Escanbryt

Guide – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions of each, as well as some strategies and deck ideas. Not every deck will be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display each deck based on its 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, as always, have fun! – MAIN PAGE

At the start of every round, 4 Rocks are spawned on every row.

There’s a brand new seasonal mode out and its main purpose is to constrain your board space by quite a bit. Instead of the usual 18 spaces on your board, you only get 10, the rest is blocked by rocks. While these rocks have an order available to destroy an allied unit and make space for new cards, you get nothing in return for that. So the key is to go with decks that don’t need much space each round. Besides that, you can basically choose what the current meta has to offer.

There’s one big advantage for Scoia’tael though and that’s Eldain. If played in a devotion deck, he can transform all the rocks into Elven Deadeyes, because the rocks count as artifacts. The reasonable decision in that context is to follow up with Vernossiel in front row to deal 2 damage for each of these Deadeyes. Then there are some further fine synergies that Scoia’tael has to offer, which will be described in the deck guide.

But even though Scoia’tael is the quick and obvious choice here, there might be other viable choices. Why not try to bring out some Monster deck with a Noonwraith-rat-clog-strategy? Or a deck with many special cards which don’t require much board space? It’s not like Eldain would be uncounterable…

Deck Guide: Devoted Traveling Priestesses

Overview

There’s a brand new patch out now and it includes 21 new cards plus some balance changes. So let’s go and try some new decks, shall we? This Northern Realms list was already a concept that I wanted to develop for the next Bandit Gang meme snapshot, but the release of the new Traveling Priestess might make it good enough to be more competitive. It is very greedy, so it’s perfect for the early days of a new patch.

Your gameplan depends a bit on the cards that you draw. First of all, mulligan the Traveling Priestesses if you draw them. Then have a look at the engines that you have available and play round 1 accordingly. You’d probably start setting up some engines first, then proceed to shuffle one priestess multiple times for your late game. It’s okay to invest cards like King Belohun, Vysogota of Corvo, Trollololo or Anna Strenger early, depending on how much pressure you face. The thing is that you have multiple threats in here and many are expendable.

You should keep one finishing combo in mind however, and most of them include the Traveling Priestess. A very spicy approach would be a double Coën play for example. This would include Viraxas and Kerack Marine as combo pieces, while the Priestess helps aligning units. If Belohun is still available, that’s also cool. Anyway you’d align as many units as possible on 7 power, including Coën of course, and activate him. Then you can use Viraxas’ order on him and boost him by 4 with the Kerack Marine and repeat for an obscene amount of points. But we all know that this will not always work out, so you can also just dump your boosts from the Priestess on Prince Anséis or Mad Kiyan and start slamming with Viraxas’ support.

Pros:

  • Lots of threats for your opponent to deal with. If his control options are limited, he will need to make some tough decisions.
  • Consistent with Pincer Maneuver and King Radovid. Any charge that doesn’t need to find a specific card contributes to the Priestess.
  • Coën has a massive swing potential and is just so fun to play.

Cons:

  • Not that easy to play. Involves a lot of calculations.
  • Might struggle against heavy control decks.
  • Requires Devotion and has few direct control options.

The Deck

Core Cards

Traveling Priestess: The more she’s shuffling, the stronger your finish will be. Supporting cards are King Radovid, Istredd, Griffin Witcher Mentor and Cintrian Envoy. Tutoring her with Amphibious Assault is recommended, since you often need one more turn to play your boost target. These targets can be Coën, Prince Anséis, Mad Kiyan or just a plain Tridam Infantry.

Coën: Lovely card, and no longer boosts opposing units. Involves a lot of counting, especially if you are going for the double tap with Viraxas. Cards that help in alignment can be Traveling Priestess, Vysogota of Corvo or King Belohun, as well as boosting engines.

Trollololo: Nice sidekick to have around when you are using all those charges. Otherwise removal bait.

Viraxas: Strong finisher that works well with multiple cards in this deck.

Deck Guides: King Bran Pirates and Cerys: Fearless Alchemy

Overview

I’ll be honest: When King Bran was revealed, I got his ability with the excess damage wrong. I thought that the boost would be the sum of excess dealt during the game, yet in fact it’s only one point for each time some excess damage is dealt. So the first idea to utilize Cards like Hjalmar, Carlo Varese or Terror of the Seas with as much armor as possible didn’t turn out that exciting. Instead you need to go for many different excess damage plays and this is where Crach an Craite begins to shine. He can passively kill the opponent’s lowest unit, while often exceeding the damage that is needed for that.

Combine that with the new Onslaught ability and all the armor gained will be put to good use. For that we need lots of ships and pirates of course. Here I go back to an old deck of mine that had many bronze pirates and only the Tidecloak Hideaway as ships. The latter will be among your opening plays in round one, when you have a hand full of pirates. Your stratagem can be the boost target here, otherwise you need to play a different unit first. Otherwise just get the strategy with Crach an Craite going, and try to play the Covenant of Steel first. Sadly, Crach can be controlled rather easily. Afterwards just play cheap bronze pirates if you are far enough ahead on tempo and try to develop some armor hand-buff.

Whether or not you are bleeding in round two depends on the game, I think. Sigrdrifa’s Rite can bring back Crach or the defender to finish what you began. Your finishing plays will be King Bran and Terror of the Seas. Iris: Shade can be played anytime when one unit has too much armor it doesn’t need.

Pros:

  • Crach can be quite disruptive for the opponent if he sticks
  • Lots of armor to mitigate incoming damage
  • Veteran buff by Bran is well utilized despite being no warrior deck

Cons:

  • Strategy for Brans boosts relies on Crachs survival
  • The usual awkward aspects of the pirate archetype
  • Leader ability is rather specific and can be played around with boosts

The Deck

Core Cards

King Bran: Boosts five units in this deck and himself passively, while sometimes amounting a boost of around eight points. Good value.

Crach an Craite: Disrupts the setup of the opponent and feeds the boosting of King Bran. Also the main card that converts armor to points.

Covenant of Steel: Feels like an important card in this deck. Crach alone is a bit vulnerable.

Tidecloak Hideaway: Cheap and good tempo play in the beginning of the game.

Anything with pirate tags: This deck relies on their tags, so that Crach, Hideaway and the leader ability remain effective.

Overview

The obvious choice for Cerys: Fearless would certainly be the selfwound archetype around Ursine Ritual. While that is a relatively functional archetype, an alchemy deck can also utilize Cerys very well. There are many cards in here that harm themselves or their allies and will eventually summon Cerys from the deck, such as Melusine, Svalblod Priest, or Little Havfrue. Be aware though that hitting armor will not count for Cerys, but hitting Armored Drakkar or Dracoturtle with Cerys order ability or Mardroeme pays off quite well instead.

But how do we make more from Cerys after she is summoned? There is no gigantic combo in mind here, because the timing of her summoning can be clunky and we don’t want to invest too much in it. But the Little Havfrues inflict four damage to themselves when calling the rain and damage over time is dealt by Melusine and Svalblod Priests. This damage can be redirected on armor, a weak token or the Crowmother, who will just return when you play the next alchemy card.

The alchemy archetype itself plays as we know it. Gedyneith and The Mushy Truffle are very good cards for this and all the remaining cards synergize around this perfectly.

Pros:

  • Built on an already strong archetype
  • Doesn’t fail if Cerys underperforms
  • Brings a lot of points to the board when uncontrolled

Cons:

  • Sometimes inconsistent, doesn’t use the discard package
  • Can be awkward to play against heavy control decks
  • Few control tools on its own

The Deck

Core Cards

Cerys: Fearless: Hits the board by herself and can be good value. Cards like Roach in comparison have similar provision costs but have nothing to offer once summoned.

Melusine, Svalblod Priest, Little Havfrue: Necessary for the selfwounding and staples in the usual alchemy deck

Dracoturtle, Armored Drakkar, Crowmother: Targets for selfwounding and Cerys damage redirection

Alchemy package: The backbone of this deck

Considerations: Bride of the Sea would be also great in this, but I didn’t find the space for her

Price of Power – Card Reveal by Escanbryt

Hello everyone, and welcome to a very special article. I have been given the opportunity to reveal a new card from the upcoming expansion “Harvest of Sorrow”, which is the third and final part of the “Price of Power” set. It is a bronze card for the Northern Realms faction with an interesting ability. Ladies and gwentlemen, please do not disturb: the Meditating Mage!

Now your first impression might be disappointment about yet another slow Patience card. And the payoff in Vitality makes it even slower than the Ban Ard Student or Aretuza Student. But that’s not really the point here. The strength of this card is the ability to gain Resilience when bonded. And this Resilience is activated upon using the order ability while bonded, not deploy while bonded (confirmed by CDPR). So when you are about to pass the round and you have two or more Meditating Mages on the board, you can activate the Order ability and the mages will gain Resilience and Vitality according to their Patience value. And since Vitality is a status, it’s going to carry over to the next round as well.

Most bonded cards only have a slight improvement in strength when the bonded effect is active. This one  relies on it entirely. The good news is that there are multiple ways to generate more than the two copies from the starting deck, especially for the Northern Realms. While Blue Stripe Scouts or King Foltest are probably clunky to use here, Queen Adalia, Reinforcements or a lucky roll on Runeword are an easy way to bring more copies to the board. The shield from Adalia and Runeword is without any doubt useful in that regard. There is also a new location named The Mushy Truffle, which lets you spawn and play a bonded unit from your starting deck. And if you want to go even further down that road, think about Megascope or Idarran shenanigans.

However the main question for deckbuilding will be to find a way to compensate for the slow tempo. This will probably set a limit to the number of Meditating Mages that you want to play in a viable deck.  If we talk about meme decks though, which happens way too seldomly, think about Tissaia de Vries reactivating the orders of all Meditating Mages on the activation turn by the end of round 1, enabling them to regain resilience in round 2. And the Dethmold finisher! I have ideas…

Anyway, let’s see how this card turns out. It is cheap resilience in a way, but it will need the right deck to work properly. I want to thank CDPR for letting me be part of this reveal campaign! And since you are already here, let me introduce you to my main piece of content creation over the last few months. As an article writer for Team Bandit Gang, I recently finished the compilation of seasonal mode guides on our homepage. It contains strategies and examples for decklists. These decklists will be updated from time to time, but are also explained in a way that you can adjust them on your own if they are somewhat outdated.

So if you enjoy some seasonal matches from time to time, make sure to bookmark our Seasonal Mode main page. Thank you and cheers!

Guide – Dual Casting

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions of each, as well as some strategies and deck ideas. Not every deck will be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display each deck based on its 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, as always, have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Once per turn, when you play a special card, spawn and play a copy of it immediately after.

This iconic and flavorful mode originates from the Season of Magic and encourages you to go all in with special cards. So you want to pack 12 special cards that you can include into a deck and add some units that play specials on their own. That way, you avoid missing out on the double casting effect most of the time. However, you only get to duplicate the first special you play each turn, all following specials will only be cast once.

As you might assume, removal is quite prevalent, so engines will have a hard time. Removal, both of the tall and the wide variety, tends to be abundant, so it often comes down to fighting for last say.

And there is one very popular finisher that three factions have access to: Harald Gord.

This card is usable only by Scoia’tael and Syndicate, but Nilfgaard, having access the Double Cross leader ability and Bribery, sometimes manages to utilise Gord as well. No wonder that these three factions seem to be the most popular ones during this seasonal mode. Not only because of Harald Gord, but also because they have fleshed out archetypes with Nature/Spell cards, Crime cards and Tactic cards. An Arachas Swarm list from the Monsters faction can also be considered a nice archetype for this game mode, since it tends be be quite special card heavy while not providing great removal targets. Northern Realms doesn’t seem to offer much at first glance, but an unconventional deck with mages, spells and Cintrian Royal Guards has proven surprisingly effective. Skellige is pretty rare, but there is a Lippy deck that focuses on duplicating Shupe as much as possible.

So while the Dual Casting mode can be very punishing and control heavy, it is surprisingly versatile with  all factions having something viable to offer.

Scoia'tael

coming soon

Guide – Irresistible Attraction

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series, covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions of each, as well as some strategies and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead we display each deck based on its 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, as always, have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Whenever you play a non-spying unit, move a random enemy unit with the same power to the opposite side.

This mode was introduced with the Season of Love, and its concept fits that very well. It’s all about charming as many units to your side of the board as you can. And for that, you can follow multiple strategies that all have the same goal: Stealing as many units from your opponent while making it difficult for him to get them back.

There are multiple factions acting successfully here and that brings some variety to this mode. Once more very popular is Nilfgaard with a very versatile midrange strategy. You can just play a list with lots of create mechanics, using Duchess’s Informant, Experimental Remedy and many more flexible cards to always have good chances to have the right power available. That one is successful as long as the opponent also plays in the midrange field. Monsters should rather go another way and bring all the units to a high power level from which they can’t really be stolen back. The list shown below reflects that, but I’ve also seen someone just blatantly playing an ordinary Viy deck, ignoring the stealing stuff entirely and just slamming down more value than the opponent could ever make with a deck that is teched on stealing other units. And then you can also go the other way and completely specialize on a specific power level for all your units. Shown below is a Syndicate list that aligns everything on 3 power and gains the upper hand when the opponent runs out of answers to that. Scoia’tael can go a similar way, but would include more control options and traps to keep the general point level low over the entire game, so that you can easily swing back if you keep last say. Northern Realms and Skellige are probably a bit behind here, due to lack of flexibility.

So pick the strategy that you like the most and go for it. The meta is far from being solved here and there are a lot of ways in which you can design and tech a decklist here. Just be consistent on what you are doing and you’ll probably find a way to make it work. Enjoy!

Guide – Trial of the Grasses

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions of each, as well as some strategies and deck ideas. Not every deck will be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display each deck based on its 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, as always, have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Whenever a unit appears on the board, damage it by 2 then boost it by 4. If it’s a Witcher, the damage is not dealt.

This mode from the Season of the Wolf is all about the witcher theme. When it first appeared, there was quite a different meta revolving about units with shields or armor before the game had many witcher cards, but that changed at the latest with the Way of the Witcher expansion. Now we have entire witcher archetypes within several factions that perform very well in this mode.

The best performance probably comes from Skellige due to the raw point output that its bronze cards can slam down. Bear Witcher Quartermasters and Armor Up just bring crazy value for their provision cost, and the contribution to the swarm archetype pays off with cards like Vesemir: Mentor or Leo. There are several leaders to pick from, with Blaze of Glory offering some targeted removal and Patricidal Fury just offering 13 points when you need it. I personally like the interaction between Ursine Ritual and Dire Bear, which is shown below. Combos with Arnaghad and Sukrus could also be included.

Northern Realms probably offers the second best performance with their witcher archetype, which is well known. It’s slightly different in this mode, though, with Griffin Witcher Adepts playing no role and a greater emphasis being placed on point alignment and strong finishing plays. Even Coën can be included here, which doesn’t happen too often. Then we also have Scoia’tael with the Cat Witcher movement archetype, which has some nice engine value and movement abilities to align Geralt: Igni or Geralt: Yrden. The drawback is that it also supports rowstacking for you, which makes you rather vulnerable to the same cards. Nilfgaard has a witcher archetype as well, but it’s more focused on deck manipulation. Since that doesn’t offer enough points for you, a viable deck probably relies on copying the strong cards from other factions, while bringing a nice bit of control to the table. Monsters and Syndicate are falling behind here, because they have no witcher core and other cards are apparently not enough to compensate for that. But I’ve been playing Syndicate successfully in this mode before the Way of the Witcher expansion, so it’s not impossible that there might be a comeback in the future. Who knows?

Guide – Plus One

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions of each, as well as 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 as always: have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Whenever you play a unit, spawn a 1-power copy of it at the end of its row.

Originally introduced in the Season of the Wild Hunt, the “Plus One” seasonal mode was created with a good idea in mind, but somehow always had a loophole that made it very unbalanced. When it was first introduced in December 2019, there was an infinite loop with Damien de la Tour and the old Strategic Withdrawal leader ability. One year later, Strategic Withdrawal was gone but another kind of deck took its uncontested top spot in this seasonal mode.

The deck we are talking about here is a Guerilla Tactics. This list has a decent movement package that brings a lot of engine power in the cheap bronze cards it has. That’s not the scary thing, though – it’s the combo with Idarran of Ulivo and Snowdrop paired with the leader ability that is truly frightening. This one can generate points exponentially and makes this deck insanely oppressive.

Sadly this makes it hard to explore other strategies and combos, even though they definitely exist. But it’s difficult to assess their viability if one deck is so dominant. And it makes you wish that some seasonal modes would ban the use of certain cards. But right now we don’t have this, so I’ll just point to the list of seasonal decks, where you will find the infamous Idarran Snowdrop Deck in case you want to play it.

Guide – Entrench

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas for each. Not every deck will be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display the date it was created, 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 most importantly, have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Every played unit has resilience.

The Season of Mahakam once brought us this flavorful mode that salutes to the times of the Gwent beta, when Resilience was a substantial part of the dwarven archetype. Times have changed since then, and the gameplay around statuses has become more diverse. We have potentially powerful statuses like Poison, Bounty, or Lock and also mechanics like Veil and Purify to counter those. But we’ll get back to that later.

First of all, the immediate value of the cards that are played doesn’t change at all. But it is important to keep in mind that the end of a round is by no means a reset of the board, so if one player wins a round dominantly and also has resilience on his engines or high strength units, he continues to dominate in the next round as well. So it becomes a crucial part of a successful strategy to purify or remove the opposing units. Now coming back to the statuses that were mentioned before, you certainly don’t want to purify your own resilient units in this mode. That’s why Poison or Bounty can be really strong here. But it’s also a good choice to play some sort of aggressive engine setup. Northern Realms has various approaches to this. Nilfgaard’s Assimilate archetype has proven effective in the past, as well. No matter what you play, purify cards are really powerful and Siegfried of Denesle can be the sometimes necessary hard reset, even though your own units will be purified as a result. One more thing to mention is that artifacts gain resilience as well for some reason, and they cannot even be purified. So once infamous cards like Sihil will sometimes make an appearance here as well, even though it’s not as threatening as it used to be.

Right now I have a nice bounty deck for you, which is only one of many viable strategies. More decks might be added later, once I find more time to create and test them out. But Syndicate has been slightly underrepresented in most of the guides that I post here, so I want to give it some time in the spotlight. Hope you enjoy!

Guide – Switcheroo

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

After 2 turns the players switch hands.

The Switcheroo seasonal mode from the season of the cat is an interesting one. What happens is that you switch hands with your opponent after every turn you make. That has some consequences which reflect in rather unusual strategies being successful. To begin with, the first round is pretty much always played until both hands are depleted. If one player passes earlier, the other one just plays cards from both hands until he is ahead. Another thing is that the strong cards are being played first, otherwise you leave them for your opponent. And of course it brings transparency as you can see early if there is a counter to a card in one of both hands.

What does that mean for deckbuilding? Playing points from deck interaction is one of the pillars of your strategy, because the deck remains inaccessible and exclusive for the other player. This can be simple self-playing cards like Roach and the like. Faction-specific tutors like Menno Coehoorn or John Natalis are also only useful to you unless you play a faction mirror match. Also cards like Blightmaker and Braathens are not that powerful if they don’t have the correct deck for them. And the Cursed Scroll should be the stratagem to pick most of the time.

Then there are also small advantages you can get by deckbuilding. It could be a decision to play a devotion list, or else a singleton list to use Shupe which is otherwise a zero point card. Or maybe you even combine both to a devotion singleton list and wait for your opponent to deal Shupe to your hand? I don’t know if that’s worth it but it sure sounds funny.

And the last pillar that I would mention here is the cultivation of carry-over. As mentioned before, the round one is played for a length of ten cards and then the game comes down to one or two short rounds afterwards. Here we can talk about Shupe again and his ability to become resilient. But cards like Phoenix or Crowmother can do the trick as well. Alternatively some good consistency for strong cards in the last rounds can do the trick as well. Pincer maneuver can be recommended for that.

For some reason there are still people who claim that you just need to play trash cards in this mode. It is correct that both good and bad cards are accessible to both players and the sum of the direct value of both hands isn’t that impactful. However all the other things that are mentioned in this guide will likely make the difference in the end. I hope you have fun with this mode!