Gwent Meta Report #12

Welcome to the update of our 12th meta report,

As the season progresses, we are starting to realize that relying on Radeyah isn't necessarily the best way to build decks. While Scoia'tael dominates the meta and Mystic Echo is regarded as the deck to beat, there are some efficient counters. Northern Realms had no choice but to adapt, evolve and can now overcome the green overlords with the help of Draug.

Nilfgaard utilizes Tactical Decision with Aristocrats and Masquerade Ball, or Imperial Formation with Damien and Stefan. Syndicate still plays Wild Card and Graden, opting for Passiflora or Midrange. Monsters and Skellige continue to fight for the title of the worst faction in the meta. That being said, both factions can offer a somewhat functional deck.

Under each faction, you can find optimized decks, the power rating and a brief summary of their strengths, weaknesses and various considerations. If you have any questions, please join our Discord: https://discord.gg/uSUSJZr

See you again when the meta shifts! -Wusubi

Mystic Echo

4.5 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. This deck has great control over Round 1 thanks to its cheap and strong Poison package. -Yangtse42

Strengths:

- Very consistent with Fauve, Council 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

- With a limited amount of control tools, you can struggle against extremely greedy decks like Masquerade Ball or Kikimore Queen

 

Considerations:

- Smuggler, Trained Hawk → Milva, Dryad's Caress

 


Precision Strike

4.25 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, pulling the other two copies from the deck, making it a 11-point leader ability. You can use your pings to set-up Scorch and to finish off any crucial engine, while improving The Great Oak in short rounds. Poison package helps you with securing Round 1 and can also get rid of tall units in Round 3, enabling Scorch on multiple targets. -Pajabol

Strengths:

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

- Your leader ability sets-up Scorch and other removal, it can also be used to thin Sentinels in Round 2, or to increase The Great Oak value

 

Weaknesses:

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

- While Scorch can find decent value in the majority of matchups, most people will try their best to play around it

 

Considerations:

- Maraal, Sappers, Dragoon, Dol Blathanna Archer


Call of Harmony

4 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, Toruviel and Crushing Trap for row punishment and the solid Etriel/Muirlega duo. -Thekeyer

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:

- Rebuke, Blue Mountain Elite

 

Siege Draug

4.5 stars

As it turns out, playing Draug and Siege in the same deck is a good idea. On paper, it seemed like there is a conflict between balancing out the sufficient amount of Humans and Siege Engines, but in reality everything fits perfectly. Adalia and Reinforcements make the deck functional. We gave up on the Radeyah-Anséis combo, because we feel like doubling-up your valuable bronzes such as Caravan Vanguard or Carroballista is the better approach. -Gravesh

Strengths:

- Both Siege and Draug can win rounds on their own, which makes this deck very strong in Rounds 2 and 3

- You have a good matchup against the most prominent decks of the meta, such as Mystic Echo Harmony and Masquerade Ball Nilfgaard

 

Weaknesses:

- On Blue coin, the opponent can out-tempo you before you're able to pass, leaving you in awkward situations where you might be forced to commit a high-end gold card

 

Considerations:

- Avallac'h, Vincent Meis, Coodcoodak, Siege Ladder

- You can always try the greedier Radeyah version

 


Draug Radeyah

4.25 stars

Over the course of the last season, Draug managed to outperform the other variations of Pincer Maneuver, be it Siege or Midrange. You might be asking why is this style of a deck popular again. The simple answer is that it was made more legitimate thanks to Matta who improves consistency and Radeyah who enables the game-winning combo with Prince Anséis. The inclusion of Draug allows you to play a lot of 4 provision humans, which results in having a menacing selection of gold cards. -Green-Knight

Strengths:

- You still operate within a Midrange core of NR, granting you an incredibly explosive short round and making you fairly resistant to being bled

- The combination of multiple wide/tall removal options and the long round potential of Draug and Sabrina is a scary prospect even for Scoia'tael

 

Weaknesses:

- Igni, Lambert: Swordmaster, random Row punishment

 

Considerations:

- Vincent → Coodcoodak

- If you grow tired of Adalia, you can try this wholesome Gascon version

 


Pincer Siege

4.25 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:

- 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:

- Siege Ladder → Sergeant

 


Mobilization Siege Shupe

4 stars

Since Draug decks are susceptible to row punishment, some players prefer a different approach. You still have the Siege win condition, but omitting Draug allows you to play a more control-based style, including Shupe, Radeyah and the usual NR golds. Having such a greedy top-end makes this deck scary when you find the cards. Siege into Mobilization on Trebuchet is a huge swing, developing three engines in one turn. -Wusubi

Strengths:

- The versatility of Shupe combined with the sheer power of Radeyah-Anséis can give you the edge against the meta decks

- You excel at controlling the opposing engines, while still creating a plenty of points on your own side of the board, making this list strong in longer rounds

 

Weaknesses:

- Draw dependent, 90% of your power is stored in the top 7 cards of your deck, missing Siege and Matta can outright lose you the game

- Shupe and your control golds are good at defending the bleed, but if you're forced to use Siege and Mobilization in Round 2, you can lose the short round even if you have the card advantage

 

Considerations:

- Avallac'h, Cursed Knight, Battering Ram, Redanian Elite

Wild Card Passiflora

4.25 stars

The usual Midrange versions of Syndicate struggle 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 thanks to 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:

- Vivaldi Bank, Kalkstein → Royal Decree, Eavesdrop

 


Wild Card Tinboy

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, Ewald and Graden, the deck provides you with a lot of control over the board state. Redanian, Imke and Saul provide you with the necessary tempo. -Alessio1996

Strengths:

- Luiza, Savolla and Dire-Mutated Hound help the deck a lot during the bleed, but also represent great finishers

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

 

Weaknesses:

- The deck is good at handling tall units, but can struggle against Mystic Echo

- 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:

- Maraal, Kalkstein, Eavesdrop, Bomb Heaver, Blacksmith

Tactical Decision
4 stars

After a month of numerous experiments, we were finally able to come up with a competitive Masquerade Ball list. Albeit as greedy as Imperial Formation, this deck doesn't rely on Damien and Stefan to generate value, but instead tries to get the a lot of value from Scenario. Assire recycles your gold cards, allowing you to replay Masquerade Ball. Tactical Decision has a multitude of uses: triggering multiple steps of Ball in one turn, pulling the Invocation target or simply fishing for an engine or a Poison card. -Gravesh

Strengths:

- The deck is ridiculously strong in long rounds and has a few solid finishers, which makes it very flexible

- With the superior engine value and the never-ending removal with Poison, you can destroy the likes of Harmony

 

Weaknesses:

- Sometimes struggles with proactivity, decks that go wide while answering your engines (e.g. Pincer Draug) can be annoying to deal with

- It takes a while to set-up engines and Poison, so you're a bit susceptible to being bled, allowing the opponent to make some favorable trades and pass

 

Considerations:

- Roach, Bomb Heaver

- If you face a lot of mirror matches, consider playing the Assimilate version

 


Imperial Formation

4 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:

- Avallac'h, Lambert, Ffion, Sweers, Nauzicaa Sergeant

 


Lockdown

3.75 stars

As a control faction at heart, Nilfgaard falls short in keeping pace with the greed, especially against Scoia'tael and Northern Realms with leaders who play 2 cards in 1 turn. If you don't want to play Stefan and Damien, Lockdown is the last resort, often surprisingly effective. Since a lot of the meta decks are combo-based and very reliant on their leader abilities, Lockdown keeps stuff like Pincer Maneuver Siege in check. On top of including multiple forms of wide and tall punishment, you can always count on the decent Soldier package. -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:

- Alba Armored Cavalry, Nauzicaa Sergeant

 

Second Wind

3.75 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:

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

- 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

 

Considerations:

- Raging Bear, Bomb Heaver

 

Blood Scent

3.5 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 value. -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:

- Double-Cross, Necromancy, The Beast, Thunder, Nekker

 


Death's Shadow

3.5 stars

Redrame's cheeky Death's Shadow deck is still fairly popular in the meta. The main appeal of the deck is to combo Death's Shadow with Caranthir and Kikimore Queen in Round 3. Other than that, you have a mixture of Deathwish and Consume units. As the deck became more prevalent, it lost the surprise factor and most players will try to win Round 1 and then bleed you. With that said, Monsters are strong in the first round so it's worth the risk. -Thekeyer

Strengths:

- With Foglet, Penitent, Matta and Decree, you have a lot of efficient thinning, allowing you to execute your combo

- Contrary to popular belief, the deck can stand its ground when getting bled thanks to multiple strong packages

 

Weaknesses:

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

- Artifact and tall removal, but Poison can be played around

 

Considerations:

- Miruna, Behemoth, Nithral → Yghern, Ozzrel, Arachas Nest

Editing: Wusubi

Writers: Alessio1996, Gravesh, Green-Knight, Minuano, Pajabol, SpyroZA, Thekeyer and Yangtse42

Consultants: Anda, BeardyBog, Gorflow, Hippo and Saber97


For the tier friends

 

Tier 1: Mystic Echo, Siege Draug

Tier 2: Draug Radeyah, Pincer Siege, Precision Strike, Wild Card Passiflora, Tactical Decision, Call of Harmony, Wild Card Tinboy, Mobilization Siege Shupe, Imperial Formation

Tier 3: Second Wind, Lockdown, Blood Scent, Death's Shadow

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