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Deck Guide: Condor’s Devotion Precision Strike

Intro

The list was created  by Condor of Team Kreve during the Season of the Cat. Pilots of this list have reached over 2600 MMR in both the seasons of the Cat and Mahakam.

What Is The Deck About?

This deck was designed to maximize Gord value while having a good balance of removal, points, tutors, and thins. This deck excels at getting round control in round 1, safely bleeding in round 2, and playing a 14-point Gord finisher. This deck is highly consistent because it contains 7 thins.

Duen Canell Guardians, Freixenet, and Eithne give this deck synergy with its nature cards. Oak serves as a great bleed finisher. Novigradian Justice gives this deck great reach and helps thin your deck. Ida serves as a guaranteed Isengrim’s Council pull in early rounds and can answer opponent’s defenders. 

What Is The General Gameplan?

The general gameplan is to win round 1 with your symbiosis engines, Freixenet and Guardians, followed by nature cards and tutors/thins. The only cards you should completely avoid playing round 1 is Gord and Eithne. Try not to use Oak and Justice in round 1.

If you get round control, you want to bleed round 2 by filling up one row with 8 units and playing Oak for maximum damage. You also want to use your leader during round 2 to maximize Oak value and thin your deck down before your round 3 draws and mulligans.

In round 3, you want to play Eithne, followed by nature cards, and last play Gord. If you aggressively thinned during round 1 and round 2, you will have only 5 cards left in deck before your round 3 draws and mulligans which means you can select the most optimal round 3 hand.

Strengths & Weaknesses Of This Deck

Strengths:

  • Good balance of points and removal
  • Very consistent
  • Powerful bleeds
  • Great finisher

Weaknesses:

  • Has a learning curve for knowing when to thin, what to mulligan, and row manipulation
  • Has 4 bricks that have to be managed
  • Could be outpowered with less consistent lists if opponent draws well enough

The Deck

The Video Deck Guide

Guide to the Entrench Seasonal Mode

The Season of Mahakam makes a return and fitting to the dwarf theme, the according seasonal mode gives resilience to every unit that is played. A minor sidenote here is that this only applies to those units that you actively play, not those that are summoned or spawned. And for some reason it also applies to artifacts, which cannot even be purified. But the general gameplay does not change as much when you look at the immediate value of a card. Instead you can be overwhelmed by the carryover in a round afterwards if you do not pay attention and play accordingly. So how should you play this? Let’s have a look!

It is basically all around fostering your own carryover and denying that of your opponent. So for your own carryover you either bring high base strength or engines or a mix of both. Carryover denial is done by removal and purify, it really is that straightforward. There are some decks that really excel at bringing a balanced combination to the table or are just so good at one discipline that it is sufficient. Status heavy decks with bleed, poison or bounty force the opponent into an inconvenient decision whether to use purify on the own resilient units or not. So they should be in a good spot in theory, but in practice they often do not keep up the pace unfortunately. What has proven to be reliable are these three decks we present you now.

Nilfgaard

Assimilate lists perform well in many seasonal modes and this one is no exception. The mix of engines, cheap purifies and a strong leader ability make double cross decks very popular. In fact, I created this list in 5 minutes and it worked well right away. A nice feature is that you can play Coup de Grace twice on the same Joachim, as he remains on the board in the round after. More details in the deck guide. A different take on this archetype is a list that creates as many diviners as possible with cards like operator, informants and such. However this falls behind in a NG mirror, which you face quite often, so we retired that concept.

Northern Realms

As Northern Realms only have poor options for purify cards, we go all in on engines and point generation. Uprising can even be pretty strong in a short round if you start it with some decent carryover and engines. However if you lose control over the game, then Siegfried is your emergency resilience reset against the carryover bleed in round 2. Read the deck guide for more details.

Monsters

The monster list of the month was provided by Sawyer and he is bringing a binary minimum unit deck with Force of Nature. So you just keep the board clean and empty until late round, then slam Speartip, Golyat and/or Woodland Spirit for large carryover. It has proven to be efficient in shutting down popular engine decks and denying any interaction with your side of the board. Don’t expect too many GGs though.

Final Remarks

Due to artifact carryover, you can also play a Sihil deck if you are that kind of person. However we at Team Bandit Gang do not promote this kind of behavior. Instead we advise you to always bring your heatwave or, in case of the monster deck, just don’t play units to begin with. Thank you for reading this guide and good luck!

Guide to the Switcheroo Seasonal Mode

We are now in the season of the cat and the seasonal mode of last year makes a return. This means that each player makes a turn and the hands are being switched every time. It forces you to play pretty awkward when it comes to sequencing of your cards and deckbuilding choices. Let’s see why this is the case.

How to play this

First of all, the first round is pretty much always played until the last card is depleted. If you pass early, your opponent will play the remaining cards instead. That leads to a long first round and one or two very short and very topdeck-depending subsequent rounds. It’s not hard to conclude that carryover is really worth it under these conditions, but we will come to that later.

The first turn of your deck always belongs to you so you want to make that count. After that, your opponent has straight access to the high value cards in your hand. So ideally you have one reliable and important first turn and a lot of synergy-dependant plays afterwards. For your mulligans that means that you should hold one valuable first turn play in your hand while possibly deliberately shuffling other high value cards back to your deck for better topdeck chances later on. Synergy-dependant cards can be kept though, because you have to make points somehow.

Possible synergies for you to utilize are:

  • Faction-specific tutors (Menno, Fauve, Natalis…) – low point cards that your opponent can’t utilize unless he is playing the same faction, with the exception of tactics or organics maybe.
  • Anything that plays from your deck – Your deck is your inaccessible safe space, so anything that interacts with it will have no or at least a different use for your opponent.
  • Singleton decks – this is rather about Shupe and not as much about Radeyah, as the latter is still 8 points without deckbuilding requirements. Shupe however is just a zero point card for your opponent if his deck doesn’t fit
  • Coins – this is for Syndicate only of course, but your opponent has no access to your bank account. I will say though that we didn’t come up with a satisfying syndicate list, because it’s hard to get some consistent gainer-spender-balance with all the meddling.

What else is there to consider? Card advantage doesn’t matter. Don’t bring removal that might hurt yourself more than the opponent of course. Use the information from your opponent’s hand to play accordingly. There’s no need to wait with a tall play if neither of the two hands counter it. Also try to shape the last two rounds in your favour. This might be more important than actually going for round 1, depending on what you play.

And one last side note: Don’t listen to those guys who think that playing only garbage is a good idea. That garbage is distributed in a very socialist way, while you miss out on your opponent’s synergy-bound points.

Nilfgaard

Let us begin with a carryover heavy list that capitalizes on lots of Phoenixes to build up a lot of pressure for the last one or two rounds. If everything goes well, you can have an advantage of 12 points or maybe more when entering those. Detailed description in the deck guide:

Northern Realms

A bit contrary to that is our northern realms list, as it doesn’t care too much about carryover and rather brings tools to counter carryover of other people. Instead the Siege scenario gives you a nice edge in round one and your leader ability in combination with Prince Anseis (or Seltkirk as backup) alone is good enough to secure one of the short rounds. Detailed description in the deck guide:

Skellige

This is a bit of a middle ground between both strategies we had before, using carryover in Phoenix and Crowmother, but also using the Gedyneith Scenario for the long first round. Read the deck guide for details:

Final Remarks

Credits also go to Sawyer1888 for assisting in the refinement of these decks and sharing his opinions in the creation of the guide. Thank you for reading this and have fun playing. Until next time!

Deck Guide: Radeyah’s Elves

INTRO

Hey guys, Zedi here.

You may remember from my last article that Deadeye Ambush was the first deck I used to get onto the pro ladder. What you may not have learned from that is that my obsession with Scoia’tael’s Elf package is unhealthy, both to my mental and my faction MMR. In recent times, Deadeye Ambush has failed to hold a place in the competitive meta, often being ignored in favour of spellforge archetypes, such as Nature’s Gift or Precision Strike control. In the two months since the release of Master Mirror, I have had to bid my good Elves ‘adieu’ in order to find any success on the Gwent ranked ladder… that is, until now.

One of the greatest challenges for Deadeye Ambush was the inability to successfully run Feign Death on the competitive ladder. The value of Bomb Heaver as a response to Masquerade Ball made the card an ‘auto-include’ in most decklists. Unfortunately for Scoia’tael, Feign Death is one of the only scenarios that loses a trade against Bomb Heaver, making the card a liability in most deck lists. However, the absence of Nilfgaard in the current metagame combined with the popularity of Devotion lists means that Bomb Heaver is nearly nonexistent on the competitive ladder.

I started playtesting with Feign Death again after all of my favourite decks were killed off in Patch 7.2 (goodbye forever, Ethereal). The deck feels strong, and despite its susceptibility to power-creep, it has enough control tools and tempo plays to claim round control starting from either side of the coin.

In this iteration of the deck, I decided to go for an old-school Singleton list, using Radeyah to set up Aen Seidhe Sabre. The ability to complete your scenario quickly with the use of the stratagem makes Feign Death a devastating card in any round. The deck goes wide, which is great in today’s “Korathi Heatwave” meta. The revert to Harmony also helps this deck a lot, since you’ll be free to place your units wherever you please, without needing to overflood any particular row.

The Deck

DECK OVERVIEW

Before we talk strategy, let’s take a look at some of the deck’s key cards and how they synergize with the rest of the list.

RADEYAH – Radeyah is one of Gwent’s most unique cards, providing an incredible amount of tempo and flexibility in singleton decks. On melee row, it allows you to finish your scenario quickly and sets up more Elves on the board for Yaevinn and Isengrim. On ranged, it plays for an immediate value of 13pts and can help you fill your row for your other finishing cards like The Great Oak.

FEIGN DEATH – Feign Death is one of the most undervalued scenarios in the game. Since the omission of Bomb Heaver in most competitive lists however, it often finds value on the board, setting up the rest of your gold Elves for big point finishers.

VERNOSSIEL – Vernossiel is your core gold in this list, as she synergizes incredibly well with all the other contents of your deck. In the right situation, she can fully clear an opponent’s board, while overpopulating yours with a myriad of Elven bowmen to set up for Yaevinn, Isengrim and the Great Oak.

YAEVINN – Yaevinn is one of your strongest assets in this deck, as he represents strong point swings and high removal value against enemy engines. Yaevinn finds value in nearly every matchup, synergizing well with your Half-Elf Hunters and leader ability charges. He can be used to clear off a low health unit, or set up for Waylay to make even more tokens.

ISENGRIM FAOILTIARNA – Isengrim is your best finishing card. He is your most reliable follow-up to Feign Death. After completing your scenario, he can represent a ton of points in a short round, especially when combined with your leader charges.

THE GREAT OAK – The Great Oak is one of Scoia’tael’s most staple golds. It is a flexible enough card to be useful in long or short rounds. In this deck, The Great Oak will find most value when used in combination with your other row-flooding cards like Vernossiel and Feign Death, since you will almost always be able to fill up a row using your cards and leader charges.

Feign Death (Astor Alexander)
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GAMEPLAN

In today’s metagame, the ability to bleed in round two is very important in most matchups. This means that your job is to do whatever you can to win round one, even if it costs you a few resources.

Like most Scoia’tael decks, this list thrives when you can bully your opponent on red coin and force a short Round 3. In this situation, you’ll want to use your low-provision bronze cards to keep up pace behind your opponent, threatening their engines with your poison package. After winning the first round, you’ll need to bleed your opponent down a few cards so that you can shorten the length of the final round. Ideally, you’ll end the game with your big finishing cards like Vernossiel, Great Oak, and Isengrim Faoiltiarna.

From blue coin, you’ll have to expend a few more resources to make sure you secure round control. Since this deck naturally runs Aen Seidhe Saber, you’ll be able to combo your stratagem with Feign Death without needing to Radeyah. Once you’ve committed your scenario, you’ll be able to follow up easily with cards like Yaevinn and Isengrim to take advantage of the multitude of Deadeye tokens currently on your board.

TECH OPTIONS

The deck already runs a number of tech cards for certain matchups. Crushing Trap is your core wide-punish card against swarm decks, such as SY Firesworn or NR Kerack Frigates. Vrihedd Sappers are used to counter enemy Defenders or to protect your tall units from poisons. Squirrel is used to deny echo cards such as Oneiromancy and Blood Eagle.

If you find that these tech choices are not enough, you could consider replacing Maraal for Korathi Heatwave for more removal, or Novigradian Justice for some extra thinning. However, without Maraal, your poison package feels quite lackluster, since you will only have two poisons remaining in your deck.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I’ve enjoyed using this deck on the pro ladder so far this season. While the deck lacks the engine strength to keep up against the likes of NR Shieldwall, it does very well from red coin against popular short-round bully decks like ST Nature’s Gift or SY Hidden Cache. As much as I love Deadeye Ambush, it will be a while before it becomes a strong enough leader to see play in Gwent tournaments and the like. I do believe however that this deck can be very strong on the ladder, and is a very strong list to use as you climb your way to pro rank.

I hope you enjoy using this deck in your games. Big thanks to [BG] Sonneillon for helping me build this deck and playtest it on the ladder. If you end up using the deck, let me know what you think of it! You can find me in the Bandit Gang Discord, or on my Twitter (@lolzedi).

Guide to the Seesaw in the Season of the Dryad

The season of the dryad returns and while the rules of the according seasonal mode remain the same, the experience will be quite different this time. The overly dominant Arachas Swarm deck from last year is no longer possible, while a bunch of new possibilities emerged. So, let’s have a look at the rules in particular and how to utilize them.

Rules and general approaches

At the end of your turn, all units with even power will be boosted by one, while all units with odd power will be damaged by one. Plain and simple right? At least in theory. Practically this involves a lot more calculating when considering a pass, depending on the current state of the board. Engines work differently as well, especially those that boost by one in some way. To explain that, let’s first have a look at the sequencing of the effects at the end of your turn.

The seasonal boost or damage is what is coming first, all the other end of turn effects come afterwards. So your engine can be either accelerated by this or brought to a halt, depending on its power. Engines that boost by one after being boosted by seasonal rules will find themselves at even power on the next turn, as they gained +2. Same scenario but odd power leads to one point damage by seasonal rules and one point engine boost, effectively staying the same. So having it all well aligned is the key to success.

Vitality and Bleed work the same way. Just remember that you want to put Vitality on even allied units and Bleed on odd enemy units. Speaking of Bleed, just as you want to keep your units/engines at even power by the end of your turn, you want to do the opposite to your opponent. This can sometimes interrupt their point generation pretty well.

Shields and Armor will be affected by this as well, diminishing and disappearing every turn on odd power.

We present you now three different decks that make great use of all this. Monsters, Nilfgaard and Syndicate are not being covered this time, as the other three factions seem to stand out more. However that doesn’t mean that these factions do not offer decent options for these rules, so feel free to get creative.

Scoia'tael

Since it is the season of the dryad, let’s start with the dryad deck. Mystic Echo got replaced by Nature’s Gift in the last patch, and vitality as a mechanic is a tremendous match to this mode. As mentioned before, you can create a lot of cheap 2 point engines with vitality, which holds great potential to overwhelm your opponent in points. Yet as effective as it is, it falls a little short to decks that focus on turning your units to odd strength. It’s still fun to play though and definitely able to win a lot of games.

I like to open the game with some dwarves and go for the round while saving up symbiosis and nature cards for later. If you do not draw accordingly, it’s not a big deal to change that plan. Zoltan is a neat card to end the first round on. Keep in mind that the vitality status carries over, but also that Dryads Caress on Zoltan is a bad idea. Your leader charges are best used on the two young dryads spawned by Eithné and they are often also helpful to keep Malena alive. The rest works pretty intuitively I’d say, so just give it a try:

Northern Realms

Probably the champion of the month. Meve’s Royal Inspiration ability has already been very strong last year and with the change on Arachas Swarm it’s likely the best leader you can play this time. You just have so many engines and ways to keep them alive, while all the pings and boosts help you to have everything aligned in every round. Ale of the Ancestors is a wonderful addition to the leader ability, as it grants you the opportunity to have an uneven boost on each turn. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. Sawyer argued that this list probably has too many engines so that those ones played late will not unfold their value. He’s got a point there, since the only real finisher cards are Vissegerd and Scytheman here. I still like it the way it is, but changing a few engines for some finishers like a Geralt card of choice is always worth a consideration. Here you go:

Skellige

Skellige can kinda be regarded as Northern Realms’ evil twin in here. While the Royal Inspiration deck focuses on single boosts on allied units, Skellige has many ways of annoying the opponent with multiple damage pings. An obvious leader choice for this can be Onslaught, which works well and is just exactly the opposite of Royal Inspiration, but we thought that Rage of the Sea has some more potential here.

Sawyer put the main work into this list and you can find his in depth description in the linked deck guide. So, I will not bore you with too much text here. Here is the list:

Final Remarks

Thanks for reading our guide to the Seesaw in the Season of the Dryad! It may take a little time to get used to calculating the points right, but you will get the idea after a few games. If you have any feedback or additions/changes you would like to us to make to the deck, feel free to let us know in the comments down below!

Guide to the Battle Rush in the Season of the Draconid

Okay, so you might now wonder. “Does this mode even require any guide? The only thing that changes is the pace.” This is not wrong, but the pace eliminates some of the more complicated decks or simply some time-consuming mechanics. That’s why not every deck from the common ladder will work in the seasonal mode and why we want to go through a bunch of decks here that do.

Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t have to consider too many options on every turn. It sounds stupid, but autopilot decks are the easiest to manage here. Also consider practicing a new deck on casual first if you need to get familiar with the strategy of that deck.

Faction specific approaches

Syndicate:

What you want to avoid when playing syndicate is too much micromanagement with your coins, your gainers and spenders. So hoard is the mechanic that you probably want to aim for, providing nice engines and relatively simple coin management. Coincidently, there’s already a popular Hidden Cache list on the ladder that is pretty good. And since it only takes a few tweaks to make it suitable for the seasonal mode, you can run this pretty successfully. So this is what I’ve been running, but similar lists are just as good:

Northern Realms:

You should utilize engines as well when you play Northern Realms of course. Using too many orders and targeting abilities will cause serious conflict with the timer though. So your best bet is going for simple order abilities and boosting. Uprising is the perfect match for extensive boosting of course but keep in mind that using this ability while your turn ends often leads to another charge being unwillingly used. So if you don’t need to do it earlier, you best save all charges for the turn you want to spawn the Scytheman. This list combines Kerack Frigates with several boosting engines for a solid point generation. This is the deck:

Monsters:

Monsters and its simple thrive mechanic is appealing when it comes to quick turns. That’s why there are several thrive decks floating around, some of them very minimalistic, some using Ethereal and Fruits, some combining it with Wild Hunt or Vampires. I’ve been playing a list with Frost and Wild Hunt, using Force of Nature to progress that mastery to be honest. That leader ability can be changed if you like, but it’s quick and if you use it early, it shortens your turns with autopass enabled, forcing your opponent to play quicker. Here is the deck:

Skellige:

KingDenpai has been playing a Dracoturtle list with Ursine Ritual recently that has massive point swing potential in your final combo. I felt like Ursine Ritual takes a bit too long under some circumstances. For example if you tutor Cerys with Oneiromancy and play the leader charge on the Shieldmaiden, you may not be able to target that leader charge before the time runs out, or another charge you want to save gets used. So I removed Cerys, Shieldmaidens and Vildkaarl and switched the leader ability to Sacrificial Vanguard. Then I added a small discard package and Gedyneith, as the deck already contained 4 druids to utilize here.

What you want to do here is playing Gedyneith in round one, generating massive points while preparing the Dracoturtle combo with your leader ability. What you need in hand by round 3 is Dracoturtle, Mardroeme, Vlodimir and Iris, or access to them with respective tutors. The defender is very useful as well, of course. You set up the dracoturtle (with a Svalblod Priest if you have it), then use Mardroeme to bring it to low armor and high points, revert that with Vlodimir to high armor and low points and finally harvest the high armor with Iris. I noticed that Gedyneith baits some removal in round one, so the Dracoturtle combo doesn’t get interrupted as often as I assumed in the beginning. Really fun to play, give it a try! The deck is down below:

Scoia'tael:

Driftbling mentioned that one of his viewers named aidspit shared a dwarf list that served him well. I played a few games with it and I can confirm this. It’s very straightforward, play some dwarves, utilize their armor and generate nice points while doing that. Portal along Mahakam Marauders seems a little strange at first, but pulling one of them out immediately enables the bonded mechanic for the other one. Still you rather like to pull the Miners and Pyrotechnicians of course. It also features a bit of resilience, which is nice. This is the list:

Nilfgaard:

I’ve got no list for you this time, sorry. Also haven’t seen Nilfgaard that much, a few Hyperthin lists and that was it. But you can always try your favourite list from common ladder and you will see which cards or combos take too long for this mode and adjust according to that.

Final Remarks

What many people enjoy about this mode is that the games are over way quicker than usual. So, this is a great opportunity to progress your masteries in the contract book, as well as some of the keyword contracts (e.g. Hoard contract with the aforementioned Syndicate list). And of course, the experience and journey progress goes way faster as well. So if you want to go for a grind, this is the right time. Otherwise just enjoy the pace.

Guide to the Seasonal Mode in the Season of the Magic

Hello everyone. This is my second seasonal mode guide that I provide for Team Bandit Gang. This time covering the season of magic and several approaches to make the most out of the ruleset.

Rules

The rules remained the same as last year, which means that any first special card you play on a turn gets duplicated. If you play a second special card in that turn, by create or tutoring for example, that special card will not be duplicated. Quite simple.

General approach to deckbuilding

To make the most out of the rules, you probably want to keep your unit count at the minimum of 13 when building a deck. On top of that, units that create or tutor spells are very good here, because you don’t want to miss out on the double casting effect in more turns than necessary. The same applies to leader abilities that enable some sort of special card play in turns where you are playing a unit (Mystic Echo, Double Cross, Wild Card, Tactical Decision, Pincer Maneuver and many more).

Removal is running very strong, so it may be hard to stick engines to the board. There are some decks like Mystic Echo Harmony that are able to stick some engines due to the large amount of them, for many other decks they probably are not worth their provisions. So, it’s good to work with point slams and immunity, where it is possible. Last say is often very important and the coin-flip can sometimes be as decisive as in old beta Gwent. Another thing to note is that swarm and mid-range approaches will serve you better than tall units, because there are some cheap tall removal cards that you see very often.

Speaking of which, these are some neutral cards that fit well in many decks regardless of faction:

Neutral
  • Korathi Heatwave: Double tall removal and artifact removal of choice. You don’t want to run Bomb Heaver for the occasional scenario you face, so this is a good middle ground.
  • Devil’s Puffball: Double poison means instant removal and it offers some damage to adjacent units on top. Totally great for 6 provisions.
  • Triss: Telekinesis: Counts as a unit, works as two special cards.
  • Royal Decree or other tutors: Great for consistency and thinning units out of your deck. Faction specific tutors are sometimes better though.
  • There’s also Uma’s Curse, Aguara: True Form, faction runestones and many more. You get the idea.

Faction specific approaches

Scoia’tael:

Scoiatael

Probably the most popular faction this season. The synergy that Mystic Echo offers is very obvious, and the modified version of the well-known Harmony deck has proven to be quite strong. Waters of Brokilon create four Dryad Fledglings at once and it can be cast twice (once per round most of the time), so that’s a lot of units which are hard to remove in their amount. Although facing it rather often, I didn’t really want to play it, so I don’t have a decklist for you. I am certain though that you can find or build one easily.

What I did play is a more control-oriented deck that is not capitalizing on harmony points. Instead it has some great swing potential in very few cards. It features a dwarven package that gains points off a quick rowstack, lots of removal, Harald Gord of course and a very tall Aglais as your last play. More on this in the deck description:

One quick comment on the Elven Sage: Don’t run this as a lonely engine, as it will very likely be removed anyway. When facing Nilfgaard Assimilate however, this card can backlash pretty hard due to obvious reasons.

Syndicate:

Syndicate

The other faction that runs Harald Gord. The crime synergies are also pretty great here, making the intimidate mechanic quite strong. Sir Skewertooth is a terrific engine due to its immunity, so good that it’s even worth to run Renew just for that. Fisstech is one tall removal and 8 coins for 4 provisions, which is totally crazy. This however means that you shouldn’t go entirely without spenders. I made a list that feels quite balanced on coin management to me, even though most cards don’t require or create coins. I also chose Off The Books solely for Skewertooth’s immunity, you can change that for something else if you want to.

Monsters:

Monster

I think there are mainly two approaches for monsters. The first is a simple Arachas Swarm that can just vomit points on the board with which the prevalent tall removal cannot really keep up with. Predatory dive is a painful card for those decks who do not swarm their board with low strength units. The weakness would be lacerate, but I feel that this is often not played. So that’s one way to go here, but again I didn’t play it or create a list.

What I did try was the second approach which stores points in immune units and plays the remaining units as deathwish or swarm, so that it doesn’t hurt too much to get hit by removal. It sometimes feels mediocre but has also shown to be really good in other matches:

Nilfgaard:

Nilfgaard

I didn’t play Nilfgaard this season, but there are some ways to make it work. While assimilate has plenty opportunities to trigger, the engines might not stick, so it can be countered quite well actually. Sometimes it just comes down to find the opponent’s key cards (most prominently Gord) with Bribery or the Double Cross leader ability. If you aim for Gord, keep Bribery for your last turn. The low unit count in seasonal decks contributes to Bribery’s consistency at least.

Skellige:

Skellige

I’ve seen two decent approaches for Skellige so far. One is playing Gedyneith and druids which leads to many duplicated alchemy cards and well boosted crow clan druids. The other one is playing Shupe-Lippy decks to multiply and cycle Shupe as much as possible. I haven’t played either so I can’t provide you any list for that. Sorry.

Northern Realms:

Northern Realms

I haven’t seen any convincing NR list so far. Maybe there is something in playing a siege deck and launching bombardments on your opponent, but you need your siege engines to stick for that. This is not easy, even though reinforcement triggers twice. I’d give it a pass this month.

Final remarks

I do not really have the time to create an entire snapshot on my own, so I only shared the decks that I created and played myself. As mentioned before, popular decks like Mystic Echo harmony are not part of this guide, despite being very good. However, if you don’t find these lists elsewhere, get creative in deck-building on your own. The seasonal mode tolerates unoptimized decks and it is part of the Gwent experience 🙂

ESCANBRYT IS A GUEST WRITER FOR TEAM BANDIT GANG. HE’S BEEN A DEDICATED SEASONAL MODE PLAYER FOR A WHILE NOW AND LIKES TO GET CREATIVE IN SEASONAL DECKBUILDING. IF YOU LIKE THE DECKS THEN FEEL FREE TO LEAVE AN UPVOTE.

Guide to the Seasonal Mode in the Season of the Elves

With the intention of the Bandit Gang to cover the monthly changing seasonal mode of Gwent as well, I’ve been asked to become a guest writer for this segment. So in this guide I want to present you a quick explanation of the ruleset, general approaches to deckbuilding and a few examples of decks that work very well.

I also want to remind new players that this mode has no matchmaking and you might up queueing into very experienced players with whom you will have a hard time to compete. The ranked mode of each season is the one called “classic”, where you will match with similar players most of the time. However, if you enjoy the seasonal mode rulesets, then maybe this guide will help you to take the challenge.

Rules

The current seasonal mode remained unchanged compared to last year. That means on each unit card that you play you will pull out a unit card with the same provisions out of your deck, if there is one. Your deck contains an additional copy of each card for that. While the description says that it’s the unit you play from your hand, it really is just the unit that you play first on each turn. So if you create a unit from a special card, this unit will pull a same provision unit from your deck. If you revive a unit from your graveyard, if you tutor one from your deck, the same applies. Keep in mind though that it’s always about the unit’s provision, not the special card’s provision.

This effect will only trigger once per turn, always on the first unit that is played. So let’s take one example to demonstrate how this works:

  • You play Menno Coehoorn to tutor Bribery from your deck. This will cause you to pull another 8 provision unit as Menno from your deck, while the Bribery unit will not trigger the effect, as it is the second unit that is played. If Menno doesn’t pull a unit because there is no other 8 provision unit in your deck, you’re out of luck. The effect doesn’t carry on to the next unit.
  • If you play Bribery from hand, you will pull a card according to the provision of the created unit, as this one is the first unit to be played.
  • If you play a spy as the first unit, this will cause you to pull a same provision unit from your opponent’s deck, if there is one.

General approach to deckbuilding

First of all, you don’t want to miss out on the pulling effect in any of your turns. This limits your use of special cards and artifacts significantly to those that play a unit in any way. A leader that plays a unit can mitigate the use of another special card though.

Second thing to consider is the random outcome of the pulling effect. It’s a good thing to have certain purposes for each provision number. If you, for example, open the round with an engine and then pull a control card on an empty board, that’s wasted. If you can align proactive and reactive cards on different provisions, this will increase your consistency significantly.

Thirdly, engines are strong here, as the big amount of them is hard to handle. Be aware that Geralt: Yrden is a popular counter to boost-heavy engines, so damaging engines may be more reliable.

And at last you only have 18 slots on your side of the board, even though the amount of played cards has doubled. Make sure not to brick your last plays of a round and keep an eye on the space for row-locked cards.

Neutral cards that work well in many decks:

Neutral
  • Royal Decree is a great card to include in every deck. Can tutor any provision number that you didn’t draw and increases the consistency of your 50 card deck by a large amount.
  • If you design your deck so that it contains lots of cards with 9 provisions or lower, Renew is one that adds a lot of flexibility and consistency as well.
  • Matta Hu’uri is a useful card in the right deck. The high provision cards to pull should be specials like Renew or Royal Decree though, as there is no point in pulling both copies of the one 12 provision unit you have. Playing many 9 provision units diminishes the chance of playing both Mattas in the same turn though.

Faction specific approaches

Nilfgaard:

Nilfgaard

For Nilfgaard, assimilate is running crazy here. It triggers on every card that wasn’t in your starting deck, which includes every additional copy added due to the ruleset. The added copies are no premium cards, so you can tell them apart from your starting list cards if those are premiums. There are many different ways to build a deck successfully here, if you just include the assimilate engines. Cahir should be mentioned as well here, as he can grow by an insane amount of points against the right deck. While all leaders work well and Double Cross does exceptionally well, this is a list that I created to progress the locks and purify nodes in the reward book:

Northern Realms:

Northern Realms

As the faction of engines, Northern Realms is going even stronger than Nilfgaard in my perception. Charges can get out of hand exponentially, which can overwhelm the opponent pretty fast. Former Demavend’s Stockpile ability has its competitive month of the year under these conditions, with archers, arbalests and such raining down on the opponent’s units, while Dandelion and Vysogota create an enourmous amount of points on your side of the board. Once again, there are many ways to build a successful deck around these mechanics.

Personally, I like the approach with Pincer Maneuver for more flexibility, this is a deck that I came up with:

Skellige:

Skellige

Skellige has emerged with the strategy of playing Artis which damages each unit that is played by half. This makes the Wild Boar of the Seas a very strong finisher. Greatswords and Dagur Two-Blades can grow easily along this setup and several berserk units can feed off the effect of Artis. You can also include a little surprise factor with double Kambi, which can shorten the game by two turns and deny your opponent’s last play if the last say is yours. This is a deck that I came up with:

Monsters:

Monster

The thrive mechanic can be triggered quite easily in a Monsters deck, so you would increase the amount of thrive units in relation to their triggers here. In order not to reach a ceiling too fast, you can combine it with consume units that play ever taller. This is of course very vulnerable to tall removal and Geralt: Yrden. While it may lack control options itself, Monsters may struggle in comparison to other factions because of that. There’s some kind of an underdog approach though, considering the boards can get very crowded.

The Noonwraith spawns two worthless rats on your opponent’s side of the board, which can sometimes brick their last plays. If you keep your own unit count low with consumes, you can play a heavy swing with double Jotunn. Skellige and Northern Realms have options to attack their own units though, so this strategy might fail often. This is a list that is tricky to play, but works quite reliably to get this setup done:

Syndicate:

Syndicate

Syndicate suffers from the fact that crime cards are inefficient in this mode. It offers quite some engines that synergize well, such as the Sly Seductress and the cheap hoard units if played with Hidden Cache. All the double playing messes up the gaining and spending of coins though, so I haven’t really found an enjoyable approach to Syndicate in this mode yet.

Scoia’tael:

Scoiatael

The engines of Scoia’tael don’t really seem to benefit off this mode. Harmony doesn’t trigger more often than usual, since the amount of diversity doesn’t increase. So it’s just outscored by the competition of other factions. What’s noteworthy is that elf-swarm-tactics can develop very fast and burst out in points and control in a short round. But once the board is full, you’re in a difficult spot. So ironically, the Season of the Elves just doesn’t seem to be made for the elves.

Final remarks

This became quite a lot of text, but I hope that I could help you navigate through this topic with some impulses on deckbuilding. Keep in mind that there is no hard competition here so you can get creative with deckbuilding and still have success with it. It’s also a great opportunity to progress contracts of certain mechanics. Reaching 1000 assimilate triggers for examples goes really fast here.

Happy gwenting!

ESCANBRYT IS A GUEST WRITER FOR TEAM BANDIT GANG. HE’S BEEN A DEDICATED SEASONAL MODE PLAYER FOR A WHILE NOW AND LIKES TO GET CREATIVE IN SEASONAL DECKBUILDING. IF YOU LIKE THE DECKS THEN FEEL FREE TO LEAVE AN UPVOTE.