Brief Summary of Build
Hey, this is Gnurrgard from Complexity Card Gaming and this is a guide on the deck I’ve built and played since December. Since there will be no updates until Homecoming this should stay up to date until then.
Because no one reads shoutouts at the end, I’ll put them here in the beginning:
- Shinmiri for being a huge factor in the development of this list by discussing and tweaking it. He plays the deck fairly often on stream if you want to know how to pilot it on a high level (http://twitch.tv/shinmiri2)
- Octopuses for settling the Bran vs Crach debate with the cursed package that hybridized both versions
- Danman for giving tips on how to write a great guide
Veterans is a deck that doesn’t rely on its units staying on the board. Every unit gets its value immediately, which makes the deck pretty much immune to disruption. This is why Veterans are the ultimate punish for decks that pack a lot of removal to combat Greatswords.
When I first built Veterans in December, the deck had points but there was nothing else the deck did well. Also Veterans are slow to start off round 1 and on blue coin this can lead to you getting outtempoed and losing on even. Morkvarg as carryover prevents your opponent from drypassing you, and at that point your Tuirseach units should be big enough for you to always have a play to stay ahead and protect your Card advantage.
Why Crach over Bran?
Let us compare both leaders first.
Bran opener (Morkvarg, Raider, Wolfsbane) is 24 points and brings a 5 point Morkvarg on board.
Crach into Morkvarg is 16 points and brings an 11 point Morkvarg on board. When Morkvarg is pulled by Hym or Skjall, he gets a Veteran out of our deck.
Now let's check out the pros and cons of Crach compared to Bran
- Saves a gold slot because you don't have to run Wolfsbane
- Lets you mulligan more aggressively to get rid of Freyas and extra Tuirseachs
- Has the flexibility of pulling Veterans if you get Morkvarg off of the cursed package or from hand
- Morkvarg doesn't come out in Muzzle/Mandrake range
- Sometimes can get a Hunter which then becomes a prime res target
- Less tempo
- Bran is a Tuirseach, Crach is not
- More vulnerable to artifact compression
- More thinning
In the end, I think the Pros of Crach outweigh the Pros of Bran. Having more access to Vets while also being able to push round 1 deeper (because of the ability to get rid of Freyas) is much more integral to Veterans strategy than getting a super high tempo opener. The thinning is only a minor bonus of Bran because the deck already thins well and you thin out a gold and a silver with Bran. Before Olgierd got changed there was an argument to run Bran because Bran into Olgierd is carryover that is hard to interact with. Now with you having to play Morkvarg, this is no longer a thing.
There have been people who have had success with Bran though (shoutout to Talaria). In the end I just think Crach is the better choice at the moment
- The Restore Combo: If you have Bearmaster, Spearmaiden and Restore in your opening hand, you can play Bearmaster, play Spearmaiden on it to get it into a grave and then Restore the Bearmaster and keep it in your hand. This gives you an 8 point Bearmaster that grows to 10-11 with the help of your Veterans.
- The Cursed package (Hym, Skjall, Udalryk, Morkvarg): Hym and Skjall allow for reliable access to your Spy while reducing its cost or enable a high tempo play with Morkvarg that develops carryover and frees up Crach and ADC for Veterans.
You want to have access to Morkvarg, your spy and as many Veterans as possible.
Manage your tutors (ADC, Skjall, Hym, Crach) to accomplish that.
For example: With Skjall and Hym in hand you can use Hym to get out Morkvarg to free up Crach to get Veterans while also removing the RNG from Skjall. You can also keep Udalryk in hand and go Hym → Skjall → Morkvarg for a high tempo opener with carryover. I would generally advise you to not keep Morkvarg in hand because with 9 points it’s really hard to find a spot to play him.
You generally start off by blacklisting a Freya. Fewer resurrections allow you to push round 1 deeper. Then blacklist either Hunter or Bearmaster if you have more than 1. If you still have the option of another mulligan (Skjall/Hym not bricked) you can kick another one of the blacklisted cards, preferably Freya.
If you have the restore combo, start off with it. Otherwise try to start off with one of your high tempo plays like Skjall→ Morkvarg or Crach→ Morkvarg if you don’t have both Hym and Skjall. Then try to keep up on tempo while playing Veterans when you can afford in tempo (on blue coin this means if this lets you stay ahead of your opponent).
You generally want to stay in round 1 as long as possible because your deck has no engines to gain points in a long round, so you want to make round 2 and 3 shorter. If you find an opportunity to get +2 you can definitely go for it in matchups that aren’t consume or axemen. The later you pass for card advantage though, the better. Ideally you go out of round 1 with all Veterans played while either winning it or getting card advantage.
Won Round 1: All your cards should be decent value at this point so try to play into the round until you got your preferred round 3 (depending on the matchup) while staying ahead on points. You can also use your Spy here to make bleeding easier, just make sure to not fall behind more than 13 points because they can spy you back. Without spy always keep in mind how much points your opponent can do and time your pass in a way your opponent still has to play a card. Losing a card in round 2 often loses you the game so always be careful.
Ideally you only have a few cards left that all in some way play your overstatted Tuirseach units and just overwhelm your opponent.
(Note: This section will be extended as soon as the meta settles. For now I included the most prevalent decks and grouped decks with a similar gameplan together)
Let’s start off with the elephant in the room and also one of our toughest matchups. Greatswords thrive in long rounds while also developing bronze resurrections that are bigger than your Tuirseach units. You have to win round 1 and prevent them from getting a long round because they will just outpower you. Then you want a short round 3 where you can Coral their biggest Greatsword as your last play. Generally you Best case he only has one of them.
- When you’re on red coin, play your spy left to an 11 point ship. He now has to play his spy or pass, thus enabling your Igni for a 31 point play. Or he plays another ship to disalign your targets, thus giving you a pass for 2 card advantage. Be careful though not to do this too early because Greatsword can still really push you in a long round 2.
- Don’t be afraid to shoot a Greatsword with hunters to kill it in 2 turns. A lot of people cut mandrake and even if they play it on the sword it becomes a great Coral target and sets them back a lot in their Greatsword development. Even if you don’t have Coral r1, them having only 1 giant sword is much better than having multiple big swords because this deck thins enough to get Coral over the course of the game.
- Hym is actually a pretty good finisher in this matchup, you can’t hit a bad target (either they play a Vesemir version with a guaranteed Sigrdrifa or a Djenge version where Hym already serves as a Djenge target)
This matchup is actually easier than Greatsword because of one fact: Consume doesn’t run Spy so you are always able to reverse (or abuse) the coinflip by feeding your spy into a Vran Warrior with the timer on 1. You have either Igni/Mandrake or Coral (preferably Igni/Mandrake) gain huge value and your spy was basically 0 points. Continue to push the round and win it. In round 2, if you still have coral bleed until he has to play Brewess. Best case scenario is a 2 card round where you have coral. His hand should be Nekker + consume effect which gets shut down immediately by Coral.
- Tip: If your opponent starts off with a Nekker you can use Hunter and Spearmaiden to shoot up to 3 Nekkers before they go to 6 or more
Other Engine decks (e.g. NG/NR soldier swarm, Axemen) and Deathwish Dagon
All of these decks have an extremely good long round which you want to avoid. Play out round 1 as long as possible. It’s ok to lose the round on even as long as you have Morkvarg and drain as much long round value out of them as possible. You can win the next 2 rounds if they are short/medium length. Shoot engines with Hunters to slow them down. Should they let you win the round, bleed round 2 until round 3 is too short to get great value out of their strategy. Find a pass before their long round strategy reaches critical mass and they can capitalize on it (for example against soldier NG before they play their sentries. Timing is crucial.
- Coral or (if you run it) Mandrake a Dao against Deathwish
- Don’t immediately Coral/Mandrake Axemen because the Axemen player often doesn’t want to use all of them immediately. It’s good to use this as a temposwing before a pass instead
- If you're under fog, let it tick back and forth on 2 units and heal them back up with an Armorsmith for huge value
Scorch decks (Eithne, Reveal)
Similarly to engine decks, you don’t want them to get a long round. They don’t snowball as hard as engine decks but a long round forces you to play multiple bearmasters that line up for a huge scorch. If you’re running a mandrake version, mandrake up a hunter to make him the scorch target. If they scorch it, you can resurrect it and get 5 damage in so your hunter trades up to their scorch. Otherwise, if you’re forced to play a second bearmaster this round try to find an opportunity to play your spy to block scorch. They have to make inefficient plays like hitting it with their control tools to enable a scorch. Outside of a long round, Hunters are your preferred res targets. Use a bearmaster to block a scorch on your hunter. If they align the bear with the hunters, play another one. If you expect a Borkh, it may be a good move to keep spy for round 3. Using it early for card advantage is preferred though.
- Against Eithne, play on melee and siege row to play around White Frost
- Mangonel is the best Coral target against reveal
- They don’t put a lot of points on the board so any Igni is already decent
- Play the Bearmaster/Restore/Maiden combo after your first Vet so that Bearmaster and Bear don’t align
Viper Witchers can’t find engines to shoot in this matchup which is a huge boon for you. They have a better finisher than you so don’t go into too short of a round 3. The best Coral targets are the unit played by Joachim or a huge unit buffed by Mahakam Ales. Your decks both are similar in point output per turn so try to get Card Advantage if possible, for example by using your carryover. Most Alchemy decks have 10 damage Witchers so Armorsmith is 17-27 points if they shoot your bears. Or they have to miss out on value by shooting hunters.
- Don’t kill Witchers, it enables ointments and is the highest value target. Force them to use ointments elsewhere
- Keep in mind that Triss can get ales and ointments
- Sometimes Armorsmith is the best Sigrdrifa target
Imlerith solos your deck if you don’t run mandrake. But their Cyclopses don’t get as much value as usual because you don’t run any engines. Don’t let them win a round before they play sabbath because he will win a round on his own. Again, it is ok to lose on even if you got your setup and they don’t have their main engine anymore (Sabbath in this case) . If they go for the Johnny-Wolfsbane combo, shoot something to under 5 points so the buff can’t go on Sabbath. Good luck.
Veterans is not a Tier 1 deck, so it is important to always keep the list up to date for whatever you’re facing.
Flex cards are:
- Triss (Only if you want to brick Aglais, otherwise she’s too good to cut)
Dandelion is a huge help in getting tempo in the early turns or used as a finisher. He’s usually standard in this list over Igni, but the prevalence of Greatswords makes Igni the better choice in my opinion.
Birna is one of the few ways for Veterans to get value in a long round and due to the create nerf there is a lot less weather clears in the meta. The reason I don’t recommend it right now is because Birnas damage gets soaked up by Greatswords
Helps a lot against engine decks or denying Greatswords and consume their strategy.
This card was really good before the patch because it countered the Cleaver combo and gains huge value vs Alchemy while almost always being useful in other matchups. If Alchemy and other damaging decks become popular, consider this.
Mandrake helps a lot vs Sabbath decks, can get you autowins vs consume if used with coral and helps you disalign units vs scorch decks. But currently I don't think Mandrake is good enough to commit 3 slots for it, a better solution to Sabbath would be:
Champion deals with Sabbath efficiently while being a 14pt silver in other matchups that can help shutting engines down. Keep in mind that he blocks your Crach/ADC when you didn't play a Veteran yet
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