It has been scarcely a week since the December 4th Patch hit the Gwent scene, and boy has it shaken up the Meta. Among the many changes to arrive in the game include huge nerfs to heavily used cards such as the Witcher Trio (Eskel, Lambert, and Vesemir), many of the Nilfgaard and Scoia’tael bronzes, and some of the more controversial cards such as Xavier Lemmens. Additionally, many cards received mild buffs to help them see the light of play including the Reinforced Trebuchet in Northern Realms, and Dwarf cards such as Gabor Zigrin and Mahakam Volunteers in Scoia’tael. You can find the full December 4th Patch notes here on the Official CDPR Gwent Forums.
Given the strong nerfs to the control-heavy faction Scoia’tael and its fairly oppressive leader Eithne, there has been a positive shift in the meta for engine decks. Foltest and Demavend are currently riding the helm of NR’s surge into the meta, but other engine decks may rise soon. Foltest in particular seems to be rising to the top and may very well be one of the stronger decks in this meta, as it stands currently. Meanwhile, other decks have risen due to their main counters being nerfed or because they received buffs. The former include Skellige graveyard-based decks such as Beasts Discard and Eist Warriors, while the later includes Filavandrel Dwarves.
Additionally, several neutral cards have risen in popularity due to their raw point value. Unicorn and Chironex have been very popular due to their combined point total and flexibility. Lacerate is becoming more common in decks due to its low provision cost and relatively high point value in long rounds, which are ever important in Gwent at the moment.
Lastly, an experienced Gwent Homecoming player may be wondering about artifacts in the meta. The general lack of artifacts in many of these decks means that few of them are running artifact removal, however, full artifact decks could still take a player by surprise. Decks based around Sihil may have a chance against several of these decks, especially if they “win the coin.” Stay Vigilant! Although running into full artifact deck after full artifact deck is very much a thing of the past, it may be prudent to tech artifact removal just in case!
Enjoy this brief meta update of 11 lists. Please remember that these decks are close but may not be fully optimized, and expect the meta to continue shifting in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for updates on the Homecoming meta, and keep your eyes peeled for an ironed out Team Rankstar Meta Tier List in the near future! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below!
Thanks so much to my fellow Rankstar teammates Sevenzh, Somnas, and Kacodo for their help with the deck choices and decklist optimizations as well as their suggestions, experience and perspectives!
Use the code “TRS12” to get 12% off your order at InkedGaming.com and support Team Rankstar directly!
Despite the heavy nerf to Wolfsbane and lighter nerf to Wild Boar of the Sea, Crach Bloodthirst is still an extremely viable deck, with favorable matchups against many of the decks in this update. With constant pings through Mastercrafted Spears, Crach, and Dimun Light Longship to activate bloodthirst or remove dangerous engines, this deck has an extremely strong long round. This particular list uses Geralt: Professional and Regis: Higher Vampire to ameliorate the tough Woodland Giant matchup. Geralt: Professional in particular is an extremely strong card combined with the pings mentioned before.
This particular list was optimized for pro rank play by Team Rankstar’s own Somnas.
With Cerys for an additional 4 points on each resurrection and graveyard hate in Homecoming at an all-time low minimum, Eist Warriors has found a spot in the meta. This deck has both strong early plays with the SK discard package, as well as several strong finisher plays with Sigrdrifa’s Rite, Bekker’s Dark Mirror, and Hjalmar an Craite. Geralt: Yrden is a particularly strong card in this deck. It is a strong card in the meta because it is able to remove large boosts from Ghouls, Bearmaster boosts, or Commander’s Horn, however it can also be used proactively to reset a number of self-damage units in the deck such as Jutta an Dimun, Tuirseach Veteran, and Heymaey Spearmaiden.
Unfortunately this deck’s largest weakness is not having consistent draws despite having the classic Skellige Discard package. More often than not this deck may not be able to push round 1 despite having strong finisher cards if it lacks a developed graveyard through Derran and Birna Bran.
Some versions of this list run the new card Hemdall to combine with Eist resurrecting Hjalmar for a strong finisher. However, it’s worth noting that this finisher is more of a fun and cool play rather than a competitive one.
Beasts Discard makes a return! A deck that has a potent short round 3 and can thin itself consistently and efficiently with plenty of discard targets is a good idea in theory. In practice, it is fairly strong, especially with the Nivellen + Lacerate for a long round, but it still falters to the same tall-unit techs that many lists are running to counter Woodland Giants. With the tall boosts in a short Round 3, Tuirseach Bearmasters usually only have 1 or 2 Beast Targets to boost. Unfortunately, this strategy is easily punished by tall-unit techs such as Eyck and Gaunter in NR, Peter Saar Gwynleve in NG, and Geralt of Rivia, Geralt: Professional, Geralt: Yrden, and Regis: Higher Vampire in Neutral. This deck is strong, but has a new weakness that may cripple it from its maximum potential.
Here’s a deck that hasn’t changed much since the last patch. The only cards that changed due to the patch were Forktail (which received a slight power and provision nerf) and Alpha Werewolf (which received a slight power nerf). Every other card has stayed the same and the decklist has more or less stayed the same, with only slight nuanced changes.
Woodland Giants is one of the stronger decks at the moment because of its huge point plays with high provision high strength cards (Old Speartip, Count Caldwell, Old Speartip: Asleep) and a decent long-round strategy with Thrive units (Nekker, Drowner, Archespore), followed by the consumption of tall units in later rounds. However, it is the most heavily tech-ed against deck, which means that ranking up with the deck could be a struggle.
Eredin is still around with a strong and flexible gameplan with his faithful right-hand man, Imlerith. This deck has a strong round 1 with many high value units in Unicorn / Chironex and the Crones, Whispess / Brewess / Weavess. With a win in round 1, it gains control of the length of the following 2 rounds. It has the flexibility for a round 2 bleed or a long round 3 with Imlerith set up as an Immune engine with Eredin’s ability, which allows it to play around its opponent’s strategy. With an experienced pilot, this deck is extremely powerful and intimidating due to its flexibility.
Brouver at the helm of an elf deck may not be lore-friendly, but it’s a strong deck nonetheless. With multiple ways to buff Schirru (Call of the Forest, Brouver’s charges) and plenty of was to get many elves on the board while still controlling your opponent, this deck has a great long round. Its finisher of an Immune Saesenthessis to protect the boost from Unicorn or Brouver allows the deck to play around several of the anti-boost tech cards in the meta that target individual units. Additionally, this deck also incorporates Lacerate along with movement tools in order to have a strong round 1 finisher and avoid using Schirru early in the game.
With the provision buff (ie lower provision cost) to Gabor Zigrin and Mahakam Volunteers, as well as a strength buff to Sheldon Skaggs, Dwarves and Handbuff combine to make a fun and fairly strong deck. Handbuff engines such as Hawker Smuggler and King of Beggars allow the Dwarves in your hand to constantly get boosted for bigger plays in a long round or for later rounds, or even for Resilience in the case of Mahakam Marauder. This deck has many engines such as Mahakam Defender and Dwarven Mercenary that opponents need to deal with and in several situations may overwhelm them.
With control being weaker after the patch, Foltest’s Engines can now overwhelm many decks. Expect this deck to see more and more play as well as some additional optimization as the meta moves forward, because it is a powerhouse. With the ability to Zeal powerful Orders units and gain a ton of value from engines that manage to stick, this deck should have the strongest long round at the moment. Almost every single gold in the deck is a force to be reckoned with, and the bronzes are powerful as well! With Reinforced Trebuchets being an extremely powerful card, Lacerate can easily be used to clean up a row-stacking opponent at the end of a round.
In a similar manner to Foltest Engines, Demavend Machines overwhelms the opponent with engines, except Demavend’s strategy is more about giving his units charges to use later in a round rather than exhausting the orders ability immediately. This results in having an even stronger long round, but a weaker short round. This particular version of the deck focuses on having Foltest’s Pride (or another Machine) generate a ton of points after accumulating many charges during the round with Demavend, Priscilla and Aretuza Adepts and protecting it by using Priscilla and boosts from Dandelion, Nenneke, Vysogota, Thunderbolt and Wyvern Scale Shield.
All-In Commander’s Horn
With many of the strong bronzes in Nilfgaard being nerfed, Reveal has fallen, and decks that go all in with high point strategies have risen in the Empire of the Great Sun. This particular list utilizes the Tactic tag of Commander’s Horn to play it from the deck repeatedly with Menno Coehoorn and Assire var Anahid after filling the 5 required units on a row with Germain Piquant. Emhyr’s ability to pick up a unit on the field and play a different one allows one to re-use Menno in one round. This All-In Commander’s Horn strategy may work well in the beginning, but as more players grow accustomed to it, it may struggle to survive multiple rounds.
In a similar manner to the previous list, this Zoltan All-In strategy deck utilizes Emhyr to re-use Zoltan: Scoundrel’s ability. However, Zoltan is a little more flexible than Commander’s Horn because he has the ability to be used both proactively and reactively through Duda: Companion and Duda: Agitator, respectively. This particular list was inspired by the decklist posted by Trynet123 from Fade2Karma.