Team Bandit Gang

Gwent

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!

Deck Guide: Vylcount’s Nature’s gift

I should really call this deck “The Bait” because this deck goes really tall with units like Aglaïs, the Hamadryads and the Elven Scouts. The occasional vitality boosts from the leader ability, the Dryad’s Caress and the two Dryads Enchantresses on some of the units can function as removal and poison bait since they are not necessarily the win condition. Aside of that I also have cards like Enchanted Armor, Dunca and two Circle of Life’s that buff my Scoia’tael units in hand. Many times, your opponent can’t deal with all of them and thus allows some of our taller units to live.

This is more of a hybrid ST list since it has some control cards that can stop your opponents strategy. But, it also has some engines that can generate a lot of points due to the nature of the cards and the leader (no pun intended). You have the ability to gain tempo in R1 and bleed in R2 with cards like Eithné Young Queen who provides us Young Dryads that have the Symbiosis tag. Aside of that cards like the Hamadryads and the Crushing Traps can be useful to make tempo swings.

We are also running cards like Call of the Forest, Isengrim’s Council, and Fauve that thin the deck for us. This allows us to get an amazing top deck for R3 because every card synergizes with each other. You got traps to play un-interactively and catch your opponent off guard. Aglaïs can be used as a finisher but also a tool to win you rounds if you are way behind. In the right conditions, Forest protector is 13+ all time. I would say he truly is an MVP.

Double Cross suffers against this deck because nearly all cards you keep till 3 cards in hand are dependent upon Nature and Scoia’tael units. The last 3 cards are preferably Aglaïs, Crushing Trap, and Forest Protector. That’s it, I hope you will enjoy playing the deck!

VYLCOUNT IS A GUEST WRITER FOR TEAM BANDIT GANG. IF YOU LIKE THE DECK THEN FEEL FREE TO LEAVE AN UPVOTE. IF YOU WANT TO BE A GUEST WRITER FOR TEAM BANDIT GANG THEN FEEL FREE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO BABYJOSUS#6844 ON DISCORD.

The Deck

Instantly download this deck into your client with the following link:

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/guides/143176

Deck Guide: BJ’s Ethical Shieldwall

From the creator of Gudrun Shupe and definitely 100% independent creator of Triple Siege, Triple Masquerade Ball, Triple Haunt, Triple Passiflora & Triple Commandos. Babyjosus presents you: Ethical Shieldwall. A shieldwall is a protective wall formed by interlocking the shields of foot soldiers. If you are someone that is protective of others then this could very well be the deck for you.

Shieldwall is a brand new leader ability for the Northern Realms faction. With Shieldwall you have 3 charges at your disposal. Each charge boosts a unit by 2 and gives it a shield. This allows you to get a lot of value from Prince Anséis and Seltkirk of Gulet. And if you want you can even use your last charge on one of the duel cards and reset the order ability with Viraxas Prince. This is most likely the reason that Shieldwall only adds 14 provisions to the deck because the shield on a duel card seems pretty binary. Especially since you can boost your duel cards with the Kerack Marines and Royal Guards to make them even more powerful.

With the recent patch the already strong meta deck for Northern Realms from last season seems to be untouched. With powerful cards like Amphibious Assault and Viraxas Prince not getting any nerfs the deck is still tier 1. Most people have changed the Uprising leader ability for Shieldwall and made some slight adjustments. This version is a lot different since it has cards like King Roegner also known as King Pogner (because of the value that it can get). The average value of King Pogner is between 15-25 points from my experience.
The reason for this is because alongside the 3 shields that we can get from our leader we also play Queen Adalia, Prophet Lebioda and Windhalm of Attre. Of course you can decide to run more shields but I personally wanted this deck to be a competitive meme deck. Especially in the mirror match King Pogner can do really well. It got me from rank 3 to rank 1 relatively quick. In case you don’t believe me:

In round 1 I usually open with Kerack Frigate and protect it with the Crystal Skull. After that I play a Temerian Drummer on the left from it so I get 2 extra points from the boat every turn. In this very same round I  also like to thin my deck with the Dun Banners. So, make sure you setup a Temerian Drummer or Anna Strenger so you can easily get them out. Other cards that have good synergy with these engines are Tridam Infantry. If not necessary I like to keep my Amphibious Assault for round 2 and round 3. Especially because it makes your round 2 push even better. If you don’t push then just keep it for round 3. Your shield package and duel cards you prefer to keep for round 2 and/or round 3. If you play against NG its best to not give them a long round 3. Against other decks you should be fine going into a long round 3. Double ball seems to be our arch-enemy so be wary of them.

The rest of deck is pretty self explanatory but if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them. You can ask them down below by leaving a comment or ask them when I am live on Twitch. You can find me here. Enjoy playing the deck and make sure to not let your opponents get through your shieldwall! If you are not much of a reader you can check our video deck guide down below:

The Deck

Instantly download this deck into your client with the following link:

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/guides/142891

Update 7.2 Patchnotes

Hey everyone!

Update 7.2 is coming to all platforms tomorrow, September 1st, and we are all hyped about it! There will be multiple balance changes for existing cards and leader abilities. Down below you can find all the changes that have been mentioned in the Developer Patch Overview. Credits go to Euerfeldi for writing them down.

Changes:
– Menu will now stay in the game mode you played before (less accidental queuing into ranked with seasonal deck).

Neutrals:
– White Frost: Renamed to Blizzard
– Ciri: Damage pings are no longer random
– Ethereal: 9 provisions -> 8. Ability changed to: Doomed. Deploy: Gain Zeal. Order: Transform unit to the right into base copy of self.
– Oneiromancy: 12 provisions -> 13
– Watchman: 4 power -> 5
– Highwaymen: 3 power -> 4
– Iron Falcon Knife Juggler: 1 power -> 2

Monsters:
– Carapace: 15 provisions. Boost an allied unit by 3 and give it Veil. Charge: 3
– Force of Nature: 15 provisions. Spawn and play Woodland Spirit.
– Woodland Spirit: 9 strength, Relict, Token, Doomed.
– Death Shadow: Gone
– White Frost: 15 provisions. Move an enemey unit to the other row and Spawn Frost on its row for 2 turns. Charge: 2
– Auberon: 6 power -> 5. 11 provisions -> 12
– Alpha Werewolf: 5 power -> 6
– Arachas Behemoth: 2 power -> 3
– Caranthir: 8 provision ->9
– Wild Hunt Rider: 3 power -> 4
– Foglet: 3 power -> 4

Northern Realms:
– Mobilization: Spawn a base copy of a bronze allied Soldier on its row and buff it by 3.
– Pincer maneuver: Draw a Northern Realms card of your choice, then shuffle a card from your hand back into the deck. If drawn card was a unit, boost it by 5.
– Vicious Slash: Gone
– Shieldwall: Boost an allied unit by 2 and give it Shield. Charge: 3
– Siege Master: 4 power. 5 provisions. Order: Boost an ally by 2. Resupply: Boost adjacent Siege Engines by 1.
– Rivian Pikeman: 4 power. 5 provisions. Order: Damage an enemy unit by 2. Resupply: Boost self by 1.
– Field medic: Power 1 -> 2
– Dun Banner: Provision 5 -> 4
– Blue Stripes Commandos: 6 provisions -> 5.

Scoia’tael:
– Call of Harmony: 15 provisions. Spawn and play Dana Meadbh.
– Dana Meadbh: 6 power. Relict, Token, Doomed, Harmony.
– Harmony: Nerf reverted, so both rows count again
– Nature’s Gift: 15 provisions. Symbiosis. Order: Give an allied unit Vitality (2). Charge: 3
– Guerilla Tactics: 15 provisions -> 16.
– Zoltan’s Company: Additional ability: If you control Zoltan, give 1 armor to all dwarves on that row.
– Vriheed Brigade: Deploy ability is now targeted
– Duen canell Guardian: 3 power -> 4
– Mahakam Volunteers: 3 power -> 4
– Eithne: 11 provisions -> 12
– Dol Blathana Sentry: +1 armor
– Dwarven chariot: 3 power -> 4
– Dol Blathana Bomber: 1 power -> 2
– Dwarfen Skirmisher: Boost +1 -> +2
– Brokilon sentinel: 5 provisions -> 4

Nilfgaard:
– Tactical decision: 15 provisions. Spawn and play Morvran Voorhis.
– Morvran Voorhis: Human, Soldier, Token, Doomed. 6 power. Deploy: Draw up to 3 cards, then put the same number of cards on top of your deck.
– Strategic Withdrawal: Gone
– Imprisonment: Lock an enemy unit and damage it by 3. Charge: 2.
– Imperial Formation: 16 provisions. 3 Charges instead of 4
– Impera Brigade: 4 power. 5 provisions. Deploy: If you control a soldier, summon all copies of this unit from your deck to this row.
– Nauzicaa Brigade: Deploy: Damage an enemy unit by 1. If the enemy unit is boosted, damage it by 3 instead.
– Battle Preparation: Boost increased by 1
– Imposter: Provision 14 -> 15
– Braathens: Power 4 -> 3
– Vivienne: Provisions 10 -> 9
– Vincent: Power 5 -> 3. Provisions 11 -> 10
– Usurper: 11 provisions -> 12
– Ffion 2 power -> 1
– Ard Feid light cavalry: 2 power -> 3
– Hunting pack: 3 power -> 4
– Siege engine category added to Hefty Helge, Rot Tosser, Fire Scorpion & Mangonel

Syndicate:
– Pirate’s Cove: 15 provisions. Spawn a Sea Jackal on an allied row, then gain 4 coins.
– Sacred Flame: Order changed to: Boost all allied firesworn units by 1.
– Ewald Borsodi: 5 power. 7 provisions. Deploy: Damage an enemy unit by 2. If Horst Borsodi is in your graveyard, damage an enemy unit by 4 instead.
– Horst Borsodi: 4 power. Deploy: Gain 3 Coin. If Ewald Borsodi is in your graveyard, gain 6 coins.
– Whoreson’s Freak Show: 4 power, 8 provisions. Profit: 2. Fee 2 (Melee): Damage an enemy unit by 2.
– Jaques de Aldersberg: 11 provision -> 12
– Sausage Maker: Provision 10 -> 9
– Casino Bouncer: Fee 2 -> 1.
– Sewer raiders: Power 3 -> 4
– Cleric of the flaming rose: Now has cleric category

Skellige:
– Sacrifical Vanguard: Gone
– Second Wind: Gone
– Battle Trance: 16 provisions. Spawn and play Mardrome. Whenever you play an Alchemy card, Heal a random allied unit by 1.
– Rage of the Sea: 14 provisions. Spawn Rain on an enemy row for 1 turns and a deafening Siren on the opposite row. Charge: 3.
– Holger Blackhand: 6 power, 8 provisions. Added Deploy: Damage a unit by 2, rest stays same
– Brokvar Hunter: Zeal. Order: Damage a unit by 2. Cooldown: 2. Whenever you play a Beast, reduce cooldown by 1.
– An Craite Greatsword: 10 power. Deploy: Damage self by 5. Whenever an enemy unit takes damage, heal self by 1.
– Harald an Craite: 11 provisions -> 12
– An Craite Marauder: 2 -> 3 power
– Trgyvvi Tuirseach: 11 provision -> 10
– Crow Messenger: 3 power -> 4
– Blood Eagle: 11 provisions-> 12
– Birna Bran: 5 power -> 6
– Tuirseach Skirmisher: 3 power -> 4

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.

Memery in Gwent – Thoughts and Impressions

This article is written by Sawyer1888 and edited by Babyjosus.

Introduction

First of all, what is the goal of this little comment or even essay cause to be honest, most of the people know what a meme might be and what memery in gwent might look like. I guess generally speaking most players or viewers would even say, that a meme is synonymous with bad cards or a bad deck or at least not really competitive in the top ladder. So does it mean everything which is not tier 1 to tier 3 is automatically a meme? Does this mean including certain cards for different strategies which might not be as strong as others are meme cards?
The outcome and goal of this article should be to discuss the topic memery in general, describe what memes may look like and how they work, what they want to achieve and why it is so contrary to the meta.

What is memery in gwent?

When we try to remember any meme decks, we normally think of some piles we saw in viewerbattles on some streamers channels, like Synergygod, KingDenpai or decks played by streamers like Trynet and Redrame. Sometimes we even think of Magpies decks during the open and Myamons alternative decks on ladder. What most of these decks have in common is, they will be hard to find in any meta snapshot. Also instead of playing out strong synergies and being able of handling many threats you see on ladder, they are more focusing on a certain outcome which most likely is called something like “for the meme”, “memery” or whatever. The Rat decks swarming their opponents boards with rats, the Turtle meme plays around with armor, Skellige Crows has its goal to get as many crows as possible, to let them fly in every round and Nilfgaards Mill…well, it wants to mill their opponents deck, so there’s nothing left to draw. The winrate with those decks are quite low, said politely, cause to get their meme working, they lack many tools which are needed to compete with a certain meta on ladder.
That doesn’t change, most of those memes are existing for many months and even if some alternative cards or flexible options through the expansions will help their goals, like Oneiromancy for consistency or provision changes, sometimes these decks even get bullied. Triple Gedy for example seems quite impossible now, because of the leader and provision change of Second Wind. So, it is not possible to play Lippy out 2 times to get your scenario back. Well, you can try it with Masquerade Ball, Renew, Avalach and Assire, but I don’t really think that would be a fun experience…for you or your opponent.

So, when memery does not really want to stay competitive, what is its task? Most of all, except from maybe suprising your opponent on ladder with random cards to sneak some wins, it is more like the fun aspect of those decks. Playing out weird combos with Syanna and the Runewrights, seeing your opponent unable to play meta cards cause they are filled up with rats or milling their high provision cards with Cantarella and Tibor, that can be pretty funny. Also creating lore friendly decks, full of Witchhunters and Bounty cards, going in with a full NR Mage deck or trying out Viper Witchers around Letho, with now maybe Ciri Nova might sound pretty cool. But there is one problem…

The struggle to be a memer…

With all these new cards from the Master of Mirrors expansion, the provision changes on some cards and the announcement that “double card” leaders, like Second Wind, Pincer Maneuver and so on, will be changed in the upcoming patches, memery feels way harder to do. The biggest threat to memery are actually the strong power capped cards for all those factions right now. SK warriors are controlling the meta once again, together with Hidden Cache. Also NG Ball with their soldiers and aristocrats does it for like half a year now. NR seems kinda back on ladder, with maybe a midrange deck or a devotion version around Pincer Maneuver or even Uprising. And yes, Monsters are in there as well, with Haunt, Auberon and Ethereals. But how can a crow or rat swarm compete with all this? When there were elves and harmony, you could try to swarm them, but now, most of the decks want to bleed, want to push, most of the factions have 12p cards or more on their own, like Harald and Ursurper, so no synergy is needed. And playing lore friendly decks? I think the Frost/Wild Hunt package is a good start, like the Spy combo right now, but it needs more like that. Where is the NR Mage buff? Is Tamara the only synergy card for playing more Witchhunters? And…why is Vesemir Mentor still such a bad card, which except for NG, will never get its value? With Mahakam Forge you could think, dwarves might be seen more often, but the only real way to play it right now, is to focus on spells, for one thick dwarf: Gord.

You can see, it’s not only pretty hard to compete with all those disadvantages as a memer on ladder, but these days it also feels sometimes even harder to create a working meme pile to make it work…and to survive long enough to see the outcome.

Conclusion and Outlook

As a more moderate player which is not really involved in Top 64 ladder gameplay, I count myself to the majority of gwent players in general. Yes, some changes need to be done for a more competitive environment, to get a healthier balancing and maybe a different route in qualifying for tournaments, like open decklists or whatever, but this should and certainly will be discussed in some other article in the future.
What I find problematic here, is the growing distance between “meme” oriented fun decks and meta snaphot lists on ladder. To be clear, I will never expect that Mill can deal much damage in pro gameplay and I certainly don’t want to buff Rat Swarms as a deck to easily climb with. In my opinion though, there are many synergies and cards in every faction left over in gwent, which we might never see again except in viewer battles. Every expansion creates a new, stronger card pool, which not always synergizes well with the old stuff and almost always replace the previous played piles. While a few months ago Druids with Boats and even Dracoturtle were quite competitive, now its more like a meme. While there was once a Blue Stripe Commando meta, now its something between a meme pile and maybe a tier 3 ladder deck. With all this stuff going on in Gwent, lets not forget that some people say “memes are to culture what genes are to life” and “for a meme to survive and spread in a competitive environment it must have attributes which give it advantages over other memes” …or in this case maybe other decks.

Things are changing in gwent and that’s good but keeping an eye open for what’s left behind to maybe close the gap between meme and meta synergies would be valuable for the game. Meme decks show us the variety of what’s possible, so it might be worth it to take them seriously. Maybe not in a competitive and professional way, but more as a friendly reminder of what gwent is also all about, to keep us a little bit longer in the fantastic world of the witcher, by telling us small stories we enjoy, with old friends from books and games.

Seasonal Deck Guide: Ciri Supernova

This article has been written by Escanbryt and edited by Babyjosus.

Introduction

Welcome to this quick deck guide for the griffin seasonal mode called „Power Shift“. The rules this time are simple, as every unit in the starting deck (does not apply for created or spawned units) gets its provision cost as base strength. This sets some units way above their usual curve and others way below. This has various effects on your deckbuilding decision, for example implementing way more tall removal than usual, choosing units with a good value despite their lack of synergy and utilizing thinning cards that would be a little overpriced otherwise.

Strategy For This Deck

Now forget what I just said, because we ignore tall removal and thinning while using very synergistic units. Instead, we are just bluntly going in on enormous amounts of value from our main consume targets in this deck, which are Ciri: Nova, Ruehin and Dettlaff: Higher Vampire. Also forget common ambitions to preserve your leader ability for later, because here we use it early so that we can make use of Ciri. As you may know, she only returns to your board if there’s no unit in your graveyard, so we want to make use of the doomed tag as much as possible. The Ekkimaras from the leader ability are doomed, so removing them will not disable Ciri. Following up with Ancient Foglets keeps your graveyard empty as well, as they come back and then receive the doomed tag.

That way you can at least play a few rounds until your opponent is even able to brick Ciri. Bronze consumers will likely be the units you want to play afterwards, continuing to harvest value from Ciri, while the first one removed can be brought back by Necromancy. If executed well, the points you gain in round one can pose a massive challenge for your opponent to keep up with.

The second or third round will be relatively similar, using Ruehin instead of Ciri though. Kayran and Dettlaff are preferably your big point finisher, especially if you secured the last say.

Additional Card Explanations

Royal Decree, Alzur’s Double-Cross, Whispering Hillock: This deck really relies on your key consume targets, so we have three tutors for consistency. It is important to find Ciri in round 1, she can be tutored by Decree and ADC (shares the 11 strength spot with Ruehin). Hillock cannot find Ciri, but Ruehin, Detlaff, Manticore or Foglets.

Ozzrel: Always plays for 20 points on your round 1 Ciri. However it’s often smarter to eat Roach from your opponent’s graveyard when you are playing against Skellige or Nilfgaard.

Saer’Quan, The Beast: Filler with good value. Saer’Quan avoids tall removal in the first turn.

Imperial Manticore: Sometimes has a difficult spot in this list, as you can’t play it while Ciri is up and running and you probably won’t preserve a leader charge for it. However due to the overall high base strength in this mode, the manticore can be a good backup consume target. It can’t compete with the value of the main targets though.

Bronze Consumers, Cyclops: Self-explanatory.

Endrega Larvae, Nekkers: Great value below the tall removal threshold. Can jeopardize Ciri though so rather not play them round one.

Final Remarks

The most popular decks in this mode are probably Skellige lists resolving around Lippy Gudmund. This has the unfortunate side effect that tech cards like Fortune Teller or Squirrel also happen to be effective against this deck. There’s not much we can do about squirrel, but it’s worth a consideration to run a purify against the Fortune Teller’s doomed tag on your Ruehin. I’d suggest to cut a Cyclops for a Pellar in that case.

What’s left to say is that this deck doesn’t play very elegant, it really is just points, often so much that the removal options of your opponent can be just outnumbered. It had an incredible 22 – 2 win rate for me early this season and still is pretty good after the decks have shaped out a little. Also, if you play against these popular Lippy decks and take round one, don’t hesitate to push them with a full scale Ruehin round 2 to put them in an awkward position. You can still keep Kayran and Dettlaff for the short round 3 then.

Thank you for reading this guide, have fun with the deck and good luck!

Seasonal Deck Guide: Imposter Double Masquerade Ball

This article has been written by Sawyer1888, and edited by Babyjosus.

Introduction

First of all, playing seasonal is not something everyone enjoys. It’s like Arena or Unranked, an area where you can test out stuff, take a break from grinding the ladder or just meme around. Mostly it is used to grind achievements or like stuff in the reward tree.              
Anyway, in order to do so, it can be helpful to have a deck which works, to make it more efficient, whatever you want to achieve in seasonal.

Season of Griffin

In the season of the Griffin, every unit’s power is set up to its provision cost, which means like Damien comes down as an 11p strong unit, while for example Joachim comes down as a 10p spy. Our goal is to slam points, to get great value from our cards and be able to deal with whatever the opponent throws at us.

Reasoning Behind the Card Set

Oneiromancy – Great Consistency, to get the units or even the ball, if need be.

Vattier – Together with Imposter it’s a strong combo, because of the high power of every unit. You want to throw it on the board pretty late, to make sure it sticks and doesn’t get interrupted by locks or other great removal cards. Because of the seasonal ability, it comes down as an 11p strong unit, which makes it almost unstoppable.          

Roach – Just for the tempo or, in some cases if you are not able to play your 2nd ball, you can do the old school Assire combo.             

Avallac’h – Great tutor in seasonal for our 2nd Ball, because we don’t want to use Roderick as a spy or Matta.

Leo Bonhart/Shilard – While Leo can get insane value, playing at least for 19p. Shilard can also trigger our Ball and downgrade one strong key unit of our opponent, which makes him favorably played in Round 3, so our opponent can’t mulligan the targeted card.

Spotter – Always play for 9p minimum, gives you insight of your opponents’ deck and are good proactive plays.

Toussaint KnightErrant – Arguably the weakest cards in our deck but can be used to take a round and play for 6-8p.    

Juggler – Decent value in this seasonal mode, which also can trigger our dames twice.

The Game Plan

The general idea of this deck is to control your opponents’ site of the board, like you always do with your scenario. Therefore, we need additional poison cards and some efficient other removals. While in the normal ladder Rot Tossers can get a bit clunky, in seasonal almost every card guarantees us a big target, so the chances to get a valuable poison are high. Cobras play for 5 strength with poison ability, the only downside maybe is, that your fangs stay pretty much the same as in normal.

Tips & tricks

Well, you try to get the first round with one Ball and have to decide if you can push round 2 or not. Obviously, cards like heatwave can hurt us, but therefor is roach as a backup plan. You don’t want to use Avalac’h in round 1 and prefer to get your first ball out from hand or with Oneiromancy. Use your poisons on tall units and be aware of your number of backup poisons and your Rot Tosser placements. It’s better for us to get the first round, so that we can decide how far we want to push round 2 but losing round 1 without using our ball is acceptable. Lose cons can be a Heatwave, a strong swarm push from Lippy decks, using the Witcher Trio and other stuff, or a bad placement of our dames and other units, so we run into an Igni. 

Feel free to maybe adjust cards like Shilard for Ffion var Gaernal or maybe change Cupbearer for a Treason.

Oh and by the way, if you accidentally queue into ranked… don’t worry 😉

@ZigZak_Guy

Final Note

Thanks for reading our deck guide! 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!

Gascon’s Most Wanted #6: Anna Podedworna

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with Anna Podedworna, who is the Lead Concept Artist for Flying Wild Hog but known within the Gwent community for her work when she was a concept artist and illustrator for CD Projekt RED. They talk about her career, the process when working on an art piece, but also about her future plans.

Babyjosus: First of all, thank you for taking the time to have this interview with me. I remember that you said to me that you were swamped up with work. Could you give some insight of what you have been working on?

Anna Podedworna: I always have a few projects going at the same time. Unfortunately, most of the stuff I work on has not been announced yet so I cannot talk about it. All I can say is that at the moment a solid chunk of my time is allocated to working on Magic the Gathering.

BJ: Has the situation regarding COVID-19 affected your work in any way?

AP: If anything, the COVID situation had a positive effect on my work. I have no complaints when it comes to working from home plus I’m a nocturnal creature by nature. My productivity has been through the roof in recent months. 

BJ: Working from home has its advantages. I read that you studied architecture and engineering and while attending your university you did a ton of work as a freelancer. Mostly book covers, fashion designs, comic books, tattoos, and I believe an assortment of private commissions. Now you are involved in the video game industry through your work for Flying Wild Hog. And have been before, because of the work you did for CDPR for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. How do you look back on your journey?

AP: Well if you put it like that, it almost sounds like my professional career was a continuous vortex of chaos. No solid plan, just dumb luck and me randomly smashing into opportunities with surprisingly great timing. Which is very true and makes for a fun journey. So, I would rate it a 10/10.

BJ: Your art in Gwent has gotten a lot of praise by the Gwent community and you even won the Into the Pixel award in 2018 for your art piece on Ida Emean. Do you have a personal favorite when it comes to card arts that you made for Gwent?

AP: My favorite card is the recently released “Squirrel”. It was the very last card I’ve illustrated for Gwent. It is also a card with a little bit of a back story. The first game director of Gwent had a very strong and mysterious dislike towards squirrels. Upon the discovery of that fact I made it my life goal to put as many squirrels into Gwent as possible. The first attempt of smuggling one into the game was the “Iorveth: Meditation” card. But of course, such a small squirrel would not suffice. Unfortunately, many more of my Gwent squirrelification attempts were tragically thwarted. Five game directors later, when I already knew I was leaving the company – it was now or never. I’ve illustrated the darn squirrel and left it for the game designers to figure out what to do with it. They did not disappoint. Now the Squirrel is in the game and it brings me a lot of joy.

BJ: Alongside your personal favorite. Is there a Gwent card you worked on that stands out to you, for a good or bad reason?

AP: I suppose “Damned Sorceress” was a bit of a pain in the ass to paint. That contorted arm gave me a lot of trouble.

BJ: She truly was a damned sorceress to draw then. What is the process when working on an art piece – where do you get your inspiration from for example?

AP: The process of creating illustrations for card games is pretty streamlined. I start with three different composition sketches. One gets picked by the art director. Then I paint it in a grayscale to ensure correct values. Later, I add color, sprinkle some more details and Photoshop magic and ta-dah: you get a finished illustration. As for the inspiration – I find it everywhere. Everything from day-to-day life, through people, movies, books, or games can be a source. 

BJ: Was there a moment when it was very difficult for you to finish an art piece?

AP: Definitely. Sometimes, I don’t plan out the illustration well enough and end up paying for it close to the finish line. 

BJ: So, what is the average duration you spend on an art piece such as a card art for Gwent?

AP: It used to take me around 40 hours to finish Gwent illustrations. Now I’ve managed to streamline the process better and cut the time down to closer to 25 hours.

BJ: That’s an insane amount of hours when you think about it. But, I suppose that’s why the quality of the card arts are so high. Aside of having worked on card art for Gwent, I was wondering if you have ever played the game yourself?

AP: I’ve tried to get into Gwent many times. Unfortunately, I’m absolutely HORRIBLE at it. In the early days of Gwent, we had a placeholder AI that randomly picked out and played cards. I was losing games against THAT. I’m literally worse than a random card generator. Much time has passed and I’m still garbage and resigned to remaining garbage at Gwent.

BJ: Going back to you, what would you like to work on some day – any project you have been dreaming of? 

AP: I don’t really operate with any particular end goal or dream project in mind. I’m happy with my current projects and I’m sure at some point I’ll smash into something else that will make me happy too.

BJ: Fair enough. I saw that you have done a lot of artwork on your ArtStation – ever thought of publishing some of them in the format of an artbook?

AP: I was thinking about it for some time now. I would like to create more original, non-client work first though.

BJ: I would love to get a copy; in the meantime, I will keep an eye out for when you publish anything new. What is your advice to someone who does traditional art but would like to get into painting digitally?

AP: If you have a decent base knowledge of traditional media you’ll have no problem picking up digital art. It’s way easier, just grab the cheapest tablet and you’re good to go. Most software is pretty intuitive, plus all of the basics will be covered by free online tutorials. 

BJ: We are nearing the end of the interview. Do you have any favorite artists that you would recommend to the reader to check out?

AP: It feels that I have a new favourite artist every day. Here are few artists definitely worth checking out: Andrey Surnov, Piotr Jabłoński, Johannes Voss, Simon Stålenhag, Kazuo Oga.

BJ: To finish the interview, just one more question. What is your last wish Anna?

AP: I wish for more squirrels in Gwent. Lorenzo, it’s up to you now.

BJ: I will make sure to send this article to him!

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF ANNA PODEDWORNA THEN YOU CAN FIND HER ON TWITTER, TUMBLR AND ARTSTATION.

Deck Guide: Strategic Withdrawal Masquerade Ball

This article was written by Iancm1997 and edited by Babyjosus.

Intro

Since the release of the Master Mirror Expansion about a week ago, there are a few decks that have been dominating the ladder. These decks include Second Wind Midrange/Greatswords and Fruits of Ysgith Ethereal (multiple versions). What is the best answer to counter these decks you may ask? Why some wholesome Nilfgaard of course! In this case some dirty poison decks. I know, I know “Poison!? What is this!?”.   Poison is one of the best control options in the game, and in this meta so far, tall punish and engine punish is the way. Imperial Formation was the way to go in past seasons for poison, but Strategic Withdrawal has shown itself to be a reliable alternative so far. This choice will be explained later.

Reasoning Behind the Card Set

The following will discuss why each card is included, and the general game plan the deck has.

Masquerade Ball: This is the centerpiece of your deck, your Piece de Resistance. Probably the best Scenario in the game at the moment, this card can get you upwards of 20 points of value. It works really well in the long round and can still work well in a shorter round. The spawned Fangs of the Empire have the Agent tag, which works with Usurper and cards with the Assimilate tag (Braathens and Cupbearer).

Usurper: The new evolving card introduced for NG in the new expansion is no joke. The third form of Usurper has Veil, spawns an Operative in each enemy row, and boosts self by one whenever you play a card with the Agent tag. This means it synergizes well with the spawned Agents from Masquerade Ball and Braathens, who is also an Agent.

Vincent Van Moorlehem: Your leader target, your most valuable removal piece in the entire deck. With all the statuses out there, one of them being Veil, it can play for 20 points in one go in certain situations. With leader, it can play for another 15+ points. He also procs Masquerade Ball since he has the Aristocrat tag.

Braathens: One of the new cards released, this is probably the best Assimilate engine that NG has. Can be used as a leader target for more Spying enemy units, making it synergize with our bronze engines very well. There are three options that you will always have to make a choice between. The three options are Informant, Emissary, and Infiltrator. Infiltrator can help you to counter Endrega Larva.

Ramon Tyrconnel: The most versatile card NG has, can be used on Enforcers for Spy synergy or Ard Feann Tortoise for high tempo. Pretty much an auto-include in NG.

Joachim de Wett + Yennefer’s Invocation: Invocation is one of the best control options that NG has. This card can be used along Joachim to play one of your opponent’s units as a tall card. This also gives us a Spy tag to work with and an Assimilate proc. You can also play Invocation in Round 1 or 2 on a card of your choice to eventually draw it into your hand.

War Council: Consistency card, can help us thin our deck and access Golds that we don’t have in our hand.

Fergus var Emreis: This card gives three enemy units Spying since this is a Devotion deck. Has the Aristocrat tag, which means he can proc Masquerade Ball. Can get 15+ points of value if you have Seditious Aristocrat, Thirsty Dame, and Impera Enforcers on the board. He can also setup your Vincent Van  Moorlehem.

Van Moorlehem’s Cupbearer: Versatile, can be used for extra poison or purify. Also, an Assimilate engine that synergizes well with spawned units from Masquerade Ball and Braathens.

Rodertick of Dun Tynne: Tutor for your gold cards. Since he has the Aristocrat tag, he can be used to proc Masquerade Ball in one turn. Disloyal tag gives value for Seditious Aristocrat, Thirsty Dame, and Impera Enforcers.

The Bronze Package: The stars of the Bronze package are the Impera Enforcers, the Seditious Aristocrat, and the Thirsty Dame. They synergize so well with all the Spy tags that the Gold cards give that each of these bronze cards can get 10+ value. Ard Feann Tortoise and Magne Division give proactive options. Arbalest and Tourney Joust are good control bronzes.

The Game Plan

The goal of this deck is to get a long round with your Masquerade Ball, and if forced, a short round with your taller units. Winning Round 1 is important, but not at the cost of spending all your high-end Gold cards early on. Leader target is Vincent, Usurper, or Braathens. Double playing a Poison card also works quite well for removal. Having good Aristocrats and Masquerade Ball for a long Round 3 is quite important and keeping your engines alive will translate into a ton of value. Masquerade Ball is good for defending the bleed and saving Vincent and/or Usurper for Round 3 with leader is a good short round option.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The main strength that this deck has is that there are so many control options and leader targets. It is very versatile with the plays you can make with your Gold cards and Bronze cards alike. Can defend the bleed quite well and is quite powerful on Red Coin.

The main weaknesses that this deck has is the vulnerability of Masquerade Ball being removed. Losing the scenario can translate into losing the game depending on the matchup. While Strategic Withrawal has more versatility, not using Imperial Formation means you can’t protect your engines right away.

Tech Choices

War Council + Cupbearer + 1 Deithwen Arbalest -> Ffion var Gaernal + 2 Rot Tossers

War Council + 1 Tourney Joust + 1 Deithwen Arbalest -> 1 Amnesty + 2 Rot Tossers

Final Note

Thanks for reading our deck guide! If you have any feedback or additions/changes you would like us to make to the deck, feel free to let us know in the comments down below!