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Meta snapshot #16 - 20.06- Season of Magic

[20.06] Release: 9 new meta decks, new matchups & gameplan info. 3 new decks for daily quests.

The Pyres of Novigrad have been set alight, the flames are bright and hot, and even the new weather effects can’t extinguish the warm feelings it awoke among the players.

It has burnt some outdated concepts (charges for NR), some old bugs, and some patience to ongoing by now release bugs (Dead Man’s Tongue this time), but most importantly it has burnt all the remaining leftovers of staleness in meta, and the ability to just repeat what worked in the past and still win.

And we love it! The old strong concepts are still strong, as none has suffered from any significant nerf, and if they don’t feel as strong as they used to be, it’s purely due to overall meta shift. The new concepts are working – even if sometimes not at the meta level, surely at a level allowing serious ladder competition. Meta is not defined by broken cards and archetypes, but dynamic shifts as the players are trying to find the perfect balance of cards allowing to strengthen the archetype they play, and include answers to other popular archetypes. Our meta review therefore cannot be called definite – Team Elder Blood themselves are still experimenting a lot, and change the optimal decks composition regularly, to fit better into the new ecosystem. And we strongly believe this is how it should be – the situation is dynamic, netdecking will not give you the ultimate advantage, and it’s the skills of playing and adapting these decks to meta shifts that will decide your fate.

And now to Factions review!

Syndicate still rocks. Everything that worked still works, and this season Jackpot joins the other great abilities, going straight to Tier 1, and ensuring that no coin is wasted and you literally swim in gold.

Everyone predicting the death of Nilfgaard was wrong, Ball is again successfully playable, after adapting it to new leader ability, Clog is competitive, albeit not nearly as overpowered as frustrating to play against, and the new deck thinning package allows now for greater reliability across all decks.

Northern Realms continue on the path of major rework, taking them from the hell of being the most boring and average faction to play back into the competitive and dynamic zone – with cooldown being a rather successful replacement for charges, and siege after ages in dead cards limbo joining other scenarios as a key card. The journey is however not over yet, as we’d still like to see more variety in leaders and strategies played on ladder.

Monsters enjoy a wide choice of highly varying competitive archetypes with very unique deck lists, and if the amount of Force of Nature decks on the ladder was an indication of its actual strength, one could think it’s the definite meta. Well, it isn’t, it does provide however a new competitive way of playing tall and utilising the new expansion cards.

Scoia’tael still kicks hard through Elves and control decks, with traps being a bit worn off after players learnt much better how to work around them. The Spella’tael concept can be successfully implemented in both Symbiosis and Precision Strike, making the elves and dryads very charming, in the destructive meaning of this word.

Skellige adds weather management and restores power to druids, is however seen a bit less frequently on the ladder – and it might not be necessarily due to the faction becoming weaker, but due to people experimenting more with new concepts, giving the warriors a little break after years of being succesfully played.

Enjoy the new meta, and please tell us in comments your outlook on state of meta and Gwent. In the current very dynamic times we really want to know your thoughts about what you’re facing on ladder, and which archetypes you find particularly strong.

Tier 1

Syndicate - Jackpot | 4.5 stars

It’s been a while now since every season feels like Christmas for Syndicate. From the beginning of the year, when they were by far the weakest and least played faction, their triumphal march to victory seems unstoppable. Crimes, Pirate Cove, Passiflora Hidden Cache, even the less popular FireSwarm and Tributes have seen very successful implementations in top tier meta, and among very competitive decks.

This season is no different – the already crowded field is now joined by Jackpot, where addition of a small sentence to the leader ability in the last patch took it from meme tier straight to the top. Why? Simple – this ability resolves the problem of sometimes painful and awkward coin management, ensuring that no coin is being wasted. And it provides you the coins exactly when you need them, and as many as possible. Are you already at 9 coins? Do not worry, as every unit generating income will just use it to boost itself, and every unit that includes the keywords gain or profit will turn any surplus over 9 into direct boost. Opponent just dropped a 7/8p body engine or defender or Ciri, and you didn’t build your treasury yet? Just use the ability and Phillipa takes care of it. Need a specific amount for an expensive tribute or immediate bounty? Sorted, as you always get guaranteed 9 coins with one click, with everything extra being transferred directly into boost.

The amount of potential decks and concepts it unlocked is huge, and a lot of experimenting is still seen in the deck, but the one we chose to recommend below is Bounty, as it allows for greater flexibility of control, but feel free to try the alternatives – with Jackpot there’s simply too many good cards combinations to cover it all.

The deck allows for versatile game plans, but it prefers longer rounds, where your bounty management system shines and refuels itself with every killed victim. With purifying and Philippa included, you can take care of defenders and Veil, which can prove problematic, if our Witchfinder constantly targets the highest unit with Veil. Having said that, it’s also capable of providing an explosive short R3 finisher if you have the right cards. Assuming you always end up with 4 coins carryover, playing Sigi, Jacques and Ceasar as the last three cards result in impressive 49 points finish, which if uninterrupted, should win you majority of games.

The question whether to bleed remains open, and should be adapted to your opponents deck (is there a target worth bleeding out), and whether you will have the right cards for R3 – don’t go into short R3, if you know you’ll lose R2, and you’ll end up with bronzes playing for nothing.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

One Sewer Raider is good to have for quick thinning, second is of course a brick. You don’t need Urchins yet, and too many brown bounty cards. Ideally you want at least one damaging spender.

General strategy:

Setup your coin bank through Tax Collectors, Mutant Makers, drive your Sewer Raiders out of your deck, and carefully keep your points above your opponent. If by now your opponent contested R1 and committed something meaningful, and board setup allows to make benefit, start playing with bounties and kills and win it. Play R2 until you bleed out of your opponent his critical card, only with decks that have such strong wincons, keeping the bangers for R3. In short R3 slam points, in long build and execute your bounty empire.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Your opponent may have a different lineup, as the definite meta is not established yet. Define your perfect target for Philippa and execute – in R1 Redanian, in R2 the biggest threat, that will start playing into your advantage based in your hand, in short R3 unboosted Sigi for a double Ceasar finisher. Don’t provide easy targets for Bounty, and eliminate the sources of income before they start delivering.

Northern Realms:

Witchers: Witchers are a rare opponent nowadays, you will face the siege significantly more often. Jackpot is stronger in the long round. Cards that deal damage help a lot. If you do not manage to win the first round try to carry as many coins as possible into round 2, your opponent will probably bleed. In the short third round you have to rely on using as much as possible your Sigi, Jacques, Ceasar combo and have one spender that survives until the end.

Siege: The Northern Kingdoms are not a very difficult opponent. The strategy with NR is to win the first round and go for a long third round, a bleed is not required. Jackpot has good answers to the Northern Realms engines.

Scoia’tael:

Symbiosis: Syndicate is favored in this matchup, having food engine answers. Try to win round 1 by playing bronze cards, save Philippa Eilhart for round 3 to seize Gezras or any of the important engines. Try to have enough coins to quickly neutralize the Dryads, throwing Witch Hunter Executioner or Whoreson’s Freak Show quickly before they get too tall.

Elves: Elves have a strong long round, a good answer to the scenario is Whoreson Junior who destroys Elven Deadeyes. Bleed in round 2 to pull out scenario or possibly Vernossiel. Saving Jacques de Aldersberg increases the chances of winning.

Monsters:

Viy: In this matchup it all depends on winning round 1 and the gold cards spent in it. Jackpot is favored in the long round, but to enter it you must play well in first round. It is helpful to play your engines and control your opponent’s cards.

Koshchey: Syndicate has good answers for Koshchey and relicts. Winning the first round will significantly increase your chances of winning game. Long round 3 will be very easy to win if you play Whoreson Junior into mini Koshchey and Endriaga Larvas. Try to avoid your opponent carrying She Who Knows into the next round – which may not be possible in R1, as it’s a frequent finisher – but you can deal with her immediately in R2.

Skellige:

Reckless Flurry: Syndicate is favored against Reckless Flurry, there is no need to bleed in round 2. However, your opponent’s deck has a counter to boosted units in Geralt Axii, so it’s worth waiting to boost at last say.

Blaze of Glory: Your opponent probably won’t be able to handle the bounties. Win first round by controlling your opponent’s engines. A long 3rd round can cause problems if your opponent has drawn well. Eist in round 3 playing against Jackpot has good targets so it is worth playing long round 2 and getting him and / or ability out.

Nilfgaard:

By far the most common opponent in ranked play will be Masquerade Ball. In round 1 you can start with a Tax Collector and Mutant Maker while trying not to spend key cards like Sigi or Professor. Win the first round and bleed to throw out a scenario, the Jacob in r3 cannot be too big if your opponent has not played Vincent or invocation.

Cloggers: This can be a tough match up if you are starting out, in round 1 you can play strong gold cards to prevent your opponent from clogging up your deck, you can also skip long round 1, discard weak bronzes, and go into round 2 with a less clogged deck. If you win and your hand is weak you can bleed. Long round 3 is only winnable if you have an answer for defender and Kolgrim. Use Kurt to clear Ffion and Whoreson Junior to destroy 9 point Kolgrim, but if Kolgrim has more power you can destroy him with Graden which you should keep for the last say.

Cards replacements:

If you think that Graden is constantly not giving good return on investment, consider Flying Redanian.

Syndicate - Pirate's Cove | 4.25 stars

Pirate’s Cove is still absolutely nuts. Let’s be honest with ourselves here. If you told me two months ago self poison would actually become meta, I’d have said you were on fisstech! With the absolutely massive 1 provision nerf to Professor, believe it or not, the deck still rocks. We don’t add any new cards from this month’s expansion, but that’s because the deck really doesn’t need anything else. With endless high value mid-range cards, Pirate’s Cove remains at the top of the meta.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:
You always mulligan away Redanian and one of the Sewer Raiders. Search hard for your golds.

Round 1
You really want one of the Borsodi brothers in hand. You always mulligan away Redanian, because you want to thin it from your deck. One of the Sewer Raiders is also great for easy thinning. This deck doesn’t care about being bled most of the time, so play a couple coin generating cards, and get yourself ready for round 2..

Round 2
This deck has a fantastic long round, so a lot of the time you will want to generate some coins and go to the long round 3. However, If bled, you have lots of ways to gain a card on your opponent. Start with Tax Collector to start getting some engine value. Dropping Professor or Whoreson Jr. to kill an engine is a great way to get ahead. Then, as the round progresses, consider playing location and your poison brothers. Try your best to keep Sigi and a big finisher like Jacques or Philippa for a shortened round 3. If you decide to play aggressive and bleed, apply the same strategy and you should typically find success.

Round 3
In short R3 you could always outpoint your opponent with leader ability, Sigi and Jacques. In a long round, you start with Jacques, poison brothers, and then smash your opponent’s engines into pieces with Whoreson Jr., Professor, and steal their hopes and dreams with Philippa.

Win condition:

Whatever the matchup dictates it to be. This deck has everything. Control tools (Whoreson, Professor, Philippa, poisons), Brothers (Bleinheims and Borsodis), Pointslam (Sigi, Leader, Jacques)

Matchups:

Mirror:

Don’t overspend in round 1. You want to have first say in round 3, so ideally you lose round 1. If you win round 1 and have a great hand, consider a value bleed to disrupt your opponent’s poison combo.

Northern Realms:

Do Witchers even exist anymore? With NR’s switch to Siege this season, the matchup has become more difficult. Siege really likes a long round 3, yet can match your point slam somewhat in a short round. If you can win round 1, you should bleed out a ballista or two before passing on to a mid-to-long round 3. You have 2-0 potential vs Siege if they try not to use location, though with Pincer Maneuver, your opponent will always have the option to play their best cards.

Bleed or Not? A light bleed is usually good.

Who will win? 50/50. This is a very difficult matchup to predict, as this matchup is very response based. Siege should win if given free rein on their engines in round 3, but you have better point slam options.

Scoia’tael:

Nature’s Gift is back in the spotlight, but you have the superior deck. The added control of the non-devotion Symbiosis lists running around ladder kill your engines, but you have such good control options and point slam that you can keep up with whatever is thrown at you. Purifies can be annoying for your poisons, but using location to ensure you kill their highest power unit is a big help. The short round is a little scary vs. their tall Gord, but if you save a leader charge and Sigi you should have a good shot to win. Against Elves, you will want to win round 1, bleed very carefully, if at all, and then win with your engines in round 3.

Bleed or Not? Not against Symbiosis. Maybe a little vs Elves.

Who will win? You should win most of the time vs Symbiosis. Elves should be slightly more difficult, though you are still favored.

Monsters:

Just don’t queue into Keltullis. If you face Keltullis, you don’t really have removal options to deal with all their tall engines. This is why a lot of people put Moreelse into their deck, but we haven’t seen enough Keltullis yet to warrant this change. Win round 1, and hope you can keep your Redanian out on the board long enough to survive against the burning later on. Against Koshchey, we have enough ability to limit their best cards to win. Professor’s tribute deals with Caranthir’s Koshchey, and Whoreson Jr. deals with the actual Koshchey. She Who Knows can be poisoned, as can any other tall unit threatening you. Pass early, defend the bleed, and win the match. Arachas Swarm is a little more difficult, since they can out tempo us and we cannot effectively deny their swarming. Try not to lose on even if on blue coin. If you do, you will be bled all the harder and will be forced to play your best cards to survive into round 3. Otherwise, play just enough in round 1 to force some swarm out of your opponent, then pass and defend the bleed. Your long round should be superior. Ewald Borsari is incredible for his bleeding fee. Use him wisely.

Bleed or Not? Not against anything other than Kelltullis if you did not force enough engines out in round 1.

Who will win? You should beat Koshchey, have a 50/50 with Arachas Swarm, and lose a ton of MMR to Kelltullis.

Skellige:

Aren’t they dead? Well if you do face them, it should either be Warriors or Reckless Flurry. Against Warriors, you should be favored, though it’s not the easiest matchup. Your long round is superior, so they will likely bleed you. If that happens, keep tempo and force them to use Eist if they want their card back. Make sure not to go too tall, since Morkvarg will destroy your tallest unit’s boost. If you queue into Reckless Flurry, you might struggle, since their control options are so strong. They will destroy just about every engine you play. Typically however, they struggle to generate points, since only a couple cards have point slam potential. If you want, you can play lots of tempo and permanently get ahead in the first two rounds to win a card. Again, don’t play too tall or Geralt: Axii will ruin your day.

Bleed or Not? Light bleed on Reckless Flurry is okay, though Warriors should not be bled.

Who will win? You should be favored vs both matchups.

Nilfgaard:

Lick your lips and put your napkin in your lap. You will feast on Nilfgaard Ball. NIlfgaard players are used to having the best long round in the game, but not anymore. If they allow you to have a 10 card round 3, you should win convincingly. You may be forced to play a couple good cards in round 1 if they play their Blightmakers when you are on blue coin. This is okay though, since your deck is full of great combos. Using one early is survivable. If you want to lose this matchup, bleed. You really have no need to bleed ball out, since if you have last say, you can use leader ability and boost the heck out of your Sea Jackal. Against cloggers, save your purify for the defender and use location to insta-kill Kolgrim. Don’t allow clog to mess with your deck if you can help it. It is usually better to pass early than to allow your deck to be full of garbage. If you want, you can play for a tempo pass in round 1 with something like Sigi, leader charge, and poisons or Philippa. Though you must make sure you have all you need to kill Kolgrim in your hand already if you do this.

Bleed or Not: Only bleed if you don’t care about winning.

Who will Win? Clog is always draw dependent, but you are about 65/35 favored vs Ball.

Syndicate:

Against Jackpot, kill Sigi as soon as you can. In this matchup, last say matters a lot because your opponent may run Moreelse and ruin your day. Try to win round 1 without committing your best cards. Save location for round 3, as this is a huge card in denying your opponent’s poison attempts.

Bleed or Not? You should want to win round 1 and maintain last say. Bleeding is for chumps.

Who will Win? You got this… like 60% of the time. Your favorability depends on whether your opponent runs location, Philippa, or can get Sigi to survive so Caesar can be used on him. Philippa and location are massive in these matches.

Good against:

Nilfgaard, Viy, Koshchey, SK Warriors

Bad against:

Keltullis

Cards replacements:

Boris and Casino Bouncers for Philippa

Nilfgaard - Imprisonment Ball | 4.25 stars

Nilfgaard is back, and oh boy is it back with style. While the gold cards remain unchanged, the faction received some amazing bronzes to play with. The Blightmaker, Mage Assassin combo has everything, it has tempo, it has thinning and plays around tall punish. Additionally, there is a lot of good matchups in the meta.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

Mage Assassins should always be mulliganed. Besides that, make sure you have at least 1 gold target for your Roderick.

Round 1:

Usually open up with Nauzicaa Sergeants. Thinning is winning in this round so feel free to thin with Dead Man’s Tongue and Blightmakers. You can spend your bronze poisons to keep you in game.

Round 2:

If you managed to win round 1 you will usually like a long round with some exceptions. Sometimes if you expect your opponent to bleed you hard you may consider mulliganing your Masquerade Ball to ensure your opponent cannot bleed it out.

Round 3:

Save at least 2 aristocrats. If possible, wait for your opponent to play a good target before playing your Masquerade Ball.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Mirrors are always tricky. Final say is useful but it is more important to not overcommit. Keep in mind that in a long round you will swarm a lot. Additionally your opponent will play a lot of spies. Board space might be an issue. Because of this, mulliganing Masquerade Ball might be a consideration.

Scoia’tael:

Scoia’tael: Scoia’tael is a tough faction. Many symbiosis decks opt in to go non-devotion to counter Nilfgaard. Elves have no good poison/lock targets. It is hard to deal with a front row Vernossiel. Thankfully, this is not a popular faction in this meta.

Bleed or Not? Take a long round against symbiosis and try to bleed out the elf scenario.

Who Will Win? You are unfavoured in both matchups.

Northern Realms:

There are a lot of engine decks out there. You have enough control to deal with threats.

Bleed or Not? You should take a long round against NR engines.

Who Will Win? You are favoured against most engine decks.

Skellige:

Skellige Warriors and Skellige Witchers are viable but not that common. Warriors will have no way of dealing with your scenario other than bleeding it. With the new cards this should be harder for them.

Bleed or Not? Take a long round against Skellige.

Who Will Win? You are favoured here.

Monsters:

People are experimenting with relicts. She Who Knows can provide your opponent with lots of carryover. Thankfully we have a million ways to answer it. If your opponent plays Koshchey they can struggle with board space because of your spies. Keltullis, Viy and Arachas Swarm although less popular are still viable strategies. Your deck has a lot of control so you should be able to potentially deal with Keltullis. Similarly, saving locks for consume units will mean that your opponent’s Viy will not grow that much. Arachas Swarm is the toughest matchup.

Bleed or Not? Long round is preferred with the exception of Arachas swarm where bleeding may be considered since a long round is difficult.

Who Will Win? You are unfavoured against Arachas Swarm, but the rest of the matchups are in your favour.

Nilfgaard

Besides mirror matches you might see cloggers on ladder. This should be a pretty good match for you. Just save your answer for defender and a leader charge on Kolgrim. Use Duchess Informants to clog them back as well as thinning cards to make your opponent’s Kolgrim worse.

Bleed or Not? Take a long round.

Who Will Win? You are favoured.

Syndicate:

This is a tricky matchup for both players. Your opponent needs to be extra careful when poisoning their own units. You need to be extra careful of your opponent’s location. The Bleinheim brothers will be problematic since one of them gains coins for every one of your poisons.

Bleed or Not? You should bleed Pirate’s Cove but don’t overdo it. Just shorten the round a bit so that Bleinheim brothers don’t get much value before reaching adrenaline 5. Take a long round against crimes.

Who Will Win? Crimes is a toss up. Against rest of Syndicate you are slightly unfavoured.

Card Replacements: Consider removing Anna Henrietta if your face a lot of opponents with an unhelpful leader ability.

Win Condition: Masquerade Ball

Syndicate - Crimes | Lined Pockets | 4.25 stars

After a small break after the outbreak of Pirate’s Cove’s popularity, Lined Pockets has jumped back on the radar with new support from the latest expansion. The deck’s core remains nearly the same however this uses The Witchfinder as a new top end gold who provides bounty support that can be collected along with the help of spenders like Tunnel Drill, Whoreson’s Freak Show, Whoreson Junior or even a Bloody Good Fun in the worst case.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan

In Round 1 you usually want to keep your crimes since this is the best round for you to play the Justice-Safecracker combo. You want to mulligan your Flying Redanian and try to look for a Round 1 spender (Sea Jackal is ideal for this).

Round 1

In Round 1 you ideally do not want to play your gold cards, your bronze crimes combined with Justice should be more than enough to take the round. However if your opponent pressures to win on even or if you want to do the same it can be alright to play some golds.

Round 2

Your long round is pretty solid however you can also put up a very threatening bleed by dropping Cleaver followed by the Witchfinder and you can threaten a huge Tunnel Drill that can delete your opponent’s entire board.

Round 3

Although this version of the deck misses the Harald Gord finisher available to the previous version it still has a solid amount of points even in a short round using cards like Whoreson Junior, Sigi Reuven and a spender. However, the deck thrives the most in a medium length round.

Matchups:

Mirror:

In the mirror you want to try your best to not lose on even on blue coin and try to pass as soon as possible. You do not necessarily win the round since getting first say in a long round 3 is very good for you. Bleeding is ill-advised unless you have reason to believe your opponent has a bad hand to defend the bleed since you will almost always go a card down.

Northern Realms:

The most popular Northern Realms decks currently are engine decks which should struggle against a control deck like yours. Winning Round 1 should be great for you however it is not compulsory and overcommitment to do so can come to bite you in the back.

Bleed or not?

A long round should be winnable however a soft bleed in order to bleed something like Siege should be extremely beneficial for you.

Who wins?

You should be favoured.

Scoia’tael:

The most popular decks for Scioa’tael right now are either Elves or Nature’s Gift, both of which should struggle hard against your deck. You don’t have to fight for round control necessarily however winning Round 1 is never bad. Tempo passing is also a viable strategy in order to force a long round where you can dominate.

Bleed or not?

On winning Round 1 you should always be looking for a long round 3.

Who wins?

You are favoured enough to win in this matchup.

Monsters:

The most popular decks for Monsters right now are Kelly, Viy and Arachas Swarm. You should fare pretty well against the first two relatively well and while Arachas Swarm has been a historically bad matchup for this deck with the spending ability on Whoreson Junior and an extra “Drill” in the form of Whoreson’s Freak Show you should not have too much of a problem answering your opponent’s swarm.

Bleed or not?

A soft bleed should always be strong with first say and you can even try tempo passing after playing something like Cleaver-Drill to go a card up into Round 3. Versus Viy you want to bleed to get Haunt out. Versus Keltullis you should be good to go in a 10 card Round 3.

Who wins?

It can go either way depending on factors like draws, player skill and ability to contest Round 1.

Skellige:

While Skellige is pretty scarce on ladder, Eist Warriors and control Reckless Flurry are the most common Skellige decks on ladder. Your Witchfinder should find a lot of value against the high base power units of Skellige. That being said, a 10 card Round 3 might not be the most winnable scenario for you, hence getting round control becomes important.

Bleed or not?

You should do at least a soft bleed with something like Cleaver which might force out the Eist out of them and decrease the round length into a more favourable situation for you.

Who wins?

It can go either way depending on draws and player skill.

Nilfgaard:

A long round 3 with no answer for Masquerade Ball feels like a nightmare and rightfully so. This makes getting round control your first priority. Further, bleeding into Round 2 to get Masquerade Ball out is a priority.

Bleed or not?

Winning Round 1 and bleeding should be the gameplan.

Who wins?

Depending on how the bleed goes the matchup can go either way however it is not a completely losing scenario for you.

Syndicate:

The other popular Syndicate decks are Jackpot and Pirate’s Cove. While you might not be able to win a long Round 3 against these decks you have a much stronger Round 1 and a lot of bleed potential against these decks. Hence, that should be your gameplan in this matchup.

Bleed or not?

Winning Round 1 and bleeding to get some top end golds out of them can put you in a great spot.

Who wins?

You should be slightly favoured in this matchup.

Win conditions:

Cleaver, Tunnel Drill, The Witchfinder

Good against:

Elf Swarm, Nature’s Gift, Keltullis

Bad against:

Ball Nilfgaard, No unit decks like Precision strike.

Card Replacements:

3 Bronze crimes → 2x Fisstech, 1x Fisstech Trafficker

Tier 2

Northern Realms - Siege | Pincer Maneuver | 4.0 stars

With the latest card additions and a massive number of reworks to NR’s order archetypes, Siege is finally back on the menu. The deck makes use of Pincer Maneuver, a leader that, while plays for just 4 points offers you the consistency you need to draw your top end golds. This newer iteration of Siege specializes in ‘board destruction’, that is, once you get the Siege down unanswered it is safe to say that your opponent will not have a board left for themselves. The recent rework to Reinforced Ballista makes it the perfect engine to proc the scenario and your opponent will have too many things to answer simultaneously and will end up being unable to answer all the threats you can offer. If this was not enough the deck plays Viraxas for an order reset on potentially Gerhart or Shani which can play for a huge amount of points and also plays Foltest with Dun Banners which if left unanswered can play for 4 points of passive value each turn which can force your opponent out of the round by itself.

Difficulty: Medium

Gameplan:

Ideally, play Foltest round 1 and tempo pass into long round 3 where you can abuse first say with siege. mulligans will be for finding Foltest and AA, make sure not to brick Dun banners.

Usually, you don’t play round 2 in this deck unless you have a full gold hand and want to abuse first say in some matchups like a mirror.

Card replacements:

Boiling oil -> Kerack city guard, Ban ard student -> Bombardment

Good against: Arachas Swarm, Nature’s Gift, Elves

Bad against: Keltullis

Win Condition: Siege, Foltest

Monsters - AQ | 4.0 stars

In the new meta our beloved Arachas feels very good in it, being able to shine against the old deck concepts and the fresh ones alike.

Nothing changed majorly in the way we play this deck, but due to the meta being again more reliant on tall / boosted units, we are suggesting a couple of alternatives depending on the type of opponents you find prevalent in your games.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan
If possible ensure a healthy combination of golds/bronzes, which will last until your first major point slam (Chimera – Adrenaline 4), with at least 1 of yours strong finishers present just in case. If you have Oneiro and Whispess, you can even mull out Yen and CC.

Round 1
Spam, spam, spam, and then boost. Best spam is achieved by using 1 of each – Nest and Evolution. If need be, even by playing Whispess and CC, as soon as there’s an opponents row with 8p. Win R1 using your strong bronze finishers, like Bone Talisman, Chimera, Dol Dhu Lokke Chimera, but don’t shy away from ensuring win by one of your super golds – Yen, or Triss (into Talisman, or Evolution on drone if you have space, or on Chimera if no space). On red always win on even cards. No problem if you use Behemoth as well. Just don’t play all golds at once, and try to keep close score, without overcommitting too soon.

Round 2
Unless you have a shitty hand without any synergy or point slam, or play Lippy / Kelly, always bleed! And very often you’ll win in the process, even starting on one card disadvantage. Spam, bleed with Yen, Behemoth, whatever you have left. Korathi the scenario. Continue to spam and boost.

Round 3
If by now you haven’t won yet, try to launch your last swarm & boost. Remember to keep at least one drone from ability for Evolution. In longer R3, use your answers – purify the defender, CoC or Heatwave Kolgrim, Gezras, or their most dangerous card, etc.

Matchups:

Mirror: If your opponent swarmed too early, you can use Yen to destroy his swarm. Aim always to have a the last say.

Northern Realms (Witchers):

Bleed or not? Bleed, and keep your Korathi ready for Keldar.

Who will win? 50/50

Scoia’tael:

Nature’s Gift, Elves Swarm, Dwarves – win R1 cheaply, or at least make the opponent spend some key cards. With Symbiosis and Dwarves consider including Yrden in your deck, and use at the right moment for boosted cards, and keep answers (CoC / Korathi) to their respective key gold cards depending on the deck (Gezras in Elves, Defender, Resilience, Brouver in Dwarves, Madoc in unitless, etc). Against Traps – time your swarming and boosting, trying to foresee and avoid the disastrous effect of Crushing Trap.

Bleed or not? Usually bleed, but against swarm – pass on even

Who will win? Favoured with unitless control Madoc, Dwarves, slightly favoured with Elves, at small disadvantage with Symbiosis, and bigger one with Traps

Monsters (Kelly):

As long as you keep the right answers for the right cards, just play your game of swarming and boosting. Get rid of Nithral, your only major worry. And play around their Forktails.

Bleed or not? No

Who will win? You’re favoured

Skellige:

Against Lippy – use Yen before all their Roaches and discard units pop out together with Cerys, or in the next round after. Against Eist – bleed him out and / or BoG ability before R3

Bleed or not? Don’t bleed Lippy, else – yes.

Who will win? You’re favoured

Nilfgaard:

Don’t let Yen be Coup’ed. In short round consider consuming / purifying Joachim. Against cloggers – employ Yrden in deck, and consider withholding your drones in R1, even if it means discarding some bronzes.

Bleed or not? Yes, until they spend Ball. Against Clog don’t bleed.

Who will win? You’re favoured with most NG, with Clogrim you’re screwed unless you have Yrden.

Syndicate:

Play your game until advantage established in R1. Get rid ot the Drill ASAP.

Bleed or not? Yes, and don’t stop until Cleaver is out.

Who will win? You’re favoured

Good against:

Control decks, majority of other swarm decks, Kelly.

Bad against:

Row punishment (eg. Traps), Clogrim and Yrden decks, you may struggle with NR Witchers and Symbiosis, which are more greedy.

Cards replacements:

a) Korathi and Taskmaster out – Yrden and Natural selection in

b) Korathi out – Igni in

Monsters - Kelly | 4.0 stars

While Keltullis has not received any buffs or nerfs this season, its matchups became a bit worse, which is why we demoted it to tier 2. The biggest problem the deck faces is the fact that Skellige Warriors are not popular in this meta which was a very good matchup for Keltullis. Furthermore, other devotion decks have opted in to run techs that will ruin your day. For example, Moreelse is very popular in devotion Syndicate, while Vincent is popular in Nilfgaard. The deck is still very strong however and will catch the less experienced players off guard.

Difficulty: Hard

Gameplan:

Mulligan: You want Ciri in first round to abuse red coin or change coins if you are on blue. In some matchup you also need to have a defender in round 1

Round 1: Try to play Ciri Dash to get card advantage, use ability to protect her if necessary. It is nice to play Yghern if you can, so that you have access to him with Ozzrel in later rounds.

Round 2: In most cases you bleed with Kelly behind defender, spells and beast. Be careful though because sometimes Kelly can be more of a hindrance than a help.

Round 3: Use Ozzrel and charges of ability if you still have them, and you will have a really strong short round.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Mirrors are tricky and depend on who draws the best engines and removals. You can easily fall for the trap of burning your own units. Because of that you can consider playing her in round 1 if necessary.

Scoia’tael:

Scoia’tael is not a strong faction. You don’t see it often, but when you do it’s mainly symbiosis or elves. Elves have the answers to your threats so try to bleed them in case they might have missed them in round 2. Symbiosis finds it very difficult to deal with your threats.

Bleed or Not? Bleed elves but take the long round against Symbiosis.

Who Will Win? Elves will likely beat you but you should win against symbiosis.

Monsters:

People are still experimenting with the relict archetype. They usually do not run much control so Kelly might just burn through their units. Additionally your opponent might struggle to activate the Sabbath ability. Arachas Swarm and Viy are a bit less popular for now but still viable. Your forktail should deal with arachas swarm, while your tall punishes should deal with Viy.

Bleed or Not? Take a long round against each deck and save your tall punishes/wide punishes depending on the match.

Who Will Win?  You will likely win against monsters.

Skellige:

Warriors is a very good matchup for you. You can easily win round 1 with your Ciri and then beat them in long round 3. The fact you play very little units means that your opponent’s Eist will never reach the bloodthirst 3 requirement. Skellige Witchers are better equipped against your Keltullis. They have the tools to play unitless with their bomb package, making your Keltullis worse. If you’re able to keep Ciri alive in round 1 you’ll be in a much better spot. Keep the pressure however, as Witchers have a lot of tempo in round 1 with their discards.

Bleed or Not? You prefer a long round against Warriors. You could try to bleed Witchers to bleed out some of their combos like Coral.

Who will Win? You are more likely to win against Warriors. Witchers will be a harder matchup.

Nilfgaard:

You have tall punishes to potentially deal with Kolgrim. You can choose to play specials in round 1 to make it harder for your opponent to clog you. Masquerade Ball is tougher since your opponent will often run answers to your Keltullis and Ciri.

Bleed or Not: Take a long round against Kolgrim. Bleed Masquerade Ball decks and force out the scenario in round 2.

Who will Win? You are slightly favoured against Kolgrim and highly unfavoured against Masquerade Ball.

Syndicate:

Syndicate usually runs Moreelse, which makes the matchup a bit trickier as your Keltullis needs to be timed correctly in order to maximise points. Your veil however will protect you from poisons. Keep in mind that your opponent’s Whoreson can kill anything with 9 or less strength. Banish your opponent’s Flying Redanian using squirrel otherwise your Keltullis will not be worth much.

Bleed or Not? If you win on even you could bleed to force out Moreelse.

Who Will Win? It is a tossup.

Win Conditions: Ciri Dash, Keltullis, Ozzrel

Tier 3

Nilfgaard - Cloggers | 3.75 stars

With the first set of the new Price of Power expansion Nilfgaard got a bunch of cards that focus on thinning centered around a new Mage archetype. But quite unfortunately, the toxic empire strikes again incorporating the new cards to a more powerful version of Clog. The brand new Blightmaker into Mage Assasin combo thins your deck as well as put immense tempo on board, and Dead Man’s Tongue can thin two Bronzes out of your deck – all synergize extremely well with what Clog intends to do. The gameplan of the deck is straightforward: put bad cards on top of your opponent’s deck, thin your own deck and play Kolgrim to finish it all off. It’s also possible to thin to zero pretty reliably with the addition of the new cards. Even though the deck is good for winrates, it might not be the best choice if you’re trying to grind out resources – as GGs will be extremely hard to come by from your opponents.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan: You don’t want Roach, Knickers and Mage Assasins in your hanrs. If your hand looks fairly good, but you want to aim for a better one, you can mulligan away Assire, as she is rarely needed in R1. Remember to keep multiple proactive plays on blue coin. Your ultimate goal is to ensure that even if your opponent doesn’t want to play your game, you have enough cards allowing you to play 3 turns by yourself, after which you have plenty more options. Make sure you don’t brick your Roderick or Alzur’s Double-Cross in later round mulligans.

Round 1: Your aim this round is to clog as much as possible – by playing out your Cynthia, Viper Witchers, Infiltrators – as well as to thin as much as possible – by playing out your Blightmaker combo, Dead Man’s Tongue, getting your Roach and Knickers out. It is vital to your strategy that you win this round; going even multiple cards down.

Round 2: Assuming you won the first round, you must bleed hard now. Don’t be afraid to commit your Kolgrim as you can get it back Round 3 using Renew or Assire. But you must play around Heatwave with Ffion. You can also Letho to get two Kolgrims.

Round 3: Play out your Kolgrim or Kolgrims. Pray for no Yrden.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Going down cards is counter-intuitively better here since it’s more turns for your Kolgrims – and the match is decided by who has the bigger one.

Northern Realms:

The class is littered with bad Bronzes and don’t have much ways to thin or take out your Kolgrims – but still can be tricky as they can put a lot of points in the first round as well as the final round. Don’t use cards such as Commandos or Dun Banners to clog. Bleed or not? Always bleed. Who would win? Clog is slightly favored.

Scoia’tael:

Elves and Dwarves and Gift put out a lot of tokens that you can clog very effectively with. Against traps, survive as long as you can round one then start clogging at the first opportunity. Bleed or not? Always bleed. Who would win? Very favored against Gift, Elves, Dwarves and other unit decks. Against decks like Traps and No-Units you’re at severe disadvantage.

Monsters:

Keltullis is one of your worst matchups as you don’t really have ways to get through defenders. Against Sabbath decks, your deck has ways to damage and can deny Sabbath condition for long enough. Against Swarm or Thrive, there’s not much to it – just clog and bleed. Bleed or not? Always bleed. Who would win? Kelly is a bad matchup, other matchups are slightly favorable.

Skellige:

Against Discard or Lippy, win round one – ideally starting to clog as soon as possible, before they start their draw and discard shenanigans. With Eist, play the regular game and lure out all their Longships – and do not clog with An Craite Longships. Also you can try the Unitless approach to deny their Raiding Fleet if you think he has it. Remember Lippy’s ability switch out deck and Graveyard will mess up your clogging. Bleed or not? Always Bleed Who will win? You’re slightly favoured with no-discard Eist, at disadvantage with Lippy and Discard.

Nilfgaard:

It’s pretty much the standard strategy against all non-Clog Nilfgaard decks. Be careful not to give your Kolgrim to your opponent as Nilfgaard has a lot of ways to use your cards against you. Point heavy Nilfgaard decks, with good starting hand, however can outpoint you and go for a 2-0. Bleed or not? Always bleed. Who would win? You’re favored against all Nilfgaard decks currently in the meta.

Syndicate:

Again, it’s the usual business. Be careful to not let Philippa steal your Kolgrim. As Syndicate decks play a lot of bronzes, you shouldn’t have issues finding clog targets. However, Syndicate does have options to go untiless with cards such as Swindle, Eavesdrop, Pickpocket etc. which can make things awkward for you. Bleed or not? You guessed it. Always bleed. Who would win? You’re favored in all meta Syndicate matchups.

Good against: Most of the meta decks out there, with some exceptions mentioned above.

Bad against: Very greedy decks with strong R3, decks that can easily win R1, or unitless decks.

Monsters - Viy | 3.75 stars

Viy is famous for its reliance on pointslam, running little to no removal. Unfortunately, many of the best decks in the game right now rely on engines, a strategy that has consistently hurt Viy’s ability to win r1. Viy’s tempo burst is as formidable as ever, but it is easily buried by long term engine value if you can’t get a good pass.

Those opponents that aren’t using engines are certainly teching in removal to deal with them, which is also a problem. Overwhelming Hunger only has two charges, so getting consume engines to stick is extremely challenging in some matchups, most notably Nilfgaard Ball.

That being said, the latest expansion hasn’t been all bad news for Viy. Witch Apprentice is a powerful, resource efficient engine that is easily activated by Viy’s large point totals. If you can get your consume engines to stick, and if you can manage to win r1, Viy’s r2 bleed and short r3 stopping power are nearly unchanged, and will easily carry the game.

Mulligan

Access to Ihuarraquax is usually your biggest priority, depending on your match up. Otherwise, you want a good mix of consume engines, thrive units, and Viy summons. Make sure you don’t brick your hand with Archespore.

Round 1

Set up your thrive engines, then set up your consume engines and say a little prayer. Using one of your Overwhelming Hunger charges is acceptable, as Viy lives and dies on winning r1. If you do, just be extra careful about mulliganing for consume engines in later rounds. The one card you should try to avoid using in r1 is Haunt, as while it generates a ton of points the turn you play it is incredibly tempo slow, allowing your opponent ample opportunity to pass.

Round 2

If you won r1, bleed bleed bleed. In some matchups you may not even care if you go a card down, just get the shortest r3 possible. Use scenario if you have it. If you lost r1, your opponent will almost certainly dry pass, so make sure you mulligan for a bronze unit you don’t care about throwing away.

Round 3

Play the hand you’re dealt, most of what happens here was determined in earlier rounds.

Mirror

Getting last say in r1 will determine the game. If you pull their Viy with your Ihuarraquax after they pass, they won’t be able to consume it and it will go into their graveyard instead of back into their deck.

Northern Realms

Your opponent will have some removal to deal with your consume engines, so try to set them up before they can develop siege engines that deal damage. If they run Dandelion and are able to play him in r1, you’re in deep trouble. You have no way of removing him, and allowing him to generate carryover by buffing up a massive Anseis is potentially game losing.

Bleed?

Yes

Who Will Win?

Your opponent runs a lot of powerful engines that are trouble due to your lack of removal. However, they also have strong tempo options, including Baron, Scenario, and Amphibious Assault. You aren’t favored, but if you can manage to win r1 and bleed in r2, you have a chance.

Scoia’tael

Symbiosis received a couple strong bronzes that can generate massive value when not punished by removal. In a long round, Whisperer can get insane value that’s hard for Viy to keep up with, and Sorceress can generate a large amount of tempo when paired with additional symbiosis engines. This is on top of other greedy cards like Gezras, Pavko, and Dunca.

Pay attention to your Barghests. Symbiosis runs extremely tall, and it’s one of the few decks that can block Barghest’s dominance-activated consume.

The silver lining is that many of these lists run devotion, or just lack tall removal like heatwave. If you can get a short r3, there will be little they can do to counter your pointslam.

Bleed?

Yes

Who Will Win?

Usually their greed is too much, so you’re unfavored. Your best bet is to put your head down and go all in on r1, but, much like Dandelion, Dunca can make even this strategy a loser.

Monsters

Keltulis – Your biggest worry is Ciri, as you have no way to remove her. Your ideal scenario is to win r1 and then bleed her out in r2. Get your Viy big enough to block Nithral’s dominance as quickly as possible. Consider saving Archespore to block one Keltulis proc.

Arachas Swarm – Ihuaraquax is great here, as it deletes Triss or Yen from their deck. Other than that, you’ll have a hard time. Keep Parasite in mind, as it can kill your Barbegazi.

Bleed?

Keltulis – Yes

Arachas Swarm – Yes

Who Will Win?

Keltulis – If they get even a medium length r3, Ciri and Keltulis will make winning nearly impossible.

Arachas Swarm – This deck rivals your own in terms of sheer pointslam. Bleeding can help get rid of combo pieces though, so if you win r1 you will do well. Easier said than done.

Skellige

Many people run Morkvarg: Heart of Terror, so you should make it a priority to bleed that out if possible. Plus, the earlier they use it, the less value it gets. The nerf to Endrega Larva actually helps a bit in this matchup, as it is much harder for your opponent to use leader charges to kill them.

Also, lots of people run Junod of Belhaven. So if it’s late in the game, and you only play units boosted high enough that it is not feasible to return them to a damaged state, it is possible to brick him.

Bleed?

Yes

Who Will Win?

Your opponent has some decent tall removal, if you win r1 and bleed them heavily you can win. However, if they’re running a Dagur Two Blades list you’re in for some trouble.

Nilfgaard

Not only is Nilfgaard strong right now, it also has a lot of mechanics that counter you pretty hard. However, you can play around some of it. Try to mulligan for extra consume engines, both to account of Nilfgaard’s locks and to counter their poisons. Since Masquerade Ball can’t be procced by Roderick or Joachim anymore, applying two poisons in one turn is no longer possible. Take advantage of this by consuming poisoned units.

Clogger – Thin your deck as much as possible. Villem is good in r3, as he can tutor a second tutor card that summons Viy, thinning your deck even more. Make sure to save Naglfar until after they’ve covered the top of your deck in trash bronzes. Be careful about this though, some lists might run Viper Alchemist.

Bleed?

Masquerade Ball – Yes

Clogger – Yes

Who Will Win?

Masquerade Ball – While you can gain an advantage through bleeding, this deck has a lot of pointslam to back up its long round greed. In other words, expect to struggle.

Clogger – You should be favored, depending on your draw. You have a lot of ways to get around their clogging, and you have decent enough deck thinning to make their Kolgrim unimpressive.

Syndicate

Watch out for Whoreson junior, he can kill your Barbegazi with his deploy, and use his fee ability to kill thrive units that haven’t been boosted much yet. Your engines are precious, and this card can single handedly lose you the round.

Syndicate has quite a bit of removal in general actually, including Witch Hunters/bounty, Phillipa, and even fisstech poisons. Fortunately, some of their removal requires set up, and can be countered by setting up your consume engines before them, as well as consuming units tagged with poison and bounty.

Bleed?

Yes

Who Will Win?

Syndicate in general is incredibly strong right now, so you’ll struggle.

Win condition

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Good Against – Clogger

Bad Against – Keltulis, Masquerade Ball, Symbiosis

Honorable mentions


Monsters - Koshchey | Force of Nature

Good ol’ Koshchey, poor guy was trying long and hard to be relevant, but the best he managed so far was to be too strong to play in meme league, and to be too weak to play with the big boys and girls. And just as the players were ready to let him go on well deserved holidays in forgotten archetypes limbo, he finally found the support he needed through joint venture with She Who Knows.

There was a price though, maybe this isn’t even a Koshchey deck anymore – yes he’s very important, but the other equal keys to win here are Sabbath, She’s ability, and some of the tallest units in the game, in the amount that can’t be answered fully by any popular tall punishment decks.

The amount of decks utilising She Who Knows out there is impressive. We played a lot, including the ones with thesuper annoying Ihuarraquax with Renew, even with Unseen Elder, but ended up with this one, as on top of its main strength it includes some answers to the current meta, and allows a very easy execution of our gameplan – play bald, play tall, and don’t let She Who Knows be answered by dropping her too soon!

Scoia'tael - Symbiosis | Nature's gift

With a nerf to the Kolgrim archetype and Keltullis falling out of favour, Devotion Nature’s Gift can be the potential contender for a strong Scoia’tael deck.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan
If you have Eithne in Round 1 and have Dunca as well, it can be good to mulligan Eithne since if you plan on playing Dunca, she can boost Eithne which makes all those boosts dead once she transforms. If you can make a Hamadryad stick in Round 1, you can easily take the round by playing just bronze Nature cards due to the passive points you get as a result of the Symbiosis tag.

Round 1
In Round 1 you would like to establish carryover with Dunca and try to win the round by just committing your bronze nature cards which can generate a lot of passive points along with a Hamadryad on board. You can also play your Shaping Nature echo card which plays for a lot of tempo in itself.

Round 2
In engine mirrors you can abuse first say by dropping defender, Pavko in order get ahead of your opponent in terms of engines developed. This can multiply and end up in you being a lot of points ahead of your opponent.

Round 3
For Round 3 you have Eithne (if you didn’t play her already in Round 2), a few bronze Nature cards and a Harald Gord finisher which can be a lot of points in a short round.

Matchups:

Mirror:

In the mirror, the most important thing is first say. Be it about Blue coin vs Red coin in Round 1, or first say in the longest round. If your opponent pushes you very deep into Round 1 you can afford to give up the round since Round 2 will be extremely short and awkward for your opponent to abuse first say, meaning they have to dry pass, hence giving you first say in a longer round 3.

Northern Realms:

Against Witcher Swarm, it can be slightly hard to take round 1 on red coin, however they usually have no control outside of an Anséis (sometimes a Vanilla Geralt). However, if you suspect your opponent is playing Yrden (if they play Kerack City Guards or overcommit very hard to win Round 1), you should answer with your own commitment and bleed your opponent since a long Round against Yrden should be a loss for you.

Scoia’tael:

The matchups you have against the rest of the Scoia’tael decks is not the best. Trap and Precision strike decks have lots of control with which they can easily answer your engines like Hamadryads. However, if you can push both decks hard in Round 2 they can potentially have bad hands which means you could even 2-0 or get out a lot of their control options.

Monsters:

You have a very solid matchup against the most popular Monsters deck – Arachas swarm right now. However, the matchups against Kelly and Viy are really not that great and you will usually suffer quite a bit especially if you are not able to win Round 1.

Skellige:

Against Eist Warriors, you have a pretty decent matchup because you play a lot of tempo and if you avoid stacking a lot of boosts on your Hamadryad, you should be able to deny them lots of leader value and you also deny them lots of bloodthirst since most of your units are almost always boosted or they are 1 power treants that cannot give bloodthirst.

Nilfgaard:

Against Ball Nilfgaard, you usually have a good time since you have access to up to 3 Carresses (and up to 2 veils from your echo card) which can really disrupt the lock-poison control Nilfgaard usually has. You want to win Round 1 and bleed Round 2 in this matchup to get Ball out, since you are a devotion deck and have no answers to scenarios. However, against Kolgrim, you spawn a lot of 1 point treants that can be clogged pretty easily and make mulligans a nightmare for you, hence it is not really a great matchup for you.

Syndicate:

Against Syndicate crimes, they have quite a bit of control to answer your engines. Winning Round 1 and bleeding Round 2 in order to try and catch them offguard with a bad hand might be the most efficient way to win this matchup, however, it is still a very bad matchup for you.

Good against:

Masquerade Ball, Arachas Swarm

Bad against:

Keltullis, Kolgrim Cloggers

Cards replacements:

Pavko + Figgis -> Ele’yas + Frexinet

Ciaran -> Paulie Dahlberg/Morenn

Skellige - Fist of Flurry (Control Madoc) | Reckless Flurry

Since Tailbot brought a version of deck to a qualifier a few months ago, Madoc control decks have been a decent option for Skellige. Over the months with various changes to the faction it has gotten better with far more points.

However, while this deck hasn’t changed all that much since last patch, it feels much weaker in the current meta that has a lot of pointslam or has engine overload. However, the deck is good enough to have a good climbing streak with and can be a solid choice for Skellige.

The ability use charges to push your removal over the top enables your bombs, which usually fall one or two points short of removing a lot of engines.

Due to new expansion, this deck lost his place at the top of the meta, but it is still viable. Once upon a pyre gives new variations to this deck with greatswords and megascopes, which can be interesting new option to put 10 points for 4 provisions.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan

Number one priority is making sure you don’t draw Madoc before you can summon him from your deck with a bomb. You’ll also want to make sure that you have at least one bomb in your hand for r1. Don’t let yourself get stuck with too many discard targets (skirmisher/Morkvarg) without a way to activate them.

Finally, make sure you have some proactive plays (Svalblod Totem, Harald Houndsnout, etc.). Proactive plays are limited in this deck, so keep an eye out.

Round 1

Keep your opponent off the board with removal. Using one or two leader charges can be acceptable depending on the situation. If you’re going second, using your discard package to full effect can place a lot of tempo pressure on your opponent, potentially resulting in a win on even cards. However, if you’re going first, all that tempo is overkill, and may leave you weak in later rounds even if you do win the first round.

Make sure to use at least one bomb to pull Madoc from your deck!

Round 2

If you want to bleed your opponent, consider using your discard package to gain a lead. Birna can generate up to fifteen points of tempo, nineteen if your Coral sticks. This can put slower opponents in an awkward position, forcing them to commit high value cards.

Or, you can use your bombs and leader charges to keep an engine prone opponent off the board, wasting turns and forcing them into a short round.

Round 3

Make sure to use what leader charges you have left early in the round, where they will have the most effect.

Good against – Engine decks, decks with low tempo

Bad against – Decks that can exhaust your proactive plays, decks that can fill the board quickly, decks with unconditional value

Tech choices

Geralt: Axii/Lambert: Swordmaster -> Korathi Heatwave.

Both Axii and Swordmaster are relatively strong tech cards, made stronger by the witcher tag that lets Geralt: Quen pull them from your deck. However, if you’re seeing a lot of scenarios, or even a lot of high base strength units, Heatwave is an option.

Red Haze -> Squirrel/Terror Crew Axe Wielder/Dancing Star/Megascope

Red Haze has a lot of potential, but can be temperamental, especially since this deck is often successful at keeping your opponent off the board completely. While Madoc made this card a lot more consistent, if you find it whiffing a lot you might want to replace it with something more proactive and/or consistent.
Also as i said at the beginning, you can replace for example harald into one or more greatswords and  upgrade another card of your choice.
Remember, the most important thing is to make  YOU feel better while playing this deck so choose the best variation of Fist of Flurry for you 🙂

Skellige - Eist | Blaze of glory

Some veteran players might remember when months ago Gwent forums, Reddit and other Gwent related social media were full of people complaining about the strength of Skellige Warriors. Indeed, those were justified complaints. Despite many nerfs the deck has remained a strong contender for the Tier 1 spot to this day. Now the archetype has received a new toy to play with, in the form of Eist Tuirseach. The deck excels at removing opposing threats, but also has amazing point swing potential. The deck is not perfect though. The bloodthirst 3 requirement for Eist can be really hard to satisfy. But if it works, it allows you to gain almost 40 points in 1 turn.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan
There are not many bricks in your deck. Make sure you always have a target for Raiding Fleet, Vabjorn and Blood Eagle. Mulligan away your Jutta since this will be your main leader target. If you have a strong hand in round 1 you may consider getting rid of Skjordal since the card is weak in round 1.

Round 1
Set up your bronze engines. Then try to develop your graveyard for Harald. This is a perfect round to play Raiding Fleet if you have it in hand.

Round 2
This really depends on what deck you are up against. Some decks will beat you in a long round while some will not. This deck is vulnerable to getting bled since once you play Eist you usually want to commit leader with it.

Round 3
Hopefully, you saved Harald and Eist in this round. Your long round is pretty good in many matchups.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Try to develop your graveyard for Harald. While final say is important in this matchup, so is hand quality so try not to overcommit in round 1.

Northern Realms:

Your deck does a great job at denying your opponent’s boosts. NR witchers is an even match. You are favoured in a long round. The main challenge will be to develop bloodthirst 3, however with so many ways to damage you should be able to accomplish it. Witchers also has plenty of tall punish targets for your leader. Shieldwall has less short round potential but they often run a defender which will not be easy to get through efficiently. Their duel cards can also kill your Jutta and Greatswords. Commandos can be hard to deal with since sometimes you might not have the tools to deal with an early first round Foltest. On the other hand, this deck can take out two unused Commandos at once if you have damaging bronze units developed on board.

Bleed or Not? You should take a long round against Witchers. Getting through Shieldwall’s defender might be difficult so bleeding it in round 2 might be a good idea. Against Double Commandos, it’s better to bleed out their Commandos in round 2. But against Triple Commandos, it’s better to go to a round 3 since their huge pointslam is less impactful in a longer round.

Who will win? Both matchups are between 50/50 and slightly favoured. Commandos can swing either way depending on the starting hands.

Scoia’tael:

Dwarves is a tough matchup. Getting past the defender will prove quite challenging. The armor that dwarves receive from the leader is also a really good counter to your strategy. Elves are also going to be challenging especially if you are facing a trap variant, since they do not go tall. Symbiosis plays a lot of boosts so getting Bloodthirst 3 will be tough but they go very tall.

Bleed or Not? You should definitely bleed all the decks. Gezras is quite weak in a short round so forcing it out of movement decks in round 2 is useful. A bleed against trap decks is also advisable to make Eldain worse. Against unitless precision strike decks, taking a long round is fine since your opponent will typically not have a lot of points. You should be able to win with Eist + leader finisher since it is worth 17 points and can almost kill off Harald Gord.

Who will win? You are unfavoured against the unitless decks and dwarves. Elves and Symbiosis are a tossup and often depends on who wins round 1.

Monsters:

Likely the toughest faction you will face. Your opponent’s Keltullis will be hard to deal with. Ciri can be problematic if your opponent runs it. Viy can also be tricky since it is hard to deal with so many tall units. Set up your bronze engines in round 1 and try to remove as many consume cards as possible with damage. Arachas Swarm is easier than the other two but still a tough matchup. You have efficient ways of killing drones but on the other hand you will almost never get Bloodthirst 3.

Bleed or Not? You need to bleed Keltullis and force it out of them. You should take a long round against Viy and save up your tall punishes. You should also bleed Arachas Swarm as their short round is often underwhelming.

Who will win? You are unfavoured against monsters.

Skellige:

Madoc can easily win the first round, then bleed your Eist out round 2. You might see Lippy sometimes but you have a better short round than Lippy. Bloodthirst 3 is very easy to satisfy. You have the tools to survive a bleed against Lippy. Saving Eist for round 3 will often win you the game.

Bleed or Not? No need to bleed Lippy.

Who will win? You are unfavoured against Madoc and favoured against Lippy.

Nilfgaard:

One of your weaknesses is the fact that you have no answer to your opponent’s Masquerade Ball. Therefore, you will need to bleed Nilfgaard decks that run it. Against Kolgrim you have a decent amount of thinning. You can always answer your opponent’s Kolgrim with your leader or with Morkvarg, so if you can bleed out your opponent’s defender, Kolgrim will be defenceless.

Bleed or Not: You need to bleed assimilate and Masquerade Ball lists and force them to play their scenario in round 2. Bleeding out Kolgrim’s defender will be devastating to their strategy.

Who will win: Masquerade Ball is a tossup and depends on how well you bleed. Kolgrim is a favoured matchup.

Syndicate:

There are a lot of archetypes being played right now. Crimes is not an easy matchup but not the worst either. You have answers to their biggest threats. Winning round 1 is easier now thanks to the Safecracker nerfs. Congregate has units that go very tall and provide perfect target for your leader. Your deck is really good at removing small engines, so Passiflora usually has a hard time getting value.

Bleed or Not? Taking a long round against crimes is preferable. Congregate you should always bleed and get their important swarm cards out. Against Passiflora decks, you can try and bleed the Scenario out.

Who will Win? Crimes is still a slightly unfavoured matchup. You’re favoured against both Passi and Congregate lists.

Good against:

Kolgrim, Northern Realms

Bad against:

Monsters, Unitless

Cards replacements:

Morkvarg: Heart of Terror -> Tyrggvi, Hjalmar
Gerd, Berserker -> Frett, Greatswords

Northern Realms - Erland Draug | Pincer Maneuver

What makes a meme deck? Some may answer draw dependant nonsense, some may point towards hard to achieve win conditions, some may tell of prayers – “please don’t bleed me”. Well, this deck has all of it, but it just works. You play out your Poor Fucking Infantries, turn them into Revenants with Draug, make more Revenants, pull them into deck with Pavetta, then finish off with a humongous Erland. The newly buffed Pincer Maneuver makes the deck considerably consistent – you should be able to pull off the combo pretty regularly, unless you’re really unlucky. Foltest helps with further increasing your deck size, but also can serve as a powerful engine with Dun Banners if the need arises. The deck can struggle with wide punish or heavy control, but all in all it’s a really fun strategy and really satisfying when you’re able to pull it off.

Difficulty: Easy

Gameplan:

Mulligan:
Always look for your important combo pieces – Erland, Draug, Pavetta, Infantry, Adalia. Voymir is only good Round 1 or if you’re planning to use Foltest for Dun Banners. Make sure your Adalia has a target. Also be careful not to draw into a second Dun Banner.

Round 1
Play out your Infantries, make sure you have enough space for Draug. Winning Round 1 is crucial for this deck so don’t be afraid of commiting big cards if you need to.

Round 2
If you decide to play Pavetta, make sure you have your necessary combo pieces in hand or that they can be leadered out of your deck. Hopefully you won Round 1 and have a good hand to apply the bleed.

Round 3
Make sure you don’t brick your Erland by playing it as last card. In a short round you should be easily able to outpoint your opponent.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Blue coin decides this match sadly. Whoever gets to develop draug first wins the game. It not only allows you to finish off their Revenants, but it also makes sure that your 1 powered food don’t fall to the enemy. Also Voymir can be absolutely crushing in this matchup so try to have it on your opening hand.

Northern Realms:

Against Witchers, winning Round 1 is very important – and it can swing either way depending on your and your opponent’s opening hand. With round control you can make sure round 3 is short, but if you don’t possess round control your opponent is very likely to hard bleed you and get your win condition out. Commandos, most of the times, will outpoint you round 1 so it’s a tough matchup as well.

Bleed or not? You should bleed both of the decks. For Commandos, you should even try to go for a 2-0 in case they don’t respect the bleed.

Who should win? Both matchups are slightly more favourable for your opponent but depends heavily on the opening hands.

Scoia’tael:

Traps are mostly not an issue as you’re just busy with doing your own thing. But only mostly, not entirely, because a well placed Incinerating Trap can absolutely ruin your day – so make sure you play around that. No-Unit is an absolute nightmare – Schirrú, Curse of Corruption, Incinerating Trap, Serpent Trap – they gave multiple cards which would be able to take out your immune Erland. Devotion Nature’s Gift is much easier since they won’t be able to outpoint you in a short round, and their round 1 isn’t the best either. Movements is a matchup where you must pray to RNGesus and hope that random pings don’t screw you up.

Bleed or not? All of the decks, if you win the first round, you have to bleed to make sure Round 3 as short as possible.

Who would win? Traps are mostly favorable given you play around Incinerating properly. Gift is also a favorable matchup if you’re able to win round 1. Movements can swing either way depending on random pings and placement. No-Unit, unless your opponent misses all of his Erland removal, is a dead matchup.

Monsters:

Monsters mainly have two decks in the meta – Viy and Keltullis. You have to take out Viy before it grows big, meaning you must try for a 2-0. Going for a third round won’t work here since your Erland is just one late stage Viy in round 3. Kelly is sadly another dead matchup, since you have no ways to remove Ciri or Keltullis in your deck.

Bleed or not? Trying to win both rounds is the only way to win against Viy, so yes, you must bleed. Also you can try for a sneaky 2-0 in case your opponent doesn’t respect the bleed against Kelly.

Who would win? Viy is a 50/50 matchup but Kelly is kind of unwinnable.

Skellige:

Madoc Control is the worst matchup for the deck since Flurry pings can reliably take out Erland in a short round, and in a longer round it just outpoints you anyway. Warriors is a standard matchup where winning round 1 is crucial. Lippy can be hard because of their powerful round one tempo, but still winnable with a good hand. Witchers would be mostly a good matchup – but Lambert single handedly tips the scales here turning it into a really bad matchup since round one becomes unwinnable.

Bleed or not? You have to bleed all of the matchups except Lippy. Bleeding Lippy might not be necessary.

Who would win? Lippy and Warriors both are 50/50 matchups. But Control and Witchers have the tools to completely stop your combo or severely reduce its power.

Nilfgaard:

Nilfgaard currently has Madoc, Soldiers and Spy-Ball as the top decks in the meta. All of the deck, although not very similar to each other, are pretty similar matchups for this deck. You are favored to win the first round and all of the decks are very easy to bleed. And finally all of them don’t have enough points to defeat your short round. Also your deck doesn’t have much tall targets, making Ball even worse in this matchup.

Bleed or not? You have to bleed all of the matchups and get their key cards out.

Who would win? You’re favored in all of the matchups, specially against Ball.

Syndicate:

Pirates Cove is a tough matchup since it has a good first round. Passiflora is a much better matchup since its first round isn’t as strong, and the deck is very bleedable. Congregate Swarm is also a great matchup, since it’s useless in a short round and also their tokens provide good food for your Revenants. Crimes is now easier to win the first round against after the Safecracker nerfs, even though it’ll still be a hard contest.

Bleed or not? You must bleed all of the decks – the general strategy of the deck.

Who would win? Other than Pirates Cove, all of the other matchups are winnable, crimes being slightly less favorable than the others. Pirates Cove is a bad matchup.

Good against:
Nilfgaard, Passiflora, Nature’s Gift
Bad against:
Keltullis, No-Unit, SK Witchers
Cards replacements:
Siege Ladder -> Aedernian Mauler

Other decks

Northern Realms

Inspired Zeal

Blue stripes

Royal Inspiration

[MEME] NR Boost is a thing

Mobilization

Pikes in air, swords to sky!

Revenants

Shieldwall

Stockpile

[MEME] Charges OP

Pincer Maneuver

[MEME] Polarized Maneuver

Uprising

Frigate swarm

Scoia'tael

Guerilla tactics

Aglaïs

Invigorate

[MEME] No unit invigorate devotion

Nature’s gift

No decks in the current meta

Precision strike

Movement

Deadeye ambush

Traps

Call of harmony

Harmony

Mahakam forge

No decks in the current meta

Monsters

Carapace

No decks in the current meta

Force of Nature

Koshchey

White frost

Frost

Arachas Swarm

Sneaky Kiki

[MEME] Necrophiliacs Paradise

Fruits of Ysgith

No decks in the current meta

Blood Scent

Overwhelming hunger

[MEME] Sensual Deathwish v2

Skellige

Onslaught

No decks in the current meta

Reckless Flurry

No decks in the current meta

Battle Trance

Mushrooms

Arnachad

Arnachad the honorary Archdruid

Rage of the sea

No decks in the current meta

Patricidal fury

Bear Wicher Mentor Deck

Ursine ritual

Pirates & warriors

Lippy

Meta breaker Ursine

[MEME] Drink Up Me Hearties!

[MEME] Self-mill

Blaze of glory

No decks in the current meta

Nilfgaard

Imprisonment

No decks in the current meta

Imperial formation

Double Cahir soldiers

Tactical Decision

No decks in the current meta

Lockdown

No decks in the current meta

Enslave

Ethical Hyperthin

Double Cross

Yen Ven and the seven Geralts

Imposter

Syndicate

Blood Money

No decks in the current meta

Jackpot

No decks in the current meta

Lined pockets

Off the books

Tributes

Congregate

Typical Congregate

Pirate’s Cove

[MEME] Pirrrates

Hidden cache

No decks in the current meta

Upcoming events

19-20 June Qualifier #1 (cast Sunday around 14:00CEST)

26-27 June Qualifier #2 (cast Sunday around 18:00CEST)

6 July 10:00 a.m. CEST – season ends

6 July around 13:00 p.m. CEST – new season starts

Contributors

Writers, consultants, and editors: Gregor__Crythene , Darthlothins, Patsy_1998 , Manekk , Szamuro, TroVNut, HotAndrej2001, Noelle69420, Gregory_Black, Truzky, Gandalf0271, Enzomarea, ArtNhr, BiggieO, Rogbros, INPU_EL, Zurii69, TheRealLorenzOFFICIAL, Marcwils, Kostur, ArtNhr, Jollyish, Stasi0 and Killerganon.

Manager: KissAndRun

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