Hello everyone, it’s ReynevanGK and Lerio2 and we would like to give you some information about our beloved Black faction – Nilfgaard and show a few decklists. As you may know, Nilfgaard was said to be one of the weakest fraction in the game since Homecoming premiere in October 2018.
Moreover it was said that they did not have their own identity and archetypes were faint – assimilation and spies. Alchemy and Reveal died together with open beta. Due to lack of competitive archetypes most players decided to play Midrange Nilfgaard – actually not archetype but mostly bunch of cards which give you the best value played alone separately with sometimes minor synergies like Witcher trio (Serrit, Letho, Auckes), Assire + Roach or Soldiers package (Vreemde, Vrygheff, Slave Infantry). What is funny, the Midrange leader through the months was changeable and you could use any of them for this strategy but mostly the one with the most provisions was chosen.
With last 3.1 patch CDPR decided to buff Nilfgaard cards, especially 4, 5 and 6-provision cost bronzes so their power is similar to Syndicate and Skellige. Great buff to tactics (Tourney Joust, Imperal Diplomacy, Assassination, Experimental Remedy is now tactic) and supporting cards (Menno Coehoorn, Artorius Vigo, Hefty Helge, Fire Scorpion, Menagerie Keeper) finally provided strong archetype with Ardal as a natural leader.
While the current competitive level of NG faction is relatively high (it is third/fourth most popular faction on Pro Ladder, along with Scoia’tael), its lore-friendliness is debatable. We find tactic Ardal archetype quite odd, with common motif being a pair of Fire Scorpions played from Portal, loaded by cards, which hardly could be linked with Siege Machines, like Diplomacy or Bribery. Moreover, most of popular NG decks are now heavily RNG dependent. While it does not outshine the skill aspect of the game, the outcome of particular encounters is often decided by successful Bribery or Diplomacy, especially in NG mirrors. On the other hand, both lore-friendly and skillful Emhyr Soldiers deck from last seasons does not find its place in current meta. There is still room for experiments in NG decks, as was shown by InNomineSatanas success at Aretuza Cup, with his original Ardal list.
Ardal Hyperthin/Calveit Hyperthin is a completely new archetype created after last patch by Redrame. The main idea is to thin our deck to maximum and leave inside as last card only Tibor Eggebracht. Your finishers are Xarthisius (18 points) and Yennefer: Divination (16 points) and your tools enabling you thinning are: Portal into 4-provisions Fire Scorpions (Ardal version has 100% chance) or Nauzicaa Sergeants, Artorius Vigo into Impera Brigades, Marching Orders, Roderick of Dun Tynne and Menno Coehoorn as tutor for tactic card. Both decks have decent long round due to Fire Scorpions and tactics which support them. In our opinion Ardal version is stronger due to leader ability which makes him 10 points leader who can steal for example crucial enemy engine like Hefty Helge, Botchling, Anna Stenger, Dwarven Mercenary or Syndicate dangerous unit – Caleb Menge or one of Borsodi brothers.
Ardal Team Legacy Proposal – this list was created by InNomineSatanas for the Aretuza Cup tournament (which he won) mainly to counter punch enemy Hyperthin Ardal/Calveit. We have a lot of tools to mess their plan up. Yennefer’s Invocation and Cynthia will brick opponent’s deck played R1. You can also play Yennefer’s Invocation as a tall removal in R3. Vilgefortz played melee row in R3 can destroy big unit or played R1 can summon some piece combo. Do not forget that playing Cynthia and then Vilgefortz in the same round is also amazing because Vilgefortz will always summon The Guardian. You have also quite favourable matchups against engine decks like Francesca Dwarves/Dryads, Meve or Calanthe due to Witcher trio and tactics like Assassination or Tourney Joust. Last but not least, this deck also offers you high-tempo cards like Artorius Vigo or Venendal Elite which can significantly help winning R1 and enable bleed in R2 if you face some cheesy decks.
Tactical Ardal – the list was created by TLG team, and for most of the season tops TLG Meta Snapshot. While the deck lacks intrinsic points, especially in comparison with Hyperthin NG, it is more consistent and harder to tech against. The general strategy for the deck is similar to traditional control lists, while we also have big tempo+thinning swing at disposal with Artorius into Impera Brigade combo. Peter is a tech against Hyperthin, while we can sometimes also hope for eliminating all enemy Vilgefortz/Yen targets. The last resort is Imperial Diplomacy into Viper Witcher :). Playing against Francesca Scoia’tael, we want to use Portal to win on even, or push hardly in R2. We have some (but low) chances against Foltest. Most DJ matchups are bad due to cards like Slander, which helps to play against Portal without losing any points.
Usurper Shupe – deck was brought by Iluxa228 to recent Team Nova Summer Summit tournament, in which he took 2 nd place. This list differs only in one card from original tournament list: Bribery => Traheaern, to provide counter to Hyperthin NG. The general deckbuilding strategy for Usurper is to divide the deck in half. The first half are very strong and universal (unconditional) golds, providing amount of control enough for going for long R3, the second half are bronze, low provision fillers. This idea is clearly demonstrated in Shupe Usurper deck. Unless playing against cards like Milva, or cheesy decks like Arnjolf Regis, the plan is to go for long R3 with full gold hand. The advantage of Usurper over Ardal lies in better matchups against Foltest and Townsfolk DJ, while disadvantage in worse matchups against the rest of the meta, especially Scoia’tael.
Ardal Shupe – this terrible deck was brought to Legacy Cup by lerio2, who took 1 st place. The deck is highrolling with respect to draws, and aims specifically at countering Ardals and Usurpers in NG mirrors. While it could also be used in ranked games with decent results, the deck is not tuned for playing against popular Foltest and Dijsktra decks. The reduction of Ardal special ability to 4p is practically justified in tournament play by the fact, that usually Ardal yoinks Fire Scorpion spawned by Portal. If the remaining Scorpion is protected with Tourney Joust, then Leo comes for rescue. Playing against Hyperthin NG, Assire could be played offensively to toss 3p or 4p card back to opponent’s deck, while Leo deals with one boosted unit.