Solid power curve in every round
Very strong thinning tools and access to key cards
Strong finishing combo
Heavily reliant on Emissary
Difficult to win if Impera Enforcers/Brigades are answered early
Spies remain the absolute, undisputed deck to beat in the current patch, with most of its competitors seeing nerfs in one way or another but managing to escape the nerf hammer for just a little bit more.
Key cards in the deck include Rainfarn, Joachim, and Cantarella. The last two can be used for more consistent Rainfarn play. Cantarella, Joachim, and Ceallach are staples; but the other three slots can be substituted for cards such as Iris, Vanhemar (in a weather meta), and Summoning Circle. The deck sports a few flex slots and can therefore tech one silver and two golds to beat the meta at hand. Recently, Peter and Sweers both saw play to counteract Consume, but Vanhemar is also a solid choice to answer weather, and Iris serves as the classic, pure value option. As for the golds, different lists cycle between Royal Decree and Renew, Vilgefortz, Leo Bonhart and the newly added Muzzle.
The engine of spies remains the same as the last one relying on Enforcers, Brigades, and Emissaries. With the addition of Vicovaro Medic into the deck the spy player is able to recycle Emissaries for added value to the spy engine. Recently players have been using Rainfarn aggressively and not afraid to drop the card early to pull Roach and Cantarella round one. The spy synergy make these positive tempo plays, and the card advantage obtained becomes hard to effectively counter. With the change of leader to Emhyr the deck is now able to save cards such as Peter for the final round, to reuse them with the leader ability against decks like Spell Scoia’tael.
For this example let’s look at the deck made by At_Ra, who piloted the deck to 1490 faction MMR in the Pro Ladder. For bronzes we see the normal spy engine with a third Infiltrator instead of Enforcer to enable consistent spy toggles for cards like Menno. In the silver slots we see the normal package with At_Ra deciding to go with Vanhemar for weather safety over Peter or Iris. As mentioned earlier he’s running the popular gold card set Rainfarn / Menno / Leo / Vilgefortz. These allow him several removal options for key threats such as Farseers or Kaedweni Siege Supports.