Scoia'tael Faction Guide

Introduction


Scoia’tael are non-human guerillas, primarily comprised of elves and the other non-humans(dwarves, halflings, etc). Scoia’tael are also known as the squirrels, due to their squirrel like lifestyle among the woods, which explains the origin of their name, the italian “scoiattolo”. Centuries of racism and discrimination of non-human races enraged these groups, and it is the primary reason in the formation of this varied coalition and their hatred of humans.

Scoia’tael were divided into commandos of several fighters, with the most distinguished of these being the Vrihedd Brigade, led by Isengrim Faoiltiarna. They were also allies of the Nilfgaardian Empire, and as appreciation of their support, Emhyr var Emreis granted them the independent state of Dol Blathanna and made Francesca Findabair it’s queen.

It is also important to make note of the dryads, the female inhabitants and protectors of the Brokilon Forest, who are known for their prodigious archery skills. They are ruled by Eithné, who is the queen of the dryads and the mother of Morenn. On the other hand, the dwarves are led by the dwarven elder Brouver Hoog, and they reside in the Makaham mountain range.

Passive

Choose who plays first one round per game.


Leaders

Brouver Hoog


Brouver Hoog is a dwarven elder and main authority figure in Makaham. He’s known for his implacable nature and traditional views, which many considered too restrictive. He decreed that dwarven youth were not to join the Scoia’tael movement during his rule.

Ability

Look at all the silver cards in your deck. Play one and place the others back randomly in your deck.

Archetype

Control

Synergies

Although no clear synergies, Brouver aids in the consistent use of key silver cards, like Scorch, Yaevinn, or Cyprian Wiley.


Eithné


Lady Eithné, also known as the Silver-Eyed, is the queen of the Dryads and the ruler of Brokilon. She is the mother of Morenn and rules over other distinguished dryads such as Braenn and Aglaïs, and is also exceptionally fond of Milva, one of the few non-dryads allowed in Brokilon.

Ability

Return a non-Relentless unit on your side to your hand and immediately play it again.

Archetype

No clear archetype.

Synergies

Saskia, Aglaïs


Francesca


Francesca Findabair is an elf and sorceress, queen of the elves of Dol Blathanna as decreed by the nilfgaardian imperator Emhyr var Emreis. She is also known as “Daisy of the Valley” in the elder speech, and is considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

Ability

Redraw up to 3 cards.

Archetype

Ambush

Synergies

Ciaran, Roach, Milva, Ciri


Archetypes

Control


The control archtype in Scoia’tael revolves heavily around the use of the extremely versatile Elven Mercenary. Their ability to pull spells out of your deck while also putting some strength on your board is extremely appealing for a control heavy deck, especially when elven mercenaries can enable rally chains with the card First Light, achieving three things: Putting strength on their board, thinning their deck of their topmost bronze units, and pulling out control spells like Alzur’s Thunder or Manticore’s Venom, which allows to control the enemy units and their combo.

The control archtype and specifically elven mercenaries work very well with the gold card Isengrim, who adds a +3 strength neophyte for every spell used, allowing ridiculous tempo swings while also thinning the deck. Cards like Saskia also synergize well with the unit-flooding the control archtype achieved through the use of Isengrim or Rally chains, while also damaging the enemy board and creating huge swings. To finish off, we have Scorch to deal with big targets on the enemy board and Aglaïs and Brouver Hoog, who add consistency and versatility by finding the correct card in every situation. The control archtype creates big tempo plays, enabling Vriheed Dragoons, who are a mediocre tempo play as they pass on almost half their value on to Round 3, to be used in Round 1 without falling behind.

With such a strong Round 1, control Scoia’tael regularly wins the round, allowing for a bleeding strategy in Round 2 thanks to Scoia’tael’s passive ability. This filters the opponent of their quality cards in most cases, allowing the Scoia’tael player to go into Round 3 with insane card quality(Aglaïs and and buffed up unit thanks to Vriheed Dragoon’s ability), which is what makes this deck one of the strongest in the game.

Although there is a fairly standard Scoia’tael control list, this deck allows for many different variants and tech choices in the silver slots, enabling cards like Ele’yas, Sappers, Operator-Morenn, Ailerenn, Toruviel, and many others.

Good Against

Scoia’tael control is an all-around excellent deck, able to beat essentially any deck with proper plays and decent card draw. It’s especially competent at disrupting and shutting down enemy gameplans, like siege tower gilding or vran-behemoth trains throught he use of spells.

Weaknesses

Scoia’tael control is weak round 1 against decks that run Yennefer:The Conjurer due to the low strength levels of its units. It’s especially weak against certain warcry variants and Queensguard Skellige to a certain degree.

Meta Deck

Bronze (14) Silver (7) Gold (4)
Scrap Cost: 4980


Dwarf Buffing


The dwarf buffing strategy was the most widely recognized Scoia’tael deck for many months, although due to recent patch changes it has stepped out of the spotlight in favor of Scoia’tael control. There are two main variants: Row stacking and full-on Dwarf synergy. There is an important distinction between these two different variants of the dwarf buffing strategy, as their gameplans are drastically different even though they share many key cards.

Due to it’s popularity, we will mainly focus on the row-stacking variant, which was rampant in the last patch and has found some popularity through a modified version in the current patch. The key units are Makaham Defenders, who thanks to their built-in resilience are ideal buff targets, as they grow to extraordinary size thanks to cards like Commando’s Horn, Aglaïs, Nature’s gift or Thunderbolt Potion, paired up with the staggering buff effect of Hawker Healers.

This deck’s gameplan consists mostly on overpowering the opponent Round 1 with buffed units while evading Ignis and scorches, and then taking a huge carryover into Round 2 with buffed Makaham Defenders and winning the game in two rounds. Its key cards for buffing are thunderbolt potions, which are a reliable 12 points(+4/8/12) if your makaham defenders survive to the next round. Commando’s horn + Nature’s Gift creates a huge tempo swing, and this deck isn’t truly worried about going down in cards to win the round, as they’ll regain card advantage the next round by having a massive amount of carryover points.

The standard dwarf buffing deck is also a great deck, and it relies on the synergy between dwarf units within the Scoia’tael faction, including resilient units like Makaham defenders and Yarpen Zigrin, while utilizing Makaham Guards and dragoons to enable stronger Makaham defenders both on the field and from hand. Aside from the resilient units, this deck relies on dwarven mercenaries on a populated board as huge tempo swing, as well as the very powerful Scoia’tael golden cards like Saskia.

Good Against

It’s especially good against decks that don’t have large target removals like Igni, Scorch or Villentretenmerth. It also excels against decks that can’t create large tempo swings early into Round 2, as we’ll be able to two round or simply gain large amount of CA this way.

Weaknesses

It’s main weakness would be decks with tech cards like Dimeritium Bomb, Aeromancy or Frost, as well as any deck that is able to efficiently control large targets with removal.

Meta Deck

Bronze (15) Silver (6) Gold (4)
Scrap Cost: 6210


Ambush


Although the Ambush archtype ends up blending in with control in most decklists, there are certain decks that thrive on bluffing and the use of Scoia’tael’s unique ambush cards to confuse the opponent and generate non-existent value. Most decks that try to play an ambush deck generally favor the use of Francesca as their leader, as it has great synergy with Ciaran and cards like Ciri or Roach. The gameplan is similar to that of a standard control scoia’tael deck, although it will have a weaker round 1 and it looks to make up what it lacks in power by using combos that synergize well with Francesca, like using Operator on Ciaran or on a buffed roach and then using Francesca’s leader ability.

In general most of the deck will be very similar to a standard scoia’tael control deck, swapping mainly silver tech cards and possibly a gold card. It’s end game win condition will continue being a dragoon buffed unit, although some ambush heavy decks may run Ele’yas as well. The ambush archtype thrives on confusion and bamboozling the opponent, many times having them question what each ambush cards could possibly be and playing in an unoptimal fashion due to this. Although the opponent can follow a series of steps to discover what an ambush card is, Toruviel and Ciaran work especially well, as they are only revealed once the opponent passes and the round ends. With other cards, like sappers, you simply have to wait two turns. Even in the case of Schirru, a gold ambush card, the player can use a spell and find out if it is Schirru.

A very popular ambush deck played in the most recent patch is the Hidden Roach deck, which uses dragoons to buff roach, who then becomes an operator target and finally francesca redraws both buffed roaches back into the deck. This then allows both roaches to be pulled with a gold card in Round 3, creating a huge tempo swing, as they will both retain their buff while in the deck. The same combo can be done in Round 2 but with Ciaran instead of Roach. You gain great card advantage and can also redraw the useless cards in Round 3 to win the round.

Good Against

See Control archetype

Weaknesses

See Control archetype

Meta Deck

Bronze (14) Silver (7) Gold (4)
Scrap Cost: 5530


Scoia'tael All-Stars

Like all factions, there are certainly some standout cards that are autoincluded in almost every deck. We’re going to go over some of the must have cards in almost any Scoia'tael deck, due to their sheer value and consistency in any deck.

Aglaïs


Aglaïs is without a doubt the most versatile gold card in the game, and is considered by many to be one of the best cards in the game because of this. She’s able to reliably answer to almost any situation in the game and guarantee much higher value than the average 12 points of a gold card thanks to her unique ability, pulling any spell card from your graveyard and playing it again. Aside from this, she has fantastic synergy with another of Scoia’tael strongest cards, elven mercenary. With two fantastic cards that rely heavily on spell cards, and with First Light also being a contender for one of the strongest overall cards in the game, this combination of cards enable Scoia’tael to become an extremely consistent and reliable faction with proper deckbuilding.

Aglaïs is an essential gold in any scoia’tael deck, as she reliably doubles the amount of times you can use key special cards like Scorch in a control variant or commander’s horn in a dwarf buffing deck. In a worst case scenario, Aglaïs will be a 13 point value when using rally as typically a bronze unit will have 8 value, but this doesn’t take into account the extra thinning which in most cases is worth an extra two points.


Saskia


One of Scoia’tael’s most explosive plays, Saskia is a wonderful card in almost any situation. With an advanced board state, Saskia can easily generate well over 30 points of value, providing a much needed swing card to help win round 1. Even without roach and on an empty board, Saskia has a 7 value body which is considerably higher than other cards like igni, and even edges out other gold bodies like ciri or regis.

Saskia gains a particular edge against archtypes that like to populate their board with many relatively low strength units, like Ge’els token decks, Consume Monsters, Foltest and even Scoia’tael itself. It’s also especially useful against certain cards like Grave Hag, as it only has a single point of health.


Elven Mercenary


Considered by many to be one of the strongest bronze units in the game thanks to first light. Elven mercenaries are essentially one of the strongest value plays you can make with a bronze card, as it has a 4 strength body +8/10 average value depends on the spell it pulls out, and that’s without accounting for extreme deck thinning and possible rally chains using several different elven mercenaries.

Almost every single Scoia’tael deck will run three elven mercenaries, as they are the key to the consistency of any Scoia’tael deck, enabling ridiculous thinning and allowing the player to reliably draw their extremely powerful gold cards to swing the game in their favor.


The B Team

It’s worth mentioning two more cards who have a great synergy with the Scoia'tael Faction and greatly improve the faction's winrate.

Milva


Milva is one of the most interesting cards in the game, as she has a fairly unique effect that can punish an unwary player tremendously. When paired up with Roach, she essentially singlehandedly fixes the coinflip if you are to go first. Because of this, she’s invaluable in the current meta where card advantage is essential and in most cases also autoincludes Roach in the deck as well. Aside from gaining card advantage by using Milva, you can also use her in a more reactive fashion against a grand variety of decks whose main goal is buffing a single unit, like Skellige wounding decks with Axemen, Monsters Consume with Vran Warriors, or even Nilfgaard deck with Impera Brigades. Milva can also be used to steal enemy spies, providing an extra card advantage opportunity which can be a game-changing play.

In the Scoia’tael matchup, Milva is necessary, as card advantage is imperative to be able to take the game in round 3 with Aglaïs or a buffed braenn. Milva is countered heavily in the current meta by Cyprian Wiley, which is one of her major downsides. Regardless of her very useful effect, Milva also has an astounding 8 strength gold body, and more importantly, she’s played in the siege row which is ideal in the current Scoia’tael control meta.


First Light


Although First Light might not seems like a powerful card at first, any veteran Scoia’tael player can tell you that not including 3 copies of this spell in a control scoia’tael deck would considerably lower it’s winrate. First of all, it offers an answer to one of the strongest tempo swings in the game, weather. In the few cases where you need to use clear skies to get rid of any weather the opponent has summoned, it’s value is normally about 10-20, which is considerable for a bronze card.

It’s true strength relies on it’s second effect, Rally. Not only does card bring out a bronze unit from your deck, it brings out the topmost bronze unit. This means, that if a bronze unit was the first card you’d draw in Round 2 and you had two gold cards after it, after using you’re guaranteed to draw both gold cards. By itself and in a deck where there aren’t truely any bad targets for the rally effect at any point in time, it’s clear why it’s a very strong card. But if you then take into account the synergy it has with elven mercenaries and gold cards like isengrim, it’s hard to doubt First Light’s importance in Scoia’tael control.

If we consider the effects of a single rally usage on our future topdecks, it’s easy to see how using three of them in Round 1 and other cards like Brouver’s Leader Ability or King of Beggars can increase our gold card topdecks in Round 2 or 3 exponentially, making First Light an extremely powerful card even though on the surface it seems like a fairly basic bronze spell.


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