DrDenuz

End of Year Interview 2021 DrDenuz: ‘It was an uphill battle but fortunately I have managed to prevail in the end’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: Welcome Denuz, you are the next in line after Spock. How are you liking your return to Gwent?

DrDenuz: My return to Gwent was quite shaky as there were many new cards and many changes to the old cards that I had to learn and re-learn. It was an uphill battle but fortunately I have managed to prevail in the end. Also my deck-building skills seemed to have ceased, but they have returned after I have managed to create multiple creative meta breaker decks that were hella fun to play! Another obstacle that has shown up at the start was me mistaking Beta Gwent abilities and functions with Homecoming as I watched a lot of Repelmer’s videos before coming back. The confusion was extraordinary at times but in the end I have always laughed it off as it was quite funny. But single-handedly the part that outshines every obstacle was my ability to finally stream with other people and mainly my best friend Babyjosus, who has made my return a truly warm experience and I felt as I had never left! Love you BJ <3

BJ: Love you too bro <3 What’s it like working on content with Bandit Gang again as a guest writer?

DrD: I feel like a slave being bullied if I am not on schedule! :’( Just kidding, it’s an experience that
gives more than it takes. Yeah, it takes from my free time,however the possibility to work withsuch an interesting and neat group of people is rewarding. Especially Mr Editor Gabelheld, who has taught me how to be better with my words and always gave my articles that little
something, that gave them an edge over articles from other sites and blogs
!

BJ: Gabelheld is a life saver. How would you reflect on the year 2021?

DrD: Gwentwise, I wasn’t around for too long to fully assess the year but from the bit I was around I feel like the developers took a better direction than previously but on the other hand I would appreciate them taking a look at unplayable cards. Personally, my year was quite hard and is going to be hard until the very end but that’s for me to cope with all the challenges and
obstacles. Fortunately, I have a great bunch of friends who are there to help and cheer me up!

BJ: What was your most memorable moment this year?

DrD: The most memorable and the moment that I paradoxically remember the least was when I
played the Knickers drinking game with my bro Babyjosus. We were two hours into the stream
from the total five and we had like 25 shots each in our systems, so you can imagine it made for
quite a show haha. We had loads of fun BUT THE BEST PART AND PROBABLY THE BEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE YET CAME, WHEN I CORRECTLY PREDICTED WHEN THE LITTLE FUCKER WOULD COME OUT. SHIT WAS A BLAST!!


Another great memory that I have is the overwhelming support from CDPR and Pawel Burza as
they helped sharing my articles about the Slabic Mythology in Gwent and the ability to reveal an
amazing card for Gwent! The reception I got for the reveal was also exceptional and I will keep
the memory along with the warm feelings for the rest of my life! 🙂

BJ: Truly. Is there anything (else) that you would like to do next year?

DrD: Next year I would love to stream more than I managed in the end of the year and also I would like to introduce new fun game-shows and competitions for the community on my streams andmy videos!

BJ: Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

DrD: I do not really make any resolutions for the New year, however I would love to keep streaming and be involved in Gwent! When it comes to my personal life I would love to continue working out(yes a cliché but am going strong so far!!) and most of all I SHALL QUIT PROCRASTINATION haha.

BJ: Anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2022?

DrD: My few words to the reader would be “Keep calm & meme hard!” ALSO KEEP IN MIND THAT BABYJOSUS MAY NOT STREAM ANYMORE, BUT HE IS STILL THE HOTTEST STREAMER EVER!!!!

BJ: I 100% agree with that statement and happy holidays!

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DrDenuz's Top 10 Cards of 2021

*DrDenuz didn’t include a top 10.

Slavic Saturday: Vodyanoy (EP10)

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𝐺𝑤𝑒𝑛𝑡'𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑉𝑜𝑑𝑦𝑎𝑛𝑜𝑦

Introduction

To the early Slavs, forests and swamps were omnipresent. Around farms and villages as well as on the mountains, the woods were inescapable. And in the shadows of those trees, spirits lurked.

Most spirits in Slavic mythology aren’t depicted in a positive light. Tales of demons in the shadows of the night spread all across the Slavic tribes and nations, and one of the most frightening tales told was that of Vodyanoy.

Vodyanoy is an evil male water spirit who looks like a naked old man with a frog-like face.

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Etymology

The word Vodyanoy comes from the Russian “водяно́й”, read [vədʲɪˈnoj] with the meaning “he from the water”.

Some of his other names include Wodnik, Vodenjak, Vodyanyk, Vodník or Hastrman.

The many faces of Vodyanoy

As mentioned above, Vodyanoy has the appearance of a naked old man with a frog-like face, green hair and beard. He has black/gray/green fish scales instead of skin and his body is covered in algae and muck. Instead of hands with fingers the river demon sported paws with membranes, their eyes were red as burning fire and their backside sprouted a tail which every fish would envy.

In Slovakia and the Czech Republic the Vodyanoy is called Vodník and Hastrman respectively, and his appearance changes from a frog-like creature to an anthropomorphic being. The features that make them different from humans are gills, membranes between their fingers and, most remarkably, green skin covered in algae. They were also sporting fashionable pale green hair, and could as such be considered true trendsetters, if one were to compare them to influencers nowadays.

Usually, Vodník would wear really odd clothing: patchy shirts, water-soaked coats or bizarre hats, ranging from boaters with long speckled ribbons to bright red top hats.

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Behaviour

Vodyanoy could often be seen riding around along the river on half-sunken logs, while loudly splashing in the water so it was hard to miss them. While they might appear whimsical, harmless even, they were rumored to be the responsible for the lion’s share of water related deaths, together with water dryads and rusalky.

When Vodyanoy were in a good mood, they might have even been inclined to help people, but most of the time the water dwellers were a menace to life in early Slav villages. When angered the wrath of a Vodyanoy is hard to escape, dams were broken, water mills washed away, people and their animals drowned. When the water-bound demons felt especially vindictive, they subjected their victims to slavery in their underwater dwellings, which the poor wretches, who were subject to every whim of the benthic miscreants, could not escape.

 

In Slovak and Czech lands, the river fiends were said to store the souls of their victims in tea pots, which represented their status in Vodyanoy society. Those with the most soul pots enjoyed greater societal privileges.  Fortunately for the victims, their souls could be freed by opening the tea pots.

In their free time Vodníci(the plural of Vodník) played cards, smoked pipes or just lazed around on rocks near rivers and lakes.

The fish in the river or a lake, in which the Vodník resides, were the servants of the green men.

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Precautions against Vodyanoy

In order to appease the Vodyanoy, people, mostly fishermen and millers, would make sacrifices. For example, fisherman would place a bit of tobacco on the surface of the water and recite a line saying “Here’s your tobacco, Lord Vodník, now give me a fish”.

Other types of preventive measures included sacrificing animals or even other people. Less drastic ways of averting a Vodyanoy’s attack come from the Ukraine, where sage advice recommended burying a horse’s skull near the water, and from Belarus, where the people suggested burying a black rooster under the mill’s doors or populating said mill with black cats and roosters.

DrDenuz is a guest writer for Bandit Gang. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch & YouTube.

Slavic Saturday: Fiend (EP9)

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𝐺𝑤𝑒𝑛𝑡'𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑓𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑑

Introduction

To the early Slavs, forests and swamps were omnipresent. Around farms and villages as well as on the mountains, the woods were inescapable. And in the shadows of those trees, spirits lurked.

Most spirits in Slavic mythology aren’t depicted in a positive light. Tales of demons in the shadows of the night spread all across the Slavic tribes and nations, and one of the most frightening tales told was that of bies.

Bies is an evil and malicious spirit from Slavic mythology. He is the personification of all evil forces nature can muster.

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Etymology

The word “bies” or “bes” is close to a Lithuanian word for dreadful – “baisus”.

Other origins of the name can be found in old Proto-Slavic “bĕsъ”, which means “causing fear and terror”.

Polish word “zbiesiony”, describing someone under an influence of evil, is derived from the word “bies”.

The appearance of a fiend and its habitat

The devil was said to have many forms. One of them was a form of a shaggy beast with horns, hooves and a tail. Bies  was allegedly lame and limped on one leg. This ties to a legend, where the creature got in a fight with one of the deities, after he was thrown down from heavens and injured his leg.

Later on, Christians adapted this story into their own mythology, turning the primordial Slav demon into an angel who was thrown from heavens to the ground.

Other sources depict Bies as a horned hairy being, with wings and a tail, wearing a dark cloak and smelling of smoke.

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Behaviour

Legends claim that this demon was powerful enough to take control of a person’s mind, being able to subjugate their will completely, which lead to the victim’s eventual insanity. This is where the word “zbiesiony” comes from, as the person that was under the influence of Bies was referred to as “zbiesiony”. At this time in history, it was common to attribute all mental disorders to an unnatural cause and being possessed by Bies was an easy explanation.

One of his other skills was an ability to cause blindness.

Ever so often, Biesy (the plural form of Bies) could be found at remote crossroads, where they were waiting, taking the form a common animal, to ambush clueless travellers. If one happend to stumble upon an animal on a crossroads which happend to produce unusual sounds, like a dog meowing or a cat crowing, the best course of action would be to turn on ones heels and run away, as this would be a clue that the animal in question was in actuality a ferocious demon.

Biesy were said to live in prehistoric forests, deep in caves or swamps far away from human settlements. There are also sources that claim the favourite habitat of these devils were deep, abyssal canyons. If one happened to get lost and ventured too close to the demon’s domain, chilling shrieks and malicious giggles would be ones last warning before a certain  and horrific death.

Biesy were also said to guard riches underground and even to this day, some old castle treasures are rumored to be guarded by these long-serving devils.

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Conclusion - The Christian influence

The superstitious faith in demons, which was so natural to humans, especially in medieval times, resisted the purge of folklore the Christian Church oftentimes enforced and the idea of a Bies, although slightly modified, survived. In Christianity, Bies assumed the form of all the explainable evil in the world and became the foremost scapegoat for people’s misfortunes.

This was the ninth episode of Slavic Saturday. There are many other creatures I am ready to cover for you, my lovely fans. If you missed our previous episodes then you can find them here. I hope to see you all return next Saturday!

DrDenuz is a guest writer for Bandit Gang. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch & YouTube.

Slavic Saturday: Leshen (EP8)

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𝓖𝔀𝓮𝓷𝓽'𝓼 𝓿𝓮𝓻𝓼𝓲𝓸𝓷 𝓸𝓯 𝓛𝓮𝓼𝓱𝓮𝓷

Introduction

To the early Slavs, forests and swamps were omnipresent. Around farms and villages as well as on the mountains, the woods were inescapable. And in the shadows of those trees, spirits lurked.

Most spirits in Slavic mythology aren’t depicted in a positive light. Tales of demons in the shadows of the night spread all across the Slavic tribes and nations, and one of the most frightening tales told was that of Leshen.

Leshen/Leshy is an Eastern Slavic is a minor deity of the forests. He governs the whole woodland and all the hunting in his domain.

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Etymology

In Russian his name is леший, in arabic lʲeʂɨj; literally translated to English as  “he from the forest”.

Here are also some of his other names in different countries. Main name variations:

Borovoi – Polish: Borowy – “he of the forest”

Gayevoi – Polish: Gajowy – “he of the grove”

Leshak – Serbo-Croatian: Lešak

Etc.

The appearance of a leshy

In his human form he appears as an old man with long white hair and beard,  glowing green eyes and a hairy body. Sometimes he is portrayed with short claws or even horns. He assumes his human form to lure wanderers into a false sense of security.The old man is usually dressed in a caftan with a red belt and carries an osier or a stick.

It’s hard to tell him apart from a regular old man, but there are some signs that can help you distinguish him from your grandad – he has no shadow and the buttons on the caftan are poorly done.

In his other, more monstrous, form, his skin is green and as thick as the tree bark, as is his hair.  The height of the leshen in the forest is determined by the height of the trees, meaning he can be as tall as the tallest of the trees and as short as a blade of grass, when he ventures out of the forest and wanders through a field.

Leshy can also take on the form of various animals ranging from bears, wolves, rabbits to  red cockerels.

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Behaviour

Leshy doesn’t solely spend his time deep in the forest but is also known to venture into the meadows and is mostly active at night.

Mostly there is only one green man per forest but if there are more, there is one that governs the rest.

On one hand, some of the Leshys are lone wanderers living in caves and forest wastelands, on the other hand, they build spacious homes where they live with their many wives and children. His primary role is to keep the forests safe. The green man doesn’t tolerate thieves or whistling and shouting in his woodland. Annoying visitors of the woods are banished by Leshy’s roar or various pranks he plays on them. Once he passes a person disturbing the peace of the forest, said person loses their memory.

He doesn’t only keep a safe pair of hands over the forest but its inhabitants as well. The wolves and rabbits are considered his herds, and bears, his favourite type of animal, are often invited to feast in Leshy’s household.

His presence can be heard by the buzzing of the leaves and the trembling of the trees. The forest deity also has a rich variety of sounds he makes, ranging from animal calls, laughing, whistling to clapping. He is also able to make your voice echo, so when you hear the words you say twice, you better say your prayers, as you have stumbled upon a Leshy and are now at his mercy.

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The malicious side of leshy and the precautions against him

Leshys are very fond of luring girls and children into the forests where they defile them and return them only after a long time, if ever.  A serious threat to villagefolk or settlers living near the forests.

They also like to steal the children of humans and exchange them for one of their own.  Their offspring is usually strong, but  very dumb and gluttonous. Also, once they reach the age of twelve, the changeling flees back to the forest.

People who try to make their way through the woods and are unfortunate enough to bump into a grumpy Leshy will mostly like be led astray by the creature. Either into a swamp where the unfortunate traveler will drown or to a wasteland, where they will succumb to starvation.

One of the precautions one can take is to simply bribe the leshy by giving them various gifts and sacrifices, mostly bread with salt. There are also some charms that can make you overpower the Leshy and control it. One of the easiest safety measures against them is to wear ones clothes inside out or to swap the left boot with the right one.

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Conclusion

This was the eight episode of Slavic Saturday. There are many other creatures I am ready to cover for you, my lovely fans. If you missed our previous episodes then you can find that here. I hope to see you all return next Saturday!

DrDenuz is a guest writer for Bandit Gang. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch & YouTube.

Slavic Saturday: Baba Yaga (EP7)

𝘎𝘸𝘦𝘯𝘵'𝘴‎‎‎‎‏‏‎ ‎ 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎𝘰𝘧 𝘠𝘢𝘨𝘢

Introduction

To the early Slavs, forests and swamps were omnipresent. Around farms and villages as well as on the mountains, the woods were inescapable. And in the shadows of those trees, spirits lurked.

One of the most well-known supernatural creatures in the Slavic Mythology is Baba Yaga. It’s not hard to imagine how she looked like as she had the appearance of an old ugly lady with long hair flying on a broom or in a mortar.

She lives in a forest in a hut on chicken legs. This hut is surrounded from all sides by a fence made from human bones and skulls.

Etymology

Different variations of the name Baba Yaga can be found in all of the Slavic countries.

The first part of her name, Baba, is most likely a babble word. In Russian the word “babushka”, meaning grandmother, derives from it. In the Eastern part of Slovakia the word “baba” is used to call your grandmother, as well. Baba” is also used in Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian with the same meaning.

The second part of the name, Yaga, can be found in various Slavic languages. In Serbo-Croatian “jeza” means horror or shudder. In Slovenia “jeza” is anger. Or in Polish “jędza” witch, evil woman or fury. There are also some other variations in other languages.

Behaviour

In various legends we can see that she cannot clearly be identified as a positive or a negative being.

On one hand Baba Yaga is a being that has cannibal inclinations and strong magical abilities, some of which are being able to spread diseases and create thunderstorms. Some cultures even portray her as the death itself. The cannibal inclinations mostly include young men or children, who she tries to trick into coming inside her house and then Baba Yaga roasts them in a big furnace.

On the other hand, in many tales she helps the heroes of the tales to achieve their goals. Baba Yaga can do that in many ways. When the hero gets to the house of Baba Yaga she offers him a warm steamy bath, a delicious meal, lets him get a rest he needs and provides them with valuable advice and gifts – for example a flying carpet or the Seven League Boots.

One of the tales where she plays the positive role is a tale about Koshchey in which Baba Yaga helps Ivan, the hero, to beat Koshchey so he can free his dream girl. Yaga gave Ivan a magical horse so he could keep up with the speed of Koshchey’s horse.

A Slavic folktale about Baba Yaga

One morning, a young girl named Natasha was walking through the forest. She came upon Baba Yaga’s strange house and thought she would knock on the door and ask for directions. After she walked inside, however, the door slammed shut behind her and Baba Yaga locked her in!

Baba Yaga told Natasha that she would have to stay there forever to clean her house and do all the chores. Baba Yaga told Natasha that if she were ever lazy or didn’t complete her work in time, she would cook her up for dinner. Natasha was scared, but as soon as Baby Yaga went to bed she planned her escape!

First, she gave a bone to Baba Yaga’s hungry dog. He happily began chomping away and couldn’t be bothered to bark at her as she sneaked out of the hut.

As she shut the door behind her, she heard a loud hiss. She found it came from the skinny cat that lived beneath Baba Yaga’s front porch. Natasha searched in her pocket and found a piece of cheese leftover from her breakfast. She offered the cheese to the cat, who gratefully took it. The cat was so busy eating the cheese that she forgot to scratch at Natasha’s ankles or to meow for Baba Yaga.

Natasha was almost out! She only had to get through Baba Yaga’s garden gate and escape into the forest. The gate was so squeaky that Natasha thought Baba Yaga would be sure to hear her open it, so she searched around Baba Yaga’s fence until she found an old can of oil. She poured the oil over the gate’s hinges, and it swung open silently. Natasha ran through the gate and out of the forest as quickly as her legs could carry her!

Because Natasha was clever and kind, she was able to escape from the witch and arrive safely home.

Conclusion

This was the seventh episode of Slavic Saturday. There are many other creatures I am ready to cover for you, my lovely fans. If you missed our previous episodes then you can find that here. I hope to see you all return next Saturday!

DrDenuz is a guest writer for Bandit Gang. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch & YouTube.

Slavic Saturday: Striga (EP6)

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𝐺𝑤𝑒𝑛𝑡'𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑔𝑎

Introduction

To the early Slavs, forests and swamps were omnipresent. Around farms and villages as well as on the mountains, the woods were inescapable. And in the shadows of those trees, spirits lurked.

Most spirits in Slavic mythology aren’t depicted in a positive light. Tales of demons in the shadows of the night spread all across the Slavic tribes and nations, and one of the most frightening tales told was that of striga.

Striga/Strzyga is usually a female demon with two lines of teeth with scary claws from Slavic mythology. Not only does Striga possesses two sets of teeth, but she also has two hearts and two souls.

She is said to turn into an owl during the night and hunts down unfortunate people. Some of her characteristic make her similar to a vampire, but she differs from them.

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Etymology

According to a Polish scholar of Slavic languages Aleksander Brückner, the word is derived from the Latin word Strix, meaning owl.

Popular beliefs about Strigas

As mentioned before people who were born with two hearts, two souls and two sets of teeth were believed to be Strigas. People suffering from sleepwalking and people without armpit hair could also be seen as ones. Some other sources claim that a newborn child with developed teeth is also a Striga.

During epidemics, it was common to bury sick people alive, and the ones who have managed to escape their graves, usually weak, sick and with mutilated limbs, were seen as Strigas as well.

If you were unfortunate enough to be considered a Striga people would drive you from the villages and other human dwellings. It is said that Strigas mostly died at a very young age, but according to the legends only one of their souls would pass to the afterlife whereas the other one would come back to life and terrorize living humans.

This soul that has came back to life terrorized people that have wandered in the forest during night in a form of an owl and those unlucky enough to get caught by a Striga would get their blood sucked and their insights eaten out.

Humans were not the only prey for Strigas – animal blood could also satisfy them for a short period of time.

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How could one protect themselves against Strigas?

The most common preventive measure was to decapitate Striga’s body before burying it under the soil but in a separate place from the head. This was supposed to prevent Strigas from coming back to life.

Other methods included

  • Burying the Striga face down with a sickle over its throat
  • Burning the body
  • Nailing her body to the coffin in different places
  • Putting a flint into her mouth after exhumation
  • Pealing(ringing) the church bells (the Striga then turns into tar)
  • Slapping the Striga across the face with your left hand
  • Burying her again, outside of the village, and pinning her down with a big rock
  • Scattering poppy seeds in the shape of the cross in every corner of the house
  • Putting small objects in the Striga’s grave to make her count them

Conclusion

This was the sixth episode of Slavic Saturday. There are many other creatures I am ready to cover for you, my lovely fans. If you missed our previous episodes then you can find that here. I hope to see you all return next Saturday!

DrDenuz is a guest writer for Bandit Gang. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch & YouTube.

Deck Guide: Germain MetaBreaker

Introduction

Hello guys & gals,today I have prepared something special for you! After creating a lot of meme decks, one has proven to be really viable so here’s the guide to it!

This deck is a really great fit in this Meta as it doesn’t play into the countless Korathi Heatwaves and other tall removals as we play cards with value spread out over the board. We usually thin to 1-2 cards and we are strong in both short & long rounds.

Difficulty

This deck is medium in difficulty as you have to think about when to push your opponent with your Leader and Snowdrop combo in order to gain card advantage.

GamePlan

Mulligan:These are going to be the easiest mulligans of your life as you just mulligan bricks and all the cards you want to use in your combo. Easy as that.

PS: Don’t worry you if you have some bricked cards in your hand as you can always use Leader and Snowdrop to get rid of them. Same goes for the cards you want to use in your combo.

Round 1:In round one our gameplan is to thin our deck as much as we can.

Your thinning cards are the Impera Brigades (remember to have a Soldier on board before playing them), Blightmaker and Dead Man’s Tongue. These cards you definitely want to use in Round 1 to prevent bricking your hand later on. Roach and Knickers will thin themselves eventually.

The Deck

If you have started second in the first round you may consider using Snowdrop and your Leader to gain card advantage over your opponent in the upcoming rounds with putting Affan and Mage Assassin on top of your deck for an amazing tempo play.

PS: You don’t have to worry about not drawing your Nauzicaas as they are not your win condition, they just work nicely with this deck if you happen to draw them R1. Otherwise feel free to Banish them with Dead Man’s Tongue.

Round 2:You can do the same combo (Leader, Snowdrop, Affan, Mage Assassin) after winning Round 1 without the use of these cards in Round 2 to push your opponent and get the extra card in Round 3.

Other than this commit as many cards as you think are needed to gain the best advantage against your opponent in the upcoming round. You can even 2:0 or use Heatwave/Invocation if your opponent uses sufficiently juicy targets.

PS: You can use every card but Germain, one Slave Infantry and Vrygheff if you still want to have a strong Round 3. If you are playing against Gord or other tall finishers deck keep one of your tall punishes too.

PS 2: Make sure to keep an eye on the number of cards in your deck so you don’t commit more cards than you can. We thin to 1-2 cards so be careful not to leave a piece of your combo in the deck. The one or 2 cards that should stay in your deck are usually Squirrel, Assire, Nauzicaa or Alba Armored Cavalry – not your combo pieces!

Round 3: Our strategy to win Round 3 is the Germain/Slave Infantry/Vreemde combo which plays for a big amount of points. If you happen to have all parts of the combo play them in this order if possible –Germain, Ramon (on the Slave Infantry -> Very Important! Play the second Slave Infantry adjacent to the first one), Vrygheff (in between the 2 Slave Infantries) and Vreemde as a finisher for a ton of points!

PS: You might want to keep your tall card removal as a last say so you can deny your opponent’s finisher.

Pros and Cons

PROS

  • Even if it doesn’t look like it this deck plays with really high tempo if played correctly.

  • Your Leader + Snowdrop combo allows you big point swings and gains you card advantage very easily.

  • We think perfectly to 1-2 cards most of the time so you will always draw your combo pieces.

  • 80% winrate in my all matches + 95% winrate against Lined Pockets.

CONS

  • If not controlled correctly Syndicate can get out of control and you lose, this depends mostly on if you draw a lock in Round 1. But it wasn’t a big problem in my 40 matches with the deck.

  • Mill can destroy you.

Considerations

You may consider kicking Assire to fit a card of your choice in the deck but from my experience she works nicely in the deck. A card I was considering adding instead of Assire was Myrgtabrakke.

Conclusion

This deck is really strong in this current meta of tall removals as it flies under the radar. Our four/five pieces of control are usually more than enough to handle our opponent. So this deck ticks all boxes as we have a decent amount of control, great tempo, perfect thinning and also a hefty amount of points in your combo.

For more info and some gameplay of this deck check my Video Tutorial here: https://youtu.be/M24Bdi6j8mI

I, DrDenuz, am a guest writer for Bandit Gang. You can find me on Twitter, Twitch & YouTube.

Thanks for reading, and happy gwenting!

Slavic Saturday: Vampires (EP5)

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𝐺𝑤𝑒𝑛𝑡'𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑣𝑎𝑚𝑝𝑖𝑟𝑒

Introduction

To the early Slavs, forests and swamps were omnipresent. Around farms and villages as well as on the mountains, the woods were inescapable. And in the shadows of those trees, spirits lurked.

Most spirits in Slavic mythology aren’t depicted in a positive light. Tales of demons in the shadows of the night spread all across the Slavic tribes and nations, and one of the most frightening tales told was that of vampires.

These creatures, especially those of Transilvanian origin, are fairly well known through pop culture osmosis or an interest in folklore, but what about the Slavic vampires? How did they come to be and what were they like? Let’s find out!

Etymology

The word vampire has its roots in Serbia (вампир, vampir in latin) or in Hungary (vámpír).

In other languages…

  • Bosnia – Lampir
  • Czechia and Slovakia – Upír
  • Poland – wąpierz, upiór
  • Russia – упырь, upyr in latin
  • etc.

How did vampires come to be?

According to the Slavic beliefs, one of the main causes of vampirism is dying an “irregular” death, such as committing suicide. Other factors that could lead to one becoming a nightstalker are being born on a wrong day, being born with teeth, tail or a caul (the amniotic membrane enclosing a fetus), not getting to know the proper religious rituals as a child or getting killed by magic or a practitioner of the black arts. Another possible reason for becoming a vampire was a sloppily or disrespectfully executed burial, which caused the recently deceased to rise from the grave.

Other sources claim that even a living person could become a vampire by suffering from a disease, having bodily deformations or from commiting sinful actions.

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Preventive measures against vampires

When burying a person, a good preventive measure to take so they didn’t turn into a vampire was to put a crucifix in the coffin, placing blocks under the chin to prevent the body from eating the burial shroud (a length of cloth or an enveloping garment in which a corpse is wrapped) and itself (it needed to do that to survive), nailing the clothes to the coffin (for the same reason), filling the casket with sawdust (a vampire awakens in the evening and must count each grain of sawdust, which takes up the entire night, so the creature will die when it rises from the grave at dawn) or piercing the body with thorns or stakes. Sometimes the head of the body was cut off so it couldn’t eat anything or, instead of straight up decapitating it, a scythe blade would be placed over the neck of the body so it would behead itself when it rose from the grave.

Other sources claim that people back then would even put stones over the grave, bury the person with its stomach facing down or put a stone in its mouth to prevent the self-eating.

The different burial preventive measures

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The image of Vampires

The description of vampires varied from location to location. Mostly, though, they were depicted as men with extraordinarily pale complexion. If women became vampires, they were said to be uncommonly beautiful and, similar to their male counterparts, white skinned.

Many nations thought of vampires as creatures that could easily blend with humans, with the difference being that the bloodsuckers seemed to be more active during the hours of the night, as they were avoiding the sunlight. Supposedly, they feasted on human blood, but it was said that they could gain their sustenance from the blood of animals as well. This method was said to be avoided though, as it drained their energy.

When a vampire arrived at a village the dogs went wild, and the cattle were restless. Telltale signs of a nightstalker in the vicinity were dead livestock, relatives or neighbours. Also, the sight of an exhumed body in a lifelike state with newly grown fingernails or hair, a body swelled up like a drum, or with blood on the mouth coupled with a ruddy complexion could be strong implications that a creature of the night was on the prowl.

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And yes, they are afraid of garlic!

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Conclusion

This was the fifth episode of Slavic Saturday. There are many other creatures I am ready to cover for you, my lovely fans. If you missed our previous episodes then you can find that here. I hope to see you all return next Saturday!

DrDenuz is a guest writer for Bandit Gang. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch & YouTube.

Slavic Saturday: Dryads (EP4)

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𝐺𝑤𝑒𝑛𝑡'𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑑𝑟𝑦𝑎𝑑

Introduction

To the early Slavs, the forests and the swamps within them were everywhere. Around farms and villages as well as upon mountains, the woods were inescapable. And in the shadows of those trees, spirits lurked.

Most spirits in Slavic mythology aren’t the friendliest creatures. Tales of demons in the night’s shadows spread all across the Slavic tribes and nations, and one of the most frightening tales told was that of Dryads.

Dryads in Greek mythology are portrayed as nypmhs, goddesses or demigoddesses. Their counterpart in Slavic mythology are “vily”(the plural form of vila).

Vila, or víla, rusalka, diva, samojuda or samodiva is a Slavic fairy – a supernatural, beautiful female.

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Etymology

The Slavic term “vila” allegedly comes from the word viliti meaning being possessed, crazy. The name “rusalka” either came from the Czech term rusovlasá, meaning women with ginger hair or the word rusa, meaning river.

The origins

Some of the historic accounts claim that vily are souls of girls that died too soon, not by a natural cause, especially the souls of the girls that committed suicide or drowned.

They are similar to creatures named “Navky”, beings that came to life from unbaptized children that were drowned by their own mothers. They either have the form of small children or beautiful half-naked women, who hurt people.

The types of dryads in Slavic mythology

Mountain Dryads

In the Balkan countries there were the mountain dryads (vile planinkinje, samovile samogorske), that lived in caves and could shapeshift to snakes. Their counterpart in the Czech mythology could be Runa, the wife of Lord of the underground Kovlad. She is the Queen of the Permonics as well.

Air dryads

Once again in the Balkan countries, there were air dryads (samovile oblankinje). These were flying through the air and could affect the weather – especially in making the sky cloudy and making thunderstorms. Allegedly they used lightnings as arrows.

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Forest dryads

The forest dryads are called žínky or žienky, in Czechia and Slovakia. They live in the trees and are described as beautiful translucent ladies in soft dresses with golden or ginger hair. Their hair was supposed to be the source of their power, making them able to shapeshift into various kinds of animals such as horses, wolves, falcons or swans. They were also very good at healing and fortune telling.

Supposedly, they used to go hunting on deer- or horsebacks, danced & sang in the forests and only showed up when the dew was falling or when there was a rainbow.

Water dryads

The water dryads are called rusalky, living near the springs, rivers and lakes and they were close to watermen.

Their hair must be wet at any given moment because if it’s not, the rusalka perishes & when they are combing their hair, they can cause a flooding.

There are also dryads/fairies called judy or jezinky – being incredibly beautiful and living in the water or forests, but they were truly vile and were trying to drown people and lead travellers off the paths.

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The relationship with humans

Negative

The water dryads like to drown people (similar to the watermen) and are very mad when people use their wells. They get especially dangerous during Letnice (Pentecost, the festival when Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, celebrated on the Sunday 50 days after Easter), when they not only drown and tickle travellers to death, who don’t manage to solve their riddles, but they flip over ships, break bridges, water damns and tear fishing nets.

The forest dryads try to lure you to their dancing circle so they could dance you to your death.

Fairies/dryads are also allegedly responsible for stealing children from the cradles and changing them for their own ugly, mentally and physically disfigured children (notice the similarities with Mammuna).  In Latvia they say that dryads cannot even have their own children so the thing that they leave in the cradle is just a magical soulless creation.

The child was most vulnerable to be stolen during the first two days after being born so in that period the mother couldn’t leave the child alone. If the child was stolen, mother should beat the changeling so the fairy pities it, comes for it and changes it back. Notice the similarity with Mammuna once again, could even mean Mammuna was some sort of a dryad/fairy.

Dryads don’t need to be portrayed as vile and vengeful even if they often are, but their terrible deeds can be attributed to their carelessness and recklessness. When dryads are actually vengeful it’s mostly when you kill animals, cut down trees and disrupt their peace.

When one wants to protect himself against the wrongdoings of the fairies he should use mint, silver sagebrush or lovage.

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Positive

Dryads are not only a negative creature but also a very kind one. Sometimes they don’t hurt young man but are keeping them safe and give them gifts (in Serbia the dryads are called “posestriny”, imaginary sisters and guardians).

It’s even possible to wed a dryad (voluntarily or by forcing them to (by stealing their belonging without which she cannot leave her husband). But when the marriage is voluntary it usually has a condition which when is broken, the fairy leaves the husband and takes the kids. In most of the stories the husband usually breaks the condition (never confront her about her origins of being a dryad, cut her hair or try to find out what she is doing in a locked room at night), but if he doesn’t and the dryad stays with the husband, she is helping him with her knowledge or magic and the husband is prosperous.  The kids that they have together are extraordinarily smart and have a great memory.

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Conclusion

This was the fourth episode of Slavic Saturday. There are many other creatures I am ready to cover for you, my lovely fans. If you missed episode three then you can find that here. I hope to see you all return next Saturday!

DrDenuz is a guest writer for Bandit Gang. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch & YouTube.

Slavic Saturday: Kikimore (EP3)

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𝐺𝑤𝑒𝑛𝑡'𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝐾𝑖𝑘𝑖𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑎

Introduction

To the early Slavs, the forests and the swamps within them were everywhere. Around farms and villages as well as upon mountains, the woods were inescapable. And in the shadows of those trees, spirits lurked.

Most spirits in Slavic mythology aren’t the friendliest creatures. Tales of demons in the night’s shadows spread all across the Slavic tribes and nations, and one of the most frightening tales told was that of Kikimora.

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Etymology

In every Slavic country, the concept of an evil, noxious creature called kikimora/mora/mura/zmora was spread. It was an evil demon which suffocates sleeping people, drinks their blood, and is able to shapeshift into different objects.

In Poland, Kikimora is known as “mora”, same as in Slovakia or Croatia. In Serbia, she is called “noćnink”, meaning “nightgown” in English. In every case, no matter the name in the various languages, her nickname is “nightmare”.

In some literature, she is known as “sziszimora” or “szyszymora”.

Her name also has origins in Finnish from the word kikke mörkö”, meaning scarecrow.

Saying her name also resembles the sound of a spinning wheel (a tool used to spin sheep wool), which is a bad omen in Slavic countries.

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Characteristic

Legends describe kikimora as a being without a body, a wraith or as a nightmare, which when settled in your house, will not want to leave and will make living in the house hell for its inhabitants.

She is also a sign that something bad is going to happen.

Kikimora – The sleep paralysis demon

Kikimora is said to be the cause of sleep paralysis and the nightmares accompanying sleep paralysis. The trouble of not being able to breathe is apparently caused by kikimora sitting on your chest and the nightmares or demons you see while suffering from sleep paralysis are the product of kikomora herself.

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How does a Kikimora come to life?

It is believed that kikimora is conceived from a dead or a stillborn baby. In some cases a ghost of kikimora could also come out of a body of a woman that died during labour. In that case kikimora resembles the mother or grandmother of the unborn child.

Behaviour

When the kikimora inhabits a house, she lives behind the stove or in the cellar, and usually produces noises similar to those made by mice in order to obtain food.

Kikimora is said to travel around the rooms in the house through keyholes in doors. To stop this, people tried to clog the keyhole at night with bits of paper or by leaving keys in the keyhole.

Looking at kikimora’s eyes is dangerous so little kids were taught by their parents that when they suspected a kikomora in their room they should look at the pillows or windows. Under any circumstances they can’t look at doors, wardrobes or chests because it was right there where Kikimora hid the most.

Kikimora sometimes took on a disguise of an incredibly beautiful young woman and haunted the dreams of married man. She would drive the man crazy with desire and destroy the relationship with their wife. Men weren’t the only victims to kikimora as she also infiltrates the dreams of women and makes them jealous or makes them think that their husbands preferre some other woman.

Different kinds of kikimora

There are two different kinds of Kikimoras. The one that comes from the forest is married to the Domovoi.

The other one comes from the swamp and is married to Leshy. It is said that she can be identified by her wet footprints. When home builders wanted to cause harm to someone buying a house, they would bring in Kikimora. Once she is inside, it is difficult to get her to leave.

Swamp Kikimora was described as a small, ugly, hunchbacked, thin, and scruffy old woman with a pointed nose and disheveled hair. She was said to use moss and grass as her clothes. It was believed that she frightened people, knocked travelers off the road, and also kidnappped children.

Conclusion

This was the third episode of Slavic Saturday. There are many other creatures I am ready to cover for you, my lovely fans. If you missed episode two then you can find that here. I hope to see you all return next Saturday!

DrDenuz is a guest writer for Bandit Gang. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch & YouTube.