Team Bandit Gang

Gwent

Deck Guide: Condor’s Devotion Precision Strike

Intro

The list was created  by Condor of Team Kreve during the Season of the Cat. Pilots of this list have reached over 2600 MMR in both the seasons of the Cat and Mahakam.

What Is The Deck About?

This deck was designed to maximize Gord value while having a good balance of removal, points, tutors, and thins. This deck excels at getting round control in round 1, safely bleeding in round 2, and playing a 14-point Gord finisher. This deck is highly consistent because it contains 7 thins.

Duen Canell Guardians, Freixenet, and Eithne give this deck synergy with its nature cards. Oak serves as a great bleed finisher. Novigradian Justice gives this deck great reach and helps thin your deck. Ida serves as a guaranteed Isengrim’s Council pull in early rounds and can answer opponent’s defenders. 

What Is The General Gameplan?

The general gameplan is to win round 1 with your symbiosis engines, Freixenet and Guardians, followed by nature cards and tutors/thins. The only cards you should completely avoid playing round 1 is Gord and Eithne. Try not to use Oak and Justice in round 1.

If you get round control, you want to bleed round 2 by filling up one row with 8 units and playing Oak for maximum damage. You also want to use your leader during round 2 to maximize Oak value and thin your deck down before your round 3 draws and mulligans.

In round 3, you want to play Eithne, followed by nature cards, and last play Gord. If you aggressively thinned during round 1 and round 2, you will have only 5 cards left in deck before your round 3 draws and mulligans which means you can select the most optimal round 3 hand.

Strengths & Weaknesses Of This Deck

Strengths:

  • Good balance of points and removal
  • Very consistent
  • Powerful bleeds
  • Great finisher

Weaknesses:

  • Has a learning curve for knowing when to thin, what to mulligan, and row manipulation
  • Has 4 bricks that have to be managed
  • Could be outpowered with less consistent lists if opponent draws well enough

The Deck

Instantly download this deck to your client with the following link:

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/guides/167038

The Video Deck Guide

5 Tips Before You Place Your Bets In The Divination Challenge

Do you have sleepless nights because you don’t know on who to bet for the divination challenge? Are you afraid you are going to miss out on those magnificently rewards? You no longer must worry because we got 5 great tips for you to read before placing any bets! Note: You have until December 4th, 23:59 CET, to place your bets and change them.

Tip #1- Bet With Your Head, Not Your Heart

Too many Gwent fanatics are getting into betting because of the divination challenge and focus purely on betting on the player they love the most. It can be tempting to bet on your favorite player to win their games and lift the ring at the end of the season. However, a lot of rewards can easily be lost if you bet with your heart, rather than your head. A golden rule many gamblers follow is to never even bet on their favorite player, as they feel that their own views and attachments will influence the bets they place. Instead, be smart and use your Gwent knowledge to place bets that have the best chance of winning.

Tip #2- Do Your Homework!

Thousands of people will be placing their bets on who is going to win the Gwent Masters for season 2, but only a tiny percentage of those people do any homework before selecting who is going to win the masters. Even just a cursory glance at the player profiles before you place your bet can significantly raise your chances of winning. Player profiles of the participants will give you all the information you need to know about a player. The overall win rate won’t mean that this player is going to win, but it will at least give you the information that you need to make an informed decision.

A lot of people mistakenly believe that betting is all about luck, but a huge part of it is skill-based. Someone who knows a lot about Gwent, keeps up with the game, follows a variety of players, and watches a lot of Gwent related streams will always be able to place better bets than someone who doesn’t really know a lot about Gwent.

Tip #3- Make Different Kinds Of Bets

The win bet is a very common strategy where you just choose which player you think will win and hope that you are right. However, there are so many more bets available besides that one. If you really want to take your divination betting to the next level, learn how to incorporate different types of bets and use them strategically. A different strategy for example is to bet on the underdog. An underdog is the opposite of a favorite, a competitor that’s expected to lose. Betting on the underdog can be part of an effective betting strategy. Some of the greatest moments in esports history have involved an underdog triumphing against a favorite. Perhaps this time you could decide to not bet on Tailbot but bet on Saber97 instead!

Tip #4- Take A Gander At Reddit And Twitter

While you’re online, why not poke around on Reddit and Twitter and see what other people are saying about the players? You don’t have to engage anyone, if you don’t want, you can simply read other people’s opinions about who they think is going to be the winner. And certainly, don’t read a single opinion and assume it must be right, read many opinions, and see if there are any obvious trends.

Tip #5- Learn The Math

The big question is whether you can get all your bets correct without knowing any of the math behind what you are doing. The answer is as it is with most things in betting, yes and no. Can you still make bets and win without knowing any of the math behind your bets? Of course, you can. Does it benefit you to learn the math enough to warrant learning it? The answer here is also yes.  Before placing your bets it would be good for you to learn the math.

These are the 5 final tips that we wanted to share with you. We hope it will fix all your problems when it comes to betting for the divination challenge!

Welcome to BG HippoShaman!

We are happy to announce a brand new Academy member!

The Gedy expert himself… HIPPOSHAMAN!

Hippo joins our academy team after a fine showing in quite a number of recent tournaments,  we are excited to have this skilled player on our team!

Welcome to the BG family Hippo!

You can read more about HippoShaman here.

Deck Guide: Alzur’s Madness

This article has been written by iancm1997 and edited by Babyjosus.

Intro

The Way of The Witcher is the newest card expansion which is set to drop on December 8th, 2020 after World Masters. However, we were given the opportunity to craft one of the main cards coming in this expansion 3 weeks prior to release. That card is Alzur.

What Does Alzur Do?

Whenever you play a spell card, Alzur spawns a unit with provisions equal to the spell you played, but he has a 3 timer charges which means you have to time your spells accordingly. For example, whenever you play an Oneiromancy, there is a chance he could spawn you a 12-point Old Speartip. When I first saw this card, I thought to myself: “This guy looks like he’d be pretty good in a Harald Gord deck”. And as I predicted, after playing with the deck he seems to work well in the deck.

What Is The Deck About?

The deck is a very standard Harald Gord deck, including cards like Forest Protector, Novigradian Justice, Heatwave, and Bekker’s Rockslide. This version uses Mahakam Forge for Dwarf synergy with cards like Pyrotechnician and Dwarf Berserker. The leader also spawns another special card which in return helps protect your cards and gives an extra point to Gord.

Now since this deck includes Alzur, I’ve thrown in a few spells to proc his ability. The obvious inclusions are Oneiromancy and Bekker’s Rockslide, which are already commonplace in Gord decks. The other spells are Alzur’s Thunder and Pact, which if you highroll can get you some pretty valuable bronze spawns.

What Is The General Gameplan?

The general gameplan for this deck is to win round 1 while developing some carryover with Dunca. This can be done by using your dwarves and your Sage + a healthy mix of control with special cards. If you do get round control, you want to bleed your opponent in round 2 in order to get out some of their win conditions. You do this by using cards like Novigradian Justice, Figgis, and Alzur. If you don’t 2-0 your opponent, you then have Gord as a good round 3 finisher along with the other control cards you might not have spent.

Strengths & Weaknesses Of The Deck

Strengths: Very powerful bleed potential, good control options with Heatwave + Rockslide + Thunders, Gord will get 15+ points of value very easily due to all the special cards you have.

Weaknesses: Vulnerable to super control heavy decks like Shieldwall, you can get put into weird situations where you have to play a gold unit on your dry pass if your opponent takes you into a long round 3.

The Deck

Instantly download this deck into your client with the following link:

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/9bfd967228bc17b214b104ecc87e26d1

Deck Guide: BJ’s Blue Balls (89% winrate)

From the creator of Gudrun Shupe and definitely 100% independent creator of Triple Siege, Triple Masquerade Ball, Triple Haunt & Triple Passiflora. Babyjosus presents you: BJ’s Blue Balls. If you are a huge fan of Draug Commando’s and have always wondered what it would be like to play Commando’s every round, then this deck is the deck for you!

After publishing the deck on PlayGwent I had a big demand from people all over the world to write a Deck Guide for it, and so I have decided to please my fan base by writing a couple words down on pen and paper to grant you more success in Gwent. And maybe you become even as good as me with this deck now you get a peak into the creators mind by finding out how he pilots the deck.

Let’s start with round 1 because that makes the most sense doesn’t it? I mean, I could start by writing what you do in round 3, but that would only confuse you, the reader. So, here we go then.

In round 1 I like to play a ”naked” Blue Striped Commando and keep Roche: Merciless for round 2. People have called me weird for doing this, but after showing the 89% winrate they usually shut their mouth and just take it for what it is. I do this because without Roche: Merciless I tend to win round 1 anyways, and by keeping him for round 2 I have a bigger chance to either 2-0 my opponent or get card advantage.

Before I play the naked Blue Stripes Commando I decide if I want to play a Radovid’s Royal Guard and a Siege Support to avoid having to use a leader charge. Against Nilfgaard or Monsters this could be a strategy to go for. Otherwise you can also decide to use a leader charge and use Tactical Advantage on the second commando to protect it. After you do that, make sure to make as many copies of the Blue Stripes Commando’s. You can use the Blue Stripes Scouts, Zoria Runestone & Reinforcements to get more copies in round 1. Amphibious Assault (AA), Oneiromancy and John Natalis (Papa John) can help you tutor those cards out of the deck. Note: I prefer to use Amphibious Assault over Oneiromancy in round 1, because it can screw you over later on if you use both of them. Because then you are most likely to depend on draws in round 3, if you don’t 2-0 your opponent.

Once you have won round 1 and are in round 2, you always open with Pavetta to put back your commando’s. After that you can use Egmund, Aedirnian Mauler’s and/or Ballista to setup your Roche: Merciless. Although if you managed to avoid using your leader charge in round 1, you could use 2 leader charges in round 2 and keep your last charge for round 3. Now you got your Blue Stripes Commando’s out with Roche: Merciless you can decide to push more since you are sitting in a comfortable spot. You could take this opportunity to use your last resources to make copies (if you still have them) or simply throw your trash out. You could even play until you have your two key cards for round 3 in hand. This should either be AA and Oneiromancy or AA and Renew. Your renew is to play Pavetta from the graveyard to get your commando’s in the deck again to play them again with AA. This combo is strong enough for you to win in a short round 3 which resorts in your opponent throwing their computer out of the window.

But what do you do if you surprisingly don’t win round 1 and your opponent passes round 2? Well, you sadly have to play double commando’s instead of triple commando’s. You could use Renew on a blue stripes scout, but preferable you have Voymir or Seltkirk in the graveyard so your Renew doesn’t feel useless anymore. Note: Lyrian Scytheman is only good after you have played Voymir. So, only keep that card in hand if you have Voymir as well.

And that should be all, if you still have any questions, either about my sanity or just about the deck, you can ask them in the comments down below. You can also ask me questions when I am streaming the deck live on Twitch if that is something you prefer more. Cheers!

The Deck

Instantly download this deck with the following link:

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/guides/164227

TurboTommy Making An End To My Winstreak:

Guide to the Entrench Seasonal Mode

The Season of Mahakam makes a return and fitting to the dwarf theme, the according seasonal mode gives resilience to every unit that is played. A minor sidenote here is that this only applies to those units that you actively play, not those that are summoned or spawned. And for some reason it also applies to artifacts, which cannot even be purified. But the general gameplay does not change as much when you look at the immediate value of a card. Instead you can be overwhelmed by the carryover in a round afterwards if you do not pay attention and play accordingly. So how should you play this? Let’s have a look!

It is basically all around fostering your own carryover and denying that of your opponent. So for your own carryover you either bring high base strength or engines or a mix of both. Carryover denial is done by removal and purify, it really is that straightforward. There are some decks that really excel at bringing a balanced combination to the table or are just so good at one discipline that it is sufficient. Status heavy decks with bleed, poison or bounty force the opponent into an inconvenient decision whether to use purify on the own resilient units or not. So they should be in a good spot in theory, but in practice they often do not keep up the pace unfortunately. What has proven to be reliable are these three decks we present you now.

Nilfgaard

Assimilate lists perform well in many seasonal modes and this one is no exception. The mix of engines, cheap purifies and a strong leader ability make double cross decks very popular. In fact, I created this list in 5 minutes and it worked well right away. A nice feature is that you can play Coup de Grace twice on the same Joachim, as he remains on the board in the round after. More details in the deck guide. A different take on this archetype is a list that creates as many diviners as possible with cards like operator, informants and such. However this falls behind in a NG mirror, which you face quite often, so we retired that concept.

Northern Realms

As Northern Realms only have poor options for purify cards, we go all in on engines and point generation. Uprising can even be pretty strong in a short round if you start it with some decent carryover and engines. However if you lose control over the game, then Siegfried is your emergency resilience reset against the carryover bleed in round 2. Read the deck guide for more details.

Monsters

The monster list of the month was provided by Sawyer and he is bringing a binary minimum unit deck with Force of Nature. So you just keep the board clean and empty until late round, then slam Speartip, Golyat and/or Woodland Spirit for large carryover. It has proven to be efficient in shutting down popular engine decks and denying any interaction with your side of the board. Don’t expect too many GGs though.

Final Remarks

Due to artifact carryover, you can also play a Sihil deck if you are that kind of person. However we at Team Bandit Gang do not promote this kind of behavior. Instead we advise you to always bring your heatwave or, in case of the monster deck, just don’t play units to begin with. Thank you for reading this guide and good luck!

Is It Possible To Get Into Pro Rank Without Pain And Tilt?

Are the hours spent in the deckbuilder in attempts to make your Magnum Opus with Vivienne, Tesham Mutna Sword and Allgod doomed to fail, as the efforts to beg Slama and Burza for at least a couple of games to pass without opponents abusing shields? Time after time you come across glorious decks from meta reports and can’t progress past Rank 3 with your pathetic attempts to make Royal Inspiration playable?

Well, I can only sympathize with your plight.   

If you were hoping to get an answer to the question of how you can get through the mass of netdecks without having your hair turn gray, unfortunately, I will have to apologize for the flashy headline, because getting into Pro Rank without at least partially losing your sanity seems like an almost impossible deed to accomplish.

It is especially difficult to wade through the ranked swamp of despair when a new patch is saddled on your fragile shoulders, nevermind removing Monsters’ Carapace ability, giving it to the Northern Realms and multiplying its strength. It’s hard to stay calm when your opponent plays three duels in one turn and gains a 65-point advantage, isn’t it?

But anyway, let’s get on with the article.

WHAT IS THE ARTICLE ABOUT?

For those who are unfamiliar with Gwent’s competitive ranked system, I will lay out the conditions of getting into Pro Rank; I will explain what kinds of players you are likely to meet during your play sessions and; I will share some impressions of other players and Gwent streamers on how their journey to Pro Rank has influenced their play style, deckbuilding skills, impressions of matches and their overall attitude to the rating system.

In addition, I will tell you about my final steps on the path of getting to the coveted Pro Rank for the first time. Thus, those of you who have not yet experienced the sensation of getting to Rank 0 on their own skin can imagine the thorny path to the “peak”, and regulars of the Gwent “zero club” can match their feelings with mine and other players’.

HOW DO YOU GET TO THE PRO RANK?

First, let’s discuss what Pro Rank is in general and how it differs from the usual Gwent ranked system. In regular ranked, you need to win five matches on each rank in order to progress further, starting from the twenty-fifth one and aiming for the highest first one, furthermore, each defeat sends the player one step backwards and further away from reaching the new rank.

At the same time, Pro Rank is the end goal of climbing through the initial stages of this ranked system, which represents the maximum achievable rank in Gwent. To join the rows of the Pro Rank players, you need to make five victories one more time after reaching the Rank 1, so the player will get an access to a new system for calculating your worth: faction-based MMR (or Match-Making Rating).

It is worth mentioning that once you reach Pro Rank, there will be no such a thing as an everlasting foothold in your long-desired position: each season, which lasts approximately one calendar month, you will need to prove your competitive abilities. What does that mean? In short, the top 500 Pro Rank players will retain their leading positions, while the rest will need to re-make their way to the top of the Gwent rating system from Rank 3 at the beginning of the new season.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SUCCESS IN PRO RANK?

For those players looking to conquer Gwent’s competitive scene and compete in larger events, Pro Rank is an important stepping stone for them and a chance to prove their mettle. At the end of each Ranked Season, the top 200 Pro Rank players are rewarded with Crown Points that are necessary to qualify for the main official tournament of the year, the Gwent Masters. Also, the top 64 players from each competitive season have the opportunity to participate in the qualifiers and possibly get to the Gwent OPEN tournament, while the top 16 participate in the qualifiers twice as the most experienced and active players of the previous season.

HOW DOES THE PRO RANK SYSTEM WORK?

Now, let’s talk about how Pro Rank works in practice. Each match played for a specific faction alters that player’s fMMR (standing for “faction match making ratio”) depending on whether they win or lose. To unlock 100% of faction MMR, you must complete at least 25 “placement” games with this faction, whereupon you will calibrate the faction to ~2400 MMR.

The result displayed on the Pro Rank leaderboard is the sum of the player’s highest scores of the season for their best four factions (of six). So, after playing 100 games in a season (25 for 4 factions) in Pro Rank, you will unlock the starting MMR of ~9600. And, although your current value for both total and faction MMR is directly related to the number of matches played and your latest results, your position in the ranking table depends on the so-called “peak MMR”, or the sum of the highest amount of MMR for the four factions.

The Pro Rank player pool contains all Gwent players playing in all regions (US, EU, Asia, etc.). You can find out your current position in the rating table at any time on the Rankings page on the Gwent website or in a special tab of the game. All information about the MMR parameters can be found in your personal in-game profile.

WHO WILL WE MEET ON THE WAY TO THE PRO RANK?

The more matches you play, the more similarities you’ll see between your opponents, noticing common features in their playstyle, attitudes towards opponents (yes, we all hate BM, but people who spam emotions in matches do not get fewer over the years), win rate and deckbuilding.

In this section of the article, we will discuss the psychology of Gwent players and the peculiarities of their mindset and attitudes towards the game as well as other players. This is to give an opportunity to take a fresh look at their playing style and an idea of ​​what can be found in common between those who play Double Ball and those who forget that playing Witcher trio decks is a flagellant’s dream since they were “fixed” to the ground shortly after the release of Homecoming.

Wizards of the Coast, an American game publisher, has proposed a certain system of psychological and aesthetic profiles for their own card game, Magic: The Gathering. for dividing players. Because of the common mindset shared by competitive card game players, there are many crossover points worth noting.

We will briefly look at three of these psychological profiles, describing why certain players enjoy the game, these being: Johnny, Timmy and Spike. These profiles will allow you to divide players into categories depending on their motivation to play, card preferences and their overall emotional state. The point of this analysis is, as Mark Rowewater, the MTG columnist and Head Designer, explains: to help us understand “the psychological motivation behind why a person enjoys what they enjoy. It’s not about the “what”, but the “why”. Below is a summary of the three profiles:

Timmy represents the category of people who prioritize the enjoyment of the game: this person does not care much whether they won or lost, because the main goal for him is to use the most spectacular elements in the game such as fantastic creatures, impressive spells and interesting combinations. Timmy enjoys the process of the game directly, its mechanics and capabilities, as well as interactions with other players.

Johnny is the most creative type of player. He aims to find new solutions in the abundance of meta decks and overpowered cards based on less optimal or niche cards and trying to make less popular archetypes, cards and combinations more playable. Such people enjoy victories based on their own rules. They can spend a lot of time in the deck builder, perfecting and upgrading decks, trying to get the square wheel bike to work. For Johnny, the opportunity for self-expression and participation in a creative process is important: you will hardly find such a player using other people’s decks and popular archetypes.

Spikes are the embodiment of the desire to win no matter what. This is a competitive type of player. They don’t care if they play with their own decks, or if they copy other people’s work; it is common practice for them to play the same ideal deck setup for an entire season. Spikes take defeat extremely hard, especially if they realize they lost because of their own mistake or an unsuccessful outcome of the RNG (randomization). This type of player needs to constantly show themselves and people around them how good they are and to regularly feed on that victory high.

These three types of “psychological profiles” represent the main types of players’ personalities, based on their priorities in the game: the desire to win at any cost, getting the most out of the game or surprising the community with an extraordinary deck.

It is interesting to note that the closer the player gets to Pro Rank, the less s/he meets Johnny building unique decks and training various setups, and the more he sees Spikes willing to climb the ranked ladder using the most effective meta decks (but not necessarily being able to play them well 😉). And when you reach Pro Rank, you will meet Spikes in almost every game, and every meeting with Johnny will seem like a rare blessing.

PREPARE TO REMOVE THE EVIL EYE

No, I’m not joking.

Until this summer, I didn’t even think about the difference between playing in Pro Rank and other stages of the system, and did not care about my win rate in the season at all. Instead, I preferred to test and build as many new decks as possible, so more often than not I hung on the first rank. It happened more than once that I had 5/5 pieces of the first rank mosaic, but until recently I could not reach zero. However, there was no particular desire to do so in the first place.

Before the start of the last season, I set myself a goal of getting into Pro Rank so that I could experience what it would be like to play among the best players of the Gwent society and to be shaped by the MMR system. From the very first days of the season, I started to play actively (I will say in advance that this season, as a result, I played more games than in the entire previous year: Pro Rank dragged me headlong) and within the first two or three days I got from 5 rank to 1. In the season before that, I almost never played Gwent, so I did not have the luxury of starting from rank 3.

At ranks 2-5, I played with my own decks and collected 4/5 mosaics of the first rank, but problems arose with obtaining the remaining pieces. After a solid win streak of about seven to nine games, I decided to share my progress proudly on the stream of one of the BG team members, who was kind enough to wish me not to win any more games as a joke. Believe it or not, I then had a losing streak of 10+ games and fell into the wildest tilt, after which it was extremely difficult to return to the game, and I had to take a day off from Gwent. This is why my advice is to find a way to remove an evil eye in advance in case some kind friend of yours decides to interfere with your passionate desire to get into the Pro Rank!

The first days in ranked ladder feel like complete chaos, when players desperately try to get into Pro Rank as early as possible and to find the most effective, dangerous and vile deck that could annihilate opponents efficiently before the new patch.

On the other hand, the race to get into the Pro ladder becomes an additional opportunity for numerous discussions with friends about tactics, decks and patch changes, as well as for a small competition over who will be the first to reach rank 0 and with which setup.

Another interesting point about laddering in the early days of the season is the increased chance to meet your favorite streamers, competitive players or other Gwent personalities. Most often, I played in the middle to the end of the season and for all the time that I am familiar with the game, I have never met a famous streamer among my opponents. And in the first two days of the new season, I met at least two regulars on Twitch in the ladder (one of whom was a member of BG!). It was an additional burst of positive emotions on the way to Pro Rank for me, because it felt good to know that at the moment you are on the same level as some very good players – and it was especially pleasant to beat them.

So, if you want to try your hand against strong Gwent players, but for some reason don’t get to Pro Rank, you can start a new season with games in the first few days, before people have time to calibrate their rank. And if you get to rank zero in a short time, you can almost surely test your skills against various streamers time and again.

After a tiring series of defeats, I stumbled upon an interesting Overwhelming Hunger deck, which contained some elements of the Devotion meta variant with Auberon (then we had no idea how this deck would negatively affect our nerves for two seasons…). With this deck, I finally got to the mythical land of Pro Rank!

The feelings that arise inside from the understanding that you have reached a new level for the first time – moreover, the final one – for me were surprisingly bright and warm, and I was filled with sincere joy, mixed with the anticipation of testing the new system. I will say without embellishment: it was a feeling of euphoria. And the beginning of a new phase in my Gwent life.

HOW DO PEOPLE CHANGE AFTER THE PRO RANK?

As mentioned in the section about the player types, the closer you get to Pro Rank, the fewer unique play combinations you encounter and the more often you come across the same types of decks from meta reports or top players, especially streamers. From this fact, it is pretty clear that the attitude of players to the game, their opponents and how they treat victories/ defeats partially depends on the rank at which the person plays.

In order to find out how people change (if at all) after they reach the Pro Rank, two categories of players were interviewed: streamers who have spent if not thousands then hundreds of hours playing our favorite game; and benevolent Twitch users, who most often prefer watching the misplays of other, more experienced players on their own.

After talking to the regular inhabitants of the Gwent streams chat rooms, it was clear that a significant portion of these people had never reached Pro Rank. Some of the main reasons they mentioned include the following:

  • lack of interest in reaching the highest rank;
  • an insufficient amount of time / attempts while maintaining the desire to get into the Pro Rank;
  • unwillingness to try-hard every season to achieve / maintain Pro Rank, a lack of patience;
  • a lack of desire to play meta decks, which allow you to more effectively wade along the ladder;
  • unwillingness to play against the same types of popular decks from meta reports, leading to boredom;
  • unwillingness / inability to play decks from several factions in parallel (yes, it is not necessary to do this after reaching the rank 0, however, the introduction of MMR incentivizes you to play with at least four factions)
  • belief that getting into Pro Rank will change the attitude towards the game and make defeats more palpable and painful.
“I wish I could get to Pro, but it requires too much effort and I don't always want to play tier 0/1 decks.”
Chomfucjusz
Twitch Chatter
“I just find there is usually a super powerful oppressive deck at the start of every season, and playing my own stuff against it and losing just makes me lose interest.”

As can be judged from the highlighted reasons collected from the surveyed players, the reasons why people cannot / do not want / do not try to get into the Pro Rank are extremely varied: someone simply does not have enough time or patience to overcome the path from the third rank to zero every season; some are characterized by the rejection of the meta and a refusal to play in conditions of a ladder filled with identical decks, as well as the reluctance to succumb to tilt from defeat even more or play a larger number of factions.

Despite the significant number of drawbacks coming from merely thinking about the thorny path that leads to Pro Rank, an impressive chunk of the Gwent playerbase can still reach it at least once.

But is it worth it? Are the torn nerves and time spent overcoming obstacles on the way to the top something you would be willing to endure? To provide some clarity on this, we asked regular players the experience of getting into Pro Rank and the change thereafter in their attitudes towards deck building, opponents and wins and losses to gain an idea of ​​how the ranking system affects the way players think and act.

Three dominant patterns emerged regarding the impressions of achieving Pro Rank among the questioned chat users.

The attitude towards the game has not changed fundamentally

Those who claimed that reaching Pro Rank did not bring them any emotion and did not particularly affect their playstyle were in the minority. It is worth adding, however, that some of those who chose this option noted among the advantages of getting into rank 0 the opportunity to meet a great variability of decks within it, since at ranks 1-3 – especially at the beginning of the season – people desperately spam the most effective decks in order to break into Pro Rank as soon as possible.

Getting into Pro Rank gave them positive emotions, however they disappeared under the influence of various negative factors

What do we mean by negative factors? They vary from person to person.

For example, for some the motivation to play Gwent deteriorated greatly, since “the main goal” had already been achieved and, consequently, the competitive spirit was gone. Gaming sessions began to be more static, with no sense of progression, and the desire to reach Pro Rank every month if possible became reinforced for some only by obtaining additional keys for unlocking reward trees.

“I was happy to reach the Pro Rank, it was my goal when I started playing, and two months ago I reached it for the first time, but after that I only played few matches in Pro… Since I reached my goal of getting there my motivation to play the game greatly decreased and I usually play game at the end of the seasons to push to Pro to get the bonus keys.”

Some players noted that the unpleasant side effect of getting into Pro Rank was the inability to see the opponent’s name during the match, this causing a notion of depersonalization and the subsequent feeling of playing against an inanimate opponent.

Another negative factor the respondents found that has already been briefly mentioned is the fact that to move up the ladder you need to competently play with at least four factions, otherwise your MMR will grow extremely slowly, which already at the mental level demotivates you to dive into the competitive niche of Gwent.

Reaching Pro Rank allows players to breathe out with relief and play more casually.

For some players, getting into Pro Rank does not stimulate them to join the rat race for MMR but, on the contrary, allows them to untie their hands in relation to building decks and perceive defeats less painfully since, after reaching the maximum rank, there is no need to fight the malicious mosaic puzzle pieces anymore.

“I never climbed super hard, so in Pro, I tried out more shenanigans and wild ideas. I was more infuriated about losses in rank 2 or 3, than in Pro. So basically, i felt less stressful playing, deckbuilding and stuff, quite interesting.”

I also invited a few members of the Bandit Gang to recall their stories of getting into the Pro Rank and describe their observations on the issues we’ve discussed above: how reaching Pro Rank affected their attitudes towards the game, opponents, deck building, wins and losses and more. There are definitely some commonalities with the positions and opinions of ordinary players, but in addition to that we can explore the opinions of those who play Gwent on a regular basis and/ or at a competitive level.

We will consider the responses of streamers from a slightly different angle: if we split the opinions of people from chats according to how players feel after reaching Pro Rank, we will distribute the streamers’ positions depending on their attitude to different aspects of the game. This is due to the fact that people who know Gwent like the back of their hand will be able to judge the changes on a more complex level by leaving the general system of mosaic ranks.

So, what are the experiences that Bandit Gang members have with reaching Pro Rank?

  1. Getting into the Pro Rank for the first time
  • Reaching the Pro Rank was a pleasant achievement, which gave them a charge of positive emotions – a feeling of joy or accomplishment was felt if this was done with the help of non-standard decks.
“I'd never taken the game seriously enough to even think about aiming for the top of the mountain. I meme meme meme and memed all the way through the game. But making it to the top when we did felt like this really massive achievement that I was proud to have done on my own terms. I played it with memes, and that was what was important for me.”
kingdenpai
“My first impressions of getting to pro were a rush of ecstasy and a strong feeling of accomplishment as it took me a long time to get there and I also managed to do so with an anti meta deck of my own, Enslave 5 with Palmerin and Milton! Noone else seemed to play with Enslave 5 control, despite it being consistently decent, so that bolstered my confidence in my deckbuilding.”
Mercernn
“Pro Rank for me was something quite elusive and, in many ways, unattainable in Gwent Beta. In this version of Gwent, though, I finally met my waifu, my beloved Gernichora. Together, with our brutally oppressive thrive deck (back when Larry still thrived), we went on a 17 match win-streak and felt the sweet highs of rank zero-ness. In the seasons that followed, though, it just never felt the same, like a cheap wine that had dulled in flavor. I realized that although I enjoyed being up there, I never fought to stay there. Too conformist for me, not my style.”
Weevil
  • Getting into Pro Rank was a pleasant moment, but players couldn’t fully enjoy this experience, since not all of the decks which were used during the climb were made on their own.
“I was happy I managed to hit pro in that season, although it didn't feel like much of an achievement because I was netdecking my way to it. (with a few changes from myself, I remember I used to run Yrden and the pirate with a few other bronzes while everyone was running Maraal, but still, pretty much a netdeck).”
briberyplayer
  • Getting into Pro Rank allowed them to get a charge of positive emotions and at the same time breathe a sigh of relief, since there was no longer any need to worry about reaching a new rank.
“When I first got to pro rank I was beyond excited, it was only my second month of playing the game. Honestly since I was still new to the game I was using netdecks since at that point I wasn't very good at deckbuilding. Once I got to pro rank for the first time I felt relieved and felt like I can relax since if I lost a game I just lost MMR and wasn't knocked out of pro rank.”
JHugs
  • Achievement of the zero rank was easy and natural, without significant efforts and sometimes even without setting a specific goal of getting there.
“So getting to pro rank for me initially was just a bonus-- at least until the home stretch. I was streaming the game anyway, and just through playing quite a lot I ended up securing the win rate necessary to get into pro. Ironically each following season has somehow been more stressful? Getting to pro the first time didn't feel like a big deal, getting there again feels a lot more intense.”
MoriartyUK
  • On the way to the Pro Rank, for some people, there were tragicomic obstacles that made the first hit in Pro even more memorable.
“So...for me it was like an interesting journey and a stressful task and once to reach pro rank. The first time I did it, I forgot to accept the regulations, didn't proceed and was so tilted, that I lost the next 3 games and had to start all over.”
Sawyer1888

           2. Deck building

  • To succeed in the Pro Ladder and to not catch long lose streaks, people have to play decks that match the meta and are ready to resist it.
“Deck building is much more different in the way that whenever I try to climb I just play the best leaders and cards in the respective meta. When I wanna have fun and play with the 2 factions I'm not climbing with, I also notice synergies in between cards that I didn't notice before.”
briberyplayer

At the same time, most of the players note that such a system with a limited number of viable decks not only often forces the majority of players to start using meta combinations, but, sadly, also kills the desire to be creative among players. Players feel that no matter how good their creation is, it will still be weaker than most netdecks.

“My mentality changed in the matter of deck building in some ways, cause I know that if I want to stay competitive, I need to play meta decks or I am forced to tech against the meta and hope for my matchups. It's not about how creative my decks can go, but only how strong they are in the meta.”
Sawyer1888
  • The attitude towards deck building has not changed fundamentally: the person continues to play on what he likes or what he finds interesting or fun.
“My deck building ethos hasn't changed; I always played a mix of my own piles and the occasional net deck I mostly just play what's fun.”
MoriartyUK

The position in the leaderboard can also be less disturbing than the desire to enjoy the game in the first place.

“After getting into pro I didn't really care about the placements all that much, so all I did was meme around for a bit since rank didn't mean anything to me. I quickly realized that if people wanted to watch "high level" players play meta decks, there are a ton more qualified players out there for them to watch, which is when I stopped playing meta decks for the most part and just started playing decks that were fun, homebrews chat and I made on stream, or decks my chat sent to me.”
OneChristo

           3. Game in general

  • Being in Pro Rank encourages players to learn to adapt to opponents and resist the strongest decks.
“I see the games differently now. It's not so much about ''doing your thing'' as it it about reacting to what your opponent does and trying to read their plays first before you slam your cards down.”
briberyplayer
  • For some, getting into Pro Rank allowed a fresh look at the ladder system.
“Over time I came to realize that Pro ladder is full of people who got there despite barely understanding how "their" deck works. In general pro Rank used to have this aura of "real gwent" around it for me with original homemade decks or at least meta lists tuned by their pilots - experienced and detailed focused players that managed to get there. The sad realization though, was that reaching Pro is pretty easy for anyone willing to grind an overpowered deck that they download from somewhere. If I take this all into consideration, not much has changed after reaching Pro, the variety of opponents is slightly higher, not as many people tryhard as in the hellish Rank 3-1 area, but it's still the same game with the same problems.”
Mercernn
  • Impressions from the game parties are overshadowed by the fact that in Pro Rank you have to face the same decks over and over again and all intrigue is lost: the games become more automatic and of the same type (this opinion was shared by the overwhelming majority of the team members!). At the same time, the players themselves often have to build their decks around or against meta structures.
“I find the game less fun in pro than I do at other ranks, only because even at ranks 5-1 you mostly see the same net decks; sometimes you are surprised. At pro you're never surprised. You always know card for card what is being played. For many pros this is a plus, it makes the game more like chess and makes the mind games a bigger part of it. Personally, I like to be surprised.”
MoriartyUK

Streamers also report that Pro Rank games are becoming more stressful and less enjoyable.

“After streaming and be a pro-ranked player for over a year my feeling about Gwent had been change a lot. For me playing in pro-ladder is a lot more stressful and there are less variety of decks the you will be able to play and have a positive win rate, so for streamers outside of being good players and have a high MMR it's quite difficult to create a new/interesting content due to losing games in pro-ranked are more detrimental and sometime very difficult to come back. Many people including myself have to rely on the Meta and game balancing to help making new contents or making Gwent appeals more to their viewers. And that might be the reason why some streamer decided not to proceed to pro-ranked so that they can create more interesting decks/contents like Trynet123.”
ZigZak_Guy
  • At the same time, some of the players lose interest in further climbing, as it becomes less exciting and less interesting.
“I immediately lost interest in climbing further as it seemed a bit anxiety inducing (with 'Pro' being in the name) and also as there seemed to be no more clear outlines of realistic goals to reach.”
Mercernn

And, in the end, for some, the game does not change radically after getting into the Pro Rank, and it is not so important where you play, the main thing is what emotions you experience during games.

“Reaching Pro Rank was a really fun experience and I'm happy to have done it. But I'm certainly in no rush to do it again. It's nice when it happens, but in the end you're playing the same games with a different ruleset. MMR Vs Ranking up.”
kingdenpai

Speaking about the impressions of getting into the Pro Rank and changes in attitudes towards various aspects of the game, we can safely say that the situation differs for everyone, and the general pattern is quite difficult to identify. For some, the ranking system means absolutely nothing, but for others, the monthly Pro Rank MMR competition is a must-have ritual and opportunity to practice playing, deck-building and cultivating the imagination.

But it doesn’t matter if you are fighting to get into the top 500 Pro ladders, surprise your opponent with incredible decks at rank 10, play decks of pro players or prefer to watch tactical misplays from the side – the main thing is to get the most out of the game, maintain a friendly attitude towards other people and to ourselves and remember that tilt is never an option.

All the best!

NovaLille

Climbing Pro Ladder: Grind vs Skill?

A recurring complaint from Gwent streamers residing in the higher ranks is that on Pro ladder climbing efficiently isn’t rewarded enough. Therefore by playing a lot one would still do well on Pro Ladder, without necessarily having a particularly high win-rate… Let’s use some of the data available to check if this is true.  First, we’ll break down the amount of MMR you can expect to gain after playing 100 matches for a few different win-rates.

Table 1: Estimated MMR gain after playing 100 matches in function of the win rate.* The highest estimated win-rate observed is just under 80% by iluxa228 who climbed to 10017 MMR in a mere 101 games during Master 2 – Season of the Dryad.

Now you can see that as long you have a win-rate above 50% you are likely to make some progress, albeit not necessarily much. Each 10% increase in win-rate yields you about 140 MMR bonus after playing 100 matches. This increases linearly … seems fair? Maybe, maybe not, let’s have a look at the actual data!

From the Master’s section, the number of matches played by each Pro Player in the top 2860 can be obtained. By grouping those into bins of 200 players (position 2800 to 2601, 2600 to 2401, … 200 to 1) we get the average number of games played by players in that group. Figure 1 shows those numbers split up for different seasons. Below position 1200 the average number of matches a player plays is roughly the same indicating up to this point the main factor that sets players apart is how efficient they climb. Once you go to higher ranks the average number of games starts going up. Do note that as only the fMMR of the four best factions is considered for the total MMR, players that play with five or six factions loose efficiency as those matches are included in the counts. So players that enjoy testing multiple decks across all factions are punished in these statistics.

Figure 1: The average number of matches played by players that ended in position 2800-2601, 2600-2401, … per season. The clear trend is that the higher up on ladder the more games are played on average.

For each of the categories there is a lot of variance in the number of games played. We can look at the most recent season (Season of the Cat, Figure 2) in detail. While overall as positions get better, the number of games played by those players increases,  the variance within each group is large. Some players play 2x-3x more games than others while landing very close to each other on the ladder.

Figure 2: Distribution of the number of matches played in different bins of players during the Season of the Cat. While higher ranked players tend to play more, the variance within each group is very large.

If we look at the distributions (Figure 3) of the number of matches played by players in the top 200, the spread is very large. There are players getting into the top 200 with 150 matches, and there are some which play well over 1000 games a season.

Figure 3: Distribution of games played by players in the top 200. While most players play 300 to 500 games, there are also exceptions that manage to get there in 200 or fewer games.

So while you do need to play more to get a coveted top 500 or even top 200 spot than someone that is happy to hang out at lower ranks, a skilled player can get there playing relatively few games. Each season there are players at the top of the ladder that prove that. Though there are many ways to the top in Gwent and even with a lower win-rate it is an obtainable goal given you are able to play considerably more games.

Should efficiently climbing the ladder be rewarded more as some Pro Players suggested? If more MMR is subtracted for losing than gained by winning you would need a win-rate that is above 50% to climb. This would be very efficient in determining the very best players to invite to a high stakes events like Masters 2 or the Gwent Opens. However, by doing so, you would discourage people at higher ranks to experiment with new decks and strategies as this would push them back down fast. A losing streak would be far more detrimental and cause players to abandon that faction for the remainder of the season. Which could result in a less diverse meta, another complaint that pops up frequently from players.

Furthermore, Pro Ladder, despite the name, isn’t just for Pro players, completionists that want to complete as many contracts as possible need to have a realistic option to get to top 200 to get those contracts ticked of their lists.

So in conclusion, the data shows that both efficiently climbing and grinding are both viable options to get high up on ladder. Whether through skill or stamina whoever makes it up there has earned their spot and changing the system to favor one over the other might have some negative consequences.

All data in this post is available here and code to generate plots can be found here.

Deck Guide: Viable Pirate Gang

A few days back I‘ve been in the mood to have a look at some theme-oriented archetypes that do not find much play and I noticed that surprisingly many Skellige units have the “pirate” tag. I don’t know if these were there from the beginning or if they have been added later on, but it was enough to take a shot at deckbuilding and I came up with something that turned out to be pretty viable. After all, pirates are just bandits in boats, right? I’m not a super competitive player but this list allowed me to climb to pro rank and then gain some Skellige MMR afterwards, so it’s decent I guess.

Of course it shares some cards and plays with the common warrior archetype, but still plays a little different. It’s noteworthy that 15 cards in this deck count as pirates, so you usually have five to seven pirates in your starting hand. This makes the Tidecloak Hideaway a cheap and strong opener in round one. However you need another unit on the board to get these points out so here is how you start your game:

Blue Coin: The Lamp Djinn gives you a body to boost, so you can play the Hideaway right from your hand. The second Hideaway can then boost the first one on your next turn.

Red Coin: If you draw accordingly, you can play Vabjorn for Raiding Fleet, which exclusively plays Hideaway. Vabjorn is then your boost target. Otherwise you need to play another unit first. Herkja is an option here, Holger Blackhand is also okay, as his boost on the ship evens out the lost point from his pirate tag.

Your round one kinda relies on finding the Hideaways, but with Raiding Fleet, Vabjorn and sometimes Blood Eagle on Vabjorn, this has turned out to be quite consistent. Keep in mind that you want to play at least one bronze warrior in round one for Harald later on.

If you won the first round, you can decide whether to bleed or not depending on the matchup. Your leader ability paired with Harald and Greatsword achieves full value in every round if you need it. You can use that for a short round 3 when you are in control of the game, or to escape getting bled when you are not.

Your removal tools are quite versatile. You have Morkvarg, Tyrggvi, Hammond and several midrange removals for all kinds of decks you can encounter. You can also use your leader ability without Greatsword for urgent removal, Harald will then just play Raider or Invader.

A few more words about the pirates and how to play them. Terror of the Seas is a seven for seven on itself, but Boatbuilders can give four armor to that ship immediately, making that ship a six point removal. Of course you can go even further by playing more pirates if you are feeling greedy. Dimun Pirates are solid points, but risky if no ship is on the board. This is no issue in round one when you open with the Hideaways, but in later rounds you should either have Terror of the Seas on the field or done with all your tutors so that random discards do not matter anymore. Dimun Smuggler is a filler card honestly, but plays for six points with an armored unit. You can switch him if you like, but I’d argue that the pirate synergies justify his usage. Keep in mind that each pirate tag can be worth three points with the two Hideaways and Holger Blackhand, while also contributing to Hammonds bleeding. I guess the rest is pretty self-explanatory.

I was pleasantly surprised how well this deck works. If you do not like Reckless Flurry then you can also make some adjustments towards other leaders. Patricidal Fury for some bloodthirst would allow to use Dimun Pirate Captains and some other bloodthirst cards of choice, I guess. Thank you for reading and have fun playing this!

Deck Guide: Allgod’s Workout Program

From the creator of Gudrun Shupe and definitely 100% independent creator of Triple Siege, Triple Masquerade Ball, Triple Haunt, Triple Passiflora & Triple Commandos. Babyjosus presents you: Allgod’s Workout Program. If you are someone that has a subscription to the local Gym, but you mainly go there to pick up chicks instead of putting in some proper work. Then you could need some help and then this deck might be the deck just for you!

Workout Summary:

Main goal: Thin your deck as much as possible with the recommended supplements and boost Tibor, Johnny and one other unit with Allgod to allow yourself to protect Johnny and get extra +2 value on Xarthisius, Yennefer: Divination & Triss Merigold when revealing Tibor

Workout Type: Hyperthin

Training Level: Intermediate

Recommended Supplements: Royal Decree, Menno Coehoorn, Marching Orders, Artorius Vigo, Impera Brigade & Hunting Pack

Time Per Workout: 10-15 minutes

Target Gender: Male & Female

Author: Allgod

Download Workout: https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/1479d91b4b2005ff16b18ce0936c40e6

Training Notes On Some Of The More Unique Moves Listed:

Tactical Decision: Spawn and play a 6 point Morvran Voorhis. This allows you to put Tibor on top of your deck to setup a Vilgefortz for the ranged row. When in need of a Soldier for Impera Brigade you can also decide to play Tactical Decision since Morvran Voorhis has the soldier tag.

Marching Orders: Play the lowest unit from your deck. Try to play Marching Orders with Menno Coehoorn to always get Artorius Vigo. Follow-up by creating an Impera Brigade to summon the 2 copies that are left in the deck.

Decoy: Shuffle an allied unit back in your deck and then play the top unit from your deck. Works well with Tactical Decision. Can be potentially used on Allgod to boost Tibor by 2 again. Your Tibor is then 17 points which will give Xarthisius, Yennefer: Divination & Triss Merigold an additional +4 on top of the regular +13 boost.

Workout Tips:

Change Decoy and Johnny for Albrich and Ard Faeinn Tortoise. Albrich can boost Tibor by 2 and is a good play in round 2 for when your opponent has passed.

The Workout: