Gwentonomics 101

“What are all of these different currencies on the top of my screen?”  “What kegs should I buy with ore?” “What cards should I craft with scrap?”  “How do I get more kegs, ore, or reward keys?”  These are the types of questions that all players new to Gwent have asked themselves at one time or another, and today we will be the White Wolf of Hierarch Square and talk about the economy of Gwent.  

The Currencies

Before we can dig in, we need to define the terms.  In Gwent, there are five main currencies.  These are Reward Keys, Gold Ore, Scraps, Meteorite Powder, and Kegs.

Reward Keys: Reward Keys unlock nodes in the Reward Book.  These nodes can reward players with all the other resources, as well as unique cosmetic upgrades.  Keys can be obtained from daily quests, journey progress, completing contracts, and a set amount awarded at the end of each season, depending on your rank.  

Gold Ore: Ore is used for purchasing Kegs from the shop.  Each keg is worth 100 ore.

Scrap:  Scrap is used to create cards.  The going rate is 800 scrap for a legendary card, 200 scrap for an epic card, 80 scrap for a rare card, and 30 scrap for a common card.  Scrap is primarily obtained through reward nodes and milling duplicate cards.  

Meteorite Powder:  Meteorite Powder is a currency tied to cosmetics.  Its most common use is to upgrade cards to premium versions although, occasionally, the shop will sell cosmetics such as leader skins, coins, and game boards.  Meteorite powder can be obtained through reward nodes and milling duplicate premium cards.  

Kegs: Kegs contain a random assortment of cards.  The fifth card is guaranteed to be at least a rare card, and you are given a choice between three selected cards of that rarity.  There are various kegs available to players. The most recent expansion keg will contain only cards from the most recent expansion; faction kegs will only include cards from that faction, and ultimate kegs can include any card.  Kegs can be purchased with ore, awarded from nodes in the reward book, or obtained through Journey progress.

Efficiecy Efficiency Efficiency

This guide will assume that your goal is to quickly build a competitive deck or two that will help you climb the ladder.  Thus, this guide will focus on how to obtain and spend your resources efficiently to make your account as competitive as possible and as quickly as possible.  

As an aside, Gwent is a very free-to-play friendly game (at least compared to its competition).  Players will get more than enough resources from playing the game for just an hour or so per day.  With that in mind, choosing to do something just for fun, such as crafting a card of your favorite character, will never set a player back too far. Second, I come from a background in roguelike games and, as such, I never hoard resources.  While there are arguments for hoarding, such as preparing for a new expansion or prestige level, worrying about hoarding will severely stunt a player’s progress towards creating a powerful deck.  I would only consider hoarding resources after you have a competitive deck or two that you enjoy playing.  Circling back to an economics framework, value now is worth more than value later!

Which Kegs Should I Buy With Ore?

Our goal with buying kegs will be to get a good deck as quickly as possible.  To this end, a new player should start out by buying faction kegs exclusively for their chosen faction.

The ideal strategy to get a good deck quickly is as follows:

  1. Buy faction kegs for your favorite faction. 
  2. Once you have all the bronze cards, keep buying faction kegs so you can get scrap. 
  3. Use that scrap to craft missing pieces for the deck you want to build.
  4. Once you have all the bronze cards of a faction and a deck you are pleased with, you can move onto another faction and repeat the process.  

In terms of identifying the deck that you wish to work towards, there are many available resources here at Team Bandit Gang and other competitive teams that showcase some of the best decks currently available.  Having one of these top-tier decks in mind can streamline your crafting process even further. Even if you don’t have a particular deck in mind, you can still focus your crafting on cards universally useful in multiple decks for your faction or in general.  Again, there are excellent resources available here on Team Bandit Gang explaining what cards are must haves for each faction.  

A caveat about this approach is that it is concerned with generating a competitive deck as quickly as possible.  If your goal is to collect all of the cards, it will be faster to switch to buying kegs from a new faction as soon as you have all of the bronze cards. Milling cards for scrap is somewhat inefficient—for example, a duplicate legendary card mills for 200 scrap but costs 800 to craft.  The reason we want a lot of scrap is that it can be used to craft specific cards. When we are angling for a particular deck, crafting cards that are missing gives the best odds of finding it quickly.  

How Do I Get Scrap?

There are two main ways to get scrap: purchasing it with reward keys from the reward book or milling cards in your collection.  Because Gwent is more free-to-play friendly than most other collectible card games, you will not be put in a position where you need to mill your entire existing collection to get enough scrap to buy the current flavor of the month meta deck.  Many players will have near-complete collections after only a year or so of regular play!  As such, generally speaking, you should only mill duplicate cards, even when you are starting.

Milling duplicate cards can be completely automated.  You will see a gear icon at the top of your card collection. Clicking it will lead to the auto-mill settings.  It is recommended that players select “Resource Focused” from the three options available.  This setting will automatically mill any duplicate cards that you have while favoring premium versions of those cards.  There aren’t many reasons to choose the other settings unless you specifically want premium and non-premium copies of the cards.  There is (almost) no gameplay difference between a premium and a non-premium card.  The only deck or archetype that finds using premium and non-premium cards worthwhile is Nilfgaard Assimilate because premium cards can be used to differentiate between Duchess’ Informants created and those in the starting deck. Still, we are really getting into the weeds here, and unless you are playing assimilate Nilfgaard, I wouldn’t worry about it.  

How Should I Spend My Reward Keys

The short answer to this question is that… there isn’t a right or a wrong way to spend your keys.  Generally, you will want to favor ore and kegs over meteorite powder and scrap.  Early on, purchasing faction kegs will be the most efficient way to build up a strong deck in the shortest amount of time, and ore will allow you to do that. 

It is essential to be aware that several gold cards are available from the reward book, and if you plan on including them in your deck, it is worth picking those up.  The notable gold cards available in the reward book are the Witcher Trio in Premium- Vesemir, Lambert, and Eskel– found in the Year of the Wild Boar main tree, and the location cards from the Way of the Witcher Expansion- Gorthur Gvaed, Dol Dhu Lokke, Haern CaduchKaer Seren, Salamandra Hideout, and Stygga Castle– each found in their respective faction subtree on the Way of the Witcher tree in the Year of the Wererat tab.

People have done the math for players with pure optimization in mind and calculated which trees offer the most efficient conversion of keys into ore.  /u/EvD92 did the math on Reddit and put together a handy spreadsheet.  His work can be reviewed here.

However, from my experience, what trees you invest in does not particularly matter.  In general, I find Gwent to be generous enough with Reward Keys, Ore, and other resources that I have never felt strained for keys when unlocking whichever reward tree nodes that I pleased.  As such, if there is a cosmetic item that you would like, such as a new leader skin for your favorite leader, unlocking that with your reward keys won’t set you back far enough to make any noticeable difference to your progress.  How you spend your keys is significantly less important as compared to how you spend your ore.  

How Valuable Is Meteorite Powder?

Meteorite Powder is a comparably rarer resource obtained from reward nodes and milling premium cards used exclusively for cosmetic upgrades.  Players can also purchase meteorite powder for money in the shop, and Meteorite Powder is one of Gwent’s primary monetization strategies.  From a competitive standpoint, Meteorite Powder doesn’t make a difference. Your leader skin, game board, or whether or not your cards or premium will not have an impact on your ability to win games.  That said, I think we all want to be pretty on some level, and upgrading the cards of your favorite deck to the premium animated versions or unlocking cool new leader skins, coins, card backs, and game boards can be immensely satisfying.  

How you approach Meteorite Powder is entirely up to you,  since meteorite powder is purely cosmetic and everyone has different tastes and desires for what cosmetics they prefer.  I prefer saving it and buying leader skins and game boards when they appear in the shop.  

What is the Most Efficient Way to Spend Real Money?

If you want to spend real money on Gwent, either to get ahead faster or to purchase unique cosmetics to support the game, there is nothing wrong with that.    That said, there are a few pitfalls in the shop.

First, when looking at ornaments available for sale, the shop will sell for money some of the cosmetics available in the seasonal reward trees.  If you want those particular cosmetics, you can get them by spending reward keys in the appropriate seasonal tree.  It is always worth double-checking that there isn’t a way to get a particular cosmetic without spending money.

Second, you will generally be better off buying Faction Packs than Kegs from the shop when starting.  For example, you can purchase the Skellige Faction Pack for $6.99, and it will get you 5 Skellige kegs, some nice cosmetics, and Harald an Craite (a strong gold card that is important in many of the best Skellige decks).  Compared to buying Skellige kegs directly from the card keg menu, you get significantly more bang for your buck with the Faction Pack.  

Finally, most players will agree that the most value for dollar comes from purchasing the premium Journey.  However, the Journey is another article for another time.

Conclusion!

One of the great things about Gwent is that compared to other CCGs on the market or other mobile games in general, it is infrequent that a player will feel truly starved of resources.  This guide makes recommendations as to how to spend resources, but it should be considered relatively informally.   If you invest reward keys or kegs inefficiently, it won’t set you back too far.   Any player who sticks with the game, plays for the daily login and quest rewards and progresses through the journey will accumulate enough resources to have multiple competitive decks within a few months of playing.  So get out there and play some Gwent!  

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