Neutral

Guide to the Seasonal Mode in the Season of the Magic

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

Rules

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

General approach to deckbuilding

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

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

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

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

Faction specific approaches

Scoia’tael:

Scoiatael

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

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

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

Syndicate:

Syndicate

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

Monsters:

Monster

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

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

Nilfgaard:

Nilfgaard

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

Skellige:

Skellige

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

Northern Realms:

Northern Realms

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

Final remarks

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

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

Guide to the Seasonal Mode in the Season of the Elves

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

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

Rules

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

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

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

General approach to deckbuilding

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

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

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

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

Neutral cards that work well in many decks:

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

Faction specific approaches

Nilfgaard:

Nilfgaard

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

Northern Realms:

Northern Realms

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

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

Skellige:

Skellige

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

Monsters:

Monster

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

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

Syndicate:

Syndicate

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

Scoia’tael:

Scoiatael

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

Final remarks

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

Happy gwenting!

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