Gwent for Newbies: How to Build a Pure Damage Skellige Deck
Gwent, the card game from CD Projeckt Red, released in open beta three weeks ago -- and it’s made a splash with digital card game lovers around the globe. There are lots of factions, decks, and playstyles for fans to try their hands at, and a number of different strategies that will help you dominate your opponents.
We’ve already talked about the Monster faction and their two favorite styles, and the Skellige faction’s penchant for bringing units back from the graveyard. Today, we’ll go over the best Skellige cards to deal out more damage than your opponent can take.
Keep in mind, this isn’t a guide to get you top-ranked in the leaderboards, and it isn’t an explanation of how to play. If you need help with that, you can check out our Gwent beginner’s guide to get started on the right foot.
How to Build a Pure Damage Deck for the Skellige Faction in Gwent
Damage is nothing to sneeze at in any card game. If you can deal out enough damage to your opponent’s units, you’ll constantly have the upper hand and leave your opponent scrambling. With that in mind, I built a deck to make sure your opponent can’t place, boost, or strengthen units fast enough to keep up with you.
Here's my damage decklist up front, using Harald the Cripple as the leader:
- Gold (4/4)
- Madman Lugos
- Triss Merigold
- Silver (6/6)
- Manticore Venom
- Merigold’s Hailstorm
- Prize-Winning Cow
- White Frost
- Bronze (15)
- Berserker Marauder x3
- Clan Brokuar Archer x3
- Clan Tuirseach Axeman x3
- Savage Bear x3
- Swallow Potion x3
Harald the Cripple is an amazing leader for damage. Once he comes in, he’ll do 5 damage to any non-Gold on the board -- and if that kills that unit, he’ll do 4 damage, repeating the process with one less damage each time if he kills whatever you deal damage to. When set up correctly, Harald can take out 5 creatures on your opponent’s side, reducing their overall Strength by a whopping 15!
Hjalmar is a massive gold, but spawns a 5-Strength Lord of Undvik on your opponent’s side of the board. Seeing as how this deck is centered around damage, the spawned card shouldn’t be any trouble to deal with -- giving Hjalmar a 10-Strength boost once you do. Madman Lugos makes a return in this deck from the previous Skellige deck; his ability to throw a bronze into your graveyard for damage is great. Your best bets for Lugos are Berserker Marauder or Savage Bear, depending on what you and your opponent have on the board.
Triss Merigold is a fairly basic Gold card, but a valuable one. Seven strength and five damage create a good swing for you. Vabjorn is a fun gold; he’ll kill any damaged unit that’s been reduced to 2 or less Strength, making him a good finisher.
Iris, this deck’s only Disloyal card, creates a nightmare scenario for your opponent. With the damage you can dish out, getting rid of Iris isn’t a problem, so boosting every unit on your side of the board by 3 is fairly easy to do. Myrgtabrakke is a miniature Harald the Cripple that deals 2 damage, 2 damage, then 1 damage. You choose the units to damage -- so you can focus and deal 5 damage or spread the damage out to trigger other cards, like Vabjorn.
Manticore Venom might seem like a situational card, and you’ll want to get 5 enemy units adjacent to each other to make the most out of it, but don’t hesitate to use it on 3 or less units to get rid of problems.
Merigold’s Hailstorm might also seem situational, but the wonderful thing about it is that it ignores armor. Save Hailstorm for situations where an opponent drops down lots of armored units, preventing you from immediately damaging them with other cards.
Keeping with the damage theme, White Frost places down two Frost effects on two separate rows. This is the deck’s only weather effect, but it just compounds the damage you’re already doing with other spells and cards.
Prize-Winning Cow is pretty much the icing on the cake for this deck. With all the damage you’re doing to your opponent, it can be easy to forget that you want to pump up your own strength. Make sure to use Swallow Potion and Iris to boost the cow, and then damage it yourself with Clan Brokvar Archer, Myrgtabrakke, and any other cards you have that don’t specifically target enemy units. Each damage the Cow takes will spawn a 6-Strength Chort, which potentially has 10 Strength if you’re more than 6 behind your opponent. Even if your opponent kills your Cow, you still get a Chort out of it.
Savage Bear gives you free damage to whatever units your opponent puts down, Clan Tuirseach Axeman has 2 armor and gets a Boost every time you damage an enemy unit, Clan Brokvar Archer can damage any unit you want, and Berserker Marauder can be an excellent unit if you’ve damaged a lot of the other side’s units. The focus of your Swallow Potions should be Prize-Winning Cow, but don’t be afraid to use them on other units if you need the extra Strength.
That wraps up our guide to a pure damage Skellige deck in Gwent. In our next guide, we’ll take a look at Nilfgaard! In the meantime, what’s your favorite damage card? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to check out the rest of our Gwent guides for more tips and deck lists.