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CCG Lewt's Tempo Calveit Guide [GM]

Created by Lewt_2B Jul 24, 2018

Last Updated Jul 24, 2018 (Swap Update)

Jan Calveit

  • Attack 95
  • Ranged 49
  • Siege 22
  • Total Strength 166
  • Total 25
  • Silver 6
  • Gold 4
  • Scrap Cost 5200
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Brief Summary of Build

Hey, Lewt from Complexity Card Gaming here. I’m going to guide you through Tempo Calveit and what the thought process behind the inclusion of every card is. Tempo Calveit is a name familiar to people that have been playing GWENT since the start of its Open Beta. Back in that time, Imperial Golem had the Orders effect that summoned them from the deck when the leader ability was used.  Jan Calveit had the same ability he has now, so the game was opened with Jan Calveit for a high tempo play summoning three Imperial Golems. Of course the interactions are different these days, but the deck plays for a similar playstyle: Tempo.

Before I start, I want to give credits and shoutouts to my teammate Lockin as well as Shinmiri. I approached Lockin with the framework of the deck who then tried it out on his stream. He tried a few different variations of the deck, such as the Yennefer: Enchantress version, and then approached Shinmiri about the deck. Shinmiri played the deck on Pro Ladder on stream and achieved high win rates using it. Shinmiri also came up with a very well optimized list of the deck including Vilgefortz and Vicovaro Medic which is seeing strong win rates on Pro Ladder. Thanks to both of you for not only spreading the deck, but also optimizing it and giving me motivation to push it further. Without you this wouldn’t have happened.

Check out their streams here, they both offer great gameplay with focus on analysis.

https://www.twitch.tv/lockingames

https://www.twitch.tv/shinmiri2

If you want a new deck to bring to Grand Master, this one is certainly capable of doing so. It is not vulnerable to disruption and has winnable matchups against almost every deck. This makes the climbing experience fun and enjoyable, no matter which matchups you get queued against. I reached Grand Master in Season of the Dryads with this deck, but I’m more astounded by its performance and statistics on Pro Ladder.

The deck feels even stronger on Pro Ladder where you can expect what your opponents are playing. Since it is a tempo oriented deck, finding optimal passes for card advantage is key to the deck, which is why knowledge about what amount of tempo your opponents can offer in any given turn is extremely important. So in environments where you know what you are playing against, I can only recommend playing this deck.

General Guide

As the name of the deck already suggests it plays for tempo. The deck uses three copies of Imperial Golem and Daerlan Soldier as well as two copies of Fire Scorpion to add value to the revealers: Alchemist and Nilfgaardian Knight. The average value added to each reveal from those cards is about 4 points which means Alchemist is played for 17 tempo and Nilfgaardian Knight is played for 16 tempo on average. This leads to a constant flow of tempo if your game plan resolves successfully. Combined with cards like Dandelion: Poet, Leo Bonhart, Roach and Jan Calveit, the deck has a very high early tempo output which puts a lot of pressure onto almost every deck.

While other tempo decks such as Spotter decks using Morvran Voorhis have similar tempo output, the advantage of Tempo Calveit is that it spreads its value widely. It doesn’t offer the opponents any high Scorch or reset targets and it plays no engines that the opponent can disrupt. This makes the deck very resilient to any form of control strategy. Often it feels like the only lose condition of the deck is bricking itself which can be played around most of the time.

With the high amount of tempo it is often possible to get card advantage out of your opponent, especially on red coin. Against decks that wind up slowly like Greatswords it is even possible to get card advantage on blue coin if they aren’t careful and don’t take passes when they’re behind by too many points. Against Alchemy, it is even possible to drypass and go into round 3 with card advantage almost every game.

The most prominent win condition of the deck is exactly that: Card advantage.

But even without card advantage, a strong Cahir Dyffryn paired with cards like Vilgefortz, Nilfgaardian Knight and matchup dependent cards like Assire var Anahid, Vicovaro Medic and Peter Saar Gwynleve can beat many other round 3 strategies. The deck thins really well and most of the time Cahir Dyffryn is played it ends up with exactly three cards left in the deck, which means that every card can be seen. If everything goes perfectly, the deck thins down to 0 cards, making it a perfectly thinning deck. The deck runs 8 cards that need to be revealed and has 9 reveals excluding Leo Bonhart who can be used in flexible ways. Keep these numbers in mind when playing the deck.

In Fire Scorpion, the deck also has some small control elements without sacrificing value. It also has flexible Silver slots which can be used to tech against different matchups. Cards like Vanhemar and Peter Saar Gwynleve can make many matchups easier to deal with.

The deck is currently set up to brick Aglaïs if Vanhemar is used for Clear Skies. This is very helpful in any Scoia’tael matchup, especially Shupe Scoia’tael which often uses weather effects against you.

Nilfgaardian Knight

Nilfgaardian Knight reveals a random card in your hand when being played. He prioritizes Bronze cards first. Without bronze cards in hand, he reveals Silvers and without Silvers in hand he reveals Golds. This priority can be used to your advantage: Making him reveal Daerlan Soldier or Fire Scorpion. This adds value on top of the 12 points Nilfgaardian Knight already represents, making him a 16 or 17 drop depending on what he reveals.

With awkward hands, Nilfgaardian Knight can also reveal another Nilfgaardian Knight or a Vicovaro Medic. Since the deck runs more reveals than cards that need to be revealed, this is not the end of the world and can be prevented with good mulligans as well as Leo Bonhart freeing up priority on the reveal.

Nilfgaardian Knight is the tallest unit of the deck and three copies of it are run. If you play against decks that can have Scorch effects, play around them being able to scorch multiple copies. You can accomplish this by spreading your Nilfgaardian Knights between rounds or using Cantarella to block Scorch.

The 2 armor on Nilfgaardian Knight should not be ignored as they can be used to block damage from Impenetrable Fog, Archespore or a Dimun Light Longship taken by Vicovaro Medic.

Don’t forget the Soldier tag on the card as it can be useful in some matchups: Vicovaro Novice can play Recruit or Heymaey Spearmaiden which synergize with the Soldier tag.

 

Alchemist

This is the most important card to have in the opening hand as it is what you open the game with. Alchemist is used at the start of the game to thin out Imperial Golem by revealing two cards in the opponent’s hand. Using it to summon two copies of Imperial Golem represents a 15 tempo opener on a bronze card. After that he is used to reveal for an additional Imperial Golem, Daerlan Soldier or Fire Scorpion. This makes Alchemist range from 15 to 19 tempo in most cases, depending on which cards are being revealed.

When revealing the opponent’s cards it is important to know how the order of cards in his hand works. The cards on the left are the cards that were drawn first while the cards on the right are the most recently drawn cards. Because of the way blacklisting works, revealing the card on the right side of their hands statistically has a higher likelihood to show Golds and Silvers compared to revealing cards on the left side.

In Reveal matchups, you want to reveal the left cards in their hand since they are more likely to be Daerlan Soldiers or Fire Scorpions.

 

Fire Scorpion

Fire Scorpion deals 5 damage to an opposing unit when being revealed or when being played which adds a small control element to the deck. This can be used just for value, to destroy engine cards like Impera Enforcers, destroy Nekkers early in the game for carryover value, disrupt Éibhear Hattori to prevent a Decoy effect on him and more. Only dealing 5 damage means that it has to ping most engines twice to destroy them, but it also means that it only rarely loses value by overshooting in general. The flexibility of the card makes it very useful and even if you have to play it, a 10 point bronze that adds 5 points to your revealers is not the end of the world.

Fire Scorpion is at its best when it gets revealed and then gets mulliganed back into the deck between rounds. This conceals it and means it doesn’t have to be played for 10 value, basically giving you 5 free points.

Similar to Nilfgaardian Knight, the Machine tag of this card can be used with Vicovaro Medic on cards like Heymaey Spearmaiden or even Siege Master.

 

Daerlan Soldier

Daerlan Soldier is the best card in the deck and probably one of the best Nilfgaard Bronze cards if used correctly. By using cards like Alchemist and Nilfgaardian Knight as revealers, low base value cards like Morvran Voorhis or Vattier de Rideaux don’t need to be used which sets it apart from normal reveal decks. With proper use, this card becomes a 4 point Roach that adds onto the value of your bronze cards, making it one of the best Bronze cards in the game. It thins through your deck and the advantage of drawing a card means that it is often easy to find the next piece to the puzzle to your game plan.

Just like Alchemist, you want as many copies as possible in your starting hand so proper blacklisting is highly advised.

When using Vicovaro Novice with Recruit, keep in mind that this card has the Soldier tag so be careful.

 

Imperial Golem

Similar to Daerlan Soldier, this card adds free points on top of your Alchemist while thinning the deck at the same time. When you draw less than two copies of Alchemist, keep in mind that an Imperial Golem can still be stuck in your deck when drawing cards. Using Jan Calveit for information as well as possible finding an Alchemist is good in situations like that.

 

Vicovaro Medic

Vicovaro Medic is a tech card mostly used for the Greatswords matchup. With first say priority in a round 3 situation against Greatswords, he can often win games by stealing a big An Craite Greatsword since the deck doesn’t have control over how tall An Craite Greatsword becomes.

Of course, the card also has other applications and can be useful to steal Nekker Warrior to deny Slyzard in the Consume matchup, find Spotter in the Handbuff Nilfgaard matchup or deny a Slave Infantry against Soldier Swarm Nilfgaard. Even in the Shupe Scoia’tael matchup where he doesn’t necessarily disrupt the opponent, stealing a strengthened Dwarf can represent good value.

 

Cantarella

Being the card advantage spy of the Nilfgaard faction, she protects your card advantage from your opponents own card advantage spy or can lead to card advantage herself.

Her effect of putting the card that is not drawn to the bottom should constantly be thought of. Since the deck thins so well, Cahir Dyffryn can still grab the card put to the bottom at the end of the game. Just never put Cahir Dyffryn to the bottom of the deck using Cantarella.

Since the deck thins a lot and draws cards with Daerlan Soldier, a spy tutor like Rainfarn of Attre or Alzur's Double-Cross is not needed.

 

Assire var Anahid

One of the strongest Silver cards in the current version of GWENT is Assire var Anahid. She can be used in many different ways like graveyard disruption against Priestess of Freya, Sigrdrifa, Restore, Ointment, Slyzard, Brewess: Ritual, Éibhear Hattori and more.

She can also be used to make the opponent’s mulligans in round 2 or 3 harder by putting bricked cards into the opponent’s deck. A played Cantarella, Temerian Infantry, Blue Stripe Scout, Blue Stripe Commando or special cards like Alzur's Thunder and Impenetrable Fog can mess up the opponent’s mulligans or cards like Prince Stennis and Sigismund Dijkstra.

She can also be used to reinforce round 3 by shuffling back Roach or even Imperial Golem if an Alchemist is left to be played. She can also shuffle back matchup specific cards like Vanhemar and Peter Saar Gwynleve so that they can be used twice in matchups where they are needed.

If Vicovaro Medic is used on a thinning card like Slyzard, she can be used to prevent overthinning the deck.

 

The Guardian

The Guardian puts a 6 point Lesser Guardian on top of the opponent’s deck, representing a bricked card. This is really good in matchups where cards that pull from the top of the deck are used such as Prince Stennis, Sigismund Dijkstra, Vilgefortz or Dandelion: Poet.

If you are facing a Nilfgaard deck, try to play The Guardian after they have already used Cantarella as she can put the Lesser Guardian to the bottom of their deck.

Messing with the opponent’s mulligans between rounds also represents a lot of carryover value. Combined with Assire var Anahid, these two cards can often win games on their own.

The high amount of tempo the deck has often allows you to drop The Guardian freely without having to worry about losing card advantage. This makes the card a really good inclusion into the deck.

 

Peter Saar Gwynleve

This is a very versatile card. Peter Saar Gwynleve can be used to remove boosts from tall units. In a metagame where Dimun Light Longship, Swallow and many other boosts are used, this card finds a lot of value in most matchups. He can also be used to heal your own units against control cards that don’t fully destroy your units.

In the Nilfgaard Handbuff, Consume and Greatswords matchup he is necessary to get strong swings near the end of a round or in round 3. He can also be used to counter Harald Houndsnout. These matchups make him a very important card for the deck since the deck has no other way of dealing with tall units.

He can also be used to banish cards like Prince Stennis or Barclay Els which makes the opponent’s round 3 much weaker since it denies value on Shani or Éibhear Hattori and Shupe's Day Off. Just like The Guardian, the high tempo of the deck allows you to play a lower tempo Peter Saar Gwynleve like that in many situations. He can also be used in a similar way for carryover on your own cards like Jan Calveit in combination with Cahir Dyffryn or Roach in combination with Assire var Anahid.

 

Roach

Roach jumps out of the deck when playing a Gold unit from hand. Since the deck draws so many cards, an early Leo Bonhart or Dandelion: Poet after the Imperial Golems have been thinned out of the deck are the best ways to pull Roach.

The 4 extra points of tempo help a lot in finding passes for card advantage, making Roach a very good inclusion. She can also be used to add value to Assire var Anahid in round 3.

 

Vanhemar

Weather effects are very popular in the current metagame of GWENT. Shupe Scoia’tael uses two weather Mages with Decoy effects, Midrange Foltest decks use two weather Mages, Dagon as a leader spawns a weather effect and some Skellige decks like Axemen, Veterans or Control Skellige run weather cards like Birna Bran.

In some matchups such as the Alchemy or Consume matchups, using Biting Frost is very useful.

Even using Shrike still makes him a 16 point Silver for tempo.

With the inclusion of weather effects into many decks, Vanhemar makes passing safer, thus making him a key tech card for this metagame. While he doesn’t find much value in the Greatswords matchup, a well timed Biting Frost can still find decent value while Shrike can sometimes be used to hit Harald Houndsnout’s Wilhelm skull.

Jan Calveit

Jan Calveit is a very useful leader giving information about the order of the top cards of the deck as well as often searching out a card needed for a given situation. He is very flexible and improves the consistency of the deck. He also enables Cahir Dyffryn as a finisher while other reveal style decks have always struggled with the lack of a reliable finisher.

When using Jan Calveit, keep in mind that he shows you the order of the top three cards from your deck. The leftmost card is the top of your deck. This can be used to plan ahead with cards like Dandelion: Poet or Vilgefortz and can also give you information about your mulligan going into the next round. Sometimes skipping a powerful card so that you can draw it in the next round is beneficial.

 

Cahir Dyffryn

Cahir Dyffryn is the finisher of the deck. Since the deck thins so well, resurrecting Jan Calveit at the end of the game often shows you what is left of your deck, giving you access to key cards that are needed to close the game off such as Vilgefortz or Nilfgaardian Knight on another Daerlan Soldier or Fire Scorpion.

This card can be countered by your opponent banishing Jan Calveit with a card like Mandrake. Mandrake is included in Alchemy decks and can sometimes be found in Monsters decks combined with Whispess: Tribute. When you’re predicting that your opponent has Mandrake, you can delay your Jan Calveit into round 3 and burn him in the same round with Vilgefortz to enable Cahir Dyffryn.

If you need to play Jan Calveit before round 3 because you need the tempo, a low tempo Mandrake often leads to you going into round 3 with card advantage so it is not the end of the world, even though it hurts the round 3 capabilities of the deck.

If you find yourself in a situation where Mandrake has a high playrate, Vesemir: Mentor as well as Mandrake and Black Blood can be included to protect Jan Calveit as well as strengthening your round 3 possibilities.

 

Leo Bonhart

Serving as a 19 point removal card in most cases, Leo Bonhart is a key component to the deck. He can be used early in the game to thin out Roach. With multiple copies of Nilfgaardian Knight in hand, he can reveal one of them to free up the reveal priority on the other copies. This can not only disrupt engines like Mangonel early in the game, but also give you some extra early tempo with Roach. The unrevealed Nilfgaardian Knight can then be played to safely reveal the cards you want to reveal.

Additionally, if you have more cards that need to be revealed without enough revealers in hand, Leo Bonhart can be used to reveal a Daerlan Soldier or Fire Scorpion. While this is not the optimal use of the card, it can sometimes bring you out of tough situations. The flexibility of the card disrupting engines, going for value or fixing some hands makes him a very important Gold that should not be cut.

 

Dandelion: Poet

Adding 5 more points on top of your already strong tempo plays, Dandelion: Poet adds on top of what makes the deck strong already. The flexibility of when his tempo can be used makes him really versatile. He can also be used strategically in combination with Jan Calveit to draw key cards that you want to have in your hand such as Daerlan Soldier or Fire Scorpion.

The additional tempo makes it harder for your opponent to escape rounds and makes it easier for you to find passes for card advantage. Being able to combine Dandelion: Poet with Cantarella can also lead into favorable spy exchanges which can, for example, block a drypass in round 2. This can lead to easy card advantage going into the next round as long as you can overcome your opponent in tempo every turn.

Finding a the perfect spot to play Dandelion: Poet in can be difficult sometimes as you sometimes want to use him to either increase or decrease the odds of revealing a specific card with Nilfgaardian Knight. Drawing a second Nilfgaardian Knight with Dandelion: Poet when your plan is to reveal a card using one of them can be dangerous. Instead, always take the guaranteed reveal on Nilfgaardian Knight and wait a turn to use Dandelion: Poet if you can afford to do so tempo wise.

 

Vilgefortz

While Vilgefortz in a deck with Daerlan Soldier sounds like a bad idea, with enough control over the deck especially through Jan Calveit, he becomes a lot more reliable than you would expect. He makes the round 3 finisher of Cahir Dyffryn a lot stronger and can also be used to enable Cahir Dyffryn by burning Jan Calveit if needed.

He is also another counter to Harald Houndsnout’s Wilmar skull. While Fire Scorpion and Peter Saar Gwynleve can be used as a counter, they are far less optimal than burning Wilmar with Vilgefortz.

Don’t forget that Vilgefortz can be used offensively. If you play against other Nilfgaard decks, play around this by keeping a good Bronze card in your deck at the end of round 3.

Round 1

It is very important to find multiple Alchemists and Daerlan Soldiers in round 1. Blacklisting is very important for this reason. This deck has good blacklist value with three copies of almost every Bronze card.

The first mulligan is Imperial Golem as you don’t want to have them in hand. After that, blacklist Fire Scorpion or Nilfgaardian Knight depending on how your current hand looks like. If the blacklist value is not needed anymore, you can also mulligan Vicovaro Medic or Cahir Dyffryn as you will draw them later and they are no use in the starting hand.

 

Round 2

For round 2 you want to find more thinning cards like additional Daerlan Soldiers and revealers like Nilfgaardian Knight. Make sure to mulligan away a revealed Fire Scorpion if possible.

 

Round 3

When you thinned well enough in round 1 and 2, it is possible to draw a unit that needs to be revealed like Daerlan Soldier or Fire Scorpion while keeping revealer units like Alchemist or Nilfgaardian Knight in your deck. Cahir Dyffryn allows you to find the revealers when your deck is small enough, leading to a strong round 3.

 

Round 1 is used to overcome your opponent in tempo and gain card advantage. Against a deck like Alchemy which you can drypass on blue coin, the same strategy applies in round 2.

The opening play in the first round is Alchemist revealing two of the opponent’s cards to thin out two copies of Imperial Golem. After that, a second Alchemist should be used to get out the last Imperial Golem as well as revealing a Daerlan Soldier. This is the ideal opener, representing a 15 tempo Bronze followed by a 16 tempo Bronze, thinning by 4 in the process. Of course, this is not possible every game and sequencing has to be adjusted according to the state of your hand.

After this, just continue to beat them with your tempo. Ideally a Gold card should be used here to thin out Roach. This will often be Dandelion: Poet or Leo Bonhart.

Nilfgaardian Knight and another Alchemist will be used for even more tempo.

From here on, just keep up the tempo until you find a good pass or can flip the coin around using Cantarella. These passes depend on what matchup you’re facing and how high the maximum tempo is you expect them to have. On red coin it is often possible to win on even from this position and on blue coin you can overcome them in tempo by so much that either they are forced to pass or you can get a pass for card advantage if they are not careful enough.

On blue coin if you can overcome your opponent by 14 or more points, you can use Cantarella to flip the coin to bring yourself into an advantageous situation where you are looking to win the round on even. If you can do this it puts a lot of pressure on your opponent and can lead to card advantage going into the next rounds.

The strategy and playstyle is very straight forward. Your biggest worries should be to not brick yourself at any moment and to always have knowledge about how much tempo your opponent can put out in the next turn.

 

If you win round 1 you can bleed your opponent in round 2 depending on the matchup and how the state of your hand looks like. If you still have good tempo options such as Nilfgaardian Knight into Daerlan Soldier left and you can anticipate your opponent not being able to beat you in tempo. Taking more thinning in this round is fantastic as it is going to make your round 3 draws as well as your round 3 gameplay more predictable and controllable for yourself. Being able to know for sure which cards Cahir Dyffryn will see is a great way to ensure victory in round 3. If you haven’t done this in round 1 yet, you can take this round to play Jan Calveit to enable Cahir Dyffryn in round 3. If you have Vilgefortz in your hand and play a matchup where you really want to drypass, it is also possible to use Vilgefortz to burn Jan Calveit in round 3.

 

With enough thinning done in the previous rounds, Cahir Dyffryn is used to finish off the game. If you have additional powerful cards like Vilgefortz, Assire var Anahid or Nilfgaardian Knight combined with a Daerlan Soldier or Fire Scorpion left, you are looking at a powerful round 3.

Use Jan Calveit’s ability to look at the top of your deck and adjust the order of cards in your deck accordingly so that Vilgefortz plays the card you want to see at the end as a last play. Always plan a few turns ahead when looking at Jan Calveit’s selection of cards.

Keep in mind that you often go into this round with card advantage if the tempo was managed correctly in round 1 and 2.

 

Greatswords

This is a hard matchup to play, but definitely beatable.

Since Greatswords wind up very slowly, you can often beat them in tempo very early on and find good passes on both sides of the coin. Don’t pass too early however because their engines can still beat you, even when you gained card advantage previously.

The advantage of letting them win round 1 is that you get to start round 3 with your graveyard hate cards: Assire var Anahid or ideally Vicovaro Medic.

Unless you can kill an An Craite Greatsword in one shot, do not use Fire Scorpion to damage it. Although it is tempting to set up a kill for the next turn, the Greatsword player can react with Harald Houndsnout. This results in an ultimatum where you have to decide between either finishing off the An Craite Greatsword or countering the Harald Houndsnout and this is a situation that you want to avoid.

If they play Harald Houndsnout and you have Vilgefortz in your hand, don’t use him immediately. Count the amount of points a Djenge Frett would generate and think about taking a pass or countering the skulls with a different card. It can be better to keep Vilgefortz into a later round since the opponent can still use Sigrdrifa or Restore to play Harald Houndsnout again.

Since you always want to maximize your points, it is important to find a good use for Vanhemar. Use him when he is less likely to hit An Craite Greatsword with Shrike or try to find a good timing for Biting Frost so that it doesn’t hit an An Craite Greatsword.

Play cards like Dandelion: Poet and Vilgefortz with Hym in mind. The opponent can create The Guardian or Assire var Anahid to mess with your own deck. This is especially important in round 3 where a mistake in sequencing can cost you the game.

Assire var Anahid can be used in many different ways in this matchup. You can use her to deny a Djenge Frett resurrection, to deny Restore on Dimun Pirate Captain, Heymaey Spearmaiden or Tuirseach Bearmaster, to deny value on Priestess of Freya or to brick Dimun Corsair. The optimal option depends on your opponent’s graveyard and the resources he still has left in his deck.

Alchemy

This is one of the easier matchups since you almost always go into round 3 a card up. Their Viper Witcher often find suboptimal value hitting the Alchemists. Be aware of a possible Vicovaro Medic playing Alchemist which can brick your own Daerlan Soldiers.

Drypass against Jan Calveit on blue. If it is Alchemy you always get card advantage going into round 3 this way. Stay ahead in tempo and keep your card advantage.

Assire var Anahid can be used to either mess with the opponent’s graveyard for Ointment denial or to mess with the opponent’s deck. Keep in mind that your opponent can also mess with your deck with Assire var Anahid and The Guardian which is the case for most other Nilfgaard deck as well, so play Vilgefortz and Dandelion: Poet before your deck is filled with bricks.

Try to play around Mandrake as best as you can by delaying your Jan Calveit. If they catch your Jan Calveit with it, you still have chances to win with card advantage, but it becomes a lot tougher.

Soldier Swarm Nilfgaard

This matchup is doable with correct tempo management as well as using graveyard denial and Fire Scorpions. Fire Scorpion gains a lot of value against Slave Infantry since killing each soldier represents killing a 7 to 9 point unit most of the time.

When using Vicovaro Medic to steal a Slave Infantry from your opponent, do it in such a way where the opponent can’t steal it back with their own Vicovaro Medic. Most of the time it is better to do this in round 3.

When playing your Cantarella in round 2, keep Rainfarn of Attre denying your pass in mind.

Finding good passes is key in this matchup, making round 3 as short as possible without going down in card advantage.

 

Consume

This matchup is unfavored for you.

Vanhemar is really strong in the starting hand in this matchup since he finds a lot of value while your opponent is setting up his Nekker Warrior strategy. Killing a Nekker also represents a lot of carryover value going into the later rounds. Fire Scorpion can be used to destroy Nekkers as well early in the game, but once they grow too large you should focus on Vran Warrior instead.

Denying their strategy is often the only win condition you have, which means Vicovaro Medic denying Slyzard on Nekker Warrior is one possible win condition. You can also use Assire var Anahid to deny Slyzard onto Vran Warrior or Forktail which can win you the game in rare cases.

Peter Saar Gwynleve is key in this matchup. You can feed your Cantarella into a Vran Warrior to flip the coin around and then use Peter Saar Gwynleve later in the round to reset the boosts on Vran Warrior. If your opponent doesn’t have Frightener, you can sometimes win round 1 with one card over the opponent on red coin. This is very important since simply winning on even is not enough against Consume most of the time.

If you go into round 3 with two or more Nekkers left, you most likely lose the game.

 

Handbuff Nilfgaard

This matchup is not hard. With the high amount of tempo you have you can often make them burn a lot of resources after their low tempo play of using Emhyr var Emreis to return their strengthened Nilfgaardian Knight to their hand.

This often forces them to play a Spotter before round 3 which makes it available as a Vicovaro Medic target going into round 3. Ideally you want to use Peter Saar Gwynleve twice in this matchup by shuffling him back into your deck using Assire var Anahid.

With Vicovaro Medic and Peter Saar Gwynleve you have good chances.

 

Shupe Scoia’tael

One of the easiest matchups since they cannot keep up with your tempo. Getting card advantage is very easy in this matchup. Often you can even use Peter Saar Gwynleve to banish their Barclay Els, denying Decoy plays in round 3 and making their Shupe's Day Off much weaker.

If you can get last say with Vanhemar then their Aglaïs is bricked. If they use weather effects then you can use the Clear Skies effect on Vanhemar and brick their Aglaïs regardless.

As long as you can play around huge Scorch effects on multiple Nilfgaardian Knights there’s not much that can go wrong here.

 

Midrange Foltest

Assire var Anahid is key to win this matchup. Use Fire Scorpions to destroy Blue Stripe Scout as soon as possible. This not only removes their Crewmen, but also enables an early Assire var Anahid. This means that they cannot use an early Prince Stennis or Sigismund Dijkstra to avoid bricking.

Other than that, your normal game plan applies.

 

Dagon Deathwish

The amount of tempo you have often allows you to find good passes after they committed a good amount of their engines. Vanhemar also helps you a lot in this matchup. Use Assire var Anahid for graveyard denial against Brewess: Ritual and Slyzard.

Keep in mind that they could run Whispess: Tribute with Mandrake.

Try to also play around Rotfiend coming out of She-Troll of Vergen or Monster Nest. Deathwish decks are very flexible with their Gold and Silver slots so it is hard to predict what they could have.

 

Veterans

While Veterans also has high tempo Bronze plays, they have to develop low tempo Tuirseach Veterans first to do so. Use this to your advantage by overcoming them in tempo early.

Play around Morkvarg as his ability to deny a round 2 drypass can be a lose condition.

With Fire Scorpion it is better to play around An Craite Armorsmith, for example by killing Crach an Craite instead of damaging one of their units.

Just like how it is in most other Skellige matchups, Assire var Anahid is mostly used for graveyard denial in this matchup.

 

Mill

Deny any kind of thinning by playing your Daerlan Soldiers from your hand. This matchup seems impossible, but is actually easy to win on red coin if you know what you’re doing. As long as you deny your thinning and they can’t mill you, you won’t lose the game. Use their low tempo Gold and Silver plays to your advantage to play your bricked cards.

Peter Saar Gwynleve hitting Tibor Eggebracht can be devastating.

 

Morvran Reveal

This is one of the hardest matchups since it is the only deck that directly counters your deck from a game mechanics standpoint. It is actually good to blacklist Daerlan Soldiers in this matchup so that they cannot brick it. You bricking their reveals is not as much of an issue for them since they likely run conceal cards.

If you can draw Daerlan Soldiers after they have already used the majority of reveals, you can use them much more safely.

The key to winning this matchup is winning round 1 and then bleeding out their win condition of Villentretenmerth or the Letho of Gulet and Regis combo.

Cahir Dyffryn will then win the game for you in round 3.

 

Tempo Calveit

Since you face another Jan Calveit now you won’t blacklist Daerlan Soldiers as it could be any other matchup. This matchup involves a lot of Alchemist luck as well as drawing randomness and the coinflip.

Card Replacements

Vesemir: Mentor with Mandrake and Black Blood

In environments where a lot of people banish Jan Calveit with Mandrake, Vesemir: Mentor can help protecting Jan Calveit or build up an 11 strength Jan Calveit for a powerful Cahir Dyffryn play in round 3. Black Blood is also powerful in this deck since Ghoul often finds 11, 12 or 13 strength units to consume.

The downside of this package is that since you draw so many cards, Vesemir: Mentor can brick which forces one shuffle on Assire var Anahid on one of the alchemy cards. This is a liberty you don’t want to afford in some matchups.

The alchemy specials also unbrick Aglaïs making the Shupe Scoia’tael matchup worse.

 

Geralt: Igni

In an environment with many Greatswords and Consume players, Geralt: Igni becomes a good inclusion.

The downside of this card is that it can often find no value and it is hard to dodge since you see almost every card from your deck.



Alzur's Double-Cross

Acting as a tutor for Cantarella first, Alzur's Double-Cross makes drypassing a lot safer. The negative 2 tempo is something you can deal with since the deck has so much tempo already.

After Cantarella, the card pulls Nilfgaardian Knight which is a really good pull.

The downsides of this card are that it unbricks Aglaïs and can get punished by an opponent’s Assire var Anahid shuffling back their card advantage spy into your deck.

 

Cynthia

If you want to increase the consistency of getting out Imperial Golems, Cynthia can be included. She was included in the original build which ran three copies of Fire Scorpion. Since one of them got cut, the extra reveal was not necessary anymore.

The downsides of Cynthia are that it is a reset and Scorch target that doesn’t need to exist as well as just finding mediocre value in many situations.


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I hope this deck guide showed you a new and interesting way to play the Nilfgaard faction. Experimenting with this deck and seeing it progress as well as getting good results has been a blast and I can only recommend everyone giving this deck a try as it is very fun to play. I made sure to include explanations about every card that is included since it is a new deck - I hope this helps everyone to understand the thought process behind every piece of the deck.

Thanks for reading and have fun playing this deck!

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