Brief Summary of Build
I wrote the guide before we got a reasonable amount of upvotes so they are greatly appreciated.
Hi, guys! Let me warn you that I am not a native speaker so do not judge my English too hard. With that being said I introduce you the deck that I used to climb to rank 13 global. The idea of this deck does not belong to me: I got matched against some guy who was playing similar list so I decided to give it a try since I am a big fan of weird looking decks. So far I have really nice score of 16-1, the deck is competitive, fun and interesting to play - it is absolutely worth trying especially if you like decks which actively interact with enemy board.
Hym -> Skjall -> Udalryk. This combo allows you to play Udalryk for 5 points - with the right timing you can usually force your opponent to pass or go two cards down.
Birna Bran -> Whalers. Obvious card synergy: just move big enemy units into weather and get these sweet 4 points per turn.
Crach -> Whaler/Warship -> Corsair. Two extra points for your resurrects.
Pirate captain -> Dimun pirate. One of a few proactive plays this deck has, this combo cycles three bronzes in a single turn.
Sigrdrifa -> Dimun pirate. Another proactive play, it is pretty weak in terms of points but that is the price you got to pay for playing removal oriented deck.
Restore -> Pirate captain. One of the best restore combos with overall value of 22+ points, use it as your finisher in round 3.
Restore -> Champion of Hov. Do not use it unless you have to remove something really badly.
Here are the cards you do not want to have in your starting hand: dimun corsair, dimun pirate (more than one copy), Udalryk (since he is the only target for Skjall). You should always go for a maximum blacklist value: firstly, you swap the card that has no other copies in your hand, do it in the next order (corsairs -> pirates -> warships); do not go for 3rd mulligan if there is any chance to get Udalryk (you pretty much always want to use him in round 1 or 2, playing spy in round 3 is basically the same thing as starting it with -13 points).
The main target of this deck is to disrupt enemy strategy with such cards as Hym, Coral, Birna Bran, Warships, Whalers, Champion of Hov and Scorch. The main difference between this deck and pretty much any other removal oriented deck is point generating and tempo. Even if there is no strategy you can disrupt (lets say you are against vets) it is still possible to win just by points. I would say that this concept is very similar to alchemy decks.
The first thing you need to be focused on is deck cycling and enabling your graveyard. Open up with your dimun pirates if you start on a blue coin. Do not let your opponent to take the round unless there are at least three boats and one gold to resurrect in case of round 2 drypass. If your opponent drypassed in the first round the most optimal play would be pirate captain -> warship: it enables corsair and restore for round 2 and preserves dimun pirate as an opener.
In case you won round 1 and there are already enough units to resurrect - you should drypass or play your spy if you did not. Except these two scenarios: your opponent played his spy and you did not / there is no spy in his deck at all (Spell` tael Eithne with Operator, most of the Foltest decks) or enemy` s deck is vulnerable to bleeding (engine/weather oriented decks, Swaptael, Armor NR with Vincent and etc).
Here are the cards that are good for a short round 3: Restore, Hym/Coral or Renew to any of them; in case you go first - Sigrdrifa as a proactive play if there is nothing proactive you can play out of Hym.
Tips for different match-ups:
1) If you expect clear skies or mage -> clear skies play your Birna in a row with a green power unit as the first or the only unit in the row. Why? I would say that this is the most advanced tip I got for you: clear skies cannot heal units unless their power is lower than their base strength. Here is some math for you guys: Alzur` s Thunder, Bloodcurdling Roar and Shrike worth 9-12 points so if your opponent decides to pick clear skies from his mage it is basically minus 9-12 points and weather clear of course - in that scenario Birna` s value is 6 point body + 9-12 points + damage to a green power = 15-18 points + damage to a green power if your weather was immediately cleared. Not bad for a countered gold, huh? Otherwise if there is no weather clear Birna can single handedly win you a game.
2) If you encountered a decent Nilfgaard player with Assire/Vicovaro Medics in his deck 3 boats in your graveyard would not be enough - you need either all 6 of them or you got to bleed your opponent in round 2 using your corsairs to prevent bricks in round 3.
3) Shupe Brouver and alchemy Nilfgaard. Play all your units in a single row. Usually they don` t play any cards that punish row stacking (Lacerate, Merigold` s hailstorm) so you can safely play around Shupe: Mage into 3 weathers, Brouver` s double weather (Vaedermakar + Ida), Pyrotechnician and Expired Ale.
4) Decks relying on moonlight synergy. Use Hym -> Nekurat to counter their boon and then Birna if your opponent reapplied it.
5) Alchemy. Drypass on a blue coin. Birna is your win condition in this match-up, use her as soon as the first unit hit the board and then move minions that have 10+ power into the storm. Don` t hurry up with your Dimun Pirates since it is a great target for Viper Witcher. You can use Coral on 9+ point witcher in round 2 and Hym -> Assire -> shuffle two witchers back into the deck in round 3 to brick ointments for your opponent.
6) Consume. Kill as many nekkers as you can with your Warships/Storm/Whalers and Champion of Hov. Scorch and double Coral make this math-up favourable to you.
7) Greatswords. Easy tip how to go one card up on a red coin: play your spy when Longship power is 11 (put Udalryk on the left side from the boat to bait your opponent - make him think that you run Gigni), if your opponent doesn` t have spy he has to pass (then you take the round on even with Scorch) or go 2 cards down (then you pass and get your CA). Kill GS with Whalers and Warships, move Longships in empty rows to disrupt boat + GS engine, use Coral on Ships and buffed GS. Renew -> Coral is a nice finisher against Djenge or buffed GS. If your opponent plays Harald you can either destroy Wilmar` s skull with Warship or move Wilhelm` s skull with Whaler in a row where you don` t have any units.
8) Foltest. Damage Blue Stripe Scouts and Commandos to prevent buffing. It is fairly easy to find a row with 3 green power units in this match-up so your Birna worth 19 points if the weather was cleared immediately. Against 40 cards Foltest you can dry pass on a blue coin to potentially brick him.
9) Armor NR. Use enemy strategy against him: Hym -> Vincent is your win condition but do not be too greedy - smart players know about this counter and they are not going to play Vincent as their last card. Also this deck does not run spy so it is very vulnerable to bleeding in round 2.
10) Veterans. If you have scorch in hand don` t play dimun pirates and don` t damage bears for 22-33 point scorch. For Birna Bran use the same strategy as in alchemy match-up.
11) Calveit` s soldiers. Use your Whalers and Warships to kill Infantry with "Doomed" tag. Play your Birna as soon as possible: if the weather was cleared and there is Renew in your hand you should play 3 boats and pass - it is auto win with Renew -> Birna in a long round 3.
12) Shupe Dagon. The only match-up where keeping spy for round 3 is usually a right choice, The reason is Miruna, it can be easily countered with Warship BUT what I personally do to enable my Miruna in any match-up is either Shupe: Mage for CA or saving spy for round 3 if my opponent played his own one already.
That is all I got for you. If you have anything to add or if you have any interest in match-ups that were not mentioned - feel free to leave a comment below.
1) Pirate Captain -> Lacerate. Decent option but there are some cons you need to know about:
a) Less cycling.
b) Less stability for Restore -> Pirate Captain combo.
c) Viable option for Aglais. Both Restore and Scorch are usually dead.
2) Scorch -> Roach / Djenge. I like Roach but Djenge is pretty bad IMO. Here are the reasons why:
a) Viable target for big removals like Artefact Compression, Scorch, Gigni and etc.
b) Huge target for Ozzrel.
c) 2 extra points on any of boats > 2 extra points on Djenge.
3) Coral -> Gigni.
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