Calveit and Ardal Psuedo-Hyperthin : Deck Guide for NG

“Our fates are written in the stars.” – Jan Calveit –

“A general commands his force. He does not rush and thrash about like some rabid hound.” – Ardal aep Dahy –

Credit to: Danamariani for inspiring this deck. 

Introduction

Jan Calveit and Ardal aep Dahy reinforce Nilfgaard’s Enslave-Tactics archetype in a much needed update. While these brilliant commanders can augment any standard Enslave deck (with an Assimilate package), today we present something suitably intricate for the Great Sun: Psuedo-Hyperthin

Jan Calveit maximizes the use of one’s provisions and facilitates precise draws. This creates “effective” thinning without the use of actual thinning cards to enable Hyperthin cards Triss Merigold and Yennefer: Divination.

Jan also allows us to circumvent the traditional “12 tactics + 13 units” rule of 6 power Enslave and play a non-tactics/unit card by minimizing “wasted” provisions. Typically, 6-power Enslave requires following a “12 tactics + 13 units” rule. Jan allows us to circumvent this by minimizing “wasted provisions” of a 26th card added purely to follow Enslave requirements as we draw only our best cards. Hence this deck is able to field a non-unit/tactic , Portal, unlike other Enslave 6 decks. 

Ardal like Enslave, is at his strongest in 12-tactics decks. 

Pros

  • Incredibly satisfying, challenging to pilot, 26 card meme-ing. 
  • Consistent across games thanks to Calveit
  • Strong short Round 3

Cons

  • Incredibly frustrating (for opponent and/or  you), challenging to pilot, 26 card meme-ing. 
  • Inconsistent Round 1 and RNG Xarthisius (and mages). 
  • Can struggle to generate points if engines are removed. 

Gameplan

Mulligan: Aggressively dump Triss Merigold and Yennefer: Divination Round 1. The aim is to get Portal, Hefty Helge and plenty of tactics to see through Rounds 1 and maybe 2. Keep the other golds, ensure Fire Scorpions and Imperial Golem are in deck unless you have a plan using “hand improvers” (Snowdrop and Doadrick Leumaerts) to shuffle them back in after Jan so you can draw into more tactics. 

Round 1: Attempt to put down tactics-engines and delete the opponent’s board. If both “hand improvers” are available, they can net you more/better tactics while serving as a 2-point engine. Ardal can be played if he is in hand for more tactics. If the draw was especially poor and Portal was missed, play Jan to ensure it arrives by Round 2. DO NOT play Jan if there are insufficient tactics in hand to survive a Round 2 bleed. 

Round 2: Optimally, the plan is to bleed the opponent, dumping the majority of tactics, thinning out Fire Scorpions with Portal, if that was not done Round 1, and preparing for a short Round 3. DO NOT play Portal if the opponent dry-passes. We need BOTH Fire Scorpions thinned. Save it for Round 3 if necessary. If Round 1 was lost, ideally we are holding the “hand-improving” duo/engine to help fend of the opponent’s bleed. Xarthisius can come in clutch defending bleeds with a tactic for the engines or high-roll Nilfgaardian Knight/Imperial Golem, which should be the only units left in deck. If one is confident of avoiding bricks, Nilfgaardian Knight is a good proactive play to open a bleed. Remember to play Jan here if you havn’t, feel free to play Ardal, especially if you havn’t played Jan

Round 3: Ideally you have as few cards as possible here, with (only) Imperial Golem in deck. Finish off with Triss and Yenn. Try to have a unit that sticks and a proactive play (like Knight) so they have targets. If Ardal is still in hand, having Nilfgaardian Knight in deck ensures he doesn’t entirely brick the mages if he draws Golem. Remember to play Ardal BEFORE the opponent plays their last card. 

Core Cards

  • Jan Calveit: Lynch pin of this deck. Ideally played just before exiting round 2. Keep track of the card order to ensure optimum mulligans/use of “hand improvers”. More below in “Considerations”.
  • Ardal aep Dahy: With 12 tactics, serves as a powerful reset, playing for roughly 15 points and extending the round with “effective” card advantage (as the card you draw should be better than the card you returned to the opponent’s hand). Ideally played in round 1/2 to enable a tactic to be kept in hand or drawn in complement with tactics-engines. CALCULATE your mulligans after playing Jan.
  • Xarthisius: Ideally played in Round 2 with aforementioned chance to highroll on Golem/Knight or play a tactic in complement with tactics engines.
  • Triss Merigold & Yennefer: Divination: Key finishers for the short round 3, play for 22 points pulling Nilfgaardian Knight with a maximum potential of 30 points pulling Imperial Golem. Triss may be played against a high value target Round 2, with 8 power reach. 
  • Doadrick Leumaerts & Snowdrop: Ideally played together, help move bricks into deck and find tactics in Rounds 1/2. 
  • Portal, Hefty Helge & Fire Scorpions: play these as soon as possible to empower your removal tactics. Portal is essential to thinning Scorpions out to enable Yenn and Triss

Combos

  • Blue-coin Crystal Skull on Helge or Fire Scorpion helps kill everything, potentially giving Assassination more value. 
  • Doadrick and Snowdrop combined are hard to remove, creating a 2-point per turn engine. Play Doadrick first so he is ready to boost Snowdrop to 8 points immediately. 
  • Coated Weapons can place a brick on the opponent’s deck for Vilgefortz to pull. 
  • If there is nothing for Vilgefortz to destroy on the opponent’s side, he can be used to pull Imperial Golem/Nilfgaardian Knight for a sizeable amount of points. 
  • Nilfgaardian Knight’s boost is easily negated with Ardal, Vilgefortz and Triss. Play him if you can avoid bricks. 

Considerations

Be AWARE that once Jan is played, you are  locking yourself out of tactics. This can be problematic if you require them in Round 2 and Jan was played in Round 1. Thus be wary of committing him early. Other than those in hand,  Xarthisius’ RNG and the “hand-improvers” can help in getting the needed tactics. Playing the “hand-improvers” AFTER Jan has huge trade-off if one is forced to shuffle units back into the deck, reducing the points Triss, Yenn and Xarth produce or having to keep those cards in hand rather than drawing into them naturally before Round 3 and having tactics to bleed the opponent. 

Be CAREFUL with using Ardal, especially in Round 3 if “hand-improvers” are not available. Bricking the mages can happen especially if Nilfgaardian Knight has been teched-out. Generally, using him in Round 1/2 is preferable to Round 3 (before Jan) to grab an extra tactic for the engines. 

Tech choices are numerous. Ardal, Vilgefortz, Doadrick, Snowdrop, Nilfgaardian Knight and the tactics mix can all be substituted based on piloting skill and risk appetite. For instance, Vilgefortz can be side-graded to Ffion var Gaernal to protect engines or upgraded to Leo Bonhart, while an Experimental Remedy is downgraded to Ointment. Similarly, an Experimental Remedy can be upgraded to Treason while Doadrick is downgraded to Peter Saar Gwynleve. The permutations are endless as long as one adheres to 12 tactics, 13 units and Portal

Conclusion

Draw all your golds and win. 

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