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Nilfgaard Archetypes

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Nilfgaard Archetypes

Nilfgaard is an interesting faction - the only to be added later than the beginning of Closed Beta, and that always seem to be involved in controversies and broken strategies in need of nerfing.

I've had a love-hate relationship with it ever since, with some of my favourite cards, but also certain decks i've always hated like spies (it's a personal thing), the NG knight buff deck and more recently, the alchemy deck (i loved until it was explored to become OP and it was/is everywhere!)

I think the faction offers a lot of archetypes, and so i decided to break down each archetype by the number of bronzes associated with it, to see how much CDPR "supports" it.

Note that i only used faction specific cards, since i think its more fair that way. For ex. Mahakam Ale is associated with Alchemy decks, but it isnt really a NG card, so it wasnt counted.

First of all, there are the 2 "official" archetypes of NG:

Spy - 9 bronzes
Reveal - 9 bronzes

No one complains that these archetypes are incomplete. They may be weak in certain metas in the past (or present), but they offer plenty of possibilities.

Then there are the "other" archetypes. Some of you might not agree with me that one or more of these is an archetype, but i think they deserved attention too:

Soldier/ Swarm - 7 bronzes
Alchemy - 3 bronzes
"Copycat"/ Mirror - 3 bronzes
Mill - 1 bronze

Its these numbers that deserve discussion, in my opinion.
So, we have 7 bronzes for soldier archetype - that is already a "full archetype", clearly CDPR wants it to be a thing, yet it's not that popular.

On the other hand, Alchemy with just 3 specific bronzes (Viper Witcher, Novice and Ointment), is the most popular NG deck, which can be explained with synergies with all other neutral alchemy specials, and some other factors.

Then, i considered the mirror archetype, which some might not even know what im talking about - the Slave Driver, which is very popular on Alchemy and pretty much everything NG, is the basis of this archetype, which is focused on playing your opponent's deck. Others are the Vicovaro Novice and the Slave Hunter (very underused)

Finally, we have Mill! I hadnt seen a mill deck in ages so yesterday i decided to try one. I know a lot of people hate it, and even now in its unviable state, still i had a few people forfeit when they noticed what they were facing. During the whole Emhyr + Avallach period, it was very powerful, and so CDPR nerfed it to the ground, even changing a bronze perfect for mill completely, leaving these decks with pratically nothing, which i guess means CDPR doesnt want people playing it, which i think its a shame.


So, in what direction do you think Nilfgaard should go, and do you think CDPR should support all these archetypes or just focus and balance on 3/4 and try to erase the rest?
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copy/theft also has a good gold: Muzzle, and 3 ok ones: Hanmarvyns, ASage, and Telekinesis, also 3 good silvers: Summoning Circle, Garrison, and Sweers (to fuel VMedic), and a supplementary one in N.Gate (pulls Slave Driver or Sweers), Johnny, Uma, and runestone aren't bad either.... Ursurper seems to fit but the leader pool is too big to be consistent.

Mill has a few golds (Shilliard,Avallach,Tibor) and 2 supporting gold (Vilgefortz, Stephan). and 2 silver (Albrich, Stregobor), but without more bronze suupport it's useless

Soldier/swarm has crap all besides it's bronzes, just Vreemde. there are technically more soldiers but most of them belong to other archetypes, in fact I'd put it's core at only 6 bronzes (magne seems an oddball for it). ok to be fair you could add Butterfly, and and Enchantress as golds, and Germain as a silver, and peasant militia as an additional bronze (unless that already what you were counting)
Void_Singer You're description of copy/theft archetype is pratically a perfect match for a deck i have (which i know you run a similar one). And of course you have to go with Usurper, and quite a few times (like 33%) i actually get to choose the same Leader as the opponent to really mirror him, dont know if the system is biased that way.

Agreed that Mill is pretty unviable without bronzes, what you have to do is run all those mill Golds and silvers, then choose a different archetype for R1 where you play your bronzes, and expect your opponent to play 25/26 deck and thin his deck like a pro, then on R2/3 hit him with all the mill cards and when he realizes it it's too late.

On the soldier front, the 7 bronzes i considered are: Recruit, Alba Pikeman, Magne Division, Slave Infantry, Alba Cavalry, Sentry and Standard Bearer. There are other soldiers but i dont think they fit the swarming purpose as well. And excluding the Swarm options, they really only have Vreemde on silvers and the new Yennefer on Golds (which is still a subpar card).
I tend to run Emhyr for copy/theft, so that I can get an extra play out of it, or repeat Sweers. the only leaders that seem key to a strategy that I can copy are Arachas, Harald, and Emhyr... coincidentally some of the hardest matchups for that deck.
I think if CDPR wants to focus on having at least 3 Viable archetypes for each faction, then the 2 of those must definitely be Spies and Reveal. The third is a bit of a tougher choice. On the one hand Alchemy is more viable, so making that into a full archetype won't be hard. On the other Soldiers match the faction's identity more, they have more bronzes, I feel they are meant to be more than alchemy.

As for me personally, I can't make alchemy work for the life of me. My winrate with it is deplorable, even though the stats say it's a top tier deck, I just can't play it, no matter how hard I try, because I like the idea behind it.

I'd like to try the theft deck at some point but it will take a while to get there. I don't think it will be an archetype as complete as the others. At least not anytime soon.

Of course, we could go for 4 viable archetypes :p Each faction is meant to have 4 in total after all. But I wouldn't mind if Soldiers were as viable as reveal is now (so fun to play with on casual and a low tier 2 deck), if the other 3 were Tier 1. The same goes for all factions.

*EDIT* also, rest assured, Alchemy is getting more cards. There is at least one called "Poisoner" (leaked card art and name) and there is another NG card which I imagine will have alchemy synergy (it's called "The Diviner"). It sucks that the "Alchemist" does not have Alchemy synergy at this point though :p I hope they change that. Maybe they can have the alchemist do what the Diviner would and the Diviner would take Alchemist's place as it makes sense in a Reveal deck.

Another new archetype that may hit the faction soon is Toussaint. There's a lot of card art for it and Burza has made it clear that Toussaint is part of NG.
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ser2440 I would love if CDPR focused on the soldier archetype. Right now its pretty much a swarm deck, that can be easily shut down by destroying its engines, and its biggest problem is it doesnt really have any Golds and only 1 silver. Give Soldier Archetype 1 or 2 Golds: one could be for example, a version of that gold crone that revives 2 deathwish units, but here it would revive 2 soldiers, and the other hopefully could be something more original but with synergy with the bronze soldiers.

And i cant wait for Touissant to hit Gwent. Dont even care what its mechanics will be, will definitely use it just because of how much i loved 'Blood and Wine' (my favourite DLC of all time).
DRK3 yeah that can happen too. I am not against a decent Soldier archetype at all :)

Recently I've seen a version of it that had a bronze core that went like this:

3x NG Knight
3x Magne Division
3x Recruit
3x Standard Bearer
And then some Mastercrafted Spears and Wyvern Shields. I've built a similar deck, with Letho Kingslayer, Stefan Skellen, NG Gate, De Wett, Ceallach, Vilgefortz and Decoy but I've yet to try it. I don't know how well it works but maybe you can try it :)

I'd say the main problem of the Soldier archetype is its consistency. Recruits play random soldiers so they may make or break you. There are also too many kinds of soldiers, and not a clear soldier strategy you can follow. Reveal and Spies both have their staples (Fire Scorpions, Golems and Daerlan Soldiers for the first, Imperas and Emissaries for the second).

​​​​​​​ Also you might want to try Alba Pikemen with the deck above, since it's a muster group, you ought to get a lot of boosts from the Standard bearers. If they survive at least.
I've been trying desperately to make copy/theft viable in ranked, but so far it doesn't hit the 50% mark above ~R16... I think the problem is that it doesn't have a strong enough base to fall back on... the 1pt stick just isn't enough to make up for the missing specials/silvers synergy of opponent decks high on ranked.
Milfgaard deck! Huehue. Old jokes aside please, I recommend using spies and catapultes. The Nilfgaardian catapultes are better than the Northern Kingdoms'. Use leaders that support this tactic, and you might win. Who knows, yes? You may face a tougher opponent.
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