Swim’s Ithlinne Dwarves Deck List Guide (Open Beta)

Deck

-- 6,050
15
Melee
0
Ranged
9
Siege
39
Multiple
63
Total

Hey guys, Swim here, with the new deck I made today on patch day 1: the reincarnation of my old dorf list and this one comes out insanely strong in the new meta.  The deck has been holding a 71% winrate for me after having played it all day, and is very difficult to shut down once it gets going.  Elven mercs as an addition to the dorf toolkit provide an insane amount of utility and value, as they provide not only 2 points over a thunderbolt potion, but a buffable body which enables huge consistency with commander’s horn.  We end up using our silver slots for high consistency tutoring tools to be able to more reliably pull out our mercs and defenders.  If you’re unable to win round 1, use or double cast adrenaline rush to carry 25-60+ value into a short round 3.

Crafting Order

Yarpen ZigrinWhenever a Dwarf Ally (including Golds) is played, Boost self by 1. Deploy: Gain Resilience. -> Barclay ElsDeploy: Play a random Bronze or Silver Dwarf from your Deck and Boost it by 3. -> Alzur's Double CrossBoost one of the Highest Bronze or Silver Units in your Deck by 2 and play it. -> Marching OrdersBoost one of the Lowest Bronze or Silver Units in your Deck by 2 and play it. -> Nature's GiftPlay a Bronze or Silver Special card from your Deck. Shuffle the others back. -> IthlinneDeploy: Play a Bronze Special card from your Deck, then Spawn a copy of it. Shuffle the others back. -> Geralt: IgniDeploy: Destroy all the Highest Units on the opposite row if that row totals 20 or more Power. -> SaskiaOrders: Play this Unit from your Deck on a random row. -> Zoltan ChivayDeploy: Move 3 Units to this row on their side. If they are Allies, Strengthen them by 2.

You can replace any cards you don’t own with:

Gold replacements

Royal DecreePlay a Gold card from your Deck. Shuffle the others back. SaesenthessisDeploy: Boost self by 1 for each Dwarf Ally (including Golds). Damage an Enemy by the number of Elf Allies (including Golds). Zoltan: Animal TamerDeploy: Spawn Field Marshal Duda Companion or Field Marshal Duda Agitator. Triss: Butterfly SpellEvery turn, at the start of your turn, Boost all other Lowest Allies by 1. Yennefer: The ConjurerEvery turn, at the start of your turn, Damage all the Highest Enemies by 1. IsengrimPlay a Bronze or Silver Ambush card from your Deck. (With Toruviel and Sapper)

Silver replacements

SarahDeploy: Shuffle a card from your Hand (can be Gold) back into your Deck, then draw the top different card of the same color from your Deck. OlgierdWhen this Unit is Discarded or Destroyed, Weaken it by half (rounding up). At the start of Rounds 2 and 3, Resurrect this Unit if it is in the Graveyard. DecoyReturn an Ally to your Hand, Boost it by 3 and play it. CiaranDeploy: Toggle a Unit's Lock and move it to this row on its side. ToruvielAmbush: When your opponent passes, turn this Unit over and Boost 2 Units on each side by 2. Ida EmeanDeploy: Spawn Impenetrable Fog, Clear Skies or Quen Sign. RoachWhenever you play a Gold Unit from your Hand, play Roach from your Deck on a random row before that Unit's Deploy ability resolves. DecoyReturn an Ally to your Hand, Boost it by 3 and play it.

This deck’s BUDGET VERSION is very solid, although you will have to craft some core silvers.  The deck is basically able to achieve all of its power through bronzes, and its consistency through silvers, while golds are a bit more of a luxury, so the only gold you’ll need to craft is Ithlinne.


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.  🙂

Card Combos

Bronzes

Mahakam DefenderDeploy: Gain Resilience. : The core of this deck. These little guys are able to give you a truly insurmountable amount of value when they’re buffed up.  Play these early (after Yarpen) and start stacking the buffs.  Make a habit of playing these on the right side of your melee row, so that Yarpen when pulled (to the right side) will align with them for buffs.

Elven MercenaryDeploy: Draw the top 2 Bronze Special cards in your Deck. Play 1 and shuffle the other back. : A huge enabler for this deck. Use these typically for pulling Thunderbolt Potion and Immune Boost, after you’ve established your resilient units. Avoid playing these until you have at least 2 units lined up, so that you can play the merc next to them for the thunderbolt potion.  Avoid using Adrenaline Rush in round 1 in almost all cases (unless you won round 1 but need more carryover).  These are going to be your targets for Marching Orders, alongside Barclay Els.

Thunderbolt PotionBoost 3 adjacent Units by 4. : The bread and butter of this deck.  12 value bronze, on top of resilient units.  Blacklist these first, and pull them with Elven Mercs for huge value.

Hawker HealerDeploy: Boost 2 Units to the right by 3. : Very solid value filler card.  Use these as basically unit versions of Thunderbolt Potions, buffing up 2 resilient units.

Dwarven MercenaryDeploy: Move a Unit on another row to this row on its side. If it's an Ally, Boost it by 3. : While this card is a 1x in this list, it fulfills a very valuable role.  Use this early to pull your Yarpen to the melee row to allow you to buff it alongside your Mahakam Defenders.  In unique situations, you can use this card alongside Zoltan Chivay to dodge Cow Carcasses, Succubus, or even on the opponent’s board to align an Igni.  Note that running too many of this card BLOCKS your Barclay, Alzur’s Double-Cross, and Rallies from hitting your Mahakam Defenders, which is why it’s a 1x.

Adrenaline RushToggle a Unit's Resilience. : While this card is a 1x in this list, it fulfills an extremely valuable role.  ALWAYS mulligan this card out of your hand after your blacklists; you want it from Merc or Ithlinne.  Typically you use this in round 2 to be able to recycle a huge carryover for round 3 to take the game, if you weren’t able to push round 1 for the win.  In niche scenarios, you can use this in round 1 if your opponent is denying or locking your carryover, and you’re able to win the round regardless.  Ithlinne is often this card’s best friend.

Immune BoostAdd 3 Armor to 3 adjacent Units and Boost them by 3. : It’s basically a 4th Thunderbolt Potion.  In some matchups (Northern Realms, Weather), you’re going to be able to gain good utility from the armor, so be sure to use this before Thunderbolt Potions in those cases.

First LightSpawn Clear Skies or Rally. : A great flexible option here.  Call it with Merc or Ithlinne if you have a bricked hand early and need to be able to find your Mahakam Defenders.  You can also use it for a cheeky anti-weather play for anybody trying to sneak weather by you, although note that depending on the situation ignoring the weather and just buffing through it might be valuable.  If you merc and you see both this and Adrenaline Rush, choose this unless in round 2.

Silvers

Yarpen ZigrinWhenever a Dwarf Ally (including Golds) is played, Boost self by 1. Deploy: Gain Resilience. : This card’s amazing.  Play it early either from hand or from Alzur’s Double-Cross, and start buffing it up with mercs.  Drag it to the melee row with your Dwarven Mercenary, and start buffing it up along with your Defenders.  I’d recommend crafting a premium one of these because this card will be sticking to the board for a really long time.  🙂

Commander's HornBoost 5 adjacent Units by 4. : 20 point silver that buffs your carryover value.  Absolutely amazing card here, and the ability to clone it with Eithne is entirely gamewinning.  This is your primary Eithne target, although in certain matchups you won’t need the power from double horn.  Play this card late, later than thunderbolt potions and other buffing tools.

Barclay ElsDeploy: Play a random Bronze or Silver Dwarf from your Deck and Boost it by 3. : Core Dwarf card.  Note that this card actually gets better the fewer dwarves you run (part of the reason why I run 1x Dwarven Mercenary) as it only increases the odds of you pulling Yarpen and Mahakam Defender, which are the ones you want the most.  Play this one early, after playing Yarpen.  Note that this card will be pulled by Marching Orders alongside Elven Mercenaries.

Alzur's Double CrossBoost one of the Highest Bronze or Silver Units in your Deck by 2 and play it. : Great tutor card.  Pulls Yarpen, your Dwarven Mercenary, then Mahakam Defenders.  Play this in the first turns of the game, either for Yarpen on turn 1, or Dwarven Mercenary or Mahakam Defenders afterwards.  If you have a hand without enough resilient units, and especially if you don’t have Commander’s Horn or Nature’s Gift for it, use Eithne to reuse this card for more resilient Defenders.

Marching OrdersBoost one of the Lowest Bronze or Silver Units in your Deck by 2 and play it. : Great tutor card.  This one rolls between barclay and merc typically.  If you have all mercs in hand and this pulls barclay, play this very early, right after Yarpen.  Otherwise, play it early after you’ve put 2 units together on a row, so that if it pulls a merc you’re still able to thunderbolt for value.  If your grab from this will be Barclay Els, and you have a hand without enough resilient units, and especially if you don’t have Commander’s Horn or Nature’s Gift for it, use Eithne to reuse this card for more resilient Defenders.

Nature's GiftPlay a Bronze or Silver Special card from your Deck. Shuffle the others back. : Your tutor for tutors.  Use this as your blank check for silver spells.  Typically for Commander’s Horn, although otherwise you can fill in the gaps for Alzur’s Double-Cross or Marching Orders.  In niche round 2 cases you can use it for Adrenaline Rush.

Golds

IthlinneDeploy: Play a Bronze Special card from your Deck, then Spawn a copy of it. Shuffle the others back. : Powerhouse gold of this deck, and incredibly versatile too.  Use it for thunderbolts to push a round 1 hard, for Adrenaline Rush either in round 2 or after an Auckes to be able to carryover massive value, or even for Rally to be able to find resilient units early if your hand is bad.  Put it on a row that maybe forces that row into Igni range. In the dwarf mirror, use this early between your opponent’s Mahakam Defenders to block off their buffs.

Zoltan ChivayDeploy: Move 3 Units to this row on their side. If they are Allies, Strengthen them by 2. : Flexible high value card.  Basically you use it as a 14 point play that can drag your units to the same row to buff, or dodge threats such as weather, succubus, and Cow Carcasses.  Consider using one of its grabs on an opponent’s unit to align an Igni.

SaskiaOrders: Play this Unit from your Deck on a random row. : Super high value scoia’tael card. Pulls itself out for free value which helps your ability to push round 1.  Mulligan this away as soon as you blacklist thunderbolt potion, and otherwise decline the third mulligan if you haven’t seen this card yet.

Geralt: IgniDeploy: Destroy all the Highest Units on the opposite row if that row totals 20 or more Power. : Natural synergy with dwarves, as dwarves need to be able to push round 1 and Igni is all about pushing deeper into a round.  Super useful in the mirror, and can punish Kaedweni Sergeants very hard.  Consider using one pull from Zoltan Chivay or even Dwarven Mercenary to be able to set up an Igni on your opponent’s board, as well as Ithlinne to push a row into Igni range.

Unincluded Cards

This section is simply for explaining why many cards that look very fitting in this list aren’t run, and in many cases aren’t actually as great here as they seem.

Dennis CranmerDeploy: Strengthen all other Bronze and Silver Dwarves in your Deck, Hand and on your side of the Board by 1. : Honestly this card isn’t that good.  It forces you to run more dwarves than you really want to in order to gain even decent value, and blocks better targets for Alzur’s Double-Cross.

YaevinnDeploy: Draw the top Unit and top Special card from your Deck. Keep 1 and shuffle the other back. : Normally a great card, but dwarves don’t need card advantage, and need to be able to push round 1 harder.  Understand that the true purpose of spies is less about card advantage and more about providing you an option to slow the game down when you’re 5-15 points ahead, and that with a deck where you’re playing for carryover, you already have cards that fill that niche making Yaevinn effectively purposeless.

OlgierdWhen this Unit is Discarded or Destroyed, Weaken it by half (rounding up). At the start of Rounds 2 and 3, Resurrect this Unit if it is in the Graveyard. : I actually kind of miss this card a little bit; It’s super solid in dwarves.  Ultimately though, it’s just not necessary to the win condition and blocks ADC a bit.  Silver slots are super tight.  Still a solid budget replacement.

ToruvielAmbush: When your opponent passes, turn this Unit over and Boost 2 Units on each side by 2. : Not a terrible card, although blocks Alzur’s Double-Cross, and has too hard of a time finding a place in the silver slots.  It also blocks the adjacency buffing of thunderbolts and Commander’s Horn, which can be actually a lot more awkward than it might seem.  Still a decent budget replacement.

DecoyReturn an Ally to your Hand, Boost it by 3 and play it. : Experimented with it to return Barclay and Elven Mercenaries.  Wasn’t really useful enough.

OverdoseBoost up to 6 random Allies by 2. : Honestly this card is pretty bad.  It’s new and a lot of people are trying to make it work but the numbers aren’t there.  A situational 12 isn’t worth it for a bronze.  Furthermore, it clogs your mercs hard (imagine using mercs early and seeing overdose + rally/adrenaline), giving situations where you have no good options.

Mahakam GuardDeploy: Boost an Ally by 3. If it's a Dwarf, Boost by 4 instead. : Not a good card and while this deck utilizes dwarves, it isn’t an all-in archetype deck so you don’t actually want to put in that many dwarves.

Dwarven SkirmisherDeploy: Damage an Enemy by 3. If the Unit was not Destroyed, Boost self by 2. : A decent card but no real synergy here and while this deck utilizes dwarves, it isn’t an all-in archetype deck so you don’t actually want to put in that many dwarves.

General Guide

Mulligan

This deck’s mulligan is VERY straightforward: start by blacklisting your Thunderbolt Potion, then getting rid of Saskia if you have her, then get rid of in this order: Adrenaline rush, Immune Boost, First Light.  Decline the third mulligan if you haven’t blacklisted Saskia yet, unless you have 3+ bronze spells left, as you need to end this mulligan with no more than 1-2 bronze spells as we want to pull them with merc/Ithlinne.

General Gameplan

This deck’s gameplan is basically to play deep for round 1, using a combination of your proactive resilient dwarves (yarpen, mahakam defender), buff them up really big, and preferrably win round 1, establishing a carryover that can’t be beat.  If you aren’t able to win round 1, you still force it very deep, and typically are able to achieve an unbeatable carryover going into round 2.  The opponent will instantly pass, and you can use adrenaline rush (if possible doublecast from Ithlinne) to be able to transfer one or two 25+ str units into a very short round 3.  Avoid passing in round 1 with this deck, even if you need to go 2-3 turns after the pass to be able to catch up.

Round 1 

Open by playing Yarpen (via Alzur’s Double-Cross if necessary), and start developing your Mahakam Defenders. Protect them as best you can from removal by healing them with Dwarven Mercenary and Hawker Healer.  Don’t worry if one or two of your four resilient units get pinged off, as you only need one or two to survive to be able to win out the game easily.  Use your Dwarven Mercenary to pull your Yarpen to the melee row to be able to absorb buffs with your Mahakam Defenders.

Take careful note of your silver tutors: Nature’s Gift, Alzur’s Double-Cross and Marching Orders.  Using these three cards properly, and knowing which one to Eithne can be pretty crucial.  Nature’s Gift is basically your blank check, you typically use it on Commander’s Horn, Alzur’s Double-Cross, or Marching Orders; whichever one you need.  Alzur’s Double-Cross pulls Yarpen, then the Dwarven Mercenary, then Mahakam Defenders.  Use it to tutor for your resilient units early, and if you only have one resilient unit and have no way to get more (or if you don’t have access to Commander’s Horn), Eithne it to get you another defender.  Marching Orders will typically roll between Elven Mercenary and Barclay Els; use this right after Yarpen if the Barclay is guaranteed, otherwise wait until you have 2 units on the same row in case you find an Elven Mercenary.  Use Eithne for Marching Orders if it’s a guaranteed Barclay and you only have one resilient unit and have no way to get more, or if you don’t have access to Commander’s Horn.  Otherwise, save Eithne (and Nature’s Gift) for Commander’s Horn, unless you’re in a matchup where your Igni will win you the round regardless (kaedweni sergeant).

If you NEED more resilient units (you want at least 2-3), you can Eithne for Alzur’s Double-Cross or Marching Orders (into Barclay) to find more, or use Ithlinne (or Elven Merc) to pull rallies.  Do this if you didn’t draw into enough resilient units or the opponent is controlling them early.

Continue deep into the round, stacking buffs with Hawker Healers and playing Elven Mercenaries for Thunderbolt and Immune Boost.  Again, do not pass with this deck, even if you need to play several cards to catch up or even if you won’t be able to win the round; forcing more out of your opponent is still worth it.

If you’re feeling a bit brave, you can use Zoltan Chivay or even sometimes Dwarven Mercenary aggressively to line up an Igni.

Rounds 2-3

More often than not you’ll have been able to force the opponent out of round 1 with at least 1 very large carryover unit.  This game is typically already over at this point; you can either 2 round them or use adrenaline rush to outvalue them.  If you were forced out of being able to win round 1 but still able to secure carryover, the play is basically to use adrenaline rush (if possible doublecast via Ithlinne) to carry over 25-40+ value into a short round 3.  Overall, the round 2-3 with this deck is likely going to be very autowin, provided you’ve been able to get at least one resilient unit to stick.  Good luck.  🙂

Matchup Tips

Against Nilfgaard, make sure you have a nonresilient unit between your 4 so that Letho can’t banish all of your resilients.  Your opponent will have a lot of tools to disrupt your resilience (auckes, peter, etc), but you should still be able to outpower in round 1.  You may need to use adrenaline rush on round 1 if the opponent uses Letho or auckes + decoy, but it should still be a very easy matchup.

Against Monsters, try to save Zoltan Chivay to dodge Succubus.

Against Spelldorf mirror, use Ithlinne early on between their Mahakam Defenders to block off their buffs.  If you can’t win round 1, you need to be able to force out the opponent’s Eithne whilst preserving your own for round 3.  Remember that you can use adrenaline rush on their resilient units to remove their resilience, and prioritize that if it’s more valuable.

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11 thoughts on “Swim’s Ithlinne Dwarves Deck List Guide (Open Beta)

  1. Jekal
    July 18, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    How do you handle an Alzur’s Thunder taking our your Yarpen right after you play it as your first card?

    Reply
    • Vpettijohnjr
      July 19, 2017 at 10:14 am

      I’d guess that you’d want to summon it via Alzur’s Double Cross and boost it right out of the gate with that. Playing Brouver next turn is only going to buff it even more.

      If that’s not an option, you grin and bear it. Defensive decks are all the rage right now. I’d guess it’s still gonna be hard for a defensive deck to keep this deck from getting rolling. Maybe you Ithlinne in round 1 and adrenaline rush two additional units.

      This deck has lots of outs.

      Reply
  2. Vpettijohnjr
    July 18, 2017 at 3:08 am

    Great deck, probably the best out there right now.

    I would add Geralt: Aard as a gold replacement. Since the object is to draw out the round you can hang on to that until later in the round and use it for up to an 18 point swing. I also like to Aard and follow that with an Igni.

    And since this deck draws so much of itself out if you have to mulligan it later on because it has less value via the damage it does you’ll still draw something useful.

    Great deck. Unlimited flexibility, top notch synergy. Which is usually a sign it’s components will be nerfed to pieces in the next update.

    Reply
  3. conziu
    July 13, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    A good variation of this deck is the one with dennis cranmer, milva and brouver hogg as the leader, you can play dennis multiple times then and activate his deploy ability which is very strong but the deck needs a bit more dwarves then and less special cards

    Reply
    • conziu
      July 13, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      I meant decoy not scorch xD

      Reply
  4. LOLCR4FT
    July 13, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Op this deck i have got only geralt igni and works so good x)

    Reply
  5. St4n
    July 11, 2017 at 11:42 am

    88% win rate with this over 34 ranked games @ 3.7k MMR, ridiculously OP.

    Reply
  6. Brian Hall
    July 9, 2017 at 1:00 am

    +1 Kept everything the same but added a bronze chain lock for extra utility

    Reply
    • Vpettijohnjr
      July 18, 2017 at 3:53 am

      I don’t think that’s the right play. I understand where you’re going, but it’s kind of counterintuitive to the deck’s aim. You want to just play all your cards and boost them as much as you can. Winning comes from keeping them around after that. Don’t worry what your opponent is doing. It’s like a foot race. You’re both sprinting, but you can sprint twice the distance he can. Let him get way out ahead of you, you’ll pass him in the end.

      If anything I would add another Adrenaline Rush. With defensive decks as popular as they are currently I’m guessing it’s not super rare to see 2 of the 4 resilient units get locked or killed off. Since thunderbolt is boosting 3 at a time you don’t want to spend 12 points boosting a card that you can’t keep for the next round, so having an extra AR later in the round sometimes wouldn’t hurt.

      Reply
      • Brian Hall
        July 18, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        The bronze chain has helped me multiple times against succubus, and other nasty golds. It also works well in concert with the igni vs consume decks and other high value golds. It’s a good answer to getting out of multiple problems.

        Reply
  7. 5Drawkcab
    July 7, 2017 at 1:27 am

    +1 I couldn’t come up with a better Scoia’teal buff deck post patch.

    Reply

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