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Guide – Seesaw

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series, covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we display the date of creation, so that you can retrace what may have changed in the game since then. Feel free to adjust the decks with new cards or old cards that you like better and have fun! – MAIN PAGE

On the end of the player’s turn, damage player’s odd power units by 1. Boost player’s even power units by 1.

The Seesaw seasonal mode was introduced in the season of the dryad and it rewards proper alignment of unit strength by the end of each round. It’s self-explanatory that you want to aim for as many boosts and as little damage as possible, but there can be many end-of-round effects, so first let’s talk about the sequencing.

The seasonal boost or damage is what is coming first, all the other effects will follow. So if we take the example of a common boost-self-by-1-engine on even power, it will first gain one point for the even power, then one point from its engine ability, effectively boosting it by two. However, if the unit has an odd power, it will first lose one power due to that, before gaining that one power back, leading to stagnation. For all units that are not engines, the mechanics of vitality and bleed work in the very same way. Shields and armor will be affected by this as well, but they only serve as a delay for the remaining damage that’s coming in on uneven power, unless the shields or armor are part of an engine mechanic.

So with this in mind, your first objective is to get your units on even power and the opponent’s units on odd power as efficiently as you can. Your main weapon are all abilities that should boost or damage by an uneven amount, otherwise you wouldn’t change the alignment. Northern Realms has a lot of engines that can serve you well here, while Skellige offers rainy weather and some more types of small damage pings. Scoia’tael has a lot of vitality to use and Monsters can bring bleeding, however the latter is easier to deny. Syndicate of course has its spenders and Nilfgaard may also find a way, even if it’s just its assimilate cards. There are many options, give them a try!

Guide – Power Shift

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display the date of creation, so that you can retrace what may have changed in the game since then. Feel free to adjust the decks with new cards or old cards that you like better, and have fun! – MAIN PAGE

At the start of the match, set the power of every unit in your starting deck to its provision cost.

In the Season of the Griffin, the seasonal mode called Power Shift was introduced. The rules that it offers are rather simple and the main effect is a shift in the balancing of the cards that you can use. There are cards that exceed their provision cost in strength and have a little effect or a drawback for this, so these cards shouldn’t be played here. And then there are cards that have a base strength way below their provision costs and a strong ability instead. These are the ones that you should consider while building your deck. That includes a lot of neutral cards like Sunset Wanderers, Roach, Knickers, Vivienne: Oriole, Gascon, Saer Qu’an, Witcher Trio, and many more. You can always include those as fillers according to the provisions that are available. The high supply in viable neutral cards allows for functional decks with very few synergies, if you want to go for that.

But faction specific strategies and cards are making a difference as well, of course. Monsters can utilize the higher base strength well for consume decks. The good cards for this used to be Detlaff: Higher Vampire, Ruehin or even the old Ciri: Nova. I guess nowadays it just would be Viy. Nilfgaard, Syndicate, and Scoia’tael should be able to gain good bronze value with poison cards, and each of these factions will also find high value gold cards. And I’m sure that there’s also something for Northern Realms and Skellige as well, such as decks with witcher synergies, for example. But when you go and create your own lists, keep in mind that the altered strength only applies to the units in your starting deck. Anything that you spawn or create will have its original base power.

In a short time, I’ve built a nice Tactical Decision list that thins very well and makes Rience exceptionally powerful. Other decks may follow soon.

Guide – Banished

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series, covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display the date of creation, so that you can retrace what may have changed in the game since then. Feel free to adjust the decks with new cards or old cards that you like better and have fun! – MAIN PAGE

After the mulligan phase, banish both players’ decks. Whenever a card appears in any deck, banish it.

The Banished seasonal mode came to the game as the second mode in the Season of the Bear. It somewhat throws you back to open beta, where you were able to just drypass in round one without any severe penalty. But while the banished deck allows you to pass anytime you want, you also rely solely on the cards that you draw in round one.

To assist with this, you need to cut all the tutors that usually give your deck the desired consistency and instead make sure that you can somehow utilize all the cards on their own. That means a relatively even distribution of provisions among all units is recommended, unless you are particularly lucky. Thus, I would say that decks built around Ciri: Nova should be pretty okay here in general, especially since carryover is more powerful in short rounds. And the last round can be really short, because of no redraws.

As we know, there’s one faction in particular that has a lot of deck interaction, and that is Nilfgaard. While some cards like Kolgrim or all kinds of Viper Witchers would be fairly pointless, there are some cards that lose their drawback entirely, such as Tibor Eggebracht, Vilgefortz, or Imperial Golem. This alone makes Nilfgaard a very popular faction in this seasonal mode. I built a deck that reflects many aspects of this mode and also targets the mirror match pretty hard, so it’s a good one to start with. I’m not yet sure if other factions can keep up with Nilfgaard here, but let’s see… maybe there’s more to come.

Guide – Double Down

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes, each with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we display the date of creation, so that you can retrace what may have changed in the game since then. Feel free to adjust the decks with new cards or old cards that you like better and have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Whenever you play a unit from your hand, play a unit with the same provision cost from your deck. Your starting deck is doubled in size at the start of the match.

This one was once connected to the Season of the Elves, and it’s very rewarding for good deckbuilders. Double Down can be very random with the units that are being played from deck, so all units that share the same provisions should have similar or at least compatible purposes. And if this is done well, it enables quick engine setups, particular two-card-combos or strong finishing moves. Another thing that favors engines here is the fact that few special cards are being played. So effectively, there is less control around.

Now what are the options that you can play? Assimilate is an obvious choice, since half your cards are not in your “starting deck”, so they will trigger the mechanic. One thing to note here is that all the duplicates are non-premium cards. So if you play a deck with full premium cards, you can distinguish the assimilate triggers from the starting deck cards.

But this mode is more than just Nilfgaard. Northern Realms have great engines and Pincer Maneuver in combination with an early double Erland brings so much value. Monsters have a strong relict archetype and the crones are just awesome as a sixpack. Combine that with some quick thrive cards or maybe some rat clogging and you are good to go. And there is certainly much more, because all the greedy strategies are more likely to succeed. Have fun!

Guide – Battle Rush

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series, covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display the date it was created, so that you can see what may have changed in the game since then. Feel free to adjust the decks with new cards or old cards that you like better, and remember to have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Both players have just 8 seconds to complete their turn and 15 seconds to complete the redrawing phase.

Battle Rush really is a fan favorite and used to be part of the Draconid season. It is very fast paced and the games are significantly shorter, making it a great opportunity to gather daily crowns or progress leader masteries. While it doesn’t necessarily require specific deck building, it eliminates decks that have too many actions per turn. You also won’t have time to make too many considerations for each play, so it’s quite important that you have a bit of practice with your list and know which lines to play. Misplays come easier but it doesn’t bother you as much, you are just here to jam some games, right?

The easiest approach here are of course autopilot decks that you play with little interaction to your opponent. Thrive decks have always been popular here and Viy certainly fits as well. But what about engine decks that test your opponent’s ability (and your own) to do quick maths? Miscounting leads to awkward and bad passes from time to time. So maybe you want to play a Scoia’tael movement deck or some vampires? There are a lot of options and some surprising combos that would usually be considered as a meme can sometimes have an edge over predictable meta lists.

In short, just play what you feel comfortable with. Make adjustments to cards and combos that take too much time to execute. There will be lists attached to this quick overview, but there are a lot more options and all are strongly influenced by balancing changes and card additions that are going to happen in the future.

Guide – Patience is a Virtue!

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series, covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead we display the date of creation, so that you can retrace what may have changed in the game since then. Feel free to adjust the decks with new cards or old cards that you like better and have fun! – MAIN PAGE

At the start of your turn, transform all cards in your hand into random ones that cost 1 provision more

“Patience is a Virtue!” is the first Seasonal game mode that has been introduced after switching from a monthly rotation to a weekly one, making it the first one that has no particular season associated with it. The feedback on this mode was slightly polarized, with some people enjoying the big variety of possible outcomes and others feeling helpless with the inability to synergize anything at all when given the wrong cards.

When it comes to deckbuilding, it’s not about creating a strong strategy, but to include the few things that slightly matter besides the randomness here. Generally, cards that summon from your deck can be useful, specifically Roach and Knickers. While you will often not meet the requirements for other cards that summon from the deck, there’s also no downside to including them, so why not? Another thing that you want is a balanced provision distribution to avoid a bricked hand. The reason for this is that you can actually brick on scenarios in high provision range before they revert to 4 provision cards. So always keep some medium to high provision cards available. Last but not least, chances are not bad to roll into Shupe or Radeyah, so just play a starting deck without duplicates.

The choice of leader or even faction almost makes no difference here, I’d say. There is one exception, though, which is Pincer Maneuver from Northern Realms. This one lets you pick a faction card from your deck while shuffling a useless card back into it – twice! So you can actually utilize your strong cards left in the deck when you have nothing better to play in hand. Pick whatever combos you want to play with this, and the rest is up to RNGesus.

Deck Guide: Viable Pirate Gang

Welcome everybody! Gwent has recently received a patch that introduced many changes to the pirate archetype and also introduced new cards in Eist Tuirseach and Crach an Craite, so this is a great opportunity to revisit the pirate deck that I had published back in October/November 2020. Credits also go to our bossman KingDenpai, who came up with the first build of this updated list that I later adjusted a bit further.

I’ll just start off by describing the gameplan once more. The general procedure hasn’t changed much so some of the upcoming segments are just pasted from the last guide. We have lots of pirates in this list, a total of 13. Our starting hand should contain lots of those, so that the Tidecloak Hideaway brings cheap and big tempo to the first round. This can mean that mulliganing strong warrior cards in the beginning can be the right decision, since Blood Eagle serves a s a tutor for those. You then start off by boosting units with the Hideaways, depending on the coinflip, you go like this:

Blue Coin: The Lamp Djinn gives you a body to boost, so you can play the Hideaway right from your hand. The second Hideaway can then boost the first one on your next turn.

Red Coin: If you draw accordingly, you can play Vabjorn for Raiding Fleet, which exclusively plays Hideaway. Vabjorn is then your boost target. Otherwise you need to play another unit first. Crach is a good proactive play, as the armor can pay off in immediate removal value or protect cards like Raiders or Holger. Speaking of Holger, he is also a good play, since his boost on the ship evens out the lost point from the pirate tag.

Your round one kinda relies on finding the Hideaways, but with Raiding Fleet, Vabjorn and sometimes Blood Eagle on Vabjorn, this has turned out to be quite consistent. Now with Crach in the game, there’s sometimes the consideration to start off differently, but keep in mind that the ships are losing their power if you play too many pirates first.

It’s worth investing in taking the first round, since people will see Blaze of Glory and expect Eist, who they might want to bleed out. Good thing that your round 1 tempo will serve you well in this. I tend to bleed round 2 if I took round 1, but that depends on the matchup. In order to have Eist going off uninterruptible, you need your leader ability and Bloodthirst 2. The latter can be a bit clunky in a short round 3. So depending on the point gap by the end of the bleed, a late round 2 Eist can be the right choice and very devastating. The BoG-target is the Greatsword, alternatively a 7-pointer. If you don’t have the bloodthirst available for Eist, the Dimun Pirate can discard something in the next turn. Provided that Eist sticks and no ship is on the board.

The Deck

A few more words about the pirate package and how to play it. Terror of the Seas is a seven for seven on itself, but Boatbuilders can give four armor to that ship immediately, making that ship a six point removal. Of course you can go even further by playing more pirates if you are feeling greedy. The interaction between Crach and the Terror is also pretty interesting. There’s the scenario where the armor handbuff just straightup pays off, but you can also go and play the Terror next to Crach, trading the 4 armor on him for removal while keeping the order ability available.

Dimun Pirates are solid points, but risky if no ship is on the board. This is no issue in round one when you open with the Hideaways, but in later rounds you should either have Terror of the Seas on the field or done with all your tutors so that random discards do not matter anymore. That is unless you want this exact interaction with Eist of course. Dimun Smuggler is a relatively safe 8 for 5 and a bloodthirst enabler, but you need a ship on the board for him to be good. So if you played both Hideaways in round 1, try to save the Terror for later or mulligan the smugglers away. The Axe-wielder is good with crach, but a filler otherwise. Keep in mind that the Axe-wielder will just die here if the lowest power unit of the opponent is 6 or stronger, meaning that it can’t be brought down to 3 or less power.

Finally let’s have a look at removal power in general: We have a lot of midrange damage and pings, together with Morkvarg, Crach and Blaze of Glory. There’s also a lock in Djenge with a solid body, though he is a flex slot. A weak spot is the lack of purify though, so a defender can sometimes put you in a difficult situation. The best solution to solve that would be to bring back Hammond to the list, possibly for Skjordal. There’s also the choice between Morkvarg and Tyrggvi, depending on what the meta is offering. While Morkvarg recently lost his Warrior tag, Tyrggvi still has it and thus has an advantage in consistency.

I really enjoyed going back to this archetype and the new cards are fun to play. The new interactions give pirates a stronger identity compared to the warriors that took a stronger part in the previous list. Going on from here, it can be considered to break devotion maybe, as Round 3 Harald trades off a bit. Right now I am happy with this deck though and I hope you enjoy it as well. Thank you for reading and have fun!

Guide to the Irresistible Attraction Seasonal Mode

The season of love makes a return and it features some of the most charming rules for the monthly seasonal mode: For each unit you play, you are seizing a unit with the same power from the other side of the board, if there is any. So when it comes to deckbuilding, you want to go for a specific strategy when it comes to aligning the power of your units. In this guide, we will cover three factions, each with a different approach.

Nilfgaard

Let’s start with the most popular kind of deck – Nilfgaard Assimilate. There are many iterations of this deck around, utilizing the create mechanic to roll just for the power you need in a certain situation. On top of that, the Duchess’s Informants play a key role in copying a bronze that is right there to steal. Add some 4 power golds that create other bodies and you’re good to go. Last but not least, Double Cross is a great leader for this and brings so many provisions.

Now there are many iterations of this and most of them work. In this guide, we want to bring in a risky element called Ciri: Dash. Probably not as efficient but way funnier. Give it a try if you like, credits to Sawyer for this idea. If not, it won’t be difficult to find a regular list.

Monsters

Most decks that are being played use and fish for midrange card. You take advantage of this if you use the consume mechanic. Playing the beast twice will serve you well when it comes to the development of tall units on the field. And in the end you will have the tools to align tall units with your consume-on-deploy-units or ghouls and make very point-swingy steals that win you the game. Very efficient and much fun to play, my personal favourite.

Syndicate

Our third deck is a deck that want’s to align everything on three power. Syndicate offers many bronzes that can align on this power and eventually your opponent will run out of options to steal those 3-power-units. A bit of a swarmy approach, which gets rewarded with a decent Dies Irae as final play. Features many cards that are rarely played and works better than one might think.

Scoia'tael

The initial inspiration for the Syndicate strategy used to be a Precision Strike list provided by candybomberz, so credits for that, but I found that Syndicate works a bit better with this. However if you want to play Scoia’tael, you can often utilize pings for alignment and find a strategy that works for you.

Skellige

Haven’t tried anything here. Maybe Onslaught can be useful, but overall I guess that Skellige lacks flexibility. Might be wrong though

Northern Realms

As unpopular in this mode as Skellige in my experience. Engines are too risky to play most of the time and I’m not sure if Formation works the way you intend here. Also not sure if I have seen anyone play this faction in this seasonal month.

Final Remarks

This mode is more about your strategic approach than the faction itself. So don’t take the fact that we didn’t provide decks for ST, SK and NR as an assumption that you can’t do anything with them. It’s just that this season is only three weeks again and we are already halfway through it. So there would be no point in releasing this guide too late. But as always, be encouraged to build your own decks if you want to play things differently, there’s room for that in seasonal. And if you enjoy our lists, then that’s great. Thank you for reading and have fun playing.

Guide to the Trial Of The Grasses Seasonal Mode

If you have played Gwent lately, you might have heard that many people aren’t exactly satisfied with the meta that was introduced with the Way Of The Witcher expansion in December. Unfortunately the hope for a balance patch in January was in vain, so maybe you feel like exploring the seasonal mode might be an alternative to ranked play. If this is so, then this guide is for you.

This month we have the Trial of the Grasses going on, which means that every unit that appears on the board gets damaged by 2 first, before receiving a 4 point boost. Witchers however skip the damage part and just get boosted by 4. Note that a unit doesn’t need to be “played” for this effect to happen, summoning or spawning a unit works as well, transforming doesn’t however (looking at you, Griffin Witcher Adept). Now with all the new witcher cards that have been introduced lately, this mode plays quite differently compared to last year. The decisive difference is probably that several factions now have the option to swarm witchers, raising the average points to a whole different level. Games can be very greedy and the point swings massive. So let’s have a look at the different factions.

Northern Realms

I want to start with my personal favourite, which is the Northern Realms variant this time. It’s probably because it features a card that I never played before – Coën. Usually very hard to set up properly, this seasonal mode makes him easy to use for significant points. In the same spirit, you can go for strong Ignis, while slamming lots of points with the NR Witcher core. Read more in the deck guide:

Skellige

Skellige brings the best bronze core for this mode, especially with Armor Up and Bear Witcher Quartermasters. The approach is usually very straightforward – lots of points, good thinning, a bunch of removal options, it’s got it all. Probably the most popular faction because of that. More details to my approach in the deck guide:

Scoia'tael

Scoia’tael has a competitive movement deck on the normal ladder, featuring many of the new Cat Witchers, so it’s only reasonable to try it for this mode as well. Unfortunately though, the strength of its engines can’t really keep up with the pointslam of other factions here, so it’s only the third best faction in my opinion. To succeed, you need to utilize movement resourceful – aligning Yrden and Igni while mitigating your own rowstack that Gaetan and Gezras would usually love. This is the deck that I threw together:

Nilfgaard

Viper Witchers do not really fit in here, mostly playing for their usual value +4, without many synergies. Of course you can always play Assimilate for useful bronzes, and with all the control tools that Nilfgaard has, this might even make a decent deck. I have no list for you though.

Syndicate

My favourite deck of last year was in fact a Syndicate Wild Card deck. That one had Novigradian Justice for 18 points available on leader and played Greater Brothers to mitigate your opponent’s Yrden value. Bloody Good Friends could align Ignis easily as everything was boosted. With Wild Card gone and no new cards that give you an advantage, Syndicate unfortunately falls behind this year. Salamandra experiments make no witchers at the end of the day.

Monsters

It’s a seasonal mode of witcher cards, monsters need to step aside. Seriously though, I don’t think that I played against a monster deck so far and I also can’t think of an approach that might work.

Final Remarks

I think that the point curve favours Cursed Scroll Stratagems, as the right hand will serve you better than measly 5 points. An exception is maybe the Crystal Skull for Griffin Witchers, but only if it doesn’t get removed. Generally speaking, you need to watch out when you are on blue coin and wager to take a pass before you lose it all. If your red coin opponent pressures you too early though, it might pay off to pull it through and trying to regain control.

Speaking of the decks themselves, I think that my NR and SK lists are fairly optimized, while ST probably has room for improvement left. But since the current season is a short one, I don’t want to release the guide when there’s only one week left. Thank you for reading and enjoy yourselves!

Guide to the Plus One Seasonal Mode

Okay guys, I think we can keep this one relatively short. Anyone who has played the seasonal mode this month will likely have run into an iteration of Guerilla tactics with Idarran and Snowdrop, because its point generation is ridiculously off the charts. So much that this guide will just revolve around that list: How to play it, how to play against it.

The deck and its strategy

As we all know, the Scoia’tael movement archetype got great support with the latest expansion. Its bronze engines can generate a lot of points now. On top of that, movement itself is a good control tool that can shut down several strategies on its own. That makes movement decks pretty popular right now, even on the conventional ladder. Now consider the seasonal rules which spawn a 1 point copy of each unit you play and you realize that all these passive engines can be set up in a very short time. You can use all these options to take control over the game and win round one, then bleed round two.

What you should save up though is your leader ability, Idarran and Snowdrop for an ideal round 3. This is where you play Idarran, who begins to spawn 1 point copies of himself until the row is full. From then on, he will repeat the same thing for each unit you play, however always in the same row that Idarran is in. That’s why you need your leader charges to move three copies to the other row, enabling six additional spawns of the next unit you play on the other row. This is where Snowdrop enters the chat, cycling through two cards with each copy and piling up an enormous amount of points, approximately 300. And since the original Snowdrop has one more point than all the copies, it even provides a scorch roof. This is pretty hard to overcome if you don’t tech against it.

Flexible plays

Stygga Castle deserves some mention here. If you need to spend your leader charges early, you can also go and carry the order ability of the castle over to round 3, serving the same purpose. But keep in mind that if you play the castle in round 1, you either need to save your leader or pull the combo in round 2.

It can always happen that you draw absolutely poorly. In that case, you can take Snowdrop out of the combo and use her for the actual ability, giving you four tries to find the cards you need plus 19 points. In that case, Living Armor becomes your Idarran target, playing for 10 points of each copy. You can also do this if you get bled relentlessly, possibly making the opponent think that he ruined your combo.

Flex slots

I’d argue that the four 5 provision bronze units are the core that shouldn’t be exchanged, just as Oneiromancy, Stygga Castle, Gezras, Malena and the combo pieces mentioned above. Lambert is a tech against Idarran in the mirror, but can also be Gimpy if you want to save provisions. The remaining cards can be exchanged if you want to include other ones. I’d keep a bunch of special cards though, in case the board is full.

There are actually a bunch of cards that can be fun in the Idarran combo. Cheap bronzes like Dwarven Berserkers are becoming a hail of bullets. Yennefer: Conjurer can melt the board down entirely, if she sticks. You get the idea.

How to play against this

What you need is a deck that can keep up in points in the first round, while also bringing the control tools to keep the finishing combo in check. Frankly, the best deck to achieve this is just this one in the mirror match. But other factions can offer decent point generation as well. So if you have an engine core that can keep up the pace, you can counter the big combo in various ways.

Neutral options available to any faction are Yrden and Igni. If you can damage the one original Snowdrop by one and are able to wait a turn, good old Scorch can also be your friend. You can also use certain control oriented leader abilities along control tools to get rid of Idarran immediately. Plays like Lambert/Gimpy along Reckless Flurry for example. An easy way to cheese as Nilfgaard is Cahir obviously, being double as you play him and quadruple with Letho Kingslayer, if you want to humiliate your opponent even further (or the other Cahirs get countered by movement somehow). There’s probably more, but it’s only going to succeed if it’s teching against this deck in one way or another.

Final Remarks

After the Damien Cycle that we saw last year, I was hoping that the removal of the Strategic Withdrawal leader ability might open this mode up to more creativity viable strategies this time. Unfortunately, the Idarran interaction feels just as bad and kinda kills it for me in this season. So maybe there will be an update to this guide if Idarran gets hotfixed, otherwise I’m not going to bother finding any decks that can compete here.

Credits go out to Sawyer as well, for participating in deckbuilding here.