Brief Summary of Build
I had big success with getting the second highest Monster score on Pro Ladder this season. 1407 in 100 games with a 79% winrate is the score that I achieved with this deck. I decided to make a guide for everyone who would like to learn Consume or improve with the deck.
This is currently the strongest and most consistent monster list.
For anyone who is interested in a video summary, my team mate Green Cricket did a video guide based on my guide. You can find it here:
If you are already familiar with the Consume archetype, then I'd recommend skipping my "Brief deck/archetype summary" and jumping right into the advanced section!
Brief deck/archetype summary
This deck utilises consume to generate points on your Nekkers for future rounds.
Slyzard consumes dead units from your graveyard to play the same card from your deck, which helps you to thin your deck for the cards you need and improve your draws for future rounds.
BEWARE of the fact that the Slyzard banishes the unit he consumes from the graveyard. Therefore, you cannot use the next Slyzard on the same dead unit again unless you get the next target into your graveyard.
Always consider, that this deck heavily relies on the Nekkers!
If your opponent is able to counter them, it becomes almost impossible to win.
If those cards see a lot of play at a given day, then I do not recommend to play this deck.
Basic Card Combos:
Alzurs Double Cross into Nekker Warrior: At the start of the game the Nekker Warrior is the highest unit in your deck, so Alzurs Double Cross helps you access it. BEWARE that the Nekker grows with each consumed unit, so at some point in the game Alzurs Double Cross will pull out Nekkers instead.
Marching Orders into Slyzard: Helps you to pull a Slyzard and thin your deck for the card you need. If you have no Slyzard in the deck Marching Orders pulls Shadow which gives you access to a Nekker from your deck. In case you have no Slyzard and no Shadow in the deck, it pulls a Vran Warrior
Advanced Card Combos:
Barbegazi offers you a consume effect and the chance of generating 6 points of carryover.
In rare situations Rothfiend can allow you to punish your opponent for excessive row stacking when you consume it at a later point.
Mandrake is a versatile card which can be used on buffed opponents units like Impera Brigade, Light Longship or Vran Warrior to generate a big tempo swing. The right moment for Mandrake is not obvious and I will comment on the correct use in the Gameplay Guide section.
Summoning Circle: Is probably the most versatile and difficult card to time correctly in this deck. Summoning Circle copies the last unit placed on board, which is a very vague definition and often not correct.
The two best uses of Summoning Circle are:
- After your enemy played a spell or
- After your enemy played a gold unit or
- After your enemy played the leader,
because neither can be copied by Summoning Circle. Therefore the circle copies the last unit you placed on the board.
HOWEVER, if the one of those mentioned above spawns a unit like:
- Coral transforms a unit into an Artifact
- Tremors spawns a Golem
- Woodland Spirit spawns his three wolves
- the leader ability places a unit on the board
then Summoning Circle will summon that one and NOT the card you placed last on your board.
Summoning Circle will copy the 3 point token here as well!
Summoning Circle can be used to play a counterspy. This is a good play when you are in round 1 and started a game on blue coin or if you are lacking the tools to keep your engine going or have a hand with no or little golds. Since the deck does care less about card advantage than any other deck in the meta, using circle on the spy is often not the optimal play. Especially regarding the fact that many decks include a Summoning Circle themselves to maintain their card advantage. Using your circle in this situation is only trading it against his, which is definitely not the best use. Another story is if you lost round 1 and your opponent spies you. In this case you may want to spy him back to prevent your opponent from draining you from your resources and cards you would like to keep for round 3. In this case the use of Summoning Circle for the counterspy is good. Beware of copying Uldaryk, since he may force you to discard an important card.
The addition of Phoenix increased the consistency of consume significantly. The card gives you access to resurrecting a draconite in your graveyard like Vran Warrior and Forktail or resurrecting a Slyzard and thinning your deck for a consume engine or even a Nekker. This creates more chances to generate consume ticks and consume Nekkers to pull them from your deck.
Usually you would like to keep the Phoenix for your lategame to pick the exact consume unit you need to get all of your nekkers out also profiting from the extra 5 points of the card. However, do not be scared to utilise Phoenix in earlier gamestages. If you are missing the second Slyzard in round 1 to thin out the last Nekker Warrior a good play is to consume the Slyzard you placed on the board before and resurrect it with Phoenix to play Slyzard into Nekker Warrior again. For this play, make sure that you also have the Nekker Warrior you played second in your graveyard.
The consume archetype has a very constant strategy over all matchups.
The true skill with Consume is formed by doing the following things right:
- The positioning of your units so your Vran Warrior consumes the Nekker at the right time when it’s necessary to generate tempo.
- Managing your Nekker resources efficiently over rounds, not committing too many in round 1 but also not being greedy with making them as big as possible.
- Calculating your consume ticks right, maximizing the number of buffs on the Nekker.
- Playing around your opponent’s core cards.
- Dodging Sweers.
The structure for the General Guide:
- General gameplan
- Mulligan Guide
- Gameplan against specific matchups
- Scoiatel Dwarves slightly favoured
- Nilfgaard Spies balanced
- Nilfgaard Alchemy balanced
- Consume Mirror favoured (because you read the guide)
- Armor Radovid favoured
- Henselt Machines strongly favoured
- Skellige Ciri Nova strongly favoured
- Harald Axemen strongly favoured
- Eredin Ciri Nova strongly favoured
- Mill Nilfgaard strongly unfavored
- General Gameplay:
The deck utilises the power of buffed Nekkers. As long as your opponent does not counter you, in “stage 1” the following sequence will be optimal most of the time:
- Play Nekker
- Nekker Warrior on Nekker and place it left from the Nekker
- Vran Warrior left from the Nekker Warrior to consume it
- Slyzard into Nekker Warrior and place it between the Vran Warrior and the Nekker so it gets consumed next and you can repear the procedure.
At “stage 1”of the game you are shuffling Nekker in your deck, while also starting to buff them with the ticks from the Vran Warrior. Also you thin your deck from the Nekker Warrior improving your draws and mulligan for the following rounds.
When you completed the “stage 1” you want to push to win round 1. Winning round 1 wins you the game almost every game since you can keep your combo pieces for round 3 and pull out your big Nekker to outvalue your opponent. Start eating your Nekkers with the Vran Warrior you positioned so well before, play Whispess: Tribute into Monster Nest into Arachas Behemoth to play for tempo and get Arachas Hatchings that you can consume to buff your Nekkers and keep your units out of range from a too painful Scorch, Geralt: Igni or Iorveth: Meditation.
The motto is: Push round 1 until you cannot win it by going 2 cards down. Going 2 cards down is totally fine with this deck, going 3 cards down is risky and can lose you the game against decks which play carryover like Skellige with Olgierd, or Scoia’tel with Elven Wardancer. In certain situations, however 3 cards down can still win against decks that have little chance to disrupt your high value.
If you win round 1:
Drypass. Even if your opponent has carryover or wardancer, it is optimal to drypass since your cards have immense synergy. Remember you have these powerful Nekker in your deck that only wait to come out.
If you lose round 1:
Don’t let your opponent bleed you too much. Force him into a position where he either must commit his high value cards or he has to pass. If you play too slow he trades his bad cards against your great cards which you play for no value. What do I mean by that? A Forktail is only 8 points on the board but with Nekkers it can easily be 40.
Think about it: What sense does it make to keep your huge Nekker in the deck when your opponent will make round 3 so short that you cannot get out all of them? As I said above: Use your resources smartly. Utilise the power of pulling Nekkers in round 2 to prevent your opponent from bleeding you out of your combo.
I was talking about the “combo” before that you want to save. The combo is playing Brewess: Ritual into consuming the small Nekker with a Vran Warrior or Forktail that you either have in your hand, can use Slyzard to pull from your deck or can resurrect with Phoenix. In round 3 you want to pull all of the buffed Nekkers from your deck. If you are missing the Brewess: Ritual you can use the Shadow or a Slyzard to pull a Nekker. Most important aspects of this round is to optimize your consumes to utilize your full Nekker value, and play around the matchup specific cards that your opponent is likely to keep to secure his win against your big units. Avoid running into a too big Scorch, Geralt: Igni or Shirru by not creating one big unit and secure the win.
2. Mulligan Guide
The most important cards are Nekker, Nekker Warrior, Vran Warrior and Slyzard. You want to make sure that you can utilise all Nekker Warriors and pull them with Slyzard from your deck. Take your time to plan your future rounds with your hand and see what is missing or unnecessary- 2 2 Forktails are usually 1 too much, same holds for Vran Warriors if you don’t expect locks or removal. Mulligan accordingly, if you miss any of the cards, go for blacklist value. It is essential that you can execute your first round properly to set up engines, create Nekkers and thin your deck for better future draws.
The “close to ideal” hand has 1-2 Nekker, 1-2 Nekker Warrior, 2 Slyzard and Whispess: Tribute. Of course Alzurs Double Cross into Nekker Warrior and Marching Orders into Slyzard is even better. Same holds for Royal Decree. One Forktail in hand is also good. Phoenix is a good gold in all rounds.
The best gold for r1 is Whispess: Tribute since she provides a lot of tools with Mandrake and Monster Nest. Against Scoia’tel you mulligan Mandrake since you don’t want to let your opponent Aglais it. The worst gold for r1 is Brewess: Ritual don’t be afraid to mulligan her away.
In later rounds try to find your golds, Slyzard and Marching Orders are great aswell. Whereas in round 1 you can be forced to mulligan aggressively for the cards you need, in later rounds you should be cautious not to end up with a possibly dead Royal Decree or a Whispess: Tribute that doesn’t pull you anything. Most of the time it is not rational to take the risk. Do it only if you feel you lose the game if you don’t get a specific card.
III. Gameplan against specific matchups
Scoiatel Dwarfes – Standard Gameplan
Without artefact compression they cannot do much to prevent you from generating Nekkers. Push as long as you can. There is a chance to force your opponent out of the round if you push them until they have only cards they don’t want to play in their hand like Hattori, Paulie Dahlberg, or a dead Aglais in case you did’t play Monster Nest yet. NEVER play Mandrake before they play Aglais, or they take it from you and kill your biggest Vran Warrior or Forktail in round 3 and you lost. Therefore, Mandrake is a card that you don’t want to keep in that matchup. If you go second you can also push for value by consuming Nekker and force your opponent to play golds or give up the round.
The following frequently played cards can hurt you most in that matchup: Iorveth: Meditation, Shirru and Ithlinne into double Alzurs Thunder. Aglais into Monster Nest can be used for a Drowner to push your Vran Warrior away so remember that while planning your chains for round 3. Thus, don’t create big units of same size or Scorch will forever burn in your soul. When you create big units, try to think what to consume to make Iorveth: Meditation worse. Think about what you consume with the Vran Warrior. If you depend on him not dying, do not play him into double Alzurs Thunder range, which is 18 points. The biggest tempo power tool of Scoiatel, Ithlinne into double Stemmelford’s Tremors is quite weak against consume due to the limited amount of units and also rare appearance of units with 1 or 2 power, which means no golems for your opponent.
Nilfgaard Spies – Unique Gameplan
If you start with your Nekker as usual they will be killed off by pings from the Imperia Enforcers too fast and you lose the lategame due to the lack of Nekkers. DON’T DO IT. The following strategy works best against spies:
Do not play your Nekker before he is 5 points or 7. This requires 3 or 4 shots from Imperia Enforcers and your Nekker doesn’t instantly die. You can achieve that by starting with Whispess: Tribute into Monster Nest into Arachas Behemoth and then play the Vran Warrior into the crone. At the start of the game your opponent will begin thinning his deck with emissaries. Eat his spies aggressively with your leader ability and with Forktail. You strengthen your Nekker and prevent him from getting buffs on his Imperia Brigades. Most importantly, Impera Enforcer cannot be played for a huge amount of shots, which saves your Nekker. Do not play your Vran Warrior into Emissary, since with 8 power after the consumption, he will be an easy target to remove. If your opponent plays an Assassin from Ceallach, do not eat him! This will only enable his Vicovaro Medic and allow him to kill of a Vran Warrior which you tried to avoid before.
When it comes to consuming spies, consume your low own units and units like Usurper first since these spies cannot be resurrected and the points are forever lost on your opponent’s side.
Mandrake is a great tool to remove an early Impera Enforcers preventing again the damage to your Consume chains and Nekkers. Alternatively, the Mandrake can target a big Impera Brigade in late stages of round 1 to allow you for a huge tempo swing and to possibly take the round.
Play around Menno Coehoorn by consuming the units targeted by Infiltrator, however do not play into Geralt: Igni too much by doing that. Split your power equally on three rows, so Letho, who is locked to consuming units on the SAME row, cannot consume your two biggest units. This protects you from Regis.
One of the strongest tools Nilfgaard spies can use against careless consume players is Assire. Often you would like to keep a Slyzard or Phoenix for the last round to pull out your consume Draconids out of your deck. WATCH OUT! Assire can shuffle the Draconids you need back into your deck at the start of the round and you can end up with a dead Slyzard and Phoenix. Don’t let that happen to you, try to have enough draconids in the graveyard, possibly even kick a Slyzard if you fear he might be dead.
Nilfgard alchemy – Unique Gameplan
Against against Alchemy Nilfgaard, you can actually play around Sweers. A few important details decide how the match goes, here are the do’s and don’t
DON’T play all of your Nekker Warrior in round 1. Keep one in hand for the last round. If at some point your opponent plays Sweers you can still shuffle two Nekker in your deck. Against Alchemy you don’t need 9 Nekkers to secure a win.
If you follow these points you should be ready to beat Alchemy.
Consume mirror – Standard Gameplan
As any other mirror it is quite draw dependent. Since consume is very limited in interacting with the opponent’s board, the way to victory is utilising your consumes as efficient as possible to have bigger Nekkers and more of them. Utilise Summoning Circle to copy a Nekker Warrior. There is only one situation where you don’t do it: When your opponent plays Mandrake on the first round in the beginning to kill your Nekker and you do not have a second one in hand. Apart from that ALWAYS use it for Nekker Warrior. It is a better strategy to use to Mandrake on a huge Vran Warrior in the last round. The Vran Warrior is banished, therefore another one cannot be pulled with Slyzard and it cannot be resurrected with Phoenix, if there is not another one in the graveyard. This may prevent your opponent from pulling all Nekker from his deck and also generates big points.
On red coin, try to stay ahead, try to force your opponent into playing valuable cards or to commit more Nekker than you. The correct positioning of the Vran Warrior and the decision to put the last Nekker Warrior in between the Vran and the Nekker or not is crucial. Think over the consume chances of your opponent before you play the round and keep an eye on the consume countdowns of your opponents Vran Warrior.
On blue coin, if you have a decent hand, consider the drypass.
Getting card advantage is extremely advantageous in this matchup, if you can get it, you’re in a good spot. Make sure you can eat all of your Nekker and don’t eat them too fast and waste points in round 3. Time your consumes right! Take your time to calculate.
For instance: if you have more than 5 Nekkers left on board and in deck total, going for a Ghoul from Monster Nest is more points than going for an Arachas Behemoth. HOWEVER, this is only true if this doesn’t force you into suboptimal consume chains, due to the lack of targets for consumption, which the Arachas Hatchlings might provide. Think every turn through and do your math! Another way to use Monster Nest is the Drowner. In late stages of r3, when you have card advantage, you can win the game if and you deny your opponent their last consumes by pushing the Vran Warrior away from the Nekker. This is always a gamble. In late game you can have a good impression about your opponent’s ability to pull more Nekkers so if your opponent’s Nekkers are significantly bigger than yours or he relies on that Vran Warrior to consume, this is definitely a play that can win you the game.
Armor Ciri Nova Radovid – Standard Gameplan
As usual push round 1 as long as you can, potentially till the last card, since it is most important in this matchup. Most of the time they don’t run Geralt:Igni and only have Radovid, so you are almost unchallenged in developing your standard game. Cards like Ciri: Nova, Djiskstra and Shani are dangerous in late rounds and can even compete with the power of Nekkers in a short round 3. Force them out in round 1 or force a pass so you are able to play a slightly longer round 3. Mandrake is a strong round 1 card in this matchup. If you need value, play Mandrake on a high point unit, that was previously buffed by Aspirant and Commanders Horn. If you just need to overtake, for instance after a pass use it to banish Stennis, which makes their Shani become quite bad, or strictly better, Margarita in case they run it. Margarita is not frequent in the deck, but I have occasionally seen her. For round 1 you can keep an extra Nekker if they decide to use Radovid early, you don’t have to spend a Slyzard. Usually, however, they wait with Radovid until round 3 to double lock the Nekker from Brewess: Tribute. To prevent them you can either force them to use the leader in round 1 or keep a Slyzard, a Phoenix, a Nekker, potentially even Alzurs Double Cross for round 3 to secure access to your Nekkers and beat your opponent with the consume chains.
Henselt Machines – Unique Gameplan
This matchup is very easy if you approach it right. Here are the Do’s and Don’t’s for Henselt:
DON’T play Nekker too weak if you can avoid it. Battering Ram and possible Reinforced Ballista will punish you. First, utilise some consume effects with Whispess: Tribute into Arachas Behemoth if you can.
DON’T set up a too big Scorch for your opponent.
DO play round 2 if you won round 1. Use your Nekker outtempo him, and force him to use his Henselt and his Villentretenmeth. After you see Villentretenmeth you pass and let him play 2 more cards to catch up.
Ciri Nova Skellige – Standard Gameplan
You want to have 2 Nekker in your starting hand. If your opponent plays Coral on the first one, you have Nekker number 2 to go on as usual. DO NOT USE Summoning Circle after your opponent plays Coral, it will give you a Jade Figurine.
Don’t play too much into Geralt: Igni, to push round 1 as long as possible. Due to dead resurrects you may be able to force your opponent out in round 1 since they have no resurrection targets.
Most importantly avoid losing on even without you opponent playing Uldaryk, that’s your lose condition if he bleeds you in round 2. Feel free to pass if they play spy r1 and are not ahead.
If you did not see Coral in round 1, be aware of her in round 3, don’t rely on only one Nekker for consume and don’t create a too big unit. If you are out of smaller consumer targets and you are significantly ahead, you may consider not playing your last Forktail to not offer your opponent a extremely big target for Coral.
Harald Axemen – Standard Gameplan
Play the game as usual. Few people run more than one Lacerate to punish you for it. It is totally fine to have two Forktails in your starting hand, since they allow you to eat unit out of the golden weather and place your units in one row. Since Harald doesn’t run Coral or Geralt: Igni you are not afraid of creating bigger units. Execute the usual gameplan and try to force out your opponents Harald in round 1. Mulligan for Mandrake since you can kill and banish Derran with it. DO NOT instantly play Mandrake on Derran or they will use Summoning Circle and spawn another one. You can wait until the Derran becomes huge so you generate a massive tempo swing when you play Mandrake on him. Usually you would like to use Monster Nest into Barbegazi to eat a unit out of weather or shortly before you decide to pass. By creating unchallenged carryover for round 2 you get 1 additional card for round 3 since Axemen will drypass you most of the time.
Another important tipp: NEVER play a gold card or a Mandrake after your opponent spies you with Uldaryk or he can use Summoning Circle to do that again.
Push round 1 as long as you can, outvalue your opponent in round 3.
In case you were not able to force out the Harald in round 1 you can use Monster Nest into Drowner to separate one Axeman from the other on the same row and place them on different rows. This way you decrease the value of your opponent’s leader by 10 points.
Eredin Ciri Nova – Standard Gameplan
In this matchup try to prevent 3 things from happening:
Don’t let your Nekkers die too fast to frost. Rowstack, in frost, use tokens or Slyzard to tank the frost damage to protect the Nekker while he is weak. Play Shadow on the same row as the Nekker. Try to trade well into the frost damage.
Don’t lose to Succubus. No matter how attractive the Mandrake on the buffed Siren looks, don’t use it. Your deck has easily enough power to beat sirens but Succubus is your lose condition. If you don’t have Mandrake in round 3 and you expect a late Succubus you could use Forktail to eat the unit out of the row. BE CAREFUL because that plays into Drowner.
The targets for your Summoning Circle are Frightener, if you need the extra card advantage to prevent Succubus. Otherwise use it on a Nekker Warrior if the opportunity presents itself or on your opponent’s Nekurat to spawn a bloodmoon where he spawned the Moonlight taking a point generating boon away from him.
Against Eredin and some versions of Ciri: Nova Dagon it might be hard to win round 1 if they use a lot of weather effects and boons. By the time they committed the weather excessively better leave the round.
Against Eredin you will often see your opponent play Iris into your Vran Warrior. DO NOT, give them a good Summoning Circle on Iris and be aware of the fact that this might happen when you plan your consumption of Nekker over time.
Some monster decks run Caretaker, so you should keep 2 Nekker Warrior in your hand if you see that gold see more play. If they Caretaker your only Nekker Warrior your Slyzard cannot pull more out of your deck.
Mill Nilfgaard – Unique Gameplan
If you see this deck frequently on the ladder, don’t play consume. It is a horrible matchup and can be won if you get lucky and utilise the following advice:
- If your opponent plays Sweers on Nekker warriors insantly pass. You can encourage this by playing a Nekker Warrior into a Nekker Warrior.
- Then, in round 2, do not play any Nekkers, keep one in hand if you can. Play all of your consumes, optimally with Arachas Behemoth and comsume the hatchlings.
- In round 3, pull as many Nekkers as possible which are now only 3 or 5 but around 20 points each.
Consume is a very skill rewarding deck and definitely a tier 1 pick in the current meta. Despite its many good matchups it is not the strongest deck since it relies heavily on getting the right cards in round 1. Not getting a single Nekker, Nekker Warrior and Slyzard will most likely ruin you the match. That is quite unlikely to happen however. The other reason why this deck isn’t as consistent as Scoia’tel is the occasional presence of Mill decks which create an almost unwinnable matchup for the deck.
However, the deck is the second tier 1 deck in the meta and can be played with incredible success if navigated properly.
Thank you for reading the guide! I hope it helps you to get better in Gwent.
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