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A Beginner's Guide to Deck Archetypes

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Lilayah

CD PROJEKT RED
#1
A Beginner's Guide to Deck Archetypes




by Francesca “Jaggerous” Jagger

GWENT Challenger is just around the corner — this weekend, April 28th and 29th, eight best GWENT players from around the world will compete for the lion’s share of a $100,000 prize pool! Tournament events are a great way to get a taste for competitive GWENT, and see how the game is played at the highest level. For newer and more casual players, this is also a fantastic opportunity to learn strategy. If you’re not yet familiar with cards or deck strategies, I’ve broken down the main archetypes for each faction to help you better understand the mechanics of The Witcher Card Game.​

Alchemy
Faction — Nilfgaard
Typical Leader — Jan Calveit
Cards to Look Out For — Viper Witcher, Vicovaro Novice, Mahakam Ale, Ointment

This deck’s primary synergy works around Viper Witchers. These units deal damage for each Alchemy card in your starting deck. You can build a deck with lots of Alchemy cards so that these Witchers really pack a punch. Vicovaro Novice lets you see two random bronze Alchemy cards from your deck, then play one, and cards like Mahakam Ale allow you to buff a unit on each row. Ointment lets you resurrect a bronze with five or fewer strength and thus synergies well with units like Viper Witchers or Vicovaro Novices. This allows you to boost your own units while also dealing damage to, and potentially killing, your opponents’.

Baron Machines
Faction — Northern Realms
Typical Leader — King Henselt
Cards to Look Out For — Battering Ram, Siege Master, Bloody Baron, Dun Banner

This deck is about utilising machines to deal damage and kill your opponents’ units. Other machines may be used, but Battering Ram is a very standard choice. It deals damage to a unit and, if that unit dies, may hit additional one. This is great if you want to kill lots of small units. Its damage is also increased when placed next to a card with a “Crew” tag. Speaking of Crew units, Siege Master allows you to heal one of your machines and re-trigger their effects. You can use this to cause your Battering Rams to shoot again and deal additional damage. Henselt can then target a machine or Kaedweni ally on the board and play all copies of a unit from your deck. This makes Battering Ram and Siege Master both viable Henselt targets. It also means that when you play Henselt, you can deal a lot of damage and kill a lot of units in a short span of time. Third round typically sees Bloody Baron played. This unit gets stronger for each of your opponents cards that you kill. Thus, after killing lots of units with your machines, Baron is a great finisher to cinch the last round.

It’s also worth mentioning Dun Banner. This bronze unit comes out of your deck if your opponent has a lead of more than 20 points. Machines players often try to utilise it to play their card advantage spy (Thaler), give points to their opponent, and try to put them over 20 points ahead. This action will trigger the Dun Banner to come out of the deck, closing the gap and thinning their deck. As it’s played automatically however, Dun Banner is not a card you want to draw into your hand. Keep an eye out for it during the Mulligan.

Greatswords
Faction — Skellige
Typical Leader — Crach an Craite
Cards to Look Out For — An Craite Greatsword, Dimun Light Longship, Priestess of Freya, Dimun Corsair

Greatswords is an engine deck which, like the name implies, revolves around the An Craite Greatsword. This unit gains two strength after two turns if it is damaged. This can be paired with the Dimun Light Longship. The Longship damages the unit on its right, and boosts itself by two. So, if you put a Light Longship next to a Greatsword, you can set up a system which damages your Greatswords, causing them to strengthen, while also gaining points for your Longships. The Greatswords do not lose their strength when they go to the graveyard, and can be resurrected with Priestess of Freya, giving you a large boost of points. Our last important card to keep an eye out for is Dimun Corsair as it allows you to resurrect machines like your Longships. With these two resurrects, you can always rebuild your engines should your opponent remove them from the board.

Cursed
Faction — Skellige
Typical Leader — Bran Tuirseach
Cards to Look Out For — Berserker Marauder, Tuirseach Bearmaster, Olgierd Von Everec, Morkvarg

This deck utilises synergies with the “Cursed” card tag. Berserker Marauder is a 9-point card which boosts self by one for each Cursed or damaged unit on the board. They also sport a “Cursed” tag themselves. That means that if you can play a lot of Cursed units, your Marauders will become fantastic power plays. Tuirseach Bearmaster is a one point card which spawns an 11-point Cursed Bear. For a bronze, this is a high value play, and also adds Cursed units to your side of the board. Similarly, both Olgierd and Morkvarg are Cursed. When discarded, Morkvarg instantly resurrects with half strength, whereas Olgierd does so at the beginning of next round. Bran can be used to discard these from your deck in order to utilise their resurrect effects. This gives you access to recurring Cursed units across multiple rounds, which greatly synergises with Marauders.

Deathwish
Faction — Monsters
Typical Leader — Dagon
Cards to Look Out For — Archespore, D’ao, Griffin, Cyclops

Monsters Deathwish benefits from killing its own units. Archespore is a great engine card which moves to a new row every turn, and shoots a random enemy, dealing one point of damage. When killed, it deals four points of damage to a random opponent. All of the above makes it a fantastic unit to set up attrition points. The six point D’ao is the main bread and butter of the “Deathwish” tag. While it may not look like much, its Deathwish spawns two 4-point Lesser D’aos. As Griffin can be used to trigger a units Deathwish without killing it, the card can add Lesser D’aos to the board without killing the D’ao itself, making it a massive 17-point play. Alternatively, Griffin can be used to deal damage off of an Archespore. Cyclops kills one of your own units, then deals damage based on that unit’s strength. A great strategic move is to use Cyclops to kill a unit and trigger the Deathwish, while also dealing damage.

Consume
Faction — Monsters
Typical Leader — Arachas Queen
Cards to Look Out For — Nekker, Nekker Warrior, Forktail, Vran Warrior, Slyzard

Nekkers are a staple Consume card. They boost by one every time you play a Consume effect. This occurs whether they’re in your hand or in your deck. Furthermore, the Nekker has a “Deathwish” tag, so when it dies — it pulls another Nekker from your deck. You can only have three Nekkers to begin with, but that’s where Nekker Warrior comes into play. It lets you target a bronze unit and add two copies of it to the bottom of your deck. The strategy is to duplicate Nekkers into your deck. Then, when Consume effects are played, every Nekker you own gets a boost. Let’s briefly look at some other Consume cards — Forktail can consume two units on your board and boost by their strength, Vran Warrior consumes a unit to the right every two turns, again, boosting by their strength. Both of these may be used to boost your Nekkers and also to put units into the graveyard. The graveyard units can then be consumed by Slyzard. Slyzard doesn’t boost itself, but it pulls a copy of the consumed card from your deck. You can consume a Nekker Warrior, then use Slyzard to get more copies of your Nekker Warrior from the deck, and duplicate more Nekkers. Similarly, Slyzard can consume a Nekker from the graveyard, and pull a boosted one from your deck. The main aim is to duplicate Nekkers, boost them with Consume effects, then eat the Nekkers on the board to gain points, pull more Nekkers and so on.

Elf Swarm
Faction — Scoia’tael
Typical Leader — Brouver Hoog
Cards to Look Out For — Half Elf Hunter, Elven Scout, Aelirenn, Vrihedd Officer, Vrihedd Vanguard, Wardancer

This deck likes to play elves. Lots of elves. Half Elf Hunter is a 6-point elf which spawns a copy of itself when played, giving you 12 points and two elves. Elven Scout is another elf which creates a Scoia’tael unit that is not in your starting deck. Often, within the choice of three cards will be another elf. So, this card is potentially two of them. Once you have five elves on the board, Aelirenn is automatically pulled out of your deck and onto the board, for an additional elf, and six extra points. Accumulating a lot of elves, the player is likely to play the Vrihedd Officer/Vrihedd Vanguard synergy. The Officer is a unit which allows you to swap out a card from your hand, and boost itself by that card’s base strength. Vanguard is a card which, when played or swapped, boosts all elves on the board by one. You can swap the Vanguard using the Officer, boost all your elves on the board, and also boost the Officer by the value of the Vanguard. Or just play the Vanguard from hand to boost your elves by one. Ultimately, you’re playing a lot of elves.

There you have it! Seven deck archetypes to keep an eye out for during GWENT Challenger. It will be interesting to see which decks each competitor chooses to bring, and also, what they decide to surprise us with! Challenger is taking place this weekend, April 28th and 29th. You can watch all the action on the CD PROJEKT RED Twitch channel, beginning at 4pm CEST each day, live from the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Khreygond

Junior Member
#2
Elven Swarm description oddly enough doesn't talk about what Wardancer does, even though it is in the "cards to watch out for"...hmmm...

Even more oddly, it is the only description that does that :p

And there is no mention of Cleaver anyway, the most important tool of that deck and the primary reason most people use Brouver :p
 
#3
Most worst archetype is Reveled.... Deck thinning, Tempo, Spy Abuse, Removal & On that Full information about opp. cards in hand WoW.. Just WoW

Nilfguard is the worst unbalanced faction atm :/
 

Khreygond

Junior Member
#4
Most worst archetype is Reveled.... Deck thinning, Tempo, Spy Abuse, Removal & On that Full information about opp. cards in hand WoW.. Just WoW

Nilfguard is the worst unbalanced faction atm :/

Most annoying to play against possibly. Because Reveal is not even good. Initial tempo is alright, but Reveal's late round 2 and short round 3 is Deplorable. It is worse than the Wild Hunt in a short round 3. Also it is highly predictable and very easy to play around in most situations.

The reveal player rarely gets any good info by revealing the opponent's hand. It's far more preferable to reveal your own units as you can rarely do something about your opponent having the cards that you see, even if you see them (unless it's a G: Igni)

And no, NG is the second LEAST powerful faction after Monsters actually. I wouldn't be surprised if someone chooses not to bring NG in the Challenger. Their only good deck is Alchemy and everything else is not viable for competitive play. They are annoying to play against, that doesn't make their decks good.
 

VorteXkg

Junior Member
#5
Dont bother reading everything if you wanna be good at the game and still a new player just play ST and you will win almost every game doesnt matter what rank you are ;) That is the only faction that you need to play and its not even hard just follow the guide and ez games for you...
 
#6
Dude r u serious what u r talking about ? or it seems u r using same deck & trying to defend :/

ser2440;n10888021 said:
Because Reveal is not even good. Initial tempo is alright, but Reveal's late round 2 and short round 3 is Deplorable. It is worse than the Wild Hunt in a short round 3. Also it is highly predictable and very easy to play around in most situations.
Seems u don't know about nova reveled or Letho + Scorch or Letho + regis reveled which is so good in any round. No it's not predictable at all as there are so many different versions of it, just go & check over net. Yes you can only guess that you r going to loose :D LoL

ser2440;n10888021 said:
The reveal player rarely gets any good info by revealing the opponent's hand. It's far more preferable to reveal your own units as you can rarely do something about your opponent having the cards that you see.
Really? Dude the main advantage of knowing opp. cards is you can change your game play to get maximum value from it. Plus changing opp. high card value to 1, knowing buffed value of sco. units in hand, info. about key cards like igni, coral, mandrake etc. Plus in some version now they use Sweers so most of time they are successfully sending your key bronze cards to graveyard :/

ser2440;n10888021 said:
And no, NG is the second LEAST powerful faction after Monsters actually.
Nope again u r wrong monster archetypes are powerful than Ng like Consume or Immerith but these are luck base strategies as if op. is going to have proper counter then it's almost over for mo. player, Now I am not saying this don't need any change but for me Ng is no doubt powerful faction atm. Reveled, Alchemy, are the best archetypes than any other imo.
 

devivre

Moderator
#7
l_WHIT3WOLF_l;n10888381 said:
Nope again u r wrong monster archetypes are powerful than Ng like Consume or Immerith but these are luck base strategies as if op. is going to have proper counter then it's almost over for mo. player, Now I am not saying this don't need any change but for me Ng is no doubt powerful faction atm. Reveled, Alchemy, are the best archetypes than any other imo.
It's true that NG more or less only has Alchemy these days and alchemy is probably the weakest tier 1 archetype.

Sure, Reveal can sometimes be tough to overcome for players that do not play a tier 1 or 2 deck. But currently, it's not a strong archetype.
 

Khreygond

Junior Member
#8
l_WHIT3WOLF_l;n10888381 said:
Dude r u serious what u r talking about ? or it seems u r using same deck & trying to defend :/



Seems u don't know about nova reveled or Letho + Scorch or Letho + regis reveled which is so good in any round. No it's not predictable at all as there are so many different versions of it, just go & check over net. Yes you can only guess that you r going to loose :D LoL



Really? Dude the main advantage of knowing opp. cards is you can change your game play to get maximum value from it. Plus changing opp. high card value to 1, knowing buffed value of sco. units in hand, info. about key cards like igni, coral, mandrake etc. Plus in some version now they use Sweers so most of time they are successfully sending your key bronze cards to graveyard :/



Nope again u r wrong monster archetypes are powerful than Ng like Consume or Immerith but these are luck base strategies as if op. is going to have proper counter then it's almost over for mo. player, Now I am not saying this don't need any change but for me Ng is no doubt powerful faction atm. Reveled, Alchemy, are the best archetypes than any other imo.

Reveal sucks even more than Spies and that's not me saying that, that's the stats saying that. Here:

https://gwentup.com/report/18/15

Voorhis's winrate at 43%, Golem and Alchemist/Daerlan/Fire scorpion winrates in the top tier at 44 - 45% Mangonels even less. Venendals, even lesser than that. Only the Spotter variant is slightly better, with a winrate at 46 - 47% The so called Letho - Regis combo is not as good as it's made to seem, as it only has a 46 to 47% winrate. What makes it seem compelling is that there is no counterplay from the opponent. You can just play a Cantarella at the row with the most powerful unit and you have a good Letho + Regis combo. The real counterplay is if the opponent decides the length of the round and bleeds you out of that combo or goes into a short round 3, where no, that combo is not as powerful at all.

The Spy bronzes (Imperas, Emissaries, Vicovaros) have a winrate of 48.5 to 49.5% in the same meta report (Emhyr as the leader). The overnerfed spy deck performs better than Reveal and that's saying a lot.

Monster archetypes surely are powerful but the best monster archetypes are both high tier 2 (consume and deathwish). Consume is oppressive and what keeps it from being tier 1 is that people can tech against that, but I would say it's generally viable right now. Deathwish has some general problems that keep it at High tier 2, just below Tier 1 right now, mainly that they are slow to gain power so they are outclassed by Brouver and Henselt's power curve.

As for Alchemy, it's got the lowest winrate from all the Tier 1 archetypes, at barely 51%. See the stats. Is it powerful? Yes. Is it outclassed by all other Tier 1 decks (Henselt, Brouver, even Harald)? Also yes. All of these have higher winrates in the top tier.

NG has always been great at SEEMING like a powerful faction. It's not. If you don't agree with me or the stats, you can try playing Reveal in the high tier (so beyond 3400 MMR) yourself and tell me how it fares. Just like Axemen seem to be immensely powerful when playing against them and you can't counter them, so does Reveal with its insane opening tempo. The Nova variant suffers in that it sacrifices opening tempo and consistency for a decent finisher card. Ciri: Nova's winrate with Reveal is only 40%. Even worse than any other variant examined so far.
 
#9
devivre;n10888481 said:
It's true that NG more or less only has Alchemy these days and alchemy is probably the weakest tier 1 archetype.

Sure, Reveal can sometimes be tough to overcome for players that do not play a tier 1 or 2 deck. But currently, it's not a strong archetype.
Then which are better Tier 1 archetypes than Reveled? It's always better to mention few examples.

Of course I am not saying Reveled is only & top strong archetype available there as I too know it's win rate is not 100% but as you only mention it's really hard to play with lower tier archetypes. I think only control or super tempo decks can beat it.

I have no problem with strong archetypes like swarm type decks as they are working on their own without actually disturbing opp. gameplay but Reveled is something different, it's messing opp. archetype & at the same time tempo, spy abuse, moving key cards to graveyard with sweers is what I feel is wrong.
 
#10
ser2440;n10888581 said:
NG has always been great at SEEMING like a powerful faction. It's not. If you don't agree with me or the stats, you can try playing Reveal in the high tier (so beyond 3400 MMR) yourself and tell me how it fares. Just like Axemen seem to be immensely powerful when playing against them and you can't counter them, so does Reveal with its insane opening tempo. The Nova variant suffers in that it sacrifices opening tempo and consistency for a decent finisher card. Ciri: Nova's winrate with Reveal is only 40%. Even worse than any other variant examined so far.
Hmm it seems I am unaware of many good Tier 1 strategies then. Anyways Thanks for all help. Time to build new decks.
 

devivre

Moderator
#11
l_WHIT3WOLF_l;n10888931 said:
Then which are better Tier 1 archetypes than Reveled? It's always better to mention few examples.
Almost all Tier 1 decks are. Brouver, Henselt, Axeman, Alchemy. Crach doesn't seem that amazing against Reveal but he should still win more often than not.
Only Consume seems to have a really hard time against Reveal for obvious reasons.

Anyhow, the gwentup link that was just posted by ser2440 should tell you what decks Reveal is good against and what not.