For this Meta Snapshot the ESC Team chose to not rely only on the ability and experience of its player, but also on some objective datas on the spreadness of the decks in the meta, for this reason we gathered the informations that we needed during the season, and we integrated them here, so that you could see them too. This chart is about the factions, and how much they are played:

As you can see Syndicate has a very strong position in the meta, with the other faction a step behind, at least in numbers. This charts instead are, for each faction, which leader abilities are played the most:


Snapshot represents the set of the main competitive decks which, divided by tier, create a complete vision of the current meta. Snapshot varies according by the changes introduced (about every month) each time a new season begins.

Tier 1 = This section contains decks that tend to define the meta, to be competitive against other Tiers 1 and not to be disadvantaged starting from Blue Coins. They provide a favorable match-up against the lower tier decks.

Tier 2 = This section contains decks that are less consistent than Tier 1 but, with optimal access to all the resources of the deck, they could win against Tier 1 decks. They suffer more from the Blue Coin.

Tier 3 = This section contains the decks that can have a good winrate but suffer the match-ups against decks of the upper Tiers. In some cases there may be variations of some cards compared to the stronger Tiers.

Star symbol meaning: The increasing number of stars indicates the strength that the deck expresses within the Tier of belonging. The greater the number of stars, the greater the force expressed.


Writers/Consultants: Movius00, Calupama, Clauz86, Maruth24, Gigifacile, Ci_87, EleganceJR, iamunframed, Giordaniko, Invictatop95
Editing: Miranda

TIER 1

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/7c77364e907d04315ded2b53530c6c4b

AUTHOR

Ci_87

INTRODUCTION

With the new leader ability Hidden Cache, Syndicate changes a little its way to manage its resources, confirming itself as the deck to beat. 

CORE CARDS

Saul de Navarette, Bincy Blumerholdt, Imke.

STRENGTHS

Having a lot of engine, removals and tempo swing (Madame Luiza-Savolla) make this deck almost perfect and hardly answerable.Tinboy can alone annihilate the swarm decks that usually results tricky for this kind of archetype. Sea Jackal having just Hoard 4, thanks to the leader ability, is able to generate an insane amount of points.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Maraal can be played instead of Bincy Blumerholdt if you need one more removal. Also a Coerced Blacksmith can get in instead of the Tax Collector or Bomb Heaver.

DIFFICULTY

Easy

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/b9bd83a37628ed7ddc66e604f36e3a94

AUTHOR

Clauz86

INTRODUCTION

Uprising added value to the Draug archetype, granting the possibility of using the leader charges to protect the engines in an effective way providing also a huge Lyrian: Scytheman which can be over 10 points, and that in case of necessity can even be transformed by Draug.

CORE CARDS

Draug, Queen Adalia, Vissegerd, Caravan Vanguard.

STRENGTHS

The Caravan Vanguard mechanic combined with Draug gives this the deck much more solidity than the Engine version of Uprising, at the price of developing less points in a long round. Another key point is that differently from a lot of other Northern Realms decks, this list is really hard to bleed on round 2 thanks to the gold package which confirms to be very effective, even after giving up on cards such as Philippa: Blind Fury.

WEAKNESSES

With an unfavorable coin in a long round, some control list might be able to remove enough units on the board to make our Draug uneffective, or not effective enough to develop a full Kaedweni Revenant row and so the points we generate might not be enough if combined with non-optimal draws, such as missing high tempo-swing cards such as Falibor.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Some bronze slots can be adapted by personal tastes, for example Temple Guard can be Kaedweni Sergeant or by the second copy of Lyrian: Scytheman.
The only gold which can be changed is Bloody Baron, which could be Geralt: Axii or Korathi Heatwave depending on the match ups you meet.

DIFFICULTY

Average

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/9fa90690cdbde579feba08038b3c44b3

AUTHOR

Movius00

INTRODUCTION

The new leader from Northern Realms is extremely competitive, and in various shapes moreover, this due to his ability of providing protection to the engines in every moment of the game, plus an important tempo swing with Lyrian: Scytheman. This list relies on his engines more than depending just on Draug, allowing you more flexibility and a stronger long round, though it miss the Draug rough power. 

CORE CARDS

Reynard Odo, Anna Strenger, Queen Adalia, Temerian Drummer.

STRENGTHS

This deck has probably the best long round of the game (excluding Death’s Shadow), thanks to his powerful engines and thanks to the fact that playing them in the correct order grants them to be very hard to remove. It is less vulnerable to bleed than the Draug version, and has some great tempo plays which should allow you to have your word even in short rounds.

WEAKNESSES

In a short round this deck is not excellent, but if you get to a short round it means that your opponent bleeded you, so you should have card advantage and that is usually enough if you managed to keep Falibor and/or Prince Anseis.

TACTICAL CHOICES

4 provision cards are very flexible, this list plays what seems to be the best for the archetype, but as said they can be changed without much pain. Personal suggestion, Bloody Baron can be Korathi Heatwave.

DIFFICULTY

Average / Hard

TIER 2

REFERENCE LIST:

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/dfc4cf3a53c9cc17f3fd879b09b23c31

AUTHOR

Ci_87

INTRODUCTION

The deck is very similar to the one proposed up in this snapshot, but in this version Passiflora is played, this improves a lot our already strong long round, but it comes at a price, in fact we risk to see our strategy ruined by Bomb Heaver. Moreover we have to give up on some good cards as Bincy and Imke.

CORE CARDS

Passiflora, Saul de Navarette, Azar Javed.

STRENGTHS

Passiflora in a long round generates an embarassing amount of points, usually enough to carry us to the victory, with Madame Luiza and Savolla managing a short round. This gives us a lot of flexibility over the game.
The possibility of using the leader’s ability every turn gives this deck more proactive actions and allow the owner to start with even more money in the following rounds. The lack of sure money every round was a little problem in Syindicate, now solved thanks to this leader.

WEAKNESSES

Playing Passiflora without having a defender on board can be very risky, exposing it to the opponent’s removal, such as Bomb Heaver, which is in every deck, which could destroy the deck strategy and maybe cost the game.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Coerced Blacksmith instead of Bomb Heaver in order to boost your little defenders can be a nice option.

DIFFICULTY

Average

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/d9127a9a0aeac6063bbd70118fe7d7a2

AUTHOR

Maruth24

INTRODUCTION

Congregate is an unusual deck for Syndicate as it has a lot of tempo plays and is not tied to the classic Hoard and Tribute/Fee mechanics. Our leader is mainly used in combo with Whoreson Senior, as it gives us 3 coins and 3 Adept tokens, 2 of which we can transform in our engines by paying the Senior tribute. With their Bonded ability, they will deal two random damage for each use of a Crime card. The deck is very synergistic with Crime cards indeed, so we can take advantage of Intimidate mechanic present in several of our units (Crownsplitter Thug, Whoreson Senior, Madame Luiza, the Dwarf that we pull out with Novigradian Justicia) and Harald Gord as a finisher.
Deck therefore with a very aggressive strategy and with a lot of templo plays which performs better in short medium rounds, being also able to push engine decks and disrupt their gameplan.

CORE CARDS

Portal, Novigradian Justicia, Whoreson Senior, Harald Gord.

STRENGTHS

Excellent finishers for a short round with Luiza-Savolla and Harald Gord, the deck also has a good long round thanks to Intimidate abilities and to Whoreson Senior.
Deck’s thinning is particularly effective, so it’s very solid.

WEAKNESSES

The deck suffers a lot from Scenario decks for not playing Bomb Heaver, moreover the long round although good is still suffering from decks such as Passiflora or Uprising, thus forcing the deck to always be used aggressively against these decks to look for the short round or even the 2-0.
In addition, the deck has many small removals but not a big removal nor a restore, so it suffers decks that enhance engines or other particularly annoying units that could be lethal (like some unsolved defenders).

TACTICAL CHOICES

You can take out Procession of Penance to put a Bomb Heaver and Geralt Yrden instead of Grand Inquisitor Helveed.                           

DIFFICULTY

Medium   

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/58bdae4c8f791f80e868aa40b68a9b2a

AUTHOR

Clauz86

INTRODUCTION

With the new patch Imposter it’s a valid (and often better) alternative to Tactical Decisions as a leader ability for Double Scenario archetype, directly countering a lot of top tier decks of the meta as Syndacate and Northern Realms.

CORE CARDS

Masquerade Ball, Matta Hu’uri, Assire Var Anahid, Vanhemar.

STRENGTHS

Adding to the normal advantage against deck which tends to boost single units or to develope huge bodies on the board thanks to the poison package, this list has some control tools such as leader ability + Vanhemar, and some anti-swarm tools too, such as Lacerate and Triss: Telekinesis, which is what usually this archetype lacks, allowing the deck to fight even with the usually-worse match ups, the swarming ones.

WEAKNESSES

The presence of Bomb Heaver in the vast majority of the competitive lists can in some occasions result oppressive if we can’t find Assire Var Anahid in round 2 or 3. Nevertheless the gold cards are tuned in a way that guarantees very solid draws of the core cards.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Master of Disguise can be switched with the second copy of Tourney Joust, while King Cobra can be removed to play something like a purify or Rot Tosser.

DIFFICULTY

Hard

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/c73f5352a101ca9be0d194e503a6c8b0

AUTHOR

Gigifacile

INTRODUCTION

Despite the new faction ability added with the latest expansion that rewards dwarves based archetypes, harmony is still the most solid and performing deck out there when it comes to Scoia’tael. While other decks such as Uprising or Hidden Cache are stronger on the long round, Mystic Echo has a chance to be competitive on all 3 rounds, particularly having a very fearsome short round 3.

CORE CARDS

The Great Oak, Water of Brokilon, Barnabas Beckenbauer, Percival Shuttenbach, Fauve.

STRENGTHS

As mentioned, the deck manages to perform well on all 3 rounds. Percival Schuttenbach and the poison package can keep the opponent under control on round 1, often allowing us to win. In round 2 push is often the best strategy, using Water of Brokilon and even Barnabas Beckenbauer if necessary. Finally, in a short round 3 with only 4 cards in hand, the leader is able to generate up to 16 points simply by replaying Water of Brokilon from the graveyard.

WEAKENESSES

Whereas in the past Harmony was the ultimate engine deck, with new faction skills added with the latest leader expansion Syndicate and Northern Realms have taken the lead on this kind of archetypes. Mystich Echo is not able to keep up with the large number of engines played by these two factions and, if you are not able to win round 1, often the chances of victory become very slim. In addition the deck suffers against Nilfgaard poisons as in the deck we have a limited number of purify.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Gold cards are virtually untouchable. As for bronzes, you can choose movement cards, such as the Vrihedd Dragon or, if we face many poisons, a second copy of Vrihedd Sappers. You can also swap Crusching Trap, if you see that it fails to make many points, and insert in its place a second copy of Hawker Smuggler.

DIFFICULTY

Easy

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/37c4687ee39aa1f8f56737e714a9bafb

AUTHOR

Calupama

INTRODUCTION

This archetype, already present in last season, despite cards like Damien and Skellen has been nerfed, is still a solid archetype that can compete well against other Tier 1 archetypes.

CORE CARDS

Damien de la Tour, Stefan Skellen and Letho: Kingslayer.

STRENGTHS

The deck has the ability to generate many points through key cards such as Damien and Stefan Skellen and the same Letho combined with one of those. At worst the Hefty Helge or the Defender (Ffion van Garnel) guarantees the archetype a certain structural solidity as a whole.

WEAKNESSES

If you are unable to activate the Damien or Stefan Skellen order ability the deck will lose much of its power. Also, with lack of removals the deck could suffer particularly engines.

TACTICAL CHOICES

You can choose to replace Letho Kingslayer with Lambert or Vilgefortz, in this case you can swap a 5-provision card for a 4 and put in War Council.

DIFFICULT

Easy

TIER 3

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/5cd85a5fa02cfb9a8e649d9f16e70a05

AUTHOR

Calupama

INTRODUCTION

With the release of the new patch we tried for a week, without success, the new Overwhelming Hunger ability. Monsters has returned to an old archetype well performing that bases his strength on the Kikimore Queen.

CORE CARDS

Renew, Kikimore Queen, Royal Decree, Caranthir.

STRENGTHS

This deck with optimal draws can generate an absurd amount of points. It’s most likely the deck that can generate the most points among all those currently played.

WEAKNESSES

Loosing the first round and be pushed on the second to waste our combo can heavily weaken the third round.

TACTICAL CHOICES

There aren’t many variations in this archetype which is perfectly balanced in the choices made in this decklist linked above.

DIFFICULT

Average

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/d7478f365916a0727c98aafe415ebe07

AUTHOR

EleganceJR

INTRODUCTION

With the arrive of the new leaders, the Leader Abilities acquired even more importance and power than before. So it seems like it’s the right moment to play the dear Lockdown!
This list combines the leader ability and both poison and soldier package in order to completely disrupt the opponent gameplan.
The deck relies a lot on Masquerade Ball, which allows the player to create the points he lack from the low provisions this deck has, moreover it can be played twice with Assire var Anahid, even in the same round.

CORE CARDS

Ramon Tyrconnel, Masquerade Ball, Assire Var Anahid, Matta Hu’uri.

STRENGTHS

Just on his own the leader ability is enough to cause problems to all the decks which relies on a particular combo with the leader, such as Ursine Ritual and Mystic Eco.
Everyone knows how important is to win round 1 in this meta, and the combination of Ramon Tyrconnel and Ard Feainn: Crossbowman it’s the key to achieve so, cause it gives all our soldier an higher value and allows us to manage better a long round 1, even more if going second.
Thanks to Assire Var Anahid, anyway, this deck can afford to invest Masquerade Ball on round 1, or otherwise to have the option of reshuffling it into the deck after suffering a Bomb Heaver.

WEAKNESSES

As every other Lockdown deck, it suffers a lot the lack of single cards able to do an high tempo play, due to the low number of provisions, so it has an hard time in a short round or when your better cards hide themselves in the deck.
The ability of the player, and the tech cards following the evolving of the meta, acquire much more importance in this deck, cause it can’t be allowed to lose even a point, since the deck doesn’t generate a lot of them.

TACTICAL CHOICES

In the case of meeting a lot of swarm decks (such as Deadeye Ambush) or if there is the need of a removal for Azar Javed there is the option of removing Maraal for Lambert: Swordmaster.

DIFFICULTY

Average / High

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/3b33f322d1389e32b2a2e26e2f01bdef

AUTHOR

Movius00

INTRODUCTION

Playing Lippy Gudmund allows this deck to slam a lot of gold cards in round 1, generating a lot of point and eventually winning the round, since after that you can shuffle those cards back in your deck just to re-use them again.
Despite that, it must be said that the deck has a lot of weak points, as bricks and coin-dependancy.

CORE CARDS

Lippy Gudmund, Cerys an Craite, Vildkaarl.

STRENGTHS

Round 1 this deck is somehow embarrassing, while the opponent plays mostly bronze cards, this deck plays mostly gold cards, which usually ends up in the opponent surrender giving up the round, sometimes also on even cards. Moreover the deck is really strong in a short round 3, thanks to Vildkaarl, Sigdrifa’s Rite and the powerful Cerys an Craite (moreover if played for the second time).

WEAKNESSES

This deck sadly is highly draw-dependant and coin-dependant. Going first means not being sure of winning round 1, eventually failing our gameplan. Moreover drawing bad in round 1, or even bricking a card or 2, drives your finger right into the “esc” “enter” combination on the keyboard. In addition we lose in a long round 3 to basically every other deck, since we don’t play any engine, the binary gameplan of this deck is probably the major problem.

TACTIC CHOICES

There are a few cards viable at 10 provisions, this list presents Geralt: Igni, but also Svalblod Totem or Morkvarg: Heart of Terror are nice options. Dimun Light Longship can be An Craite Longship at your personal taste. Hammond can be Jutta an Dimun.

DIFFICULTY

Average / hard

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/676446e42e1bf58725523629b3b1a3f5

AUTHOR

Gigifacile

INTRODUCTION

With the latest patch the swarm elves archetype received a good buff, mainly thanks to the new Ele’yas effect, card that now allows you to put up to 3 elves on the board in one shot. Despite this, due to meta which shifted to engine-based decks, this archetype is no longer performing as in the past and has been downgraded as the second best Scoia’tael deck, behind the archetype Harmony.

CORE CARDS

Vernossiel, Isengrim Faoiltiarna, Aelirenn, Yaevinn, The Great Oak.

STRENGTHS

The biggest strength of the deck is the ability to make a huge amount of points in very few cards, especially if Aelirenn is still inside the deck. The leader is also very synergistic with the various Isengrim Faoiltiarna and Yaevinn and is therefore able to play for 15 points. The deck is also very solid even starting on blue coin and does not suffer particularly Nilfgaard poisons, as the highest card does not even reach 10 points.

WEAKNESSES

As said before, the meta has moved to decks that rely heavily on engines. Although this deck has still good control cards, with Milaen and Yaevinn above all, these are not enough to keep all the cards of the opponents under control and in a long round there is no hope of victory. Also, since Bomb Heaver has now become diffused, the version of this deck with Scenario is no longer usable, making the short round of this deck weaker than before.

TACTICAL CHOICES

You can also play this deck in the Scenario version. When this snapshot comes out, all decks play Bomb Heaver, so it is not recommended to use this version. In case you still want to try it click below (https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/b267b3fa056e30efd3252199099e37d4)

DIFFICULTY

Hard

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