Gwent Meta Report #10

Welcome to the update of our 10th meta report,

Thanks to your continuous support, we have been releasing meta reports for nearly 9 months now. This is the 10th report and we can't thank you enough for sticking with us. Patch 4.1 didn't introduce any drastic changes, which is a good thing. The meta continues to be healthy and even the best decks have some uncertain matchups.

Syndicate received a few nerfs, but Wild Card is still the deck to beat. Mystic Echo has proven to be a very powerful ability. The three most popular variations of Mystic Echo are Harmony, Dwarves and a Gord deck which includes 12 special cards.

While Monsters can offer a wide variety of decks, Blood Scent is undeniably the best option. Northern Realms still rely on Pincer Maneuver, an ability flexible enough to work with Midrange as well as with engine-overload decks. Nilfgaard plays many versions of Enslave and Skellige is back in full force with Patricidal Fury.

Under each faction, you can find optimized decks, the power rating and a brief summary of their strengths, weaknesses and possible considerations. If you have more questions, feel free to join our Discord server: https://discord.gg/uSUSJZr

See you again when the meta shifts! -Wusubi

Wild Card with Portal

4.5 stars

The Seductive Syndicate is back in full force! The biggest weakness of the Portal deck used to be the inconsistency, not drawing Portal would obviously make the deck a lot worse. With the inclusion of the newly buffed Vivaldi Bank, the deck's most glaring weakness has been taken care of. The deck excels at everything: developing great engines, removing key threats and slamming raw points on the board. While there are no unfavored matchups for this deck, it's very difficult to pilot it correctly so don't expect your opponents to roll over without a fight. -Gravesh

Strengths:

- Wild Card allows you to play 2 cards in 1 turn, ensuring Graden value

- Very healthy mix of proactive and reactive plays, good short rounds with Luiza and Savolla, Portal helps in longer rounds

- Vivaldi Bank is an invaluable tutor card for the Portal version, as it guarantees the Portal or other key cards that you might have missed

 

Weaknesses:

- Syndicate is the hardest faction to play, you need to plan ahead and commit your coins and spenders wisely

- This is considered to be the greedier version of Wild Card, putting even more emphasis on smart mulligans and perfect resource allocation

 

Considerations:

- Ferko, Eavesdrop, Bloody Good Fun →  Adriano, Tax Collector, Dip in the Pontar

 


Wild Card without Portal

4.5 stars

Since the recent nerfs to Savolla and Dire Hound were rather insignificant, Wild Card continues to bully the ladder, beating up most of the meta decks and taking their lunch money. Azar and Madame Luiza somehow managed to avoid changes and as such, the main drawback to Syndicate is that the faction is incredibly challenging to master. The "No Portal" version offers you a lot better control over Round 1 thanks to Professor and more consistent poison. However, without the Seductive package, you can't generate as many points in a long round. -Wusubi

Strengths:

- Adaptable game plan, good short round finisher in Savolla, but also a decent long round, Ferko and Mutated Hounds offer more Poison consistency

- Wild Card allows you to play two cards in one turn, opening up many possible lines of play, most notably Slander into Graden

 

Weaknesses:

- Somewhat vulnerable to being bled, as it takes a while for you to ramp up

- Difficult to pilot, learning how to manage your coins and spenders is crucial

 

Considerations:

- Coerced Blacksmith → 2nd Witch Hunter Executioner

 

Mystic Echo Harmony

4.5 stars

While we have seen various meta shifts over the last few months, Harmony is still one of the finest decks out there. With the long round potential being relatively unchanged, the couple of new additions have proven to be excellent. Particularly Munro and Percival, providing Harmony with more tools to utilize in Round 1. -SpyroZA

Strengths:

- The main reason to play Harmony over Dwarves is that your Fledling engine gets out of removal range quickly and sticks to the board, you also have better consistency thanks to Fauve

- Extremely powerful in long rounds, while still being strong in shorter rounds

 

Weaknesses:

- This deck is mostly proactive with minimal control tools, which makes certain matchups troublesome

 

Considerations:

- Dragoon → Forest Whisperer

 


Mystic Echo Dwarves

4.5 stars

In spite of the nerfs to Dwarves in the Hotfix 4.0.3, they are still powerful in most matchups. The removal of armor from Rowdy Dwarves has ironically empowered the deck, since people have stopped playing cards like Surrender. All of your cards are strong and contribute to the deck's win conditions, meaning it's difficult to draw a poor hand, even if you miss your Justice. -Atrsharpe

Strengths:

- Performs well on either side of the coin, on Blue you can tempo out and pass, while on Red you can often win on even cards

- Novigradian Justice can pull two Mercenaries or two Berserkers, both of which grant you a very strong control tool

- Even without drawing Novigradian Justice, you can hold your own, as you have two more powerful specials

 

Weaknesses:

- While the deck doesn't fall apart without Justice, the card is still crucial in some matchups and missing it can certainly hurt you

- Pincer Maneuver can be a rough opponent, as their engines and/or control tools can stop you from developing a good number of Dwarves, making cards such as Mahakam Guard, Barclay Els and Zoltan Chivay low value

 

Considerations:

- Vrihedd Dragoon → Dryad Enchantress

- Dragoon and 2x Chariot → Ida Emean and 2x Tempering

 


Mystic Echo Gord

4.5 stars

Tired of hammering down your opponents with an army of Dwarfs? Bored of winning by 40 points with Harmony? Worry not, Harald Gord has your back! The recent buff to this card has made it a more solid finisher that synergizes with all the strong spells Scoia'tael has to offer. Try to establish Figgis, Sage and bully the opponent with cards like Justice, Munro and Oak. This archetype represents a fun and viable way to build Scoia'tael. -Gravesh

Strengths:

- Powerful long round (Justice/Munro/Avallac'h) and short round (Harald Gord)

- Consistent, with a variety of ways to utilize your cards

 

Weaknesses:

- Low amount of proactive options can make for awkward situations, especially when both of your Sages get answered

- This deck requires you to have access to every single high provision card and even with the added consistency tools, you can miss out on a key card which might cost you the game

 

Considerations:

- Troubadour → Skirmisher

- Thunder → Moon Dust or Waylay

 

Pincer Maneuver Midrange

4.25 stars

The Midrange-oriented Pincer Maneuver deck is still the best choice for Northern Realms. Packing a ridiculously high amount of removal, the deck has an efficient answer to any threat. Coupled with the powerful leader ability and a solid amount of proactive plays, you can adapt to every matchup and round length. The Portal version has proven to be a bit too highrolly. Getting rid of Portal allows you to play better 4 provision bronzes, while including Mad Kiyan as another strong gold card and Thunderbolt to combo with both Kiyan and Prince Anséis. -Wusubi

Strengths:

- The true strength of this deck lies within its ability to remove any threat, while generating a lot of points on your own side of the board

- You have a decent matchup against the vast majority of the meta

 

Weaknesses:

- Can sometimes struggle with proactivity, especially vs low-unit decks and/or when you don't have the last say

- Draw dependent, as most of your bronze cards are mulligan fodder

 

Considerations:

- Betsy → Korathi Heatwave

- Cursed Knight → Pellar

- Missile → Moon Dust

 


Pincer Maneuver Engines

4 stars

Originally tailored by Xiwer, this deck is different from its predecessors. Instead of wasting the provisions on Portal, it focuses on quality over quantity with strong gold cards like Vysogota, Dandelion and Anna. These threats aim to generate huge value over time, while keeping your other engines alive. The main benefit of this playstyle is that if one of your gold engines sticks, your other engines will stick too, usually resulting in a victory. -SpyroZA

Strengths:

- Absurd value over time, crushing any proactive deck

- It can be difficult to answer all of your threats and some of your engines help with keeping the following engines alive and thus one unanswered gold engine often results in you snowballing the round

 

Weaknesses:

- Somewhat vulnerable to being bled, especially if you lose Round 1 after dragging it out for too long

- You can get shut down by control-oriented decks like Nilfgaard's Enslave or any version of Wild Card Syndicate

 

Considerations:

- Philippa, Nenneke, Vysogota → Vernon Roche, Hen Gaidth Sword, Hubert

 


Inspired Zeal Draug

3.75 stars

The introduction of Iron Judgment gave us multiple options to improve the Blue Stripes package. Redanian Archer is a potent threat, especially under the protection of Radovid's Royal Guards, who can also protect your Commando. This list runs a copy of Pellar, mostly to deal with Defenders or with any negative status like Poison. Aside from that, you can rely on strong gold cards such as Bloody Baron to counter the boost meta or Philippa: Blind Fury to answer multiple engines at once. -Andasama

Strengths:

- Massive tempo plays

- Good in both long and short rounds, giving you the choice of bleeding the opponent in Round 2 if you won Round 1, since you can win a short Round 3 even a card down thanks to Commando's

 

Weaknesses:

- It's a combo deck, which makes it fairly draw dependent and forces you to run expensive tutor cards

 

Considerations:

- Sabrina →  Vincent Meis

Blood Scent

4.25 stars

Combining the Vampire package with big boys has been a well-known, albeit an underwhelming archetype in the previous patch. The Iron Judgment update has undoubtedly pushed this deck to the next level. With some of the new Bleeding cards, you have the possibility of utilizing Portal into Garkains as an extremely strong win condition. Although initially introduced as a tournament line-up speciality, this deck can be successful on ladder if there isn't too much tall punishment. -Thekeyer

Strengths:

- Monsters usually have no trouble with winning Round 1, allowing you to bully the opponent in Round 2

- Powerful win cons in Orianna, Portal into Garkains and the big boy package

 

Weaknesses:

- Low amount of removal, while being vulnerable to any form of tall removal

- Having only two targets for Portal makes your mulligans weird, especially because the deck plays weak special cards to accommodate Portal

 

Considerations:

- Cave Troll → Protofleder

- Double-Cross, Thunder, Alp → Whispess: Tribute, Parasite, Feast of Blood

 


Arachas Swarm

3.75 stars

After the recent update, Arachas Swarm is stronger than ever. Unlike your conventional Monster deck, the swarm archetype plays wide rather than tall, giving you a great matchup against Syndicate and Nilfgaard. The list tries to maximize the value of powerful cards like Yennefer and Bone Talisman. It also boasts a lot of control tools, which is really strong in combination with the insane amount of points you can generate. Manticore Venom helps you with Northern Realms and Scoia'tael, whereas Geralt of Rivia shines against the other factions. Yennefer can potentially boost enemy units into Geralt range. -Green-Knight

Strengths:

- If left unchecked, this deck has a huge amount of points in a long round, while having an explosive short round with the leader ability

- Very flexible, you don't need a long Round 3, nor do you have to force Round 1, as most decks can't bleed you out of all win cons

 

Weaknesses:

- Cards that punish you for going wide, Lambert: Swordmaster, Surrender etc.

 

Considerations:

- Dandelion, Queen of the Night and Feast → Renew, Pellar and 2nd Larva

- Geralt of Rivia and Endrega Larva → Geralt: Yrden and 2nd Endrega Eggs

 


Death's Shadow

3.75 stars

With a more settled meta, Deathwish has found it's place as a solid middle of the pack deck that can perform well against some of the popular decks (Mystic Echo Dwarfs and Midrange Pincer Maneuver) and is weak vs Syndicate and Harmony. The specialty of this deck is pressuring with the threat of Miruna and Manticore, making it hard for your opponent to establish a board. Keltullis can burn away most of the enemy units, but be careful when playing with fire or you might just burn yourself. -Gravesh

Strengths:

- This deck slams points like there is no tomorrow, allowing you to bully the opponent out of Round 1 and then proceed to bleed them

- Three-round leader: Death's Shadow can easily outvalue the other leaders

- Miruna and Manticore (combined with Caranthir) ask a lot of questions and often make it difficult for your opponent to play around both

 

Weaknesses:

- Tall removal, you are also prone to having a weird balance of Deathwish and consume units in your hand

- You have no control outside of Manticore and Miruna and so greedy cards like Damien will find value against you

 

Considerations:

- Runestone → Drowner OR Alzur's Thunder

 


Carapace

3.5 stars

The low-unit Carapace deck abuses its ability to play non-interactively and can be very dangerous in a long round thanks to Keltullis. The inclusion of Villen, who can be protected with Carapace and Thunderbolt, gives you a very good way to force the opponent out of Round 1. Keltullis and Villen are also great in Round 2 when your opponent tries to bleed you, potentially granting you card advantage. Yghern offers you a lot of reach on Red coin and tempo on Blue coin, while making your Ozzrel a huge 14 point finisher. -Pajabol

Strengths:

- With Yghern and Carapace, you have a very high reach on Red coin

- Being a low-unit friend allows you to play non-interactively for a couple of turns, effectively bricking your opponent's damage cards

- Keltullis can single-handedly win games and you have many different ways of supporting her with Strays of Spalla, Pellar and Renew

 

Weaknesses:

- Very difficult to pilot and you can get countered by tall removal and cards like Korathi Heatwave, banishing your crucial Renew targets into the shadow realm

- It's pretty easy to lose on even cards on Blue coin, especially if you miss Yghern, the deck is very dependent on finding Keltullis

 

Considerations:

- Pellar → Harpy Egg

 

Enslave [5] Midrange

4 stars

Avallac'h and Lambert: Swordmaster, two powerful high provision Neutral cards have crept their way into the meta, suddenly making Midrange decks very attractive. Originally pioneered by wangid1 and recently optimized by Ern16, this deck utilizes the above-named tools, along with what could be considered as the best cards Nilfgaard can offer. Very much like Pincer Maneuver Midrange, there is no priority on any synergizing card packages, which grants you the flexibility to freely commit your resources if you have to. -Gravesh

Strengths:

- The nature of this deck allows you to play into every round length, punish your opponent's game plan and manipulate them into unfavorable trades

- Flexible triple tall punishment in Leo who synergizes with Nilfgaardian Knights, Yennefer who can often play for carry-over and Vilgefortz who can be played for soft-mill in Rounds 1 and 2

 

Weaknesses:

- Syndicate is a bad matchup due to the high amount of good Bounty targets

- You lack the value of insane engines (i.e. Novigradian Justice) and high-impact control cards (i.e. Falibor) so you have to try and squeeze out every possible point

 

Considerations:

- Triss: Telekinesis or Ffion var Gaernel as a replacement for Leo Bonhart

 


Enslave [5] Assimilate

4 stars

With Damien and Stefan being considered as the Nilfgaard standard, most decks have adapted to it and include the necessary answers, along with Purify for Ffion. Switching to Triss and Avallac'h was the natural development. They both synergize with Assimilate, while providing respectable value on their own. Unfortunately, this deck still relies on getting decent value from the Create cards. Combined with the fact that it's relatively draw dependent, the deck can certainly be a double-edged sword. -Wusubi

Strengths:

- Decent in long rounds thanks to a healthy balance of engines and control tools

- The deck can generate a massive amount of points if its engines go unchecked

 

Weaknesses:

- Somewhat draw dependent and susceptible to lowrolling on the Create cards

- You might struggle against decks that can reliably answer your crucial engines

 

Considerations:

- Ffion var Gaernel → Lambert: Swordmaster


Enslave [6] Hyperpile

3.75 stars

Hyperthin gets a bad rap due to its relatively highrolly nature, but with proper play you can minimize the dice rolls. The general game plan is winning Round 1 with your tempo and then playing deep into Round 2. This allows you to shorten Round 3 and thin your deck to get reliable reveals on Tibor Eggebracht or Imperial Golem. -Hippo

Strengths:

- High tempo in Round 1 with Artorius and Vendendal Elites

- One of the strongest short rounds in the game, you also don't play any engines or Purify targets, which can make some of the opponent's cards underwhelming

 

Weaknesses:

- Susceptible to all forms of tall removal

 

Considerations:

- Sweers → Hefty Helge

- Sweers, Assassination → Bribery, Imperial Diviner to have a way of dealing with Defenders besides leader ability and Triss

 

 

Patricidal Fury

3.75 stars

Patricidal Fury outshines Second Wind thanks to its ability to utilize threatening gold cards such as Madman Lugos, Svanrige and Champion's Charge. Additionally, Arnjolf has a great synergy with An Craite Greatsword and Hemdall, which grants the deck the necessary firepower. You can also take advantage of the meta Neutral cards in Avallac'h and Lambert, further synergizing with Greatsword. Very much like the Skellige decks of the past, you are more than capable to pressure your opponent out of Round 1. This allows you to play very aggressively on Red coin, potentially winning on even cards. -Green-Knight

Strengths:

- Flexible game plan with many different tools ranging from pointslam pressure and proactive finishers to efficient removal tools, tall punishment and one of the strongest bronze cores in the meta

- Unlike Second Wind, you don't need to develop the graveyard, allowing you to preserve your resources and pass if your hand isn't good enough to win Round 1

 

Weaknesses:

- Like most Skellige decks, you sadly play into tall removal, making the Syndicate matchup difficult in general, Pincer Maneuver Engines is another hard matchup

- Draw dependent to an extent, you can also lack proactivity in rare cases where you played all of your ships and don't have access to Houndsnout, Totem or Triss

 

Considerations:

- Lambert: Swordmaster, Ermion and Mardroeme

 


Second Wind
3.5 stars

Skellige hasn't seen a lot of love recently. Patch 4.1 has brought some buffs to the Bloodthirst archetype, but sadly no new tools for the middling Armor archetype. With control tools creeping back into the meta, setting up Priests and Drakkars gets more and more difficult. If your engines do stick however, you will generate a lot of points with your cards playing well above the curve. The short round power is nothing to scoff at either, as you can oftentimes win a short Round 3 even a card down thanks to Sigrdrifa's Rite and Second Wind. -Hippo

Strengths:

- Morkvarg and Gremist are effective answers to the popular threats

- Versatile enough to play out each round for as long as necessary vs any deck

 

Weaknesses:

- Relies on finding Svalblod Priest in Round 1

- You need round control, not only because you get outvalued in a long Round 3 against the majority of the meta, but also because you have to establish a decent graveyard for Second Wind

 

Considerations:

- Olaf, Hjalmar an Craite, Covenant of Steel and Sigrdrifa's Rite

 

Editing: Wusubi

Writers: Andasama, Atrsharpe, Gravesh, Green-Knight, Hippo, Pajabol, SpyroZA and Thekeyer

Consultants: Aifbowman, Alessio1996, BeardyBog and McP0yle


For the tier friends

 

Tier 1: Wild Card with and without Portal, Mystic Echo Harmony, Dwarves and Gord

Tier 2: Blood Scent, Pincer Maneuver Midrange and Engines, Enslave [5] Assimilate and Midrange

Tier 3: Enslave [6] Hyperpile, Patricidal Fury, Arachas Swarm, Death's Shadow, Inspired Zeal, Second Wind and Carapace


Last update on 1st of December

  • Multiple changes to star ratings and tiers
  • Added Enslave [6] Hyperpile to Nilfgaard at 3.75 stars
  • Updated decklists and write-ups for Pincer Maneuver Engines and Enslave [5] Midrange

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