Link to the original Playgwent patch 6.1 notes:
Update 6.1 for the Gwent Season of Elves 2020 introduces above all six new leader abilities and rework of the Dwarves archetype in Scoia’tael. Out of the new 6 leader abilities, we predict that 4 could find its way to become competitive, and 1 will probably become meta defining: Hidden Cache. New leader abilities are discussed in details in a dedicated article, we will not analyze them here.
On the other hand, we predict that reworked Dwarves archetype will not find place in top level competitive Gwent, except for a few cards, like Miners which would perfectly fit to Harmony based engine decks. Still, the archetype is very interesting, and decent results are achievable with careful play and anti-meta techs.
This time i am joined by Danirai – the youngest and most savage Legacy player, who took care of all notes except for the most tedious Scoia’tael and Neutrals. Enjoy!
- New Keyword: Initiative – trigger ability if using this card is the first action during your turn.
Comment: Interesting novelty. Cards with ‘Initiative’ keyword would require the board to be set-up one turn before their use in order to reach full value.
- Geralt: Igni ability changed to: Deploy, Initiative: destroy the highest power unit(s) on an enemy row with a total of 20 or more power. Geralt: Igni provision changed from 11 to 10.
Comment: Definitely a nerf for decks, where Igni could have been set up (Precision Strike, Pincer Maneuver). At the same time, ‘random’ Igni got buffed, and Geralt:Igni seems now to be one of the better neutral tall punishes, with a high point ceiling. In a Pointslam meta Geralt:Igni will be definitely a threat to watch out for.
- Scorch ability changed to: destroy the highest power unit. Initiative: destroy all highest power units instead. Scorch provision changed from 13 to 12.
Comment: ‘Initiative’ keyword means no possibility of direct set-up. The card is probably dead now, and hardly could exist with the current effect.
- Hanmarvyn’s Blue Dream ability changed to: play a unit from your opponent’s graveyard with provision cost 9 or less and give it Doomed. Hanmarvyn’s Blue Dream provision changed from 13 to 12.
Comment: The card barely saw any play, and after rework it would be even more overcosted. Should go down at least to 10 provision points in our opinion, to support maybe some Assimilate builds.
- Renew ability changed to: play a unit from your graveyard with provision cost 9 or less and give it Doomed. Renew provision changed from 14 to 12.
Comment: A bit less dead than Hanmarvryn, as it is easier to find value by resurrecting our, not opponent units. Could find application in the decks where 9 and lower provision cards are crucial for the build, maybe Caranthir in Kikimore Queen Death’s Shadow.
- Unicorn and Chironex provision changed from 9 to 8.
Comment: Good change. Still unplayable.
- Garrison provision changed from 11 to 10.
Comment: Change awaited by Cahir+Vattier memers, who got not only Garrison buff, but also suitable leader ability – Imposter.
- Germain Piquant power changed from 4 to 5.
Comment: Swarm got out of the meta (neglecting semi-swarms, like Feign Death Elves or Gedyneith Axel). Change in good direction but certainly not enough to bring archetype back to life.
- Golden Froth provision changed from 5 to 4.
Comment: The card could in principle find a place in Northern Realms now. Especially in Uprising it looks thematic. In practice however, it is not an early play, and more importantly – it does not spawn a unit on the board, which seems to be absolutely necessary in Uprising. We do not predict more than one copy of this card to be played in Northern Realms decks.
- Miner ability changed to: Order: boost an allied unit by 2. If it’s a Dwarf, also give it 2 Armor. Miner power changed from 3 to 4. Miner provision changed from 5 to 4.
Comment: Harmony keyword dropped of course. The card fits Engine Overload and new Dwarves archetype terribly well – it could buff an engine out of removal range, or give Armor to Barricade Dwarf. Definitely will see play.
- Paulie Dahlberg ability changed to: Deploy (Melee): move an allied unit to the other row. Deploy (Ranged): give an allied unit 2 Armor. Paulie Dahlberg provision changed from 8 to 6.
Comment: Utility card, may find place especially in Dwarves archetype, where could easily reach 8 for 6 if movement is not needed.
- Pyrotechnician ability changed to: Order: damage a random enemy unit and self by 4. Pyrotechnician power changed from 3 to 4.
Comment: I admit to getting baited by this card at first. It has an 8 for 4 plus removal ceiling if fully armored. In reality it probably would not see any play even in Dwarfs archetype, as it is not really even less conditional than Mahakam Guards.
- Sheldon Skaggs ability changed to: Deploy (Melee): damage an enemy unit by the amount Sheldon is boosted. Sheldon Skaggs power changed from 3 to 6. Sheldon Skaggs provision changed from 9 to 8.
Comment: You can read developers’ comments in the original patch notes. We believe these are completely misguided to be honest. Sheldon is more conditional now than it was before. With 3 points + 3 damage floor it was worth more than raw 6 points, even including one provision cost less after rework. Moreover, Dwarven Agitator handbuffs are now almost completely useless for this card: 2p removal could not kill any engine! And with 8 for 8 value after handbuff, Sheldon gives no real carryover. Card got killed for no reason.
- Xavier Moran ability changed to: Melee: whenever you play a Dwarf, gain 1 Armor. Barricade: at the end of your turn, boost self by 1. Xavier Moran power changed from 4 to 5. Xavier Moran provision changed from 9 to 7.
Comment: Nice rework. To be used only in Dwarves archetype, as proactive, first say play.
- Yarpen Zigrin ability changed to: Deploy: damage an enemy unit by 3. Barricade: at the end of your turn, lose Armor and boost self by that much. Yarpen Zigrin power changed from 3 to 5. Yarpen Zigrin provision changed from 8 to 9.
Comment: Another plausible rework. The card is similar to Protofleder in Monsters, and very good especially in Dwarves archetype. Good synergy with Miners and Mahakam Forge leader ability.
- Zoltan ability changed to: Resilience. Deploy: boost adjacent Dwarfs by 2. Zoltan provision changed from 9 to 10. Zoltan armor changed from 0 to 4.
Comment: Both good and bad rework. Good because another Resilience card is needed for Dwarf archetype. Bad, because Dwarvies will obviously lack removal at this point. With 8p floor and possibility of getting card advantage in R2 or 4p carryover for R3, this card has to be decent (yet still not there if compared with Crowmother). Susceptibility to purify is the main weakness.
- Dwarven Mercenary ability changed to: Deploy: damage self by 1 for each non Dwarf unit in your hand. Dwarven Mercenary power changed from 3 to 7.
Comment: Interesting ability, but the card is definitely underpowered, even in typical Dwarves builds. These will need probably at least one tutor (Alzur Double Cross and/or Call of the Forest) and Novigradian Justice. 7 for 5 is a standard value for bronzes now, and Mercenaries could only be weaker. The only moment when Mercenaries could be about OK are topdecks in a short R3.
- Dwarf Berserker power changed from 2 to 3. Dwarf Berserker provision changed from 4 to 5.
Comment: Conditional 7 for 5, or even 8 for 5 with Mahakam Forge leader ability. Interesting rework, bringing the card back to live for Dwarves archetype.
- Munro Bruys power changed from 7 to 6. Munro Bruys provisions changed from 11 to 12.
Comment: Necessary nerf after Dwarf Berserkers buff. Munro is obviously a high-end gold for Dwarfs archetype, but might have real trouble finding value, as the ways to spam Rowdy Dwarfs on board are very limited now. Often Falibor, Ewald or Lambert would be enough to deny a lot of Munro value, and effectively win the game.
- Isengrim power changed from 6 to 4.
Comment: Deserved nerf, which would make decks reliant on Vernossiel+Isengrim combo in a short round less viable. Serious nerf to Elves archetype, which would not change general picture however.
- Ele’yas ability changed to: Deploy: destroy an allied unit, then Spawn 2 Elven Deadeyes in this row. Ele’yas power changed from 5 to 6.
Comment: Ele’yas saw no play, so he starts Pointslam career. At best he is worth 11 points for 9 provision, if 1p target is found somehow. Definitely a consideration for deckbuilders in the Elves archetype.
- Cerys an Craite ability changed to: Deploy (Melee): spawn a Drummond Shieldmaiden in this row. Deploy (Ranged): spawn a Drummond Queensguard in this row.
Comment: That one might be a meta defining card. Instead of summoning from the deck, Cerys will now spawn a brand new copy, and another two will jump out of the deck. Not only it’s a 15 point play with double thinning in the process, but can be recycled with Lippy, to be played twice. It all starts shaping up like an SK version of Commando Foltest package.
- Crow Clan Preacher ability changed to: whenever you play an Alchemy card, boost self by 1. Bonded: boost self by 2 instead.
Comment: Let’s be honest, no one plays these anyways. The only Crow Clan Preacher’s I saw were the ones created by Gedyneith. Still a buff, just not a significant one. At this point Preachers could be played as Gedyneith+Erimon+Freya’s Blessing combo target, unless being too low tempo at earlier stages of the game.
- Dracoturtle ability changed to: whenever Dracoturtle loses Armor, boost it by the amount of Armor lost. Barricade: at the end of your turn, gain 1 Armor. Dracoturtle power changed from 6 to 5. Dracoturtle armor changed from 6 to 5. Dracoturtle provision changed from 11 to 10.
Comment: Now it’s an engine too. This will work with Priests pretty well, the card didn’t change that much though and before the Armored Drakkar was the main Priest target. This will propably remain the same.
- An Craite Warcrier power changed from 3 to 4.
- Bear Abomination power changed from 5 to 6.
Comment: Warcrier won’t see play, cause SK’s 5 provision slot is stacked. Bear abomination is a huge thing though. Not only it buffs already highly buffed Ursine Ritual (which we would expect to become a meta choice this patch) but it also makes Svalblod Totem a great 12 for 10 proactive card.
- Heymaey Skald provision changed from 5 to 4.
- Vabjorn power changed from 5 to 6.
Comment: Also enjoying these two changes. Heymaey Skald will now be the same prize as it’s main target – Tuirseach Skirmisher. 16 provisions for two 7 point plays with two thinning doesn’t sound too shabby at all. Definetly will see play in some SK lists. Vabjorn is an Onslaught exclusive almost. The card seems powerful, the ability is not. Still if someone likes this ability, Vabjorn is even more of an autoinclude now.
- Salamandra Assassin ability changed to: Intimidate. Order (Ranged): damage an enemy unit with a Bounty by 2.
Comment: Irrelevant change. Card would be too conditional even for 4 provisions. Skip.
- Payroll Specialist ability changed to: Intimidate. Tribute 2: move a unit to the other row. Payroll Specialist power changed from 3 to 5.
Comment: 5 for 5 engine with optional movement. Not too bad, but still a niche tech card at best.
- Sir Skewertooth provision changed from 8 to 7. Sir Skewertooth armor changed from 0 to 1. Sir Skewertooth Tribute changed from 4 to 3.
Comment: This one is actually nice. This sounds like a card that could carry a crime deck in round 1. The lowered tribute also makes it better with Off the Books and the new ability, where you can obtain immunity immediately.
- Tatterwing provision changed from 8 to 7
- Alpha Werewolf power changed from 4 to 5.
Comment: Is making a higher base power for thrive unit even a buff? Do Monsters really need more reach on thrive engines? Was going to gym necessary?
- Old Speartip provision changed from 14 to 13.
Comment: No one will play them. I appreciate the developers’ comments about him losing some weight and Alpha Werewolf hitting up the gym lately. Some good banter.
- Reynard Odo ability changed to: Deploy: Boost adjacent units by 1. Whenever you play a unit, boost it by 1.
Comment: A pretty good card for engine lists. The reason is, that you can play him as a 3rd engine in line and you aren’t losing any value on that.
- Cintrian Envoy power changed from 3 to 4.
- Cintrian Royal Guard power changed from 4 to 5.
Comment: Envoy would be significant only if engine NR becomes viable again, which is not really dependent on this single unit. Royal Guards’ buff is potentially shaping up a new-old NR Archetype of Reaver Hunters. Now i think as 5 for 5 these cards could be a good memeish combo deck.
- Donimir of Troy power changed from 6 to 7.
Comment: You don’t kill defenders anyways. You just purify them. In NR’s case you just don’t play them. But if someone liked putting Donimir in his NR lists he just got himself an additional point.
- Damien de la Tour ability changed to: Order (Melee): re-enable your Leader’s ability.
- Stefan Skellen ability changed to: Order (Ranged): spawn and play a copy of the last Tactic card you played this round.
Comment: That’s all they did. Both of them can’t be played behind Ffion at the same time. They are now also vulnerable to movement, which is pretty bad for NG. I just don’t understand how are these two more problematic than the Ball, which is abusive, has no point ceiling and recently has proven to be the better competitive choice than a regular Imperial Formation.
probably still top the meta. Not due to buffs, but due to lack of nerfs, and new oppressive leader ability: Hidden Cache. Hidden Cache decks would be even harder to counter than Blood Money and Wild Card ones, being strong both on red and blue coin and more flexible.
Scoia’tael will have to refind its main deck. In spite of initial popularity, we do not believe Dwarvies will stick as the main option. Precision Strike Scorch/Igni got killed – otherwise such type of deck would be probably the best meta call.
Nilfgaard will rely solely on Masquerade Ball, as Scoia’tael matchup got much worse for Imperial Formation Stefan+Damien after rework. Maybe Usurper the Ladder Sheriff will go for another mission.
Skellige will explore Svalblod lines, and finally settle in well-optimized deck, or go back to Second Wind
Monsters will experiment with Overwhelming Hunger, which gives interesting combo possiblities. Where will it lead Monsters? Hard to tell.
Northern Realms will try Uprising with Draug. Achieving low bleed susceptibility, enough board swarming, control against engine decks and enough points with greedy cards like Voymir will be a real challenge. Normally NR would have decent matchup against SY, but with oppressive leader as the main SY option, the situation changes a lot. Long R3 without commitment might be hardly achievable.
Thanks for reading and see you on the ladder!
Written by: lerio2, Danirai and Team Legacy
P.S. We would like to refer to the featured image author here, but the crucial link seems to be broken. As you probably know it is The Luggage from the Discworld series.