Hey guys, TLG's Andasama and wusubi will try to guide you through the fresh Season of the Draconid Seasonal mode. First of all, the crazy ruleset of this Seasonal is that you have only 8 seconds to complete your turn and 15 seconds to complete the redrawing phase. This means that similarly to blitz and bullet chess, the mode will reward you for being able to perform under pressure and planning ahead quickly. The most important part is that our cherished archetype, known by most as "Pointslam" is the absolute top tier in this mode. Since the mode is obviously highly APM-intensive, factions like Syndicate - which is based on Fee units to use their coins - won't be nearly as good as Pointslam Skellige.
In this mode, engines that do something automatically at the end of your turn are great. You usually won't have the time to use complicated Order or Fee cards. The main examples of good engines would be Anna Strenger, Temerian Drummer and Reinforced Trebuchet in Northern Realms and the wonderful Svalblod Priest + Heymaey Protector combo in Skellige. Cards that do something each time their condition is met are also very powerful, the best examples are Nathaniel Pastodi, An Craite Longship, Nauzicaa Sergeant or even Sly Seductress.
With having only 8 seconds available per turn, cards that chain multiple actions can be a liability without proper planning. If you want to play a card like Naglfar, make sure you decide what pulls you're looking for a turn ahead. Cards that interact with the graveyard like Hjalmar an Craite or Ozzrel can be planned in the previous turn by checking the placement of the unit you want to consume/throw in the graveyard. Some animations take too long regardless of your efforts. For example, avoid trying to play Novigradian Justice twice with Franscesca.
As far as the leader and order animations are concerned, try to use them after you have played your card in the given turn. The exception is when you need to use a charge to setup the card you're about to play, such as Harald Houndsnout's ping on a skull to kill a 4 point engine with a Svalblod Ravager. Try to capitalize on each turn in the best way possible, mostly by using your less APM-intensive turns to plan your future turns. 8 seconds are actually enough to not rope out if your deck is built accordingly and you're paying full attention to the game.
We have been playing Seasonal extensively for the last couple of days and we're happy to share a few deck ideas with you. Keep in mind that this mode is about having fun and farming reward points. This certainly isn't supposed to be a "tier list." Feel free to tinker with each deck and change it to your liking!
The first deck we want to show you is the good old Big Woody. It packs plenty of raw points, but also removal. Your mulligan targets are the 4 prov units, primarily an extra copy of Nekker Warrior, Werewolf and a singleton Plumard. Nekkers can usually be mulliganed on Blue coin, especially if you expect removal. Due to the sheer amount of proactive points and removal this deck offers, you will often win Round 1, which allows you to bleed or 2-0 the opponent.
Your game plan is self-explanatory. You generally want to open with Thrive units and squeeze out as much value as possible by slowly ramping up. Don't be afraid to use your leader ability on Werewolf in Round 1 on red coin if it grants you a win on even cards vs any engine-oriented deck like Queen Meve. Bleeding them and forcing a very short Round 3 is your best win condition.
While Gernichora offers fewer provisions and a weaker finisher than Woodland, her control over the first two rounds is much better thanks to her leader ability. Not only does her Fruit improve the practicality of cards like Brewess or Cyclops, it also allows you to play effective cards such as Griffin and Pugo Boom-Breaker. These additions give you a lot of tempo to secure Round 1. It's also worth noting that Foglet and Wild Hunt Riders are a lot more reliable in Gerni than in Woody.
Make sure to sequence your Thrive units optimally, the deck is built in a way that allows you to get a very nice curve which will eventually force your opponent out of the round. You can proceed to bleed them in Round 2, ideally forcing a shorter Round 3, where you should beat the majority of decks.
Northern Realms are extremely strong after the recent buffs and it's no different in the Draconid Seasonal mode. This engine-oriented Queen Meve decklist has sufficient removal to answer the essential threats and produces a lot of passive points per turn. It doesn't follow a strict pattern, you have many options and the only thing you need to worry about is not bricking your Portal and Dun Banner.
Portal into double Tridam Infantry followed by Knighthood provides you a lot of points to start off the round. Temerian Drummer and Anna Strenger synergize with Tridam Infantry and Nathaniel Pastodi. If you add in Reinforced Trebuchet, the deck generates a lot of points each turn. You will eventually overwhelm your opponent and take over the game. The nice thing about this deck is the amount of control. It allows you to acquire card advantage if you had to pass in Round 1 and are getting bled, while having some decent short round plays of your own.
The so-called "Magical Adda" is another spicy deck from uncle wusubi, definitely a fine choice for anyone trying to complete the Adda mastery. With the reworks to cards such as Keira and Dethmold, a few extra mages were added for synergy. Cintrian Spellwaver, Enchantress and Ban Ard Tutor are very good filler cards that work with Dethmold. Additionally, Margarita can be very useful and Síle can help you with meeting the necessary removal breakpoints. And finally, Avallach tutors Summoning Circle for Kaedweni Knights, the other option being Tainted Ale for more removal. The rest of the deck is filled with threatening removal like Muzzle, Carlo Varese, Regis: Bloodlust and Bloody Baron. This deck advances Deathblow and Vitality contracts very quickly, you can even replace Carlo and Battering Ram with Falibor and 2nd Cintrian Knight.
Your mulligan targets are usually Kaedweni Knights, Aedirnian Maulers or one of the machines, but make sure you have enough proactive plays. You want to play Cintrian Knight in Round 1, as he can be weird if topdecked in a short Round 3. This deck shines in long rounds thanks to Circle, but it packs enough high value cards to be powerful in a short round. With Circle, you can always win Round 1 if needed, which allows you to bleed the opponent. This is especially useful against engine decks such as Queen Meve or Filavandrel. Circle also helps with securing Round 1 against Big Monsters, preventing them from bleeding you in Round 2.
Shupe Usurper is amazing in this Seasonal. People tend to play value leaders and often rely on synergies. The best example would be Queen Meve. Because of the 8 seconds per turn limit, Doadrick was omitted from the list. Roderick forces you to chain multiple actions quickly, so make sure you decide what you want to pull from your deck in the previous turn. Shupe itself can also be a tricky card to play. Knight is the simple option for 12 value, but Hunter and Mage are also possible to pull off in time. Similarly to Roderick, you should always decide what option you want in the previous turn so that you don't hover over Shupe options for too long.
The general game plan is very similar to what you would be doing on the ladder. You don't want to overcommit in Round 1. You're resilient to a bleed and decent in a long round. On Blue coin, you usually want to play some of your bronze cards, use Tactical Advantage and pass. On red coin, you do the same thing, except you can often afford to play more than 3 cards. Save all of your removal for Round 3 and you should be able to answer for every engine presented by your opponent.
This Ardal deck tries to be as Seasonal-friendly as possible, but it still plays Order engines and some create cards. Marching Orders had to be cut from the list due to the 8 second timer. You thin extremely well thanks to Portal, Roach and your Artorius being guaranteed to pull Impera Brigade. Portal can get you Sergeants but also Scorpions, so be very careful with the pings. Other than that, the deck is very standard, you have to make sure to be quick with create cards and Roderick.
Peter is included due to the greedy nature of this mode. Muzzle, the Witcher trio and tactic cards offer enough control to answer everything. You of course prefer having the last say, so feel free to your commit Portal in Round 1. You're favoured against engine-oriented decks and Shilard with Peter help you against big boys. The mulligan targets are Impera Brigades, Roach and any bricked Portal targets.
Next up, we have wusubi's favorite leader, feisty Arnjolf the PogUcide. Other than rocking the confident and sexy bald man look, he's the most menacing leader in this Seasonal mode. Since you're playing the good faction also known as Skellige, you've got everything you need at your disposal. Strong proactive cards such as Houndsnout, Svalblod Totem and Dimun Light Longship. Coupled with the high amount of potent removal options and the Arnjolf finisher, you've got a decklist that's nearly impossible to defeat. Olaf and Knut combo is the cherry on the top.
The inclusion of Roach allows you to win pretty much every Round 1 you desire, unless your hand is incredibly bad. You can then proceed to 2-0 your opponent. Should they withstand the bleed, save your leader for a very short Round 3 and the match should be in your pocket. Just like every Skellige deck, Arnjolf can also rely on the overpowered combination of Svalblod Priest and Heymaey Protector. In niche scenarios, you can use reworked Savage Bear to activate Shieldmaiden.
Be cautious when playing Arnjolf and Madman Lugos in the same turn, you have to be fast enough to not miss your target. The other slow animation card is Knut. Keep in mind that you can play Svanrige (or even Lugos) earlier than in Round 3.
The other Scoia'tael leaders are quite APM-intensive and very difficult to pull off. Filavandrel comes in hot with the recently buffed Dwarf deck. You often want to give up on Round 1 after playing 3 cards, so that you can use your leader ability in Round 2 when your opponent chooses to bleed you. This will very likely grant you card advantage and you will be able to preserve some decent short round cards. On red coin, you can play your carry-over cards and pass. On blue coin, you've got a few very high tempo cards like Doppler or Carlo Varese to avoid losing on even.
In a longer round, a card like Dwarven Mercenary can work wonders, especially when you pull two copies at once with Novigradian Justice. Filavandrel's ability activates Mahakam Defenders and if your opponent damages them, you can boost them with Paulie, Barclay or Dennis. Mahakam Guards present a cheap finisher, next to your awesome gold cards: Sheldon Skaggs and The Great Oak.
Cleaver's Muscle can serve as a back-up option for Novigradian Justice. It can also help you with thinning out Mahakam Volunteers. Be careful when playing Gabor for carry-over whilst getting bled, your opponent is most likely holding an answer and Gabor is still very good in a short Round 3.
Unlike in Ranked, Syndicate sadly can't rely on Fee ability chains. 8 seconds aren't enough to play Witch Hunter Executioner and at that point you might as well cut the entire Bounty package. Since Coerced Blacksmith takes too long as well, this Gudrun list can lean on Sea Jackal and Fence as the bronze spenders. While the brothers are somewhat APM-intensive, they're playable if you click fast enough. Your coins can also be spent on solid Tribute abilities with Adriano and Morelsee. You can consider running Grand Inquisitor Helveed as another lucrative spender. This deck quickly advances the Syndicate coin-related and Intimidate contracts.
The addition of Sly Seductresses is wonderful in this mode after their recent buff. Carlo Varese and Regis: Bloodlust are your powerful removal options. However, if you don't run into too many engine overload friends, Regis can be replaced with Royal Decree, which can always tutor a spender or Bincy. In Round 1, you want to play Novigradian Justice (Ferko can pull it, you have to be fast) on Bare-Knuckle and generate as many coins as possible with crimes while making use of them with any spender. Bincy is decent in a short Round 3, as you will often force tall punishment early with Sea Jackal. You have a lot of tools to push Round 2 with. Make sure you're very careful with your spenders, as you have a limited amount.
Last update on 15 of August
- Added Gernichora, Adda and Ardal