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.
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 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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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!