Gwent

Deck Guide: 10.4 Drill/Cleaver/Candle Crime

Overview

Since the release of 10.4 a variety of decks have resurfaced (e.g. dwarves). one of these more recently viable decks that has caught my eye is crime with the Lined Pockets leader ability, having used crime decks intermittently over the course of my two years playing GWENT, I can safely say there’s a special place in my heart for crime.

This deck has benefitted greatly from the addition of Conjurer’s Candle and Ring of Favor as the Ring of Favor helps  win the first round (something crime normally struggles to do without expending a lot of resources) and Conjurer’s Candle helps to protect engines and acts as a spender when needed.

Although the deck is packed with control options and removal, access to cards like Cleaver, Conjurer’s Candle,  and Eventide Plunder, provide valuable spending options when there are not many good targets on the opponent’s side of the board. Overall I’ve had a heap of fun playing this deck and I’d highly recommend it if you want to play something a little bit more off-meta.

The Deck

Core Cards

Cleaver – Power play at the start of a round that will be less focused on the removal of your opponent’s points, able to achieve intimidate 3 from adjacency bonus (easily done with Ferko + Justice to nestle him between) so that crimes play for 3 extra points, able to spend 4 coins to summon Cleaver’s muscle  a 5 power body with shield.

Tunnel Drill – Secondary major engine alongside Cleaver,  able to deal 3 damage for 2 coins if a crime has been played within the turn, the BEST damage tool in the deck for a sustained round, can be protected by Conjurer’s Candle  at 7+ Power so it’s out of range of low-cost removal such as Boiling Oil and Natural Selection, or slightly bigger plays like Enslave and Vigo’s Muzzle.

Conjurer’s Candle –  Useful Spending tool that turns X coins into X + 1 points on board, can be used to protect important engines such as Tunnel Drill and Whoreson’s Freak Show, or used to boost a unit to deny dominance for a Nithral, dodge a schirrú explosion, ruin a Geralt: igni lineup etc…

Ring of Favour – Perfect addition for reinforcing round 1 advantage the turn before opponent wants to pass, often plays for 10-14 points for only 8 provisions, protects low health targets e.g. Giantslayer marks, thins for 1 card if opponent passes, so not terrible punishment for misplaying it.

Ferko The Sculptor + Novigradian JusticeFerko can tutor any crime out of the deck, however, when tutoring Justice the condition that requires a Crownsplitter to be one Board to summon a Cleaver’s muscle is automatically fulfilled, thins 2 cards potentially and plays for  between 10 and 15 points depending on what engines are already on board.

Deck Guide: Skellige and the Magic Compass

Overview

21 new cards have been added to the game and I am having tons of fun with all of them! In this article, I have two decks for you that include Magic Compass – a card revealed by me, Bomblin. The first deck is actually the creation of one of the Bandit Gang pro players – Energix. He had a crazy 85% win rate with it on pro rank and I absolutely love it!

The plan of the deck is quite simple. You want to go through your deck as much as possible with the discard package, Knickers, and Roach. You can generate a lot of points behind the defender using Messenger of the Sea and rain/storm cards.

Try to also set up a carryover with Ciri: Nova and use your Golden Nekker to thin 3 more cards and generate tempo. Magic Compass can often hit cards that are not crucial for the victory and it doesn’t generate any big problems. Moreover, it can be used to put Morkvarg on the board.

In round 3, you want to use Magic Compass when you have 2 or fewer cards in the deck to generate a legendary card. In most cases, you want to use Fucusya with Messanger of the Sea for a lot of value or Lippy to get instant 10 point play (Roach and Knicker) plus a chance to go through the deck (and Golden Nekker!) again!

Pros:

-Can generate a lot of points in the short and long round

-Has a carryover in form of Nova and a sort of Compass

-Can give you any legendary you need in round 3

Cons:

Magic Compass can sometimes screw you

-It is not easy to play – you have to keep in mind many possible scenarios

-Can struggle against some greedy decks.

The Deck

Core Cards

Golden Nekker: Crazy value card. You play 3 cards that can generate even more cards! It can easily give you more than 20 points in one turn.

Ring of Favor: Amazing card that can help you play for round 1 easily. Especially with the number of Mill decks currently on the ladder – this card can let you survive round 1 and in the worst case, it is another thinning card!

Messenger of the Sea: The most crucial engine in your deck. Especially against decks with a lot of units, this card can generate an absurd amount of points.

Overview

The Deck

The second deck of today is my take on the Skellige raid deck. Not only does the new card Highland Warlord supports the unitless or control heavy decks, but I do believe it also helps an old-school archetype – devotion warriors.

Deck has a bit of a slow round 1. You want Mulligan for both Highland Warlords, Derran, and thinning cards. Try to not use your high provision golds and attempt to win round 1.

Because this deck lacks tempo in early rounds, you will be often bled in round 2. If you see that this might happen, play your Eist and any other card apart from Eist. If necessary, you can even use your leader ability on a scary engine.

In round 3, combo your Eist with leader ability (if available), and in combination with Magic Compass – because this is a devotion deck, Eist will summon moved cards on the board.

Pros: 

-Big finisher with a lot of points even without the leader’s ability

-Not relying on engines – instant points in most cases

-A lot of control tools

Cons:

-Slow

-Can be easily bled in Round 2 if you are not careful

Magic Compass is way more clunky in round 1 than in the first deck

Core Cards

Eist: Not only does he synergizes with a leader’s ability, but the Magic Compass also gives it more flexibility and can generate a lot of points as a finisher in round 3.

Primal Savagery: The best card after the boost out of all raid cards. Not only it is a removal, but it also creates a unit on your side of the board.

Derran: In most cases, you want to use it with Morkvgar but it can also be used to set up a nice Magic Compass.

Deck Guide: Devoted Traveling Priestesses

Overview

There’s a brand new patch out now and it includes 21 new cards plus some balance changes. So let’s go and try some new decks, shall we? This Northern Realms list was already a concept that I wanted to develop for the next Bandit Gang meme snapshot, but the release of the new Traveling Priestess might make it good enough to be more competitive. It is very greedy, so it’s perfect for the early days of a new patch.

Your gameplan depends a bit on the cards that you draw. First of all, mulligan the Traveling Priestesses if you draw them. Then have a look at the engines that you have available and play round 1 accordingly. You’d probably start setting up some engines first, then proceed to shuffle one priestess multiple times for your late game. It’s okay to invest cards like King Belohun, Vysogota of Corvo, Trollololo or Anna Strenger early, depending on how much pressure you face. The thing is that you have multiple threats in here and many are expendable.

You should keep one finishing combo in mind however, and most of them include the Traveling Priestess. A very spicy approach would be a double Coën play for example. This would include Viraxas and Kerack Marine as combo pieces, while the Priestess helps aligning units. If Belohun is still available, that’s also cool. Anyway you’d align as many units as possible on 7 power, including Coën of course, and activate him. Then you can use Viraxas’ order on him and boost him by 4 with the Kerack Marine and repeat for an obscene amount of points. But we all know that this will not always work out, so you can also just dump your boosts from the Priestess on Prince Anséis or Mad Kiyan and start slamming with Viraxas’ support.

Pros:

  • Lots of threats for your opponent to deal with. If his control options are limited, he will need to make some tough decisions.
  • Consistent with Pincer Maneuver and King Radovid. Any charge that doesn’t need to find a specific card contributes to the Priestess.
  • Coën has a massive swing potential and is just so fun to play.

Cons:

  • Not that easy to play. Involves a lot of calculations.
  • Might struggle against heavy control decks.
  • Requires Devotion and has few direct control options.

The Deck

Core Cards

Traveling Priestess: The more she’s shuffling, the stronger your finish will be. Supporting cards are King Radovid, Istredd, Griffin Witcher Mentor and Cintrian Envoy. Tutoring her with Amphibious Assault is recommended, since you often need one more turn to play your boost target. These targets can be Coën, Prince Anséis, Mad Kiyan or just a plain Tridam Infantry.

Coën: Lovely card, and no longer boosts opposing units. Involves a lot of counting, especially if you are going for the double tap with Viraxas. Cards that help in alignment can be Traveling Priestess, Vysogota of Corvo or King Belohun, as well as boosting engines.

Trollololo: Nice sidekick to have around when you are using all those charges. Otherwise removal bait.

Viraxas: Strong finisher that works well with multiple cards in this deck.

Magic Compass – Card Reveal by Bomblin

Do not worry guys! It was just April’s fool joke! Bandit Gang is not going anywhere! In fact, today we even have a card reveal for you! The next card drop is coming on Tuesday, the 5th of April, including 21 new cards! I have the pleasure, to present you, the new Epic Skellige Special: MAGIC COMPASS!

The card is a very gripping addition to the Skellige faction. I do believe it can be played in Meta decks, but it can also be a worthy addition to memes!

The Meta:

Firstly, the card is a great thinning card. You can play 2 cards in 2 rounds, while at the same time putting 4(!) cards into your graveyard. This means, that it synergizes with all of the cards that want to be resurrected like An Craite Warrior. Moreover, if you manage to hit a card like Morkvarg in one of the top 3 cards (with a help of, for example, Fisher King) he will jump into the front row. Same thing with devotion Eist! Keep in mind, that it won’t work with discard cards!

The Meme:

This card has amazing synergy with one of my favorite archetypes: Hyperthin. Not only does it thin up to 6 cards, but it also gives you a finisher of a legendary card! Imagine Fucusya or Gedyneith in a deck that does not even use it!

The in-between:

The deck that I am looking forward to making with this card is actually the Ciri: Nova deck. I think it has a chance to be a meme changed into a dream. Why? Because Magic Compass helps you look for the Ciri in round 1, while in round 3 lets you play a legendary card that is actually above the 9 provision limit! Imagine Ciri: Nova, Arnachad, Morkvarg, or Olaf-Hym-combo! The potential is limitless!

Problems:

The card, however, is not perfect. First of all, it is not easy to tutor, especially in devotion Skellige decks. The lack of raid tag hurts the card but it probably would make it too good. Moreover, looking at the top 3 cards can be extremely awkward if you don’t want to lose any of the 3 cards. It will probably need to be in a mid-range deck that just uses good value cards. Lastly, this card gives you so much thinning that you might end up overthinning – here, the second part of the card’s ability helps but you still should be careful!

Overall, I do believe the card is super interesting and I absolutely love its design! What do you guys think? What deck this card can be played in?

Renfri Needs a Gwent Card #13

After reading The Last Wish, I was impressed by the character Renfri and realized that this unique and interesting character was entirely absent from the game of Gwent. What a travesty! I decided to remedy this situation by posting a custom card every day until Renfri is added to Gwent. The custom cards from the last week appear below.

Alraune

If you follow the books and games, the Scoia’tael are portrayed primarily as angry and vengeful vestiges of a bygone era, and as victims of so-called progress. Though sometimes portrayed in a sympathetic light, their violent attacks against major characters often render them irredeemably villainous.

It only takes a little imagination to consider the motivations of the Scoia’tael, however. In part, they fight because they are goaded and persecuted by humans. But there is another reason: they hate humans because they correctly perceive them as a threat to a way of life that is beautiful. When I see the Scoia’tael faction, I don’t focus on their violence. That’s just them having a bad day. I focus on their ways of beauty and harmony, which are their true nature. And that’s why the green team will always be my favorite faction.

And so I present you Alraune, fading ember of a dying age. I see Alraune as a unique type of dryad who maintains a living garden deep in the forests of Brokilon. She only wishes peace and beauty on those around her–human, elf, dryad, even dwarf–alike. But alas, it’s not to be. One day her garden will burn while her precious trees and flowers are converted to lumber and perfume, to be sold for a few coppers in Novigrad. In response, there isn’t really much to say except…

Bloede dh’oine!

Art Source

Apex Predator

I was going to call this card “Food Chain” but in all honesty, “Apex Predator” sounds way cooler. This card gives monsters players double bronze thinning and allows them to play and thrive a card in the same turn. Since thrive’s biggest weakness is initial fragility, this card makes it hard for opponents to cheese away Nekkers with targeted or ping damage. It also encourages monsters players to pack their deck with 3-4 bronze big boys. You know: Aen Elle Conqueror, Frost Giant, and Griffin and so forth. Also known as the total chads that the monsters faction is known for.

With the devotion condition met, you can tutor gold thrive units like Koschey and thrive them the same turn, but there’s major antisynergy with Caranthir in doing so. Apex Predator requires the thrive unit in deck, while Caranthir requires it in hand. Sometimes, a little antisynergy is good, as it balances otherwise potentially OP combos.

Art Source

Nine Lives

In my headcanon, Nine Lives is a young and spunky street urchin who offers tours of Novigrad to anyone who will pay for such a service. If she likes you, she’s true to her word and you’ll be treated to the best shops and sights the city can offer. Rub her the wrong way, however, and you just might wake up to an aching headache and an empty wallet–if you wake up at all. More than one foul soul has attempted to take advantage of this young girl, only for the predator to become the prey. Yay for street justice!

In terms of gameplay, this card offers a new meaning to the “place at the bottom of your deck” card abilities scattered throughout the Syndicate faction. As long as mulligans don’t get in the way, you can sequester cards there, safely out of reach of deck manipulating shenanigans. That means you Nilfgaard!

Art Source

Ice Titan

In Skellige, there is no shortage of young men willing to hurl themselves at some ancient and deadly monster in hopes of earning the heart of a maiden. If that fact could have a card, this would be it right here.

Without synergies, this card is merely a 1-point-per-turn engine. But being the astute Gwentlemen (and Gwentladies) that we are, we know that Skellige gets a lot of use out of healable bodies. When cards like Heymaey Flaminica and Bear Witcher Mentor come to the table, this card is a powerhouse indeed.

In all honesty, I think that Gwent is too tempo-focused at the moment and that we need more synergy-focused engines like this one. If Ice Titan were maybe 1 provision higher and had veil or immunity, it might have the means to survive for more than a turn or two and actually be meta defining. On the other hand, we could lower the provisions by 1 so that the card could be replayed by Fucusya.

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Fabio Sachs

Fabio Sachs was a dude who helped Ciri, got knighted at one point, and eventually became an explorer. This card recognizes him in his shining moment, as he made his famous discovery.

In this case, playing Fabio Sachs allows you to add an extra gold card to your deck, though it can’t be played immediately. This allows you to plan around the created card, even deciding whether you wish to play it at all. Since the card is always an epic, it can’t add too much value to your deck. At the same time, because it isn’t played immediately, you can plan for the perfect moment to drop your card.

This card synergizes with Oneiromancy to a substantial degree. In a lot of ways I try to avoid adding Oneiromancy to my decks because its so expensive and adds no direct value. It also makes matchups a bit more predictable due to the increased consistency. Yet, there is a time and a place for Oneiromancy, and I do think it should occupy a substantial place in the meta. Thus, a card like Fabio is a consideration for people who play Oneiromancy and still have the good fortune to draw all their golds.

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Interferator

Ah, if it isn’t our old nemesis, the dastardly Nilfgaard faction making an appearance. In what ways will this monstrosity mangle the strategy of our pitiable opponent? Let’s take a look.

In this case, the Interferator is a mage who connects the Lock and Spying archetypes. Giving spying to units as they are locked is already devious, but true Nilfgaard mains will turn up the nefariousness to level eleven by triggering the devotion condition. A combination of Interferator, Emhyr var Emreis and Phillipe Van Moorlehem could be the Nilfgaard equivalent of Sukrus and Arnaghad.

Alright, let’s move on. I already feel like I’m going to puke.

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Tedd Deireadh

It’s the end of the world! No, I’m not being dramatic, it really is! That’s what Tedd Deireadh means, anyway. The end of the world is often seen as a bad thing, but sometimes the old must die in order to pave way for something new and better. So goes the Aen Ithlinnespeath prophecy: “The world will die amidst frost and be reborn with the new sun. It will be reborn of Elder Blood, of Hen Ichaer, of the seed that has been sown. A seed which will not sprout but burst into flame.”

In this highly unique Gwent card, the player is encouraged to seek out three specific bronze units which are marked at the start of the game. The quest gains resilience whenever a marked card is played, offering the player an additional chance to find other cards from the set. Overall, it’s worth quite a few points, since it plays for roughly 6 points per round. It’s effectively an 18-for-14, but it’s not even played from hand, making it closer to a 24-for-14. (Note that we can add the value of the weakest bronze in our deck to the value of cards played not from hand. In most cases, that’s a 6.)

Tedd Deireadh’s greatest weakness is that the Wild Hunt (and Monsters in general) tends to have poor consistency, with few direct tutors. For this reason, I created an additional custom card to support this quest. With access to a direct bronze tutor which can itself be tutured by Ge’els, Wild Hunt should be able to reliably complete the quest… to bring about Tedd Deireadh and THE END OF THE WORLD!!!

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Theme Snapshot #3: Tales of Love

Introduction

Welcome to our third Theme Snapshot! February is a season of love and we decided to show the love that is hidden in every faction.  Instead of a deck guide, each deck will tell you a unique story brought to you by our best writers. You will be able to learn a bit of lore but also jump into the crazy adventure filled with love.  Let us know which tale you liked the most!

The Tales

Many have met their significant others for the first time while at work, so perhaps one could recommend it as the ideal place for searching for love. The situation gets a bit more complicated if your area of work lies in espionage. Such was the tale of Carthia van Canten (also known as Cantarella) and Vattier de Rideaux. While the Imperial Spymaster, Vattier, would stay in the vicinity of the imperial throne, Cantarella’s position as a double agent required constant traveling and very little time for Vattier.
The situation got so desperate, that the two had to resort to some serious plotting involving numerous masses of soldiers, agents and tactics in order to see each other again.

The plan was simple: 1) Make the entire Alba Division led by Tibor Eggebracht start an offensive deep into enemy territory towards the area of Cantarella’s whereabouts. 2) This encourages the local ruler into sending Cantarella, believing she’s on their side, to the Nilfgaardian side in order to gather information. 3) As soon as she arrives, Vattier orders the Alba Division to retreat into its original position, which also prevents Cantarella from returning too early due to the massive movement of manpower. 4) Finally together!

So, how do you play this deck? 🙂 The core combo is very satisfying, strong, and lore friendly: 1) You use your leader to place cards on the top of your deck in this order: Any nonessential card, Tibor, Vattier. 2) You play Cantarella. 3) You place Cantarella to your opponent’s hand with Ardal aep Dahy. 4) Your opponent plays Cantarella, she plays Tibor, which will summon Vattier. 5) You give Spying to Tibor with Mage Torturer or Thanedd Turncoat and seize him immediately, as Vattier was summoned the turn before, so no need to wait for his order to charge up. Provided you’ll manage to avoid leader abilities and orders on already deployed cards, your Vattier should be safe enough to go on a date with his beloved!

Written by Mercernn

It was a misty morning, the fog hung low around the trees. The dew drops gripped tightly to the bottom of the leaves. The sunlight barely shone through the dense leaves of the Dol Blathanna forest tree tops. A feeling of unease was also in the air as a strange occurrence was fated to happen today; there were strangers in the forest.

A small group of Scoia’tael commandos, we’re taking a rest from what ailed them. To Etriel’s joy, her only issue at the moment was the rock in her left boot. Etriel knelt down and loosened her right boot to remove it and shake out the bothersome rock. On rising, she looked up to see her infamous leader; Aelirenn, with her hand ever present on the hilt of her sheathed blade. Aelirenn was talking with Vernossiel, Milva, and some of her Swordmasters. They were all planning to rendezvous with a lost unit of Half-elves who took in some outcast Witchers. Etriel’s joy started to turn to worry as she overheard the exploits and rumors of these desperate Felines. They didn’t sound like the best company to her, as she preferred the undying loyalty of her Elven sisters. Not really one for many companions anyway, Etriel only ever spent time with Muirlega. Who was far more skilled than any of those faux felines. There was great harmony between them, and their conversations were made more meaningful since Etriel was one of the few remaining Aen Seidhe with the ability of beast communication. 

It was for this reason, her mind was full of confusion as to why Aelirenn was wasting her time to join forces with this Gezras of Leyda and his band of Witcher outcasts. The confusion didn’t last long, as she observed the roaming rabble of Witchers wander into camp. The sunlight perfectly highlighted what appeared to be a long-awaited reunion between Gezras and Aelirenn, who were spinning slowly in a sweet embrace. As she watched the two of them slink away to the luxurious command tent, Etriel whispered to herself, “Doesn’t take much but a death march against all Dhoine to create a couple like that”. She walked away from her relaxed perch and chuckled to herself; “A pair of Elves and Cats we are. From looks alone, I like my Lynx better”.

Written by Kalvino

As most of you fine readers know. The Passiflora is considered the finest brothel in all of Novigrad and houses many kinds of hookers, from Sly Seductresses to Passiflora Peaches, to the most known and noteworthy ones. A utopia to many men, that is.

Men that often crave emotional intimacy and not just sex. And there is one man in particular that craves this, and his name is Geralt of Rivia. A witcher that is accompanied by his dear friend Roach, who he travels with across all of the continent to seek emotional intimacy with the most desirable women.

Many of those nights, he  spent at the Passiflora with his favorite kind of lady of ill repute:  The Sly Seductress. Especially if they are bonded. One time, Geralt wished to spend a night with them and got himself in a fistfight over them with Adriano the Mink. That truly was something, almost like they got caught in a love triangle, which was gossiped about by the Merchants of Novigrad.

Apparently it took until sunrise for the fistfight to end. And at the end of the day, Geralt got his arse kicked by Adriano, leaving the fine establishment thrashed, sporting a black eye. Which resulted in many customers being upset and asking themselves: ”Could this not have been avoided? Was there not a solution for Geralt, Adriano and the Sly Seductresses? Perhaps they should have all enjoyed the evening together and split the costs. Well, there goes the neighborhood. Is it time for a round of Gwent yet?

Written by BabyJosus

Love really gets the heart pumping. Pumping blood!

Join Dettlaff’s journey to rescue Syanna as he carves a bloody swathe through Beauclair. Utilize Dettlaff and his lesser vampire minions* and call forth the bloodmoon. None shall be safe from Dettlaff should they harm his dear Rhena.

The strategy is (predictably) pretty much the same as any other vamps deck. Do the thing that vampires do. But now Syanna is here too! For the flavor win, you want to be using her ability WITH Dettlaff, but if you’re one of those dirty game-winners, you can also use her with Protofleder for a decent point swing.

In the more likely (practically guaranteed) case, Syanna is going to get bonk’d. That’s fine! Dettlaff is going to be pissed, but we find that is when he is at its best. Ah, love… or something. The message is frankly getting muddled.

Oh, and if your opponent is one of those degenerate Nilfgaard players, and they are using Milton de Peyrac  Peyran… you know what to do…

The deck doesn’t run much in the way of tutoring/thinning because Syanna/Rhena is hard to find. That’s the joke. Please clap.

Written by Carrost

Have you ever wondered what it must feel like to be the only ogroid in your faction? Only being tolerated because of your usefulness to the military, but not accepted for who you are? Not allowed to stay in the Redanian barracks, but forced to live outside the city instead? But you still carry on because guarding boatses is your passion? Trollololo spent many years in the military, his dedication with Frigates inspired lots of Volunteers to join the army. And he gained a badge for each Volunteer recruited, which he proudly added to his armor. As the time went by, his armor became his purpose, and everything he experienced in the army, all the orders that he and his comrades fulfilled, made it better and better.

But one day, when he was on patrol with some Redanian soldiers, they found a woman near an old mansion. She wasn’t only sad, she was sadness, but also very beautiful. So the Redanians got curious about her and realized too late that she was just a specter. At first the archers realized that their armor and their quiver vanished, then the so-called elites felt all their strength wither away. But none of them was devastated like Trollololo, who lost all that he cared for to some illusion of a woman he didn’t even find remotely attractive. The patrol fled from that place and returned to the barracks, where they could stock up in the armory again. Trollololo however, felt that the army was no longer his home and decided to find another purpose in life, seeking someone not only to tolerate but love him.

After striding around for a while, he came across a company of bandits, who were just stealing some pigs from a nearby farm. This wouldn’t have been too interesting if there hadn’t been one individual among them that was significantly larger than the others. Could it be…? He followed them back to their camp and cautiously approached it. His assumptions were correct, there was an ogroid among them, even a female one! They called her Betsy. But then he witnessed how some dwarven musician came up with a piece of armor for the other bandits. Betsy was furious about it, took that armor and smashed it into pieces, uttering some angry noises that couldn’t be regarded as words. Trollololo still loved his armor, so he turned away disappointed and didn’t bother to make contact.

He sought shelter for the night in a nearby cave, where he found another troll, a strange one. There were colorful paper scraps everywhere. He wore a pointy hat and grabbed a sword by the blade, wielding it like a wand. Then the Nekker standing next to him turned into a soldier – Nilfgaard scum, no doubt. Trollololo wanted to attack that soldier when the mysterious troll swung the sword another time and the soldier turned into a mermaid, then into a dryad, then into some small deformed creature uttering “Uma umamaa”. Maybe this troll was the key to find the lovely she-troll that he desired so much…?

Written by Escanbryt

Rioghan was sitting on the bow of the ship. He was doing the night shift, guarding, and guiding the ship while the rest of his fellow pirates were fast asleep. The previous evening reminded him why these waters were the most treacherous on the continent. He and his fellow raiders battled through the rough storms and huge waves for the entire day. There were times he honestly felt they wouldn’t make it out alive. It was only late this afternoon that the sea went back to its peaceful state. The evening breeze gently touched his face, and the sound of the water splashing on the wooden sides of the ship’s bow almost put him to sleep. As much as he wanted to stay vigilant, this soothing experience made it more and more difficult for him to keep his eyes open. The full moon in the night sky was the only thing preventing the darkness from engulfing the entire ship, allowing Rioghan to at least be able to see his immediate surroundings. His eyes were focused on the playful movement of the splashing water when suddenly, he felt that something had bumped into the ship. And then, it began.

At first, he didn’t realize what it was. But it was there, a low humming, continuous sound. He didn’t know where this was coming from, although he felt like it was not coming from somewhere on the ship. For that, he was sure of. Rioghan thought that his exhausted mind was playing games on him. “What’s next? Am I going to start hearing bloody voices now?” A smirk appeared on Rioghan’s face, as his prompt explanation of the unexpected phenomenon clearly amused him. That smirk quickly disappeared, though, as the sound was now turning into something different. Along with the water splashing underneath the ship’s keel and the low creaking noises of the old wooden masts and sails, Rioghan could now clearly hear a female voice singing. He could not understand what the lyrics were, neither did he want to. The perplexity of what was happening to him sparked his curiosity. His gaze wandered towards the ocean, impatiently trying to track down the source of this unerringly mesmerizing voice. His eyes suddenly focused on the right side of the ship’s stern as he noticed something there. Rioghan could swear that there was something in the water, close enough to the surface to at least make out that it was moving right along with the ship. The pale moonlight subtly reflected on whatever that damn thing was, and Rioghan could distinguish the silhouette of what he initially thought was a big fish. His curiosity suddenly turned into surprise when he realized that whatever he was looking at, it was also staring back at him.

Rioghan stood there frozen, half hanging from the side of the ship, watching in bewilderment as the sea creature slowly started coming out of the water. He could now clearly make out the finer details: Long black hair, beautiful face, slender figure, pale white skin. And those eyes, those hauntingly beautiful emerald eyes, were still locked onto him. He couldn’t see the rest of the body as it was still hidden below the surface, but Rioghan was amazed on how this woman could keep up with the current speed that the ship was moving, seemingly without making the slightest effort. “This is a dream, I must be dreaming, it can’t be… It just can’t be…” he thought. “No, you are not dreaming, I am for real”.

The woman’s voice broke Rioghan’s train of thought, snapping him out of the dumbfounded state he was in for the last few moments. “Who are you? What are you? He asked in amazement. “I have been watching you for quite some time now, sailor. Since you left the Isles, I have been following you and your ship.” “You didn’t reply to my question” said Rioghan with a stern voice. The sea-woman replied to him with a faint smile: “That’s because I don’t need to. Do not be alarmed, I do not wish to harm you”. “Then what is it that you want from me?” said Rioghan, whose curiosity made him forget that his fellow pirates were sleeping just a few meters away from him, somehow still impervious to the events that have just unfolded. She didn’t reply, her body still somehow managing to move effortlessly through the water, her gaze still fixated on him. It was then, that her singing started again. This was a song that made logic fade away, numbed all physical sensations. Rioghan was now just staring at this otherworldly creature, his mind empty of any sort of thoughts or memories of past deeds in life. She slowly raised her right hand, beckoning for him to come closer. And he obeyed. It didn’t really matter if he wanted to do it or not, Rioghan just slowly moved over the ship’s side railing and dropped into the sea. Even the cold seawater did not help him snap out of this trance state he was in. It was her who gently grabbed his sinking body and now held him firmly in her arms. Feeling like he was in a lucid dream, Rioghan barely managed to ask one last time: “Who are you?” She was so close now, her eyes still studying every little detail on Rioghan’s face. Their bodies became one and his numb hands were involuntarily touching something scaly, still hidden below the surface. She was a sea creature, alright. Their eyes locked once more, their faces almost touching. She leaned in and with an uncanny voice she whispered: “Your life… will burn… as bright as the love between us”

This was the last thing Rioghan heard before he felt his body violently being pulled below the waves. Darkness was now surrounding him, but he didn’t care. He knew she was taking him somewhere, but he didn’t care. The only thing that mattered to him was her. And in the pitch-black emptiness of the lower depths of the North Sea, he heard her sing again.

Written by Pokkas88

Conclusion

And that was our third Theme Snapshot, we hope you enjoyed it! We hope that we inspired you to create your own memes or own versions of the decks with this Theme Snapshot. But for now, the Bandits and I will fare thee well, and we’ll see you again in Theme Snapshot #4!

Make sure to come back next month for another Meme Snapshot. Remember, that if you want to be featured, you can send us your decklists to teambanditgang@gmail.com!

Please consider checking out our article section where you can find plenty of articles. From member interviews to deck guides and more!

Skill beats Luck Ep. 10 – A talk with Snake about the History of Claymore

Introduction

The first competitive season this year has finished, while the next one already started. This means that also the first Qualifier Tournaments of 2022 are on their way as well. 

While we talked with Ryan Godric last episode in detail about the community in general, this time we have a special guest: Snake from Team Claymore. Mostly known in the CIS community, Claymore also organises a lot of tournaments open for everyone, like the currently running Love Tournament.
But what many non-competitive players might not know is, that Snake is one of the hard workers behind the scenes for the official Qualifier Tournaments. Let’s take a closer look on his work and also find out more about the history of Claymore

Meet the Manager

Name: Erik

Age: 33

Hobbies: Games, Cinema, Music, travelling on my Motorcycle

Favorite Card: Villentretenmerth

Favorite Faction: Northern Realms/Skellige

Section: Management Claymore

Claymore and the CIS Community

Everyone within the GWENT community who followed the recent months in the competitive scene noticed the rise of CIS GWENT teams and players. When renova- and I made our interview series Through the Thorns of Top 64 Qualifiers, we talked with players like Nik_r, iluxa or Ch.ase, while I also had the chance to interview arch1 for a Skill beats Luck episode.
Phoenix and GwentDetta are the top competitive teams of the CIS community, while Claymore can be considered as the headquarters. Translation of articles, organising events, helping out in official tournaments, Claymore is for the CIS community what the Piazza was for the Romans. Supported by the TGGwent team they do a tremendous job and are one of the reasons why GWENT is so popular in the CIS regions.

The Interview

Sawyer: First, thanks for being my guest this time. It’s rather unique to talk to people being involved more in the background of things. Many of our readers might know something about the work you do, but not really much about who you are.    
So maybe give us a short introduction about yourself, who you are in the GWENT community and how you’ve become involved in everything.

Snake: Hey! Thank you for inviting me, it is always a great pleasure to chat inside the GWENT community! 
My name is Erik, I’m from Minsk (Belarus), 33 (oh, God) years old. Currently working in IT. I’ve been a gamer since childhood and am a huge Witcher Universe fan.

My way to GWENT? Well, I read about it, played it in the Witcher 3, and waited for the standalone game to be announced. I started playing GWENT in the very beginning — since KillTheServers, which was even before Closed Beta. Then I somehow got the sacramental key and started playing and streaming on Twitch. That’s how I got to the global Discord server.
CIS players used another big Discord server (which is now integrated with Claymore, btw). Someone there was talking about some closed EU tournaments with quite valuable prizes from CD PROJEKT RED. That’s when I thought, “Why don’t we do the same? Let’s make our own tournament! Open for everyone!”. And they say: “Initiative is punishable” — so I had no way back. 

Now I’m a manager of the biggest CIS GWENT community — Claymore team. Not only do we produce daily content in Russian, we also organize plenty of tournaments: official qualifiers and our own Opens and Fast Cups. 

S: Impressive stuff, I noticed you’ve been involved in a lot of things. 
The Russian or CIS community grew a lot over the recent years. In a chat with arch1 from Team Phoenix, we already talked about the variety of teams etc.
Can you tell us a bit more about the journey of Claymore and also TGGwent?

Sn: Well, as I already said, Claymore or, rather, RuGwent Tournaments were born with the idea of creating our own tournament. And we started doing this when GWENT was in beta. With sheer enthusiasm, we set the seemingly-easy goal to make our own online tournament with livestreams. The first tournament with more than 250 CIS participants took place in early 2017. We were first to make a broadcast with both players’ hands shown. CD PROJEKT RED did the same much later with the help of ESL for some local tournament. And the Spectator mode was introduced years later. 
Tournaments were extremely successful, so we started making them on a monthly basis, constantly improving and rotating casters. To promote tourneys, we created social network accounts, and we started posting news as well. At this point, the second goal appeared — to become one of the best news and content creators in CIS.
I believe we succeeded. At some point, we even recorded some interviews in English with Chinese and German pro-players. Later, those appeared on the official GWENT web page. No one in CIS had ever done anything like that. All in all, trying to do everything qualitatively is one of the main pillars of our success. People can always feel if you are not completely into what you do. And you’ll get bored by such a job quite soon as well.

We started with CIS region — online tournaments took place once or even twice a month (and we’re trying to keep up with the temp now). First LAN took place at St. Petersburg in 2017, the next one was in Minsk in 2018 with the great help of Belarusian eSports Federation. All in all, we hosted 5 LANs and are willing to do more.

Back then in 2017 we grew to the EU and World level. At first, we helped Lifecoach. Later, in the beginning of 2018 we translated our online rules into English and started to make international tournaments with international live casters — we were first at that too!

Twitch online during the Beta was up to 3000 viewers. Our tournament casts (that were usually in Polish, English and Russian) were up to 1900 with 1700 average. The greatest achievement is, of course, the close partnership with CD PROJEKT RED as we organize all the qualifiers for GWENT Opens. 

Not only that, but we also helped them to make tournaments for other official GWENT partners — any kind of recognized content makers from all over the world.  

This is a shortened summary of what Claymore (former RuGwent Tournaments) has been doing. And besides the tournaments, people always want more content. Yet, one of our main platforms — vk.com/ is not available in Ukraine due to politics and guys from Ukraine decided to fill the lack with communication by creating a chat (and the TGGwent team of content creators) in Telegram. Their news channel was created back in the middle of 2020 and appeared to be quite popular in CIS community. Obviously, there’s not much official content in GWENT, and sometimes it is a rush to do something faster and better once there is something, but it is always good to have a healthy competition, and together we deliver news in Russian maybe even faster than they are delivered to most English-Speakers 🙂 Unfortunately, we don’t collaborate much, though. 

S: Wow, what a journey. From pure passion, you really built something big, which is now definitely one important pillar of the GWENT community.    
With multiple events happening over the year, official and community hosted, you’ve seen many different parts of the competitive scene already.
What does it take, and how is it like to organize events, content and communication?

Sn: Oh, it is really exciting and inspiring, though at the same moment you feel that burden of responsibility. Making a high-quality product that all participants would be comfortable with is always the highest priority for me. And this aspiration always makes me involved in the creation process.
We formed a cool organizing team and a lot of things have been repeated so many times. At this point, communicating with casters and participants or monitoring that everyone’s good is the only thing that may bring something unexpected. Once you have solid and detailed regulations and a plan with all little things considered, it becomes way easier for you.

S: True, a structure definitely helps.     
What events or exciting situations would come to your mind when you look into your GWENT past…and where would you say you would’ve done things maybe differently? 

Sn: All LANs and OPENs along with Challenger that I visited are the first to come to mind. Every meeting gave so many positive emotions and motivated me for further work with the community, content, team and development in general. So, yes. Live tournaments and after parties are the things that are unforgettable.

As for the things that I might have changed… I’m not sure if there is one. Looking back at how it all went, I like everything that happened to me and the team in general

S: Sounds like you’ve done everything right so far, and the success proves you right!        
Many competitive players will already know, and you already said it, but you often help out with the official qualifiers for the GWENT Opens. I can only imagine the effort to get everyone prepared and ready for it.
What does a qualifier weekend look like from your perspective?       

Sn: First of all, I have to say that everything begins a long way before the weekend. The more time you spend to get ready — the less unexpected things will occur during the tourney. So, you should always imagine yourself in the participants’ position  so that the questions will arise during preparation and not during the event itself.

A week before the qualifiers we create tournaments on Challonge and Platform, add participants to the Discord server, onboard casters and induct them into the process and nuances of communication. We also communicate with CD PROJEKT RED concerning tournaments, announcements and so on. Of course, checking and screening players’ decks is also on the list.  During the tournament day you should strictly follow the timings, control the information to be delivered to participants and viewers, do troubleshooting…. So, you’ll definitely have your mind blown by the amount of work to be done.

 All in all, every day of qualifiers usually takes at least 10-12 hours. And after that you have to summarize the results with a nice infographic, clear the discord, analyze the feedback if  any. All in all, you have to be really into the process.

S: I’ve never taken part as a player in such an event, but I was involved behind the scenes in smaller ones, so I can totally relate.    
Over the last months we had some chats as well, where you helped translate some articles from Bandit Gang into Russian. It shows how international the community is, from players taking part in events to content creation.                    

What are the differences for you between organizing things mainly for the CIS community and events like qualifiers or the CIS Cup, where also people from all over the world take part?

Sn: We do translate some of your articles and reference your meta and meme snapshots, yet some other articles such as Slavic Lore or some other Skill beats Luck were translated by TGGwent fellows — translating is a thing that takes a lot of effort and sometimes there are just not enough hands, so it is cool that those are still being delivered to people who don’t speak English. Besides, we do have a lot of our own lore content and are always happy to interact on that if needed!

As for organizing different things — all our tournaments are open for anyone of any origin and skill to participate. So, basically, there’s almost no difference at all. Rules for any of our tournaments are duplicated in Russian and in English, we can answer any questions at least in these two languages, and we always announce tourneys not only in our discord, but also on other teams discords and our twitter as well, so follow the news not to miss anything 😉

S: I will make sure of it, and also am glad for your continuous support!         
Recently we could see the road map for 2022 and where GWENT is heading. What are your thoughts on it?              

Sn: As any other player, I always wait for more various content. I’m willing to see what Golden Nekker will bring to us. And as we now know it is not a new GWENT mode, maybe they have an idea for the one that will not grow into a standalone as GWENT really lacks some in game modes. I hope this pause in journeys will help the team to look back on what has been done and improve the game. This includes draft mode, Card abilities rework, and some misconceptions in descriptions of those, etc.

As for the roadmap, I personally like the idea of the month-long breaks in April and July. This will help players to be better concentrated during the competitive seasons and not to burn out because of non-stop play. Yes, that will mean that we’ll have one Open less. Yet, I believe this lack will be more than compensated with the Play-in tournament where not only the best will perform, but the tournament format itself looks promising. And moreover, the rework of the CP system will show itself good enough, imo. Oh, and the gaps will also let different teams like us make their tournaments more popular — as we do a lot, so we are quite interested in promoting those. 

And All in all, unfortunately, CD PROJEKT RED don’t have any platform to test what they do. Chess tournament rules are still sometimes being reworked (previous time it happened last April). But without experimenting, you’ll not be able to come to an optimum, and it is never late to roll the changes back next year. 

S: Interesting, I think we just have to simply wait and see how everything works out this year.
The last couple of years, we must say, have been quite influenced by Corona. I often heard that, for especially that reason, it was “easier” to compete and take part in this virtual community.

But also, many real-life events happened inter in different teams.
You’ve ever meet anyone from the GWENT community in person? How much does GWENT influence your personal life?

Sn: Meeting like-minded people in person is always a great event. Of course, I met many players in person, mostly thanks to official LANs in Warsaw and our own ones in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. During my visits to Warsaw, I got acquainted with a lot of developers as well

Thanks to GWENT LANs, I started to travel more, so yes, they did influence my life a lot. New cities and countries, people and impressions — that is really cool! Because of GWENT, I can go to almost any country in the world and meet someone who I know there. So, once the pandemic is over, I’ll pay a visit to you too — beware! 🙂

And for quite a long time now we have dreamed of a global LAN in Moscow — gathering the best players and content creators, organizing tournaments and casting, chatting during the after-party. Such activities are always fun, cozy and unforgettable, especially when polished with Mahakam Ale 🙂

S: That would be awesome! But Moscow or St. Petersburg were always on my list as well, so maybe it’s me who rings your doorbell first!
The new year started as well as the first competitive season in GWENT is already finished.
What are your goals for 2022, personal as well, and what can we expect from Claymore this year?       

Sn: There is an important goal that I won’t announce now, but I’m sure it will please Claymore team as well as the whole CIS community in general. We’ll tell you once we’re close. We’re planning to make more and more high quality content (unfortunately, mostly in Russian) — Articles, translations, interviews, tests, Glossary (Aretuza Glossary was the one to inspire us), et cetera, et cetera… We’re turning five, so this is also a great opportunity to celebrate with the community with some contest or any other event. 

Sn: As for the tournaments, we always want more and better. If only we had more time for that — official qualis are more critical for players, and therefore most forces are there. We want our FastCups (BO1, SE) to happen more often. First Fastcup already took place on January 30. And we also want to launch our new format — Claymore Special (BO3, SE), where we’re planning to introduce special rules for your decks so that it will be fresh & fun. The first tournament is taking place on February 13s. And as it is really close to St Valentine’s Day, it will be LOVE special — you’ll have to include at least one couple from the list we made. You may not be late for the registration! 

And of course classic competitive Claymore Opens for those who love it harder or for those who want to get ready for the Qualis and understand how it all works.

S: So a lot of stuff in the pipes, looking forward to it!   
Thanks for taking part in the interview, really appreciate it! As always, I wish you good fortune in the wars to come.
Any closing words from you for our readers? Maybe a tip on how to draw your golds? 😉

Sn: Thank you for inviting me, it was really great to participate! I wish everyone not to be afraid of interesting and ambitious goals and follow them whatever it takes. Only challenging things can make you delighted and proud of what you’ve done. And this is not only about GWENT — this is a great life rule in general 😉 

And may the red coin be with you, may every keg contain a premium card, and may the odds be ever in your favor. In the name of Burza and Saint Shupe, Ahoy, my hooman friends!

Skill beats Luck Ep. 9 – About the GWENT Community with Ryan Godric

Introduction

Over the last months, we had the chance to talk with people from all over the world. We got insights from Pro Players, talked about what it takes to stream, cast or even manage and already got a first glimpse behind the scenes with MrRepek

After last weeks nostalgic chat with Masters winner Kolemoen, today we have another German guest: CD PROJEKT RED Community Specialst Ryan Godric
Let’s take another look behind the curtain and hear about his work within the GWENT Community. 

For our fellow German readers, you will find a link to the original German interview in the Additional Information!

Meet the Guest

Name: Ryan Schou

Age: 25

Hobbies: Movies, Video Games, Music, People

Section: Community Specialist 

Favorite Card: Ulfhedinn

Favorite Faction: Skellige

The GWENT Community

I maybe want to take this short section as an opportunity to share my thoughts about the community. 
While I was part of different eSport-Teams in the past and obviously are involved in other things outside GWENT, our community really is something special. 
People from all over the world came together to either stay longer in the Witcher universe or just wanted to try out another CCG. But while being so global, for me it always felt like a bigger family, a bunch of friends. If you watch your favorite channel on Twitch, most of the time you see people you know and have some sort of friendly connection. If you face certain opponents on ladder, you have the feeling that you know them, while maybe never even had a chat together. 
And when you have questions, feedback or want to get help, not only a broad landscape of Teams can help you out, but also the official members of CD PROJEKT RED. Through streams, shared tweets or simple conversations over Discord, you always find a helping hand. 
One of the persons who makes this all possible is Community Specialist Ryan Godric, so how about giving him the word and see, what his impressions of our community are.

Additional Information - Zusätzliche Infos

For our German readers and community, we prepared the original German interview as well, which you can find here in a Google Document!
Für unsere deutschsprachigen Leser haben wir das Original Interview zusätzlich aufbereitet, welches ihr in diesem Google Document findet!

The Interview

Sawyer: Hello Ryan, first of all thanks for taking part in our series! I guess many in the scene will already know you through your interviews with player during bigger GWENT Events.
But why don’t you introduce yourself for our readers as well? 

Ryan: Hello everyone, I am Ryan and I work since almost 2 years now for CD PROJECT RED as a Community Specialist for GWENT. I am from Cologne, where I studied Media at the university and moved to Warsaw for work in summer 2020.
Most of all I am interested in movies, video games, music and people. Especially I love to talking with others about media, society and other interesting things, I guess that comes in handy for my job. 

S: Then you were able to turn your hobby into your job, that’s awesome!
First you were in Team Aretuza, if I’m correct, and then work for CD PROJEKT RED.
How did your GWENT-Journey start, and how did you end up in CD PROJEKT RED?

R: My GWENT-Journey started in my hometown at Gamescom 2016, where I came in contact with GWENT the first time. There was a stand where you could play it and a friend of mine already heard of it. So I gave it a shot and entered the closed Beta. Fast-forward one year and I became a fan of The Witcher 3, played GWENT a bit and was again at the Gamescom. This time I spent more time there and met two people which really influenced me.

The first person was AshCosplay, a Cosplayer and Streamer from England. Through a short conversation, I found her Twitch Account and started streaming myself a bit. November 2017 was the time where I had my first GWENT Stream on English.

The second person of course was Pawel Burza, our Community Manager. He was an idol for me for a long time. 2017 I already told him at the Gamescom, that a year later I would be on this GWENT stage myself. Sadly 2018 was no Gamescom, but through regularly streaming and my engagement in the community I joined Team Aretuza. There I got to know the Community even better and tried to implement various projects, to increase the quality of content withing the GWENT scene.
For example, I travelled 2019 two times to Warsaw to produce Bonus Material for official GWENT tournaments. These were published interviews with casters, streamers and also a (sadly) failed documentation for the last challenger.
Start of 2020 there was an open job position in the CD PROJEKT RED GWENT-Team, on which I applied and thankfully got in the end.

S: Your passion definitely paid out in the end, well deserved.
If you are not busy answering questions of GWENT-Partners, players or interviewers, what are your tasks at CD PROJEKT RED

R: My tasks are very versatile, that’s why I love my job so much. On one hand I manage the daily exchange between players and developers, but also the organization of bigger projects, like the reveal-plan for an expansion.
On the other hand, I take care of the GWENT-Partner Program (answering applications or general communication) and of the production of interviews or trivia videos for our GWENT tournaments.
In addition, there are also some exciting sideprojects or smaller things, like the monthly winrate publication.

S: Sounds interesting. I remember my own application in summer 2020.
As a former team member of Team Aretuza you now are involved with everything as the Community Specialist for CD PROJEKT RED.
What changed for you, personally, with this change to the more “official” side? 

R: I hope, of course, that the GWENT Community will be as open and honest with me as before. But I understand, that I might be seen now as an official part of the company. So people might be a bit more careful towards me about what they say.
I definitely miss the daily private and intense conversations on our old TA Team Discord. But therefore I have a new “Team” now, if you want to put it like that, and the insight in the world of game development is really exciting. You get a totally different perspective on things and especially a face behind all these decisions. And personally, the passion in the Team for GWENT and the community drives me.
Sadly, I can’t invest as much time in playing as I used to, because you already spent 8h a day with the game. Nevertheless, I love playing GWENT! 

S: Understandable, but it surely is exciting to now know both sides of the gaming world.
If you look at the big GWENT events, then you quickly figure out how international the Community is. Now and again, people help you with translations, like Hesser or Pawel Burza himself.
How would you describe a  typical “press day” before an event? 

R: The procedure most starts 2-3 weeks before the event. First, we prepare the questions for each player for day 1 and day 2. Also, we ask our graphic designers to make the overlays with the correct names and a fitting design.
Our Event manager MrRepek helps to coordinate the recording times with the players, so that we can start with them 1-2 weeks before the tournament.
I take over the English once, while the rest most of the time are taken care of from Hesser. The interviews are then recorded online, produced and edited for the broadcast on the weekend. 

S: You not only help with the interviews, but also are our main contact person for the GWENT-Partners. Some people are waiting for the next Partner Tournament, others are not sure who the application systems works for everyone etc.
Can you maybe reveal us some future plans for the program and what we might expect? 

R: Unfortunately, I can’t “leak” anything for the Partner Program in 2022, but I can tell you that we are currently working on some big things for it. For example that we will prepare some sort of materials for the Partners, like graphic assets etc.

S: A pity, but I am looking forward to it anyway!
I guess it’s the same for you, but when I open my Discord, I see a lot of different channels. GWENT Teams, Streamers or specific tournament channels, everything is included, as well as the GWENT DE Channel.
I noticed that, except some examples like Kafunow or NewPieceYT, there’s relatively small amount of content online. We have Russian translations of articles, French streams, Spanish leagues or Polish tournaments, so why do you think there are so little German streams, events or articles? 

R: That’s a good question. I think there is no clear, simple answer for that, but many small things which play their part. On one hand, you have indeed many bigger German streamers (for example Crozyr) or creators who rather produce their content in English. I think the reason might be the audience. The viewer numbers are far smaller for German content than for English one. 

S: I guess so, but nevertheless I will try to publish a German interview as well now and then, maybe others will follow.
You streamed a bit yourself and also were invited as a guest in some events on Twitch.
I always wondered how do you moderate a Community, where most of them you only know with their “Nicknames”? 

R: In the Internet, Nicknames are nothing new. You treat people like these were their real names, in fact, I don’t know the real names of many community members. But it’s their right to keep this information for themselves. You don’t need much more than a Nickname to communicate anyway. And the recognition value for Nicknames are most of the time better than for “real” names.

S: True, sometimes I have the feeling I hear my Nickname more often than my real one.
During GWENT Masters Season 3 you introduced the Road Map for 2022. This time we only have 3 Opens before the Masters and also the droprate for the card expansions changed a bit.
Where would you see GWENT currently, and for what are you working towards? What do you hope for the game to happen in the coming year? 

R: I think 2022 will be a great opportunity for GWENT. First, you have the adjustment of the drop rates and work routine of our graphic designers. I think big changes are not always right for a running game, but smaller, finer alterations can be more effective and contribute to better to the enjoyment. I am already excited like everyone else for the new cards this year.

Speaking of the eSports section, I am very optimistic, that the new rules support a more “healthy” Pro-Scene. Less time spending in the ladder-grind and more targeted work through the introduction of new off seasons for the players. Also, the adaption of the Crownpoint System and the new World Masters Qualifier Tournament (no fixed name yet) are things, which I am really looking forward to.

All in all, I think that GWENT, even with one less Open, will be an amazing year for Pros and Viewers at the same time.

S: Sounds promising indeed.
Normally, my guests give us some advice for our readers.
The question is, how competitive o you play GWENT these days? And what you tell our Community for the upcoming year? 

R: My competitive time is over I guess, but I have always fun taking a week for myself to grind back to Pro-Rank.
Previously, I loved to play in Community Tournaments, which I can really recommend for everyone who have an urge for exciting GWENT matches. Most of the time the atmosphere is awesome, and you can have thrilling exchanges as well. 

S: Totally agree on that one!
Alright, thanks again for being my guest. As always, I wish you good fortune in the wars to come, and I am looking forward to watching many more of your stories and interviews! 

R: Thank you very much for the interview and the support! 

Skill beats Luck Ep. 8 – A relic from the past: Kolemoen, Masters Winner of Season 1

Introduction

This weekend was and will be the first big highlight for the Gwent community. With the CDPR Charity Stream on Friday, the still ongoing Team Battlecup, organized by cantarellka, and the first Bandit Gang Game Night on Sunday we have plenty of opportunities to engange with fellow Gwenters. 

But the most important thing is today is Saturday, which means another episode of Skill beats Luck. Last week we had a first glimpse behind the curtain, while talking to CDPR’s Event Manager MrRepek
This time I talked with a veteran from the past, Kolemoen. Winner of the Gwent Masters Season 1 and Finalist of Season 2, he is Team Aretuzas top player and without a doubt one of the best players of all time. Let’s see what he’s been up to since his victory and what he thinks about the current state of Gwent! 
For our fellow German readers, you will find a link to the original German interview in the Additional Information!

Meet the Player

Name: Benjamin Pfannstiel

Age: 31

Hobbies: Gaming, Biking, Logicpuzzles

Section: Pro Team (Aretuza)

Favorite Faction: Syndicate

Favorite Card: Amphibious Assault

 

Gwent Masters

While in recent interviews we talked with community tournament champions, the Official Gwent Masters is totally different. Of course, every tournament has its own charms and the potential of providing intense matches. But becoming the eventual winner of a Masters is something else.

Most of our readers might be familiar with the competitive ruleset and structure, but for everyone else, check out the official regulations on the homepage here
Anyhow, it takes a lot of time and effort to become a champion. To qualify you need to be a very consistent player on ladder. This was always the core part over the last seasons. Nevertheless, other aspects changed a bit. From winning Challengers over Qualifiers to now maybe ending up in a new “Qualifier Tournament” in Season 4, your skills are going to be tested in various ways and formats. And in the end of this journey, after thousands of games, the winner can take home a massive amount of price money in addition to the title. 
(If you are interested in what the Pro Players think about what it takes to become a champion, check out Gwent’s Elite episode 1!)

Kolemoen was able to qualify for Masters Season 1 and 2, ending up being the winner of #1 and finalist of #2 while collecting a price money of almost 140.000$ alone in these two events. Now we take a look on what happened since his title win and what his impressions of the competitive changes are.  

Additional Information - Zusätzliche Infos

For our German readers and community, we prepared the original German interview as well, which you can find here in a Google Document!
Für unsere deutschsprachigen Leser haben wir das Original Interview zusätzlich aufbereitet, welches ihr in diesem Google Document findet!

The Interview

Sawyer: Hey Kolemoen, first of all thanks for participating in the interview. I guess you are well known to most of our readers, but maybe you want to introduce yourself anyway.
What is there to know about you and how did you end up playing Gwent? Especially your journey from the first game to the first title, Team Aretuza and the win of the World Masters.

Kolemoen: Before Gwent I played Hearthstone on a semi-competitive level from where I got to know Lifecoach as a streamer. When he switched to Gwent, I also wanted to try the game and liked it more right away, as it seemed less dependent on chance. 
The first big tournament for which I could qualify was Gwent Challenger#2, which took place in the Moschen Castle in Poland and where I placed 2nd. This gave me the confidence to play Gwent as a full-time Pro.
The first tournament I won was the Red Dragon Cup in the Czech Republic, while the first official event, organized by CDPR, was Gwent Open#6. 

S: Interesting, seems like you adapted to the game pretty fast.
In the end of 2020 you were in the finale of Masters Season 2 and you won the postponed Masters 1 tournament last Summer. How have you been since then? 

K: Since the tournament win I didn’t really play Gwent, as I was a bit burned out. I continued my studies in mathematics, which I put on ice for a while because of Gwent.

S: Understandable after such a taxing time.
Some asked themselves “Where is Kolemoen?”, during Season 3.
Do you still play Gwent or keep an eye on the competitive Gwent community

K: I currently don’t play Gwent, but I still follow the patch notes and try to keep myself informed on what’s happening in the scene.

S: The game has changed tremendously since Homecoming. At the same time other CCG’s, like Legends of Runeterra or Storybook Brawl, appeared. What do you think fascinates people about such games? 

K: Legends of Runeterra obviously attracted many people because Riot created one of the biggest gaming franchises with League of Legends. And these customers hoped for them to create a good card game as well. We also have some people in Team Aretuza playing it. But it never appealed to me myself, as its core mechanics are still based on the same principles as Magic or Hearthstone. (Manasystem, Lifepoints, drawing one card per turn etc.)
Storybook Brawl is basically an optimized version of Hearthstone Battlegrounds, which again was inspired by previous auto battlers like Dota Auto Chess for example. It is a very diverting game with much RNG, but even so, a skilled player will have more success in the long run. But I have my doubts about games like these being suitable for tournaments.  
The variance is really high, so that it’s necessary for those tournaments to take part over many rounds to be meaningful. But such long tournaments are hard to market and without enough Twitch Viewers there are no reasons for the organizers to invest a lot of money. 

S: True, there are lots of similarities between these games. We will have to see in what direction Brawl might go.
We already had the chance to chat in German for previous interviews, which is a bit unusual, since most Gwent content is in English.
As a German native speaker, would you prefer more German content as well? Apart from your German team mate Kafunow, almost all German or Austrian players, like CrozyrShaggy, Damorquis or Gravesh stream mostly in English. 

K: I guess that is because you simply reach a broader audience with English content. Moreover most German speaking can speak or at least understand English as well. While on the other hand many people wouldn’t understand German if you are not from that region.

S: That makes sense. Still wondering why there are so many streams in other languages but only a few German ones.

Speaking of German streams, have you ever thought of streaming yourself? We could see you in tournaments or maybe a few podcasts, but how would a Kolemoen stream look like? 

K: I streamed a few times a few years ago but it was to tiring for me focusing on the game and answering questions from the chat the same time. But I could imagine that this could improve with a bit of practice. 

S: It would be pretty cool to see you back!
I think many would agree, when I say that you might be one of the best Gwent players of all time.
During your active seasons, what would you say was your key to success?
Surely it must be a huge motivation for the German speaking community to see that after CyberZ‘ win, two out of three Masters titles went to Germany.

K: It might sound arrogant, but I think in e-sports the most important factor for success is talent for the game. Of course, you need to also invest the required amount of time to improve, which most pro players are doing, you can be sure of that that.
Another important factor for me was my team. It is tremendously helpful for tournament preparation when you have other top players to practice with and with whom you can go through strategies.
For specific tournament wins nevertheless you can’t ignore that luck always plays a small part as well. 

S: Maybe…but in the end: Skill beats Luck.
Anyway, after the last Masters the Road Map or 2022 was announced.
What are your impressions and how would you see the future for (competitive) Gwent? Can we hope for an eventual comeback? 

K: I think the new competitive system is an improvement, because it will demand less time to grind. But I don’t think I will compete in the next season. Also I am not sure if I will ever join the competitive circuit again in the future, hard to say, but I don’t think so.
The monetary prices are sadly not as high as they used to be, so the time you need to invest to qualify for tournaments, which is still substantial, is hard to warrant.

S: Fair point. So after the holiday season and with the start of the new year, what are your goals for 2022, maybe even besides e-sports? 

K: I want to finish my studies this year and also try to do more sports in general. 

S: Decent goals, I wish you good luck with that and, as always, good fortune in the wars to come!
By any chance, you have any closing words or tips for our readers who might want to tackle Gwent Season 4?

K: Sure thing! I can’t give many tips for the current Meta though. But in general I would advise to only engage on a competitive level, if you really enjoy the game and are passionate enough to invest 40 hours a week in Gwent.
And if so, you will notice pretty soon if you are good enough and have what it takes to get to the top.

Deck Guide: Scoia’tael’s Boost Campaign

Overview

Scoia’tael has started its own boost campaign with the latest leader and card changes, plus new cards that have been added to the cardpool of Gwent. And are therefore, weirdly enough, the ones discriminating the humans for once…

Jokes aside, this deck has been performing quite well in the lower ranks, and according to anonymous sources its also considered a meta deck, although it’s no secret that I used to be a Pro Rank player and thus I have the advantage against lower ranked players.

The deck is all about boosting cards in your hand that benefit the most from it to require easy wins!

Pros

  • Carryovers points to other rounds
  • Stronk finishers
  • Thicc Aglaïs

Cons

  • Being pushed in round 2 which results in forcing to play one or more of your stronk finishers
  • Your engines being removed
  • Wrong cards receiving handbuff

Core Cards

Three key cards: Aglaïs, Sheldon Skaggs and Torgue are the cards that benefit most of the respective handbuff. Make sure to boost Torgue to spread the boost onto Aglaïs or Sheldon Skaggs. Cursed scroll allows you to draw one of the two.

Special cards: Since we play with lots of special cards it’s not a surprise that Gord has been included in the deck. Reason for why we play special cards is to make the chance of the handbuff landing on the three key cards that previously got mentioned. Also, half of the special cards handbuff units that are in your hand.

Handbuff engines: Dunca and Hawker Smugglers are important because they make sure that the three key cards receive their boost shots (pun intended).

The Deck