Team Bandit Gang

Escanbryt

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!