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.