Team Bandit Gang

Gwent

Monsters For Dummies

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

1. Introduction

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

2. The Starter Deck

Looking to improve the starter deck?

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

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

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

 

3. Key Concepts

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

4. Leader Ability Rundown

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

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

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

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

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

Blood Scent (15 Provisions):

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

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

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

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

5. Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

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

Syndicate For Dummies

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

1. Introduction

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

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

2. The Basics of coins:

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

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

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

3. Key Concepts

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

4. Leader Ability Rundown

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

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

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

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

Lined Pockets (15 Provisions):

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

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

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

Off the books (16 Provisions):

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

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

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

Hidden Cache (15 Provisions):

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

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

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

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

5. Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

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

Deck Guide: Make Greatswords Great Again

Welcome to the first official Deck Guide from Team BG! This spicy new deck, brought to you by Driftbling in collaboration with VilleKSK, was created live during a co-op stream. Its main focus is harnessing the power of Greatswords, a 6 Provision bronze card that has seen its fair share of play throughout homecoming but never seemed to really stand out. Until now. Not only is this deck incredibly fun to play, but there’s something  satisfying about watching the boost animation play for each ping of damage, creating huge point swings as every single ping of damage is essentially doubled in value as long as you have at least 1 Greatsword on the board.

The main goal of this deck is to use An Craite Greatswords & Dagur Two Blades, which has the same ability but without a row restriction, to generate insane value. This is done by utilizing multiple-ping cards such as Morkvarg: Heart of Terror, Lacerate, Delirium and so on. Meanwhile cards like Armored Drakkar & Svalblod Priest are cost effective, hard to remove engines that can either bait out removal or if not, generating very high value. It can be a challenge for your opponent to decide what to remove as they usually have limited options, but even if your Greatswords end up being destroyed, Freya’s Blessing allows you to bring them right back onto the board. Your leader ability, Reckless Fury, deals 8 damage in a series of individual pings which can create a 20 point swing if used with just one other card, Dagur Two Blades, possibly even higher if you have other Greatswords already on the board.

The deck aims to utilize the Greatswords ability by using lots of cards that deal damage in small pieces AKA pings, so engines such as Dimun Corsair are used, which can spread bleeding accross your opponents board.

Important Combos:

-Tatical Advantage can be used to keep Dimun Corsair alive, which provides bleeding to keep those pings up and running.
 
-Crowmother acts as carryover, helping short rounds in which Greatswords might not be as effective aswell as having good value on deploy if your other draws aren’t great in R1.
 
-Royal Decree & Ermion are tutors which are essential in a deck that has a core focusing on only a few cards. These, aswell as Freya’s Blessing, mean you should always have access to a Greatsword or Dagur Two Blades to maximise your ping value.
 
-It’s important to not get too greedy with Greatswords, especially earlier on in the game, however Triss can act as a Third Freya’s Blessing if you need it. She can also create Lacerate, meaning she’s flexible depending on what you need and is reliable when it comes to filling the role of needing damage, or a damage ‘reactor’.
 
-In most cases, you want to save Dagur Two Blades as your last card in order to combo with your leader ability, generating 20 points. However sometimes you may want to play him Second to last, and save another ping-damaging card (Such as Morkvarg, Lacerate, Delirium) if you need the extra points to win.

Spooky Matchups:

This deck is vulnerable to control, as it lacks purify. Decks such as Nilfgaard Poision, which feature good tall removal, are a threat. In cases such as this you’ll want to focus on getting your damage engines going first as they’ll do more for you in the long run and generally have a lower base power, making it a sub-optimal choice for your opponent as a poison target.

The Deck

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

https://www.playgwent.com/en/decks/bfcdbaa0b85f4bd1be8b7e7d544eb660

Final Notes

This Deck was created by our team member driftbling, who you can find at https://www.twitch.tv/driftbling. It was also co created by villeKSK, who you can find on https://www.twitch.tv/villeksk.

If you want to see this deck being played, you can check it out here https://www.twitch.tv/videos/539141997. The gameplay of this deck starts at 3:12:20.