Tactics Talk: Making the Most of the Night’s Watch Builder Stone Thrower in ASOIAF TMG

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The Builders, one of the three orders that comprise the Night’s Watch, bear the primary responsibility for maintaining the Wall and its defenses against the threat of the Northern reaches. Mighty war machines like the Stone Thrower are their principal weaponry, abiding by the philosophy that there are few threats left unphased by the judicious application of large rocks at high speeds. 

Weighing in at 10 points, the Builder Stone Thrower boasts the longest range attack to date in A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. Unlimited Range.  Well, almost unlimited. If a unit is within long-range (12 inches) of the stone thrower, or a single model unit, they cannot be attacked. But if they do fit the criteria, they are in a world of hurt. The ranged attack rolls one die and hits on a 3+. A successful hit deals a devastating d6 auto wounds, plus an additional wound for each remaining rank in the targeted unit. While you do need a line of sight, the builder does ignore all intervening units and terrain.

Similar to the Scorpion Builder Crew, the Stone Thrower has six wounds, never makes Moral tests, can not charge, retreat, or gain condition tokens. Unlike the Scorpion, the Stone Thrower does have a modest melee attack of 3 dice hitting on a  4+. However, if your game comes down to the Stone Thrower’s melee attack, well, you’re probably better off surrendering Castle Black to the Free Folk!

This is a powerful unit, as it should be for 10 points. There is a balance to its attack and range, though, as canny opponents need only move within long-range of the Thrower to become untargetable. Furthermore, the Stone Thrower only gets one ranged attack per round, so although it can still be targeted by the combat tactics zone or cards like Ramsay’s Cruel Methods, it may not fire that round again, making the use of these free attacks not as beneficial. Careful placement of your Stone Thrower at an angle will help increase the maximum amount of table in its line of sight and, in a pinch, it can take a shift action to adjust positioning.

Priority Targets

Your primary targets will depend on your opponent’s list, but alpha striker or centerpiece units such as the Flayed Men make great targets. In the case of Flayed Men, their 2+ defense save makes them a tempting target due to their resilience against regular damage. Consider elements such as over-all cost per model, armor saves, objectives, and threat level when selecting targets.

Making Stone Throwers Rock

At first glance, the one attack per round really puts a damper on the Stone Thrower, but the Night’s Watch has ways to mitigate the 33% miss chance of their single attack.

Othell Yarwyck

Othell Yarwyck can be used as an NCU commander or a 1 pt attachment who can score the stone thrower a reroll on a missed attack. 

Othell’s commander version, First Builder,  is an NCU  best deployed in an army with a single Stone Thrower. Use his NCU ability to fish for Mighty Enhancement, which states “When a friendly unit attacks before attack dice are rolled: This Attack gains Critical Blow and may re-roll any attack dice.” While the Stone Thrower will not benefit from Critical Blow, the attack dice re-roll helps ensure your Stone Thrower actualizes its full potential of killing large quantities of people.

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Othell’s attachment version, Warmachine Specialist,  requires careful positioning to gain re-rolls from his ‘Spotter’ effect. The benefit of ‘Spotter’ is that it can influence multiple siege engine attacks per round, as long as Othell’s unit has a line of sight on their targets. It is important to note that once Othell is killed, the effect vanishes. Because he’s dead, and, well, you know, can no longer spot things. Due to the deadness.

 

Donal Noye

Donel Noye – Defender of Castle Black is another good commander choice for a Stone Thrower-centric list. While not directly affecting the Stone Throwers, Noye’s tactics cards are directed towards bolstering, unit defenses. The longer your defenders can prevent a direct attack on the Stone Thrower, the more rounds it will have to debilitate opponents.

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Finally, we are going to conclude the article with sample lists utilizing the Builder Stone Thrower.  

OTHELL COMMANDER LIST

Faction: Nights Watch

Commander: Othell Yarwyck – First Builder

Points: 40 (22 Neutral)

Combat Units:

  • House Bolton Blackguard (6)
  • House Bolton Blackguard (6)
  • Builder Crossbowmen (7)
  • Veterans Of The Watch (8)
  • Builder Stone Thrower (10)

Non-Combat Units:

  • Othell Yarwyck – First Builder (0)
  • Bowen Marsh – First Steward (3)

Made with ASOIAFBuilder.com

 

This list carries an overall theme of punishment. While the Stone Thrower softens up units from half the table away, the other units should be able to finish them off with attacks and counter effects. The Black Guards “Horrific Visage”, the Veterans “Counter Attack”, and the Crossbowmen’s “Ready! Aim! Fire!” will present your opponent with lose-lose options for almost every action they take. These effects will help mitigate the low number of activations in the list, especially considering Othell will be used to recycle his “Mighty Enhancements” card. 

NOYE COMMANDER LIST

Faction: Nights Watch

Commander: Donal Noye – Defender Of Castle Black

Points: 40 (26 Neutral)

Combat Units:

  • Sworn Brothers (6)
    • with Donal Noye – Defender Of Castle Black (0)
  • House Bolton Blackguard (6)
    • with Othell Yarwyck – Warmachine Specialist (1)
  • Builder Stone Thrower (10)
  • Builder Stone Thrower (10)

Non-Combat Units:

  • Bowen Marsh – First Steward (3)
  • Aemon – Maester Of Castle Black (4)

Made with ASOIAFBuilder.com

The intention of this list is to use the Stone Throwers to target the same unit each round in an attempt to take it out. Meanwhile, the Night’s Watch Sworn Brothers and Bolton Blackguards are interchangeable, and can even be doubled up depending on your preference of a defensive or offensive approach. Note that when Aemon claims the wealth zone he can add a small heal to each of the defensive units, or a larger heal to a single unit.

MASS WAR MACHINE LIST

Faction: Night’s Watch

Commander: Ramsay Snow – The Bastard of Bolton

Points: 40 (16 Neutral)

Combat Units:

  • Sworn Brothers (6)
    • with Ramsay Snow – The Bastard of Bolton (0)

  and Theon Greyjoy – Reek (0)

  • House Bolton Blackguard (6)
    • with Othell Yarwyck – Warmachine Specialist (1)
  • Builder Scorpion Crew (7)
  • Builder Scorpion Crew (7)
  • Builder Stone Thrower (10)

Non-Combat Units:

  • Bowen Marsh – First Steward (3)

Made with ASOIAFBuilder.com

This high-risk high-reward army should be fun to play. At least for you, if not your opponent. Double down on your joy as you watch their face grow grimmer with each successive siege engine you place on the table. Since all three war machines will depend on Othell Yarwyck for their re-rolls, it is crucial to protect his unit.. Ramsay “The Bastard of Bolton” Snow’s major benefit as a commander here is using his ‘Cruel Methods’ card for an extra attack from the Scorpion Bolt Thrower before the round starts. Remember, do not use this card on the Stone Thrower unless it is an absolute emergency as it will count as your Stone Thrower’s only attack for the round. 

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