After reading The Last Wish, I was impressed by the character Renfri and realized that this unique and interesting character was entirely absent from the game of Gwent. What a travesty! I decided to remedy this situation by posting a custom card every day until Renfri is added to Gwent. The custom cards from the last week appear below.
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
Chuck him in the long boat ’til he’s sober.
Put him in the long-boat and make him bail her.
What do you do with a drunken sailor, early in the morning?
Surprisingly catchy sea shanty lyrics aside, this unit combines several interesting Syndicate concepts together. It’s a spender, an engine, a Tidecloak, and it even has some self-poison mechanics going on.
Personally, I like this design to an exceptional degree. It’s a threatening engine yet not impossible to counter. It also has a meaningful downside–you can’t just drypass and have it happily chug away while your opponent slams down tempo in a desperate attempt to catch up. No, you actually have to think ahead and properly manage your coin count. Get it wrong, and Drunken Sailor will helpfully destroy itself in just two turns. Ouch.
Have you ever played Dungeons and Dragons? You join of team of adventurers (affectionately called murderhobos) and run around killing stuff, until eventually someone called the Dungeon Master admits that your characters are overpowered and stops trying. This is like that, but in Gwent form.
In this case, you spend the entire match killing stuff until your Adventurers are ridiculously swole. Typically you’ll drop them as your last card and duel the final “boss”, gaining “loot” equal to its provision cost. I decided that the player should not be able to choose the duel target, because cards with lower power and high provisions like Simlas Finn Aep Dabairr would give ridiculous boost. Also, this card isn’t primarily intended as removal, though it might work out that way.
My biggest qualm about this card is that it supports no-unit control heavy archetypes with so much pointslam. Perhaps it should be more expensive, or redesigned to require a certain number of units in your starting deck as a condition. It’s certainly food for thought.
Fellas, I love Skellige and my Nilfgaard win count is too high to mention in decent company, but in my heart I love the green dudes the most. They’ve got the proud Aen Seidhe, grumpy dwarves, territorial dryads, and best of all: treants. I always imagine treants as being lumbering and majestic creatures, living quietly and bravely in the depths of Brokilon. And Treant Behemoth is no exception.
This card is intended to encourage the player to run units like The Great Oak, Oakcritters, or Treant Boar. Although this card is rather risky at 14 provisions, it can realistically play for up to 7+9 points (if it summons the Great Oak) and then 9 damage if there’s a full row of Treants. A lot of payoff for a lot of setup.
Poor Syanna. She’s always pretending to have everything under control but she’s actually an utter mess. From the carefully planned series of murders in Beauclair to her affair with Dettlaff and her theft of the royal wine, Sangreal, she was invariably clever and yet ridiculously emotional. If there’s anyone in the Witcher universe who very badly needed a hug a long time ago, it’s her.
This version of Syanna sees her as massive vampire support, allowing the player to double up on either the deploy or passive abilities of their bronze vampires. I had to price her at 13 provisions because she plays for up to 11 tempo in a Masquerade Ball deck while also placing up to three engines in a single turn. It takes a lot of setup to pull that play off, though, especially given how likely players are to bleed heavily if they suspect a ball deck.
Alzur’s Thunder is an interesting card. At first it was just a throwaway neutral 5 damage spell, a worse alternative to the 5 provision factional removals (Nature’s Rebuke, Boiling Oil, Payday). However, with the arrival of Alzur in Way of the Witcher and then the new focus on mages in Price of Power, the card now has meaningful synergies thanks to its spell category. But I don’t think they’ve taken it far enough, so I created this card. This version of Alzur allows you to deal up to 15 damage and gain 3 thinning, playing all of your Alzur’s Thunder‘s in one turn. Quite dramatically, I might add.
As a downside, the card is vulnerable to being bled, and you can’t know what cards you’ll be drawing. It’s probably played best early in round 2, if you can gather all the needed components by then. You certainly don’t want to get stuck with this card in deck, because that would really steal your thunder. Pun quite possibly intended.
Among all my custom cards, there’s a few that really make me go, “Dang, wish I could actually play that one” more than the others. This is one such card. It’s not really overpowered, just memey–but oh what a beautiful meme it is!
In all honesty, a mere one-provision bump isn’t enough to make the card playable, especially considering the synergies that go into a carefully chosen deck. However, this card does allow you to gain second copies of high-end cards like Scenarios or second copies of high end golds like Fucusya and Amphibious Assault.
Note: when I first made this card, Masquerade ball was 15 provisions, and thus unreachable from any other card via transformation. I’m not sure how I feel about the prospect of Nilfgaard players dropping Masquerade Ball twice in the same round. Maybe this card isn’t so weak after all?
Here we are at Renfri herself, the goal of my quest. With the Black Sun expansion announced and the addition of Renfri likely forthcoming, it’s a good time to reflect on everything that’s transpired. I’ve enjoyed making custom cards, and while my designs aren’t always perfect, I think I’ve gotten more right than wrong. Gwent has been a wonderful game, with such beautiful art and interesting and deep characters. It’s been a great journey and I appreciate the support and encouragement from fellow Gwentlemen that I’ve received along the way.
This version of Renfri is an extremely potent pointslam and control tool, allowing the player potentially the ability to perform a shielded duel against an enemy unit and also resurrect a bandit. However, this comes at a steep cost, as bandits are highly weak and powercrept. To play seven of them would be quite the task, even if they weren’t powercrept.
Thanks for reading, and may the cards be ever in your favor!