Brief Summary of Build
I am the King of SK, there is none higher! Sucker Leaders can call me, Sire!
Welcome to my guide for Veteran SK. This is a deck build around a well known synergy that I feel has been massively overlooked by the field. The focus of the deck is building increasing the base strength of all your bronze units by a substantial amount allowing you to overpower other players with consistency without being overly weak to most common counter strategies.
I will admit the build probably isn't 100% perfect, but its still evolving.
My current Rank is now in the top 200, and I'm now #1 in the Australia/Oceania region. My current Gwent Tracker data, and my proof of AU Rank 1 are in the spoiler below. I will reiterate. This is the only deck I have played this season. I currently have a raw win% of almost 85%, though Gwent Tracker is missing the first 4 games before I retitled the deck and started tracking it fresh.
Clan Tuirseach Veteran + All the cards with Veteran : This is how the deck works. You have a set of 6 Bronzes, a Silver, a Gold and your Leader that all have the ability to gain 3-7 extra points of Strength. The rest of the cards in your deck, for the most part, then use this again or pull it out, effectively giving you 3 bronze Foltest.
Clan Tuirseach Veteran / Clan Tuirseach Skirmishers + Heymaey Battle Maiden : This is how your have your consistency and power. Its likely true that you don't need 3 Maidens, but you do generally always want 2 and so I like running 3. You can always pitch extras to Svanrige.
Morkvarg + Clan an Craite Raider + King Bran : This is your opening tempo swing and it also sets up a touch of carry over if you find a good pass for it. Generally the carry over isn't necessary, and people's wasted effort to deny it is very helpful to you. I generally try to lead with Clan Tuirseach Veteran when possible, but our Bran can push for upwards of 20 points of tempo in Round one, and more later obviously, though you don't want to fight your mulligans, you generally want to thin.
The general approach for this deck is very simple. Play Clan Tuirseach Veteran, pull out the rest. Try to win Round 1 if you can, but always look for a good pass. Most people know you have Priestess of Freya and can't play all 10 cards round 1, so when you get down to 2-3 plays start looking for a good pass. Everything that happens after round 1 is very much based on how Round 1 went.
Losing on even cards is by far the harshest scenario, but its not impossible to over come. That said, know what decks can pull out huge tempo swings and try to pass before they can turn it around on you. If someone tries to push you in round 2 that's the best case scenario for you, if they dry pass things could be very tight. Either way, you're still trying to put as many points onto the board as possible with your bronze package, and your deck is very consistent at it.
Losing up a card is likely going to work out for you either way, as long as you got out 2-3 Clan Tuirseach Veteran. If you didn't, you might be in trouble, because its likely your Freya's won't have targets and some players will be able to 2 round you, but I've never personally had this happen. Often times, because of your Morkvarg people will try to push you a bit, luckily you never mind. Obviously them getting to use a Silver Spy can be annoying, but going into round 3 on even cards favors you.
Winning down a card is generally fine. You need to gage how strong you think your opponents tempo is, because Round 2 can be a great chance for you to push. All your Veteran tagged units are stronger, and all your Freyas should be active. Spending even just a few turns to rez your Clan Tuirseach Veteran will likely keep you up with any tempo your opponent has, and then you can also potentially thin out some if not all of your Skirmishers setting you up to draw a solid final round card. Specifically against decks that like a very long round you want to look to push here. You can hold your own with anyone for a number of turns and you don't need a specific silver or gold to get your big round 3 play, you just need a Bronze and you can overcome a lot of decks finishers.
Winning on even cards means you push them no matter what. This deck excels at 2-0 because you're not weak to locks, removal or resets. Your Strength is very evenly distributed in high value across your cards. If they start to push hard against your tempo try to find the right pass. Or you can potentially just get 20+ points ahead and find a very strong pass opportunity. Remember, most decks have a few high value Silvers/Golds that tie everything together. Your focus is in the Bronze slot. Its almost always better to have a Bronze and Silver in your hand at the end of the game than a Gold.
I've already said I'm not sure this list is 100% perfect. The Gold and Bronze slots are definitely up for debate, but I think the Silvers are very close. As far as cards to look at, I'll throw out some options.
Heymaey Battle Maiden : One of these could be cut for a number of options. A second Clan Tordarroch Armorsmith, just because it gives you an extra Maiden target for later rounds. A Clan Heymaey Skald is great for countering a potential Scorch, while also giving you a bit of potential Restore value. Lastly, Whale Harpooner could find a few slots total in the deck, giving you more Maiden targets, while also giving you a nice generally high power Bronze.
Eskel : I really really like this card atm, but its definitely something you could change. Geralt: Igni, Wolfsbane, and maybe Gold Weather could all have a place. Wolfsbane in specific would open up a Bronze slot as well, for one of the cards I mentioned when discussing Maiden.
Birna Bran : This card is much more questionable in many ways, but mostly this card is a trap card. Once this gets to be worth 7+ points alone it does 1 of 2 things. Its sticks the storm and forces them out of a round, or they clear the weather, lose a ton of tempo, and probably lose the round eventually anyway. People have to assume you could play Axemen, and have to fear what could happen, even if it doesn't. That said, any of the options listed on Eskel are viable if you want to make a change.
Restore : I'm sure there will be some people that think this card has no place since the nerf. That said, the deck is trying very had to do one very specific thing. Build a bigger Bronze, and its lucky enough to have a nice tool kit and has some great power plays, and potential power plays, with this card. I've used Restore on Clan Tuirseach Veteran in Round 1, I've used it often to just get back Donar an Hindar, and I have no issues with using it to get back Heymaey Battle Maiden and never actually using that Maiden again. Its a Silver that increases your consistency more than anything, and I don't believe replacing it is a good idea.
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