Deck Guide: Swim's Bear Kambi
Hey guys Swim here, with my new Bear Kambi deck I’ve built on my stream over the past several days. While a very difficult deck to correctly pilot, it can be surprisingly competitive if played to perfection. However, keep in mind that this is still a Kambi deck; for a more competitive option, you can try my restore skellige. Today I’m joined by fellow Gwentlemen Lamios and we’re going to be going over the nuances of this strange new deck.
This deck has a very straightforward mulligan. Blacklist
This deck’s strategy consists of stacking as much strength as possible into the final round while using Kambi as a catchup mechanic to make up for the low-tempo setup plays it requires. The inclusion of Regis and Cerys as buff targets circumvents the most common counters to this strategy in the form of Graveyard-hate cards like Vicovaro Medic and Caretaker.
Like most Queensguard decks, this deck often gains immense value from winning round 1, even if going 2 cards down. Set up as much carryover value as possible with cards like Draig while also threatening to take the round at most 2 cards down. Playing Savage Bear is a safe opener.
Then, identify a gameplan against your opponent’s faction: against monsters and nilfgaard, you’ll need to buff Regis and Cerys to circumvent graveyard-hate; discard Regis with Bran if possible and use Draig to buff both Regis and Cerys. Use thinning tools to ensure drawing kambi and renew, and play for the lategame finisher of Regis.
Against Skellige, Scoia’tael, and Northern Realms, play this deck like a Queensguard deck with Kambi in it: aggressively buffing queensguard and Cerys with repeated usage on Draig Bon-Dhu (discarding him with Bran to get him if need be)
If you have silver resses in hand and want to find your Draig, discard him with Bran early to gain access.
Hopefully you’ll have won round 1 with some large units in graveyard, or at least lost round 1 with preserving potential silver spies in hand.
Be sure to revive Savage Bear as early as you can afford to - not only does its value increase the earlier you get him on the board, but it leaves you open to Kambi whenever you need to. By getting it onto the board you also play around one of your only lose conditions - Savage Bear getting banished by cards like Katakan or resurrected by your opponent.
Often against monsters or other very aggressive decks you may be forced out of round 1; Kambi as a tool prevents you from being 2-rounded, one of the main weaknesses of Queensguards. In these games, be sure to save Summoning Circle and Decoy so you can replay Spies, and use them in round 2 to set up a late Kambi, preventing you from being 2-rounded. Spend the round before Kambi playing more thinning and Graveyard buffing tools, often resurrecting Draig. If you’re able to get your large Cerys back in round 3, you’ll often be in a position to take the game.
Don’t be afraid to mulligan away Kambi in matchups where it’s not needed, often going into round 3: it’s mostly a tool to prevent being 2-rounded or to potentially even stay in round 1, although it can be amazing in round 3 if you’re able to hold onto your silver spies.
Monsters: This one can be a bit tricky. Not only can they aggressively pressure you out of round 1, but you’re also shut out of Queensguards as an option because of Archgriffin and Caretaker. Use Bran on Regis and Cerys, and play your Draig on both repeatedly. Thin aggressively in round 1, making sure to draw it out long (remember, play until you can’t beat their score even going 2 cards down), while trying to save Decoy, Udalryk, and Summoning Circle for round 2. Monsters will often try to 2-round you, and you want to draw into your Kambi and renew to win. In round 2, resurrect your Savage Bear and Draig and continue thinning, playing Spies (including Summoning Circle or Decoying Frightener) and using your Kambi late in round 2 to avoid being 2-rounded. Identify when they’re going for the 2-0 and play Kambi as late as you can to destroy as many of their carryover units (like Ekkimaras) as possible.
Bran Skellige: A very common matchup right now, this one is relatively straightforward: since typically they don’t play graveyard-hate, go for a Queensguards-heavy strategy, often discarding two with Bran alongside Cerys, and use Draig to buff your weakest Queensguard plus Cerys. If you’re able to play Draig enough times, you’ll simply outpower the opponent.
Nilfgaard Spies: A matchup that in many ways plays similarly to the monster matchup. They can pressure you out of round 1, but they need to commit to the round in order to do so, by playing multiple Impera Enforcers and / or Impera Brigades. Just like Monsters, you should buff Regis and Cerys. However, in this matchup, it’s important that you also discard Queensgards (even if with Warmongers). If they Vicovaro Medic your Queensgards, they’re playing into your win condition and not thinning their deck properly. If they don’t, you can get them out round 2 to try and force them to play their power cards to catch up. Ideally, you’ll win round 1 two cards down, or pass whenever you can’t catch up in two cards. You’ll then play round 2 with buffs and keeping Kambi as a way to catch up if they decide to push you. If you force out Joachim / Iris in round 2 before Kambi, you should always win. Otherwise, it comes down to whether your carryover can beat their Rainfarn / Joachim / Nauzicaa Brigade combo.
Northern Realms: Since typically they don’t play graveyard-hate, go for a Queensguards-heavy strategy, often discarding two with Bran alongside Cerys, and use Draig to buff your queensguards. Avoid using Draig on Cerys in this matchup as Northern Realms has an easy time running locks. Be wary of Henselt pressuring you for a 2-0; you may have to go 3 cards down against a Henselt.
Scoia’Tael: Against Spellatael, try to force out multiple Farseers early and buff queensguards evenly to play around Artifact Compression. Often they’ll give you round 1 for free and you’ll be able to bleed them very deep round 2 to be able to win round 3 in a single card; leave your Queensguards in your graveyard in this round 2 because bringing them out just enables artifact compression. Against other scoia’tael decks, be wary of Ciaran; you can buff Cerys if you have a Summoning Circle (save it for the Ciaran), otherwise just stick to buffing Queensguards.