Seasonal Mode Guide: Season of the Griffin
July 5, 2019 by Veruis
Hey everyone, I am Veruis, a casual player of CCG and RPG games, and I love spending my time having fun instead of tryharding on ladder. That is why I decided to combine my strength with Team Aretuza and prepare for all of you something to help with the best mode in Gwent: Seasonal. Enjoy!
What Is Seasonal Mode?
Seasonal Mode is a special game mode, rotating each month, with a unique ruleset where you fight another player. To join the queue, you need to be at least Level 10.
Playing this mode allows you to complete some quests in the seasonal Reward Tree. Also, this mode is the best place to complete contracts quickly, which will grant you Reward Points (RP). While spending RP, you will encounter special nodes marked with a chalice. Some of these will stop you from proceeding further until you finish a quest. Few of them can be done exclusively in seasonal mode, but most can be done in any mode in game.
Season of the Griffin
This month, you fight for the Griffin card back, three unique avatars, four Griffin borders, and two premium Kaedweni Sergeants. To complete the Season of the Griffin Reward Tree, you require 81 RP, while the fastest way to the Archgriffin border requires 43 RP. To complete the Leader Tree (George of Kagen), you need 78 RP, while the fastest way to the Griffin card back requires 44 RP.
“At the start of the match, set the power of every unit in your starting deck to its Provision Cost.”
This means that the base power of a unit will be equal to its provision cost while its ability will remain the same. For example, Geralt: Igni's base power will go from 2 to 11, which means that using Igni in this mode gives you 9 more points than regularly. Many other cards gain similarly immense value.
The idea for this mode is to build your deck with high-provision cards with low base power (for example, Zoltan: Scoundrel or Dandelion: Poet). Only cards from your starting deck are relevant, so you want to avoid cards that have mechanics like Create or Transform, as those would have “normal” power. Moreover, cards like Regis are not good for this mode, as every card your opponent plays will have at least 4 power (and don’t play any Spies!). Also, you are looking for leaders with a lot of provisions and abilities which give you access to other cards (like Jan Calveit) or synergize with your deck (Eithné).
Below, you will find my recommendations for the best cards for this month’s seasonal mode, as well as deck suggestions that combine to work very well in the mode and are fun to play. Skellige will just ruin your opponent’s mood, so feel free to use it first. This seasonal mode is also a good way to complete contracts with Eist Tuirseach or Bran Tuirseach, which may not be good on ladder but are perfect here.
Remember that seasonal mode is mostly for fun and adjusting your deck to your playstyle is more important than winning.
The cards below will provide you with a lot of value while also having powerful abilities without needing much synergy. A few months ago, the Witcher trio faced the nerf hammer, which made them largely unplayable. But fear no more! With this seasonal mode, they are auto-includes again, just like in December 2018!
Cards with good value on their own:
- Zoltan: Scoundrel - Powerful and flexible card with a 15-point body. You can either boost your row or damage opposing units.
- Dandelion: Poet - A 14-point tempo play that can protect your cards from Geralt: Igni while also letting you play another card in the same round.
- Geralt: Igni - Did you miss Igni, one of the most prominent Open Beta cards? It came back in a big way. Just try it out!
- Geralt of Rivia - If you don’t know what to put in your deck, Geralt is the answer.
- Eskel, Lambert, Vesemir - Our Witcher trio. After their big nerf a few patches ago, they haven’t seen much play. In the Season of the Griffin, they are back with a vengeance: 24 points of tempo with thinning makes them the best combo in this mode (also, Geralt: Igni loves them)!
- Gascon - Seasonal mode was created to have a lot of fun, and what can be more fun then playing Gascon, the most unreliable guy in The Witcher universe?
- Roach - Good tempo, especially with the Witcher trio.
- Carlo Varese - Good removal potential. Excellent choice for players with fewer scraps.
Cards good in specific decks:
- Gaunter O'Dimm - In a Zeal-based deck, Gaunter can be truly marvelous.
- Yennefer of Vengerberg - Works perfectly in swarm decks (like FireSwarm, mentioned below).
- Saesenthessis: Blaze - Especially good in decks with Igni or Scorch.
- Triss: Telekinesis - Fine card if you want to use some bronze specials (which are not that great in this mode).
- Yennefer: Conjurer - Card to consider if your deck has a lot of ping possibilities.
- Triss Merigold and Yennefer: Divination - These two cards have similar mechanics and can find their spot in decks with a lot of thinning and few high-provision units.
- Doppler - Fine value card, especially in decks with a lot of the same primary category.
- Eyck of Denesle - A better Geralt of Rivia in decks that can provide it with Zeal.
What can be better than little Monsters growing with every card you play or eating everything over and over again?
Monsters cards for seasonal mode are divided into two groups, Thrive/Dominance and Consume, each of them focusing on high-value cards in different ways. Woodland Spirit is the suggested leader, offering the highest provision and 8 bonus points, but it can be replaced with Eredin Bréacc Glas or Arachas Queen.
Monsters in general are not so good in this Seasonal Mode because they rely on creating a lot of big units, often aligning themselves because of the Thrive mechanic, but are still fun to play. The best thing is to combine cards from both groups adjusted to your own style of game.
Arachas Queen is a very interesting deck to play. It can achieve tremendous value but at the same time puts itself in a vulnerable position. If you want to play this deck, you need to practice avoiding losing too many points in one opponent swing; Consume too many units and you may fall to Geralt: Igni or Geralt of Rivia.
Also, try to bait Lock effects from the opponent before playing a card like Ruehin. If you are facing too many Locks, it could be wise to replace some less important cards (like Caranthir Ar-Feiniel or Werecat) with Queen of the Night or Renew.
Best Cards for This Mode
- Weavess: Incantation - Very greedy card with thinning option. Use at your own risk.
- Protofleder - Fine card providing 16 points with Dominance mechanic.
- Imlerith - Imlerith is a shadow of its former glory when it was called Sabbath, but it still can be used effectively in this mode.
- Adda: Striga - Card with removal potential, especially good against Northern Realms or Nilfgaard.
- Wild Hunt Rider - Fine thinning tool.
- Drowner - One of the best cards with 5 provision, capable of disrupting the opponent's positioning and growing large.
- Nekker - Good proactive play with a chance for more points.
- Glustyworp - Card that can be powerful in Arachas Queen decks.
- Ruehin - Literally unstoppable engine if the opponent doesn’t have a Lock.
- Dettlaff: Higher Vampire - Similarly to Ruehin, a good card with synergy.
- She-Troll of Vergen - Greedy card that can be taken into consideration if you are playing Arachas Queen and a lot of Consume options.
- Kayran - Good option for immediate Consume effects.
- Caranthir Ar-Feiniel - Good card to combine with Kayran or Slyzard.
- Brewess, Weavess, Whispess - Three cards that can find their spots in some kind of midrange deck.
- Ghoul - Perfect card for this seasonal format, with a lot of usable bronzes for 6 provision.
- Ozzrel - Same as Ghoul, but better.
- Celaeno Harpy, Cyclops, Slyzard - Key Consume cards.
- Ancient Foglet - Very interesting card for 4 provisions, providing 4 points on first play and 9 when Consumed.
Nilfgaard has many cards which provide excellent effects and soar in power under the Season of the Griffin rules. Suggested leader: Jan Calveit, offering the possibility to play another card from the deck with high base power and an interesting ability while having the highest provision (17), is definitely the best leader from Nilfgaard. Another possibility is Emhyr var Emreis, which may be a better choice with a Poison-oriented deck or mill.
With a lot of control tools, Nilfgaard fits perfectly in this mode. Excellent Nilfgaard cards such as Leo Bonhart, Shilard Fitz-Oesterlen, Spotter, Assire var Anahid plus Roach, and neutral cards like Geralt: Igni and Geralt of Rivia give you chance to strike down bigger opponent units with good tempo.
Keep in mind that Artorius Vigo and Spotter are RNG cards, so if you really need points to secure a round, think about using others resources.
Replacing Artorius Vigo, Shilard or Assire for Serrit + Auckes + Letho of Gulet combo is an option, but it provides less points even if drawn together. With bronze cards, you have much more flexibility. You can replace Nauzicaa Sergeant with Fangs of the Empire, or even add Rot Tosser and Emhyr var Emreis as a leader. Moreover cards like Toussaint Knight-Errant can be replaced for Alba Spearman or Infiltrator.
Best Cards for this Mode
- Damien de la Tour - Hard-to-remove card that allows your leader to be played twice.
- Vilgefortz - Card that lets you punish your opponent for being too greedy, while giving you a little synergy with Jan Calveit.
- Leo Bonhart - A better Geralt of Rivia.
- Shilard Fitz-Oesterlen - The perfect card for this mode, as it's guaranteed your opponent will have high-power cards.
- Artorius Vigo - May be used for getting out Impera Brigade or, even better, Spotter.
- Assire var Anahid - Good value, though only playable with Roach.
- Traheaern var Vdyffir - Sometimes you just want to make your opponent angry. With its high base power, it is a good choice, and you have a chance to remove an important card from the opponent's arsenal.
- Impera Brigade - Good thinning card.
- Spotter - Most high-roll card in this season, worth either 9 or 20 points.
- Slave Hunter - Most people play around this card, but sometimes it is impossible. In such situations it is the perfect card for a big swing at a low provision cost.
- Viper Witcher + Courier - This two-card combo doesn't provide the most points, but perhaps the most annoyance for the opponent.
At first glance, Northern Realms seemed like it might be the best faction for the mode. But after a couple of matches, I needed to revise my view. If Northern Realms is good at something, there is definitely a better faction. Even engines, which should be its best chance to be out front, are struggling to find value. If we compare a more control version with Gaunter O'Dimm plus Prince Anséis and, for example, Eithné with the ability to align units for Geralt: Igni, it definitely pales. As for engines, Northern Realms cannot feel even half as strong as Arachas Queen with the combination of Ruehin and Consume cards. It's just too slow.
You can use every leader in Northern Realms for this mode, as no one leader is particularly strong. The suggested deck uses King Foltest as a control leader, but for engine decks you can use any other leader, depending on your card choices.
This deck is very simple in practice: You’re slamming points with cards like Gascon, Poor Fucking Infantry, the Witcher trio and Ronvid the Incessant (remember to use Ronvid as soon as possible to generate carryover for later rounds), saving cards like Prince Anséis and Seltkirk of Gulet to be used with Cintrian Artificer and Geralt of Rivia or Geralt: Igni for bigger point swings.
Unfortunately, Northern Realms lacks good mid-provision cards. That’s why there is little space to switch cards. You can cut Gaunter O'Dimm for Eyck of Denesle and replace some 4-provision cards for something stronger, but I don’t recommend that.
Best Cards for Engine-Focused Lists
- Kiyan - If it lives, there is no better gold card for an engine-focused deck, especially with Foltest’s Pride.
- Foltest's Pride - Fine card for this mode that combines with Kiyan or serves as a backup when Kiyan would be countered.
- Ves - Good card with solid value, providing Zeal for your next engine card.
- Priscilla - A natural choice for engine decks.
- Botchling - A typical engine that may find a spot in a deck, but I prefer more synergistic engines.
- Vysogota of Corvo - Strong engine, especially good with Tridam Infantry or Nathaniel Pastodi.
- Reinforced Ballista, Siege Tower, Trebuchet, Lyrian Arbalest - All these cards are typical engines converting Charges from Priscilla, Aretuza Adept or King Demavend III into points for us.
- Lyrian Cavalry - An auto-include bronze card, as almost every engine has Order, so it can generate huge points.
- Tridam Infantry - Only usable in decks with Vysogota and/or with Queen Meve.
Skellige lands in the best spot in this seasonal mode with the Discard mechanic and Lippy Gudmund, just like in Season of the Bear. What can be better than playing your best cards like the Witcher trio, Geralt of Rivia, Geralt: Igni and Roach, and then doing it again?
In Skellige, you focus on a Discard package, which provides you with a lot of base power and access to stronger cards while just Discarding worse ones. Suggested leaders: Bran Tuirseach with more Discard options, or Eist Tuirseach for more points (and completing leader contracts) with Cerys an Craite and one of the Warriors. You can also use Svalblod for one more body and the chance to secure cards from Geralt: Igni. Even Crach an Craite is fine here, as it can align opponent units for Igni or activate Bloodthirst.
Skellige seems to be the strongest and hardest deck type you will see in this seasonal mode. As it is draw-dependent, it may underperform, although running Bran as the leader may help.
The starting hand you are looking for is the Discard package, especially Birna Bran, Tuirseach Skirmishers and Lippy Gudmund. You are using all your Discards to put less valuable cards in the graveyard while keeping the strongest ones. When you are done with Discarding and you've used all of your good cards, you can go to Round 2 with Lippy in hand (it’s also often a good idea to keep one or two Discard cards in hand for Round 2 or 3). If you think your opponent will push Round 2, mulligan Morkvarg.
It is very hard to describe the proper order for playing cards, as it changes every match. The Witcher trio and Birna Bran interact negatively; try to use Birna as a first Discard, or after you've played the Witcher trio.
Feel free to change any card except the Discard package and Lippy in this deck, because the power lies in how you can play your good cards twice.
Best Cards for this Mode
- Lippy Gudmund - The card that gives you a chance to play your best cards twice. You won’t see better in this season. In the worse case, it offers a solid 20 points of tempo with Roach.
- Birna Bran, Heymaey Skald - Discard tools to thin your deck and get access to better cards.
- Morkvarg, Tuirseach Skirmisher - Discard targets to get even more value from Discarding your cards.
Those cards are not as good as the others but are worth considering:
- Cerys an Craite - Fine card to combine with Eist.
- Kambi - 10 for 10 and a chance to make your enemy angry? Count me in! Only for meme purposes.
- Hjalmar an Craite - Quality removal.
- Dagur Two Blades + An Craite Greatsword - Those two cards can find their spot in decks with Crach and other control cards.
- Skjall - Okay card if you just don’t have any better.
- Drummond Queensguard - Fine with Svablod, allowing them to swarm the board and get boosted by Zoltan: Scoundrel.
- Svalblod Priest - Interesting engine with a lot of synergy.
- Dimun Warship - 8 for 5, providing synergy with Greatswords or Dagur.
- Brokvar Archer - Makes your Discards even better.
Scoia’tael finds a sweet spot in this seasonal mode between using faction cards and neutrals. It brings tools with a lot of possibilities to use Geralt: Igni, Yennefer: Conjurer or Scorch to achieve victory.
Unfortunately, there are only two usable leaders: Eithné, who is preferable because of 4 pings and high provision; and Brouver Hoog, who gives less flexibility and fewer provisions but can be used if we don’t have Eithné (there is also Filavandrel aén Fidháil, but it just doesn’t fit).
Elf swarm with control tools like Geralt: Igni, Geralt of Rivia and Geralt: Professional feels like one of the best decks in this seasonal mode. Your Elf cards provide a lot of points and synergy alongside tempo when Aelirenn jumps from the deck; it is important to keep your Elves under control, so you don't overcommit the round with your strongest card.
While using Schirrú, you mostly want to hit the opposing Witcher trio, so avoid scorching your own units.
This kind of deck doesn’t have many cards for replacement because we include almost every Elf card in the game. Changing them would make Aelirenn less reliable and you might as well replace Aelirenn if you do.
Best Cards for this Mode
- Milaen - Good card providing synergy with Geralt: Igni.
- Sheldon Skaggs - The real MVP of this season, providing 18 for 9 as a normal card, with cards like Dwarven Agitator or Ithlinne Aegli doubling its score.
- Schirrú - Do you miss scorching the enemy’s whole board? It's back!
- Toruviel - Interesting card providing nice points.
- Hawker Smuggler - Good card as a proactive play with carryover.
- Panther - 9 for 6, good filler especially with so many neutrals being played in the mode.
- Dol Blathanna Bomber - Easily fulfilled condition provides 9 points.
- Dwarven Skirmisher - One of the most viable 4-provision cards in this season.
After days of struggle, I’ve concluded that Syndicate as a faction is not top-tier in this seasonal mode (which can’t be said about regular ladder). It can be treated as just worse versions of Eithné, Arachas Queen or even engine Queen Meve. In the end, I suggest only two decks: Cyrus Hemmelfart with its loyal Firesworn swarm and Gudrun Bjornsdottir with a more control version.
If you want to replace any card, feel free - almost every card in Syndicate gives similar value and works with other faction cards.
Because it is a new faction, I have provided two lists.
The idea for this deck is simple. Instead of paying attention to the opponent's side of the board, you focus mostly on your side, trying to win Round 1 with The Flying Redanian, the Witcher trio, Sewer Raiders, collecting coins for future rounds. Then, in the last moment, unleash the power of Firesworn Zealots, filling your board with them and then boosted 18 units with Bone Talisman, Zoltan: Scoundrel and Yennefer of Vengerberg, while trying to protect your units from Scorch or Geralt: Igni with Coerced Blacksmith.
Witcher trio + Roach is the best combo in this mode (we missed you!) with a whopping 34-points tempo play and a lot of thinning. As The Flying Redanian can also be Summoned, this combo can be devastating for your opponent and help bleeding them. Eternal Fire Disciple, Eternal Fire Priest, Firesworn Scribe, Coerced Blacksmith and Tax Collector are a good bronze core for this deck and should not be changed, but remember that adjusting the deck to your playstyle gives more benefits than going blindly with someone's idea.
While Spawning more and more Firesworn Zealots keep in mind that the row has a limit of 9 cards and you still need place for Zoltan: Scoundrel and Triss: Telekinesis.
Due to a bug with the PlayGwent deck library, there is one extra Firesworn Scribe and one extra Coerced Blacksmith in the deck. Remember to remove those when you import the deck.
Cards to replace in FireSwarm:
- Yennefer of Vengerberg - Works perfectly with the swarm style of this deck.
- Tinboy - If you want some more damage, one of the stronger cards in this mode.
- Grand Inquisitor Helveed - For more flexibility in creating your swarm.
- Adriano the Mink - If Sly Seductress is good, then a card that Spawns it is good too!
- Sly Seductress - Just plain good.
- Keeper of the Flame - A great role-player in FireSwarm.
Gudrun Control just fits in this kind of mode with big units.
Using all of your thinning tools in Round 1 allows you to dig for your strongest cards like Caleb Menge, Graden, Geralt of Rivia and bronze card from the Bounty package. With Ewald Borsodi and Menge on the battlefield, you can clear the opponent’s board, in one turn. To protect yourself from being FireSwarmed, you have Tinboy. Very fun to play, but it requires a lot of correct predictions of opponent plays and preparations to match.
Keeping balance between generators and spenders of coins is one of the most challenging things while using this deck. Try to avoid situation when there is nothing to fill your purse or spend your money.
Cards to replace in Gudrun Control:
- Tinboy - For more power against swarm decks.
- Whoreson's Freak Show - Quite nice with Geralt: Igni or Geralt: Professional.
- Bincy Blumerholdt - For more greedy versions.
- Adriano the Mink - Again, a greedy choice.
- Coerced Blacksmith - Use your Coins to protect your units from Scorch and Igni.
- Arena Endrega - Excellent setup for your other cards.