ESC Card Gaming is happy  to present our new Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng

During the season of November the meta suffered a few little adjustments about the balance between the decks.

The higher presence of Control Lists contributed to lower the power and popularity of some decks such as Shieldwall and Battle Trance, on the other hand Overwhelming Hunger and Patricidal Fury were slightly buffed by this meta shift.

Other factions instead have more or less kept their position on the ladder, maybe having small changes in their lists in order to adapt to the meta.

Nilfgaard, sadly, still doesn’t find a deck able to compete with the other factions in a fair way.

As for the last Meta Snapshot the players from the Academy contributed actively to the Snapshot and to the deck guides, working in pair with our pro players.


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 0 = This section contains t decks that tend to monopolize meta. Decks so superior to others in every aspect that they cannot be placed in Tier 1. Capable of winning easily in any situation, often regardless of the draws.

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.

Special Mentions = Decks difficult to pilot, but in the right hands they can compete against the major tiers. Finally, they have the advantage of the surprise effect which should not be underestimated. These decks are also 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.


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

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

TIER 1

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/95c34dc892e5533380e9fcd215f8e75c

AUTHORS

Ci_87, X-Reis

INTRODUCTION

If this deck was considered the best among the Tier 2 decks in the last season at least, today, with the nerfs that have hit the other factions but have just slightly scratched Scoia’tael, Nature’s Gift represents the most solid and valid deck of the Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng.

STRENGTHS

  • Very strong tempo plays such as Novigradian Justice combined with engines such as Hamadryads or Treant Boar make this deck perform very well in a long round.

  • In short rounds it expresses his maximum strength thanks to plays capable of producing many points, including Harald Gord and Forest Protector, and removals such as Korathi Heatwave.

WEAKNESSES

  • Not having the last say means exposing Harald Gord to the removals of the opponents, for this reason it will be necessary to win the first round against almost all the opponents.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Figgis Merluzzo can be inserted in place of Ele’yas to have a protection but sacrifice one of the strongest tempo plays.

Squirrel can be played in place of a Miner.

This deck can be played in a slightly different version with Pavko and Figgis: https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/220f905ec04b355e8b322dd06f00af80

DIFFICULTY

Medium

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/3e45f8bb972e148bf5dcb563d09ca4f4

AUTHOR

Invictatop, Quigon96

INTRODUCTION

The update 7.3 shook the meta; the Overwhelming Hunger Devotion version is still solid but, due to quite all factions using big engines, non-Devotion version is slightly better because it uses Korathi Heatwave.

STRENGTHS

  • Solid round 1 thanks to key cards such as Endrega Larva, Miruna and Yghern.

  • Versatility, because this deck has a great short round and a good long round, giving the possibility to choose the better strategy depending on the opponent.

  • Oneiromancy assures key cards like Haunt or Korathi Heatwave, essential to remove most problematic opponent cards.

WEAKNESSES

  • Unlike Devotion version, this deck from Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng  lacks cards that permit to obtain more points with less provisions such as Aen Elle Conqueror.

  • Long round 3 weaker than other meta decks one (Shieldwall, Congregate).

  • Possibility to not have key cards when needed, being important to draw specific cards in round 1 like Foglet and Yghern.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Good alternatives are Parasite, The Apiarian Phantom, Barghest and Endriaga Warrior.

There’s a similar list with Devotion: https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/ffe7e87a91bed26a06cd88cf9ebd3945

DIFFICULTY

Medium

TIER 2

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/b9db8a74c2848b80a2b693328f00fd7f

AUTHORS

EleganceJr, Lightman

INTRODUCTION

This Skellige archetype is mostly the same from last season, with the core cards unalterated. The deck of Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng always relies on the Warriors package, which even after the nerfs has proven to be very strong and consistent.
The slight difference from the last season is a higher presence of removals, in order to contrast the actual meta made of strong engines.
In addition the Devotion mechanic is still very solid, remaining very efficient  even without playing some strong neutral cards such as Korathi Heatwave.

STRENGTHS

  • The numerous removals grant a good control on the opponent board.

  • The Warriors package provides both some control tools along with strong tempo plays.

  • Thanks to the synergy with the leader, the deck has a strong short round.

  • The Devotion mechanic allows the deck to play some very strong cards such as Harald An Craite and Skjordal Drummon.

WEAKNESSES

  • Differently from the past, the deck now suffers a lot the opponent push, often forcing the player to give up the leader ability.

  • Using the Devotion mechanic means that we are not able to remove opponent Scenarios.

  • Not having a generic tutor like Oneiromancy means that from time to time the deck can miss some gold cards.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Second An Craite Greatsword can be added removing Morkvarg: Hearth of Terror and adding Madman Lugos.

DIFFICULTY

Average

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/eabce0319ef5ddfd9187d23ca83a6559

AUTHOR

Movius

INTRODUCTION

Shield Wall is confirmed to be one of the strongest (and most present) decks in meta, the nerfs compared to the last patch do not make themselves felt that much, and the strength of this deck remains unchanged both on long round and on short round, so much so that several decks were born played just to counter this, not always successfully.

Nevertheless it lost some power when compared to last season, since meta shifted to a more control decks, as you know from Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng .

STRENGTHS

  • A very strong long round thanks to engines like Vysogota of Corvo, Temerian Drummer and Anna Strenger

  • A very strong short round thanks to the ability of our leader in combo with cards like Prince Anseis and Seltkirk of Gulet

  • Also thanks to the mentioned combo, the deck has an enormous ability to remove enemy high-powered units.

WEAKNESSES

  • The meta has adapted to defeat this deck, inserting cards that specifically cause us various problems, especially removals that ignore shields such as Korathi Heatwave or Curse of Corruption.

  • Some decks tend not to push units to very high strengths, so the risk of not getting a lot of value from our duels can be a factor in some matchups.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Excluding a few 4 provision cards, the rest of the deck is very staple.

DIFFICULTY

Easy

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/ec8cdf86235266c7e4a40cab9133f8ac

AUTHORS

Calupama, Simo4dlc

INTRODUCTION

This type of archetype since the last Season, characterized by Ardent Adepts, has not received interesting changes, the only notable difference is the introduction of a double removal at 5, Payday, which replaces Casino Bouncers in this control version from Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng

STRENGTHS

  • In presence of an optimal hand, Congregate manages to express the best of his potential in the long round.

  • In case the opponent forces us to play in round 2, Ulrich in combo with the Fallen Knight, Whoreson Senior, Sacred Flame, Dies Irae or Grand Inquisitor Helveed, often manage to guarantee the advantage card in round 3 .

  • The Jacques Evolution card on the short round is often a win condition.

WEAKNESSES

  • Starting first, so on blue coin, the archetype often has difficulty in generating points on the field with only bronze cards, outside of the Halfling Burglar.

  • We will often find ourselves having to invest some of our key cards and in the worst case to lose the first round on even.
    Therefore, not having an optimal hand we will often find ourselves suffering during round 2.

TACTICAL CHOICES

You can replace Novigradian Justice with Aazar Javed and change Bare-Knuckle Brawler into a Cleric of the Flaming Rose.

DIFFICULTY

Hard

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/2586317ced43a31e401082b084ab1509

AUTHORS

EleganceJr, WhiteWolf19_

INTRODUCTION

Even after numerous evolutions of the meta, Hidden Cache is still a nice and solid option for Syndacate, even more after the changes to Bomb Heaver so that now is easier to complete Passiflora’s chapters. For this reason we decided to confirm this list at tier 2 of Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng.

STRENGTHS

It’s very hard for the opponent to deal with all the engines this deck is able to put on the board, such as Saul de Navarette, Imke and Passiflora Peaches, able to generate a huge amount of points in a long round.

Passiflora, as all the Scenarios, is able alone to generate a very big amount of point, usually granting us the win of the round where we play it. Anyway it’s key to protect it with Azar Javed, in order to prevent to see it destroyed by Korathi Heatwave.

The Poison package, supported by Maraal, in addition to Philippa Eilhart and Korathi Heatwave grants a lot of possibility to control opponent threats.

WEAKNESSES

This deck really need to win round 1 in order to not being pushed round 2, so the coin is really impactful, going first can be a huge problem cause we risk to lose round 1 and being pushed to a short round 3, where the deck lacks options.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Jacques and Vivaldi Bank can be removed for Oneiromancy and Adriano the Mink, giving more consistency to the deck but giving up on one of the few strong plays for a short round.

In addition you can find the space for Lieutenant Von Herst, another very good engine.

DIFFICULTY

Average

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/bf965ea2a6a6079afe5f580645db98ba

AUTHOR

Clauz

INTRODUCTION

Due to the dominance of Shieldwall in the last season, this leader has proved itself to be a good solution to the problem with this list thanks to his natural synergy with engines and multiple removals such as Forbidden Magic and Boiling Oil, and at the same time it represent the main alternative for Northern Realms.

STRENGTHS

  • Incredibly strong long round thanks to the possibility to summon multiple copies of Redanian Archer and Kaedweni Revenant giving the absolute control of the match.

  • Great and almost infinite removals to counter all other control/engine decks also having really powerful faction gold cards such as Queen Adalia, Falibor and Philippa: Blind Fury.

  • It doesn’t give strong targets in terms of points to Korathi Heatwave (card included in almost every deck).

  • It has Korathi Heatwave.

WEAKNESSES

  • Marginal short round because it can only rely on Falibor as tempo play in a round of 4 or less cards.

  • In case of blue coin there’s the risk to be too slow against another control deck or even to be forced to respect cards such as Philippa Eilhart or Yghern.

  • In case of lost round 1 the opponent will always push, forcing us to play key cards in round 2 making round 3 inevitably short that is disadvantageous for the reason above.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Being a deck main created to counter a specific type of meta, changes are limited. The main and maybe unique significant changes could be:

  • Change a copy of Carroballista with Kerack City Guard to counter specific cards like Keltullis or An Craite Longship.

  • Change Egmund and a copy of Aedirnian Mauler with Vincent Meis and a copy of Redanian Elite or Kerack City Guard to improve match-ups against Monsters and Skellige also putting in 2 anti-push cards.

DIFFICULTY

Very difficult

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/76f7b9a500e0ae454928658d1707e252

AUTHOR

Yami8

INTRODUCTION

The Elven archetype, which seemed to have disappeared after the release of the Master Mirror expansion, has returned in great shape in the last two competitive seasons and seems to have lost none of its strengths. The Elven archetype’s swarm mechanich it’s so too worth about the tier 2 of our Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng.

STRENGTHS

  • The possibility of not playing some high-strength cards, such as highly-powered units, in order to make cards such as Geralt of Rivia or Bloody Baron ineffective.

  • The deck is capable of easily win on even when starting for seconds, thanks to leader’s charges and Aelirenn who, in case of need, almost always help you to stay on the top of your opponent, during round 1.

  • This deck is very difficult to push in round 2, mainly thanks to Aelirenn which forces the opponent to pass quickly, or almost always, to lose the card.

  • There is has a good short round mainly thanks to Vernossiel, which combines with the leader’s charges and Yaevinn or Isengrim Faoiliarna allows the deck to score many points, also Forest Protector and Novigradian Justice are two very important cards for the short round.

  • We have has a wonderful long round thanks to Feign Death and Vernossiel which combined together with the leader’s charges, allow you to destroy the opposing half of the board, and then finally empower all the elves thanks to Isengrim Faoilarna.

  • it has an exceptional push capacity, thanks to Vernossiel, Aelirenn, Yaevinn, Isengrim Faoltiarna, Novigradian Justice and Forest Protector; all cards that in a few plays allow you to make many points, allowing you to go with a card advantage in round 3, or even winning the game directly in round two.

WEAKNESSES

  • The lack of cards such as Oneiromacy or Royal Decree is very heavy. In fact, it is very often not possible to draw all the gold cards in the deck.

  • The deck only plays two Nature’s Rebuke as bronze nature cards, so it is possible that Forest Protector may not fully perform when not drawn.

  • it suffers a lot from cards that damage a single raw such as Hemdall, or Werecat.

  • Against decks that play Korathi Heatwave, Feign Death becomes a useless card, as the deck offers no other cards worth using Korathi Heatwave on, thus forcing the Feign Death mulligan.

  • If the third round is too long, there is a risk of filling half the board too much and therefore having to give up playing one unit or more.

TACTICAL CHOICES

It is possible to play an alternate version of the deck, without Feign Death and the Poison pack, to insert cards such as Call of the Forest, Ele’yas and Dunca in order not to give the opponent a good target to use Korathi Heatwave on and to also have a tutor as Call of the Forest is.

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/82fa0736f094770c859c2dc888d64c34

Difficulty 

Easy

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/7f18b2a37dab37f5c27a09bc2bbff625

AUTHORS

Movius, X-reis

INTRODUCTION 

The Lippy Gudmund deck returns in the Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng a few seasons of being not in the radar.
Its qualities remain almost untouched, which is the possibility of abusing the coin in an absurd way with its strong reusable tempo plays thanks to Lippy Gudmund, and its defects as well, such as the multiple bricks present in the deck and its dependence on having only one gameplan

STRENGTHS 

  • Thanks to the fact of being able to re-use the very strong golds of the deck being a Lippy Gudmund deck, you have the possibility to play a round 1 of only golds, if you draw them of course, this almost always guarantees to win at even cards going for seconds, or to basically always win, going as first.

  • There is a good consistency within the deck, thanks to the Discard package and Oneiromancy.

  • The absence of targets for the opposing’s removals, will make all those cards like Korathi Heatwave and Curse of Corruption, useless.

  • A very strong short round 3, where thanks to Cerys An Craite plus the leader skill guarantees us 25 points straight.

WEAKNESSES 

  • Numerous cards such as Roach, Knickers, Morkvarg and the Drummond Shieldmaiden are cards that you would never want to have in your hand, but because there are so much fo them, the risk will always be very high.

  • Over long rounds the deck has no engines, which means it loses virtually from all the other decks.

  • It suffers from cards like Lacerate and Surrender, because it puts on the board a lot of units without armor nor shields Schirrù is devastating .

TACTICAL VARIANTS 

Space can be found for Vildkaarl, Geralt: Igni, or Curse of Corruption.
The bronze package is also very flexible, and allows you to play your favourite bronzes as you please.

DIFFICULTY

Easy/Medium

TIER 3

DEKCLIST:

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/c9a3a7022279136d3fc4afd4cc7e9ff5

AUTHOR

Quigon96

INTRODUCTION

After the exploit of this list last season, now the meta has quickly adapted and the weaknesses of this deck came out. The return of Schirrù helps in a few match-ups, but the deck remains highly draw dependant and with some key weaknesses.

STRENGTHS

  • A devastating short round, thanks to all the cards capable of accumulating power during the game such as Harald Gord, Sheldon Skaggs and Saesenthessis.

  • Although there are no strong engines, it has a very good long round 3, since the numerous removals available allow you to eliminate the most dangerous opposing units.

  • Leader skill allows you to remove any enemy shields and prepare deathblows.

WEAKNESSES

  • Difficult to manage round 1 while going first.

  • It suffers decks that manage to distribute power among multiple units, such as Overwhelming Hunger and Congregate, if not able to setup Schirrù correctly.

  • A complicated mulligan due to some cards like Brokilon Sentinel.

TACTICAL CHOICHES

None

DIFFICULTY

Average

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/641e76e632ad65c0add73f46cab49cd6

AUTHORS

Yami8, simo4dlc

INTRODUCTION

This deck rised in popularity last season, but now due to a meta with more answers to our key cards, such as Defender and Scenario, the deck is significantly weaker. 

STRENGTHS

  • The deck is able to realize strong tempo plays thanks to the Discard package, which at the same time grants a good consistency to the deck.

  • The deck has a good long round thanks to Svalblod Priest combined with Dracoturtle or the Defender.

  • It has a strong short round too, thanks to the combo between Leader ability and Dracoturtle, worth alone 17 points.

  • Sigdrifa Rite allows the player to re-use the Defender or Dracoturtle, both core cards.

  • Gedyneith grants a second win condition to the deck, combined with the numerous Druids present in the list.

WEAKNESSES

  • Missing a card like Oneiromancy means that the possibility of missing Gedyneith or some other core card is quite high, if we haven’t thinned the deck with the Discard package in the first 2 rounds.

  • Being forced to play Gedyneith round 2 while being pushed can be quite an hard blow to our gameplan.

  • It is vulnerable to all the tall removals so present in the actual meta.

  • It doesn’t run a lot of removal options, having only Gigascorpion Decoction and Korathi Heatwave as control tools.

TACTICAL CHOICES

You can remova Sigdrifa Rite, Gremist and Svalblod Totem to add Oneiromancy, Morkvarg and Stribog Rune, to add some consistency to the deck but losing some good plays.

DIFFICULTY

Easy

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/6b2add69f2af3755b87783a8c836fe6d

AUTHOR

Iamunframed

INTRODUCTION

Inhale deeply, close the eyes, start the match, reopen the eyes and hope to see Ciri: Dash in your starting hand, with some other sober cards like Korathi Heatwave, Oneiromancy and Cavern Troll.
A Ciri: Dash ending her dash can mean winning the game at first round after 4 cards.

In addition to have a bit of luck, you can use your mulligan to find the Defender in order to protect Ciri: Dash, and so playing around the huge amount of tall removals present in the meta (Manticore, Korathi Heatwave, Champion Charge).

If you have Ciri: Dash at round one, and you manage to draw the card, you can either flip the coin at your advantage or obtain a embarassing double card advantage. The addition of the “normal” Ciri can make the situation even worse, for your opponent of course.

For Keltullis it is mostly the same, it’s important that it remains alive but against certain archetypes it will destroy only tokens of 1-2 strength, compromising the deck strategy.

A more detailed guide to this deck is coming soon.

STRENGTHS

  • Ciri and Ciri: Dash allows to flip the coin or gain an insane card advantage.

  • The vanish of Nilfgaard from the ladder indirectly buffed this archetype, since Vincent Van Moherlem is not a frequent threat anymore.

WEAKNESSES

  • Missing both Ciris on round 1 can highly compromise your game, in particular while going first.

  • Against certain archetypes, if we invested too much in the previous rounds, even going into round 3 with 2 card advantage it can be not enough if our hand is garbage.

TACTICAL CHOICES

Squirrel to banish an Echo card or an opponent Yghern, this would help our round 2. Same problem as Bomb Heaver last patch tho, playing Squirrel means hoping of not drawing it in a match-up where we don’t need it.

DIFFICULTY

Hard

DECKLIST

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/746e615674a09ef4ab1fb570331f62ad

AUTHOR

Ci_87

INTRODUCTION

Although remaining pretty much below the other factions, this version of Nilfgaard makes the faction kinda playable at least, which, with the right draws (and hoping that the opponent will miss some cards), manages to rival the other decks of the Gwent MetaSnapshot #8 – Eng.

STRENGTHS

Masquerade Ball continues to be the strongest play of any Nilfgaardian deck, however, thanks to the many Tactics cards, this deck can easily get in control of the game, Hefty Helge for example, if not solved by the opponent, can win a round on its own.

WEAKNESSES

This deck is particularly affected by the coin as it doesn’t have many proactive cards.
Since this deck has not a good short round it is almost mandatory to win the first round in order to prevent any possible push by the opponent during the second round.

TACTICAL CHOICES

You can insert Peter Saar Gwynlev in place of an Amnesty, if done so you must add then the second copy of Battle Preparation instead of a Magne Division, in order to always have 8 Tactics cards in the deck to ensure that the Enslave ability is always set to the value of 5.

DIFFICULTY

Difficult


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