Team Bandit Gang

Sawyer1888

Once upon a time… – New Years resolutions for Memery in Gwent

Introduction - Current State

So, the Way of the Witcher expansion is now a month old, Pajabol is the winner of the Gwent Masters Season 2 and 2020 lies behind us.
What is the current state of Memery in Gwent right now in my opinion and what would I wish for in 2021?

As mentioned in some articles before, which you can check out here, I already talked about the power gap between memes and meta, tried to define what the term “meme” in general might mean and which obstacles you have to overcome to be a memer, if you desire to.         
In this current Season and also the Season of the Wolf, starting this week, we know what we have to expect from the meta. It will be a mix between Viy and Lippy decks, paired with Lockdown and ST Movement. Sometimes you face good old SK Warriors, Hidden Cache, some Kolgrim piles or even NR Witcher Swarm.
You can argue that this might be a good sign to see a viable meta list for each faction and indeed, every faction has his dark horses cruising on ladder. The problem I and also some people in the scene see is, that many matchups feel very binary. You need certain techs, certain coins, certain matchups to make each strategy powerful or at least being able to compete. A strong hand for Lippy on red coin feels overwhelming, with the recent buffs to some thinning cards and new added cards like Snowdrop. Without the removal options against Viy you will struggle to keep up with the points, while you also want to have removal abilities to handle ST’s Cat Witchers and other movement engines. Oh right, do you have a purify? Heatwave already used? How do you want to get through the defender to deal with Kolgrim?       
The Way of the Witcher introduced us some cards, which will see balance changes for sure in February, but it kinda shows the direction I already talked about in the past. Meta decks become more rock paper scissors like, where some certain cards can be game deciding or certain matchups are really hard to deal with. And that’s where my thoughts and fears as a memer come in play.

Meming in the Way of the Witcher

As a memer I want to make some combos outside of meta synergies. A memer sees potential in cards you wouldn’t see regularly on ladder, while building a deck around it and making them viable. But in this current state of the meta, you kinda have to fit certain tech cards to survive long enough against these decks, to play out your combo. This costs you some provisions and reduces your meme potential. Therefore memes right now, like Alzur Arch Griffin decks, Enforcer Idarran swarms or some movement decks getting pretty rare and are also kinda a hybrid between meta and meme. Lockdown kills almost every meme, heatwave deals with your key card. Viy outpoints you while you can’t make it to round 3 against Lippy. And a 2:0 vs. an early Gezras might be certain anyway.   
If you look around on PlayGwent, you don’t see many meme decks on its own. They are all hybrids, some “meme” versions of meta lists, including every important card and then just a few surprise cards. The powercreep of some leaders, units or specials also reduced the variety of memes and their potential to work. Every deck right now has the same key aspects: powerful thinning, neutral removal, oneiromancy and some good working faction own engines. Lippy is just a neutral thinning and removal deck, build around double Cerys and the SK discard package and location. 

The question is now, what to do?

The Evolution of Casual and Unranked

Well, this also leads me to another problem, mentioned before, which has grown with this new expansion: casual or unranked mode. Many people get sick of facing Viy and Lippy, they don’t want to play on ladder, are afraid or don’t see the point. But they want to try out their Tier 2 or Tier 3 lists maybe, so they go in casual mode to play some games, farm some crownpoints and do their quests. Some people in my Team, like KingDenpai or Bomblin, experienced the same: casual is swarmed by meta lists and is sometimes even harder to play than reaching pro rank. The amount of people already being in pro rank, over thousands of games experience, deciding to play their meta lists on unranked has grown tremendously.
So as a memer, the need to have at least some tech cards and answers in your deck to deal with some of the known meta combos is huge, which means trying out full meme combinations seems almost impossible. Sure, this might change this month when actually CrownPoints are on the stake, nevertheless the struggle to be a memer continues.

Alternatives and Solutions

As a change, I don’t want to just complain, I want to offer solutions. And the solutions don’t need to be setting up a safe space for memers, but to evaluate the importance of flexibility in playing Gwent in general.

Draft Mode and Arena

With the removal of classic Arena, we now have Draft which is, with no disrespect, terrible. You don’t get any rewards for winning and it doesn’t cost you anything to play, so you just redraft till you have some broken ass combo deck. Multiple thinning vs. charge spamming decks can be considered as the standard Draft experience. I would like to see a rework of Draft in terms of the packages and the possibility to pick them. One thinning package is enough. Let us pick between 3 special packages and don’t give us random packages which have no synergy at all. At least our legendary should always support the leader ability we just picked. I see a high potential to make Draft a cool alternative to play, but right now it is not really enjoyable.

Seasonal for everyone

And what about seasonal? Well…it kinda depends on the season. With all these new witcher cards it might be interesting to see how the Season of the Wolf might play out, but why don’t we have every seasonal mode available? Make the season about the rewards and certain items, maybe even create an own seasonal ladder where people can compete if they want to. And then have every seasonal mode available for friendlys, please make it happen! It would give every noncompetitive player the possibility to try out fun stuff with their friends, while also, if being tired of the actual ladder, try to give seasonal a shot and see some progress there as well. Imagine being able to play vs. streamers in viewer battles and select a certain seasonal! I know, that’s not for everyone, but I bet a huge amount of people would enjoy it.

Old but gold

In terms of card…it was already announced that the next expansion will take another 3 months. Okay, but why not try to make a “rework” kind of expansion in between? An overhaul of all the left-over cards which nobody touched in years. Why are new cards reworked two or three times, while Wolf Pack remains as it is forever? How can Iorveth’s Gambit be 13 provisions…while Viy or Harald cost 12? Dandelion: Vainglory kills a beast…cool, but the only beast seeing played right now to make it worth it’s 10 provision is a specter! Maybe I am lucky to kill a boosted Slyzard or a Bear Abomination, but that seems to be it. Make it 8 provisions, so at least you get the value back, if you even face a deck with beasts in it.
So my solution here would be to think of some cards which can support certain archetypes but are out of their provision value or rework some leftover cards to fit them in into the meta. The NG Sergeant or SK Hunter changes were awesome, so I know it’s possible.

Conclusion

As a conclusion I would say that we have to be careful to not left the more meme and casual oriented audience behind, when creating new cards. The kinda easily handled meta lists right now opened the door for many maybe not so skilled players to reach higher MMR, while being stuck with autopilot decks like Lippy, Viy and Kolgrim.
The ability to create own homebrews decreased in my opinion, which you can see in unranked and seasonal, where nothing is tested, just optimized. People scream for a meta list for ladder and seasonal in the first 3 days after a patch, relying on the provided snapshots. Small tournaments end up being meta battles as well, because nobody wants to be the one bringing “memes” and getting slaughtered on stream first round, that’s how weak the potential of memes is right now.
The optimization of the Draft mode and the ability to play different seasonal modes with friends would help to create a healthy alternative and break from a quite meta heavy ladder, while an update on leftover cards might help to make memes more viable and increases the deckbuilding process in general. Let’s hope for the best this year, I’m really looking forward to it! Stay safe, stay humble and don’t let your memes be dreams!

SK Control…Again – Demolish your opponents

Introduction

Cheers guys, Sawyer here with another deck guide, more ladder oriented then memewise. 

You might already saw this one on Playgwent alone, now it just got a nicer look with some updated explanations. 

As I find it pretty annoying that my opponents keep swarming me with engines and points, doesn’t matter if NR Witchers, ST Movement, MO Thrive or Viy…or some other piles like Lippy, I wanted to create something which just controls my opponents board. Therefore, Skellige is always a decent and strong choice to do so. 

Key Cards, Tech Choices and Playstyle

The reason to take Skellige is that their removal cards play for a decent amount of points, while also being very flexible. Thats why we don’t go for cards like Totem here, cause Totem doesn’t do damage…well, at least not towards our opponent.

I decided to also get rid of the Hjalmar and Greatsword combo, cause GS plays often into tall removal and everyone expects this on ladder anway.

Therefore we have cards like Gerd, to set up some Bloodthirst and also get row punishment against Lippy or other swarm decks, while cards like Lugos, Skjordal and Donar are for single engine removal. We also play with 2 Stunning Blows and 2 Gutting Slashs, to absolutely control all these 4-5 engines you see on ladder right now.

Decent techs are a Bear Witcher Mentor for some points, but also the Brokvar Hunters and the Marauder. They help to set up some Bloodthirst as well, which guarantees as the max value out of our removal cards, while they also can bait removal from our opponent, so the Longships and Raiders stick.

Work around with your Bloodthirst engines, think about your removal potential and value your opponents engines. Cards like An Craite Longship can just hardcounter Kolgrim, while we also never fear to get a card down against Lippy, if this will get us to a longer Round 3. For Viy we have some tall removals, while also being able to remove their consume engines. 

Weak spots might be MO Frost Devotion, cause their engines are not worthy to remove and they also do much damage with their frost. On the other hand Elves can be a threatining match up as well, if our hand gets to awkward, but at least we have some row punishment. 

Hope you enjoy and happy Skomegalol!

The deck in action

Team Bandit Gangs Enz0plays crumbled some hopes with this deck:

Also Team Kreve’s beefox3 and me had a good time with it, while going to Pro and started climbing in a 12 games winning streak: 

Inside the minds of Gwents Elite – About Pro Players Mentality

Written by Sawyer1888 and the seal of approval from Babyjosus.

Introduction

The time has come, as our dear friend Hemdall would say. Although it’s the Gwent Masters of Season 2, this week from December 5th – 6th we will see the first ever played World Masters. Over a duration of 9 seasons, we’ve seen dozens of Qualifiers and 4 Opens which decided who will take part in this tournament. Now there will be a Clash of the best 8 current Gwent players:
Demarcation, wangid1, Tailbot, Pajabol, kams134, Saber97, Gravesh and kolemoen.

During this impressive journey I asked myself the question what it takes to be a professional Gwent Player and what it takes to compete constantly on such a high level? Probably it’s the same question many of you asked, no matter on which level your abilities in this game currently are. Fighting to get into Pro Rank, grinding the ladder to stay top 500, pushing through to top 200, claiming a spot in a Qualifiers event or even winning a tournament.

In order to do so I gathered thoughts and impressions from some of the best players in Gwent, including almost every team, while also getting in contact with experienced casters and people close to the development section.

Additional Information

(For people in a hurry I wrote a short abstract or summary of this article, which you can find at the end, above the note of thanks, but I would appreciate you to value the work I and all the guys put into this! As I am only human, maybe some of you feel left out, because I couldn’t manage to talk to everyone. For this I am sorry, but if so, make sure to contact me on Discord to be part of the next one! Also some of the people I talked to might not even be quoted, but I am deeply thankful for every insight I got and you will see yourself mentioned in the note of thanks at the end of the article! There will be a list of everyone who helped me creating this article and where you can also find the links of their Twitch and Twitter accounts, while also being able to visit every Teams homepage.)

So the goal of my survey and this article was to find out, not only what it might take to be a professional, but also what kind of mindset you need to keep your game on a high standard over such a long time. Therefore, I contacted top players, casters and people involved in the competitive scene via Discord, while giving everyone the same question to answer me, to make it comparable. The question or task I gave them was kinda vague, to give them full freedom of speech:

”Describe in one or two sentences what it takes to be a Pro Player in terms of motivation and mentality, while pointing out like 3 key aspects.”

And I was overwhelmed with the huge amount of responses I got from people who might never heard of me before. Again, a huge thank you, just another sign of what a great community the Gwent scene is.

Key Aspects For A Professional Player

Enjoy yourself and what you do

First of all you have some basic aspects you need to follow to get up your game and be competitive. These factors might count for every esports game, but also for every sport in general. One of them is to have fun at what you do and to actually enjoy the game you are competing in.” (Kolemoen) It is important for almost everything in Life I guess, but especially if this takes a huge part and a huge amount of time in your Life, at least on a certain period. To enjoy the things you do and also have a positive attitude or good sportsmanship is key to stay calm, if you walk into an intense situation”. (ceely) By this I don’t mean to only enjoy the game, Gwent in particular, but also yourself while playing the game. The grind can be pretty hard and often exhausting, so being able to make the best of it is very important. (beefox3) For some people the progress on the other hand is way more important than just the simple joy, so they even force themselves to play, but that’s kinda just part of the grind.” (pajabol)
We can see, that a positive attitude towards yourself, the game and your opponent is a main factor for just getting in the mood to even think about being competitive, while fun helps you to not take everything to hard. But in some moments the urge to be successful becomes stronger and the progress, winning itself can even be a greater motivation. (Tailbot)

A supportive but also competitive environment

In addition to this, the environment is also another main aspect of being a professional Player. Not only a Team, where you have the ability to talk about stuff, scrim, get feedback or help in personal matters (Avades, Sonneillon, Kolemoen), but also a competitive scene, where you can push your limits against the best players possible. That’s why some players, like Neverhoodl, find it more interesting to play in tournaments vs. other top Players, instead of just grinding the ladder. So on the one hand you need your own Team to get support and even to be able to get closer into the game (MyaMon). On the other hand you also want to have strong opponents, which also keep you hungry in general. It’s always nice in every sport to beat a well known opponent. Creating this kind of environment also needs a large community to take part in. In this case it’s the Gwent Community, which feels like a big family for some and might even be the reason to keep in touch with the game for so long (TheaBeasty). It makes things like Streaming possible and gives people the opportunity to even play for titles. The Gwent Community is probably one of the best communities that I’ve ever known and I totally agree with Poisound from Team Nova, it is.

Time and dedication

We discussed two aspects so far, which can easily be valid for any other Esports. The third one will also be a more general factor: Time.
Many people underestimate the amount of time you need to put into practicing, grinding, improving and also failing. It takes time and dedication, the player has to be somewhat passionate about the game to spend so much time says Sikamouk from Team Bandit Gang, while also there’s a difference between time in playing and time trying to improve.” (Avades) Everyone watching the Opens or the upcoming Masters will see a few hours of top level gameplay. Small mistakes will be noticed and smart plays will be praised. For some it will be all over after round 1, maybe even after only 3 games played. But it took them thousands of games to get to this point, just for one chance to stay on top of all other players. Even if some of them sometimes stream their games, you won’t be able to follow the whole journey these players took over the last months and how many hours were spent grinding alone, dealing with defeats while also not being able to enjoy a victory. The next game is already waiting, so no time to lose while grinding for MMR. Making this possible sometimes takes a certain routine, a schedule, to maximize your efficiency. (Demarcation) It could be just 2 hours in a day but with total concentration.” (IgniFriend)

What It Takes To Be A Gwent Champion

So, what does it take to be competitive and professional? Apparently these 3 aspects are key: Passion for the things you do and being able to enjoy yourself. A community where it all can take part, including a supportive team and also a healthy rivalry between competitive teams. And also time, a lot of time, efficiently spent with dedication and full concentration.

But all of these aspects sound kinda universal, like fundamental basics for every sport. The question is now, what does it mean to be a professional Gwent Player? Is it only to draw your Golds? Do I just need matchups in my favor, the right coin for my deck and a bit of RNG luck? Well, lets find out. 

Deckbuilding and game knowledge

Assuming that almost every reader of this article is kinda familiar with the ruleset of Gwent, I won’t explain certain terms. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section. As we all know, you need to have a certain understanding of the game. This includes knowledge about decks and deckbuilding itself, the current META and also the ability to read matchups. (Kwild) You need to be able to take advantage of this knowledge. These things can be acquired by grinding the ladder, watching streams, talking to your teammates and staying in touch with current meta snapshots. But that’s only a small part for what it takes to be a Champion. You also need an understanding of lineup dynamics and the tournament format says Redrame. The difference between open decklists in tournaments and maybe the surprise value of itchy cards on ladder is huge. You always have to be critical of your own plays and deck choices (Saber97_), so you can get an advantage over your opponent. A win can be decided in the deckbuilder by making the right choices, putting in the right tech-cards and reflect on matchups which can be in your favour, to maximize your odds. On ladder you can optimize your playstyle with a certain meta deck, but when you lose don’t blame the meta, create it! (TheaBeasty) To figure out a unique playstyle for yourself and improving your deckbuilding skills helps a lot, says magpie131, who often gave an Open a bit of spice with his creative decks.

The will to improve yourself

After hearing that someone could say alright cool, I copy the decks from the metasnapshot, adjust them a bit by putting in an Igni, Yrden or whatever and I’m good to go right? Well, not quite. The most important aspect for almost everyone I asked was the will to improve yourself and learn from your mistakes. The measure of a pro player is not by how they win, but how they lose”. (Synergygod3773) So you kinda need to have the ability to be impartial to yourself (iluxa228) to actually figure out what you might could have done better and what might be out of control. It’s important to focus on the parts of the game which you can control (Saber97_) which means, that you can’t just blame bad luck, bad RNG, bad draws, bad matchups or the wrong coinflip. Of course, all of these things can be tough obstacles to overcome, but it takes no skill to forfeit every game you missed some Gold Cards, didn’t manage to win a certain round in a certain matchup or to just go into the game while thinking you already lost this when seeing the opponents leader. There’s a cognitive bias towards negative outcomes, so it’s easy to say I just got unlucky without evaluating the situation and play the exact same way the next time.” (Redrame) Identify your mistakes in each game, evaluate your plays, think about possible outcomes and then just learn from your mistakes and never repeat them”. (raduAndrada) Therefore it is a good habit to briefly analyze your match trying to understand matchups you’ve just played”. (pawloex)

The Champions Mentality

To achieve this it takes two things: A lot of practice and to fully immerse yourself in this Esport discipline”. (Dobermann) This means on the one hand to constantly stay hungry for self-improvement at the expense of comfort (Damorquis), while you also have to play a lot of ladder games; and sometimes it will feel like a bit of chore, which you have to power through.” (Shaggyccg) On the other hand tho it’s about to have the right mindset, the Pro Player Mentality, to be capable of doing all these things. Here is what some of the people I asked said about this:

Sonneillon

All it takes for motivation and mentality is the confidence of being able to compete at the highest level.

shinmiri2

Always be looking to improve yourself and yearn to be the best player you can be. […] Make the most out of the time given to you to look and plan ahead.”

molegion

If you want to be the best, then your goal should be always to become better rather than simply win.”

Poisound

Perseverance, never give up, being there and try to improve to be the best.”

pajabol

I would say that the most important thing is not giving up even in tough moments.”

Movius

The most important aspect of being a Pro Player is to have the perfect balance between believing in yourself and in your abilities, while still remain open minded to the suggestions and critics that can come from other players.”

RyanGodric

I believe that in order to become a successful pro player, you need to have an open mind about the game and not be swayed too much by public opinion.”

So, summarizing all of these statements you can see how important it is to have the right attitude and mindset not only in general, but also particular as a Gwent Player. Card games always have a certain RNG factor in it and also Gwent is a card game where you can’t win without a good and timely fortune,” (Dobermann), but you can always maximize your chances by minimizing your mistakes.

Dealing with tilt

Unfortunately, this won’t work all the time. You have to realize that the effort does not necessarily have to pay off. Since only a small percentage of pro players achieve real success.” (Gnomberserk) But realizing this can often result in feeling unlucky, feeling salty and at the end becoming tilted. Tilt can and will ruin even the best players if it isn’t managed properly Saber97_ says, and many people I talked to told me something about the way how you deal with tilt, how you prevent it or what to do when you know you became tilted anyway. There is no universal recipe for how to deal with Tilt, but what we can all agree with is: you play like hot ass when you’re tilted.” (bushr)
We all have to find our own way and strategy on how we want to handle bad feelings, especially when it’s just a card game in the end. Remember the first main aspect we discussed: You have to enjoy what you do and Gwent is always more fun when you’ve got your friends to talk about the games you played.” (raduAndrada)

Conclusion

The question behind this article was to get a deeper insight into a Pro Players Mind, while also hoping to get to know, what it takes to be a Professional Gwent Player and what kind of a mentality you need to have. Main factors in general are having fun, being in a supportive and also competitive environment and also having enough time to play, practice and improve. Especially in Gwent, where grinding take a lot of time, you have to stay determined and motivate enough to achieve your goals.

 I believe that every person is capable of excellence if they are determined and motivated enough to achieve it. “Where there is a will there is a way” mentality is what really gives people who truly want something the edge to achieve whatever it is that they set their mind to.” (Spyro_ZA)

Staying hungry, trying to improve, learning from mistakes and setting up their mind into a Champions Mentality are the key aspects to what it takes to become a Professional Gwent Player. All other obstacles will become redundant in the long way, because one missed card might decide a game, but not your whole season. One loss might hurt and be frustrating, but it’s up to you how you want to come back after this defeat and what you take from it. To draw your golds and win is easy, but to manage to squeeze an almost impossible win with an awkward hand distinguishes a rather Casual Player from a Champion.

I bet you all can do it and push forward, and if not, it’s only a game. But the urge to improve yourself, not letting yourself down and believing in your ability to climb out from whatever position you might be in life, that’s a valuable lesson I learned over the last month and I’m pretty sure that Gwent and its community helped me with it. So, as we now know what it takes to be a Champion and also a Top Player, let’s see who will overcome his opponents on this weekend and be crowned as the World Gwent Master!

Summary

This article is based on a small survey where professional players, casters and people involved in the competitive scene of gwent were asked about their opinion what it takes to be a Pro and to compete on such a high level for a long period of time. The main aspects that were mentioned about competing in general were:
– Enjoyment, so the ability to enjoy yourself, the game and what you do.
– A supportive Team, while also being involved in a competitive environment, including the larger community in which everything takes place.
– Time to play the game, practice and improve. 

These fundamentals help the players to actually get into a competetitive mindset. For gwent in particular there where four key factors:
– Deckbuilding skills and knowledge about the game, which means being flexible between tournament and ladder setups. 
– The will to improve yourself, learning from your mistakes and the ability to distinguish between bad luck and bad judgement. 
– A certain mentality, I call the Champions Mentality, to stay focused, motivated and be able to push further. 
– Being able to prevent or to deal with tilt, with defeats and losing streaks. 

All of these aspects were important to not only be able to compete on such a high level for a longer period, but also always finding the thrive and motivation to become a champion in the end.

Thank you!

I really want to thank all the guys and girls talking to me and helping me to write this article, I really appreciate it! It was just a fantastic experience for me to talk to so many people from different nations, while everyone was so supportive and helpful. I really hope that this Article will do you justice and I tried my best to make room for each and everyone of you!

Team Bandit Gang:
enerGiix, JSN991, Sikamouk, Sonneillon, SuperSpock9000 and SynergyGod3773

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Team Swallow:
Demarcation

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And also: 
magpie131molegion and RyanGodric

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Memery Compilation – Part One

Introduction

It is time folks, some of you asked and now I deliver! This will be the first part of hopefully a monthly series, combined with my Thoughts and Impressions on Memery, where I try to build and create some Meme and Lore friendly decks you witnessed me playing against my fellow BG TeamMates and some other Streamers as well. 

To start, all Deck Guides are written in a mix between serious deck strategies and even more serious thoughts on whatever came to my mind while writing this… You can check out the Deck Guides by clicking on the Faction Name!

As we all know, the Meta can be dull and a bit depressing, but it also can be really exciting, for example when you change out Meta cards for Memes. These decks are meant to be fun and also to experience synergies in Gwent, outside current meta lists. I try to create even lore friendlier descriptions of decks in the future, for a certain atmosphere, but that’s something for Part Two I suppose. 

The Decks

  • Nilfgaard – A Faction we all love and has proven to be one of the strongest (reddit, 2020) in the last months, suffered from some expensive nerfes. But even without the new buffed Vicovaro Novice, this Deck might stand a chance against a distracted opponent with a bad connection, while abusing the Doom Package around one of my most favourite cards in the game – Cyprian Wily.
  • Northern Realms – Who needs shields to protect engines when you don’t play many engines? Who needs a defender to protect order units, when you can just give Zeal to anyone? Who needs Viraxes when you can play Allgod? Like Jay-Z said, what’s a Human being to a God…and what’s a meta to a meme, which doesn’t believe in laddering?
  • Skellige – Imagine playing Crows for carry over, when you can just include a Phoenix into your Deck to win. We don’t need tutors, we draw our Golds, cause that’s what skilled players do. We establish hard earned 30points, with a wholesome Deck and a 5Card Combo, instead of just playing Novigradian Justice or Dethlaff leader.
  • Syndicate – You know what happens if you bully me for playing memes in unranked, while you try to farm Quests and Crown Points with meta lists? I’m gonna call my Greater Brothers and let loose the Dogs! I also play a random Iron Falcon Troubadour. 

Last Words

I really hope you enjoy these Decks or at least that they give you some ideas to experiment around with new stuff! It’s not only about grinding, it’s about having fun. And for people who might get easily offended by a certain amount of sarcasm, just remind yourself what this wholesome dude said, while being attacked by a rich guy in a bat suit – Don’t be so serious 🙂

Thanks to all of my fellow BG mates, especially to the victims of my memery demonstrations on and off stream (MercernnJHugs and Ziggy)!

To Meme or not to Meme – An update on Memery in Gwent

This article is written by Sawyer1888 and edited by Babyjosus.

Introduction

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? 

Memery in Gwent – Thoughts and Impressions

This article is written by Sawyer1888 and edited by Babyjosus.

Introduction

First of all, what is the goal of this little comment or even essay cause to be honest, most of the people know what a meme might be and what memery in gwent might look like. I guess generally speaking most players or viewers would even say, that a meme is synonymous with bad cards or a bad deck or at least not really competitive in the top ladder. So does it mean everything which is not tier 1 to tier 3 is automatically a meme? Does this mean including certain cards for different strategies which might not be as strong as others are meme cards?
The outcome and goal of this article should be to discuss the topic memery in general, describe what memes may look like and how they work, what they want to achieve and why it is so contrary to the meta.

What is memery in gwent?

When we try to remember any meme decks, we normally think of some piles we saw in viewerbattles on some streamers channels, like Synergygod, KingDenpai or decks played by streamers like Trynet and Redrame. Sometimes we even think of Magpies decks during the open and Myamons alternative decks on ladder. What most of these decks have in common is, they will be hard to find in any meta snapshot. Also instead of playing out strong synergies and being able of handling many threats you see on ladder, they are more focusing on a certain outcome which most likely is called something like “for the meme”, “memery” or whatever. The Rat decks swarming their opponents boards with rats, the Turtle meme plays around with armor, Skellige Crows has its goal to get as many crows as possible, to let them fly in every round and Nilfgaards Mill…well, it wants to mill their opponents deck, so there’s nothing left to draw. The winrate with those decks are quite low, said politely, cause to get their meme working, they lack many tools which are needed to compete with a certain meta on ladder.
That doesn’t change, most of those memes are existing for many months and even if some alternative cards or flexible options through the expansions will help their goals, like Oneiromancy for consistency or provision changes, sometimes these decks even get bullied. Triple Gedy for example seems quite impossible now, because of the leader and provision change of Second Wind. So, it is not possible to play Lippy out 2 times to get your scenario back. Well, you can try it with Masquerade Ball, Renew, Avalach and Assire, but I don’t really think that would be a fun experience…for you or your opponent.

So, when memery does not really want to stay competitive, what is its task? Most of all, except from maybe suprising your opponent on ladder with random cards to sneak some wins, it is more like the fun aspect of those decks. Playing out weird combos with Syanna and the Runewrights, seeing your opponent unable to play meta cards cause they are filled up with rats or milling their high provision cards with Cantarella and Tibor, that can be pretty funny. Also creating lore friendly decks, full of Witchhunters and Bounty cards, going in with a full NR Mage deck or trying out Viper Witchers around Letho, with now maybe Ciri Nova might sound pretty cool. But there is one problem…

The struggle to be a memer…

With all these new cards from the Master of Mirrors expansion, the provision changes on some cards and the announcement that “double card” leaders, like Second Wind, Pincer Maneuver and so on, will be changed in the upcoming patches, memery feels way harder to do. The biggest threat to memery are actually the strong power capped cards for all those factions right now. SK warriors are controlling the meta once again, together with Hidden Cache. Also NG Ball with their soldiers and aristocrats does it for like half a year now. NR seems kinda back on ladder, with maybe a midrange deck or a devotion version around Pincer Maneuver or even Uprising. And yes, Monsters are in there as well, with Haunt, Auberon and Ethereals. But how can a crow or rat swarm compete with all this? When there were elves and harmony, you could try to swarm them, but now, most of the decks want to bleed, want to push, most of the factions have 12p cards or more on their own, like Harald and Ursurper, so no synergy is needed. And playing lore friendly decks? I think the Frost/Wild Hunt package is a good start, like the Spy combo right now, but it needs more like that. Where is the NR Mage buff? Is Tamara the only synergy card for playing more Witchhunters? And…why is Vesemir Mentor still such a bad card, which except for NG, will never get its value? With Mahakam Forge you could think, dwarves might be seen more often, but the only real way to play it right now, is to focus on spells, for one thick dwarf: Gord.

You can see, it’s not only pretty hard to compete with all those disadvantages as a memer on ladder, but these days it also feels sometimes even harder to create a working meme pile to make it work…and to survive long enough to see the outcome.

Conclusion and Outlook

As a more moderate player which is not really involved in Top 64 ladder gameplay, I count myself to the majority of gwent players in general. Yes, some changes need to be done for a more competitive environment, to get a healthier balancing and maybe a different route in qualifying for tournaments, like open decklists or whatever, but this should and certainly will be discussed in some other article in the future.
What I find problematic here, is the growing distance between “meme” oriented fun decks and meta snaphot lists on ladder. To be clear, I will never expect that Mill can deal much damage in pro gameplay and I certainly don’t want to buff Rat Swarms as a deck to easily climb with. In my opinion though, there are many synergies and cards in every faction left over in gwent, which we might never see again except in viewer battles. Every expansion creates a new, stronger card pool, which not always synergizes well with the old stuff and almost always replace the previous played piles. While a few months ago Druids with Boats and even Dracoturtle were quite competitive, now its more like a meme. While there was once a Blue Stripe Commando meta, now its something between a meme pile and maybe a tier 3 ladder deck. With all this stuff going on in Gwent, lets not forget that some people say “memes are to culture what genes are to life” and “for a meme to survive and spread in a competitive environment it must have attributes which give it advantages over other memes” …or in this case maybe other decks.

Things are changing in gwent and that’s good but keeping an eye open for what’s left behind to maybe close the gap between meme and meta synergies would be valuable for the game. Meme decks show us the variety of what’s possible, so it might be worth it to take them seriously. Maybe not in a competitive and professional way, but more as a friendly reminder of what gwent is also all about, to keep us a little bit longer in the fantastic world of the witcher, by telling us small stories we enjoy, with old friends from books and games.

Seasonal Deck Guide: Imposter Double Masquerade Ball

This article has been written by Sawyer1888, and edited by Babyjosus.

Introduction

First of all, playing seasonal is not something everyone enjoys. It’s like Arena or Unranked, an area where you can test out stuff, take a break from grinding the ladder or just meme around. Mostly it is used to grind achievements or like stuff in the reward tree.              
Anyway, in order to do so, it can be helpful to have a deck which works, to make it more efficient, whatever you want to achieve in seasonal.

Season of Griffin

In the season of the Griffin, every unit’s power is set up to its provision cost, which means like Damien comes down as an 11p strong unit, while for example Joachim comes down as a 10p spy. Our goal is to slam points, to get great value from our cards and be able to deal with whatever the opponent throws at us.

Reasoning Behind the Card Set

Oneiromancy – Great Consistency, to get the units or even the ball, if need be.

Vattier – Together with Imposter it’s a strong combo, because of the high power of every unit. You want to throw it on the board pretty late, to make sure it sticks and doesn’t get interrupted by locks or other great removal cards. Because of the seasonal ability, it comes down as an 11p strong unit, which makes it almost unstoppable.          

Roach – Just for the tempo or, in some cases if you are not able to play your 2nd ball, you can do the old school Assire combo.             

Avallac’h – Great tutor in seasonal for our 2nd Ball, because we don’t want to use Roderick as a spy or Matta.

Leo Bonhart/Shilard – While Leo can get insane value, playing at least for 19p. Shilard can also trigger our Ball and downgrade one strong key unit of our opponent, which makes him favorably played in Round 3, so our opponent can’t mulligan the targeted card.

Spotter – Always play for 9p minimum, gives you insight of your opponents’ deck and are good proactive plays.

Toussaint KnightErrant – Arguably the weakest cards in our deck but can be used to take a round and play for 6-8p.    

Juggler – Decent value in this seasonal mode, which also can trigger our dames twice.

The Game Plan

The general idea of this deck is to control your opponents’ site of the board, like you always do with your scenario. Therefore, we need additional poison cards and some efficient other removals. While in the normal ladder Rot Tossers can get a bit clunky, in seasonal almost every card guarantees us a big target, so the chances to get a valuable poison are high. Cobras play for 5 strength with poison ability, the only downside maybe is, that your fangs stay pretty much the same as in normal.

Tips & tricks

Well, you try to get the first round with one Ball and have to decide if you can push round 2 or not. Obviously, cards like heatwave can hurt us, but therefor is roach as a backup plan. You don’t want to use Avalac’h in round 1 and prefer to get your first ball out from hand or with Oneiromancy. Use your poisons on tall units and be aware of your number of backup poisons and your Rot Tosser placements. It’s better for us to get the first round, so that we can decide how far we want to push round 2 but losing round 1 without using our ball is acceptable. Lose cons can be a Heatwave, a strong swarm push from Lippy decks, using the Witcher Trio and other stuff, or a bad placement of our dames and other units, so we run into an Igni. 

Feel free to maybe adjust cards like Shilard for Ffion var Gaernal or maybe change Cupbearer for a Treason.

Oh and by the way, if you accidentally queue into ranked… don’t worry 😉

@ZigZak_Guy

Final Note

Thanks for reading our deck guide! If you have any feedback or additions/changes you would like to us to make to the deck, feel free to let us know in the comments down below!