After watching the Gwent Partners Tournament #3 and experiencing the recent changes, I was thinking about memery again, just like Geralt is doing in the banner, and where my place as a memer might be. If you are interested in the match I played there against Trynet123 then go check out the viewer battle here.
So, here we are again, another month another meta…or at least kinda. With the recent patch we got some changes, which nerfed NR a bit, helped SY to create new decks around Cesar and saw finally the end of double scenarios. Not mentioning that NG is overall in a bad shape right now or into the top tier meta lists, this updates goal is not to criticize the meta, but to take a new look on memery in Gwent. For that, anyhow, we need to break down at least some things in the current meta.
Struggling to make memes work and where to go
To create a meme, you want to make unique synergies. You want to play cards outside the meta, think outside just pointslam, removal and techs. You want to focus on whats happening on your side of the board, at least most of the times, and seek for combo-value from cards, which are almost useless on their own. For that, you need to put in a whole bunch of cards to work together, which you also need in one round, just to make it work. And if it works, pretty often you just only get the equal value of some high prov meta cards. Take an Aglais deck for example, which needs a lot of work to do to make her real big. Syanna maybe, some Thunderbolts, a Defender, also you want to have last say and so on. Or you just play Anseis and Viraxes, click Shieldwall leader twice. That’s maybe not the same amount of points, but you get the idea behind this thought. (Currently we are working on a detailed data bank, which will try to show the numbers between meta and memery, so stay alert for new stuff on this page!).
Maybe you get there, you made it work and outpoint your opponent once. And people might say “damn, Aglais is huge”, but that might only work once in five matches like that. Also, you don’t only pay the provisions for all the meme cards you need to make it work, you also passively pay the price of not putting in all these autoinclude cards mentioned before. So therefore you need to still find cards and other strategies than your main meme, to just stay alive in the match. And trying out stuff outside the meta, while getting permanently clapped can be pretty exhausting. Of course it makes fun, when you are a streamer, have a community cheering for you and your placements are done. But when you are alone on your own, kinda tired of seeing the same stuff all over on ladder, where can you go?
You could suggest that unranked might be the place for memery, but in my experience so many people play meta lists there as well. I witnessed enough experienced players, playing their meta lists on unranked, just to farm crown points for journey, cause new players or memers in unranked are easy prey. And yes, they have every right to do so. So where and when to meme around? The common reddit user might just answer: “ree, opponent plays better deck than me, that’s not fair” but that’s not the point behind these thoughts.
You also want these crown points, cause you like to have the journey stuff. Therefore you need to win rounds…which can be a bit harder when you meme. And when pro ladder takes to much effort for maybe newer players, the higher you get in ranks, the more meta you see. Seems like finding a place for memery can be difficult.
The gap between memery and meta
As stated before, the power gap between memes and meta list is quite huge. The last partners open showed us, that memes can win some games, but only if the hand is almost perfect to get the whole synergy, while the opponent mustn’t interrupt the ongoing meme as well. In the end, none of the memes could prevail, and the Gwent partners who choose to bring normal meta lists shaped the later stages of the tournament. Yes, I acknowledge the competitive character of these events and the will to achieve a victory here. And yes, I respect all the people to make these choice…but it feels kinda depressing to have the chance to actually show entertaining decks, difficult synergies and funny moments, but rather pick the meta we can witness daily anyway.
In my opinion, the problem here is that the new expansion kinda increased the power gaps between meta lists as well as between meta and memes. The new cards, including the scenarios and some stuff from before, make older faction archetypes almost obsolete. We see warrior SK and sometimes a beast/druid package. We see a control/engine NR, MO with hunger or Kelly and some ST symbiosis and elve decks now. Reading this, you could argue that’s at least a few options for every faction right?
Well, only on the topside. On the bottom, every faction uses a whole bunch of cards, which are almost autoinclude in every deck. Doesn’t matter what type of deck you want to play, these cards are just to good to skip. That means, that only slight changes are made, which makes playing against these factions kinda repetitive. And that’s where the memery dilemma comes in.
Conclusion and Outlook
This update wanted to take a look on the problems memery faces right now in Gwent. I didn’t come up with any solutions, but I am working on some ideas right now, as mentioned before. We will try to come up with more suggestions to make memes great again, while also keeping the competitive environment and character of the game in mind!
With the recent card changes, all focused on what its to strong or to weak in the current meta, the memes are left behind. Old cards like Fringilla are still in the starter deck, but never got touched. Wolf Pack stays the same forever, while the new expansion cards got reworked twice sometimes. It feels like every expansion there is a new layer of cards worked on, while stuff deep down sets on dust. Also some memes around Caranthir, like Phoenix spam, which could be actually valuable right now after the provision buff, got killed, cause of the Ethereal meta. The power gap between memes and meta where shown in the latest partners tournament, where the chance to think outside the meta was missed by some contenders. And with no tournaments to qualify for the next months, with the vanishing of the arena mode in a week…whats left to meme for?
I know its hard work to please everyone and certainly the competitive scene might need more focus. But maybe we could try to think about different archetypes, which represent the identity of each faction, work on cards which are left behind and remember that Gwent is also about fun and the ability to let as forget the dull everyday routine…so therefore we need to break out of a dull everymonth meta, to always say YES to the question: Up for a round of Gwent?