Sawyer1888

Skill beats Luck Ep. 2 – The current Kreve League Champion JSN991

Introduction

After our talk with SuperSpock9000 in episode one, which you can find here, this time we want to have a chat with Bandit Gang’s Pro Player JSN991. Making it regularly into the top 64 on ladder, he also managed to be crowned Champion of Kreve by winning Kreve League Season 2 in a final vs. Santtu2x last June.
We want to get a deeper insight into what it takes to play a league format compared to a single tournament. We will also talk about his preparation and his overall thoughts on the competitive scene in Gwent. But first, some details about the player and also the event in general.

Meet the Player

Name: Jason

Age: 17

Hobbies: Gaming, Basketball, Football

Section: Pro Team

Favorite Faction:  Scoiat’ael*

Favorite Card: Olaf

About the Event - Kreve League

The Kreve League is a tournament organised by Team Kreve. Based on a league format, everyone is able to participate. For a duration of 6-7 weeks, depending on how many players participate, you play a single best-of-three series every week. This means the standard one-day swiss phase is stretched into a weekly format. 

After that, the top 16 will compete, again on a weekly basis, in the playoffs for the title Champion of Kreve, in addition to some meteorite powder and premium kegs. 

Currently, Kreve League is in its third season already. For more information, check out their homepage!

Also, if you want a detailed summary from the last play-offs where JSN991 could claim his title, make sure to give Aitchkay’s recap a read!

The Interview

Sawyer1888: As the current Champion of Kreve, let’s take a step back and talk about your journey. What kept you motivated through the League phase and why did you participate in the first place?

JSN991: I joined Kreve League just for fun, since I generally find the tournament format more enjoyable than ladder. This is mostly because on ladder you can face a particular very strong deck over and over, whereas in tournaments you can just ban it, making the game more skill dependent. I also used it as a place to test out lineups for qualis and other tournaments, since it provides a different kind of practice than just prepping with teammates.

How would you describe your preparation for this event, given that you are able to change decks weekly?

The way I picked my lineup varied from week to week. Some weeks I would play decks that weren’t necessarily the absolute best but that I found fun and could still win with. Other times I would play a lineup I was considering bringing to qualis, or just bring the best lineup I could think of (especially in playoffs). 

I never really took Kreve League super seriously, so my preparation was generally limited to a couple of ladder games or a quick best-of-three against teammates. Usually with Synergygod or Hawgplex since they were also playing in the League.

Recently you managed to achieve some decent results on ladder as well and regularly take part in top 64 qualifiers. What differences are there in a League where everyone can take part compared to an event you have to qualify for?

The most noticeable difference is that you would play against some fairly bad players in the earlier weeks, but the standard in playoffs is higher than  you might expect. It won’t be as high as qualifiers, but there are still some very good players in it.

Would you be interested in something like an official league as well? What events would you like to see in the future?

Definitely, I’m a big fan of the league format since you have to adapt to small meta shifts from week to week. It takes a different mindset to the standard one-day format. 

For qualis a lot of players struggle to play the entire day or can’t play on that particular Saturday. A league format is more accessible since you can organize when you play and only have to play one series in a week. This means that I would like to see more of the league format, potentially even one run by CDPR.

I would also like to see more community tournaments, since they’re fairly rare. I think a big part of this is how unreliable the tournament client is, making it a nightmare to be an admin. If CDPR were to fix the client, I think we would see more of them, which would be great.

A feature that would be great to see as well would be a tournament mode implemented into the actual game, where you choose Bo3 or Bo5, pick a lineup, and play out a full series against an opponent with open decklists, bans, and pre-determined coin allocations. This is because ladder is quite bad when it comes to preparing for tournaments. You can’t constantly queue into the deck you plan on banning or get the wrong coin whilst playing a coin dependent deck. 

This would be great for everyone but especially players who are new to the competitive/ tournament scene and would like some practice. However, this would take a lot of time and effort for CDPR to make, so I doubt it will ever happen. But I’m pretty sure it would see more play than draft mode.

You also did quite well in our Bandit Gang internal tournaments so far.
Is there anything that feels special for you playing in a competitive environment in general?

As cool as it is to win stuff, internal tournaments aren’t a particularly good measure of who is the best since most of the team plays memes. I was however able to establish dominance over SuperSpock9000 in two finals and made $50 so that was nice. I would also say that in a tournament I’m more focused and try my best to win every game. On ladder I have more of a chilled “zak zak zak” mentality and don’t really care about efficiency. 

Obviously tournaments are special because there is a lot more at stake, but I try not to let that affect how I play. The other key part which decides how well you do in tournaments is your lineup rather than how you play in the game. We saw a prime example of this when Lifecoach beat Tailbot in Season 1 World Masters, despite Tailbot being an undeniably more experienced player.

Currently some might say the meta is in a bad state because of Sunset Wanderers and certain other things. What are your feelings about the competitive state of Gwent right now?

I’ve barely played this patch because I’m not really enjoying it. I actually really like the design of Sunset Wanderers but one card seeing this much play is never a good thing. Although that’s not whats wrong with this meta.

I saw a stat from the most recent top 16 qualifiers that the four most popular leaders made up 84% of decks in the tournament compared to just 55% in May. And as the meta settles this will only get worse for top 64. 

Having such a small amount of decks that are so much stronger than everything else isn’t good from a competitive standpoint. Because besides it just simply being repetitive and boring, it also takes a lot of skill out of the game. This is because at the top level, if players just have to memorize maybe five or six matchups, they can play them perfectly after a bit of preparation. It then just comes down to who drew their best cards.

In more diverse metas, there are much more opportunities to go for a different strategy with a lineup. Whether that’s hard targeting a meta deck or bringing something more off meta and spicy. This variety means that it is about how a player can apply their knowledge of the game to a strange new situation in a way that takes much more skill than “in x matchup do y and just draw your golds“.

Interesting, as I also read the statistics and kinda felt the same.
Reflecting on your progress so far, what are your goals and expectations for Kreve League Season 3 and on ladder in general?

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t take Kreve League too seriously but it would of course be nice to do well. I would like to make the playoffs or even defend my title, maybe whilst clapping some teammates on the way (especially a certain German article writer *wink wink*).
 [Comment by the author: That won’t happen.]

As for ladder, I want to try and make top 64 each month and after missing out by 1 mmr on top 16 in May (yes, I’m still salty about it) I want to actually make a top 16 at some point. This wouldn’t be until we were in a meta where I could happily grind games again, though, so I’m hoping for the next set of new cards to fix the meta a bit.

Understandable, but I wish you luck nonetheless!
At last, do you have any advice for “newcomers” on how to approach something like Kreve League?

My advice for anyone new to competitive Gwent would be to play in as many tournaments as possible in order to improve. 

The ultimate goal for a lot of players is making top16/64 qualis, opens, etc. Also playing in smaller events like Kreve League will make you much better equipped to do well in these bigger events. Some people, however, don’t have the time to grind ladder and make top 64, in which case they should still try to play in these kinds of events. It’ll be a new experience for you and the majority of players will find it more enjoyable than ladder.

The main thing to keep in mind when competing in events like this is just to treat it like any other game of Gwent and stay cool. This gets easier the more tournaments you play in. Something that even the best players struggle with is getting tilted when they throw a game or miss cards. It’s much easier said than done but you should try your best to not let it make you play worse.  Games are often still winnable after misplays or bad RNG, so keep that in mind.

Alright, sounds good. I am sure that many might find this advice helpful…if you want to improve, you have to play, simple.
So thanks for your time again and I wish you good fortune in the wars to come!

Sure thing, glad to be your guest. Thanks, I will try my best! 

Skill beats Luck Ep. 1 – SuperSpock9000 and the TLG Invitational II

Introduction

Skill beats luck“, a quote we are all familiar with, describes the basic idea of competitive Gwent. I guess we would all agree that this might not be the case in every situation…but surely being able to play Gwent at a high level helps on ladder and in tournaments. 

In this series, we want to talk with some of Bandit Gang’s Pro and Academy Players about their experience and thoughts of recent events they took part in. For episode one, I had the chance to talk with SuperSpock9000, who not only played in the last top 64 qualifiers in June, but managed to secure himself a spot in the top 16 playoffs in the TLG Invivational II. So let’s have a look at the player, the event, and what he has to say!

Meet the Player: SuperSpock9000

Name: Nick

Age: 23

Hobbies: Gwent, Yu-Gi-Oh, Running

Section: Pro Team

Favorite Faction: Scoiat’ael

Favorite Card: Cintrian Envoy

About the Event - The TLG Invitational II

The TLG Invitational is one of the biggest community tournaments in Gwent right now. Organised by Team Leviathan Gaming, the best players and competitive teams face each other to fight for a $1,000 price pool. To take part in the event, you either have to be invited, which means being a pro of one of the known Gwent teams, or have a decent reputation in the community. The other way is to make it to the top 16 in one of the qualifier events, which SuperSpock9000 managed to achieve in qualifier #2 in March.

The first part of the tournament will be a two-day-long swiss phase, which was just played last weekend, July 10th-11th. The second part is the top 16 playoff event, which will take place on July 31st – August 1st. If you want to learn more about this event, check out their homepage.

The Interview

Sawyer: What motivated you to take part in this event?

SuperSpock9000: Nothing in particular. I think I just wanted to play in a big Gwent event and see what I can do.

How did you prepare for this event compared to, for example, the top 64 qualifiers last month?

This time, I tried a more chillexd approach to prepare, if you can say it like this. I looked at the current meta, looked at what’s good and efficient right now and just went with it. I saw what Pajabol and the other pros were playing, tried out a couple of games on ladder before and this was it. I didn’t feel the need to come up with some spicy teched stuff like I did for the top 64 qualifier.

So you would say it was a different approach and experience to prepare for a community event and not for an “official” event?

Well, the skill level of the participating players in the Invitationals is still very high, of course. But you don’t have to grind as hard for it to qualify. I think playing a huge amount of games can be pretty exhausting, which I experienced when I went for a top 64 spot. And this kind of exhaustion carried over into the next season and also my preparation for the qualifiers. I prepped almost every day, but for the future I definitely will go with a more chilled preparation again.

Playing in events like this, how do you feel? How do you keep your focus?

To be honest, there is a lot of anxiety. You feel the pressure and try to perform at your best.  For me, it was the first tournament after the top 64 qualifiers in such a competitive environment, so I was a bit nervous. I tried to listen to some music while I played, but I am not sure if this helped me to focus or not. You just have to gain confidence during your preparation, know your lineup well, and believe in your own abilities. 

Can you give us an example? Maybe a certain situation where you can sketch the differences between ladder and tournaments?

On ladder, I sometimes lack the necessary efficiency. Coinflips, matchups, card draws, everything can be against you. But in open decklist tournaments, I spent more time thinking about my plays and proper sequencing. I can reflect on the value of my resources a bit more. In a tournament setting, I try to allocate each card for a certain purpose, while also keeping in mind to be flexible in certain situations. 

How was the overall experience for you with the organisation? Do you like the tournament format or do you prefer leagues?

I don’t have much to complain about. TLG and everyone in general do the best they can to make these events work. It is always a cool opportunity to maybe be seen on stream, get into the spotlight, etc.

Sometimes, I wish the match process would go more smoothly. Because of the deck discussions,  it can often take a while before the next round starts. A long day can be exhausting. 

Personally, I prefer events on the weekends. I also don’t really like a week-by-week thing which you have to adapt your schedule to, but maybe in the future. 

You managed to secure a spot in the top 16 and went 6-1: congratulations! So what is your plan until the playoffs in a few weeks?

Thank you! I kinda want to work on my ladder efficency a bit more and increase my winrate. Also the last time the meta changed at the end of the month, so I will analyse what’s going on and keep my eyes and ears open for last minute changes and eventual meta shifts. 

Do you have any final advice for our readers who might be interested in taking part in such events themselves?

Just do them. Make the experience yourself. In Gwent, you learn by doing, so you have to overcome your competitive anxiety at some point. 
I can also recommend to record your games, to ensure you learn and take something out of it, if you want to improve. Your mistakes shine when you lose but you don’t think about them as much if you win. 

Alright, thanks for taking part in the interview. I wish you good luck and also good fortune in the wars to come!

Thanks, I will try my best. Cya!

Through the Thorns of Top-64 Qualifiers to GWENT Open. Part 3

Written by renova- and Sawyer1888. Edited by Weevil89

Introduction

OPEN#2 comes closer each day and the tention is rising. Who will book the second ticket for the GWENT World Masters Season 3 and join Tailbot? This time, besides kams134, Redrame,  and wangid2021, five people from the CIS community (Commonwealth of Independent States) could qualify for this event: Akela114, BigKukuRUzina35 (iluxa228), Ch.aseNik_r and Sif_Great_Wolf.  Four of them were interviewed in the two previous articles, which you can find in part 1 here and part 2 here

For all who read the previous articles, welcome back dear readers, but also thanks for everyone new who is joining us today! 

After we talked in the interviews before about deckbuilding processes, tournament preparation, and in-game decisions and choices, we want to take a closer look now on how the meta has shifted in recent months. While the first qualifiers of the Season of the Bear took place in April, the qualifiers of the Season of the Elf were played in May. Since then, the first set of new cards from the Price of Power expansion released, many of which made a huge impact on certain decks, while also providing new options for some factions as a whole, such as example Northern Realms. 

In this part, we want to evaluate some statistics from these qualifiers and compare them with this month’s qualifiers, which will represent the tournament meta for the upcoming OPEN#2. 

Shortcut

For people who are not strongly involved in the competitive scene, it is always a bit harder to reflect meta changes and how some cards can shape a whole faction. What we want to do is to analyze some statistics, take a look at some example decks, and try to figure out what key aspects have changed over the recent months. With this in mind, we will write a short note for some factions, and more detailed explanations for others. We will also cover some niche archetypes and strategies, but to remain concise we have not included everything.

Finally, we will only focus on the decks and data from Day 2 of each top 64 qualifier, to provide more targeted and detailed insights. 

Cards and Decks - Season of the Bear

As we all know, discussing the meta in any given season can be confusing. Although a player might qualify for an event during the Season of the Bear, the event might not happen until the following season (the Season of the Elf).

To make things easier, we will stick to the simple rule that whenever we refer to a certain meta, it is always named after the qualifier. So the Season of the Bear qualifier, for example, would be the Season of the Bear meta.  

The Season of the Bear qualifiers was clearly shaped by the dominance of Syndicate’s Lined Pockets, which was brought by every single participant on day 2. A variant of the so-called “Chinese Metabreaker” was also chosen for Nilfgaard by almost every player, as well, except by the eventual winner of the losers bracket BigKukuRUzina35.

In the following pictures, you can see what all the participants brought, while here you can remind yourself of what the brackets looked like.

If you compare all these decks, you can find some interesting clues on what kinds of strategies the players tried to employ.

Every player took at least one swarm deck in the form of Monsters’ Arachas Queen or Scoia’tael’s Deadeye Ambush. Many also brought Carapace (Keltullis) to the tournament, but you will never find both of these archetypes in one line-up. The only player who brought neither was Leks72. 

The decks these players brought also gave us some insights into the lengthy process of preparing for a tournament and the kinds of questions they asked themselves. Do you want to tech against certain factions? What if your opponent does not bring what you hoped? Do you want to bring certain decks which are stronger on a specific coin, like Uprising Witchers Northern Realms? Maybe you want to bring a deck which you think will be banned all the time, to bait it. Or do you just think outside the box and try a totally different approach? 

All these questions have to be considered while preparing for day 1 and day 2 of a tournament. We talked about what this process could look like in our recent articles, where all of the interviewed players followed different approaches. 

Energiix, for example, decided to bring Geralt: Yrden in all of his decks except for Nilfgaard, while Tailbot was the only player who chose Imprisonment instead of Double Cross as his leader ability for NG. Imprisonment has since become far more popular due to its frequent appearance in the Season of the Elf qualifier, and also in the most recent qualifiers for OPEN#3.

Beyond this, you can also spot once-off tech cards for specific matchups all over the place, like Forktail, Crushing Trap or Whoreson Junior to counter swarm.

If you take a closer look on the infographic below, created by Dream and Mettie, you can see how the idea of teching against a faction (or avoiding it) plays out. Even though Syndicate was so oppressive and used by everyone, it was only banned four times. Instead, people decided to ban the famous Blaze of Glory + Eist Tuirseach combo and Arachas Swarm, which can be tough matchups for every faction. This is rather interesting because most players’ line-ups were prepared to face Arachas Swarm

On the other hand, banning it could be the right decision, as Arachas Swarm had the highest winrate (78.57%), with 14 games played in total. Alongside that, everyone expected their opponents to play Syndicate, so everyone was prepared which resulted in a low banrate and also a low winrate (39.39%).

In conclusion, you could say for the top 64 qualifiers that everyone followed a specific gameplan, while only two could secure their ticket: Akela114 and BigKukuRUzina35.  Both of them made interesting deck decisions, which kind of looked like fortune telling, by including cards like Professor or Whoreson Junior in SY, or deciding to bring the unique Portal version of Arachas Swarm (Akela114).


Maybe these small card decisions led them to victory and paid of in the end, giving them an advantage in certain matchups.

Next, let’s now take a look at the second top 64 qualifiers for OPEN#2, the qualifiers of the Season of the Elf. 

Cards and Decks - Season of the Elf

While in the Season of the Bear qualifiers everyone brought Lined Pockets for SY, in the Season of the Elf focus shifted towards Pirate’s Cove. With its recent change to two charges and with the buff to the Borsodi Brothers to become more effective spenders, it proved to be one of the strongest and most flexible decks of the season.

Also, you might have noticed that, compared to the previous top 64 qualifiers, this time only eight people decided to bring NG, but twelve people took ST in form of singleton Elves or Nature’s Gift Devotion, which are generally considered as viable NG techs. So here you can see how the dominance of NG during the time before this qualifier shaped the open decklists decisions to tech against it.

As before, you can see all decks in the infographic below and all of the bracket information here.

When giving these decks a more detailed look, you can see how differently certain factions are now represented compared with the previous month. First, not a single person brought Arachas Swarm and only Ryazanov13 trusted in Carapace Keltullis again. Instead, Overwhelming Hunger (Viy) seemed to be the way to go in this qualifiers event for MO. 

It is also interesting to see that, with the leader changes to Reckless Flurry and the buffed discard package, a new Skellige archetype appeared during this qualifier. 

As with the previous qualifier, players included tech cards often to give them an edge in certain matchups. Analyzing the decks of some CIS players like Ch.ase, Nik_r and also Ryazonov13, you might notice some of these unique inclusions.

While everyone relied on Lambert: Swordmaster in their SK list to tech against elves, Nik_r decided to bring two additional tall removal cards in the form of Geralt of Rivia and Prince Anséis in his NR list. He was also playing Artefact Compression in SK and Tavern Brawl in his Syndicate list. All of these cards make the matchup against Viy much easier. On the other hand, Ryazanov13 was the only one who played Carapace and Shieldwall, not sticking with the combination which brought him to the previous losers final.

If you compare this with the analysis of the last top 64 qualifier you can see that small tweaks to adapt to their opponents’ strategies turned out to be very successful.

Comparing the statistics below with the ones from the last qualifier, you can see how much the banrate of SY increased. And, if not banned, it dominated with a 75% winrate over all other factions. A safe pick for blue coin seemed to be SK Reckless Flurry, which had a solid 66,67% winrate on blue coin in nine games, but struggled on red coin, where it only won 36,36% of games.  
Otherwise, all factions seemed to be pretty balanced in their matchups and winrates, while again the teched line-ups against Deadeye Ambush kept it under a 40% winrate in total. 

Reflecting on both top 64 qualifiers so far, you can see that some original thinking can give you the upper hand in certain matchups, but you still need to remember to tech against the most dominant decks. 

In our final analysis, let’s see how the ban procedure plays out and what factions and archetypes were played after the Price of Power expansion hit the circuit. 

Cards and Decks - Season of the Viper/Price of Power

With the Price of Power expansion, some leaders like SY Jackpot were changed, buffing the faction even more. With a small influx of new cards, each faction was also provided with some new tools to play with.

NG got some impressive consistency cards like Dead Man’s Tongue, while SY was blessed with the long-awaited bounty package, including Witchfinder. NR got a huge rework, making Siege, Pincer Maneuver, and Patience a powerful archetype. MO got some new strong relicts for pointslam, while ST could make use of some new support for special cards (particularly useful for a Harald Gord deck). Only SK, with its new druids, seemed a bit underwhelming, so it relied more on neutral cards to remain competitive.

If you are interested in what the players brought to day 2 in the top 64 qualifiers of the Season of the Viper, you can check them out here

Compared to what we saw in the previous two qualifiers, this time the impact of the new expansion was quite noticeable. Almost every faction played included some of the new cards or reworked and buffed versions of other cards. 

As with the last qualifiers, every player brought SY, which was banned almost every time. This once more demonstrates the strength and pure dominance of this faction. Alongside SY, SK Reckless Flurry seemed to be a very strong pick, with everyone but one_two12 bringing it along (he instead brought Devotion Warriors). Cards like Korathi Heatwave, Junod of Belhaven or Hjalmar an Craite were often included, as well as some other unique techs, like Portal, Madoc or even Geralt of Rivia

It is really difficult here to see a pattern, as all the players decided to bring some sort of unique line-ups. Force of Nature with relicts, Pincer Maneuver or even Inspired Zeal Siege, Imprisonment Masquerade Ball. Each deck has its good and bad matchups, but in the end players seemed to favor tall removal, such as Hjalmar an Craite, thinning in form of Blightmaker or simpler value cards like Gerhart of Aelle. 

You might also notice the distinct lack of ST decks, even though Natures Gift and Deadeye Ambush always seemed a decent choice for open decklists. For this event, only Forever_Tabaki brought a non-devotion list, together with CintrianLions Precision Strike.

It is interesting that the eventual winner, Truzky, didn’t bring NG at all and was the only one playing a control heavy Arachas Swarm deck, which proved to be the winning strategy. 

As you can see, the following statistics look a bit different from the previous ones. This time, with some help from Bomblin, I had to design something on the fly myself. Forgive me if certain things are not optimally readable, as I am no expert in this, but if you resize the page it should do the trick. 

So if you take a look you can see again a very strong banrate for SY, which was only allowed to be played three times in total. On the other hand, you can see that except for SY, NR and NG only received one or two bans, while SK, MO and ST were never banned at all. This doesn’t mean that these factions were considered weak or that they always provide decent matchups: it just shows the oppressive and dominant state of SY once again.

6th Quali to Gwent Open 3 Season 3

It is also worth noticing that for SK and NG, only one leader ability was brought for each: Reckless Flurry and Imprisonment. They both ended up with solid winrates over 50%, while MO were able to sneak in a 41% winrate. ST, on the other hand, couldn’t manage to win a single game. 

So, what can we conclude from these data? Well, kind of the same as in the previous qualifiers. Unique deck decisions in this tournament, especially leader abilities, gave some players a decent advantage. Inspired Zeal and Arachas Swarm were only picked by a small amount of players, but those players all ended up in the top 3 (Spyro_ZA and the eventual qualifiers Truzky and Wangid2021).

Bananas, Coins, Dragons, Elves, Spiders and Warriors -
Shapes and Shifts of the Meta

Looking back on the last three top 64 qualifiers and the players’ deck decisions and matchups, it was interesting to bear witness to and analyze all these changes as they happened. The meta shifted not only because certain cards were buffed, nerfed, or changed, but also because new cards were added during the Price of Power expansion.  In the following part, we want to gather some thoughts on each faction and reflect on how they evolved during the last months. Keep in mind that this is only a general overview, and it does not claim to be complete or comprehensive.

The changes to Professor and Whoreson Junior as well as the buffs to Pirate’s Cove and Jackpot placed Syndicate as one of the strongest factions in the game. In addition to that, the Borsodi Brothers now function as spenders, which made the faction way more flexible. The new 12-provision gold card Witchfinder also allows SY to build a deck around bounty, which has proven to be a decent midrange control archetype. 

Over the past three months, SY evolved from a strong Lined Pockets crime list, to a flexible Pirate’s Cove midrange list, towards the new Jackpot bounty deck, which combines all of Syndicate’s greatest strengths. Whether due to the design of its cards or its use of coins, it seems clear that there is no middle ground for Syndicate. It is either too weak, or unreasonably strong.

Scoia’tael seems to function as a kind of “tech faction” these days. Elves were always a solid pick in open decklist events, as it can have many decent matchups, while often enough you pick Nature’s Gift to tech against Nilfgaard. There was also an argument to play control heavy Precision Strike or Trap decks.

  
The power of Nature’s Gift often shines in open decklist tournaments, which was shown in Masters Season#1, but nowadays people are trying non-devotion versions which include the new Elf Sorceress or the buffed Avallac’h. After the recent qualifiers, where ST wasn’t often played, we have to see what impact it will make in OPEN#2.

When it comes to Skellige, most of us think about some sort of warrior archetype. Supported by a solid discard package in form of the newly buffed Coral, it always had a decent amount of control, short round points and an impressive finisher with Eist Tuirseach + Blaze of Glory as a leader. 

Nowadays, we also witness some different approaches, including some witchers together with Reckless Flurry, to abuse Red coin and control their opponent’s board. But even after the addition of some new druids in the last expansion, Gedyneith as a scenario still seems underwhelming. SK also seems a bit weaker lately on ladder, because its bad matchups like NG or NR became even more powerful, while SK stayed mostly the same.

With the Uprising witcher archetype, NR became one of the strongest blue coin decks in the game, making it a solid choice for open decklists. Including Prince Anséis or Geralt of Rivia, it also provided some decent control, while easily being able to outtempo every faction, even when two cards down.

With the Price of Power expansion, we got many changes to charge-based cards, siege engines, and mages. Together with Pincer Maneuver as a leader which could always find their top golds, and supported by strong new cards like Gerhart of Aelle or the reworked Shani, it can be a threat to any faction. It is also able to abuse every coin with a tempo pass, playing the King Foltest + Dun Banner combo, making it (together with NG and SY) one of the strongest factions out there.

Monsters are the faction which you always kind of have to tech against or ban. Whether they decided to play Carapace Keltullis, Arachas Swarm or Overwhelming Hunger Viy, they always demanded certain tech considerations to be made. While some factions had a decent chance to win, other matchups, like Blaze of Glory warriors vs. Viy resulted almost in an auto-loss.

With the addition of the new relict cards and the change to Endrega Larva, it highly buffed the pointslam potential of the faction, including Koschey decks, for example. With some non-devotion cards like Korathi Heatwave or Dorregaray of Vole, it has answers to some engines and can be quite strong in an open decklist format.  That doesn’t mean we won’t see swarm or Kelly in the future, because these decks are still solid as well.

Ard Feainn, for the Great Sun! While being bullied on ladder by some Kolgrim piles, right now Nilfgaard seems to be in one of its strongest periods for a long time. Even after they changed Masquerade Ball to not being triggered by disloyal units, it is still the best scenario out there. If we have learned anything it is that, regardless of the changes, if it is possible to create a functional scenario deck, players will find a way.

NG’s ability to control with its Imprisonment leader, its many removal cards and its skillful deck manipulation make it a serious threat to every deck out there.

The expansion included the new thinning mage package consisting of Blightmaker and Mage Assassin, supported by Dead Man’s Tongue. This allows you to contest every round easily, finding your key gold cards, while not losing any control power. A devastating mixture of tools and a blessing for every loyal Nilfgaardian on ladder or in tournaments, to be sure.

Conclusion and Outlook

After three articles, sadly all good things must come to an end. We interviewed some of the best inside the CIS community, talked about decision making and deckbuilding, while always keeping an eye on how to prepare for open decklist events. 

This weekend, July 3rd and 4th, OPEN#2 will take place and we want to wish all the participants good luck! They fought their way through different metas and tournaments to be able to maybe secure a ticket for the World Masters Season 3 at the end of the year. Cards which were dominant vanished, leader abilities changed and define the current meta, while the tournament client problems have remained the same.

We hope that you could gain some insight and experience while reading and that you have enjoyed our attempt to bring you closer to the competitive mindset. We are hugely grateful for everyone who joined us on this journey.

Special thanks again to Weevil89 for helping out with the editing! 

Wishing you all the best of luck in your ladder climbing – until next time! 

renova- and Sawyer1888

Through the Thorns of Top-64 Qualifiers to GWENT Open. Part 2

Written by renova- & Sawyer1888 and edited by Weevil89

Introduction

Welcome, dear readers, to part 2 of our “Through the Thorns of Top 64 Qualifiers to GWENT Open” series, and welcome in particular to our returning readers. In the first part, Akela114 and BigKukuRUzina35 offered their thoughts and impressions on their journey to GWENT OPEN#2. If you missed out and would like to read more about it, you can catch up here

This time, we want to take a closer look at Team Phoenix player Ch.ase and GwentDetta representative Nik_r, who both secured their spots in the upcoming Open#2 in the second qualifiers of the Season of the Elf in May.  

Season of the Elf 2nd Qualifiers Winners Interview

A Short Recap

As with the first article, we will go through different sets of questions with the players. The first set deals with general information and some background facts about them. In the second set, we will discuss deckbuilding strategies and the mentality behind certain in-game decisions. The article will conclude with some final advice from the pro players and their general outlook on the game. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. 

During my (renova-) talk with Ch.ase and Nik_r, the winners of the top 64 qualifier of the Season of he Elf, I spotted some similarities but also some differences between this and my first interview series. Before talking to Akela114 and BigKukuRUzina35, I wanted to find out how pro players prepared for the qualifiers and how they approached decision making in high-stakes games.

To refresh your memory, you can watch the VOD of the official cast of the finals on LionHart’s YouTube channel below:
Winners bracket final Ch.ase vs. Nik_r and Losers bracket final Nik_r vs. Ryazanov13

You can also find all decklists from Day 1 here and the Decks and bracket from Day 2 here

In light of what we learned in part 1, your task for today is to dive back into the Season of the Elf and its meta in an effort to learn more about the deckbuilding strategies, in-game decision making skills, and personalities of these two stars from the CIS community. 

Meet the Qualified Player: Ch.ase

Name: Vitaliy

Age: 21

City: Smolensk

 

Hobbies: Gwent

Favorite Faction: Syndicate

Favorite Card: Morkvarg: Heart of Terror

Meet the Qualified Player: Nik_r

Name: Nikita

Age: 33

City: Kerc/Krasnodar

Hobbies: Business, Gwent, and a Comfortable Couch 🙂

Favorite Faction: Nilfgaard

Favorite Card: Ferko the Sculptor

Chapter 1: General Questions

The first set of questions is devoted to impressions of the previous meta, the tournament, and Gwent in general.

How and when did you get to know Gwent?

Ch.ase: With the help of The Witcher 3. Then I accidentally found out that there is a separate Gwent game and started playing it a little.

Nik_rAs with many others, in the The Witcher 3. I really liked this game. I completed all the quests and unlocked all the achievements. And then I was looking for add-ons for the game and came across an independent Gwent game in the recommendations. I downloaded, installed it and started loving it even more 🙂 Since the days of OBT [Open Beta Test], I’ve been here.

How did you end up playing Gwent competitively at a professional level?

C: It happened during Open Beta. Initially, when the first season of Gwent Masters had just begun, I did not have any set goals for myself and played regular Ranked ladder where there was a cosmetics grind (earlier Pro ladder was a separate one). Later, when Midwinter came with a stagnation in Gwent, I thought more about this question and somehow just decided to devote more time to Gwent and progress to the Pro ladder from the regular Ranked.

N: It wasn’t a deliberate decision. Moreover, I still do not consider myself an e-sportsman and do not set specific goals of getting into tournaments. I play in qualifier events more as a streamer than as a professional player, and I usually do it without delay. Both times, when I got to the Open, my streams were called something like “losing 0:3 and going to rest”. But it turned out a little differently 🙂

What approach do you use to practice on ladder and to get to the top?

C: I don’t have any particular approach. I just play when I want to and that’s it.

N: It is very difficult, I am an old grump. Many decks I absolutely do not like and even if they are very strong, I will never play them. Viy, Kolgrim, and current versions of Jackpot are the latest examples. Of course, it often interferes with me.

How did you assess the state of the Season of the Elf meta (during which you qualified)?

C: The meta was really bad. First, there was a tier-1 Syndicate deck that simply did not have any bad matchups and completely dominated, and which anyone could use to reach 2600 mmr with minimal effort. Next, there was Skellige, which I liked due to the high-roll nature of its discard mechanics.  Everyone refused to add Blood Eagle to their decks because of its low point output, although for me it was a more reliable build. In the end, the winners were the ones who found all of their discard cards in round 1, since in round 3 it could ruin everything if you didn’t find them right away.

N: Better than now. There were six playable and almost equal factions, as shown by the players who qualified. Now the situation has changed and we are back to the times when there are two way too strong factions, one is very strong and the remaining three are extremely weak (in my personal opinion, of course). This greatly affects my interest in the game, including in watching tournaments, because I know in advance what the majority of players will take to a best of three (BO3).

How do you usually prepare for qualifications?

C: I basically don’t prepare for the first day of top-64 qualifiers and tend to just take strong decks. For top-16, I have already sorted out matchups, and I also play practice sessions with teammates if I need to.

N: It depends on my mood. Usually, I just take what I like and what I can play on, so that both the viewers and I have fun during the stream 🙂

What role does the team play in your Gwent life?

C: I would not say that the team acts for me primarily as a Gwent assistant. For me, many teammates have already become good friends with whom it is simply interesting to communicate on general topics. They are also highly skilled at Gwent and can help if needed.

N: A very large one. I am happy that I ended up in GwentDetta and have the opportunity to communicate with such wonderful guys every day. Without them, of course, nothing would have happened. But there is also a big problem: I worry much more about other people’s results than about my own. When I beat Ryazanov13 in the qualifying finals, I was very upset. I think it was visible on the stream as well. And after Gwent Masters with the participation of magpie131, I did not enter the game for four days. It was the worst moment for me in all my time playing Gwent.

How is the deck selection going before any tournament?

C: It all depends on the meta.

N: As mentioned earlier, I usually take what I like. But often I adapt decks for a certain idea, depending on what my favorable matchups are.

What is the difference between the approach to deck chooding on the first and second days of the top-64 qualifiers?

C: On the first day, I just take the strongest decks. On the second day, I bring decks which counter my opponent’s strategies, if such decks exist. If not, then I just take the decks that are the most fun to play with.

N: As a general rule, on the first day everyone takes the strongest decks. There are very few tactical moments and a lot is decided by chance in BO3. But on the second day, you have to think, since there are many more strategies and there is an opportunity to come up with something interesting in a best of five (BO5).

Do you think you have any weaknesses when it comes to Gwent?

C: Very often I play too quickly because of overconfidence, and it makes me miss or overlook important interactions.

N: Oh, there are a lot of them. I am prone to tilt, I am a very adventurous person myself and at the same time quite stubborn. Even if it is obvious to me that my deck is not working, I will continue to suffer playing it, falling lower and lower. And then, heroically, I will pull myself from the bottom like Baron Munchausen 🙂

Are there any players who inspire you in one way or another?

C: During the 2nd season of Gwent Masters, it was Demarcation. It was always interesting for me to see how he played in tournaments, and in the ladder it was interesting for me to play against him. Now there are probably none.

N: First of all, there are my teammates. I would also highlight Redrame, Pajabol, and Gravesh. It’s a pity that Gravesh began to play much less and streams less often –  as for me, his streams were the best in the entire history of Gwent 🙂

Chapter 2: Personal Questions

In this part of the article, we will learn from the players what was behind their choice of decks for the tournament, as well as analyze in detail with the interviewees several controversial or curious moments from a series where these players faced each other in the final stage of the qualifiers. 

Deckbuilding: Ch.ase

You can find Ch.ase’s decks by clicking the factions buttons

Against which matchups did you use Crushing and Serpent Traps with Hattori in the Scoia’tael deck?

C: Keltullis and Scoia’tael mirror matches.

What do you think of the other build with the Great Oak in this tournament? Is it too expensive for a deck that already has a problem with the number of gold cards?

C: I didn’t like The Great Oak. This card without an idea built around it just plays for points. In my build, there was a greater sense of purpose. The build with Ele’yas and Toruviel was also good.

How did you come up Lined Pockets ability after Pirate’s Cove performed so well in the Top 16 qualifiers?

C: I wasn’t the only one who chose Lined Pockets. This ability did not have any bad matchups, but only became stronger and could calmly win against Pirate’s Cove in a long round. I think people started playing Pirate’s Cove just to try something new.

Nilfgaard’s deck with Menno was pretty popular, but does he justify his provision cost? You included Artorius in this slot, so how was he helpful?

C: To pull out the dogs or roll a spy similar to Braathens. He also made it possible sometimes to play two engines in a single turn.

Have you strengthened the decks in any way for mirrors?

C: As mentioned above about Scoia’tael, I added 2 Crushing Traps.

Deckbuilding: Nik_r

You can find Nik_r’s decks by clicking the factions buttons

On the first day of qualifications, you took elves with Radeyah as one of the three decks, but on the second day you left Scoia’tael behind. What was behind this decision?

N: On the first day, it became clear that many people had chosen the elves as their prey. I was afraid of this even before the qualifiers and wanted to take NR witchers, but still decided to take a chance which, sadly, did not pay off. On the second day, I decided to act differently and take decks that had favorable matchups against Monsters and any anti-elf decks. As a result, my first opponent, Freddybabes, took a lineup that simply destroys the elves. If I had brought them, my path to Open would have been very short 🙂

In recent seasons, Imprisonment has gained more and more popularity for Nilfgaard. How has the good old Double Cross performed, especially in factional mirror matches?

N: I like Double Cross, since it forces the opponent to make bad decisions. To play around it, my opponent has to play stronger cards much earlier than he/she wants. But in mirrors, this ability can be problematic as you just don’t have enough space on the board to play all your cards.

 

Why did you decide not to add dog thinning to the Nilfgaard deck?

N: To be honest, I don’t remember anymore 🙂 I like this thinning, but I guess the other cards seemed more important to me.

What did you add Artefact Compression for in the Skellige deck?

N: It seemed to me that Artefact Compression is more interesting than Spores: it can optionally play as another lock, if necessary. Given that I wanted to play against Monsters first, that made sense. And against Nilfgaard as well, if Joachim pulls out some kind of engine, it looks tempting to reset and block it at the same time 🙂

Most often, in Northern Realms witchers’ decks, we can see only one tall removal. Why did you decide to play both Prince Anséis and Geralt of Rivia at the same time? And why did you give up on Keldar?

N: Prince Anséis and Geralt of Rivia make matches against Keltullis much easier, and also increase the chances of winning against Viy. Since I did not plan to ban Nilfgaard, against which Keldar is less useful, the it was an easy decision to cut him.

Games: Ch.ase

Ch.ase vs Nik_r

How did you plan the game for the blue/red coins?

C: Scoia’tael has always been for the Red coin, since on the Blue one they are simply unplayable against any matchups. For the rest of the decks, I was repelled by the opponent’s decks and thought carefully about what he would choose.

What was your game plan for a Nilfgaard mirror match? In general, how should you play such a matchup?

С: Nilfgaard mirrors are a bit silly 🙂 In that meta, having last say was decisive as there was basically only one uninteractive card (Yennefer’s Invocation), sometimes two (Coup de Grace into Emissary). Now Vincent and Dead Man’s Tongue emerged and this is not that important anymore. In general, it is often more profitable to counter an opponent’s engines than to spam the board.

In the elven match against witchers, you played Oneiromancy quite early, abandoning the opportunity to play Feign Death in the second round. Did you take the risk on purpose or didnt you see any chances for yourself in the short round 3 without scenario, even having card advantage?

C: Witchers do not pass even after seeing the scenario in such matchups, so it was more profitable for the opponent to just proceed to the third round with some carryover and bleed cards out of me in round 2. There was a Griffin Witcher Adept for 9 points and I decided to play a trap thereby blocking his Amphibious Assault and not letting him take round control. He also had Vesemir: Mentor in his hand, which he had not yet played, and was a low tempo move.

 

In the replay of this match, conversely, you gave up Feign Death pretty soon. Why? How can a player determine when it is better to give up a scenario to not risk losing 0-2 while managing resources effectively?

C: It depends on the situation. Sometimes you play the scenario so that your bronze cards just become tempo ones, so for the next round you keep gold cards and win with those. In some cases, however, you spend a scenario to force your opponent to pass because, for example, you have too many gold cards in your hand and you do not want him to push you.

 

Why did you decide to play with Oneiromancy for a dryad instead of some bronze elf to activate the scenario and prevent the need to spend an additional leader charge? Could it be possible to hit with the Trap not on a two-power unit, so as not to create a fifth elf to summon Aelirenn?

C: It was my mistake. I was looking for different options, but in the end I didn’t have enough time and played it in a hurry.

 

How do you decide whether to spend Korathi Heatwave on Masquerade Ball during the bleed while playing Reckless Flurry?

C: If the opponent plays the scenario right at the beginning of the second round, thereby trying to force you to go into a long third round, it is worth spending. If this happens on 3-4 cards, you can pass.

 

Were there any moments in this series in which you would have acted differently today?

C: I would like to fix the situations with Aelirenn and Vernossiel, when I could have cut my opponent’s value from a potential Lyrian Scytheman and if I played Nature’s Rebuke as my last card. In general, I played worse on Scoia’tael than on other factions, since I practiced with this deck only a little despite having many opportunities to do otherwise.

Games: Nik_r

Nik_r vs Ch.ase

How did you plan the game for the blue/red coins? 

N: I wanted to play the Nilfgaard mirror match right away, because I thought I had a good chance of winning. For the Blue coin, of course, I always planned to take witchers – this is the best matchup against elves. From there, I hoped that the score would be 2:0 and I would only have to win one out of three Skellige games 🙂

You lost all three times in this series against Nilfgaard. How did that happen?

N: There were a lot of mistakes. I played this series terribly and I am still ashamed 🙂

In general what was your strategy in the NG Mirror?

N: This is the strangest mirror match in Gwent. It is difficult to strategise, so you must always adapt to individual circumstances 🙂 Most importantly, try not to overswarm your side of the board or else you will have no space 🙂

Why did you decide to bleed Ch.ase in the second round?

N: I filled my board too easily, so the long round was very unpleasant for me. In general, bleeding looked like a good idea, because the opponent would always face a serious dilemma – to keep Masquerade Ball in hand and potentially give me the opportunity to play it with my leader, or play it early and go to the third round without it while I still have mine. Both of these scenarios were less than ideal for Ch.ase. But I did not find Masquerade Ball with my leader. Taking into account the fact that before that I made a bunch of mistakes – exposing Braathens to Coup de Grace, for example, – the game ended there.

And how did you decide whether to throw Coup de Grace at Braathens or at Joachim, thus losing points from the poison?

N: At that moment, I was already tilting quite hard and just wanted the game to end 🙂 So do not try to find logic in my moves – there wasn’t any 🙂

In the next match with your Northern Realms witchers, you went to bleed the elves realizing that, most likely, you would not recover your card advantage. Did you intend to shorten the third round here? What was the best outcome for you in this game?

N: Yes, I needed to make him get rid of Feign Death or Vernossiel, and also pull out Aelirenn. In general, this is a very convenient matchup for the witchers, even without Keldar and with Geralt, who plays for a measly 3 points. The fact that the first game ended in a draw is primarily due to Ch.ase, who played very well.

In the second round in the match against Skellige, how did you decide that giving up your leader would be better than staying a card down?

N: Oh, this is another match that I played terribly. Sorry, guys 🙂 I could have kept my leader and not lost my card if I had played Fergus into Tyrggvi earlier and replayed him. A very, very bad match from me. Against players like Ch.ase, you can’t afford to play this way.

Were there any moments in this episode in which you would have acted differently today?

N: Yes, there are a lot of them. But this series pissed me off a lot: I saw my mistakes and I was really ashamed by my performance. It’s a pity that I had to take out all my anger on my teammate, but I honestly tried with all my might to dissuade him from taking Keltullis to these qualifiers 🙂

Final Word

What advice do you have for beginners and those looking to develop their Gwent skills?

Ch.ase:  Try to think more. Thinking + luck = you can manage everything in Gwent. 

Nik_r:  Find enjoyment in it. If you like what you are doing, the result will definitely come. 

Conclusion

Part 2 of this article series helped us to take an even deeper look into the mindset of competitive players. Based on their experience and insight, we hope you have come to better understand how they make decisions, in particular while preparing for open decklist events.

Grinding ladder is the bread and butter for every top player. But only the finetuning and preparation for open decklist events, thinking about certain matchups, evaluating the coinflips, and taking advantage of the full knowledge of your opponents’ decks will allow you to eventually walk with the pros. 

Special thanks to both Ch.ase and Nik_r for taking their time to answer these questions. Also thanks again to Weevil89 for helping out with the editing but thank you especially to our dear readers for sticking with us through this series!

The upcoming OPEN#2 will provide a different meta, but the preparation will stay the same. In the next and final article of this series, we want to compare the shifts and changes between the metas from the qualifiers and the current meta, in which the tournament will take place. 

We wish you good fortune in the wars to come!

renova- and Sawyer1888

Contacts

The Tunes of Gwent’s Elite – A Soundtrack for Climbing and Grinding

Written by Sawyer1888 

Introduction

Season 3 of Gwent Masters in full swing, with its first highlight releasing next weekend. The first Gwent Open of the season will also take place from the 24th to 25th of April, including a spicy line up: Pajabol, Tailbot, Redrame, Shaggyccg, kams134, Forever_Yolo, Bart933 and Gravesh. All will fight for a spot in the Gwent Masters 2021.

And since I wrote the first article of this series, which from now on I will call “Gwent’s Elite”, a few months have passed already. During that time, we saw Pajabol becoming the winner of Gwent Masters Season 2, experienced the Way of the Witcher expansion, and got introduced to the new road map of 2021 for Gwent.     

Games were decided, MMR was grinded, tournaments were organized and meanwhile we had daily streams full of entertainment, cardjamming, funny moments, and tilted reactions. But after the recent DMCA issues, I had the feeling that something was missing. Of course, certain song requests were allowed and we found alternatives in the in-game soundtrack or DMCA-free lists, but I guess we all agree that we miss the old ability to stream with our favorite music in the background. So I asked myself “Hey, what are all these people listening to anyway? Why not ask them and create a playlist full of everyone’s favorite tunes? What music helps the pros to focus, what music are streamers listening to in private? And what music do they enjoy the most?”  And that’s exactly what I did.

Additional Information

For the people in a hurry, you will find the Spotify link here. You are also able to check out this document, where every person involved is listed with their music, which is already linked for you. In addition, there is a list of everyone who helped me at the end of the article, where you can also see the links of their Twitch and Twitter accounts, as well as each homepage of their respective teams. As I am still only human, some might not be quoted or even questioned, but as I want to treat this as an ongoing project, feel free to message me your tunes on Discord! Thanks a lot for all the support!

Project Idea and Process

The idea of this project was to include as many people as possible from the competitive scene, but also streamers and content creators. I asked them what their favorite songs are, what they like to listen to while jamming cards and what tunes are their viewers’ most wanted.
Over 50 people from over 20 different countries responded and helped me create this unique playlist. I’m really glad to be part of this community and during my work, I talked to many amazing people from all over the world. I was introduced to Turkish rock music, Italian rap, jams from South Africa, Polish tunes, Russian gachi, Asian vibes and a mixture of nature sounds and epic game soundtracks – just to mention a few genres. 

This all showed me how easy it can be to connect to people, even if they’ve never heard of you and live a thousand miles away. It also made me realize that behind all these nicknames and MMR stats are real people, unique characters, who all have a different approach when it comes to playing and enjoying Gwent. Listening to people at 4am discuss what they think about classical music while grinding ladder, how dark metal helps them to get into the zone, or how they actually created different tracks for grinding in the morning, evening or for tournaments…it was a real exciting journey which comes to an end with this international playlist of over a 100 songs! 

But before I let you enjoy all their tunes yourself, let’s take a quick look at how important music might be in general for getting into the zone, staying focused and what some of them told me about their personal experience.

Music is the strongest Form of Magic

In the world of The Witcher and also Gwent, we were provided with an awesome and unique soundtrack by Marcin Przybyłowicz and Percival, but also by Mikolai Stroinski und Piotr Adamczyk. Even if Triss or Yennefer might disagree, I think Marilyn Manson was right when he said that “music is the strongest form of magic.”

It can get us into a romantic mood, it can push us, it can create memories, or it can help alleviate our pain. In terms of this article, I would say that all of these factors matter. When we are tilted, it can help us calm down (Sebasar); when we are eager to push, it can give us an extra boost (NingunoSirve); and when we might be tired or exhausted, it can cheer us up and keep us going. (Kolemoen, SuperSpock)
And after questioning almost 60 people, I can tell that there is no “universal” type of music that works for everyone. Even if some argue that classical music is the best way to focus, I would agree with Team Legacy’s InNomineSatanas that this is not true. What kind of music I listen to really depends on my mood (energiix) and apparently also on what I want to achieve“. (ceely) Some people need to listen to orchestral soundtracks which are generally calm, setting up “the correct ambiance […] to properly pay attention to [their] games” TiltBro93 says, while “anything loud or aggressive would be a distraction”. Meanwhile, Movius00 from Team ESC admits that he likes the kind of music that heats you up, tunes that empower you and give you energy. The kind of songs that when you win a difficult game you jump from your seat.” Music here seems to support two different approaches for grinding: being calm and collected to focus or being pumped up. 

Some people vary their tunes depending if its morning or evening (Count-Dooku), while some choose their music specifically for a certain faction they play. (Forever_Tabaki)

Interestingly, even if many people like to listen to music for a certain amount of time, for example Ci_87 who only listens to music in the first days of the season, some of them turn it off when they need to focus. darthlothins, Kolemoen, Saber97,_and wickedsyam don’t listen to music at all during their climb, while lerio2 for example does better without music anyway. 

So after all we can say that, for most of them, music helps to get into the “zone” (Shaggyccg) and has an important role in their attempt to grind, climb, and focus. Although sometimes music might be a distraction and can tank your performance, when you are too engaged in the lyrics and sounds (Gravesh), it is a way to not go crazy, [while] performing routine tasks, which helps to delineate a repetitive process so as not to drown in it.”(renova-) And let’s be real, as exciting the soundtrack and game can be, playing it over hundreds of games each season can feel kinda repetitive. 

With the recent struggles of the DMCA restrictions, many streamers were forced to create alternative playlists including various game or movie soundtracks. But some streamers still allow song requests and play their own tunes, which sometimes is very different from their private preference. So, let’s not keep you waiting any longer and get right into the playlist, where you can decide for yourself what tracks you like the most and whose tastes might surprise you!
(In this document you can find every participant with most of their submissions, to be able to get a detailed insight)

 

 

Final Word

This playlist contains almost every song submitted to me, while I had to make some cuts owing to the amount of songs I received. I hope that I did all of you justice, so don’t be sad if you might not find every single song in the list or document. 

The first part includes more rock-related tunes, going to what I would call “clubmusic” and hip hop. Followed by some chillin sounds, it will end in some unique songs and selected game or movie tracks.  Maybe some songs would fit in a different genre but I tried my best to structure them at least a bit. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and that it helps you to achieve whatever you want to achieve in Gwent. And if not Gwent, it might get you into the right mood for accomplishing other tasks!

Cheers to everyone, and have fun with “The Tunes of Gwent’s Elite”. I’m already looking forward to the next project!

Thank you!

Team Bandit Gang:
Babyjosus, Bomblin, enerGiiX, Enz0neplays, Escanbryt, GhostArya, gwentsonneillon, Hawgplex, iancm97, JSN991, Koumakis, Mercernn, Renova-, SuperSpock9000, TheOneChristo, wickedsyam, Zubedoo

White lining w no text - Copy

Team Duello:
ButcherofBlaviken, CaptainKid-Tr, Jarlaxle

Team Duello

Team Nomad Gaming:
BAKERHUN, Count-Dooku, Ganfi12

Nomad Nagy Transp

Team Nova:
Jamedi, NingunoSirve

Team Phoenix:
Ch.ase, Forever_Tabaki, Snow_Socrates

Y-X4mFMN_400x400-removebg-preview

Team Swallow: 
wangid

tdgp68deozx41

And also:
ForeverYOLO322, Kerpeten96, MissLadyJay

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!

Deck Guide: SK Control – 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 Gwent’s Elite – About Pro Players Mentality

Written by Sawyer1888 

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?