Deck Guide

Deck Guides

Guide – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions of each, as well as some strategies and deck ideas. Not every deck will be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display each deck based on its date of creation, so that you can retrace what may have changed in the game since then. Feel free to adjust the decks with new cards or old cards that you like better and, as always, have fun! – MAIN PAGE

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

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

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

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

Deck Guide: Toxic Aristocrats

Overview


Since the Price of Power Expansion, maybe even before, Masquerade Ball disappeared. That might not change with this Guide, but it gives you an impression of how a classic Masquerade Ball deck could look like these days. And while testing, it turned out to be actually stronger than expected. 

One of the biggest weaknesses of playing this deck was always to get bled in Round 2, losing your Scenario or not drawing into it in Round 3. With the introduction of Jan Calveit as a card, we won’t have this problem anymore, as we can secure drawing into the cards we really need.  
To avoid the bleeding, we want to win Round 1 as efficient as possible. To help with that in addition to the tempo of Calveit, we play Ring of Favor, together with the Blightmaker and Mage Assassin combo. Fangs of the Empire with maybe Maraal or Cupbearer can also help to threaten some reach, while if necessary, we can take it with the removal potential of Vincent or grab a good unit with Vigo’s Muzzle

Obviously, you need a playable Round 1 hand to be able to do so, but with so many options to contest, you should be fine. If you feel not being able to secure Round 1, it might be an idea to hold Calveit, so your Scenario won’t get bled in Round 2 or even mulligan it away…but that’s a gamble and your call to take or not. 

The huge potential in this deck lies in its power combo: Masquerade Ball and Philippe Van Moorlehem. Protected behind Ffion var Gaernel, we should be able to gain a lot of points with our Thirsty Dames. Use your aristocrats wisely, you don’t need to instantly poison the unit you want to kill. Poison a unit with the spawned Fangs, then lock it with Philippe. Do the same with the other one and maybe even with Maraal as well. Gain statuses for your Dames and, depending on how long the Round takes, finish it off with Philippe and your remaining removals. 
Vigo’s Muzzle locks first before it grabs the unit, so it boosts your Dames as well as your leader ability Imposter. Keep that in mind to not waste points, but you don’t have to combine them necessarily. 

Pros: 
– A lot more flexibility to win Round 1 than old Ball decks, while also being consistent for your Round 3. 
– Versatile with thinning, points, removal and control. Even Bronze cards like Experimental Remedy, Van Moorlehem Hunter or Imperial Diplomacy can turn out valuable. 
– You can be toxic without being rude and Poison makes cool sound effects. Masquerade Ball is also better than Blue Balls

Cons:
Calveit Round 1 is not guaranteed, as well as your Blightmaker package. It needs a decent understanding of the matchup to know what Gold cards to commit Round 1. 
– Sequencing with Philippe, Dames and Poison is key to get the most points, but it might be weak against wide or no-unit decks. 
– It is not meant to be a 2:0 deck, as it needs some time to develop its power in a longer Round 3. 

The Deck

Core Cards

Ring of Favor helps you to secure Round 1, but be aware of your opponent might have it as well.

Masquerade Ball obviously is your main threat and gives you engines and removal

Philippe Van Moorlehem not only has a cool name, but can be really powerful if used together with your Dames and Poisons.

Ffion var Gaernel protects your important engines. Always play him in the Melee Row, as you want to defend your Maraal as well. 

Vincent Van Moorlehem is a decent removal for defenders, veiled units, Ciri:Nova or anything you gave Poison or Lock to. Together with your leader ability Imposter, it can be even a one turn removal. 

Deck Guide: BJ’s Blue Balls (Triple Commandos)

Overview

Triple Commandos, also famously known as BJ’s Blue Balls (due to the shameless sell-out back in the day on many Twitch streams), is all about playing your Blue Stripes Commandos every round. While the deck has originally been created in patch 7.4, it has been brought back to life in the past with patch 8.5 and now with patch 10.4. You could say this was because Bomblin forced me to create a new Triple Commandos deck, or simply because the new card drop benefits the archetype quite well. I choose the latter, but I let you decide for yourself.

With the rework on Lady of the Lake the deck has gained a lot of consistency since we no longer have to run Papa John because she can play Oneiromancy and Amphibious Assault for us.

And aside of that, we got two new cards that we included in the deck and they are as followed. The most important one is called Mutagenerator. This card is great with Blue Stripes Commando because you are guaranteed to have lots of them in your deck. And when you play a commando on the ranged row 5 commandos in your deck get boosted. Also, if you happen to play Maxii Van Dekkar and/or a Blue Stripes Commando from hand and/or from Reinforcements on the melee row it gives you even more value. And then I didn’t mention the many 4 provision cards that we can play on the melee for even MORE value. This results in the card being an auto include in the deck in my opinion.

The second new card is called Vial of Forbidden Knowledge which can be an easy 8 points for 4 provisions if the vitality gets unanswered. Plus it has a bonus ability which only happens when both players have the card included. Someone on Reddit said this about it: ”It’s basically a gentleman’s agreement for open decklists”.

Pros:
-This deck allows you to out-tempo your opponent in round 1, push your opponent in round 2 and win the game in a short round 3. 
-Fairly consistent thanks to Cursed Scroll, Lady of the Lake, Roche: Merciless, Amphibious Assault & Oneiromancy.
-Lots of pro-activity.

Cons:
-The deck is vulnerable to cards like Lambert: Swordmaster, Surrender, Lacerate etc.
-Also vulnerable to Pavetta being banished or stolen. This requires you to 2-0 your opponent since in hindsight, your round 3 is pretty awful without being able to play your Commandos.
-Lacks control.

The Deck

Core Cards

Donimir of Troy and Foltest because they get you tons of copies of commandos in round 1 alongside the regular Blue Stripes Scouts play.

Pavetta because it puts your Commandos back in the deck which you can then tutor out of the deck and have a huge tempo-play.

Renew on Pavetta to do the exact same, but in round 3.

Cursed Scroll, Lady of the Lake, Roche: Merciless, Amphibious Assault & Oneiromancy are Core Cards due to them making the deck more consistent.

Deck Guide: Runemage is Nilfgaardian

Runemage Is The New Black

Overview

The newest card drop has changed the way how we approach Gwent games, and Runemage is no exception. He allows all your Create/Assimilate cards to have a more precise choice as he increases your options to 5 rather than 3.  Not to mention that it includes even your leader ability Double Cross. He’s just too good to not include in Assimilate lists! 

Apart from Runemage  there are two more new cards in this deck: Ring of Favor and Prophet. Ring of Favor helps to secure a win in round one with its plus two per turn tick, or allows you to draw the top card of your deck when the opponent passes.  Whereas Prophet is a bit more niche card as you need to know what your opponent is going to do next. Fortunately, with the help of Runemage and leader Double Cross you are able to view 5 cards from the opponent’s hand, thereby giving you the exact details you need to completely ruin the opponent’s sequencing. 

The game-plan of this deck is to get Runemage  before your create cards so you have a choice of 5 instead of 3 options. Braathens  is the only card that does not benefit from this (for now). So, he is mostly used in tandem with Ring of Favour to secure round one .  Roderick is used to fetch  the gold cards such as Runemage  or Vigo for earlier rounds. As you can see, this deck does not run the Blightmakers and Mage Assassins as this is more of an old-school approach with the Vigo  + Hunting Pack combo. As a somewhat spicy tech choice, the list runs a poison package for the tall removal, so Yennefer’s Invocation is not the only option you have while playing this deck. 

Pros:
– Create options become easier/precise.
– High tempo.
– Has some control options.
Cons:
– Slight Inconsistency.
– Core cards can be bled
– Goes Tall

The Deck

Core Cards

Runemage – The star of the deck! Allows you to see 5 options instead of 3 is a huge game changer!

Ring of Favor – Always starts in your hand in round one and has literally no downsides. Either gives you points to catch up and potentially win round one, or draw your top card.

Artorious Vigo – With the help of Runemage, this crafty spellcaster shows you all 5 bronzes in the starting deck and thus gets rid of the weakness of an inconsistent Vigo  if you run more than 3 bronze units. Pairs superbly well with the Hunting Pack.

Prophet – Strong card that allows you to take control of the opponent’s sequencing, especially with 5 options from Double Cross as you can plan ahead as to when you can drop prophet. He can be played during a bleed to make your opponent stumble with their sequencing.

Artaud Terranova – Still the greatest Assimilate card, as he can create anything that you have applied spying to.

Joachim
– A great card for the final round point-slam.

Rigged Casino

Overview

The Deck

So you’re tired of beating the snot out of people with Assimilate, I mean it’s been AGES since we played anything else. You need a bit of excitement in your life, you have considered playing Shupe and/or RNG decks before, but they only win 10% of the time. Well congrats, now we can double that win rate!!!

This deck adds some substance to the style of winning with whatever RNGesus throws you. Runemage is the evident key to expanding your options, so you can pull good solutions to problems on the board with your create cards. Like any Casino deck, we stuff it full of create cards. The most important of these is Shupe’s Day Off. Shupe’s biggest flaw is the RNG element. You may not get the option you want from him. Runemage guarantees all of these options are possible, maximizing Shupe’s utility.  

You REALLY want to play Runemage ASAP. Cursed Scroll on blue coin can help with that. Otherwise, try to win Round 1 with some tempo from Radeyah and your thinning cards like Roach, Knickers and Blightmaker. If you find this too inconsistent, check out some of the tech options below that you can swap in. 

Mysterious Puzzle Box is an option to be played Round 1 for tempo, though it is ideally played in later rounds when you would gamble your bricks off and have Will o’ the Wisp on hand to delete Thing From The Box should your opponent win the bet. 

Once Runemage has been played, go wild with your create cards and pray you roll high. Artorius Vigo is your sole native (Assimilate) engine, so play him early, ideally in round 3. He is NOT nailed down to guaranteed options, but can be (look at tech section). You want medium to longer length rounds to facilitate your pay-off finisher in the form of Tourney Shaelmaar, so soft bleeds are useful to utilize Squirrel or other “trash” cards. 

Pros: 
-Casino EXCITEMENT
-Maximum versatility
-Decent point-slam

Cons:
-Casino STRESS
-Lack of engines, mediocre pay-off
-The house usually wins

Core Cards

Shupe: Shupe is potentially a huge amount of points with 15 different POWERFUL options, now fully available thanks to Runemage. 

Arcane Tome: Many of the create cards are specials. Play this card after Runemage to access all your create cards. Prioritize the expensive ones first, as some opponents don’t want to play their own specials or don’t have specials. Consider it a tutor for your high value specials. 

Tech Cards

Cards you can consider switching out:

Aguara: True Form: This is one of the weakest create cards and very expensive. Its create pool is heavily polluted by specials that are NOT useful and niche use, especially from Syndicate. 

Lydia van Bredevoort: Without assimilate engines to score points from creates, Lydia is substantially weaker than in Assimilate decks. She can, however, provide removal or situational cards that complement other created cards. 

Arcane Tome: This card is definitely risky, as some opponents can benefit heavily from playing their own high value specials. Consider a safer tutor. 

Elf and Onion Soup: You may find yourself without good targets (or even any targets at all) to sacrifice for this card, so it often plays for fewer points than other alternatives. Granted, you can use it as Box gamble fodder. 

Pellar and Squirrel: Very useful but pollutes Vigo’s creation pool, swap out for specials. 

Cards you can consider switching in:

Removal cards: Korathi Heatwave, Yennefer’s Invocation, Vigo’s Muzzle, Leo Bonhart, and Vilgefortz are all good options if you have provisions to spare. 

Create cards: Dazhbog Runestone and Summoning Circle are two alternatives/additions one can consider. Dazhbog Runestone especially as it can provide you assimilate engines (in place of Elf and Onion Soup). 

Consistency: Fisher King, Roderick of Dun Tynne and Maxii Van Dekkar are all good consistency options for ensuring you draw/play the cards you want/need. 

4 Provision Specials: In place of Pellar and Squirrel, in order to guarantee Artorius Vigo only has a pool of 5 bronze units to create from. Options include, Dimeritium Bomb, Mahakam Ale, Obsidian Mirror, Spores. 

Deck Guide: 10.4 Drill/Cleaver/Candle Crime

Overview

Since the release of 10.4 a variety of decks have resurfaced (e.g. dwarves). one of these more recently viable decks that has caught my eye is crime with the Lined Pockets leader ability, having used crime decks intermittently over the course of my two years playing GWENT, I can safely say there’s a special place in my heart for crime.

This deck has benefitted greatly from the addition of Conjurer’s Candle and Ring of Favor as the Ring of Favor helps  win the first round (something crime normally struggles to do without expending a lot of resources) and Conjurer’s Candle helps to protect engines and acts as a spender when needed.

Although the deck is packed with control options and removal, access to cards like Cleaver, Conjurer’s Candle,  and Eventide Plunder, provide valuable spending options when there are not many good targets on the opponent’s side of the board. Overall I’ve had a heap of fun playing this deck and I’d highly recommend it if you want to play something a little bit more off-meta.

The Deck

Core Cards

Cleaver – Power play at the start of a round that will be less focused on the removal of your opponent’s points, able to achieve intimidate 3 from adjacency bonus (easily done with Ferko + Justice to nestle him between) so that crimes play for 3 extra points, able to spend 4 coins to summon Cleaver’s muscle  a 5 power body with shield.

Tunnel Drill – Secondary major engine alongside Cleaver,  able to deal 3 damage for 2 coins if a crime has been played within the turn, the BEST damage tool in the deck for a sustained round, can be protected by Conjurer’s Candle  at 7+ Power so it’s out of range of low-cost removal such as Boiling Oil and Natural Selection, or slightly bigger plays like Enslave and Vigo’s Muzzle.

Conjurer’s Candle –  Useful Spending tool that turns X coins into X + 1 points on board, can be used to protect important engines such as Tunnel Drill and Whoreson’s Freak Show, or used to boost a unit to deny dominance for a Nithral, dodge a schirrú explosion, ruin a Geralt: igni lineup etc…

Ring of Favour – Perfect addition for reinforcing round 1 advantage the turn before opponent wants to pass, often plays for 10-14 points for only 8 provisions, protects low health targets e.g. Giantslayer marks, thins for 1 card if opponent passes, so not terrible punishment for misplaying it.

Ferko The Sculptor + Novigradian JusticeFerko can tutor any crime out of the deck, however, when tutoring Justice the condition that requires a Crownsplitter to be one Board to summon a Cleaver’s muscle is automatically fulfilled, thins 2 cards potentially and plays for  between 10 and 15 points depending on what engines are already on board.

Deck Guide: Skellige and the Magic Compass

Overview

21 new cards have been added to the game and I am having tons of fun with all of them! In this article, I have two decks for you that include Magic Compass – a card revealed by me, Bomblin. The first deck is actually the creation of one of the Bandit Gang pro players – Energix. He had a crazy 85% win rate with it on pro rank and I absolutely love it!

The plan of the deck is quite simple. You want to go through your deck as much as possible with the discard package, Knickers, and Roach. You can generate a lot of points behind the defender using Messenger of the Sea and rain/storm cards.

Try to also set up a carryover with Ciri: Nova and use your Golden Nekker to thin 3 more cards and generate tempo. Magic Compass can often hit cards that are not crucial for the victory and it doesn’t generate any big problems. Moreover, it can be used to put Morkvarg on the board.

In round 3, you want to use Magic Compass when you have 2 or fewer cards in the deck to generate a legendary card. In most cases, you want to use Fucusya with Messanger of the Sea for a lot of value or Lippy to get instant 10 point play (Roach and Knicker) plus a chance to go through the deck (and Golden Nekker!) again!

Pros:

-Can generate a lot of points in the short and long round

-Has a carryover in form of Nova and a sort of Compass

-Can give you any legendary you need in round 3

Cons:

Magic Compass can sometimes screw you

-It is not easy to play – you have to keep in mind many possible scenarios

-Can struggle against some greedy decks.

The Deck

Core Cards

Golden Nekker: Crazy value card. You play 3 cards that can generate even more cards! It can easily give you more than 20 points in one turn.

Ring of Favor: Amazing card that can help you play for round 1 easily. Especially with the number of Mill decks currently on the ladder – this card can let you survive round 1 and in the worst case, it is another thinning card!

Messenger of the Sea: The most crucial engine in your deck. Especially against decks with a lot of units, this card can generate an absurd amount of points.

Overview

The Deck

The second deck of today is my take on the Skellige raid deck. Not only does the new card Highland Warlord supports the unitless or control heavy decks, but I do believe it also helps an old-school archetype – devotion warriors.

Deck has a bit of a slow round 1. You want Mulligan for both Highland Warlords, Derran, and thinning cards. Try to not use your high provision golds and attempt to win round 1.

Because this deck lacks tempo in early rounds, you will be often bled in round 2. If you see that this might happen, play your Eist and any other card apart from Eist. If necessary, you can even use your leader ability on a scary engine.

In round 3, combo your Eist with leader ability (if available), and in combination with Magic Compass – because this is a devotion deck, Eist will summon moved cards on the board.

Pros: 

-Big finisher with a lot of points even without the leader’s ability

-Not relying on engines – instant points in most cases

-A lot of control tools

Cons:

-Slow

-Can be easily bled in Round 2 if you are not careful

Magic Compass is way more clunky in round 1 than in the first deck

Core Cards

Eist: Not only does he synergizes with a leader’s ability, but the Magic Compass also gives it more flexibility and can generate a lot of points as a finisher in round 3.

Primal Savagery: The best card after the boost out of all raid cards. Not only it is a removal, but it also creates a unit on your side of the board.

Derran: In most cases, you want to use it with Morkvgar but it can also be used to set up a nice Magic Compass.

Deck Guide: Devoted Traveling Priestesses

Overview

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

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

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

The Deck

Core Cards

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

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

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

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

Deck 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

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.