Radeyah

Deck Guide: Runemage is Nilfgaardian

Runemage Is The New Black

Overview

The newest card drop has changed the way how we approach Gwent games, and Runemage is no exception. He allows all your Create/Assimilate cards to have a more precise choice as he increases your options to 5 rather than 3.  Not to mention that it includes even your leader ability Double Cross. He’s just too good to not include in Assimilate lists! 

Apart from Runemage  there are two more new cards in this deck: Ring of Favor and Prophet. Ring of Favor helps to secure a win in round one with its plus two per turn tick, or allows you to draw the top card of your deck when the opponent passes.  Whereas Prophet is a bit more niche card as you need to know what your opponent is going to do next. Fortunately, with the help of Runemage and leader Double Cross you are able to view 5 cards from the opponent’s hand, thereby giving you the exact details you need to completely ruin the opponent’s sequencing. 

The game-plan of this deck is to get Runemage  before your create cards so you have a choice of 5 instead of 3 options. Braathens  is the only card that does not benefit from this (for now). So, he is mostly used in tandem with Ring of Favour to secure round one .  Roderick is used to fetch  the gold cards such as Runemage  or Vigo for earlier rounds. As you can see, this deck does not run the Blightmakers and Mage Assassins as this is more of an old-school approach with the Vigo  + Hunting Pack combo. As a somewhat spicy tech choice, the list runs a poison package for the tall removal, so Yennefer’s Invocation is not the only option you have while playing this deck. 

Pros:
– Create options become easier/precise.
– High tempo.
– Has some control options.
Cons:
– Slight Inconsistency.
– Core cards can be bled
– Goes Tall

The Deck

Core Cards

Runemage – The star of the deck! Allows you to see 5 options instead of 3 is a huge game changer!

Ring of Favor – Always starts in your hand in round one and has literally no downsides. Either gives you points to catch up and potentially win round one, or draw your top card.

Artorious Vigo – With the help of Runemage, this crafty spellcaster shows you all 5 bronzes in the starting deck and thus gets rid of the weakness of an inconsistent Vigo  if you run more than 3 bronze units. Pairs superbly well with the Hunting Pack.

Prophet – Strong card that allows you to take control of the opponent’s sequencing, especially with 5 options from Double Cross as you can plan ahead as to when you can drop prophet. He can be played during a bleed to make your opponent stumble with their sequencing.

Artaud Terranova – Still the greatest Assimilate card, as he can create anything that you have applied spying to.

Joachim
– A great card for the final round point-slam.

Rigged Casino

Overview

The Deck

So you’re tired of beating the snot out of people with Assimilate, I mean it’s been AGES since we played anything else. You need a bit of excitement in your life, you have considered playing Shupe and/or RNG decks before, but they only win 10% of the time. Well congrats, now we can double that win rate!!!

This deck adds some substance to the style of winning with whatever RNGesus throws you. Runemage is the evident key to expanding your options, so you can pull good solutions to problems on the board with your create cards. Like any Casino deck, we stuff it full of create cards. The most important of these is Shupe’s Day Off. Shupe’s biggest flaw is the RNG element. You may not get the option you want from him. Runemage guarantees all of these options are possible, maximizing Shupe’s utility.  

You REALLY want to play Runemage ASAP. Cursed Scroll on blue coin can help with that. Otherwise, try to win Round 1 with some tempo from Radeyah and your thinning cards like Roach, Knickers and Blightmaker. If you find this too inconsistent, check out some of the tech options below that you can swap in. 

Mysterious Puzzle Box is an option to be played Round 1 for tempo, though it is ideally played in later rounds when you would gamble your bricks off and have Will o’ the Wisp on hand to delete Thing From The Box should your opponent win the bet. 

Once Runemage has been played, go wild with your create cards and pray you roll high. Artorius Vigo is your sole native (Assimilate) engine, so play him early, ideally in round 3. He is NOT nailed down to guaranteed options, but can be (look at tech section). You want medium to longer length rounds to facilitate your pay-off finisher in the form of Tourney Shaelmaar, so soft bleeds are useful to utilize Squirrel or other “trash” cards. 

Pros: 
-Casino EXCITEMENT
-Maximum versatility
-Decent point-slam

Cons:
-Casino STRESS
-Lack of engines, mediocre pay-off
-The house usually wins

Core Cards

Shupe: Shupe is potentially a huge amount of points with 15 different POWERFUL options, now fully available thanks to Runemage. 

Arcane Tome: Many of the create cards are specials. Play this card after Runemage to access all your create cards. Prioritize the expensive ones first, as some opponents don’t want to play their own specials or don’t have specials. Consider it a tutor for your high value specials. 

Tech Cards

Cards you can consider switching out:

Aguara: True Form: This is one of the weakest create cards and very expensive. Its create pool is heavily polluted by specials that are NOT useful and niche use, especially from Syndicate. 

Lydia van Bredevoort: Without assimilate engines to score points from creates, Lydia is substantially weaker than in Assimilate decks. She can, however, provide removal or situational cards that complement other created cards. 

Arcane Tome: This card is definitely risky, as some opponents can benefit heavily from playing their own high value specials. Consider a safer tutor. 

Elf and Onion Soup: You may find yourself without good targets (or even any targets at all) to sacrifice for this card, so it often plays for fewer points than other alternatives. Granted, you can use it as Box gamble fodder. 

Pellar and Squirrel: Very useful but pollutes Vigo’s creation pool, swap out for specials. 

Cards you can consider switching in:

Removal cards: Korathi Heatwave, Yennefer’s Invocation, Vigo’s Muzzle, Leo Bonhart, and Vilgefortz are all good options if you have provisions to spare. 

Create cards: Dazhbog Runestone and Summoning Circle are two alternatives/additions one can consider. Dazhbog Runestone especially as it can provide you assimilate engines (in place of Elf and Onion Soup). 

Consistency: Fisher King, Roderick of Dun Tynne and Maxii Van Dekkar are all good consistency options for ensuring you draw/play the cards you want/need. 

4 Provision Specials: In place of Pellar and Squirrel, in order to guarantee Artorius Vigo only has a pool of 5 bronze units to create from. Options include, Dimeritium Bomb, Mahakam Ale, Obsidian Mirror, Spores. 

Deck Guide: Radeyah’s Elves

INTRO

Hey guys, Zedi here.

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

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

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

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

The Deck

DECK OVERVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feign Death (Astor Alexander)
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GAMEPLAN

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

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

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

TECH OPTIONS

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

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

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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

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