Hey everyone, TLG's Andasama and Wusubi here. While we are hyped for the Syndicate faction coming on 28th of June, we still have a week left to play Season of Magic and its Seasonal Mode. It allows you to complete contracts very quickly and thus you can reap reward points to unlock what you need in the upcoming expansion.
In Season of Magic Seasonal Mode, the first special card you play in each turn gets played twice. This leads to a simple idea of filling your deck with effective special cards, while keeping the deck-building restriction of 13 units in mind. It is also important to remember that when you play a Create card, or tutor two units from your deck, the first card that you choose gets played second and vice-versa.
We put together a concise list of the best cards, as well as a few decklist examples. Skellige sucks in this Seasonal Mode and will be omitted. This is a great opportunity to win some matches with Anna Henrietta, Francesca and even Calanthe.
The first card I want to talk about is Geralt's good old pal Zoltan: Scoundrel. He is perfect in this Seasonal Mode. His faithful companion Duda counts as a special card and will be played twice. This leads to a massive point-swing, either by boosting your side of the board or potentially nuking your opponent's units instead.
While giving your deck an extra restriction, Shupe is a special card and thus gets played twice. This can be used to gain a big advantage, as it allows you to either fish for Shupe: Knight carry-over or you can go for Shupe: Mage and obliterate your opponent's board.
Ragh Nar Roog fills your opponent's side of the board with weather, granting you 4 points each turn. It often forces your opponent to stack one row, which amplifies the value of cards like Lacerate. Keep in mind that this card is fairly popular in Seasonal Mode, which means that people will usually have their weather clear ready.
One of the most popular cards in this Seasonal Mode is none other than the Ugliest Man Alive himself, Uma. Allowing you to choose 2 from the total of 6 gold cards, this card has so many possible outcomes. Good luck creating Lambert: Swordmaster to kill your opponent's Shupe: Knight carry-over!
Triss: Telekinesis is a card that should definitely be in your deck in this Seasonal Mode. Her ability to create a Bronze special card and play it twice is just too powerful.
Aguara: True Form is the true RNG card. It can either provide massive value or fail miserably. Creating Shupe or Uma is certainly a lot of fun!
Royal Decree and Alzur's Double-Cross are the most common thinning tools. Decree has the added benefit of letting you choose what you pull, which is generally the optimal way to utilize Sarah and Johnny on Blue coin with Tactical Advantage. ADC performs exceptionally well in Assimilate decks.
Scepter of Storms works similarly to Ragh Nar Rook, except due to its much cheaper provision cost, weather clear isn't as punishing as in the case of Ragh Nar Rook. If your opponent spreads their rows, Fog can reach nice 16 value. Rain and Frost can be used to set up massive Devil's Puffball. This card also forces your opponent to stack one row, potentially making your Lacerate better.
Lacerate is obviously one of the strongest special cards in this mode. It offers decent row clear. If your opponent stacks one row because of weather or Zoltan: Scoundrel, you can make them regret it.
Bone Talisman is the key card for every swarm deck. Combined with cards that fill your board quickly, such as Arachas Nest, it can generate a lot of value.
Sarah and Johnny synergize very well with this Seasonal Mode and if uncontested, they generate great value. This Godling duo is a good way of fulfilling the 13 unit deck-building limit.
Devil's Puffball is sick. It removes any unit on demand, with the added possibility of making use of its Deathblow and clearing multiple units. Combined with Poison cards in Scoia'tael and Niflgaard, this card can wreak havoc.
These cards are very common, as they present cheap and effective removal options. You can answer your opponent's engines immediately with any of them.
If you encounter too many annoying weather effects, simply throw in a copy of Thaw. While Ragh Nar Rook can be absolutely devastating in a long round, it also gets countered by this innocent little 5 provision card.
Nilfgaard (NG) is the best faction in this Seasonal Mode thanks to the sheer power of Assimilate. NG decks can be tuned to thin quite well, effectively making them the most consistent on the field. You can farm the "Imperium" contract to trigger Assimilate abilities 1000 times quickly, resulting in 7 reward points. Imperial Diviners help you with the Purify contract and Devil's Puffball combined with Fangs of the Empire help you with the Poison contract.
Our leader of choice will naturally be Anna Henrietta. Despite the fact that you will be playing an Assimilate deck with plenty of engines, you prefer a short round where you can make good use of Anna's explosive leader ability. This means that you should look to secure Round 1 and bleed your opponent in Round 2, often resulting in a 2-0.
Anna should be used whenever you play a unit, preferably an Assimilate one, as you can then pull a powerful spell from your opponent's hand and cast it twice, which double-procs all your Assimilate units, on top of granting you valuable information. The best time to use Anna is generally when your opponent has 3-5 cards left in their hand.
This is your Assimilate core, allowing you to win almost every game due to the ridiculous amount of points they are capable of generating, while also completing the Assimilate-related contract very fast.
Menno Coehoorn is a great card due to his ability to tutor a Tactic card. Decree, Bribery, Imperial Diplomacy or even Tourney Joust are all extremely effective cards, presenting more engines or answers, not to mention that they trigger all of your Assimilate cards in the process.
Two copies of each of these three amazing Tactic cards should be a part of every NG deck in this Seasonal Mode. On top of providing amazing value and triggering your Assimilate cards, you can create answers to otherwise unsolvable situations. Decree should also be mentioned, despite being a Neutral card. It is also a Tactic card and just like any of the three, it can be tutored by Menno.
Faction-specific Runestones are perfect in this Seasonal. Dazhbog Runestone has the added benefit of not only triggering all of your Assimilates twice, but also being able to create more Assimilate units itself.
Fangs of the Empire can be deadly when combined with Devil's Puffball, allowing you to potentially destroy up to 3 adjacent units in 2 turns. They help you with the Poison contract, which is otherwise difficult to advance.
The basic idea behind this deck is to complete the Anna Henrietta Mastery and Assimilate contracts, while advancing the Poison contract. You got 6 Tactics for Menno in this deck, meaning that you will always have a target. Uma nad Triss are the powerhouse inclusions. Informants help you with Assimilate while being very useful when enabling Devil's Puffball.
Alzur's Double-Cross pulls 4 power Assimilates. Bribery and Imperial Diplomacy trigger your Assimilates, while creating more engines or answers. Tourney Joust is often used as cheap removal option, but can sometimes be used defensively. Roderick is included to significantly improve your consistency. Scepter of Storms often helps with enabling Devil's Puffball, or forces opponents out of the round. Peter can deal with an overgrown engine.
Dazhbog Runestone works nicely with your Assimilates. Artorius Vigo always creates Fangs of the Empire, Imperial Diviner or Ducal Guard. On top of being an engine, he empowers your Poison strategy and can unlock an engine if you spawn Imperial Diviner. Devil's Puffball and Fangs of the Empire represent your key tall removal options. Remember that you can set up Puffball's 2 damage Deathblow with Scepter's Rain and Frost.
Scoia'tael (ST) relies on Francesca Findabair exclusively in this Seasonal Mode. The most beautiful woman of the Witcher universe can surely do a lot of work, allowing you to recast powerful spells like Uma or Garrison twice. While we will share a Shupe deck later on, you can take a different approach with Fauve and Water of Brokilon, which farms the Harmony contract incredibly fast. Omitting Shupe also allows you to include more Poison cards and thus advancing the respective contract.
Similarly to Anna Henrietta, you should ideally be looking for a shorter round in order to get the most value from Francesca's strong leader ability. With that said, if you are playing Aglais, all you care about is having the last say for the 42 point finisher with Garrison, so you don't always have to push Round 2.
Fauve and Water of Brokilon is a great opening combo. You get 5 units and 18 points on the board in one turn, on top of setting up Harmony. This is the ideal replacement for Shupe if you want to farm the Harmony contract.
When you manage to secure the last say, Aglais can be a game-winning finisher. Coupled with Francesca casting Garrison twice, she plays for 42 value.
Morana Runestone spawns two ST units in one turn. While you can have a few bad pulls, there is a decent amount of engines or utility cards to potentially create.
It seems like Sage was created for this Seasonal Mode. Getting boosted by 4 points each time you cast a special is ridiculous, right? The problem is that they never stick. And when they do, it is because your opponent plans to use tall removal instead of just killing them right away.
Farseer often plays for 6 points thanks to the amount of special cards in your deck. On top of that, it is one of the very few cards left in Gwent that can help you progress the forgotten Reveal contract.
Unlike Anna Henrietta Assimilate deck, this one doesn't rely on its Bronze cards. The vast majority of bronzes in this list are mulligan fodder. Instead, we count on a couple of potent plays in Shupe and Aglais. Land of a Thousand Fables is necessary for such a strategy, as it pulls Shupe or Garrison, which significantly improves the consistency. Uma and Triss are the most common inclusions, both cards are too powerful to ignore. Scepter of Storms serves as a Ragh Nar Roog, forcing the opponent out of the round and granting you the last say. Isengrim's Council greatly increases the odds of drawing all of your desired combo pieces.
Garrison is a 20 point play on its own, but also offers you a ridiculous finisher with Francesca when used on Aglais. Lacerate is a threatening card which you can recast with Francesca, also synergizing with Scepter's weather, as it forces the opponent to stack one row. Devil's Puffball is yet another Francesca target, with the added benefit of nice synergy with Poison Dryads. Thaw is included in this list since winning Round 1 is crucial because of Aglais. You can't get forced out of the round by weather. Shackles and Moon Dust serve as crucial removal.
Monsters (MO) have a few really good cards at their disposal in this Seasonal Mode. While you can see some other leaders from time to time, Arachas Queen is the most prevalent one. Her ability to spawn three units synergizes nicely with Zoltan: Scoundrel and Bone Talisman. Unfortunately, you can't really advance any specific contracts effectively with this faction, other than finishing your Arachas mastery.
Arachas decks can do very well in a longer round thanks to the swarm potential. With that said, weather can be a pain in the ass when you opt for such an approach, so definitely consider throwing in at least one copy of Thaw.
Whispess: Tribute is the bread and butter of every MO deck in this Seasonal. Casting any Organic card twice is incredibly good. Manticore Venom can play for 18 points while removing multiple engines. Lacerate can nuke the whole board, Parasite and Feast are solid removal/buff. Predatory Dive is your back-up. Arachas Nest enables Bone Talismans and Zoltan: Scoundrel.
These are your Organic cards that can be tutored by Whispess: Tribute. Manticore Venom and Lacerate should also be mentioned, as both of them are Neutral Organic cards.
Zoltan: Scoundrel is the main win condition of this deck, often finding 36 value on your side of the board. Alternatively, he can be utilized as an empowered Lacerate to punish your opponent for stacking a row. Uma, Aguara: True Form and Triss: Telekinesis are very powerful cards. Whispess is the MVP of this deck, being able to tutor your Manticore Venom, Lacerate, Parasite, Hideous Feast, Predatory Dive and Arachas Nest. Make sure you don't block the Ranged row with Arachas Nest, as your casters are row-locked into Ranged.
Alzur's Double-Cross pulls two Immune Werewolves, which is a potent opener. Prince Villem has very good pulls, just be careful not to use him too early into the round when you have Manticore Venom or Zoltan: Scoundrel in the deck. Bronze units are mostly mulligan fodder. Your goal is to force your opponent's Lacerate earlier than necessary, which is relatively simple with the amount of swarm this deck provides. All you need is one Arachas Nest, meaning 4 units. Combined with 3 leader charges and Zoltan: Scoundrel, you already developed 8 units in 2 turns, which results in a very respectable 40 point-swing finisher.
Northern Realms (NR) found their place in this Seasonal Mode, despite being known as the engine-based faction. You can pull off quite a few fancy combinations with their faction-specific cards. Similarly to Monsters, NR can't really farm contracts as effectively as Nilfgaard or Scoia'tael, perhaps with the exception of the Vitality contract. But hey, you could always go for the otherwise nearly impossible Queen Calanthe mastery!
The Lioness of Cintra is the natural choice, thanks to her ability to combo a unit with two spells (and vice-versa). You can use her to set up a large board yourself, or to cast an impactful spell which clears your opponents board, combined with Hubert. Calanthe is a very flexible leader and can adapt to any round length.
Despite not being featured in our recommended decklist, this combo can guarantee you the win in a long round. You can cast Sabrina's Inferno up to 4 times with Calanthe, which clears your opponent's board and then you drop a massive Hubert Rejk. The downside is that the combo is often too situational to pull off.
Keira Metz is absolutely magnificent in this Seasonal. She can tutor some quite powerful spells, making her one of the most impactful NR cards.
Knighthood plays for 12 points, but the value can be doubled if Tridam Infantry is the only unit on the row. This card can protect your engines and with the added combo value possibility, it is simply too good to ignore.
Reinforcements are a neat way of swarming the board, especially when combined with Queen Adalia. On top of playing for a respectable amount of points, some of your engines can stick and then take control over the board.
Zoria Runestone can create good cards. Your Seasonal deck will always include engines due to the 13 unit limit. Potentially creating two additional engines in one turn with Runestone can be threatening.
While being a cheap filler card, Runeword can protect two engines, or combo with your Tridam Infantry. It also slowly advances the Vitality contract.
First and foremost, let's go through all the possible ways of utilizing Calanthe, as she isn't a very popular leader. You can play Tridam Infantry and then use Calanthe on Knighthood, which results in up to 27 value. The other option is to swarm the board, using Queen Adalia on an engine and then Calanthe to cast Reinforcements twice. Empowering Zoltan: Scoundrel finisher is a possibility, simply cast Reinforcements or Zoria Runestone with Calanthe and drop Zoltan.
Keira Metz can tutor Alzur's Double-Cross into 2x Kaedweni Knight, which is a great 18 point play with 3 thinning. She can also pull Uma's Curse, Merigold's Hailstorm and Runeword. Another optimal target you could consider adding to the deck is Necromancy. Moon Dust and Shackles are cheap removal options.
Keep in mind that if you struggle with weather, one of the 5 provision specials can always be replaced with Thaw. Tridam Infantry synergizes with Knighthood, Kaedweni Sergeant and Runeword. Arbalests and Revenants make a great pair, especially if you swarm the board with the help of Queen Adalia and Calanthe.