Huge value over time, excels in long rounds
Good number of weather effects and ability to move enemy units
Countered by weather clears, ineffective against armor and movement to a certain extent
Having to rowstack Axemen and Harpooners on the same row makes it vulnerable to Igni and Hailstorm
Low tempo plays for the first few turns
A perennial staple of the Skellige faction, Axemen rears their heads once again. This archetype relies on building a value chain with your Clan Tuirsseach Axemen and damage effects that gain value over time. The more you damage your opponent, the bigger your Axemen get, widening the point gap between you and your opponent the longer the round goes on.
While Axemen themselves saw a significant nerf this patch, the pool of support cards was increased with many new options. Harald the Cripple is a powerful effect that will make an immediate board swing. Whale Harpooner gives the deck some much-needed movement manipulation, while Herbalist gives options for weather or Organic spells like Lacerate and Adrenaline Rush.
The strength from this deck comes from its ability to dominate long rounds. No deck can match it for sheer power from bronzes, and as such it is best to try to play over two long rounds, ignoring the third round if possible. Conversely this is one of the decks biggest weaknesses. Losing the first round can result in being bled through round 2. Axemen have one of the worst tempo options of any deck, so it’s difficult to win a round 3 with few cards.
With the recent changes to Harald and the additions of Harpooner and Herbalist, Axemen made its resurgence. Recently Redrame reached #1 on ladder with this archetype. The gold weathers at your disposal force your opponent to row stack, which directly benefits your Axemen, and can be punished by playing Herbalist into Lacerate, or Hailstorm. Both your Skellige Storm and your Birna - which also spawns a Skellige Storm - synergize well with gold weather, since you don’t lose any value by replacing one row’s weather effect with it. The Harpooner and Dorregaray can easily move your opponents’ units around, while Avallach and Udalryk extend rounds. Summoning circle is a very versatile tool that allows you to copy an enemy spy, or a lock unit, so you can unlock your Axemen immediately. With this deck you always aim to win Round 1 and dry pass Round 2, so you have the longest Round 3 possible.