Team Bandit Gang

Escanbryt

Deck Guide: Updated 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.

Guide to the Entrench Seasonal Mode

The Season of Mahakam makes a return and fitting to the dwarf theme, the according seasonal mode gives resilience to every unit that is played. A minor sidenote here is that this only applies to those units that you actively play, not those that are summoned or spawned. And for some reason it also applies to artifacts, which cannot even be purified. But the general gameplay does not change as much when you look at the immediate value of a card. Instead you can be overwhelmed by the carryover in a round afterwards if you do not pay attention and play accordingly. So how should you play this? Let’s have a look!

It is basically all around fostering your own carryover and denying that of your opponent. So for your own carryover you either bring high base strength or engines or a mix of both. Carryover denial is done by removal and purify, it really is that straightforward. There are some decks that really excel at bringing a balanced combination to the table or are just so good at one discipline that it is sufficient. Status heavy decks with bleed, poison or bounty force the opponent into an inconvenient decision whether to use purify on the own resilient units or not. So they should be in a good spot in theory, but in practice they often do not keep up the pace unfortunately. What has proven to be reliable are these three decks we present you now.

Nilfgaard

Assimilate lists perform well in many seasonal modes and this one is no exception. The mix of engines, cheap purifies and a strong leader ability make double cross decks very popular. In fact, I created this list in 5 minutes and it worked well right away. A nice feature is that you can play Coup de Grace twice on the same Joachim, as he remains on the board in the round after. More details in the deck guide. A different take on this archetype is a list that creates as many diviners as possible with cards like operator, informants and such. However this falls behind in a NG mirror, which you face quite often, so we retired that concept.

Northern Realms

As Northern Realms only have poor options for purify cards, we go all in on engines and point generation. Uprising can even be pretty strong in a short round if you start it with some decent carryover and engines. However if you lose control over the game, then Siegfried is your emergency resilience reset against the carryover bleed in round 2. Read the deck guide for more details.

Monsters

The monster list of the month was provided by Sawyer and he is bringing a binary minimum unit deck with Force of Nature. So you just keep the board clean and empty until late round, then slam Speartip, Golyat and/or Woodland Spirit for large carryover. It has proven to be efficient in shutting down popular engine decks and denying any interaction with your side of the board. Don’t expect too many GGs though.

Final Remarks

Due to artifact carryover, you can also play a Sihil deck if you are that kind of person. However we at Team Bandit Gang do not promote this kind of behavior. Instead we advise you to always bring your heatwave or, in case of the monster deck, just don’t play units to begin with. Thank you for reading this guide and good luck!

Deck Guide: Viable Pirate Gang

A few days back I‘ve been in the mood to have a look at some theme-oriented archetypes that do not find much play and I noticed that surprisingly many Skellige units have the “pirate” tag. I don’t know if these were there from the beginning or if they have been added later on, but it was enough to take a shot at deckbuilding and I came up with something that turned out to be pretty viable. After all, pirates are just bandits in boats, right? I’m not a super competitive player but this list allowed me to climb to pro rank and then gain some Skellige MMR afterwards, so it’s decent I guess.

Of course it shares some cards and plays with the common warrior archetype, but still plays a little different. It’s noteworthy that 15 cards in this deck count as pirates, so you usually have five to seven pirates in your starting hand. This makes the Tidecloak Hideaway a cheap and strong opener in round one. However you need another unit on the board to get these points out so here is how you start your game:

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. Herkja is an option here, Holger Blackhand is also okay, as his boost on the ship evens out the lost point from his 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. Keep in mind that you want to play at least one bronze warrior in round one for Harald later on.

If you won the first round, you can decide whether to bleed or not depending on the matchup. Your leader ability paired with Harald and Greatsword achieves full value in every round if you need it. You can use that for a short round 3 when you are in control of the game, or to escape getting bled when you are not.

Your removal tools are quite versatile. You have Morkvarg, Tyrggvi, Hammond and several midrange removals for all kinds of decks you can encounter. You can also use your leader ability without Greatsword for urgent removal, Harald will then just play Raider or Invader.

A few more words about the pirates and how to play them. 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. 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. Dimun Smuggler is a filler card honestly, but plays for six points with an armored unit. You can switch him if you like, but I’d argue that the pirate synergies justify his usage. Keep in mind that each pirate tag can be worth three points with the two Hideaways and Holger Blackhand, while also contributing to Hammonds bleeding. I guess the rest is pretty self-explanatory.

I was pleasantly surprised how well this deck works. If you do not like Reckless Flurry then you can also make some adjustments towards other leaders. Patricidal Fury for some bloodthirst would allow to use Dimun Pirate Captains and some other bloodthirst cards of choice, I guess. Thank you for reading and have fun playing this!

Guide to the Switcheroo Seasonal Mode

We are now in the season of the cat and the seasonal mode of last year makes a return. This means that each player makes a turn and the hands are being switched every time. It forces you to play pretty awkward when it comes to sequencing of your cards and deckbuilding choices. Let’s see why this is the case.

How to play this

First of all, the first round is pretty much always played until the last card is depleted. If you pass early, your opponent will play the remaining cards instead. That leads to a long first round and one or two very short and very topdeck-depending subsequent rounds. It’s not hard to conclude that carryover is really worth it under these conditions, but we will come to that later.

The first turn of your deck always belongs to you so you want to make that count. After that, your opponent has straight access to the high value cards in your hand. So ideally you have one reliable and important first turn and a lot of synergy-dependant plays afterwards. For your mulligans that means that you should hold one valuable first turn play in your hand while possibly deliberately shuffling other high value cards back to your deck for better topdeck chances later on. Synergy-dependant cards can be kept though, because you have to make points somehow.

Possible synergies for you to utilize are:

  • Faction-specific tutors (Menno, Fauve, Natalis…) – low point cards that your opponent can’t utilize unless he is playing the same faction, with the exception of tactics or organics maybe.
  • Anything that plays from your deck – Your deck is your inaccessible safe space, so anything that interacts with it will have no or at least a different use for your opponent.
  • Singleton decks – this is rather about Shupe and not as much about Radeyah, as the latter is still 8 points without deckbuilding requirements. Shupe however is just a zero point card for your opponent if his deck doesn’t fit
  • Coins – this is for Syndicate only of course, but your opponent has no access to your bank account. I will say though that we didn’t come up with a satisfying syndicate list, because it’s hard to get some consistent gainer-spender-balance with all the meddling.

What else is there to consider? Card advantage doesn’t matter. Don’t bring removal that might hurt yourself more than the opponent of course. Use the information from your opponent’s hand to play accordingly. There’s no need to wait with a tall play if neither of the two hands counter it. Also try to shape the last two rounds in your favour. This might be more important than actually going for round 1, depending on what you play.

And one last side note: Don’t listen to those guys who think that playing only garbage is a good idea. That garbage is distributed in a very socialist way, while you miss out on your opponent’s synergy-bound points.

Nilfgaard

Let us begin with a carryover heavy list that capitalizes on lots of Phoenixes to build up a lot of pressure for the last one or two rounds. If everything goes well, you can have an advantage of 12 points or maybe more when entering those. Detailed description in the deck guide:

Northern Realms

A bit contrary to that is our northern realms list, as it doesn’t care too much about carryover and rather brings tools to counter carryover of other people. Instead the Siege scenario gives you a nice edge in round one and your leader ability in combination with Prince Anseis (or Seltkirk as backup) alone is good enough to secure one of the short rounds. Detailed description in the deck guide:

Skellige

This is a bit of a middle ground between both strategies we had before, using carryover in Phoenix and Crowmother, but also using the Gedyneith Scenario for the long first round. Read the deck guide for details:

Final Remarks

Credits also go to Sawyer1888 for assisting in the refinement of these decks and sharing his opinions in the creation of the guide. Thank you for reading this and have fun playing. Until next time!

Guide to the Seesaw in the Season of the Dryad

The season of the dryad returns and while the rules of the according seasonal mode remain the same, the experience will be quite different this time. The overly dominant Arachas Swarm deck from last year is no longer possible, while a bunch of new possibilities emerged. So, let’s have a look at the rules in particular and how to utilize them.

Rules and general approaches

At the end of your turn, all units with even power will be boosted by one, while all units with odd power will be damaged by one. Plain and simple right? At least in theory. Practically this involves a lot more calculating when considering a pass, depending on the current state of the board. Engines work differently as well, especially those that boost by one in some way. To explain that, let’s first have a look at the sequencing of the effects at the end of your turn.

The seasonal boost or damage is what is coming first, all the other end of turn effects come afterwards. So your engine can be either accelerated by this or brought to a halt, depending on its power. Engines that boost by one after being boosted by seasonal rules will find themselves at even power on the next turn, as they gained +2. Same scenario but odd power leads to one point damage by seasonal rules and one point engine boost, effectively staying the same. So having it all well aligned is the key to success.

Vitality and Bleed work the same way. Just remember that you want to put Vitality on even allied units and Bleed on odd enemy units. Speaking of Bleed, just as you want to keep your units/engines at even power by the end of your turn, you want to do the opposite to your opponent. This can sometimes interrupt their point generation pretty well.

Shields and Armor will be affected by this as well, diminishing and disappearing every turn on odd power.

We present you now three different decks that make great use of all this. Monsters, Nilfgaard and Syndicate are not being covered this time, as the other three factions seem to stand out more. However that doesn’t mean that these factions do not offer decent options for these rules, so feel free to get creative.

Scoia'tael

Since it is the season of the dryad, let’s start with the dryad deck. Mystic Echo got replaced by Nature’s Gift in the last patch, and vitality as a mechanic is a tremendous match to this mode. As mentioned before, you can create a lot of cheap 2 point engines with vitality, which holds great potential to overwhelm your opponent in points. Yet as effective as it is, it falls a little short to decks that focus on turning your units to odd strength. It’s still fun to play though and definitely able to win a lot of games.

I like to open the game with some dwarves and go for the round while saving up symbiosis and nature cards for later. If you do not draw accordingly, it’s not a big deal to change that plan. Zoltan is a neat card to end the first round on. Keep in mind that the vitality status carries over, but also that Dryads Caress on Zoltan is a bad idea. Your leader charges are best used on the two young dryads spawned by Eithné and they are often also helpful to keep Malena alive. The rest works pretty intuitively I’d say, so just give it a try:

Northern Realms

Probably the champion of the month. Meve’s Royal Inspiration ability has already been very strong last year and with the change on Arachas Swarm it’s likely the best leader you can play this time. You just have so many engines and ways to keep them alive, while all the pings and boosts help you to have everything aligned in every round. Ale of the Ancestors is a wonderful addition to the leader ability, as it grants you the opportunity to have an uneven boost on each turn. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. Sawyer argued that this list probably has too many engines so that those ones played late will not unfold their value. He’s got a point there, since the only real finisher cards are Vissegerd and Scytheman here. I still like it the way it is, but changing a few engines for some finishers like a Geralt card of choice is always worth a consideration. Here you go:

Skellige

Skellige can kinda be regarded as Northern Realms’ evil twin in here. While the Royal Inspiration deck focuses on single boosts on allied units, Skellige has many ways of annoying the opponent with multiple damage pings. An obvious leader choice for this can be Onslaught, which works well and is just exactly the opposite of Royal Inspiration, but we thought that Rage of the Sea has some more potential here.

Sawyer put the main work into this list and you can find his in depth description in the linked deck guide. So, I will not bore you with too much text here. Here is the list:

Final Remarks

Thanks for reading our guide to the Seesaw in the Season of the Dryad! It may take a little time to get used to calculating the points right, but you will get the idea after a few games. If you have any feedback or additions/changes you would like to us to make to the deck, feel free to let us know in the comments down below!

Guide to the Battle Rush in the Season of the Draconid

Okay, so you might now wonder. “Does this mode even require any guide? The only thing that changes is the pace.” This is not wrong, but the pace eliminates some of the more complicated decks or simply some time-consuming mechanics. That’s why not every deck from the common ladder will work in the seasonal mode and why we want to go through a bunch of decks here that do.

Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t have to consider too many options on every turn. It sounds stupid, but autopilot decks are the easiest to manage here. Also consider practicing a new deck on casual first if you need to get familiar with the strategy of that deck.

Faction specific approaches

Syndicate:

What you want to avoid when playing syndicate is too much micromanagement with your coins, your gainers and spenders. So hoard is the mechanic that you probably want to aim for, providing nice engines and relatively simple coin management. Coincidently, there’s already a popular Hidden Cache list on the ladder that is pretty good. And since it only takes a few tweaks to make it suitable for the seasonal mode, you can run this pretty successfully. So this is what I’ve been running, but similar lists are just as good:

Northern Realms:

You should utilize engines as well when you play Northern Realms of course. Using too many orders and targeting abilities will cause serious conflict with the timer though. So your best bet is going for simple order abilities and boosting. Uprising is the perfect match for extensive boosting of course but keep in mind that using this ability while your turn ends often leads to another charge being unwillingly used. So if you don’t need to do it earlier, you best save all charges for the turn you want to spawn the Scytheman. This list combines Kerack Frigates with several boosting engines for a solid point generation. This is the deck:

Monsters:

Monsters and its simple thrive mechanic is appealing when it comes to quick turns. That’s why there are several thrive decks floating around, some of them very minimalistic, some using Ethereal and Fruits, some combining it with Wild Hunt or Vampires. I’ve been playing a list with Frost and Wild Hunt, using Force of Nature to progress that mastery to be honest. That leader ability can be changed if you like, but it’s quick and if you use it early, it shortens your turns with autopass enabled, forcing your opponent to play quicker. Here is the deck:

Skellige:

KingDenpai has been playing a Dracoturtle list with Ursine Ritual recently that has massive point swing potential in your final combo. I felt like Ursine Ritual takes a bit too long under some circumstances. For example if you tutor Cerys with Oneiromancy and play the leader charge on the Shieldmaiden, you may not be able to target that leader charge before the time runs out, or another charge you want to save gets used. So I removed Cerys, Shieldmaidens and Vildkaarl and switched the leader ability to Sacrificial Vanguard. Then I added a small discard package and Gedyneith, as the deck already contained 4 druids to utilize here.

What you want to do here is playing Gedyneith in round one, generating massive points while preparing the Dracoturtle combo with your leader ability. What you need in hand by round 3 is Dracoturtle, Mardroeme, Vlodimir and Iris, or access to them with respective tutors. The defender is very useful as well, of course. You set up the dracoturtle (with a Svalblod Priest if you have it), then use Mardroeme to bring it to low armor and high points, revert that with Vlodimir to high armor and low points and finally harvest the high armor with Iris. I noticed that Gedyneith baits some removal in round one, so the Dracoturtle combo doesn’t get interrupted as often as I assumed in the beginning. Really fun to play, give it a try! The deck is down below:

Scoia'tael:

Driftbling mentioned that one of his viewers named aidspit shared a dwarf list that served him well. I played a few games with it and I can confirm this. It’s very straightforward, play some dwarves, utilize their armor and generate nice points while doing that. Portal along Mahakam Marauders seems a little strange at first, but pulling one of them out immediately enables the bonded mechanic for the other one. Still you rather like to pull the Miners and Pyrotechnicians of course. It also features a bit of resilience, which is nice. This is the list:

Nilfgaard:

I’ve got no list for you this time, sorry. Also haven’t seen Nilfgaard that much, a few Hyperthin lists and that was it. But you can always try your favourite list from common ladder and you will see which cards or combos take too long for this mode and adjust according to that.

Final Remarks

What many people enjoy about this mode is that the games are over way quicker than usual. So, this is a great opportunity to progress your masteries in the contract book, as well as some of the keyword contracts (e.g. Hoard contract with the aforementioned Syndicate list). And of course, the experience and journey progress goes way faster as well. So if you want to go for a grind, this is the right time. Otherwise just enjoy the pace.

Seasonal Deck Guide: Ciri Supernova

This article has been written by Escanbryt and edited by Babyjosus.

Introduction

Welcome to this quick deck guide for the griffin seasonal mode called „Power Shift“. The rules this time are simple, as every unit in the starting deck (does not apply for created or spawned units) gets its provision cost as base strength. This sets some units way above their usual curve and others way below. This has various effects on your deckbuilding decision, for example implementing way more tall removal than usual, choosing units with a good value despite their lack of synergy and utilizing thinning cards that would be a little overpriced otherwise.

Strategy For This Deck

Now forget what I just said, because we ignore tall removal and thinning while using very synergistic units. Instead, we are just bluntly going in on enormous amounts of value from our main consume targets in this deck, which are Ciri: Nova, Ruehin and Dettlaff: Higher Vampire. Also forget common ambitions to preserve your leader ability for later, because here we use it early so that we can make use of Ciri. As you may know, she only returns to your board if there’s no unit in your graveyard, so we want to make use of the doomed tag as much as possible. The Ekkimaras from the leader ability are doomed, so removing them will not disable Ciri. Following up with Ancient Foglets keeps your graveyard empty as well, as they come back and then receive the doomed tag.

That way you can at least play a few rounds until your opponent is even able to brick Ciri. Bronze consumers will likely be the units you want to play afterwards, continuing to harvest value from Ciri, while the first one removed can be brought back by Necromancy. If executed well, the points you gain in round one can pose a massive challenge for your opponent to keep up with.

The second or third round will be relatively similar, using Ruehin instead of Ciri though. Kayran and Dettlaff are preferably your big point finisher, especially if you secured the last say.

Additional Card Explanations

Royal Decree, Alzur’s Double-Cross, Whispering Hillock: This deck really relies on your key consume targets, so we have three tutors for consistency. It is important to find Ciri in round 1, she can be tutored by Decree and ADC (shares the 11 strength spot with Ruehin). Hillock cannot find Ciri, but Ruehin, Detlaff, Manticore or Foglets.

Ozzrel: Always plays for 20 points on your round 1 Ciri. However it’s often smarter to eat Roach from your opponent’s graveyard when you are playing against Skellige or Nilfgaard.

Saer’Quan, The Beast: Filler with good value. Saer’Quan avoids tall removal in the first turn.

Imperial Manticore: Sometimes has a difficult spot in this list, as you can’t play it while Ciri is up and running and you probably won’t preserve a leader charge for it. However due to the overall high base strength in this mode, the manticore can be a good backup consume target. It can’t compete with the value of the main targets though.

Bronze Consumers, Cyclops: Self-explanatory.

Endrega Larvae, Nekkers: Great value below the tall removal threshold. Can jeopardize Ciri though so rather not play them round one.

Final Remarks

The most popular decks in this mode are probably Skellige lists resolving around Lippy Gudmund. This has the unfortunate side effect that tech cards like Fortune Teller or Squirrel also happen to be effective against this deck. There’s not much we can do about squirrel, but it’s worth a consideration to run a purify against the Fortune Teller’s doomed tag on your Ruehin. I’d suggest to cut a Cyclops for a Pellar in that case.

What’s left to say is that this deck doesn’t play very elegant, it really is just points, often so much that the removal options of your opponent can be just outnumbered. It had an incredible 22 – 2 win rate for me early this season and still is pretty good after the decks have shaped out a little. Also, if you play against these popular Lippy decks and take round one, don’t hesitate to push them with a full scale Ruehin round 2 to put them in an awkward position. You can still keep Kayran and Dettlaff for the short round 3 then.

Thank you for reading this guide, have fun with the deck and good luck!