Hello and welcome to the Honest Deck Guide with Weissenberg! In this segment your humble servant and the loyal subject to the Nilfgaardian Emperor provides a written testimony of his adventures in the realm of Gwent. Each time we will present you with a creative and off-meta deck to kill time with and each time we will be completely honest about its flaws and shortcomings.
With the Ofiri trade offensive taking everyone by surprise we woke up to the reality of having 70 new cards and quite a few new or expanded archetypes. As always, the very first cards that we carefully inspected were those within Nilfgaard. And it seems that strangulation and enslavement are now considered passé among the aristocrats of the Empire. This season poisoning is going to be the most trendy manner of disposing of your political enemies.
Poison Nilfgaard isn’t a new concept , as far as the imperial scholars remember there has been multiple faction-bound bronze cards that inflicted poison one way or another. Until now it seemed that these cards were printed or reworked at random and as such didn’t fit into any of the existing archetypes. And as Merchants of Ofir proved, unbeknownst to the community, the developers designed a sneaky plan on how to expand this seemingly non-existent archetype. Unfortunately and despite all the good intentions, the new cards can’t bear the weight of an entire archetype on their arms. That means that similar to the previous expansions we need to adapt and embrace the hybrid warfare once again.
There’s probably many ways to build a hybrid poison deck, but we decided to achieve the ultimate victory through assimilation and strategic withdrawal. Of course, that’s likely the most obvious choice, but at least it sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Let’s get down to the basics then! The main goal of this deck is to manage your mulligan and available resources in a way that allows you to get as many successful poisonings as possible and as a result dethrone a certain Eastern European city as the capital of unsolved political murders.
Unfortunately, certain crucial cards like Masquerade Ball and Vincent van Moorlehem are expensive enough for one to buy a chateau in Nazair, which means that we have to include some mulligan fodder. In other words, cards that you know are there, but that you don’t want to see… much like the lowly servants in that chateau in Nazair you could buy if you didn’t play this deck. In our case Tourney Joust and Imperial Diplomacy are likely to be the unwanted ones. They’re fairly cheap and if you were unlucky enough to awkwardly draw them they’re unlikely to brick. But, they make the deck somewhat clunky at times. And that clunkiness brings us to the next point…
Which is how to play a deck that at the first glance seems more tangled up than your mom’s spaghetti? First you need to realize that in many cases a successful Masquarade Ball will carry you through the last round, even if that round only lasts three turns. And that means that you should hold onto your scenario as if your life depended on it.
Round 1 is probably the best time to embrace the true hybrid nature of the deck. You can play both Thirsty Dame and Glynnis aep Loernach as your proactive cards. It’s entirely possible you’ll get discouraged by the low initial tempo, but once you’ve got a few poisonings you’ll be able to quickly catch up. You can make your opponent play sub-optimally by dropping Rot Tossers. Despite their disgusting nature they’re quite effective and trigger both aforementioned engines. Playing Devil’s Puffballs isn’t out of the question either. They’re capable of wrecking havoc and give you the feeling you’ve mastered the arcanes of our smelly business. Winning this round should be your priority, it gives you full control of the match and allows you to set up your desirable round 3.
Depending on the state of your hand you might want to push round 2. This early into the expansion it’s nearly impossible to determine in which cases pushing will be more profitable, but in my brief experience with this deck I noticed that there’s some decent smorc potential to be exploited. Though, despite all the promising signs on earth and sky, the main goal of this round is to prep for round 3, so don’t over-commit and don’t rid yourself of you key R3 plays.
But, what are those plays you might want to ask? Well, that question is quite difficult to answer, because there’s more than a few possible combinations. Below we’re going to describe two of them.
In the first combination you enter R3 with Roderick of Dun Tynne, Masquerade Ball and any useful card that you can replay with your leader ability, for instance Menno Coehoorn, which is going to be your opening play. Then in the very next turn you play the scenario, use Strategic Withdrawal to pull back Menno, play Roderick, who triggers the 1st chapter of Masquarade, after which he pulls Vincent out of your deck to activate the 2nd and last chapter of the scenario. Then you finish the round with Menno. This combination requires long-term strategy to make sure that all the pieces fall in their place.
In the second combination Masquarade Ball should be your R3 opening. If your opponent plays artifact removal of any kind your answer is to assume fetal position and weep like a little girl. If they didn’t remove your scenario you can follow up with our thirsty buzzcut friend or Artorius Vigo into our thirsty buzzcut friend. In a perfect world you should now have two poisoned targets that you can finish off with Fangs/Vinnie/Cupbearer in combination with your leader ability. But, a perfect world doesn’t exist, so unlike a typical Gerni player you’ll actually have to do the math and figure out what and when to play.
You might want to say that the above guide isn’t really a guide and all the described aspects of it are too vague to follow. And I agree. This guide is as tangled up as the deck it refers to. We’re slightly more than 24 hours into the expansion, so this is a very early attempt at building a new deck with new cards. One thing I can promise though, if you enjoyed the complexity and the constant headache of playing spies in beta, you’ll have a blast playing this deck. It’s extremely rewarding and fun to play, even when you’re losing. If you’d like to know how much we struggled early on, I suggest watching episode #18 of Weekly Stream Recap!
Thanks for reading!
That does it for this episode of the Honest Deck Guide! Thanks for joining us today, I hope you enjoyed the read. You can catch us live at: www.twitch.tv/weissenberg
See you next time!
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