Meta Snapshot #10
With a huge new patch has come a brand-new meta. In the early days, we have seen Northern Realms and Syndicate stand out as the dominant factions, though the meta is always developing and counter options have begun to develop. In particular, buffs to King Foltest and the advent of Sigismund Dijkstra have vaulted these leaders to the top of the meta. Much of the developments have centered around finding advantages against these two leaders.
In the first update of this Meta Snapshot, we present 19 updated decks that focus on key archetypes seen in the metagame. Included are options from each faction, although some factions have been explored more than others. While Sigismund Dijkstra has emerged as the predominant Syndicate leader, we have included other options for players seeking alternatives. In Skellige and Monsters, fewer decks are included due to their lower popularity, but we will monitor the situation closely to identify decks from these factions that emerge later in the patch cycle.
We hope you enjoy our Meta Snapshot and happy Gwenting!
Update: 17 August 2019
First published: 12 August 2019 (Game version: 220.127.116.11)
- 17 August 2019:
- Added: Big Gernichora, Brouver Midrange, Calanthe Charges, Dijkstra Crimes and Harald Midrange
- Tier adjustments:
- No Unit Francesca Tier 3 ⇒ HM
Consultants: Adzikov, Damorquis, Jamedi, JMJWilson23, Kochua, Kolemoen, Molegion, Santtu2x, Sergi2Vamos.
Editors: Apero, Kochua
Decks in this tier have favourable matchups against the majority of lower tier decks and some favourable matchups against other Tier 1 lists. Another criterion is that these decks should be able to win against lower-tier decks on blue coin most of the time.
Decks in this tier can beat Tier 1 decks if the player can access its full potential, or are strong decks with a clear counter; in addition, these decks should win consistently against lower tiers.
While decks in this tier remain good laddering options that can successfully achieve high winrates, they can struggle to achieve the same winrate when matched up against decks we place in higher tiers. They may make for strong tournament options.
Decks here aren't strong or popular enough to be tiered, but have enough potential to be better with the adequate support cards. They may win against unsuspecting opponents and can make for interesting tournament options, but are otherwise worth just keeping an eye on.
Written by Jamedi; Consultation: Damorquis, JMJWilson23 and SwanDive
What is a Meta Snapshot?
A Meta Snapshot is a comprehensive list of the decks which are played in a CCG. The decks are ordered by criteria, accounting for their power level through a tier (used by Team Aretuza & Team Nova), star or numerical system. If you would like to discuss our current Meta Snapshot, you can join our Discord server.
Which kind of criteria are used to classify a deck into a tier?
While the list of criteria is extensive, here are the most important aspects:
- Power level is the amount of points a deck can output in comparison to others in the meta. In general, decks of higher tiers tend to have a greater number of unconditional points without depending on what rival decks do.
- Consistency is focused on the draw dependency of a deck and the amount of thinning this deck has. Better thinning means more consistency, which usually means easier access to higher-value cards. If a deck is too dependent on drawing one or two certain cards but runs no thinning, it lacks consistency.
- Counterability is the difficulty that other decks have to tech for the matchup against a certain deck and how much they need to sacrifice to improve the matchup. In Gwent, there are a lot of ways to prepare a deck for a concrete matchup and we can expect players to tech against the strongest/most popular decks of the metagame. The capability of a deck to win despite teching plays a role in its tier placement.
The data are collected by the players in several hundred matches and is then translated into the Snapshot. While the normal ladder experience can be different, tiered decks are good to climb the ladder to Pro Rank with relative ease.
What is the meaning of the different tiers?
- Tier 1: Decks in this tier are the strongest, the most difficult to counter and heavily influence how decks in other tiers adapt.
- Tier 2: Usually this tier covers decks which are still good, but due to some reason, they cannot be qualified as Tier 1. They usually have less strength than Tier 1 decks or have another factor that makes them slightly worse than top tier decks. In some particular metagames, a deck can be Tier 2 due to how easy it is to tech against it.
- Tier 3: Decks in this category are still viable for climbing the ranked ladder, but they encounter more difficulty at high fMMR. They can still be used as tournament picks (in formats in which you can ban). They may still have favorable matchups versus some Tier 1 decks, but they are usually unfavored. Decks which are inconsistent or too draw-dependent also fall into this category.
- Honorable Mentions: Here, we put decks whose strength is not enough to be tiered, but which have the potential to be much better with some support. These decks are always worth keeping an eye on. A deck which has been discovered recently and has not been played enough to be tiered can also fall into this category.
My experience differs from what you describe in the Snapshot. Does this mean that the Snapshot is not accurate?
Short answer, no. Long answer, there are a huge number of factors that can influence the development of a matchup between two players with their respective decks, which includes player skill, knowledge of the matchup and the respective decks, cards drawn and how they have played the match. Also, it is worth noting that a meta snapshot represents a picture of how the meta is in a particular moment. “Tiers” as defined above are never rigid constructs. In any given day, the meta can shift dramatically.
In general, inexperienced players tend to play worse and with more unpredictable lists. As we move up on the ladder, decklists tend to be more optimized, sometimes influenced by content creators such as popular streamers or the most recent meta snapshot. Reaching Pro Rank, we can expect to face the best possible players with the most optimized decklists.
I have a different list from the one shown in the Snapshot. Does this mean that one of the lists is incorrect?
Lists provided in our snapshots are usually stock lists, which are supposed to be a base to be modified according to the meta you are currently facing and your own playstyle. The tech section provides some card replacement options which may be more effective within a particular meta. This normally does not affect a deck’s overall consistency.
I haven’t seen this deck which appears in the Snapshot / I play this list or this archetype and it isn’t in the Snapshot.
The Snapshot tries to be as accurate and complete as possible. We release an initial snapshot as soon as the meta has settled after a game patch and make as many updates as possible afterwards. If a deck is not included, it will most likely be added in one of the next updates, as we try to prioritize the most popular and relevant decks. Despite that, we have to skip some decks which are unpopular or are very similar to existing ones. If you would like to be informed about our updates, feel free to check our website regularly or follow Team Aretuza or Team Nova on Twitter or Discord.
Are you just including the most popular decks/FOTM lists? Do you keep the best lists for yourselves?
No. While it is true that part of our work is to try and create a representation of the meta that is as accurate as possible and this, of course, includes the popularity of decks, popularity has no impact on how decks are tiered. We do not keep the best lists for ourselves. We are creating meta snapshots to share our collective knowledge of this game and provide players of all levels with a more enjoyable Gwent experience.
Do you have more questions? Join the discussion on Discord!
As Skellige’s standing in the metagame has fallen, its decks have adapted to suit this fact. In past metas, Skellige had the strongest bronze cards and as such, stood among the strongest faction options. This lead to the decks composing themselves in ways that best avoided common counters found in the game. Such was the story behind the rise of Harald the Cripple decks that excluded Olaf due to its poor play into Bounty effects and Syndicate in general. Now, the package of Olaf and Knut the Callous has returned in these decks to increase the power ceiling of the deck and allow it the opportunity to potentially compete with other factions that possess more powerful gold cards.
- The most important card in the whole list, and in any Harald the Cripple list, is Dagur Two Blades. It plays for 20 points in a single card when paired with our leader ability while also providing for removal potential. It can typically be saved for last play to avoid opponent tall removal, but when we feel safe from such cards, playing Dagur and our leader early into the round can provide a huge number of points when paired with all of our damaging effects that will boost Dagur over time.
- The combined package of Olaf and Knut the Callous gives our deck a lot of power when the combo goes uncontested. It is a pairing with a high risk but also a high level of reward when it is allowed to go off. In total, the two cards play for 22 points, of which we gain 4 damage of removal.
- Strong finisher when combining Harald the Cripple's leader ability with Dagur Two Blades
- Has fairly strong bronze engines that can help us contest Round 1 when they combine together
- Vulnerable to tall punish, especially when we do not have last say
- We do not run many good gold cards, so not drawing them can lower the power level substantially.
- Vigo's Muzzle, Donar an Hindar, An Craite Blacksmith ⇒ Hjalmar an Craite, Ulfhedinn, Djenge Frett
- Heymaey Herbalist ⇒ Northern Wind
One minor awkwardness in the list is the fact that our tutor (Royal Decree) cannot fetch two of our most powerful cards, Vigo's Muzzle and Svalblod Totem. One way to increase our consistency in some regards is to remove Muzzle for a different removal option in Hjalmar an Craite. While this change reduces our versatility, we gain an additional target for Royal Decree.
We already run tech against common meta cards such as The Flying Redanian and Blue Stripes Commandos in Muzzle and Regis: Bloodlust, but these are highly committal resources. There are times when we want to play for carryover without committing to win Round 1, in which case Northern Wind can be a useful play that provides some removal value as well.
Written by JMJWilson23.
6,250 25 22 165
15Harald the Cripple
410Dagur Two Blades
68Knut the Callous
48Donar an Hindar
55Dimun Light Longshipx2Order (Ranged): Damage self and an enemy unit by 1. Cooldown: 1.
45Drummond Shieldmaidenx2The next time this unit takes damage, Summon a copy of it from your deck to this row.
35Svalblod Priestx2Every allied turn, on turn end, damage the allied unit to the right by 1, then boost self by 2.
44An Craite Blacksmithx2Order: Boost an allied unit by 1. Charge: 1. Gain 1 Charge whenever you play a Warrior.
44Heymaey Protectorx2Whenever an adjacent unit takes damage, boost self by 1.
44Svalblod Butcherx2Deploy: Damage an allied unit by 2, then give an enemy unit Bleeding for 3 turns.
24Svalblod Ravagerx2Deploy (Melee): Damage an enemy unit by 2. Bloodthirst 2: Give it Bleeding for 2 turns.