Strong surprise element
Flexible win conditions
Loses power if surprise is lost
Easy to play around
The golden cockerel had a certain reputation in the Gwent community - whenever that card appears on the board, the mixed feelings - of excitement and terror - spring afresh inside the hearts of any unfortunate soul caught off guard by its piercing shriek.
The key components of the average Kambi list are Kambi itself and some kind of an activator: a card which can kill the Kambi and trigger its effect. The most common choices of activators are Savage Bear and Torrential Rain (usually tutored from Herbalist). It’s hard to say which activator is better, as both have their drawbacks and advantages (Savage Bear is more consistent as there’s less RNG involved, but it can also be relatively easily removed by many lists).
Furthermore, a Kambi list needs a high tempo finisher to win after the wipe of the board as the change to the gold immunity means that Kambi is no longer a standalone win condition. In the current iteration of the archetype the finisher is provided either by the trusty old Queensguards or by the combination of Regis and Cerys, buffed to a huge numbers by Draig Bon-Dhu.
Although it might come as a surprise, one of the advantages of this deck is its flexibility of a win condition. Old Kambi had a rigid, linear playstyle and a good player would spot the gameplan from a thousand miles away. New Kambi, on the other hand, can alter its play style depending on the matchup - Kambi can be used as a catch-up tool or as a late-game set-up for a finisher. If there’s a lot of graveyard hate, the power of the deck can be concentrated in the gold units instead of the bronzes which can be easily stolen.
But for all its flexibility and actual fun of playing the golden poultry of doom while Tchaikovsky is roaring in the background, the archetype is not without its flaws. The deck lacks 100% consistency - there’s no full guarantee that you will be able to draw all your key pieces which might completely lock you out of your win condition. Additionally, Kambi still relies on the element of surprise - as soon as the Kambi list gets popular, the opponent knows what to expect and can easily bleed you out of your tools unless there’s nothing for you to use.
Still, not all cards or archetypes should be ultra competitive. Some of them are just fun to play and Kambi has plenty of that at its disposal - and now, more than ever, can actually win you a significant number of games.
Swim and Lamios are the parents of the current iteration of Kambi list which you might’ve seen a few times in the game. This specific list has different win conditions depending on the matchup and the cards which you’ve actually managed to draw (them being either Queensguards or the Renew + Regis combo). But regardless of the win condition which you choose to aim for, there’s one card which enables both of them - Draig Bon-Dhu. When reused multiple times with Restore, Decoy, Sigrdrifa and potentially Summoning Circle, your cards get to a ridiculously high numbers which few decks will be able to match. The importance of Draig Bon-Dhu is so high for this build that it can be advisable to discard him with Bran, if you did in fact fail to draw him in your opening hand.