- Strong removal options
- Powerful finisher
- Lack of proactive options
- Predictable game plan
- Limited short round options
Slowly, but steadily, Alchemy Nilfgaard has shaped up into a fully functional archetype. The previous patch additions of Mahakam Ale and the changes to Vicovaro Novices made it possible to generate some points through the alchemy package, it still had to piggyback on the other archetypes due to the lack of core bronze package. With the inclusion of such cards as Viper Witchers and Ointments, however, it's finally grown into a deck of its own.
The new Alchemy Nilfgaard is built around Viper Witcher - a 5 str bronze, which deals 1 point of damage for each alchemy card in your starting deck. Which means that with the inclusion of only 9 alchemy cards, they turn into a 5 deal 9 that can be re-used up to 6 times. With that damage, Viper Witchers provide almost unparalleled control of the board - the majority of engines are capped at 9 strength, which means that whatever strategy the opponent is planning to employ will be completely shutdown, due to an ease of an access to these removals. As you remove opponent's points, points on your own board are generated by Vicovaro Novices, pulling out Mahakam Ales. Though the Mahakam Ale requires 3 bodies on each row, the addition of Slave Drivers makes it a non-issue as it establishes two bodies in one play, while providing some additional utility, depending on the matchup. After everything said is done, the Trial of the Grasses offers a beefy round 3 finisher, with Ointment almost always guaranteeing a safe target for it.
The dreadful effect of Blue Coin is even more noticeable than ever in Alchemy Nilfgaard as the deck certainly lacks options to play proactively. Viper Witchers are inherently reactive cards, and Vicovaro Novices miss out on a lot of value if there aren't other bodies on the board. As such, first few turns of the game can become tricky to navigate, as you scramble for something to play on an empty board.
Furthermore, as soon as opponent identifies your deck as Alchemy, it becomes easy, give or take, to predict its gameplan. Sure, the specific combination of alchemy cards may vary, but the core package of Viper Witchers, Mahakam Ales, and Trial of the Grasses as a finisher is almost a staple in the deck. Thus, a seasoned player will find a way to play around those options. For instance, they can deny the Viper Witcher value by playing low-value targets first, while also disrupting your rows, if possible. The short round options of Alchemy NIlfgaard aren't impressive either, with Trial of the Grasses providing the only high-power 1 card play. Thus, an opponent might be inclined to bleed that card out before proceeding to round 3, banking on the fact that your other cards do not pack the same punch.
This archetype is certainly not the cream of the crop, but it's certainly a very promising preview of what's to come for Nilfgaard. With the addition of some more bronzes and silvers, Alchemy can become a force to be reckoned with, and even now, it's certainly not a weakest deck, and in the right hands it might turn into a very powerful weapon.
The “vanilla” Alchemy deck, that aims to maximize the Viper Witcher value without sacrificing the consistency or overall power of the deck. Vesemir: Mentor and Letho: Kingslayer are both powerful tutors for your silver Alchemy and Tactics card, the latter of two having a possibility to catch opponent off guard. Tactics package is not something that is frequently seen in the Alchemy but the ease with which Slave Drivers allow to set-up a Commander’s Horn, it is certainly a powerful addition.