Meta snapshot #7 | Update #1 - September - 24.09 - Season of the Dryad

[24.09] Release: 2 new decks, new win ratio, and popularity stats.

[17.09] Release: 8 new decks, extended deck description, mulligans and win condition info, new matchups & gameplan info, new win ratio, and popularity stats.

Tier 1

Northern Realms - Triple Duel Shieldwall | Shieldwall | 4.5 stars

Just like the previous season, Midrange Northern Realms is still on the top of the food chain thanks to the newly added Shieldwall leader ability. With the added protection of shields, NR can now afford to be even more greedy with their engines. And with shields being very easy to obtain, duels almost always become ‘kill a unit’. Viraxas can be used to refresh Anséis and Seltkirk to do some more duelling, or with War Elephant for a big fat finisher. Donimir helps you to protect your greedy engines such as Vysogota and Anna which carry the whole game if unanswered. You also have the option to play Seltkirk on the ranged row for that added protection with a defender and move it with Siege Ladder. Natalis helps you to find Amphibious Assault consistently, which basically turns your bronzes into golds. Kerrack Frigate is also very effective at setting up crew pockets for your Elephant. Drummer, Tridam, and Anna behind defender is a very scary engine synergy as well. Kerrack Marine and Royal Guards boosts can become very valuable combined with duels. Finally, Cutthroat is very helpful to destroy the shields of cards like Donimir in mirror matchups. Sometimes this deck can struggle with being proactive so keep that in mind during mulligans. Although very powerful, NR still has the issue of falling apart when it doesn’t draw its golds.

 

Mulligans:

Basically the only lose condition of this deck is not drawing your golds; so always mulligan hard for your gold cards. You also have to make sure you have some bronzes in hand just so you don’t have to overcommit the first two rounds.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
Try to not overcommit. Use your bronzes and engine value to win or just play weak cards and skip to round 2. Since Amphibious Assault is an Echo card, you can safely commit it to fish out a weak bronze. Sometimes it is worth it to play Vysogota just to make sure the round is won.

Round 2
If you are getting bled don’t be afraid of playing some expensive cards and don’t be too greedy and keep engines like Vysogota in hand, often you’ll end up with card advantage if you play them early. If you’ve won round one then you should bleed your opponent if they have a good long round. Other you can just skip straight to round 3.

Round 3
The deck is pretty easy to pilot. Just make sure you place your engines early and use your duels effectively.

 

Matchups:

Mirror: As with all mirror matchups, bleeding R2 is unnecessary. Make sure to get your Defender high enough that it can’t be duelled. Remember to use Cutthroat to un-shield Donimir. Don’t go too tall to avoid Baron hitting too hard. You can also try disabling the crew pockets for Elephant. And obviously, duel their engines and try to not commit more than them. But honestly, this matchup almost always comes down to ‘who draws more golds’.

 

SK: Against Warriors (Rage of the Sea, Arnjolf), try to deny bloodthirst as it disables a lot of their cards. It also can be worth shortening the round to make Wild Boar worse. Don’t go too tall to avoid being hit by Morkvarg too hard. Bloody Baron can be very weak in this matchup so don’t worry about committing him early. Warriors can easily disable your crew pockets too so be careful about that as well. Against Beasts, win R1 to secure last say for your Baron. Also, it can be worth it to bleed in order to get Gedyneith out. Who should win: Shieldwall is favorable in both matchups.

 

ST: Against Precision Strike (Schirru), Vysogota is your Lord and Savior. Protect him at all costs since you can easily put your units at differing powers. It is worth it to use two charges on him to avoid getting pinged and rebuked. As always with Schirru, passing at the right turn can make or break the game. Against Nature’s Gift, you should try to win R1 to get last say to Baron the Gord. Also, the deck goes very tall so happy shielded duel value. Who should win: Against Nature’s Gift, NR is better. The matchup against Schirru can be tricky and is dependent upon player decisions.

 

SY: Against Hidden Cache, try to win R1 and bleed out their Passiflora. Also, be careful of Philippa since an early one can single-handedly ensure HC winning on even. You can also use Donimir as a way to make their poisons tricky. Oil and duel their Peaches and Seductresses down, and Baron their Saul and you should be completely fine. Who should win: Shieldwall should be winning.

 

NR: Against Commandos, you should try to figure out if it’s a double or triple list. Against double, try to bleed R2 to get their commandos out early; against triple, try to win R1 and pass R2. Be careful of the Seltkirk with zeal too. Who should win: As always, Shieldwall wins.

 

MO: Against Overwhelming Hunger/Frost, try to play around Imperial Manticore and Miruna. Like the other scenarios, try to make your opponent commit haunt by bleeding. Ensuring last say is worth it since some lists tend to run Ozzrel. Keep Siege Ladder to counteract the Wild Hunt Bruiser. Be careful about duelling Goliat R1 because it can bring out Baron/Viraxas, but in R3 it’s better for the same reason. Who should win: You know it, Shieldwall is favored.

 

NG: Against Hyperthin (Tactical Decision), you aim to 2-0 to avoid having their strategy fully fleshed out. Shields are very useful to avoid Triss, and Baron is very effective against Yen and Xarth. Don’t go too tall so that you can avoid Vilgefortz. Against Ball (Imperial Formation) don’t go too tall because of poisons and Invocation. Try to bleed their Ball out, like the other scenarios. Sometimes it might be better to delay shields to avoid Vincent. You can also try forcing NG to be proactive if the situation allows since this deck struggles with proactivity. Who should win: Sorry guys but Shieldwall is favored here too.

 

Good against:

Everything (closest matchup Nilfgaard)

 

Bad against:

Nothing

 

Win condition:

Donimir + Vysogota, Anséis/Seltkirk + Viraxas, War Elephant

 

Cards replacements:

  1. Ildiko instead of Donimir of Troy if the meta is less control-oriented
  2. Aedirnian Mauler/Tridam Infantry/Cintrian Knight instead of Kerrack Cutthroat if you aren’t facing many mirrors.
  3. Philippa: Blind Fury instead of War Elephant to snipe the first turn Vysogota

Skellige - Warriors | Rage of the Sea | 4.5 stars

Rage of the Sea is new Skellige leader ability. After reflection it can be very good. 12 points leader ability and synergy with Greatswords look so good. Ability protects Greatswords against removal. It gives you Bloodthirst with some lucky and more points on  Wild Boar of the Sea. Deck have problems only with Shieldwall and Scenario decks because you not play artifact removal but with good tactic and bleeding round 2 it is possible to win against scenario decks.

 

Mulligans:

You should have one or more bronze ships in deck and play it from  Raiding Fleet. Same for Raid cards to play  Vabjorn for more than 2 points.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
Win round 1 with the cheapest cards.

Round 2
Except Mirror, Scoia’tael and Monsters you should bleed round 2.

Round 3
Save the best cards for round 3 like Hemdal, Harald, Morkvarg.

 

Matchups:

Mirror: You should win round one with the cheapest cards you can muster and go for long round with your best cards. If you lose round one it’s not terrible but it’s important to save your best cards for round three.

 

Northern Realms: Shieldwall is one of the hardest matchups for this deck. Bleed in round 2 can be not enough if opponent save Anseis/Seltkirk with leader ability for round 3. Tactic is the same for all leaders in Norhtern Realms but Shieldwall looks hard to beat.

Bleed as long as it is possible in round 2 to make round 3 short or win 2:0. Its good. It’s good to get your opponent to play all leader charges if he’s playing Shieldwall.

 

Scoia’tael: Nature’s Gift looks to be the most popular Scoia’tael ability right now. Last say is important against this deck. Morkvarg for last play can beat Gord. Good win condition card.

You can try to bleed but have to be sure you not lose last say in match. It will be safer to pass and go for longer round 3. Boat and Hemdal are good row punisher so Symbiosis will not be that scary.

 

Monsters: Lately the most popular deck with people playing Monsters is Overwhelming Hunger Devotion that includes scenario. Although you don’t have a counter to the scenario, you should be able to win the long round thanks to the Wild Boar Of The Sea and Hemdal. Morkvarg: Heart of Terror is a very good counter to Ozzrel or an amazing counter to cards with high health (that MO does not lack).

Try winning the first round and if you lose, then you should defend your opponent’s bleed.

 

Nilfgaard: NG does not have a one stabilized lane but in most variations scenario is played.

Such a deck you will need to bleed,because it’s hard to win the long round against NG with Ball.
Try playing your Greatswords so that you can avoid poison. Hemdall is an amazing target for Invocation so try to play around that card. In the long round thanks to Hemdall and the Wild Boar of The Sea you should not be on the losing side.
If you encounter a Hyperthin deck – try winning the first round and playing the long third round, that should be enough for you to win that match up.

 

Syndicate: You are not a favourite because you are playing devotion in a match up against syndicate.The lack of Heaver bombs makes the winning of that match up harder. All you have to do to boost your winning chance is winning the first round with the cheapest cards you can muster.

In the second round you should try to bleed the scenario of your opponent and leave the best cards you have for the third round.Try killing the engines of your opponent as they come. Killing them will make him lose a significant amount of points.You can also try your chances in the second round if you manage to destroy the engines of your opponent quickly then thanks to Hemdal and the Wild Boar of The Sea you have some winning chance. Morkvarg: Heart of Terror is the perfect counter to Saul and or other highly boosted cards of your opponent.

 

Good against:

Overwhelming Hunger, Hyperthin
Bad against:

Syndicate Passiflora

 

Win conditions:

Morkvarg: Heart of Terror.

 

Cards replacements:

Svalblod Ravager ->  An Craite Warrior

An Craite Longship -> second  Dimun Light Longship

Tier 2

Scoia'tael - Professor Schirrú’s | Precision Strike | 4.0 stars

Do you like math? Are you smarter than your peers? When choosing a Gwent deck, do you reach for the one that’s closest to a funducational flash game from the early 2000’s? If any of these are true, then Professor Schirrú wants to see you in his office hours! Math Decks have a long and storied history in Gwent, going back to the days of Scorch and Igni. Among the most challenging of decks to pilot, they require intense planning and focus. As long as the option is available, math decks will be the weapon of choice for human calculators looking for a deck with stylish combo potential.

-Use leader ability and other damage sources to line up a big Schirrú.

-Remove threats with a high amount of reactive control tools, including leader ability to remove shields and finish off boosted engines.

-Pressure your opponent in r1 with tempo from Novigradian Justice while generating carryover with Dunca and Circle of Life.

-Finish r3 strong with Gord and a handbuffed Saesenthessis.

-Fight hard in r1, because whether you need to remove your opponents big threats in r3 or stop your opponent from answering your Gord, last say is crucial.

 

Mulligans:
Dunca, Saes, Novigradian Justice. Whether or not you want Schirrú in your hand depends on the match up, how much handbuff is available, and whether or not you’ve already drawn Isengrim’s Council. Sometimes it’s best to mulligan him away if you’re going to play a Dunca, as you can’t control how much he gets buffed with her on the board, making planning your combo more challenging.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
Buff your hand as much as possible, especially Saes if possible, to generate carryover. Use Novigradian Justice to thin your deck and as a burst of tempo to pressure your opponent.

Round 2
Bleeding can be advantageous, especially if you were able to concentrate handbuffs on a suitable target. If you do play a long r2, this is the time to set up a Schirru.

Round 3
If r2 was drypassed, your main priority is to set up Schirru. If not, rely on Gord and Saes to pointslam your way to victory.

 

Matchups:

Mirror: Fight hard r1 to get last say so Geralt or Heatwave can remove their Gord r3, even if it feels like you’re overcommitting.

Northern Realms:
Both Shieldwall and uprising are difficult matchups. Their tall removal is formidable, and they have access to armor and targeted boosts that can make your removal tools useless and setting up Schirru impossible. Do everything you can to save heatwave for Donimir, as if they get a Vysogota to stick the game is over. Consider committing Schirru in r1, especially if they flood the board with volunteers or if they play valuable engines close together in strength (Five point Anna Strenger and Six point Reynard). Commit what you have to to win r1, because it’s unlikely you’ll have the points to win r3 without playing Gord with last say.
Bleed or not? Absolutely. The more control you give NR over what they play and when they play it, the easier it is for them to dodge Schirru. Bleeding in r2 gives you the best chance to force them into an awkward play that you can exploit.

Who will win? If you don’t win r1, you’re in for a rough game. Gord is easily countered by Baron and giant duels. If you do get last say in a short round, you should be able to pointslam your way to victory. In other words, winning isn’t impossible, just very difficult.

Scoia’tael (Symbiosis): Make sure to save your tall removal for r3 unless absolutely necessary. Many players are very aggressive with providing Hamadryads with vitality, resulting in units in excess of fifteen points, so don’t be tempted to blow heatwave on a treant boosted to eight if not absolutely necessary. Handbuffing in r1 is critical to make sure you can win r3 since they also run Gord.
Bleed or not? Yes, but again, keep in mind they also run Gord.

Who will win? Though you have the tools to remove their engines, their hero power gives them an innate engine that can’t be removed. Oftentimes you just get drowned in points.

Monsters Another tricky match up. With both Heatwave and bomb heaver you’re well equipped to remove their scenario, but the low number of units in your deck makes playing around Manticore and Miruna difficult. That being said, thrive units often line themselves up for a devastating Schirru. If possible, use Temper on a dwarf early on to block a frost proc with armor.
Bleed or not? Ideally, you want to bleed Haunt in r2. Keep in mind, however, that MO’s shortround pointslam is actually superior to yours. Bleed, but do so very carefully.

Who will win? This is another deck that can easily drown you in points. Once again, last say is crucial for removing big threats like Yghern and Ozzrel, and will largely decide your odds of winning.

Skellige The graveyard is the key here. Do what’s in your power to draw squirrel for Blood Eagle, and don’t be afraid to Heatwave a Greatsword, as most people run Hjalmar and Harald An Craite, so you’ll be denying them value even if they draw their second one. When they use Harald to rez a Greatsword, it either plays for six if Harald pings something or five if he doesn’t. This is a great opportunity to play Schirru from Isengrim’s Council and kill two high value targets with one card. Finally, if you don’t get last say, do your best to mulligan away any boost spells like temper or Pact, as they will just be food for Morkvarg, and may even get negative value if he ends up boosting a greatsword. In some extreme cases, it even makes sense to mulligan Gord.
Bleed or not? Some bleeding is normally advantageous, considering the Veteran and Evolving mechanics make many SK cards objectively weaker in earlier rounds. That being said, Sk no longer runs cards like Wild Board of the Sea that require lots of set up, and do decently well with slamming points. So do bleed, but use restraint.

Who will win? You have a lot of good answers to their threats, but can generate many points even if these threats are answered. Often you lose by just a couple of points.

Nilfgaard Both Hyperthin and Masquerade Ball run many reactive cards, so stay off the board as long as possible to force them into inefficient plays. Against hyperthin make sure to save a couple leader pings to line up targets like Tibor and cards boosted by Yennefer for Geralt: Professional.
Bleed or not? Bleed as much as possible. Ball has a terrible short round and hyperthin can be two rounded if they draw poorly.

Who will win? You are very much favored against most Nilfgaard decks.

Syndicate This is a straightforward match-up, greedy engines vs control. Make sure you have access to as much removal as possible. Unlike NR, Syndicate has very few options for protecting engines the first turn that they’re played, so just make sure to use your removal aggressively, but not so aggressively that cards like Saul can be played after you’ve exhausted your damage. Finally, pay close attention to their coin count when playing your bronze dwarves. Allowing your opponent to snatch units with unused orders or vitality with Phillipa can generate devastating tempo swings.
Bleed or not? Yes, bleeding for Passiflora is vital

Who will win? This is one of the better match ups. SY relies on their engines to generate value, and decks with numerous control options often give them trouble.

 

Good against:

Double Ball, Gord SY

 

Bad against:

NR Uprising, NR Shields, Symbiosis

 

Win conditions:

Schirru is most commonly buffed by Isengrim’s Council, as handbuff can be more unreliable and imprecise. However, if your opponent is going to be playing lots of tallish units (around 7-8 strength), keeping him in your hand for multiple buffs can be devastating. He can also be buffed if you have a miner on the board on the turn Schirru is played.

Forrest protector is most often used with Nature’s Rebuke for tempo and removal, but if you find yourself ahead you can be greedy and get an additional Circle of Life handbuff.

Using your leader ability to line up an r2 or even an r1 Schirru can put you at an advantage early on, but if your opponent goes into r3 with their hero power intact it might not be enough. To make up for that lack of stopping power in r3, handbuffing as much as possible is crucial.

 

Cards replacements:

Saesenthessis -> Sheldon Skagg
Dwarven Skirmisher, Bomb Heaver -> 2x Mahakam Volunteer

Sheldon Skagg is much more unreliable than Saesenthessis because he bricks harder when you don’t don’t hand buff him, as well as being vulnerable to removal when you do. However, his cheaper provision cost provides room to include Mahakam Volunteers. When played with Novigradian Justice, volunteers thin your deck considerably and play for an explosive 13 points of tempo.

Scoia'tael - Call of Nature | Nature’s Gift | 4.0 stars

This deck is a really strong all-in-one deck with lots of control elements, Hamadryads and Treant Boar as engines and with the huge Gord finisher. The deck is really strong in all three rounds. Novigradian Justice combined with Mahakam Volunteers provides a really strong tempo play along with 2 thinning which is extremely strong in round 1 or if you want to bleed round 2. Eleyas also plays for huge pointslam since the wandering treants spawned make for ideal targets for Eleyas. Also being the only elf tag in the deck, it is a guaranteed pull from Isengrim’s Council hence adding 2 more points to the play. Hamadryads are extremely strong cards in this deck. They make your leader worth 12 points since they boost themselves by 1 if they have vitality status. Also combined with cards like Shaping Nature, Dryad’s Caress and Dryad Enchantress, your Hamadryads can play for upwards of 20 points each in a long round. The only drawback to this is that your dryads are heavily prone to tall punish, including heatwave which is a tech card that is extremely prevalent in the meta right now. However if you know that your opponent doesn’t have any control elements you can be as greedy with your Hamadryads as you want and it can pay off very well in a long round.
Finally, since you are playing a lot of special cards in this deck you can have a thick Gord to finish off. Gord can play for upwards of 13-15 points since cards like Oneiromancy and Shaping Nature can be played twice due to the echo mechanic and this makes the deck have an immense amount of points.

 

Mulligans:

Your only bricks in this deck are volunteers so you definitely mulligan them if you cannot thin them out effectively in the round. If you draw Oneiromancy you can safely mulligan away Gord in round 1 so that you aren’t stuck with an unplayable card in your hand. Getting round control can be pretty important most of the time hence it is important that you have a playable hand in round 1.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
You want to try and keep Dunca alive in round 1, she will give you a lot of carryover that will help you in bleeding your opponent if necessary or to keep your engines like Boar or Hamadryad out of removal range. You can also commit your justice if necessary, to either get out of round 1 if you are being abused on blue coin or in order to abuse red coin and tempo ahead of your opponent. You can also commit a Hamadryad in round 1 in order to get round control.

Round 2
Depending on the matchup you can either dry pass to take a long round or bleed your opponent. If you haven’t committed Justice yet, this is a really efficient bleeding card. Combined with Council into Eleyas, you can put out immense tempo in just 2 turns. At this point you can consider passing to hopefully get a huge card out of the opponent or even card advantage or you can consider committing your Hamadryad if you intend to bleed further. Make sure you do not lose access to Gord if he isn’t in your hand, if you already committed Oneiromancy in Round 1 it is better to not commit it in round 2 in case you don’t draw into Gord in round 3. The deck is also really strong at defending the bleed because of the same reasons: huge tempo plays and also the existence of Hamadryads.

Round 3
Your Round 3 plays are pretty much linear. Your Gord finisher in a short round 3 should most of the time, win you the game if you have last say. The opponent should most likely not have enough points to contest with that pointslam. However, without last say the situation can definitely become extremely tricky since the opponent can have tall punish. If you have second say in round 3 you can also play uninteractively so that you force your opponent to make proactive plays hence losing out on points if they draw a reactive hand.

 

Matchups:

Mirror: In the mirror match, round control is pretty important, however make sure you don’t overcommit in order to get round control. Hamadryad will almost always be your best heatwave targets. However, you can also possibly make use of Boar, Rockslide and rebuke to kill your opponent’s Hamadryads before they get too tall so you can save your heatwave for their Gord. You can try and bait out your opponent’s heatwave early by heavily buffing Boar/Dunca and then you can go for full greed on your hamadryads since the opponent has no way to answer them. There is no particular reason to bleed in the mirror but if your opponent committed Oneiromancy and/or Justice in round 1 and still lost the round, you can go for a short bleed with Justice into volunteers followed by Council into Eleyas to try and force out their second oneiromancy or a big card of theirs.

 

Northern Realms: Uprising is a slightly better matchup than Shieldwall since Shieldwall decks can just duel your Hamadryads easily. However Northern Realms in general is a very unfavoured matchup unless it is a deck like Commandos.
Bleed or not? You always bleed any Northern Realms deck since you just lose the long round. You put out enough tempo to be able to keep your card if you play and pass at the right time. With last say and Gord there is a chance you can win the matchup if your opponent misses one or two golds.

Who will win? Northern Realms will almost always win this matchup.

 

Scoia’tael: In the mirror the player who is able to get round control with least commitment will win. Against Schirru you are favoured if it is the devotion version since they have no way of answering your Hamadryads. However, if the opponent is playing non-devotion Schirru with more control they can win the matchup if they play it well.
Bleed or not? You like to bleed vs Schirru decks. In the deck mirror you either do a soft bleed or just take the long round as explained earlier.

Who will win? No deck in particular is favoured. It comes down to skill and luck in draws. However, you are favoured against devotion Schirru.

 

Monsters: Monsters have close to no control if they are playing devotion. Just play around the Imperial Manticore and Miruna and you should be winning the game. Against Carapace Keltullis too, you are favoured since you swarm the board with wandering treants which become Keltullis targets. However, make sure you are able to answer the Ciri cards and you should be fine.
Bleed or not? You take a long round against any Monsters deck

Who will win? You should be favoured to win the match unless you end up losing on even.

 

Skellige: Skellige is another unfavourable matchup. Their greatswords get a lot of value and Hjalmar is an extremely strong removal card that sees full value (13 points) in this matchup. Also if your opponent is playing Arnjolf or Blaze of glory they get even more removal in the form of Champion’s Charge and leader. Harald the Cripple is an extremely strong card and if your opponent plays Morkvarg as well, pretty much all of your engines will be shut down.
Bleed or not? You always go for round control against Skellige and bleed round 2. If you are facing the Gedyneith priests deck you bleed round 2 until you get their scenario out. Their long round value can be extremely scary.

Who will win? Skellige is extremely favoured in this matchup and is expected to win almost every time.

 

Nilfgaard: Nilfgaard, though not seen as much in the current ladder is another unfavourable matchup because of the existence of Masquerade Ball, Vincent and Imposter into Vanhemar. Imposter into Vanhemar on a Hamadryad can play for over 30 points in a single turn which can be extremely scary. Against lockdown you lose a lot of passive leader value you otherwise get from playing nature cards and you can also not protect your Hamadryads from removal from tourney jousts.
Bleed or not? Devotion Nilfgaard should have a hard time playing deep into round 1 without overcommitting so try to have as many playable cards as possible in round 1 so you are able to win round 1. After that you bleed them until you get scenario out. Try to protect last say for a Gord finisher.

Who will win? Nilfgaard is favourable in the matchup but if played well you can get a good winrate against them. Make sure to use your Dryad’s Carresses carefully since they are a very important card that protect you against poisons and locks. You have access to only 3 of them so use them carefully.

 

Syndicate: Round control can be important in this matchup however you are favoured in the matchup. If you get the round control you can definitely win the game however if you face a good Syndicate player they can definitely turn the favour to their side in case.
Bleed or not? Like with other scenario decks, you should try to bleed the scenario out. They have only 2 control options in the form of poisons and heatwave. They have pretty limited poison options which can be easily countered with your Caresses. However, be careful of players that use Maraal and don’t get too greedy with your hamadryads.
You should also bleed against the firesworn deck since they have a scary long round and outgreed you and win with more points.
Who will win? You should usually win the matchup however a good Syndicate player can definitely snatch your win conditions away from you and get the win.

 

Win condition:

Hamadryads carry this deck hard. They play for an immense amount of points for their provision cost. However, you should be careful of tall punish and not play too greedily. With last say, your Gord finisher is extremely powerful in a short round 3.

 

Good against:

Syndicate Cache, Scoia’tael Schirru

Bad against:

Northern Realms Shieldwall, Skellige Warriors

 

Cards replacements:
Treant Boar -> Tesha Mutna Sword (If you are seeing a lot of Shieldwall)
Tempering -> Miner
Treant Boar -> Ida (If you are seeing a lot of NR and/or Carapace Kelly. Can be very useful as a defender purify and can also work as a lock/poison purify in Nilfgaard or Syndicate matchups)

Skellige - Arnjolf | Patricidal Fury | 4.0 stars

Skellige after all the nerfs is not as strong as it was last month.
Despite this Warriors Skellige remains as one of the most powerful decks in the meta. After the health of  Greatswords has been changed to 10, Greatswords became a good target for Hjalmar, also they do not play any reset cards, they are often just 10 points for 6 provisions. With the ability of your leader cards like Champion’s Charge – you should be able to kill any unit, which is a great counter to different engines, high health units or defenders.

 

Mulligans:

In R1 You don’t want to have cards in your hand like:
Hjalmar an Craite, War of Clans, Harald an Craite
You definitely want to have:
Vabjorn, Raiding Fleet, Blood Eagle
In R2 and R3 you are searching for your golds.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
In the first round, you should try to set up your ships as quickly as you can. Try playing Vabjorn to thin out your deck. If you must or you know you won’t be bleeding your opponent then you can play Blood Eagle.

Round 2
Bleed if you are playing against engine decks, but try to get last say in round 3. Keep Harald and leader ability for round three.

Round 3
Using Harald and leader ability with other gold Warriors will give you many points, which should be enough to win the match.

 

Matchups:

Mirror: Last say is very important, then you have nice Lugos on the opponent’s leader. In matchup vs Rage of The Sea try to shorten the round.

Northern Realms:
Bleed or not? You must bleed NR. They have too many engines.
Who will win? You aren’t favoured in this matchup but thanks to Champion’s Charge and cards like Lugos or Skjordal you have a slight chance to win.

Scoia’tael:

Bleed or not? You must bleed ST decks. Hemdal is your only weapon in the long round, so try to win R1 and bleed in R2.

Who will win? You are not favoured unless you are playing against Harmony.

Monsters:
Bleed or not? Overwhelming hunger is a difficult match-up. Your opponent can have Scenario and a lot of tempo in round one. You should push round one as far as possible and bleed round two. A 2:0 win is possible but it is difficult to pull off. If you can get a short round three and have your strongest cards in hand, it should be easy to win.
Who will win? 50/50
Nilfgaard: Bleed or not? Matches with NG Masquerade Ball should also be heading towards a short round. Last say is important because then your opponent can’t kill your leader using Vincent.
Who will win? You aren’t favored

Syndicate: Bleed or not? A short round three is good against SY Passiflora. You haven’t got artifact removal since this is a devotion deck, so a long round three against SY Passiflora can be painful.

Good against:

Harmony

 

Bad against:

Northern Realms, Nilfgaard

 

Cards replacements:

An Craite Longship -> An Craite Raiders,

Hjalmar an Craite -> Morkvarg: Heart of Terror,
Donar an Hindar -> Gremist

Tier 3

Monsters - Devotion Frost | White Frost | 3.75 stars

The recently added White Frost is one of the best ways to play Monsters right now. Even though it’s not at the power level of the high tier decks such as Shieldwall, it’s still pretty decent and can win games. The deck runs multiple packages – Deathwish, Wild Hunt, Crones and Thrive – and surprisingly they work pretty well. With all the devotion lists in the meta, you’re less likely to face bomb heaver, which makes Haunt a very good choice in the current meta. The deck can sometimes have a hard time because of the small number of deathwish units, so it’s important to make sure that you keep enough of them in hand to trigger Haunt. Auberon can be used as the big finisher, with one extra point thanks to Devotion. Another upside of running Devotion is Aen Elle Conquerors, which can trigger any thrive card in the deck. The deck also have good long round potential thanks to Thrives, Phantom and Frost, so long round 3 isn’t bad either. Unfortunately, except for the movement from your leader, the deck lacks in control tools. Your only control tools are Adda, Miruna and Whispess (remember to play Brewess and Weavess before for a better removal potential). Also since Ard Geith is an echo card, you can safely use it R1 to get Winter Queen out of the deck. Naglfar and Ge’els are your consistency cards, for the latter you have to make sure you don’t brick it since there’s only two Wild Hunt specials in the deck – Naglfar and Ard Geith.

 

Mulligans:

Try to not brick anything, so make sure Winter Queen, one Wild Hunt Rider and at least one Wild Hunt special card stay in the deck for Ge’els. Also remember to play Naglfar after getting Queen out of the deck so that it doesn’t dilute the Naglfar pulls.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
Play your Thrive units and thin your deck with Riders and Ard Geith into Winter Queen. Since MO has a lot of strong bronzes you can commit some golds like Goliath or Phantom early. Also Ge’els into Ard Gaeth is a fine play early since there’s a risk of him getting bricked in the later rounds.

Round 2
Bleed your opponent with Frost, try to get his win condition out. Remember to always count Weather pings properly. Commit Haunt while getting bled to secure card advantage and remember that your leader needs at least few turns to get full value.

Round 3
Play Haunt package or Auberon as big finishers and try to win. Make sure Ge’els isn’t bricked and you have enough Deathwish units for Haunt.

 

Matchups:

NR: Against Shieldwall, you can mess up their playstyle with movement tools, also two or four points per turn makes matchup against Shieldwall much more close than you would think. Against commandos you don’t really want to bleed because theirs finisher is much bigger than yours. If you’re facing a lot of NR then playing Manticore might be a good consideration, because they are often starting round 3 with Defender.
Who would win: They are favored because of OP cards and combos like Shielded Anseis and Amphibious Assault.

 

NG: Against Ball, avoid going big with either Brewess or consume units from Haunt because of their Poisons and Yenvo. And in Round 3 always mulligan Larvas because of Braathens. If you play against NG a lot you might think of adding one Naglfar’s Taskmaster, as a purify tool. You can also play veiled units early to make their poisons awkward.
Against Hyperthin, mulligan away Goliath since Invocation can give them another big unit. Also try to bleed at least two reveal cards away from them or straight up 2-0 them.
Who would win: Frost is favored, because this list is not going that tall and it contains veil units.

SY: Miruna can be bad in this matchup, so mulligan her away. Try to bleed their Passiflora, without it you should be fine in a long round 3. Use your control tools to remove the engines before they get too tall.
Who would win: MO should be favored if opponent is trying to bleed round 2 or have played Passiflora early.

 

SK: Always be aware of Morkvarg, and keep one leader charge to move Dagur. Also you might not want to consume Nightwraiths right away because of Wild Boar and because of opportunity to swarm your board if facing Arnjolf.
Who would win: Close matchup, but MO is favoured

 

MO/Mirror: Do not overcommit, try to rowstack so opponent has thougher life with getting Ard Gaeth value. Pay attention to dominance and try to keep it as long as you can. Try to deny Miruna and play around Manticore.
Who would win: Mirror 50-50, sometimes player going first can deny Riders, OH is slightly favored against Frost.

 

Win conditions:

Haunt, Auberon

 

Cards replacements:

1. Deathwish package (Haunt, Miruna, Nightwraith) into Big Bois package (Yghern, Ozzrel, Parasite)
2. The Apiarian Phantom into The Beast for better long round
3. Adda: Striga into The Beast if you want less control for more value

Monsters - Wild Scenario Hybrid | Overwhelming Hunger | 3.75 stars

Bomb Heaver has not been popular so far this season, so this deck has drawn quite a lot of strength from Haunt.

Auberon can get pretty huge in R3, as he can trigger the larvae’s thrive twice. He always gets somewhere around 14 points and can produce more points afterwards. This is one of the best finishers in We can play Ge’els as a tutor. Thanks to this, our deck has gained consistency.

With Ge’els we can easily play Naglfar or Ard Gaeth if it is more important.
Ard Gaeth pulls out Winter Queen and it means we can play Ge’els->Ard Gaeth->Winter Queen.
It gives us a great tempo play and thins out the deck splendidly. Ard Gaeth can be poor if your opponent manages to play around it.
With the frost package we must play Wild Hunt Bruiser. It’s nice because it helps make our Ard Gaeth better.
If your opponent is still playing in one row, we have another way to punish him for it – Werecat.
Werecat can get awkward during short rounds, but in long rounds it’s just lacerate with body and thrive.
In difficult situations we can play Werecat just to trigger our scenario.

We are now onto the second part of the Wild Hunt – Scenario hybrid. We have a lot of ways to trigger our scenario’s chapters:

Noonwraith – it’s only a 4 provision card. We can just play it in round one – mainly for points and thirve on larvas, but it’s also a great play in a short R3, just to trigger our scenario.

Imperial Manticore – some people may say that this card is weak, but is it really? We should play around Miruna and buff his units for points and then we have our super Manticore. If opponent is playing around Manticore and Miruna we can destroy his little units using Wild Hunt Warrior or Bruxa.

Miruna – it’s just a phenomenal card. With your leader ability you can easily steal your opponent’s engine.

Goliath: it has 10 points for 8 provisions. It can also trigger a scenario. With rapture being nerfed, this card is very good.

Dettlaff: Higher Vampire – this is the best card you can possibly play with Haunt or your leader ability in R3. It’s a 19 points play using your leader ability only. It’s a mindblowing finisher.

Naglfar got better because of Ge’els ability. If safe and possible, we should play Naglfar in R1 or R2 (R2 play is more rewarding) because then we get some guaranteed gold in the next round.

Naglfar’s Taskmaster is here to help us against enemy’s defenders or just to purify our own unit from for example, a poison or lock.

Natural Selection is here just as a small damage option for example, to kill Magne Divison, Thirsty Dame or Temerian Drummer.

Parasite can be somewhat awkward. With it, our Naglfar has more options, but it’s an excellent card versus Herkja, The Beast, Reynard and all types of engines.
In the current meta state, the deck feels quite strong. It’s good at bleeding and has a lot of options to deal with opponent’s cards and also has a lot of points.

Muligans:

In R1 you should have Ard Gaeth, or Ge’els to play it.
Winter Queen shouldn’t be in your hand!
It’s not good to keep Ozzrel for R1.
Always try to have at least two units with deathwish for Haunt

 

Gameplan:

Round 1

Our plan in R1 is pretty simple – just win. We have a lot of ways to do so. Superior cards to play in R1 are:
Larvae, Ge’els into Ard Gaeth, Miruna, Imperial Manticore, An Elle Conquerors,
Noonwraiths, Bruxa and Wild Hunt Warrior.
It’s good to play Ge’els into Ard Gaeth in R1 because it gives us great tempo play and it is always valuable to thin our deck in R1 and R2 as much as possible. Tempo plays can help us with small 4 provision cards like Noonwraiths and An Elle Conquerors which will get even more powerful if you’ve played Larvae beforehand.
Imperial Manticore or Miruna can easily win you R1 if your opponent is a risky player.
In R1 you can play one or two charges from your leader ability. It’s worth sacrificing your leader ability charge to win R1 on even if possible, but not always. If you know that your opponent plays Bomb Heaver it’s better to save your leader ability for later. Remember that Barghest is a thing!

Round 2
If you know that your opponent plays a deck that is better in long rounds than Wild Scenario Hybrid you must bleed him – but do so carefully! Sometimes you can just play your scenario and two of your deathwish cards and make a lot of points. If you are forced to play more cards do it! Don’t be afraid of sacrificing your Dettlaff or Auberon. Remember – save some good cards for R3… or just win 2-0!

Round 3
If you saved some good cards like Haunt, Dettlaff or Auberon – congratz! You will most likely win the game!

 

Matchups:

Mirrors:
Red coin is very useful! Try to play R1 and R2 at the lowest possible cost.

Northern Realms:
Bleed or not? You should definitely bleed NR decks. In long round you have no chance versus their engines.

Who will win? You are not favored in this matchup as long as you are on blue coin. On the other hand you can try abusing red coin and then bleed your opponent in R2. It’s your only way to win.

Scoia’tael:
Bleed or not? You should bleed ST decks, because they have very strong long round.

Who will win? If you are playing vs ST with Bomb Heaver you are not favoured in this matchup.

Skellige:
Bleed or not? Your opponent probably isn’t playing Bomb Heaver, so your scenario is safe.
You can easily bleed and try to force your opponent to play Harald and veteran cards like Skjordal.

Who will win? 50/50

Nilfgaard: Bleed or not? Playing well vs Ball decks require bleeding in R2.
You are playing tall, so you can’t really deal with poisons (you can with leader charges) but you have a lot of targets for your leaders.

Who will win? If you fail with bleeding or winning R1 you are in bad position. You are definitely not favored in this matchup.

Syndicate:
Bleed or not? You should definitely bleed opponent’s Passiflora.

Who will win? It’s probably the worst matchup for this deck. You haven’t a lot of answers for opponent’s engines.

 

Good against:

Decks without bomb heaver

 

Bad against:

Decks with Bomb Heaver, decks with a lot of engines

 

Cards replacements:

Goliath -> Caranthir

Nilfgaard - Double Ball | Tactical decision | 3.25 stars

Playing NG in this patch is actually harder than it is thought. Vincent, oneiromancy, braathens, and usurper nerf is very big nerf for this faction. Although this faction is generally good for facing devotion player, such as MO, SK, and NR in this patch, sometime it feel so awkward when you doesn’t draw your scenario in round one. You often lose on even if you doesn’t have access to oneiromancy or scenario in round one. Remastered Tactical Decision is 6 points on table and guarantee for all cards you need in round 3 but its bad if you not draw needed cards in round one. You should keep leader ability for round three. The exception is if you want to bleed an opponent or he presses you. With oneiromancy it shouldn’t be a problem to draw all needed cards. Only big bad luck will deprive you that cards.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
If you don’t have access to oneiro or ball. You will lose round one pretty easily. But if you have good opening hand such as double fang and double rot tosser with dame stick on the board, you can win round one. If you win round one without committing the ball, that is the best thing for this deck.

Round 2
If you have played scenario in round one and you still have 8 card in round 2, you play Assire and pass. If you don’t have at least 8 card, better you just dry pass and get to long round 3. But beware of opponent squirrel, if they are not devotion, you must play Assire in round 2 if you win round 1 as your opening play. If you lose round 1 before committing scenario, play scenario in round 2 and defend the bleed with scenario. The different line up play can be played if you know your opponent play heatwave (ST symbiosis and SY cache often play heatwave).

Round 3
Just play as you want if you have round control, it often has a good outcome if your opponent is devotion. Maybe you don’t want to play your scenario as your opening play before you get a good poison target.

 

Matchups:

– squirrel is good against NR and SK because we can remove their biggest threat (amphibious assault and blood eagle), you can also use in SY cache to deny their Redanian. Or maybe in MO by banishing Yghern (although many MO on ladder cut Yghern at this moment)
– You have many card that you don’t want to use in round one. (usurper, Assire, Affan or maybe Roderick). This four card is actually very tricky, if you draw all of them, maybe you just keep 2 of them because you want to win round 1 efficiently with scenario and your bronze card. Affan is the priority card to keep because maybe you can’t draw them and your leader is 5 point worse if you don’t draw affan
– Yennefer is very good in this new leader ability. In round 3, you can yoink opponent card, play leader ability. You will get your opponent card even you play yen in round 3.
– This deck is very hard on blue coin (going first). Actually, only has 3 good opening play (2 magne and 1 tortoise), 4 not too good opening play (2 dame and 2 joust on magic lamp). Based on writer experience, good ladder deck actually has 5-7 good opening play. But because the provision is so tight, we can’t put any good opening play in this deck
– You can put affan in deck with this leader ability. Click affan first when you use the leader so affan can be put in the top on your deck.

 

Good against:

Generally, this faction is favor against devotion NR (NG is control faction and NR is engine faction). In SK matchup, it is usually good, but it could be worst if you can’t win round one. Actually this deck is better in red coin (when your opponent going first).

 

Bad against:

SY hidden cache with bomb heaver and heatwave. ST force of nature is also tricky because they often run heatwave.

 

Cards replacements:

Actually we can change leader ability based on what we want, we can play
1. lockdown: cut affan, play another 4p bronze
2. Imposter: cut affan, play vanhemar and maybe coup or bribery
Or maybe play single ball with devotion. (although single ball kinda hard to play since imperial formation nerf so playing enforcer would be hard.

Honorable mentions

Nilfgaard - Hyperthin | Tactical Decision

Why would you play a nerfed Braathens, Vincent van Moorlehem, Oneiromancy, or Usurper Emperor, when you can play buffed Hunting Pack and Battle Preperation?  This list is built around the new version of Tactical Decision and the buffs that some of the thinning cards received.  It is definitely not a Tier 1 deck, but it is fun to play.  The deck plays pretty much exactly like the old hyperthin did: if you draw your golds, you’re playing a Tier 1 deck.  If you don’t draw like a God, you lose.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
Try to win with just the bronze package.  However, do be mindful of your Hunting Pack and your Brigade, as you ideally want to keep a playset of them in your deck to pull with Artorius Vigo. Menno’s soldier tag is helpful, and Deithwen Arbalest is a good way to proc Hunting Pack.  You can easily win Round 1 with the points from those cards, assuming your opponent does not commit a few golds.  When you reach turn 5 going first, you can play Ciri: Nova, and pass.  This helps mitigate the bleed in Round 2.

Round 2
If you did not already play Ciri: Nova, now is the time.  If you drew your thinning cards in Round 1, you have a high likelihood of drawing her for this round.  Do be wary against Nilfgaard, as they can take out Ciri: Nova with Vincent van Moorlehem.  Sometimes it’s good to push a little bit, but try to avoid going down a card.  Losing last say gives the opponent a chance to deal with Yennefer: Divination.  If you must go down a card, make sure to bleed out cards that would be able to deal with that play, ie: Bloody Baron, Morkvarg: Heart of Terror, or any of the Dueling units.

Round 3
Here is where you start dumping points. Xarthisius, Vilgefortz, Triss Merigold, and Yennefer: Divination are going to give you the most points.  Vilgefortz is usually used to pull Tibor Eggebracht, but against Northern Realms, you may have to play him offensively to remove a high-value card like Seltkirk of Gulet or Vysogota.

 

Matchups:

– The deck only has three soldiers to proc Imperia Brigade: Menno Coehoorn, and two Deithwen Arbalests. Typically, you will want to mulligan away any Imperia Brigades, and use Artorius Vigo to pull them from your deck. A handy combo is Menno Coehoorn -> Marching Order -> Artorius Vigo -> Imperia Brigade.
– Certain cards are bricks in Round 1. Xarthisius, Vilgefortz, Affan Hillergrand, Triss Merigold, Yennefer: Divination, and Tibor Eggebrecht are all either only playable in Round 3, or just brick. As mentioned, Imperia Brigade could also be considered a brick. Be mindful of how many bricks your deck has when mulliganing.
– Urcheon of Erlenwald is a very important card when playing against a Single Ball or SK deck. He’s a good opening play in Round 3 because he forces your opponent to play proactively.
– Keep Affan Hillergrand in your hand, even in Round 1. Not having him in hand can make your leader ability awkward if you don’t draw him in Round 2 and get pushed.
– Marching Orders only really hits Artorius Vigo and Menno Coehoorn.
– Yennifer’s Invocation can easily be tutored out in Round 3 with Tactical Decision or War Council.

 

Good against:

This is a pointslam deck. That means that any control-heavy deck is a good matchup. Single Ball and most SK decks are typically pretty biased in your favor. Double Ball can be tricky because the deck does not run Bomb Heaver.
Bad against:

Hidden Cache Passiflora is rough because they have answers for Ciri: Nova, like Kalkstein, Korathi’s Heatwave, or even Philipa Eilheart. NR is also bad matchup since you won’t have enough answers to deal with their engines.

 

Cards replacements:

If you want to play safer, you can swap Urcheon of Erlenwald for Imperial Golem. If you want to play greedier, swap him for Treason.
Tourney Joust can be replaced with Pact, and a copy of Assassination can be replaced with Alzur’s Thunder or Adrenaline Rush.

Monsters - Aggro Pointslam | Force of Nature

This deck brings me back to the good old days. Not a scenario in sight, just monsters thriving in the moment. Popularized by Scilex, this deck is as simple as it gets:
Play Thrives.
Play big minions.
Bury your opponent in a mountain of points.
This is the original tempo deck, and the overarching goal is to apply as much pressure as possible to your opponent. It’s reliance on bleeding makes it deceptively hard to play, as some matchups require pretty daring pushes in Round 2 that can blow up in the face of an unskilled player. That being said, if you’re looking to improve your Round 2, this is the deck to do it with. Exceedingly simple and straightforward, it will let you focus on learning the ins and outs of the bleed.

It’s biggest weakness is the lack of tech options, a common theme for devotion lists. As a faction, MO is particularly weak in this regard, so don’t expect to be doing anything fancy in terms of counters.
If you’re the sort of person who goes through rather than around, this is the deck for you.

 

Gameplan:

Mulligan:
Drawing Ge’els or Red Riders so you can thin out Ice Queen Round 1 is your number one priority. After that, you generally want to play one of your big boys (Yghern, Golyat, Speartip) Round 1 so Ozzrel can eat it later. So mulligan for them, as well. It sometimes makes sense to mulligan away Wild Hunt riders Round 1, as it frees you up to mulligan aggressively for more important cards. It can also let you pull them with Auberon. Mulliganing Wild Hunt Riders in Round 1 is *not* a play that makes sense every single game, just an option you should be aware of.
Endrega Larva is also important to consider. Even though it’s only worth five provisions, it’s one of the most important cards in the deck, easily playing for ten points or more given a long enough round. That being said, you generally only want one in your opening hand. If your opponent gives you the space to set up two in the opening rounds, great. But if they don’t, playing larva late in the round is very low tempo, and almost never recommended. This deck is meant to be aggressive, and the last thing you need is a dead card in your hand that will force you to stop pushing and pass, especially going second. It’s a very important card, and it feels terrible to throw it away, but sometimes it’s worth it.

Round 1
Set up your Thrive units, including Ice Queen, when you can maximize frost procs, and follow up with big units. You want to use at least one big gold unit as described in the mulligans, but ideally no more than that. With a strong Thrive core, cheap bronzes like Aen Elle Conqueror and Kikimore Worker play for massive tempo, and should be used as much as possible to apply efficient pressure in Round 1. This deck’s strength is in its ability to bully the opponent into wasting key cards before Round 3, so you should be playing as aggressively as possible, especially if you think you can win on even going second.

Round 2
Push as hard as possible, even if you lost Round 1. You can outempo your opponent with the right cards, so don’t be afraid to commit cards like Yghern or Ozzrel, depending on the removal your opponent has access to, to put them on the back foot. You would be surprised at how many free wins this will get you. When mulliganing after a lost r1, you may want to throw out low tempo thrive units as playing them early can give your opponent an opportunity to pass, and playing them late can shift initiative to your opponent, maybe even letting them 2-0 you. Use your best judgement.
Assuming you did win r1, push like crazy as well. This is a lot easier if you get to decide when to pass, as it lets you set up a couple thrive units to help your push. The only card you should really avoid spending here is Auberon, but even that’s not off the table in some situations. To be clear, you do want to have your big units in r3, but it’s just as valid to spend them in r2 to force your opponent to burn a scenario or a combo piece. Push hard, but don’t burn high value cards without a plan.

Round 3
Play thrive units and then big units to proc them. The biggest consideration is the kind of removal your opponent has. If they have boost resets, play Ozzrel later. If they have general tall removal, try to protect Golyat if you have it. Pretty straightforward.

 

Matchups:

Mirror: Play as efficiently as possible. Since neither of you run much removal, this match up is decided entirely by how many points you have available in r3.

Northern Realms:

NR, especially when it runs shieldwall, has access to lots of tall removal that’s a nightmare for you to deal with. Try to secure last say so your Ozzrel can dodge Baron, and try to play Golyat before r3. While in r3 a duel win against Golyat is game losing, most NR players won’t do that in earlier rounds to avoid pulling high value cards they need to save like Viraxas and Baron. Try to play Yghern with more than 5 armor. As long as it’s out of range of Boiling Oil it’s pretty safe against large duels, as if Yghern runs out of armor it finishes the duel before dying, normally destroying the other duelist even if it was shielded. Save WH Bruiser to brick Vysegota, and consider swapping a Kikimore Worker out for a second copy if you run into this match up often.

Bleed or not?
Yes, highest priority is getting them to burn Donimir so you can answer Vysegota. You may not want bleed too aggressively, as their numerous tall removal options mean you may have to rely on thrive procs to carry r3. It may even make sense to play your tall units in r2 since they’ll just be dueled anyway, saving Auberon as your finisher.

Who will win?
This is easily your worst match up. It’s the strongest deck in the game, and it’s a hard counter to your gameplan. Do your best, but you are very much not favored here.

Scoia’tael:

Play WH riders at your first opportunity to do so, because Symbiosis is one of the only decks in the game that routinely plays units taller than yours. Watch out for Heatwave when playing big units. It’s normally unavoidable, but keep in mind that if you play a big unit on a board full of thrives, your opponent experiences a loss of tempo by removing it. The same goes for using damage spells on Yghern. If you abuse this you can keep your opponent on the backfoot.
Bleed or not? Yes, but be careful. They have Gord and handbuff, and can sometimes go toe to toe in explosive short rounds.

Who will win? They have decent removal and a respectable short round. However, what they really have over you is points. Considering Thrive MO offers little utility, a deck that slam more points is dangerous. This match up is winnable if you manage to bleed effectively, but challenging for sure.

Monsters: Many people have learned to watch out for Manticore early in the round, but the nature of your thrives means units that were once blocking a big Manticore are now prime targets. Try to play around it using Ge’els. OH charges can be used to augment tempo in earlier rounds, so don’t be too sure that you can bury their tempo.
Bleed or not? It’s crucial to force them to burn Haunt in r2 since you’re playing devotion and have no artifact removal.

Who will win? Overwhelming Hunger is slightly favored here due to higher point ceiling, but this matchup is exceedingly winnable if they let you take r1 and bully them in r2.

Skellige: Beware SK’s tall removal. Cards like Morkvarg and Hjalmar can completely nullify your tempo advantage and outvalue you in r3. For this reason, Golyat is an especially risky play while your opponent has a Greatsword in their graveyard. Worst case, Hjalmar kills it and it pulls the other Greatsword from their deck, resulting in a twenty three point tempo swing. So try to play Golyart in r1. Save your movement cards for An Craite Longship. It also makes sense to use Apiarian Phantom’s order immediately after playing it, as it is easily removed by Stunning Blow.
Bleed or not? Absolutely. Veteran cards are literally worse in earlier rounds, and if you can manage to bleed out important cards like Harald, Morkvarg, or Hjalmar, you’ll be a heavy favorite to win r3.

Who will win? This one is pretty even, and pretty much depends on how you play around their tall removal. This includes getting last say, so as always fight hard for r1.

Nilfgaard: Ball: Playing thrive units early on can often force your opponent to poison smaller units. This deck has a crap shortround, so pressure them into burning Ball and win. Watch out for Yenvocation. Try to separate your larva so infiltrator can’t hit both before they’re buffed.

Hyperthin: This deck has intimidating tempo burst in r1, but if you keep pushing they run out of steam much more quickly than you. They lack tall removal before r3 as long as you play around Treason, and if they draw poorly they will often crumple under pressure. Pushing for a 2-0 is often the smartest play.
Bleed or not? Both should be bled aggressively.

Who will win? Hyperthin – You’re heavily favored.

Ball – You’re slightly favored. Your overall strategy of tempo aggression is difficult for them to deal with, but cards like ‘yenvocation’ and Ball can punish your tall cards enough to take the game.

Syndicate: Syndicate wins the long round. You win the Short round. This is just about as straightforward as a matchup gets. Play as aggressively as possible in r1, because if it drags on their engines will start to get an advantage. Once you get them to burn Passiflora all you really have to contend with in the short r3 is Jaques.
Bleed or not? As aggressively as possible.

Who will win? You’re a heavy favorite here, just pressure them and if they make the slightest mistake you’ll be in a position to win.

 

Win conditions:

Play little cards then play big cards. Auberon can proc thrive twice, so make sure to play him as early as possible so he can still double proc even if he rolls low strength units.
If you have both WH riders in your deck, a rider discovered by Auberon will summon both of them.
If you play Endrega Larva to the left of something (including a stratagem), the other one will spawn on the other side.

Good against:

NG Hyperthin, Passiflora

 

Bad against:

Shieldwall

 

Cards replacements:

Kikimore Worker -> Drowner/Wild Hunt Bruiser/Naglfar’s Taskmaster

If you feel like you need more tech, this is how to get it. Drowner is pretty greedy in my opinion, it gets removed immediately. Even if it doesn’t its role as movement tech often forces you to play it later in the round, reducing its potential.

Taskmaster is a potential choice if you need a purify. Purifying defender can help in the NR match if you also have movement tech in hand to deal with Vysegota. SY and NG Ball are pretty bad, and ST isn’t really running poisons, but if that changes this card could also help with that. It’s big enough to proc thrives, so like bruiser it doesn’t brick too hard when it’s ability is unused.

Kikimore Worker/Old Speartip: Awake -> Katakan/Cave Troll

This is a change I’ve been considering, but haven’t tested yet. While it’s nice to see Old Speartip back in action, it’s extremely pricey provision wise. Spreading out provisions has helped with consistency in devotion decks without access to Oneiromancy before, so it’s worth a shot here.
Katakan, like Werewolf Alpha, is tall enough to proc thrive, but plays for more tempo.
Cave Troll is helpful in matchups with tall removal, and has no problem proccing thrives.

Quest decks

Decks for fast progression of quests.

Play 60 Neutrals (2 RP):

Tactical Decision by supersonic_bat

The plan here is to basically play a tutor into another one and thin out your deck as much as possible. Also, some cards spawn and play other neutrals. I’ve been able to play about 23-24 cards per match with this, so it speeds up the quest a lot.

Play 40 Artifacts (2 RP):

Call of Harmony by supersonic_bat

Up to 16 artifacts can be played in a single match.

Classic decks

Decks popular for a long time, so they are worth investing scraps in.

Nilfgaard:

Ball deck (currently: Double Ball)

Northern Realms:

Shieldwall (currently: Triple Duel Shieldwall)

Monsters:

Pointslam (currently: Aggro Pointslam)

Win ratio

Stats from top 2840 pro rank players. Who played: 670480 games. Updated: 24.09.2020.

Northern Realms

Scoia'tael

Monsters

Skellige

Nilfgaard

Syndicate

Faction popularity

Skellige 20.38%
Scoia'tael 19.42%
Nilfgaard 17.40%
Northern Realms 17.29%
Monsters 16.5%
Syndicate 8.99%

Upcoming events

10-11 & 17-18 OctoberFalka’s Rebellion

1 October 10:00 a.m. CEST – season ends

1 October around 13:00 p.m. CEST – new season starts

Last interviews

Contributors

Writers, consultants and editors: BiggieO, Kozix, RacyMayhem, 9kjer, Gregor__, Bart933, Pawloex, Ibas94, DajdekS, darthlothins, EmpressBlackSun, Crythene, Ecuros, Rby, Chavou and Trav.

Manager: KissAndRun

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