So You Want To Play!

So You Want To Play Fringilla Vigo!

Hello you wonderful lovers of the forgotten, the damaged, and all the bastard and broken things! We all know why we’re here; let’s lift another forgotten card out of the murk of disuse and, for just a moment, give it a spot in the limelight.

A Primer

The Lodge of Sorceresses has requested we analyze the Nilfgaardian Sorceress Fringilla Vigo. Being both a gentleman and acutely terrified of being transfigured into a duck, I obliged. Can we conjure up a way to make this mage mighty or will our analysis spell doom for her hopes in any viable list? Since Fringilla is  a character entirely grounded in the Witcher Universe and not based on any real life individuals, I will eschew the lore drop for this article. Feel free to lambast me in the comments if there really was a real life mage by the same name.

Analysis

So what are we dealing with? Fringila Vigo is a 4 power, 8 provision card with the ability: “Deploy: Damage an enemy unit by 2. Increase the number of targets by 1 for each adjacent mage.” With 1 adjacent mage, Fringilla reaches parity at 8 points for 8 provisions. With two she achieves an efficiency of 1.25 power per provisions. Unfortunately Fringilla belongs to a subset of “mid-range” provision cards who get easily outpaced by the newer and much more explosive high provision cards. Fringilla herself occupies an especially unenviable position of not filling any special niche within a deck. The damage that she does isn’t enough to remove threats on your opponent’s side of the board, she doesn’t provide any engine value and her pointslam value is ok but nothing that would swing a round.

Deckbuilding Ideas

Fringilla’s real value, like most of the cards that we see in this dear series, comes from her place as part of a whole. Because Fringilla can’t secure kills on high value targets, we need to shift her focus to something else. We can use her “chip” style damage to leverage the abilities of other cards, specifically cards such as Amnesty and Sweers, both of whom allow you to seize a weak enemy unit. With Enslave as the leader ability, you gain another means of capturing and turning damaged enemy units to your cause. Should you be so inclined, you could run Emhyr Var Emreis to seize a unit each turn provided they have the spying status and have been damaged down to 1 power. Fringilla’s chip damage also facilitates cards with deathblow effects such as Coup de Grace, Palmerin de Launfal, and Milton de Peyrac-Peyran.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Now we round back to our customary summary. Is Fringilla GOOD and just waiting for the right support, BAD and in need of a buff, or UGLY and in dire need of a rework? I think Fringilla is a GOOD card. Nilfgaard needs more mages, period, but mages that cater or play around seizing mechanics would be huge positive to Fringilla’s playstyle. Should mages or deathblow effects receive more support I have no doubt that Fringilla would see play in her current iteration.

That’s my take on Fringilla! Did I do the card justice? How would you use Ms. Vigo’s magic might? Leave a comment below! As always this has been Carrost, your friendly neighbourhood jank peddler, signing off with my customary “Don’t let anyone tell you what cards you can and can’t play.”

Please consider checking out our article section where you can find plenty of articles. From member interviews to deck guides and more!

So You Want To Play Nivellen!

Hello you wonderful lovers of the forgotten, the damaged, and all the bastard and broken things! We all know why we’re here; let’s lift another forgotten card out of the murk of disuse and, for just a moment, give it a spot in the limelight.

A Primer

Today, Nivellen bares his fangs and we’ll see if this big softie’s bite is as bad as his bark. Nivellen bears a striking resemblance to Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve’s titular Beast from the ever popular and frequently adapted “Beauty and the Beast”. As crazy as it sounds, Villeneuve’s story is based on that of a real life individual, Pedro Gonzalez. Gonzalez suffered from a condition called hypertrichosis which caused him to grow an abnormal amount of hair on his face. Henry II, the king of France, brought Gonzalez to court and attempted to find a match for him (admittedly an attempt to breed more children with Gonzalez’ condition to send to other courts as gifts). A match was found and while Catherine at first detested her match, it is on record that love blossomed between the two.

Analysis

Will we be able to see through the rough exterior of this card like Catherine did for Pedro or is Nivellen doomed to his cursed existence? Let’s look at the data first. Nivellen is a 5 power 6 provision card in the neutral faction. His ability is thus, “Deploy: Move 3 adjacent units to the other row”. Power per provisions, this card is underwhelming. Its raw efficiency is 0.83, being beat out by the other “elder bears” that play on parity for their provision cost with an added effect. Frenzied D’ao plays as a 7 for 7 that allows you to move one unit to the other row. By numbers alone, Nivellen is outclassed. Playing a card below parity is a painful feeling no matter how you cut it, but maybe points aren’t everything…

Deckbuilding Ideas

Nivellen won’t be able to beat out Frenzied D’ao in points but our fluffy friend may have a better foothold when it comes to making larger plays. Alone, Nivellen can clog space that your opponent may want to keep open to play certain row-locked cards. In addition, Nivellen can move both the defender and the card beside the defender in one go, neutering cards like Keltullis, Damien or Vysogota.

As for cards that synergize with Nivellen, let’s start with the obvious: “Lacerate” and “Surrender”. Both cards reach their potential when targeting a full row. Nivellen can leverage these rowbusters against decks that may not go heavy enough on units to provide an opening under normal circumstances. The ever annoying Madoc can brick wholesale if he ends up on the wrong row but you can use Nivellen to move enough units to guarantee the bomb-lobbing cretin always finds his mark. Last, but certainly not least, are Geralt Yrden and Geralt Igni. As a jank-peddler, I cannot in good conscience condone their use but sometimes, just sometimes, you have to fight dirty. Nivellen can be the key to setting up the perfect “you played well but I played Yrden.”

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We’re here once again. So we’ve put Nivellen through the ringer and now we decide: is his card good and just awaiting a shift in the meta, bad and awaiting a buff, or ugly and in dire need of a rework? As it stands now, I believe that Nivellen is a good card. His opportunities to shine are limited at the moment. There are few occasions that require you to move three adjacent units at once,which makes his poor power-per-provision efficiency sting all the more. With offensive purifies, Korathi Heatwave and other powerful removal cards in vogue there doesn’t seem to be much of a need for our fuzzy friend. With time, maybe the world will see what a beauty this beast can be.

That’s my take on Nivellen! Did I do the card justice? What changes would you make, if any? Leave a comment below! This has been Carrost, your friendly neighbourhood jank-peddler, saying “don’t let anyone tell you what cards to play.”

Please consider checking out our article section where you can find plenty of articles. From member interviews to deck guides and more!

So You Want To Play Sihil!

Queen Meve with her Sihil, illustrated by : Anna Podedworna

Author’s note: it would seem that my previous two articles regarding Poor Fucking Infantry and Archespore have aged poorly in light of the 8.5 balance patch. I’ll keep these articles as is for no other purpose than as a time capsule into earlier states of cards that may well become meta defining cards some day. Proof that even the worst cards have a chance to grow.

Hello you wonderful lovers of the forgotten, the damaged and all the bastard and broken things! We all know why we’re here; let’s lift another forgotten card out of the murk of disuse and, for just a moment, give it a spot in the limelight.

A Primer

Today we unsheath Sihil, test its balance and whet it to reach its full potential. Sihil swords are a family of armaments forged using advanced metallurgy and Dwarven runes. In the novels, Geralt is gifted one such blade by a dwarf and long time friend, Zoltan Chivay. The flavor text of the card reads “What’s written on this blade? That a curse? No. An insult.” The Dwarven roughly translates to “Death to those whoresons” or more colourfully “death to the motherfuckers”.

Now that the fluff is out of the way let’s work on the crunch. Sihil is an 11 provision artifact with the ability “zeal, Order: damage an enemy unit by 1, Deathblow: increase Sihil’s Order damage by 1 until moved from the battlefield, Cooldown 2” A blade that grows stronger with every life it takes and tells its opponents in colourful detail what it thinks of their parentage? Of course I had to deckbuild around that.

Analysis

The card is quite bad, unsurprisingly. With Sihil only being able to fire its ability every other round if you were to play a 10 turn round you would only be able to use it five times. If you miss a turn, don’t have a target or run up against a target with armor or shields you lose a good chunk of the card’s value. To top it off, if you miss a deathblow effect on any of those turns you lose value on the card. This card requires so much to see positive value: a 10 turn round, your opponent playing first, and your opponent opening with a 1 point unit. Totaling the potential value of this card should you be able to meet all of these conditions (1+2+3+4+5 over five rounds) gives Sihil 15 power per provisions at 1.36~ efficiency. Decent for an 11 provision card from the base set but hamstrung by how much of a pain it is it extract its full potential.

Deckbuilding Ideas

Now that I’ve griped about why it’s a bad card, let’s build around it. There are some obvious choices when it comes to choosing your deck’s leader ability: Precision Strike, Imprisonment and the new and (hopefully) improved Reckless Flurry. Both abilities allow you to mitigate the need for an opponent to play a 1 power card by giving you baked-in damage that can set up Sihil’s critical first turn. Luckily enough, Scoia’tael’s Precision Strike, Niflgaard’s Imprisonment and and Skellige’s Reckless Flurry also belong to factions that have units skilled at dealing chip damage that will create openings to trigger Sihil’s deathblow effect.

For the purpose of today’s article, we’ll pick cards out of the Nilfgaard faction. If unitless decks are your thing, you can consider using Hefty Helge alongside a healthy compliment of tactics cards in order to ensure that opposing units are always in range of Sihil from turn to turn. Tactics cards like assassination allow for variable damage to suit your needs while tourney joust can remove a pesky shield then bring a 5 power unit within beheading range. Spies such as Duchess’ informants, Mage Infiltrators, and Emissaries can be effective ways to “create” targets for Sihil as most spies hit the table for a miserly 1 point. Impera Enforcers with their ability to deal small amounts of damage in controllable increments would also be a natural pick in a deck that employs a lot of spies. Lastly, Matta Hu’uri, Stregobor and Ciri: Dash all allow you to extend the round past its natural length, increasing your odds of getting your money’s worth out of this Dwarven sword.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

With the deliberation out of the way let’s play another round of “the good, the bad and the ugly”. Is the card good and awaiting more support or a shift in the meta, bad and requiring a buff or ugly and in dire need of a rework? Sihil finds its place in “bad” category. The working parts of the card aren’t broken by any means and a sword that gets stronger every time it kills a unit is an amazingly fun concept to build a deck around. Buffing the cooldown to 1 turn instead of two would bust this card wide open and, provided you could trigger the deathblow every turn, you would see values up to 55 points which is INSANE even for the newer cards being released today. The better option in my opinion would be to increase the base damage by two to make the sword less daunting to use in earlier rounds. A much more interesting option would be to reduce the cooldown to 1 as above but modify the deathblow condition to “Deathblow: increase Sihil’s Order damage by 1 until moved from the battlefield and increase the cooldown by 1 until the end of your next turn” essentially turning sihil into a swiss army knife capable of both dealing low damage pings and growing more powerful should the chance arise, bringing Sihil’s minimum value floor from 5 to 10.

So what do you think, did I do the card justice? What would you change? Let me know in the comments below and as always this has been Carrost, your friendly neighbourhood jank-peddler, signing off.

Please consider checking out our article section where you can find plenty of articles. From member interviews to deck guides and more!

Weekly Bandit Gang Content Update #4

Welcome to your weekly Bandit Gang content update.

Hello Strays of Spalla!

We hope you have had a great week, because we sure did, topped by our amazing watch party in the Discord  to watch the first Gwent Open with the BG community. Moving forward, we will make sure to announce any similar events on our socials!

Another thing I would like to touch upon is all the letters we received regarding the interest in joining Bandit Gang for article writing and guest writing. I have talked to a variety of people and decided to take three Article Writers on a one-month trial and three additional Guest Writers to contribute in our writing endeavors. We look forward to seeing what they can bring to the table!

Thank you for 200 subscribers!

Thank you for supporting us by subscribing to our YouTube ! We reached 200 subscribers and we decided to make a video to mark the occasion. In the video, we go through the current successes of BG that led up to this milestone and how excited we are for the future of the team and the channel. We hope you enjoy!

So You Want To Play Sihil!

This Saturday at 4am CEST, Carrost will be unsheathing Sihil, testing out its balance and whetting it to reach its full potential. And knowing that the last two cards Carrost has been talking about are getting attention from CDPR with the next patch, do we foresee another Sihil meta? Oh no, I surely hope we don’t. I believe there are still people out there with PTSD from the last time! Anyways, let’s see what he will write about the card first. You can also read the other two articles he wrote here.

Interested to see the editing progress of the next Lore Blast video?

Enzo is once again planning to stream his editing process of the next Lore Blast episode on Twitch this Saturday starting at 4PM CEST. What this episode is going to be about? Who knows. Tune in here  to find out.

This weeks uploads on the Bandit Gang YouTube

Illustrator: NotKelseyArt

Thank you so much for reading, and for supporting our content at Bandit Gang. Next week I will be back with more content to go through. But for now, I hope you will have a nice rest of your week!

Yours,

BJ
Content Manager
Team Bandit Gang

So You Want To Play Archespore!

Hello you wonderful lovers of the forgotten, the damaged, and all the bastard and broken things. We all know why we’re here; let’s lift another forgotten card out of the murk of disuse and, for just a moment, give it a spot in the limelight. If you’d like to see my previous article about Poor Fucking Infantry, you can check it out here.

Today’s reclamation project is Archespore. This plucky-yet-unplucked plant is another forgotten child of the base set as well as the only card with the “plant” tag. The Archespore is a particularly devilish variant of the echinopsae plant species. From soil tainted by dark sacrifices, wicked pogroms or gruesome murders grows the Archespore. This cursed creation drives the Archespore to lash out indiscriminately until its need for vengeance is finally sated. The Archespore bears a strong resemblance to the Byblis Liniflora family of carnivorous plants. Its use of caustic acids also mirrors the Byblis’ use of mucous that binds and dissolves any prey unfortunate enough to become trapped within the plants’ appendages.

The Card

Now with the fluff out of the way, let’s get into the crunch. 2 power, 4 provisions; Deploy: Damage a random enemy unit by 2, Deathwish: repeat the deploy ability. Having met all conditions, the Archespore plays for a modest 6 for 4. The random nature of the damage on both deploy and deathwish is what holds this card back; losing 4 points of the card’s 6 point total to a random ping into armor or a shield feels bad and the card’s overall impact on the flow of a game feels negligible even for a 4 provision card.

The Build

Odds are Archespore won’t be securing any kills on high value targets, but this can allow for some synergies with other cards that require weakened enemies to use effectively. Let’s start with Toad Prince, another card on my dossier of the downtrodden: “Deploy: consume a unit with 3 or less power”. A ping from Archespore can create a valuable opening for Toad Prince to lap up a target that would otherwise have been out of the range of the royal amphibian’s ability. Likewise, combining Archespore with Miruna can potentially remove a target that would normally provide a less than stellar return on Miruna’s deathwish ability or even bring a unit outside of her 4 point requirement within capture range. Sihil, should that unfortunate sword ever see a buff, would benefit from the lower damage pings as Sihil requires weakened targets to grow stronger in subsequent rounds. Hen Gaidth Sword and Gael are two other cards that similarly benefit from the “weaken, don’t kill” strategy that Archespore provides. If those options seemed lukewarm, it’s because they are. People don’t use Archespore for a reason. Our lot is not to ask why but to make the best of what is given to us.

The Good, the Bad or the Ugly

Which brings us to the final segment of our lovely article: the good, the bad or the ugly, where we decide whether a card is “good” and simply awaiting the right support or a shift in the meta, “bad” and requiring a buff to either its power, provisions or parameters, or “ugly” and requiring a complete rework. As much as I love the plucky little plant, Archespore sits squarely in the “ugly” camp. Archespore as it stands now is a unit that only achieves its meager potential once it has been consumed or destroyed and most deathwish decks suffer for having a limited amount of consumes handy already. Using a consume to squeeze two points out of a card such as Archespore seems like a waste.

One would think that adding thrive to the Archespore would elevate it to usability but then you powercreep if not outright invalidate the Wyvern, a 5 provision card with a very similar ability. A controversial approach would be to change the card’s text entirely. An aggressive change would be “Thrive, When this card’s thrive ability is triggered, damage a random enemy by 1. At the end of your turn, damage this unit by 1.” Another lore-compliant option would be “Deploy: damage an enemy unit by 2. The first time each turn a friendly unit is destroyed, damage a random enemy unit by 1.”

Are you a fan of Archespore like I am? Do you think my analysis of the card was fair? Drop your comments in the comment section below. For now this has been Carrost, your friendly neighbourhoud jank-peddler, signing off.

Please consider checking out our article section where you can find plenty of articles. From member interviews to deck guides and more!