Top Faction Decks by LbDutchboy
Greetings fellow card slingers,
Welcome to our first Gwent Top Faction Decks where you can find the best faction deck for every faction. Whether you are a pro ladder grinder or a casual ranked ladder player, there will be a deck for you.
The order of the factions determine the strength of the deck, so if you are looking for the overall best deck at the moment look simply look at the first deck.
NUMBER 1: SKELLIGE
Skellige has everything a deck wants to have. Hence it has become the number one faction in this report. Restore enables big tempo plays combined with Dorregaray and even carryover if you take the Ekimmara from Dorregaray.
The stats are very linear with peaks around Cerys resurrect points and Restore/Sigdrifa on the restore target. Which enables you to choose at what point you want to invest points.
The carryover that Morkvarg, Olgierd, Cerys and sometimes Dorregaray gives you is crucial as well. A lot of decks like to dry pass round 2 at the moment (Scoia’tael, Axeman, Spies). Carryover denies that possibility and forces them to play if they do not want to go a card down in the last round.
You always start by using your leader ability on Morkvarg, Cerys, and Olgierd. If one of them is in your hand you can just take a raider instead.
Your next line of action depends on the deck you are playing against. Generally you want to use at least 1 Warmonger since that makes your Cerys counter go to 2 and lets her go out on round 2, giving you 14 carryover.
Try to use your Cerys timer as efficient as possible, so do not waste resurrects if it can be avoided.
The length of the round depends entirely up to you. Normally you want to wait as long as possible with the Harpooners and Lacerate so try starting with Warmongers and possibly Madman Lugos to snipe an important target like Impera Enforcer.
It is not that important to win this round, in general losing is actually better if you have more carryover. It creates an awkward position for your opponent since they cannot dry pass and most decks generally do not want to play multiple short rounds.
If you have won, try to bleed your opponent as long as possible, especially if you have Udalryk. Try to setup your Cerys and big tempo plays with Restore for round 3.
Start with the uninteractive plays. Dorregaray into Savage Bear can create a lot of points. Finish with your Harpooners and Lacerate.
You always mulligan Cerys and Morkvarg. After that you get rid of Raiders and Olgierd. You do not want all your Priestess of Freya’s in round 1 since you can’t resurrect anything (unless you have Madman Lugos). Depending on your opponent’s faction you might want to get rid of a Lacerate. It is really bad against decks like Spellatael.
If your hand is good after the second mulligan you normally don’t want to do a third mulligan, drawing Cerys or Morkvarg is just too painful.
MATCH-UP TIPS AND TRICKS
Against Restore Skellige: you need to kill units if you damage them. Otherwise the Armorsmith will heal them back up and your damage was lost.
Try to get more carryover than your opponent, if you can get a card advantage last round because of a smart pass it’s huge since both decks have the same power level.
Against Spy Nilfgaard: Keep Coral for Iris. Try to bleed them as long as you can, their deck goes exponentially in points ( first few plays are low tempo, after that they can easily make 18 stats with a bronze card ). They don’t have any kind of carryover so you will always have the upper hand round 2, they can never drypass you.
Against Spellatael: This is a really hard matchup. The only way to win this is to line up your Ingi on 2 of his Dol Blathanna Protectors in the last round. Killing a Farseer with Madman Lugos is very important to achieve a lead. Lacerate is really bad against them so try to throw it away if you can.
Try to make Restore your last play, since Aglais is always lurking around.
Against Dagon: Woodland spirit is a problem you cannot evade. You never want to go -2 cards to win a round so generally passing is your best option after the first Woodland. Try to deny Yennefer value with Lacerate and use your Armorsmith efficiently against the Impenetrable Fog.
Against Northern Realms: Try to figure out what your opponent’s gameplan is and disrupt it,try not to get too far ahead since the riders may come out and you always want more carryover than them. They might be able to kill your Morkvarg a couple of times with their machines so be aware of that. Play around a possible Scorch the card is not all that good against you but can be strong if you line up all your Whale Harpooners or Clan Drummond Warmongers.
Udalryk with Gremist if you face a lot of weather decks.
Udalryk with Decoy. A certainly riskier path, you can theoretically get your restore target out 1 more time with Sigrdrifa, but drawing all those cards is unlikely since the deck does not go to the last 2 cards generally.
Igni with Eskel, if you are not facing any Spellatael.
NUMBER 2: NILFGAARD
A close second in the tier list. Nilfgaard is able to create lots of points with their spies and strong gold cards. They are able to have long rounds with massive points with their spies in combination with Impera Brigade and Impera Enforcer.
The first round depends on the matchup. You generally want to pass if you go first, since your points are exponential and your opponent will not be able to keep up at a certain point.
During the first ( or second if you lost the coinflip ) you want to thin your deck with the Emissary whilst creating points with your Impera Brigade’s and Impera Enforcer’s. Make sure to kill off some of your own spies in true Nilfgaard fashion so your Vicovaro Medic’s can give you some more spy action. This way you create more points with your synergy cards and you can thin your deck even more.
You want to keep your efficient silver and gold cards for the last round. Joachim de Wett can give you 19 points in combination with Nauzica Brigade. Iris is okay to use earlier on, since you might not have 5 units on your board during the last round. Try using her once you have 2 Impera Enforcer’s on the board so that your opponent can’t lock her.
You really want to get your Emissaries out round 1 since they are the core of the deck. Mulligan away Impera Enforcer’s and Impera Brigade’s if you have multiple copies of them. You also want to keep a Nauzica Brigade and Infiltrator for a later round together with Iris and Menno Coehoorn.
You of course always mulligan roach away, preferably as one of your last mulligans because of the blacklist value.
Match Up Tips and Tricks
Against Skellige: They have carryover, you do not. You want to keep Canteralla so that you always can get your card back in the second round. Try to kill Iris in 1 go since they can Coral her otherwise.
Remember that your points are exponential and theirs are linear. Meaning that you have the advantage in a long round.
Against Nilfgaard: try to kill of their Impera Enforcers as fast as possible, the person that has multiple Enforcers online generally wins. You can deny Menno Coehoorn value by using Infiltrator on your own unit. Keep your leader ability as long as possible, since he will play cards like Iris and Joachim de Wett. Which are really good to use for your own purposes.
Against Spellatael: Use Emhyr on Vanhemar if you suspect multiple weathers. Menno Coehoorn is really strong in the last round against a Dol Blatana Protector. Try to wait a bit with your Impera Enforcers since they will snipe them with Alzar’s thunder if you play them too early. Only play Iris if you can shoot her down immediately, otherwise they can Artefact Compression her and you will not get any value out of it.
Against Monsters: Kill of as many units as you can to deny Yennefer value. This is particularly important since you are giving them extra units with your spies. Try to kill of their eggs and Ekimarras as well. Your shooters are really valuable against them.
You need to be careful of the Scorch. Make sure your Impera Brigades are not lined up at any time.
Against Northern Realms: Kill of their essential cards like Kaedweni Siege Support and any target they might want to Reaver Scout be aware of possible Dun Banner Light Cavalry and Reaver Hunters. Since you can kill the Reaver Hunters with your Impera Enforcers and Leo Bonhart.Try to give them as little Scorch value as possible. Your Impera Brigades will line up automatically if you do not do anything about it. One way to change their values is to kill 1 spy just before you play the other. This way the new brigade does not get the +2 from that spy and is thus 2 stats smaller. Be careful though since your opponent can still be able to line them up with Ballistas or Battering Rams.
Iris with Auckes.
Iris with The Guardian if you face the mirror a lot.
Leo Bonhart with Yennefer if you are facing a lot of monsters.
Nauzicaa Brigade with Infiltrator if you have cut Iris.
NUMBER 3: SCOIA’TAEL
The bottom 3 factions are fairly close since all of them are having some kind of major weakness. The best Scoia’tael deck right now is Movement Scoia’tael, the deck is easily exploited by point and weather removal.
You want to go into the last round with as many cards as possible. Ragh nar roog is really oppressive if your opponent can’t remove it. Merigold’s Hailstorm gets a lot better in longer rounds as well as having multiple Dwarven Mercenary.
The deck can create a lot of points using those 2 cards together with movement cards like Zoltan Chivay, Dwarven Mercenary, Geralt Aard and Vrihedd Brigade.
You mostly pass the first round if you go first, since most of your points need some time to get there.
The first round you are playing is generally starting with Blue Mountain Commando and Dwarven Agitor to create some base points. You can always get the spy with your leader if needed, since you want to stay ahead if possible. Keep the spy if your opponent has carryover to get the card back if needed.
Try to keep your gold cards for round 3 and threaten your opponent by lining up his units for Scorch and Hailstorm.
During the 3rd round you want to start using your gold cards in combination with Hailstorm and Dol Blathanna Marksman. The Ragh nar roog creates a lot of points over time and forces your opponent to play in 1 row, which is perfect for your Hailstorm. Operator is especially good in the last round, since they have to play the card you give them instead of just mulliganing it away. If you are able to, keep a Dwarven Agitator until then so your Operator has the best target.
Always get rid of your Blue Mountain Commandos, make sure your Dwarven Agitator have a target, so mulliganing away the Dwarven Mercenary is always good.
You can mulligan away Scorch in some matchups if you are not sure if you can get it off ( against dagon for example ).
MATCH-UP TIPS AND TRICKS
Against Skellige: If they run the spy they generally do not have Gremist. Which gives you a free card for massive value from your golden weather in the last round.
They are forced to stack the middle and front row with cards like Raider and Warmonger. So it is a good idea to stack those rows up for your Hailstorm.
They have Armorsmiths, which can heal their units back up. Including the Hailstorm damage, giving you even more reason to use Hailstorm as late as possible.
Against Nilfgaard: Try to line up your Scorch for the Impera Brigades. Scorch can single handedly win you the game if you get it off on multiple Brigades.
Hailstorm can be very valuable in this matchup if you line it up correctly, the best way to do this is to get last say. Keeping your spy until the last round if possible is a good way to do that.
Against Spellatael: Keep your Scorch for round 3, scorching multiple Dol Blatana Protectors is necessary for a win. Keep your first light in your hand as well, since they often still play golden weathers.
They do not have many units, so cards like Geralt Aard are harder to use correctly, be aware of this.
Against Dagon: Mulligan for weather removal, try to kill of the eggs with the Dol Blathanna Marksman. The matchup can be though but is not impossible. Try to play around their scorch and don’t be too greedy on your own.
Against Northern Realms: Be aware of the Dun Banner Cavalry, don’t have multiple Dol Blatanna Marksman if his Radovid is still available.
Vrihedd Brigade with Lacerate.
First Light with Lacerate if you never face any golden weathers.
Operator with Sheldon Skaggs or Summoning Circle.
Aglaïs with Isengrim, if you do this you also need to cut Scorch for Morenn and
Vrihedd Brigade/First Light for Vrihedd Sappers.
NUMBER 4: MONSTERS
Monsters has always been one of the most played factions in Gwent, but has dropped a bit in power due to its inconsistency. The deck relies a lot on Woodlands Spirit and synergizes fully with this card using Nekker Warrior and Yennefer. The deck can be very polarizing, getting all your gold cards combined with some carryover and removal can be very strong, but drawing the wrong cards at the wrong time is fairly painful. However the deck is one of the easiest to play as of now so I do suggest this deck for starters.
During the first round you want to get more carryover than your opponent. This way he can’t drypass you round 2 if he wants to. If you go second and you want to win the round quick you can play Woodlands Spirit for a 22 point swing and points over time with the Impenetrable Fog. Most decks are unable to keep up with this and will have to pass or go 2 cards down.
The deck is able to bleed your opponent during the second round if you have won the first one, but be careful with spies. This version doesn’t have one so you need to make sure you stay ahead if you want to bleed and get the card out of your opponent.
The last round you go all out with your gold cards and Commander’s Horn. Creating many points with few cards.
Make sure you use your Nekker Warriors on the Harpies and plan ahead with your gold cards. You do not want to have Renew in your hand with no golds played or Royal Decree with no golds in deck. Try to time your Yennefer the best you can. Using unit creating cards like Celeano Harpy,Woodlands Spirit and Ifritt first to ensure you have more units than your opponent.
Dorregaray is generally good with Ekimmara on the eggs, but using Drowner to push an enemy unit into the fog is also a good option.
Always mulligan Roach, Harpy and Foglet away. You never want those cards in hand.
Depending on the matchup Archgriffin might be a somewhat bad card. If your opponent isn’t playing any weathers and doesn’t interact with the graveyard it’s just an 8 point play mulliganing those away can be good.
Mulligan Woodland Spirits away if and only if you drew all your gold cards. You can still get him with Royal Decree.
Make sure your hand ‘makes sense’. This means having enough eggs to eat with the Ekimmaras and not having Bekker’s Twisted Mirror in the last round without a small unit of your own.
MATCH-UP TIPS AND TRICKS
Against Skellige: The points of this deck are really linear. Meaning that Woodlands Spirit early always makes them pass of gives you a 2 card advantage. Try to play around cards like Lacerate and steal units from their graveyard with Archgriffin, denying them Restore on a discarded Priestess of Freya or any resurrect at all is very strong.
Scorch isn’t all that strong in this matchup, so use it when you can. Same goes for Bekker’s Twisted Mirror.
Against Nilfgaard: Nilfgaard wants to play one really long round, so make them pay for it using your Woodlands Spirit as efficient as possible.
They don’t have any carryover possibility as well. One Ekimmara already forces out Cantarella in round 2.
Don’t play your Ekimmaras too soon, since they will be able to shoot them down with their Impera Enforcers.
Wait with your Scorch until you can at least line up 2 Impera Brigades or get 20+ value. This is one of your MVP cards in the matchup.
Yennefer is really strong in this matchup as well, since they are giving you more units with their spies.
Against Movement Scoia’tael: you want to force them into playing multiple short rounds. The best way to do this is to use your Woodlands Spirit later in the round and creating carryover for round 2. Forcing them to either play the spy or to give you a card back. Try to get last say in the last round to get maximum Commander’s Horn value without giving him a better Merigold’s Hailstorm. You can also do this by using your Horn on the gold cards, since hailstorm no longer hits them,
Archgriffin is really good to remove the weather effects in this matchup, be sure to keep him in your mulligan, you can move your Impenetrable Fog into his graveyard to deny Aglaïs value.
Against Dagon: Only use Archgriffin when your opponent has a Impenetrable Fog on your board. Make sure his Yennefer is never too huge. Always keep up with his units. Some Dagon decks play Lacerate so be careful with placing your units.
Make sure you don’t line up against Scorch. You might want to mulligan away Bekker’s Twisted Mirror since your opponent will have 1 strength units as well most of the time.
Against Northern Realms: Try to play around machines the best you can, not lining up against Ballista etc. Push them into using Henselt the first round and try to stay around his points so the Dun Banner Cavalry don’t come out.
Archgriffin with Lacerate if you face the mirror a lot.
Ifritt with Morvudd.
Bekker’s Twisted Mirror with Frightener.
Yennefer with Caretaker.
NUMBER 5: NORTHERN REALMS
Northern Realms has dropped fairly hard during the last patch. The new deck revolves around Machines,Villentretenmerth and Dun Banner Cavalry. Setting up your opponent’s units with Ballista for a massive Villentretenmerth can create big fireworks combined with a huge point switch.
During the first round you want to get out your Dun Banner Cavalry. The easiest way to do this is to use Thaler to get behind. You can pull him with Alzur’s Double-Cross. Keep your Summoning Circle for their spy so you always have initiative. Using one weather is a good thing if you can stay ahead while using it. Try to keep Henselt until the last round and the possibility to get 2 units out of your deck with it.
If you have won the first round you usually drypass the second to get more value out of your Machines and weathers.
During the last round you want to play the golden weather and Henselt combined with one of your bronze units. Play Villentretenmerth if you only have 3 cards left, set him up using your Ballistas.You can Shani an earlier used Bronze unit to get a better Henselt off if needed.
Always mulligan Dun Banner Light Cavalry. Mulligan White Frost if you have Keira Mertz ( so you can pull it with Aeromancy).
Try to get one of each of your bronze units. This way your Henselt has the most possibilities and chances to get off correctly.
MATCH-UP TIPS AND TRICKS
Against Skellige: The Clan Drummond Warmongers are generally the biggest cards they will play the last round. So try setting their units at 9 or 8 with your Ballistas to get the best Villentretenmerth possible. Keep Summoning Circle for their spy and try to play around Clan Tordarroch Armorsmith by killing of their units instead of damaging them.
They will always have carryover into the second round. You will have to keep your spy if you want to get your card back.
Against Nilfgaard: Make sure to kill their Impera Enforcers as fast as possible. Their points will go up rapidly so drypassing round 2 isn’t always the best option.
Villentretenmerth is the MVP in this matchup. Try to line up his Impera Brigades using your machines to get maximum value.
They often play Vanhemar, sometimes it is correct to wait with your weathers until they have played Emhyr or Vanhemar so he does not deny both of them.
You are able to get Iris back with Shani, but do remember that you still give her armor even though she is disloyal.
Keep Summoning Circle for Canteralla.
Against Movement Scoia’taell: Kill of their Dol Blatana Marksman as soon as possible, denying them the most points.
Keep Summoning Circle for Yaevinn.
Try to deny as much Merigold’s Hailstorm value as you can, you do have weather clear so you are mostly able to play in multiple rows. Generally 2 is the best since some lists run Mahakam Pyrotechnician.
Try to play around Aglaïs if you can. This might be impossible sometimes though so don’t shy away from using your good cards when they are actually good.
Against Dagon: really good matchup. You are able to kill all their small units using your machines denying them Yennefer and Commander’s Horn value. Kill their Harpies before they are able to Nekker Warrior them. Making their Nekker Warriors only worth 7 points. They can use Archgriffin to deny Shani targets, so play accordingly.
Against Northern Realms: Try to keep your spy until the last round so their Villentretenmerth burns his own units instead of yours. Killing his Henselt targets might be hard but is very rewarding.
Keep Summoning Circle for his Thaler, since getting last say is really important to use Commander’s Horn without getting Villentretenmerth to burn your own units.
Kill of their Kaedwini Siege Support as soon as possible. They will create a lot of points over time.
If your machine gets locked it won’t go off if you use Kaedwini Siege Master on it.
The Bronze cards are staple and can’t really be changed without lowering the strength of the deck.
If you don’t want to play weathers you can change Keira Metz with Ciri, if you do this change White Frost into Reinforcement.
Ragh Nar Roog with John Natalis.
That’s the end of this Top Faction Decks.
Any feedback is appreciated.
If you have any other ideas or things you would like to see in the future please send them to me “LbDutchboy”on twitter @One_LbDutchboy or on this site.