Gwent

Deck Guide: Scoia’tael’s Boost Campaign

Overview

Scoia’tael has started its own boost campaign with the latest leader and card changes, plus new cards that have been added to the cardpool of Gwent. And are therefore, weirdly enough, the ones discriminating the humans for once…

Jokes aside, this deck has been performing quite well in the lower ranks, and according to anonymous sources its also considered a meta deck, although it’s no secret that I used to be a Pro Rank player and thus I have the advantage against lower ranked players.

The deck is all about boosting cards in your hand that benefit the most from it to require easy wins!

Pros

  • Carryovers points to other rounds
  • Stronk finishers
  • Thicc Aglaïs

Cons

  • Being pushed in round 2 which results in forcing to play one or more of your stronk finishers
  • Your engines being removed
  • Wrong cards receiving handbuff

Core Cards

Three key cards: Aglaïs, Sheldon Skaggs and Torgue are the cards that benefit most of the respective handbuff. Make sure to boost Torgue to spread the boost onto Aglaïs or Sheldon Skaggs. Cursed scroll allows you to draw one of the two.

Special cards: Since we play with lots of special cards it’s not a surprise that Gord has been included in the deck. Reason for why we play special cards is to make the chance of the handbuff landing on the three key cards that previously got mentioned. Also, half of the special cards handbuff units that are in your hand.

Handbuff engines: Dunca and Hawker Smugglers are important because they make sure that the three key cards receive their boost shots (pun intended).

The Deck

Bandit Gang’s Meme Snapshot for Gwent #5

Introduction

Many decks can be considered Meme Decks. Some people believe that a meme deck is mainly played for fun, to make yourself and the opponent laugh, and not to win with. A deck like Thicc Aglais would be a good example. Other people believe that meme decks have their own theme like the bandit archetype, which makes it a lore friendly deck. And most people would agree that a meme deck is also considered an off-meta deck: a deck that has its own unusual strategy or inclusions, but that can still win you plenty of games. You could think of a deck like Triple Commandos here.

But I digress. Welcome to the fifth edition of Bandit Gang’s Meme Snapshot! In case you missed out on the other editions, you can find them here. Once again, we want to use new concepts that weren’t included in the previous editions, but you might also see different versions of decks that were included already. The main goal, as always, is to show you the diversity that is possible in Gwent, beyond all the top tier meta lists. As before, we kept the same categories but have now added a new purpose to the Honorable Mentions category. The categories are as followed:

1. Fun But Garbage Decks: these are the decks that are just for fun but will not win you any games 90% of the time.

2. Lore Friendly Decks: these are decks that are based around a certain theme that is often lore based.

3. Becoming A Pro Decks: these are decks that are considered off meta, but are decent to climb to Pro Rank with. Nonetheless, they are not included in the Meta Snapshots.

4. Honorable Mentions: these are decks from community members that we wanted to give that extra spotlight. We encourage you to submit your own, read more about this in the Conclusion.

Note: Click on the image of the deck to get directed to the PlayGwent website in order to import the deck to your client.

Fun But Garbage

Overview:

The ball deck is back! This time, with a twist! If you are looking for a unique way to play ball, this is it. How does it work? The plan is to somehow survive to round 3. Mulligan away ball and do not use mentors nor Calveit! In round 3, open with Jan and follow with a spotter to give the opponent ball. BAM! Every Viper Witcher Mentor nets a hefty 15 points! Later, you can use Cantarella to play Ball or Double Cross, if the opponent has a draw mechanic. Discard won’t help your opponent with Gorthur Gvaed on board! 

 Pros:

– A lot of points in round 3

– Spread power → big cards and tall removal/engines

– You play ball in a fun way

Cons:

– Terrible round 1

– Vulnerable to bleed

– Draw dependent

Core Cards:

Gorthur Gvaed: Not only does it give you another Viper Witcher Mentor, but it can also line up a nice Cantarella or mess with your opponent’s draw.

Blightmaker: Pray to get both in round 1, because they are your only good plays in this round.

Spotter: How to ruin your opponent’s day with one simple trick?

Written by Bomblin

Overview:

Sooooo, this is a funny one… The main concept behind this deck is to use good old boy Erland as a big finisher in R3 with a high probability of survival even if you do not have last say. How do we do that, you say? By spawning as many same-type units as possible in R1 & R2 and then using Pavetta in R3 to put everything back in the deck so that Erland can be as “fat” as possible.

Pros:

– So greedy it’s actually fun!!!

– Nice point finisher

– Easy to understand strategy

Cons:

– So greedy it’s actually painful!!!

– Very RNG dependent

– It needs to win R1 and bleed the opponent heavily in R2 in order to create as many units as possible!!!

Core Cards:

Draug: Our main way to produce a lot of similar type of units (Revenants). Revenants can also help in winning some rounds and provide some control over your opponent’s board

The Land of a Thousand Fables: Perhaps the single most important card in the deck as we will use this in R2 to sacrifice our AA (preferably after using it at least once in R1) in order to create a second Draug (has 50% chance to either get Draug or Henselt through this method). Second Draug = more Revenants

Pavetta: Gets all those revenants and puts them back to the deck to increase Erland’s value

Erland: Our winning condition. If all goes according to plan you will get a big 25-30 points finisher, which will also have an additional advantage: Immunity!!

King Foltest: Helps create as many dun banner as possible in order to be used with Draug

Mushy Truffle + PFI: Again, used to create as many bodies as possible for Draug

Queen Meve + Voyomir: Can help in winning R1, pushing or defending a bleed in R2

Leader – Pincer Maneuver: Can help with the consistency and un-bricking our hand

Written by Pokkas88

Overview

Yes, you’re not having a fever dream, it is true, you can technically have at some point a 72-powered ogroid boy in the game of Gwent. So, how is it possible to achieve this? The process itself is actually quite simple. First of all, if the row on which you have Old Speartip: Asleep is full, he will not summon Old Speartip, yet the strengthening part of his ability will trigger. Second of all, there are many ways to spawn Old Speartip Asleep! Third, put the first and the second point together and you’ve got profit. Well… sort of! 

Pros:

– Gives you a reason to play practice mode or friendly matches.

– Intriguing gameplay, especially for fans of puzzle games (e. g. Thronebreaker). 

– A chance to make arguably one of the highest base power units possible in the game.

Cons:

– Pretty much unplayable outside of friendlies/practice. Insta-death to control. 

– Absurdly draw dependent, even with a variety of tutors. 

– No back-up plan and no real way of generating points outside of the core combo.

Core Cards

The Speartips: Always secure the sleepy Speartip in your hand. Always have the angry Speartip in your deck. As soon the countdown on sleepy Speartip reaches 1, or earlier, your row must be filled in order to block the summoning effect. Rinse and repeat.  

The Spawn Gang: The sequencing of playing your spawning engines is very important as you’re fighting both time and synergy. The ideal sequencing is: Idarran – Weavess: Incantation – Caranthir onto Old Speartip: Asleep – Arachas Queen onto one of the 1-powered copies – Abaya and Ritual Sacrifice onto Arachas Queen – use of order on Weavess: Incantantion on Arachas Queen.

Written by Mercernn

Overview:

With the addition of Arachas Queen, MO gained a valuable card that can be used in a multitude of different decks. It also has massive meme potential as some of the synergies it can help create are just plain epic. In this version of the deck, we are going to use AQ + Golyat to create as many Golyats as possible, mainly for two purposes: a) mill our opponent as much as possible and b) to be used with witches sabbath in r2 and r3 for the additional carryover and of course… mill our opponent even more!!!

Pros:

– Deck has some amazing synergies

– Flexible enough to use your cards differently depending on match up

-Massive point value if everything plays according to plan

– Some of the deathwish units can be replaced to your liking!!!

Cons:

– A banished AQ means you lose a big part of your strategy

– Very draw dependent

– Low consistency

Core Cards:

Arachas Queen: The main idea behind this deck. You consume a card on deploy and creating a second copy when its own deathwish ability activates. Used to create as many Golyats as possible but the deck includes other targets as backup (Manticore, Miruna)

Golyat: Summons highest provision unit from opp deck. Mill opportunity + good carryover points through Witches Sabbath

Witches Sabbath + Alissa: Can be used to replay our cards (preferably on both R2 & R3) and get more value out of them, especially if its Golyat. Spring equinox can purify our units in R2 if needed so we can replay in R3!!!

Haunt, Deathwish package, Ritual Sacrifice, Abaya: Can be used in many different ways. Push and win R1, abuse AQ synergy more (eg via Ritual or Abaya), push or a defend a bleed, used in long round R3

Written by Pokkas88

Overview:
The new change to the Initiative keyword means many things, one thing ensures is lots of fire. It’s been awhile since I played a Scorch deck so I thought why not have a bit of fun and try to set it up 4 times in a game! Our old friend Alissa Henson is here to help out with our shenanigans 

Pros:

-So much fire

-Its a Shupe deck

Cons:

-Fragile combo

-Lots of set up

Core Cards:

Scorch: Will burn the highest power units on board(including yours if you’re not careful) so we want to use all our damage cards to line up the opponents cards to same power 

Francesca Findabair: Allows for a glorious Double Scorch in one turn 

Alissa Henson: Puts Scorch back in deck to be played again 

Renew: Solely for Alissa again

Written by Kalvino

Overview:

What if Skellige had their own Iron Man? He wouldn’t be as impressive, but he would be a few fun points! The main idea here is to utilize Onslaught’s passive to give lots of armor to an Axe-Wielder which you then remove with Iris for a big boost and small Pew Pew.

Pros:

– Core pirates synergy is pretty good

– Crach is low-key MVP

– Has Uma

Cons:

– Requires opponent to play units

– Few consistency cards

Core Cards:

Iris Shade: Takes armor off your Axe-Wielder or another Pirate and boosts self 

Terror Crew Axe-Wielder: When it loses armor it damages so perfect target to remove armor from 

Elf and Onion Soup: Nice RNG spice, used on Roach & Knickers 

Iris’ Companions: Used to ensure you draw Iris

Written by Kalvino

Lore Friendly

Overview:

With a recent change to Regis, the deck got so much better! You can finally tutor Regis with cards like Joachim or Roderick. Spies are still a bit underwhelming but at least the board clear looks cool! You can also consider a version with more assimilate cards. It would be harder to lineup Regis but it would make games more winnable.

Pros:

– Amazing in a long round

– Can destroy greedy decks

– Good against swarmy decks

Cons:

– Terrible against unitless decks

– Spies are a bit underwhelming engines

– Very slow.

Core Cards:

Regis: tutor him now, yay! Remember that he still doesn’t work after you use orders (including leader ability!)

Joachim: With Coup, he can line up 1 and 4 powers values for Regis. If you add to it Roderick, you already have a great row for our favorite Vampire.

Ramon: Great with Impera enforcers. In some niche situations, you can play him with Cavalry.

Written by Bomblin

Overview:

A deck I have been working on for quite some time now, since CDPR buffed Vandergrift a few patches ago. I really wanted to create a Vandergrift + Vandergrift’s Blade deck and this buff served as a good excuse to play around with the Knight tag. This is a lore-friendly non-meme deck that is actually fun to play and a fresh alternative to what everybody is playing in NR right now!!!

Pros:

-Some good synergies with the Knight cards

-Good consistency

Has both control and defensive capabilities

Cons:

-Low tempo

-Bronze cards with Knight tag feel very underwhelming

-Difficult to deal with swarm decks

-Difficult to play against heavy control decks

Core Cards:

Vandergrift’s Blade + Reynard Odo: If played in the same round, these cards can basically boost every unit played by 2 (blade will only work with Knights though). The extra boost can help a lot of your cards survive their first turn on the board while for some it can boost their removal capability!!

Prophet Lebioda: Each unit played next to Lebioda gets that well needed shield!!

Prince Anseis, Seltkirk & Vissegerd: Some excellent removal options (Anseis & Seltkirk) while Vissegerd can act as a last say card that will gain a lot of charges if most of your units are boosted.

Donimir: Very important to at least protect your units… The more your units remain alive (and boosted) the more you increase your chances on winning!!

Vandergrift: Like seriously… who expects this… from NR… in this meta?

Raffard’s Vengeance + Thaler + AA + Cintrian Envoy: Some good options to use for thinning and getting the cards you want… Use wisely!!!

Written by Pokkas88

Overview:

It’s getting a bit chilly around here, let’s make sure our opponents are freezing too! I dont think I’ve ever seen anyone play a deck focused on Blizzard…probably because it’s a terrible idea. I thought to try it out in Monsters as our units should always be higher power than the opponents. Alissa back again to potentially play Blizzard twice! 

Pros:

– Actual Blizzard value

– Chonky units

– Lots of Pew Pew 

Cons:

– Low point output on our side

– Relies on opponents cards

Core Cards:

Blizzard: Destroys all lowest units (including ours) 

Alissa Henson: Double Blizzed fun

Saesenthessis Blaze, Ivo of Belhaven, Yennefer Conjurer, Nithral, & Myrgtabrakke: All these cards are used to damage the opponents units and set their power to be lower than any of ours 

Incubus: Pulls a high power bronzes from our graveyard and ideally a low power unit from the opponent 

Hideous Feast: Very useful card as it can damage opponents cards in range of Blizzard and boost our cards to safety

Written by Kalvino

Overview:

When talking about SY, there is always one specific card that comes to mind for me… COLLUSION!!!!! I always felt that this impactful crime has great potential and loved experimenting with it. In this lore-friendly deck, we are trying to use collusion not once, but twice!!  It is a bit challenging to pull through, but when it does it feels so rewarding. Most people right now expect to face SY Jackpot, so this deck will definitely catch many people by surprise!

Pros:

– Can use collusion in two different rounds or even in a single round for double the value

– Scenario can help in getting round control quickly

– Lots of different cards from different archetypes allow for a more flexible approach to each match up

Cons:

-Heavy control decks will limit your potential to set up the board properly for Collusion

– Coin usage is very important as we do not have infinite coin generation

– Tricky to navigate correctly

Core Cards:

Collusion + Alissa + Ferko: The main concept of the deck. Play collusion once, use Alissa to return the card from your graveyard to your deck, then replay collusion once more via Ferko if needed. Ferko can be used in the same round as well if collusion and Alissa are both in hand!!

Passiflora Scenario: Can be used to gain round control, set up those engines and fill your pockets with very much needed coins.

Bloody Good Friends + Sea Jackal (Leader charges): Main source for 3 of the 5 tags needed to get a full value collusion. Always keep 1 BGF & 1 Sea Jackal for each time you are going to play collusion

Whoreson’s Freak Show: Can be used alongside payday and Kurt to remove targets that can be dangerous for you when setting up your board.

The Mushy Truffle + Sly Seductress: A very strong synergy with the Passiflora scenario, can be a good alternative for a R3 encounter where collusion has already been used in previous rounds

Jacques + Helveed: Your main source of Firesworn in this deck. Even if one of those tokens survive it will be enough to trigger collusion. Also can be your spenders if needed.

Written by Pokkas88

Becoming A Pro

Overview

This deck emerged from a shower thought that I had around the time when Ardal aep Dahy was released. It revolved around giving Cantarella to the opponent and having them play it to his disadvantage or discard it. So browsing across the deck builder, I came across three cards that caught my attention: Saer Quan (in combination with Amnesty), Curse of Corruption and Count Caldwell. Saer Quan turned out to be a bit clunky and CoC is often unsynergistic with Snowdrop, so I eventually picked Count Caldwell

Combo is easy: Play Cantarella, then in another round, play Leader and place Caldwell as the second card from the top. Then you play Ardal on Cantarella, while you draw the top card. Now your opponent has Cantarella in his hand while Count Caldwell is on top of your deck, and you have the tallest unit on the board. Will he play it? 

Pros

Punishes curious opponents for playing Cantarella. Most of them are curious. 

Tall units and tall removal support the strategy 

Operator with Nilfgaardian Knight enables a Shaelmaar target and gives great bonded value to Illusionists later on. 

Cons

Totally falls apart if you don’t have dominance during the combo 

Combo only works in the last round. Otherwise, Cantarella will just not be played (probably) 

Doesn’t necessarily have the strongest round 1 

Core Cards

Ardal aep Dahy, Cantarella, Count Caldwell (or another target card) and a few tactics. The rest of the deck should just revolve around the strategy.

Written by Escanbryt

Overview:

This deck is incredibly fun and surprisingly strong (Got me to Pro this season with a 12-2-1 record). The core strategy you follow is to utilize Caravan Vanguards for filling your rows as much as possible, and then employ Cat Witcher Mentors and Gaetan to get payoff from the high amount of units. The deck also includes a carryover package with handbuff and Allgod, which works very well with your leader, as well as Harald Gord to help you in shorter rounds. 

Pros:

– Very powerful, Cat Witcher Mentors can consistently reach over 20 points of value if used correctly.

– Decent both in control and proactive play.

– Capable of excelling in both short and long rounds. 

Cons:

– Draw dependent to a degree, as it is easy to brick your hand and many of your cards are combo-based. 

– Vulnerable to wide punish (Lambert, Lacerate, the SK Rain Archetype). 

– The risk of overfilling is omnipresent and requires a lot of thinking ahead. 

Core Cards

Caravan Vanguard: A priceless card for this deck. They have a very nice value curve, starting at 7.5 (Unbonded + Bonded / 2) and growing for each additional trigger. You aim to play them always on the ranged row to get more units, rather than boost. In such a scenario, a bonded trigger can play for 9 points of raw value + 2 triggers on each Cat Witcher Mentor + 2 triggers on Gaetan. 

Teleportation: A surprisingly valuable combo card, which is intended to be used on Vanguards. Provided you have 2 Vanguards on the board (1 play), Teleportation on one of them will trigger bonded, thus resulting in 6 raw value points + 2 triggers on each subsequent Mentor + 2 triggers on Gaetan + 1 point on Harald Gord + potential healing/status removal. You can easily get over 10 points with this handy, cheap card! 

Cat Witcher Mentors + Gaetan: These are your payoff cards for row swarming. Always play Mentors after you swarm your row a bit, so that they couldn’t be removed by low damage and place them to the leftmost position for synergy with Gaetan later. Also, always calculate how many spots you need to preserve for Mentors and Gaetan (1-4). Once your row is filled with but one position left, play Gaetan which will not only trigger his ability, but also re-trigger Mentors’ abilities for every card moved provided you played them to the very left. This will also only work on Adrenaline 4. 

Written by Mercernn

Overview

The Skellige Rain Archetype should never be underestimated. It even was played in the last Masters, but we made some cheeky changes to it.
Obviously you try to overwhelm your opponent with the classic Discard Package, while using some of your Bronze Engines to secure a round. The core and idea of this deck though is, that you play your leader earlier than usual, but keep in mind that you want to play it with Gremist in hand or on board, so that you can purify Arnjolf. This way we make sure that you can replay it with Fucusya, so that you get 10 turns of rain, which your Messengers of the Sea and Rioghan can make use of.
Cards like Madman Lugos, Gigascorpion Decoction or Avallac’h give you some control options, while the Megascope might get you an additional Messenger.
Sequencing with this deck is key, so make sure to plan ahead to maximize your rain value!
Your last 3 plays, with Messengers on board, might look like this: Sigrdrifa’s Rite on another Messenger, Fucusya into Arnjolf and then Bride of the Sea replaying Sigrdrifa’s Rite into Rioghan.  

Pros:

– Great mixture of consistency, control and engines

– Gives Madman Lugos a chance to shine 

– Makes use of the pointswing potential from Rioghan the Undying, Messengers and Rain

– Still viable even if your combo bricks

Cons:

– Sequencing can get a bit itchy from time to time 

– Squirrel and especially Xavier Lemmens can ruin your day

– Kinda depends on drawing your bronze cards, especially your Messengers

– Not much Rain without the combo

Core Cards:

Fucusya: She is without a doubt one of the strongest card in game right now. You will need her to replay Arnjolf, while it is in Graveyard, to make use of the meme. Otherwise you are still able to play Little Havfrues, Messengers or something else with her, but it’s less fun. 

Rioghan the Undying: While never in your hand, you will need him together with your Messengers and Rain to get the maximum payoff. You will try to get him back with Sigrdrifa’s Rite. 

Messenger of the Sea: They are a strong bronze engine, helping you synergize and maximize your rain potential with Avallac’h, Little Havfrues and whatever you play with Fucusya. They are basically your points with this deck, therefore you want to use Freya’s Blessing and Megascopes on them as well. 

Suggestions:

If you want to play safe, you can change some cards, like Megascope for a Pellar to be able to purify Arnjolf or Tears of Siren to secure yourself some Rain. You can change Avallac’h for Heatwave, but he secures you enough Rain to get your Messengers going. Madman Lugos and Decoction are not mandatory, as well as Spore, but they surely help you to control your opponent’s board.

Written by Sawyer

Overview:

Mourntart got a very nice Provision change in the recent patch and finally feels pretty playable! The points just Pop onto the board! We would like to play into all 3 rounds and set up a giant graveyard for our Mourntart to feast on with last say. 

Pros:

-Consistent game plan

-Plenty of points in all rounds

-Only cares about setting up graveyard

Cons:

-Really needs last say 

-Needs the right cards early to ensure later combo

Core Cards:

Mourntart + Petri’s Philter: The perfect pay-off to your whole game of set up. Philter allows Mounrtart to be played last with zeal and dodge any removal 

Plague Maiden +  Yennefer of Vengerberg + Siegfried of Denesle: Great round 2 to slam points and intimidate the opponent and the purification of tokens means even more bodies for Mourntart 

Mushy Truffle + Caravan Vanguard + Lesser Witch + Celaeno Harpy: All of our bonded units spawn more and more units to fill up our graveyard

Written by Kalvino , Deck by Decode789

Honorable Mentions

Overview:

The inspiration for this deck came from me having the idea of using Ancient Foglets as finishers, slamming them with a lot of weather effects on the enemy rows. Looking at row effects, rag nah rook popped in the list and I thought that I could add Madoc as well, even if it would not be that consistent as I intended to spawn fog frost and cataclysm. With the addition of Arachas Queen I could review the deck and even make it greedier! So, without further ado, I present you “She-Troll white and the 7 Madocs”.

Pros:

-Fun meme deck with very good potential

-Utilizing Madoc in a fresh alternative way by using row effects to both damage AND produce points for our engines

-Massive points in a long round

Cons:

-Susceptible to tall/row punish

-Initial hand is very important to get the maximum amount of Madocs possible (7)

-If AQ gets heatwaved, the entire plan falls through

Core Cards:

Arachas Queen + Madoc: The core of this deck, we need to spawn as many as possible in R1 in order to guarantee our engines will get the maximum value in later rounds

Abaya + Decoy + Witches Sabbath: Very important cards that can help in getting further value from the AQ+ Madoc combo

Whispess Tribute + Whispering Hillock: Excellent cards that act as tutors for the cards we will need

She-Troll + Vran Warrior + Ancient Foglets: Our faithful engines that will produce the majority of points for us. Every time that Madoc’s ability is used, we will trigger these engines concurrently as She-Troll & Vran buff themselves whenever a unit is destroyed and Ancient Foglets buff themselves whenever row effects are applied!!!

Moon Dust + Dimeritium Bomb + Red Haze + Northern Wind: Our bombs that will summon our Madoc from the deck or graveyard. Only 6 of them so use strategically!!!

*Note – A full guide for this deck is included in the PlayGwent database

Written by UngryNab

Our good friend MrRepek created this wholesome deck for the community to help celebrate MissLadyJay and Crozyr’s Wedding!

Mercernn helped out during the stream and suggested we include it. Be sure to click the Deck picture to read MrRepek’s full guide.

Deck by MrRepek

Conclusion

This was our fifth Meme Snapshot, we hope you enjoyed it! Hopefully we can all agree on the fact that there are plenty of decks included for all kinds of players that don’t want to contribute to the meta. For players that would like to have a good time, that want to role-play and want to go put their boot in the meta and claim their seats among the kings.

A big thank you to everyone providing us with their decks! Otherwise it would have been somewhat one-sided, with only decks from Bomblin, Kalvino, Pokkas and myself. We hope that we inspired you to create your own memes or own versions of the decks with this Meme Snapshot. But for now, Bomblin, Kalvino, Pokkas and I will fare thee well, and we’ll see you again in Meme Snapshot #6!

Now is the time to shine, oh memers of the Gwent community! Got a deck that’s so bad it’s good? One that’s kinda out there but still got you to pro, or one that’s lore friendly? Then please send an email to teambanditgang@gmail.com and we will consider putting it in our next Meme Snapshot!

Please consider checking out our article section where you can find plenty of articles. From member interviews to deck guides and more!

Skill beats Luck Ep. 7 – Behind the scenes with CDPR Event Manager MrRepek

Introduction

For most of us, the holiday season has come to an end and the new year 2022 began. Surely not the start I hoped for as a Darts and Gerwyn “The Iceman” Price fan, …but in terms of Gwent we have an exciting year to look forward to. Not only did the new competitive season just start, but also some old journeys will come back to the shop and new and exciting cards are already in the making. 
Also you can expect now more frequent episodes of Skill beats Luck in the near future, including amazing guests from all over the world, while I also have some special episodes in mind already. Stay tuned!

Last episode we had a chat with Team Legacy’s Danirai, the winner of the Duel of Dogs No.2, where we talked about his route to victory, his opinion on Gwent in general and how the Gwent community was the foundation of real-life friendships.
While normally our guests are either players, streamers or casters, this time we will get a closer look behind the scenes of Gwent and CDPR with our guest Maciej Reputakowski-Madej or better known as MrRepek. As the Event Manager of CDPR he was involved with many different Gwent Events, like working on official tournaments, conventions, or PR-campaigns.

Let’s take a closer look at our community from a different perspective and get some insights from behind the curtain!

Meet the Guest

Name: Maciej Reputakowski-Madej

Age: 41

Hobbies: Streaming, TV Shows, Boardgames & RPG, Comics, Football

Section: Event Manager CDPR

Favorite Faction: Bandits

Favorite Card: Shupe’s Day Off

About CDPR

CD PROJEKT RED is, as most of you already know, a video game development studio and publisher with its origins in Poland. Founded in the 90s by Michał Kiciński and Marcin Iwiński,  the company starting with localization and translating games into Polish. Years later, 2007, the first adaption of Andrzej Sapkowskis novels of Wiedźmin, The Witcher was born.           
After the success, 2011 The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings followed as well as The Witcher 3: Wildhunt 2015/2016 with getting a next-gen update 2022.    
As for Gwent, the journey started in 2018 as a spinoff card game featured in Wild Hunt. While also developing and publishing other games like Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, Cyberpunk 2077 or The Witcher: Monster Slayer (for Android and iOS), CDPR is also known for their REDengine used in their games and their game distribution service Good Old Games, GOG for short. 

With over 1000 employees working in their Studios in Warsaw, Cracow, Wrocław and now also Vancouver and Boston, CDPR is growing and keeps creating games, which tell “breathtaking, mature stories to global audiences, without losing the attention to detail”.

For more information check out their homepage or one of the different community forums to get to know the company and people behind it… just continue reading to hear what MrRepek has to say!

The Interview

Sawyer: Welcome Repek, I really appreciate you taking part in our series! 

For many in the community you are a very familiar face, but maybe you can tell our readers a bit more about yourself as well. Especially your way to CDPR and your strong connection to a certain ogroid…    

Repek: Thank you for having me! I am always humbled by such invitations and really appreciate them.

My road to CDPR had started before Witcher 1 was released. I wanted to become a writer and applied back then and once again when REDs were working on Witcher 3. Finally I realized that maybe it is not my way to get into the games development industry. Four years ago CDPR was looking for someone with experience in events and card games… So, it took me only about 13 years, but it seems that third time’s the charm.

And speaking of Shupe … I know that Midwinter Update does not invoke the best memories, but that was the moment when I met our friendly troll. It was love at first sight.

S: Seems like your persistence paid off…luckily for all of us and Shupe!      
Besides sometimes streaming Gwent, you are mainly the Event Manager of CDPR. But what does this actually mean? How can we imagine what your tasks and duties are?

R: I enjoy streaming but I am doing it just for fun and to stay in touch with the game and the community.

As the Events Team we are supporting whoever needs our help. It means taking care of our booths at conventions and presenting the games to the community and the press, but also organizing internal events like Holiday parties and Social Fridays. It is just a tip of the iceberg and it never gets boring. Oh, and we have Gwent tournaments of course…

S: Sounds like a lot of work, but also very exciting.     
When I think back, my journey with the Witcher began when I realized that I bought Witcher 3 at some point but never played it, heard it was good and…the rest is history.

 Since when are you part of the Witcher universe, if you can say it like that, and what got you hooked on it?

R: For me it all started in the early 90s. My older cousin brought me a book titled “Sword of Destiny” and… the rest is history. In Poland, if you were a nerd, it was not possible to miss the phenomenon of the Witcher. Not everyone liked the books or even understood them, but everyone knew that something extraordinary was happening.

I always loved Sapkowski’s style of writing. He is Polish but he never seemed to be afraid to use Arthurian myth or Celtic mythology as a foundation of his works. Over 30 years ago it was not that common in our fantasy literature.

S: I can relate as I actually just finished the first book myself!            
So you’ve kinda experienced the whole journey of Gwent from a different perspective than most of our readers.
Do you have certain milestones you remember fondly or also experienced moments where you’ve thought “why not stick with dice poker?”

R: If you like dice poker, you can always replay Witcher 2 for the fifth time, right?

Seriously though, I have many great memories when it comes to the whole Gwent journey. Tournaments, events, even the challenging moments are important to me. But the event I love the most is the last Challenger of Season 1. (You can rewatch the quarterfinals here and semis & final here)
It was not the biggest in scale (like tournaments in Moszna Castle or in Wieliczka Salt Mine), but we invited community members to our studio in Warsaw and spent a wonderful weekend together. Such memories live forever.

S: I can only imagine, let’s hope these kinds of events will be back in the future.
On Twitch we can see you guys creating streaming events, besides from the official tournaments, like TWIG for example or charity streams.        

What is it like behind the scenes to organize these kinds of events, which, because of Corona, are happening for us only virtual?

R: TWIG is Burza’s thing so you have to ask him. I try to follow it every week and I really like the new format with invited guests. I believe that from the organizational perspective they are much easier to prepare, as you only need a camera, mic and some free time. Oh, and a tub from time to time.

Charity streams require more time to prepare. For example, we need tons of approvals from our legal team. I do not want to spoil too much (the community team would kill me), but something is brewing…

S: I am already excited…and also know the struggles organizing these events, as I worked on a charity event together with ShupeTV myself back in August.       
Obviously, you have been not only involved with Gwent, but also other projects, like Thronebreaker or Cyberpunk.
What would you say are the differences between working on an ongoing CCG like Gwent and an open-world RPG like Cyberpunk?

R: As the E-sports team, we are really experienced when it comes to Gwent events. So far we organized 24 official tournaments. I am not saying we are doing it on an autopilot now, but – after such blows as Covid hitting Masters Finals – hardly anything surprises us. Just like the game, it is an ongoing, exciting experience. And it is free to play!

Cyberpunk 2077 was and is a whole different story. The scope of the pre-launch campaign was so big that I cannot compare it to anything else that happened in my professional career. For me and the Events Team it meant traveling a lot, meeting thousands of people from the community, presenting the demo over and over again. It was an amazing adventure which was unfortunately brutally stopped by Covid.

S: Speaking about Cyberpunk…you were not only working on PR-campaigns but also involved in some technical manners, like the face scanning process.
What was it like and how would you describe your experience? 

R: It is a good example of what people from the Events Team help with. Almost three years ago we cooperated with an external company who came to our studio to make professional scans of our faces. They built a special ring with around 100 connected cameras and we just had to make sure that over 80 RED and GOG employees appear in this science-fiction environement.

It was totally worth the effort. The Characters Team could use the scans as in-game models for many NPCs in Night City. This way the visuals of characters in the open world are much more diversified. For us it is also quite funny to see our colleagues in the game (especially when they punch you to death, haha).

I was lucky to be picked by Characters Team too. You can find me in the Pharmaceutics near Skyline/Salinas. For a Cyberpunk fan like me, it is a big deal to contribute to this game. I hope they won’t remove me in any upcoming patch.

S: Seems like a unique and exciting process, as well as a great memory. Can’t think of any reason why they should remove you in the future.
Also, people are eager to know what future projects CDPR is currently working on. Witcher 4, Cyberpunk DLCs, Golden Nekker.

I am sure your options to reveal some leeks are limited, but I can’t avoid trying anyway. And if not about the games, what events are planned in 2022, especially the Gwent community can look forward to? 

R: They will carve it on my tombstone, but I will keep saying this: “There is only one Master of the Leeks at CDPR and his name is Paweł Burza“. That being said, we already shared some information on what’s going to happen in 2022. A company like CDPR never sleeps so you can expect cool new stuff.

In December we concluded Season 3 of Gwent Masters and the new season already started.  I’m not gonna lie, I am already looking forward to Gwent Opens. I just love the atmosphere of these tournaments.

S: I see. That sounds promising!          
With the holiday season coming to an end and 2022 already in the starting blocks, maybe tell us how Christmas looks like at CDPR.
Also, do you have any resolutions or goals for the new year? 

R: Holidays time was very special for the company and for the Events Team in part-icular.
We just helped the Internal Culture Team in organizing an outdoor party for RED and our friends from GOG. After another demanding year everyone de-served a moment of re-laxation. It was a very challenging project but very rewarding at the same time.

Personally, I am not setting any big goals for 2022. I am just going to expect the un-expected and react accordingly. It worked for me for the past 2 years.

S: Reminds me of the Law of Surprise, which seems to end really well!       
Finally, when can we expect a Gwent face-off between Henry Cavill and Keanu Reeves? What would you think their favorite factions might be if you have to guess?

R: Both of us can only do one thing: dream! Dream big!

I can totally see Keanu playing a refined Bandits themed deck (with Shupe, because why not). Henry would, of course, pick a Witcher deck with special appearances by Ciri and Yennefer (#TeamYen here, sorry). Factions do not matter, they are both playing neutral cards and agree to not use their leader abilities.

I’d love to make such a show match happen.

S: A big hit for all Trissers for sure, but also based on Cavill’s fondness for games my bets are on him.   
 
Jokes aside, I am really grateful for this opportunity of having you here. Thank you and as always, good fortune in the wars to come. Normally the Pro-Players in this series end with some advice for Gwent…what would be your advice for everyone not only interested in playing games, but also trying to become involved as a designer, developer, or any other role behind the scenes of the gaming industry? 

R: I’ve just reached PRO Rank (again!) but all I can say is: have fun. If you are not enjoying what you are doing WHEN PLAYING A GAME, what’s the point in playing it in the first place? Entertainment should not feel like punishment.

It works for me when it comes to my job too. Of course, you need certain skills and stubbornness to get where you want to be. There is no shortcut. You play a lot to become a pro player. You write to become a writer and you organize your own events to prove you can work as an event manager. However, when you are there, in your own Promised Land, it is good to remember you are not doing it only for money.
If you are not enjoying it, you won’t give your best” – Repko Coelho.

Once again, thank you for having me. Team Bandit Gang FTW!

Renfri Needs a Gwent Card #12

After reading The Last Wish, I was impressed by the character Renfri and realized that this unique and interesting character was entirely absent from the game of Gwent. What a travesty! I decided to remedy this situation by posting a custom card every day until Renfri is added to Gwent. The custom cards from the last week appear below.

Desperation

Northern Realms, we know, doesn’t always have the greatest consistency. You can tell that by the way they all play Cintrian Envoy in round 1 like their lives depend on it. The only other consistency cards they have worthy of note are Amphibious Assault and John Natalis. Raffard’s Vengeance hits hard in Inspired Zeal, but is difficult to play otherwise.

Back in the old days, when everyone had crap consistency, Northern Realms used to open up by playing engines like Kerack Frigate. Their main tools for acquiring gold cards were mulligans and hope. But thanks to power creep, that just isn’t good enough anymore.

This card doesn’t tiptoe around that fact that Northern Realms has poor consistency by giving them some marginally useful tutor and pretending it’s a godsend (cough Henselt cough). Instead, it offers you a choice between a potentially lifesaving gold card or a strong bronze tempo play. It’s best used in Round 3, when the gold cards in the deck are confirmed unreachable.

Art Source

Saulrenith

Saulrenith was a Zerrikanian priestess responsible for assembling the Faithel. The Faithel’s sacred duty was to find and protect the world’s remaining dragons. Two of these Faithel, Tea and Vea, travelled with Borch Three Jackdaws, also known as Villentrentenmerth.

Though dragons in Gwent are few and far between, they are among the strongest cards in the game. Villentrentenmerth, Saskia: Commander, Keltullis, and Myrgtabrakke are all threatening cards that find use in recent decks. Though not a dragon, Saulrenith quite obviously supports the dragon archetype strongly. She can be played on her own, but also acts as a soft tutor for neutral dragons. Personally, I’d like to see more creative use of the Create keyword. The way it’s used by bountiful harvest is something I’d like to see more of.

Art Source

Kraken

Ah, the mighty Kraken. This is an example of a card where flavor and balance intersect wonderfully. In this case, you consume a ship in one round and gain a solid damage card in the next round. The mechanic fits nicely with Skellige, too, which tends to have a setup-payoff play style with a weak round 1.

You really need to be running this card alongside Dimun Warship. With the Onslaught leader, those sometimes gain an enormous amount of armor, blocking them from triggering their Deathwish ability. With Kraken, you can unbrick the ship–and Kraken–should you be stuck with the pair in round 3.

Either way, you consume a ship in round 1-2, usually of 4-5 base power, and gain a powerful Kraken in round 2-3, offering decent damage with a sizeable body. Really, a card like this would encourage the development of a Skellige ship Deathwish archetype. Which sounds pretty cool, honestly.

Art Source

Saimaa

To humans, mermaids and sirens are inaccessible and inscrutable, mysterious beasts to be feared and tamed. Yet I’d like to think that among their number are gentle souls, every bit as human as we are–perhaps more. (Humans aren’t very human sometimes, sadly.)

In this card, a mermaid, or havfrue if you prefer, cuddles her pet seal, whom she has named Bork. She allows Skellige to tutor any beast from deck, from the lowly Little Havfrue to the mighty Fucusya. Given how powerful Fucusya is, I think it’s pretty reasonable for her to have a direct tutor at this point.

As a nice little upside, Saimaa spawns a Deafening Siren if the tutored card was bronze. I’d like to see more tutors with this behavior, in order to encourage more bronze tutoring. For example, Henselt might spawn a Volunteer if his target is bronze. This would make him able to instantly provide a crew pocket for bronzes, as well as the 2 extra points.

Art Source

Bork

Bork! Bork bork bork! That’s seal for “Please feed me some more fish! I’m still hungry.” You’d know that if you were a mermaid like Saimaa, because mermaids speak seal. Probably.

Bork supports the already strong discard package by allowing you to summon 4-power cards as if they were Tuirseach Skirmishers. What are some potential targets for Bork, you ask? An Craite Longship, Herkja Drummond, Messenger of the Sea, Melusine Cultist, Dagur Two-Blades, Brokvar Hunter, and maybe Crow Clan Preacher come to mind. There are really a couple targets in every archetype, which is nice.

Bork offers a decent potential combo with Saimaa. Saimaa into Bork into Herkja Drummond or Brokvar Hunter gives you 14 points for 13 provisions, while also establishing an engine and granting a total of two thinning. It’s pretty balanced, and has synergy with Coral. Doing this also means Bork lives, because otherwise he’s a great target for Parasite or Gigascorpion Decotion. Poor Bork.

Art Source

Mourning a Loss

Scoia’tael is a complex and varied faction, full of differing groups with equally diverse motivations and goals. However, the one common theme that unites them is grief. Grief, indeed, as their homelands and old ways of life are systematically dismantled by encroaching humans. I don’t think many of us can truly relate to the threat of being wiped out, or the absolute hopelessness of extinction.

Superficially, we see Scoia’tael as a bunch of vicious guerilla warriors with a side of jolly dwarves. But what really drives them, beneath their hatred and violence, is an extremely profound grief and hopelessness. I’d like to see more attention drawn to this side of the Scoia’tael. It’s what–ironically–makes them human.

This card is intended to reflect the solidarity that the disparate races share as they are united by common sorrows. The idea is that you banish one elder race and play bronze units from the other two. Banishing a dryad grants you a dwarf and an elf, and so forth. Strategy wise, it provides nice thinning, as well as tempo. But it comes with a deck building cost, and also forces you to play a gold card in an early round, lest you wind up with an 11 provision brick.

Art Source

Maugrim

Maugrim was a massive beast created by the powerful Gemmeran sorceress, Eira Frostsinger. Though Eira intended to use the monster to obstruct the Nilfgaardian forces that had overrun her homeland, the monster was eventually slain by a viper witcher named Gerring of Kharkiv. According to the lore, the witcher was outmatched and forced to forge a new dwarven sword to fight the monster, proving victorious on his second attempt. However, it seems likely that was just a Nilfgaardian PR job. The truth is probably that Nilfgaard was playing Mill as usual and banished Maugrim from Eira’s deck before she could play it. Those bastards never fight fair!

As a card, Maugrim provides thinning for the monsters faction and allows them to establish a body with high base strength, useful for Ozzrel or She Who Knows value.

Art Source

Renfri Needs a Gwent Card #11

After reading The Last Wish, I was impressed by the character Renfri and realized that this unique and interesting character was entirely absent from the game of Gwent. What a travesty! I decided to remedy this situation by posting a custom card every day until Renfri is added to Gwent. The custom cards from the last week appear below.

Goetia

Goetia refers to the practice of summoning evil spirits and binding their souls to perform one’s will. This form of black magic was discussed quite a bit in Season of Storms, the standalone Witcher novel. Though officially forbidden by the Brotherhood of Sorcerers, its practice is tolerated if one does it quietly enough.

This card is a powerful control tool that can also function as pointslam.  Realistically, it can act as a 15-for-12 in certain decks such as Arachas Swarm or possibly Nature’s Gift. It can shut down multiple engines at once, too. At the same time, getting full value out of this card can be challenging. In a short round, it’s entirely possible that your opponent may not even control three units.

It’s no accident that the card damages three enemies by six, paying homage to the most devilish number known to western man. The only way this card could be spookier would be if its provision cost were increased to 13, which isn’t completely unreasonable given its power level.

Art source is here.

His Excellency

This card’s purpose is to provide Nilfgaard with a powerful wide punish that emphasizes the wealth and power disparities running rampant through their empire. The unfortunate truth that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer has never been so frustratingly clear.

Realistically, you’re playing this in a Masquerade Ball deck. You’re probably playing 3-4 bronze aristocrats, Roderick of Dun Tynne, Joachim DeWett, and Usurper Emperor. You might also play Coup De Grace on one of your own Aristocrat spies, for an additional aristocrat, making a total of 8 Aristocrats. All told, this guy can easily be at 9 power by the time the enemy has a chance to answer him. Hopefully this should make him a potent threat and not just another expensive Nilfgaardian Elder Bear.

Art source is here.

Dancing Nancy

This gal’s a lively Syndicate version of Gezras of Leyda, providing powerful payoff for swarming your board. Whether you’re running full-on Firesworn or just Cleaver crimes, you’re going to get significant value out of Nancy if you can get around a dozen or so units on your board.

Note that her current design doesn’t grant her any profit, creating potential for her to brick in a short round. To be perfectly honest, I think this is a design flaw in the card, since high-end golds shouldn’t be so likely to brick. I would fix this by either raising her power to 7, or by giving her profit 4. Her design may not be perfect, but it is quite interesting, which is why I’m sharing her here.

Also, I should mention that she boosts herself when using her own fee. This means that she becomes progressively more difficult to remove when allowed to stick, unlike Gezras of Leyda.

Art source is here.

Heretic

Even though it’s just a lowly bronze, this card packs a punch and involves a lot of complexity and flavor. The Heretic constantly spawns Firesworn Zealots behind him on his never-ending chase, as he tries to escape the religious authorities that would see him burn upon the pyre.

This card acts as a 2-point-per-turn bronze engine, though he requires some setup and risks overswarming the board. Especially in a long round, a board full of firesworn tokens can be as much of a blessing as a curse when it comes time to play high provision cards.

Art source is here.

Blades of Destiny

This card was inspired by a number of factors. First, I’d recently read the short story Sword of Destiny by Andre Sapkowski, where Geralt rescues Ciri in the forest of Brokilon. Second, I found this beautiful artwork of the two of them in combat. And finally, I wanted to experiment with a thrive-in-deck ability similar to Sunset Wanderers boost-in-hand ability. Altogether, this card represents the intertwined fates of Geralt and Ciri, his child of surprise.

Due to the structure of a Gwent match, one naturally wishes to play low provision bronzes first, followed by gradually higher provision cards, saving one’s highest provision gold cards for round 3. This card rewards that behavior by gradually boosting the card to higher values. By the time the card reaches perhaps 8 or 9 base power, it is extremely threatening. Even though it can be cleanly answered with Korathi Heatwave, it won’t be easily removed by pure damage in most cases.

Art source is here.

Leshen

The mighty Leshen is one of Geralt’s fiercest and most difficult opponents in the games, which contrasts rather disappointingly with the bland Woodland Spirit token spawned by the Force of Nature leader. Surely such an interesting foe should have a more unique Gwent card?

Here, I envision Leshen as a non-removal tall punish. Most tall punishes like Korathi Heatwave, Curse of Corruption, or even Artefact Compression act as removal in some capacity, shutting down the target’s core abilities. By contrast, this card leaves the target intact, but enables sabbath and triggers allied thrive abilities. In short, this card focuses on developing allied synergies more so than disrupting enemy synergies. Further, the devotion ability allows it to synergize with other cards like Ozzrel and She Who Knows.

Part of the philosophy of monsters is that because they have such strong proactive engines and pointslam, they can’t be allowed access to compelling control tools. Thus, part of the purpose of this card is to provide Monsters with a powerful tall punish that does not act as removal. The immunity here might seem a bit strong, but remember that removal cards like Korathi Heatwave have de facto immunity by virtue of their uninteractivity. For this reason, I think immunity is quite justified.

I can’t find the original art source for this, but here’s a wallpaper-sized version of the art.

Meve's Guard

After playing Thronebreaker, I gained a lot of respect for Queen Meve’s story. Not just for the Lyrian Queen herself, but also her footsoldiers and loyal followers. The true Lyrians followed her through thick and thin, through mires and blizzards and everything in between. They bravely struggled in hopes that one day their beloved country of Lyria might be a free and independent state. I think it’s safe to say that they deserve a Gwent card.

In this card, we see something similar to the familiar Blue Stripes Commando, though with a unique twist. First, the card’s summoning is tied to deathblows, much like Brokilon Sentinel. Second, each card is worth 6 points, 2 more than Commandos. And finally, the card benefits from having Queen Meve in your starting deck, while synergizing with her swarm payoff.

In terms of gameplay, I think these are going to feel like a cross between Kadwaeni Revenant and Blue Stripes Commando. Casting Contest can be used to re-enable their order ability, while other damage cards like Boiling Oil can be used to extend their reach. With 3 armor, they’re quite difficult to remove, too.

The main downside of this card is going to be in the balance between setting up reliable deathblows while also spawning new copies in the deck. If your opponent doesn’t play many units in the right strength range, an all-in Meve’s Guard deck could be hard to pull off.

Art source is here.

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

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. 

Deck Guides: Saskia’s Gift & Milva’s Witchers

Overview

Saskia: Commander has arrived on the battlefield to lead your Scoia’tael commandos to victory! Prepare to summon your troops and topple some kings with the full arsenal of the Scoia’tael. Saskia said it best herself: “We’ll win!”

Saskia: Commander’s ability revolves around being mindful of the tags (Witcher, Human, Dwarf, etc.) you have on board and in deck. In this deck, you specifically want to utilize her to summon your bronze units onto the board in Round 1. Her Immunity ensures she cannot be easily countered by your opponents and allows you to thin the deck multiple times. 

With Round 1 secured, you can push Round 2 as much as you want. You have a big point slam card in Barnabas Beckenbauer, which you can play for 15 points with an Elf, Dwarf, and Dryad target on board. Saskia (the one with Harmony) serves as a Swiss Army Knife, providing any tag you might end up missing.

Round 3 is reserved for the final form of Eithné: Wrath of the Brokilon with a few Nature cards and Harald Gord.

Your Nature’s Gift leader ability enables many of your bronze engines and adds points to your Nature cards. Saskia: Commander, ensuring an early round victory, allows you to decide how best to approach the later rounds with your multiple combos.

Pros

  • Round 1 plan is solid on both Red or Blue coin
  • An overwhelming amount of engines
  • Can be very consistent with all your thinning
  • Multiple finishers
  • Can survive if bled or combo missed round 1

Cons

  • Devotion 
  •  Minimal control, no tall punish
  • Difficult mulligans
  • Can over swarm in a long round

The Deck

Core Cards

Saskia: Commander An amazing thinning tool which also gives you bronzes you want to have early. You have 5 sets of bronze units for her to call forth into the fray. Mulligans in Round 1 are crucial, since you want to guarantee a wide selection of targets for your draconic general. Your Cursed Scroll stratagem is very useful to guarantee her and put any unwanted bronze back in deck.

Eithné: Wrath of the Brokilon– Round 3 form is a big payoff for being Devotion. Adds 3 points to your Nature cards.

Simlas Finn aep Dabairr– A carryover play with Orb of Insights which can be used on Elven Seers to create multiple copies or on Hamadryads to gain an extra point for each vitality.

Saskia– Spawns an Elf, Dwarf, or Dryad specifically to be combined with Barnabas’ deploy ability.

Harald Gord– Usually gets to his 12 point cap thanks to Elven Seers creating multiple copies of your specials. Our ultimate Round 3 finisher card.

Abandoned Girl Never want to have abandoned girls in hand the same round you play Saskia: Commander as you want to utilize their transform into a Dryad ability to summon the other Human copy from deck later. 

Overview

Pierce your opponents heart in a flash with Milva: Sharpshooter, the lightning fast removal card! Your opponents will be left wondering how their units disappeared and all the while you will be setting up for a devastating combo of your own thanks to your various Feline Witchers and their leader Gezras of Leyda.

Milva: Sharpshooter turns your Guerilla Tactics leader ability into 5 damage removal! She jumps from the deck whenever you move a card (you have leader and many cards to do this). Her Deathblow is very important as it allows you to use her multiple times in a turn and throughout the game. Deathblow must be achieved by her 2 damage order so do not leave her on board if you don’t have a way to kill a 1 or 2 point card! She can be combined with your many offensive movement cards to remove opponents’ threats. 

This powerful control tool allows you to remove any threatening engines your opponent throws at you in Round 1 supported by your various offensive movement bronzes. We have multiple carryover plays to set up for a devastating short Round 2 or a long Round 3 with a fully set up Gezras of Leyda.

Pros

  • So much control 
  • Flexible game plan
  • Good carryover 
  • Tall punish 

Cons

  • Unitless decks 
  • Can be inconsistent (Cursed Scroll is a consideration)
  • No Heatwave 
  • No Purify 

The Deck

Core Cards

Gezras of Leyda– Does this legendary Witcher need any introduction? Loves a long Round 3 with a full back row to boost! Also is known for cheeky 2-0s when the opponent is unprepared.

Simlas Finn aep Dabairr– Your targets in this deck are Bountiful Harvests and Rock Barrage! Usually best to go for Harvests in an early round to thin and get 4 points of carryover.

Milva: Sharpshooter– with Rock Barrage she can remove a 7 power unit. If you have a Dol Blathanna Sentry on melee your movements will deal an extra point of damage which can be useful but often makes Sharpshooter’s Deathblow more awkward to achieve. 

Stygga Castle– Most often spawning you a Cat Witcher Saboteur who’s very useful to target a unit on a crowded row but also works just fine with Sharpshooter on a row only consisting of 2 units. The carryover location order is very useful to move a Sentry from Melee to Ranged or to move any 3 cards to ensure Gezras value.

Brehen– Your one destroy card is pretty easy to set up thanks to all your movement cards. Pairs perfectly with Malena or Vrihedd Dragoon as they do not deal any damage themselves and take away from your destroy value. 

Gaetan– Used to move a full row of cards from one of your rows to the other. Usually melee to ranged to give Gezras guaranteed value. Loves to be combined with Cat Witcher Mentor from Stygga Castle.

Milva– A very useful proactive play to force your opponent to play something worth removing. We play many units to trigger her ability. She can be a cheeky target for Harvest’s hanbuffs too.

Malena– Specifically combined with Sharpshooter she turns into a 3 power removal. She is also used on your side of the board with Treant Boar or to set up your own back row for Gezras

To improve the Madoc match up an Elven Swordmaster at 4p could be swapped for a Squirrel or Milva at 7p could be swapped for Xavier Lemmens at 6p and Elven Swordmaster at 4p could be upgraded to a Cat Witcher Saboteur at 5p. 

Deck Guides: FUN-sworn & King of Jackpot

Overview

The time has come for the Firesworns to make a comeback in Gwent and cleanse all the heresy on the ladder! With the appearance of the Hierarch Cyrus Engelkind Hemmelfart  the firesworn have gain a new morale and this time they WILL impose the righteousness upon the wicked.

The main purpose of Cyrus Engelkind Hemmelfart is to respawn our mighty Fallen Knights in Round 3.  That way we can use the Fallen Knights in Round 1 to secure a win.

The general game plan of the deck is to swarm the board with Firesworn tokens and then boosting them all up with Dies Irae and Sacred Flame and some important cards like Grand Inquisitor Helveed and Igor the Hook so it’s recommended to save these powerful allies for a long Round 3.

You can use Ulrich to spawn an extra copy of Fallen Knight in Round 1 to get an additional engine because  we need to dictate the flow of the game, winning Round 1 and go into a long Round 3. Otherwise our opponent will drain all our ressources in Round 2 and leave our congregation empty.

Pros

  • Very good in long rounds
  • Lots of points output potential
  • More than enough capable of winning round 1

Cons

  • Vulnerable to row punishes
  • Can suffer from lack of consistency in draws
  • Control decks can kill your engines before you start swarming

The Deck

Core Cards

Cyrus Engelkind Hemmelfart is what I would say firesworn decks needed for a long time. Before the hierarch entered the fray, you would use your most important engine Fallen Knight in Round 1 to win to secure yourself an ideally long Round 3. But now it’s possible to use those amazing bronze engines both in the first and the third round of the game.

Sacred Flame is a very important card in this archetype, as it not only provides you with 2 additional units but also allows you to boost every Firesworn unit on the board, essentially giving you the effect of Bone Talisman.

Dies Irae allows you to deal 3 damage while boosting all your Firesworn by one point. Which is a substantial effect, as nearly all your cards will be Firesworn, but it also gives you the option of boostin ANY unit instead if you are able to kill a unit with this card’s effect. Although most would say that this might be the best thing about this card, the fact that this card has echo increases its value even more, as I see it. The fact that it can buff your whole army of zealots twice makes it unique and fun.

Overview

Although Francis Bedlam, the King of  Beggars is a synergy card for tributes, he works really well in Jackpot, as the woes of over-profiting are all but lost to this archetype. 

The main purpose of this wily underworld kingpin is to summon himself during the round Savolla is played. And that’s really easy, since Jackpot provides you with a nice and full bank. This combination allows you to spend 9 coins and get it back immediately through King of Beggars, who will also join the fray from your deck to allow you to convert your ill gotten gains into more cold, hard points.

In the early rounds, Sewer Raiders are used to thin your deck which is especially good if you are on blue coin as your Tiger’s Eye stratagem will provide a nice and juicy advance of five coins. Mutants Maker provides you a proactive play which will grant you either 3 coins, or, if your bank is full, 3 additional points. This boost also applies to cards like Tax Collector, Sigi Reuven, Whoreson’s Freak Show and Witch Hunter Executioner. This deck not only includes point slam and coin spenders it also has control options through Whoreson Junior, Freak Show, Executioner and Vigilantes.

Overall the deck has point-slam. control and flexibility.

Pros: 

  • Has control options
  • Can be good in short and long round
  • Massive finisher

Cons: 

  • Can experience some inconsistency
  • Core cards are susceptible to bleed
  • Vulnerable to tall punish

The Deck

Core Cards

King of Beggars allows your bank to refill after paying a high tribute, summons himself to the field and serves as a spender in a pinch, so make sure to mulligan – this smooth criminal will serve you better in your deck. 

Savolla is your King of Beggars summon trigger, either in a short round or when you are being pushed. In order to achieve this combination, your bank has to have at least 7 coins to be able to afford Savolla‘s tribute and to summon the King of Beggars. In a pinch, your leader ability enables this interaction instantly.

Sigi Reuven in this deck has a profit of 10 and ideally you want to deploy him when your bank is full. In a pinch, he can also serve as a tribute enabler for Savolla, but this is not the best use for the linchpin of the Novigrad underworld.

Caesar Bilzen is played between two profit cards usually in-between Sigi Reuven and any other profit cards for maximum value. He is your finisher in most games.

Deck Guides: Metabreaker & Vampires

Overview

Tired of going against meta decks with your home-brews all the time? Want to win against a meta deck with a spicy list? Well, you’ve come to the right place!  With  the return of Araches Queen; new and and better than ever she and her swarm of creepy crawlies will overwhelm any obstacles to her way to victory!

The main purpose of Arachas Queen is to create as many Ruehin as possible in Round 2 or 3 to have an endless supply of targets for your consumes and points throughout the round.

The general game-plan of this deck is to play your Griffin, Archespore and Crimson Curse to secure round control, so you can decide whether you want to bleed or go into a long round. Normally this deck benefits from a long round so ideally you would want to win Round 1 and then go into a long Round 3 so its highly recommended to keep your Arachas Queen, Ruehin and consumes till Round 3.

If your opponent is really pushing for round 1 you can invest cards like Glustyworp and save your Kayran for Frightener: Dormant for Round 3. Also, while your army of drones can be powerful indeed, the bigger threats in your arsenal like Glustyworp are rather susceptible to tall punishes so it would be best to delay playing them as much as possible.

Pros

  • Good Tempo and point-slam potential
  • Has enough control to punish opponent’s engines
  • Is good in both long and short rounds

Cons

  • Win-Condition are susceptible to be bled out in Round 2
  • Susceptible to tall punish
  • Lacks tall punish of its own

The Deck

Core Cards

Arachas Queen is one of the core combo card in this deck as her ability to give you a second Ruehin while also consuming the first one is very good and not to be underestimated

Frightener: Dormant is a nice point slam card and while not really that important in the combo of the deck, the card itself however takes good advantage from you consuming your Ruehin over and over again to activate itself giving you solid 12 points

Kayran is the bread on butter for this deck as played at the last say card and its main target being the 2 copies of Ruehin and another tall unit will allow you to activate both Ruehins at the same time.

Overview

The long neglected archetype is here, and better than ever! Regis, freshly risen from the grave, and his fellow vampires have come to wreak havoc among mortal. Regis: Reborn, as he is known in the game, is exactly the card vampires needed as each turn of bleed increases his base power by 1. He makes for a great finisher when all enemies have been sufficiently relieved of their blood. Not only does he serve as a potent carryover for the  bleeding archetype, this powerful bloodsucker can also drain any unit by 3, adding a 6 point swing to all the carryover he provides.

Thus the main focus of the deck is to apply bleeding to  your opponent’s units as much as possible to have a very huge Regis as the last play. This is achievable with the newly buffed cards such as Fleder, Alp and NekuratAnd let us not forget the powerhouse cards which enable bleeding across multiple units like Dettlaff and Unseen Elder while Orianna slowly increases her power on the ranged row at the left side of Unseen Elder.

 

Pros:

  1. Massive long round potential
  2. Multiple synergies can be achieved
  3. Capable of surviving a bleed

Cons:

  1. Vulnerable to movement/tech tools
  2. Can experience a lack of consistency
  3. Vulnerable to tall punish

The Deck

Core Cards

  1. Regis: Reborn – A very powerful finisher allowing you to get carryover for each turn of bleed plus the drain of 3.
  2. Unseen Elder – A must answer engine as he can single handedly clear the opponent’s board in a long round. Pairs really well with  Fleder.
  3. Orianna – Another must answer engine which utilizes the amount of units affected by bleeding makes her pair really well with Crimson Curse and Dettlaff.
  4. Dettlaff – Mainly used to set the blood moon early for the bleeding to commence.
  5. Crimson Curse – Used in initial rounds for the bleed carryover and Fleder/Garkain synergies.