ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 - ENG

Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 – ENG

ESC Card Gaming is happy to present our new Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 in English!

In the December season, Gwent’s meta underwent major changes with the release of the Way of the Witcher expansion.

This snapshot is the result of a meticulous work done by the ESC Team.
The selected lists have been chosen on the basis of specific criteria, which are: presence in the ladder, personal tastes of our competitive players and win rates.

In this Update we have decided to place Scoia’tael in Tier 1, with an updated list of Precision Strike and the classic Elves Movement list; and Nilfgaard, which thanks to this solid version of Lockdown sets itself among the most performing decks of the moment.

Skellige with Lippy is downgraded to Tier 2, given the different counters that have appeared in the ladder, but the classic Warrior deck is also being added with surplus of a small Witcher Bear pack.

We have decide to place the famous Viy deck in the Tier 2, although we are aware of its strength we decided to insert it as the first deck of this Tier because there are so many counters to it in the ladder right now, and according to our parameters, it is not plausible to insert a deck which is so countered, especially when it is so common to encounter Nilfgaard Lockdown.

Also we find the fearsome Turbo Kolgrim in the Tier 2, a decidedly performing deck in all its versions.

Unfortunately, Northern Realms continue to have difficulties, it only has two performing decks at the moment, Swarm Witcher and Revenant, but neither of them can arrive at particular heights of performance.

We finally decided not to include any Syndicate deck, as at the moment it is the least performing faction and it is not very much seen and used in Ladder.


Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 – ENG Changelog

4 January 2021:

Tier adjustments:

  • Lippy Snowdrop Tier 1 ⇒ Tier 2

TIER 1

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/b8a91a5639455160d0f8036661f9d679

AUTHOR

Gigifacile

INTRODUCTION

With the release of the new expansion, the long-forgotten archetype Movement is back in vogue, it became very soon one of the strongest option in the ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 ENG.
Although ST has a leader ability designed specifically for movement, Guerrilla Tactics, we think that a more Control-centric version that uses Precision Strike as a leader is more performing, as it combines the ability to generate points over time with options to block the opponent’s plans.

STRENGTHS

  • It has a performing long round, thanks to the large amount of engines in our possession and two cards such as Gaetan and Crushing Trap.

  • The ability to keep the opponent’s board under control thanks to cards such as Nature’s Rebuke and the same leader’s ability.

  • Fair strength in a short round, given by a leader who plays for 11 points and Novigrad Justice who plays for 13.

WEAKNESS

  • Yrden and some row punish are bugbears that can hurt a lot.

  • The placement of cards is too difficult to get the maximum number of points.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Malena is definitely a card to consider, because it synergizes with our engines, and because it can line up opposing units on the same row and then get value with Crushing Trap and Gezras.

There is also a variant of this deck that play with Devotion.
You can find this variant at this link https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/5819301784bca00917b7d66368129610

DIFFICULTY

Difficult/Very difficult

ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 - ENG

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/5142c3dd5431b9401fcd782523e6bf57

AUTHOR

Clauz

INTRODUCTION

Because of the evolution of the meta, the Lockdown list has adapted to it, the soft removals prevent the old engines from imposing themselves as it was before, leaving space for the abuse of counter engines such as Master of Disguise which, thanks to the abuse of the units that block other cards, takes a huge amount of value especially in round 1 without giving up the core of the deck consisting in the Scenario and Aristocrats.

STRENGTHS

  • A very strong long round 3 thanks to Masquerade Ball and the gold Aristocrats.

  • There’s a very synergistic pack of engines even among the bronzes.

  • Denying the opposing Leader is often considered a win condition.

WEAKNESSES

  • It is really punishable by good opponents pushes that will force us to use Scenario/Usurper in round 2.

  • The presence of Crystal Skull among the Stratagems makes the red coin less abusable.

  • It is pretty much countered by any Swarm decks.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Leo Bonhart, Ard Feinn Crossbowman.

DIFFICULTY

Medium

ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 - ENG

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/d72242c5fb3e66dc2830f496e3de0190

AUTHOR

Clauz, Quigon

INTRODUCTION

With the introduction of the new cards of the expansion, first of all Gezras and Witcher of the Cat, the movement mechanic of Scoia’tael has regained vigor; thanks also to the recent buff to Dol Blathanna Sentry we have an micro-combo engine that easily gets out of control by developing a great amount of points in the long round making the engines themselves difficult to remove at the same time.
In addition to these new mechanics, we can always count on the excellent tempo play of the elf units and Scenario that in combination with Gaetan and Dol Blathanna Sentry develop a value that can be considered ridiculous. So this deck absolutely represents Tier 1 in our ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 ENG.

STRENGHTS

  • It’s so strong both in short and long rounds.

  • It has a decent amount of points in order to easily play all of the 3 rounds.

  • Impossible or almost impossible to be pushed.

  • Little influenced by the coin compared to many other top tiers.

  • Great tutors and even better thinning thanks to Oneiromancy, Aelirenn and Justice of Novigrad.

WEAKNESSES

  • This list has no particular weaknesses except in some sporadic cases of Geralt: Yrden or Geralt: Igni.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Isengrim Faolitiarna, Stygga Castle.

DIFFICULTY

Average

ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 ENG

TIER 2

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/4c95a282c12250c82f145bca758ad25d

AUTHOR

Invictatop

INTRODUCTION

The highly anticipated “Way of the Witcher” expansion was released with Update 8.0.
Overwhelming Hunger as leader continues to be the best of the Monsters faction, but this time with a new and improved version, which in the early days of the new meta won the title of “most hated deck of all”, due to Viy.
This deck is based on a massive cycle of points-slam, guaranteed by the very particular effect of Viy and by the build of this deck, built on an impressive pack of tutors and consume, essential in order to search and devour Viy continuously. This deck is capable of producing an impressive amount of points, hard to contest, and they are also very easy to obtain in a small amount of time, that’s the key.
Without answers to Viy or its archetype, playing the ladder would have been difficult. The deck is now further behind from the exceptional start of the season, but it was so all-encompassing that it still deserved a position in the top Tier 2.

STRENGTHS

  • Viy it’s conceptually a particular card, but one of the few that is acceptable within a faction as a Monsters with very few control tools.

  • The tutors of the deck and the engines they consume allow you to replay it and instantly put it back in the deck, thus preventing the direct removal of Viy by the opponent.

  • The deck produces so many points at such a speed that it forces the opponent to invest most of his best cards to keep up with simple plays of the Viy deck.

  • It has the ability to easily secure the victory of the first round and to push the second, thanks to the solidity guaranteed by Scenario.

  • The massive tutor package gives an unexpected consistency to a deck like this.

  • Ihuarraquax suddenly becomes a great play when used properly. For example in the mirrors, on the opponent’s pass.

WEAKNESSES

  • The deck seemed so overwhelming that many began to play against Viy, inserting cards such as Spores or Geralt: Yrden almost everywhere.

  • It suffers from match-ups against engines decks such as Scoia’tael ones, this happen because even if those decks look slow they are able to score more points than Viy as the round progresses.

  • Suffers a lot from Lockdown. Especially when the opponent fits the blocks well.

  • If the opponent takes Viy away from us, the deck collapses on itself and stops working.

  • The list does not interact at all with the enemy’s cards, thus preventing you from eliminating annoying engines or defenders.

TACTICAL CHOICES

This is the more standard version of the famous Viy deck. We don’t feel like recommending any particular changes, if not the inclusion of some tech cards, such as Spores or Yrden, useful in mirror matches. However, adding or removing gold remains difficult, the deck build is delicate and is based on the solidity of using Viy at its best.

DIFFICULTY

Easy

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/b30bf0b4ac303f689f0dfa8c9015f9f8

AUTHOR

Fritzdecat

INTRODUCTION

Lippy has been a valid alternative within the Skellige faction for several seasons.With the release of the Way of the Witcher expansion, and with the new patch, it also received a major boost, making it one of the most popular decks in the Ladder. The Lippy’s version of our ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 ENG takes advantage of the addition of an important card like Snowdrop, which gives further stability to the archetype, and, in the meantime, produces a considerable amount of points in combo with the discard package. The inclusion of a small pack of Bear Witcher seemed to us to be synergistic and useful in increasing the capacity of the deck.

STRENGTHS

  • The deck is capable of being decidedly more overwhelming with the red coin, because it quickly produces many points through its quick plays: Snowdrop, Birna, Cerys, Totem.

  • Lippy is an archetype who can afford to invest a lot in order to take round 1, these cards also allow a uick and devastating push.

  • Lippy and Cerys in the short round are two incredible plays.

  • This deck has the option to invest a key card like Korath in round 1 because it always has the option to play it again during round 3.

  • Snowdrop and the Discard package give solidity and reach to the archetype.

  • The Bear Witcher package in combo with Lugos and the Location develop many points, important for the logic of the deck.

  • Quartermaster and an additional Quartermaster summoned from the Location help to react to decidedly unfavorable match-ups such as Nilfgaard Lockdown.

WEAKNESSES

  • The risk of bricking has decreased, but it has not disappeared. The danger of starting round 1 with a very unplayable hand risks putting us in bad situations.

  • It suffers match-ups against particularly aggressive archetypes, the ones that capable of developing many points quickly, and, above all, of doing damage to the board. In this sense Scoia’tael Movement is a tough opponent for Lippy.

  • It suffers from two versions of Nilfgaard: Lockdown and Assimilate. Lockdown is an unfavorable match-up for obvious reasons, without the leader it is difficult to develop our combos. Assimilate, on the other hand, is capable of holding up round 1, and, in a possible long round 3, could stand above Lippy in terms of points.

TACTICAL CHOICES

This is the most used version in the meta, carefully tested by all our players and analysts. We point out that this version of Lippy only plays Oneiromancy as a tutor, if Squirrel will be back into the meta, it would make sense to optimize the list by inserting a second tutor, necessary to be sure to catch Cerys in round 3.

Another important variant is the one that sees the inclusion of Triss: Telekinesis and Lacerate, very useful against Scoia’tael and in the mirrors.

It is possible to replace a Bear Witcher Quartermaster with a Stunning Blow.

DIFFICULTY

Easy

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/bcbd8201a1dc61389634cdf621d25d14

AUTHOR

Ci_87

INTRODUCTION

The Assimilation mechanic finds in this meta, which is full of engines deck, its perfect spot. If we add the possible removal given by the Scenario, we have a deck that plays well against all the others without having too many negative match-ups.

STRENGTHS

  • We will copy opponent engines while we fill the opponent’s half of the field making his game plan difficult.

  • Angouléme almost always finds an artifact in the opponent’s deck, and in the matches against other Nilfgaard decks it becomes devastating, being able to play 2 Masquerade Ball.

  • Having engines that also represent tempo plays, such as Braathens, makes it difficult for the opponent to push, guaranteeing solidity to our deck.

WEAKNESSES

  • Against engines decks this deck is phenomenal, instead against control decks suffers a lot from the removals on the first engines and the fact that we won’t have too much value from the Duchess’s Informant.

  • There are very few Aristocrats, therefore, both in the mulligan phase and in the management of resources, a lot of attention is needed.

TACTICAL CHOICES

You can insert Usurper for Triss: Telekinesis to have a tempo play even in a short round. In order to do this you will have to insert a Tournament Joust in place of Thirsty Dame.

DIFFICULTY

Medium / Difficult

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/4398f4c127d652163ca0112669b5e61b

AUTHOR

Fritzdecat

INTRODUCTION

In addition to the conventional Nilfgaard archetypes, the latest expansion introduced a new effective mechanic to the faction, based on the new Witcher of the Viper: Kolgrim.

In ESC Card Gaming Team we have decided to bring you the more classic version of him in out Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 – ENG, which uses the Tactical Decision Leader skill, even if Turbo Kolgrim is a deck that you can encounter in ladder with any Leader skills.

STRENGTHS

  • The deck has a very efficient number of tempo plays, which help us to easily win the first round.

  • It uses a certain amount of cards capable of making us thin out the deck, in order to make it fairly easier to find the key cards of the archetype.

  • The inclusion of Renew allows this deck to add potential to its push phase during the second round, as we may even think to use Kolgrim himself during the push.

  • Putting useless cards on top of the opponent’s deck proved to be a very good anti-meta strategy.

WEAKNESSES

  • It basically has only one win condition: Kolgrim. Losing Kolgrim will most likely bring you a defeat.

  • The deck risks several bricks, so you have to pay a lot of attention to the mulligan phase.

  • It plays very badly against some controls deck that have the ability to easily remove the Defender and Kolgrim, this happens particularly often in match-ups against other Nilfgaard decks.

TACTICAL CHOICES

  • Remove Affan for Artorius Vigo.

  • Kolgrim is a very independent deck, it doesn’t rely on the Leader’s ability that much, so you can play it with any Nilfgaard Leaders, especially with Lockdown and Imposter are the most common choices.

DIFFICULTY

Easy

ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 - ENG

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/9a6e39db6fd3833ffbdff8050fb4ce6a

AUTHOR

Ci_87

INTRODUCTION

This super control deck is able to remove any unit put into play by the opponent only by making the most out of the Onslaught ability, and in this meta, full of engines deck, makes this particular deck able to express its maximum potential.

STRENGTHS

  • Combining the damage of the Leader’s ability with the removals that are in the deck guarantees full control over the opponent’s board.

  • Tempo plays like Svalblod Totem and tall removals like Hjalmar an Craite give the deck versatility in both short and long rounds.

WEAKNESSES

  • It suffers a lot against pushes in round 2, because this deck must take control of the game and for this reason, it becomes very important to win round 1.

  • Against point-slam decks, taking Viy as an example, this deck fails to keep up with them.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Rather than making changes to the list, you can use another deck with a different Leader’s ability, a more canonic ability such as Patricidal Fury.

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/60ecd5d59bdf7b60445662b7f3c9259c

DIFFICULTY

Difficult

ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 - ENG

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/1c57b3d7837046a4558542f178429537

AUTHOR

Yami8

INTRODUCTION

The meta is evolving and changing almost every day, and despite everything in the last few days an old deck from last month is returning to the scenes: the Revenant Mobilization.

The deck has a series of very positive match-ups; as against Scoia’tael, Swarm Northern Realms, Viy, and Assimilate.
In general it does pretty well against all engine decks, though it has some very bad match-ups; such as: Skellige; both in Lippy and Warrior versions; and Nilfgaard; against all of them exception made for Assimilate.
In short, it suffers a lot against Control decks.

STRENGTHS

  • It’s very strong against engine decks as it is able to control the board thanks to the damaging units at our disposal.

  • The deck uses a huge amount of engines which make it difficult for many decks to be able to clear them all at once.

  • It hardly uses any high-strength cards (other than those taken by Amphibious Assault), which never, or almost, puts us at risk of tall removals.

  • This deck has a good push ability using Queen Adalia in combination with the Leader skill.

  • It is very good over long rounds.

WEAKNESSES

  • It has a good ability to resist pushes, but if you fail to keep your best cards for round 3, you can easily lose even with card advantages.

  • Deck needs to take the initiative against many match-ups, so it is often almost mandatory to push even with a not optimal hand.

  • It suffers a lot from control decks, as they can clear many engines at once.

TACTICAL CHOICES

None

DIFFICULTY

Medium/Difficult

ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 - ENG

TIER 3

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/08728f12520bc2fe89e4d2946b549d01

AUTHOR

MoviusMatteolewa2497

INTRODUCTION

With the introduction of The Way of the Witcher, Northen Realms has turned towards a swarm archetype, capable of putting many pieces on the field and winning with the classic Lyria: Scytheman of 20 points each.
Thanks to new additions from Erland, Leo, and the reworked Vesemir: Mentor, this deck has carved out its own space in the ESC GWENT Meta Snapshot #9 ENG.

STRENGTHS

  • Very strong push in round 2, thanks to the possibility of playing many pieces in a short time, especially thanks to the Witcher Trio.

  • Thanks to Vesemir: Mentor and Erland the deck has a major carryover, which makes the rounds after the first one, very strong.

  • A good short round 3, thanks to the fact that even if you will be playing only bronze, they will all be 7/8 points thanks to the carryover.

  • Different tutors and thinners guarantee consistency and solidity to the deck and to the draws, with the Griffin Mentors who also help to fix the hand in case of bricks.

WEAKNESSES

  • A weak round 1 where we make slow plays to prepare for the carryover.

  • Vulnerable to Geralt: Yrden.

  • Despite many tutors, not finding Erland or Vesemir: Mentor round 1 complicates the game a lot.

  • Dependent on Griffin Witcher Adepts, the deck’s gameplan is heavily damaged if they are countered.

  • Many cards have Adrenaline 4 or less, making the fourth or fifth turn, in which we cannot play them yet, a very complicated moment of the game, as we may find ourselves without plays.

TACTICAL CHOICES

King Roegner, Kaer Seren.

DIFFICULTY

Average

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/b39c08256b71e72cb792024140924c93

AUTHOR

Fritzdecat

INTRODUCTION

All the Monsters fans are eager to try the faction with something that differs from the usual Turbo Viy, in this case, we are talking about the deck based on the new gigantic insect Koshchey, it is surely for you. You can play this deck with either Force of Nature or Fruits of Ysgith.

STRENGTHS

  • The deck can count on a lot of Tempo plays, useful in order to secure the various rounds without spending excessive resources.

  • It has a decidedly efficient combo, based on Caranthir and Koshchey, which secure us an inexpensive and at the same time effective push.

  • Cards such as Geralt:Yrden or Geralt: Igni are an alternative win condition that can be used for many difficult match-ups, for example against Viy.

WEAKNESSES

  • The deck does not have many control cards, this makes some match-ups difficult for us, for example against the majority of the Scoia’tael archetypes.

  • Koshchey is our main win condition, some high tier decks can remove it very easily, and we don’t have enough space to insert cards like the Defender.

  • We tend to not use Devotion, so we leave out useful cards like Auberon to insert Oneiromancy, in an attempt to give more consistency to the deck. 

  • Despite this trick, missing key cards always put us on the rick of compromising pur games.

  • The deck suffers from long rounds, especially since there is a concrete risk of filling the board if we play two Koshcheys at the same time. Pay attention to the space.

TACTICAL CHOICES

  • Remove Geralt: Igni and insert Geralt: Yrden, according to personal taste.

  • We can modify the entire structure of the deck, transforming it into a Devotion deck, thus removing the Neutrals and inserting Naglfar as a tutor. 

  • This deck can be played by changing Leader, choosing Force of Nature, to recover 4 precious Provisions.

DIFFICULTY

Easy

ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 - ENG

Special Mentions

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/b487ab11a963e5f50e218bc4b8af6dba

AUTHOR

AnthonyTheStampede, Quigon96

INTRODUCTION

The Keltullis deck has been around for several seasons already, despite the release of the Way of The Witcher expansion, we think it’s still a good choice for playing Monsters in this meta.

The deck ends up in Special Mentions of Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 – ENG, despite having the potential to be a good Tier 2, because it is very difficult to play.
Keltullis is mostly playable only by Pro Players, who want to increase their Monster MMR above 2500/2550. 

That’s because compared to Viy, it has less binary match-ups against the current top tier decks.

STRENGTHS

  • Keltullis deck has the ability of being able to easily “flip” the coin when it goes into blue thanks to the effect of the Ciri: Dash card.

  • The deck has a solid core which allows it to produce a good amount of points in medium/long rounds.

  • It uses the ability of Keltullis to destroy those decks that tend to swarm or put a lot of bodies on the board, such as Northern Realms or Scoia’tael or even Lippy.

  • Compared to other Monsters decks it suffers a lot less the difficult match-ups, like those against Nilfgaard, first of all Lockdown.

WEAKNESSES

  • The deck does not have many plays, you have to be careful to use the resources in the various rounds.

  • It is very complicated to manage, even in the mulligan phase. You need to be very familiar with the analysis of the match-ups, to choose what to keep and what to mulligan away.

  • If essential cards such as Keltullis and Ciri: Dash are removed, it can greatly invalidate our gameplay.

  • Keltullis is a double-edged sword, the risk is that it can punish inexperienced players. Saying it with straight, it’s not a deck for weak hearts.

TACTICAL CHOICES

You can replace Pellar with the Naglfar’s Taskmaster, you can remove the Frenzied D’ao to upgrade some bronzes that were at 4 provisions into 5 provisions cards.

DIFFICULT

Difficult

ESC Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 - ENG

Our MetaSnapshots represent the set of decks considered competitive by our Team Analysts, decks specially selected to reflect the Ladder’s meta.
These decks are chosen based on several criteria: frequency at which specific archetypes are encountered in Ladder, win rate of the selected lists, ratio between negative and positive match-upspersonal tastes of our Competitive Players.

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 Coin. They provide a favorable match-up against the lower Tier decks.

Tier 2 = This section contains decks that are less consistent than Tier 1 even if with a high win rate, slightly lower than those in Tier 1. They have a slightly higher amount of negative match-ups.

Tier 3 = This section contains decks that can have a good win rate but suffer the match-ups against decks of the upper Tiers.

Special Mentions = Decks difficult to pilot, but in the right hands they can compete against the upper Tiers. Eventually, they have the advantage of the surprise effect which should not be underestimated. Usually these decks are not recommended for inexperienced players.

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.

Each Faction does not need to be represented by at least one list.


Gwent Meta Snapshot #9 – ENG

Writers/Consultants: Movius00, Calupama, Clauz86, Maruth24, Gigifacile, Ci_87, EleganceJR, AnthonyTheStampede, Invictatop95, Fritzdecat, Whitewolf19__, X-reis, Matteo2497, Quigon96, Yami8, Simo4dlc, MrMagretti.

Management/Editing/Translation: Movius00, Fritzdecat, Miranda, Gaeriv, Giordaniko, Ghostemane.


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