Team Bandit Gang


Deck Guide: Skellige Blaze of Glory

From the creator of Gudrun Shupe and definitely 100% independent creator of Triple Siege, Triple Masquerade Ball, Triple Haunt and Triple Passiflora. Babyjosus presents you: Skellige Blaze of Glory. If you consider yourself a person troubled in life, but someone that perseveres in the end. Someone who goes beyond all obstacles but still manages to be successful. Then you could very well be a warrior, and then this deck might be the deck for you.

Blaze of glory is the brand-new leader ability for the Skellige faction. With this ability you can move a Skellige unit from your deck to the graveyard. And deal damage to an enemy unit by its power. This ability adds 15 provisions to your deck which is the middle ground for provisions. Whenever I play this ability it makes me do a war cry. A call made to rally my warriors for battle. I hope my neighbors are not worried about me and that they won’t call the cops on me.

But you might be wondering now: ‘’BJ, why don’t you just netdeck FreddyBabes and play Ursine Ritual that deck is so crazy’’. Well dear reader, this leader ability has amazing combo potential and I just wanted to give it a shot. The combo that I go for is to use Blaze of Glory on Jutta an Dimun to deal 12 damage. And then play Ermion on Sigrdrifa’s Rite to summon Jutta an Dimun on the board. This is a 26-point play and if you happen to summon Crowmother, it’s a 30-point play.

This combo is quite strong so you want to use it whenever you think you can 2-0 your opponent or just in the last round. If you get bleed in round 2 you could consider playing your leader ability to make sure to keep your card advantage. But only if you are certain to win round 3 without it. It’s important to mulligan Jutta an Dimun back into your deck when it’s in your hand to enable the combo.

With this patch cards like Svalblod Totem and Primal Savagery got a slight buff because of the Bear abomination being 6 base power now. This is a significant buff if you ask me. Svalblod Totem is a 12 for 10 now. And I considered running Harald Houndsnout since you can play the totem in between two of the three skulls. If they then decide to kill a Svalblod Fanatic you still have a skull to trigger with totem. But I opted to switch Harald Houndsnout out for Dracoturtle because my opponents kept removing Harald Houndsnout with a 4-provision bronze. If they happen to lock or kill one of the Svalblod Fanatics you can also play Dracoturtle next to the totem and trigger it.

Primal Savagery is now an 8 for 5 when you trigger the deathblow. To make it easier to activate the deathblow ability I decided to add a Dimun Light Longship. These swift longships that sail many seas not only have synergy with Primal Savagery in this deck. They also work really well with Gigascorpion Decoction and Stunning Blow.

With Svalblod Totem and Primal Svagery being added to the deck. Paired together with Crowmother and Savage Bears. We can also play a Crow Clan Druid. She is an easy 8 for 5 because of the beasts that we can get on the board. Other than that, we run two Svalblod Priests and two Armored Drakkars. You usually play them in round 1 to secure the round. This will also setup your Freya’s Blessings for later. A cute play on blue coin is to trigger Magic Lamp and play Svalblod Priest to get immediate value.

Mardroeme works really well on Armored Drakkar and Dracoturtle. We also happen to run a lot of other Alchemy cards so putting in Gremist makes a lot of sense. Especially with Nilfgaard and Syndicate running a lot of poison cards. It’s a really good tech card to have to safe your Svalblod Priest from dying. Raiding fleet allows you to get an Armored Drakkar or Light Longship which thins your deck a little.

You can now conclude that the bronze core of this deck will get you a lot of value and supports the gold core very well. All that is left now is simply to go on a raid to succeed at our common goal- such as taking over territory and killing Nilfgaardians on the ladder!


The Deck

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Deck Guide: Nilfgaard Imposter

From the creator of Gudrun Shupe and definitely 100% independent creator of Triple Siege, Triple Masquerade Ball, Triple Haunt and Triple Passiflora. Babyjosus presents to you: Nilfgaard Imposter. If you have always wanted to take another’s name or identity, and use it to your own advantage, then this deck might be the deck for you.

Imposter is a brand-new leader ability for the Nilfgaard faction. What this ability does is to allow you to lock a unit from your opponent and spawn a base copy of it on the opposite row and boost it by 2. With this ability you add 13 provisions to your deck which is on the lower side when you compare it to the other Nilfgaard abilities. But that shouldn’t stop you from deceiving others.

What I decided to do is to dust off Operator so I could combine it with this ability. I play Operator in a long round 3 on a Thirsty Dame and then play the Imposter ability on it. This will get you two Thirsty Dames who will be 5 and 6 points. You can then start making copies of the opponents locked Thirsty Dame with Duchess’s Informants to get you more Thirsty Dames on your side of the board. These Duchess’s Informants truly serve the empire well.

Playing Damien de la Tour gives you the opportunity to get another Thirsty Dame. Or if you are not in the mood to get some lonely time with another Thirsty Dame. You can always decide not to. Ffion van Gaarnel can protect your Thirsty Dames and Damien de la Tour. The bastard claims that he dies last. But in reality that’s usually not the case. After setting everything up you can finally start poisoning your opponent’s units. Maraal, Van Moorlehem’s Cupbearer, Rot Tossers and Fangs of the Empire will help you wipe your opponent’s board.

In order to get a long round 3, I decided to organize a Masquerade Ball in round 1. A Masquerade Ball is an event in which many participants attend in costume wearing a mask. A Masquerade Ball usually encompasses music and dancing. But this Masquerade Ball encompasses vampires and poison. These nighttime events are used for entertainment and celebrations. The fact that some attendees then disappear without a trace doesn’t seem to be noticed by anyone.

I figured this is the perfect way to celebrate the victory in round 1. Units with the Aristocrat tag definitely love to attend a Masquerade Ball. I usually prefer Van Moorlehem Hunters to get the party started. Joachim de Wett and Roderick of Dun Tynne are also units with the Aristocrat tag but most of the time I want to use them to secure the round 3 win. Royal Decree and Matta Hu’uri can be helpful to start the party going if you are not able to yourself.

So, now you are all set I would say get yourself a costume and mask and enjoy the eventful gameplay!

The Deck

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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.


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.


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…



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.


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!

Nilfgaard For Dummies


1. Introduction
2. The Starter Deck
3. Key Concepts
4. Leader Ability Rundown
5. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Introduction

If, unlike me, you have a passion for ruining peoples day then you will fit like a glove in the Nilfgaardian Empire. Does sending out spies, intercepting your opponents deck & hand, stealing their units and beating them with their own strategies sound like fun to you? I hope so, because otherwise you’ve started reading this for nothing and it’d be rude to stop now.

Nilfgaard are a very interesting faction if you’re looking for something a bit different. At a glance you’ll notice they have a lot of control and removal options – more so than some other factions. Just when you thought they couldn’t get enough locks then you will be pleased to hear they can actually lock your opponents leader ability. If you take a deeper look though, there’s a lot more to Nilfgaard than just saying “No” to everything. They have unique interactions with the opponent, and some of the most interesting, when it comes to ruining your opponents strategy. For example, they can place units in your deck and put units (known as spies) on your side of the board to benefit themselves and interact with the enemy deck without anything to stop them. They are very fun if you enjoy a disruptive and manipulative gameplay style.

All of this will be covered in detail but for now all you need to know is that Nilfgaard were designed in a lab where scientists actually used the latest in technology to accurately pinpoint where and how they can extract all the fun from whoever will be playing against them. Seriously though, they can be a lot of fun and you have to think properly when playing both as and against them.

2. The Starter Deck:

As with all starter decks, you’ll notice that you have some leftover provisions. (Each deck has 150 Provisions, with an extra amount depending on which leader ability you use, in the case of Strategic Withdrawal, we have a total of 165). This means that you can instantly take out some worse cards and add better ones without having to sacrifice anything else. If you want to know how to use the leader ability properly, or perhaps want to try a different one, then this is all covered in Section 4 (However Strategic Withdrawal is a good one to stick with).

The first thing you’ll see is that the deck runs a fair few removal tools compared to other factions Starter Decks. Cards like Alzur’s Thunder (which we have 2 of), Treason and Serrit give you some good, although conditional, instant removal options. There’s also a lot of locking cards like Auckes and Alba Armored Cavalry. This alone gives the idea that you will be able to shut down your opponents strategy so the playstyle of the deck is already pretty evident. But how are you going to generate points of your own? Well, cards like Nauzicaa Sergeant will generate value over time. This is a prime example of an Engine card. Nilfgaardian Knights and Slave Infantry also useful for getting pure value – more on these two down below as they are slightly conditional and only get full value under certain circumstances.

-The Leader Ability, Strategic Withdrawal, is a very flexible ability that essentially lets you re-play a card (boosting it by 2 on the way). An imporant thing to note about this ability is that if you return a damaged card back to your hand, then it will also be restored back to its full base power as well as being boosted by 2. Most cards in this deck have a fairly low base power, so it might not be useful, but it’s important to consider. You never want to return a Doomed unit to your hand either, as it will disappear since it’s being removed from the board.

Some of the best targets for this leader are Sweers or Serrit/Auckes as they have decent Deploy abilities. But you also don’t have to re-play the same card, so you could play a powerful card in round 1 and then pick it up to save it for round 3, and play a different card with the leader in return (however, I don’t reccomend using your leader in round 1 unless you have Damien de la Tour).

Key cards:

-Nilfgaardian Knight is a reliable bronze with a couple of uses. In any round that you’re going first, then you don’t have an enemy unit to boost by 2 so it plays for 7 solid points. If you are in a situation where you have to boost an enemy, then it can be strategically used to gain more value on Treason, since that card gets more value from higher enemy units. You can also use it to buff an enemy unit to higher than 9 points, putting it into the range of tall removal cards.

-Auckes and Serrit, as you may have noticed, are designed to work together and they are great control cards and if you have both in hand at the same time then they get more value than their provision cost. The extra damage from Auckes is fairly standard and easy to use – just shut down enemy engines or Order cards. Serrit has more interesting uses, though, as you can lock 2 engines at the same time which can be very powerful against Dryad Fledelings if playing against harmony, or Endrega Larva/Nekkers if playing against Monsters. However, a more niche use for this card is if you’re against a swarm deck (one that fills the board with small identical units and then buff them, such as firesworn or drones) then you can lock every single one. While alone this is pointless, you can then pair it with Slave Driver (which we will add later) to get insane amounts of damage. It’s unlikely this will often happen though – but fun to keep in mind incase the situation arises!

-Sweers is a very valuable card that is usually worth a flat 9 points, which is already punching 1 point above its provision cost, however if you steal an Engine, A card with Order or any other card that has more potential value than just its base power, then it can be worth a lot more. Some great targets to seize are units such as Redenian Archer, Redenian Knight and anything with the Thrive keyword,  such as a Nekker or Endrega Larva.

-Nauzicaa Sergeants are a key bronze card that gain 1 point every time you play a card with Deploy. Since almost all of the cards in the deck have deploy then it proves itsself to be a very reliable engine and can be a great source of points, aswell as being a proactive play – meaning that if you’re going first then you can open with it since it doesn’t need a target.

-Impera Brigade is a simple and effective way to thin your deck down if you play it in round 1 or 2, making you more likely to draw your higher cost cards in round 3. It’s a great proactive play too, just remember to always re-draw if you have 2 of them in your starting hand. You only ever need 1 in your hand or else it will ‘Brick’ and they will both be useless.

Replacements & Additions:

-Alba Spearman has been replaced with Slave Driver, they both have the same purpose – to damage – however Slave Driver have the potential to get more value and our deck makes the condition easy to achieve due to how many locks we have. Remember that Slave Drivers will also do more damage if one of your own units is locked!

-Alba Armored Cavalry has been replaced with Van Moorlehem Hunter as they both have the option to lock, however our new Hunter also means that if there are no viable lock targets then you can get value from bleeding. They are also cheaper and cost 1 less provision each

-Emissary has been replaced with Master of Disguise. While Emissary is an interesting spying unit, it simply doesn’t have that much value. Boosting your units by alot is often a bad idea – especially at earlier ranks, since all of the starter decks contain Geralt of Rivia so you will often get punished for playing into the range of tall removal. Master of Disguise was picked as it allows you to set up an engine and gain points off of locking units, and if there’s one thing this deck does well it is locking.

-Alba Pikemen have been replaced with Ramon Tyrconnel and Letho of Gulet. This is a case where, since we have so many leftover provisions, we can simply upgrade some bronze cards to gold ones. Alba Pikemen are an ok card however they’re not that useful in this deck. Ramon allows you to create an extra Nauzicaa Sergeant early on , as well as protecting it, for some great instant value and engine setup. You can also use it on a Slave Infantry or Nilfgaardian Knight if you need to in certian situations however you’re better off using it as early as possible while you still have the option to. Letho is similar to Serrit and Auckes, and in fact works with them. You get extra value (3 damage and/or a lock) depending if Serrit and Auckes are in your hand so this completes the three card set and is generally just good value.

-Elder Bears have been replaced with both Royal Decree and Damien de la Tour. Elder bears are useless cards and are basically made to be replaced. Royal Decree lets you pull any unit for your deck which gives alot of flexibility in all kinds of situations depending on what you need. It’s also a tactic which can be helpful in some other decks (again, more on this in Section 3). Damien de la Tour is a high-risk high-reward card that lets you re-use your leader ability! It is a very powerful ability if you can pull it off.

-Geralt of Rivia has been replaced with Leo Bonhart. As you will tell from their card text, Leo Bonhart is simply a better version of Geralt of Rivia as it gives you more target options, making it less likely to brick (become useless). This type of card is common throughout each of the factions – the idea of a card that is similar to a Neutral card but is simply much better due to it being faction specific.

If you have some spare scraps lying around, or already have the cards mentioned, then you can import our suggested improved version of the deck directly into your game here. It’s designed to synergise better overall but still leaves room for improvement (a whopping 11 provisions, in fact) so you can personalise it aswell as learn more about deckbuilding and implement deckbuilding strategies you may have found from other guides.

The cards put into this deck are by no means the best of the best, but are simply valuable upgrades to give an idea of how decks can be improved. Think of it as a halfway point between a starter deck and a competitive deck.

Important: Only craft this deck if you have the scraps to do it. There may be better cards to spend your resources on as you will see in sections 4 and 5.  Don’t mill your other cards just to create this deck. Even just reading above and looking at it should give you an understanding of how to improve decks and you can go about it in your own way!

If you want to try and upgrade it more, then a lot of powerful combos are covered in sections 4 and 5, which go more into detail and show what’s best for your chosen leader or preferred playstyle. A lot of bronze cards can simply be replaced with directly better golds due to the leftover provisions but the best thing you can do is experiment with the cards you have. Your first goal from here should be filling up the provision limit to maximise the power of your deck.

(If viewing on mobile, updated and original starter deck images are avalialbe at the bottom of the page)

3. Key Concepts

Nilfgaard have only a few faction-exclusive keywords, however they have a lot of synergy with global keywords and statuses such as Lock, Seize and Poison – so I’ll mention those below aswell despite them not being Nilfgaard exclusive. They are as follows:

-Agent. This is a tag that may belong to a unit, just like soldier or human, however sometimes it can easily be mistaken with spying units so I’m going to clear it up here just in case. 

-Assimilate is a keyword that fuels one main archetype of Nilfgaard, and it means that the card will boost its self by the specificed amount whenever you play a card that didn’t originate from your deck. This includes any cards that are played after being spawned or created, such as a card played from a Runestone. Assimilate points are also gained from cards played from your opponents deck or graveyard, accessed via cards like Cantarella and Experimental Remedy.

-Poison is a status, which is an applied effect represented by a small icon in the corner of the card and can be removed with Purify. In this case, Poison will do nothing on its own, but if a card with the poison status then recieves poison a 2nd time, it will be destroyed. This status is not exclusive to Nilfgaard however they are one of the best factions at utilizing it.

-Lock means that a cards ability will no longer work. This blocks keywords like Assimilate or Thrive, aswell as stopping Order abilities from being used. If you’re coming back to the game from beta, then Lock works a little differently than before – a locked unit still keeps their statuses. This means you can’t use a lock to remove Resilience, for example. Lock only blocks the cards written text ability.

-Reveal is a bit of an odd one.. It’s not used much but it is still prevalent in a few NG (and neutral) cards. It means that a random (unless otherwise specified) card is shown from the targets deck and then shuffled back. It’s fairly useless on its own, however cards that reveal will then use that revealed card as part of its own effect in some way, for example Spotter will reveal a card from your opponents deck and then boost its self by the revealed cards power. Despite being an RNG heavy effect, there are some cards that reveal from your own deck – which are usually more reliable since you have more control over your deck and can thin it down enough to give you better odds of revealing certian cards.

-Seize is a very powerful ability, once again not a Nilfgaard exclusive but just very well utilized by them, that lets you move a unit from your opponents side of the board to yours. You’ll notice that most seize abilities have a low power restriction, this is due to how big of a point swing seize can achieve. Not only are you gaining the exact amount of points that they lose, but you’re also able to steal an engine to get even more points in the long run. If you thought removal was good, then consider this removal on steroids. You can shut down an enemy engine whilst at the same time getting one yourself!

-Spying is a status that, if on a card text, simply means you play that card on the opponents side of the board. At first you’ll think “why do I want to give the opponent points?!” but in fact spying cards often have very valuable abilities, so the spying status is an interesting way to balance these. However, Nilfgaard has a few cards that gain points whenever you play a spying unit – so the ‘downside’ of giving your opponent points can be overcome.

-Tactic is simply a tag that belongs to most NG Special cards. Like Syndicate have Crimes, Nilfgaard have Tactics. This allows certian other cards to benefit off of playing tactics and they work very nicely with the Leader Ability ‘Enslave’, as you’ll see in section 4.

4. Leader Ability Rundown

Now the basics are out of the way, it’s time to chose the most important part of any deck. The first option presented when making a deck is what leader ability to use. Let’s go through them one by one:

Double Cross (17 Provisions):
Order: Create and play a card from your opponent’s hand.

If you’re planning to use an all-in assimilate deck then Double Cross is the leader ability for you! It’s not the most reliable however it can be very useful as you can use your opponents finisher and you can usually get some pretty good cards if you’re able to work out if your opponent is holding something good. It’s pretty flexible too as you get presented with, assuming your opponent has more than 3 cards left, at least 3 cards to pick from so chances are you’ll get something useful. The best way to use this ability is to wait until your opponent only has 3 cards left – this means you get to see exactly what cards they have allowing you to play around them which can be very valuable. Using it this late also means that you’ll likely have some Assimilate cards on the board too, and since you’re creating a card with this ability then it will activate all of those Assimilate keywords. However when you get to higher ranks then people will start trying to play around it by using their better cards earlier, so I’d reccomend playing it when your opponent has about 5 cards left so you’ll still be able to use their good cards. This ability also is quite generous in provisions, however the downside is that you can never know what you get and it’s hard for it to work exactly with your strategy. This is why other abilities are picked more often as they are reliable and can more easily play into your own gameplan. It’s definitely a very fun ability though and not to be underestimated – as playing 2 cards in one turn can mean some very powerful combos can go uninterrupted.

Its average value varies too much to pin down but you can expect at least 7~ points from the card picked alone, with more points from the assimilate abilities it will activate and being able to see what your opponent has can be very valuable giving an average of about 11 points. If you spot a scorch or igni and play accordingly then it could be the difference between a win and loss, and having crucial information like that can be really nice if you know how to use it. A good card to play with this leader is anything with assimilate. Specifically Glynnis aep Loernach as she gets 2 boosts for each time assimilate is triggered.

Tactical Decision (16 Provisions):
Order: Look at the top 3 cards from your deck and play one.

Tactical Decision is similar to Double Cross in that you’re presented with 3 cards making it flexible, however this one has the downside of not triggering any assimilate abilities or being able to see what your opponent has, but has the upside of selecting cards from your deck which not only means you can thin your deck down to increase your chances of getting better draws later on, but you also have a much better idea of what you’re going to get which makes it much more consistent and allows you to play into your own gameplan much more reliably. It also means you can pull off some 2-card combos without interruption, but they’ll be much better than the ones enabled Double Cross as you will get your own cards to use.

Again, this abilities value can vary making it hard for me to try and get an average, however it’s safe to expect at least 10, from both the card alone plus the unwritten value of thinning (if used in round 1 or 2) and playing 2 cards in 1 turn for a combo. A good card to use with this ability is
Albrich as he can put a card to the top of your deck – meaning you can guarantee what you will get to play – aswell as giving it a 2 point boost if it’s a unit.

Enslave (15 Provisions):
Order: Seize an enemy unit with 3 power or less. This value is raised by 1 for every 4 Tactic cards in your starting deck.

Enslave is among the top Nilfgaard leader abilities as it lets you seize an enemy unit which, as discussed earlier in section 3, is a very valuable ability. The fact this is a leader ability also means that you don’t have to wait a turn to set up a seizeable unit. Lets say that all your opponents units too high power to seize – since you can use this leader the same turn you play a card then you can damage a unit with a card into the range of this ability first and then steal it – meaning you can very often get an Engine or a card with an Order ability, giving you even more points than just the cards power. The big restriction to this leader ability, however, is the way it affects deckbuilding by requiring tactics to get more value. A 3 point seize isn’t great on it’s own so you’ll have to put alot of tactics in your deck to get more value, most often you’ll see people playing 8 tactics to enable a 5 point seize. This is probably the best balance between leader power and deck restriction, however some 6-Seize 12 Tactic decks can work. If you want to get any higher than that then you’ll need to go over 25 cards in your deck which is not reccomended – unless you, like some of us here at Bandit Gang, are a meme deck fanboy.

Its average value is about 10 and 12 points depending on the amount of tactics you’re using. You can seize a 6 for raw points, and if your siezing lower units then you’ll most likely go for an engine which will represent many more points in a long round however there is always the chance you’ll only be able to steal a 3 or 4 that does nothing. Some good cards to use with this ability are, you guessed it, lots of tactics. The best bronze ones are removal options such as Assassination and Tourney Joust or high-point ones such as Battle Preperation. The best gold tactics inculde Bribery, War Council and Royal Decree. Since you’ve already put these tactics in your deck then you’ll want to capitalize on it. The best card to use with this ability with this in mind is Hefty Helge, as it’s a very powerful card if used with lots of tactics.

Imperial Formation (15 Provisions):
Order: Boost an allied unit by 2. Charge: 4. Once all Charges have been exhausted, move a soldier from your deck to the top.

Imperial Formation is an ability that doesn’t have tonnes of synergy but instead focuses on pure points – it can work really well in decks with a lot of engines or order cards that need protecting and being able to move a card to the top of your deck also has it’s uses as we will discuss in just a second. Now I say this with all charge based abilities, but really, having multiple charges means that you can use a few points in earlier rounds just to get an edge if you need to catch up without having to commit one huge ability which can be very useful.

I’d say its average value is 10 points since while you’re getting 8 points through boosts alone, you can use it to keep engines alive which represent even more points, aswell as this you can get value from moving cards to the top of your deck such as, my pick for the best card to use with this ability; Affan Hillergrand. Whenever he is moved to the top of your deck then he summons himself to the board giving you 5 extra points aswell as some thinning.

Strategic Withdrawal (15 Provisions):
Order: Move an allied Nilfgaardian unit to your hand and boost it by 2, then play a card.

As discussed in Section 2, this is a very flexible ability that simply lets you re-play a card to use its ability twice (with a 2 point bonus on the way), or you can pick up a valuable card after playing it in round 1 to use again in round 3, however I’d not reccomend using it in round 1. Any card you pick up, if damaged, will be restored to its base power before being boosted by 2 so you can use this to heal a card if you must. It also purifies the card, allowing you to remove poison or unlock. Just don’t pick up a doomed card – as it will leave the battlefield and disappear.

It’s average value is about 10, considering you re-play a card with an ability worth 8 points. The value can be much more, though, depending on what card you use it with. Some of the best cards to use with this ability are ones with high ability value, including (but not limited to) Vilgefortz, Sweers and Ramon Tyrconnel.

Imposter (14 Provisions):
Order: Lock an enemy unit, then Spawn its base copy in the opposite row and boost it by 2.

Imposter is useful for many reasons, and fills a lot more roles than you may imagine. Firstly, it can lock an enemy unit which lets you shut down an engine. Not great on it’s own, but works well with cards that gain boosts/advantages off of having locked enemy cards. A lock is also a status, which works will with Nilfgaard cards such as a Thirsty Dame. Then you get your own copy of the card, however it is Spawned not Played, so it won’t activate any Assimilate effects. It can be fairly situational but if used correctly it can be very powerful. There are creative ways to use it, such as combining it with Vattier (who Siezes a locked enemy card) to use it as a type of tall removal. Or you could use Operator to give yourself a specific target you actually want, although none of these are 100% reliable.

It’s average value is too hard to calculate since it can be very low or very high depending on what card you target, and it can be tricky to use since it’s very situational. I feel as though it has its true potential undiscovered and at some point a powerful combo may come around in the future. For now I cannot list any good cards to combo it with since it relies on what your opponent plays, and I would advise agaisnt this for now if you are a beginner but it can definitely be very fun once you know what you’re doing and how to target effectively.

Lockdown (10 Provisions):
On game start, disable the enemy Leader for the duration of the battle. 

And finally we have the leader ability that sums up Nilfgaard. With only 10 provisions and no synergy then I don’t reccomend using this ability competitively however it can be fun in some seasonal modes or Arena, where the provision limit isn’t in effect. You’ll most likely see this leader creep out at times when another leader is very overpowered, or in the early days of new expansions and patches. It is definitely the most easy ability to use though, so if you just want to test and don’t have time to put thought into a deck then go ahead and suck the fun out of your opponent! It might see use at some point however it’s just too overcosted to be useful right now – but denying your opponents ability can be very good against other leader abilities with similarly low provision bonuses. 

It’s average value is ~12 (the average value of all other leaders average values) and can be higher depending on how much your opponent relies on their leader ability. For example against a deck with a 2-Card combo that requires a leader it can be super valuable. There aren’t really any cards I’d reccomend to use in this deck since it doesn’t synergise with any.

Overall I would consider Strategic Withdrawal and Tactical Decision the best ones for beginners since they’re reliable and powerful – Enslave is a contender among the best too however the deckbuilding restriction makes it slightly harder to optimize. Double Cross is definitely the most fun, in my opinion, as it presents mind games and gives you a lot of provisions when deckbuilding.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best Cards/Combos?

Some of the best single cards are ones such as Damien de la Tour – who allows you to replay your leader ability, and high-removal (and removal-esque) cards such as Leo Bonhart, Shilard Fitz-Oesterlen and Vincent Van Moorlehem.

As for 2-Card combos then Vilgefortz can be used with Tibor Eggebracht, if he’s at the top of your deck, to destroy a 1-Power allied unit and pull out this 13 point lad. Steffan Skellen can replay powerful tactics such as Bribery, and then Letho: Kingslayer can transform into a copy of that card to replay it again. Letho: Kingslayer also works well with many other cards such as Cahir Dyffryn or Damien de la Tour. (Remember that Kingslayer will not repeat a deploy ability, only passive/order abilities. Another small but effective combo is using Assire to put roach back into your deck, making it come out again instantly (although Assire has much better uses, like using it to re-draw your Scenario or other important cards)

If you want to play an assimilate deck rather than a control-focused one then Artorius Vigo can be used to create a Duchess’s Informant. This will trigger the assimilate abilities of your cards twice in one turn. Artorius can also be useful to create other cards that are already 1 power, such as a Doppler or Emissary – another spying unit.

What are the best Meta Decks?
If you want to find some good decks to play in ranked then you can check out the Gwent Deck Library to see the highest upvoted decks people are playing this patch, just make sure to filter by faction. Alternatively there are a couple of other teams who are producing ‘Meta Snapshots’ which give a rough guide of some of the best ranked decks avaliable. If you’re looking for more creative decks then our content team will have videos or future streams with some interesting decks and they’ll be happy to explain and help you understand more about the faction if they’re live!
I hear people using the term ‘Mill’ – What does it mean?
Mill is a playstyle (not supported enough to be a full archetype) for Nilfgaard that means removing all the cards from your opponents deck with cards like Viper Witchers to banish them or Matta Hu’uri so they overdraw. Once the opponents deck has been drained – they capitalise on this by either getting a straight up card advantage or using cards like Tibor Eggebracht & Vilgefortz with no downside.
I have no more questions for now, but I’ll update this section when I recieve more. Have a question you want to see here? Let us know!

That completes the Nilfgaard for Dummies Guide. If you have any more questions then comments are open and I’ll be happy to continue updating this & responding as frequently as possible.

The last update of this guide was: 16/05/2020 for Patch 6.2.1

Thank you for reading. If you want to help us out then we appriciate you sharing this article if it was helpful & you enjoyed it, and make sure to check out our social platforms below to stay updated!

Starter Deck
Starter Deck 2.0
Starter Deck
Starter Deck 2.0
Glynnis aep Loernach: Assimilate 2
Poison Icon
Lock Icon
Sweers: Deploy: Seize an enemy unit with 3 or less power.
Spying Icon
Example of the 'Tactic' Tag
Glynnis aep Loernach: Assimilate 2
Albrich: Deploy (Ranged): Move any card from your deck to the top. If it's a unit, boost it by 2.
Hefty Helge: Shield. Order: Damage a unit by 2. Charge: 1. Gain 1 Charge whenever you play a Tactic.
Affan Hillergrand: If moved to the top of your deck, Summon this unit to the melee row
Vilgefortz: Deploy (Melee): Destroy an enemy unit, then your opponent Summons the top unit from their deck to a random enemy row. Deploy (Ranged): Destroy an allied unit, then Summon the top unit from your deck to a random allied row.
Damien de la Tour: Order: Refresh your Leader's ability. If it's disabled, enable it instead.
Artorius Vigo: Assimilate. Deploy: Create and play a 1-power copy of a bronze unit from your starting deck.

Northern Realms For Dummies


1. Introduction
2. The Starter Deck
3. Key Concepts
4. Leader Ability Rundown
5. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Introduction

Northern realms. The Greedy Faction. The land of a thousand wars. “My crown’s bigger than yours”. Name it what you want, but this is a faction that has seen many ups and downs in the past yet is definitely a solid choice right now. It has some very high-value cards making for reliable (albeit not perfect) short rounds, arguably one of the best ‘Scenario’ cards in the game (A special artifact card designed to support an archetype, in this case, siege engines) and has the cheapest engines that require little to no setup and can get going quickly, for a very strong long round.

It’s also home to some ‘fan-favourite’ characters such as Dandelion, Priscilla and Shani, aswell as some of the most recognisable from The Witcher 3, such as The Bloody Baron, his wife (aswell as their cute botchling), Keira Metz and King Radovid (as a leader model atleast). So if you’re coming to the game with interest from a lore & flavour perspective then Northern Realms certianly isn’t lacking.

If you’re not a lore enthusiast and are simply looking to try and find a faction that is strong aswell as fun then Northern Realms is a perfect choice. Typical game plans rely on having lots of engines slowly generate points over time eventually overwhelming your opponent, setting up siege engines to have precise control over the board or – if you want to be experimental – tossing charges between units and maximising their value. There’s also some fairly reliable cards within the Mages and Soldiers packages too, if you’re looking for a midrange style deck that covers all bases. More specific details on these archetypes & keywords will be covered in Section 3.

Before I start, to save alot of confusion, I’m going to clarify that when I say “Engine” I mean a card that generates value over time, which is different to a “Siege Engine” – simply a tag belonging to some unit cards.

2. The Starter Deck

As with all starter decks, you’ll notice that you have some leftover provisions. (Each deck has 150 Provisions, with an extra amount depending on which leader ability you use, in the case of Inspired Zeal, we have a total of 165). This means that you can instantly take out some worse cards and add better ones without having to sacrifice anything else. If you want to know how to use the leader ability properly, or perhaps want to try a different one, then this is all covered in Section 4.

You’ll notice that alot (15 out of 25 to be specific) cards have the word “boost” somewhere in their description. This is because the deck works around using engines to generate points over time, and loves to use cards that react to being boosted, such as Tridam Infantry, or any card with the Inspiration keyword. Your main gameplan is to set up these engines early on in long rounds since they generate alot of value overtime, however the deck is significantly weaker in short rounds. Below I have listed some cards (aswell as the leader ability) that you can replace to have a stronger short round, whilst keeping the long round power aswell.

-The Leader Ability, Inspired Zeal, can be replaced with Royal Inspiration for two reasons. Firstly, it has alot more points throughout the game since you can use it often, instead of being limited to three uses. This allows you to use it to protect your engines the turn you play them, so you don’t feel like you’re wasting the zeal if only using Inspired Zeal for the boost effect. Secondly, the starter deck doesn’t run many order cards that are worthwhile for this ability, so it’s not worth having 1 less provision and less boosts.

-Tridam Infantry is a very powerful bronze as they not only output value for every single boost that goes onto them, but also outputs that value in the form of damage which has the value of possibly killing a valuable enemy card. The only thing to watch out is boosting it to 9 points or more – as all starter decks contain Geralt of Rivia by default, so playing into tall removal is likely to be punished. For this reason it’s better so stop boosting the Tridam Infantry (or any other card) at 8 points.

-Anna Strenger & Temerian Drummer are fantastic engine cards that can create very high value in a long round. If you have a drummer on the board, then playing Anna Strenger directly to the right of her will instantly enable her “Inspired” ability the first turn she is played, making her boost on both sides instead of just one. This is because abilities of cards go in order from Melee to Ranged, Left to Right (sometimes referred to as Order of Operations). This set up is very powerful as the two engines boost each other simultaneously making them hard to kill. Once Anna is at 8 points (to play around Geralt of Rivia), then you can put a Tridam Infantry between the drummer and anna to get 2 extra points per turn.

Prince Stennis, Nenneke These are 2 cards that have very decent value alone. They are useful in a short round as they don’t need multiple turns to get good value. Nenneke is best used on Tridam Infantry since she boosts 4 seperate times, and prince stennis can be use to protect an engine or to help a unit to reach its Inspired ability.


-Field Medics are ok, but they require setup and is only 1 point alone if you can’t a good setup. They can be replaced with 1 Lacerate as it is much better value and also synergises well with your Reinforced Trebuchets. Since you opponent will likely play more of their units on the melee row, so they don’t get hit by your Trebuchets, then it means that lacerate can capitalize off of this since it is more effective the more units are on a row. However lacerate is still not great in a short round.

-Siege Support can be replaced with Kaedweni Sergeant. You won’t often use the Charge ability from Siege Support, so it’s better to have 2 boosts instead. The zeal is also fairly useless as you can get zeal from your leader ability.

-Ballista can be replaced with Carroballista. It doesn’t do any damage on deploy, but instead has 2 more base power making it much more reliable as a normal ballista can easily die, and the 1 point of damage isn’t usually worth much.

-Blue Stripes Commando while a very good card isn’t worth running if you’re switching leader ability to Royal Inspiration. Instead, I reccomend putting Dun Banner in place of these. They both thin the deck, however without zeal then BS Commando is likely to die, leaving a bricked (now useless) card in your deck.  Dun Banner is simply a card that does the same thing, but more suited to our new leader ability. Make sure to only ever have 1 in your starting hand, and try to play it round 1 so it won’t brick in future rounds.

-Siege Tower can be replaced with Battering Ram. They are worth the same points overall, except Battering Ram outputs damage which is helpful, especially early on, when it comes to destroying enemy engines. Furthermore, if played on the back row in between Soldier Cards (specifically Dun Banner) then the Crew effect is achived, allowing it to activate the same turn it is played. The Order ability also means it will give a charge to your Lyrian Arbalests. This replacement isn’t a huge priority as you still get the same value from Siege Towers, so it’s up to you.

-Thunderbolt can be replaced with Keira Metz. Thunderbolt is usually only 6 points and therefore not worth running in this deck for 8 provisions. Keira Metz, while requiring a small bit of setup, is extremley valuable and almost always plays for more than her provision cost in the long run. She’s also much better in a short round (at least compared to Thunderbolt) due to having a 5 power body. Her vitality effect is great for activating damage from your Tridam Infantry or just keeping your other engines alive. You’ll want to make sure to play her on the earlier side of the round, though, since vitality will be almost meaningless if there aren’t enough turns left to process it.

Dorregaray of Vole is fairly important in a beginner deck since it’s one of your few control cards and this deck doesn’t have many cards that can instantly shut down another. However, Margarita of Aretuza does the same thing except her ability is on an order, thus giving your Lyrian Arbalests an extra charge each.

-Ronvid the Incessant has his place in some decks, but this is not one of them. His ability doesn’t really do anything for our gameplan so I reccomend replacing him with Reinforcements. This card lets you get a copy of a bronze card on the board, which is really useful if you need more boosting engines or more Tridam Infantries.

Geralt of Rivia is definitely a reliable card, however due to having left over provisions then there are much better cards to use. If he doesn’t have a high enough target then you end up stuck with a 3 point card that does nothing. A perfect replacement is Falibor. He is always worth 10 points minimum, but can be worth more if you line targets up correctly with Arbalests. The damage he deals is enough to shut down an engine with a bit of support. Furthermore, his 7 point body means that not only is he valuable in a short round but he also provides a good target for Keira Metz.

Update as of 04/03/2020: Trebuchets have been slightly nerfed, if you want to replace them then Redenian Archer is a cheap yet effective engine that deals damage in 1 point pings. However, trebuchets are still fine and definitely useful if still playing Lacerate.



If you have some spare scraps lying around, or already have the cards mentioned, then you can import our suggested improved version of the deck directly into your game here. It’s designed to synergise better overall but still leaves room for improvement (a whopping 14 provisions, in fact) so you can personalise it aswell as learn more about deckbuilding and implement deckbuilding strategies you may have found from other guides.

The cards put into this deck are by no means the best, but are simply valuable upgrades to give an idea of how decks can be improved. Think of it as a halfway point between a starter deck and a competitive deck.

Important: Only craft this deck if you have the scraps to do it. There are better cards to spend your resources on as you will see in sections 4 and 5.  Don’t mill your other cards just to create this deck. Even just reading above and looking at it should give you an understanding of how to improve decks and you can go about it in your own way!

If you want to try and upgrade it more, then alot of powerful combos are covered in sections 4 and 5, which go more into detail and show what’s best for your chosen leader or preferred playstyle. A lot of bronze cards can simply be replaced with directly better golds due to the leftover provisions but the best thing you can do is experiment with the cards you have. Your first goal from here should be filling up the provision limit to maximise the power of your deck.

3. Key Concepts

Northern Realms has some very interesting keywords aswell as being the best at synergising with global keywords such as Order and Charge. They are as follows:

-Charge: A charge is a keyword that belongs to cards with Order abilities. It means that the order can be done multiple times, as specified by the card text, and any card with ‘Charge: X’ can also recieve more charges from other cards. (Another way to tell this is if the Order Icon has a small lightning icon around the circle).  These effects are generally weak individually but can be generated multiple times, and can be stored up to use them the same turn as playing a card.
It’s common for 1 charge to equal 1 point, however it’s fairly easy to reach 2 or possibly 3 points value per charge.
When it comes to cards that give charges then you’ll want to optimise them by trying to give them to cards whose order is worth more than 1 point, such as Hubert Rejk – who gets 2 points of value per charge. Alternatively, if you give any charges to a card that boosts, then you can get more value by then spending that boost on a Tridam Infantry to get 1 point of damage from it too.

-Crew: A card with a crew ability means that the specified ability happens if the card is played inbetween two soldiers. For example, Foltests Pride will deal 1 damage per charge, but 2 damage if it’s crewed. A reliable way to set up a crew condition is to use cards that summon copies of eachother (Dun banner, Blue Stripes Commando, etc.) or use cards that spawn more soldiers. Immportal Cavalry will instantly create a crew condition as it puts 2 soldiers on the board in 1 turn.

-Duel: A duel is when two cards take turns damaging eachother by their current power. Pretty simple, but it can sometimes be a pain to calculate when taking into account Armour or Shields. The dueling unit will always attack its target first.

-Formation: If a card has Formation, then it means that if played on the Melee row it will gain Zeal, and if played on the Ranged row it will get a 1 point boost. This very useful as it gives you the choice to either get instant value out from your order ability, or you can play greedy and risk waiting 1 turn for an extra point, and in some cases letting you use the Inspired ability without having to manually boost. You’ll notice that this keyword is on a few cards with the Inspired keyword, meaning that playing on the back row and risking the wait will result in even more value than just the 1 point boost.

-Inspired: If a card text says Inspired, followed by an ability text, then it means that the ability will only happen if the card is boosted (All boosted units have their power number in green).

-Order: While not exlcusive to Northern Realms, this keyword is important as there are alot of NR cards that have abilities revolving around playing cards with Order (such as Lyrian Arbalest) and NR also has the best tools to give cards zeal. Order simply means that the card ability is activated manually, and must wait 1 turn before it can be used.
Unless you have a way to give zeal, then never play a card with Order as your last play, since the next turn wont happen and you can’t activate it. Make sure to use all your Order abilities if you plan on passing, too, as you won’t be able to activate them after passing.

-Resupply: Some cards have Resupply, followed by an ability. Resupply simply means that the specified ability will activate every time you play a Warfare card (We’ll get on to those in just a bit.)

-Shield: A shield is a Status. A status is pretty much a keyword that can be removed by being Purified, but can also be given to other units. They also have a small icon in the bottom left corner of the card when applied. In this case, a Shield means that the next instance of damage dealt to the unit will be negated, and the shield will be removed. It can take 1 damage or 1,000 damage – it will all be blocked either way. If a card has armour aswell as a shield, the shield will break first. It’s great for keeping engines or cards with Order abilities alive and can also be very, very powerful if applied to a Dueling unit. It’s important to remember that units with a shield can still be instantly destroyed by cards such as Geralt of Rivia or Scorch.

-Warfare: Warfare is a tag belonging to some Northern Realms special cards. That’s it! When played, they will trigger the Resupply abilities of cards that have them.

-Zeal: Finally, zeal means that a card with an Order ability can be activated on the same turn it is played. Again, not exclusive to Northern Realms, however they have the best tools to make use of it.

Some of the keywords mentioned above (Shield, Zeal, Order, Charge, Duel) are not exclusive to Northern Realms, however I thought they were worth mentioning here because NR has the best way to utilise them and has the best tools that involve those abilities.

4. Leader Ability Rundown

Now the basics are out of the way, it’s time to chose the most important part of any deck. The first option presented when making a deck is what leader ability to use. Let’s go through them one by one:

Stockpile (17 Provisions):
Order: Give 1 Charge to an allied unit. Cooldown: 2.
Stockpile is an interesting one, however it’s probably one of the least played leader abilities out of every single leader ability in the game. This is mostly because charges are worth 1 point most of the time, and it requires setup, so why not just use Royal Inspiration for the same value? Well, there are a few cases where the charges can be worth more than 1 point and in certian situations the ability can be very powerful and get out of hand if paired with cards such as Dandelion or Shani. Decks designed to best use this ability either completley steamroll the opponent or get completley steamrolled themself. More often the former happens since it can be hard to get charge-takers to stick as each faction has access to good removal. 17 Provisions is among the highest out of all leader abilities so there is alot of room to fit in powerful cards.

Its average value is about 12 points. Assuming you can use the ability 8 times (a minimum of 16 cards are drawn in total throughout a game) aswell as some of those uses being worth 2 points (or even 3) Although, it can be very common to miss a turn with this ability if you don’t have a charge taker on the board – but it’s value can be much higher than 12 points if played correctly. Key cards to use with this ability are ones such as Dandelion, or charge-takers like Shani who represent a high charge to point ratio. Tridam Infantry also let your ‘Boost by 1’ charges be worth 2 points aswell, so they are usually worth putting in. This ability doesn’t really have any single units to rely on but instead it supports a wide range of units that work better if your opponent has few counter options.

Mobilization (16 Provisions):
Order: Play a copy of an allied unit from your deck, boost it by 2 and give it Zeal.
Mobilization is a very fun, and can have great power in a short OR a long round, depending on what card you pull out. It only works with bronze units, but the +2 boost and zeal means they can get to work right away aswell as having a good chance to survive. There is a big risk that comes with this ability, though, and that is it can brick and not have a valuable target. Since you can only have 2 copies of a bronze card in a deck, then its easy for you to have both of them in your hand, or have one in your hand but another in the graveyard from an earlier round. In rare situations you might not have any bronze cards in your hand at all! For this reason it can be played in round 2 if you want to push and go for a 2-0, if you don’t want to risk it not working in round 3.

Its average value I’d say is about 10. This assumes that the card you pull is an engine that lasts a couple rounds. As with how all averages go, it can be less and can be more. A definitive way to get very high value with this card is to use it on a Kaedweni Revenant or a Trebuchet. Revenants are very powerful cards that create very high value overtime and represent Northern Realms swarm archetype. Trebuchets, on the other hand, are a good choice as they can be used to progress the Siege scenario to the next chapter on the same turn it is played, this is a great combo as siege spawns a trebuchet for you to copy and then also you will progress to the next chapter of the Scenario in the same turn you play a copy of it. For pure points with little synergy value, then Kaedweni Knight is a reliable option in a short round, but there are plenty of cards to chose from and this ability can work with a few different archetypes.

Royal Inspiration (16 Provisions):
Order: Boost an allied unit by 1. Cooldown: 2.
Royal Inspiration is an ability, like Stockpile, that is consistent and can be used throughout the game. It has a fair provision bonus and is generally used to support the boost archetype, as seen in Section 2, and can be great for keeping engines alive and activating inspired effects. You’ll (probably) always have a target for this ability too, so its unlikely that you’ll miss an opportunity to use it.

Its average value is about 12, as you’ll get 8 pure points alone in a full game but even more if used on cards such as Tridam Infantry, or to set up an Inspired ability. While I’ve stated this average value as 1 point lower than Stockpile, I still think it’s better since you will always have a target and the value of using it to keep an engine alive is much more valuable and complex to be defined by a single number – so my average may not be accurate in this case. The simple fact is that it will always reach this average value consistently, whereas the Stockpile average value is a type of average that is a median between a superb game and a terrible one rather than a consistent measure. A good card to use with this leader is Anna strenger or Anseis, as you can instantly enable their Inspired effect.

Vicious Slash (16 Provisions):
Order: Damage an enemy unit by 8. Deathblow: Give adjacent units Bleeding for a duration equal to any excess damage dealt.
And here’s the ability that does not synergise with any northern realms cards at all. It’s on the same unplayed level as Stockpile, except this one just isn’t as fun and lacks potential. However, it is certianly valuable on its own, that 8 damage can shut off any engine or powerful order card most of the time and even the excess damage is compensated so it could be worse. You could find use for it in decks that all-in engines and have no removal cards of their own – but that would be a bad idea in its self. Alternatively it might have a place in the opposite; decks that are all-in removal, if you really want to stop your opponent having fun. The 16 provisions is enough for it to hold a decent deck, and I suppose it is a simple ability and therefore suitable for a beginner. It’s not a bad ability – it just wont contribute to a reliable gameplan.

Its average value is about 11 points since it has 8 pure value that will almost always deny future engine value, aswell as excess damage being given in the form of bleeding. So it has decent value – all in the form of removal which is not to be underestimated. There aren’t really any good cards that combo well with this ability – even the ones suggested in-game don’t have synergy with it. So until a new card gets added that works with this ability, I’ll leave you with a picture of Knickers, everyones favourite dog. (He also represents the idea of power with 0 synergy.)

Inspired Zeal (15 Provisions):
Order: Boost an allied Northern Realms unit by 1 and give it Zeal. Charge: 3.
Here’s the ability that you may know from the unmodified starting deck. It can be very strong when used on Gold cards with Order, and having 3 charges is nice and leaves you with flexible options in every round. As of right now there aren’t a huge amount of cards worth using this ability on, however it can only go uphill when more are added in future expansions. You don’t really want to use this ability just for the boost alone. Always prioritize zeal on your target, if you want boosts then stick to Royal Inspiration.

Its average value is about 3 points… except not really. Sure it’s 3 points written down however the idea of using high power Order cards without your opponent being able to stop you represents value that is too high/abstract for me to sum up to a single number. It’s hard to say how much of a cards ability value can be credited to the leader ability so it won’t make sense if I try. But its definitely good value. Some good cards to use with it are Seltkirk (for sure), Prince Anséis and the Bloody Baron, as they all have strong abilities on Order that are even better if used instantly. Another very good combo – that entire decks are built around, are Blue Stripe Commandos. Using Blue Stripes Scout then you can put more in your deck to pull out. Then during round 2 (or early round 3) you can shuffle them back into the deck with Pavetta, and then pull them all out at once, using the zeal, for an insane round 3 finisher.

Uprising (14 Provisions):
Order: Boost an allied unit by 1. Charge: 3
Once all Charges are used up, Spawn and play Lyrian Scytheman

Uprising is a one of Northern Realms few abilities that comes with a built-in finisher. It is perfect for any boost decks and it can thrive in a long round. Obviously you’ll want to save as many charges as you can for round 3, as you want to spawn the Scytheman in round 3 for maximum value where it matters. Of course you could spare a charge in the earlier rounds if you are desperate to catch up, or if you want to set Anna Strenger off as early as possible, but other than that it is usually best to save your energy and unleash it all at the end.

Its average value is about 12 points since you’re getting 3 boosts, 3 base strength from the scytheman and you can easily achieve 6 boosts from that scytheman. Or perhaps if you’re spending the boosts on cards like Tridam Infantry in which they gain more value, or simply to keep an engine alive, then they see more than just 1 value. A good card to use with this leader ability is Vissegerd as he also gains points off of boosted units, which your deck will be doing anyway. Note: His provisions has since been changed from 8 to 7.

Pincer Maneuver (12 Provisions):
Order: Play a Northern Realms card from your hand, then draw any card. Finally we have Pincer Maneuver, this is a super flexible ability that lets you not only play 2 cards in 1 turn, but also draw any card of your choice. This allows you to always get hold of a finisher or key card from your deck if your redraws are unforgiving. It has very high potential and can be used in a vareity of situations; to either pull a tech card (card put in your deck to deal with a very specific matchup/counter) from your deck or to get off a big wombo combo uninterrupted. This is all held back by the hefty cost of only giving you 12 provisions, though, which is among the lowest few leader abilities in the game.
Its average value is about 12, but that’s a vague estimation. Unfortunatley very hard to say yet again, due to the amount of potential and possibility it has, but no matter the value it will always be in the form you want it. Damage? Boosts? Bodies on the board? It has your back. There are loads of good cards to use with this leader, but a simple combo for a beginner would be something like Prince Anséis and Knighthood. There’s always new wacky ideas appearing from this leader so go ahead an experiment for yourself! It’s one of the most fun leaders going due to how reliable & flexible it is. The only problem is how limiting its provisions are.
Overall I would consider Pincer Manuever and Mobilization the best due to their strength of playing 2 cards in a turn, however Royal Inspiration and Inspired Zeal can have great potential if used in decks that are designed around them. Like I said, Inspired Zeal is a little lacking for now but will become better when more NR Order cards are added later on.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best Cards/Combos?

For pure value, single cards, then Northern Realms has access to so great High-Power cards such as Falibor, Prince Anséis, Bloody Baron and Phillipa: Blind Fury. These require little setup and are super reliable.

As for combos in engine decks, then Tridam Infantry are a must have bronze for any decks with boosting. Nathanial Pastodi is also a better version of those which can be used as a boost target for high value. Anna Strenger inbetween these cards make huge engine tempo aswell. Playing a Shield onto any dueling unit will also stop it from taking the first hit, making them super strong for taking out cards. A good way to get a shield is using NR’s Strategem, Engineering Solution.

If you’re playing revenants, then Ronvid the Incessant is a must-have as he will keep respawning as a 1 Power unit whenever you play a soldier, helping your Revenants reproduce and fill the board like crazy. Voymir can then boost them all for a big finisher.

If you are going for a charge deck then Priscilla is a must have, along with Dandelion as mentioned in Section 4. The best cards to get high value out of your chages are Hubert Rejk, Shani and a Crewed Foltests Pride. Vysogota of Corvo also works insanely well with Dandelion.

What are the best Meta Decks?
If you want to find some good decks to play in ranked then you can check out the Gwent Deck Library to see the highest upvoted decks people are playing this patch, just make sure to filter by faction. Alternatively there are a couple of other teams who are producing ‘Meta Snapshots’ which give a rough guide of some of the best ranked decks avaliable. Our streamers will often be playing these higher tier decks and they’ll be happy to explain and help you understand more about the faction if they’re live!

I have no more questions for now, but I’ll update this section when I recieve more. Have a question you want to see here? Let us know!

That completes the Northern Realms for Dummies Guide. If you have any more questions then comments are open and I’ll be happy to continue updating this & responding as frequently as possible.

The last update of this guide was: 05/16/2020 for Patch 6.2.1

Thank you for reading. If you want to help us out then we appriciate you sharing this article if it was helpful & you enjoyed it!

Starter Deck
Starter Deck 2.0
Foltest's Pride: Zeal. Order: Damage an enemy unit by 1. Inspired: Damage an enemy unit by 2 instead. Charge: 1.
Example of a card with the Soldier tag.
Prince Anséis: Formation. Order: Damage an enemy unit by 4. Inspired: Duel an enemy unit instead.
Immortal Cavalry: Shield. Deploy: Spawn a base copy of this unit to this row.
Dandelion: Ranged: Whenever an ally gains a charge, boost it by the amount gained.
Kaedweni Revenant: Order: Damage a unit by 1. Deathblow: Spawn a base copy of this card to the row.
Anna Strenger: Every allied turn end, boost the unit to the right by 1. Inspired: Boost adjacent units by 1 on allied turn end instead.
Seltkirk: Melee, Order: Duel an enemy unit.
Vissegerd: Formation. Deploy: Gain Charges equal to the number of boosted allied units. Order: Damage an enemy unit by 1. Charge: 1.
Knighthood: Split 6 boosts between all units on a row. (Prince Anséis pictued above in section 3)

Monsters For Dummies

  1. Introduction
  2. The Starter Deck
  3. Key Concepts & Combos
  4. Leader Ability Rundown
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Introduction

So you want to play Monsters? Well you came to the right place, as this guide will cover all the information you need to know to get started.  Perhaps you just picked a faction based on its theme and lore, or maybe there’s a chance you thought it would be one of the simpler factions to learn and therefore a great one for beginners, and now it’s not going too well, in which case I don’t blame you.  Radovid once said “Beasts need no such thing to dominate” when talking about chess-like strategy in the Iron Judgement trailer, and from that alone it’s clear he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But fear not, because I do.
One big concern/misconception I have seen alot recently is people feeling as though monsters is too weak, and while monsters may slightly be on the weaker side right now, there’s no reason to jump ship to another faction, especially if you have limited resources. Even if they If are weak it doesn’t mean they’re the worst and will remain that way. If you’ve already invested into monsters and are starting to regret it, then don’t worry, we are here to help. This guide will hopefully motivate you to stick to this faction as it’s one of the most flavourful in my opinion and it would be a shame to lose a member of the Gernichora fan club. New players, remember: It’s always better to be heavily-invested into a sub-par faction than scarecly invested into a good one. And this goes for any faction.
The most important thing to know is that monsters is usually better in a short round as it can be very pointslam focused. Obviously there are exceptions (an example of this is Insectoids, Section 3.) however the lack of engines and abundance of high base power cards mean that you can usually overpower your opponent quickly if they dont have time to catch up. This is why it can be a good idea to bleed round 2 after winning round 1, this way you are making sure that round 3 will be as short as can be and therefore not letting your opponent have enough turns to catch up with your pointslam openers.

2. The Starter Deck

Looking to improve the starter deck?

The first thing you should aim on doing when looking to upgrade the starter deck is filling up the provisions (deckbuilding card cost) of the starter deck. You’ll have plenty to play around with so I reccomend you upgrade some bronze cards to gold ones as you wont go over the limit. 

Nekkers can be replaced with Endrega Larva as a direct upgrade. Thunderbolt can be removed and replaced with Old Speartip: Awake. Celaeno Harpies can be replaced with Barghests and Archespores can be replaced with any better deathwish cards as they are pretty weak. These are of course not the optimal replacements, however they are for sure the best upgrades that come to mind. There is alot of fun in experimenting with what works and what doesn’t, and if you get stuck then there’s plenty of other guides out there made by the community that focus on the starter decks, whereas this guide is more focused on the faction as a whole.

It should be fairly easy to upgrade this deck over time as there is alot of room for improvement. At some point it’s also important to decide what archetype you want to focus on and reflect that in your deck rather than cover all bases. See Section 3 for information regarding the keywords that you can build your deck around.


3. Key Concepts

There are plenty of Monsters-exclusive keywords/concepts to understand that revolve around interacting with your own units. They are as follows:
Thrive: Thrive is an incredibly powerful keyword and one of monsters strongest tools. It simply means that whenever a unit, with higher power than the card with thrive, is played (Not Summoned), it boosts itself by 1. (If a card has 2 power, playing 3 power card or above will activate it). This is why cards such as Nekkers and Endrega Warriors are powerful despite only having 1 strength. It means that they can be activated alot easier, as you only have to play a 2 power card to trigger them. However a card with a base strength of 9 and thrive would be worse as its thrive would rarely get triggered.
The main downside of thrive is that it gets harder to activate as the round goes on, units starting at 1 or 2 strength may end up at 8 and therefore almost impossible to activate their thrives later on, whereas other faction keywords aren’t as limited. This is one reason why monsters has alot of high base power cards.
However, thrive has the upside of being able to activate twice in one turn very easily. Units that create/play other units such as Dandelion: Poet or Gascon: Iron Falcon mean you’re playing two cards and therefore having the potential to activate thrive twice in one turn, which can help in a short round.
Dominance: This is a fairly basic one. It simply means if you control (have on your side of the board) the unit with the highest strength then the specified ability will work. If both you and your opponent have the same strength units as the highest then it will still still work. If the board is empty then playing a card with dominance will work, as it counts itself. As you can see with the example on the right (not visible for mobile users), Barghest can consume a second unit if you control the highest unit. The order icon will be red if you can’t use it, and green if you can.
Consume: Consume is a keyword that means to destroy a unit, then boost self by its power. If a 5 power unit consumes a 5 power unit, it will have a power of 10 and the other unit will be sent to the graveyard. Most consume cards are limited to consuming only allied units, which is useful for triggering deathwish abilities, obtaining dominance or setting up your graveyard.
In some cases (cards like ozzrell and ghoul) then you can consume from a unit from your graveyard. This is very powerful as you get the raw points without anything on your side being destroyed. When a unit is consumed from the graveyard, it gets banished and is removed from the game entirely. This is what I mean by ‘setting up your graveyard’, as if you have an empty graveyard then a ghoul will only be 1 point. If you consume a 5 power unit before playing ghoul, then that means ghoul is now playable for 6 points (1 Base power + Consumed unit from graveyard).
Ghouls are limited to consumimg bronze cards from your graveyard, and ozzrell can consume any unit from any graveyard depending on the row you play it. For this reason you can play a high-power gold card in round 1 without the fear of over-comitting, as you can get the points back later on by consuming it from the graveyard. Or you can deny your opponents strategies if you think they plan on using Renew or other methods to get a card from their graveyard back on the board.
Finally, if a card consumes a unit then it will count as having that updated power just before it hits the board, so its possible to activate thrive even if the base power might seem too low.
 Deathwish: A deathwish ability is an ability that happens once a unit dies and is sent to the graveyard. If a unit is doomed, then it will not be sent to the graveyard, therefore the deathwish will not activate.  The same happens when a unit is banished. Deathwish abilites can be activated by either consuming/destroying your units (or if your opponent destroys the unit) or by using cards that activate a deathwish ability without killing the unit, such as Maerolorn.
Insectoid: Insectoid isn’t a keyword, it’s a tag for a unit, however I’m bringing it up here because it has alot of interactions within monsters so this is to clear up some questions. You can tell if a unit is an insectoid, if not by the obvious art, by looking at it’s tag underneath its name. Example on the right. The most common insectoid interactions you will see are Arachas Behemoth and Kikimore Queen.
There are other tags such as Vampire, which also has some support and generally play a little differently to most monster cards, but it has the same concept as Insectoid in that they have some synergies and it is a tag. If I have explained one I have explained them all. The tags that don’t really have much synergies between them are Ogroids, Draconids, Relicts and Beasts. Possibly a couple more, but the point is they’re not as important as Insectoids or Vampires.

4. Leader Ability Rundown

Now most of the basics are out of the way, it’s time to chose the most important part of any deck. The first option presented when making a deck is what leader ability to use. Let’s go through them one by one:
Carapace (16 Provisions):
Order: Boost an allied unit by 3 and give it a Shield. Charge: 2.
This ability is an interesting one however it feels pretty underwhelming. For sure 3 points and a shield is great for protecting units (perhaps if you want a unit with Order to survive) and maintaining dominance, on the whole it’s only really used for meme decks that rely on one key card as it has little synergy with most, if not all, mainstream monster decks. However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, having a leader ability with multiple charges is nice as it allows you to generate extra points earlier in the game without losing it entirely.

It’s average value is 7 points. Of course it only has 6 in terms of power but a shield blocking damage or a random ping is not to be understimated. The flexibility of a charge based leader is also nice.  A good card to use with this leader ability is Ge’els or Mourntart as they are powerful cards that can generate insane value if they’re not killed.
Death’s Shadow (16 Provisions):
Order: Destroy an allied Monster unit, then Spawn and play a base copy of it.
This ability is a really interesting one that makes for some great combos. It’s great to activate a deathwish ability whilst keeping the unit, but more importantly it is perfect if you want to repeat the deploy ability of a unit which is useful for many reasons; firstly, if a deploy ability is powerful then now you get to use it twice. Secondly, being able to re-play a unit means it will activate thrive on units that have it (if the card base power is high enough), and finally it can reset a units power back to its base power or purify it, as it plays a base copy of the unit. I’d say this is definitely one of the best abilities in terms of both power and flexibility. It’s also fairly costed in terms of the provisions it gives you so you aren’t limited when it comes to deckbuilding.
It’s average value is hard to calculate as it doesn’t represent a set number of points, but it’s definitely on the high side. A good card to use with this ability is Caranthir Ar-Feiniel, as it allows you to set up multiple units with strong order or passive abilities. While caranthir sets the units power to 1, this is great for thriving cards, especially the earlier mentioned Kikimore Queen.
Force of Nature (16 Provisions): Order: Boost a unit in your hand by 8.
This is another fairly underwhelming ability that’s almost a direct downgrade from carapace. Hand interaction is usually interesting however 8 points plays heavily into tall removal cards such as Geralt of Rivia. It’s only main use is to make sure you have dominance however carapace does a much better job. I would generally avoid this ability due to how strongly it plays into tall removal and lacks synergy or flexibility – as it all gets used in one go.
It’s average value is 8 points, and while I wouldn’t reccomend using it atall, if I had to pick a card to combo with this leader it would be Werewolf. Since that card is immune then it can’t be interacted with/targeted once on the board so it’s a nice bank to hold your points but it doesn’t do much else. It has seen use in the past with no-unit decks however these are no longer viable due to the 13 Unit limit.
Arachas Swarm (15 Provisions):

Order: Spawn a Drone on an allied row. Charge: 5. Whenever you play an Organic card, Spawn Drone on a random allied row.

This ability is a very interesting one and designed for use with insectoids as mentioned in Section 3. A ‘Drone’ is simply a doomed token card with 1 strength and the insectoid tag. It’s extremley flexible as you have 5 points stored in a “bank” of charges that you can use at any time for an exact value. Not only this, but spawning a 1 point unit whenever you play an Organic Card (A tag/category of special card) also gives you some nice passive point generation. It synergises well with insectoids, as you’d expect, and can also find use when playing cards that destroy/damage other cards such as Griffin of Pugo Boom Breaker to minimize lost value as only 1 point is sacrificed.

It’s average value is about 11 points, assuming you play 6 organic cards in the game, but it can easily be more depending on how well you make use of the drones or if you play more than 6 organic cards. A great card to use with this ability is Glustyworp, as it makes a great finisher and has high potential if you have even more 1 point units to gobble up. Kikimore queen, as you’re probably familiar with by now, is also a great choice if you want to spam the 1 point drones on a row to get boosted by the thrive effect.

Blood Scent (15 Provisions):

Order: Give an enemy unit Bleeding for 3 turns. Charge: 3. Once all Charges are used up, Spawn an Ekimmara into a random allied row.

This is the ‘vampire’ ability and has great value when played alongside them. Having multiple charges, as I’ve said many times, is great. The Ekimmara spawned is a 2 Power doomed token unit with the vampire tag. Overall having 9 points of damage is really handy even if it isn’t direct removal. It is especially good for countering Northern Realms units that need to be boosted. Remember: Bleeding instantly counteracts Vitality instantly, so sometimes being able to cancel 3 points of vitality on a Tridam Infantry (which damages a random enemy unit by 1 upon recieving a boost) will end up resulting in 6 points of value rather than 3. Obviously this is very situational but it’s good to keep in mind.

It’s average value is about 11 points, and works incredibly well with the card Orianna. She can reach huge value by not only applying bleeding of her own, but also gaining boosts based off of how many enemies are bleeding. Being able to get 3 units bleeding from your leader without any chance for your opponent to counteract it means that Orianna will buff herself and likely survive more often than not.

Overwhelming Hunger (14 Provisions):
Order: Destroy an allied unit, then Spawn an Ekimmara in its row and boost it by the destroyed unit’s power.
Charge: 3.
This ability is designed to allow you to consume your own units without playing a consume card, pretty much. It is great at activating deathwish cards (with an extra 2 point body!) and can be used throughout all the rounds due to having multiple charges which makes it very flexible. Since it’s giving you an extra 2 points as well as the power from consuming, then in some cases it can also secure Dominance for you. Oh, and it also happens to synergise with Vampires slightly as an Ekimmara has the vampire tag. I would still consider it fairly on the weak side but it definitely has some great combinations, but the 14 provision bonus is fairly low in my opinion, when you could be using better abilities that also give more provisions.
It’s average value is about 14 points, as you can get 6 from the units alone and many more from deathwish abilities, but then again if you’re playing deathwish cards you will also have consume cards anyway so perhaps not all credit can be given to this leader. It combos well with cards that you want to guarantee that their deathwish will go off on the turn you play them, though, to stop it being interrupted. A good card to use is Detlaff: Higher Vampire as you can have a very high point swing (21) in one turn if you use all 3 leader charges on it.
Fruits of Ysgith (11 Provisions):
Order: Spawn a Gernichora’s Fruit on an allied row. At the start of your turn, refresh this ability if you do not control any Fruits.
This ability is very expensive as it only gives you 11 bonus provisions to work with, however it can pay off if used correctly. A ‘Gernichora’s Fruit’ is a 1 point doomed unit with “Thrive”. While this may seem simple on the surface, being able to get an extra engine on the board at all times, in all 3 rounds, can be very powerful. (By engine I mean a card that generates large value over time). You can either leave the fruit to thrive, let it grow slightly and then consume it for dominance, use it similarly to the Arachas Swarm ability to take hits from your units such as Pugo Boom Breaker. The choice is up to you.
It’s average value is about 15 points, under the assumption that you get 6 points from it in round 1 and 3, and a couple in round 2. However it’s easy to get much more value from it since the fruit can be re-deployed after being killed. A good card to use with this is Griffin, as it allows you to get it’s full 8 strength value which can be consumed by a Ghoul later on. There aren’t many big chunky gold cards that work well as it’s more passive and gets its value over time.
Overall It’s safe to assume that Fruits of Ysgith, Arachas swarm and Death’s shadow are among the best. Blood Scent is up there too but only works in a very specific type of deck (Vampires) and the other 2 have little to no synergy and rely on gimmick value, but can still be fun.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

What’s going on with the Wild Hunt units? Why are they in monsters?
It’s been confirmed that Wild Hunt will never be their own faction, however it’s expected that they’re due an upgrade soon! Right now they are useful tools that support the dominance side of monsters, but they might become more defined in the future – hopefully to the level of insectoids and vampires.
What are the best cards/combos?
Aside from all the ones mentioned in Section 4, which are among the best, some strong plays are Kayran with Dettlaff: Higher Vampire, allowing for huge point swings since he can be consumed multiple times. Frightner: Dormant can find use in deathwish/consume decks since it provides an immune 12 Strength body. Ozzrell is a great card to be used with Yghern (or any high-strength card that dies in round 1/2) as a finisher. As for bronzes, Drowner is a pretty nice thrive card with distruption aswell as removal. Endrega Larva is a great protected engine, and Foglet / Wild Hunt Riders are nice deck thinning tools. The beauty of monsters is that they all work well together so there aren’t many good combos that are concise enough to be 2 cards only.
Why are some deathwish effects so bad that I lose points when activating them?
If you’re thinking this, then its likely that you’ve seen noonwraith or golyat. These both result in your opponent gaining points if the deathwish is activated, and it’s an interesting take on the mechanic to allow for stronger cards that have a risk to them. Golyat has 10 Power but only costs 8 provisions, so it’s a way to make “High risk high reward” type cards. Generally  (Meme deck exceptions do exist) there is no strategic reason to purposely activate these deathwish abilities, it’s more of a balancing thing, however they can still be used to your advantage if played correctly. For example glustyworp can be used to destroy the rats spawned on your opponents side of the board.
Is this factions strategem, Urn of Shadows, worth crafting?

No. Please no. It’s a conditional 5 points whereas the default Tactical Advantage is a guaranteed 5 points and it helps you get dominance. Until there is a bronze unit with a deathwish ability worth more than 6 points then it’s never worth it.

That completes the Monsters for Dummies Guide. If you have any more questions then comments are open and I’ll be happy to continue updating this & responding as frequently as possible.

I also want to note that, despite mentions of people wanting to un-invest in this faction, they are by no means weak and changes to the meta could result in them being among the best. It’s impossible to tell but they have had extremly strong standout moments in the past.

The last update of this guide was: 16/05/2020 for Patch 6.2.1.

Thank you for reading.

Nekker: Thrive. Deploy: Spawn a base copy of this card.
Barghest: Deploy: Consume an Allied Unit. Order, Dominance: Consume an Allied Unit.
Ozzrell: Deploy (Melee): Consume a unit from your opponent's graveyard. Deploy (Ranged): Consume a unit from your graveyard.
Kikimore Queen: Thrive. Whenever this unit's Thrive is triggered, boost all insectoids in this row by 1.
Mourntart. Order (Melee): Banish all units in your graveyard, then boost self by 1 for each.
Caranthir Ar-Feinel. Deploy: Spawn a 1-Power base copy of a unit from your hand in this row.
Werewolf. Immunity.
Glustyworp. Deploy: Destroy all units with 1 power. For each unit destroyed, boost self by 2.
Orianna. Deploy: Give an enemy unit bleeding with a duration equal to the number of allied vampires. Ranged: Every turn, on allied turn end, boost self by the number of bleeding enemy units.
Deathwish: Summon this unit from the graveyard to the same row. This unit's ability is limited to 2 uses and does not refresh when it leaves the battlefield.
Grififn. Deploy: Destroy and allied unit on this row. If there are no targets, destroy self.

Syndicate For Dummies

  1. Introduction
  2. The Basics of Coins
  3. Key Concepts & Combos
  4. Leader Ability Rundown
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Introduction

Syndicate was the first new faction since the official release of Gwent, and with it came new characters, crime and currency. If you want to learn more about the lore & story of Syndicate, then you can watch the trailer here and view the pre-release character based diary entries here. But this article will strictly be focusing on clearing up any queries any new player might have in terms of gameplay. Why is there no starter deck? Why aren’t the cards included in the base set? What’s a dual faction card? All of these questions, and more, will be covered in the FAQ at the end, but to understand Syndicate as a faction we must start at the beginning.

The most obvious thing that stands out about Sydnicate are crowns (I will refer to these as coins throughout this guide). This is a mechanic that’s exclusive to Syndicate cards. Not the faction, but its cards. Any faction can obtain coins, displayed in a pouch-like icon, however only Syndicate cards can obtain & use them effectively. So while the coin mechanic is not exclusive to syndicate, it is only enabled through the use of Syndicate cards and the only way to get coins in another faction is through ‘create’ cards, and other factions have no reliable use for coins.

2. The Basics of coins:

Essential Facts:
-You can only hold a maximum of 9 coins.
-On average, 1 Coin equates to 1 Point (With exceptions)
-At the end of each round, half of your coins will carry over to the next one, rounded down. (Having 5 Coins at the end of round 1 will leave you with 2 at the start of round 2)
How do I get them?

Coins can be obtained in 4 ways. Profit Keyword, Leader ability, other card effects or Bounty. Profit is the most basic way to get coins. If a card has “Profit: X” then you’ll gain X coins when playing the card. Leader abilites can also give you coins, for example “Jackpot”, the most basic of abilities, simply gains 9 coins, and then boosts a unit of your choice by any excess amount. Then there are cards which don’t say “profit” but still give you coins, like Tax Collector, who gains 1 coin every turn end. Finally, there is bounty. This is a status that is applied to a unit (Only 1 enemy unit can have bounty at any given time) and when that unit is destroyed, it gives you coins equal to its base power.

How do I use them efficiently?
You can use coins with ‘Fee’ abilities or ‘Tribute’ abilities. Fee works similar to an order ability in that you activate it by clicking on the card. Every time you click to use that ability, it will spend the amount of coins specified (This is visible on the Fee icon, aswell as the card description where it will says Fee X: , with X being the cost).
Tribute is similar to deploy in that it’s a one time ability that happens whenever you play the card – however it uses up coins. Whenever you play a card that has tribute, you’ll see two card appear, an empty chest and a full one. This acts as a menu to decide whether or not you want to activate the tribute ability when you play the card, as sometimes you’ll be better of saving coins. An example of this is Moreelse. He can deal 4 damage on deploy, or destroy a target completley for a tribute cost of 6 coins. Obviously you won’t want to pay 6 coins to destroy a 4 point card, thus a choice is given.
To get the best value out of coins then you’ll want to try and have a “Spender” on the board the majority of a time. This is a term coined by the community that describes a card with fee. Having one is always useful as it can be used as a way empty your pouch and not waste coins. If you’ve got 8 coins and you have no choice but to play a card that profits 2, then you will want to spend 1 coin in order to not lose out on a coin due to the 9 coin limit. Obviously there are more complicated situations, but this example is a boiled down version of why it’s absolutely neccesary to calculate how many coins you’ll end up with after playing your next card, and then spend any excess beforehand (down to 9) in order to not waste any points.

3. Key Concepts

There are plenty of syndicate-exclusive keywords/concepts to understand that revolve around gaining and spending coins and how the faction works as a whole. They are as follows:
Bounty: On the surface, bounty is simply a status that gives you coins equal to the base power of the enemy that dies whilst having the status. However it can be considered an archetype as there are alot of cards that give out and thrive off of bounties. Nowadays they are generally weaker as there can only be 1 enemy unit with bounty at a time, but there are a few good standout cards/combos.
Most noteably is Graden , who destroys an enemy unit with bounty, and a tribute (5 Cost) to boost self by that units base power. If you pay the tribute and destroy an enemy unit with more than 5 base power, then you’re exchanging coins at a rate higher than 1 point per coin, which is always worth it. The main issue is that he can brick (become useless) if you have no way to give an enemy bounty.
Crime/Intimidate: This is a fairly simple one. ‘Crime’ is the tag that belongs to a majority of Syndicate-Only special cards. Intimidate is a keyword for a unit which means it is boosted by the specified amount whenever a crime card is played.
Sir Skewertooth is an example of a card with ‘Intimidate 2’, meaning it gains 2 power whenever you play a crime. There are also cards such as Cutup Lackey, which damage a random unit whenever a crime is played.
Hoard: Hoard is a keyword which means a card can have a bonus ability if you hold a minimum amount of coins. The coins are not used up.
An extremley good example of this is ‘The Flying Redenian’. It has the following ability: ‘Hoard 9: On turn end, Summon this unit from your deck or graveyard to a random allied row.’ This means that once you have 9 coins, then that ability will be activated without having to spend anything.
 Gang Category: A gang category is the category of a card. In Northern Realms, for example, you might have “Human, Soldier” whereas in Syndicate you’d have “Human, Witch Hunter”. These categories are utilized with cards such as Collusion or Sigi Rueven. Both of their abilities get stronger the wider your range of gang categories. All the gang tags are: Blindeyes, Cutups, Crownsplitters, Firesworn, Salamandra, Tidecloaks and Witch Hunter.
Firesworn: Firesworn is an example of a gang category, however it needs more explanation as the term covers an entire side of the faction. It is a swarm-based archetype that relies on spawning token units known as Firesworn Zealots (2 Strength). There are cards that gain coins or a boost etc. whenever a unit is spawned, making it a viable playstyle for this faction and can be considered easier as firesworn based decks usually require more simple cards.
I reccomend starting out with a firesworn deck as while it may not the best at higher ranks, for a beginner it is a great introduction to how coins work without being too overcomplicated.
Insanity: Insanity simply means that a card can use a fee ability by damaging its self by the cost instead of spending coins if you can’t afford to pay. The card can not destroy itself with insanity.
It’s important to mention that this is not a comprehensive list of every
Syndicate keyword, but instead a list of important concepts that may
need explanation to new players. Tribute, Profit and Fee have been
missed out as they were previously mentioned in section 2.

4. Leader Ability Rundown

 Now most of the basics are out of the way, it’s time to chose the most important part of any deck. The first option presented when making a deck is what leader ability to use. Let’s go through them one by one:
Blood Money (15 Provisions):
Damage an enemy unit by 8, then gain Coins equal to any excess damage dealt.
This ability is fairly midrange and doesn’t really focus on a specific archetype, perhaps there’s an argument for bounty, but either way it is fairly underwhelming due to how little synergy it has with the cards Syndicate has. It’s a good option if you’re playing a meme deck that needs more provisions or you want some control, but other than I’d avoid this one.
Its average value is 8 points, but considering that’s removal then it can have more value. A good card to use with this is a card that applies bounty, such as ‘Witch Hunter’.
Congregate (16 Provisions):
Spawn a Firesworn Zealot on an allied row and gain 1 coin. Charge: 3.
Congregate is an ability, as you can probably tell, designed for a firesworn swarm deck. It works very well in combination with cards that boost and/or gain coins every time a unit is spawned and has the added bonus of getting 3 coins in total. The fact that this ability has 3 charges means that you can sometimes afford to use it for a boost in earlier rounds rather than losing it all in one go.
Its average value is 12 points if you’re using a firesworn deck, but can easily play for more with the correct synergy. A good card to use with this is ‘Sacred Flame’
Jackpot (16 Provisions):

Gain 9 Coins, then boost an allied unit by any excess amount gained.

Jackpot is the ability you start with, and is a very nice midrange ability that can help in all types of decks. Even when you have a full coin pouch, the boost means you don’t lose any value for excess coins and this can be used to your advantage to keep certian engines alive.                              

It’s average value is 12 points, as there are plenty of methods – especially with hoard cards such as Sea Jackal – that generate a better coin to point ratio than 1:1. A good card to use with this is ‘Bincy Blumerholdt’.

Lined Pockets (15 Provisions):

Gain 1 Coin. Charge: 5
Whenever you play a Crime card, gain 1 Coin.  

 Lined pockets is a very good ability if you’re playing an Intimidate deck, as you’re getting 1 extra coin for each crime card played. Being able to gain coins precisely from your leader is also great as it takes pressure of using some charges early in the game if you need a small boost.

Its average value is 14 points – assuming you play 3 crimes per round & have spenders, so it can easily be higher. A good card to play with this ability are lots of crime cards such as ‘Swindle’, or engine cards such as ‘Townsfolk’.

Off the books (16 Provisions):

Gain 2 Coins. Charge: 3.
Every allied Tribute costs 1 Coins less.                   

 This leader ability is another midrange one that gets more value the more tribute cards you’re playing. As with other charge based leaders, it’s beneficial to have multiple charges so you can help yourself in earlier rounds, not having to commit your whole ability at once. Any cards with a tribute cost of 1 also get to use their tribute for free!

Its average value is 12, assuming you play 2 tribute units per round, however this is more difficult to calculate, and may be higher, as some tributes can gain very good value but not all of that can be attributed to the leader ability alone, although it does have an impact. A good card to play with this ability is ‘Renegade Mage’. (All tribute cards work, though.)

Hidden Cache (15 Provisions):

Order: Gain 2 Coins.
At the beginning of the round, refresh this ability.
Your Hoards require 2 less Coins to trigger.          

 This leader ability is a very strong one that supports the ‘Hoard’ archetype. Being able to gain 2 coins once per round means you can afford a little extra boost if you’re in need, it also means that you can get some free carryover as you can use it in round 2 without losing any value later on. As well as this, it has a very powerful passive effect which means all hoard cards require 2 less coins. This value will be updated in the text of every single card with the Hoard mechanic in your deck, so you won’t lose track. For example The Flying Redenian will come out when you have only 7 coins.

Its average value is 14, 6 points from the coins alone and then plenty more from the hoard value. In the right deck you can go above and beyond this average if you utilize hoard effectively. A good card to use with this ability is Saul de Navarette, he can be extremley powerful at a cheap cost.

Wild Card (13 Provisions):
 Play a Syndicate special card from your deck. If its provision cost is 10 or less, gain 2 Coins.
This ability isn’t restricted to a certian archetype as much as others and is mainly used in midrange decks for a combo. It is the Syndicates version of a ‘Play 2 cards in 1 turn’ leader, and while it’s limited to specials, this is made up in that it has more provisions than the other faction equivalents, and gives you 2 coins on cheaper cards.
It’s average value is.. honestly too hard for me to figure out. 8 Points is a guess for the ability its self (2 coins + avg bronze crime value), however the flexibility of playing 2 cards would require a better man than me to pin down to single number. A good card to play with this is ‘Slander’, to combo with Graden, or ‘Fisstech’ to combo with another poison. Both of those are below 10 provisions allowing you to gain 2 extra coins.
Overall I would consider Blood Money the worst as it doesn’t synergise aswell as other abilities however it may see more play, and is definitely more useful, since it’s buff to 8 damage instead of 7.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

Where’s the starter deck?
The reason there is no starter deck is because this faction is considered more ‘high-level’ than the other 5, as the coin mechanic means it is much more complex. Because of this, it is reccomended that you get used to the core mechanics of the game via other factions first, and not implementing a SY starter deck was a good way to encourage this as otherwise it may be overwhelming for less experienced players. However there is a pre-made deck you can now buy in the shop (along with other cosmetics in the bundle) that has some really good cards included for the price.
Why can I play some SY cards in other factions?
When Syndicate came out, so did the concept of ‘Dual-Faction’ cards. As of writing this (29/01/20) then no other dual faction cards have been added since, therefore all dual faction cards are linked half to Syndicate. This will likely change in the future and a dual faction card will not always be linked to syndicate.
Why can’t you get syndicate cards in a base set keg?
Simply because this faction did not exist when the base set was created.
What are the best cards/combos?
Madame Luiza is a card that lets your next ‘Tribute’ card to be activated for free. This combos very well with High-Cost tribute cards like Tinboy or Savolla. Phillipa is another great card that lets you spend coins at a 1:2 coin to power ratio as she siezes a unit. Bincy is also a fantastic combo with any card that creates alot of profit as she boosts for every coin gained. Some must have cards are: The Flying Redenian, Sigi Reuven, Graden, Phillipa Eilhart, Bincy Blumerholdt, Dire Mutated Hound, Moreelse.
Is Syndicate the best faction?
It’s hard to tell. There can never be a true best faction as the meta is always changing, however I like to think it is always a contender as it has such high, possibly untapped potential due to the skill it requires and how many different lines of play there are. But just because it has an exclusive mechanic or isn’t as easily avaliable to beginners, it doesn’t make it the best.
Why is there no Syndicate Runestone?

There is no runestone as the faction was released after runestones. Instead, there is a card called Walter Veritas – who has the same ability (Create a bronze Syndicate card). The only difference is he is 4 provisions more expensive, but has a 4 point body.

That completes the Syndicate for Dummies Guide. If you have any more questions then comments are open and I’ll be happy to continue updating this & responding as frequently as possible.

The last update of this guide was: 16/05/2020 for Patch 6.2.1

Thank you for reading.

The Flying Redanian
Witch Hunter
Sacred Flame
Bincy Blumerholdt
Renegade Mage
Saul de Navarette: Hoard 3: At the end of your turn, boost self by 1. Hoard 6: At the end of your turn, boost self by 2 instead. Hoard 9: At the end of your turn, boost self by 3 instead.