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Meta snapshot #18 - 15.08- Season of the Draconid

[15.08] Release: 12 new meta decks, new matchups & gameplan info. Updated Stats summary.

Second installment of Price of Power has landed, and as expected it turned the first days into a proper shitshow. “Creative players” abusing Terranova bug crawled out of their caves, to spawn in ecstasy millions of Arnauds, just to be banned straight after. Gernichora and Caranthir interaction, although within legit rules of the game, broke meta and made everyone and their mother play Fruits of Ysgith for an unstoppable point slam. The only way to play and enjoy Gwent was to employ meme decks, waiting for a solution. And the solution came – the situation was so bad, that CDPR had to hotfix the game.

Less critical bugs still remain, some of them bringing meme joy (double Wanderers) and some frustration (playing Ignatius Hale without a calculator), but new meta settled in, and luckily it is not about whether we should play She Who Knows or Koshchey with Gerni, but which faction works best.

We can also finally see the pieces of the puzzle coming together – the best example being Scoia’tael, which for 2 months was almost nonexistent and weak with only 4 cards supporting the Spell’atael concept, and now finally able to flourish having 8 cards.

As for faction reviews, below are the highlights:

Monsters remain strong, with the Gerni-centric Fruits of Ysgith and Force of Nature taking the lead, both utilizing very well the majority of new cards. Arachas Swarm is still in the game, though rarely visible, even with some new card additions, and it looks like we have bid farewell to Kelly for long.

Syndicate is OP, and as in previous months, it’s mostly due to very strong gold cards, which universally fit in most SY archetypes. If only other factions would receive such sets of universally strong golds, we would definitely see many more forgotten archetypes alive again… Jackpot, even if nerfed, still delivers, but it’s Lined Pockets that shine – and the best way to play it is through completely ignoring its support concept – Intimidate.

Scoia’tael is back in the game. Bombarding opponents with copies of copies of copies of units and spells, if set up right, provide unparalleled tempo and point slam. Sadly it looks now like it’s a one-trick faction, but one can easily imagine that expanding the magic to more lore-friendly dryads and less lore-friendly dwarves (Powerful Dwarven Magic – hell yeah!), could make more concepts playable.

Northern Realms are consistently competitive. Commandos work, Siege works, and Patience provides nice support, not being however a dominant factor. Cooldown cooled down and is not delivering what it was meant to deliver when replacing Charges, but still, some of these cards can provide an advantage, notably Shani.

Nilfgaard is ok. It’s refreshing to see Enslave out of meme tier, and able to challenge some of the seriously OP decks. New spying concepts add a lot of novelty, but lack of predictability and consistency (draw and opp deck dependant) is not allowing Spying to reach the top tier on its own. Old concepts work, are however tad more expensive with recent nerfs to Wanderers and Blightmakers, and we’re recommending sticking to locks and Ball for maximum consistency.

Skellige is delivering some serious and terrifying punches thanks to Melusine. Roughly as serious and terrifying as the Melusine video below, which we wholeheartedly recommend as it perfectly fits current lore of Skellige, and allows you to get more familiar with Polish folklore: https://youtu.be/jRCXjw5B4hA

Other than that not much happening here, and we’re really disappointed that all the small changes happening to self-damage support for about a year now, are not even nearly enough to make it competitive.

Tier 1

Monsters - Forbidden Fruits | Gernichora | 4.5 stars

Fruits of Ysgith returns to the meta after the Thanedd Coup expansion brought some really spicy Monster cards. It is a big comeback because, with all these tools, Monster is back into Tier 1. Bloody Mistress with Caranthir and Idarran can be your huge engine. It will make brutal points every turn. Without defender it is possible that your opponent can kill Gernichora but he doesn’t have that much time because Gerni will boost every turn, out of removal range.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

You want to have good bronzes in hand first round, like Larva, Selfeater, Gan Ceann, Witch Apprentice, and Archespore with a consume (preferably Brewess) also, try to set up your graveyard for Mammuna.

Round 1:

Play big tempo bronzes and try to win the first round. You can also play Rat Catcheress and your Crones.

Round 2:

You can bleed and go for a short round with Mammuna + Caranthir for example or pass and go for a long round with Idarran/Gerni/Caranthir combo.

Round 3:

Make big points in a short round with Mammuna or set up Gerni and just watch as all the Gernis grow tall.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Heatwave can be a key card to kill Idarran or Gernichora. Whispers can be also good to kill one opposing engine. Without this, first, say in the last round can be important to set up your table first.

Northern Realms:

Heatwave is necessary to destroy Siege. Your engines should be enough to win with Siege/Commandos or Duels deck. You should win first round thanks to good tempo.

Bleed or not?

You should bleed Duels deck but you can go for a long round against Siege.

Who will win?

Gerni deck should win.

Scoia’tael:

Try to win the first round and save Heatwave for Gord. You don’t have many control cards so winning the first round can be problematic because Scoia’tael has some engines. Your deck is good to defend the bleed and also has a good short round 3. For sure it is better to win the first round and have the last say for Gord.

Bleed or not?

You can go for a long round, the opponent can have problems with boardspace but you also should be careful.

Who will win?

If you have last say for Heatwaving Gord, you are favoured, if not, then Scoia’tael is.

Skellige:

Skellige has many control options. It can be one of the hardest matchups. It is hard to set up engines in the last round so you should win the first and bleed in the second round.

Bleed or not?

Bleed.

Who will win?

Skellige is favoured, but if you can win the first round you have a chance to win.

Nilfgaard:

Against controll-ish NG decks like Ball or Enslave, you’ll struggle as they stop your engines and punish your tall units. But you’re favoured against decks like Mill or Hyperthin as they are just doing their own thing, and leave your combo pieces on the board.

Bleed or not?

Bleed against Ball, Enslave and Hyperthin, try to go for a 2:0 against Mill.

Who will win?

You are favoured against Mill and Hyperthin, and unfavoured against Ball and Enslave.

Syndicate:

Syndicate decks, similar to Skellige have many control options so it is another hard matchup for Monsters. Setting up Gerni can be problematic. It is necessary to win the first round and bleed in the second. Short last round can be good for you with Mammuna and maybe one of the Crones. If you have Caranthir it can be a good combo with Mammuna.

Bleed or not?

Bleed.

Who will win?

Syndicate is favoured.

Good against:

Nilfgaard Hyperthin, Nilfgaard Enslave, Northern Realms, Skellige, Scoia’tael.

Bad against:

Syndicate.

Win condition:

Caranthir, Idarran, Bloody Mistress, Mammuna

Syndicate - Pocket Drill | Crimes | 4.5 stars

With a lot of factions getting an extremely strong expansion set, the old and trusty Lined Pockets have stuck to their guns and still come out on top.

Difficulty: Hard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

You really want a playable hand that can keep reach, develop carryover on red coin and get out of the round on blue coin. The deck can struggle with tempo in the early round and be abused while on blue. You want to mulligan your Flying Redanian and try to look for a Round 1 spender (Sea Jackal and Coerced Blacksmith are ideal for this) to try and force a pass. It can be good to spend your entire bank in order to try and force a pass since you can defend the bleed very well even without a lot of carryover.

Round 1:

In Round 1 you really want a playable hand that can keep reach, develop carryover on red coin and get out of the round on blue coin. The deck can struggle with tempo in the early round and be abused while on blue. You want to mulligan your Flying Redanian and try to look for a Round 1 spender (Sea Jackal and Coerced Blacksmith are ideal for this) to try and force a pass. It can be good to spend your entire bank in order to try and force a pass since you can defend the bleed very well even without a lot of carryover.

Round 2:

In Round 2 you want to defend the bleed with as little commitment as possible. Cleaver+Drill can usually win you the round singlehandedly however you don’t necessarily need to commit Cleaver if you didn’t play Justice in Round 1. You can either use Cleaver/Justice and Drill to defend the bleed or use your other golds like Whoreson Junior, Professor to defend the bleed and save the Drill combo for a short Round 3.

Round 3:

Once you get to Round 3 the deck usually plays itself, the sequencing is pretty linear- you want to get your engines down as soon as possible and abuse your value golds/efficient spenders like Cleaver or Drill as much as possible.

Matchups:

Mirror:

You want to make sure you do not lose on even if you are on the blue coin. At the same time, you don’t necessarily need to win Round 1 since this forces a long Round 3 where you would have first say which is a good spot in the mirror.

Northern Realms:

As a control deck, you should have an edge over a Patience Siege engine deck however first say should be quite important. Against Commandos you need to be able to draw your answers to defender and Foltest in Round 1 and subsequently be able to win the round since you should not have enough points in a short round.

Bleed or not?

If you win Round 1 against Patience Siege you can bleed to make use of first say and to get the scenario out early. Against Commandos you take a long round.

Who will win?

You should be favoured against Siege but slightly unfavoured against Commandos.

Scoia’tael:

Against Scoia’tael it is slightly important to win Round 1, or at least contest Round 1 deep. Freakshow and Tiger’s Eye should give you a lot of removal potential on the blue coin while you can keep reach with poisons on the red coin. If you cannot win Round 1, getting out their orb carryover can be good for you since they do not really have any bleeding potential outside of Feign Death (and Simlas if they have him left).

.

Bleed or not?

You should take a long round if you can win Round 1.

Who will win?

The matchup can go either way depending on draws, Round 1 playability.

Monsters:

Against Gernichora you need to make sure you do not lose on even on blue coin and you can also keep reach on a red coin. You might not be able to win the round but if you draw decently you should be able to successfully defend the bleed and win a short round.

Bleed or not?

If you are able to win Round 1 you should go for a long round 3.

Who will win?

You should be slightly favoured in this matchup.

Skellige:

Reckless Flurry is another deck that suffers against Syndicate decks. Their win condition a lot of the time is being able to win on even and pressure you into overcommitting in the bleed. However, if you are able to get out of Round 1 without losing on even you should be in a decent spot for the rest of the game. Against Melusine Skellige, getting 9 coins as soon as possible in order to Philippa Melusine should be fruitful for you. For the most part the deck is an engine deck and innately suffers against a control deck like Syndicate.

Bleed or not?

A long round should favour you.

Who will win?

You should be favoured here.

Nilfgaard:

Winning Round 1 against Nilfgaard can either be extremely easy or very challenging depending on both opening hands. Round control can be very helpful however be sure not to overcommit in order to win the round.

Bleed or not?

You can put out a very threatening bleed in Round 2 with Cleaver into Drill which can completely wipe your opponent’s board. A timely pass can ensure you go into Round 3 a card up if your opponent does not respect your bleed.

Who will win?

The matchup can go either way depending on various factors, it can be called a 50/50 matchup.

 

Good against:

Gernichora, Skellige Melusine, Reckless Flurry, Patience Siege

Bad against:

Commandos, Mirrors while not playing Philippa

Win condition:

Cleaver, Drill, Professor

Cards replacements:

Philippa -> Scoundrel if you see lots of Monsters
Sigi, Philippa, Swindle -> Graden, Witchfinder, Slander

Scoia'tael - Elven Magic Strikes Back | 4.25 stars

Once upon a time there were 3 little pigs. They all built a deck. The first pig was a new player and built a deck made of straw. The second pig was a more experienced player and managed to build a deck made of wood. The third pig was an ST main and made a deck made of bricks. One day a big bad wolf who (who happens to be an Yrden player) came by and challenged each pig to a game of Gwent. The first pig accepted the challenge, but the big bad wolf easily won 2:0. The second pig thought they had a better shot. The big bad wolf effortlessly won that game too. Finally, the wolf challenged the third pig. But the pig was very clever. The pig reads Team Elder Blood meta snapshots regularly so he’s aware of all the various strategies and tricks. The pig managed to play around every card that the big bad wolf played. Eventually the big bad wolf lost connection and the pig came out victorious. The morale of the story is that sometimes a deck full of bricks can exceed expectations.

Jokes aside, while this deck has many bricks it also has enough greed to outpoint opponents while also having enough control to shut down opponent’s strategy. Additionally whisperer has an excellent synergy with Orbs of insight. If timed right you can play whisperer through oneiromancy or to proc the final chapter of scenario to automatically pull out orbs from the graveyard.

Difficulty: Hard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

Aelirenn and Brokilon Sentinels are bricks so always mulligan them. Additionally, remember to leave 2 copies of a bronze special (any will do) in deck to make sure Simlas is not bricked.

Round 1:

Try to take the round with your bronze elves. Playing Simlas is not a bad idea but try not to overcommit. Playing an orb of insight for carryover is fine too.

Round 2:

In most situations you want to bleed assuming your deck does not contain too many bricks. Feel free to commit your scenario and leader (unless you have a Brokilon Sentinel in hand)

Round 3:

Save Gord for a short round.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Try not to overcommit. Final say is very valuable as it allows you to heatwave your opponent’s Gord. This is one of the very few matches where bleeding does not accomplish much and might potentially lose you the final say.

Northern Realms:

Inspired Zeal is still the way to go. If you’re facing a midrange siege deck try to win round 1. Don’t get too greedy as your opponent has plenty of control (Seltkirk, Anseis, boiling oils. Bombardments). Final say is important here so try to win round 1. But what if you wanna get greedy? You can do that against commandos as they run very little control. Final say is not as important here but if you can kill Foltest and win round 1 that’s a bonus.

Bleed or Not? Bleed midrange NR. Try to bleed out their siege. No need to bleed commandos.

Who Will Win? Midrange NR is an unfavoured matchup while commandos is a favoured matchup.

Monsters:

Regardless of whether it’s a Fruits of Ysgith deck or a Koshchey deck, your opponent will likely not run much removal with the exception of maybe a lock, a tall punish and/or whispess. Therefore you can afford to be greedy, meaning you can for example play multiple Sorceresses and not use the order ability until you play a Whisperer.

Bleed or Not? You should bleed. Bleed out Gerni or Koshchey. Control their side of the board.

Who Will Win? You are slightly favoured.

Skellige:

Reckless Flurry is not an easy matchup. Your control is not useful if there’s not much to control. Your opponent has plenty of control themselves though. Good news is that it’s not a popular deck. Opponent might play a Melusine deck. These decks often don’t run much control so you can feel free to be greedy. Save heatwave for Melusine and try to bleed out scenario.

Bleed or Not? Bleeding Reckless Flurry does not accomplish much and risks losing card advantage. Bleeding a Melusine deck is a good idea. Shorten the round as much as possible or try to bleed out scenario.

Who Will Win? You are unfavoured against Reckless Flurry but Melusine is a good matchup.

Nilfgaard:

Sometimes you will face Masquerade Ball decks. Those are not easy to beat. You need to bleed them well especially bleed out the ball. Some of your cards will just get locked or killed.

Bleed or Not? You should bleed ball Decks.

Who Will Win? You are slightly unfavoured against Ball decks.

Syndicate:

Crimes once again is the syndicate leader of choice. This is not an easy matchup due to the ridiculous amount of control they have to utilise against you. On the bright side, many players choose to play the devotion version meaning they cannot answer your scenario nor tall punish your Gord. Final say is hence not as important here. But round control is however.

Bleed or Not? Bleed. Tunnel drill is a big threat so try bleed it out or at least bleed out enough crownsplitters to make it inefficient in round 3.

Who Will Win? It’s a tough matchup.

Good against:

Monsters

Bad against:

Control

Win condition:

Gord, Feign Death, Simlas

Tier 2

Monsters - Koshchey’s Mistress | 4.0 stars

Most of you have already seen this deck a million times. Do you need convincing that this deck has points? Many versions run She Who Knows. We chose to run a version with Gernichora instead as it is harder to answer efficiently. Mammuna is an excellent addition to the archetype. It helps you set up Sabbath, defend a bleed or play as a short round 3 finisher. Selfeaters can replace Endrega Larvas. Their card art is so disgusting it might even scare your opponents into forfeiting (but more research needs to be done to confirm that hypothesis). What more can we say, if you enjoy playing a strong deck that is easy to pilot, this deck is perfect for you.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

Make sure you don’t have more than one copy of a bronze. Mulligan any bronze you already played. This is to ensure that Mammuna is not bricked. Besides that, the only brick in your deck is drawing into two Archespores so you should often take all your mulligans especially if searching for Koshchey.

Round 1:

Try to develop your bronzes to set up Mammuna. If you drew Archespore and a consume card, this is the best round to play it. Being aggressive is fine but committing Koshchey and Mammuna (usually a brick in round 1 anyway) is not a good idea.

Round 2:

Bleed most matchups. Whether it’s a soft bleed or an aggressive bleed depends on the matchup and your hand.

Round 3:

A short round with Koshchey or Mammuna is very powerful.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Many decks will run She Who Knows. The good news is that we have a Heatwave and a lock to answer it. It is a good idea to bleed if you drew Koshchey and Caranthir. If your opponent drew poorly you can easily win 2:0.

Northern Realms:

You will typically see midrange siege decks and maybe commandos. Try to win round 1 against midrange siege decks. Against commandos, if you are not able to answer Foltest, save heatwave for scenario and try to survive a bleed without committing Koshchey.

Bleed or Not? Bleed midrange NR. Take a long round against commandos.

Who Will Win? You are favoured. against midrange NR and highly favoured against commandos.

Scoia’tael:

Scoia’tael plays precision strike decks. They have plenty of control to deal with your win conditions.

Bleed or Not? A long round suits you more than a short round. Having said that, they might have an awkward hand in round 2 so a soft bleed might be fine just to test your opponent. If you notice they are struggling you might consider winning 2:0.

Who Will Win? It’s a slightly bad matchup due to their efficient control.

Monsters:

Besides Koshchey, Fruits of Ysgith is another popular deck. Fruits of Ysgith is a greedier deck so it should be favoured against this one. You will struggle in a long round. The best strategy is to therefore try to win round 1 and bleed round 2. Bloody Mistress should be a lot worse in a short round.

Bleed or Not? Bleed aggressively.

Who Will Win? You are slightly unfavoured.

Skellige:

Reckless Flurry decks run a lot of control. Getting Sabbath against this deck is not an easy task. Having said that, we have so many points that the opponent might just not keep up.

Bleed or Not? Our long round against the deck is quite good so we do not need to bleed.

Who Will Win? You are favoured

Nilfgaard:

On one hand, there’s hyperthin. These decks have a strong amount of points but so do you. On the other hand, some Ball decks are built to counter this deck especially enslave decks. These are tougher to play against.

Bleed or Not? Bleed aggressively. Try to 2:0 hyperthin and bleed out the scenario from Ball decks.

Who Will Win. Hyperthin should be favoured for you but Ball decks shouldn’t.

Syndicate:

This is also a tricky matchup. You will mainly see lined pockets. You have to be aggressive. They have plenty of answers for Koshchey.

Bleed or Not? You have to bleed aggressively.

Who Will Win? You are unfavoured.

Good against:

Most other pointslam decks.

Bad against:

Masquerade Ball, Crimes

Win condition:

Koshchey, Mammuna

Cards replacements:

Bloody Mistress -> She Who Knows

Nilfgaard - Lock&Ball | Ball | 4.0 stars

Once again, we have the old and trusty Masquerade Ball, but this time with a slight change. Instead of the traditional Joachim Location package this deck focuses a bit more on Assimilate and spies, mainly supporting Terranova which has a huge amount of point potential.

Difficulty: Medium

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

You want to try and have a playable hand Round 1 and try not to brick your Blightmaker(s) if you intend to play them this round. Having Dead Man’s Tongue in Round 1 is great too, especially with Fercart since this play has a lot of tempo and can potentially get you out of a tricky situation on blue coin.

Round 1:

Having your thinning combo with Blightmakers and Dead Man’s Tongue can be extremely good for you in Round 1 since they alone can win you the round against most decks. On blue coin one or more of these cards might be essential to be drawn since otherwise you can be abused heavily by strong pointslam decks like Monsters and Scoia’tael (if you are unable to answer their Whisperer).

Round 2:

If you were able to win Round 1 you should be passing into Round 3. However, if you are being bled (which is going to be the case most of the time) it might be helpful to mulligan away Masquerade Ball and save it for a short round, while making sure you have enough aristocrats to properly proc the scenario. On the contrary, you can also choose to play down the ball to defend the bleed, either forcing the opponent to go into a long round against you or forcing them to play into the ball (this is assuming they do not have a heatwave to deal with it). This way you can save some of your value golds like Braathens, Terranova, Usurper for a short round 3.

Round 3:

By this point in the game the deck should play itself out, there are not too many different lines you can take. In a long round, you should prioritize getting engines like Seditious Aristocrats, Thanedd Turncoats down as soon as possible.

Good against:

Gernichora, Scoia’tael

Bad against:

Lined pockets

Win condition:

Masquerade Ball, Terranova

Card replacements:

Experimental Remedy, Thanedd Turncoat -> Mage Torturer, Imperial Diplomacy

Nilfgaard - Golem Revelation | Hyperthin | 4.0 stars

The game plan of Hyperthin is pretty straightforward, all you have to do is to draw all your cards, put the Golem back as the only card, so you’ll have 1 card in your deck during r3. Which is marvelous because most of your wincons love revealing that Golem again and again, Triss, Yen, Xarth, and when you’re finished, you can invite the Golem to the party with Vilgefortz. The deck uses a Madoc package with a couple of bombs to have some removal, and a few locks to stop the threatening engines on the other side of the board. You have great pointslam value with the Wanderers, and the leader+Snowdrop combo is also worthed its money. You want to use your leader with Affan and the Mage Assassins so they all come back from your deck. The recent buff on Doadric is really nice because it triggers Snowdrop each time, and gives you bigger Wanderers, not even mentioning the added consistency.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

Madoc is your only true brick, and you may want to put back the Golem, when you have the chance, to ensure that he’s the last card in your deck.

Round 1:

You want to win r1, because most of your golds only work if you have your deck depleted, so getting hard-bled in r2 can be catastrophic for your. You have a lot of tools to defend to bleed nonetheless, Snowdrop+leader is bonkers with Affan and the Assassins.

Round 2:

If you won r1, it’s up to you if you want to bleed some, but you can’t really go for a 2:0, as most of your golds only work perfectly in r3. So either bleed some, or pass and go into r3.

Round 3:

This is where the deck starts its magic, if you’ve played well, you should have a single card in your deck (hopefully a Golem) and you can chain together Triss, Yen, Xarth, and Vilge each of them getting you Golem-value.

Good against:

Viy, Kelly, Skellige.

Bad against:

Commandos, Syndicate, Gerni, Koshchey, Nilfgaard (skillful deck manipulation breaks our whole strategy)

Win condition:

Revealing Golem with Triss, Yen, Xarth, and Vilge in r3. Snowdrop+Leader is also great points.

Northern Realms - Foltest's Buff Commandos | 4.0 stars

Commando decks are not quite like other decks. Take the concept of overcommitting in round 1 and throw it out the window. With this deck, we want to jam our expensive cards in round 1. Start with a defender, then commando, then Foltest. Then pray to God it works. When the combo works it can produce commandos at a rate that will make Lippy players cry. If not, then you still have other ways to spawn more commandos. While some variants run siege, this season Redrame has popularised a version that cuts siege and instead focuses on more carryover with Erland.

Difficulty: Difficult

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

Make sure you do not have more than one copy of a commando in hand. Try looking for your important cards like Foltest and Pavetta. If you played Pavetta in round 2 then be careful as you’re very likely to draw commandos.

Round 1:

You want to stay in the round as long as possible. Establish your defender. Next play out a commando and use leader to pull out a second copy. Then play your Foltest. If your Foltest survives you should win the round. Radovid’s Royal Guard can be used to defend Foltest but play it in the front row to avoid Foltest spawning a copy of it in your deck. If your Foltest dies you should still push. Put as many commandos in the deck. Do not take out more commandos unless you need it to win the round.

Round 2:

Bleed, bleed and bleed some more. It should be easier if you did not click your commandos in round 1 as you can now proceed to pull them out. Shorten the round as much as possible. If all your commandos are in the graveyard you can play Pavetta, otherwise, save her for round 3. Be careful with Oneiromancy and Amphibious Assault, if you already played them in round 1 you’ll be running into the risk of not finding your key cards.

Round 3:

Hopefully, you have access to Pavetta and commandos. Return commandos into the deck. Boost everything with Erland, preferably at adrenaline 3. Then pull out the commandos.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Focus on getting carryover. If your opponent does not play defender take out their Foltest with Seltkirk. If you win round 1 try to bleed if you suspect your opponent is playing siege. If your opponent plays a devotion list save a squirrel and banish their Amphibious Assault to prevent them from replaying Commandos in round 3.

Northern Realms:

Besides mirror games, you will mainly face siege. Inspired Zeal siege has Anseis and Seltkirk to potentially deal with your Foltest. Pincer Manouver siege on the other hand has almost no removal so it should be easier to keep Foltest alive in this scenario.

Bleed or Not? Bleed as far as you can. You do not want to face siege in a long round.

Who Will Win? You are favoured against Pincer. Inspired Zeal is a bit more unfavoured but it depends on how quickly they deal with Foltest.

Skellige:

Reckless Flurry was a lot more difficult matchup several seasons ago when the decks played Lambert. But these days Reckless Flurry decks typically do not run wide punish except Gerd. They also have a limited number of ways to kill Foltest in round 1.

Bleed or Not? Yes. Keep the round as short as possible.

Who Will Win? You should be favored but it depends on how quickly they answered Foltest in round 1.

Syndicate:

Syndicate although not being as popular this season as last season still has the highest win rate in pro rank. You will mainly see people play Jackpot or Crimes. And both decks have efficient answers to your strategy. But who knows, maybe they missed those answers in round 1.

Bleed or Not? Bleed, especially crimes.

Who Will Win? You are unfavoured.

Good against:

Nilfgaard

Bad against:

Syndicate, Koshchey, Engine decks

Win condition:

Blue Stripes Commandos, Foltest, Pavetta

Cards replacements:

Nope.

Tier 3

Scoia'tael - Humans to the sea! | 3.75 stars

Patch 9.2 introduced 4 new cards that finally helped the green faction get out ofthe dumpster. In addition to the Precision Strike version you can also go full on elves with Deadeye Ambush leader. The deck offers a very flexible gameplan thanks to cards like Simlas who offers decent amount of carryover, Scenario that helps you swarm board with elves and Gord as short r3 finisher.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

You mulligan  your potential Simlas specials and Aelirenn. You can also mulligan Gord if you think the round is going deep.

Round 1:

Try to win the round with your bronze elves. You can develop carryover by playing Simlas into double Orbs

Round 2:

Since in a long round you also risk overswarming your board with Whisperers and leader, you need to push in the second round with your Scenario and Isengrim and make the r3 as short as possible. However you should be careful on losing card advantage as that will give the opponent the chance to answer your Gord.

Round 3:

A short r3 with last say is a win in almost all the time. But if you are forced into a long r3 you should mulligan your Whisperer card since it can really clog your board and make your gameplan a bit awkward.

Matchups:

Mirror:

Last say in r3 is your wincon so this matchup is favored to whoever has the blue coin. So if you get the red coin you can try to put some pressure by playing scenario since it’s worth winning the round.

Northern Realms:

Commandos. Duels
Bleed or not? You always bleed with this deck.

Who will win? Elves are favoured.

Monsters:

Gerni
Bleed or not? You should bleed to try to force him to commit his Gerni and Mammuna. Try to not lose card advantage since this deck plays Yrden often.

Who will win? Its 50/50.

Skellige:

Melusine. Flurry control
Bleed or not? This matchup is favoured as long as you bleed out his Scenario and Heatwave his Melusine

Who will win? Elves

Nilfgaard:

Ball. Enslave
Bleed or not? Nilfgaard can clog your board easily with spies so you have to make the r3 as short as possible.

Who will win? Depends how the bleed r2 goes

Syndicate:

Lined pockets
Bleed or not? Elves are unfavored against Syndicate so bleeding out their Drill and Cleaver is necessary.

Who will win? Syndicate is favorred.

Good against:

NR Duels, SK Melusine, NG Ball

Bad against:

Wide punish cards like Lacerate, Lined Pockets

Win condition:

Simlas, Scenario, Gord

Northern Realms - Midrange Siege | 3.75 stars

Midrange siege is in a pretty good spot at the moment, presenting a well-rounded and reasonably strong deck. Your scenario, the bronzes that activate it, and your zealed duelists offer the deck both commanding tempo and competitive removal.  The rework of reinforced ballista continues to provide a strong bronze core to the deck, giving the potential to set up a siege engine firing squad perfect for removing token threats like Gernichora’s Fruit and Whisperer of Dol Blathanna.

Alongside these threats, the deck can generate a decent amount of carryover through Shani and your bronze patience mages, as well as getting a tempo burst in the second or third round from Hubert. Running inspired zeal helps Shani/patience a lot, guaranteeing value from the bronze unit’s order. Overall, the deck plays as a very standard midrange experience. Its generalized strategy allows for a reactive and enjoyable playstyle on the ladder.

Difficulty: Standard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

As usual, your #1 priority is to have access to Amphibious Assault, whether from hand or through John Natalis. You should try to have at least one patience card for Shani to resurrect later. Keep in mind you have plenty of other great bronzes to pull, so don’t stress about this too much. Above all else, avoid drawing Hubert.

Round 1:

Set up your patience bronzes to generate carryover, along with any other engines you can get away with. How much you can get away with committing here depends a lot on your opponent. Be careful with your duelists, because while it can make sense to commit them r1 against some targets (She Who Knows being the best example), it can be game losing if you commit them here needlessly.

Round 2:

Depending on the matchup, you can shoot for a short round or a long round in r3. Feel free to use Siege to bleed, as it is most useful in a round where you can go first, setting up damage engines and keeping your opponent off the board. You should try to reserve cards like Shani and your duelists for a short r3, but if you can gain an advantage by committing them here it is sometimes acceptable. Again, be careful about this.

Round 3:

If you still have Siege, try to set it up as soon as possible. The faster your Ballista firing squad is up the better. If the round is long enough that Shani might finish her cooldown, try to play her soon enough for that to happen. She will most likely be removed, but if she isn’t that can win you the round on its own.

Matchups:

Coming Soon

Cards replacements:

Margarita -> Leticia

If you’re a dedicated Northern Realms player, then sometimes you just want to go full greed. Leticia is a new card, and while it often just gets removed, if it can stick for even a couple of turns the value it provides is absolutely nuts for seven provisions.

Adalia -> Foltest

Casting Contest/Aretuza Student 1x -> Dun Banner 2x

The Foltest/Dun Banner combo is still insane, allowing for five points per turn and forcing your opponent out of r1 if it sticks. However, now that midrange runs Inspired Zeal for duel removal value, the lack of Pincer Maneuver’s consistency in the deck makes Foltest somewhat unreliable. If you’re not afraid of a little low roll/high roll, he is still a powerful option. Really, if you want to run him you probably want to break devotion so you have access to Oneiromancy.

Skellige - Fists of Flurry | Control | 3.75 stars

Flurry remains the most popular Skellige leader this season. After CDPR basically created the greediest meta of 2021, heavy control decks like this give you a fair shot at climbing the ladder. Honestly, Skellige still doesn’t feel great right now, since it can still lack points in a long round, while it’s quality short round can now lose to the powerful buffs Monsters and Scoia’tael received this patch. Still, if you want a relatively straightforward deck that can control the board, this one’s for you.

Difficulty: Easy

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

Get rid of your bricks. That’s Madoc and your Bear Witcher Adepts. Feel free to play a Bear Witcher, but one should be placed at the bottom of your deck for Geralt: Quen if you play Maxi. You really want to mulligan for golds best you can, though.

Round 1:

Typically, the deck likes to win round 1. This can often be done simply by playing portal, bombs, Greatsword, and Megascope. On red, you can push to win on even a lot of the time without over-committing.

Round 2:

Depending on the matchup, you may want to bleed your opponent down to basically nothing, though this season, maintaining last say can be game-winning in many matchups, so make good trades while trying not to lose your card. Vs certain decks, a long round 3 can also be okay.

Round 3:

Ideally, you have the last say with major point slam and situational tall removal.

Matchups:

Mirror:

If you face a mirror, you want to win round 1 without over-committing. However, having last say is not worth an extraordinary amount, so try not to use your major point slam if you don’t need to. On blue, if your hand is weak, play it safe and pass early rather than risk losing on even.

Northern Realms:

When you see commandos, you have numerous ways to deal with the defender/Foltest combination. Ideally, you don’t need to use Heatwave, and can save it for Siege later, but you need to win round 1 to have a long round 3, so commit what you must to make that happen. If you see one of the mid-range Siege decks, use bombs in round 1 to deny Shani’s carry-over. A long round 3 should be slightly favored for you.
Bleed or not? A long round 3 should be favored in both matchups.

Who will win? Whoever gets round control should win.

Scoia’tael:

You really need last say here. With a 20+ point Harald Gord, Scoia’tael now really threatens us in a short round. You need your bombs to answer all the 5p elves (Sorceress, Whisperer, and Seer). Don’t be tempted to use Heatwave on Feign Death if you see it played in round 1.
Bleed or not? It’s tricky. Ideally, you shorten round 3, but you can’t risk losing the last say. Be very cognizant of your opponent’s reach if you bleed.

Who will win? Scoia’tael is favored, but you can win if you efficiently shut down their engines and keep the last say.

Monsters:

Ahh, another matchup where our removal finds value. Selfeaters are mega engines – make sure you remove these immediately – using a leader charge if you need to. Witch Apprentices are also important to kill if you can. Junod is your best card in this matchup. Use it on She Who Knows or save it for a tall unit in round 2 or 3. Ideally, we win round 1 and bleed some engines to make round 3 easier.
Bleed or not? Yes. You want to make your opponent use most engines. It makes round 3 much less scary.

Who will win? Monsters is favored because its engines are hard to kill and it has superior point slam.

Skellige:

When you face Melusine, you want to shut down engines in round 1, kill Melusine with Junod or Heatwave, and win the round. Bleeding is key – you want to force your opponent to use all their combo pieces which they like for the long round (Fulmar, Dagur, Melusine). Even down a card, you should have a fair shot at winning if your opponent can’t resurrect a win condition.
Bleed or not? Yes.

Who will win? Flurry is slightly favored. Melusine wins if given a long round 3 with their combo pieces.

Nilfgaard:

There’s so much Nilfgaard right now it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. Vs Imprisonment, you typically expect Masquerade Ball, so winning round 1 and bleeding is your best bet. Either pass at Ball or Heatwave it and go for a 2-0. Vs. Hyperthin, you again want to 2-0. Hyperthin lists typically rely on having 1 or 2 cards left in deck for their short round cards, so disrupting this is your best shot. However if you have a poor hand in round 2, you are better off going into a long round 3.
Bleed or not? Dependent on hand quality vs. Hyperthin. Bleed and possibly 2-0 vs. Ball.

Who will win? Flurry is slightly favored vs. Ball, though unfavored vs. Hyperthin.

Syndicate:

Against Lined Pockets, you want to remove spenders immediately. This is quite a difficult matchup since their bounties find such tall units. You don’t want a long round, but if you bleed too much, you will end up losing a card. Find the happy medium, and you have a chance to win. Otherwise, just go for a 2-0 and pray your opponent missed everything.
Bleed or not? Yeah, Syndicate loves a long round. Also, Tunnel Drill + Bounty is stupidly good. Try to disrupt that.

Who will win? Lined Pockets should win most of the time.

Good against:

Northern Realms, Melusine

Bad against:

Lined Pockets, Monsters, Hyperthin

Win condition:

Deny opponent’s engines effectively. Last say heatwaving tall units. Short round mega point slam.

Cards replacements:

Nope.

Nilfgaard - Enslave 5 | 3.75 stars

The new Spy Terranova package is not exactly limited to Masquerade Ball decks and can also be used for a midrange-y style of deck that chooses to play Enslave as a leader, making it very nice against decks like Scoia’tael. However, this deck is extremely difficult to play on blue coin since you can get heavily abused and usually executes its gameplan from red coin, hence it might not be the best choice to climb with on ladder.

Difficulty: Hard

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

You want to have a playable hand want to keep at least 2 proactive options on blue coin.

Round 1:

On blue coin, you need to make sure you have enough tempo to be able to force a pass without losing on even. Fercart into Dead Man’s Tongue can play for a lot of points which can force the pass, however against heavy pointslam decks like Monsters you might have to play another gold like Braathens in order to get that pass. On red coin you can either play out bronze tactics, be uninteractive and keep reach or you might go for a hard push to win on even depending on how your opponent is playing and what your hand consists of. If you are able to win the round you might want to drypass into a long round most of the time.

Round 2:

In Round 2 you are most likely going to be defending the bleed. Gold cards like Braathens (if you haven’t already committed it) and Joachim, Coup should help you in doing so. Against some decks you might want to
consider going leader Round 2 if you think they might be able to brick it on deny a lot of value on it in a short Round 3. This can also be good to get card advantage in a round 3 situation where the last say might be crucial
(for example against a Gord deck, where Gord will just trade for Invocation with last say).

Round 3:

By the time you get to Round 3, sequencing should not be too complicated, in a long round you should prioritize getting your assimilate engines down first, using a leader at the right time to seize an important engine
can be game-winning sometimes.

Good against:

Scoia’tael

Bad against:

Lined Pockets, Gernichora

Win condition:

Terranova, Joachim, Yennefer’s Invocation

Cards replacements:

Amnesty, Experimental Remedy/Assassination -> Milton, Imperial Diplomacy/Tourney Joust
Usurper, Assassination/Experimental Remedy -> Vincent, Milton

Skellige - Salty Sacrifice | 3.5 stars

(Insert secret to keeping Melusine from getting Heatwaved here). Basically, Skellige got their own Harald Gord finisher this season with Melusine… except that in order to have a tall Melusine in round 3, you have to play it early and keep it from dying. So yeah, good luck with that. In case you don’t like putting all your eggs in one basket, we include Fulmar and Dagur Two Blades in this list to give you a potent alternate win condition.

Difficulty: Medium

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

Find Melusine, Sigrdrifa’s Rite, and Oneiromancy. Ideally, you have a Havfrue Singer/Hermit combo as well.

Round 1:

Play Defender, Melusine, and your Singer/Hermit combo. Pray to Gord your Melusine doesn’t get Heatwaved.

Round 2:

Play Sigrdrifa’s Rite to bring back Melusine, keep your leader charges for round 3 to bring it back once more (or for Defender so you can protect Dagur).

Round 3:

This depends on what your opponent has banished from you. You want to use leader charges + Bride of the Sea to bring a unit back from your graveyard. Your win conditions are typically short round 3 Melusine, or Dagur and Fulmar shenanigans.

Matchups:

Mirror:

If you ever see a mirror, Heatwave Melusine and win. There typically isn’t going to be a ton of control in your opponent’s deck, so anything behind your Defender should likely survive.

Northern Realms:

Commandos will be difficult if they get their Foltest in round 1. Pass if you cannot answer it. They will bleed in round 2, so play Melusine and see if they can answer it. If they cannot, expect an early pass, which will allow you to have a solid round 3 with Fulmar, Dagur, and hopefully Melusine. Against Siege, you will want to value winning round 1 above denying carry over from your opponent. Your short round should be exceptional, while theirs will just be okay. Play Melusine behind Defender and watch her grow. You will want a short round, or at the very least to bleed duels out from your opponent.
Bleed or not? Long round 3 is best for Commandos, while bleeding helps your cause against Siege.

Who will win? You should win against Commandos, but Siege is a toss-up.

Scoia’tael:

You really want the last say against their Gord. You lack much control, so you will have to pray Melusine lives and try to out-engine your opponent. Committing heavily to win round 1 is perfectly fine since you can resurrect your high-end cards later.
Bleed or not? No, you will want a long round so long as you can protect Melusine or Dagur. Keeping last say is vital to winning.

Who will win? Scoia’tael is favored, but depending on your opponent’s answer for your Melusine, you can win.

Monsters:

Believe it or not, this deck actually stands a chance against Monsters. Your opponent will likely throw many engines on the board in round 1. Kill Selfeaters with Gigascorpion or with Gutting Slash after they split. Anything behind the Defender should survive, so try not to use Dagur until round 3 and resurrect both Defender and Melusine in that final round.
Bleed or not? No. if you can, take the long round and let your Melusine and Dagur win you the game.

Who will win? Monsters are favored, but if you can get a long round 3, you should win.

Skellige:

Against Flurry, you will struggle to get your engines to stick. Also, on blue coin, you can possibly lose on even. Ideally, you get a long round 3 and can protect your high-value engines behind the Defender, but this will rarely be the case. Your best bet is going to be to save your golds in round 1, protect a heavy bleed, and hopefully win by being up a card.
Bleed or not? No.

Who will win? Flurry is slightly favored. Melusine wins if given a long round 3 with their combo pieces.

Nilfgaard:

Against Imprisonment, winning round 1 and bleeding is your best bet to get Masquerade Ball out. Either pass at Ball or Heatwave it. Against Hyperthin, you will want a long round 3. Hyperthin really doesn’t have great answers for your Defender, so an important engine or two should probably stick.
Bleed or not? Bleed and possibly 2-0 vs. Ball. The long round should be ok vs Hyperthin

Who will win? Melusine should be slightly unfavored vs both.

Syndicate:

Against Lined Pockets, you should struggle quite a bit. They can easily remove your defender and engines. In round 1 they can likely kill your Melusine, too. However, if you can get Melusine to survive past 9 power, it will be nearly impossible for your opponent to kill. A tall Melusine should be your best win condition. It cannot be poisoned, and very few of your opponents will run Heatwave.
Bleed or not? Yes. You will want to bleed out their Tunnel Drill.

Who will win? Lined Pockets is favored.

Good against:

Commandos

Bad against:

Lined Pockets, Nilfgaard, Flurry

Win condition:

Tall Melusine in the short round. Dagur + Fulmar + Leader charges in mid-length round.

Cards replacements:

Dagur > Dracoturtle

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

[NEW] Witchers

Scoia'tael

Guerilla tactics

Aglaïs

Invigorate

[MEME] No unit invigorate devotion

Nature’s gift

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Precision strike

Movement

Deadeye ambush

Traps

Call of harmony

Harmony

Mahakam forge

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Monsters

Carapace

[NEW] Kelly

Force of Nature

Koshchey

White frost

Frost

Arachas Swarm

Sneaky Kiki

[MEME] Necrophiliacs Paradise

Fruits of Ysgith

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Blood Scent

Overwhelming hunger

[MEME] Sensual Deathwish v2

[NEW] Viy

Skellige

Onslaught

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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

[NEW] Lippy

Meta breaker Ursine

[MEME] Drink Up Me Hearties!

[MEME] Self-mill

Blaze of glory

[NEW] Warriors

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

[MEME] Yen Ven and the seven Geralts

[MEME] Cosimo’s Casino

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

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Upcoming events

14-15 Qualifier top 16

21-22 August Open #3

28-29 Qualifier top 64

Contributors

Writers, consultants, and editors:

Truzky, Gandalf0271, Gregory_Black, Olsmer, Noelle, Killerganon, NaDa, Rogbros, Rolero_4, HotAndrej2001, Gregor__. 9kjer, Darthlothins, Patsy_1998, Szamuro, Crythene, Idris_98, INPU_EL, Enzomarea, and ArtNhr

Manager: KissAndRun

 

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