Gwent Patch 11.5 introduces rework of all neutral Dragon cards, big indirect nerfs to Golden Nekker decks: Skellige Pirates and Blood Money Bounty, formidable buff to dead-at-release Syndicate legendary: Casimir Bassi… and many other changes. In this article I would look into changes card by card and then derive some general conclusions.
With the introduction of Lineage keyword, neutral Dragons power scales linearly with the total number of Dragons run in the deck. The logic consequence of this mechanic is that all dragons couldn’t be standalone meta level cards. Otherwise Dragons deck outscales other decks in terms of power.
Indeed, Ocvist is the only neutral Dragon with decent standalone stats. At the opposite pole, Myrgtabrakke is very weak outside all-in Dragon builds, but shines in 7 Dragons Scoia’tael.
Dragons definitely have some point potential – stronger than meme, less flexibile than competitive meta. A serious drawback is that every Timer 3 unit is a model Round 2 bleed target – effect wouldn’t trigger after immediate pass.
- Golden Nekker Indirect Nerfs
A controversial topic. Golden Nekker Pirates deck gets instantly killed after Compass 9=>10 provision nerf with no discussion. Golden Nekker Bounty would probably still be alive. GN itself in Syndicate is way stronger than in Skellige. It often translates to: deploy 15p body on the board and kill chosen opponent unit.
While Magic Compass nerf maybe could be justified somehow (although card wasn’t a pick in meta decks outside Golden Nekker; I wouldn’t nerf Compass myself), Vivaldi Bank nerf (provision cost +1 submerges +1 profit buff) does a lot of harm to Devotion Syndicate builds which try to be consistent.
- What I like?
Casimir Bassi got huge, deserved buff. Should be comparable with meta Syndicate high-end right now. However, still may feel slugish unless finds a proper deck.
Vanilla Saskia rework is a neat surprise. Special on order has many synergies in ST (Spella’tael…) and Saskia shall instantly make it to Devotion Gift high-end.
- What I dislike?
Hard to object any change in the patch, but for controversial indirect nerfs to Golden Nekker decks. I would like to see GN itself reworked rather than Roach, Compass and Vivaldi Bank nerfs.
There are also missing things. Acid Spit akwardness was addressed by making it low cost high reward card. The Heist has similar problems and seems to deserve tempo/floor boost. Maybe Cargo could alternatively be transformed to Rowdy Dwarf/Elven Deadye?
Another thing are irrelevant reworks and too cautious approach to stats of some reworked cards. A revisited card should have a chance to amaze us with the new effect at least playing on the power vs provision curve!
Corrupted Flaminica redefined Skellige in the late April Season, often playing as 20+ for 7 provision at expense of small deckbuilding sacrifices. There was a second Skellige card reworked in the same patch though. Do you remember it? No? It was Tuirseach Bearmaster. Unplayable even when thematic deck became meta.
Nowhere as bad design, but similar fate probably awaits Mahakam Defender and Nilfgaard Machines with Combat Engineer in this patch. Nice, thematic, but irrelevant for everyday play unless hardcore memeing.
Drakenborg… Great to see it immediately changed, but… The change is rather lazy and with little synergy amongst Northern Realms cards. Just a better tutor for a narrow pool of targets in decks running handbuff/deckbuff tools.
Golden Nekker Pirates are dead with the Compass nerf. Other than this, I don’t predict Patch 11.5 to turn the meta upside down. Bounty Nekker would still be solid, but probably 3rd/4th faction.
It is worth noting that Bounty Nekker and Nekker Pirates were the most control oriented decks of Gwent 11.4 meta. Nerfs to them could mean reoccurence of many greed decks.
Even if most decks would rely on old cards and archetypes, it would be exciting to see how the meta evolves. Too uncertain for me to make real predictions at this point.
Hope you had a good read! Feedback very welcomed as always, wonder what I missed in my analysis!