Custom Cards

Renfri Needs a Gwent Card #4

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.

Coup D'etat

Empires have battled each other for supremacy for untold centuries, and men have plotted their downfall for just as long. The fact that a single human can pose a threat to an entire empire is an unfortunate consequence of the centralization of power. The saying “a single death changes everything” is true indeed. And nobody understands this better than Nilfgaard.

This scenario for Nilfgaard attempts to support the Spying archetype and features a rework for Assassination. It also supports assimilate and tactics, to a degree. It’s even possible to finish the scenario in one turn by using a spy to tutor a card that plays another spy, such as Braathens. In most cases, it plays for a minimum of 15 points, though it puts two engines on the board and therefore has a potentially higher ceiling.

The art used by the card is promotional art for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Shupe

The familiar and lovable keg-obsessed rock troll poses a serious threat to your opponent’s victory in this card, which becomes stronger with each passing round provided you’ve met his unique deck condition. I’ve always found Shupe’s deck condition to be quite interesting, but the payoff for Shupe’s Day Off is sadly underwhelming. This version of Shupe is considerably stronger, and makes the payoff more worthwhile. By the time he reaches his third form, your opponent has little to do but watch in horror as your beautiful Shupe meme plays out uninterrupted, spawning up to three Kegs on the board for unpredictable RNG goodness. Shuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupe! Shuuuuuupe! Shuuuuuuuuupe!

The resilience on the Kegs might be a bit much, in hindsight. Oh well.

Art source is linked here.

Gather by Moonlight

On a cold, clear moonlit night you may hear singular unearthly sounds as nocturnal beings gather for their accursed feast. Vampires! Whether gathering in an old shed, a subterranean cavern, or a sumptuous palace, vampires prefer to consume blood in great quantity and under the cover of darkness. This holds true even for higher vampires who can tolerate the light of the sun.

This scenario serves the vampire archetype by providing several sources of bleeding, plus a single use of bronze tall removal. Having this scenario on the board may force the opponent to delay playing their bronze engines, which will only make the vampires that much more oppressive. I chose the last stage of the scenario carefully, in order to provide vampires with something they lacked: tall punish. At the same time, I wanted to avoid the pitfall where scenarios simply play a handful of different bronze cards. As you’ll notice, this scenario only spawns one bronze card, while the other two effects are more unique.

Credit for the art goes to Steven Stahlberg, on DeviantArt.

Gnomish Workshop

Strange as it may seem, the finest smiths in Mahakam are not dwarves but gnomes. In fact, the finest blades–called Gwyhyrs–are forged according to advanced Gnomish technology. Thus it is that Gnomes are behind much of what is apparently dwarven technology.

This card supports the dwarf archetype massively, making dwarven units much harder to remove than they otherwise would be. In addition, its resilience makes it useful across multiple rounds. Dwarf decks sometimes struggle in short rounds, which makes them vulnerable to a bleed. A card like this would address this issue quite effectively, by giving dwarven engines a substantial edge for two entire rounds.

Credit for the art goes to Todor Hristov, found on Artstation.

Sea'ala

Long ago in an age enshrouded in mist and myth, legends tell of a powerful Gwent archetype known as Harmony. In those ancient days, players could replay the Water of Brokilon card twice, placing 4 engines on the board in a single turn. Though this technique has been lost to time, there are still those who dream of a return of Harmony–and with it, Scoia’tael–to its rightful place at tier 1.

Sea’ala supports harmony by allowing human and elf units to trigger harmony and then become harmony engines themselves, thus paving the way for more harmony triggers down the road. She’s designed to support Harmony in a manner analogous to the way Koschey supports thrive. Interestingly, Sea’ala would allow Deadeye Ambush to become a Harmony leader, as the spawned elves can be transformed into Dryad Fledglings.

The original source for the art is here, on Artstation.

Radegast

Skellige cards are typically divided between druid-themed alchemy cards and damage-oriented warrior cards. For the most part, the two archetypes rarely meet in the middle. After all, druids are mainly focused on boost and healing, while warriors deal pure damage. CDPR has made some attempt to unite the two archetypes with the recent rain package, but this card takes it a step further by encouraging players to play two different types of specials in their decks.

Radegast rewards players for including both raids and alchemy cards in their deck. By playing a single raid followed by several alchemy cards, players can generate significant carryover and maintain a presence through multiple rounds. Radegast’s ceiling is quite high, but he requires a significant deckbuilding commitment to reach his full value.

The original source for the art appears to be DeviantArt.

Borch Three Jackdaws

Introduced in Andrzej Sapkowski’s short story The Bounds of Reason, Borch Three Jackdaws was the name used by Villentretenmerth while in human form. His true form, it was revealed, was that of a mighty golden dragon. It was only when this form was revealed that Geralt understood why Vea had called him “the most beautiful”.

Borch was known for his female companions Tea and Vea–who he referred to as his “weapons”. I think that Borch truly deserves a dedicated card, just like his daughter Saesenthessis. After all, he’s one of the only golden dragons in the entire witcher universe, alongside Zerrikanterment.

The version of Borch showcased here allows you to tutor the highest provision cost unit from your deck, while adding an additional 6 points of tempo to the play. Obviously the downside to this play is that it requires an enemy unit of 2 or less strength, which may not be easy to obtain. I almost made it say “highest card” but that would end up making the card merely a tutor for Oneiromancy, which isn’t what I intended.

The art here is by Nastya Kulakovskaya, from Artstation.

Renfri Needs a Gwent Card #3

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.

Stealth Archer

Guerilla forces know they would be decimated if they met their foes on the open battlefield. For this reason, they remain hidden anywhere nature presents cover – behind rocks, in trees, or even buried among the very leaves on the ground. Arrows whiz by seemingly out of nowhere, picking off the enemy one by one.

This card expands upon the concept of invisibility, and cannot be answered by the opponent for 2 turns unless it is pinged. It’s a fairly powerful engine that can reach its ceiling of roughly 12 points much more quickly than most other cards of this type. The downside, however, is that it is quite fragile and its initial tempo is poor.

Credit for the art goes to Jack Wang. Original art is available on Artstation here.

Khagmar: Bloodlust

Driven by his unquenchable thirst for human blood, Khagmar would harvest entire villages of humans in a single night. Yet the terror he inspired came back to haunt him, as the humans began an organized campaign of hunting vampires. Though not a direct threat, other higher vampires became annoyed and determined to punish Khagmar by tormenting him with perpetual hunger. Khagmar spent years, decades, and then centuries trapped within a cage in Tesham Mutna, ever tormented by the scent of fresh human blood he could never obtain.

Many people have called for Khagmar to appear in Gwent, so I present to you Khagmar: Bloodlust. This card is an extremely greedy engine that can be countered in advance by not playing units to both rows. Though threatening, Khagmar needs to drain 4 units on the turn he is played to escape from standard removal range, and drain 5 units to pay back his provisions. Once he sticks, however, he becomes an extremely aggressive and dangerous engine. Woe betide the opponent who has no answer!

Credit for the art goes to LoranDeSore, and the original source is here.

Wild Goose Chase

This card provides SY with high-tempo tall punish, but there’s a catch. Wild Goose Chase requires you to boost one of your own units, which gives the opponent a chance to answer with tall punish of their own. To help the card compare favorably with cards such as Heatwave, I added the echo tag. Overall, I think it’s a strong card, but it’s not a substitute for cards like Morelse or Heatwave.

Truly, non-removal tall punish is a concept that CDPR could explore more fully, especially for devotion decks. Non-removal tall punish requires more careful thought regarding its use, and is less oppressive against Blue coin.

Credit for the art goes to Rudy Siswanto, whose art I also used for the card Ilya the Merc in last week’s custom card series.

Red Widow

Many people are frustrated with clog and its ability to completely disrupt their gameplan. Quite a few have suggested that clog could shuffle cards into the deck instead of placing them on top. I’m not completely against this idea, but if this plan is executed then Kolgrim players need better ways to play cards like Infiltrator. I’ve experimented with Infiltrator quite a bit and my experience is that the card simply isn’t worth it.

This card addresses the above issue by allowing the player to deal 6 targeted damage and spawn up to 3 Infiltrators. With the proper setup, it can play for 21 points, which is a lot but not unreasonable for a 13 provision card. Without setup, Red Widow plays as a 13-for-13 card with substantial removal potential. A solid card, but not overpowered. Her real potential lies in synergy with tactics engines like Hefty Helge and Fire Scorpion.

One issue with the card is that Infiltrators should ideally be played in round 1, yet it’s usually not ideal to play 13-provision cards this early in the game. Personally, I don’t believe that every card needs to be perfect in every situation. I see this card as extremely strong when pushing a round 2 bleed or attempting to win on even under redcoin.

Original art can be found here.

Boarding Party

Arrrrrrr me matey, I spy a ship on yon horizon! And a piratey expansion for Skellige! Arrr, maybe!

This card’s got a little bit of it all: pirates, rain, bleeding, ship synergy, and even seizing that sweet booty. Until now, Seize has remained in the territory of Nilfgaard and Syndicate, but I think that it would find a welcome home within the budding pirate archetype of Skellige.

Skellige’s reliable access to cheap and efficient damage should ensure that the last stage of the scenario rarely bricks. While Nilfgaard often struggles to find targets for 3-power seize cards such as Amnesty and Sweers, I wager that Skellige would actually make highly effective use of such a mechanic.

Credit for the art goes to Shen Fei. Here’s his Artstation.

Ancient Sarcophagus

This card supports bronze deathwish cards by allowing a single bronze deathwish unit to be triggered multiple times. The ability mainly synergizes with cards like Harpy Egg and Rotfiend, but not so much with cards like Nightwraith and Endrega Eggs, which would merely clog the board. It also makes it more difficult for bronze cards like Slyzard to be removed, as it summons them back to the board.

This card is also a potential Heatwave target. Although it almost always trades down with Heatwave, it might still be worth it. Deciding whether to heatwave something that will trade down is the type of decision that makes Gwent so interesting.

I should also point out that the card synergizes unbelievably well with Glustyworp, which can be used to consume all the 1-power targets at once. Just thinking about such a chad move has me hyped for this card.

Credit to the original artist (Anton Fedotov) is here.

Pogrom

Paranoia. Fear. Suspicion. Blame. These are the hallmarks of a society that is on the verge of breakdown. Torches and pitchforks are raised, accusations hurled. Soon, homes are invaded, men are trampled and burnt at stake, and law and order no longer represent justice but rather the will of the bloodthirsty mob. This is the nightmare scenario with which wizards, witches and members of the Scoia’tael in and around Novigrad have become all too familiar.

This scenario would add massive support for the Witch Hunter and Bounty archetype. In particular, this scenario allows for back-to-back same turn removals with Bounty. Witch Hunter Executioner is the ideal trigger for the first stage, as the bounty can be applied and cashed in on the same turn very easily. For the next stage, any witch hunter that applies bounty can allow for instant 6-point removal. Brutal!

Unfortunately, I was unable to find the original art source for this card.

Renfri Needs a Gwent Card #2

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.

Jailbreak

This is a card that plays off of one of Syndicate’s greatest strengths: versatility. It’s reminiscent of Collusion, yet can achieve full value on an empty board or with minimal setup. It also encourages diversity in deckbuilding, since having a variety of bronze units from different gangs in your graveyard allows you to choose the exact effect needed. For example, if you need more crownsplitters for tunnel drill, you can Jailbreak a Coerced Blacksmith from your graveyard. Need raw tempo and a spender? Jailbreak into Sea Jackal‘s got your back. Accidentally drew an odd number of poisons? Resurrect a Salamandra. You get the idea.

The original artist is a chap by the name of Jesper Ejsing. His art is visible on artstation, linked here. In the uncropped art, it looks like a dude on a dragon is breaking an eleven lady out of jail. I could be wrong, though. Maybe he’s attacking her? I don’t really know.

Ilya the Merc

Whenever I play bounty, I find it’s pretty easy to overprofit from killing a tall unit, or simply from having too many coins in the bank. Ilya allows you more breathing room when handling bounties, and provides a payoff for killing units with greater than 9 points of base strength. Her order ability isn’t extremely strong, but it can gain her an extra 3 points if she destroys the Flying Redanian. It can also give extra reach to damage spenders.
 
I’ve determined that a fellow named Rudy Siswanto is the original artist. You can find his Artstation account here. He’s quite talented, so I suggest you check it out. He appears to have done the art for Protofleder. Pretty cool. 

Grottore

Grottore appeared in the Witcher 3 as the boss during the quest Feet as Cold as Ice. Although he’s just another quest boss, I found him to be quite interesting and memorable. He seemed to have a bit of personality, collecting random stuff in his cave and killing off those insufferable knights of Croissant… I mean Toussaint.

It’s been a while since deathwish was a viable archetype in the Monsters faction, outside of Viy. Personally, I’d like to see it make a comeback, as yeeting enemy units with Imperial Manticore and yoinking them with Miruna is simply too much fun. This card acts as a companion to Dettlaff: Higher Vampire, providing a similar high tempo play. Due to the Sabbath condition, you can choose whether you want to summon the deathwish unit from your graveyard or deck. Summoning from the deck is usually better, as it provides thinning and also avoids the possibility of summoning a bricked Archespore.

Original art source is here. On second thought, let’s not go to DeviantArt. ‘Tis a silly place.

Nightshade

The seconds tick by, stretching into minutes and then hours. The sun sets and the moon rises while Nightshade waits for the perfect opportunity. Late in the night her victim steals by, convinced that he is secure under the cover of darkness. He is wrong. A blade flashing in the moonlight and an eerie silence are the only clues that Nightshade has done her work. The corpse is dragged into a nearby alleyway and disposed in a sewer, never to be seen again. Another clean kill.

I don’t think anything captures assassination any better than a unit leaping from the top of a Nilfgaard player’s deck to destroy a unit the opponent played. It’s so elegant and unexpected, and fits in perfectly with the deck manipulation theme that CDPR has chosen to take with Nilfgaard. I’d love to see a card like this in play, though to be on the receiving end especially would be pretty rage inducing.

The card art in this case was designed by an artist called AReum Kim. Additional renders of Nightshade can be found here.

Mercurus

One of the problems with trap cards is that they tend to punish the player for playing high cost cards. The result is that traps can easily be avoided by simply playing low cost cards. There need to be more traps that punish the player for playing low cost cards. It’s this observation that lead me to create Mercurus, which acts in a manner similar to a trap card, and penalizes the opponent for playing a low provision card. If your opponent has Red coin (goes second) and repeatedly plays weak cards, Mercurus can be used to set up a tempo pass, forcing a long round with Masquerade Ball.

With Nightshade and Mercurus in the same deck, you can put the opponent in a situation where they don’t know whether to play a high end gold or a low prov bronze. Mind games!

Also, this card’s flavortext is oddly appropriate as playing a 10 provision or higher card causes Mercurus to destroy himself. If he were added to Gwent, it’d be cool if he had a special voiceline that triggered only if he was destroyed. A long, drawn out “Noooooooooooo!” is exactly the sort of thing that Gwent needs more of.

I wasn’t able to track down the original art source, though it looks like it appeared on the cover a DnD book at some point.

Surprise

This card acts as potentially 6+ removal, while also setting up your deck for some manipulation. A downside of this card is that the damage dealt may reveal the card moved to the top. For me, this card is on the edge of being able to be bronze. As long as there aren’t too many agents with 7+ strength, it’s probably safe to make it bronze. 6 prov is a neglected range anyway. What’s cool about this card for me is its flexibility. It can act as removal, deck manipulation, and soft tutoring.

I was going to make it able to move any unit, but I don’t think we need any more ways to abuse Tibor Eggebracht than than already exist. 13 damage on a 6 prov card would be pretty broken.

Also, can we take a moment to appreciate how hilarious this art is? This dude is just chilling and writing some shit down while this assassin girl stands behind him with the most mischevious expression on her face. Poor dude’s about to get bellclapped with a pair of daggers. Ouch.

This appears to be the original art source, though I’m told this art was used to advertise an expansion for Elder Scrolls Online.

Vanmuutugleek

I’ve always found life deep in the ocean to possess a singularly bizarre majesty. I imagine the witcher universe is no different, with great monstrosities like Dagon and Vanmuutugleek hidden beneath the waves, living far outside the ken of man.

I came across this beautiful squid art and instantly knew I had to make a Gwent card out of it. It was pretty obviously monsters faction material, so I came up with an ability designed specifically to synergize with Koschey thrive decks. I’ve played Koschey a fair number of times, and the two biggest issues are choosing what to play before Koschey’s adrenaline kicks in and getting stuck with monsters that can’t proc thrive. This card is designed to solve both issues.

I’ve also introduced a new status, called Invisibility. Invisibility acts as temporary immunity, and is countered by ping damage. Invisibility allows low-strength order cards and engines to be viable, without being completely unanswerable or hard countering decks which rely on pure damage such as Skellige Warriors.

The card art is unfortunately a cropped version of the original, which can be found here. Mark Facey is the original artist.

Renfri Needs a Gwent Card #1

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.

Renfri: Bandit Queen

I think it’s only fair to begin this series with Renfri herself, one of the most memorable foes Geralt of Rivia ever faced. As a talented swordswoman and intelligent adversary, she gave Geralt a run for his money in more ways than one. Not only did she prove a capable foe in combat, she also challenged his conceptions of morality, forcing Geralt to choose–to the best of his understanding–the lesser evil.

As a Gwent card, I envision Renfri as the lynchpin of the underdeveloped Bandit archetype. She provides a substantial payoff by summoning bandits to the board that were played in previous rounds. All hail the Queen of the Bandits!

Graverobber

So, y’all are gonna hate this card for what it does to Oneiromancy, but I honestly kinda miss the old bullshit Nilfgaard that made you want to tear your hair out.

For reference, the old Nilfgaard was the one that had locks, tactics and poison for days, double Masquerade Ball, and lousy pointslam and even lousier engines. Maybe a year ago, it was pretty normal to queue into Nilfgaard and accept that your first few cards were gonna get yeeted by Tourney Joust and Assassination. They made redcoin abuse into a freaking art.

The new Nilfgaard is actually pretty greedy and doesn’t run that many locks. It also only runs a couple poisons, and even has a fair amount of points after you heatwave their ball. It always wants a long round and plays tons of assimilate. Assimilate used to be a meme, goddammit.

Sigh.

Anyhoo, this guy steals your oneiromancy and synergizes with Joachim DeWett. Deal with it.

Dagon

Although I didn’t play Gwent during the beta when Dagon reigned in all his power and glory, I’ve learned of him from other players and am impressed by the aura of reverence he commands even in absence.

This version of Dagon is potentially a 4 point per turn engine that keeps spawning Fog on enemy rows as long as their units keep dying. However, he might be a touch underpowered compared to cards like Unseen Elder and Dettlaff, who play equal to their provisions much more easily. It’s probably reasonable to buff him to 8 strength, or to increase the initial fog duration from 1 to 2 turns.

King Henselt

I recently read about 40-card Foltest and was inspired to make a card that motivated players to add more than 25 cards to their deck in a similar way. This is what I came up with.

Henselt boosts bronze units in your hands by 4, essentially turning a number of bronze cards in gold cards in a manner similar to Amphibious Assault. You gain charges by converting 8-10 prov cards in your deck into multiple 4-5 prov cards. Immunity both serves to protect Henselt and makes it very difficult for him to gain charges through Stockpile, Winch, or Aretuza Adept, which is not his intended use. Also, you can’t boost gold units which prevents him from bolstering already powerful golds like Prince Anseis, Anna Strenger, or Vysogota.

I didn’t give him zeal since he has immunity, so make sure you play around Curse of Corruption and Predatory Dive and you’ll be fine.

Drogodar

You may recall that Drogodar was the bard who played at the ill-fated feast hosted at Kaer Trolde during King’s Gambit in the Witcher 3. He, along with a number of other Skelligers, was eaten by a werebear which is honestly a pretty badass way to die.

This card allows Skellige to replay high end gold cards from their graveyard in a manner reminiscent of the old Second Wind leader ability. However, he’s somewhat low tempo and only plays for 5 points unless he discards a Tuirseach Skirmisher.

Elven Princess

This card acts as a bridge between the elf and handbuff archetypes. I really like “bridge” cards because they can be used in more than one type of deck and encourage creativity. Currently, Nilfgaard has the most bridge cards, since there’s tons of connections between Spies, Assimilate, Status, Tactics, Deck Manipulation, and Soldiers. Take Rot Tosser, for example. It supports Assimilate, Status, and Spies. Personally, I’d like to see more bridge cards in other factions.

Power wise, this card might seem a little OP, but it’s 2 provisions more than Isengrim and plays into tall punish. Elves don’t normally play into tall punish, so I think you would essentially only run this card to buff Aglais or Sheldon Skaggs. Additionally, this card is quite low tempo after her boosts are transferred as only a meager 4 points remain on the board.

Sasha

A lot of factions now have the ability to build hyperthin decks that end up with only a small number of cards by the end of round 3. Nilfgaard has Kolgrim, SK has the Discard package, and ST has Precision Strike + Novigradian Justice. I’d like to see a neutral card that rewards these decks with some form of payoff, which is why I created Sasha.

Balancing a card like Sasha is difficult, since she has to have a meaningful payoff for hyperthin decks without being viable in ordinary decks. In this case, I chose to keep her at 9 provisions to allow her to synergize with Ciri: Nova while also requiring a significant commitment in terms of provisions.