Hello everyone and welcome to the update of our 7th meta report,
The meta is revolving around Foltest, Sigi and Ardal. There is also a fair amount of Francesca and Usurper. It seems that Skellige and Monsters have failed to find their place in the meta. We decided to leave Monsters out of this report, as the faction doesn't have any competitive (nor popular) deck to offer.
Under each faction, you can find optimized decklists, their power rating and a brief summary of strengths, weaknesses and various considerations. If you have more questions, please join our Discord server: https://discord.gg/uSUSJZr
Enjoy the report and see you again when the meta shifts! -Wusubi
Blue Stripes Foltest
When CDPR said that they would give Northern Realms some love in this patch, they certainly didn't lie. NR bronze cards are now a lot stronger overall and some very powerful gold cards were printed. On top of that, Foltest and the already established and powerful Blue Stripes archetype received multiple buffs. You now have Roche: Merciless as another tutor for Commando. The removal of Reach mechanic made Draug (Revenants) impossible to play around. Coupled with ridiculous gold cards like Keira and Bloody Baron, you have a very solid back-up strategy. Foltest has quickly become one of the best decks of Homecoming. Write-up by Andasama, decklist provided by Green-Knight.
- Offers high tempo and flexiblity, can adapt to any matchup and round length
- The new gold card additions offer you a very reliable secondary win condition
- The only realistic lose condition would be having a significantly worse opening hand than your opponent, getting forced out of Round 1 and then being bled to death in Round 2 if you still haven't found your Commando's
- Bloody Baron and 2x Cintrian Artificer → Vissegerd, Ronvid and Field Medic
- Ves, Vandergrift, Alzur's Double-Cross, Bomb Heaver and Siege Support
With recent buffs to Northern Realms, it's finally time for everyone's favorite Queen to make a glorious comeback. This is how a strong but balanced NR deck would look like if Foltest didn't exist. Meve has decent control options, while being able to slam a lot of proactive points. Write-up by Spiderchicken9, decklist provided by Green-Knight.
- Good in both long and short rounds, fairly resilient to a Round 2 bleed
- Doesn't suffer on Blue coin due to having proactive points and control
- Will usually get outvalued by Foltest and Sigi
- 2x Northern Wind → 2x Reinforced Trebuchet
- Coodcoodak as a simple 6 for 6 that can sometimes help with Bounty
Remember our Crimson Curse meta report from April where the Skellige section consisted of three Bran decklists? Syndicate is "facing" the same situation this patch. In his current form, Sigismund Dijkstra is an overtuned leader and there isn't a good reason to play different leaders. His ability is very flexible and offers you a lot of carry-over. He can play any SY archetype with impressive results. Choose a deck that suits you and enjoy bullying the ladder.
Given his unparalleled flexibility, Sigi does very well with the Bounty shell that has already proven to be ridiculous. His excess of coins coupled with the incentive to play a lot of crimes demands a careful management of spenders, especially in a Bounty deck. However, this list is threatening in any round length and also offers a better matchup against Nilfgaard compared to the Crime Engine and Igor version. Write-up and decklist provided by GerardSama.
- Higher power level than Wholesome Jr. because of carry-over and Townsfolk
- Completely destroys other Midrange decks due to the sheer power of Bounty
- Very adaptable game plan, you can choose to push Round 2 when necessary, but you're just as comfortable in a long Round 3 against the majority of decks
- Bounty can be awkward in Round 3 against Draug
- Requires proper management of the scarce amount of spenders each round
- One Swindle → 2nd Sea Jackal
- Adalbertus Kalkstein and Tunnel Drill
Crime Engine Sigi
Sigi has immediately become the preferred leader of choice for any Syndicate player. His carry-over of 1 coin per crime proved to be very flexible and strong in a long Round 3. This deck takes the previous Hemmelfart deck and cuts the swarm package for The Flying Redanian and Townsfolk, a card which plays as a 6 provision Bincy in Sigi. Lackeys from Portal and Whoreson Senior allow you to bleed in Round 2 if you have to. Townsfolk combined with Sigi charges and any spender make for a very scary short round. Write-up and decklist provided by GerardSama.
- Sigi provides more points and flexibility than Hemmelfart could with this deck
- If your engines stick for even just a few turns, they will wreak absolute havoc
- The list has enough Round 1 presence to consistently win the round against decks like Foltest, allowing you to bleed them in Round 2 with Cutup Lackeys
- Draw dependent, requires an optimal balance of crimes, spenders and engines
- Difficult to pilot, you have to consider how many crimes to play in Round 1 for carry-over and how many crimes to save for Cutup Lackeys round, you can also run into spender problems if you mismanage your resources
- Adalbertus Kalkstein, Tunnel Drill and Congregation
Igor Townsfolk Abuse
If you've been on Reddit since the last patch, you are likely aware of how the community feels about the Sigi and Townsfolk interaction. With the help of Igor the Hook and Summoning Circle, this deck can produce a staggering amount of points when uncontested, making it feel unfair to an unprepared opponent. This variation of the deck uses Ferko, Novigradian Justice and The Flying Redanian for a powerful Round 1 with thinning. Alongside of the incredibly potent combo, you have some top tier removal with Philippa, Morelsee and the basic Bounty package. Write-up by SirLoathing, decklist provided by McP0yle.
- Igor, Townsfolk and Sigi charges grant you an unbeatable amount of tall units
- Enough removal to control engine decks, this list can punish the opponent for trying to bleed you in Round 2, as your only very slow card is Summoning Circle
- Sea Jackal can function as a secondary finisher if both Townsfolk get answered
- Most decks on the ladder have a target on your head, expect artifact removal and various forms of tall punishment for Townsfolk
- Decks that are well-equipped to beat you in Round 1 will usually bleed you and force out the crucial pieces, possibly breaking up your whole combo in Round 2
- Line of Credit → Witch Hunter
- Portal and Cutup Lackeys offer better Rounds 1 and 2, but a weaker Round 3
The correct Ardal list
Ardal has always been the "patch day" leader to punish people for building very greedy decks, but he was usually left by the wayside for stronger decks as the meta settled down. This is the first time the days have gone by and Ardal has stuck in the meta. The bronze buffs changed tactics from a necessary evil to a boon for your game plan. With the buffs to Venendal Elite and Artorius Vigo, you have some proactive points. Ardal's current power rating is somewhat inflated from where it would be in a "healthy" meta, as the prevalence of Foltest makes Ardal a strong anti-meta deck. Write-up by Hippo, decklist provided by Green-Knight.
- Great long round potential thanks to Fire Scorpions and ample removal tools
- Can easily put out a lot of early tempo with Artorius Vigo and Venendal Elites
- Lackluster short round and your create cards are prone to lowrolling horribly
- Xarthisius → Shilard Fitz-Oesterlen if you run into a lot of Scoia'tael handbuff
- Bribery → Hefty Helge if you don't run into too many mirror matches
- Treason, Cynthia and False Ciri
With the buffs to Northern Realms and the advent of the Sigi Townsfolk archetype, Usurper now has a lot of good matchups in the meta. As a leader with the lowest amount of provisions, he benefits the most from the provision buffs to Nilfgaard and can now play Muzzle. The buffs to bronze cards significantly improve his Round 1 strength, allowing you to avoid losing on even cards while preserving good cards for a perfect Round 3 hand. Shupe grants the deck a threatening win condition, as well as a lot of flexibility. Write-up and decklist provided by GerardSama.
- Toolbox cards like Shupe, the witcher trio and the knight duo are very flexible
- Effectively shuts down the popular strategies by disabling their leader abilities
- Plenty of strong removal tools to prevent the opponent from generating points
- Despite the inclusion of Doadrick and Roderick, the list is still draw dependent
- Requires a good understanding of tempo - avoid losing Round 1 on even cards
- You also need disciplined resource management to not run out of answers and good cards before Round 3, which emphasizes the importance of knowing your matchups and how to mulligan accordingly
- Sweers and Alzur's Thunder → Slave Infantry and Peter
- Cutthroat and Oxenfurt Scholar → Alba Spearman and Recruit
Hyperthin Calveit and Ardal
Hyperthin Nilfgaard is back and better than ever. This type of a deck can often comfortably secure Round 1 with its tremendous tempo plays. Given your great short Round 3, you're free to push Round 2 in the majority of matchups, as you should be able to win a shorter Round 3 even if you ended up going one card down. Keep in mind that this archetype is relatively draw dependent and vulnerable to any kind of deck manipulation, specifically in NG mirrors. The choice between Calveit and Ardal is up to you. Calveit allows you to thin through the whole deck and execute your plan perfectly in the vast majority of matches. Ardal offers more raw power and control with his leader ability, but at the cost of some consistency, as he relies on Roderick. Write-up and decklists were provided by Yangtse42.
Considerations for Calveit:
- Sweers → Triss Merigold OR Shilard and Northern Wind → Ointment
- Sweers → Cynthia OR False Ciri and Northern Wind → Experimental Remedy
- Try the Ardal variation below, it has a better matchup against Foltest
This hybrid version with Water of Brokilon has a better matchup against Ardal and Bounty-based Syndicate decks than the full-Dwarf Francesca. The dwarf deck has a slightly higher chance against Foltest, but is still unfavoured.
Combining two amazing packages gives you more flexiblity in spreading win conditions between different rounds. Having two powerful spells in Fauve (Water of Brokilon) and then Novigradian Justice with three targets makes this deck more resilient to a bleed. Unlike the dwarf version, Fauve gives you the option to force Round 1 and potentially bleed your opponent while saving your leader ability for a shorter Round 3. Francesca's leader ability should ideally be used on Water of Brokilon for more Harmony engines, however recasting Novigradian Justice is also an option, especially when you combo Mahakam Defenders and Dennis Cranmer. Write-up and decklist provided by Pajabol.
- Quite versatile with leader ability, Francesca excels in long and short rounds
- Having two high-end special cards that can be used at the start of the round allows you to fight for Round 1, while making the deck fairly resilient to a bleed
- You can abuse red coin with carry-over plays Dwarven Agitators and Ithlinne
- Scoia'tael is a draw dependent faction, missing key golds often results in a loss
- Despite having a great long round, you will still lose to Foltest in a long Round 3
- A lot of your bronze cards are low tempo, so having a suboptimal starting hand can be a problem on Blue coin
- Ciaran → Lacerate, Dwarven Skirmisher → Spores OR Dryad Grovekeeper
This version of Francesca has a better matchup against Foltest due to a more powerful dwarf engine and Lacerate. If you want to improve your matchup against Ardal and Bounty Sigi, you should opt for the Hybrid version above.
The recent patch buffed a lot of bronze cards and Scoia'tael benefited the most since the faction was notorious for its horrible bronzes. The bronze core for dwarf decks received a huge buff with Mahakam Defender provision cost reduced to 5 and Dwarven Mercenary base power increased to 4. This Francesca list revolves around Novigradian Justice that can be used either on Mercenaries for potent damage engines or on Defenders combined with Dennis Cranmer to activate their abilities. It has a very scary long round, but is also pretty good in a shorter round if you are able to save your leader ability. Lacerate acts as a secondary leader target and can also be a reliable win condition against Blue Stripes Foltest. Write-up and decklist provided by Pajabol.
- Very flexible, great long round, resilient to a bleed and decent short round
- Doppler and Carlo Varese make it much easier to find your pass in Round 1
- The deck can abuse carry-over plays on red coin with Agitators and Ithlinne
- Very draw dependent, as it completely relies on drawing Novigradian Justice
- Some of your cards are awkward if you draw into them in a shorter Round 3
- You will obviously struggle against Foltest and all different variations of Sigi
- Vigo's Muzzle, Land of a Thousand Fables, Paulie Dahlberg, Milva and Ciaran
After a longer absence, Eithné has graced out meta report once more. Her 18 provisions allow you to run a more top-heavy curve without making huge deck building concessions. While her leader ability is weak on its own, it is primarily used to align units for Geralt: Igni. With the prevalence of Foltest in the meta, Gigni is a strong addition that will usually find good value. This list allows you to play for carry-over when going second, but you can often contest Round 1 with Water of Brokilon when going first. Write-up by Hippo, decklist provided by Green-Knight.
- Powerful in a long round due to the nature of Scoia'tael engines, The Great Oak and Gigni, with a good hand, you will wipe the floor with Foltest in a long round
- Gigni can steal some wins against unaware players, it can oftentimes grant you card advantage if you passed at 7 cards and the opponent decided to bleed you
- Unlike the majority of Scoia'tael decks, you can fight for Round 1
- Gigni can have a hard time finding value outside of long rounds
- Due to the greedy mulligans you have to take while trying to find your Gigni, the deck is sadly prone to bricking
- If you don't draw Gigni you're playing a 4 point leader, which makes this deck very highrolly, although it's also the only way you can have success with Eithné
- Cleaver's Muscle and Panther → Mahakam Volunteers
- Ida, Vrihedd Dragoon, Dol Blathanna Archer
- Vrihedd Officer → Blue Mountain Elite
Skellige has seen a fall from grace since the last patch. With other faction's bronze cards brought up to Skellige and Syndicate levels, it's difficult for Skellige to compete with Foltest and Sigi. However, with more people favoring Igor over Bounty and less tall removal on the ladder, it's safer to play Olaf and Knut. The self-wounding package has also been bolstered by the buff to Herbalist. Even though Harald has been dethroned as a king of the ladder, he can still offer a very respectable mix of control and proactive points. Write-up by Hippo, decklist provided by Green-Knight.
- High tempo removal allows you to bully your opponents in the first two rounds
- Ridiculous power plays with Olaf + Knut and Dagur Two Blades + leader ability
- Olaf plays into Bounty
- If you lose Round 1, Foltest and Sigi will often outvalue you in a long Round 3
- Herbalist → Artifact removal
- Regis OR Carlo → Muzzle and then Djenge → Herbalist OR Artifact removal
It has taken a while but Skellige have finally been knocked off their perch as the best faction. Crach is affected by the general increase to bronze base power more than other leaders, as Primal Savagery used to be his staple card and is now more difficult to get value from. What is even worse, his gold options are starting to look a bit weaker when compared to some of the competition. That being said, Skellige has some viable decks, but readers may be sad to learn that the faction now requires thinking to win with - an activity which SK players have not historically needed to do much of. Write-up and decklist provided by Aifbowman.
- Potent mixture of removal and proactivity allows you to adapt to any matchup
- Muzzle, Regis and Cyprian are great in certain matchups and decent otherwise
- Can suffer from insufficient proactivity, especially now that multiple matchups command you to bleed them in Round 2
- Some matchups (Ardal, Syndicate) can play "unitless" for a number of turns, forcing you to play proactively while denying multiple points from your leader
- Carlo Varese → Roach
- Herbalist → Artifact removal
- Gregoire → Vabjorn if you are seeing matchups with high base strength
As much as it pains me to say this, it seems that for the first time in Homecoming, MO have found themselves in the absolute garbage tier. With more significant buffs to other factions, Arachas Queen can't keep up with Foltest and Sigi, while Gernichora and her big boy archetype is currently rather underwhelming. We strongly recommend skipping Monsters for this ranked season. Hopefully the faction will receive some more love with the next update.
Writers: Aifbowman, Andasama, Gerard, Hippo, Pajabol, ShadowplayRed, SirLoathing, Spiderchicken9 and Yangtse42
Consultants: BeardyBog, Green-Knight and McP0yle