Swim’s Calveit Spell Nilfgaard (Updated) – Open Beta

Deck

-- 6,000
6
Melee
24
Ranged
0
Siege
29
Multiple
59
Total

Hey guys Swim here, and this time I have for you my spell nilfgaard list.  This is NOT a very beginner-friendly or intuitive list so I’d highly recommend reading the entire guide, as it requires very specific cards and will need to be played in a very precise way.  This list basically uses the same premise as pumpkinshit’s spell scoia’tael list.  Impera Enforcer promotes itself based on the top unit in your deck, and as you can thin the few non-gold units out, the Impera Enforcers will always come out as golds.  Essentially this deck gains value by not giving the opponent any way to use their own removal spells (outside of round 1 with Imperial Golems).

The goal of this deck is to win round 1 reactively with cantarella, ciri, weathers, and then instantly pass on round 2 to then go into round 3 with joachim to pull out your last enforcer, then playing your other enforcers, all 3 of which will promote to gold as there are no non-gold units in your deck at that point.  Win the long round 3 by controlling the opponent’s board while slamming gold targets the opponent can’t keep down.  The deck may look very combo-oriented and reliant on draws but ultimately with tools such as cantarella, joachim de wett, alzur’s double cross, imperial golems for thinning, and Cahir, you’re ensured your combo very reliably.

Crafting Order: Skellige StormApply Skellige Storm to a row on your opponent's side. Skellige Storm: Every turn, at the start of your turn, Damage the leftmost units on the row by 2, 2 and 1, respectively. -> AeromancyPlay a Bronze or Silver Weather card from your Deck. Shuffle the others back into your Deck. -> Joachim De WettDeploy: Play the top Loyal Bronze or Silver Unit in your Deck and Boost it by 10. -> CantarellaDeploy: Draw the top card from your Deck. Keep it, or place it at the bottom of your Deck and draw the new top card. -> Alzur's Double CrossBoost one of the Highest Bronze or Silver Units in your Deck by 2 and play it. -> Tibor EggebrachtDeploy: If neither player has passed, Boost self by 15, then your opponent draws the top Bronze card from their Deck and Reveals it. -> VillentretenmerthAfter 3 turns, at the start of your turn, Destroy all the Highest Units on the Board. -> CiriAt the end of the Round, return this Unit to your Hand if you lost.

If you have any of the following cards, you can replace any cards you don’t own with:

Gold Replacements: Avallac'hDeploy: If neither player has passed, both players draw the top 2 cards from their Deck. Regis: Higher VampireDeploy: Look at 3 random Bronze Units from your opponent's Deck. Consume 1, Boost self by base Power of the consumed Unit, then shuffle the others back. Yennefer: The ConjurerEvery turn, at the start of your turn, Damage all the Highest Enemies by 1. RainfarnDeploy: Play a Bronze or Silver Disloyal Unit from your Deck. Shuffle the others back. VilgefortzDeploy: Destroy an Ally or (only possible if your opponent has not passed) an Enemy. If you destroy an Ally, play the top card from your Deck. If you destroy an Enemy, your opponent draws the top Bronze card from their Deck and Reveals it. Ciri: DashWhen this Unit enters the Graveyard, Strengthen it by 3 and shuffle it back into your Deck. Stefan SkellenDeploy: Choose any card from your Deck and place it on top. Then shuffle the rest of your Deck. , Gaunter O'DimmDeploy: Guess whether a random Bronze or Silver Unit from your opponent's Deck is Higher or Lower than 5. Success: Play any card from your Deck. Shuffle the others back. Failure: Your opponent draws the top Bronze or Silver card from their Deck. Tie: Both players draw the top Bronze or Silver card from their Deck.

DO NOT run any gold spells in this list of any kind.  They can’t activate your enforcers and gold weathers are redundant with your control options.

Silver Replacements: Dimeritium BombChoose 3 adjacent Units (can be Golds) and Reset them. If any are Gold, Demote them first. White FrostApply Frost to a row on your opponent's side and the row above it. Frost: Every turn, at the start of your turn, Damage one of the Lowest Units on the row by 2. Marching OrdersBoost one of the Lowest Bronze or Silver Units in your Deck by 2 and play it. AuckesDeploy: Toggle 2 Units' Lock. If Enemies, Damage them by 1 as well. , The Last WishDraw your top 2 Bronze or Silver cards. Play 1 and shuffle the other back. , DecoyReturn an Ally to your Hand, Boost it by 3 and play it.

Unfortunately this deck revolves around such a specific strategy that it doesn’t really even have a budget version. Use Vanilla Geralt in the place of one of the golds, and rely heavily on the gold and silver replacement section above for cards you might already have.  I made sure to fill both lists with as many viable cards as I could for this reason.

Check out my VIDEO GUIDE if you’re interested in watching me play this deck with commentary, or free to check out my stream to see me create more decks like this, or to ask me any questions.  🙂

Update 1

-Alzur’s Thunder, -Lacerate, -Alzur’s Double Cross, +1 Stammelford’s Tremors, +Biting Frost, +Roach

Alzur’s Thunder and Lacerate wasn’t very necessary against most decks, the former performing only against Crach and Dwarfs, and I’d rather have the increased damage from an extra Stammelford’s Tremors over both.  Alzur’s Double Cross is replaced by Roach, which opens up for us great tempo options on round 1 while thinning itself, providing huge value if you have Ciri.

Roach effectively allows you to play harder for round 1, using more daring ciri’s and cantarellas to allow yourself to get a better advantage out of getting out of the round; this deck gives up round 1 very often and roach allows you to do it while gaining even more of an advantage and thinning the deck.

Card Combos

Bronze

Imperial GolemOrders: Play this Unit from your Deck. : Probably the strongest bronze in the game right now.  Even though you’re giving the opponent removal targets, this card still thins, which is important to this deck.  If this card was 0 str and the golems died immetiately (which they do in many games anyway), they would still be a 3x in this deck, as thinning is very important here for your combo pieces.  vs the scoia’tael eithne spell deck, keep one of these in your hand to be able to beat their dry-pass on round 2 without committing a precious gold body.

Orders: Play this Unit from your Deck.

Impera EnforcersDeploy: Look at the top card in your Deck. If it's Bronze, gain 2 Armor. If it's Silver, Boost self by 1. If it's Gold, Promote self. : The idea behind this deck.  You always play this for its ability to turn itself gold.  Make sure to pull one of these out with Joachim De Wett, so mulligan one away if you have 3 in hand.  The trick with these is to be sure there’s no non-gold units in your deck, which is pretty reliable here, unless your draws are very bad, and even then you still have a good chance to pull these as golds.  Always keep a gold unit remaining in deck for these to be able to work; generally you only draw 2-3 out of the four, but if you draw all four you should return ciri back after losing a round, or return Cahir generally.

Stammelford's TremorsDamage up to 6 random Enemies by 2. : Great option to nuke big boards of stuff.  Most useful against more swarmy decks, like nilfgaard, northern realms, and monsters.

LacerateDamage all Units on a row by 3. : Solid option to punish a row-stack.  Most useful against row-stacking strategies, such as those generally employed by Nilfgaard, Northern Realms, and queensguards.

Alzur's ThunderDamage a Unit by 7. : Your staple removal tool. Use these to generate raw value.  Light Longships are a great target for this, as are things like Mahakam Defenders and ancient foglets; although in many cases you’re better off starting pressure with a bit of weather to put on pressure first.  In the late game, you can try to use it to set up scorch effects sometimes, but outside of that you’re better off using on units that aren’t their largest, as they’ll die to those scorch effects anyway.

Biting FrostApply Frost to a row on your opponent's side. Frost: Every turn, at the start of your turn, Damage one of the Lowest Units on the row by 2. : Between this and fog, this will obviously be better when the opponent has a row with 3-4+ units that are staggered.  Can be very effective against nilfgaard, in particular, which can often have a developed melee row that’s protected from fog.  Note that sometimes if the opponent protects enough of their row from skellige storm, this could end up being a preferred aero target over skellige storm.

Impenetrable FogApply Fog to a row on your opponent's side. Fog: Every turn, at the start of your turn, Damage the Highest Unit on the row by 2. : Your go-to weather for the most part.  Play it early as soon as the opponent starts playing units, although against nilfgaard melee row you’ll generally opt for frost instead.  Note that sometimes if the opponent protects enough of their row from skellige storm, this could end up being a preferred aero target over skellige storm.

Dimeritium ShacklesChoose a Unit (can be Gold) and toggle its Lock. If it is Gold, Demote it first. : Great utility card that can either demote large gold units to allow them to be hit by Villentretenmerth or Scorch, or to allow you to lock high priority effects such as Morkvarg, Olgierd, Wild Boar of the Sea, or more minor effects from bronze units etc.

Silvers

Joachim De WettDeploy: Play the top Loyal Bronze or Silver Unit in your Deck and Boost it by 10. : Honestly a huge part of the reason why this deck works.  Its ability to pull out an Enforcer as a 18 point gold card is insane, and you end up just playing him into weather or some other removal so his body doesn’t hurt you. When you play this card, you should ALWAYS if possible have exactly one unit he can pull: an impera enforcer when the rest of the units in your deck are gold.  Play this in round 3 if possible, before playing your other 2 enforcers, and make sure you don’t risk getting a third enforcer for your mulligan in round 3.

Deploy: Play the top Loyal Bronze or Silver Unit in your Deck and Boost it by 10.

CantarellaDeploy: Draw the top card from your Deck. Keep it, or place it at the bottom of your Deck and draw the new top card. : Another important and high-value silver.

Alzur's Double CrossBoost one of the Highest Bronze or Silver Units in your Deck by 2 and play it. : Increases the overall reliability of the deck, giving you extra grabs for Cantarella, which is very essential to being able to play for control/reach, and also allows you gain better consistency over Impera Enforcer as well.

Skellige StormApply Skellige Storm to a row on your opponent's side. Skellige Storm: Every turn, at the start of your turn, Damage the leftmost units on the row by 2, 2 and 1, respectively. : Pretty great weather card.  Able to generate huge value over time, and if cleared immediately still generates 5-6 value.  Generally bait their clears by playing fog/frost first, and use this as a followup later into the round.  If the opponent starts protecting the row by placing gold units on the right side of it, you can be incentivized to actually switch that row to fog or frost instead sometimes.

AeromancyPlay a Bronze or Silver Weather card from your Deck. Shuffle the others back into your Deck. : Basically a 2nd Skellige Storm, although if the opponent blocks off the right side of the row with golds, you may easily be incentivized to use it on fog or frost instead.

ScorchDestroy all the Highest Units. : More removal.  Deck didn’t have enough removal, obviously.  Don’t be afraid to use this one early in a round for 10+ points, although you can use it later in the game as well.

Golds

Tibor EggebrachtDeploy: If neither player has passed, Boost self by 15, then your opponent draws the top Bronze card from their Deck and Reveals it. : Casual 25 point gold.  Play it as late as possible, preferably after your borkh has gone off so the opponent can’t dshackle it.  Play it right before the opponent is going to pass on round 3.  NEVER play it before round 3 unless you absolutely have to.  In some rare situations, you could be incentivized to play it earlier as your last card, for fear of the opponent passing before they play their last card to deny you your bonus points, although this mostly only happens in the mirror.

After 3 turns, at the start of your turn, Destroy all the Highest Units on the Board.

VillentretenmerthAfter 3 turns, at the start of your turn, Destroy all the Highest Units on the Board. : Core to the idea of the deck.  Can’t really achieve bad value here, except of course in the mirror.  Play it late on round 3, generally when you have 2-3 other cards in hand.  If the opponent isn’t passing early on round 2 (and you lost round 1), you may actually have to play this early in round 2, otherwise they will milk you out of all your cards in round 2, including this card anyway.  This happens quite often with skellige decks.

CiriAt the end of the Round, return this Unit to your Hand if you lost. : Great value card that can be a little counterintuitive to use.  Use her EARLY in round 1 to put pressure on the opponent, to free up your options.  This enables you to pass and force card advantage, or can force them to pass very early and let you take the round.  Ultimately this card exists for that pressure, and nothing else, but it’s very important.  If you get her back, you can return her to deck which is great for impera enforcers as if you draw 4 golds you need to send one back, and she’s a great candidate for that.

CahirDeploy: If playing as Nilfgaard, trigger your Leader's Deploy ability. : Great value card that gives you better access to your deck’s combo.  You can use it to try to pull a Cantarella or Joachim, or you can use it after you’ve used all your enforcers to try to pull your last gold card since it’s not necessary in your deck anymore.  If nothing else, provides a solid gold body, and great versatility.

Unincluded Cards

Stefan SkellenDeploy: Choose any card from your Deck and place it on top. Then shuffle the rest of your Deck. : Card’s not really necessary.  Couple of situations where you’d like to be able to put a gold card at the top of your deck (if you can’t draw all your enforcers, or cantarella/joachim to pull them out), but in those situations rainfarn is pretty much better and Cahir is often fine too.

RainfarnDeploy: Play a Bronze or Silver Disloyal Unit from your Deck. Shuffle the others back. : Honestly I was running this card quite a bit and it easily could be proper.  While it was unnecessary in about 30% of games, it was very useful otherwise, and can not only give you better reliability over your combo, but huge tempo plays with Cantarella.  Good chance I replace Cahir back with this, bit of a close call.

Avallac'hDeploy: If neither player has passed, both players draw the top 2 cards from their Deck. : Actually considerable here is well.  Large gold body, plus helps combo efficiency.  Hard to fit, but amazing budget replacement.

Ciri: DashWhen this Unit enters the Graveyard, Strengthen it by 3 and shuffle it back into your Deck. : Somewhat of a consideration.  Ultimately too unreliable to be able to draw twice, despite the two gold bodies and the fact that it means you always have a gold in your deck for enforcers.  Too awkward to draw later.

VilgefortzDeploy: Destroy an Ally or (only possible if your opponent has not passed) an Enemy. If you destroy an Ally, play the top card from your Deck. If you destroy an Enemy, your opponent draws the top Bronze card from their Deck and Reveals it. : Worse Cahir, since this deck doesn’t need the option to control opponent’s units.

Gaunter O'DimmDeploy: Guess whether a random Bronze or Silver Unit from your opponent's Deck is Higher or Lower than 5. Success: Play any card from your Deck. Shuffle the others back. Failure: Your opponent draws the top Bronze or Silver card from their Deck. Tie: Both players draw the top Bronze or Silver card from their Deck. : Like Cahir, but very risky for not all so much upside.  Still not a terrible budget consideration though.

Fake CiriIf this Unit is Spying at the start of your turn, Boost it by 1. If it is Spying when your opponent passes, move it to the opposite side. Deploy: When you play this Unit on your side, Strengthen it by 3. : A hilarious idea that I tried in my first iteration of the list, it actually has some real synergies here as you don’t give your opponent targets for many “opponent-only” effects such as weather.  However…it’s still fake ciri.  Locks need to not exist for this card to be playable.

White FrostApply Frost to a row on your opponent's side and the row above it. Frost: Every turn, at the start of your turn, Damage one of the Lowest Units on the row by 2. : Honestly this card should be great on paper but most decks don’t occupy the ranged row, which is the only row this card always has to target.  Ends up being a bronze frost too often.  Still a decent budget consideration though.

Dimeritium BombChoose 3 adjacent Units (can be Golds) and Reset them. If any are Gold, Demote them first. : Ultimately I’d actually recommend running this card over alzur’s double cross if you’re at a high enough rank where you’re seeing a LOT of spell mirrors.  Card achieves amazing value there.  Ultimately a meta call.

Auckes, Peter Saar Gwynleve, Vanhemar, Operator, Sarah, Olgierd, Ocvist, King of Beggars, Roach, Prize Winning Cow, Alba Spearmen, Rot Tosser, Emissary, Vicovaro Medic, Cleaver, Combat Engineer, Alchemist, Daelirenn Foot Soldier, Nilfgaardian Knight, Myrgtabrakke, Cynthia, Sweers, Serrit, Albricht, Caellach, Assire var Anahid, The Guardian, Impera Brigade, Vicovaro Novice, Ambassador, Spotter, Nauzicaa Standard Bearer, Alba Pikemen: Blocks your enforcers and gives value to opponent removal cards.

General Guide

Be sure to read the “UPDATE 1” section near the top to see any changes to gameplay strategies.

Mulligan

Start by blacklisting your imperial golems, and try to get a bit more value out of blacklisting fog and alzur’s thunder unless you’re in a matchup they’re good in.  Skip the third mulligan if you haven’t blacklisted an imperial golem yet.  Kick an Impera Enforcer last if you have 3x of them as you want to pull one with Joachim De Wett.  Try not to end with more than 3x weathers, including aeromancy, although be sure to keep frost against Nilfgaard.  Don’t worry about having all golds in hand, as you don’t play enforcers in round 1 that often.  Lastly against Eithne spell deck, keep 1x Imperial Golem in hand to be able to beat their round 2 drypass if they win round 1.

Be extra sure to keep these spells against the listed factions:

Alzur’s Thunder against Crach, Brouver
Stammelford’s Tremors against Nilfgaard, Monsters, Northern Realms
Lacerate against Nilfgaard, Northern Realms
Dimeritium Shackles against Eithne, Crach, Nilfgaard

Round 1 

This is a very nuanced deck to pilot so it’s VERY difficult for me to cover all scenarios.  If you’re going second, open by playing fog on their card in most circumstances.  If you have no target, or have to go first, open by playing Ciri if you have it, or Cantarella if you don’t, although with Cantarella take whatever you see if it’s not an Imperial Golem.  Try to avoid putting multiple weathers down at once so as to not give them too effective of a clear, and if possible try to save Skellige Storm for a bit later when it’s less likely to be immediately cleared.  Use an Alzur’s Thunder if the opponent plays a good target (Light Longship, Mahakam Defender, etc), and don’t be afraid to use Dimeritium shackles on a high value effect (Wild Boar of the Sea, Ciri: Dash, etc).  Generally I use Calveit very early (turn 2-3), once there’s anything on their board to target and I want a proactive play.  Don’t worry about your golems dying though; the card is so strong that you would run it here even if it had 0 strength which it often ends up having.  If your opponent blocks off your Skellige Storm with 2+ golds, you can actually cast fog or frost over it in many cases.  Try to avoid playing Enforcers or Joachim in round 1 if at all possible, although sometimes it ends up being necessary.  If you’ve drawn all 4 golds, consider playing Ciri and losing the round for card advantage so you can send the redundant Ciri back and enable your enforcers that way.

Round 2

In most cases you would be able to win round 1 with no more than 1 card down, or lost it with at least 2 cards up (generally via ciri).  If you won round 1, pass round 2 instantly in most cases to force card advantage and go immediately to round 3.  If you lost round 1, you’ll have to stay in round 2.  If you got Ciri back from round 1, you can return it to your deck so that your enforcers will be triggered by it (very useful if you draw all four golds).  If they instantly pass on you, hopefully you kept an Imperial Golem in your opening hand to be able to beat them without committing a precious gold body. If they start to draw the round out (generally you’ll see Skellige do this), you may sometimes actually need to drop Villentretenmerth early on round 2 to force them to get out of the round, as otherwise they might force you out of all your resources here, including your dragon anyway.

Round 3

You basically set up for a long round 3 here.  The most important thing is the mulligan to start.  You want 1x Impera Enforcers in your deck as the only non-gold unit, Joachim in your hand to pull it out, and at least 1x Gold unit in your deck to buff them.  If all of these are already the case, do NOT mulligan any cards; this deck declines the third round mulligan quite often for to avoid creating dead draws. You can open by playing Joachim for that last enforcers, which pulls it out as an 18 point gold and ensures your others will also be gold.  Continue into this round much like round 1, playing weathers and control options, making sure to use Villentretenmerth when you have 2-3 other cards in your hand left.  Play Tibor as late as possible, preferrably after Villentretenmerth goes off, or right before if the opponent has an empty hand when you do it, as playing Tibor into a D-Shackles for Villentretenmerth can be game-losing.  If you have Cahir, you can use it after all of your Enforcers to hopefully pull out a Tibor or Villentretenmerth that’s been activating your enforcers.  In some situations you could consider dropping Tibor a turn early, as in certain situations the opponent might actually want to pass before playing their last card to deactivate your Tibor.  This happens most commonly in the nilfgaard matchup.

Spell Mirror

When you’re facing either this deck a lot or the Scoia’tael spell variant, you’ll have to play differently.  You will 100% want to use Dimeritium Bomb in this list (over alzur’s double cross) if you’re facing spell mirrors very often. As mentioned previously, keep 1x imperial golem in hand for this matchup, so that if you lose round 1, you have an answer to their instant-pass in round 2 without using a precious gold body; having a gold body being forced like that is often times gamelosing in this matchup.  Mulligan extremely aggressively for golds, blacklisting your unnecessary 2x’s (alzur’s thunder and fog).  In round 3, you’ll want to play one Impera Enforcer, then hold off on playing the others so as to not play into Dimeritium Bomb, as well as spreading your golds out across rows.  If you have an Imperial Golem in hand and Ciri, throw round 1 for 2 card advantage if given the opportunity, using your Imperial Golem to take round 2 when they instantly pass.  Ultimately, this deck has a pretty decent advantage against the scoia’tael one.

For extra help in these mirrors, tech in Regis: Higher Vampire over Cahir, and as previously mentioned, Dimeritium Bomb over Alzur’s Double Cross.

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4 thoughts on “Swim’s Calveit Spell Nilfgaard (Updated) – Open Beta

  1. amir
    June 14, 2017 at 10:16 am

    this deck doesn’t work as well anymore since they changed impera forces ability from any unit to top first card on the June update.

    Reply
  2. Rhomanoi
    June 6, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve been running Yen: Con in place of Tibor for a while, got to 2400 ish mmr so far with it. I just really like the premium Yen: Con animation and was wondering how much I’m hurting my deck with it!

    Reply
  3. nashmoz
    June 4, 2017 at 5:58 am

    This is crazy good.

    Reply

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