Nova Handbuff [Top 500]

Created by OcularNebula Sep 11, 2018

Last Updated Sep 11, 2018 (Swap Update)


  • Attack 20
  • Ranged 20
  • Siege 72
  • Total Strength 112
  • Total 26
  • Silver 6
  • Gold 4
  • Scrap Cost 5280
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Brief Summary of Build

Conservatively balanced handbuff deck with Nova finisher that cuts out unreliable engines like Vrihedd Dragoon and Farseer.

Lack of tall, boosted units such as Vrihedd Officer makes this deck hard to disrupt.

Pseudo-control through a lot of granular damage options with Iorveth, Elven Swordmaster, Braenn, Dol Blathanna Archer, and the silver mages, as well as Mandrake to shut down Jan Calveit, D'ao, Emhyr handbuff, consume, Imlerith: Sabbath, etc.

Card Combos

Marching Orders -> Elven Mercenary to thin, access silver mages, and occasionally Elven Swordmaster/Braenn from deck for additionally boosted removal. This card is sort of the core of the deck and the primary Eithné target.

Most other combos revolve around handbuff synergy and are fairly straightforward.

General Guide

Round 3 is the only round that matters, which is why most decks tend to be built around very powerful single play finishers (mostly gold cards, which is why thinning is so important) like Ciri: Nova and chains enabled by Cahir Dyffryn, Roach, Sigismund Dijkstra, any sort of resurrect, etc.

In this deck's case, the finisher is Ciri: Nova + a unit or 2 that has been being buffed all game.

Mulligan aggressively for Iorveth and Marching Orders.

This deck most often prefers to be in a sort of bleeding situation where you can play non-committal bronzes to invest a bunch of value into round 3. Play just enough tempo to stay within one card of your opponent's score. Aelirenn, Dandelion: Poet, and weather will help you put pressure on.

Dol Blathanna Archers can be used to line up Iorveth, remove a small engine over 2 turns (An Craite Greatsword, Vrihedd Dragoon, Mangonel), or ping off armor from Redanian Knight-Elect.

Braenn sorta blows since it's basically just an extra Elven Swordmaster, but isn't an elf, and doesn't get boosted by Iorveth. You do need it, however, since the 2 bronze restriction means you wont always have a swordmaster to buff in hand. Sometimes, Braenn will even boost your leader and/or Aglaïs by 1 point :O

Card Replacements

I can see there being an ambush version of this deck that trades Dandelion: Poet for Isengrim Faoiltiarna, Vaedermakar for Toruviel, and Dol Blathanna Archer for Vrihedd Sappers. This potentially gets more mileage out of the Braenn synergy, but Toruviel is a bit underwhelming as a standalone silver, and Vrihedd Sappers can screw you when drawn them randomly from First Light, particularly considering your early plays are usually low tempo to begin with.

I used to run Schirrú for an additional Eithné target and some synergy with Dol Blathanna Archer, but the ability to successfully line anything up rarely comes up, and the card just sucks. It screws up your round 3 Nova more often than not.

Elven Blade is an interesting tech with all of these Redanian Knight-Elect Foltests running amok, but thinning is really important, which is what First Light is for. If you do run Elven Blade, consider Triss: Telekinesis as well.

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