Season of the Elf Deck Samples
Below are meta decks from each of the factions to get players started for the Season of the Elf. These are examples of decks that have been seen often on ladder and are not organized by power level. We will update this list periodically during the season with additional lists as they arise or find a more favorable position in the meta.
Death's Shadow Kikimore Queen
With an update to the decklists, we have decided to include a Monsters deck to keep this faction somewhat in line with the others. While there is some sparse experimentation with Overwhelming Hunger, no decklist has yet been solidified. This leaves only archetypes that carry over from previous patches as options for Monsters. Likely the most popular Monsters option is Death's Shadow featuring Kikimore Queen. This is an exceptionally greedy deck that can put up massive point totals in a long round by using its leader ability (on Caranthir Ar-Feiniel) to generate 3 copies of Kikimore Queen in total. This version in particular looks to defend against the opponent in Round 2 by using cards like Cave Troll and Renew which allow us to preserve or recycle some of our resources.
Decks we are monitoring: Arachas Swarm Organics, Blood Scent Vampires, Overwhelming Hunger Swarm
Imperial Formation Masquerade Ball
Our deck of choice for Nilfgaard is a real powerhouse from the previous month's meta that looks to be here to stay. We use the Imperial Formation leader ability to give us a decent amount of power and flexibility while focusing our deck around the usage of Masquerade Ball to dominate any deck that relies on going tall with its units. This deck is obviously weak to artifact removal, so it is an option to remove Damien de la Tour in order to fit Assire var Anahid and Matta Hu'uri, which allows us to shuffle Masquerade Ball back into our deck and redraw it if the opponent is able to remove it.
Imperial Formation Soldiers
Another mainstay deck from previous patches, this Imperial Formation deck featuring the "Elder Bears" of Damien de la Tour and Stefan Skellen has lost some bite due to nerfs but remains a strong option for Nilfgaard. The deck is all about maximizing the value out of our key orders cards (Damien and Skellen) while also leveraging our leader ability for an advantage. By this we mean that typically this deck will look to trade key cards with the opponent in Rounds 1 and 2 knowing that the Imperial Formation ability (paired with Affan Hillergrand) can play for a large number of points in a shorter Round 3 setting.
Decks we are monitoring: Imposter Masquerade Ball, Lockdown Masquerade Ball, Lockdown Singleton
Of the new leader abilities introduced with Patch 6.1, Uprising is one of two to have taken up a large space in the meta. This is a twist on a classic deck focused around swarming the board with Humans (Queen Adalia and Caravan Vanguards) and transforming them into Kaedweni Revenants with Draug. It also supports the Uprising leader ability with some boost-centric engines such as the buffed Reynard Odo and Anna Strenger, though these cards are a bit vulnerable and can potentially be swapped out for more value-oriented cards that are less disruptable.
With some slight targeting going on in the meta that punishes the Draug versions of Uprising decks, some players have elected to use a more midrange version instead. This particular version features Shupe's Day Off and Radeyah as some of its powerful plays, but they are not necessary and can be potentially replaced with other more consistent options. This deck is weak in Round 1 due to the nature of single copies of Bronze cards, but it does feature strong, albeit somewhat inconsistent, finishers.
Decks we are monitoring: Uprising Engines
Deadeye Ambush Singleton Elves
With the exception of Monsters, Scoia'tael seems to be the least popular faction at the moment after an extended portion of time on top of the meta. That is not to say the faction is weak, however, merely that its competitive decks have changed very little and thus have seen little experimentation. Here we share another carryover from the previous meta that has changed very little in a Singleton (Radeyah) Elves list with Feign Death as its key piece. We can also elect to play this deck with double copies of Bronzes and no Feign Death if the player prefers. With the reduction of hard counters (double Lacerate and Tinboy decks come to mind) it is possible that this deck will remain a sleeper in the meta depending on the matchups present.
Mystic Echo Harmony
Here we present a deck that seemingly refuses to disappear from the meta in Mystic Echo Harmony. This appears to be one of Scoia'tael's most promising options in this meta due to its reasonably strong Round 1 featuring harmony cards, strong pushing potential with Water of Brokilon, and a powerful finisher due to the leader ability replaying Water of Brokilon. The deck is rounded off with a small poison package to help prevent the deck from being completely blown out by tall units, but greedy decks are still quite strong against Mystic Echo for sure.
Decks we are monitoring: Call of Harmony Elves, Precision Strike Harmony, Mahakam Forge Dwarves
Ursine Ritual Lippy
With the rework to Cerys an Craite (which now creates an additional copy of Drummond Shieldmaiden), a rise of Ursine Ritual decks has been seen. The natural synergy exists between Lippy Gudmund and Cerys An Craite, as this will generate 2 additional copies of Drummond Shieldmaiden over the course of the game, resulting in a 19 point tempo swing when Cerys is utilized a second time in Round 3. This deck in general will seek to gain a tempo advantage in the early rounds in order to replay approximately 2 of its strong golds later in the game after using Lippy Gudmund to swap the deck (filled with remaining weak cards hopefull) and the graveyard (filled with powerful golds hopefully).
Second Wind Gedyneith
While this is not a particularly novel deck for the current season, it does remain a strong option for Skellige. The main idea is to utilize our strong Bronze core of Ships to supplement Wild Boar of the Sea and utilize Gedyneith as a strong finisher. We can set up the ability to complete Gedyneith in a single turn if we set up our graveyard with a Bronze Druid card (Crow Clan Druid or Heymaey Herbalist) and Ermion. The combo sees us use Second Wind on Ermion, which targets Freya's Blessing to ressurect one of the Bronze Druids and play two Druids in a single turn. When we are unable to set up the combo or if we wish to use Second Wind on another target, it represents some utility in utilizing powerful cards like Wild Boar of the Sea or Morkvarg: Heart of Terror twice in a game.
Decks we are monitoring: Ursine Ritual Non-Lippy, Second Wind Greatswords
Hidden Cache Passiflora
The other of the new leader abilities to take hold of the meta is Hidden Cache. The ability naturally lends itself to a more engine-heavy approach to gameplay, which fits naturally with Passiflora that even has a built-in synergy card in Passiflora Peaches. This is very similar to previous Passiflora builds, but places an even stronger emphasis on a three-round game to gain an advantage of our active leader ability that refreshes on every round start. It is then often a good idea to push the opponent quite strongly in Round 2 with our engines, including Passiflora if it is an option.
Hidden Cache Non-Passiflora
While the Passiflora version of Hidden Cache is very powerful and popular, there are times when simply too many decks will be targeting it on the ladder with efficient answers to Azar Javed and Bomb Heaver. If that is the case, we can instead play a version with other powerful combinations, such as Bincy Blumerholdt and Imke. This deck plays very similarly to the Passiflora version with a strong focus on engines, merely using Bincy as its main threat to run away with the game rather than Passiflora. It should be noted that Bincy makes us much less incentivized to seize turn order initiative (that is, going first in a round) when compared to Passiflora, so it is slightly more flexible in its usage in terms of round structure, but requires a bit more support from cards like Imke.
Decks we are monitoring: Blood Money Passiflora, Wild Card Midrange, Congregate Gord
JMJWilson made his first forray into the world of CCG's with Gwent and has been hooked ever since. Since July 2018, he has competed in the game's Pro Rank scene and has participated in most online qualifiers since the official release of Gwent. Wilson serves as a content creator for Aretuza, especially focusing on the monthly Meta Snapshot and the Aretuza Academy projects. He seeks to bring the same analytical mindset to content creation as he does to his own gameplay with the goal of improving others' gameplay experience in whatever way is possible. With the implementation of Gwent Masters Season 2, Wilson aspires to continue his trend of being a consistent competitor in Gwent Masters qualifiers while also remaining committed to coverage of the game's highest level of competition.