[Top 10 Global] Handbuff ST

Created by trynet123 Apr 3, 2018

Last Updated Apr 3, 2018 (The Arena Update)

Brouver Hoog

  • Attack 21
  • Ranged 36
  • Siege 99
  • Total Strength 156
  • Total 25
  • Silver 6
  • Gold 4
  • Scrap Cost 5150
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Brief Summary of Build

I got to 6th global before the long queues forced me to take a break from ranked. This deck is pretty cancerous. You can see the winrates matchup-by-matchup on my Gwentup page. 

I've been playing a lot of games with this deck on my twitch channel.

I'll probably post a game review with this deck over the next couple days on my Youtube Channel if that kind of content interests you. 

Of the main decks you'll run into, you have incredibly favorable matchups to the point you basically can't ever lose against Greatswords, Axemen, and Henselt. Mostly favorable against the Elfswarm Brouver deck, Armor, and most Dagon decks. Alchemy is slightly better than a coin flip. And most of the cheese decks destroy you, Nekkers, NG Reveal, and 40Foltest are all horrendous matchups.


Before I get into any more details, let me answer the one question I'm sure well over half of you are asking right now: Why Eskel? Well, if you look at all the other gold options for this deck, none of them fit for one reason or another. Schirru is too awkward with all the hand buffing. Igni is difficult to enable with all the damage dealing effects we're playing. Triple Wardancer makes Dandelion: Poet awkward to play. Recon is bad in a deck with triple Swordmaster, triple Wardancer, so Triss:Telekinesis isn't a good option either, even ignoring how playing a spell other than Muzzle makes our Yaevinn worse. I've tried everything in this slot, and Eskel does enough things well enough that he's the one I've went with. In matchups where he's bad, you can always just kill your Yaevinn with him. In matchups where he's good, he's insane. Denying Henselts, killing Greatswords, etc.

In general, don't be afraid to just waste your Wardancers in round 1. Preserving mulligan quality is more important than dry pass denial. This deck starts out pretty low tempo in most rounds all your value comes from your finishers, so you probably can't keep most decks trapped in a round after Wardancering them anyway. The primary purpose of Wardancer here is to support your low tempo plays like Dragoon and Hawker Support and help them find turns where they make tempo.

Vadermaker is another weird card, but I wanted another silver that Brouver could pull, as I was finding myself with a bricked Brouver a little too often. Vadermaker is pretty much the only reasonable silver to play if you care about that.

Braenn is in here because I found myself having a few too many games where I didn't draw enough Swordmasters, and the 4th Swordmaster is a welcome addition. 3 points for an upgrade to silver isn't the worst rate (counting the Aglais buff), and Swordmasters are already incredibly valuable. 

Vrihedd Neophyte isn't the most exciting card in the world, but he's a higher tempo play that still provides carryover. You can also save them until deeper in round 3 to guarentee buffs on Swordmasters, making him pretty reliably a 14 in round 3. Not great, but better than Hawker Support in that situation. The other issue is that your bronze slot options are terrible as well. The only bronzes you really want to play are Dragoons and Swordmasters, every other card is just the best filler available. 

Card Combos

Vrihedd Dragoons + Hawker Support

This somewhat counter-intuitive play lets you get Dragoons out of range of most removal in the format. You lose 3 points on a Swordmaster, but in a long round, making a Dragoon stick is generally worth more. It's not always correct, but if a round is going to go long enough this can be huge.

Eskel + Yaevinn

Rather than using your Barclay to kill Yaevinn, if Eskel is bad in the matchup you can just burn your Eskel for a 20 point spy kill early. Barclay will be worth one less point, but you got the bad gold out of your hand for great value. Having two big tempo plays back to back can afford you a lot of time to develop carryover before you need to pass, or even force your opponent to pass.

Yaevinn + Muzzle

With Muzzle being the only spell in the deck, Yaevinn is guarenteed to pull it. It's worth mentioning that as long as Muzzle is in your deck, it's impossible to draw a bricked card like Cleaver, since you can always take the Muzzle instead. This means that if you get blacklist on Cleaver going into the first round, it's often correct to mulligan your Muzzle away as well so that Yaevinn can't screw you into being forced to take Cleaver.


General Guide

Most of your plans are matchup dependent, I'll cover the main ones here:


Coin result doesn't matter. Kill every single machine they play without remorse and they're stuck with a 3 point leader, and 6 point bronzes in their deck. Don't be afraid to use the pass as a way to kill a machine. Don't even bother trying to Muzzle Ronvid, just Muzzle a machine. Pull Dun Banners, don't pull Dun Banners, it really doesn't matter. They have no win condition in the matchup. I haven't lost this matchup in a very long time. 


Kill every Greatsword they play. Similar to Henselt. You probably want to dry pass if you get blue coin, they can't dry pass back and they'll always be stuck going into round 3 down a card. 


This matchup is tricky, and pretty heavily coinflip dependent. You need to bleed them. If you win coin flip, this is easy. Keep playing round 1 until you're unable to overtake them in 2 and you can usually just dry pass them in round 2. However, if they're really clever, they'll pass early in round 1 and trap you in round 2 by abusing the fact you can't give them a long round 3. Most of the time you'll be going into round 3 down a card, but that's fine. Save all your really powerful plays, play low tempo stuff in round 2 and find a pass to go into round 3 in like a 4v5 and you'll usually win. This matchup is really tricky to navigate, but it feels really rewarding when you win. Baiting out their Ida so that you can Frost them with Vadermaker is a pretty huge play. I posted a video with 4 Elfswarm matches on my youtube here if you want to see how I approach the matchup.


Dry pass the blue coin, they can't dry pass back so you can still offload all your carryover cards in round 2. Weather off Vadermaker and Ida is pretty important in this matchup. A lot of your tech cards are pretty bad here. Save Muzzle for Slave Driver -> Dragoon. Eskel can be used on Yaevinn, but if not you can tag Assire with it. You'll usually go into round 3 on even, and you just hope your finisher is better than theirs. Use Hawker Support to get Dragoon out of Viper Witcher range if a round is going to go long. Similar to the previous matchup, I have a video with some Alch games I played here.

Card Replacements

Golds: Don't change anything unless card availability is an issue. I've tried pretty much everything in these slots. If card availability is an issue, feel free to play Schirru, or Igni, but know they will be bricked fairly often. You could also cut a Wardancer and play Triss: Telekinesis + Recon, which has the problem of blocking your Yaevinn from finding Muzzle, and leaves you with some potentially terrible Recons. Triss + Malakam Ale is a consistently mediocre option as well if you don't like the idea of Recon screwing you.

Silvers: All the silvers seem pretty staple, and they're silvers so card availability shouldn't be a problem. Vadermaker is the tech card in the silvers, but I wouldn't really know what to play over him. Alzur's Thunder is such a powerful spell in this metagame.

Bronzes: The bronze options are worse than the gold options. Elven Scout sucks when your deck doesn't have any Elf/swarming synergy. Specials are only worth playing for Triss. Even some of the bronzes you're already playing kinda suck, it's just that the other options suck more. Swordmaster carries this deck, which isn't really a bad thing considering how big Swordmasters get. They're regularly worth more points than the biggest golds in the game.


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