From Kikimore Hatchling to Arachas Queen: A journey through Arachas Swarm decks in Gwent

A thousand mindless horrors, all racing toward you in perfect accord, relentless, ravenous.

During my Gwent journey, I had the pleasure of exploring various decks, guided by different factors. Many decks hold special memories, and one archetype stands out with a unique place in my heart. But let’s begin from the start.

Gwent reminds me of The Witcher series’ latest installment, just as it does for many of you. Playing certain cards transports me back to locations I visited, characters I interacted with, and quests I undertook. Among the memories, I cherish idyllic scenes the most, like White Orchard, villages near Novigrad, and settings from the Hearts of Stone expansion. These places are closely tied to the main character and the entire universe.

Perhaps you recall the quest “Defender of the Faith,” which perfectly captures the essence of these beloved locations. In this quest, we encounter Arachnomorphs for the first time, forming a connection between these creatures and the picturesque landscapes. So, playing decks centered on insectoid swarms brings back warm memories of those places.
In decks, card design has always been crucial to me. Arachas Swarm decks, I believe, possess a unique charm that captures the Witcher atmosphere, evident just by scrolling through the deck builder. Card animations, like Glustyworp, are delightful, while some, resembling spider-like creatures, may be unsettling. The most visually unsettling card remains the Parasite, but it fits perfectly in these decks.

Now, let’s discuss the advantages of playing with these decks, starting with the leader. It’s straightforward yet enjoyable, synergizing well with special cards, particularly organic ones. Moreover, it often provides a point advantage at a low cost, aiding in defensive round outcomes.

The Arachas Swarm emerged as a promising deck back in 2019 when Wangid won Open #8 with their assistance, and Glusty proved to be a reliable finisher. The deck relied on a swarm board, not only with the help of insectoids but also with the Witcher trio and Germain, who recently made a comeback as a means of quickly swarming the row. Since then, the swarm has certainly grown…

Subsequent iterations of the insect swarm deck were characterized by their fast pace, aided by cards like Triss and Yennefer of Vengerberg. Crimson Curse often allowed for winning on even cards. In this setup, units that were not high-point cards effectively countered the opponent’s removals, which were often played by Skellige warriors under Eist’s leadership or with poison from the Masquerade Ball. We could witness these clashes during the first Open of Season 3.

The deck received a slightly more midrange version during the Open #3 in 2021. Among my favorite archetypes like spellia’tael or devo linked pocekd, a variant of the Arachas Swarm with Mamuna and prepared Griffins appeared. This deck was focused on a few high-value units, including the mentioned relic, Glusty, and Sunset Wanderers. What can be noticed in its construction is a greater number of control cards. Returning to the swarm strategy paid off, as it guaranteed Truzky a 100% win rate with this deck during its premiere.

It might seem that, with only a few changes in the deck, the core strategy remains the same: spawn the swarm with Arachas Nest, play Endrega Eggs, consume them, and strengthen the insectoids.

However, in 2023, with the release of patch 11.4 and the expansion Claw and Dagger, like after the winter, the insects came to the surface and thank God we had Truzky.

In its current iteration, the playstyle has undergone some positive changes. We have access to more control plays, both in the form of special cards and the insectoids on the board. Our beloved Glusty has made a comeback as the finisher, and she performs better than ever before.

Over the years, the archetype has evolved, grown, and one could say even mutated, much like the insectoids themselves. From a simple deck with little more than an interesting concept and an element of surprise, it transformed into an icon of high-speed, all-in gameplay. During this period, we also began to notice something that many other decks still lack to this day. In Arachas Swarm lists, every card is carefully considered, and each one holds importance.
From common bronzes – Arachas Nest, Chimera, which form the core, to cards like Bone Talisman, often serving as finishers, and legendary cards that truly create the advantage they should, provoking frustration, anger, or helplessness in the opponent. The current version seems to add another crucial element to what was already considered a near-perfect concept. Cards such as Arachas Queen or Witches’ Sabbath have allowed the deck to become significantly more flexible, open to modifications by the player.

As a fan of control decks, this archetype has transitioned from being liked to beloved in my book.

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