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.
Renfri: Bandit Queen
I think it’s only fair to begin this series with Renfri herself, one of the most memorable foes Geralt of Rivia ever faced. As a talented swordswoman and intelligent adversary, she gave Geralt a run for his money in more ways than one. Not only did she prove a capable foe in combat, she also challenged his conceptions of morality, forcing Geralt to choose–to the best of his understanding–the lesser evil.
As a Gwent card, I envision Renfri as the lynchpin of the underdeveloped Bandit archetype. She provides a substantial payoff by summoning bandits to the board that were played in previous rounds. All hail the Queen of the Bandits!
So, y’all are gonna hate this card for what it does to Oneiromancy, but I honestly kinda miss the old bullshit Nilfgaard that made you want to tear your hair out.
For reference, the old Nilfgaard was the one that had locks, tactics and poison for days, double Masquerade Ball, and lousy pointslam and even lousier engines. Maybe a year ago, it was pretty normal to queue into Nilfgaard and accept that your first few cards were gonna get yeeted by Tourney Joust and Assassination. They made redcoin abuse into a freaking art.
The new Nilfgaard is actually pretty greedy and doesn’t run that many locks. It also only runs a couple poisons, and even has a fair amount of points after you heatwave their ball. It always wants a long round and plays tons of assimilate. Assimilate used to be a meme, goddammit.
Anyhoo, this guy steals your oneiromancy and synergizes with Joachim DeWett. Deal with it.
Although I didn’t play Gwent during the beta when Dagon reigned in all his power and glory, I’ve learned of him from other players and am impressed by the aura of reverence he commands even in absence.
This version of Dagon is potentially a 4 point per turn engine that keeps spawning Fog on enemy rows as long as their units keep dying. However, he might be a touch underpowered compared to cards like Unseen Elder and Dettlaff, who play equal to their provisions much more easily. It’s probably reasonable to buff him to 8 strength, or to increase the initial fog duration from 1 to 2 turns.
I recently read about 40-card Foltest and was inspired to make a card that motivated players to add more than 25 cards to their deck in a similar way. This is what I came up with.
Henselt boosts bronze units in your hands by 4, essentially turning a number of bronze cards in gold cards in a manner similar to Amphibious Assault. You gain charges by converting 8-10 prov cards in your deck into multiple 4-5 prov cards. Immunity both serves to protect Henselt and makes it very difficult for him to gain charges through Stockpile, Winch, or Aretuza Adept, which is not his intended use. Also, you can’t boost gold units which prevents him from bolstering already powerful golds like Prince Anseis, Anna Strenger, or Vysogota.
I didn’t give him zeal since he has immunity, so make sure you play around Curse of Corruption and Predatory Dive and you’ll be fine.
You may recall that Drogodar was the bard who played at the ill-fated feast hosted at Kaer Trolde during King’s Gambit in the Witcher 3. He, along with a number of other Skelligers, was eaten by a werebear which is honestly a pretty badass way to die.
This card allows Skellige to replay high end gold cards from their graveyard in a manner reminiscent of the old Second Wind leader ability. However, he’s somewhat low tempo and only plays for 5 points unless he discards a Tuirseach Skirmisher.
This card acts as a bridge between the elf and handbuff archetypes. I really like “bridge” cards because they can be used in more than one type of deck and encourage creativity. Currently, Nilfgaard has the most bridge cards, since there’s tons of connections between Spies, Assimilate, Status, Tactics, Deck Manipulation, and Soldiers. Take Rot Tosser, for example. It supports Assimilate, Status, and Spies. Personally, I’d like to see more bridge cards in other factions.
Power wise, this card might seem a little OP, but it’s 2 provisions more than Isengrim and plays into tall punish. Elves don’t normally play into tall punish, so I think you would essentially only run this card to buff Aglais or Sheldon Skaggs. Additionally, this card is quite low tempo after her boosts are transferred as only a meager 4 points remain on the board.
A lot of factions now have the ability to build hyperthin decks that end up with only a small number of cards by the end of round 3. Nilfgaard has Kolgrim, SK has the Discard package, and ST has Precision Strike + Novigradian Justice. I’d like to see a neutral card that rewards these decks with some form of payoff, which is why I created Sasha.
Balancing a card like Sasha is difficult, since she has to have a meaningful payoff for hyperthin decks without being viable in ordinary decks. In this case, I chose to keep her at 9 provisions to allow her to synergize with Ciri: Nova while also requiring a significant commitment in terms of provisions.