This article was written by Iancm1997 and edited by Babyjosus.
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.
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
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!