Gwent

Guilt Over Tilt

This article has been written by Babyjosus in collaboration with Mercernn and edited by Weevil89.

What is tilt?

Tilt originated as a poker term describing a state of mind characterized by temporary emotional or mental tension that prevents the player from evaluating the state of the game as well as their chances properly. This usually occurs when hard work doesn’t result in the success that you crave so desperately. In short, the more attempts you make without immediate positive feedback, the more tilted you can become. The reason why being tilted causes you to fail more is that oftentimes you adopt a less than optimal strategy or just have bad luck, usually resulting in you becoming overly aggressive – especially when it results in a loss. Some people handle these moments better than others. Are you one of the people that do not handle it very well? Do you feel guilt over tilt at times? Don’t worry, we got you covered and explain throughout the article how one gets tilted in Gwent and how to deal with it.

How does one get tilted in Gwent?

While originally being a term used solely in poker, the phenomenon of tilt has found its way into the lexicon of numerous other competitive card games, Gwent included. There are numerous causes or triggers of tilt: one day you could get tilted by game design, the other by your misplays, or it could also be a technical issue or social determinism which pushes you to your limit. Let’s delve into some of these examples a little further. 

Let’s start with game design. There are many things regarding game design that could make you tilted in Gwent. A very common one, for example, is RNG or random number generator, which is basically a tool that determines what you create, what cards you draw or who will go first in round one. In this particular context, we are talking of RNG that has a higher ceiling than it should have, meaning it is either too powerful or unreasonably reliable given its inherent risk. Think of a card like Bribery. The more good gold cards get added to the game, the more powerful Bribery gets. And the more powerful bribery is, the higher the chance you can get tilted by it. Imagine your opponent playing double Bribery with Stefan Skellen and getting your Madame Luiza and Savolla that wins your opponent the game. Perhaps, one could ask, what is it exactly that makes this seem unfair, unfun or undeserved? Well, if we were to play the psychologist here, we might deduce that people don’t like losing to something that they have no control over, or to something that is way too easy to use despite being very powerful and therefore can be exploited by virtually anyone regardless of their experience. Both of these cases ultimately suppress or even negate the involvement of the player on the receiving end which can lead to frustration. 

To follow up, let’s talk about misplays. A misplay like when you mulligan aggressively and brick your tutor could make you feel like it’s the end of the world. Think about playing a tutor like Naglfar. If you have all your gold cards in hand then Naglfar plays for zero value which means you are basically playing with one card disadvantage. You might despise yourself for being so greedy and it can really disrupt you from playing the game as you want to. There are many other misplays that can get you tilted in Gwent. A simple misplay like accidently shuffling a card back into your deck that you wanted to keep in hand could already make you punch your computer screen.

The third one that we want to further explain is technical issues. We all know that with every patch there will always be new technical issues added by CDPR to the game after fixing some of the old ones. Some people claim CDPR does this on purpose so people can feel important about themselves after sending in a support ticket. One of the main technical issues that gets you tilted is when you are losing your connection when you were 100% sure about winning that match. Or do you remember when Syndicate got released and spenders were able to still spend coins even when they were locked? This made lots of people furious and even caused people to uninstall the game. This resulted in people calling Gwent a “dead game” around that time.

And the last one that we briefly wanted to mention is social determinism. What we mean by this is for example when your opponent is roping every turn or is roping when there is only one card left in the hand. This happens even when the card doesn’t require any usage of the brain. Like, playing a Golyat. Another example of social determinism that can tilt you is whenever your opponent keeps using emotes. Now, of course you can mute your opponent to stop this. But, that means that you are already feeling annoyed and slightly distracted by it, which could result in a misplay, or even roping yourself because you couldn’t find the mute button.

How can you deal with tilt?

As with most problems or conditions, oftentimes the best solution can be found in efficient prevention. If you want to find a way to keep your inner tilt-demons on a short leash, the first necessary step needed will be to realize what is actually happening to you when tilt occurs. Keeping your head cool in such a rush of emotions can be more than tricky, however, try to search for patterns of behavior, particular misplays, emotions, feelings and whatever you can experience to identify the tilt and prevent any future occurrences before they can affect your gameplay. 

Tilt does not exist purely in the vacuum of the game, though, but in the mind of the player. It is an extension of how the player perceives the game, but is rarely (if ever) a reflection of how it actually is. You are the one who can intervene in your attempts to command and conquer, with the style and slyness of an a-tier Temerian general! By rule, you should attempt to prevent these two worlds from mixing and just leave all the luggage that you’re carrying with you the whole day at the checkout before you move on to the fun time place of the game itself. Whether it is a long day at school, work, or a family reunion with several slideshows of holiday pics that your aunt Anna has to provide a sadistically detailed commentary for, all of these issues can (unfortunately) wait for you once you’re done with the game, so do not let them spoil the fun and your chances to win while they last, well, unless you actually enjoy going through 300 pictures of seashells and sand – then you should be fine. 

Mentioning traumatizing events, it would be the right time now to just briefly cover a phenomenon that is partly related to how tilting can affect your playthrough and that is “ladder anxiety”. This term describes (surprisingly) a feeling of anxiety or stress that you experience on (even more surprisingly) the ladder. In this very case it would be either the standard ranked ladder, as well as the pro ladder, but theoretically also the Arena. In its very core, ladder anxiety is characterized by the fear of losing a certain amount of progression that you’ve achieved whether it is a particular rank, MMR, or a mosaic piece, that ultimately puts more pressure on you by catalyzing the amount of tilt that you’re already experiencing. 

Dealing with ladder anxiety can be just as difficult as dealing with tilt, but the easiest solution (at least on paper) is to just stop caring about whatever it is that is haunting you. Lost games, progression, prestige, or just your own skill, can all change with passing time and, therefore, just try washing any worries related to them from your mind, well actually rather from your sweaty hands, as well as your keyboard, mouse, or phone. 

This “player hygiene” has many further applications. If you’re serious about being as efficient as possible, perhaps experimenting with as many variable factors could be the easiest way of suppressing your “tiltorments”. Try listening to music, your favorite podcast or TV show to reduce the stress coming from the competitive nature of the game. Playing with a friend or even letting your friend play while you’re only giving them advice can help too as your perception changes. If you can, try to change the time of day when you play, or the place where you play. Perhaps if it hurts to breathe, just opening the windows could ease your tension. The options are limitless. 

But what if nothing helps? Well, then a more serious case of tilt could be what’s harming your efforts to be the best around and nothing’s gonna take you down, because that’s quite possibly where you already are, right down on the ground, immobilized and about to give up. If this were your case, the best you can do is to just take a short break from the game, immediately and unconditionally. If you need five minutes to cool down, take five minutes, if you need an hour, then an hour off is what you should go for, but turn off the game immediately, otherwise you could be tempted to continue and regain what you have lost. Take a shower, wash the dishes, watch an episode of your favorite TV show, it doesn’t matter – just leave the game and the mindset of a monkey trying to climb as high as possible to reach the sweetest bananas behind and regain your balance and strengths. 

Still tilted even after the break? Then you might consider removing Gwenty cards from your schedule for even a longer period of time. Sometimes depriving oneself of something is the best way of realizing how much we love it. 

There is still a decent chance, though, that your tiltorturer will get resilience and you’ll (un)happily reunite with this old friend of yours in your next play session. If that were the case, acceptance and patience are perhaps the only options you’ve got left. The more time you spend in the game, the more you grow accustomed to any of its imperfections, any tilt-inducing elements included. Therefore, what the arguably best and most efficient solution to tilt is, even though it takes most time, is to just let go, step by step. Don’t let any of the imperfections of the game or yourself discourage you as there is nothing wrong or dishonorable about losing. In fact, the more you lose the more you learn, so one could even be encouraged to lose more! Then again, there are such individuals for whom “losing more” is virtually impossible. *Cough* *cough* definitely not Mercernn *cough* *cough*. In any case, just try again, learn from your mistakes and maybe you’ll win next time. And hey, if you don’t, who cares? Perhaps it’s just a bad day (but not a bad life), so don’t be so harsh on yourself. Take pride in what you do and continue on your path to improvement. 

Final words from us

Dear reader, if there is anything we would like to close this article with, then it would be that you should never feel ashamed for getting tilted, regardless of what the reason for it was. It happens to all of us sometimes. Unfortunately, though, while getting tilted is completely normal and natural, it is by no means useful or productive. We all have to deal with it to not harm ourselves, or our surroundings, and therefore we sincerely hope that the few bits and pieces of advice we’ve managed to put together in this article will help you with finding the proper direction. We wish you the best of luck in your future Gwent matches as well as strong nerves and a lot of patience!  

Get To Know The Faction Ambassadors!

This article has been written by Babyjosus in cooperation with Mercernn and edited by Weevil89.

Who are the Faction Ambassadors and where to find them?

On January 19th 2019, the Gwent community got introduced to its official Faction Ambassadors (and later on to the Faction Ambassador for Syndicate). This was mainly for new players that are looking for tips, tricks, or just want to enjoy some Gwent. But now they have been introduced, I don’t think we ever got to know who they really are. So, who are the people behind these Faction Ambassador badges? And what can they tell us about themselves and their faction? Well, let’s find out!

Who is the faction Ambassador for Nilfgaard?

EEB46DsXoAEtkpm

The Faction Ambassador for Nilfgaard is Jaggerous also known as Jagg. Jaggerous is 28 years old and is from Scotland. She studied a Master of Science in Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology. Her favorite food is burritos and her favorite color is purple. Maybe she could bribe CDPR to change Nilfgaard’s colors from black to purple. Although Nilfgaardians walking around in purple armor? I am not so sure about that. But it would surely piss some people off. Maybe for a day or two then.

Anyway, she has taught herself to edit videos as a teenager because she wanted to make Runescape Music Videos. She claims that they were terrible and overedited. And maybe that’s why they are not on her YouTube (anymore?). Jaggerous has been playing Gwent since Closed Beta, January 2017 before Nilfgaard even existed. She is most known for casting for CDPR and for her beginner deck guides. She predominantly makes YouTube videos these days as a content creator for Team Leviathan Gaming. Outside of Gwent she likes Formula 1, running, and cross stitch.

The reason she became the Faction Ambassador was by brutally murdering Mogwai in his sleep. And is constantly watching her back since then, just in case someone tries to kill her. It even makes her taste the dog her food before she eats it. ‘’I mean, you never know. It might very well be poisoned’’ she says. Jaggerous enjoys Nilfgaard because of how polarizing it is as a faction. People either really love it or absolutely hate it. Her favorite Nilfgaard card art is Cantarella but in terms of mechanics she enjoys the versatility of Vincent van Moorlehem. This is because it works with lots of decks whether they’re lock, or poison based. Or even against other statuses like vitality.

What she loves about the faction is that it has a lot of identity in terms of lore. Nilfgaard has spies and backstabbing, but also subterfuge and poisoning. They’re basically like a soap opera if a soap opera was a faction. Nilfgaard has things like the great sun, sons and daughters of Nilfgaard, and Alba which she finds gives the faction a strong sense of unity and is why so many people love it. Also, in Scottish Gaelic Alba means Scotland, and she has always liked how that relates to her heritage as a Scottish person.

If you have any questions regarding the Nilfgaard faction, no bribing is needed. She will answer them from the bottom of her purple heart. You can find Jaggerous on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube.

Who is the faction Ambassador for Scoia’tael?

image1508954007

The faction Ambassador for Scoia’tael is SirPumpkn. SirPumpkn is 23 years old and is from the United States. He has been playing card games all his life. Pumpkn streams full time on Twitch, primarily focusing on Gwent, but before that he gathered experience in multiple other titles such as Hearthstone, Eternal, Faeria, Duelyst and Shadowverse. Such a wide range of content, as well as Pumpkn’s ever growing audience (not even mentioning his talent for card games and his personality) have all helped him with becoming a member of Team Complexity Gaming’s stream team.

Among other achievements of his, perhaps the most curious one is that Pumpkn was the only AQ winner at Challenger#5. And that is unprecedentedly astonishing especially if we consider that he wasn’t even registered as one of the contestants! Well, to be completely frank. He achieved this utmost unique victory when he had to play a showcase match against RaduAndrada on the iOS version of Gwent. Nevertheless, he did win, which is what matters in the end, especially if we consider that the other challenger participants all lost with AQ!

There are many unique little details about Pumpkn that just stick with you after watching only a few of his videos or spending some time with him on Twitch. For starters, he seems to love Red Pandas (although who doesn’t, right?) as one of them proudly and loyally guards his YouTube and Twitch channels. Another thing that will be just burned into your memory is that since the very brink of time, an orange sports car miniature model has been making a cameo in Pumpkn’s video content. And while the “Pumpkn-mobile” plays only a passive role, you find yourself more than often just staring at it, hypnotized by the flaming orange beauty.

Mentioning things being burned into your memory and flaming orange beauties, the aspect of his with which he has arguably made a name for himself most is his undying love for Scorch, Schirru, Geralt: Igni and other devastating (and very hot) cards that are scary on their own, but their power grows exponentially with someone as experienced in their usage, as Pumpkn is.

Do you have a burning question to ask or want to get involved in a heated discussion? You can find SirPumpkn on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube.

Who is the faction Ambassador for Syndicate?

7df1c5d7-f499-4959-9e89-321b42f9e0af-profile_image-300x300

The faction ambassador for Syndicate is Trynet. Trynet is 25 years old and is from the United States. He studied Computer Science, but after graduating he found himself more interested in card games and thus he plays Gwent. He still has passion for computer science and likes to work on various programming projects when he has some spare time. He also has a pet tortoise named Tortoise, which for some reason he insisted on being mentioned. No further questions were asked about his pet tortoise so you will never find out.

Trynet is known for winning the LAN tournament Wild Hunt 1 after getting ten blue coins in a row on his run from top 8 until the last game of the final. You could say that it’s almost as big of an achievement as climbing Mount Everest in a hurricane. Some of the players at the event suggested he should try streaming, and so he did. He found pretty quick success in it because people recognized him, almost as if he had a big blue coin on his face. He wouldn’t say that streaming and himself are a natural fit, but over time he did like to at least believe he has gotten better at it. Aside from that, he enjoys the community that he has gathered the most. He streams Gwent full time on Twitch and makes YouTube videos under the banner of Team Rankstar.

So, for those who don’t know. Trynet says that he became the faction ambassador because he was just sitting behind his computer, and things just started to happen. Like, Burza messaging him in discord, asking him if he wanted to become the Faction Ambassador for Syndicate. Or me, asking him to provide information for this article. But since Trynet became the face of Syndicate, he must have an opinion about it as well.

He says his favorite card is Fence and his favorite mechanic is Hoard. The reason for Hoard being his favorite mechanic of the faction is because it adds another layer on top of coins, breaking the linearity of converting coins to points. Apart from that, he likes the Syndicate faction about its extra decision making. An example is that you can choose what kind of points you want to convert your coins into. Do you want to use them for damage with Ewald, buff up a tall Jackal, or yoinking a unit with Philippa? The coins add an extra layer on top of the gameplay that no other faction has to offer.

If you want to try-netdecks of the true Syndicate boss, but don’t wanna put a bounty on your head for asking, do not hesitate, as Trynet is happy to answer all your questions regarding the Syndicate faction. You can find Trynet on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube.

Who is the faction Ambassador for Monsters?

SHIN

OceanMud, also known as PotionMud, is the Faction Ambassador for Monsters. The 31-year-old that is hailing from the United States, follows a long tradition of the Universal Studios’ monster films by spreading the word about why Monsters should get your attention and why you should shake and cry (ideally for help) when you run into them in the game.

When OceanMud is not being a degenerate on the pro ladder he is being a degenerate on his smurf account called OceanMudSmurf. This, of course, is hardly a Pro Rank account – more like a gatekeeper one. This is because he has never agreed to the terms for Pro Rank which keeps his account at rank 1. And thus tries to stop others from reaching it.

Another unreachable possession of his would be his magnificent chest hair, thick and shiny as the fur of a fiend, which he likes to show off on stream as the true alpha male he is. Though we cannot tell whether it is thanks to his love for unbuttoned shirts or due to the fact that he has to assert his dominance in the competitive environment of Pro Ladder. We can never be thankful enough for being able to lay our eyes on it and dream for at least the very few merry moments that we are so gifted to.

Mentioning hairy things… OceanMud has had a truly extraordinary companion living with him in his apartment for over two years now. His name is Gizmo. Which for the poor souls among you, is the name of a character from the eighties horror comedy classic “Gremlins” that absolutely deserves your attention. Where is the connection you might ask? Well, the movie star Gizmo is very cute to begin with and also was brought to the silver screen thanks to practical effects – animatronics. Yes, Gizmo the pet is a mechanical cat for people suffering from dementia. „It’s like a real cat, you just don’t have to feed it“ describes his loyal friend OceanMud himself. And why would you get a mechanical cat instead of a real one you might ask? Elementary, my dear Gwentleman, real pets are not allowed in the apartment of OceanMud’s.

Other than that, OceanMud seems to always start a civil discussion regarding topics in Gwent. For example, he has talked about profile names being hidden on Pro Rank and has involved a lot of opinions from pro players within this discussion. And even though he is an artifact connoisseur, he has participated in a hefty discussion regarding artifacts in the past. You can tell from this that OceanMud is passionate about Gwent and it’s likely that this is why he became the Faction Ambassador for Monsters.

OceanMud’s involvement with the community is not limited to high-level players only, as every now and then he also shares very brief and easily digestible tutorials or guides on his YouTube channel. These can be helpful, especially for players with intermediate experience or even complete greenhorns. Improve your Gwent Gameplay is as of writing this article his most recent and arguably most widely applicable tutorial so far and we can wholeheartedly recommend it.

OceanMud is a so-called monster. Somebody who demonstrates skills beyond normal mastery. And is therefore the right person to go to when you need the answer to all your questions relating the Monsters faction. You can find OceanMud on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube.

Who is the faction Ambassador for Northern Realms?

Y21gyvts_400x400

The Faction Ambassador for Northern Realms is the one and only 36-year-old McBeard. One can only wonder if the geographical location of Canada, which McBeard hails from, played a role in him growing so close with the Nordling faction. McBeard, aside from being a streamer on Twitch and a YouTuber, is an official tournament caster for CDPR and is the founder and host of the Commander’s Horn podcast. He is very passionate about the podcast and treats it like it’s his baby. I mean, he has done well over 100 episodes already. If it were me, I would treat it like my baby, too.

The one babe who will always be even more important to McBeard is his wife, thanks to whom he coincidentally got to know Flake, his fellow tournament caster. In fact, McBeard was the very person who introduced Flake to Gwent by sending him a beta key. The two are very close to each other to this very day, almost like a family. Flake was even given the very prestigious task of being a bridesmaid at McBeards wedding. Yes, a bridesmaid. But, that shouldn’t surprise us anymore… right? Right?!

McBeard’s attention has most recently been caught by the machines archetype and by rule you can find him enjoying the Mobilization aka the former Henselt leader ability most often. Too much of anything tends to be bad though and McBeard confessed to us that while he finds Siege and Bombardement both very fun, he has never participated in the Triple Siege hype train that included both Caretaker and Renew in the deck to resurrect Siege twice. This could very well be because he only wants to represent the non-degenerate aspects of the faction as he is a public figure. And doesn’t want to make his hands dirty like King Radovid V the Stern.

Delicately planning where to set up the engines of war and ultimately seizing another victory is not where McBeard’s creativity ends. Apart from that, he dedicates his time to working on various creative projects such as novels or graphic novels.

If McBeard should highlight one Northern Realms card that has a special place in his heart. It would most definitely be Trebuchet. A favorite Northern Realms gold card of his used to be Prince Stennis, as well as Keira Metz, but unfortunately their abilities have changed drastically, and they are no longer his favorites. Nowadays, he probably likes best the fellow bearded man: Falibor. A much easier decision on the other hand could be made about what his favorite card overall is. This spot is dedicated to Triss: Telekinesis. Among others he also adores Henselt and characters that are related to his plotline in the Witcher 2 such as Draug or Sabrina Glevissig. One of the reasons why it is so is the fact that most of the cards actually work together very well and you can create decks with them that are both competitively viable and thematic.

McBeard describes the Northern Realms faction in his own words as: “The evil army full of abominations, cursed princesses, abhorrent racism towards non humans (…) and yet somehow they are the protagonists. Dirty and real and flawed and fighting for survival, just like me”. Perhaps, that’s why McBeard got crowned to the role of Faction Ambassador for the Northern Realms.

Also, McBeard, if you are reading this. Delta65 told me that every time when he is going to bed he is looking at your Christmas card. You know, the one where you promised to him that you two will finish that Divinity game that has been ongoing since the release. Well, this is a friendly reminder to send him a message about it. Because he thinks you two will never finish it. And it would be a shame to miss all these opportunities to gain more unwinnable encounters.

If you’re still stuck in the ranks of noob fucking infantry and reaching that sweet title of Sir Pro Rank Player seems virtually impossible to you, or if you’re just looking for the finest of Temeria’s finest decks, you can look for Mcbeard’s guidance on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube.

Who is the faction Ambassador for Skellige?

SHIN

Shinmiri, the Master Roper Extraordinaire, is the Faction Ambassador for Skellige. Shinmiri is 33 years old and lives with his wife in the United States. He started playing Gwent in February 2017 along with the Lifecoach wave. He has been a gamer all his life and even met his wife through Dota. They say his wife fell for his charms when she had to interview him for an article that she was writing. And I tell you now Shinmiri: although I am trying very hard to resist them, I won’t be falling for them.

But let’s continue. Shinmiri is known in the Gwent community for his educational and analytical style of storytelling. He has been an analyst for official Gwent tournaments and a caster for the Gwent League community tournaments. Aside from that, he is a streamer on Twitch and YouTuber for Team Aretuza. His favorite thing about Gwent is that you can often pinpoint a decision made by either player as a reason why you won or lost rather than just bad luck. When he doesn’t play Gwent, you might queue into him in a game of Apex Legends. But be wary: Shinmiri has impeccable vision. And he might as well headshot you. Other than that, Shinmiri tends to play puzzle and board games. Outside of playing any kind of games, he is literally outside when he goes traveling or snorkeling.

The reason that Shinmiri became the faction ambassador for Skellige was because he was known for playing more games with Skellige Veterans in beta than Ashlizzle. But, Skellige has also been the faction that he has enjoyed and played the most, so it was a great fit altogether. The thing he likes the most about Skellige is that it is one of the best factions for winning round 1 and controlling the round lengths and overall pace of the game. He really enjoys Skellige’s ability to effectively push round 2.

His favorite card and mechanic for Skellige are both Lippy. This explains why there is always a Lippy deck going around on the ladder, since Shinmiri is the one who tries to make him work with every patch! He thinks the unique mechanic of switching your graveyard with your deck can allow you to do some crazy things, potentially playing the game completely differently than you would with any other deck.

Are you intrigued about Skellige? Well, Shinmiri has all the time in the world when he is roping in Gwent. So, don’t be shy and ask away anything that you want to know about the Skellige faction. You can find Shinmiri on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube.

The Last wish

Mercernn and I hope that you now have a better idea about who the Faction Ambassadors are and where you can find them. If you think this article was helpful (or funny), then make sure to share it with your friends on social media. And check out other articles from Team Bandit Gang here!

Guide to the Seasonal Mode in the Season of the Elves

With the intention of the Bandit Gang to cover the monthly changing seasonal mode of Gwent as well, I’ve been asked to become a guest writer for this segment. So in this guide I want to present you a quick explanation of the ruleset, general approaches to deckbuilding and a few examples of decks that work very well.

I also want to remind new players that this mode has no matchmaking and you might up queueing into very experienced players with whom you will have a hard time to compete. The ranked mode of each season is the one called “classic”, where you will match with similar players most of the time. However, if you enjoy the seasonal mode rulesets, then maybe this guide will help you to take the challenge.

Rules

The current seasonal mode remained unchanged compared to last year. That means on each unit card that you play you will pull out a unit card with the same provisions out of your deck, if there is one. Your deck contains an additional copy of each card for that. While the description says that it’s the unit you play from your hand, it really is just the unit that you play first on each turn. So if you create a unit from a special card, this unit will pull a same provision unit from your deck. If you revive a unit from your graveyard, if you tutor one from your deck, the same applies. Keep in mind though that it’s always about the unit’s provision, not the special card’s provision.

This effect will only trigger once per turn, always on the first unit that is played. So let’s take one example to demonstrate how this works:

  • You play Menno Coehoorn to tutor Bribery from your deck. This will cause you to pull another 8 provision unit as Menno from your deck, while the Bribery unit will not trigger the effect, as it is the second unit that is played. If Menno doesn’t pull a unit because there is no other 8 provision unit in your deck, you’re out of luck. The effect doesn’t carry on to the next unit.
  • If you play Bribery from hand, you will pull a card according to the provision of the created unit, as this one is the first unit to be played.
  • If you play a spy as the first unit, this will cause you to pull a same provision unit from your opponent’s deck, if there is one.

General approach to deckbuilding

First of all, you don’t want to miss out on the pulling effect in any of your turns. This limits your use of special cards and artifacts significantly to those that play a unit in any way. A leader that plays a unit can mitigate the use of another special card though.

Second thing to consider is the random outcome of the pulling effect. It’s a good thing to have certain purposes for each provision number. If you, for example, open the round with an engine and then pull a control card on an empty board, that’s wasted. If you can align proactive and reactive cards on different provisions, this will increase your consistency significantly.

Thirdly, engines are strong here, as the big amount of them is hard to handle. Be aware that Geralt: Yrden is a popular counter to boost-heavy engines, so damaging engines may be more reliable.

And at last you only have 18 slots on your side of the board, even though the amount of played cards has doubled. Make sure not to brick your last plays of a round and keep an eye on the space for row-locked cards.

Neutral cards that work well in many decks:

Neutral
  • Royal Decree is a great card to include in every deck. Can tutor any provision number that you didn’t draw and increases the consistency of your 50 card deck by a large amount.
  • If you design your deck so that it contains lots of cards with 9 provisions or lower, Renew is one that adds a lot of flexibility and consistency as well.
  • Matta Hu’uri is a useful card in the right deck. The high provision cards to pull should be specials like Renew or Royal Decree though, as there is no point in pulling both copies of the one 12 provision unit you have. Playing many 9 provision units diminishes the chance of playing both Mattas in the same turn though.

Faction specific approaches

Nilfgaard:

Nilfgaard

For Nilfgaard, assimilate is running crazy here. It triggers on every card that wasn’t in your starting deck, which includes every additional copy added due to the ruleset. The added copies are no premium cards, so you can tell them apart from your starting list cards if those are premiums. There are many different ways to build a deck successfully here, if you just include the assimilate engines. Cahir should be mentioned as well here, as he can grow by an insane amount of points against the right deck. While all leaders work well and Double Cross does exceptionally well, this is a list that I created to progress the locks and purify nodes in the reward book:

Northern Realms:

Northern Realms

As the faction of engines, Northern Realms is going even stronger than Nilfgaard in my perception. Charges can get out of hand exponentially, which can overwhelm the opponent pretty fast. Former Demavend’s Stockpile ability has its competitive month of the year under these conditions, with archers, arbalests and such raining down on the opponent’s units, while Dandelion and Vysogota create an enourmous amount of points on your side of the board. Once again, there are many ways to build a successful deck around these mechanics.

Personally, I like the approach with Pincer Maneuver for more flexibility, this is a deck that I came up with:

Skellige:

Skellige

Skellige has emerged with the strategy of playing Artis which damages each unit that is played by half. This makes the Wild Boar of the Seas a very strong finisher. Greatswords and Dagur Two-Blades can grow easily along this setup and several berserk units can feed off the effect of Artis. You can also include a little surprise factor with double Kambi, which can shorten the game by two turns and deny your opponent’s last play if the last say is yours. This is a deck that I came up with:

Monsters:

Monster

The thrive mechanic can be triggered quite easily in a Monsters deck, so you would increase the amount of thrive units in relation to their triggers here. In order not to reach a ceiling too fast, you can combine it with consume units that play ever taller. This is of course very vulnerable to tall removal and Geralt: Yrden. While it may lack control options itself, Monsters may struggle in comparison to other factions because of that. There’s some kind of an underdog approach though, considering the boards can get very crowded.

The Noonwraith spawns two worthless rats on your opponent’s side of the board, which can sometimes brick their last plays. If you keep your own unit count low with consumes, you can play a heavy swing with double Jotunn. Skellige and Northern Realms have options to attack their own units though, so this strategy might fail often. This is a list that is tricky to play, but works quite reliably to get this setup done:

Syndicate:

Syndicate

Syndicate suffers from the fact that crime cards are inefficient in this mode. It offers quite some engines that synergize well, such as the Sly Seductress and the cheap hoard units if played with Hidden Cache. All the double playing messes up the gaining and spending of coins though, so I haven’t really found an enjoyable approach to Syndicate in this mode yet.

Scoia’tael:

Scoiatael

The engines of Scoia’tael don’t really seem to benefit off this mode. Harmony doesn’t trigger more often than usual, since the amount of diversity doesn’t increase. So it’s just outscored by the competition of other factions. What’s noteworthy is that elf-swarm-tactics can develop very fast and burst out in points and control in a short round. But once the board is full, you’re in a difficult spot. So ironically, the Season of the Elves just doesn’t seem to be made for the elves.

Final remarks

This became quite a lot of text, but I hope that I could help you navigate through this topic with some impulses on deckbuilding. Keep in mind that there is no hard competition here so you can get creative with deckbuilding and still have success with it. It’s also a great opportunity to progress contracts of certain mechanics. Reaching 1000 assimilate triggers for examples goes really fast here.

Happy gwenting!

ESCANBRYT IS A GUEST WRITER FOR TEAM BANDIT GANG. HE’S BEEN A DEDICATED SEASONAL MODE PLAYER FOR A WHILE NOW AND LIKES TO GET CREATIVE IN SEASONAL DECKBUILDING. IF YOU LIKE THE DECKS THEN FEEL FREE TO LEAVE AN UPVOTE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #5: Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with the authors of Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming (GGGG) Princess Poppy and Easha Dustfeather – with Poppy being the sparkling princess that everyone could need in their life and Easha being the black demon cat that everyone is trying to avoid because of bad omens. They talk what GGGG is about, its future and also about female content creators nowadays in Gwent.

Babyjosus: This is the first time I interview two content creators at the same time, so congratulations to you both. I recently stumbled upon the website and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to find the blog. Considering that I have never heard of GGGG before. Could you both tell the reader what GGGG is about and what it aims to achieve?

Princess Poppy: Thank you for the invitation. We are – okay, okay Easha, don’t give me that look – at least I am glad you are having us.
Our girly blog is meant to bring some cuteness and glitter to the dark and grizzly Witcher world just to bring a contrast to the table. That is why our posts are full of silliness, bad puns, meme deck guides, and whatever else we can possibly come up with – from girls but not only for girls. Gwentlemen are welcome as well.

Easha Dustfeather: Writing of contrasts, that is why I am part of the blog as well. I doubt anyone could endure the full pink and girly assault without a break. We also wanted to fill a niche in content creation. Most of the existing content is just about meta decks, how to become a better player and lots of competitive topics in general. In contrast Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming looks beyond numbers and competition: at the artworks of the cards, at the lore, at the people behind the game… We felt this aspect was underrepresented and so is the blog format when it comes to Gwent.

BJ: I am delighted to hear that Gwentlemen are welcome too. Otherwise, I would have to end my subscription to the website. Jokes aside, I like that you two went for this approach compared to what you see normally. It’s very creative. So, do you two discuss any ideas before working on an article?

ED: Ideas usually come spontaneously, be it a new patch, something we spotted at a card’s art… So, we are talking less about ideas and more about actual writing, as without appropriate planning a blog post written by two authors would be terribly chaotic. It is very rare we put an idea aside, and even if we do it’s mostly just on hold and not forgotten.

PP: There is nothing wrong with a little chaos, but I agree. We usually brainstorm some ideas and puns, divide a topic into several sections, each of us works on one and edits the other’s writing. Research and layout go to the one of us who has more time to spare at that moment. That’s one of the advantages of working as closely together as we do: each of us knows all the ropes and can pick up the slack, if necessary.

BJ: I see. I also noticed this month there has been a lot more content on GGGG compared to the usual frequency of the minimum of one time a month because of Blapril. What’s it like to have to produce a lot more articles all of a sudden?

PP: Difficult, as we already had to match our schedules and doing that much more often complicates things a lot. We set a realistic goal for ourselves and tried to make it work. Luckily both of us were able to spare some more time than usual that month, otherwise we would not have agreed to participate. At first, I wanted us to do one post per day, because there was a sparkly rainbow award for this. But, after some planning what topics we would actually write about, we saw that quality would suffer if we did, as some posts might have been not much more than one-liners and that is certainly not the quality we are aiming for.

ED: As a solo writer you can sit down and publish whenever you want, but we need to be aware of what the other one is doing to work effectively. And if we cannot possibly manage to meet and work together, there is always the failsafe option of a Single-Scribble instead of our usual Double-Doodle. We try to avoid that as much as we possibly can, as the concept of Double-Doodles is a trademark to our blog, but we rather publish a Single-Scribble than nothing at all.

BJ: Are you afraid to run out of any ideas to write about, now you are forced to come up with something every two days?

PP: Not at all, I doubt we will ever run out of ideas. CDPR is constantly improving the game, adding lots of new wonderful artwork to discuss. There will always be a topic to poke fun at among the player base – and we can write about it with tongue in cheek.

ED: That aside we are never forced to write something. The blog is our hobby and no obligation. We are not earning money from it and are our own bosses. If we were not enjoying it, we would just stop and announce in all ciriousness that there won’t be a post this month. This is unlikely to happen, but at the end of the day you cannot write silly articles and be funny on demand. It just happens.

BJ: As somewhat of a writer myself I know there needs to be some kind of inspiration to write about something. And as you mentioned earlier that Blapril takes a lot of commitment and time. Are there any other projects planned in the future?

ED: We will probably go back to our monthly posts. Our blog is our project and constantly evolving. We started in August 2019 and there is still much to learn about blogging which is a yet another project by itself. Maybe we can do some more collaborations like this one here, or maybe a Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming tournament full of meme decks once CDPR provides the spectator feature for it.

BJ: I would love to collaborate on an article where you both write about some of the more known bandit cards in Gwent. And right now, it’s just the two of you. But, will there be a day that another female content creator is going to join the team?

PP: Team? Which team? We are no fancy-schmancy esports team. It’s just the two of us dancing on rainbows. I also think Easha and I pretty much cover the tasks which are to cover. Each of us is author, editor and web designer in one person. More text colours in our articles might get confusing as well, so… No – there are no plans to get more persons on board for now. If somebody would join, it would probably be a longer process of getting to know each other instead of scouting people or looking through applications. There is no formal application – you sort of just end up being part of it.

ED: The only aspect in which we are lacking now would be social media. You mentioned yourself that you stumbled upon our blog. We do not advertise outside Discord and there is no Twitter or Reddit presence. We would probably get a lot more attention if we would promote GGGG there. When we interviewed CDPR’s Community Manager Alicja, she posted it on her Twitter and suddenly viewer numbers spiked. Regardless, we are not doing this for numbers and “stumbling upon our blog” would probably be our marketing concept – if we had one. We appreciate it if our readers spread the word and share it on those platforms but managing a social media presence is nothing we can or want to spare the time for right now.

BJ: Speaking of female content creators. Poppy, I read on the website that you had a small rant back in the day that women were totally underrepresented in content creation. What do you think of that statement now? Does it still apply today?

PP: That got much better! We started our girly blog, after all.

BJ: You are not wrong. So, what would you say to a female Gwent player out there that wants to do content creation but needs the courage to start?

PP: Get support. I mean it. There can be a lot of backlash from random internet strangers who see only GIRL and not the person and her content behind it. If you are not as ignorant as Easha or do not have good friends who would act as moderators and emotional support, I’d guess it can be very hard and tiresome. Start small and get some nice people on board. Don’t dive into the depths of the dark and cold internet without a trusty crew.

BJ: That’s some great advice. Personally, I have no clue if there are any female content creators for Gwent on YouTube for example. They seem to be underrepresented there compared to a platform like Twitch. I know that Ceely, a member of Team Aretuza and one of the bigger Twitch streamers is planning to start doing YouTube. Has there been talk of doing YouTube with GGGG?

PP: Not at all, or do you happen to know a Demon Cat-ish to English translator? I’d also rather not stand in front of a camera. You see, everyone loves cats and Easha abuses that fact to lure in her victims, but when it comes to princesses everyone just wants a half of the kingdom.

ED: We also simply lack the hardware and our knowledge about video creation is limited, as well. While you can learn the latter, there sadly is no pot of gold at each end of Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming’s many rainbows.

BJ: The part about needing knowledge about video creation makes sense. It’s like giving your opinion about something. You got to have some knowledge about it otherwise it’s better to just stay silent. And since I mentioned Team Aretuza. Easha, I also saw that you are a guest writer for them. How did that become a part of your journey?

ED: My first article about budget deckbuilding was published by a different esports team which retreated from Gwent soon after. They introduced my content to Team Aretuza which agreed to host it. That being written, I am not writing for Team Aretuza, but for new Gwent players. Team Aretuza is so kind to host my articles and their bigger reach means more new players read it, but ultimately my writing is not affiliated to them.

BJ: True that. I think that’s it for me. Any final words for the reader before I direct them to the website?

PP: Remember to always stay wonderful and believe in that dreams will come true, lovelies!

ED: If dreams can come true, what does this say about nightmares?

PP: Oh, come on, Easha. Don’t be such a spoilsport. If you ever need a smile on your face after a hard day of Gwent, come over to our blog and get a dose of sparkly happiness and Gwent shenanigans. You deserve it, lovelies!

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN MORE GGGG THEN YOU CAN CHECK THEIR WEBSITE HERE. AND MAKE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO GET NOTIFIED WHENEVER THEY PUBLISH A NEW ARTICLE ON THEIR BLOG.

Everything You Need To Know About Gwent Journey

Gwent Journey has been out for over a week now, but I saw online that people still had a lot of questions about it and I wanted to try and explain as much about the new system as possible. Jason Slama, Gwent’s Game Director made a very detailed post about the statistics and numbers that fueled their decisions with Journey so if you’re interested in that, definitely check that out here. I’ll recap some of mister Slama’s points in this article as well. We’ll start by talking about what Journey is, then we’ll talk about what it replaces and how that affects the resources you earn in game. Finally, we’ll cap this analysis off with a look at the total value of Journey and the multiple ways you can spend money on it.

The Journey or the destination?

So, what is Journey? At its core, it’s a typical battle or season pass but with the support of a progressing story which gets a new chapter every week. With Journey, you gain resource or cosmetic rewards for every level you reach. There is a total of 100 levels with the first level being free, meaning you technically only need to level up 99 times to reach the end of the Journey. Each level gives you one reward for free with an extra reward if you bought the Premium Pass. The free part of each level gives you mostly reward points with the occasional avatar while the premium section has a lot more variation in its rewards including reward points, kegs, titles, avatars, borders, card backs, leader skins and accessories and even some coin skins.

You can progress your Journey by earning crown points or pieces, of which you need 24 for each level. For each round won, you will earn a single crown point. So, if you win a match you always get 2 crown points while you get 1 or none if you lose. To complement this, the first 14 crown points you earn each day by winning rounds are doubled. This is called the Well Rested bonus and is viewable on the Journey tab. Currently there’s also a weekly cap on the crown points you can earn by winning rounds of 350 meaning that if you won 350 rounds in a week, you will no longer earn crown points. If you did this early in the week, you can still earn your extra 14 Well Rested crown points each day, you will just not get the point from winning a round in the first place.

On top of that, there are also two quest strings each week separated by Dandelion and Geralt with 3 quests each. Each quest you complete earns you an extra 20 crown points and you can complete Geralt’s quests even if you don’t have the premium pass. You will only get the 20 crown points rewarded for Geralt’s quests when you have the premium pass however, which are rewarded retro-actively when you purchase the premium pass later.

So, regardless of how much money you spend on the game, you can earn 60 crown points and thus almost 3 Journey levels from completing the quests each week alone, as well as up to 120 crown points and 5 levels with the premium pass. Quests also don’t expire so if you only start your Journey a few weeks in, you still start from the quests from week 1 and can work your way up the quest chain from there, earning crown points along the way.

The cost of progress

That’s how Journey functions but let’s talk about what it replaces and how it impacts what you earn. Journey replaces the daily crown rewards, so you no longer get 2 reward points for the first 6, 18 and 42 rounds you win each day, with minor rewards every 2 rounds. That loss in reward points gained is offset by the rewards you now get in Journey. But can you get as many reward points as before? Simple answer: no. But that doesn’t mean the system is worse than before, that’s where the statistics from Jason Slama’s post come in.

The biggest revelation to me was the indication of player activity. If we look at the statistics, we see that a whopping 64% of players didn’t manage to earn a single reward point on any given day. Only 35% of players managed to get the 6 rounds per day necessary to get the first 2 reward points and only 10% managed to get to 18 rounds and the 4 reward points. The maximum reward in the old system was only reached by 0.33% of players which is a strong indicator that the original daily crown system wasn’t cutting it, aside for those few very dedicated players. People didn’t seem eager to spend the time necessary to progress and that is exactly what Journey aims to improve.

Let’s focus on the majority of the player base, the ones who got 2 reward points per day or less, around 88,5% of all players. In the old reward system, you would need to win 6 rounds on a single day to get those 2 reward points. How long that takes to do differs from player to player and from day to day, but on average this takes around an hour to do. In Journey, one level gets you at least 2 reward points. To do this just by playing, this would cost you around 2 hours if you use the same calculation to get to 12 rounds and therefore 24 crown points, since they are doubled by the Well Rested bonus. A lot more time than before but we also have quests, giving you 20 crown points each. A single quest only takes 30 minutes on average to complete which also runs concurrent with your normal playtime. In those 30 minutes, I assume you won at least two rounds, which gives you enough crown points to level up once, giving you 2 reward points for 6 days of the week within half an hour, if you have the premium pass.

So, with Journey, most people get the same rewards as before or more within half the time it used to take. On top of that you still get reward points from contracts, daily quests, challenges and the end of season rewards. On the other side of the spectrum we have the few dedicated players, maxing out their rewards each day. For them, things have changed in the other direction. Since there’s a cap on the amount of crown points you can earn in a week, there is no way to progress Journey after a certain point just by playing. This was put in place to avoid people completing it too quickly.

Jason Slama’s post confirms that if you max out reward points in both systems, the old system was more lucrative, especially if you don’t buy the premium pass. If you complete Journey, you will revert to earning reward points through the old daily crown system until the new Journey begins. This sounds bad but again this is really only impacting players who max out rewards, only 0.33% of players according to the stats. And you get a bunch of extra cosmetics in return as well, so let’s talk about the value of everything you can earn.

Busy earning

On the free track of Journey, you get 11 Geralt inspired avatars if you manage to complete all levels within 3 months. The premium pass costs around 10 euros/dollars. For that money you get the Geralt leader skin as a start and 99 rewards you can earn by leveling up, containing extra Geralt skins, accessories, avatars, borders, gorgeous cardbacks, titles, kegs and extra cards. In my opinion, this is the first time in a while Gwent manages to really provide good value for your money.

If you only look at the cosmetics, you get around 50 of them, you get more of each type for less money than you would normally need to pay. Geralt’s completely customizable leader skin is the perfect example. Separate leader skins like the Ofiri Princess Skin, almost cost as much as the entire premium pass on its own. The same goes for cardbacks: the premium pass contains 4 gorgeous cardbacks, but the Shani, Yennefer and Triss cardbacks on the other hand currently still go for 8 euro/dollar apiece. Just goes to show how much value you get out of the premium pass if you play Gwent on a regular basis.

The less savoury side of the Journey monetization are the fast travel options. If you don’t want to wait, you can pay around 1€ per level to move to any level in the pass that is dividable by 6, giving you all rewards in between immediately. I’d like to think of these as ways to further support CD Projekt RED because you don’t really get value out of these purchases. They’re definitely not a must.

Conclusion

All things considered; Journey is a huge step up for Gwent. It has greatly improved the incentives to keep playing while trying to keep monetization as fair as possible. I don’t do this often, but I can really recommend the purchase of the premium pass since it boosts the incentives to play even more. On top of that, Journey provides us with a new adventure for Geralt and Dandelion, one that I look forward to reading each and every week. And that’s it for today, thanks for reading. 

So, what do you think about Gwent Journey? Got any other questions or reservations that I can clarify? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below so we can help each other out, that’s what we’re here for after all.

TROVNUT IS A GUEST WRITER FOR TEAM BANDIT GANG SO MAKE SURE TO CHECK HIM OUT ON TWITTER IF YOU WANT TO TALK TO HIM OR CHECK OUT HIS YOUTUBE FOR VIDEO CONTENT. ANY SUPPORT TOWARDS HIM IS HIGHLY APPRECIATED.

Logo1024_NoBackground

Gascon’s Most Wanted #4: Lunaarcana

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with Lunaarcana, your Twitch witch that finds joy in the boundless respect and the trust from her cultists. They talk about streaming on Twitch, what you can expect on her stream and also talk about her intriguing personality.

Babyjosus: Before I will ask you questions regarding your streaming; I want to try to let them get to know you a bit first. Could you describe yourself to the reader?

Lunaarcana: Hm, I’ve always been bad at that. I’m a quiet creative witch who is interested in art, history, fantasy, oddities, and video games. Anything that immerses me and stirs my imagination, really.

BJ: Sounds like you would have a lot to talk about on stream though. And I know you have been streaming quite a lot and have been doing it for a long time. I believe you even streamed before I did. How did you started streaming?

LA: Indeed. I began streaming early 2017, and first streamed Gwent in early 2018. I always enjoyed watching content creators on YouTube and Twitch. After some time and confidence from a few friends, I had finally thought “Hey, I’d like to try that!”. It’s been quite the journey!

BJ: Since you decided to become a streamer yourself. What has been your favorite moment so far?

LA: It is actually a bit difficult to put my finger on a favorite moment. But the silly moments, having fun, playing games with friends, or streaming in costume are my most memorable.

BJ: You have been around for a while now in the Gwent community. But, how did you get in touch with Gwent?

LA: Honestly, at the time I was streaming the first Witcher game, and I saw it advertised on GOG’s launcher. Of course, I enjoy The Witcher Lore, so I gave the game a try. It was the first CCG I had ever played, and the only one I’ve stuck with.

BJ: I believe your favorite faction is Skellige, where did your love for the faction come from?

LA: Yes, it is! I think what originally drew me to it was the interesting mechanics that painted an intense picture of the energy and lore the faction has. Which makes for equally intense plays and combinations. As most know, I have an interest in Norse & Celtic history and lore, so it definitely stems from that, as well.

BJ: You have been streaming Gwent for a long time. Have you ever felt burnt out when it comes to streaming it?

LA: I won’t sugar-coat it. I absolutely have. But I think that’s a normal response when you’re consistently engaging in one subject or playing a certain game. You can still enjoy something while needing a break to feel refreshed.

BJ: I know you also stream other games than Gwent, what other games interest you?

LA: Oh, I enjoy all sorts! But my favorite genres are fantasy, RPG, adventure, and horror. Silent Hill, The Elder Scrolls, and Stardew Valley are amongst my favorites.

BJ: I am aware that you have done a Philippa cosplay and Succubus cosplay on stream in the past. Are there any cosplays that I forgot to mention?

 LA: Ah, I almost forgot about my Witcher succubus outfit from Halloween. I’ve streamed Overwatch dressed as Mercy. And I’ve also done two different streams as Ciri where I played Gwent, and other fun games. I enjoy costuming, so I’m looking forward to creating more!

BJ: What can we expect from you when it comes to cosplaying in the future?

LA: My cosplay streams are usually done as special rewards for hitting a goal, but lately I’ve been getting back into photography, so perhaps more than I even expect. Here soon, I’ll be transforming myself into the dryad queen Eithné, the leader of Brokilon, actually. I’ve been having a great time posing as different Witcher characters and might have some vague future plans on continuing that.

BJ: Oh, as a huge fan of the Scoia’tael faction it makes me excited for that cosplay! You also seem to prepare quite a lot for your regular streams. An example is the face paint. Any particular reason behind that?

LA: Well, simply put, that’s just how I like to do my normal makeup. I feel that makeup can be used as an artistic tool. Why not make my face a canvas?

BJ: Can’t disagree. Last time I stopped by your stream you were doing a ritual on stream; where did your fascination for rituals come from?

LA: I was doing a simple spell and explaining the history behind the Neo-Pagan holiday of the Spring Equinox, Ostara. My interest in spellwork, magick, and witchcraft started at a young age. I think about a decade ago now. I grew up introduced and interested in history and mythology. As I grew, I began researching even more, taking bits and pieces, and making it a part of me, in a way.

BJ: Could you explain the purpose of doing a ritual?

 LA: Hm, well. It really depends on your intentions. Rituals and spells can be different. But the purpose is genuinely up to the caster. Throughout history, rituals might have been done to bring a good harvest. Small magic incantations and spells could have been used by someone to bless a child, grant pleasant dreams, or protect a loved one. Or even more extravagant things such as making the seas calm for good sailing, or maybe bolstering your forces in a battle. The list is vast and endless.

BJ: I didn’t know, thanks for explaining it to me. I noticed you also do sign reading for viewers on stream, what is the reaction from people to this?

LA: I haven’t read anyone’s astrological sign specifically, as I’m not as knowledgeable in that subject as I’d like to be yet. But, on Wednesday streams I do rune casts and readings, or an oracle card reading as a reward. The reactions have been very pleasant! I’ve never received any negativity regarding it. Most of the time people are just interested and ask genuine questions if it piques their curiosity.

BJ: We are nearing the end of the interview, but I know you are quite the artist. Viewers can unlock doodles made by you and you also do a lot of art in your free time from what I can recall. Do you have any plans to publish an artbook?

LA: I certainly try to do art in my free time! It’s been a love of mine since I was young. Sometimes I get so busy and lose track of all my ideas. I always have so many! I’ve never thought about publishing an artbook, but that does sound like a really cool idea now that you mention it. Currently, I have a couple prints. But I’m trying to do more quality art first to really round myself out, and hone in my style.

BJ: Is there anything that you would like to share about yourself to the reader?

LA: I feel I tend to be too complex to conclude in short sentences, so if anyone ever wants to chat, I don’t bite! Haha.

BJ: You heard it here everyone. If you want to know how complex Luna is, you got to stop by her stream. Jokes aside, I want to thank you for your time, it was nice to get to know more about you.

 LA: Thank you for including me! I look forward to seeing more of these interviews with other members of the community.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF LUNAARCANA THEN YOU CAN FIND HER ON TWITTER AND TWITCH. IF YOU WANT TO JOIN THE LUNAR CULT THEN YOU CAN DO SO HERE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #3: BarryWhite Hanson

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with BarryWhite Hanson, who is a Twitch Streamer that focuses on CCG content in front of the screen but who is the Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format behind the scenes. They talk about the story behind his act, his passion for content creation and briefly talk about the future. So, fuck yeah?

Babyjosus: I saw you tweet about the COVID-19. How badly is it affecting you?

BarryWhite Hanson: I work in Audio/Video Production for medium to large events and galas.  While most businesses have a steady flow of income coming in all year, our business fluctuates for the majority of our busy season that pretty much covers expenses and whatnot for the year. Our busy season is usually March to July, and we walked into March essentially having all work basically cancelled or postponed due to the virus and quarantines.  What was looking like an amazing year for growth and expansion basically got shut down overnight.  I love the company and people I work for and they are very supportive of my streaming (my Anti Usurper PSA that went viral on the subreddit was actually filmed in our studio with our sales guy voicing the camera guy) so it pains me to not only be out of work, but to see the company hurting.  

BJ: First of all, I am sorry to hear that, and I hope things will be alright for you and the company very soon. Second, I don’t think I have ever seen your Anti Usurper PSA, you got to share that with me. But tell me more about yourself. What is the story behind BarryWhiteHanson and what made him start doing content creation?

BWH: As a kid I would use my parents VHS camcorder to film skits, music videos, and as I was older, stop motion animation. I always wanted to do entertainment in some fashion. I just love seeing happy people. And being a big music fan, I always loved seeing crowds uniting in that common energy of love for whatever was happening. It was what swayed me from pursuing web design in college and actually transferring to a college for Audio/Video Production. After college, I toured with bands and artists as a merch guy or a lighting guy, and eventually when I got off the road, became a full time sound guy for venues, so I was always surrounded by entertainers of some sort, or in entertainment but always was a behind the scenes guy. During this time, I started getting really into standup comedy and was regularly attending local open mics as a crowd member. One day, the host of the mic I was at said, “you’re funny, you’ve been to these mics enough, maybe you should write a 5 minute set and try and go up there” I did, and the rush I got was unlike any other the first time I heard someone laugh at a joke I wrote. From that point on I was hooked on comedic performance and being a performer myself, rather than just behind the scenes. 

BJ: That’s quite the story. And I have always wondered. Where did the name the Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format come from?

BWH: So, about a year or two before I found out about Twitch, as I was still doing standup, I was asked to handle AV for some comic friends Sketch Comedy Group, Sensible Comedy, and was eventually asked to join and participate in skits and help with writing. I was also producing a comedy-themed video game show with another comic by the name of Winston Hodges. I had an absolute blast with both projects, and it made me think more outside of the box about comedy. I’ve produced music as a hobby since I was about 16, but it was always instrumental music or music for another lyricist. Being into industrial metal and acts like Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, and KMFDM, I always wanted to start some kind of musical project in that genre but could never find a vocalist. So decided to try something out by making a sketch for my Sketch Comedy Group, basically creating this aging goth character, with industrial music, but write the most happy, and “non-hardcore” and borderline goofy lyrics, yet approach the music video and the character’s envisioning in his head as if it was the darkest thing imaginable and I would handle the vocals. That’s where the phrase, “The Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format” came from. It was me basically kind of poking fun at the ego of some musicians, that basically try to project this god like idea of themselves that is unjustified. To give myself a title, to me, was pretty damn funny. I settled on BarryWhite Hanson as a name because I wanted a play on a name like Marilyn Manson, and thought: ‘’wouldn’t it be funny to just put the full name of an already established artist as the first name, and one of the most nonmetal band names for the last?’’. The venue I used to work for, let me film on their stage on an off day, a friend let me borrow his camera. And I shot, edited and produced it myself. People really enjoyed it and asked for more. I even had a friend who’s seen all my music endeavors say, “This is YOUR thing. You’ve finally found something that fits you and is 100% you”. So, I continued to put out content. Eventually the band Bad Motivator asked me to open for them at their CD Release show, and that got me to start performing my musical content out live.  When the video game show I was producing came to a halt due to me and the host having schedule changes with our job and him starting to travel more for shows, making it hard to film anymore, I found out about Twitch, and figured I’d give it a go.  I loved video games and meeting new people.  It just felt natural to me and I loved meeting new people from around the world.

BJ: So, what’s up with the mask and the wig? How did that become part of your act?

BWH: So, before the first music video, when I had the first song written, but needed to shoot the video, I decided I needed some kind of costume. I was still doing standup comedy at the time and didn’t want to overlap that project with my standup, so I figured a costume would give the illusion of someone else. I also wanted to have that goth vibe and the wild overly worked hairdo that you see with some of the newer metal bands. So basically, it ended up being me walking around a party supply store trying to find a costume. I knew I needed something that was easy to put on due to performing and sat there for about 2 hours trying different combos of masks, wigs and accessories and when I did the combo, it just made sense and clicked with me. Plus, when I’d perform I loved catching people off-guard. I’d hide the outfit in my bag at open mics at a bar and not put it on until I went up.  Imagine seeing some normal guy playing wonderwall on an acoustic guitar, and immediately after the next performer is a guy in a mask and wig screaming about cookies and playing a kazoo, haha.   Now it’s kind of a part of my brand with logos and whatnot.

 BJ: I know you have been streaming Gwent on Twitch for quite some time now and you have also been streaming other card games like Mythgard. What is it that makes card games appeal so much to you?

BWH: It’s a combination of things. One is that I love that CCGs are the type of games that it’s usually easy to learn the basics of a short amount of time but takes a while to master. So, the thrill of learning a new synergy, technique, and experimenting as you’re learning is a rush. It makes it more of a journey. Deckbuilding is really fun to me because it lets out my creative side. And when you make that deck that just works well, it feels so good. And I try to think a little outside of the box for it. As I started to get familiar with the game, I started crafting weird meme decks after seeing people like BeeBoBoop craft decks. As well as that, a regular in my channel, ImposterBuster, would come to me with these crazy decks for viewer battles and I just loved the craziness of when a meme lands. It doesn’t work every time, but when you do land it, it’s like hitting a hole in one in golf. I also love that all the CCG communities are tight knit, and the ego really isn’t as present as it is with a lot of other genres of gaming. People are willing to help out the newer people, make suggestions and overall the toxicity doesn’t seem to be there like you see with other genres. I remember my first night streaming Gwent, OceanMud popped into my stream and started hanging out, as well as giving me pointers on deckbuilding and basics I didn’t quite get yet.  To give you an example, I was making like 29 card decks until he told me to try and stick with just 25 cards, haha. He’s one of the more well-known Gwent streamers, so I thought it was cool that he took the time to help out a newbie with no viewers like I was at the time. So, I feel like learning so many different card games have been easier due to people being willing to help out and being welcoming to new players in general. I also like that it’s more laid back than a shooter or most other multiplayer games as far as streaming goes. Since you don’t have to keep your eyes on the game all the time like an FPS or MOBA, it frees you up to focus on your chat more. I play CSGO but prefer to not stream it as much, because I have to focus on the game a lot more and only really can look over at chat during downtimes. Gwent was the first CCG I really got into but since then I’ve branched out to Mythgard, Legends of Runeterra, and Magic. I’m also looking forward to Causa coming out too, after playing during their demo weekend. It also helps with burnout of playing the same game over and over. You look forward to going back to a game after a week or so of playing something else.

BJ: You truly are a card fanatic Barry. But going back to Gwent, what was your most memorable moment when streaming Gwent?

BWH: I’d say it’s a tie between SK-mania and the time I pulled 4 Roche’s in one round of a game. The Roche clip actually got featured on the Dandelion show, which was something I always wanted a clip on since I started playing. 

BJ: I really enjoyed it when you live streamed the SK-mania against JoshWitcher760 where you battled with only Skellige decks. How did you guys end up doing that?

BWH: Me and Josh have always joked back and forth with each other and one day someone posted a clip of Josh playfully trash talking me in his stream as a joke on my discord. So, I played along and said something back and me and him just kind of went back and forth in the discord and eventually I, knowing that Josh’s favorite faction is SK, threw out that I was the superior SK player. IamFLAGG suggested we do it WrestleMania style and hype it up. So, I made a pro wrestling style trash talk video to play on that idea, and Josh did a rebuttal video. Me and him talked about it and both thought it was funny and wanted to play it up.  So, we set a date. Initially I just planned on playing the matches but had the idea to put him in voice chat with me so we could trash talk as the match was going on, as that’s not typically done in a standard competitive card game. It was so much fun doing it that way and really added to it.  

BJ: Are you planning to do things like SK-mania again? Because I sure had a lot of fun watching that.

BWH: I definitely would love to. There’s only so many factions so we’d eventually run out of factions, so I’m working on different kinds of things we can do in that format.  

BJ: Speaking of Skellige. What do you think of the new leader ability?

BWH: It’s pretty cool. It’s kind of like a reverse discard. It’s great with Morkvarg. 5 damage AND you put a 5-point unit down? Sounds like fun to me! I liked a lot of the new leader abilities that they are coming out with. I think it’ll definitely shake things up a little bit and maybe force some of the people that have played the same decks for almost three seasons now to explore more. 

BJ: You have been a lone wolf for quite some time, have you ever considered joining a Gwent team?

BWH: I’d love to. While I’m by no means pro, I try to bring something a little different to the table in my streams by injecting humor into things and making it have more of the vibe of playing cards with your friends around a table. Where you feel like you’re just hanging with friends and while you are playing cards or a board game, you’re not as worried about winning or losing because you’re just having fun and enjoying each other’s company and conversation. Some of my favorite streamers put off that vibe when I watch them, and to me, it makes me enjoy the stream more.  I’d love to help produce content for a team someday. 

BJ: Do you have any future plans when it comes to content creation?

BWH: I’d like to start releasing more YouTube content. I’ve focused a lot more on my Twitch, and since I have a new PC that makes it way easier to edit on, it’s a lot easier for me to do stuff like that now.

BJ: That’s cool. And are there any other card games you want to delve into when it comes to content creation?

BWH: Causa is one CCG that’s coming out that I loved and am patiently waiting its release. Really cool new mechanics and a cool concept in general. The devs are really nice, I enjoy their dev streams and think they truly are putting their heart into the game. Looking forward to creating some content for them as well.

BJ: We are nearing the end of the interview. Is there anything you want to say to the reader?

BWH: Just say no to Harmony lol. But seriously, be open minded. Expand your deck knowledge and don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. Anyone that knows me knows I’m not a big fan of NG. However, I would play NG decks to learn what did what, so I knew what to look for and what to avoid. When SY first came out and people complained how overpowered it was. I played some SY to learn which cards to focus on when playing against it. Get experimental and don’t be afraid of losing. I’m not opposed to net decking, even though I don’t do it myself, but I feel like if all you do is play decks already made by someone else, you sell yourself short of the joy of learning a good counter or the sense of accomplishment of making your own unique deck that works for you.  Also, as I say at the end of a lot of my streams, “Be Good to Each Other” I feel like that statement encompasses so much in a few words.  

BJ: That’s some great advice Barry. This is also the end of the interview. I want to thank you for your time and for the talk. Hope to catch your stream sometime soon again!

BWH: Thanks! This was a blast!  

BJ: The feeling is mutual.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF BARRYWHITE HANSON THEN YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #2: Freddybabes

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their career. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with Freddybabes, three-time official Gwent tournament winner and participant for the upcoming World Masters tournament. They talk about Gwent Masters, streaming Gwent on Twitch and take a little peek at what’s to come for the Gwent superstar.

Babyjosus: Where were you when you heard the news about Gwent Masters being postponed due to COVID-19?

Freddybabes: I was at home and in the middle of a preparation session testing my lineup when I saw the news.

BJ: I can understand that it must have felt like a bummer to hear it only a couple of days before you had to compete. Does it have any consequences for you not being able to compete?

FB: The main thing that hurts is feeling so ready to play, being in the mindset of preparing as hard as you can and then having the rug pulled out from underneath your feet so to speak. It’s quite difficult to reset mentally and get back into a positive frame of mind. Other than that, the feeling of wasting some of your lineup ideas sucks and of course the delay in gaining any money is quite a big deal. I was personally working on the assumption that I’d have an extra $5000+ dollars this time next month so you can imagine how that can disrupt your life.

BJ: Yeah, I can imagine. I hope the situation around COVID-19 will calm down. And correct me if I am wrong but I believe you prepared the last Challenger with BeardyBog. Did you prepare with him this time again?

FB: That’s correct. This time I had some small help from BeardyBog but also from several others. I won’t say any other names in case it gives away some information for the next tournament.

BJ: That’s fine with me. Out of a scale of 1 and 15. How confident were you about your lineup?

FB: I would say around a 12. After playing some more games recently and seeing the meta develop I would probably lower it to 10, haha. I definitely felt a bit rushed for this tournament and tried so many different decks and strategies it was very difficult to settle on one.

BJ: Do you think your lineup will drastically change now that Gwent Masters is postponed?

FB: For sure. The tournament won’t happen for months most likely if not longer so there will be updates and changes before the tournament takes place. This will make my previous lineup redundant.

BJ: Your friend GameKing will also be participating in the Gwent Masters. How would you feel like if you had to play against him?

FB: That would definitely suck. We were already quite sad to see that there was no chance of us playing in the final due to the bracket. If the bracket is reshuffled, then it would be nice for one of us to not have to eliminate the other. Overall though I’m friends with several of the players so it will be sad to play against them as well.

BJ: I am sure they will reshuffle it. But let’s see what CDPR ends up doing regarding the bracket. What are you going to do with the extra time that has been given to you?

FB: I plan to play a lot more and immerse myself in Gwent so that hopefully I feel less time pressured for next time. I also plan to experiment more before the tournament itself so I have an idea of what spicy things might actually be secretly good.

BJ: I ask this question to everyone else, but could you tell me something about yourself and what made you start doing content creation?

FB: I got into streaming after making a Gwent deck guide which became quite popular and I wanted to share my insights on the game as at the time, in beta, I was a high ranked player. I really enjoyed streaming and interacting with the community, so it just became a natural way to spend a lot of my time.

BJ: I noticed you started streaming Gwent on Twitch again after being absent from streaming. What made you decide to stream again?

FB: With the virus causing tournaments to be delayed or cancelled and there not being much to do outside I figure I need to do something with my time which I would normally just spend preparing for tournaments or trying other games. Streaming makes sense as I’m no longer feeling burnt out after having such a long break from it and I can simultaneously prepare for World Masters further.

BJ: I can relate to being burnt out on Gwent. What’s your story?

FB: I think at some point Gwent and streaming became a job for me rather than a hobby, probably mostly because I joined team Complexity, so I had a fixed number of hours I had to stream in a month and responsibilities to maintain while streaming. Once I left Complexity I realized how burnt out I had become, and without the financial incentive to stream anymore it felt right to just stop. Thankfully, a long break can help with those feelings, I think, although it’s still important to never overwork yourself, especially when it comes to something such as streaming.

BJ: Since I am a fan of your work, I know you have been making videos for YouTube as well in the past. On one of your recent streams you mentioned that you are not sure if you should go back to content creation on YouTube. Could you elaborate what you meant with this?

FB: YouTube has always been challenging for me to pursue because I tend to get caught up in the numbers and analytics of it more so than with other platforms. When my content becomes irregular on YouTube, I see big decreases in the performance of the videos which makes me sad, if I’m being honest. I enjoy making videos a lot, it’s just a matter of becoming consistent with them again or learning to overcome the negative feelings that come with the analytics. That being said, I’m planning on starting to make videos consistently again, hopefully this time for a longer period.

BJ: It’s nice to hear you are planning to on start making videos again. I always enjoyed them but do hope you manage to stay positive when doing so. By the way, I know you are still sharing a place together with the ImpetuousPanda and I hope you don’t feel uncomfortable with what I am about to ask. But do you have any plans on living together with your girlfriend?

FB: I definitely want to sometime in the future yes. Most likely I will stop living with Panda once our contract ends and find somewhere new, either just for myself or with others but we’ll see.

BJ: What can we expect from FreddyBabes in the future?

FB: I’m really wanting to return to my roots and stream somewhat regularly and hopefully make some videos on the side. It’s a very cool feeling to interact with the community after a long absence. Obviously look out for me in tournaments as well when those finally end up happening.

BJ: I think that’s all from me today. Do you have anything you want to say to the reader?

FB: Thanks for reading and thanks to you BJ for taking the time to ask these questions. I hope everyone reading stays safe and healthy and happy in these strange times!

BJ: The same goes to you Freddo.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF FREDDYBABES THEN YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #1: TheFoxBride

Welcome to ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a new series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their career. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with TheFoxBride, the creator of the Whispers of Oxenfurt: A Witcher podcast. They talk about the origin of the podcast, the birth of his latest project called ‘’Real Witcher History’’ and basically everything else regarding his love for the Witcher world. Oh, and I believe Gwent was mentioned too at some point…

Babyjosus: How are you holding up during these dark times of the COVID-19?

TheFoxBride: A lot of Witcher content, a lot of working out, and a lot of petting my cat…that’s not a euphemism.

BJ: Could you tell me something about yourself and what made you start doing content creation?

FB: The most interesting thing about me is that I used to be a college basketball coach and sports have dominated my entire life as I have played or coached them nonstop since I was four years old. While it was a busy job, there was time in the offseason to be completely hooked by a game called The Witcher 3. I read the books and noticed there were no podcasts about the Witcher in English, so I started one. Shortly after that I was contacted by the Lore Party network and out of that came our podcast about the show, Wind’s Howling. I have always thought it is better to create than consume, so I did.

BJ: How long have you been doing the podcast?

FB: I started it in August 2018 and only have three chapters left to do in the final novel. After that I plan on having content creating guests, especially Gwent streamers/youtubers, who have read the books and we will discuss their favorite short stories, or chapters from the novels. I did this once already with DevilDriven and it was a blast.

BJ: I bet Jinzee, the Queen of Lore, is on your list for future guests?

FB: There is a ton to cover so anyone and everyone that is interested!

BJ: Where did the name Whispers of Oxenfurt come from?

FB: It is my favorite song from the soundtrack, as well as my favorite city from the continent. If I were forced to live in that world, a college city would probably be the most fun. 

BJ: I noticed you have done 43 episodes for your podcast, for how long do you think you can keep doing the podcast?

FB: Until I no longer feel I can contribute something new or creative. The ability to make people think about something relevant to them, or the world in general, is crucial for me. If one person learns something new from a historical or philosophical reference, then it’s worth it. It’s probably the coach in me but “don’t speak unless you have something to add” came up a lot in my scouting meetings.

BJ: You mentioned before that you got hooked by The Witcher 3. How did your fascination for the Witcher world started?

FB: It was a natural fit as my college degree is in History and I have always loved Medieval Europe. It was a truly dreadful place that gets romanticized far too often, but real life is often more dramatic than fiction. I took a graduate class over the Venetian Bridge Wars, seriously, google it, and it’s wild that this stuff actually took place. History reads like a fairy tale to me, but the lessons aren’t as obvious.

BJ: Have you read the Witcher books many times?

FB: Certain parts I have only read once, but due to the research needed for all my projects I have reread certain parts a dozen times. “Sword of Destiny” is an easy to go for great short stories.

BJ: I saw you also started a YouTube series called ‘’Real Witcher History’’, could you elaborate what made you start this series?

FB: I have been a teacher for ten years, so the desire to educate and help others is important to me. I have a passion for history and the Witcher, so why not combine them into something that would interest people?

BJ: Fair enough. Are there any other projects in the making?

FB: I am stretched thin enough so unless someone gives me another idea…

BJ: Maybe I might be able to give you an idea someday haha. So what can we expect from you in the future?

FB: In a few hours I am recording an episode for Wind’s Howling and wrapping up my Whispers episode for Chapter ten of The Lady of the Lake, so no slowing down anytime soon.

BJ: No slowing down huh? That’s the spirit! I know you have been streaming Gwent on Twitch together with your fiancée Lindsay, what do you like so much about streaming Gwent on Twitch?

FB: I just want to entertain others and have a good time. I aim for it to be the least serious Gwent stream as I only really play casual and seasonal with either lore, meme, or themed decks. Channel points are aimed at asking questions about history, Disney, spinning a workout wheel, or choosing a shot for me to drink. Lindsay definitely helps as we play off each other well and keep things active. 

BJ: I heard some birds whisper in my ear that you were doing an all-day stream for your birthday on the 26th of march. Hopefully I manage to stop by and wish you a happy birthday!

FB: I have been very fortunate in life and will use that to raise money for a charity. The recent ‘’Not Quite Masters’’ tournament that raised money for Doctors Without Borders was great as that is a charity I have supported for years. People as lucky as me need to give back when they can, especially at times like this.

BJ: I don’t want to pry but what do you mean when you say you have been fortunate in life?

FB: I have had parents who have supported me emotionally and financially throughout my life. I quit teaching back in 2012 to coach college basketball, sold my house, cashed in my retirement, and became a graduate student making $200 a month. I was able to move back in with my parents with no bills or liabilities, and without that my life would be drastically different. They worked incredibly hard, so I could chase my dreams and live a pretty easy life.

BJ: That is very nice of them. And it sounds like they wanted the best for you. One last thing. It’s out of curiosity. Where did the name ‘’TheFoxBride’’ come from?

FB: It comes from the Japanese saying, “Bride of the Fox”” or “The Fox’s Wedding”. It means several things, but mainly I just thought it was a cool name. It is also the name of a sake for sale at the liquor store I worked at.

BJ: It’s been a pleasure to talk with you but also to collaborate with you on the latest video for the Bandit Gang YouTube channel that is coming out soon! May we work together again in the future.

FB: Until then…

MAKE SURE TO KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED ON OUR YOUTUBE PAGE WHERE WE WILL RELEASE THE UPCOMING VIDEO WE MADE IN COLLABORATION WITH THEFOXBRIDE ABOUT THE STORY OF A BANDIT GANG WITHIN THE WITCHER UNIVERSE. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WHISPERS OF OXENFURT PODCAST, YOU CAN VISIT THE WEBSITE AND FOR WIND’S HOWLING YOU CAN VISIT HERE. IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF THEFOXBRIDE THEN YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.

 

Is The Gwent Partner Program Worth Striving For?

This article was written by Babyjosus and edited by Banditpig.

What is the Gwent partner program?

On April the 25th CD Projekt Red (CDPR) presented the Gwent partners program to the community. This program is focused on supporting Gwent content creators who would like to grow their channels, participate in closed PTR sessions for upcoming expansions, share their feedback about the game, and simply keep in touch with CDPR in the Gwent partners discord. Once you become a Gwent Partner you will receive an official badge to display on your streams/videos, as well as a unique in-game title: Royal Envoy, as well as the Partner Cardback. Aside from that you have a chance as a Gwent partner to get featured on the official social media channels as ‘’Creator of the Week’’. You can apply for the Gwent partner program if you publish Gwent content regularly, for a growing audience. All you need to do is to send an email to CDPR and tell them about yourself and your channel. As you can tell the exact requirements of joining the program are quite vague, so it’s up to you if you decide if you are worthy of applying for the Gwent partner program. CDPR will then review your application and after some time you receive a response.

Many content creators, including myself, decided to apply for the partner program in the beginning. The reason that I applied to the partner program was because of the closed PTR sessions. Everything else was a nice bonus. As you’d expect, many of those who were accepted decided to share their success on social media. My impression which is based on posts that I have seen is that you get easily accepted to the partner program if you are member of a popular Gwent team, even if you rarely or haven’t published any Gwent content yet.

What is my issue with the Gwent partner program?

For the latest expansion, Merchants of Ofir, there was no closed PTR nor a reveal campaign for partners. Which was one of the only benefits of being a partner. During the closed PTR sessions partners were given the opportunity to test out new cards and give their feedback on them. This allowed partners to discuss card abilities with the developers and help identify bugs and balancing issues before general release. After the closed PTR sessions some of the partners were given a card to reveal which they could then post on their social media. CDPR never explained what their reasoning was that they decided against a PTR involving the partners, leaving us with speculation ranging from they don’t trust their partners not to leak any content in advance all the way to the panic that the communities reaction to no content was becoming louder and pushed Merchants of Ofir out rapidly, which is partly why the partner discord was filled with daily bug reports for both cards and visual effects which would normally have been ironed out. Some clarity on this from them would be very welcome. The Gwent Partner program is to have an appeal to content creators, I feel that it is vital that CDPR bring back access to the closed PTR sessions and the reveal campaigns for partners. Without this, the benefits of participating as a Gwent partner are hugely limited. A fellow Gwent partner said the following about the Gwent partner program:

”In the beginning there was access to closed PTR where your feedback helped improve the state of the game. There was even a streaming partner cash tournament to help bring in bigger numbers to a streamer’s audience. Although the streamer tournament ended up being a one-off event, CDPR followed up partner support with card reveals for a new expansion, which helped create a minor amount of hype around a partner’s stream. However, it appears now that CDPR don’t really want to support their partners anymore. They literally took the only two perks for being a partner away with the most recent expansion.”

Another point of attention that I want to bring up is that CDPR hasn’t been featuring partners in the ”Creator of the Week” for some time despite creators continually making Gwent content. The last time a partner was featured was November the 7th when LordBushWook was featured. This is a missed opportunity for partners to grow their channels and for Gwent to gain free advertising via social media. By comparison Magic: The Gathering Arena feature a creator every day and Hearthstone feature at least 2 a week and regularly plug content/streams of partners. Which is something that CDPR has done in the past. For example, I remember that CDPR tweeted about Ceely doing a subathon where she cosplayed as Ciri. They could do this more often if you ask me.

How do other games run their programs?

It’s odd to me that there were content creators that got denied even when they regularly published content related to Gwent. That is why I think the requirements for the partner program are unclear and flawed. If you look at other partner programs for example, it’s a lot clearer what the requirements for acceptance are;

To become a partner for League of Legends, your content needs to be at least 30% about League of Legends based. If you stream on Twitch you also need to average 50+ concurrent viewers in the past 30 days. If you create content on YouTube you need to have at least 5,000+ average views on your video content in the past 30 days and at least 1000 YouTube subscribers. Another example that I want to give is the Mythgard partner program. For Twitch you need to be an affiliate with at least 500 followers and 10+ average concurrent viewers, while for YouTube you need to have at least 5000 subscribers and 500 views. This is, in my opinion what CDPR should have done when they decided to present the partner program for Gwent. If you know what the requirements are as a content creator, you can set goals for yourself and work towards those.

What would I do?

First, I would look at the current Gwent partners and kick the inactive ones from the program to make room for new content creators to apply for the program. In order to do this, I would like to see the current requirements changed. A suggestion for the requirements could be that when you are a partner on Twitch or YouTube, and you publish Gwent content frequently, you get accepted to the program. If you are an affiliate you would need to have at least 500 followers and 25+ average concurrent viewers on Twitch. Similarly, on YouTube you would need to have at least 1000 subscribers and 500 views. Writers that would like to apply to the partner program wouldn’t be able to join with the requirements that I suggested, that’s why I think there should be different requirements for writers. To ensure that it’s worth striving for the Gwent partner program I think CDPR should review their Gwent partners periodically. So, if a Gwent partner is inactive or doesn’t meet the requirements, that Gwent partner should get removed from the partner program in my opinion. Second, I would bring back closed PTR, the reveal campaign and the ‘’Creator of the week’’. In the end the partner program is there to help support your community, both the content creator and the viewer. An idea would be that partners are getting the opportunity to give away a variety of kegs (or other rewards) during certain releases. This could vary in 5, 10 and 20 kegs for example. This could also be the featured Gwent partner of the week that gets access to do giveaways. The content creator is benefiting from the higher viewing number and the viewers by earning in-game cards. Another idea is that the Twitch drops are increased in the stream of the featured Gwent partner of the week. These drops could also very well be in-game cosmetics than the ones we are currently used to receive.

Conclusion

We don’t know what the direction of the partner program is now. And it’s being overshadowed by Gwent Masters, season 2 and the release of Gwent on Android. I hope that Gwent partners will be used more in the future. Because as it stands now, the only reason to apply for the partner program seems to be cosmetics. For me personally that’s not what would make me strive to become a Gwent partner. And with Gwent Masters being postponed due to the COVID-19, its giving CDPR an opportunity to make use of their Gwent partners to promote the release of Gwent on Android with giveaways. The partner program has a lot of potential but it’s not being used to its full extend. The biggest asset Gwent has is its community of loyal players and content creators. CDPR should engage them more and make content creators strive to become a Gwent partner!