Meta snapshot #9 | Update #3 - November - 16.11 - Season of the Mahakam

[16.11] Update #3: added video to Triple Duel Shieldwall and Congregate, new win ratio, and popularity stats.

[13.11] Update #2: added video to Schirru Precision Strike deck, new win ratio, and popularity stats.

[11.11] Update #1: 1 new deck, new win ratio, and popularity stats.

[06.11] Release: 5 new decks, 11 updated decks to current meta, extended deck description, mulligans and win condition info, new matchups & gameplan info, new win ratio, and popularity stats.

 

Tier 1

Monsters - OH Non-Devotion | Overwhelming Hunger | 4.25 stars

This deck is excellent for Coin Abuse – your Bronze cards generate Tempo, and you can make use of Yghern as well as Golyat in Round 2. In most cases, this deck’s greatest advantage is a short Round 3. Your Scenario in combination with Deathwish cards can also generate plenty of Tempo, though Ozzrel is best saved for Round 3. A note: you can play Haunt in Round 2 if you need to Bleed your opponent hard, or push for a 2-0.

Gameplan:Mulligan:

For Round 1, your best draws are:
● Endrega Larva
● Wild Hunt Rider
● Foglet
● Yghern
● Golyat

Miruna can also prove useful if more Control is needed in Round 1. In Round 3, your goal is to have in hand:
● Ozzrel
● Haunt
● Dettlaf
● An additional Deathwish unit

 

Round 1

You need to aim to win Round 1 – make Tempo with your Bronze cards, as well as Yghern or Golyat.

Round 2
You’ll want to bleed Round 2 for a short Round 3.

Round 3
Having Ozzrel and Haunt is your best condition for winning.

 

Matchups:

Mirrors:
You’ll want to win Round 1 – having the ‘last say’ is important. This is due to Geralt and Heatwave – ideal for removing Tall Units and Scenario.

 

Scoia’tael:

Currently there are two Scoiatael decks high on the Competitive Ladder – Symbiosis and Precision Strike (with Sheldon). However, Symbiosis will be easier to deal with than Precision Strike since you’ll have an answer for opponents’ Hamadryads and Gord (Geralt and Heatwave).Generally, we’ll only need to be worried about opponent’s having Heatwave, which they’ll likely target Haunt with. However, Ozzrel and your other Deathwish units can easily make-up for the loss of potential points.

Precision Strike is more of a Control deck, so it will be harder to win unless you end up with Red Coin. If you win Round 1 with one card down, make sure to have a ‘last say’ in Round 3. While shorter rounds will play in your favor, pass in Round 2 to ensure your ‘last say’.
Bleed or not? A short Round 3 in matchups against Symbiosis works in your favor, and so Bleeding your opponent is going to be your main strategy. A ‘last say’ proves important because opponents’ Gord will need to be Removed with either Geralt or Heatwave.
If against Precision Strike, short rounds are also ideal – but having the ‘last say’ is critical. You’ll have less opportunities to Bleed your opponent in Round 2, so the game will come down to a tactically played Round 3.
Who will win? You’ll have the advantage against Symbiosis, but Precision Strike will have the edge on you.

Skellige:Skellige will prove to be the most challenging matchup for you, and opponents will have many answers to your cards. Morkvarg can easily remove Ozzrel and other Tall Units, potentially Boosting Greatswords at the same time. Your Scenario can also generate many units, which can be punished by Hemdall, which benefits from Rows filled with Units. Unfortunately, aiming for short or long rounds is going to depend on the value of your draws. The most ideal situation to be in is to have:
● Your Scenario
● Dettlaff
● Ozzrel
● The ‘last say’
Bleed or not? You should Bleed as much as will make for the Shortest Round 3 – having the ‘last say’ will also be critical. Note: playing your most valuable cards in Round 2 can easily come back to bite you, so you’ll need to play conservatively.
Who will win? Unfortunately, Skellige will be the favorite against you.

 

Nilfgaard:

Sadly, Nilfgaard looks to be one of the weaker Factions at the moment. Because of its lack of powerful Bronze Engines, a Round 1 victory should be straightforward. Your main strategy will be to Bleed your opponent – forcing them to waste their Masquerade Ball (if included in their list). Your Heatwave is best saved in case it needs to be removed in Round 3, but in the case their Ball isn’t drawn or included, you can play a more aggressive Round 3.
Bleed or not? Bleeding is ideal – especially to force Masquerade Ball to be wasted in Round 2.
Who will win? In a short Round 3, you’ll have a decisive advantage. A longer round may prove more challenging, but can still be won.

Syndicate:

Winning Round 1 is essential if you’re matched-up against a Congregate list. A short Round 3 will prove critical, here, because their strategy will involve swarming the board with Zealots. If you can deprive them of this, they will struggle against Haunt.

Unfortunately, it will be even more challenging to win against lists with Hidden Passiflora. Using Geralt in Round 1 to remove the Saul can be helpful to disrupt your opponent’s Tempo, letting you Bleed during Round 2. A short Round 3 will be key to preventing Passiflora from stacking-up points.
Bleed or not? You absolutely need to Bleed when up against Congregate and Hidden Passiflora.
Who will win? You’re likely to win on Short Rounds against Congregate if you save Haunt, but against Passiflora, you’ll require Dettlaff and other strong Deathwish Units as well.

 

Win condition:

Haunt, Dettlaff, and Ozzrel

Good against:

Symbiosis

Bad against:

Skellige Warriors

Cards replacements:

Geralt -> Adda: Striga/Imperial Manticore

Scoia'tael - Call of Nature | Nature’s Gift | 4.25 stars

Last patch didn`t affect Sybiosis deck. Its still one of the most solid deck in current meta. 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 and want play in each round. 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:
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)

Northern Realms - Triple Duel Shieldwall | Shieldwall | 4.25 stars

Midrange Northern Realms is almost on the top of the food chain thanks to the 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. 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. You can get additional Kerrack Frigate from Adalia. 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, Boiling Oil is very helpful to destroy the shields of cards  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. Don’t go too tall to avoid Baron hitting too hard. 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 (Blaze of Glory, 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 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 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:

Scoia’tael Symbiosis, Monsters OH

 

Bad against:

Nilfgaard Ball, Scoia’tael Precision Strike

 

Win condition:

Donimir + Vysogota, Anséis/Seltkirk + Viraxas

 

Cards replacements:

Ildiko instead of Donimir of Troy if the meta is less control-oriented

Skellige - Arnjolf | Patricidal Fury | 4.25 stars

Ever since the master mirror expansion Skellige warriors has been a very strong archetype and continues to be so even after continuous nerfs. Patricidal fury ability makes quite a good amount of points and activate bloodthirst (especially important in short rounds, when blood eagle may have problems with deathblow. With Hemdall it can be played for pure 11 points – quite good in long round and so good in short.

 

Mulligans:

In R1 You don’t want to have cards in your hand like:
Skjordal drummonds, ship if you have already 4 on hand, additional Heymey protector.Gutting slash if you have all raids in hand. Harald an Craite (Harald is extra powerful so Mulligan him only if you have access to blood eagle and other gold warriors in hand)
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, last say is more important than first play in most matchups.
Round 2
This deck have really powerful long round, so you should bleed only interactive swarm decks like Congregate and weak during bleed like hyperthin.
Round 3
Using Harald and leader ability with other gold warriors will give you so many points, which should be enough to win the match.

Good against:

ST Symbiosis, HC Passiflora, Precision strike without Shiruu

Bad against:
Congregate

Cards replacements:

War of clans, champion`s chargé, Gremist gigascorpion decoct

Tier 2

Monsters - Wild Scenario Hybrid | Overwhelming Hunger | 4.0 stars

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.

Foglet – thinning and points!

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.

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

After little boost Ghoul seems to be nice card to play for bleed.

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.

You can also try this non devotion version.

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, An Elle Conquerors,
Noonwraiths and Bruxa.
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.
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.
Thanks to new Harpy bonded skill you can spam more points in R1.

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 a very strong long round.

Skellige:
Bleed or not?
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.

 

Cards replacements:

Golyat -> Caranthir

Northern Realms - Blue stripes | Inspiring Zeal | 4.0 stars

Temeria. That’s what matters. Well, tempo and carryover also matter quite a bit, as it turns out.

Using Blue Stripes Scouts to spawn copies of your Commandos to be reused with Pavetta is a pretty old combo, but the consistency tools introduced with the master mirror expansion have made the archetype much more viable. That being said, the game plan is pretty much unchanged, but when the game does go to plan the deck is nearly unstoppable. Scouts play for eight points, and play for even more when spawned from Adalia, John Natalis (via reinforcements) or when tutored by Amphibious Assault. The ability to generate eight to twelve points of carryover while simultaneously crushing your opponent’s tempo in r1 will easily bring you to victory against an unprepared opponent.

However, the deck’s fatal flaw is that while Blue Stripes are an incredible win condition, they really are your only win condition. You have great tempo options for r1, but should you lose r1 by drawing poorly, or even just by matching against a particularly stubborn opponent, the game very well may be over. If your opponent manages to bleed your second Commando play in r2, you don’t have anything else to throw at them. Worse, if you don’t have access to your combo pieces in r2 you might not be able to stop them from two rounding you.

Overall, the deck is fine to ladder with, but would be most at home in a tournament environment. When going first, it’s explosive tempo options in r1 can seem a bit overkill, but when going second this deck is capable of winning on even cards. Considering the amount of carryover you generate by doing that, your opponent will be hard pressed to mount a comeback.

 

Mulligans:

Getting access to Roche: Merciless is your number one priority, as not only does he play for massive tempo while generating carryover, he also gives you two Commandos on the board with their order active, making it harder for your opponent to prevent you from summoning the extra copies you spawn with your scouts. Otherwise, you want as many scouts in your hand as possible to generate carryover. Bloody flail should be kept if you think your opponent will play a good target and you think you can get enough soldiers on the board quickly enough to be worth it.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
Set up your engines (drummers/frigates) then start spawning extra commandos.

Round 2

If you won r1 with lots of carryover, push hard. In most matchups, if you have 2-4 extra commandos banked, you don’t even have to worry about going a card down, just bleed as many of your opponent’s cards as possible. It’s also important to make sure you have access to your Commandos in r3 by saving tutors. If you lost r1, do everything within your power to protect your combo. If you can make it through the round without playing your commandos, you might turn the game around.

Round 3
If you’ve played r1 and r2 properly, r3 should be as straightforward as playing your combo.

 

Matchups:

Mirror:

A lot of this comes down to who puts more commandos in their deck and who goes first. Make sure to win r1.

Northern Realms:

This matchup feels almost like a mirror match in some ways, as both Uprising and Shieldwall use a similar engine core to your own deck. Make sure you have boiling oil/Flail to kill their engines in r1. Feel free to be greedy with your wide boards as Northern Realms rarely runs row punish, especially if it’s running devotion.
Bleed or not?
Bleed aggressively, looking for Viraxis, Anseis, and Phillipa/Falibor.

Who will win?
Again, this is basically a mirror match except your opponent’s win condition is both more flexible and more consistent. You aren’t favored here.

Scoia’tael:

Bloody baron will be sorely missed here. However, you still have Heatwave, and if you flood the board with soldiers fast enough Flail is great for killing Hamadryads. Try to play Voymir before your wide board can be punished by Toruviel.
Bleed or not?
Yes, but make sure you keep last say. If r3 is a short round where you can answer Gord with Heatwave, you basically just win.

Who will win?
Symbiosis has powerful engines, but your frigates can go toe to toe with them. A lot of this depends on who goes first and how many commandos you’re able to bank. I would say Scoia’tel is slightly favored just by virtue of being more flexible in their gameplan, but it really is anyone’s game.

 

Monsters:

Overwhelming Hunger is a tricky match up for a number of reasons, the first being Miruna. NR decks in general struggle with proactive plays that don’t play into her, as even the lowly Radovid’s Guard is devastating when stolen. If your opponent hasn’t played her yet, always try to play around her by starting the round with a Smoke Them Out. The second reason this matchup is difficult is it’s one of the few decks that can stand up to you in the short round. Cards like Golyat, Ozzrel, and Yghern can outvalue your commandos even when you highroll in some cases. Finally, Werecat is one of the few row punish cards run in this meta, and can be pretty painful. Avoid being greedy with you Voymir, as if you play it before their werecat you can mitigate the damage significantly.
Bleed or not?
Yes, but be very cautious. Again, Monsters has one of the better shortrounds in the game, so you can’t be as aggressive here as you are in other matchups. A good goal is to at least bleed their scenario, especially if you already used your Heatwave on Yghern to prevent Ozzrel from eating it.

Who will win?
You’re not favored here. Overwhelming Hunger is a strong deck in a vacuum, but it also has several cards that counter you pretty badly. That said, this matchup is absolutely winnable, especially if you’re going second.

 

Skellige:

Bleed or not?
Yes. Skellige has a better longround than you, and their veteran cards are literally worth more points when played in r3. You’re looking to bleed Harald, Hemdall, and Hjalmar mostly, but feel free to be aggressive.

Who will win?
This matchup feels pretty even. If you win r1, you can bleed aggressively and put them off balance, but they also have cards like Hemdall and Hjalmar that can play for massive value. Whether or not you go first will probably contribute a lot to deciding who wins.

 

Nilfgaard:

Getting Roche: Merciless in r1 is especially important here to get an extra commando on the board, allowing you to summon a commando spawned in your deck before your commandos on the board are removed. Both Masquerade decks and hyperthin decks are extremely vulnerable to bleeding, so go all out in r1 to make that happen.
Bleed or not?
Masquerade should be bled aggressively for scenario and Usurper, Hyperthin should be two rounded if possible.

Who will win?
You’re favoured against either deck.

 

Syndicate:

Hidden Cache is dependent on long rounds, so if you win r1 you should be golden. Make sure to set up your engines in r1, and keep Flail and Boiling oil handy to remove theirs. As always, be careful of Phillipa.
Bleed or not?
Go ham in r2. You should at least look to get them to play Passiflora, but if you can get Jaques they have very little chance of winning a short r3, even a card up.

Who will win?
Blue Stripes is exactly the kind of tempo deck that Hidden Cache gets bullied by.

Good against:

Hidden Cache, Masquerade, Hyperthin

 

Bad against:

Overwhelming Hunger, Symbiosis

 

Win condition:

Blues Stripes Commandos

 

Cards replacements:

Adalia->Renew
Bloody Flail->Ballista/Squirrel/Temple Guard

The renew version of this deck solves its weakness to being bled r2, but in exchange it adds another (very expensive) combo piece into a deck that can already be a little inconsistent. If you run renew, expect the deck to become much more highroll, winning and losing by much higher margins.

Northern Realms - Revenant control | Mobilization | 4.0 stars

If you don’t want to play boring old Shieldwall or Commandos, Revenants are a very good way to play NR right now. With most decks lacking enough control tools to stop the revenant swarm, the deck is pretty powerful at the moment. The goal is to use revenants to get control of the first round to make sure you get last say in round 3. In the final round, the deck can play extremely reactively denying the opponent removal value, or it can set up the engines first then start removing everything with additional revenants being spawned every turn. Your leader ability is best used on Redanian Archers in the final round, since it’s very useful for setting up Revenants, Forbidden Magic and Falibor. Adalia is used to create additional Archers, Triss is used to create Forbidden Magic, Forbidden Magic is used to create additional Revenants and Ronvid is used as fodder for the Revenants. Amphibious Assault is also helpful to get your Revenants out and make them stick well in the process.

 

Mulligans:

In round one, try to keep at least two ways to play Revenants. Fish for Amphibious Assault and Falibor. Since you’re looking to drypass in round 2, fish the strong high provision cards and mulligan away your bad bronzes. Keep in mind that Adalia needs NR unit and your leader needs a soldier. The round 3 mulligan is actually similar to round 2, just fish for your best cards and kick out bronzes but still keep in mind that Adalia and your leader ability need to have a target.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
The deck really needs to win this round. Push this round hard with your control tools and revenants. Don’t be afraid to commit Curse of Corruption if your opponent plays TA on an engine or to use Falibor to secure the round. Kerrack Frigate also helps a lot with securing the first round. If you want to play both echo cards, play Onieromancy first to bait out Squirrel, because AA is broken.

Round 2
If you won round 1, dry pass. If you lost round 1 and if you’re being bled, you can commit your heavy cards to get ahead. With a reactive deck like this, being bled isn’t that bad and it’s easy to set up card advantage for round 3.

Round 3
If you know your opponent’s deck is control heavy with interactions on your side of the board, you can try being a ‘no unit’ deck with cards like Rockslide, Heatwave, Boiling Oil to deny them control value. Otherwise play Adalia, use mobilization and set up engines.

 

Matchups:

Mirror: You are unfavoured if going first but it is winnable sometimes through using Tactical Advantage well. This gives you enough points to win the first round and then in the second round just bleed your opponent with all you might.

Northern Realms:

There are 3 common NR decks right now:
Revenant control, which is a mirror.
Inspired Zeal Commandos, the deck that can bully you on red coin since the tempo it creates with Roche Merciless is just insane so beware of that.
Shieldwall, the deck you are definitely favoured against, most of the time you should be happy seeing SW as you opponent.
You should bleed in a mirror because the person that sets up their engines first has the advantage, and if the engines are not answered they are favoured and against NR commandos because of Draug.

Shieldwall is one of the best matchups, you are favoured by a lot.
Mobilization is a mirror so chances are 50-50, but whoever plays second in the first round has a small advantage.
Inspired Zeal is one of the decks where you are not favoured and winning this matchup might be difficult.

Scoia’tael:

There are 2 common ST decks played right now on ladder:
Symbiosis: You can remove most of the engines with your control tools, and Revenants can easily swarm thanks to treants.
Precision Strike: Huge control deck with lots of removal and a big finisher with leader ability so you definitely want last say against this one.
Bleed or not? You want a long round with your archers and revenants to shine.

Who will win? Symbiosis: Mobilization probably wins by a lot since it can remove all the engines.
Precision Strike: Depends on coinflip, usually whoever wins round one wins whole game.

Monsters:

Most of the time you will face a non-devotion Overwhelming Hunger deck so keep your Heatwave as every MO deck right now runs Haunt.
Bleed or not? Your long round is much better than theirs so you want a long round 3.

Who will win? Northern Realms are almost always favoured against Monsters but beware of red coin abuse with Miruna or Manticore.

Skellige:

Skellige right now has two ways to play, Warriors and Druids, so it is most likely you will face on ladder:
Battle Trance: this deck runs Gedyneith so try to keep your Heatwave, Pellar also might be helpful because of Defender. Curse of Corruption would be helpful to remove big Dracoturtle.
Patricidal Fury: Just focus on removing engines and denying bloodthrist, you will be fine.
Bleed or not? Do not bleed

Who will win? Battle trance matchup is actually close to 50-50.
Patricidal Fury has many ways to remove Revenants but most of the time will lack bloodthirst, Adalia is crazy good in this matchup.

Syndicate:

Syndicate can be played in one of two ways in the current meta:
Hidden cache with engine overload, in this matchup you can remove most of their stuff and make your opponent struggle for lack of engines.
Congregate: 2 power tokens are great food for Forbidden Magic and Revenants but most of the time you might be lacking enough removal. Also remember that Sacred Flame is an artifact and can be removed by Heatwave. Round one can be secured by a huge Curse of Corruption into a big Fallen Knight.
Bleed or not? Long round 3 is the way to go.

Who will win? I would say that against Hidden Cache you are fine and should win.
Congregate is a much closer matchup, your opponent is favoured here.

 

Good against:

MO, NR, SK

 

Bad against:

ST, SY

 

Win condition:

Mass removal and Archers + Revenants swarm

 

Cards replacements:

Triss, Pellar -> Cursed Knight, Philippa: Blind Fury
Any 4prov -> Squirrel

Syndicate - Cache Money | Hidden Cache | 4.0 stars

Hidden Cache has been the go-to Leader Ability for Syndicate ever since Wild Card was reworked, and Cache got a buff. This Leader is extremely strong passively, Making Passiflora, Peaches, Saul, Sea Jackal, Flying Redanian, and any hoard card quite powerful. Saul can deploy at 7 points, making him difficult to deal with – his passive 3 points per turn can grow extremely tall in a short period of time. Combined with engines like Peaches, Imke, and Sly Seductress , you can completely overload the board with engines, gaining up to 7 points, passively, per turn. To get the most out of these passive abilities, this deck is best used by playing into all three round, It works good with a heavy bleed in round 2 (if you can achieve control), but with powerful removals and engines deal really well in long round and during opponent`s bleed.. With a well-timed pass you can even get a card up on your opponent when they’re unable to answer to all your engines. Or, if they’re not respectful of your bleed. This deck also has an effective short round with Jacques de Aldesberg acting as a 12-point pointslam. Also, the fact that Jacques is both a spender and a pointslam makes him a versatile card. Pack of control tools like Philippa, korathi and poisons (with maraal, who is so difficult for opponent to answer. Sewer raiders are additional thinning card and should be used in R1, if possible. Vivaldi bank is the most efficient in R3, when you are able to not only take a card, which you want, but also gain extra profit. Azar can defend scenario from korathi and if you use him lately, save from opponent`s tall removals big saul or spender.

 

Mulligans:

You’ll want to mulligan cards like the Flying Redanian or Poison cards without a pair. This deck has a limited number of Blindeyes, which are all fairly low end – it’s advised that you take note of how many Blindeyes you have available to avoid bricking Passiflora.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
On blue coin you can get 7 coin without using cards (with strategem and ability), its enough to get flying redarian on your board. In some matchups unanswered kikimora warior can make really good points here. Thin yourself with Sewer Raiders and decide is it worth to push R1 in this matchup. On red coin you should in most games make a pression in R1 to win on even or get opponent important gold. Depending on the matchup, you can even consider committing Saul in round 1 but then you should try to win on even.
Round 2
Depending on matchup you have tools too bleed heavily with passi or defend opponents bleed and gain card advantage quite easily. If you won R1 try to time your passes well, and think about how easily your opponent can catch up. It requires a bit of thinking, calculation. If opponents bleed you and you have safe passiflora for R3 consider using Jacques and get card advantage. Remember that coins are your carryover in R3 so its good to save 8 if it is possible
Round 3
Most of the time, round 3 will be a short round for you – and the sequencing is most likely linear. If you were able to save your Jacques for Round 3, he can even single-handedly win you the game. Try to use your Leader Ability and get your Flying Redanian out before playing your last card for an extra value in the short round. If you were bleeded and saved passiflora situation i also really good.

 

Matchups:

Mirror: Think carefully about where/when Heatwave can best be used to mess up your opponent’s tactics., its important to win R1 then, to have first say in R2 and last in R3
Nilfgaard:
Because several of your units can grow to be quite tall, always assume your opponent has Poison or other removals up their sleeve. Play your Scarabs carefully, and use Philippa to spend coins without going too high. You should also try to bleed the opponent’s ball.

 

Good against:

Devotion Hunger

 

Bad against:

Skellige Warriors

 

Cards replacements:

Payday, Adriano, Oneyromancy

Syndicate - Congregate | Congregate | 4.0 stars

In this season Congregate is a solid option for Syndicate player. It has incredible long round potential and on red coin it is a destroyer. Ulrich + fallen knight unanswered can crush an enemy. Sacred flame and dies Irae have also incredible power in long rounds. Deck have good thinning and, in most games, player should have access to most golds. On the other hand, deck have problem with tall and row punishing

 

Mulligans:

Bare-Knuckle Brawler

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
Halfling Safecracker can be played for great amount of points (its 5-provision card!), on red coin player should push an opponent with Novigradian justice and protected fallen knights.

Round 2
Depending on matchup player can push with Whoreson senior or drypass to play long round 3.

Round 3
Play golds in right order (cards with Intermediate, spawning cards and finisher connected with amounts of unit)

 

Good against:

In red coin and nice draw, it doesn’t have big problems against any deck.

 

Bad against:

On blue coin it can have problems with shieldwall decks (tall removals and engines, because there aren`t any techs against defender) skellige ( row and tall punishing), Symbiosis, and precision strike, because of removals

 

Cards replacements:

Harald Gord

Tier 3

Skellige - Battle trance | Battle trance | 3.75 stars

Gedyneith can be really good if opponent doesn’t have answer for defender.
Thanks to discard package and Crow Messengers you have a lot of thinning.
Korathi is only response for Scenarios so it’s must have card in non devotion decks. Thanks to Sigrdrifa’s you can play Dracoturtle or your defender twice. Sigrdrifa’s Rite is good especially because you have Crowmother in your deck.
Svalblod’s Priests works really well with dracoturtle and passive ability – heal an unit by one point each time you use alchemy card
You have very good long round with scenario and Crow Clan Preachers and delicious finisher ->->-> Dracoturtle with leader ability.

 

Mulligans:

…Tuirseach skirmisher if you don’t have discard cards, second crow messenger, freaya`s blessing in R1

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
…Try to thinn your deck with discard package and crow messenger, play crowmother, because it backs to your board each time, you use alchemy card. Don`t be afraid to play svalblod priest and in certain situation defender or dracoturtle – you have strong interaction with your graveyard, by Sigrdrifa’s Rite and Freayas blessing.

Round 2
Bleed or pass, depending on matchup, most times you can play an alchemy card safety with 4p. carryover from crowmother.

Round 3
Watch out on removals and use your dracoturtle, defender, and Sigrdrifa’s Rite to avoid tall punishing, Crow clan Peacher with alchemy card makes an incredible amount of points in the long round, scenario and dracoturtle are powerful also in short R3.

Good against:
Swarm decks

Bad against:

Heavy control decks and Overwhelming Hunger with Yrden

 

Win condition:

Dracoturtle with Mardroeme, many crow clan peacher in one round

Cards replacements:

Freya’s blessing -> Armored Drakkar
Tuirseach Bearmaster -> Armored Drakkar
Gremist -> Raiding Fleet

Scoia'tael - Schirrú | Precision Strike | 3.75 stars

Ever since Master Mirror came out Schirru has come out of the meme tier too and has become an extremely strong control option and is especially strong against decks that end up having units at similar power levels. With the addition of cards like Circle of Life and Allgod, Schirru can even be buffed in hand or in deck to allow Schirrus at varying power levels depending on the matchup. This deck requires knowledge of different match-ups and where Schirru is usable and at what power, hence it is a difficult deck to pilot and requires high level game sense. However, if used correctly the deck can work very effectively against a lot of decks.

Mulligans:
You want to mainly mulligan bricks. This includes Sentinels, Schirru and (optionally) Volunteers. In later rounds, try not to be too aggressive with your mulligans since the deck has quite a few bricks. Sometimes, drawing into a brick can make the difference between a win and a loss. The deck is extremely consistent and can thin down to 1 card most of the time. However, it is a bit high-rolly since not drawing cards like Skaggs before round 2 can make it extremely awkward since Skaggs can brick easily. However, with Allgod it can be buffed in deck making it unbrick.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
In round 1 you mainly want to play for carryover. If you draw Skaggs and one or more agitators in round 1 it is the most ideal scenario for you since you generate a lot of carryover with this deck. You can commit your Allgod as well for the extra carryover. Usually Allgod is best used on the sentinels to get more leader value in a short round 3. However, it is also viable to buff your Volunteers in deck so you can get more point potential with Justice which can be extremely effective in defending the bleed.

Round 2
Most of the time you will be taking a long round with this deck. Schirru is extremely effective in being able to defend the bleed and a lot of the times you can get away with card advantage with a well-timed Schirru.

Round 3
A short round 3 is very nice for you since you will have your Gord finisher as well as a thick Skaggs to go along with it. However, with the amount of control options packed in the deck a long round is also very nice for you especially if your opponent plays an engine heavy deck.

 

Good against:

Skellige Warriors, Devotion NR

 

Bad against:

Symbiosis ST, Non-Schirru Precision Strike

 

Cards replacements:

Allgod -> Geralt of Rivia
Here is a similar deck that offers a lower point ceiling but is less high-rolly

Skellige - Lippy | Ursine Ritual | 3.75 stars

Lippy decks have been a staple for anti-meta enthusiasts since the day the card was released. It’s unique play style of reusing your most powerful cards is a lot of fun, and potentially very powerful if you high roll.

Typically, Gwent is about resource management. Round one is all about winning an advantage using as few of your most powerful cards as possible. However, Lippy flips this on its head, encouraging you to play as many high value cards as possible in r1 to make the most of his ability.

The fatal flaw in this strategy is that it depends heavily on how well you draw. Even with tons of consistency tools like Skalds, Oneiromancy, and even Royal Decree, you can still draw a poor hand and have a hard time winning the game. And if you lose r1 while piloting a deck balanced around having a massive advantage in r1… well, good luck is all I can say.

Though inconsistent, when you do highroll Lippy is extremely powerful, and even when you don’t you still have a solid bronze core of engines as a backup plan. Either way, this deck is a fun challenge for anyone lookinbg to break the meta.

 

Mulligans:

You’re looking for as many high provision cards as possible here, but your real priority is to draw Cerys. Be very careful not to brick your hand with shieldmaidens, Roach, or Knickers.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1

Go all out. Any gold you play here will be put back into your deck with Lippy, and you have very little chance of winning if you lose r1. Most people on ladder know that Lippy is doomed without r1, so expect them to contest the round harder than usual. Push hard and force them to pass.

Round 2
Ideally you’ve won r1, and your goal here is most likely to push. Lippy plays for a lot of tempo, and gives you the opportunity to draw into the high quality cards you played earlier without needing tutors to access them. If you got to spawn an extra Shieldmaiden with Cerys, you have the option of pushing for an extra short round

Round 3
Similar to r3, play your engines if you need them, finish with your burst.

Matchups
Mirrors:
This is really going to come down to who draws better in r1. Save heatwave for Vildkaarl/Champion of Svalblod.
Northern Realms:

You have little removal, so while it’s important to set up your engines in r1, whether or not you win the round will depend a lot more on whether you can create a burst of tempo large enough to force your opponent to pass. Be cautious about playing Svalblod Priests in r3, because Baron and shielded duelists can remove them easily. If the unit your priest was damaging isn’t an engine, the value swing produced by losing your priest may well be fatal to your chances of winning.
Bleed or not?
You probably want to bleed here. Since you lack removal, the only way to deal with especially greedy decks that include cards like Vysegota is to force your opponent to play them in r2.

Who will win?
NR is favored here. Their powerful engines make them resistant to r1 tempo swings, and with the right draw they can outvalue you even if you highroll.

 

Scoia’tael:

Against Symbiosis, make sure to set up your engines early. If anything, r1 is even more important because you need last say to heatwave Gord.

Against Precision Strike, be very careful about relying on Cerys to win r3 if they haven’t played Schirru yet. I really you want to bleed him out in r2, but if you can’t try to use Harald Houndsnout, Svalblod Priest, or leader ability to stagger your Shieldmaidens.
Bleed or not?
Bleed, but don’t just pay attention to important cards. Pay attention to whether your opponent is handbuffing so you can bleed that as well.

Who will win?
Both decks present problems. Symbiosis can bury you under engines, using leader charges to push in r1 without suffering too much later in the game. Precision Strike can remove your engines and counter Cerys. Overall difficult matchups, but very winnable if you get a good hand.

 

Monsters:

Not only is Overwhelming Hunger a strong deck, it also nullifies some of your strengths. A smart player will Commit Scenario to win r1 and simply bleed you in r2. Even if you do win r1, they have an explosive shortround that rivals even a buffed Cerys. Try to get Heatwave in your hand to deal with scenario and fight as hard as you can for r1, leaning heavily on your engines.
Bleed or not?
Depends on your hand, and what they’ve played so far. If they committed Golyat and Yghern in r1, you probably want to do some bleeding. If they haven’t played scenario yet, you definitely need to do some bleeding. Be cautious, but aggressive.

Who will win?
Overwhelming Hunger is a top tier deck better at doing things that are supposed to be your strengths, so this is a rough matchup.

 

Skellige:

Use heatwave on Greatswords to make sure they aren’t brought back by Harald or used by Hjalmar. Speaking of Hjalmar, many people make the mistake of using his to hit your Champion of Svalblod. Don’t forget to eat something with his order ability to fully heal if your opponent makes this error. Try to avoid stacking the row to avoid giving Hemdall too much value. Better yet, play Cerys in r3 with last say to deny your opponent a huge Hemdall.
Bleed or not?
Yes. Bleeding Skellige is usually a good idea, considering they have both solid engines and Veteran cards that are worse when played in earlier rounds.

Who will win?
Tossup. This really comes down to how well you draw, and whether you’re able to take r1.

 

Nilfgaard:

Be cautious about using Vildkaarl r1, as Yenvocation creates a devastating swing in tempo and carryover. If they’re running Amnesty or Sweers expect them to steal Roach or Knickers, not much you can do about that. Save heatwave for Ball. Otherwise, gameplan is pretty much the same, push r1 so you can push r2 so you can win a short r3.
Bleed or not?
Bleed aggressively, NG lacks the points to win a short round.

Who will win?
NG has some tools that make your life difficult, but they suffer from a lack of points that makes burying them in tempo r1 feasible. Once you do that, bleeding for a short r3 should net you the win.

 

Syndicate:

This matchup is tricky. You have little removal besides heatwave, which is ideally saved for Passiflora. Phillipa is also a thorn in your side, capable of stealing Knickers, Cerys or Roach. Make sure to set up your engines early in r1 to mitigate the points Hidden Cache will get with theirs. Be decisive about when you want to pass, and save your highest tempo cards to finish r1 and force them to pass.
Bleed or not?
Aggressively, especially if they haven’t played Passiflora.

Who will win?
It’s a tossup. You have the tempo to force a short r3, but winning r1 can be a challenge.

 

Win condition:

Lippy, Cerys

Good against:
Masquerade Ball

Bad against:

Overwhelming Hunger, Shieldwall

 

Cards replacements:

Nope.

Skellige - Warriors Skellige | Blaze of glory | 3.75 stars

After last patch BoG have similar power to Arnjolf and Rage of sea. Blaze of glory give access to remove any opponent engine. It can be used in same turn with Hjalmar and give opportunity to destroy exactly two engines in one turn. Veteran let you play bronzes in R3 with incredible power. There are powerful golds like Harald, Hemdall and Svalblod totem, Hjalmar skjordal, war of clans and stunning blows + many other damage cards give you opportunity to dominate opponent side. In addition deck have brilliant thinning with blood eagle, vabjorn and raiding fleet and probably in most games you will be able to play all core golds.

 

Mulligans:

Sometimes skjordal in R1 if you have access to eagle, war of clans in R1, additional an craite raider in R1.

 

Gameplan:

Round 1
Try to win the round as cheap as possible.
Round 2
In some matchups you want to bleed opponent, Svalblod totem is a brilliant card here.
Round 3
You have big chance both in long and short round, you try to play many removals in R3 so try to have last say and control opponents play.
Matchups:Mirror: Morkvarg is rather useless card in this matchup, Svalblod totem is better than usual and should be saved for R3 if possible.

Northern Realms:
Shieldwall is danger opponent, but with additional removal from leader ability you should be able to cope with defender and core engines.
Bleed or not? NR always have strong long round, so bleeding is good option.
Who will win? If you cope with defender and destroy core engines you should win, because duel aren`t extra powerful against skellige. If defender stay alive you will have big problems to win.

Scoia’tael: Symbiosis has many tall units, perfect aim for your removals, the most important is to secure last say, because powerful gord is the most dangerous opponent tool
Precision strike without shiruu is rather easy matchup, precision strike with shiruu can be problematic, because many of your cards have 4-5-6 power.
Bleed or not? I highly recommend bleeding if you seems to see shiruu, against symbiosis big hemdall and removals win long round for you.
Who will win? Scoiatel is rather easy matchup, but shiruu can surprise you with great value.

Monsters:
Monster doesn’t have many engines and it decrease your removal potential
OH have similar pointslam power to skellige in current meta, miruna can be especially painful if you lost drakkar.
Carapace is difficult matchup, because good player can use strong side of this deck to dominate game. Don`t be afraid to use leader ability on red coin to destroy enemy ciri.
Bleed or not? Against OH you have stronger long round, but opponent would try to long R1 in most cases – and often be able to do that)
Carapace also should be bleeded, because unanswered carapace in long R3 is extremely powerful
Who will win? If you realize your gameplan you should be able to win, if you don`t win R1 you might have problem.

Skellige: Other skellige matchups are quite similar to mirrors, try to use your strong sides and keep core golds if possible
Nilfgaard:
Ball list are playing with different have some strong golds cards, but poisons shouldn`t find enough tall aims to be danger.
Hyperthinn is a bit different than other lists, but strong removals aren`t extra powerful against sk
Bleed or not? You should bleed an enemy as long as he play a ball
You can bleed hyperthinn to last card, because this deck may have problems in R2
Who will win? You should win against NG

Syndicate:
Cache Passiflora have many engines, which can be counter easily. Congregate have strong round potencial, but you can counter fallen knight easily and hemdall can destroy zealots.
You win long round against cache and lost against Congregate.
However you draw correctly and bleed you have chance to win.

Good against:

Ball, Hypethinn, Symbiosis, HC passiflora

Bad against:

Congregate, Patridical fury

 

Win conditions:

Your gold cards pack give you opportunity to play so flexible and find weak sides of opponent.

 

Cards replacements:

Morkvarg -> Tyrgvi if you play many mirrors

Northern Realms - Devote | Uprising Devotion | 3.75 stars

Once the only viable NR leader ability, Uprising has become the red-headed stepchild of Boost decks since shieldwall was added to the game. Though Shieldwall received a nerf in the latest patch, two of the three provisions it lost came from cards that are auto-include in Uprising anyway, so there is little reason to think this is going to change. That being said, Uprising is a powerful deck in its own right, even if it is a slightly weaker version of Shieldwall. It may not have Shieldwall’s ridiculous removal, but it does have a powerful proactive value tools that are more than capable of burying your opponent.

 

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:

Mulligan: As always, your number one priority is securing Amphibious Assault or John Natalis. Next, secure Frigate and a means of protecting it (Radovid’s guards, Adalia) so it can stick around long enough to win r1. Finally, any card higher than 9 provisions (Anseis, Baron, Viraxas, ect) should never be thrown away, as since they can’t be pulled by AA you have no tutor for them. That being said, you generally don’t want to play them r1, so drawing all of them in the first round can actually pose a problem if you need last say.

Round 1
Lean heavily on your frigates to generate value without committing too many provisions. Adalia can be used to generate another frigate, but besides that your goal should be to flood the board with volunteers, Voymir to boost them, and push with a scytheman. Committing cards like Reynard and Anna is acceptable, but your bronze package can generate lots of points without involving your high end cards.

Round 2
If you lose r1, always respect the bleed. Don’t be greedy and try to avoid using your long round cards, because your most valuable cards are great in a short round anyway. If you won r2, the amount of bleeding you do varies quite a bit on matchup. Be aware that if you’ve drawn well (Viraxas, Anseis, ect), winning in two rounds against an opponent that doesn’t respect your bleed is very doable.

Round 3
Playing Viraxas early in order to take advantage of his ability to boost your soldiers, often resulting in a much bigger scytheman from your leader. However, you must be ABSOLUTELY SURE your opponent cannot remove him to do this. That being said, since this deck does not have access to shields, Anseis is often boosted once and used to remove a small engine early in the round, allowing you to take advantage of both of Viraxas’s strengths. Other than that, get as many units boosted as possible for a big leader scytheman.

 

 

 

 

Cards replacements:

Reynard Odo -> Donimir
Voymir->Vysogota
You can do this if you just feel like going ‘Full NR’ and playing a megagreed list. However, Vysegota is much harder to protect without shieldwall, and if you don’t have access to Donimir (or your opponent answers him), Vysogota is nearly guaranteed to be removed.

Nilfgaard - Impostor Ball | Impostor | 3.5 stars

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Masquerade Ball, to the horror of most of the community, has been a part of the meta in some way, shape, or form since its introduction, and by now I’m confident that anybody reading this is pretty familiar with how this deck is going to work.  Set up your engines, sling poisons, and win with a combination of removal and value.  However, with the recent Leader ability reworks NG single ball has seen its options for leader abilities narrow.  You have a choice between Lockdown(for the sadists) and Impostor.  Impostor is actually in an incredible position to answer the current meta.  While lock is typically fairly weak, Impostor’s ability to replicate cards has an abundance of powerful targets such as Anseis and Greatsword.  Finally, Masquerade Ball is a lot safer to play with the removal of most artifact tech, but you still have to watch out for Heatwave.

 

While the deck has a lot of trouble with proactive plays and some problems with consistency, it’s overall a decent control option that has some potential in a meta full of engine overload.

 

Gameplan:

Mulligan:

Preventing hunting pack from bricking is a priority, so make sure you don’t draw both of them and that you have something to apply a status to activate them.  Other than that, your mulligan priorities are Coup de Grace, Joachim, and Ball.  Remember, your only tutor is Roderick, so you should be trying to draw your important golds.

Round 1
Try to rely on your bronze core as much as possible, but should you draw Coup de Grace it can give you quite a bit of tempo when combined with Joachim. The last say is important, as well as avoiding a painful bleed in r2.

Round 2
If you’re being bled, avoid being greedy by holding on to Scenario.  If they bleed you into a short round it will be difficult to make sure you can activate it anyway, and you risk losing in two rounds.  It’s better in this situation to rely on Usurper/fergus and bronze engines to win r3, as they are much more forgiving of missing combo pieces.

Round 3
If you have scenario, try to save it until later in the round if possible to secure better poison targets. However, don’t do this at the expense of playing Fergus/Usurper without Dames on the board, as they both generate a lot of points.

 

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 heatwave. ST force of nature is also tricky because they often run heatwave.

Monsters - The Dragon’s Flames | Carapace | 3.25 stars

Since magpie131’s usage of the deck in the Gwent Open qualifiers and going undefeated through the entire bracket with the deck, this Keltullis/Ciri control-oriented deck has been making the rounds on ladder. The main objective of the deck is to abuse the card advantage mechanics of both the Ciri, combined, potentially with the Carapace leader (which gives the Ciri card(s) veil, making them immune to locks) and then manage to enter a long round 3 with Keltullis burning your opponent’s units left and right. The deck has a lot of control options like Heatwave, Imlerith’s Wrath and smaller damage outputs like Natural Selections and Alzur’s Thunders which can be good to remove units like Kerack Frigate and swarm-based cards that can deny your Keltullis a lot of potential value. Alongside them, you also have cards like Pact, Adrenaline Rush that play into your no-unit, or rather few-unit strategy which allows your Keltullis to get more value.
Gameplan:

Mulligan:

In round 1, you want to have as playable of a hand as possible. Round control is extremely important for this deck as getting bled can make your combo very awkward and you can be forced to play out something important like Keltullis on the bleed which results in you having close to no point output in the third round. Drawing into your Ciri cards is extremely beneficial and it is recommended to mulligan aggressively for the same reason since the Ciri cards mean that you can end up losing the round two cards up, or even better, winning on even. Foglets are your only “bricks” in this deck so do be careful about bricking them while mulliganing.

Round 1

Your basic plan is to try and play high tempo in the form of Yghern, pact, Endrega warriors into Foglets, Adrenaline rush to force your opponent out of the round. Having Ciri dash can be extremely beneficial since if the opponent is unable to answer the card you can end up winning the round on even (if on blue) or winning the round a card up (if on red).

Round 2
Most of the time you should not be playing heavily into round 2, if you have a good enough hand you can consider going for a 2-0 if you feel like your opponent has an awkward hand. However, your main goal is to take the long round 3 because of the points potential you have in it.

Round 3
At this point most of your gameplay will likely be pretty linear, you should get down Kelly as soon as possible. Strays of Spalla is a pretty good tech against movement cards so try to keep access to it if you feel like your opponent can play movement.

 

Cards replacements:

Strays of Spalla -> Adrenaline Rush
The Beast and Adrenaline Rush -> Alzur’s Double Cross and Noonwraith

Honorable mentions

Northern Realms - Siege Archers | Mobilisation

Very strong engines based NR deck that can potentially wipe out your opponent’s entire field. It focuses on using Redanian Archers and Kaedweni Revenants to whittle down enemy units while bolstering your own field simultaneously. Multiple ways to play either of them are also included in Amphibious Assault, Adalia, Necromancy, Reinforcements and Forbidden Magic. So don’t be afraid to play a few in the early rounds.

Siege was added to provide burst damage or a strong finishing move in the final round.

Round 1: Start out slow and focus on your bronzes. Mantlet can protect everything that comes after it. If needed you can use Adalia to get a headstart or use Amphibious Assault + Kaedweni Knight or even Siege to grab that first round. Don’t be afraid to play Archers or Revenants now, you can play plenty in the last round as well.

Round 2/3: You want to avoid going into a short final round, the only way to get out of that would be to have a perfect hand to setup Siege.

Setup your Archers first combined with Mobilisation and then play Dandelion protected by Donimir if possible. Those last two can both be pulled by AA if you still have it. Dandelion boosts all Archers automatically and can spiral out of control quickly. Vysogota also benefits from this setup but I usually like to play the Archers first. Korathi should be used to take out defenders so you keep having targets or take out a scenario.

Playing Siege as your final 3 cards takes people by surprise and adds that little bit of chaos that gives you the win in most cases.

Win ratio

Stats from top pro rank players. Who played: 439588 games. Updated: 16.11.2020.

Northern Realms

Scoia'tael

Monsters

Skellige

Nilfgaard

Syndicate

Faction popularity

Skellige 21.52%
Monsters 21.06%
Scoia'tael 19.87%
Nilfgaard 13.44%
Northern Realms 13.79%
Syndicate 10.31%

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Writers, consultants and editors: BiggieO, Kozix, 9kjer, Gregor__, Olsmer, KenzoSR, Darthlothins, TroVNut, ggChucho, EmpressBlackSun, Crythene, Ecuros, Chavou and Jollyish.

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