Team Bandit Gang

Gwent

Welcome to BG JSN991!

Another Academy Player arrives… 

With JSN being a 17 year old, he is one the youngest team members and thus we like to think that he is a Gwent
prodigy to keep your eyes peeled on. He also will be representing the blue colors.

You can read more about JSN991 here.

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)!

Bandit Gang Present: Duel Of Dogs, A Gwent Contest

The Duel of Dogs is a Gwent contest of skill that will be a fantastic community tournament with some of the best teams and names in the Gwent scene. Question is, are you ready to fight?

The Duel of Dogs will feature a 250 USD Prize Pool with a variety of prizes for the top three winners of the dog fight.

If you would like to participate you can register for the Duel of Dogs Qualifiers here and have a shot to qualify for the Main Tournament.

For more information & ruleset, please join our Discord and locate the tourney channels. We look forward to you participating in the Qualifier and watching this big event on the last weekend in October!

Guide to the Switcheroo Seasonal Mode

We are now in the season of the cat and the seasonal mode of last year makes a return. This means that each player makes a turn and the hands are being switched every time. It forces you to play pretty awkward when it comes to sequencing of your cards and deckbuilding choices. Let’s see why this is the case.

How to play this

First of all, the first round is pretty much always played until the last card is depleted. If you pass early, your opponent will play the remaining cards instead. That leads to a long first round and one or two very short and very topdeck-depending subsequent rounds. It’s not hard to conclude that carryover is really worth it under these conditions, but we will come to that later.

The first turn of your deck always belongs to you so you want to make that count. After that, your opponent has straight access to the high value cards in your hand. So ideally you have one reliable and important first turn and a lot of synergy-dependant plays afterwards. For your mulligans that means that you should hold one valuable first turn play in your hand while possibly deliberately shuffling other high value cards back to your deck for better topdeck chances later on. Synergy-dependant cards can be kept though, because you have to make points somehow.

Possible synergies for you to utilize are:

  • Faction-specific tutors (Menno, Fauve, Natalis…) – low point cards that your opponent can’t utilize unless he is playing the same faction, with the exception of tactics or organics maybe.
  • Anything that plays from your deck – Your deck is your inaccessible safe space, so anything that interacts with it will have no or at least a different use for your opponent.
  • Singleton decks – this is rather about Shupe and not as much about Radeyah, as the latter is still 8 points without deckbuilding requirements. Shupe however is just a zero point card for your opponent if his deck doesn’t fit
  • Coins – this is for Syndicate only of course, but your opponent has no access to your bank account. I will say though that we didn’t come up with a satisfying syndicate list, because it’s hard to get some consistent gainer-spender-balance with all the meddling.

What else is there to consider? Card advantage doesn’t matter. Don’t bring removal that might hurt yourself more than the opponent of course. Use the information from your opponent’s hand to play accordingly. There’s no need to wait with a tall play if neither of the two hands counter it. Also try to shape the last two rounds in your favour. This might be more important than actually going for round 1, depending on what you play.

And one last side note: Don’t listen to those guys who think that playing only garbage is a good idea. That garbage is distributed in a very socialist way, while you miss out on your opponent’s synergy-bound points.

Nilfgaard

Let us begin with a carryover heavy list that capitalizes on lots of Phoenixes to build up a lot of pressure for the last one or two rounds. If everything goes well, you can have an advantage of 12 points or maybe more when entering those. Detailed description in the deck guide:

Northern Realms

A bit contrary to that is our northern realms list, as it doesn’t care too much about carryover and rather brings tools to counter carryover of other people. Instead the Siege scenario gives you a nice edge in round one and your leader ability in combination with Prince Anseis (or Seltkirk as backup) alone is good enough to secure one of the short rounds. Detailed description in the deck guide:

Skellige

This is a bit of a middle ground between both strategies we had before, using carryover in Phoenix and Crowmother, but also using the Gedyneith Scenario for the long first round. Read the deck guide for details:

Final Remarks

Credits also go to Sawyer1888 for assisting in the refinement of these decks and sharing his opinions in the creation of the guide. Thank you for reading this and have fun playing. Until next time!

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? 

KingDenpai Doing The Impossible, Jhugs’s First Tournament, ZigZak Hoping For More Next Time, OneChristo Making Mistakes, Bomblin Sharing His Thoughts

Intro

The swiss of the Gwent Open Partner Tournament #3 is over. And oh boy, what a roller coaster that was. We send five Gwent Partners from the team to participate in the tournament. And thus, I had a little talk with them about the tournament. Note: Most of their lineups didn’t surprise me because at BG we like to create memes. So, you have been warned and shouldn’t be surprised either.

KingDenpai's lineup:

SK

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/a8017a2947b5d6f65ddc3fecf988b4aa

NR

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/bcce44a0ce08441703a787ad68298cb0

ST

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/ecb72d4681b71d83af4af9ef3dc2d86f

KingDenpai's road to top 8:

”This was my first proper tournament experience – and I have to say first and foremost that I have the upmost respect for people who do this for a living. I really tip my hat off to the pro boys and girls out there grinding day in and out to try and reach top of the ladder. Because doing this swiss, even though it was segmented over the last few days has been one of the most mentally taxing things I’ve ever done in terms of this game. Thinking of doing what I did this week all in one go gives me such a headache…

I play for fun. I don’t play for any reason other than I love memes and surprise factor. I love having weird ass cards and having to make em work. So going into this tourney, I expected to just have a few laughs and dork about a bit. Yet somehow, I’m in the top 8. To describe that feeling… just almost not real.

Day one was an interesting one, because I started with a 0-2 from Doberman. It was a rekt fest – and I thought. “Yeah, this is the reality of the meta I’m facing.” and that was it. Yet – as the days progressed, we started to get progressively more and more hype. 2-0’s a plenty and I started to feel this energy and rush unlike anything I’d had in this game. The pressure was insurmountable, and yeah, I know, it’s a card game yada yada – dude I play Hym for gods sake. I shouldn’t be up here, or so I thought to myself.

My favourite round was my face off against AlanitoBandito with SK vs SK, for sure. Because that was a real meta face down with my memes, no BS. I played an older style of SK that many have forsaken for easy drop and damage nonsense without setup of the current meta. I love self wound to death man, thinking about saving a card like protector for a possible Mork down the line or trying to keep bleed for Hym targets – or even manipulating GS for more points with Hym. It’s SO fun.

One thing that also got to me about this experience was watching everyone unite. Everyone showed a lot of love to all of us, and for the most part we all cheered each other on. It was lovely. I enjoyed watching our BG boys play and seeing them win and lose. I made new friends in my opponents, shoutout to Branca, Handreader, PiotrCNS, Sanxessss, Dobermann, and Alantito Bandito. CDPR even featured one of my plays, which is awesome because they could easily organise this and just leave it to finish on it’s own without bothering to check streams and stuff. But Repek for example, he was in every stream trying to ensure things went smoothly. In closing. This whole experience does not feel real to be honest, but I’m happy that I did it. I can’t sum it up any better than that.”

Jhugs's lineup:

NG

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/eda74e55c5ce218cd6647ec0a5a41ccc

NR

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/12a22a18e077c536beec234c7b8f83be

SY

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/8a25af82a67f59b68035eee6fb2cd62b

Jhugs's experience:

”This was my first Gwent Partner’s Open and going into it I was really excited but nervous at the same time. I wasn’t sure what to decks to bring, some people were bringing memes and others were bringing full on meta decks. I ended up just going what I was most comfortable with which ended up being SY congregate, NG Lockdown, and NR Shieldwall. I felt pretty confident in my SY and NG while I think NR was my weakest faction of the three. I think people were expecting a lot of Shieldwall because I even played against someone who used Tesham Mutna sword!

The faction I was most scared of in the tourney was Skellige. They have an insane amount of removal and control so I ended up banning SK in almost all of my match ups. In the match I didn’t ban SK I played against my own BG teammate Zig Zak and he absolutely crushed me! I didn’t want to play against anyone else from BG but it was bound to happen. I played against TheOneChristo and was able to beat him 2-0 but on the other end I lost to Ziggy 0-2. I’m proud of how all my teammates performed especially KingDenpai for making it to top 8!

Overall, I had lots of fun playing against great players and fun decks. I even got to play against the infamous Misterhabbla1 for my last match where he brought royal inspiration dun banners and devotion elves. I was able to beat him 2-1 but I think he got some unfortunate draws. I ended the Swiss phase with a 3-3 record so I did not qualify for top 8. There were definitely some games I could have played better and perhaps I could have made top 8 with a 4-2 record, but I will take it as a learning experience and train to do better in the next tournament.”

ZigZak's lineup:

SK

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/2bcfc117ebc4ab5b4895da83d921ae33

NR

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/7fe26f0f6d090761e4f9732b0583e912

ST

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/0c5e475540a1b57171603ffe209e8217

ZigZak's hopes:

”The tournament was great and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m glad that CDPR can make this type of tournament that allows Gwent Partners to show their style of playing Gwent and building their signature decks. And many of those decks also do very well, shout out to our team manager “KingDenpai” who managed to reach top 8 in this tournament with only meme decks. The only downside for me and many streamers that I’ve been talking to is Swiss mode with 6 rounds spread across 3 days might be a little bit too long. Maybe if they can squeeze it down to only 2 days it would already be much better. 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to reach top 8 as I expected. This time due to my lack of focus during so many games and massive amount of misplays that I made. Got me to realize that next time I need to practice more before the tournament and be more cautious when it comes to making decisions during the match. I hope next time I won’t make the same mistakes and that I will make it to top 8!”

OneChristo's lineup:

NG

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/b3e8b84cfc075a5705dd545f32755697

NR

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/adefc8fb40f9a1669740e7b6c8332018

ST

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/cf7158fa088283adaf8992317cea6a90

OneChristo's mistakes:

”I joined the Partners Open on a whim. I remember getting accepted into the program the day before the previous tournament and was bummed I couldn’t participate. I thought this was finally my chance! I figured it would be a fun opportunity to play against other content creators, but boy was I mistaken, the tournament didn’t go exactly as planned.

Part of this is my fault, since apparently, I struggle with time zones. I realized, after registering, that the tournament was going to be in the middle of my workday. Not only would I not be able to stream my games, but it turns out playing Gwent while on a zoom call was more difficult than anticipated. Nevertheless, I had my heart set on playing. A Partner’s Tournament should be fun right? I planned to bring some well intentioned non-meta decks that would at the very least be entertaining. I bothered my Bandit Gang brethren for whatever decks they had lying around and I finally decided on NR – Double Commando Draug, ST – BJ’s Double Schirru (because BJ puts Renew in everything) and iancm1997’s NG – Imposter Deck (which demolishes Shieldwall).

I had played the last two decks about 3 times each, but what could go wrong? NR is for blue coin, ST for red and NG to target Shieldwall. We discussed my first mistake being times zones, mistake number two was bringing decks I had basically never played, mistake number three was expecting my opponents to play fun decks as well. After having to choose between banning Rage or Shieldwall in my first three matchups, I had had enough. I probably came into this whole thing with the wrong mindset and after the first two losses it began to show.

Shout out to misterhabbla1 for bringing some fun stuff, but by the time I played against him at 0-3, I was just trying to make the biggest Renew Schirru possible. After the game I chatted with him a bit and told him what my goal with Renew was, his response was brilliantly simple “yeah but open decklist bro”. Plenty of mistakes, plenty to learn from and I would do it all again in a heartbeat, knowing that next time maybe I should take a day or two off…”

Bomblin's lineup:

SK

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/b48b9a649f2a412fee6fbfa9954130b6

NR

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/d673ba744997b13ad8db3bb64f25fefd

NG

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/a16d05ddc886556eb9920070bc8b0dd3

Bomblin's thoughts on the tournament:

”The organization aspect was very good. I knew exactly when and how to submit decks when my games start, what are the rules etc. I kind of hoped to test more the tournament platform made by CDPR, but Challonge was working pretty good as well. I love the idea of a community coming together and have fun. It promotes a friendly environment where people can watch unique players that compete on a bit different level of seriousness. I hope we will see more of it in the future. Also, I have to mention, everyone that I played was super nice, friendly and I did not have a single crap encounter. We all love Gwent I guess.

Date and time were actually ideal for me, but I heard some people couldn’t participate because of having to play in the middle of the day. I guess there is no way to make it perfect for everyone. It would be cool if we could see the game mode with half the timer for each turn. It was so annoying to wait 45 min for one pair roping every turn. But can I really blame someone for thinking in a game where you are supposed to think? Another thing that would be cool is if we had swiss cast as well. I believe some would be more than happy to do it. It might be a logistic nightmare though.

Also, I was hoping for more people in the tournament. We have around 250 partners in the discord and there were only 34 participants. I  know that not everyone can play but I expected twice as many to play. And another thing is the decks that have been played. So, there are some rewards for winning the tournament, but I do believe it was made mostly for fun and to promote the game. I do believe viewers that watch Gwent are a bit tired of looking at the same decks over and over. And this is the perfect occasion to show that Gwent can be played a bit differently and you still can have good results and have fun (like Kingdenpai). If viewers want to see the competitive environment, then they have regular Open every 2 months. I would love to see the next Partner have some bans decks, cards, or specific rules like you have to play x, etc.”

Final Remarks

We haven’t stopped laughing because we still can’t believe that KingDenpai was able to beat almost all of his opponents with memes. Its truly an amazing achievement by our General Manager to reach top 8 with that lineup. We will all be rooting for him on Saturday and hope you will do too! Note: Briberyplayer, MoriartyUK and TweedleDumdee got accepted to the Gwent Partner Program this week. Hopefully they will be representing us in the next tournament as well.

EnerGiiX Not Being A DrawGod, First Qualifier For Sikamouk

Intro

The TOP 64 qualifiers for Gwent Open #4 has come to an end last weekend and our very own consistent TOP 64 Pro Player enerGiiX and Academy Player Sikamouk participated in it. And thus we talked to them about what they have to say about the qualifiers. Note: Both their lineups showed some of that BG identity that we aim to share with the world and hope to attract new fans with.

EnerGiiX's lineup:

NG

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/8ccd891c6b7ed296cfc9f3bb8b88b2ad

NR

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/d5dbdca6dfa6e42b3cce25fd224ad0b5

SK

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/696e1a3fbd79776c33db03bfba18d378

EnerGiiX's reasoning behind his lineup:

”My NG deck is teched against NR Shieldwall, but does very well against other decks like ST gord and Firesworn devotion. The amount of control through poison and locks give you all the answers to deal with engines and tall units. Getting a round 3 with Vattier is game winning cause of huge point swing potential. The deck did really well in this qualifier only lost ones to a lockdown NG deck.

Shieldwall is overall a very strong deck, but almost everyone in this qualifier teched against this deck. It was a mistake by me not bringing a NR that is teched against the Shieldwall meta deck. Cause this deck in the end made me lose the games I did. Missing Prince Anséis in the Shieldwall mirror is game losing and that is what happened to me two games.

The SK list is teched against NR Shieldwall and ST Natures Gift. Cards like Gremist, Decoction and Hammond work really well against NR Shieldwall. Gremist to purify defender, so cards like Hjalmar and Skjordal can target engines or high level threats like a Prince Anséis. Hammond to move Seltkirk or a Vysogota.  It also works surprisingly well against the Carapace match up. Hammond disables the Keltullis, which is game winning in a long round 3. Even got a win through with my SK against a MO Carapace deck.”

EnerGiiX's in-depth analysis:

”Going into this qualifier I felt really good about my line up, my strategy was to target NR and ban SK. This ladder season didn’t matter. So, I had all the time to prep in scrims and make the line up I thought was best suited facing this meta. I started off the day with a 0-2 loss, not the start that I wanted. Normally I never tilt, but this time I was really upset with how this game went. I lost due to draws, I queued the match ups I wanted and  played round 1 really well both games. But ended up drawing way to many bronzes and missed key cards in round 3 to win the games. Missed Anséis in the Shieldwall mirror which loses me the game. I even baited out his Anséis round 1 by playing Seltkirk as my first play to threaten to win on uneven. A trade that is game winning if I just end up drawing my own in round 3.

After that I took a break and vented my frustration away to focus again for game 2. It started really good because I won game 1 with my NG vs NR Shieldwall. Then I lost the second with my NR against NG Lockdown. Went way too deep in the first round and lost on even because of it. So, I would say I played this game out very poorly. The final deciding game, another NR Shieldwall mirror. Again I take the line to use my Seltkirk to bait out his Anséis round 1. And yet again I end up not drawing my own. Which means his Seltkirk and defender stick on the board in round 3 which is just game losing. Draws really weren’t on my side that day.

Already 2 down in loses, I needed to win my next series very badly. This time I played against someone that was hard teching against SK. Something I came in prepared because I did allot of prep for this scenario. First game I lost as SK vs ST, pushed round 1 real hard to get final say with my Morkvark. But, he had the perfect hand to win round 1. There was nothing I could do about that. Round 2 he bled me dry almost completely , which meant his round 3 with Gord single-handedly won him the game. Next game was NG vs MO Carapace, a match up I prepped for a lot and I knew all the winning lines I had to take this game. The deciding game was my SK vs his MO, a match up that should be unwinnable. But, with cards like Decoction, Gremist and Hammond I stand a change to win against this monster deck. Round 1, I managed to win the round, and kill off his Ciri Dash cause he didn’t play around Decoction and 1 leader charge (a bit lucky cause I taught he would see that line from a mile away). Having Hammond to answer his Keltullis meant that all my units would stick on the board and in a long round 3 with Morkvark in hand I managed to take the win in this match up.

Finally a win, next up facing BeardyBog, with his line up that hard counters NR Shieldwall. I knew this was going to be a though series for sure. First game I managed to win with my NG vs his NR, close one but the Vattier point swing won the game ones again. Second match up it was his NG imposter vs my NR, managed to win round 1 decided to go into a long round 3 with a lot of veiled units. As the round progress I taught I would win this one, but in the end NG managed to still control my board too much to get the points to win this match up. Up next was his NR (hard teched for the NR Shieldwall deck) vs my NR Shieldwall. I decided to go in very aggressive round 1 and try to win uneven to get double final say in round 3. But, he had just the hand to defend my aggressive attacks in round 1 and didn’t lose on uneven. With all the control and tech cards for round 3, I didn’t stand a single change to win this. Maybe going in that aggressive wasn’t the right move, but the match up is almost doomed from  the start and there is only hoping he missed key cards in the final round. Overall this was a very enjoyable series and I felt the player who brought the better strategy won this one.

At this point I knew my changes of even making day 2 were very little. Even though I didn’t have a change to make day 2 anymore I felt the need to continue just to proof to myself that I could still win the remaining matches. And that is what happened. After all, the games didn’t matter anymore, but it was still good to get these wins through. Looking back at this qualifier, I was just really unlucky at the first 2 games and the chance is that if I drew better at those games I would have made day 2. Sadly, sometimes Gwent is just the Gwent the draw your golds card game.”

Sikamouk's lineup:

ST

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/2a2c0a9432091489ebaba59095c41e44

NR

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/d08798b1f0adc46574d38e75ac46cc17

SK

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/c4ffb467b9002186c66c3e5ce82bdfa6

Sikamouk's experience:

“I was anxious but also excited for my first time participating in TOP 64 qualifiers to get into Open. I practically didn’t sleep the night before because I was nervous about my lineup right up until the final moment. After only three hours of sleep, I woke up and loaded up on caffeine. I started off the day by winning my first two series 2-0, each win giving me a boost of confidence. Unfortunately, the third series slipped through my fingers because of a misplay. Each game tested my patience more and more which affected my ability to play properly. I finished 2-3 but I still wonder if I had won my third series if I would have been in better spirits which would have helped me go farther. Despite the upset, I think that this has taught me how important it is to take your time when playing in a tournament, that even one small error can make a big difference and that I have to work on my mental. Thank you to my team for their continued support before and after the event and thank you to Sonneillon for coaching me and smurfing with these decks. This experience was both disappointing and encouraging at the same time. I hope to do even better next time.”

Final Remarks

We didn’t quite make it to day 2 and had no chance to get to the Gwent Open #4 because of it. Our competitive interim-manager said the following: ”I am proud of the time and energy our members have put forth practicing and preparing for tournaments like these.” We believe that if they continue to work hard they can do well. Especially if enerGiiX can be a DrawGod and Sikamouk also works on his mental. And perhaps then they can steal the show and qualify for a Gwent Open. At last Sikamouk has shown that he is no longer an Academy Player and so we will be promoting him to the Pro Team. The official announcement will be very soon!

Deck Guide: Radeyah’s Elves

INTRO

Hey guys, Zedi here.

You may remember from my last article that Deadeye Ambush was the first deck I used to get onto the pro ladder. What you may not have learned from that is that my obsession with Scoia’tael’s Elf package is unhealthy, both to my mental and my faction MMR. In recent times, Deadeye Ambush has failed to hold a place in the competitive meta, often being ignored in favour of spellforge archetypes, such as Nature’s Gift or Precision Strike control. In the two months since the release of Master Mirror, I have had to bid my good Elves ‘adieu’ in order to find any success on the Gwent ranked ladder… that is, until now.

One of the greatest challenges for Deadeye Ambush was the inability to successfully run Feign Death on the competitive ladder. The value of Bomb Heaver as a response to Masquerade Ball made the card an ‘auto-include’ in most decklists. Unfortunately for Scoia’tael, Feign Death is one of the only scenarios that loses a trade against Bomb Heaver, making the card a liability in most deck lists. However, the absence of Nilfgaard in the current metagame combined with the popularity of Devotion lists means that Bomb Heaver is nearly nonexistent on the competitive ladder.

I started playtesting with Feign Death again after all of my favourite decks were killed off in Patch 7.2 (goodbye forever, Ethereal). The deck feels strong, and despite its susceptibility to power-creep, it has enough control tools and tempo plays to claim round control starting from either side of the coin.

In this iteration of the deck, I decided to go for an old-school Singleton list, using Radeyah to set up Aen Seidhe Sabre. The ability to complete your scenario quickly with the use of the stratagem makes Feign Death a devastating card in any round. The deck goes wide, which is great in today’s “Korathi Heatwave” meta. The revert to Harmony also helps this deck a lot, since you’ll be free to place your units wherever you please, without needing to overflood any particular row.

The Deck

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/e9b6f1868d66a682321b9a0a0ddc0e96

DECK OVERVIEW

Before we talk strategy, let’s take a look at some of the deck’s key cards and how they synergize with the rest of the list.

RADEYAH – Radeyah is one of Gwent’s most unique cards, providing an incredible amount of tempo and flexibility in singleton decks. On melee row, it allows you to finish your scenario quickly and sets up more Elves on the board for Yaevinn and Isengrim. On ranged, it plays for an immediate value of 13pts and can help you fill your row for your other finishing cards like The Great Oak.

FEIGN DEATH – Feign Death is one of the most undervalued scenarios in the game. Since the omission of Bomb Heaver in most competitive lists however, it often finds value on the board, setting up the rest of your gold Elves for big point finishers.

VERNOSSIEL – Vernossiel is your core gold in this list, as she synergizes incredibly well with all the other contents of your deck. In the right situation, she can fully clear an opponent’s board, while overpopulating yours with a myriad of Elven bowmen to set up for Yaevinn, Isengrim and the Great Oak.

YAEVINN – Yaevinn is one of your strongest assets in this deck, as he represents strong point swings and high removal value against enemy engines. Yaevinn finds value in nearly every matchup, synergizing well with your Half-Elf Hunters and leader ability charges. He can be used to clear off a low health unit, or set up for Waylay to make even more tokens.

ISENGRIM FAOILTIARNA – Isengrim is your best finishing card. He is your most reliable follow-up to Feign Death. After completing your scenario, he can represent a ton of points in a short round, especially when combined with your leader charges.

THE GREAT OAK – The Great Oak is one of Scoia’tael’s most staple golds. It is a flexible enough card to be useful in long or short rounds. In this deck, The Great Oak will find most value when used in combination with your other row-flooding cards like Vernossiel and Feign Death, since you will almost always be able to fill up a row using your cards and leader charges.

Feign Death (Astor Alexander)
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GAMEPLAN

In today’s metagame, the ability to bleed in round two is very important in most matchups. This means that your job is to do whatever you can to win round one, even if it costs you a few resources.

Like most Scoia’tael decks, this list thrives when you can bully your opponent on red coin and force a short Round 3. In this situation, you’ll want to use your low-provision bronze cards to keep up pace behind your opponent, threatening their engines with your poison package. After winning the first round, you’ll need to bleed your opponent down a few cards so that you can shorten the length of the final round. Ideally, you’ll end the game with your big finishing cards like Vernossiel, Great Oak, and Isengrim Faoiltiarna.

From blue coin, you’ll have to expend a few more resources to make sure you secure round control. Since this deck naturally runs Aen Seidhe Saber, you’ll be able to combo your stratagem with Feign Death without needing to Radeyah. Once you’ve committed your scenario, you’ll be able to follow up easily with cards like Yaevinn and Isengrim to take advantage of the multitude of Deadeye tokens currently on your board.

TECH OPTIONS

The deck already runs a number of tech cards for certain matchups. Crushing Trap is your core wide-punish card against swarm decks, such as SY Firesworn or NR Kerack Frigates. Vrihedd Sappers are used to counter enemy Defenders or to protect your tall units from poisons. Squirrel is used to deny echo cards such as Oneiromancy and Blood Eagle.

If you find that these tech choices are not enough, you could consider replacing Maraal for Korathi Heatwave for more removal, or Novigradian Justice for some extra thinning. However, without Maraal, your poison package feels quite lackluster, since you will only have two poisons remaining in your deck.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I’ve enjoyed using this deck on the pro ladder so far this season. While the deck lacks the engine strength to keep up against the likes of NR Shieldwall, it does very well from red coin against popular short-round bully decks like ST Nature’s Gift or SY Hidden Cache. As much as I love Deadeye Ambush, it will be a while before it becomes a strong enough leader to see play in Gwent tournaments and the like. I do believe however that this deck can be very strong on the ladder, and is a very strong list to use as you climb your way to pro rank.

I hope you enjoy using this deck in your games. Big thanks to [BG] Sonneillon for helping me build this deck and playtest it on the ladder. If you end up using the deck, let me know what you think of it! You can find me in the Bandit Gang Discord, or on my Twitter (@lolzedi).

Gwent Beginner’s Guide for the Non-Beginner

Hey guys! Zedi here.

I’ve played a lot of card games in my time. From Pokemon TCG in the playground to a varsity push in collegiate Hearthstone tourneys, it’s fair to say I’ve made my way around the block when it comes to CCGs. None of them however have grabbed and enticed me the way Gwent has. Within my first month of playing, I hit pro rank using a homebrew Elf list for Scoia’tael. I learned a lot during those thirty days, and it’s fair to credit the speed at which I learned to my years of experience playing other card games. That being said, I had a lot of help on my climb, and despite my pre-existing knowledge of sequencing strategies, deck-building and card-tracking, it was important for me to ask questions, learn from more experienced players, and engage with the game at a very personal level before I was able to find success on the ranked ladder.

If you’re an ex-Legend Hearthstone player, a Magic: The Gathering enthusiast, or a Lulu-abusing Runeterra player looking to break into the Gwent competitive scene, then consider this guide your ‘one-stop-shop’ introduction to Gwent. In this guide, we’ll introduce some of the key differences between Gwent and other competitive CCGs, and discuss the ways you can best translate your previous experiences to success on the Gwent ranked ladder.

Introduction

Gwent’s round-based gameplay makes it totally unique from other card games. While experienced players may be familiar with many basic concepts, such as tempo and  “playing to your outs”, some of the more advanced strategies of the game may feel foreign to even the most well-versed card gamers out there.

The first thing you’ll notice when you load into the game is the layout of the board. One of Gwent’s pivotal mechanics is the ability to play your cards to one of two rows: melee or ranged. Since the game’s initial launch as a side-event in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, row placement has been a critical piece of Gwent’s strategy. Though the starter decks you have been provided for each faction (except Syndicate) are fairly uninteractive with your opponent’s side of the board, rest assured that the upper echelons of the ladder are filled with row-punishing techs, unit isolation mechanics, and disruption through row movement. We’ll cover these concepts more in-depth in a later section.

The next thing you’ll likely notice is that none of the cards in your hand have mana costs. “But Zedi,” you might ask, “how can this game be balanced then? Can’t I just throw all my best cards down and win the game outright?” Not so, I’m afraid. In fact, playing your best cards in the first round can be a risky endeavour that may lead you to a swift and inescapable defeat.

In Gwent, the name of the game is resource management. Each card you play comes with a cost. Since your deck should only pack a total of (25) cards and only one copy of each gold card, every time you play a card you’re committing a resource that, generally speaking, won’t be accessible to you in a later round.

At this moment, you may find yourself furiously navigating to the deckbuilder in an attempt to pack as many OP golds as you can into your deck… But wait. There’s something there…

The provision limit! That’s right. You need food to feed your army, and your big, beefy gold cards have quite the appetite for your provision space. In order to make space in your list for those greedy gold cards, you’ll need to pack more than a couple bronze cards to keep your provisions open. The best deck-crafters in the game are able to find strong synergies between their gold and bronze cards and squeeze as many points out of their bronze package as they can.

By this point, you’re probably eager to get deckbuilding and hop into your first match. Before you do, let’s take a look at the various factions in Gwent so that we can find the perfect fit for you.

Faction Overview

For this section, we’ll take a look at each of Gwent’s factions including the elusive Syndicate faction, review some of their core cards and mechanics, and draw some comparisons to other familiar archetypes from your ‘used-to-be favourite’ card games.

Monsters:

Our first faction is an absolute graveyard smash to play. Monsters are widely considered to be the easiest faction to learn since their mechanics are fairly straightforward and they have a lot of high-tempo cards that can give you just the right amount of reach in a short round. A typical Monsters game plan revolves around using your Thrive cards to help you generate a point advantage early on so that you can end the game with your big finishers like Golyat and Ozzrel.

If you’re a fan of tall units, graveyard mechanics, and just generally being spooky, then Monsters is the faction for you.

Similar to… Warlock (HS), Golgari (MTG), Shadow Isles/Freljord (LoR)

Eredin Bréacc Glas by Lorenzo Mastroianni

Affan Hillergrand by Oleksandr Kozachenko

Nilfgaard:

The imperial forces of Nilfgaard are cunning, deceitful and dashingly handsome. Nilfgaard is the strongest Control faction in Gwent, armed with a myriad of tools to take its opponents down. While Nilfgaard struggles to put its own points on the board, it excels at carefully dismantling an opponent’s strategy, locking and seizing enemy engines, poisoning tall units, and taunt spamming as your opponent’s point score crumbles to pieces. Common strategies for the faction include using Ramon Tyrconnel to lead an army of soldiers into battle while you bide your time for your ‘piece de resistance’, Masquerade Ball.

Nilfgaard is the perfect faction for players who enjoy playing reactively, responding to your opponent’s every move with malice and forethought. Lovers of mashed potatoes with thick gravy preferred.

Similar to… Mage/Rogue (HS), Azorius/Dimir (MTG), Ionia/Demacia (LoR)

Northern Realms:

King Foltest’s pride and glory know no bounds, and neither do his point totals. The Northern Realms faction is chock-full of boosts and engines. It excels at generating large amounts of points over the course of a round. If left unattended, the armies of Rivia will quickly grow out of control, and your opponents will find themselves scrambling to catch up. Nordlings aren’t merely content with being the biggest, baddest boys in the land. They want everyone to know it as well. Prince Anseis and the Bloody Baron will be quick to handle any unruly peasant-folk that get out of line.

Northern Realms is perfect for players who enjoy growing their units to massive strength, and then massacring their foes as they eat from the finest grapes across the land.

Similar to… Paladin/Priest (HS), Selesnya/Simic (MTG), Freljord/Demacia (LoR)

Queen Adalia by Diego de Almeida

Aelirenn by Lorenzo Mastroianni

Scoia’tael:

The outcasts, the undesirables, the rebellious… The Scoia’tael are awfully resentful of their human counterparts, and will drive the ape-man into the sea with their sharp wit, clever traps, and teamwork! Scoia’tael’s unique Harmony mechanic makes your units stronger when you mix-and-match unit tags in your decklists. Your elves, dwarves, dryads and tree-folk work together in perfect “harmony” to elevate their point scores while simultaneously cutting their opponents down. If unit-based strategies aren’t your fancy, Scoia’tael also hosts a number of viable spell-based archetypes, proving once again that the non-humans are the most diverse faction around.

Scoia’tael is perfect for players that like to play a little bit of everything. With strong engine pieces, control tools, and massive finishing cards like the Great Oak and Harald Gord, you’ll have your opponents begging for mercy in both short and long rounds.

Similar to… Hunter/Druid/Shaman (HS), Simic/Izzet (MTG), Bilgewater/P&Z (LoR)

Skellige:

While the Nordlings and the Nilfgaardians continue their endless conquest for supreme domination, the Raiders of Skellige are happy to loot and pillage as they please. These bloodthirsty bastards have no shame in decimating your point score, even if it kills them. Self-damage mechanics, unit-punish, and deadly alchemical solutions will befall the enemies of An Craite and Svalblod. The warriors of Skellige will always get the last say (literally) and will dominate your board with big finishing plays like Morkvarg: Heart of Terror and Wild Boar of the Sea.

If you like lootin’, pillagin’, piratin’ and the like, Skellige and Cintra will stand ever together by your side as you hack and slash your way to victory.

Similar to… Warrior/Warlock (HS), Rakdos (MTG), Noxus/Shadow Isles (LoR)

Cerys an Craite by Grafit Studio

Adriano the Mink by Daniel Valaisis

Syndicate

Last but not least, the Syndicate represents a band of villains and thieves from across the land of Novigrad. The Syndicate play by their own rules, using points as well as coins to turn the tides of battle. Each Syndicate deck uses their coins in different ways to generate large amounts of points. It is the most complicated faction to learn, but it can be very difficult to deal with if piloted correctly. Cards like Saul de Navarette and Philippa Eilhart can represent massive point swings in the right situation.

If you like clicking lots of buttons, making big brain plays and earning quick cash FAST, then Syndicate is the faction for you.

Similar to… Nothing! The Syndicate are different in their own special way :]

Leader Abilities

Each faction has seven leader abilities for you to choose from when building a deck. Your leader ability provides additional utility to your deck. In many cases, decks are built around their leader abilities for maximum synergy.

A good example of this would be Scoia’tael’s Deadeye Ambush. This leader ability gives you (3) charges to spawn an Elven Deadeye into an allied row. If used in ‘just any’ Scoia’tael deck, this ability represents a total of (9) points. However, if we were to include cards such as Yaevinn, Vernossiel and Isengrim in our deck, those Deadeye tokens could represent significantly more value to our point total.

In other situations, it may be more valuable to consider the provision space offered by your chosen leader ability. Nilfgaard’s Lockdown for example is a highly effective control tool against decks that are reliant on their leader abilities. However, Lockdown only adds (10) provisions to your deck’s provision total, while most leader abilities add around (15). This means that you will likely have to squeeze in a few suboptimal bronzes into your deck to meet the provision limit. 

I encourage you to explore all of the leader abilities and get familiar with them. Some abilities, such as Monsters’ Force of Nature and Scoia’tael’s Invigorate are very easy to use and synergize with your starter package quite well. While you won’t see these abilities being used much higher up on the ranked ladder, they’re a decent place to start while you work on developing your card collection.

Gameplay Fundamentals

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about gameplay.

Unlike most CCGs, the objective of Gwent is to score more points than your opponent in a Best-of-3-rounds scenario. As you play your units, spells and artifacts, they will contribute points to your point total shown on the right side of the board. Players continue to alternate turns, playing one card at a time each, until both players either pass or run out of cards.

In order to close out the game, players will look to preserve their best cards for the final round, and sequence them as efficiently as possible for maximum value. The player that wins the first round typically has an advantage here, since they will have the opportunity to exhaust their opponents resources in the second round, or pass early and preserve their strongest cards for a longer third round. Different deck archetypes perform better in short or long rounds. For example, engine-based decks generate points each turn, and thus gain more points in a (10) card round than they would in a (4) card round.

The other advantage of winning the first round is the ability to secure “last say”. This term describes the ability to play the final card in the game, meaning that your opponent will be unable to respond to it. Decks that typically seek to gain “last say” are decks that have strong unit finishers, such as Harald Gord and Ozzrel.

When the game starts, each player will draw (10) cards and have the opportunity to mulligan away individual cards. At the beginning of each round thereafter, players will draw up to (3) cards to a maximum of (10) total cards. For example, if you only play two cards in the first round before deciding to pass, you will only draw (2) cards at the beginning of the second round. Since you do not draw at the beginning of each turn, the length of the final round is determined by how many cards each player commits in the rounds prior. It is common to see players passing in the first round at either (7) or (4) cards, since they will easily be able to regain a full hand of cards as they move into the final round.

Your ability to gain round control may often be influenced by the coin toss. At the beginning of the game, a coin is flipped to determine who goes first. Unlike other CCGs, going first is a disadvantage in Gwent, since the second player (red) will always have the ability to pass without conceding card advantage. The first player (blue) will receive an additional mulligan and the ability to use their deck’s stratagem (ie. Tactical Advantage). This card will appear in the center of the melee row and can be activated on any turn during the first round.

On your turn, you may choose to play your cards on either the melee or ranged row. There are many factors that may influence your decision. Certain cards have abilities that are locked to a particular row, such as Pavko Gale or An Craite Longship. In other situations, your opponent may have a particular response in their deck that affects your unit placement and sequencing. Nilfgaard, for example, has the ability to play Assassination which does increased damage to isolated units. If you suspect your opponent is using Assassination in their deck list, you may choose to stack your units onto the same row to prevent them from being easily removed.

Lastly, your leader ability can be activated from the left-side of the screen at any time during your turn. Be warned that using your leader ability, like all other Order abilities (see entry in Glossary) does not consume your turn, meaning that you will have to play a card from your hand as well. If your leader ability has multiple charges, such as Rage of the Sea, you are able to use all (3) charges in the same turn, should you so choose.

The objective of the game is fairly straight-forward. At the end of the final round, the player with the highest point total wins. It is up to you however to give yourself the best possible chances of achieving this. Learn your deck’s win condition and plan your strategy accordingly. Each match-up requires a different approach, and each game, a different play. Do your best to learn these skills early on, and your climb up the ranked ladder will be smooth and steady.

Gwent Glossary

By now, you should have a decent understanding of Gwent’s unique features and factions. As you play, you’ll encounter new cards and mechanics. You’ll likely adapt to these mechanics as you go, and if you’re ever stuck wondering how you just lost your whole board of Elves to Geralt:Igni, you’ll always be able to review the play history on the left-side of your screen (you can also right-click cards while they’re on the board to get a detailed view with keyword descriptions).

That being said, if you’re interested in getting a headstart learning some of these mechanics, I’ve included a number of examples below for your perusal.

Deploy:

Lock:

Zeal/Order:

Consume:

Seize:

Inspired:

Trap:

Bloodthirst:

Tribute:

Fee:

Hoard:

Profit:

Outro

I hope you enjoyed reading this transition guide to Gwent. The concepts and  techniques introduced in this article will have you well on your way to pro rank. If you’re interested in learning more about Gwent, be sure to check out the many other awesome articles and deck guides on the Bandit Gang website. Now, go forth and conquer!

ZEDI IS AN ASPIRING CONTENT CREATOR FOR TEAM BANDIT GANG. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE MORE FROM HIM YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.