Night's Watch Builders: Welcome to the Machine

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Ramanas 37

Hey all! I've been playing aGoT for around a year and a half now, and I figured it was about time I actually start taking this seriously. So, for your consideration, I give to you my first attempt at a Night's Watch Builder's deck. Shout out to Patrick Haynes for the deck idea and for pointing out every time that I've forgotten a For the Watch! trigger.


Plots - The plots are the go-to plots for most NW Defensive lists, with the one change being trading out Valar Morghulis for Wildfire Assault. This gives us access to a minor reset without completely crippling our board state. I have found that the deck, while soft to VM, does not completely fold to it, since the deck runs a low enough cost curve to be able to recover in a decent amount of time. I've considered replacing Time of Plenty with a different economy plot, but have had trouble deciding on one. Trading with the Pentoshi feels unnecessary for the amount of gold it supplies, and Late Summer Feast, while good, has a terrifying downside.

Characters - We have the usual cast (Benjen Stark, Maester Aemon, Ranging Party, Messenger Raven, Shadow Tower Mason) which provide the core of the deck, and you're usually alright with them showing up to fill in holes as needed. Dolorous Edd remains a jumping staple in the deck, and Samwell Tarly and Ser Denys Mallister sit as solid 1-ofs that provide decent value on their own, in the form of Insight and Renown respectively. I would consider the last two to be more flexible of character slots, with Sam being the less likely to be dropped.

As for the builders, I tried to slot in as many as I could. I'd like to make an immediate shout out to Grizzled Miner for being a complete bomb in testing. It is very rare that you'll spend more than 1-2 gold playing him, making him extremely cost efficient for his stats. Being immune to The First Snow of Winter is pure gravy. Sworn Brother and Eastwatch Carpenter provide a needed economy boost, and Castle Black Mason gives us a repeatable Building Orders-effect for the rare board states where we have extra guys hanging out not defending. I have found that CBM tends to sit in my hand quite a bit, and I've considered dropping him for something different, but unfortunately until we get more good builders, we're going to have to deal with it.

Builder at the Wall and Steward at the Wall round out the character slots with good economy.

On characters I did not Include:

Halder: I decided against Halder primarily for his stats. Paying 3 gold for 2 strength is not a great rate, and his effect is mostly redundant with the rest of the deck (more on that later). I have considered adding him back, likely as a 2-of, but I'm not sure what could be dropped to make room.

Craster: This one just came down to a lack of space. In an ideal world he's a 1-2 of in the deck, but unless I'm dropping major things that I need, he's staying out for now.

Arry: This one hurt a lot. Not having an ambush-able defender does weaken the already lacking Challenge, though I'd like to see her return in the future.

Ser Waymar Royce: Ser Denys Mallister does his job better. Moving on.

Attachments - Craven and Practice Blade. Three of each. Both of these provide extreme board control and shore up major weaknesses in a pinch. The Blade in particular solves the lack of icons for the cost of 1 gold and a non-terminal attachment. I will mention that not being able to include Milk of the Poppy was a bit of a bummer for me, but so far I haven't missed it.

Locations - You have the stock locations (Castle Black, The Haunted Forest, The Wall) alongside the builder specific locations (Abandoned Stronghold (the reason we're not running Halder), Brandon's Gift), with some singles to round out the list (Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, Queenscrown, The Shadow Tower). Brandon's Gift has proven to be a good economy card, now that we actually have enough Builders to make it work. I'd likely keep it as a 1-of for the time being, at least until we get a few more solid choices for Builders. Of the 1-of locations, Queenscrown is the one that is most likely to be cut once a better alternative comes along, but for now it provides a good amount of deck manipulation that keeps their board devoid of powerful characters (nothing like spending 3 turns flipping my opponents Asha Greyjoy, Victarion Greyjoy, and Euron Crow's Eye into the discard pile).

Deck Strengths and Weaknesses: I'll be honest with you, this deck can be completely silly. challenges are a joke to defend, and challenges can nearly be ignored. However, the deck is much weaker than I would like towards challenges. While keeping the number of Builders high contributes to this, the few characters that you have tend to make up for it, though Maester Aemon isn't helping your claim when he's defending. Not to mention that not drawing a character is going to end your fun quick.

In Conclusion:

Any comments/suggestions/questions are always appreciated. I'm always interested in ideas and changes that people can come up with, and I'm hoping to improve upon this as we go.


Dydra 1476

Considering the amount of builders you have, probably worth increasing Brandon's Gift.

nodtrio16 1

Nice! I tried some builder-watch in my local meta. Quite similar to your list. But I noticed some cards were not good...

Castle Black Mason didn't hit any good reaction and his mono-icon is too bad for 4 gold character.

Abandoned Stronghold also too expensive to its ability. Cut it to 1-2 seems fine.

I tried I Shall Win No Glory and it was nice counter to power rush and tower+harrenhal lanni.

I am glad to see another builder-watcher. Look forward to see improved one :)

FredInRealLife 240

I cut the castle black mason out of my builds. He's too much of a win more card for me. You have to have a serious board position advantage to be able to use him reliably.

Alliser Thorne can do some work in this deck. Maybe a 1 of. And I'd definitely make room for Nightmares and Hands judgment (to cancel their nightmares or treachery). When you're all in on the Wall for your win condition, you're gonna get hit by those pretty much every single game, as everyone runs nightmares and is going to target the Wall with it.

Ramanas 37

@DydraI tested a 2nd and 3rd Brandon's Gift, and I wasn't impressed by it. There just aren't enough quality Builders to justify it at this time, though I do see that changing in the future once we get more Builders.

@nodtrio16Abandoned Stronghold is absolutely bonkers, and I cannot justify not running a full set. The deck runs enough location reducers, and paying 2 gold for a constant 2-4 strength increase to any challenge is well worth it. I Shall Win No Glory is WAY too expensive for it's effect, and extremely inefficient, so it stays home.

@FredInRealLifeI definitely agree on CBM. I'll be replacing him with 2x Halder, so we'll see how that works out. Should smooth out the curve as well.

Ser Alliser Thorne could work, but 6 gold is pushing it for this deck to consistently reach, and if I'm holding up 4 gold I might as well be running Arry as well for the ambush defense.

I've found that Nightmares is not nearly as big of a deal as people say. While it is annoying to have The Wall blanked for a phase, the impact is negligable if you have a good board presence, which is what any Wall deck aims to do. Honestly it was a bit of a stretch for me to cut events entirely, but in the end I would rather be drawing characters and locations to bolster my field presence than drawing The Hand's Judgment to stop events that might not ever show up. This may change in the future if I end up seeing more in my local meta.

Szakil 1

When I was playing NW, one of it's best tricks, which won me most of games, was combo blackwater+valar around turn 2-3. Craster+Aemon survives it and maybe one more character if you duped Aemon. You can have 2-3 characters surviving this combo - around the same as wildfire, but wildfire leaves also your opponent with his 3 strongest characters.

Also, with 3 ravens, arry, 2-3 castle black mason and 2 eastwatch by the see I had usually full hand of cards every turn, so why not switch coiunting coppers with some better economy plot?

Also fire that burns would be pretty good. You can use standing builders with castle black mason at the end of turn and still win the dominance.

Ramanas 37

@SzakilMore than most Defensive decks, the Builder list heavily relies on having multiple characters on the board at all times, hence the reasoning for running Wildfire Assault over Valar Morghulis. Diluting the plot deck with 2 plots, one that actively hinders you and one that in some circumstances will do nothing, just slows us down.

The current amount of card draw hasn't been a problem. You're not playing Counting Coppers unless your hand is running low, and having to replay Arry every turn gets extremely expensive.

dnicacios 22

For the Watch! does not have a trigger to be forgotten. :)