far.

Jools 1

What about Forgotten Plans instead of Confiscation. Seems to be much more usable.

TMind 1

As mentioned above, Confiscation is useful to get rid of Frozen Solids, but also positive Attachments on opponents characters. I don't know when you would be able to foresee when to play Forgotten Plans.

FranciscoG 41

I have an hipotetical question. If i wanted to use the builder theme as a base for a different deck (non wal). What faction would you choose and what loc and chars would you take?

Jools 1

Well, i mean Fortified Position instead of Forgotten Plans as replace for Confiscation. My mistake (missthought). Is it a backup plan for lack of Cravens/Milks?

Confiscate works against this deck in most cases (couple times in row for me) and occasionally opportunity to discard Frozen Solid is tooo way situational.

YEEZUS 53

Congrats on a great deck and a impressive win! For the designer or the winner, would you suggest any changes? Specifically, two cards come to mind: 1. Othell Yarwyck, and 2. Arry. For 1, it is quite expensive, and can be milked, but is a Builder, has a INT icon, and can add icons to others. Would you try to fit one in? For 2, Arry, she costs 4 of course, but can be like a 4th Dolorus Edd if needed. Also can bounce to draw if you have your economy set up. Possibly cutting a messenger raven or old forest hunter for it, would you suggest that?

Beyond those questions, with the new pack out and meta always changing, are there any other cards such as plots or anything you would change?

Finally, one thing I struggle with when playing this is knowing how many characters to play out - sometimes if you have the miners, etc, you can basically play your whole hand. Do you only try to have 4-5 guys out at a time in case of valar or wildfire?

Thanks and again congrats!