So Jon Snow becomes a mid-lategame kicker card once you defenses are set?
I guess I'm struggling to see myself spending 6 gold on a card that I can't really kneel to defend with and needs lots of other standing characters as well. So The Wall and Jon Snow work best together when you've got... 7 characters out (with the right spread of icons)? That's a hell of a lot to ask.
The beauty of NW is you can selectively defend.
In terms of Icon spread, the biggest weakness in NW right now is intrigue. You basically have your stewards, Sam, Yoren and Jon. Maester Aemon can defend too, but unless you have Castle Black, I would never recommend blocking with him.
Some decks don't run Yoren as he isn't really reliable because intrigue and Marched to the Wall are really the only way we can discard cards.
So that leaves you with Sam, Jon and your stewards, who are common claim soak. So Jon as an intrigue defender is actually really useful.
You get to choose when you defend and when you do not defend.
As for the concern about having your defense set...it really isn't difficult to have your defenses set. For example, I played 3 games yesterday.
My three set ups, and forgive me if they aren't exact, but they were the following, if I recall correctly:
Game 1: Tumblestone Knight, Benjen, Rose Road, Winterfell Steward.
Result: Defenses set before turn 1. Then I played a Ranging Party and Sansa turn 1 with Noble Cause. I was able to get at least one attack off each turn for the entire game.
Game 2: Sansa, The Wall, Winterfell Steward
Result: Turn 1 Waymar Royce and Castle Black off of Calm Over Westeros. Defenses set.
Game 3: King's Road, Ranging Party, Maester Aemon
Result: Turn 1, Samwell, Arya, Benjen using Noble Cause. Defenses set and a free military save.
It really isn't that difficult to set your defenses very early in the game, as you are only really concerned with opposing, rather than truly winning on defense. I didn't get the Wall in the 1st game, but I still won with Dominance, Sansa and some strong counter attacks with Ranging Party and Benjen. I got the wall late in game 3, and it clinched the game, but the score was pretty even to that point regardless.
Yes, Jon Snow is typically icing on the cake, but it is a strong effect for 6 gold, especially after you have your board set up pretty well. He is not a turn 1 or 2 character. He is a turn 4 or 5 character. That's why I personally only run 2 of him, rather than 3. I mulligan hands that he shows up in during set up because I know I want him once I get a Waymar and Ranging Party out. Hell, even a Veteran builder really helps him get in stride.
You just gotta play the deck. I didn't believe it until I started playing them either.
I was thinking Iron Throne to guarantee dominance when the opponent Wildfires.
Agreed on economy.
- 1 Storm of Swords
+ 1 Calling the Banners
Fortified position is a very interesting idea. Would make whoever has Longclaw on the board great (add the third copy then?). Thought what plot could Fortified Position replace? Clash of Kings? Sneak Attack?
I personally think Heads on Spikes is merely a bonus card.
Here's my thinking.
Imagine you're facing a Greyjoy deck or a Baratheon deck.
In those decks, you're terrified of Balon Greyjoy, who can reduce all your blockers to 0, making it unopposed, and Robert and Mel, who can both kneel your valuable, valuable blockers.
In these types of situations, what plots will assist me in procing the Wall?
Well, Filthy Accusations allows me to kneel Balon. That makes him a non factor, then I just need to get around the stealth. If I have Benjen out, I can block at least one challenge, and they don't have any stealth intrigue, so I just need another ranger or another blocker past their stealth.
It also kneels Robert, which would make his intimidate a non factor that turn, nor do I have to contend with a 10+ attack from one character.
Fortified position also allows me to defend the wall. With no stealth, intimidate or Mel kneel, it is a turn of your icons vs my icons. And if I have the spread to oppose, I can. Very few tricks to play a that point.
Power Behind the Throne. Another good one if I only have one ranger, but need to defend both power and military. Or, it allows me to defend with Maester Aemon and stand him for military claim prevention.
On the other hand, Heads on Spikes has a chance of being impactful, but it doesn't really lend towards my overall strategy. I'm not trying to thin your hand. I don't have any ability that bounces a character back to your hand, in the hopes of spiking him. I don't have a lot of intrigue challenges or increased intrigue claim to make you cling to every card you have. The plot helps me gain power in some games, is the equivalent of an intrigue challenge in other games, but it doesn't increase the reliability of my deck's core strategy, nor is it a consistent form of power for my rush to 15.
If I'm playing it for the power, I have a much better chance, going second a lot (or having the option to just skip my challenges if I am forced to go first), of getting Dominance than randomly picking a character out of my opponent's hand, making Feast for Crows a better plot for my power rush than Heads on Spikes. Especially since I, personally, am running Iron Throne. And you seem to be thinking about it.
HOS is a fantastic splash play, but hardly reliable on a game to game basis.
Similarly, Marched to the Wall is another fine card. I have smaller guys. Maybe other factions don't run so many smaller guys. I have a relatively good chance to sacrifice just a small guy in exchange for a 2 or 3 gold guy, or in extreme scenarios, a 5 or 6 gold cost guy. If they had a reeeeeeally bad start. I'm not a Stark or Targaryen deck that will get 2 or 3 kills in a turn via Ice, Winter is Coming, Greywind, Plaza of Punishment or Dracarys, leaving just your one high impact card that I can march next turn. I don't even necessarily have the one character to spare, as I may need all my characters to oppose challenges and get maybe one attack off.
In the Nedly sense, I love Marched to the Wall in a NW deck. In terms of playability, it only really lends itself towards Yoren. If I'm not running Yoren, I really have no need for Marched to the Wall, except in extremely rare occurences, like if I can predict a Wildfire Assault, which can happen depending on the board state.
I think you have a lot of room to really play with your plot deck and find what plots help your deck the most and which are just frills on the edge that could be cut with little to no love lost
PS. Holy crap what a long website downtime. I have been waiting to post this for, literally, hours haha.