Renfri Needs a Gwent Card #10

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.

Feint Cavalry

Ah, here it is. The elusive “Adrenaline” keyword, not seen seen since the release of the Way of the Witcher expansion. Using Feint Cavalry, you can put extra pressure on your opponent in round 1, either defending on blue or forcing your opponent to commit harder than they’d like on red. The obvious downside of this card is the fact that you can only play four cards. Play a fifth card, and all those juicy boosts disappear.

It might seem reasonable to buff this unit’s adrenaline condition to 4, but that allows this card to be used to tempo ahead and possibly gain card advantage on red. Remember, if you pass with five cards left on redcoin, your opponent has only 4. This means that if you are ahead after five cards, your opponent can’t regain card advantage even with a drypass. This card is more of a tool to force a long round three than to gain card advantage. Thus, the adrenaline condition must stay at five.

Original art is linked here.

False Flag

A false flag operation is when you stage an attack against yourself and then blame some other party for the attack. It’s like punching yourself in the face and then going to your dad and saying “Billy did that!” so that your dad goes and beats up Billy. For an example of a real false flag operation that was performed by the USA, click here or here to read about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. In that case, the US military pretended that an allied ship was attacked so that the American people would rally to support the war effort, allowing them to justify their planned attack on North Vietnam. America basically went full Nilfgaard on that one.

This card lets you put a card in your enemy’s graveyard. Preferably you’ll want to put Vypper, but I also thought of a 200 IQ combo where you put Count Caldwell in your opponent’s graveyard. If your opponent passes and they have no units taller than 12 points, you can use Gorthur Gvaed to put Caldwell on top of your opponent’s deck, and then summon him with Tibor Eggebracht for a 23 point swing. Very dastardly.

This card can also put Ard Feainn Tortoise or Nilfgaardian Knight in your graveyard for 7-8 points of damage. In those cases, this is a worse Bekker’s Rockslide but with the upside of thinning, as well as the fact that you control the amount damage.

Finding the original art source for this one was a little tricky, but this might clear things up.

Azarazar

Ah, yes. Evil Yoda. Fun fact: there’s like 5 different ways to say this guy’s name. I’m going with Az-er-uh-zar.

This card gives you a massive amount of points, but also plays very heavily into tall punish and generates negative carryover. If you’re forced to play this card from hand at the end of a round 2 bleed, you’re almost certainly very screwed.

I have to be honest, this card in its current form is way too strong as can easily play for 30 or more points with minimal setup. It’s going to be used as last say, making it unanswerable in most cases. Although its always important to get last say, the penalty for failing to do so shouldn’t be so severe.

Given the above, I still think its an interesting ability and can be fixed in a number of ways. For example, we might give it initiative to prevent it being tutored from deck. We also might limit the number of targets to three or four. It could become an order ability like Mourntart, though this would necessitate the use of Petri’s Philter. We might also limit the ability to bronze units, though even this would be oppressive.

Original art is linked here. Apparently this really is evil Yoda.

Klappermaw

Klappermaw is a robust gold thrive card that provides scalable removal in a long round. He’s also an alternative target for Caranthir if Koschey is missed, and can stand on his own feet if played in a different round from Koschey. At 6 power, he’s just strong enough to thrive Koschey while also having his own thrive triggered by popular 7-power thrive units such as Kikimore Worker and Aen Elle Conqueror.

Until Klappermaw’s order is used, each point of armor on him is worth 2 points, making it potentially worthwhile to consider buffing him with Armory. From the opponent’s perspective, it might be worthwhile to damage his armor to prevent him from getting his order off.

Klappermaw’s main weakness is lock. He trades even with Korathi Heatwave and is very difficult to remove via damage. He’s not amazing tempo, so it’s wise to decide whether to commit him fairly early in a round. All in all, a solid card but not inordinately oppressive.

Original art is linked here.

Loki

Although Loki isn’t a part of Skelligan mythology as far as I know, I felt comfortable giving him a custom card due to his place in the Norse pantheon.

Here, Loki acts as a sort of Wabbajack (Y’all played Skyrim right?) that transforms highly boosted enemy units into random units. His intended use is to place Mischief on a high-powered enemy unit, wait until it transforms into something useless, and then purify it to ensure that it doesn’t do anything scary like transform into Damien de la Tour or Gezras of Leyda.  This ability is complicated so I’ll explain its interactions in more detail.

Mischief is a status, and status effects are processed after end-of-turn abilities for a card register. If you give Mischief to Gezras of Leyda, he’ll move to another row one more time before he turns into a chicken. If you give it to Damien de la Tour, he’ll still be able to activate his order ability. Thus, Mischief isn’t usually very effective as a lock. I will note that status effects are processed before counters, meaning that Loki does counteract cards like Stregobor and Ciri: Dash.

Since Mischief uses the transformation mechanic, it means that the old card is removed from the game permanently. Loki can be used to effectively banish cards like Madoc and Crowmother, especially if those cards are boosted. Their power will change to the base power of the new unit, which may not be ideal, however. In fact, playing Loki onto an allied card such as Madoc may be a viable strategy if you don’t intend to play any more bombs. In this case, you’ll want to use purify to stop the transformations once something useful appears.

Original art is linked here.

Face Stealer

In a typical Gwent match, you play your cards and end your turn, whereupon your Nilfgaardian opponent’s turn begins and they also play your cards. In fact, there’s room for debate whether there are really six factions in Gwent because everything–from Vysogota of Corvo to The Great Oak–is actually a Nilfgaardian card if you assimilate hard enough.

Face Stealer is no exception. He ensures that all the gold cards on your opponent’s board find a nice and cozy spot in your deck, where they can be replayed in later rounds to devastating effect.

This card has some interesting interactions worthy of note, by the way. First, it can easily transform Mage Assassins into cards that aren’t summoned from deck, which makes them unlikely to be included in the same deck as Face Stealer. Second, it can put enemy bronzes in deck, thereby enabling the use of tutors from your opponent’s faction. Stealing Amphibious Assault via Double Cross suddenly becomes a viable strategy. And finally, this card has considerable antisynergy with Fercart, which gives spying at random, often to tokens.

As you can see, not all of these interactions are positive. My goal is not to show that the card is weak or strong, but merely that it is very interesting.

Original art is linked here.

Sabrina: Schemer

Honest to god, Sabrina Glevissig deserves a better card than the scene of when she’s on the pyre. About to burn to death over petty political squabbles? Not a good look for such an impressive and powerful sorceress. I contend that Sabrina should get a real card, and that the current Sabrina card should be renamed to Sabrina: Pyre.

Much like Face Stealer, this card truly enables some truly impressive 200 IQ bigbrain plays. It requires a sharp knowledge of Northern Realms engines and their provision costs, as well. For example, John Natalis can become Draug if boosted by 5. Five provision units boosted by 1 can become Kerack Frigates, Alumni, or Vincent Meis on a good day. And Lyrian Scytheman can become Foltest, Falibor, or even Gerhart of Aelle with enough luck.

Note that if there’s no card of a specified provision level, the card won’t transform. So you can’t boost a 9 provision unit by 5 and get a 14, because Northern Realms has no 14 provision units. The highest provision card in NR is Draug, so everything becomes Draug eventually. The easiest way to get Draug is to simply boost Sabrina by 1, forcing her to transform herself.

Original art is linked here.

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