Brief Summary of Build
Hello guys! I know some of you don't have time nor patience to read such an extensive guide so I am glad to announce that my Team Aretuza teammate Green Cricket published a video guide for the deck: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i00VPLSNxhY&t=89s .
Be sure to check it out and leave him some feedback, we always appreciate that!
- Runestone and Spearmaiden + Black Blood
- The decklist is changed to the one that has been performing the best for Team Aretuza these days. I might update the guide later but no promises with Homecoming on its way.
CA – Card Advantage
GS – An Craite Greatsword(s)
LS – Dimun Light Longship(s)
Str – Strength/Points
R1,2 or 3 – Round 1, 2 or 3
Blue – starting 1st
Red – starting 2nd
MO, NG, NR, ST, and SK – Factions Monsters, Niflgaard, Northern Realms, Scoiatel and Skellige
Fmmr – Faction matchmaking ranking (ProLadder)
Hey everybody, my name is Danman233 and I want to welcome you to my Ultimate Greatswords guide by Team Aretuza!
As many of you might have noticed, in last weeks GS have become a very prevalent deck in the meta. There are many factors contributing to this, one of them being a recent GwentUp report showing GS as the deck with the best win rate in the meta. Another factor is a huge success with GS by some the high-profile players like Tailbot (1450 SK fmmr) and MaggoGX (1462 SK fmmr). Most recently, GS have been used in last Gwent Open Champion’s tournament lineup, Hanachan. Members of Team Aretuza are also utilizing the current iteration of GS, too and we decided to share our experience with the deck and help new and experienced players to climb on Ranked and ProLadder alike! Keep in mind that this guide aims to help you to understand GS better as a deck, the guide is not only about understanding how to play GS but also about how to play vs GS.
GS deck can be described as an engine deck that strives in long rounds in which it tries to set up powerful finishers for the final round. As an engine deck, its main strength is establishing a powerful engine which if left unchecked quickly spirals out of control. Its engine, however, is also deck's main weakness because in R1 GS struggle to generate tempo in the 1st couple of turns. With that said, in hands of a skilled player GS become a lethal weapon because while simple in the core, the deck is very skill intensive on the high level.
First of all, let's start with card choices and reasoning behind them.
Hym: See Udalryk + Skjall combo in Silver cards. The great benefit of Hym is also Hym's second option. Sometimes, picking Hym’s 2nd option is much better than going for the Spy play, especially in scenarios when you need to push and go for victory in R1 on a blue coin. Sometimes, vs King Henselts you can use Hym for Dethmold to deny Henselt target etc. Cannot be replaced in this version of GS, can be cut in Djenge Frett version.
Coral: Coral is a flex card that provides GS with much-needed control. She is an all around great card, she always achieves a good value, you can deny deathwish units or carryover with her, as well as compress big cards for tempo. The only situation in which she is quite bad is if you topdeck her R3 and you don't have the last say.
Triss: Telekinesis : Triss: Telekinesis is an all-around meta staple. The card provides great thinning, solid tempo and acts as a potential catch up card, tempo card or finisher. In GS she has the added benefit of providing you with a win condition after your big GS get shuffled by Assire var Anahid.
Sigrdrifa: Alternate resurrection card, provides more consistency with the general strategy of the deck. She is especially good with Djenge Frett[/card] GS version but she shines without Djenge Frett, too. Think of her as more flexible Priestess of Freya with +2 points, too. Can be replaced.
Mandrake: Extremely important silver special in the deck. Singlehandedly wins some matchups by strengthening your damaged GS or LS, denies Imlerith: Sabbath decks and can be played aggressively in some matchups, too. Cannot be replaced.
Stribog Runestone: The weakest one of the silvers as it sometimes requires you to high roll. However, SK has some great pulls like Djenge Frett or Sigrdrifa or Restore[/card]. Sadly, this card cannot be replaced as the overall consistency of the deck would decrease, having an alternative target for Vesemir: Mentor is very important. Cannot be replaced
Bronze core: Bronzes in this deck are pretty self-explanatory, there is no reason to explain what every single one of them does. The key strategy is to win long rounds with LS + GS engine and then win short rounds by resurrecting LS but mainly GS. Every bronze in the deck helps with that strategy.
Keep in mind that crafting order for this deck is very illustrational. This deck needs almost every card listed above to work properly. If you want to see Card replacements, scroll to the bottom of the guide!
There are several things you have to remember when playing GS in R1. Since you are playing an engine deck which engines get stronger as the game progresses, a general rule of thumb is to play long R1 in every matchup:
- Push Round 1. You want to push R1 until the point your opponent either passes or you cannot continue anymore (your hand is full of resurrecting cards in R1). The only time you don't do this is if you are on a blue coin and your opponent puts out so much tempo you would have to go 2+ cards down to win the round. Keep in mind, if your opponent is that far ahead, they most likely used all/most of their tempo options and even if you go into R2 on even cards and they can dry pass you to gain 1 card advantage, your engine outpowers them very easily in long R3.
- Play your tempo early. It is almost never incorrect to play Crach an Craite into GS (15 points) immediately in R1. There are only 2 matchups in which you can consider to avoid playing GS + Crach an Craite turn 1 but we will go over those matchups in Matchup section of the guide. Remember, if you put out the tempo early, your opponent will be forced to play „catch up" game in the entire R1. As soon as you establish your engine, the clock will start ticking for your opponent and they have to think about if they want to play or if they want to get out because eventually, they won't be able to catch up. The problem is, if they don't get out, they won't be able to catch up and if they will get out (pass early or dry pass) you will do the same thing in R2, most likely winning 2/0 or getting yourself very favorable R3. As a GS player, you always want to play, you always want your engine to be running, you want to play aggressively and force your opponent to have answers.
- Play around early removal. Playing around removal early in the game is crucial to your success with the deck. It may seem trivial but using removal vs GS in R1 is often the only way your opponent can win. If your engine gets controlled you will be forced to play 10 point bronze cards (Priestess of Freya + Vanilla GS = 9 points, Dimun Corsair + LS = 11). Some people think Alchemy or King Henselt are unwinnable matchups because of the removal they are running but I can tell you that is not correct. GS has 2 engines (LS and GS) and vs removal decks you need to utilize both engines as cunningly as possible. For example, you know there is a very high chance your Alchemy opponent has 1+ Viper Witcher in hand. You have 2 GS in hand and you can pull one from Crach an Craite but there is actually no reason for you to do so. Play LS instead! Alchemy struggles with good proactive plays and you either force them to use their removal on your LS or they will have to play suboptimally while you already have an engine which is giving you +1 every turn! Remember, their removal is more limited then your options for resurrections are! Again, there will be more examples in Matchups section so be sure to check that out.
- Abuse the coin. The most recent version of GS deck is built around abusing the Red/Blue coin mechanic in Gwent. Hym + Roach into Skjall into Udalryk (or just Hym + Skjall + Udalryk) makes your Silver card advantage spy -1 point (or -5 points) on default but beware, this combo in GS actually often makes Udalryk + x points spy! The reasoning behind it is that since you already have engines on board when you play your Abuse Fun Mechanic Combo, you have to add x points (depending on how many engines u have on board and if GS are resetting next turn) to your -1 spy. Even if you have only 2 ships on a board, you are already playing +1 (or -3) point spy. REMEMBER TO ABUSE THIS IN R1!!! Why R1? Points in R2 rarely matter if you won R1, you gain nothing by playing positive points spy if your opponent is able to catch up to you! However, in R1, playing this combo when you are guaranteed to be ahead of your opponent when you play it put either allows you to:
- If u started on red – lose 2 cards up (you 100% won the game)
- If you started on red – win 1 card up (you 100% won the game)
- If you are on blue – lose 1 card up (no great, especially if they have a spy in r2, try to avoid this, great if they counterspy you immediately and you pass )
- If you are on blue – win on even (99% won game)
Scenario 3. only occurs if you play incorrectly, therefore, in every optimal scenario you win the game on the spot. Keep in mind, if you decide to switch Roach to Sigrdrifa (see Card choices and replacements section) playing your CA spy becomes harder but not impossible!
- Don't overcommit. Let’s start with an example. Sometimes you happen to play vs King Henselt, you are on blue, you play your GS and boom, they winch out a machine (Ballista, Reinforced Ballista or Battering Ram), you play your ship and boom again, 3 machines out of King Henselt and you are 30 points behind on even cards. No problem, just pass, their biggest tempo play is out. This becomes a bit problematic if you don't have either Hym, Skjall or Udalryk in your hand but chances of having at least one of them are very, very high. Don't try to catch up when you can‘t, evaluate the approximate strength of your opponent's hand and always, ALWAYS ask yourself this question:"what do they need to have in order to beat me". Once you figure out the answer, play around their win condition. Chances that your opponent is asking the same question are high, so try to surprise them with unconventional plays that yield you the victory you need!
Now that we have a general strategy for R1 figured out let’s move to the actual practical part of playing the deck!
Opening hand mulligans
Even though you really cannot brick with this GS deck like you can with for example muster NR decks, it is still possible to get bad hands. A bad hand is the one with many resurrect cards, like this:
In general, at the start of the game, you want to blacklist cards like Priestess of Freya and Dimun Corsair. Keep in mind that sometimes it is important to hold on to some of your resurrect cards, too. For example, vs Alchemy it is always a good strategy to keep some of your resurrections so you can reestablish your engine once it gets removed. Alchemy only has 3 removal cards R1 in the worst case scenario so keep in mind they will be able to remove only 3 of your units. If possible, try to get hold of Hym in your opening hand and mulligan any card that combos with Hym (Skjall, Roach, Udalryk). However, in some matchups, it is actually correct to use Hym's 2nd Create option, for example, if you don't have early Imlerith: Sabbath answer and you want to lock/kill him with their own cards!
Your opening mulligans are also very dependent on the deck you are playing against. Vs some decks, you need Mandrake to protect your GS or LS from being removed and you should „hard mulligan“ (search for a given card at all costs) for it (see Matchups section).
Standard opening: It is almost always correct to open up with Crach an Craite into 10str GS. In R1, this is your biggest immediate tempo play regardless of the colour of your coin. If you want to establish your engine as early as possible. The benefit of 10str GS is also that it is much harder to kill for your opponent. You make it impossible for your opponent to Muzzle your GS unless they damage it first. However, that line of play is very risky for your opponent because they have to have Muzzle and a unit that damages in the opening hand. For example, damaging GS by Alzur's Thunder puts GS at 1 strength which makes your GS an amazing target for your Mandrake.
This opening is only correct in matchups in which you don't worry about removal too much. Your gameplan in R1 becomes very linear. Playing GS into LS as many times as you can (3GS + 3LS at most) is the priority. Prioritize tempo and thinning, if you have the option to thin or not to thin, always thin your deck (e.g. play LS from Dimun Pirate Captain 1st rather than play LS from hand). Prioritize getting your GS out of the deck. 8 strength GS in R2 or R3 is very low tempo for a card that should be used as your finisher. Play your Hym combo whenever there is an option to and try to stay ahead of your opponent.
Alchemy/Brouver Hoog Ciri: Nova opening/any similar deck: These 2 meta decks require you to open up a bit differently. Since both of these decks run very straightforward early removal options such as:
Difference between these 2 meta decks or decks with similar removal tools is that these decks don't DAMAGE your GS, they DESTROY them. Difference between damaging and killing is huge because damaging can be countered by passing (GS reset) or playing Mandrake which in most cases is game deciding versus a good player. Keep in mind, DESTROYING GS is extremely important. A general rule of thumb is: if you cannot destroy GS, do not touch it unless there is no other way for you to win R1.
Both Ida Emean aep Sivney and Cleaver (Cleaver from Leader is 10 points of damage, Cleaver from hand is 9 points of damage) can get rid of 10 str GS from Crach an Craite after he was damaged (-1 = 9) by LS. If your Brouver Hoog deck is running Iorveth, you can also get rid of 1 smaller GS (8 str), further disrupting your engine setup. This means that Brouver Hoog can deny engine for at least 4 turns while putting points on a board at the same time.
Alchemy is in this regard very similar to Brouver Hoog, however, in Alchemy’s case getting all 3 Viper Witchers is more difficult. Nonetheless, as an Alchemy player, your strategy should be to „hard mulligan“ for Viper Witchers at the start of the game. Your removal is limited and most basic strategy is to remove GS as they pose the biggest threat in terms of engine.
There is a way to play around it all as a GS player though! Many GS do not think outside of a box and they focus only on linear/standard gameplan in R1. The main thing you have to remember is that you don’t need to do that! For example, Cleaver is conditional, his value decreases linearly with the number of cards in Brouver Hoog's hand. For that reason alone, many Brouver Hoog players will choose to play the (Brouver Hoog) + Barclay Els + Cleaver combo as early in the R1 as possible. Don’t play into their gameplan! Start off with LS 1st, try to bait them into using Cleaver early and only then play Crach an Craite + GS, making it significantly easier for you to get your GS to stick.
The same reasoning can be used vs. Alchemy. Alchemy decks these days play very few proactive cards, such as:
- Stefan Skellen (slow tempo)
- 1 or 2 Slave Drivers (chance of bricking)
- Rainfarn of Attre and/or Cantarella (not optimal – you can spy back and be ahead)
- Vesemir: Mentor into Swallow (most optimal play. Usually 20 points of tempo if they play Roach)
While the options seem to be limited they are not scarce either. This means that alchemy player can in a perfect world get all 3 Viper Witchers and all of their proactive plays R1. This is very unlikely to happen and playing low tempo or risking bricking can be game-losing vs a good opponent. Try to go for the same gameplan as vs Brouver Hoog decks, play your LS first and bait their removal or force them to play suboptimally!
During the creation of this guide, I have met with lots of opinions that favor removing LS rather than removing GS. The reasoning behind it is that LS still generate x points per turn while GS that are not being damaged are not generating any points. Well, while that is true, you also have to keep in mind that GS decks have more ways of getting LS going then GS:
- Ways of getting LS on a board:
- 3x LS (non-tutored LS from hand)
- 3x Dimun Corsair (resurrects a LS)
- 2x Dimun Pirate Captain (tutor for either LS or Dimun Corsair)
- 1x Heymaey Spearmaiden (tutors LS if you already have one on board)
- 1x Restore (best used on Dimun Pirate Captain, see Card Choices)
- 1x Sigrdrifa (optional card choice, can resurrect Heymaey Spearmaiden, Dimun Pirate Captain or LS)
- Ways of getting GS on a board:
- 3x GS (non-tutored from hand)
- GS from Crach an Craite ( you main usage of leader)
- 3x Priestess of Freya (resurrects a GS)
- 1x Heymaey Spearmaiden (tutors GS if you already have one on board)
- 1x Sigrdrifa (optional card choice, can resurrect Heymaey Spearmaiden or GS)
As you can see, removing LS engine rather than GS is not beneficial. GS player has more ways of getting LS on a board and removing LS will only result in GS player getting them back. Other 2 very important things to remember are: Destroying LS early in R1 makes Reconnaissance/ Triss: Telekinesis better because GS player is more likely to get LS or LS tutor/resurrection from the deck rather than GS or dead card. 2nd thing to remember is that Priestess of Freya resurrection is much more valuable than Dimun Corsair resurrection. GS are getting gradually bigger while LS are not getting any bigger than they are. 8 strength GS can be 22 strength GS in R3, 7 strength LS will remain 7 strength in every round! With that said, forcing GS player to use Priestess of Freya is much more valuable than forcing them to use Dimun Corsair!
If you played R1 correctly, in R2 you should have a fairly populated graveyard, reasonably thinned deck and fairly strong GS waiting to be ressurected. Since GS is a deck that becomes stronger as the game is progressing, our strategy for R2 will be very aggressive.
The general strategy for R2 is to PUSH. GS is an ultimate manly deck, you almost always play aggressively and push as much as you can. If you played long R1 then you probably have 16+ GS in your graveyard. Use that to your advantage and play out R2 to bleed your opponent from the answers they could have in R3. At the same time, by playing R2 you ensure even bigger GS in R3. It is very important to play around super swingy cards like Villentretenmerth, Miruna, Coral, Geralt: Igni, Scorch, Schirrú etc. If you allow your opponent to use those cards in R3 and you don't have an answer to them, you will lose and the bigger your GS the saltier you will feel. Most of these cards require specific setup, make sure to play around these cards in R2 if you can and with cards like Miruna and Villentretenmerth you can often get +1 card on your opponent in R3 (these cards are very low tempo and take time to go off).
If you won R1 that means you are starting 1st in R2 and this gives you an option to play around certain graveyard hate cards like Ozzrel (MO, NG) or Caretaker (MO). Playing around these cards is super important because not only they provide powerful swing for your opponent, they also win games on their own by denying your resurrections and powerful GSs. In MO matchup, ALWAYS resurrect ur biggest GS right away and push, MO doesn't run big removals like Scorch so there is a good chance you will just 2/0 your opponent.
As with every deck, in R2 you want to prepare for R3. Make sure you don't waste important cards like Triss: Telekinesis, Restore or Priestess of Freya carelessly. Focus on your hand and always try to analyze your opponent's moves and approximate power level of their hand R2. Many decks cannot catch up to big GS R2 and chances that you can 2/0 your opponents or go +1 card up into R3 are very high.
If you lost R1 you have 3 ways of getting your Spy to „counter spy" your opponent. You either have Hym, Skjall or Udalryk in hand. If you go 1 card up into R2 there are good chances your opponent will try to play their Silver CA spy and if you have either Skjall or Hym (or Skjall from Hym) you can spy them back while being ahead. This is very important because the chances are that you will be ahead for the whole R2 and thus you will secure +1 card for R3.
In R2, you push up to the point you are sure that you bled your opponent out of win conditions or other valuable cards. Most of the time you do not need much for R3, Priestess of Freya will often suffice, do not play to win more/lose more, play just to win!
Finally, you are in R3. If you are starting 1st then you do exactly the same thing as in R2. Play your GS, play around Ozzrel in matchups that require you to do so. This round is pretty straightforward, all you want to do is finish your opponent with your most powerful cards. Usually, your finisher is Triss: Telekinesis into Priestess of Freya /Priestess of Freya into GS + Restore. Usually, GS aim to finish the game with one power play (resurrection of GS), so short round is preferred. Restore is an alternate win condition if you do not manage to draw a Priestess of Freya or Sigrdrifa. If you bank on Restore as one of your/the only finisher/s, try to set up big LS (with Mandrake) in R1 or R2.
Alchemy: Some consider this matchup unwinnable for GS but that is not the case. The main problem in Alchemy matchup is not Viper Witcher but Assire var Anahid. When playing vs Alchemy, always open up with LS from Dimun Pirate Captain if you have the option to do so. Alchemy decks lack proactive play unless the run Stefan Skellen or the draw both Slave Drivers (see R1 – opening plays section). You can abuse this fact by playing your less important engines 1st, giving them suboptimal targets for removal. Once they use 1-2 Viper Witchers, you can start pumping out your GS and resurrect your LS. Don't be afraid to use Restore in R1 vs Alchemy for tempo and engine setup! Keep in mind that they only have 3 removal cards while you have 6 engine cards and 6 resurrections!
If you play R1 correctly and you get your GS big enough for R2 and R3, the only win condition left for Alchemy is Assire var Anahid (or high roll Ozzrel from Black Blood). Beware, they will use Assire var Anahid to shuffle your biggest GS(s) into the deck in R3 if they go 1st but this is where Triss: Telekinesis and Reconnaissance come to save you. You can use Triss: Telekinesis and/or Reconnaissance to pull your big shuffled GS out of the deck and in the end, all they end up doing is playing 11 str card. Remember not to clog your hand with 2-3 Priestess of Freyas R3 because you are running the risk of having them dead! 1 Priestess of Freya and/or Heymaey Spearmaiden are often enough (you can Restore + Heymaey Spearmaiden, too). If you manage to get 1 GS on board, you can pull another one (shuffled with Assire Var Anehid) with Heymaey Spearmaiden!
EiSloth Morvran Voorhis: Not a common deck but a deck nonetheless. This deck aims to pump out high tempo every turn until you are forced to pass and then your opponent will finish you with Letho of Gulet + Regis combo. NEVER PASS!!! Play out your hand even if it means going 2 cards down, remember Letho of Gulet + Regis combo is very strong points-wise but it requires 2 card setup (playing Letho of Gulet gives you 0 tempo, sometimes +3 points with Roach). That means you can get your cards back easily and since they don't have a way of countering GS, your GS in R3 will be bigger than anything they have left. Play every round, play until the end, never pass. Pass only if you see preemptive Letho of Gulet!
Mirror: Coin and hand quality are big factors here. If you start 1st and your hand quality is really good for a long round (No resurrections, 3-4 golds) you can consider dry passing and forcing your opponent into „who drew better" contest or you can try to out-tempo your opponent by playing long R1 and dry passing R2. Nevertheless, mirrors are a showcase of luck rather than individual skill and players on the same skill level win only if they draw better then their opponent. If you go 2nd, try to get ahead as much as you can and if you have full Hym + Roach (or without Roach) into Skjall into Udalryk combo and your opponent doesn't know what they are doing you can go +2 cards into R2, which means victory. Another deciding factor can be Stribog Runestone pull, Donar an Hindar often wins this matchup singlehandedly.
Boats: Boats don't look like it but they actually can match the long round potential of GS. The biggest benefit of boats is carryover which makes it hard for GS to get favorable R3 because even if you are on a red coin, you cannot dry pass R2. If you are going 1st, try to abuse their Wolfsbane proc and make your GS tank it, effectively making WB 4 point card. On red, try to abuse your spy as soon as you can and if they „counterspy" you, pass. This gives them no other option but to dry pass R2 because otherwise they risk going -1 card into R3. Coral is your biggest enemy, try to play with her if you have the last say, play suboptimally (LS 1st, GS last). Finding a good spot to pass in this matchup is crucial! There is a sweet spot in which their Berserker Marauders are still not big enough to provide insane tempo and your engine is fully operational, try to find that spot and pass favorably if you can!
Brouver Hoog (Nova) elves: If your opponent gets a perfect hand, GS struggle to keep up with this deck. Brouver Hoogs sometimes run Iorveth, Ida Emean aep Sivney, and almost every Brouver Hoog runs Cleaver which means that there is a good chance your GS will get controlled early. Brouver Hoog's long rounds are incredibly strong and they produce enough immediate tempo to outpower you very quickly. Finding a sweet spot to pass if they pump out all their tempo and removal is crucial. If they don't have the greatest hand, sometimes they are forced to pass early, otherwise, you outpower them. Try to abuse this fact by going into semi-long R3 in which you are favored.
Eithné Control: GS don't like fire and arrows, they like big swords. Unfortunately, fire and arrows are all Eithné brings. Mandrake is very crucial in this matchups because often they will try to ping your ships or GS down with Dol Blathanna Archer. Mandrake also helps with misaligning your units vs Scorch. Making one big LS or GS with Mandrake is enough to win this matchup but you have to ensure last say and bleed out Villentretenmerth. Similarly to NG Morvran Voorhis, play until your last dying breath, otherwise you are going to get Scorched 4 times in R3. Don't be afraid to go 1 card down to R2, you can always abuse your spy. Try to play around their big Scorch with keeping 1 LS in hand and misaligning units if it is needed! Go to R3 with 1-2 cards, Restore has Priority over GS no matter how big your GS is if you don't have the last say!
Consume: A general rule of thumb is a) if you have both Mandrake and Coral in R1, go for denying Nekker strategy, b) if you have only one of those cards, forget about it, focus on your engine, Coral or Mandrake will get significantly more value on Forktail or Vran Warrior later! Every good consume player will try to keep at least 2 nekkers in their opening hand, there is no reason for you to waste such a valuable card for 4 points if you cannot interrupt anything. ALWAYS WIN R1. If you are not able to win R1 you most likely lost the game. Don't even think about going for 2-3 card advantage, you won't be able to match nekkers in short R3. Winning R1 should be very easy since they cant do nothing about your engine! If you win R1 NEVER PASS R2!!! Always play your big GS 1st to prevent Ozzrel and bleed them to the last card! Sometimes you can 2/0 consume players because they get greedy with saving Brewess: Ritual + Phoenix combo for R3 and they will play Brewess: Ritual very late! There is a good chance you will go +1 into R3 and in that scenario.
Dagon Deathwish: They will try to Muzzle you, Cyclops you, Ozzrel you, Caretaker you. Often they will succeed but one GS is all you need to win this matchup. Play around every single card mentioned above, for example, if they go 1st and they don't dry pass and play Archespore (almost every game on red starts like this) you always respond with Crach an Craite into GS. If Archespore hits buffed GS to 9, never play LS next to GS immediately, wait for 1 turn! If you played LS to GS immediately you would put your GS to 8 making it an easy Muzzle target! Play on 1 row and play as in every long round matchup, play until the end unless you get out-tempoed to the point you cannot catch up in 2 cards. Dagons are desperate for a finisher and often they will save their Ozzrel for R3, keep that in mind and use Coral accordingly!
King Henselt Machines: Most King Henselts don't run Villentretenmerth so most of the time your only concerns are King Henselt's ability, Scorch, and Bloody Baron. Hard Mulligan for Mandrake/Vesemir: Mentor, King Henselt will try to either kill your GS and more sophisticated ones will try to be smart and deny Mandrake on GS so they will go after your LS. Show them that it changes nothing and Mandrake your LS making it a 13 (14 if you count +1 ping) play in later rounds. The only thing King Henselt can realistically do in this matchup is high roll a machine from Winch and play 3 machines very early in the round on red coin, making it impossible for you to catch up in 1 card and going -2 is very risky vs King Henselt. Try to deny them that option by playing as high tempo as possible and disrupt their tempo. If you have Coral consider using her on Winched machine (if you think they are running it in their deck – Battering Ram, Ballista and Reinforced Ballista in 99% of scenarios). Regardless of a blue or red coin, try to play R1 until the bitter end, this is incredibly crucial because you HAVE TO bleed potential Villentretenmerth or Scorch R2.
Once you get their King Henselt and Scorch and/or Villentretenmerth out of the game, the only thing left is Bloody Baron who is usually around 20 points. Restore or Priestess of Freya should always win you R3 vs Bloody Baron. If you for some reason saved up Vesemir: Mentor + Mandrake and you have the last say, enjoy your victory, too.
Tip: King Henselts are often very transparent about their hand with the way they are playing. If you see them killing your smaller units in R2 rather then trying to deny your engine that means that they have Scorch and/or Baron in hand. Try to punish them by playing very high tempo with Restore, for example, so you can get outside of their Scorch range and punish their greed.
King Radovid V Armour (Nova): Since you can never really dodge this leaders's ability, the best way to deal with it is to play your GS + LS as soon as possible so you can focus on establishing your engine right after they get locked. If you start on red and you are ahead when leader's locks your 1st 2 engines, pass. Going 1 card up and baiting the leader is your plan on both coins. In R2, play if they are playing, if they dry pass, there is no specific card you are looking for in R3 just your traditional finishers and engine. Remember. the key is to bait the leader!
King Foltest's Swarm: These types of decks start slowly but they get stronger over time. By the turn 5, they have everything established and it should be the same for you. They actually cannot beat your engine but regardless of the list (25 card version or 40 cards), they can keep up with you until the end of R1. If you are vs 40 card list with Hubert Rejk, Coral or Vesemir: Mentor + Mandrake is your obvious win condition, assuming you have the last say. These decks tend to not interact with your board as much so regardless of the color of your coin you should be able to win R1 no problem. Push R2 to get rid of Temerian Infantryman if you are able to do so. In case of 40 cards Hubert Rejk deck make sure you have the last say and cards mentioned above.
It is very time-consuming to write a specific guide to every deck in the meta. For that reason, I excluded many tier 2/3 decks, meme decks or decks that are very similar to the decks above. I tried to include the most common matchups and matchups that are not straightforward and require specific lines of play. If you have any questions about a matchup that was not mentioned, leave a comment below!
Wild Boar of the Sea: Very good card vs Alchemy, bad in other matchups. Wild Boar of the Sea is a win more/lose more card. Can be passed on if you start on blue as it doesn't help with your tempo. Good replacement for Coral in Alchemy meta.
Why not Djenge Frett? (over Skjall)
First of all, not running Skjall would decrease the consistency of getting Udalryk from your deck and it would make coin abuse significantly harder or rather, impossible. However, the true nature of not running Djenge Frett lies deeper. The problem does not really come down to Djenge Frett vs. Skjall but rather Djenge Frett vs GS as your Crach an Craite would always pull Djenge Frett out (unless you have him in hand).
When you are choosing between Djenge Frett and any other silver, in reality, you are choosing between Djenge Frett and GS from Crach an Craite. In the meta skewed by Faction Challenge, graveyard hate is very popular and rather than alternative finisher or tempo Djenge Frett provides, you need consistency in your gameplan. Running Djenge Frett over Skjall also forces you to cut your Spy abuse combo because you have to run Sigrdrifa. If the meta shifts more towards faster decks and you will be able to get your GS running without fearing for their life, Djenge Frett could emerge once again, but for now, favoring consistency over tempo seems to be correct.
Original Tailbot’s version was running Roach instead of Sigrdrifa for -1 point Silver spy. However, after playing the deck extensively, Roach has proved to be very clunky and she often makes your mulligans very awkward. Losing on 4 points is not that big of a deal in GS, running Sigrdrifa instead give you more flexible options in your gameplay.
Your Bronze core is pretty much irreplaceable. You can add or remove 1 unit here and there if you see fit, e.g. you can only run 2 Dimun Corsairs but in the end, this version with its Bronze cards performed the best out of any other version out there.
GS is by no means a deck you just pick up and start winning by playing your cards. As every engine deck, GS requires a lot of thinking and game knowledge in order to utilize the deck. Outplay potential, strong engine and coin abuse is what describes this GS deck the best. If you pick up the deck make sure to focus, make notes and analyze your plays. Once you master this deck, great success will follow!
If you happen to have any more questions, do not hesitate to leave your questions in the comment section below. Of course, any feedback is appreciated and helps us improve our content! If you liked this guide, make sure to check out https://twitter.com/TeamAretuza and http://teamaretuza.com/ for more interesting content)
P.S. I apologize for the lack of images but there were some problems with screenshots from Imgur while I was writing this guide, i will make sure to update it later!
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