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Deck Guide: Reckless Flurry

SK

Introduction

While we see Eist decks fall out of Meta, Reckless Flurry remains a solid Skellige deck to climb the ladder with. Not only does the deck provide you with a lot of round control, but it also provides enough points to close out a round with.

Difficulty

A fairly easy deck to pilot.

Game Plan

Mulligan:  First and foremost, make sure we don’t have Madoc in our hands so we can summon him from the deck via bombs. Secondly, keep at least one bomb in your hand to get Madoc out of your deck in round 1. Avoid drawing and holding Bear Witcher Adept in hand because it bricks your Portal. And finally make sure to have at least some proactive play in your hand.

Round 1: Main plan for round 1 is to keep the opponent’s side of the board empty with bombs and potentially an early leader. If you are going second, you can even play cards like Portal for the tempo to potentially win on even. Starting on blue coin can be a bit awkward for us in case we miss our proactive cards and using Portal to gain tempo on blue can be an overcommitment. Our main goal is to thin Madoc out of our deck and potentially win on even so we can bleed our opponent.

Round 2: Depending on how round 1 went and whether you still have your Sunset Wanderers available, we can bleed our opponent with An Craite Greatsword and Megascope, as well as Bear Witchers and Haern Caduch. Our main goal in round 2 is ideally to shorten the round as much as possible so we can go into a short round 3 with only 3 cards.

The Deck

Round 3: At this point, we can close out the round with Svalblod Totem and Junod of Belhaven. I would recommend using your leader early in the round if you want to find a Junod target as the chances of finding one decrease as your opponent continues to play.

Pros and cons

Pros:
-Good against engine decks as well as decks with slow tempo
-Very good on red coin resulting in you abusing Madoc and potentially win on even with Portal

Cons:
-Lack of proactive cards can lead to awkward situations on blue coin
-Bad against decks that can point slam and swarm

Considerations

There are a lot of variants of this deck and one of the other strong variants is Discard Package with Birna, Coral and Skirmishers. For that, you will have to remove the Portal and the Bear Witcher Adepts. Another consideration is replacing Djenge Frett with Champion’s Charge.

Combo

Portal is going to be your tutor for your Bear Witcher Adepts. This will not only to give you tempo, but also thin out your deck.

Haern Caduch would mainly be used to play Bear Witchers for some control options.

Maxii Van Dekkar’s true value comes when your opponent dry passes, in which case you can use her to look at your deck in order and put those useless bronzes at the bottom.

Haern Caduch’s Order ability will almost always be used to heal your Bear Witchers or any other cards that are damaged. 

Mask Of Uroboros is useful in case you draw your Madoc. You can use the stratagem to draw another card and ditch him until you play a bomb.

Northern Wind can be used to either banish your opponent’s Madoc or  Flying Redanian if you’re facing Syndicate. In some situations, you can even use it to banish a Joachim on your side of the board.

Hjalmar An Craite is a very good removal option and your Greatswords further improve its value. Slam those points!

An Craite Greatsword is vulnerable at first, but he can reach 7 power easily with just a single leader charge. The following turn, you can use Megascope to make another one – an easy 10 for 4.

Korathi Heatwave is self-explanatory. Use it to banish any threats you have no other way to deal with, such as enemy scenarios, Kolgrim, or Foltest. 

Djenge Frett’s bloodthirst is easily enabled in this deck with the amount of control you have with your bombs and as well as your leader ability. Use him to lock your opponent’s important engines that are out of removal range. 

Svalblod Totem is mostly used in round 3 to give us the tempo we need to take the game. 

Conclusion

Reckless Flurry is a fun and simple deck to play for anyone who wants to climb with Skellige. It has a lot of good matchups and is more than capable of holding a place in the current meta. But at the same time, it also has some bad matchups like Syndicate’s Lined Pockets and Jackpot, both of which are solid tier 1 decks. Keeping that in mind I would place this deck at tier 2. 

Thanks for reading, and happy Gwenting! 

Guide – Seesaw

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series, covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we display the 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 have fun! – MAIN PAGE

On the end of the player’s turn, damage player’s odd power units by 1. Boost player’s even power units by 1.

The Seesaw seasonal mode was introduced in the season of the dryad and it rewards proper alignment of unit strength by the end of each round. It’s self-explanatory that you want to aim for as many boosts and as little damage as possible, but there can be many end-of-round effects, so first let’s talk about the sequencing.

The seasonal boost or damage is what is coming first, all the other effects will follow. So if we take the example of a common boost-self-by-1-engine on even power, it will first gain one point for the even power, then one point from its engine ability, effectively boosting it by two. However, if the unit has an odd power, it will first lose one power due to that, before gaining that one power back, leading to stagnation. For all units that are not engines, the mechanics of vitality and bleed work in the very same way. Shields and armor will be affected by this as well, but they only serve as a delay for the remaining damage that’s coming in on uneven power, unless the shields or armor are part of an engine mechanic.

So with this in mind, your first objective is to get your units on even power and the opponent’s units on odd power as efficiently as you can. Your main weapon are all abilities that should boost or damage by an uneven amount, otherwise you wouldn’t change the alignment. Northern Realms has a lot of engines that can serve you well here, while Skellige offers rainy weather and some more types of small damage pings. Scoia’tael has a lot of vitality to use and Monsters can bring bleeding, however the latter is easier to deny. Syndicate of course has its spenders and Nilfgaard may also find a way, even if it’s just its assimilate cards. There are many options, give them a try!

Guide – Power Shift

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display the 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 have fun! – MAIN PAGE

At the start of the match, set the power of every unit in your starting deck to its provision cost.

In the Season of the Griffin, the seasonal mode called Power Shift was introduced. The rules that it offers are rather simple and the main effect is a shift in the balancing of the cards that you can use. There are cards that exceed their provision cost in strength and have a little effect or a drawback for this, so these cards shouldn’t be played here. And then there are cards that have a base strength way below their provision costs and a strong ability instead. These are the ones that you should consider while building your deck. That includes a lot of neutral cards like Sunset Wanderers, Roach, Knickers, Vivienne: Oriole, Gascon, Saer Qu’an, Witcher Trio, and many more. You can always include those as fillers according to the provisions that are available. The high supply in viable neutral cards allows for functional decks with very few synergies, if you want to go for that.

But faction specific strategies and cards are making a difference as well, of course. Monsters can utilize the higher base strength well for consume decks. The good cards for this used to be Detlaff: Higher Vampire, Ruehin or even the old Ciri: Nova. I guess nowadays it just would be Viy. Nilfgaard, Syndicate, and Scoia’tael should be able to gain good bronze value with poison cards, and each of these factions will also find high value gold cards. And I’m sure that there’s also something for Northern Realms and Skellige as well, such as decks with witcher synergies, for example. But when you go and create your own lists, keep in mind that the altered strength only applies to the units in your starting deck. Anything that you spawn or create will have its original base power.

In a short time, I’ve built a nice Tactical Decision list that thins very well and makes Rience exceptionally powerful. Other decks may follow soon.

Guide – Banished

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series, covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display the 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 have fun! – MAIN PAGE

After the mulligan phase, banish both players’ decks. Whenever a card appears in any deck, banish it.

The Banished seasonal mode came to the game as the second mode in the Season of the Bear. It somewhat throws you back to open beta, where you were able to just drypass in round one without any severe penalty. But while the banished deck allows you to pass anytime you want, you also rely solely on the cards that you draw in round one.

To assist with this, you need to cut all the tutors that usually give your deck the desired consistency and instead make sure that you can somehow utilize all the cards on their own. That means a relatively even distribution of provisions among all units is recommended, unless you are particularly lucky. Thus, I would say that decks built around Ciri: Nova should be pretty okay here in general, especially since carryover is more powerful in short rounds. And the last round can be really short, because of no redraws.

As we know, there’s one faction in particular that has a lot of deck interaction, and that is Nilfgaard. While some cards like Kolgrim or all kinds of Viper Witchers would be fairly pointless, there are some cards that lose their drawback entirely, such as Tibor Eggebracht, Vilgefortz, or Imperial Golem. This alone makes Nilfgaard a very popular faction in this seasonal mode. I built a deck that reflects many aspects of this mode and also targets the mirror match pretty hard, so it’s a good one to start with. I’m not yet sure if other factions can keep up with Nilfgaard here, but let’s see… maybe there’s more to come.

Guide – Double Down

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes, each with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we display the 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 have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Whenever you play a unit from your hand, play a unit with the same provision cost from your deck. Your starting deck is doubled in size at the start of the match.

This one was once connected to the Season of the Elves, and it’s very rewarding for good deckbuilders. Double Down can be very random with the units that are being played from deck, so all units that share the same provisions should have similar or at least compatible purposes. And if this is done well, it enables quick engine setups, particular two-card-combos or strong finishing moves. Another thing that favors engines here is the fact that few special cards are being played. So effectively, there is less control around.

Now what are the options that you can play? Assimilate is an obvious choice, since half your cards are not in your “starting deck”, so they will trigger the mechanic. One thing to note here is that all the duplicates are non-premium cards. So if you play a deck with full premium cards, you can distinguish the assimilate triggers from the starting deck cards.

But this mode is more than just Nilfgaard. Northern Realms have great engines and Pincer Maneuver in combination with an early double Erland brings so much value. Monsters have a strong relict archetype and the crones are just awesome as a sixpack. Combine that with some quick thrive cards or maybe some rat clogging and you are good to go. And there is certainly much more, because all the greedy strategies are more likely to succeed. Have fun!

Guide – Battle Rush

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series, covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies, and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display the date it was created, so that you can see 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 remember to have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Both players have just 8 seconds to complete their turn and 15 seconds to complete the redrawing phase.

Battle Rush really is a fan favorite and used to be part of the Draconid season. It is very fast paced and the games are significantly shorter, making it a great opportunity to gather daily crowns or progress leader masteries. While it doesn’t necessarily require specific deck building, it eliminates decks that have too many actions per turn. You also won’t have time to make too many considerations for each play, so it’s quite important that you have a bit of practice with your list and know which lines to play. Misplays come easier but it doesn’t bother you as much, you are just here to jam some games, right?

The easiest approach here are of course autopilot decks that you play with little interaction to your opponent. Thrive decks have always been popular here and Viy certainly fits as well. But what about engine decks that test your opponent’s ability (and your own) to do quick maths? Miscounting leads to awkward and bad passes from time to time. So maybe you want to play a Scoia’tael movement deck or some vampires? There are a lot of options and some surprising combos that would usually be considered as a meme can sometimes have an edge over predictable meta lists.

In short, just play what you feel comfortable with. Make adjustments to cards and combos that take too much time to execute. There will be lists attached to this quick overview, but there are a lot more options and all are strongly influenced by balancing changes and card additions that are going to happen in the future.

Guide – Patience is a Virtue!

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series, covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions, strategies and deck ideas. Not every deck will always be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead we display the 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 have fun! – MAIN PAGE

At the start of your turn, transform all cards in your hand into random ones that cost 1 provision more

“Patience is a Virtue!” is the first Seasonal game mode that has been introduced after switching from a monthly rotation to a weekly one, making it the first one that has no particular season associated with it. The feedback on this mode was slightly polarized, with some people enjoying the big variety of possible outcomes and others feeling helpless with the inability to synergize anything at all when given the wrong cards.

When it comes to deckbuilding, it’s not about creating a strong strategy, but to include the few things that slightly matter besides the randomness here. Generally, cards that summon from your deck can be useful, specifically Roach and Knickers. While you will often not meet the requirements for other cards that summon from the deck, there’s also no downside to including them, so why not? Another thing that you want is a balanced provision distribution to avoid a bricked hand. The reason for this is that you can actually brick on scenarios in high provision range before they revert to 4 provision cards. So always keep some medium to high provision cards available. Last but not least, chances are not bad to roll into Shupe or Radeyah, so just play a starting deck without duplicates.

The choice of leader or even faction almost makes no difference here, I’d say. There is one exception, though, which is Pincer Maneuver from Northern Realms. This one lets you pick a faction card from your deck while shuffling a useless card back into it – twice! So you can actually utilize your strong cards left in the deck when you have nothing better to play in hand. Pick whatever combos you want to play with this, and the rest is up to RNGesus.

Deck Guide: Proper Espionage

Introduction

It’s time to let you in on a secret. Nilfgaard’s spies are actually good. Forget Masquerade Ball, this list can do everything that the old list can but has more provisions to spare. The Devotion criterion in this list is not to be underestimated. I reached Pro Rank with this list without a problem. The combos are magnificent and sometimes even a little dirty. But that is to be expected of the Nilfgaard faction.

Main Strategy

Unlike other spy decks, this list does not rely on multiple Impera Enforcers to carry you through a round with engine power and removal. Instead, this list relies more on gold interactions. This means that your bronze cards serve both as immense threats and removal bait. It’s okay to lose a few of your engines because you have Seditious Aristocrat as a well-deserved finisher. Most importantly, your leader is a tool to set up important Amnesty targets and/or Coup de Grace targets. The game plan does not differ much between playing on Blue or Red Coin (going first or second). Here is a per-round overview of the general strategy:

–        Round 1: in this round, you want to set up some of your engines and prevent your opponent from taking control of the round. You set the pace. Play slowly and conservatively but also try to match the tempo of your opponent. Deny carryover attempts from your opponent with for Amnesty. It is perfectly fine to commit Emhyr, Braathens, Vincent, or even Joachim with Coup as long as you get good cards in return. On Red Coin, if you see your opponent commit a lot of good cards in the first round, it is not a bad idea to pass instead.

–        Round 2: No matter if you won or lost the first round, your goal for round 2 is to set up your combos for round 3. This means playing Joachim and Coup if you haven’t already, and playing Gorthur Gvaed to leave the Order for the next round. Vilgefortz is there to put your opponent in his/her place if they decide to be greedy. Perhaps you get a good card out of his/her deck in the process. Sometimes your combos are already too strong and you win 2-0.

–        Round 3: If everything is set up right, you can put Joachim on top of your opponent’s deck with Gorthur Gvaed. You can then play Cantarella to get Joachim back and use Coup de Grace for another one. If you just drew the Joachim, you can try to kill it first or put Roderick or one of his good gold cards on top instead. If you have last say, it is worth keeping Vilgefortz for your opponent’s tall finishers. Usurper‘s final transformation is especially good in round 3 because of the many agents you play in this deck. Roderick is there for you if you do not draw all the golds you want. These finishing cards are in most cases enough to flat-out win you the game.

The Deck

Mulligans

The goal of your mulligans is to find all your golds. You obviously want to mulligan one of your Hunting Pack. Two bronze engines per round is optimal. You want to mulligan any excess engines, especially because these bronzes are the best target for Joachim. Amnesty is best used early game, so you might consider mulliganing them away in round 3. The bronze spies are also mulligan options. Reasons to keep them in hand are to protect your engines, or if you plan to play Usurper and/or Emhyr in the same round.

Combos

  • Use your Stratagem or a leader charge to put an enemy unit to 3 power and steal them with Amnesty. If it has veil, it will now serve as one of your engines.
  • Similarly, you can use Coup de Grace to spawn your own copy of an engine.
  • Gorthur Gvaed‘s order ability can set up any good card for Cantarella to play. Joachim might not always be the best option.
  • Use Gorthur Gvaed‘s order ability to put a spy on top of your deck as a brick or as a 1-strength body that gets summoned when you destroy an enemy with Vilgefortz.
  • Similarly, you can use the alchemist to put a bronze spy from your deck on top of his deck and, in return, you might get one of his good cards in return.
  • Use the alchemist to look at the top of your deck to see what Joachim will play next.
  • Use Emhyr right after you play alchemist to draw the card you stole. If it is good, you can keep it, or you can put it on the bottom of your deck and you never see it again.
  • When you use Coup de Grace on Joachim, you leave another 1-power spying unit for Emhyr to seize.
  • Emhyr and Fergus can give you alternative Coup de Grace and Vincent targets.
  • Emhyr with Impera Enforcers allows you to steal the engines he plays instead.
  • Emhyr with Seditious Aristocrats can generate points whenever your opponent plays a unit, even after you have passed.
  • Fergus can give spying back to Joachim when your opponent tries to purify it.
  • Fergus is best used in combination with at least one bronze engine.
  • Joachim into a Hunting Pack will automatically fulfill the criteria of having an enemy unit with a status effect.
  • Braathens after Usurper in round 3 will boost Usurper at least twice.
  • You can use the one charge on Zeal from an Impera Enforcer to damage a 4-power engine into Amnesty territory.

Matchups Specific Strategies

  • Skellige bronzes, Madoc, Flying Redanian, Cerys, Keidweni Revenants, Blue Stripes Commandos, Dwarven Berserkers, Elven Deadeyes and Bruxa are all targets that deserve to be seized.
  • Vincent against Crystal skull can win you round 1 on even cards.
  • Vincent against Carapace has easy removal targets. It is even profitable to wait for the right moment.
  • Leader tokens and Defenders are also no match for Vincent.
  • Mage Infiltrator is good against Endrega Larva, Azar Javed’s Scarabs, Elven Deadeyes, and Draug. You might want to take this option from Braathens.
  • Emissaries can deny bloodthirst.
  • Cantarella is a direct counter to Yennefer: Invocation.
  • Against no-unit   strategies, you can play your own enemies using your spies. Search for cards that play for points on your side of the board.

Replacements

Since this is a Devotion list, it does not have many replacement options. However, you can consider replacing Vilgefortz with Yennefer’s Invocation if that card better suits your playstyle.

Closing Remarks

This deck is a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to compete with Nilfgaard. It has a lot of great matchups and is equipped to handle the meta with grace. That said, it has some difficulties playing against Blaze of Glory lists with Eist or Pirate’s Cove, which are the best decks at the moment. Therefore, I would place this deck on B-tier even though its strength matches that of A-tier lists.

Most of the time, the game will play out according to the plan. but it depends on your match-ups. Sometimes, you end up in a rather unfair situation where you have stolen all of your opponent’s good cards and have more engines than they can possibly contend with. That’s the dream.  On the other hand, you could “low-roll” with Joachim and spend too many provisions in round 1, leaving you with a lot of bad cards for the rest of the game. Or your sequencing was bad, leaving you just short in points. These moments are rare, but user discretion is advised.

Deck Guide: Vysogota on STEROIDS!!!

briberyplayer deckguide #2

This article has been edited by Babyjosus and Weevil89

Intro

Hello wonderful people! Looking for a horrible deck that will make your opponent break their keyboard? Look no further! Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the most irritating Northern Realms deck of all time – Vysogota on STEROIDS!!!

''OMG OMG OMG! tell me more...''
definitelynotbriberyplayer
A random fan

Basics of the Deck

Well, first of all let’s explain why this is such an irritating deck to play against – the heart of the deck consists of two units: Vysogota of Corvo and Ciri: Dash. Ciri is there to ensure winning the first round in order to get that sweet round control. What do you do with round control once you got it? You pass (most of the time). Simple enough, right? After that yo-

''Hah! ''eNsUrE''?! winning round 1 is easier said than done mate, what if they kill Ciri? Also, Vysogota is so risky man... Unconvincing so far, Bribery.''
definitelynotbriberyplayer
A random fan

Don’t interrupt me please. Where was I…Oh yes! As I was saying, Ciri makes the job of winning round 1 much easier most of the time. If you go second and therefore don’t have the luxury of veiling Ciri with the stratagem, you can always use a leader charge to protect her. If the opponent plays a control heavy deck, you might even consider defending Ciri with Donimir of Troy, and this is where it gets interesting…

Renew – This deck runs Renew. Why? Well, Ciri is only good if she sticks, so you might need to play defender in round 1. Vysogota’s also only good if he sticks. If only we could play Defender in 2 different roun… Oh wait! This is where Renew comes in… 

Consistency

I’ve got you covered, mate. There are a couple of tutors in this deck that will make it much easier for you to find what you need:

The Deck

John Natalis – This dude is good because he can get you the even better thing right below.

Amphibious Assault – No explanation needed.

Geralt: Quen – He can get you Ciri, Keldar, Berengar, or some bronze witcher. A must in this list.

Also, to put the icing on the cake, I added Yrden too just because I can.

Summary

On a shorter, more serious note:

The idea of making this deck came from a previous idea of making a strong deck with Ciri: Dash that isn’t Kelly. I thought she’d be very hard to remove with Shieldwall charges and to make it even harder I added defender and since I had defender, I obviously added Vysogota. The original deck contained Madoc instead of Renew and a few bombs here and there, but the current version just makes much more sense, since there are so many good renewable targets.

Pros:

  1. Easy to win round 1 with Ciri: Dash and most times you’ll win it on even (regardless of the coin). You have plenty of ways to protect Ciri and it’s also fairly easy to get her on the battlefield, as well.
  2. Unbeatable in a long round 3 against a control-lacking deck and still very much favored even against a control heavy deck (in a scenario where you play Donimir, Vysogota, and Keldar, your opponent might be able to deal with one or two things, but almost never with all of them. Unlike your average Vysogota deck, this one doesn’t suffer as much from him dying because your opponent will still need to deal with other threats.) 
  3. Griffin Witcher Adept + Keldar + King Roegner combo is a monument of points

Cons: 

  1. Awful matchups against Super-Duper-Mega Control lists (thankfully they aren’t too popular at the moment)
  2. Not having access to Ciri in round 1.
  3. NOT. HAVING. ACCESS. TO. CIRI. IN. ROUND. ONE!!!
  4. Ciri dying in round 1.
  5. Ciri being locked in round 1.
  6. Ciri being dealt with in any way, shape or form in round 1.
  7. I can’t stress myself enough to tell you just how important it is to protect Ciri in round 1. WHY? because:
  8. If your opponent wins round 1 and bleeds round 2, you’re fucked 😀


Final words
 

There you have it, boys! (and girls) I hope this deck will serve you well (unless you’re facing me) and just a friendly reminder – please consider upvoting if you like it. Bye!

Deck Guide: A Love Letter to Harmony

Introduction

This article is a love letter to the Harmony archetype, whether you play it with Precision Strike, Guerilla Tactics, and, well, probably Call of Harmony.   Harmony often feels like a catch-all archetype for Scoia’Tael, a misfit collection of dwarves, elves, dryads, treants, and other misfits within the faction.  Somehow, they all come together to form a whole that is greater than its parts, and it is a deck that has a surprising amount of flexibility and can take many players off guard.  Suffice to say; it warms the cockles of my bleeding SJW heart.

How Does Harmony Play?

Harmony is simple in concept. “Boost self by 1 or the specified amount whenever you play a Scoia’Tael unit whose primary category is unique among all your units.”

There are nine primary categories in the faction: Dryad, Elf, Dwarf, Treant, Beast, Human, Witcher, Dragon, and War Machine.  So, if you play an Elf and there are no other Elves on the board currently, any units with Harmony will boost themselves.  A Harmony deck will compound each turn, as long as you can keep playing unique categories.  

Generally speaking, most Harmony decks are going to be somewhat Dryad heavy.  If for no other reason than carrying the Harmony keyword, most decks will include Dryad Fledglings, Dryad Rangers, and Waters of Brokilon.   In addition to boosting, Harmony typically relies on poison for tall removal.  Dryad Rangers and the Weeping Willow come with Poison and Harmony, so it is a natural fit to include a few other poison-oriented cards to make sure you can get the necessary stacks.  

Harmony can be a tricky and rewarding deck to play, as there is a heavy emphasis on unit sequencing. The deck needs to balance playing unique categories to score points and interrupting your opponent’s combos to win. 

The Deck

Why Play Harmony In This Day and Age?

Many players remember a time not that long ago when Harmony was king, and Francesca was the queen of all with her ability to play Waters of Brokilon two times!  Harmony has been power crept significantly since those days, and it remains today a seldom seen Scoia’Tael archetype.  That said, Harmony is still capable of holding its own, and it provides a rewarding experience to pilot; I find the deck to be more enjoyable than Symbiosis, Movement, Traps, or even Dwarfs.  

The first draw of Harmony is that the deck is capable in most situations.   It plays engine heavy and can typically hold its own in a long round, but at the same time, it has a deceptively powerful short round thanks to its leader ability.   Waters of Brokilon combined with the Leader Ability will slam 17 points and put three engines on the board, often taking a short round 3 by storm.   

Overall, the deck plays very much like a jack of all trades, master of none.  You have some removal but need to be careful when to play it.  You have solid engines but nothing that can compete with real engine decks.  Decent enough point slam, but again, not the best.  You get the idea.  Each game with harmony is thus unique to the matchup.   

That said, the deck relies on being competent in a short round quite a bit.  Recent expansions have seen the release of a glut of potent cards and combos that you cannot beat unless you bleed them out.  Lined Pockets with Tunnel Drill, Blaze of Glory with Eist, allowing these combos to play in round 3 will likely result in defeat.  Similarly, decks like Eldain traps thrive on a long final round.  These matchups create s disproportionate pressure to winning round one, with the usual caveats of knowing when to bow out if your opponent has overcommitted.  It can be complicated!

Useful Cards

Unlike other Scoia’Tael decks, which build themselves to a degree based around a keyword, Harmony needs to play a bit faster and looser with what cards it includes.  Cards with the Harmony ability, of course, are necessary, but once you have included those, you want a couple, but not too many, of each different primary category.  That said, there are a few noteworthy cards that have stood out to me as tech pieces.

Gezras:  Witcher is a unique category, and Gezras represents a lot of points.  Not only does he do his usual thing where he buffs the entire back row, but he will also generally trigger every unit with Harmony as well.  

Barnabas: Gnome is a rare category, and he can play for 12 + Harmony Triggers.  He is a solid point slam and benefits exactly the diverse type of deck Harmony is. 

Dennis Cranmer:  Dennis is most useful as a discount Gezras. He plays for a surprising amount of points when considering harmony procs and can be helpful in either the melee or ranged rows, depending on the board state.  

Toruviel:  She is crucial for staying competitive with Arachas Swarm.  Her ability to damage all units on a row by 1, if timed right, can clear out an entire row of tokens before the Swarm has an opportunity to start buffing them.  

Ida Emean aep Sivney:  She recently enjoyed a slight buff, and at 6 provisions, she provides a critical purify, and if you don’t need to purify, she can give a unit 4 vitality instead.   Purify helps combat defenders and can purify Joachim to prevent an opponent from using Coup on him.

Forest Whisperer: This card has grown on me in the deck, she can be helpful to make sure you have enough poison to complete a stack, or she can play into the ranged row to give a shield to help a more vulnerable harmony engine stick.  

Strategy and Tactics

The basic game flow of Harmony is to overpower the opponent in round 1 with multiple harmony engines, then bleeding round two to disrupt any combos that you won’t be able to deal with, and finally point slamming in a short round 3 with your leader ability. 

Generally speaking, Harmony has a tough matchup with most meta decks in a long round 3.  Especially in Devotion Harmony decks where saving Heatwave for a scenario isn’t an option.  There are exceptions to this rule, like against Viy decks where you need to force as long a round 3 as possible, and of course, there will be times when an opponent overcommits themselves in round 1 with their leader ability or additional gold cards.  

Generally speaking, you want to play Percival in round 1, where your opponent will be less likely or willing to use premium removal to kill him.  It is usually a good idea to play a few other cards first to get a feel for your opponent’s deck and play Percival as soon as it is safe(ish) to do so.  If you are running Aen Seidhe Sabre, you will likely want to spring it the same turn you play Percival to take him out of 6 point removal range.   Waters of Brokilon is preferable to play in round 3 because it sets up more engines which gives some protection against the potent control cards usually seen there. Waters of Brokilon into Call of Harmony plays for 17 points and puts three engines on the field, which can often jumpstart you into a powerful position.  Of course, sometimes it won’t shake out like that, but the general rule of thumb is to play Percival and Waters in different rounds.  

Let’s look at some of the specific matchups!

The Matchups

Arachas Swarm:
Arachas Swarm is a tough matchup because they can very quickly spiral out of control.  Scoia’Tael, in general, is capable of teching against them effectively.  While the Swarm is one of the most popular decks on the ladder, including several counters is necessary.  Gezras is an auto-include in a harmony deck and will help the matchup, but you will need more than just Gezras.  Toruviel, as discussed above, can clear out a line of bugs before they can get buffed, and Crushing Traps are flexible 6 point tools against the swarm.  Arachas Swarm is far from an unwinnable matchup, but it is going to come down to how well both players draw and how effective you are in timing your Toruviel and Gezras plays.  

Lined Pockets:
On paper, this matchup looks bad… It is simple, right?  Just outscore Safecrackers and Novigradian Justice in round one.  Bleed out Drill AND Cleaver in round 2… and still have enough gas in the tank to beat Phillipa / Jacques / Gord in a short round 3.   In practice, I found Lined Pockets was not a bad matchup for this deck.  Harmony Engines will outpace Lined Pockets in round one, especially with a poison package taking out one of the Halfling Safecrackers.  Generally speaking, Lined Pockets will need to commit the Tunnel Drill to kill your harmony engines to take the round from you.  And if you bleed out the Tunnel Drill and most of their leader charges in round 1, you’ve done what you came to do and can generally bow out safely.  In the short round 3, Waters into Leader is usually enough to outpace Jacques and Gord.  

Conclusion

Overall, Harmony is a refreshing way to play the game, a mismatched band of units all working together into a sum greater than its parts.  Each of your cards is a special snowflake, just like me, and they all have to work together to win.  This type of deck isn’t as powerful or as flexible as other meta decks, but it still has the tools to find a line to victory. I would recommend giving it a try. Who knows, you might fall in love with the power of diverse friendships too!

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