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The Dreary, Drowsy Decline of Dwarves

As a long-time supporter of Mahakam, and Dwarven culture, it pains me to say that Dwarves are currently down a shaft without a mattock! After numerous experiments in my persistent -- and often frustrating -- quest to maintain a pure Dwarven deck, I find most Dwarf units' current abilities either puzzling, difficult to employ, or not worth the risk of including in a deck. Moreover, it appears to me that we cannot build a deck based only on Dwarves, as the units require traps/artifacts, gold neutrals, or (Brouver forbid!) elves (ach!), in order to be played effectively. For me, this has been quite a disappointment, since I'm rather fond of the wee, axe-wielding beard-waggers! The most troubling examples include:

- Zoltan Chivay: Strength 5, Provision cost 9. Ability: 'Deploy, Melee: Destroy a unit with power less than or equal to the number of Dwarf allies.'

Sadly, unless one is very clever, and facing an opponent who's not running a removal deck, it's quite a challenge to build up a strong enough Dwarven presence on the battlefield to achieve much damage. On average, he might be able to deal 4, perhaps 5? (Not much good when your opponent has a unit boosted to 20+, and picks off your soldiers like flies from a glass of tainted ale!)

- Yarpen Zigrin: Strength 3, Provision cost 8. Ability: 'Every turn, on turn end, if there are no allied units on the battlefield, boost self by three.'

With only 3 strength, I can't really see how Yarpen is reasonably expected to survive, nor can I imagine many cases in which he'd be much good, without heavy reliance on artifacts or effect cards, which is problematic.

- Barclays Els: Strength 3, Provision cost 8. Ability: 'Deploy: Boost an ally by 1 for each Dwarf ally.'

Once again, this card relies upon building up numerous Dwarves on the Battlefield, which can be a risky challenge, easily countered.

- Dwarven Mercenary: Strength 3, Provision cost 5. Ability: 'Order: Damage an enemy by 1. Gain 1 charge whenever you play a Dwarf.'

This is one of the only damaging cards Dwarves have, and, once again, it requires a delicate set-up to function effectively. At 3 Strength, it can be easily removed, or locked, before it can ever use a charge, and requires plenty of other Dwarves to gain enough to deal significant damage.

- Mahakam Guard: Strength 2, Provision cost 5. Ability: 'Deploy: Boost self by the number of Dwarf allies on the other row.'

This one is quite a disappointment, since, not only does it require other Dwarves on the battlefield, they must also all be on the other row in order to trigger any substantial boost.

- Pyrotechnician: Strength 3, Provision cost 4. Ability: 'Zeal. Order: Destroy an allied artifact, and damage a unit by 2. Cooldown: 2'

This lad simply doesn't synergise well with other Dwarves, since most units which benefit from artifacts, such as traps, are elves. Therefore, since most Dwarves are not linked to artifacts, this card is a bit of an outlier from his kin.

- Dwarven Skirmisher: Strength 1, Provision cost 4. Ability: Deploy: 'Damage an enemy by 3. If it survives, boost self by 1. Reach: 1.'

Although it can be useful to remove some bronze units, this unit's low strength can prove a serious liability, especially against more powerful decks, which thrive upon stronger units.

There are a few additional risks in running most of these Dwarves: Against Nilfgaard Reveal decks the Dwarves' low strength permits the enemy units to repeat their reveal abilities; against Monsters low strength leaves the field open for their abilities which depend on controlling the most powerful unit on the board; and almost all of these Dwarves present easy targets for Sihil's juggernaut of increasing damage.

Finally, from a lore perspective, since not all Dwarves are so keen to collaborate with elves and humans, it seems logical to me that they should be quite capable of standing on their own, without support from non-Dwarves. Now, even if some of their abilities are intended to rely upon other Dwarves, there just don't seem enough of the chaps available to turn the tide on the enemy!

Granted, I've not exhausted all possible deck combinations, and I've never been very good at balancing, however, I think the Dwarves could use some more work, in order to become a viable, independent archetype.
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You know, when I read the topic, I immediately thought a certain moderator would be behind it. My hunch was spot on. Those silly titles do give it away quite easily.

Anyhow, I agree that the Dwarven archetype is in the slums right now. I do hope they get rejuvenated in an upcoming patch/expansion. Ironically, the Dwarven leader is the only one that survives and will be crowned king of the Scoia'tael.
Yes, dwarves seem to have come a bit short in HC.
In particular I don't understand Yarpen. He is a weaker Magne Division, but for twice the provision costs.

How I expect dwarves to be played from their abilities is to loose round one with card advantage, play two resilent units in round 2 and then start round 3 instantly with Mahakam Volunteers, such that you have 4 units on the board to synergize with all the other abilities, which have an effect dependent on the number of dwarves.

One of the things that I would wish for a change were to change Barclay Els ability into: Gain 1 charge for every dwarf on the board. Gain 1 charge, whenever a dwarf is played. Order: Play a dwarf from your deck with provision costs less or equal to your charges, then remove all charges.

This way dwarves would have another possibility to gain an additional body on the battlefield, while Barclay would be a highly conditional tutor.
You know, when I read the topic, I immediately thought a certain moderator would be behind it. My hunch was spot on. Those silly titles do give it away quite easily.
Good. All is going according to plan.
Ironically, the Dwarven leader is the only one that survives and will be crowned king of the Scoia'tael.
Ay, the irony is so thick, ye could hack at it with an axe o' Mahakam steel! It goes against all tradition!
Another idea would be to give some dwarf the old Blue Stripe Scouts ability:
"Boost all Dwarves with the same power as this unit by 1 on board, deck or hand."
That ability doesn't really fit anymore into NR, but would perfectly fit for ST being the handbuff faction and would be a nice addition for dwarves. It would synergize well with Agitators, Sheldon (who is too high provisioned at the moment), Volunteers, and even Defenders and Marauders, if you find no other way to buff them.
I saw this thread yesterday, but didnt say anything at that time...

But after that, i faced a Dwarf deck focused on boosting. Together with Milva, he had 4 units boosting 1pt per turn, on a full R3.

My deck had no proper counters (maybe if it was a full removal i could've won). So im not so sure dwarf archetype is that bad atm, it just relies on engines and if left uncountered is impressive, like Demavend charges decks. If the meta shifts to less removal, they might not even need a buff at all (maybe some of the Golds)
Riven, I'm totally with you on this.
One of my favorite archetype from Gwent (RIP Kambi) was a pure (xenophobic) dwarven deck. The only elf that was admitted was Yaevinn the spy so my beardies had some elf to axe every game. It was viable, it ain't anymore. The dwarven bodies have piss poor stats and the plethora of removals are the main reasons I think.

They need to bring back a Barclay / Dennis dwarf that boost all your dwarves, and give us more bearden brethren!

I would also love to see other dwarves than warriors. Sure we've got pyrotechnician and agitator, but would be great to have dwarfs brewers, blacksmiths, engineers, miners or whatnot. Other aspects of the dwarf lifestyle than guerilla scoiatel is what I recommend. Still, the one dwarf card I'm looking forward since the beginning is a dwarven banker like Vivaldi with a neat ability.

At least we had the glorious Mahakam chapter from Thronebreaker!
I'd love to see a couple of more Dwarven Craftsmen:

Mahakam Cardmaker: 3 strength, 4 provision, Deploy: Boost an ally by 1 and upgrade the card to premium.
From the books we know that the most beautiful Gwent cards were created by the dwarves of Mahakam.

Dwarven Moneylender: 4 strength, 5 provisions, Zeal, Order: Boost the ally to the left by 3. On round end damage the ally to the left by 4.
He might help you out in times of need, but he will take everything back including an interest, if you are not able to run away to the other row.

Dwarven Tunnel Digger: 3 strength, 5 provisions, Ranged: Gain Immun. If this unit is Immun on turn end, move 1 row towards the enemy melee row. If this card is on the enemy melee row, destroy self and deal 1 damage to all other units on that row.

Mahakam Weapon Smith: 4 strength, 6 provisions. Whenever a unit on your melee row damages a unit on the enemy melee row, increase that damage by 1.
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