Hey guys, welcome to our final Syndicate card review. Our new content team member Yangtse42 sat down with Pajabol and wusubi to quickly review the new cards that don't belong to a specific gang. Stay tuned for the meta report update.
Even after the "double-nerf" he received in the recent hotfix, Sigi Reuven is a strong contender for the very best card of this expansion. His deck-building condition is easy to achieve, as you can always throw in a cheap bronze card from the gang that you're missing. He is a great proactive play that fills your whole bank and pulls out The Flying Redanian from your deck or graveyard. A lot of coin-spenders can grant you more value than "1 point per coin," which makes Sigi incredible. This card is the main reason why a lot of Syndicate decks include Renew.
The Flying Redanian increases your tempo and consistency, while also effectively functioning as carry-over for later rounds if the opponent doesn't banish it. Your average Syndicate deck can hoard 9 coins very easily with cards like Sigi and Swindle. If you aren't seeing many banish cards, Redanian can always get "destroyed" by Tatterwing to generate even higher value. Similarly to Roach, this card jumps out of your deck (but also graveyard) when you play Sigi, which makes it very tempting to include both cards in the vast majority of Syndicate decks.
Philippa Eilhart is a powerful card and a good coin-spender. She sees a lot of play and could currently be considered as a "auto-include" tier card for any Syndicate deck. Philippa never struggles to find decent value and can steal your opponent's engines and carry-over alike. This card really rewards you for hoarding coins and represents a very respectable point-swing at the same time, making her an astonishingly effective tool.
Moreelse is the key element of almost every Syndicate deck. He's outright better than the similar gold removal options like Regis: Bloodlust and Enraged Ifrit. His flexiblity to pay Tribute and destroy the target instead of damaging it by 4 can be very good against tall units, especially when combined with Bounty.
Despite the provision nerfs in the recent hotfix, the Borsodi brothers are still played in Syndicate decks. They are the ideal coin-spenders. When you have some coins in your bank, Ewald can remove multiple units. Combined with Bounty, he's capable of wreaking absolute havoc and potentially even clearing your opponent's board. Horst can be used to keep your other coin-spenders or coin-generating engines alive. Additionally, the benefit of carry-over is very convenient and rewards you for playing one of the brothers in Round 1, as the other brother grants you 2 extra profit when played later.
Vivaldi Bank is the Syndicate version of Decree and Naglfar, but actually performs worse, as the card you want it to tutor can often be at the bottom of your deck. While it offers some synergy with the weaker cards such as Courier, the potential added "consistency" this card can offer isn't necessary at all. SY decks are very consistent due to their thinning options in Sewer Raiders, Casino Bouncers and Eavesdrop. It's better to pay 2 extra provisions and run Decree if you want to reliably tutor a card like Bincy in Gudrun decks.
Graden is the most expensive, but not the best Witch Hunter. He can remove any unit that has the Bounty tag, which makes him useful in Bounty decks. However, there are a few things to consider when evaluating this card. His Tribute ability can often struggle to find value, as most units on the field will have less than 6 base power. If you don't get any value from his Tribute, he's just worse than Executioner, who only costs 5 provisions. Graden found his place in a few decks, as Skellige is still fairly prevalent and so is Olaf. Monster players fell in love with Pugo and thus Graden can sometimes find value and earn his keep.
Caleb Menge quickly found his place in almost every Syndicate deck, as Bounty is an extremely rewarding mechanic. You usually want to use him on units with base power higher than 4. You invest 3 coins and get 4 (or more) in return. This can quickly get out of hand, which is why he got nerfed in the recent hotfix and now has a cooldown. You can put Bounty on one unit per turn. Combined with damage cards like Witch Hunter Executioner and Ewald Borsodi, Caleb is still a very threatening card and can wipe your opponent's board when unanswered. He plays as an 8 for 8 initially and can place a Bounty immediately. If you put a Bounty on a 5 strength unit and Caleb gets answered, you can capitalize on the Bounty, resulting in a 10 point play for 8 provisions. The potential of this card is crazy.
Witch Hunter Executioner is a wonderful spender on his own and even grants you initial profit. Combined with Caleb, Slander and vanilla Witch Hunter, this card kills units with Bounty and makes additional profit, which you can then use to apply more and more Bounties. This makes the Bounty package very consistent and powerful.
Slander and Witch Hunter are the secondary ways of applying Bounty. You want to run at least one copy of each card. Slander has the benefit of being a Crime, which offers additional synergies (like boosting your Intimidate units) on top of being a non-interactive play that also generates some coins on its own. Witch Hunter provides a 4 power body and if he places a Bounty on a 4 base power unit which you then kill, he effectively played as an 8 for 4.
Kurt might seem like a solid and pretty flexible card on paper. Being able to lock an engine or unlock your own is always nice. However, he's quite expensive for what he does. You generally don't need a lock when playing Syndicate, as you've got more than enough damage at your disposal to remove every threat. If you care about Purify, Kalkstein is a cheaper and also more provision-efficient option. Kurt has the Intimidate tag, so if the Bounty cards and Ewald get nerfed in the future, this versatile Witch Hunter can potentially see play in Crime-oriented decks.
Tamara Strenger can buff all the Witch Hunters on the board. If you pay the Tribute, you can get some carry-over in form of buffing all the Witch Hunters in your deck and hand. This card can only get better as more Witch Hunters are added. For now, the amount of value she generates doesn't match the expense. There are too few Witch Hunters, so Tamara is underwhelming.
Townsfolk didn't find its place in the meta. As an engine card that boosts itself by 1 each time you gain coins, it does require you to play coin-generating engines to reach respectable value. Most decks in the current meta run enough removal to answer engines like Tax Collector or Imke, which makes Townsfolk bad.
Tax Collector can generate a decent amount of coins if your opponent doesn't have an answer, which is sadly the problem. This card always dies and thus isn't worth running. There are better and far more reliable ways to obtain coins: Crime cards.
Oxenfurt Naturalist allows you to spend your coins to apply Vitality. The card is simply outclassed by Coerced Blacksmith, who is a more flexible spender overall. The 5 provision slot is highly contested in Syndicate decks. You have the Crime cards, Executioners and Sewer Raiders. As such, it's nearly impossible to cram this card into a deck, unless it's a Shupe Cleaver deck.
These four cards are the Syndicate poison, or rather self-poison package. The card design here is pretty intriguing and some of the cards are good enough to see play under different circumstances. However, similarly to the 5 provision slot, the 4 provision slot is also highly contested in your average Syndicate deck. You will always have two copies of Swindle. Slander and Witch Hunters complete your Bounty package. Sea Jackal and Fence are just marvelous. Renegade Mage is a staple card for KoB decks and you need one cheap Firesworn bronze for Sigi. This leaves you with almost no free slots.
Back-Alley Chemist is a simple 6 for 4 and as such, he has actually seen some play in Syndicate decks as a filler card. While offering synergy with Wretched Addict, this combo isn't worth playing, because as we mentioned, Syndicate can offer you considerably better 4 provison cards.
Fisstech and Fisstech Trafficker are interesting and situationally powerful, albeit often very counterproductive cards. If the Syndicate meta shifts from abusing Bounty, both cards could see play. This package benefits from self-poisoning, but can also remove a tall unit when necessary. Fisstech works similarly to Slander. It can enable your Wretched Addict, or be combined with Fisstech Trafficker to murder a large unit. Trafficker is basically more versatile Fangs of the Empire. Playing as a solid 5 for 4 while potentially enabling your Wretched Addict is an option, but so is poisoning an enemy unit.