Welcome, Aretuza Novice! Now that you have mastered the basic elements of gameplay, we have prepared for you our course on Deckbuilding. Here, you will discover the ins and outs of Gwent’s Deck Builder, how to recognize and use card synergies when you are building your own deck, and how to optimize the value of your deck using provisions (sometimes also referred to as recruit caps). Additionally, we will take a look at the best ways in which you can develop your card collection. You will learn about Gwent’s resources and currencies, how to acquire them quickly, spend them economically and which cards you should craft first to make the most of your favourite faction!
For players whose in-game resources are tight, knowing which cards give most value for those resources can be difficult. Which cards can be used in the most decks? Which cards are most likely to let me keep up with competitive play? Which ones work best together?
In this article, we look to answer these questions by providing our own recommendation on which cards to craft from Gwent's entire base set collection, for Neutral and every faction. We'll keep the article up to date with every major card set release and try our best to make sure it follows changes from Gwent's continuous balancing patches. The article will be stored in the Aretuza Academy, under Deck Building, for reference.
- Legendary: 800 scraps
- Epic: 200 scraps
- Rare: 80 scraps
- Common: 30 scraps
Game Version Information
This article is up-to-date with Gwent as of version 7.3
As players begin building their collection and developing more complex strategies, it is useful to have tutor effects to fetch key cards from the deck. While this can sometimes include Royal Decree, Matta Hu'uri, or faction-specific tutor options, the most universal one that we recommend is Oneiromancy. This allows us to reach into our deck twice in one game, which can be useful to get the cards that are situationally strong at the given time. One note is that Oneiromancy (as with any neutral card) blocks the opportunity to use cards with Devotion effects.
Korathi Heatwave (Legendary)
Although the starter decks contain Geralt of Rivia, which sometimes offers similar functionality to Korathi Heatwave, the latter has an advantage in that it can serve as unconditional removal for opposing threats, such as engines boosted to out of normal removal range. With the changes in Patch 7.3, Heatwave is also the only readily available way to remove key artifacts such as scenarios. As an additional bonus, the Banish effect attached to Korathi Heatwave can sometimes provide benefits like denying carryover in some cases against decks that rely on interaction with their graveyard.
The theme of the Monsters starter deck revolves around several concepts, but one of the main ones is using large units (in terms of base power) to power up our short round and proc Thrive cards for some minor engine value. Ozzrel is probably the strongest card out of the gate, so we will seek to play to its strengths with this craft. Yghern is a bit of a difficult card to grasp at first, because it is seemingly susceptible to damage effects. While this is true to a degree, Yghern does provide us with a unique advantage in that it provides us with an enormous amount of potential value after the opponent has passed in Round 1, which completely negates the downsides of the cards. Other ways we play around the pitfalls of Yghern are by Consuming the card or by playing it in the same row as Cave Troll (if we have this card and want to run it in the deck).
Yet another Ozzrel enabler finds its way onto this list in Golyat. In most senses, this card is a strict upgrade to Old Speartip: Asleep, with only minor downsides. The Deathwish effect on Golyat can sometimes punish us for playing it into tall removal, especially in Round 3. As a result, we often like to play this card in earlier rounds, where the opponent does not want to destroy it and pull a strong card from their own deck. In addition, opposing tall removal will almost always find value against our deck anyway, so it is not a large risk to play Golyat.
Adda: Striga (Epic)
Removal effects are often highly desirable in Gwent due to their ability to put pressure on opponents that try to develop their strong engine cards. Typically, these removal cards are evaluated based upon how much they can "trade up" to an opposing engine. That is, we concern ourselves with how many points are left on our side after the opposing engine is removed. Adda: Striga leaves a highly efficient 5 power on our board and removes up to a 4 power engine. At the same time, it can simply play for a solid 9 points, which is not bad on its own. The condition is typically negligible unless we are in a Monsters mirror match where the opponent can also fight us for dominance.
Endrega Larva (Rare)
Endrega Larva, when added in the Iron Judgment expansion, became the strongest bronze card for the Monsters faction and one of the highest priority acquisitions for players looking to play the faction. These cards can go in any Monsters deck due to their reliable point floor and high point ceiling. The statline of 1 power and 2 Armor on each Larva makes effectively trading against them practically impossible for the opponent. Once the Larvas begin Thriving, it is then even more difficult to stop them through damage. Often, these cards are able to carry a round by themselves, which lets us play less powerful resources than the opponent.
Nightwraith(Common) / Noonwraith (Common) / Bruxa (Rare) / Plumard (Common)
While these cards are not priority crafts (we would not recommend crafting them at all from the start), they do represent solid value as you seek to build up a more complete deck. Some may also find their way into refined deck lists. With that in mind, be on the lookout for these cards in kegs if you are looking to move into the Monsters faction.
Deathwish / Consume
Decks focused around the Deathwish mechanic have begun to take a different shape than they did in the past, due to the addition of Overwhelming Hunger to the game. The key concept is that we will play units that have powerful Deathwish effects and then Consume them to enable the card’s ability. This guide will consider Overwhelming Hunger as the default option for Deathwish focused decks and will not mention Consume effects, but do keep in mind that with other leader abilities you will need to balance Deathwish effects with Consume effects. Our heavy hitter cards are Dettlaff: Higher Vampire, Miruna, and possibly Caranthir Ar-Feiniel. This card package will form our core and supplement the standard Monsters golds mentioned above. Dettlaff: Higher Vampire is the most reliably strong Deathwish gold card we can play, while Miruna provides a potential removal option that does not even require direct interaction. Caranthir Ar-Feiniel rounds off this package by allowing us to gain an additional copy of any of the cards mentioned above as our needs demand. Do note that including Caranthir can allow for powerful combinations but also taxes the need for Consume effects, notably when using Caranthir to copy Dettlaff: Higher Vampire. With the elimination of most forms of artifact removal, Haunt is a natural inclusion in this style of deck, providing us with a solid balance of Consume effects while also giving plenty of extra value.
We can fill out our Deathwish package with some more Deathwish options. The main Gold ones are Imperial Manticore and Werecat. The combination of Imperial Manticore and Miruna can put the opponent in a bind where they are unable to play around both, especially when we are going second. Werecat has a potentially high ceiling while also synergizing with other Monsters cards that incentivize the opponent to stack one row (see Devotion Frost package below). While these cards are often excluded from meta decks, they are a potential option with the right supporting pieces or to bridge a gap in the player’s deck while they acquire additional cards.
Summary: Dettlaff: Higher Vampire, Miruna, Caranthir Ar-Feiniel (consideration), Haunt ⇒ Imperial Manticore, Werecat
The entire package added to Monsters in the Master Mirror expansion centers around the usage of Frost and Devotion effects. The key enablers for this package are Auberon King and Winter Queen. Auberon King (primarily its subsequent transformations) is a great finisher play for any style of Monsters deck. One of the big advantages to Auberon is that it plays two units in a single turn, both of which can trigger Thrive effects on board for a huge point swing. Winter Queen is the reason this package is useful, as it provides us with “free” points from the deck that can heavily pressure the opponent. To make use of Winter Queen’s power, we need at least one effect that can apply frost to both opposing rows. The options then are Ard Gaeth and Red Riders, both of which have been used. With the introduction of a new effect from Ge'els, only one copy of either of these cards is typically necessary to consistently activate Winter Queen.
The main Bronze cards that are utilized alongside those cards mentioned above are Wild Hunt Bruiser and Aen Elle Conqueror. The Bruiser synergizes perfectly with the frost effects, especially if the opponent is able to stack one row and avoid the second instance of frost. Aen Elle Conqueror is simply a high power level Bronze card that can help us to finish off our Thrive curve in many cases, as it comes down as a 7-power unit when played alone, reaching 8-power when played in conjunction with the final form of Auberon.
Summary: Auberon King, Winter Queen, Ard Gaeth or Red Riders, Ge'els ⇒ Wild Hunt Bruiser, Aen Elle Conqueror
Masquerade Ball (Legendary)
Over the past several months, many of Nilfgaard's strong cards have seen nerfs, which leaves Masquerade Ball in the overwhelming majority of meta Nilfgaard decks, with various leader abilities attached. The only requirement to this card is the inclusion of cards with the Aristocrat tag, many of which we would like to run anyway. In terms of value, this card is huge. We gain a decent engine in Thirsty Dame, which grows each time we advance our scenario and spawn a Fangs of the Empire. In the end, we have our Thirsty Dame, 8 points from two Fangs of the Empire, and we effectively destroy one unit on the opponent's board.
When added in the Master Mirror expansion, Braathens instantly found a home in many Nilfgaard decks due to strong value potential with the upside of additional utility. Currently, there are only three Bronze disloyal units in Nilfgaard, meaning the Create effect from Braathens is actually pre-determined to provide the same three options in all cases. Choosing Duchess's Informant to copy an opposing Bronze unit is a strong value option that plays for around 10 points immediately (if the Bronze card is worth around six points) while also putting an Assimilate engine on board to gain more value. The other options also are sometimes useful, such as Mage Infiltrator providing the option to clear adjacent Endrega Larva or Scarabs spawned from Azar Javed.
Yennefer's Invocation (Legendary)
Most Nilfgaard decks utilize Yennefer's Invocation due to its flexible removal and carryover potential. We can use this card as a spot removal effect that is relatively unconditional, or we can take a powerful gold for our use in later rounds, assuming we have enough of a point advantage to reasonably do so. In addition, this card has strong synergy with some other common Nilfgaard cards, like Joachim de Wett.
Vincent Van Moorlehem (Legendary)
In the case of playing Masquerade Ball as mentioned above, our deck will obviously need to contain cards with the Aristocrat tag in order to progress through the chapters of that scenario. It is important to have some of these Aristocrats be Gold cards such that we can take full advantage of Masquerade Ball in conjunction with our other most powerful cards. Vincent Van Moorlehem is one of the strongest Aristocrats due to synergies with decks containing Masquerade Ball (they provide many status effects such as Poison and Lock) and potential to counter opposing strategies. Some of the strong targets that can be found in many decks are cards with the Defender status or any unit with Veil.
Ard Feainn Crossbowman (Rare), Tourney Joust (Common), Ard Feainn Tortoise (Rare), Magne Division (Rare)
While these cards are not priority crafts (we would not recommend crafting them at all from the start), they do represent solid value as you seek to build up a more complete deck. Some may also find their way into refined deck lists. With that in mind, be on the lookout for these cards in kegs if you are looking to move into the Nilfgaard faction.
One of the new (though in a way old) archetypes in Nilfgaard centers around units with the Spying status. Often, but not always, this package of cards is combined with Masquerade Ball to create two potential win conditions. The most important piece is Usurper Officer, which will create two units with the Spying tag in its second and third forms. These tokens work great with the main engine of the package Impera Enforcers. The targeted damage from Impera Enforcers can be incredibly strong to remove opposing engines while developing our own. Including Ramon Tyrconnel to the deck allows us to play an additional copy of Impera Enforcers while also protecting it to a degree with Armor.
In terms of supporting tools, any units that generate the Spying status can be useful. One of the strongest is Braathens as mentioned above, but there are plenty of other strong considerations. Roderick of Dun Tynne provides consistency to the deck while also having its downside (putting points onto the opposing board) mitigated to a degree by its possession of the Spying tag. Fergus var Emreis can provide a huge swing turn when combined with Impera Enforcers, providing three charges to each one in our possession. Other potential options that are considerable but often difficult to fit are Joachim de Wett and Coup de Grace, the latter of which really only finds a home in more “all-in” Spying decks.
Summary: Usurper Officer, Impera Enforcers, Ramon Tyrconnel, Roderick of Dun Tynne, Fergus var Emreis, Joachim de Wett (consideration)
Amphibious Assault (Legendary)
Until there is a potential nerf to the card, Amphibious Assault should be present in every single competitive Northern Realms deck. The card provides a huge amount of value and flexibility, as well as minor tutor elements. Most of the time, we will use this card to play a Bronze card that is boosted by the effect of Amphibious Assault, but sometimes it can provide us a tutor for our Gold cards in the 7-9 provision region. In matchups in which we want to win the first round, the first instance of Amphibious Assault (before the Echo effect activates) can give us the push we need to do so. When we are unable to win the first round, we can use Amphibious Assault when the opponent is trying to push out our key resources in Round 2 such that we gain a huge swing from the Assault itself and are guaranteed to draw into a strong card in Round 3 with the second copy of Amphibious Assault.
Prince Anséis (Legendary)
With the most commonly utilized leader abilites for Northern Realms being Shieldwall and Uprising, it makes sense that Prince Anséis finds itself in most decks at the moment. Although this card can of course be utilized in other decks as well, its synergy with these leaders is notably strong. The Prince can provide flexible removal of targets that are typically out of range of other removal options, which is very powerful potential. When boosted to 5 power, it may duel a unit that is up to 7 power without losing value. That is, it will provide the full 10 points of value. The value potential goes through the roof when paired with the boost and shield from a charge of Shieldwall, allowing us to duel a unit that is up to 15 power! When boosting by additional points, this threshold will increase, so always be sure to double check the dueling math before using the card!
Bloody Baron (Legendary)
While Bloody Baron can be viewed as more of a tech card tech choice, the points we gain on it reliably establish a reasonable point floor. When played in the Ranged row, Baron provides a Reset effect on a 7-point body, which can become a complete blowout against decks that boost card power heavily. Even when the matchup does not lend itself to a strong Baron play, we can usually extract decent value from the card through healing one of our own units or Resetting the boost from Tactical Advantage for example.
Kerack Frigate (Rare)
As discussed with Amphibious Assault above, playing strong Bronze cards from it offers great value potential. The boost afforded by Assault goes a long way in protecting Bronze engines from potential removal. Kerack Frigate represents perhaps the best example, as it instantly gets boosted to 7 Power and 1 Armor, making it difficult to remove. From there, we are able to utilize its Orders effect each turn in most cases due to the Volunteers spawning immediately adjacent to the Frigate itself and easily setting up the “pocket” of Soldiers to enable the Crew effect. Just make sure the unit you play to the left of Kerack Frigate is a Soldier!
Boiling Oil (Common) / Radovid's Royal Guards (Rare) / Aedirnian Mauler (Rare) / Kerack Cutthroat (Common)
While these cards are not priority crafts (we would not recommend crafting them at all from the start), they do represent solid value as you seek to build up a more complete deck. Some may also find their way into refined deck lists. With that in mind, be on the lookout for these cards in kegs if you are looking to move into the Northern Realms faction.
The majority of competitive Northern Realms these days make use of the Devotion mechanic to gain a few powerful options at the cost of some consistency. Viraxas Prince in particular is a compelling reason to play Devotion decks, as the final form provides our deck with a huge swing card. Most of the Bronze cards we utilize are Soldiers so the boost each turn has nice synergy with our cards that payoff from having boosted units, such as Lyrian Scytheman. The Orders ability of Viraxas also represents a large payoff, allowing us to Duel once again with Prince Anséis, reset a boosted unit again with Bloody Baron, or even just enable the Boost ability of Kerack Marine (another natural inclusion in Devotion decks).
To increase the consistency of these decks, they typically include John Natalis as a tutor for Amphibious Assault, the most key card in the deck. Having access to this card in Round 1 or at least Round 2 can make a huge difference in the outcome of the game. In order to have more targets for Natalis, typically we see Boiling Oil included as a back-up target with removal potential.
Summary: Viraxas Prince, Kerack Marine, John Natalis
Northern Realms has the opportunity to utilize a large number of engines to outvalue the opposition. The best of these help to boost our other engines out of removal range in such a way that they can snowball out of control quickly if left unanswered. The core of this idea is centered around Temerian Drummer. It serves as a valuable target from Amphibious Assault that can also protect our other engines. Notable synergies include Queen Adalia (from which the shield offers additional protection) and Tridam Infantry, which sets up a 2 point per turn combo.
As an extension of this idea, Anna Strenger is also quite common. This card also serves as a target for Amphibious Assault (a pattern is starting to develop here) while serving as a natural follow-up to Temerian Drummer. The Drummer boosts Anna before the game checks for Anna’s Inspired status, meaning that she will boost units on both sides if placed next to a Temerian Drummer while at 4 power. Oftentimes this package is rounded out with Reynard Odo, which is another engine that can provide solid value each turn while boosting other engines out of removal range.
Summary: Queen Adalia, Temerian Drummer, Anna Strenger, Tridam Infantry, Reynard Odo
Forest Protector (Legendary)
One of the most important metrics regarding a card with removal potential is the amount of points that the card “trades up” (that is, leaves on the board after completing the removal) to its removal target. One of the strongest “trade up” cards in the game at the moment is Forest Protector (using Nature's Rebuke). This allows us to leave 7 points on our own board while removing an opposing engine that has up to 5 Power. A trade like this is very useful not only for going ahead in tempo to pressure the opponent into playing better cards, it also makes pushing the Scoia’tael deck in Round 2 potentially problematic if the other deck needs to set up slower engines in order to do so.
Novigradian Justice (Legendary)
Due to synergies (such as casting a special card and playing Dwarves on the board) and the potential thinning value, Novigradian Justice has long been on the radar for Scoia’tael decks. In the 7.2 patch, the value went even higher due to a buff to Mahakam Volunteers. Targeting these units with Novigradian Justice now gives us a nice tempo swing of 13 points while thinning our deck by 2 at the same time. Conveniently, the Cleaver's Muscle spawns before selecting the Dwarf from our deck, thus instantly providing us with the Dwarf necessary to complete Mahakam Volunteers condition. Novigradian Justice also provides a degree of flexibility, allowing us to pull out cards like Miner when we need the boost on board for instance.
Isengrim's Council (Legendary)
Isengrim’s Council spent a long time with only niche play, primarily as a flexible tutor for Poison cards such as Dryad Ranger. Recently, though, it has gained some strong synergies that see it included in the vast majority of competitive Scoia’tael decks. First of all, it has the Nature tag, which provides us with additional points when using the Nature's Gift leader ability. In addition, we can often “rig” our deck to provide favorable outcomes, notable when we include Schirrú as our only elf to play it from the deck at 5 Power instantly for a huge board wipe threat. In the worst case, Council will play as a Bronze card that was strong enough for us to include in our deck with additional points attached.
Engine cards always have the potential to provide huge value and this one is no different. Dunca also, however, can provide us with a huge amount of carryover that gives us a boost in later rounds and can also potentially protect our other cards that are fragile to removal. If we suspect that the opponent has few ways to remove Dunca, we can use our Stratagem (typically Tactical Advantage) to boost up Dunca and begin growing carryover immediately. This forces the opponent to come up with a means to remove Dunca or play right into our carryover engine.
Mahakam Volunteers (Rare) / Dryad Enchantress (Common)/ Miner (Common) / Mahakam Marauder (Rare)
While these cards are not priority crafts (we would not recommend crafting them at all from the start), they do represent solid value as you seek to build up a more complete deck. Some may also find their way into refined deck lists. With that in mind, be on the lookout for these cards in kegs if you are looking to move into the Scoia’tael faction.
Due to a strong influx of synergy with Special cards (especially Nature cards), Scotia’tael decks centered around the use of such cards have made a big resurgence. In particular, decks with Nature's Gift as the leader ability are quite popular and will be referenced often in this section, but decks featuring Schirrú and the Precision Strike leader ability also see a fair amount of play. The most powerful special card to be found in Scoia’tael in terms of pure value is Shaping Nature. This card quickly found itself going from the weakest Echo card to a strong consideration with the introduction of Nature’s Gift. In addition, we will often also include Nature's Rebuke and Dryad's Caress as additional options, as well as the Special cards mentioned above. Fauve pulls the Nature package together by offering us a flexible tutor for all of these cards.
Our main finisher in these types of decks is Harald Gord, which can grow to be quite powerful over the course of a game. In decks that use Oneiromancy and a large number of Special cards, the Gord can consistently reach around 14 points while going as high as 17 in some games. In addition to Harald Gord as a potential power play, Hamadryad has seen a huge spike in popularity again due to the Nature’s Gift leader ability. It can be combined with a charge of our leader to immediately put it at 6 power, out of range of most cheap removal. Alongside Shaping Nature, the ceiling of this card can be quite high for a mere 5 Provision Bronze card.
Summary: Shaping Nature, Fauve, Harald Gord, Hamadryad, Nature's Rebuke, Dryad's Caress
As with all factions, Scoia’tael can take advantage of some strong Devotion cards in the right style of deck. This package has strong overlap with those cards mentioned above so it is almost always seen paired together with the Harald Gord package (though the reverse is not necessarily true). The real selling point of this package is Eithné Young Queen, which can give us three Symbiosis units instantly in Round 3. One thing to watch for is that Eithné transforms to her next stage while resetting to base power, so any hand buffs taken on by prior forms of Eithné will be lost when the round ends. On top of Eithné, we can utilize a very powerful tutor effect in Call of the Forest, which often is unable to fit into non-Devotion decks due to the power level of a similar card in Oneiromancy. Particularly with Nature's Gift as the leader ability, Call of the Forest can be an incredibly powerful effect that gives our deck a large amount of consistency.
Devotion also opens us up to running some less powerful payoffs, though they still can provide decent value on their own. Freixenet has great synergy with cards like Dunca and Hamadryad, allowing us to boost them in hand and prevent them from being removed simply. The Young Dryad token left on board also presents a minor threat that can at times be difficult to remove efficiently due to the low power of 2. Oakcritters is also a decent card to play, providing us with 7 points of value. The real benefit, however, is the ability to establish a Treant unit on the board relatively early into the round, which increases the value of our Nature's Rebuke if there is no other Treant available.
Summary: Eithné Young Queen, Call of the Forest, Freixenet, Oakcritters
Harald an Craite (Legendary)
With a strong tutor option for Devotion decks (more on that below), Skellige Warriors featuring Harald an Craite began to dominate the meta and certainly became the most popular option for Skellige. Harald always plays for strong value when paired with cards like An Craite Raiders, An Craite Greatsword, and Tuirseach Invader. In addition, we can gain a huge number of extra points if the opponent is unable to remove Harald, as it also serves as a minor damage engine while on board.
Blood Eagle (Legendary)
One of the weaknesses of any Devotion deck is a lack of consistency in playing its key cards, an issue which Blood Eagle addresses quite nicely. Although technically we are unable to unconditionally tutor strong cards such as Harald an Craite and Hemdall with Blood Eagle, we have ways of getting around the restriction. Our deck already likely contains a large amount of Damage-dealing cards that can potentially set an opposing unit to 2 Power in order to gain the Deathblow effect. In addition, we can use leader abilities like Patricidal Fury and Rage of the Sea to gain Bloodthirst 3 and utilize the Deathblow condition anyway. Do note that Blood Eagle (as well as all other Bloodthirst cards) checks for the number of damaged units on the opposing board before the damage from its own ability occurs, meaning you already need 3 damaged units on the opposing board to bypass the Deathwish condition.
Svalblod Totem (Legendary)
One card that can fit into any Skellige deck is Svalblod Totem, as it plays as a pure value play. Ideally, we would like to play this in a deck with at least some other potential removal targets, as otherwise we allow the opponent to easily remove one of the Svalblod Fanatics spawned by the Totem. This has some added benefits in the mirror match, as the Fanatics can absorb some of the various sources of randomly distributed damage dealt by Skellige cards. In addition, it gives us a play to make on an empty board instead of Harald an Craite, securing the 1 point of damage that Harald generates from the Warrior he plays from the graveyard.
We have already discussed Blood Eagle, which, conveniently enough, has the Raid tag. This makes it a perfect target for Vabjorn and thus makes the Skellige Warriors Devotion deck quite consistent and powerful. On top of Blood Eagle, Vabjorn is a useful tutor for the powerful Raid cards Skellige has to offer. Examples include Raiding Fleet (often used to thin out An Craite Longship), War of Clans, and even Stunning Blow which represents a strong removal option for only 5 Provisions.
An Craite Raiders (Rare)/ Drummond Berserker (Common)/ An Craite Warrior (Common)/ Tuirseach Invader (Rare)
While these cards are not priority crafts (we would not recommend crafting them at all from the start), they do represent solid value as you seek to build up a more complete deck. Some may also find their way into refined deck lists. With that in mind, be on the lookout for these cards in kegs if you are looking to move into the Skellige faction.
As we have already mentioned several times, the Warriors deck is overwhelmingly popular among Skellige decks. The core pieces have already been mentioned, but several other cards are key in filling the deck out. One of the main power plays in the deck is Hemdall, which can play for solid value while also offering a big swing play to catch up if the opponent is trying to bleed out key resources from us. The ability to punish opposing tall units is often present in these types of decks, but it is accomplished by using several different card options. Some of the most common (depending on which opposing threats are seen in the meta) are Hjalmar an Craite, Tyrggvi Tuirseach, and Morkvarg: Heart of Terror. The other core elements seen in just about every Warriors deck are Skjordal Drummond and Herkja Drummond, which can up our damage output and allow us to control the opposing board while developing our own.
In terms of supporting pieces, some of the choices come down to which leader ability we choose to employ. Madman Lugos can be a strong option, though is typically only included in decks that use Patricidal Fury to provide us with a guaranteed 3 damaged units (converts to 6 damage). A new (yet familiar) addition to these decks is the reworked An Craite Greatsword. Its ability synergizes nicely on board with Patricidal Fury and Rage of the Sea, as well as from the deck when playing Blaze of Glory. Greatsword serves as a strong target for Harald an Craite as well, as the random damage that Harald creates instantly heals the Greatsword to at least 6 power.
Summary: Hemdall, Hjalmar an Craite/Tyrggvi Tuirseach/Morkvarg: Heart of Terror, Skjordal Drummond, Herkja Drummond, Madman Lugos (consideration), An Craite Greatsword
Although Warriors is the most common and powerful way to play Skellige, we can experiment with other playstyles. Primarily, this involves the use of Skellige’s scenario: Gedyneith. First and foremost is the namesake of the archetype, which can support several strategies at once by swarming the board with beasts and also playing two different specials with the Alchemy tag. When we are already playing a deck featuring Alchemy cards, Crowmother is a natural and powerful inclusion due to the carryover threat it presents. The ability to use Crowmother in all three rounds for a tempo boost makes our deck difficult to bleed out of resources and also opens up the possibility for us to push the opponent out of their key cards in Round 2. With two cards like Gedyneith and Crowmother (which we would like to play in Round 1 if possible), Oneiromancy is typically included in these decks to increase our consistency and provide our gameplan with some flexibility.
The remainder of our deck is filled out with Druids to actually resolve Gedyneith and support cards to our strategy. The most common Druids are Ermion and Crow Clan Druid, which both provide solid value for their cost to the deck. Axel Three-Eyes is a consideration in more beast-heavy decks that take advantage of such cards as [card]Crow’s-eye Rhizome[/card] and Crow Messenger. Both of these cards also coincidentally set up our Crow Clan Druid quite nicely, wrapping the deck together. If we are searching for additional Alchemy cards to increase the likelihood of pulling Crowmother from the Graveyard twice, Gigascorpion Decoction gives us some nice removal potential while also playing for extra tempo if we use it to pull out Crowmother from the Graveyard.
Summary: Gedyneith, Crowmother, Oneiromancy (Neutral), Ermion, Crow Clan Druid, Axel Three-Eyes, Crow Messenger, Gigascorpion Decoction, Crow's-eye Rhizome
Syndicate is considered a more advanced faction and does not even feature a starter deck. Syndicate crafting is more suitable for intermediate players who have already built a comfortable collection and are capable of playing other factions while building up a Syndicate collection, as incomplete or partially complete Syndicate decks suffer more relative to the other factions.
Many competitive Syndicate deck takes advantage of Passiflora. In these days it is often (but not always) paired with the Hidden Cache leader ability. This combination presents a rather straightforward basic gameplan, but, as with all Syndicate decks, adapting on the fly is absolutely necessary. Our typical idea is to try to win Round 1 with a couple of coins left available for carryover. Playing Passiflora in a medium to long Round 2 allows us to make a strong push against the opponent and trade for valuable resources, all while punishing the opponent for playing cards into our engines. A shorter Round 3 is hopefully won by our most powerful remaining Coin Spender vs the opponent’s weaker remaining resources.
Jacques Miraculous Child (Legendary)
Typically, Coin Spenders provide some upside while starting at a low point floor to compensate for the fact that Coins are flexible and can be distributed in a number of ways. One spender that breaks this mold is Jacques Miraculous Child, as the baseline of this card (in its second form) is 12 points. From here, we can also use Jacques to spend any excess coins we may have, thus allowing us to spread our value from Coins around to several units and make the opposing tall removal worse.
Philippa Eilhart (Legendary)
One of the issues that Syndicate can have is filling the bank with Coins without a way to spend them properly. Philippa Eilhart is a great fix for this, as it is a way to spend Coins efficiently (2 points for every 1 Coin spent with removal potential) without also Profiting to further fill the bank. From here, we can begin filling the bank again to spend with our other Coin spenders.
Saul de Navarette (Epic)
Syndicate, especially Hidden Cache decks, is a faction that focuses heavily on engines. The best of them all is Saul de Navarette. When we reach 9 coins (7 coins with Hidden Cache), Saul will begin to grow for 3 points per turn, which generates a large amount of pressure on the opponent. Reaching these high coin values is already something we want to do in order to take advantage of The Flying Redanian, Hoard cards like Sea Jackal, and coin carryover between rounds. As such, Saul is a natural inclusion in any Syndicate deck while representing even more potential in Hidden Cache decks.
As mentioned above, Passiflora is the most highly represented archetype for competitive Syndicate decks. In addition to the Passiflora itself, we must fill out our deck with sufficient Blindeyes to actually complete the Passiflora. The most common Gold Blindeye we see is Adriano the Mink, which offers natural synergy in combination with the Sly Seductress already spawned by the Passiflora. He also spends some coins from our bank, which lowers our total so that the upcoming 6 coin boost from Passiflora is not wasted due to the 9 coin maximum. Other Gold options include Adalbertus Kalkstein if purify effects are needed in the meta and Pickpocket if our leader ability is not Hidden Cache and getting to high coin values might not be as simple.
In terms of bronzes, Street Urchins is always a selection for the deck as it provides us both a Blindeye and a Coin Spender in one. The Profit ability on Street Urchins also can help us build up Coin carryover for the next round. Our final piece is decided by our leader ability, as Passiflora Peaches is used most of the time with the Hidden Cache ability. With the other leader abilities, a regular Sly Seductress is used more often.
Summary: Adriano the Mink, Adalbertus Kalkstein, Pickpocket, Street Urchins, Passiflora Peaches/Sly Seductress
Recently growing in popularity to match and even exceed Passiflora, Swarm or Firesworn decks have steadily become more powerful. These decks primarily focus on swarming the board with Firesworn tokens and then using some payoff cards to reward us for generating the tokens. One of the main benefits to using this deck is the ability to play Ulrich, which is a very powerful tool. With the Devotion ability active, we can easily spawn an engine out of removal range due to the boost provided from Ulrich. The other main attractions in a swarm deck are Grand Inquisitor Helveed, which can quickly grow our board presence, as well as Dies Irae and Sacred Flame, both of which reward us for swarming the board.
One of the main buffs to this deck in recent times was the introduction of Fallen Knight. This card boosts based on most cards we play in the deck and it also represents a perfect target for Ulrich. Congregate in particular is a card we already want to run and it suits Fallen Knight perfectly. In addition, newly added Smuggle can serve a similar purpose, boosting Fallen Knight twice though in comparison to 4 times from Congregate. When we need to spend coins, our main Coin Spender (on top of Jacques and Helveed) is Cleric of the Flaming Rose. Be sure to spend coins with him before you try boosting up your board, though, as the Firesworn Zealot transforms into a Flaming Rose Footman and resets to its base power of 3.
Summary: Ulrich, Grand Inquisitor Helveed, Sacred Flame, Dies Irae, Fallen Knight, Congregate, Smuggle, Cleric of the Flaming Rose
As a big fan of the Witcher franchise, SwanDive is always on the lookout for her next Witcher fix. She started playing Gwent in the Closed Beta for the lore – and stayed for the game and the community. Long an avid gamer, Swan found her passion for CCGs and competitive gaming at the Gwent table. Away from it, Swan is studying for her Master’s degree in English and worked as content manager for Team Aretuza.