Gwent

A Recap Of The Second Gwent Open Of Season Two

This article has been written by Babyjosus, in collaboration with Sawyer1888.

With the amount of positive feedback regarding our first recap, Team Bandit Gang has decided to continue to write recaps for the official tournaments in this season. The Gwent Open #2 of this season was being held on Saturday and Sunday, June 27-28th. So, if you were going to a cottage in Quebec to go kayaking or just want to feel a little nostalgic, we got you covered with another recap. And just like Gwent Open #1, Gwent Open #2 was being broadcasted from the home offices instead of the famous studio at the headquarters of CDPR. WatchFlake was unfortunately not able to cast, instead we got to see Shinmiri cast alongside McBeard. 6 Shupe plushies were spotted throughout the tournament, which is 1 more than last time.

Before we head to the matches of day 1, we would like to mention that the prize pool amounted 22000 USD thanks to the community purchasing the Earth Pack & Overgrown Bundle. This meant that each player received extra 2000 USD in addition to the base prize pool distribution. On top of that, each participant received 500 USD for reaching the Quarterfinal, 1000 USD for reaching the semifinal and 1000 USD for reaching the finals. The winner received an additional 1000 USD. For the community that was watching the tournament at home, they were able to receive Twitch Drops. After watching for 4 hours, viewers were able to get a unique Germain Piquant avatar. And after 8 hours – a brand new Master Mirror Keg, to be opened when the expansion releases on June 30th (which is tomorrow!). If you strive to qualify for a Gwent Open yourself, then book yourself a coaching lesson to make this dream a reality. For more information about coaching click here. Let’s jump into the matches now!

Day 1

The first match was between Tailbot vs Green-knight who is a member for Team Leviathan Gaming. Green-Knight is not a brand new face. We have seen him before when he qualified for the Gwent Open #8 in season 1. He played against Molegion from Team Aretuza in the quarterfinals who managed to win 3-0 over him. And to face Tailbot now is definitely not an easy task for the Brit knowing that he is the underdog if you look at the poll. 78,5% of the fans voted in favor of Tailbot. If you look at Tailbots decklists you will see that he was not bringing The Great Oak but Saesenthessis instead for his Mystic Echo. Not sure if this was a key factor for him to win the first game but it ended up working out perfectly. In the second game Tailbot pushed Green-Knight in round 2 just like he did in game 1 and managed to beat the Harmony archetype with Blood Scent in round 3. It was now 2-0 for Tailbot and perhaps this caused flashbacks to the Gwent Open #8 for Green-Knight. In the third game Talbot managed to win again, this time with a satisfying board sweep from Wild Boar of the Sea which caused a lot of girls to scream in the Twitch chat. A 3-0 from Tailbot over Green-Knight meant that the curse of the quarterfinals for Green-Knight is continuing. Hopefully he will manage to overcome this someday. Because it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see him another time. You can check their decks here:

The second match was between Wangid1 vs Magpie131, winner of Challenger #5, who managed to bring a very unique lineup to the table. 56,2% of the fans rooted for Magpie131. Sadly for Magpie, the unique lineup wasn’t enough for him to continue in the tournament as he lost 3-2 to Wangid. But, he definitely got our mad respect for bringing memes to the tournament. If you are interested about what Magpie has to say about the games that he played against Wangid, you can do so here. You can check their decks below:

With the third match between Team Aretuza member Redrame, the best player of North America, vs Iluxa228 a member from Team Legacy, we know we were gonna get treated with skillful displays. For both it was actually their first time playing a Gwent Open. 65,1% of the fans voted in favor of Redrame. While Redrame was unlucky to draw twice into Affan, and a card down in the last match, he still managed to win 3-2 over Iluxa coming back from a 2-1 in favor of Iluxa. The excitement that Redrame had for playing this series resulted in people spamming BIGRAME in the Twitch chat. Does this indicates that the fans have found their new champ to root for? You can check their decks here:

The last match of the day was between Ineverhood vs kams134 from Team Leviathan Gaming. And just like Green-Knight, kams also played in the Gwent Open #8. He was playing against wangid1 and lost 3-0 in the quarterfinal. But that didn’t stop the fans to not vote for him with 70,4% being in favor of kams. It must have been a surprise to most of the people that INeverhood ended up winning 3-1. When kams lost the first round on even, which meant he was a card down in round 3, it was simply not possible for him to win to make it 2-2. You can check their decks here:

Day 2

With day 1 coming to an end, eventually day 2 had to arrive. And everyone was not only waiting for the outcome of the final day, but also on a razors edge about what will be the last cards to be revealed. We will discuss those cards and share our opinions about the upcoming changes here

The Semis were fought out between Tailbot vs Wangid1 and Redrame vs lneverhood. In the first game, casted by McBeardCH and Shinmiri2, two veterans from Open faced each other: Tailbot, one of the fans favourite, against Wangid1, one of Chinas top class players, who just qualified for Open 3 at the latest qualifier last weekend. After both of the players picked their faction to ban (Tailbot banned Wangids Elder Bears Imperial Formation, Wangid1 bannend Tailbots Uprising Draug), the first game was a clash between two of the strongest decks on ladder right now: Tailbots Vampires against classic Mystic Echo from Wangid1, which went in favour of Wangid1 in a close final round. Game two Wangids Crones faced the midrange SK deck and maybe was decided, not only be very unfortunate draws for Tailbot, who missed Wild Boar and Hemdall with some other golds, but also by an offensive Ozzrel, which was used to eat the Morkvarg right away in round 2. Now only Wangids Draug was left, which got beaten in game 3, also by a perfect clapping from Hemdall, which killed 2 revenants. The last game went in favour for Wangid1 again, who just lore friendly beaten up Talilbots Scoiatel with an overwhelming display of NR Uprising. 

To be fair and in all respect for the other players, but seeing Redrame reaching the semis after a nailbiting day 1, was for many fans the highlight of the Open so far. While his double ball deck got banned by Lneverhood, he banned syndicate himself. The first game of this series seemed to be the perfect matchup for Redrame, playing against elves with Draug on blue coin. With a lot of tempo, he tried to win round 1 here, even committing royal decree for a thick Voymir, which was his biggest mistake and cost him maybe the whole series, Redrame admitted later on. Cause not only missed Draug in round 3 to just lose by a small amount of points, he also wasn’t able to get his Draug through all the time. In the second game Redrame managed to get a win with his trademark Mahakam Forge deck against Lneverhoods Overwhelming hunger, just to take a heavy pointslapping in game 3 against it with again, Draug. Game 4 went into a tie and after that was decided in Redrames favour with just one single point, to get his syndicate list through against greatswords. The final game not only was decided by the power of a wild boar greatsword combo at the end, but also by unlucky draws and missing some key cards for Redrame again.

Before the final we got treated with a developer update. You can check it here:

With the developer update revealing lots of new cards and abilities everyone was hyped up for the final matches of the day.

So, after two intense Series we had the final between Wangid1 and Lneverhood. Wangid1, which was beaten round 1 in the last Dpen by the eventual finalist Nik_R, was the 2nd consecutive Chinese player making it into the final, after Demarcations impressive performance last month.
This time Wangids Mystic Echo got banned rather than his Imperial Formation, so it was the first time in the entire series that we saw this deck. On the other side, there was no love for Lneverhoods Tactical Decision Shupe Ball deck. The first game was a strong performance of the old school Elder Bears, who managed to win on even and clapped Greatswords with a double last say in round 3. Game number 2 was interesting, cause both players played different monster decks, which was eventually decided by a misplayed Yghern in round number 2 by Wangid1, which allowed Lnerverhood an aggressive Ozzrel. Games number 3 and 4 both went in favour of Wangid1, who managed to get a smoth victory with Draug yet again against Greatswords, continuing the roll with a heavy control focused display of his crones against elves.

And, like last month, the winner of Open number 2 was a Chinese player, Wangid1. Congratulations on a strong performance and a great respect for all the other participants.

After day 2 came to an end, CDPR announced that the next Gwent Open will be held in August. 29th-30th of August to be precise. Aside of that, we would like to inform you about The Invitational, which is the largest independent tourney that has ever been organized. A total of 100 players, including 6 players from Team Bandit Gang, will battle it out for a $1000 prize pool. Watch the trailer here:

Guide to the Seasonal Mode in the Season of the Magic

Hello everyone. This is my second seasonal mode guide that I provide for Team Bandit Gang. This time covering the season of magic and several approaches to make the most out of the ruleset.

Rules

The rules remained the same as last year, which means that any first special card you play on a turn gets duplicated. If you play a second special card in that turn, by create or tutoring for example, that special card will not be duplicated. Quite simple.

General approach to deckbuilding

To make the most out of the rules, you probably want to keep your unit count at the minimum of 13 when building a deck. On top of that, units that create or tutor spells are very good here, because you don’t want to miss out on the double casting effect in more turns than necessary. The same applies to leader abilities that enable some sort of special card play in turns where you are playing a unit (Mystic Echo, Double Cross, Wild Card, Tactical Decision, Pincer Maneuver and many more).

Removal is running very strong, so it may be hard to stick engines to the board. There are some decks like Mystic Echo Harmony that are able to stick some engines due to the large amount of them, for many other decks they probably are not worth their provisions. So, it’s good to work with point slams and immunity, where it is possible. Last say is often very important and the coin-flip can sometimes be as decisive as in old beta Gwent. Another thing to note is that swarm and mid-range approaches will serve you better than tall units, because there are some cheap tall removal cards that you see very often.

Speaking of which, these are some neutral cards that fit well in many decks regardless of faction:

Neutral
  • Korathi Heatwave: Double tall removal and artifact removal of choice. You don’t want to run Bomb Heaver for the occasional scenario you face, so this is a good middle ground.
  • Devil’s Puffball: Double poison means instant removal and it offers some damage to adjacent units on top. Totally great for 6 provisions.
  • Triss: Telekinesis: Counts as a unit, works as two special cards.
  • Royal Decree or other tutors: Great for consistency and thinning units out of your deck. Faction specific tutors are sometimes better though.
  • There’s also Uma’s Curse, Aguara: True Form, faction runestones and many more. You get the idea.

Faction specific approaches

Scoia’tael:

Scoiatael

Probably the most popular faction this season. The synergy that Mystic Echo offers is very obvious, and the modified version of the well-known Harmony deck has proven to be quite strong. Waters of Brokilon create four Dryad Fledglings at once and it can be cast twice (once per round most of the time), so that’s a lot of units which are hard to remove in their amount. Although facing it rather often, I didn’t really want to play it, so I don’t have a decklist for you. I am certain though that you can find or build one easily.

What I did play is a more control-oriented deck that is not capitalizing on harmony points. Instead it has some great swing potential in very few cards. It features a dwarven package that gains points off a quick rowstack, lots of removal, Harald Gord of course and a very tall Aglais as your last play. More on this in the deck description:

One quick comment on the Elven Sage: Don’t run this as a lonely engine, as it will very likely be removed anyway. When facing Nilfgaard Assimilate however, this card can backlash pretty hard due to obvious reasons.

Syndicate:

Syndicate

The other faction that runs Harald Gord. The crime synergies are also pretty great here, making the intimidate mechanic quite strong. Sir Skewertooth is a terrific engine due to its immunity, so good that it’s even worth to run Renew just for that. Fisstech is one tall removal and 8 coins for 4 provisions, which is totally crazy. This however means that you shouldn’t go entirely without spenders. I made a list that feels quite balanced on coin management to me, even though most cards don’t require or create coins. I also chose Off The Books solely for Skewertooth’s immunity, you can change that for something else if you want to.

Monsters:

Monster

I think there are mainly two approaches for monsters. The first is a simple Arachas Swarm that can just vomit points on the board with which the prevalent tall removal cannot really keep up with. Predatory dive is a painful card for those decks who do not swarm their board with low strength units. The weakness would be lacerate, but I feel that this is often not played. So that’s one way to go here, but again I didn’t play it or create a list.

What I did try was the second approach which stores points in immune units and plays the remaining units as deathwish or swarm, so that it doesn’t hurt too much to get hit by removal. It sometimes feels mediocre but has also shown to be really good in other matches:

Nilfgaard:

Nilfgaard

I didn’t play Nilfgaard this season, but there are some ways to make it work. While assimilate has plenty opportunities to trigger, the engines might not stick, so it can be countered quite well actually. Sometimes it just comes down to find the opponent’s key cards (most prominently Gord) with Bribery or the Double Cross leader ability. If you aim for Gord, keep Bribery for your last turn. The low unit count in seasonal decks contributes to Bribery’s consistency at least.

Skellige:

Skellige

I’ve seen two decent approaches for Skellige so far. One is playing Gedyneith and druids which leads to many duplicated alchemy cards and well boosted crow clan druids. The other one is playing Shupe-Lippy decks to multiply and cycle Shupe as much as possible. I haven’t played either so I can’t provide you any list for that. Sorry.

Northern Realms:

Northern Realms

I haven’t seen any convincing NR list so far. Maybe there is something in playing a siege deck and launching bombardments on your opponent, but you need your siege engines to stick for that. This is not easy, even though reinforcement triggers twice. I’d give it a pass this month.

Final remarks

I do not really have the time to create an entire snapshot on my own, so I only shared the decks that I created and played myself. As mentioned before, popular decks like Mystic Echo harmony are not part of this guide, despite being very good. However, if you don’t find these lists elsewhere, get creative in deck-building on your own. The seasonal mode tolerates unoptimized decks and it is part of the Gwent experience 🙂

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

The Etiquette of Gwent – How to Duel Like a True Gwentleman

This article was written by Mercernn and edited by Weevil89

Chivalry, pride or honour are oftentimes the first casualties of any battle, but what about a game representing a battle of two armies? Does it apply there as well? Can you use any means necessary to best your opponent? Are there any repercussions for doing so? What are the unspoken rules of playing Gwent?

The chances are that you’ve been asking yourself some of these questions before, unless you main Nilfgaard, that is… Well, regardless, perhaps at least a sparkle of conscience made your black matter consider the concept of a fair and noble fight being a possibility, so let’s not give up yet.

So, where do you find the answers to your questions regarding Gwent manners? Well, just like in the case of real life manners, there is no ultimate, omniscient rulebook that would clearly state what is or isn’t required of you in every single situation, although some pretend to be. Most of the rules are unspoken and are learned by simply playing the game and communicating with other players. For those of you, our dear Gwenty players, who would be completely new to the game or just preferred staying in their comfort zone of a nice wall to hug, for you we’ve got a short summary of Gwent’s Etiquette in 9 easy steps.

1) Sending GGs

GGs, standing for Good Game, can be sent by clicking a button found in your final score screen at the very end of your match. By clicking it, you essentially let your opponent know that you’ve enjoyed the game and send them a bit of resources in return. Sounds simple enough? Well, so is potato salad and yet your mother will always argue with your aunt whether you should add celery or not in it… The problem with GGs is that each and every person experiences their sending and receiving differently. Some people think that you should send them always – it’s just a game after all, kinda like you should always eat your potato salad regardless of celery infestation as it’s food after all… food is perhaps a strong word, but let’s say it won’t poison you. Other people send GGs only when they actually enjoy the game, and then there are such people who never send them. What is the proper way of using them, then? It depends solely on you and there are virtually no repercussions for not sending anything. Nevertheless, we can recommend doing so if not for keeping the spirit of the game, then for an in-game contract called ‘United We Stand!’ that can reward you with up to 15 reward points simply for clicking a button. Well, clicking a button 5000 times, but still…

2) Roping

No, it is not a BDSM technique, nor a rodeo term. Roping, coming from the metaphorical “burning rope”, indicating how much time you have left for making your turn or shuffling your cards, describes a situation in which either you or your opponent take more time than necessary to take your turn. This makes the game significantly longer and arguably less enjoyable, though the connoisseurs among you who look forward to traffic jams, just so that they could feel the time being wasted, might actually like this… For the rest of us, roping means wasted time. But on the other hand, making hasty plays just so that you would evade roping isn’t correct either. Take your time if you need to think about your play, there’s nothing wrong about that, just try avoid doing so every turn as that can be very infuriating for your opponent.

3) Emote Spam

At least one of your friends is like that: whatever happens, whether it is a ground-breaking piece of news or just some trivial information, they have to react to it as if it were the discovery of the Americas. Furthermore, as you’ve surely noticed, a small speech bubble next to your leader model allows you to communicate with your opponent through a series of about half a dozen of voice lines that are unique to each and every leader. I guess you can see where I’m heading with this. Some opponents will be more keen than others to use their emotes beyond their intended meaning. This can get annoying very fast, especially with the limited emote selection you’ve got at your disposal. Although, you can actually mute your opponent by clicking a speech bubble next to their leader model, it is still considered a rather rude behavior. Once again, the emotes are there for a reason, so please do not be afraid to use them, perhaps just limit your usage of them to no more than 5 emotes per match – unless you genuinely feel the need to click “Well Played” when your opponent plays well. Sounds strange, I know.

4) Quitting and Passing

This is a fairly simple one. In short, you’ve got two ways of ending your matches: either by holding the pass button situated on the coin in the right side of the screen that is also used by ending your turns, or by using the Esc key. Using the pass button is virtually always better, because both players get more resources or progression as a reward as by rule the shorter the game is, the less gracious the algorithm that decides what kind of reward you get becomes. Using the escape key, however, is a big no no in this rule book. If you were very annoyed with your opponent, though, your game got glitched, or you had to step away from your PC very fast, do not hesitate to use the Esc button, since there is a reason it is in the game – just don’t end every game with it, as you’re depriving both yourself and your opponent of additional resources. It’s more like an emergency exit.

5) “Overplaying”

Speaking of ending matches, a very common (yet also a very controversial) sight that you’ll encounter is that sometimes, your opponent will still keep on playing even though they have already won the match mathematically. This not only makes the game last longer, but you’re also forced to watch your opponent beat you (while likely taunting you several times in the process). Just imagine a chess player winning a game in 2 turns (which is possible, by the way) and then proceeding to play the rest of the game while their opponent has to watch. Besides this type who enjoys rubbing salt in the wound, a special case of overplaying would be when you’re trying to fulfil a certain achievement, contract or quest, e.g. by playing 20 fee units in one match, which is usually quite obvious to spot in casual play or seasonal mode.

6) Netdecking

Netdecking describes a process in which one person, oftentimes either a pro player or a popular content creator, builds a deck that is then shared with the public either via a screenshot or a linked decklist on sites such as playgwent.com, the official Gwent website, or sites of Gwent gaming teams that regularly make meta reports. These decks are then downloaded by numerous users and can completely change the gaming experience for other players. This can negatively impact the so-called metagame for many reasons. Firstly, it saturates the meta with a particular deck, the effect usually lasting for a couple of days. Secondly, it makes it difficult for new players to cope since the meta is changing constantly. On the other hand, though, it normally doesn’t last very long because of how quickly experienced players will move to counter it. While they can be fairly troublesome, there is nothing wrong with using netdecks, perhaps just the fact that it might discourage you from experimenting on your own, which can be a lot of fun, too. Not everyone will hold such a stance, though, so every now and then someone might not GG you, send you an angry message or complain about you on Reddit. But at the end of the day, you’re not breaking any rules and if you actually enjoy the game this way, there is nothing stopping you. The fact is, master deckbuilders often underestimate the knowledge and awareness needed to build competitively viable decks efficiently, so for many players (especially new ones) netdecks provide a nice alternative.

7) Streamsniping

Streamsniping describes a very despicable tactic which is present not just in Gwent but in many other games as well. In this case, it refers to identifying your opponent as a streamer (perhaps one you know already) by their username, deck, playstyle, leader model, etc., opening up their stream and basically peeking into their hand to gain an unfair advantage. There is probably no need for us to explain how unfair and disgraceful such behavior is, but perhaps just a cherry on the top is the fact that more often than not your sniped prey will find out where the shots came from. Truly, playing with the knowledge of what your opponent is holding in their hand makes you play your own cards in such an unusual way that it’s very easy for your opponent to see through your tricks, so we strongly advise you not to roll the dice – especially if you actually enjoyed watching the stream before this!

8) Smurfing

Yes, we know that the word ‘smurf’ can be used for literally anything in the popular kids show, and no, we’re not smurfing about smurfing your smurfing uncle Billy-Bob in this smurfing article you smurfing donkey! Jokes aside, Smurfing or playing with a smurf account describes a situation in which an already experienced player makes a secondary account on which (s)he, of course, has to climb from the very bottom of the ladder back to the top. While there is nothing wrong with this, you also have to keep in mind that less experienced players will not be able to spot this at first. The experienced player will also have a lot of in-game knowledge, allowing them to prioritize cards to craft for deck-building, among other things. This makes the game very unenjoyable for the rows of greenhorn players that they’ll stampede over on their way to pro rank. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this from happening, though there are a few ways of minimizing the impact it can have on the new players, such as not playing with the strongest Meta decks out there to give them at least a bit of chance, or even letting them win if you can see they struggle even with the basic rules of the game, though this is completely up to you of course. If you are a new player and you feel like you were summarily stomped by Mystic Echo several times in a row, it is possible that you have found one of these players and you are well within your right to “forget” to GG them.

9) Just follow your heart

Often times all that is needed is to imagine being in your opponent’s shoes. No need to read lengthy forum posts and articles, as after all, there is a human just like you behind that Gaunter O’Dimm or blobulous Svalblod leader model.

And this is where our journey ends, dear readers! We hope that this article will help you with answering any questions about what is or isn’t rude in Gwent and that you’ll not have to worry about making any faux pas in the future. Thank you for stopping by and please accept our personal GG for making it to the very end!

Signs of Comparison

For those of you who are unaware, Geralt is a beloved character and regarded as one of the most iconic in RPG gaming over the last few years, even so that he has his own series based around him, although 33% of it is based directly on him. There are many admirable things about Geralt, such as his voice, which I’m sure many of us have tried to imitate, his interactions with the most natural (and unnatural) things in the world of the witcher and how he remains nonchalant about them. However, in this article, I will be talking about a set of abilities he possesses that has proven to be quite a nuisance in the world of Gwent in the past few months. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I will be talking about the signs and how they are portrayed in the Witcher compared to in Gwent. As I was reading through the signs and their abilities, I realized their capabilities of getting stronger through sign upgrades as Geralt levels up in the game. That makes the signs in the Witcher far more complex and interesting compared to their Gwent counterparts.

Before I begin, I would just like to point out that I will not be covering the intensity or the stamina regeneration of the signs as they improve since every sign is capable of doing so. Instead, I will be focusing on additional abilities it gains when the upgrades are implemented. Without further ado, let us begin analyzing these signs.



THE PROTECTIVE POWER OF QUEN


When it comes to the signs, the one sign I loved the most was the Quen sign. Being able to abuse that shield every chance I got during combat got me out of some very sticky situations. Not only do I not lose damage when I get hit, but the shield could also stagger any monster or humanoid that tries to attack me. If I had a dime for every battle I used Quen throughout my playthrough of the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt…I would have a lot of dimes.

In sign upgrades, Quen has the capability of being more of a nuisance to the opponents. The shield sign is capable of pushing back and sometimes knocking downs opponents, allowing Geralt for some free strikes. The sign can also reflect damage back to the attacker or use the damage to absorb Geralts vitality. Considering how hard it is to find means of restoring vitality apart from the use of provisions and the swallow potion, the latter ability is very useful for gaining a bit of extra vitality back to remain in the fight, especially when fighting in harder difficulties.

Now for those of you who do not know or did not play Gwent early enough to witness it, Quen was actually a card in Gwent. It allowed you to choose a unit on in your hand and boost all copies on your hand and deck by 2 and grant them shield. If they already had shield, it doesn’t stack. I know what you’re thinking, this kind of ability would make blue stripes commandos absolutely disgusting, but the thing is, this card is a pure set up and carry over card. It doesn’t give you any points on the field, so it is a card that did not see a lot of play and since 2017, it does not exist as a card in Gwent, but perhaps at some point, it might make a comeback with a viable ability.

 

THE MIND MANIPULATING MADNESS OF AXII


The next sign I will cover is the Axii sign. In the Witcher, Axii gives Geralt the ability to manipulate the minds of those when he needs them to either calm down, or get them to follow what he needs them to do or say. It is a very useful dialogue option when I found that things were getting tense during conversation, but be careful as any individual listening in on the conversation can detect the not-so-subtle Witcher if he attempts to cast it in the middle of a conversation and said conversation can take an ugly turn.

As Axii is improved throughout the game, it has the capability of turning foe to friend for a short amount of time, as well as increasing its damage output. This is a fun ability if you just want to take a breather from fighting or make your life a little easier and allow one of your opponents to fight his former allies for a little bit. This gives you one less person or monster to deal with for the time being. Axii can also become a double trouble of sorts by being able to influence 2 being at once, but this comes with a consequence as it results in the sign’s effect becoming a fraction of the sign’s full power.

 In the card game, it serves a different purpose. Geralt: Axii allows you to purify and reset the same unit. Unfortunately, this card does not see as much play as some of the sign cards that are coming up, and there are many reasons for that. The main reasons are Nilfgaard, Nilfgaard, and Nilfgaard. Ok, I will be more specific. Due to how Nilfgaard works nowadays, it’s really risky to boost units that have statuses, especially against Nilfgaard decks, considering that they have the most interaction with cards that have statuses. They have 3 faction cards that can purify units, they have plenty of poison cards, (at this point Assire counts as a second ball and they are capable to making more with the likes to imperial diplomacy and the infamous bribery. Of course, Axii could be useful in other factions, with monsters being a good option for it considering Monsters has the least amount of tech tools, but overall, there are better cards to use than Geralt: Axii and he becomes a liability in almost any deck.

 

AARD: THE TELEKINETIC THRUST

Before we start with this sign, I took that alliteration straight from the fandom page because it is a pretty good representation of what this sign does. For those of you who don’t know me, I really value my personal space, and so does Geralt. Whenever multiple enemies come toward Geralt at once, (hopefully from the same direction) he can always rely on Aard to push them back and continue the fight. Aard also has the capability of disarming opponents and stunning them. At times, I wish I possessed such abilities. Imagine just holding your hand out and immediately the person or object on the other side of your hand would just get pushed back or even break if they’re weak enough.

With regards to sign upgrades, Aard can improve the range and the damage output of the sign itself. It is capable of increasing the sign range in increments of 1 yard and increasing the damage output in increments of 40 points. Alternatively, the sign can change its hit mark from a cone to a radius that can affect all beings contained within said radius. The downside to this change in the hit mark is that the chance to knock down these opponents is decreased by a certain percentage when hit. Personally, I am not a big fan of the sign upgrades in this one since the upgrades are relatively simple, but they can be effective in dealing with swarms of enemies that all want a piece of the famed Witcher.

When it comes to being card in Gwent, Aard is the closest to lore with its ability. It allows the player to damage 3 enemy units by 2 and move them back to the ranged row. At 10 provisions and 2 power, Aard has the capability of dishing out some damage, not to mention disrupting row locked cards. However, this can restrict the movement ability in a sense. Running him in a guerilla tactics deck with crushing traps, weather, and Triss plus Lacerate is a good addition. The main con of this strategy is that everything has to be unleashed on the back row since Aard cannot push the units to the front row, but he proves as a good set up for such attacks. Compared to the 2 signs that are coming up and are considered to be the 2 most used sign cards in the game, Aard is my favorite since it acts a set up card as opposed to a finisher card.

 

THE CONFINING CIRCLE OF YRDEN


One of the two cards that are considered the most used in the game is Yrden. Geralt takes on a number of very unnatural beings as part of his line of work for coin. Some of those beings are so powerful that potions or magic (sometimes both) are required to weaken them so Geralt can slash and stab them with his silver sword. One of the tools he uses in his arsenal to achieve such means is Yrden, which casts a magic circle on the ground that weakens enemies and allows Geralt to deal more damage to them. A prime example of this use is against wraiths, which are corporeal beings that cannot be damaged with a sword unless they are caught in the circle of Yrden. It causes them to become corporeal and therefore vulnerable to Geralts sword attacks. Additional effects include slowing down some fast opponents and the capability of inflicting status ailments to them.

Upgrading this sign allows Geralt to case it with a bigger radius, making it capable of slowing down and damaging more enemies, and increasing the output of the damage. The more interesting ability of Yrden is that they can destroy projectiles passing through the area. In a sense, Yrden acts as a shield that can prevent arrows from going through to hit the Witcher. If you feel like sapping some enemies during combat, Yrden has you covered as well since anyone trapped inside the circle can have their life force and essence sapped, dealing some residual damage to them while engaged in combat. This is a useful sign for taking on some of the more unnatural beings the Witcher world has ever seen.  

When it comes to Gwent, Yrden has the ability to reset all units in a row. (Thank goodness it does not inflict statuses on them, we’ve seen enough statuses in the game) This is a very useful card when you take on decks that like to rely on boosting units. Examples being swarm uprising and Nilfgaard decks that use Cahir and/or thirsty dame since their conditions for boosting are easily achieved. Another deck that can struggle against Yrden is Greatswords and Dagur, since they rely on the pain of other units to make themselves stronger. Slapping Yrden onto the board completely nullifies all the power they have acquired throughout the round they are used in, no matter the length of the round itself. Just the thought of Yrden puts a sense of fear in any players minds, especially those that even consider adding boosting mechanics onto their decks. However, that fear is overshadowed by the fear of the last sign.

 

THE RED-HOT RAGE OF IGNI


Of course, we are talking about the Igni sign, which unleashes fire to your opponents as you get to watch their pain as they burn to the ground. While not actually powerful enough to kill them, it gives you the opportunity to strike since they will be occupied with their burning flesh. Other than that and being able to start fires by igniting torches and candles, the Igni sign doesn’t do much of anything else, so that’s the end of that on the Witcher 3 side.

The fires of igni get more intense as the sign as levels up, leading to the point where the fires can permanently melt the armor of Geralt’s enemies in increments of 15%. If they thought the searing flames hurt, wait until they feel the slash from Geralt’s sword or the strike from his cross pierce through their weakened armor. That pain is unbearable to the common enemy and even some of the Witcher World’s more ferocious creatures. The fires can also last longer as streams of flames can be continuously cast from Geralt’s hand to his enemies, dealing damager over a longer period of time and in addition, they can also leave a mark on his opponents, or they can also leave flames as well. That’s cool too since the improved igni has the potential to inflict burning on any being it strikes. The flames of Igni unleashed from Geralt can leave a field full of flames and charred flesh.


In Gwent, the Igni sign has been one of the most consistent cards in terms of its ability. Ever since closed beta, igni always had the ability to destroy the most powerful unit(s) in a row if the total power of said row was equal to or greater a certain threshold. In the back of opponents mind, they never want to catch themselves having a row with multiple units having the same power, especially if they are the highest units. As of recent patches, there has been dispute about Igni regarding subtle changes to it, such as provision and the threshold of power to allow it to destroy the most powerful units. Igni has also been a source of player’s griefs as of late, often complaining about Igni being added to decks that don’t necessarily need its services. I guess one could say Geralt:Igni is capable to starting fiery debates.



FINAL WORDS


If you made it this far into the article, it means you either agree with the things I have mentioned throughout the article, you enjoyed reading the article, or you have nothing better to do so you decide to do the sensible choice of reading team bandit gang’s articles.  This article is meant to provide a description of the use of the signs in the lore and compare them to how they are created as cards in the game, as well as some uses one can utilize with the addition of these cards in decks, and also a sign that QUEN NEEDS TO RETURN. What are your thoughts on the signs? What is your favorite sign either in the Witcher or Gwent in card form? Let me know your opinions in the comments section.

A Recap Of The First Gwent Open Of Season Two

This article has been written by Babyjosus in collaboration with Iancm1997, Mercernn & Banditpig.

Disclaimer: We have edited a section of this article (on 01/06/2020) in which we mentioned Santtu2x had chosen to not play a druid from Ermion and suggested this could’ve changed the outcome of the game – this is in fact a mistake as it turned out that no druids were drawn therefore that was an impossible suggestion, not a misplay.

Gwent Open #1 came to our homes in the weekend of May 30th-31st. If you were not able to watch it or just want to get a bit nostalgic, we got you covered with our recap of the event. Among some of your favorite veterans there were a lot of new faces this time. Definitely keep your eyes peeled on them because they could very well be seen again in any of the future tournaments. The Gwent Open #1 was being held from home due to global circumstances aka COVID-19. Which allowed us to get a peek inside of the casters and the players their personal homes. We spotted exactly 5 Shupe plushies during the tournament.

Before we head to the matches of day 1, it is worth mentioning that the prize pool of the first Gwent Open of season 2 was almost tripled thanks to the community purchasing the Flaming Pack & bundles which amounted in a total of 29200 USD. This meant that each player received extra 2400 USD in addition to the base prize pool distribution. On top of that, each participant received 500 USD for reaching the Quarterfinal, 1000 USD for reaching the semifinal and 1000 USD for reaching the finals. The winner received an additional 1000 USD. The community that was watching the tournament at home had a chance of getting all kinds of goodies. 50 Meteorite Powder or 3 Kegs during the tournament days, and if you watched the official stream for a total of 4 hours, you would also get a unique Pavko Gale avatar. Alright, let’s jump into the matches now.

Day 1

The first match of day 1 was between Team Aretuza member Kolemoen vs SuMo. Fans predicted Kolemoen to win by a large mile. 88% out of the fans that voted were in favor of Kolemoen. With Kolemoen making a joke of the current situation that we are in and bringing Lockdown. It was unfortunate for him that Lockdown seemed to have quite a disadvantage in the mirror and he did not manage to win. The disconnection from the spectator mode prevented us from seeing it, but Kolemoen got the score back to 1-1 in the second match. SuMo had to wrestle his way back into the series and got ahead 2-1. And although Lockdown did quite well for Kolemoen in the fourth match, the pure power of Morkvarg, Heimdall, and Wild Boar of the Sea was just too much to handle for him. The discard package included by SuMo really helped him draw into his high-end gold cards and he ended up winning 3-1. This was a shock to most of the people watching but it shows that the Chinese players shouldn’t be underestimated. You can check their decks here:

The second match was between Wangid 1 vs GwenDetta team member Nik_R. Also, this time, the results from the polls were not very close to each other with 77% of the fans rooting for Wangid1. This could be because Wangid1 has won a Gwent Open in season 1. Funnily enough, Nik_R managed to win the first match with a beautiful display by putting back Invocation in the deck with Assire and drawing it with Matta to eventually put Anseis on the top of the deck to play it with Joachim. The second match was horrible for Wangid1. He ran out of time and couldn’t use a leader charge of the Blood Scent ability in time and ended up having  to use all three leader charges to get an Ekkimara to win the first round. Since Korathi Heatwave would only get him a draw. Alas, because of his mistake Wangid1 lost the match and it was 2-0 for Nik_R. Wangid1 didn’t manage to get a reverse sweep and Nik_R was able to win 3-1. You can check their decks here:

Next we got to watch the clash of the titans. Demarcation vs Tailbot (also known as Tailgod). Although, 78% of the fans voted for Tailbot. This could very well be a wrong indication since Twitter is banned in China and therefore it’s likely that the Chinese fans were not able to vote for Demarcation. Demarcation lost the first game from Tailbot which was a brutal victory for the Polish man. After the first game, the second game resulted in a draw because Demarcation got unlucky with his RNG from Bribery and they had to play same matchup again. Demarcation said that the first two games made him tilted but ultimately he brought back the tension by winning the third game when he got his Zen back. He hard pushed Tailbot in the fourth game which proved to be the correct and fruitful tactic for Demarcation. Thanks to his charge possessing leader with more flexibility, he was able to conserve part of his leader potential for R3 while Tailbot had to invest it in R2. And ended up winning the fourth and fifth match from Tailbot as well. With the fifth match being a win by only 1 point. Another veteran was quickly wiped out of the tournament by one of the new faces. Does this mean that the end of the era of the Gwent veterans is near? You can check their decks here:

The series was followed up with a break, where we got presented a card art leak that was fresh from the press:

Could this be the Squirrel that is seen in the card art of Iorveth’s Gambit? In current Gwent, Iorveth’s Gambit is all about the trap archetype. Therefore, this could very well be a new Scoia’tael trap card.

After the break and many hours into the tournament we finally got our final series of the day. 66% of the fans predicted Santtu2x from Team Aretuza to win this series from Andi99, who is a member from Team Legacy. Santtu2x is a well-known community tournament player and made it for the first time to a Gwent Open, just like Andi99. Although, the way things played out was not how Santtu2x expected things to end up. Santtu2x won the first two matches due to internet issues on Andi99’s side. According to the rules you automatically lose the match whenever you get disconnected from the game. In the third match Andi99 was allowed to turn off his webcam and they were able to play their third match without any issues. Unfortunately for Andi, this was too late, and he lost the match which got Santtu2x a quick 3-0 win over Andi99 without him having to speed Gwent. This series was certainly a consecutive of tragic circumstances and hopefully CDPR will come up with something that won’t allow this to happen a second time. In competitive play of League of Legends, the match is being paused whenever any issues occur. After the issue is fixed, the game will then resume from where it was left at. This is something that CDPR could look into. You can check their decks here:

The following video pretty much sums up day 1:

Day 2

After an eventful day 1 and a night of sleep, day 2 arrived for all of us to get excited about. Not only because of the match ups but also because on the PlayGwent website there seemed to have appeared a thick fog with a countdown in it. The early morning fog loomed as far as we could see, it was almost tangible, shrouding everything in a thick white veil, the countdown barely managing to penetrate the haze. More things seem to appear overtime. This raised a number of question marks. Will we get a new expansion announced in the new season of Gwent? Fans have been predicting the fog indicates that we will get a return of Dagon who was a leader in beta Gwent for the Monsters faction.

With all the fans getting excited about the news, the match between SuMo vs Nik_R was about to start. 61% of the fans had put their vote in for Nik_R. Which made a lot of sense since he played really well on day 1. In his matches against SuMo, he also played really well and ended up winning 3-1 that got him through to the finals. It seems that the CIS community have gotten a new star to cheer for.

After the first semifinals, we got to the semifinal that everyone was waiting for, Demarcation vs Santtu2x. Demarcation that beat Tailbot to get to the semi’s and Santtu2x only having to do very little to reach it, meant that Demarcation was slightly favored with 59% of the fans voting for him. The first game between the two resulted in a draw, unfortunatley Santtu2x did not manage to draw a bronze Druid, which left Gedy at 1 charge unspent. Perhaps that could’ve made all the difference. They had to play again, with Demarcation ended up winning it thanks to his better defense that prevented Santtu2x from countering his vital engines. The match after that was also won by Demarcation. Santtu2x did got back into the series by winning the third match which got some fans excited. Some of them were yelling perkele in the Twitch chat and got a timeout for doing so. Unfortunately this didn’t helped out Santtu2x that much because Demarcation won the fourth match and got to the finals with a score of 3-1.

Before we got to watch the final between Nik_R and Demarcation we got treated with even more leaks than during day 1. Aside of a new board, a new Arachas Queen skin, a new border and a new avatar we got presented with a couple more card art leaks:

When you think the art in Gwent can’t become any better than the current art that we already have, CDPR keeps surprising us because so far it’s truly outstanding. The first card art leak of the day reminds us a of Aloy, who is the protagonist of Horizon Zero Dawn and the sole playable character throughout the game. The second card art is a golden Nekker who is sitting in a cave. This might be a reference to the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol, more commonly referred to as the Golden Idol, which is a fictitious artifact that appears in the opening sequence of the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first entry in the Indiana Jones franchise created by George Lucas. There have also been rumors that it could be a reference to a Cthulhu Idol and that the speculated expansion will be horror themed. The third card art leak is Ethereal, who is a demon-like, nightmarish creature appearing for the first time in the Hearts of Stone expansion from the Witcher 3. For Iris, it takes on the form of her husband, Olgierd.

After the card art leaks, the final was starting. If you have looked at the bracket, so far Nik_R has only played against Chinese players with Demarcation, another Chinese player, being the final boss. With Demarcation winning the first match, the second match resulted in a draw. Nik_R played Dagur and it got Gradened by Demarcation, however Nik_R decided to not revive it with his leader. Instead he played Morkvarg and then Wild Boar of the Sea.  Nik_R’s decisions may have been influenced by the fact that Demarcation did not spend his last 6 coins on Sea Jackal, which could be considered as a big brain play by him. They had to play again and Demarcation beated Nik_R which got him to the point he had to win one more game to be crowned the winner of the first Gwent Open of season two. While Nik_R needed a reverse sweep against Demarcation. He did manage to win a match, but Demarcation was simply too good for Nik_R and ended up winning the fifth game of the series by a huge amount of points. We can therefore crown Demarcation the winner of the first Gwent Open of season 2, which got him a ticket to the Gwent Masters that is being held at the end of the year. Demarcation said in his interview that he will slow things down the next season and focus on his studies, but after that he will try to play as much Gwent as he can and maybe will achieve many more wins.

With day 2 coming to an end, and being a lot smoother than day 1, CDPR announced the upcoming Gwent Open that seems to be around the corner. It will be held on 27th-28th of June so keep that weekend free in your agenda.

Guilt Over Tilt

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

What is tilt?

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

How does one get tilted in Gwent?

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

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

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

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

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

How can you deal with tilt?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final words from us

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

Get To Know The Faction Ambassadors!

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

Who are the Faction Ambassadors and where to find them?

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

Who is the faction Ambassador for Nilfgaard?

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

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

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

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

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

Who is the faction Ambassador for Scoia’tael?

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

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

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

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

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

Who is the faction Ambassador for Syndicate?

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

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

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

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

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

Who is the faction Ambassador for Monsters?

SHIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is the faction Ambassador for Northern Realms?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is the faction Ambassador for Skellige?

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

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

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

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

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

The Last wish

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

Guide to the Seasonal Mode in the Season of the Elves

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

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

Rules

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

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

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

General approach to deckbuilding

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

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

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

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

Neutral cards that work well in many decks:

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

Faction specific approaches

Nilfgaard:

Nilfgaard

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

Northern Realms:

Northern Realms

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

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

Skellige:

Skellige

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

Monsters:

Monster

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

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

Syndicate:

Syndicate

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

Scoia’tael:

Scoiatael

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

Final remarks

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

Happy gwenting!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything You Need To Know About Gwent Journey

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

The Journey or the destination?

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

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

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

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

The cost of progress

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

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

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

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

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

Busy earning

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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