Thanks, just posting the most important updates from the game for the people still visiting
I'm afraid however that deck building is not planned to return to gwentdb though
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GOG has fair pricing depending on where you are from :)
You are confused, a Premium Gold will reward you with 1600 scrap: Exactly enough to craft a new Premium Gold aka full value. When Homecoming starts you will start with an empty collection (except starter cards) so you can craft exactly what you want with all the scrap you will get. Premium OR non Premium, as 1600 scrap is enough to create 2 normal gold cards.
It's a much better deal than giving powder
He said he would "like this role" last month, it's not unthinkable they were already negotiating at that time and that's why he said it. Either way they could have easily gone with a much lesser caliber actor costing a lot less, they certainly didn't save on budget here for the lead role.
Second i think he would be perfect for the role, his facial structure and build suits nicely for Geralt, just think of him with gray hair and yellow eyes :)
Only thing that might not match perfectly is his voice, but i think for a movie or series adaptation the type of voice Geralt has isn't very suitable anyway.
Unfortunately a preview of Homecoming was delayed again, but we do know a couple of things already:
That's about the only things we really know, which isn't really anything at all. Of course once actual details are revealed it will be in the news section on the frontpage, but until they are ready to share all we can do is wait and hope it will be good.
Sharing new cards wouldn't make any sense though, since you need to judge the cards in the context of the entire redesigned game with all other cards, and since almost all of them will be changed any new card can't be evaluated properly anyway.
TL/DW: Either play greatswords or tech to beat greatswords.
For those of you at work/on mobile:
The first big change is that MULLIGAN and SWAP are fully separated. The between round Mulligans no longer activate Swap Effects (so Wardancer would just go back in deck if Mulliganed between rounds).
It's just as jmxd said, it's not their fault. Period. Every single console player whining about a fallacy that "cdpr is catering for pc players" is starting to get old. It's not their fault that YOU (the general console players you) chose a certain gaming platform (in general not just for gwent) that has a specific set of supported features so when something is available for pc players (which is virtually almost everything) that YOUR platform of choice doesn't support then it's automatically "oh consoles are left out again", which absolutely makes no sense. It's the same as saying devs behind witcher, elder scrolls, gta, mass effect etc. cater for pc players since they allow modding on pc only... well if your platform supports it then mod away. So no, deck tracker is not an unfair advantage, it does what you can do with a pen and paper, but I use a tracker instead of a pen and paper like it's a calculus exam coz, ever heard of QOL? Same goes for the drops, and I'm pretty sure that console players of any game, not just gwent, that's available for multiple platforms don't get access to twitch drops either. So instead of blaming cdpr blame the console for not being able to support whatever features a pc can.
Link to my preferred list: http://www.gwentdb.com/decks/36595-handbuff-4100-mmr-primer
Handbuff is the ultimate Iorveth deck. Iorveth is a fantastically powerful card, one of the strongest in the game, especially in a deck full of elves. Handbuff goes beyond that by having Vrihedd Dragoons as another buff card and Dol Blathanna Swordmasters as a payoff. If the deck is successful in creating big Swordmasters, it has one of the strongest round 3s around. Handbuff's big weakness is that its card quality is very polarized: there aren't enough high-quality cards to play, and a substantial amount of slots ends up with filler. I will go more into this later. The result is that handbuff not a tier one deck - it simply cannot generate as many points or consistency as top decks can. Nonetheless it is still playable, and has its share of good matchups against the top tier decks. In this primer I'll focus on my preferred list, but will discuss other options.
Warning: the deck is not easy to play, and I made a ton of mistakes on my climb up. I'll share some tips below, but ultimately Gwent is a game in which deck choice matters little and the better player has a huge advantage.
It's pretty obvious that Eithne has no synergy with handbuff (it's not a spell-heavy deck) so there are two possible leaders: Brouver and Francesca. Brouver is the higher tempo of the two. You can do something like Brouver into Barclay Els to immediately put 20+ power into play. It is nice to have access to such a high-tempo play on demand. On the other hand, Francesca is more consistent, and practically guarantees that you will draw Iorveth every game (or your next-most powerful card if you already have Iorveth in hand). Francesca also fixes your mulligan to some extent, allowing you to run more thinning.
I have much more experience with Francesca handbuff than Brouver, so this primer will be focused on that area. See http://www.gwentdb.com/decks/35446-insangpha-handbuff#c3 for the Brouver version.
Some Bronzes are core, and there are few universally applicable ones as well, which are discussed below. However as you will soon notice when you try to put together a handbuff deck, there's a noticeable lack of good bronzes. You have something like ~5 free slots and nothing really outstanding to fill them with. There are a variety of options, but as you will see, all of them have problems. For handbuff to truly become a tier 1 deck, it needs more good bronzes.
The main options are:
Mulligan - you use Vrihedd Officers and Vrihedd Vanguards. The advantage is that you can more consistently access your core cards. You are also more comfortable with thinning cards being in your hand, which can also lead to cards like Toruviel and Aelirenn picking up random Iorveth buffs. The disadvantage is that a lot of your handbuff goes to waste. Note that Officers buffs based on the base power, not the boosted one. That loses you not only Iorveth value but also Dragoon value. Another problem with mulligan is inconsistency in round 3. With Swordmasters you typically want a short round 3; on the other hand Vanguard is only good in long rounds, and you could also mulligan into an Officer with nothing else to mulligan. If you do go with mulligan, I suggest maxing out on Officers with only one Vanguard, and run a Brigade as well (very strong if useful; if not it's still 8 power if mulligan'ed by Officer).
Spells - in this case you use Elven Mercenaries, Sages, and either Alzur's Thunder or Mahakam Ale together with Quen. The drawback of Alzur's Thunder is that it isn't very high value. The drawback of Mahakam Ale is that you need to split your units, which conflicts with Toruviel, and that you lose interaction. You can't use all three spells since you lose consistency. This is the route I used in the deck above.
Dwarves - you use more consistent value cards such as Dwarven Skirmisher. This also enables Barclay Els, which is probably the best Hattori target. The drawback is you lose Iorveth value, and you don't do enough damage to kill the units most worth killing (which are typically 6-7 power).
Movement - this is probably the worst option, since movement requires lots of cards and there aren't enough slots. Nonetheless you can try: Blue Mountain Commandos & Marksmen are elves, and so are Brigades.
The universal bronzes are:
Vrihedd Dragoon - this card is core; without it you cannot generate enough buffs. Play these as early in a round as possible, but don't use all of them unless you are OK with the opponent passing.
Advanced tips: Dragoon is tempo-neutral relative to Iorveth in the sense that playing Dragoon then Iorveth is worth as many points as playing Iorveth then Dragoon (very subtle differences aside). The biggest threat to Dragoon is Muzzle. You can play a 7-power Dragoon to bait Muzzle, then kill it with Iorveth. The other way to beat Muzzle is to buff Dragoon out of range of it; either use 2x Iorveth or Quen.
Dol Blathanna Swordmaster - this card is also core, and is the big payoff for playing handbuff. It's not uncommon for Swordmaster to reach 10+ strength, at which point it's worth over 20 points when used. You typically want to save these for round 3, but if you have to kill some important unit such as a Kaedweni Siege Support, and don't have any other options, don't be afraid to use it either.
Advanced tips: consider the possibilities before using a Swordmaster! Is the opponent likely to play more big units? If so and you can't cash in your Swordmaster for max value, you might want to wait. Do you have an active Dragoon? In that case there's a chance your Swordmaster gets even bigger next turn and you might be able to get better value then. Are you holding Scorch? If so, check that you aren't blocking Scorch before playing the Swordmaster. Also consider sequencing if you have multiple Swordmasters. Don't use a small Swordmaster on the opponent's largest unit, then find that your bigger Swordmasters can't get full value.
Elven Wardancer - this card isn't exactly core but against certain top decks it is extremely strong. If you thought it's bad to go first, imagine what it is like to go first against 2 Wardancers. The other main use of Wardancer is to prevent a drypass in round 2. I have had enough good experiences with them to call them core. The major drawback with using them is that they make the mulligan more awkward, and few things are worse than mulliganing into a Wardancer in round 3.
Advanced tip: remember Wardancers are elves, and so benefit from Iorveth. You do not have to mulligan all your Wardancers in round 1, especially if you are against a deck that likes long rounds but doesn't have carryover (e.g. Eithne, Harald, Eredin). Keep one of those to mulligan at the start of round 2, and aim to lose round 1 up a card (after getting all the value you can out of that round of course). Remember that you can only mulligan one Wardancer in rounds 2 and 3. A single Wardancer beats a Celeano Harpy & Ronvid as carryover, but not an Ekimmara.
Hawker Support - this card is a trap, and I would not run it. The problem is that it is only 9 strength. Even if you use it to buff a Swordmaster, it is still only 12 strength. Meanwhile you are stuck with a low-tempo play, and there's the genuine possibility you end up buffing your Swordmasters too much. A 20-power Swordmaster looks pretty, but isn't worth the effort if the opponent's biggest unit is 9 power. Hawker Support is at its best if you won round 1 + have a spy for round 2 + your opponent doesn't have a counter-spy, in which case you can play out all your weakest cards without fear. But that doesn't happen often enough.
Advanced tip: the neatest use of Hawker Support is to buff Toruviel. Few things are more satisfying than the opponent passing because they think they're more than enough ahead, then getting surprised by a 19-power Toruviel.
Dol Blathanna Archer - these are the filler cards, and you use them if you have nothing else to use. The main problem is that they are low value. 10 power doesn't sound that bad, but when you factor in the fact that you can't actually kill anything important with an Archer - the only card worth killing it works on is Wild Hunt Hound (blocking Navigator) - they are very mediocre. However sometimes you'll play against an opponent who is carefully not playing anything within Iorveth kill range, in which case the Archer is important. The other main use of Archer is to break Quen shields, which in turn enables your Swordmasters. If you use an Archer, I recommend no more than one.
Farseer - the idea behind these cards is that 1) they're elves for Iorveth and 2) as long as you have a Dragoon out, they also buff every turn. The problem is that #2 is a dangerous assumption. Dragoons are high-priority targets to kill, and you should not be surprised if they get hit by cards such as Coral. Further, you might simply not have a Dragoon, e.g. you didn't draw one or you played your Dragoons in round 1 but the opponent passed. Even if the conditions are met, Farseer is slow: it needs three turns to be worth it (note as well that it will only boost at end of your next turn). If the conditions are not met then Farseers are even worse value than Dol Blathanna Archer. I recommend against playing them.
Quen & Alzur's Thunder - these are almost equivalent cards since if you run one, you'll probably run the other simply because of how Ithlinne and Elven Mercenary work. Quen serves double value in handbuff since it's worth twice as much if used on a Swordmaster. The other key card to use it on is Dragoon, which also conveniently buffs it out of Muzzle range. The drawback is that applying Quen is a low-tempo play, and you may not even have enough of the unit in hand to make Quen worth it. Using Quen on only one Swordmaster is very low value.
One thing to note about Alzur's Thunder is that it is a critical card against certain units: Reinforced Ballistas, Kaedweni Siege Supports, Impera Enforcers, and so on. However, again because of the way Ithlinne and Elven Mercenary work, if you cast it you won't be able to cast Quen. Further, if you are using Ithlinne, you are forced to either let the opponent play two of these units before using Ithlinne, or give up the value you might otherwise have gotten. Ultimately I feel the two spells are worth using, but perhaps some intrepid player will try giving them up. I recommend against running these spells without Ithlinne or Elven Mercenary however. Not only are you no longer able to Quen if the opponent drypasses round 2, you lose 3 points from the Francesca leader ability if searching for these spells.
Advanced tips: don't feel like you have to Quen Swordmasters. If you're holding all three Dragoons and only one Swordmaster, by all means, Quen the Dragoons instead. Also, remember that Quen'ed units can be used to block one tick of fog.
Vrihedd Brigade - generally a tech card against weather decks. When it is good, it's really good; when it's bad, it's at least still an elf. Whether or not to use these depends on how much weather you're facing, and whether or not you're running the mulligan package. If you are running mulligan, Brigades gain in value because of the synergy with Officers when they aren't good.
Blue Mountain Commando - this is another inconsistent card. In the best case, you thin your deck (especially good since your core cards are so much stronger than others), possibly bait a removal spell or fool the opponent into thinking you are movement, and enable Aelirenn & Vrihedd Vanguard. In the worst case, your mulligan becomes unbearable. They're also only 9 power. I recommend counting the must-mulligan cards you have carefully before including these. I would be very careful if you have more than 8 of such cards, unless you have cards that specifically help with the mulligan (i.e. Saskia & Schirru, possibly Francesca). If you do run them anyway, consider Ithlinne (since Quen on BMCs = automatic 6 value), as well as Aelirenn.
Your silvers aren't build-arounds, and most of them can be juggled. Use whatever you think is best suited to the meta you're seeing.
Aelirenn - 6 power with thinning. If you can access her consistently, she's a better Roach. The main problem is that you might not be able to access her, and of course, she makes your mulligan worse. It's up to you to decide if you want to run her. I am not convinced she is core without BMCs.
Advanced tip: Aelirenn is an elf, so in rare situations you can buff her with Iorveth and then mulligan her. Also, don't forget that she can be summoned when Toruviel is flipped.
Barclay Els - too strong not to run if you take the dwarves option. You can also consider Hattori in that case, since Hattori can already bring back Barclay Els even if he's not buffed.
Ida Emean - Ida is practically your only line of defense against gold weather (you can't run First Light since it can draw Wardancer; besides, you usually want to draw, not play, Swordmasters), as well as swarm strategies. She is not a core card, but she's a solid performer. As a 3-power unit, she's also easy to bring back with Hattori.
Advanced tip: Sage can flashback Overdose, but not Impenetrable Fog and Clear Skies. Ida is also capable of breaking Quen shields, including multiple Quen shields at the same time. Against a single Quen shield, Fog is usually preferable.
Hattori - I have mixed feelings about Hattori. On the one hand he's an obvious handbuff payoff card. On the other hand, he's effectively dead in round 1, and there aren't many good targets. You don't need to buff him at all to resurrect Ida, while Toruviel is beyond the reach of 2x Iorveth's buff. There is also conflict with Ida & Toruviel. Both cards require long rounds. If you can't consistently generate two long rounds, then when they are resurrected, they won't have as much impact. Hattori is at his best if you are running Barclay Els, which is a very high value target that doesn't require buffs.
Ele'yas - I am skeptical about this card because your round 3 is strong enough. On the other hand, it's an option if you're running the mulligan package.
Ciaran - one of your highest value silvers. Locks are good in the current meta, and he's an elf to boot.
Roach - generic value and thinning for all decks. I find Roach great in handbuff since it mitigates the low tempo that comes with playing Francesca or Ithlinne. It is also strong when trying to tempo the opponent out in round 1. If you thought facing 2 Wardancers on the play was bad, wait till you face 2 Wardancers + Iorveth killing your unit while bringing out Roach. If you're running Brouver, Roach is less necessary, but still good.
Yaevinn - your faction spy is also quite good, since he can draw spells. You don't have many spells, which means he can semi-reliably help you draw your important ones. Do note if you're using the spells option that you might be offered Quen / Alzur's Thunder / Mahakam Ale, in which case you may have no choice but to take the unit, and it may not be a unit you want (Roach, Aelirenn, BMC, etc). I recommend at least 4 spells in your deck for this reason.
Advanced tip: remember that Yaevinn is an elf. You want to play him before you play Iorveth. The danger with this is that the opponent might pass instantly and you can't catch up with one card. More on this later.
Scorch - one of the best spells in the game. It's possible your units get too big and block your own Scorch, but you can usually see this coming and play around it. Even in the worst case scenario where the opponent has no big units (e.g. Eredin), you can kill Yaevinn with it. I recommend this card, or at least a pseudo-Scorch such as Artefact Compression or Mandrake.
Morenn & Toruviel - I'm lumping these two together since they're both Isengrim targets. Toruviel is an elf (albeit one that is not buffed often) and the higher value of the two, but is also much more vulnerable to locks. It's your call on which to run, or to run them both.
This is where the action is, and your best cards are here.
Iorveth - handbuff is in many ways an Iorveth deck, and it would be absurd not to run him. Iorveth is powerful enough to consider running Renew with as well.
Advanced tip: you want to play Iorveth as soon as possible for obvious reasons. For example, if you play Elven Mercenary and then Iorveth, you lose one point as compared to playing Iorveth then Elven Mercenary. But do note that there are some situations when it is tempo-neutral to play something else: Dragoons fall into this category, as does Francesca (leaders are not buffed by Iorveth). If one of your rows is under weather, Ida into Clear Skies is also tempo-positive relative to Iorveth. If your opponent isn't presenting you with good Iorveth targets, you can either make one with a Dol Blathanna Archer or Dwarven Skirmisher or wait. Waiting loses you 1 point per turn, but if it allows you to e.g. Iorveth a Drowner instead of Ge'els, that's still more than worth it.
Renew - Iorveth is just really really good. If I already have Iorveth in hand, Renew is often my Francesca target. The only caveats to running Renew is that it is usually dead in round 1, and you might not have a good Renew target afterwards. The first caveat incentivizes you to exit round 1 as soon as possible, but that has the drawback of forcing you to go first in round 3, which is terrible given your Swordmasters. Nonetheless Iorveth is high enough value that you often don't mind if he only buffs ~4 units. The second caveat doesn't apply often - it's effectively only a problem if Iorveth isn't good, and he is almost always good. When it does apply, it can be built around. Some possibilities are running two Isengrim targets, or using a card like Eskel.
Eskel - Eskel isn't an elf but he fulfills a critical niche: he kills Yaevinn instantly. If you aren't behind by 11+ points, you can play Yaevinn to get him out of your hand for Iorveth. If the opponent passes, you play Eskel to kill Yaevinn + bring out Roach, winning you the round. Eskel is the only card that can do this and I consider him close to core. Eskel also has other uses since he doubles as hard removal for cards like Trollolol (goes through armor too), and can also kill Impera Enforcers / Kaedweni Siege Supports etc.
Advanced tip: note that Eskel cannot kill Yaevinn if you have already buffed him with Iorveth!
Isengrim - I consider Isengrim core. He is fantastic as a points-generator, and an elf to boot. Isengrim into an ambush unit is going to be your highest-tempo play (unless you're using Brouver) that also thins. Defensively, Isengrim allows you to get away with low-tempo plays such as applying Quen; offensively, few cards are as effective in forcing the opponent out of a round. If your opponent is down a card but only ahead by a few points, consider playing Isengrim. There's a good chance they can't catch up, in which case you win on equal cards or lose up two cards. If you thought going first was bad, wait till you go first vs. 2 Wardancers into Iorveth bringing out Roach into Isengrim bringing out Toruviel. It's your call if you want to run both Toruviel and Morenn with Isengrim. The advantage of doing this is that you can keep the silvers in your hand during mulligan (they're not bad cards) and still have something to pull if you draw Isengrim later.
Ithlinne - Ithlinne is hit-or-miss. If you have multiple Swordmasters & Dragoons in hand then her double Quen is good; if not however she is very mediocre. She is also noticeably worse than Elven Mercenary at using Alzur's Thunder. You want to use this to kill stuff like Kaedweni Siege Support, but if you wait to use Ithlinne, your opponent gets to extract value from the first Siege Support. He might not even play the second Siege Support.
Advanced tip: Usually you want to play your Dragoons early in a round. Ithlinne makes an exception to this, since you can conceivably get more points if you Quen the Dragoons first. This also applies if you're using Elven Mercenary, but to a lesser extent (since as you only have one Quen, chances are you want to use it on Swordmasters).
Saskia - Saskia has two purposes: one, to fix your mulligan, and two, to help you draw your Dragoons & Swordmasters. The main drawback with her is that she's poor tempo-wise, especially for a gold card. She's not an elf, so chances are you'll be playing her for 10 points only, which is as bad as Dol Blathanna Archer. You need your Dragoons & Swordmasters to generate enough value to compensate. My experience is that this typically does not happen: yes, a Swordmaster is better than a Dol Blathanna Archer, but not by enough to commit a gold card to get it. She could still be useful if you run more than ~8 must-mulligan cards, however.
Schirru - Schirru is another hit-or-miss card. On the one hand, he's an elf. He lets you take out Scorch, which is a weaker card against decks without big units, yet still have access to the card. Further when you do want Scorch he's a +value Scorch: if you're looking for Scorch with Francesca, you get an extra 3 points if you're running Schirru. He alleviates mulligans somewhat, as well as runs rings around cards like Foul Ale and Operator. My fondest memory with using Schirru was when my opponent played Foul Ale and passed, thinking I'd be forced to play it; instead I turned it into Scorch and wound up winning round 1 up a card. Needless to say the rest of the game was a blowout. On the other hand, he's big enough to sometimes block Scorch, and he's not very strong if you aren't using him to make Scorch. You also don't have immediate access to Scorch. Since you have to play Schirru first, the opponent gets one turn to mitigate the impact of the incoming Scorch.
Muzzle - Muzzle is a generic high-value card, and another answer to Impera Enforcers, Kaedweni Siege Supports, etc. You can also use it to take your Dragoons back when they are Muzzled (if you weren't able to play around it, anyway). It's your call whether or not to run it. Note it's a spell, which means it can be found with Yaevinn.
Avallach: the Sage - I include this just for fun. On the bright side, he's an elf. On the downside, he's way too inconsistent to run. Your opponent's deck is set up to use its golds, but not yours. Imagine playing Avallach: the Sage and drawing John Natalis. Natalis is a great card in NR decks, often worth 26 points. In yours, it's worth 6. I actually won a game which I was clearly losing because my opponent played Avallach: the Sage into my Ithlinne and had nothing to cast.
Round 1: if your opponent goes first, be sure to Yaevinn + Eskel if possible to build card advantage. Depending on what deck the opponent is playing you might want to pass immediately if you can build +2 CA. If you don't have the combo or stay in the round, the first priority is to trigger Iorveth, using Francesca if necessary (but keep in mind the tempo-neutral plays you can make, as discussed in the Iorveth section above). After that you usually want to push this round. Your round 3 is good, so you want to bleed round 2. You also want to go second in round 3, since you want to have Swordmaster targets. The more Dragoons you have in play, the longer you can stay in the round. If you have no Dragoons however, be ready to pass, especially if the opponent has a value-generating card in play that you can't neutralize, e.g. weather, Mangonel.
Round 2: if you won round 1, bleed this round as much as you can. This is also the most common round to use Renew in. You do not have to bleed down to the last few cards however; you can pass once the opponent commits cards that are better in a long round, e.g. if they apply multiple rows of weather, or if they're clearly setting up to play something like Iris. Try not to fall behind in tempo, but don't concede if you do - buffed Swordmasters can easily win you round 3 even if you're down a card. If you do fall behind too much (or if you have an unanswered spy) use all your low-tempo plays, e.g. applying Quen, playing an Operator'ed card, etc. If you lost round 1 then try to stay ahead on cards (Isengrim helps a lot), while conserving as many of your best plays as possible for round 3. I will usually Renew Iorveth if it looks like the round will go on for a while longer, but otherwise it's conceivable to leave it to round 3. Even if Iorveth buffs nothing, he's still worth 14 points.
Round 3: nothing much to say here other than to get maximum value from your Swordmasters (see the advanced tip for Swordmasters). If you go first in this round and don't have any generic value card like Dragoons, count your damage. For example, if you have two 11-power Swordmasters in hand as well as an Elven Mercenary who can only cast Alzur's Thunder, play the Mercenary and Thunder itself. You lose 8-9 points, but that's less than the 11 points from Swordmaster. On the other hand if instead of the Mercenary you have a 7-power Sage, play a Swordmaster.
It's hard to give comprehensive guides for every matchup since nobody can play that many games. Still, I can give some general guidelines:
Northern Realms: machines, swarm, or armor. If machines, note that their deck needs two things to function - a machine, and crewmen. You might be able to counter by killing all their machines before they can crew them (Iorveth, Thunder, Eskel, even Swordmaster). Eskel is the most valuable of these because it can kill units through armor, i.e. if they are ressed by Shani, so use it last. I usually lock Ronvid with Ciaran if I am able to. It's possible they have Villentretenmerth. If you can buff a Swordmaster to 11 power, that's best; otherwise you might still be able to avoid it with 2x Swordmasters.
If tokens, then Ida becomes your most important card. Use Sage on Overdose if possible as well. Be sure to nuke their Siege Supports with Thunder & Iorveth, and don't be afraid to use a Swordmaster if you must. Big Swordmasters aren't very good against them anyway since their units are small. Don't forget you can pass as well if they stick a Siege Support. Finally tokens is a deck that relies on long rounds. They will drypass round 2 if they win round 1, so try to save a Wardancer to stop that if you can. Conversely if you won round 1, bleed them round 2 but pass once their token payoffs (Commander's Horn, Yennefer) start to get really good.
Finally against armor, save Eskel and Scorch to kill Trollolol through the armor (+ Shani res).
Henselt - the most important card to play around is Henselt itself. Always consider the possibility and don't get tempoed out.
Radovid - try to bait his lock before committing more Dragoons and / or ambush cards.
Foltest - count the number of cards in his deck! If he has a thicker deck than usual, he's likely to be running Dun Banner Light Cavalries as well as lots of thinning. Avoid the DBLCs if you can with your own low-tempo plays (e.g. applying Quen, playing Yaevinn). Note that DBLCs don't trigger if your score rises above the threshold due to Toruviel after both players have passed. If you're playing against perfect draw Foltest, the priority shifts to getting out of round 1 as soon as possible. Play Iorveth or the Yaevinn / Eskel combo, but once that's done, lose the round up 1 card as quickly as you can. Yes, you don't generate as much points this way, but the damage you do to his draws by not letting him thin is critical.
Scoietael: spells, movement, or handbuff. Technically a dwarves deck is a possibility but I've not seen them.
Eithne - this is a good matchup, but it is skill-intensive. Wardancers are critical. R1 Wardancers prevent a drypass (if they are on the Farseer variant) and even if not, it puts them under severe pressure if they're going first. If you go first instead then try to save a Wardancer for round 2. Losing round 1 up a card is ideal. Try to disrupt them from playing Mahakam Ale for max value (use Ciaran / Brigade, or just outright kill the units). Play Yaevinn on an already-occupied row for the same reason. In round 3 you'll want to break their Quen shields preferably with Ida's Fog or Overdose to enable your Swordmasters. Remember that Ciaran also breaks Quen shields, and can stop the Farseer or Protector from buffing. Scorch is another important card, which you should have access to courtesy of Francesca (Yaevinn helps also). It's actually possible Wardancer is even more important than Scorch, and I have Francesca'ed for a Wardancer before.
Francesca - in the mirror, the better player wins.
Brouver - Against movement, use the standard recipe for beating gold weather: push a round long enough that they feel pressured enough to use gold weather, then pass and clear the next one with Ida. They like long rounds, so try to save a Wardancer in case you lose round 1. Winning round 1 is also great. Bleed round 2 until they have like 2 cards left. You should win round 3 even if you are down a card.
Monsters: Consume and Eredin. Dagon is practically non-existent currently.
Dagon - if you do run into Dagon, expect a swarm strategy. See the NR section for counterplay. It's unlikely they try to weather two rows at once so don't Clear Skies with Ida (you need her Overdose). Use Brigade at once, however.
Eredin - this is another deck that likes long rounds, so try to save a Wardancer for round 2. Keep in mind that currently Eredin tends to run only 4 rows of weather. Stack a row since they have Drowners otherwise. Typically I stack the ranged row, since Dragoons are ranged units, but it's possible you have to stack the siege row instead (Ida & Sage). If you have Quen'ed units, it's OK to play them outside of frost since the shield will block the Drowner damage anyway. Try to be ahead of tempo enough that when they play a second row of weather, you can pass or Ida -> Clear Skies. Also remember that you can potentially sacrifice a 1-power Elven Mercenary (or 2 power vs. a Rider'ed row) to frost to reduce the damage taken. Iris is their best card against you. If you have Scorch, you must weigh the consequences of getting more value after the Iris trigger vs. the possibility of blocking it with a bigger unit (since they might not have Iris). If you won round 1, bleed round 2 to the point they have Iris set up, and then pass. Unfortunately, sometimes you just can't beat Iris into Caretaker + Iris, even if you cleared all the weather.
Consume - this matchup is pretty poor in my experience. Try to win round 1 because otherwise they'll set up unbeatable carryover in round 2. Ciaran is vital, and you can try to lock a Nekker after the opponent has passed to prevent carryover. Try to read their hand. If they're running lots of Nekker support cards (e.g. Nekker Warrior) then killing a Nekker is not good since it enables Slyzard. Other variants might end up with huge Unseen Elders or Vran Warriors, so keep Scorch for that. If they're not running Nekker support cards, killing the Vran Warriors can greatly reduce the strength of the Nekkers. They'll probably be out of range of a single Alzur's Thunder, but you can still use multiples (with Sage Iorveth Ithlinne etc).
Skellige: Veterans, Cursed, Axemen. Eskel is MVP vs. the first two and you can conceivably save Renew for Eskel. Scorch is your other main defense. You want to use Eskel before they use their buff cards (Warcrier) if they have them, but Scorch after they use them. Weigh the consequences carefully when choosing where to aim your Thunders and Swordmasters. Killing a unit enables Sigrdrifa and Priestess of Freya, but not killing them enables Armorsmith and Warcrier. Be aware they might have Harpooners, but they also have Lacerate, so you can't really stack a row like vs. Eredin. If your mulligan allows it, keep Brigade until you are sure they don't have Birna. If they don't have Morkvarg, it's usually not critical to lock their units, so you can use Ciaran to unlock your Dragoons.
Bran - check what they discard. It's possible you should lock Morkvarg. I find I usually have to tank the Wolfsbane trigger if they discarded it. It's conceivable that you should pass with the timer at 2, so that Wolfsbane triggers vs. nothing at the start of round 2; however that also precludes you from using Wardancer to prevent a drypass, and a long round 3 is not in your best interests.
Crach - Ciaran a buffed Morkvarg. Eskel kills Djenge Frett no matter how large he gets, as long as he is not buffed by Warcrier.
Harald - their deck wins when they have both Axemen and enablers. Nuke their Axemen as a result; both Thunder & Iorveth are sufficient in round 1, and Eskel can still do it in round 2+ (but only if they are not immediately buffed). This is a deck that likes long rounds, so save a Wardancer for round 2, although you should try to win round 1. As with movement, the standard anti-gold weather counterplay is to push a round until they play one, then clear the other with Ida.
Nilfgaard: spies, mill or reveal. If you're running Muzzle, remember that you can damage The Guardian a little and then Muzzle it.
Morvran - take into account their massive tempo play with their leader. Also remember that you can shield your revealed units from Venendal Elite with Quen.
John Calveit & Emhyr (spies variant) - nuke their Enforcers if you can and keep nuking them. Kill their Brigades with any non-Scorch card if you get the chance as well. If you can't kill them, you'll have to make do with playing around them: once they start to get very effective (you have multiple spies on your side of the board, 2x Enforcers in play, etc) pass. Your round 3 plan beats theirs. If they have Tibor, be wary of the incoming Fringilla.
Emhyr (mill variant) - mill is probably the most ludicrous deck out there. If you see it coming and adjust your mulligan accordingly, you'll usually win. Once you identify it's mill, stop all your thinning. Avallach is unfortunately out of range of Iorveth and Thunder, but it's still possible to kill it with Scorch and a buffed Swordmaster. If they're running Magne Divisions, you might be able to use Francesca to put a bronze unit back. You must win round 1 because otherwise they will mill to their heart's content in round 2, secure in the knowledge that you cannot pass. On the other hand if you win round 1, you are threatening to pass at any point in round 2, and once you pass a lot of their cards lose value. Do not pass round 1 even if you can go two cards up.
Handbuff can be good, but for it truly to become top tier, it needs to have better access to its core cards and / or more core cards. The deck needs to draw its Swordmasters, and then hold them till they're buffed. Outside of Saskia, the standard consistency cards don't allow this. First Light -> Rally for example could draw you a Swordmaster, but it'll also play the Swordmaster, which isn't something the deck wants to do. There is also a large power disparity between certain bronzes and the others. If the deck could run 5 Swordmasters and 5 Dragoons, I believe it'll already be a top tier deck. As it is, it's still solidly second tier.