Gwent Meta Report #11

Welcome to the update of our 11th meta report,

The Radeyah infestation of the pro rank continues. Pincer Maneuver Siege is the most popular deck for Northern Realms. After a long time, Scoia'tael has more toys to play with than just Mystic Echo. The new expensive Elf cards made for a nice Call of Harmony deck. Precision Strike is still fairly prevalent. You probably noticed the recent rise of Usurper, as Lockdown is the only reasonable answer Nilfgaard could come up with in this greedy meta.

Skellige is somewhat competitive with their Gedyneith finisher. Syndicate took a massive hit, but managed to come back with two different versions of Wild Card. After unfruitful experimentation with Death's Shadow, Monsters have settled for Blood Scent Vampires without Portal and a consume-based Fruits of Ysgith deck.

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

Mystic Echo

4.75 stars

We got a new expansion and the meta has shifted, yet Harmony is the best deck in Gwent again. While we have seen multiple nerfs to Dwarfs and Gord, the mossy girlfriends dodged the nerf hammer. The Etriel/Muirlega duo and Trained Hawk have proven to be great additions to the already incredible Harmony core. -Yangtse42

Strengths:

- Very consistent with Fauve and Call of the Forest

- Threatening in a long round, but still brings a lot of points in a short round with Mystic Echo and Water of Brokilon

 

Weaknesses:

- Harmony is the most hated and targeted deck on the ladder and every Igni friend is happy to play against it

- With a limited amount of control tools, you can sometimes struggle against engine-heavy decks like Mobilization Siege

 

Considerations:

- Ida, Ciaran, Half-Elf Hunter and Nature's Rebuke

- Figgis, Vrihedd Officer → Isengrim's Council, Miner

 


Call of Harmony

4.5 stars

Ultimately surfacing as the superior leader for the resurrected Elf archetype, this interesting Dana hybrid is quickly gaining on popularity. The main appeal of the deck is being able to activate both Chapters of the Scenario in 1 turn. You can achieve this by playing Radeyah and keeping the Aen Seidhe Sabre, then playing Feign Death and another Elf with leader, while activating the Sabre. Other than that, the deck relies on mild Harmony synergies, some Poison and the solid Etriel/Muirlega duo. -Thekeyer and Wusubi

Strengths:

- Gigantic amount of points in just a few cards thanks to the scary Elf package

- Flexible game plan, strong long Round 3 with the Harmony cards and Elves, great shorter round with leader ability

 

Weaknesses:

- Radeyah is pretty crucial, you'll miss out on a lot of points if you don't find her

- Despite being incredibly good, the Elf package can be a double-edged sword, you don't have good control over Round 1 because of focusing so much power into a few expensive combo cards, moreover tech cards like Lambert can hurt

 

Considerations:

- Etriel and Muirlega → Avallac'h, Blue Mountain Elite

- Etriel, Muirlega and Trap → Justice, Dwarf Berserker and Blue Mountain Elite

 


Precision Strike

4 stars

The Merchants of Ofir expansion has introduced an interesting rework to Precision Strike. Its number of pings was reduced to 3, but the last ping spawns a Brokilon Sentinel that pulls the other two copies from your deck, making it a 11-point leader ability. You can use your pings to set-up Geralt: Igni or finish off any crucial threat, while improving The Great Oak in short rounds. Combined with Vernossiel and the Etriel/Muirlega duo, you have a very strong deck, finally providing Scoia'tael with a viable alternative to Mystic Echo. -Pajabol

Strengths:

- Very good long round potential and you can win Round 1 consistently with the extra tempo from Aelirenn

- Precision Strike can set-up Geralt: Igni and other removal cards efficiently and can also be used to thin your deck in Round 2, or improve The Great Oak value in a short Round 3

 

Weaknesses:

- Having 3 mulligan fodder cards in Brokilon Sentinels and Aelirenn can often result in a weird hand on Red coin

- You can struggle against decks that have a lot of removal and the potential to kill most of your Elves, such as Northern Realms with Siege

 

Considerations:

- Feign Death, Professional, Avallac'h, Schirrú with Saboteurs, Milaen and Ida

 

Pincer Maneuver Siege

4.5 stars

Since Northern Realms got blessed with arguably the most powerful Scenario of the expansion, why would we not put it into the arguably strongest deck the faction has to offer? Built around Siege, this Midrange version combines the usual high-impact cards with the lower provision bracket focused around Siege Engines. The Pincer Maneuver ability compared to Mobilization has multiple advantages: extra flexibility, being less susceptible to a bleed and also more efficient in a short round. Siege away! -Gravesh

Strengths:

- With Matta and leader, your consistency is just amazing

- Due to the healthy mix of control and proactive options, the deck will thrive in long and short rounds alike

 

Weaknesses:

- 90% of your power is stored in the top 7 cards of your deck, miss 1 or 2 of them and the deck suddenly becomes considerably weaker

- Since a half of the deck is built around Siege, you're somewhat vulnerable to getting the Scenario forced out of you in Round 2 and missing a lot of value

 

Considerations:

- Prince Stennis, Vissegerd, War Chariot, Piercing Missile and Bomb Heaver

 


Pincer Maneuver Midrange

4.25 stars

The new expansion brought several toys for NR to play with, most importantly Radeyah. Sitting at only 10 provisions, the card is incredibly powerful especially when combined with Prince Anséis. Vincent Meis into Hen Gaidth Sword is a very powerful combo, especially when used on the opposing Radeyah. Despite the fact that your bronze package looks considerably worse than it used to, Radeyah alone makes it so that the deck packs quite the punch, possibly now more than ever. -Minuano

Strengths:

- A jack of all trades, you hardly have any unfavored matchups within the meta

- Packs a myriad of control options,  shutting down any engine-based strategy

- The fancy combination of Radeyah and Prince Anséis generates an ungodly amount of points in one turn

 

Weaknesses:

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

- You have to run a lot of cheap bronzes in order to fit in the high-end golds, making the deck draw dependent

 

Considerations:

- Pellar → Cursed Knight

- Burning Oil, Siege Ladder

 


Mobilization

4 stars

Other than shaking up the meta, the expansion also brought back some long-forgotten leaders. In this case it's the absolute chad himself, good old King Henselt, or Mobilization if you insist. The new Siege Scenario works perfectly with this leader ability, allowing you to spawn three Siege Engines in one turn (2x Trebuchet and a Battering Ram). You can build the deck around cheap and powerful pay-off cards like Bombardment and Trollololo, while rocking the amazing trio of Falibor, Philippa and Bloody Baron. -Andasama and Wusubi

Strengths:

- A strong combination of Siege Engines and high-end removal with a healthy amount of proactivity makes for a scary long round

- Your bronze cards can achieve a lot more value than usual, allowing you to expend a considerable amount of gold cards to win Round 1

 

Weaknesses:

- Decks with enough control that can also bleed you effectively are a nuisance

- Your game plan is telegraphed and so if you lose Round 1, a good amount of meta decks can bleed you and force out Siege or even Mobilization in Round 2

 

Considerations:

- Avallac'h, Vissegerd, Knighthood and 2x Siege Tower

Imperial Formation

4.25 stars

It has been a couple of months since something else than Enslave made its way into our Meta Report. Luckily, the Merchants of Ofir expansion has breathed some much-needed fresh air into the ranks of Nilfgaard. Enriched with some of the new high value cards like Radeyah, Maraal and Cupbearer, Imperial Formation is a greedy approach to the faction that makes use of its leader charges to protect cards like Damien and Stefan. While your leader ability isn't as strong as Enslave, it comes without a deck-building restriction, allowing you to abuse Radeyah. -Gravesh

Strengths:

- Flexible leader enables you to play any round length of choice and drop your crucial cards when necessary

- More deckbuilding freedom with a higher power ceiling than Enslave if you get value from Damien and Stefan

 

Weaknesses:

- Arguably more difficult to play than Enslave, because a lot of your resources don't give any upfront value and have to be timed correctly

- Investing so many provisions into the greedy Damien and Stefan means that you lose out on a tremendous amount of value if they get answered

 

Considerations:

- Diviner → Nilfgaardian Knight or Bomb Heaver

 


Lockdown

4 stars

About 20 days into the season, seemingly everyone has decided that their best shot at winning is to just build their deck in the greediest way possible. As a control faction at heart, Nilfgaard falls short in keeping pace with the greed, especially against Scoia'tael and Northern Realms with their leaders who play 2 cards in 1 turn. Lockdown is the last resort and it has turned out to be surprisingly effective. Since the best decks in the meta are combo-based and very reliant on leader abilities, Usurper can certainly be annoying to deal with. -Minuano

Strengths:

- Thanks to Lockdown, you can safely run artifact removal and actually punish people for playing Scenarios

- Disabling the opposing leader doesn't come without a cost, but is certainly worth it against the likes of Mystic Echo, Pincer Maneuver and Second Wind

- A healthy mix of high value cards that help with the Scoia'tael matchup and some tall punishment in the form of Poison and Yennefer's Invocation makes you well-equipped against the meta

 

Weaknesses:

- With only 10 bonus provisions, your low-end cards will inevitably look worse than usual, as you have to make room for the high-end cards

- Due to the lower amount of resources available, drawing poorly on Blue coin might result in you losing the round on even cards

- Ironically enough, this deck doesn't pack as much control as let's say Enslave, which means that you can potentially struggle against the opposing engines

 

Considerations:

- Vilgefortz, Assassination and Alba Armored Cavalry

 


Enslave [5] Control

3.75 stars

As far as Nilfgaard's leader abilites are concerned, Enslave is still a force to be reckoned with. The Tactics package is just good enough alongside of Hefty Helge and with the new additions in Vincent, Maraal and Cupbearer, you can deal with pretty much any threat. Other than the Poison package being strong, Hunting Pack is a decent addition. Coupled with Royal Decree, you thin nicely without losing out on too much power. -Andasama and Wusubi

Strengths:

- Unanswered Hefty Helge and a couple of Tactics can easily win you the round

- The empowered Poison package and Vincent can answer multiple threats

 

Weaknesses:

- Just like Wild Card Midrange, you're great at punishing people for going tall, but can struggle against decks that swarm a lot like Scoia'tael

- Despite packing a fair amount of proactive options, the deck is still control-oriented and can get punished by any kind of no-unit degeneracy

 

Considerations:

- Decree, Sweers, Battle Prep → Ffion, War Council, Assassination

 


Strategic Withdrawal

3.5 stars

Since the expansion has brought an unhealthy number of ways to apply Poison, the very first impulse was to utilize Strategic Withdrawal for even more Poison. The deck ran rampart for the first few days, but now that the meta has been brought to a more stable state, many have opted for better and more flexible Nilfgaard decks. With that said, this list continues to be a nuisance, as Masquerade Ball can generate a respectable amount of points. -Minuano

Strengths:

- Being the definition of a tall punish deck, you shine at shutting down the more linear factions in Skellige and Monsters

- Strategic Withdrawal allows you to either play both Aristocrats in the same turn to progress both Chapters of the Scenario, or simply replay a Poison card and immediately deal with any threat

 

Weaknesses:

- More vulnerable to being bled than Enslave and Imperial Formation, quickly falls apart if your core pieces like Masquerade Ball get forced out

- While you thrive against decks with multiple tall units, you're quite helpless against decks that go wide or spawn multiple engines in one turn

- The deck doesn't inherently generate too many points outside of the humble Assimilate package or Thirsty Dame and rather focuses on shutting down the opponent's strategy, which means that you can struggle with both proactivity and having enough points on your own side of the board

 

Considerations:

- Why Poison people when you can Enslave them?

 

Wild Card Midrange

4 stars

Syndicate has suffered greatly from the last patch, with the nerfs not only to Azar and Executioner, but also to their Portal target in Sly Seductress. However, Wild Card can still offer a large amount of points and a variety of removal. Between the high amount of Poison, Philippa, Graden, Moreelse and Ewald, the deck provides you with a plenty of control over the board state. The recent inclusion of Alzur's Double-Cross adds crucial consistency. -Alessio1996

Strengths:

- Wild Card →  Slander →  Graden is an amazing combo, with the flexibility to remove a scary engine or a tall unit

- Luiza, Savolla and Dire-Mutated Hound help the deck a lot during the bleed, but also represent strong plays in a shorter round

- The Poison core makes for an extremely powerful Round 1 on Red coin and helps with removing threats without having to commit your leader or a large amount of coins

 

Weaknesses:

- The deck is good at handling tall units, but struggles with Swarm strategies and Mystic Echo Harmony

- Round 1 on Blue coin has always been difficult for Syndicate, so you have to be very careful to not lose your card advantage

 

Considerations:

- Caleb Menge, Blacksmith → Kalkstein, Pickpocket


Wild Card Passiflora

4 stars

The usual Midrange version of Syndicate struggles against Scoia'tael. And thus a greedier deck was built, focused around Passiflora, the new Scenario. It gets you a lot of coins, which you can spend with Sea Jackals, Urchins, or to wipe units from the opponent's side of the board with Ewald Borsodi. The Luiza-Savolla combo grants you a solid short round and the Poison package along with Wild Card and Graden can deal with tall units. -Pajabol

Strengths:

- Very good in a long round with Passiflora

- With the additional coin generation, your control potential with Philippa and Ewald is much better overall

 

Weaknesses:

- Can struggle with proactivity on Blue coin, with the risk to lose on even cards

- You can't activate the Passiflora Chapters immediately, which makes the deck vulnerable to artifact removal, especially when Azar gets answered

 

Considerations:

- Maraal and Caleb Menge → Lambert and Kalkstein

 

Blood Scent

4 stars

Pioneered by Bart933, the Blood Scent deck had no choice but to get rid of Portal after the Garkain nerf. Dandelion is a great replacement, allowing you to play both gold cards from Naglfar in the same round. You can win Round 1 with the bronze package and one of your big boys, followed by a very threatening push in Round 2. Ideally, you get into a favorable short Round 3 with Ozzrel. Orianna continues to be the most impactful card of the deck, providing an insane amount of points with the Bleeding synergy. -Pajabol

Strengths:

- With your potent bronzes and the giants, you should win Round 1 quite easily

- Blood Scent is scary in Round 2, you put immense pressure on the opponent, while still having Ozzrel as your Round 3 finisher

 

Weaknesses:

- Lack of control tools to deal with the opposing engines

- Deck is obviously vulnerable to tall removal and Poison

 

Considerations:

- Toad →  Armored Arachas

- Drowner → Thunder, Natural Selection → Nekker

 


Fruits of Ysgith

3.5 stars

As the meta has developed, so have Monsters and they finally reached a somewhat playable state. The tempo from Fruits of Ysgith combined with the powerful Deathwish units appears to be your best bet to compete on the ladder. Tailored by Redrame, this deck ended up abandoning Golyat and Griffins, focusing more on the Consume package. This minimizes the impact of Poison, which is the most prevalent form of tall removal. Adding the Haunt Scenario is very risky, but a necessary evil if you actually want to reach a respectable power level. -Thekeyer

Strengths:

- With Foglets, Penitent and Matta, you thin well without losing out on tempo

- The additional points from Fruit allow you to abuse carry-over in the form of Enchanted Armor, while still winning the first round

- Thanks to winning Round 1 reliably, you can push the opponent in Round 2 and successfully disrupt most of the common strategies

 

Weaknesses:

- Artifact removal

- Tall removal, but Poison can usually be played around

- No tools to interact with the opponent's side of the board

 

Considerations:

- Lambert →  Avallac'h

- Katakan, Miruna and Nithral

Second Wind Gedyneith

3.5 stars

While Skellige has taken a bit of a backseat as of late, the recent expansion provided them with some new tools to shake things up. With the likes of Crowmother for carry-over as well as the absurd 30+ point finisher in Gedyneith, you have more power to pressure the opponent with in Round 2, on top of one of the best finishers in the game. The one-turn combo is: Gedyneith →  Second Wind →  Ermion →  Freya's Blessing →  Crow Clan Druid. -SpyroZA

Strengths:

- Very powerful bronze core with strong synergies

- Capable of applying a lot of pressure by playing out all three rounds

- The insane 30+ point finisher often allows you to go a card down during the Round 2 bleed and win the short Round 3 regardless

 

Weaknesses:

- Vulnerable to tall punishment such as Poison, which makes Nilfgaard a rough matchup because they can also yoink/interrupt your carry-over and/or finisher

- Draw dependent, you need both Priest and Drakkar in the first two rounds and Gedyneith by Round 3

- The lack of control tools will usually make you struggle in a long Round 3

 

Considerations:

- Stribog Runestone → Crow's-eye Rhizome

 

Editing: Wusubi

Writers: Alessio1996, Andasama, Gravesh, Minuano, Pajabol, SpyroZA, Thekeyer and Yangtse42

Consultants: Gorflow, Green-Knight, Hippo and Saber97


For the tier friends

 

Tier 1: Mystic Echo, Call of Harmony, Pincer Maneuver Siege

Tier 2: Pincer Maneuver Midrange, Imperial Formation, Wild Card Midrange and Passiflora, Lockdown, Precision Strike, Blood Scent, Mobilization

Tier 3: Enslave [5] Control, Strategic Withdrawal, Second Wind, Fruits of Ysgith


Last update on January 8

  • Updated the decklist for Imperial Formation and increased its rating to 4.25 stars
  • Added a gameplay video for Blood Scent

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