Brief Summary of Build
Hey guys Swim here, with the restore skellige deck I built on day 1 of the mahakam ale festival patch. This is a very potent deck and in my opinion the strongest skellige deck in the game at the moment. It resembles very closely the deck I brought to GwentSlam. In essence, a very straightforward list, that uses harpooners and warmongers to keep tempo early, often giving up round 1 for card advantage, and then utilizing very high power finishers such as cerys and other large resurrects. The unique combo here is restore on Dorregaray (or Gremist), creating a 10 point dorregaray that you can then re-use with sigrdrifa. The ekimmaras from dorregaray also synergize extremely well with skellige, as they prevent you from being bled out in round 2, and they enable resurrections fantastically, whether it's enabling resurrecting dorregaray by eating him, or enabling cerys to resurrect herself again by eating her (even on round 3).
Why no Skirmisher? War Longship? Ermion?
Skirmisher represents only marginal later value, a round 3 win condition this deck doesn't need, and it gives value to opponent's vicovaro/caretaker/katacan.
War Longship and Ermion are cards I tried but ultimately found to be too low value on their own. Not enough dedicated discard targets for ermion, and war longships provide a limited amount of value and are very removable.
Building This Deck
You can replace any cards you don't own with:
Gold replacements: Wild Boar of the Sea, Villentretenmerth, Hjalmar, Geralt: Aard, Birna Bran, Geralt: Igni, Renew, Ragh Nar Roog/Drought
Silver replacements: Udalryk, Summoning Circle, Scorch
-Clan Torradoch Shieldsmith, -1x Clan Drummond Warmonger, +1x Lacerate, +1x Herbalist
October 6: Inspired by a tweak made by raikou, this small tweak adds an additional lacerate and an herbalist to tutor both out. This doesn't change much in terms of how the deck is played; it gives lacerate blacklist value, and can give you the option of using warmonger on herbalist to enable freya/restore to dig for an additional lacerate sometimes.
This deck has an extremely straightforward mulligan. Blacklist raiders first, then remove cerys/morkvarg/olgierd (in that order), then go back for any additional raiders you have in hand. End your mulligan prematurely if at any point you have none of the above cards in hand. Between rounds, you'll mulligan raiders or almost always decline mulligans if you have none, as you typically have 1-3 raiders left in deck you don't want to draw into.
Typically, this deck will give up round 1 relatively early after developing good carryover. After Bran, look for opportunities to extend the round (if beneficial), get dorragaray value (potentially with restore as well), or swing for tempo with Lugos/Eskel. If the opponent gives up round 1 or you have a good hand to push it, you'll have control over round 2 but often times you'll go into round 2 with your opponent down a card and with carryover that you've established. Use your Ekimmaras to enable resurrects (eating dorregaray to enable restore/sigrdrifa, or eating cerys to enable her to resurrect herself again), and don't be afraid to sometimes resurrect Ekimmaras from your graveyard with Freyas. Harpoon for value and to enable lacerate. You should always be able to force the game into a round 3 scenario where you have more carryover and a larger finisher than the opponent.
Open with Bran discarding Cerys, Olgierd, and Morkvarg (Cerys before Morkvarg). Look for an opportunity to get out of the round with an advantage. If you went second, you can often play round 1 quite deep, if you went first, you often will have to try to tempo ahead of the opponent after playing Bran, to be able to pass while forcing them a card down. If you're able to set up Dorragaray for more carryover without jeopardizing your ability to pass for value, do so, even better if you have restore. You typically want to Dorragaray for Ekimmara, often eating the Dorragaray himself to be able to be resurrected, although in later rounds you may Ekimmara your Cerys. If round 1 ends up being a long round, you can opt to set up major value with Harpooners and maybe Lacerate. In most cases, you will be losing this round strategically though.
Going into round 2 with this deck, you'll often have lost round 1 with 1 card advantage, or 2 if you're lucky. If you won round 1, you can pass here as soon as you've established ekimmara value. Otherwise if you lost round 1, the objective is to maintain this card advantage by staying ahead of your opponent's score for the duration of this round, while possibly setting up even more value in round 3 with Ekimmara carryover, or a large Sigrdrifa res. Chain Dorragaray together, and don't be afraid to resurrect vanilla Ekimmaras in your graveyard if any have found their way there. Round 2 is basically all about leveraging your resources properly so you have a great finisher for round 3 but at the same time don't just get 2-rounded by the opponent; not too hard of an objective in most cases. Don't be afraid to Ekimmara a Cerys to continue ressing her. This deck excels at round 3 finishers so you should have a pretty easy time cleaning up.
Dagon/Eredin: These matchups largely come down to good Gremist/Armorsmith usage. Expect more weather vs Eredin, and typically refrain from using your Gremist unless to clear at very least 2 rows. Gremisting one row of weather against dagon is OK if it's not the first weather they've played. Be sure to save your Coral for a Nekker if you see a Vran. Try to troll Vrans by moving them around with Harpooners before they consume. Feel free to be a bit greedy with Armorsmiths against weather; wait it out until your units are at 1-2 strength and then get massive armorsmith value. Be careful of Caretaker on a 10 strength Dorragaray and block it if possible. Be sure to save a Harpooner or Lugos to deal with Succubus.
Skellige Mirror: Super straightforward matchup. Try to stack their melee row if queensguards. Coral a 9+ str morkvarg if you have an opportunity.
Northern Realms: Pretty straightforward matchup. Your gold removal tools will come in handy here.
Spellatael: Using Coral effectively is key. If you can Eskel/Lugos a Farseer or two, that's fantastic, as it allows you to use Coral for Protector easily. Make sure to save Gremist for weather if needbe,
Spy Nilfgaard: An interesting matchup. Using Ekimmaras on units that get Infiltratored is pretty valuable; if possible try to save Dorragaray for these opportunities. Save Coral for Iris.
Mill Nilfgaard: The trick here is identifying the matchup. If you see an emhyr, you need to keep Morkvarg/olgierd/Cerys in hand, as if it's mill you'll be declining your bran and your warmongers' effects, and you'll have a very winnable matchup as you have fantastic counters to rot tossers and great removal for their value plays, while not running dedicated thinning tools. That being said...if it's not mill and you keep all your discard targets in hand, you're probably totally screwed. Honestly if you see emhyr you really do need to properly guess which archetype it is, otherwise you'll just lose. Good luck xd
Like this Deck?
Let us know what you think about this deck by giving it a rating!