Renfri Needs a Gwent Card #12

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.

Desperation

Northern Realms, we know, doesn’t always have the greatest consistency. You can tell that by the way they all play Cintrian Envoy in round 1 like their lives depend on it. The only other consistency cards they have worthy of note are Amphibious Assault and John Natalis. Raffard’s Vengeance hits hard in Inspired Zeal, but is difficult to play otherwise.

Back in the old days, when everyone had crap consistency, Northern Realms used to open up by playing engines like Kerack Frigate. Their main tools for acquiring gold cards were mulligans and hope. But thanks to power creep, that just isn’t good enough anymore.

This card doesn’t tiptoe around that fact that Northern Realms has poor consistency by giving them some marginally useful tutor and pretending it’s a godsend (cough Henselt cough). Instead, it offers you a choice between a potentially lifesaving gold card or a strong bronze tempo play. It’s best used in Round 3, when the gold cards in the deck are confirmed unreachable.

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Saulrenith

Saulrenith was a Zerrikanian priestess responsible for assembling the Faithel. The Faithel’s sacred duty was to find and protect the world’s remaining dragons. Two of these Faithel, Tea and Vea, travelled with Borch Three Jackdaws, also known as Villentrentenmerth.

Though dragons in Gwent are few and far between, they are among the strongest cards in the game. Villentrentenmerth, Saskia: Commander, Keltullis, and Myrgtabrakke are all threatening cards that find use in recent decks. Though not a dragon, Saulrenith quite obviously supports the dragon archetype strongly. She can be played on her own, but also acts as a soft tutor for neutral dragons. Personally, I’d like to see more creative use of the Create keyword. The way it’s used by bountiful harvest is something I’d like to see more of.

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Kraken

Ah, the mighty Kraken. This is an example of a card where flavor and balance intersect wonderfully. In this case, you consume a ship in one round and gain a solid damage card in the next round. The mechanic fits nicely with Skellige, too, which tends to have a setup-payoff play style with a weak round 1.

You really need to be running this card alongside Dimun Warship. With the Onslaught leader, those sometimes gain an enormous amount of armor, blocking them from triggering their Deathwish ability. With Kraken, you can unbrick the ship–and Kraken–should you be stuck with the pair in round 3.

Either way, you consume a ship in round 1-2, usually of 4-5 base power, and gain a powerful Kraken in round 2-3, offering decent damage with a sizeable body. Really, a card like this would encourage the development of a Skellige ship Deathwish archetype. Which sounds pretty cool, honestly.

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Saimaa

To humans, mermaids and sirens are inaccessible and inscrutable, mysterious beasts to be feared and tamed. Yet I’d like to think that among their number are gentle souls, every bit as human as we are–perhaps more. (Humans aren’t very human sometimes, sadly.)

In this card, a mermaid, or havfrue if you prefer, cuddles her pet seal, whom she has named Bork. She allows Skellige to tutor any beast from deck, from the lowly Little Havfrue to the mighty Fucusya. Given how powerful Fucusya is, I think it’s pretty reasonable for her to have a direct tutor at this point.

As a nice little upside, Saimaa spawns a Deafening Siren if the tutored card was bronze. I’d like to see more tutors with this behavior, in order to encourage more bronze tutoring. For example, Henselt might spawn a Volunteer if his target is bronze. This would make him able to instantly provide a crew pocket for bronzes, as well as the 2 extra points.

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Bork

Bork! Bork bork bork! That’s seal for “Please feed me some more fish! I’m still hungry.” You’d know that if you were a mermaid like Saimaa, because mermaids speak seal. Probably.

Bork supports the already strong discard package by allowing you to summon 4-power cards as if they were Tuirseach Skirmishers. What are some potential targets for Bork, you ask? An Craite Longship, Herkja Drummond, Messenger of the Sea, Melusine Cultist, Dagur Two-Blades, Brokvar Hunter, and maybe Crow Clan Preacher come to mind. There are really a couple targets in every archetype, which is nice.

Bork offers a decent potential combo with Saimaa. Saimaa into Bork into Herkja Drummond or Brokvar Hunter gives you 14 points for 13 provisions, while also establishing an engine and granting a total of two thinning. It’s pretty balanced, and has synergy with Coral. Doing this also means Bork lives, because otherwise he’s a great target for Parasite or Gigascorpion Decotion. Poor Bork.

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Mourning a Loss

Scoia’tael is a complex and varied faction, full of differing groups with equally diverse motivations and goals. However, the one common theme that unites them is grief. Grief, indeed, as their homelands and old ways of life are systematically dismantled by encroaching humans. I don’t think many of us can truly relate to the threat of being wiped out, or the absolute hopelessness of extinction.

Superficially, we see Scoia’tael as a bunch of vicious guerilla warriors with a side of jolly dwarves. But what really drives them, beneath their hatred and violence, is an extremely profound grief and hopelessness. I’d like to see more attention drawn to this side of the Scoia’tael. It’s what–ironically–makes them human.

This card is intended to reflect the solidarity that the disparate races share as they are united by common sorrows. The idea is that you banish one elder race and play bronze units from the other two. Banishing a dryad grants you a dwarf and an elf, and so forth. Strategy wise, it provides nice thinning, as well as tempo. But it comes with a deck building cost, and also forces you to play a gold card in an early round, lest you wind up with an 11 provision brick.

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Maugrim

Maugrim was a massive beast created by the powerful Gemmeran sorceress, Eira Frostsinger. Though Eira intended to use the monster to obstruct the Nilfgaardian forces that had overrun her homeland, the monster was eventually slain by a viper witcher named Gerring of Kharkiv. According to the lore, the witcher was outmatched and forced to forge a new dwarven sword to fight the monster, proving victorious on his second attempt. However, it seems likely that was just a Nilfgaardian PR job. The truth is probably that Nilfgaard was playing Mill as usual and banished Maugrim from Eira’s deck before she could play it. Those bastards never fight fair!

As a card, Maugrim provides thinning for the monsters faction and allows them to establish a body with high base strength, useful for Ozzrel or She Who Knows value.

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