Trial Of The Grasses

Guide – Trial of the Grasses

This article is part of a Bandit Gang series covering the many different seasonal modes with brief descriptions of each, as well as some strategies and deck ideas. Not every deck will be up to date, given the weekly rotation. Instead, we will display each deck based on its date of creation, so that you can retrace what may have changed in the game since then. Feel free to adjust the decks with new cards or old cards that you like better and, as always, have fun! – MAIN PAGE

Whenever a unit appears on the board, damage it by 2 then boost it by 4. If it’s a Witcher, the damage is not dealt.

This mode from the Season of the Wolf is all about the witcher theme. When it first appeared, there was quite a different meta revolving about units with shields or armor before the game had many witcher cards, but that changed at the latest with the Way of the Witcher expansion. Now we have entire witcher archetypes within several factions that perform very well in this mode.

The best performance probably comes from Skellige due to the raw point output that its bronze cards can slam down. Bear Witcher Quartermasters and Armor Up just bring crazy value for their provision cost, and the contribution to the swarm archetype pays off with cards like Vesemir: Mentor or Leo. There are several leaders to pick from, with Blaze of Glory offering some targeted removal and Patricidal Fury just offering 13 points when you need it. I personally like the interaction between Ursine Ritual and Dire Bear, which is shown below. Combos with Arnaghad and Sukrus could also be included.

Northern Realms probably offers the second best performance with their witcher archetype, which is well known. It’s slightly different in this mode, though, with Griffin Witcher Adepts playing no role and a greater emphasis being placed on point alignment and strong finishing plays. Even Coën can be included here, which doesn’t happen too often. Then we also have Scoia’tael with the Cat Witcher movement archetype, which has some nice engine value and movement abilities to align Geralt: Igni or Geralt: Yrden. The drawback is that it also supports rowstacking for you, which makes you rather vulnerable to the same cards. Nilfgaard has a witcher archetype as well, but it’s more focused on deck manipulation. Since that doesn’t offer enough points for you, a viable deck probably relies on copying the strong cards from other factions, while bringing a nice bit of control to the table. Monsters and Syndicate are falling behind here, because they have no witcher core and other cards are apparently not enough to compensate for that. But I’ve been playing Syndicate successfully in this mode before the Way of the Witcher expansion, so it’s not impossible that there might be a comeback in the future. Who knows?

Guide to the Trial Of The Grasses Seasonal Mode

If you have played Gwent lately, you might have heard that many people aren’t exactly satisfied with the meta that was introduced with the Way Of The Witcher expansion in December. Unfortunately the hope for a balance patch in January was in vain, so maybe you feel like exploring the seasonal mode might be an alternative to ranked play. If this is so, then this guide is for you.

This month we have the Trial of the Grasses going on, which means that every unit that appears on the board gets damaged by 2 first, before receiving a 4 point boost. Witchers however skip the damage part and just get boosted by 4. Note that a unit doesn’t need to be “played” for this effect to happen, summoning or spawning a unit works as well, transforming doesn’t however (looking at you, Griffin Witcher Adept). Now with all the new witcher cards that have been introduced lately, this mode plays quite differently compared to last year. The decisive difference is probably that several factions now have the option to swarm witchers, raising the average points to a whole different level. Games can be very greedy and the point swings massive. So let’s have a look at the different factions.

Northern Realms

I want to start with my personal favourite, which is the Northern Realms variant this time. It’s probably because it features a card that I never played before – Coën. Usually very hard to set up properly, this seasonal mode makes him easy to use for significant points. In the same spirit, you can go for strong Ignis, while slamming lots of points with the NR Witcher core. Read more in the deck guide:

Skellige

Skellige brings the best bronze core for this mode, especially with Armor Up and Bear Witcher Quartermasters. The approach is usually very straightforward – lots of points, good thinning, a bunch of removal options, it’s got it all. Probably the most popular faction because of that. More details to my approach in the deck guide:

Scoia'tael

Scoia’tael has a competitive movement deck on the normal ladder, featuring many of the new Cat Witchers, so it’s only reasonable to try it for this mode as well. Unfortunately though, the strength of its engines can’t really keep up with the pointslam of other factions here, so it’s only the third best faction in my opinion. To succeed, you need to utilize movement resourceful – aligning Yrden and Igni while mitigating your own rowstack that Gaetan and Gezras would usually love. This is the deck that I threw together:

Nilfgaard

Viper Witchers do not really fit in here, mostly playing for their usual value +4, without many synergies. Of course you can always play Assimilate for useful bronzes, and with all the control tools that Nilfgaard has, this might even make a decent deck. I have no list for you though.

Syndicate

My favourite deck of last year was in fact a Syndicate Wild Card deck. That one had Novigradian Justice for 18 points available on leader and played Greater Brothers to mitigate your opponent’s Yrden value. Bloody Good Friends could align Ignis easily as everything was boosted. With Wild Card gone and no new cards that give you an advantage, Syndicate unfortunately falls behind this year. Salamandra experiments make no witchers at the end of the day.

Monsters

It’s a seasonal mode of witcher cards, monsters need to step aside. Seriously though, I don’t think that I played against a monster deck so far and I also can’t think of an approach that might work.

Final Remarks

I think that the point curve favours Cursed Scroll Stratagems, as the right hand will serve you better than measly 5 points. An exception is maybe the Crystal Skull for Griffin Witchers, but only if it doesn’t get removed. Generally speaking, you need to watch out when you are on blue coin and wager to take a pass before you lose it all. If your red coin opponent pressures you too early though, it might pay off to pull it through and trying to regain control.

Speaking of the decks themselves, I think that my NR and SK lists are fairly optimized, while ST probably has room for improvement left. But since the current season is a short one, I don’t want to release the guide when there’s only one week left. Thank you for reading and enjoy yourselves!