Carrost

End of Year Interview 2021 Carrost: ‘I do like that I’ve been attempting to grow creatively and professionally’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: We are kicking the series of with you Carrost. How would you reflect on the year 2021?

Carrost: Poifect! 2021 feels like aftershocks of the previous year. We’re all beginning to put the pieces back in place, myself included. It was an ‘almost’ year. That said, I think I’ve done some of my most solid individual growth this year, so props to that. 

BJ: You joined Team Bandit Gang as a streamer for Gwent after you finished your 1 month trial, but have grown as a content creator since then. How do you look back at the day you joined up until now?

C: Honestly, I don’t put much thought into where I was. Early 2021 is such a heat haze to me. I do like that I’ve been attempting to grow creatively and professionally. I’ve done a ton of work that I’m hopefully going to be very embarrassed about in a couple of years.

BJ: How are you enjoying working on content with your teammates?

C: While it can be very difficult to coordinate schedules across every conceivable timezone, I like the collaborative experience. It gives me room to air out ideas before I put any actual work in.

BJ: Outside of BG you also have been doing voice acting, how has that been going for you in the last year?

C: A lot of building. I’ve been steadily working on my vocal range. Until I get my (expensive) character demo recorded I won’t be seeing a lot of work come my way, unfortunately, but with some effort next year will be better!

BJ: I know that you recently became more busy now you have a job, how are you adapting to it?

C: I had to cut a lot out while I figure out how to be productive outside of office hours. That’s still a work in progress but I’m getting there. 

BJ: Is there anything (else) that you would like to do next year?

C: Move out before I turn 30…

BJ: Do you have any new year’s resolutions? 

C: The same answer goes for my previous answer!

BJ: Anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2022?

C: I will be making more content. Whether it’s streaming or articles or YouTube you’ll be able to expect more out of me.

BJ: Looking forward to it and thanks for taking the time to sit with me! Happy holidays to you!

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*Carrost's Top 10 Cards of 2021

*Carrost didn’t put numbers in front of his top 10, so we assumed it went from 10 to 1.

10. Toad Prince: MO needs removal something fierce. I hope this is a promisary note from CDPR that they haven’t forgotten us…

9. Sunset Wanderers: it single-handedly made my current go-to deck somewhat viable and it opened up another avenue of strategic timing.

8. Mushy Truffle: although MO arguably loses out in comparison to other factions when it comes to this card, it’s super fun to use.

7. Dwimveandra: My “actually decent” meme pick of the year. Initially I scoffed at it but it allows for some potentially wacky plays.

6. Mammunna: You may hate it but it’s the only card keeping MO even remotely competitive. Deal with it.

5. Alumni: Put down the pitchforks and let me explain. No, actually I’m not going to explain, I think they are cool.

4. Witches Sabbath: Cool art. Shame about the card.

3. Baba Yaga: See my previous answer.

2. Imlerith: because you can really tell that he’s trying his best in spite of all of the odds being stacked against him. Gotta respect that.

1. Predatory Dive: Dropping a predatory dive on a TA’d engine or a first play Fercart + DMT is my anti drug. No one has been respecting the dive this meta.

So You Want To Play Fringilla Vigo!

Hello you wonderful lovers of the forgotten, the damaged, and all the bastard and broken things! We all know why we’re here; let’s lift another forgotten card out of the murk of disuse and, for just a moment, give it a spot in the limelight.

A Primer

The Lodge of Sorceresses has requested we analyze the Nilfgaardian Sorceress Fringilla Vigo. Being both a gentleman and acutely terrified of being transfigured into a duck, I obliged. Can we conjure up a way to make this mage mighty or will our analysis spell doom for her hopes in any viable list? Since Fringilla is  a character entirely grounded in the Witcher Universe and not based on any real life individuals, I will eschew the lore drop for this article. Feel free to lambast me in the comments if there really was a real life mage by the same name.

Analysis

So what are we dealing with? Fringila Vigo is a 4 power, 8 provision card with the ability: “Deploy: Damage an enemy unit by 2. Increase the number of targets by 1 for each adjacent mage.” With 1 adjacent mage, Fringilla reaches parity at 8 points for 8 provisions. With two she achieves an efficiency of 1.25 power per provisions. Unfortunately Fringilla belongs to a subset of “mid-range” provision cards who get easily outpaced by the newer and much more explosive high provision cards. Fringilla herself occupies an especially unenviable position of not filling any special niche within a deck. The damage that she does isn’t enough to remove threats on your opponent’s side of the board, she doesn’t provide any engine value and her pointslam value is ok but nothing that would swing a round.

Deckbuilding Ideas

Fringilla’s real value, like most of the cards that we see in this dear series, comes from her place as part of a whole. Because Fringilla can’t secure kills on high value targets, we need to shift her focus to something else. We can use her “chip” style damage to leverage the abilities of other cards, specifically cards such as Amnesty and Sweers, both of whom allow you to seize a weak enemy unit. With Enslave as the leader ability, you gain another means of capturing and turning damaged enemy units to your cause. Should you be so inclined, you could run Emhyr Var Emreis to seize a unit each turn provided they have the spying status and have been damaged down to 1 power. Fringilla’s chip damage also facilitates cards with deathblow effects such as Coup de Grace, Palmerin de Launfal, and Milton de Peyrac-Peyran.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Now we round back to our customary summary. Is Fringilla GOOD and just waiting for the right support, BAD and in need of a buff, or UGLY and in dire need of a rework? I think Fringilla is a GOOD card. Nilfgaard needs more mages, period, but mages that cater or play around seizing mechanics would be huge positive to Fringilla’s playstyle. Should mages or deathblow effects receive more support I have no doubt that Fringilla would see play in her current iteration.

That’s my take on Fringilla! Did I do the card justice? How would you use Ms. Vigo’s magic might? Leave a comment below! As always this has been Carrost, your friendly neighbourhood jank peddler, signing off with my customary “Don’t let anyone tell you what cards you can and can’t play.”

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

So You Want To Play Nivellen!

Hello you wonderful lovers of the forgotten, the damaged, and all the bastard and broken things! We all know why we’re here; let’s lift another forgotten card out of the murk of disuse and, for just a moment, give it a spot in the limelight.

A Primer

Today, Nivellen bares his fangs and we’ll see if this big softie’s bite is as bad as his bark. Nivellen bears a striking resemblance to Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve’s titular Beast from the ever popular and frequently adapted “Beauty and the Beast”. As crazy as it sounds, Villeneuve’s story is based on that of a real life individual, Pedro Gonzalez. Gonzalez suffered from a condition called hypertrichosis which caused him to grow an abnormal amount of hair on his face. Henry II, the king of France, brought Gonzalez to court and attempted to find a match for him (admittedly an attempt to breed more children with Gonzalez’ condition to send to other courts as gifts). A match was found and while Catherine at first detested her match, it is on record that love blossomed between the two.

Analysis

Will we be able to see through the rough exterior of this card like Catherine did for Pedro or is Nivellen doomed to his cursed existence? Let’s look at the data first. Nivellen is a 5 power 6 provision card in the neutral faction. His ability is thus, “Deploy: Move 3 adjacent units to the other row”. Power per provisions, this card is underwhelming. Its raw efficiency is 0.83, being beat out by the other “elder bears” that play on parity for their provision cost with an added effect. Frenzied D’ao plays as a 7 for 7 that allows you to move one unit to the other row. By numbers alone, Nivellen is outclassed. Playing a card below parity is a painful feeling no matter how you cut it, but maybe points aren’t everything…

Deckbuilding Ideas

Nivellen won’t be able to beat out Frenzied D’ao in points but our fluffy friend may have a better foothold when it comes to making larger plays. Alone, Nivellen can clog space that your opponent may want to keep open to play certain row-locked cards. In addition, Nivellen can move both the defender and the card beside the defender in one go, neutering cards like Keltullis, Damien or Vysogota.

As for cards that synergize with Nivellen, let’s start with the obvious: “Lacerate” and “Surrender”. Both cards reach their potential when targeting a full row. Nivellen can leverage these rowbusters against decks that may not go heavy enough on units to provide an opening under normal circumstances. The ever annoying Madoc can brick wholesale if he ends up on the wrong row but you can use Nivellen to move enough units to guarantee the bomb-lobbing cretin always finds his mark. Last, but certainly not least, are Geralt Yrden and Geralt Igni. As a jank-peddler, I cannot in good conscience condone their use but sometimes, just sometimes, you have to fight dirty. Nivellen can be the key to setting up the perfect “you played well but I played Yrden.”

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We’re here once again. So we’ve put Nivellen through the ringer and now we decide: is his card good and just awaiting a shift in the meta, bad and awaiting a buff, or ugly and in dire need of a rework? As it stands now, I believe that Nivellen is a good card. His opportunities to shine are limited at the moment. There are few occasions that require you to move three adjacent units at once,which makes his poor power-per-provision efficiency sting all the more. With offensive purifies, Korathi Heatwave and other powerful removal cards in vogue there doesn’t seem to be much of a need for our fuzzy friend. With time, maybe the world will see what a beauty this beast can be.

That’s my take on Nivellen! Did I do the card justice? What changes would you make, if any? Leave a comment below! This has been Carrost, your friendly neighbourhood jank-peddler, saying “don’t let anyone tell you what cards to play.”

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

Weekly Bandit Gang Content Update #5

Welcome to your weekly Bandit Gang content update.

Hello Strays of Spalla!

I hope you are all doing well today. In today’s weekly Bandit Gang content update, I would like to dedicate a bit more towards our podcast ”The Bandit Hideaway”. Last week we had episode 4 with our General Manager KingDenpai, Team Aretuza’s General Manager Redrame, and Team Kreve’s General Manager Flohmega on the panel and they absolutely trolled the fuck out of Zubedoo. It was a fun one for sure. If you missed it, you can watch it back here. Also, all the episodes should be available on Spotify real soon!

And with that being said, we have planned episode 5 for tomorrow. So instead of a two-week wait, it will be tomorrow at 19:00pm CEST! We have been in talks with Jason Slama & Pawel Burza regarding their participation in the podcast and they agreed to join us soon. The episode will be hosted by Zubedoo and co-hosted by myself and shall be live streamed here. We hope you are excited for this one, we surely are and have put in all the required preparations!

A brand new Decklist Showcase ft Babyjosus & Carrost

After some time, we finally were able to put our heads together and work on the second decklist showcase. With this one, we set a new standard for future editions. In the decklist showcase we presented my Wombo Combo deck. Carrost did the recording for this deck guide and was making his voice acting debut on our YouTube channel. The video has reached over 200 views already and has received a lot of good feedback! We are eager to continue working together on these and continuing the concept.

 

New beginner content has arrived!

We are hard at work behind the scenes on revamping our faction guides and producing new beginner content for both the website and YouTube. And Akaean, who currently is on a one-month trial as an Article Writer for Bandit Gang, has kicked it off with an article about the strategy of bleeding. It’s a guide that aims to open a discussion to clarify the different options players have available in round two. If you are new to Gwent then I would highly recommend reading about it here.

This week's uploads on the Bandit Gang YouTube

Illustrator: NotKelseyArt

Thank you so much for reading, and for supporting our content at Bandit Gang. Next week, I will be back with more content to go through. But for now, I hope you will have a nice rest of your week!

Yours,

BJ
Content Manager
Team Bandit Gang

So You Want To Play Sihil!

Queen Meve with her Sihil, illustrated by : Anna Podedworna

Author’s note: it would seem that my previous two articles regarding Poor Fucking Infantry and Archespore have aged poorly in light of the 8.5 balance patch. I’ll keep these articles as is for no other purpose than as a time capsule into earlier states of cards that may well become meta defining cards some day. Proof that even the worst cards have a chance to grow.

Hello you wonderful lovers of the forgotten, the damaged and all the bastard and broken things! We all know why we’re here; let’s lift another forgotten card out of the murk of disuse and, for just a moment, give it a spot in the limelight.

A Primer

Today we unsheath Sihil, test its balance and whet it to reach its full potential. Sihil swords are a family of armaments forged using advanced metallurgy and Dwarven runes. In the novels, Geralt is gifted one such blade by a dwarf and long time friend, Zoltan Chivay. The flavor text of the card reads “What’s written on this blade? That a curse? No. An insult.” The Dwarven roughly translates to “Death to those whoresons” or more colourfully “death to the motherfuckers”.

Now that the fluff is out of the way let’s work on the crunch. Sihil is an 11 provision artifact with the ability “zeal, Order: damage an enemy unit by 1, Deathblow: increase Sihil’s Order damage by 1 until moved from the battlefield, Cooldown 2” A blade that grows stronger with every life it takes and tells its opponents in colourful detail what it thinks of their parentage? Of course I had to deckbuild around that.

Analysis

The card is quite bad, unsurprisingly. With Sihil only being able to fire its ability every other round if you were to play a 10 turn round you would only be able to use it five times. If you miss a turn, don’t have a target or run up against a target with armor or shields you lose a good chunk of the card’s value. To top it off, if you miss a deathblow effect on any of those turns you lose value on the card. This card requires so much to see positive value: a 10 turn round, your opponent playing first, and your opponent opening with a 1 point unit. Totaling the potential value of this card should you be able to meet all of these conditions (1+2+3+4+5 over five rounds) gives Sihil 15 power per provisions at 1.36~ efficiency. Decent for an 11 provision card from the base set but hamstrung by how much of a pain it is it extract its full potential.

Deckbuilding Ideas

Now that I’ve griped about why it’s a bad card, let’s build around it. There are some obvious choices when it comes to choosing your deck’s leader ability: Precision Strike, Imprisonment and the new and (hopefully) improved Reckless Flurry. Both abilities allow you to mitigate the need for an opponent to play a 1 power card by giving you baked-in damage that can set up Sihil’s critical first turn. Luckily enough, Scoia’tael’s Precision Strike, Niflgaard’s Imprisonment and and Skellige’s Reckless Flurry also belong to factions that have units skilled at dealing chip damage that will create openings to trigger Sihil’s deathblow effect.

For the purpose of today’s article, we’ll pick cards out of the Nilfgaard faction. If unitless decks are your thing, you can consider using Hefty Helge alongside a healthy compliment of tactics cards in order to ensure that opposing units are always in range of Sihil from turn to turn. Tactics cards like assassination allow for variable damage to suit your needs while tourney joust can remove a pesky shield then bring a 5 power unit within beheading range. Spies such as Duchess’ informants, Mage Infiltrators, and Emissaries can be effective ways to “create” targets for Sihil as most spies hit the table for a miserly 1 point. Impera Enforcers with their ability to deal small amounts of damage in controllable increments would also be a natural pick in a deck that employs a lot of spies. Lastly, Matta Hu’uri, Stregobor and Ciri: Dash all allow you to extend the round past its natural length, increasing your odds of getting your money’s worth out of this Dwarven sword.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

With the deliberation out of the way let’s play another round of “the good, the bad and the ugly”. Is the card good and awaiting more support or a shift in the meta, bad and requiring a buff or ugly and in dire need of a rework? Sihil finds its place in “bad” category. The working parts of the card aren’t broken by any means and a sword that gets stronger every time it kills a unit is an amazingly fun concept to build a deck around. Buffing the cooldown to 1 turn instead of two would bust this card wide open and, provided you could trigger the deathblow every turn, you would see values up to 55 points which is INSANE even for the newer cards being released today. The better option in my opinion would be to increase the base damage by two to make the sword less daunting to use in earlier rounds. A much more interesting option would be to reduce the cooldown to 1 as above but modify the deathblow condition to “Deathblow: increase Sihil’s Order damage by 1 until moved from the battlefield and increase the cooldown by 1 until the end of your next turn” essentially turning sihil into a swiss army knife capable of both dealing low damage pings and growing more powerful should the chance arise, bringing Sihil’s minimum value floor from 5 to 10.

So what do you think, did I do the card justice? What would you change? Let me know in the comments below and as always this has been Carrost, your friendly neighbourhood jank-peddler, signing off.

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

So You Want To Play Archespore!

Hello you wonderful lovers of the forgotten, the damaged, and all the bastard and broken things. We all know why we’re here; let’s lift another forgotten card out of the murk of disuse and, for just a moment, give it a spot in the limelight. If you’d like to see my previous article about Poor Fucking Infantry, you can check it out here.

Today’s reclamation project is Archespore. This plucky-yet-unplucked plant is another forgotten child of the base set as well as the only card with the “plant” tag. The Archespore is a particularly devilish variant of the echinopsae plant species. From soil tainted by dark sacrifices, wicked pogroms or gruesome murders grows the Archespore. This cursed creation drives the Archespore to lash out indiscriminately until its need for vengeance is finally sated. The Archespore bears a strong resemblance to the Byblis Liniflora family of carnivorous plants. Its use of caustic acids also mirrors the Byblis’ use of mucous that binds and dissolves any prey unfortunate enough to become trapped within the plants’ appendages.

The Card

Now with the fluff out of the way, let’s get into the crunch. 2 power, 4 provisions; Deploy: Damage a random enemy unit by 2, Deathwish: repeat the deploy ability. Having met all conditions, the Archespore plays for a modest 6 for 4. The random nature of the damage on both deploy and deathwish is what holds this card back; losing 4 points of the card’s 6 point total to a random ping into armor or a shield feels bad and the card’s overall impact on the flow of a game feels negligible even for a 4 provision card.

The Build

Odds are Archespore won’t be securing any kills on high value targets, but this can allow for some synergies with other cards that require weakened enemies to use effectively. Let’s start with Toad Prince, another card on my dossier of the downtrodden: “Deploy: consume a unit with 3 or less power”. A ping from Archespore can create a valuable opening for Toad Prince to lap up a target that would otherwise have been out of the range of the royal amphibian’s ability. Likewise, combining Archespore with Miruna can potentially remove a target that would normally provide a less than stellar return on Miruna’s deathwish ability or even bring a unit outside of her 4 point requirement within capture range. Sihil, should that unfortunate sword ever see a buff, would benefit from the lower damage pings as Sihil requires weakened targets to grow stronger in subsequent rounds. Hen Gaidth Sword and Gael are two other cards that similarly benefit from the “weaken, don’t kill” strategy that Archespore provides. If those options seemed lukewarm, it’s because they are. People don’t use Archespore for a reason. Our lot is not to ask why but to make the best of what is given to us.

The Good, the Bad or the Ugly

Which brings us to the final segment of our lovely article: the good, the bad or the ugly, where we decide whether a card is “good” and simply awaiting the right support or a shift in the meta, “bad” and requiring a buff to either its power, provisions or parameters, or “ugly” and requiring a complete rework. As much as I love the plucky little plant, Archespore sits squarely in the “ugly” camp. Archespore as it stands now is a unit that only achieves its meager potential once it has been consumed or destroyed and most deathwish decks suffer for having a limited amount of consumes handy already. Using a consume to squeeze two points out of a card such as Archespore seems like a waste.

One would think that adding thrive to the Archespore would elevate it to usability but then you powercreep if not outright invalidate the Wyvern, a 5 provision card with a very similar ability. A controversial approach would be to change the card’s text entirely. An aggressive change would be “Thrive, When this card’s thrive ability is triggered, damage a random enemy by 1. At the end of your turn, damage this unit by 1.” Another lore-compliant option would be “Deploy: damage an enemy unit by 2. The first time each turn a friendly unit is destroyed, damage a random enemy unit by 1.”

Are you a fan of Archespore like I am? Do you think my analysis of the card was fair? Drop your comments in the comment section below. For now this has been Carrost, your friendly neighbourhoud jank-peddler, signing off.

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

Carrost’s First Interview | Welcome To Bandit Gang | Exclusive

Babyjosus: Welcome to Bandit Gang Carrost. What does it mean to you now that you are officially part of BG?

Carrost: Thank you so much. Well, I have found a place that is willing to put up with my bullshit. That alone is pretty grand. I have found a place where I can explore the off-meta and moreover a place full of goons who tend to share that way of thinking.

BJ: Was that what made you join team BG in the end?

C: Going off of my previous answer I was happy to find some people that not only create content for Gwent but they explore and allow me to explore the aspects of Gwent that aren’t constrained by “is this card good?”. That’s a win for me, so of course I signed on.

BJ: What can people expect from you now you are on BG?

C: Expect streams, weekly articles and even some videos as I work on my content-craft.

BJ: How well suited do you think you are to the life of a content creator?

C: I am creative by trade and by calling. Content creation is hardwired into me as I come up with new ideas, mostly in the shower or while I am pooping. Now I have an outlet for those ideas.

BJ: What message would you give to the supporters of BG?

C: Don’t be afraid to play what you want. In no way do I discourage netdecking, but if you’re like me and you get worn out by it after a while take some time to play the weird decks. Play YOUR ideas and you’ll be much happier if you take the time to play around and have  fun. You “play” Gwent; you don’t work it. Find the fun.

You can find out more about Carrost here.

Weekly Bandit Gang Content Update #2

Welcome to your weekly Bandit Gang content update.

Hello Strays of Spalla!

First of all, thanks to anyone out there that has been watching and showing support to our streamers play the game Trials of Fire live on Twitch, we hope you had a great time in this week of spotlight. Yesterday we concluded it and it was good to see that many of our content members worked closely together, by either hopping onto each other streams or just hanging out in the Twitch chat and helping out by giving tips & tricks.

Speaking of tips & tricks, Enzo has worked on a first impression and guide video for Trials of Fire regarding the Bandit Gang YouTube  which you can check out down below!

If  you want to see more of our videos then feel free to go our videos page on the website, we recently launched it . You can get directed towards it here.

A warm welcome to the latest addition to the Content Team!

Made by: NotKelseyArt

Carrost is the latest addition to the Content Team for Team Bandit Gang. During his 1 month trial we found out that he has quite the skill-set for when it comes to content creation. While he has been playing Gwent for over a year, he is relatively new to streaming on Twitch. His charisma and passion for memes is something that we liked about him. Not to forget to mention that he is a Voice Actor in his daily life and you can expect to hear his voice on a few projects that we have planned on the Bandit Gang YouTube channel. And at last, Carrost is a talented article writer as some of you might have already witnessed, so believe me when I say that you should keep your eyes peeled on this man.

Side Note: There will be an introduction interview released with Carrost this week on the Bandit Gang website.

A new series of columns called ''So You Want To Play!'' has been introduced

With Carrost getting out of his 1 month trial, he immediately put pen to paper and started a new series for the Bandit Gang website. Its a series of columns where he lifts a forgotten card out of the muck of disuse and attempt, just for one moment, to elevate it to something usable. In his first edition he wrote a column about the card Poor Fucking Infantry, also known as PFI. You can check it out here.

A video about the powerful spell Alzur's Double Cross and its creation

In case you missed it, our Lore Blast Episode 4  got published last weekend and has gained over 200 views already, not just from lore fanatics, but also from a lot of other members in the community. It has even received the Hugz Award and Snek Award on Reddit.

Lore Blast is a series of short videos covering various topics in the World of the Witcher through Gwent and the Witcher games. With the voice of Moriarty and the Master Editor Enzo to make it look pretty, this series has gotten a significant boost and more consistency.

We are thankful to anyone that has commented and shared our Lore Blast videos!

Bandit of the Month March

Made by: NotKelseyArt

It might not have come as a surprise to you, but of course we had to give the Bandit of the Month to Enzo who has brought life to our YouTube channel. Enzo is someone that has been constantly improve himself when it comes to content creation and video editing. If it wasn’t for Enzo, the Lore Blast series would not have continued. As Moriarty himself said that he wasn’t happy with his own video editing. Therefore, we want to congratulate Enzo with becoming the BOTM of March! 

This weeks uploads on the Bandit Gang YouTube

Illustrator: NotKelseyArt

Thank you so much for reading, and for supporting our content at Bandit Gang. Next week I will be back with more content to go through. But for now, I hope you will have a nice rest of your week!

Yours,

BJ
Content Manager
Team Bandit Gang

So You Want To Play PFI!

Illustrator: Marta Dettlaff

Odds are none of these cards are going to break the meta… are the netdeckers gone? Good. It’s not their easily-won-yet-fickle attention that I’m courting. No, I aim for a more sophisticated quarry: all you treasure hunters, memelords and/or lovers of bastards and broken things; this column is for you. Welcome to “So you want to play!” The column where we lift a forgotten card out of the muck of disuse and attempt, just for one moment, to elevate it to something usable. Will it work? Probably not. Will it be fun? Definitely.

So let’s inaugurate this column with one of the first cards I laid eyes on when I started this game: Poor Fucking Infantry.

Before we start with the statistics, a little lore dump and historical primer from yours truly. See the straw wrapped around their right foot and the hay wrapped around their left foot? In universe, the PFI were conscripted from the ranks of the peasantry. Being peasants, most were illiterate and didn’t have much use for “left or right”. If they wanted to know where something was they’d point, dammit. So the officers in charge of the PFI regiment attached hay and straw to the left and right legs of their infantry to assist peasant-turned military-men in marching drills. This mirrors the same real-life practice adopted by sergeants during the American Civil War for training new, less literate recruits in marching. The terms “hay-foot” and “straw-foot” later came to denote a new or inexperienced recruit. There are claims that the term is younger than that, originating in rural Ireland when young men-of-the-field were taught how to dance for festivals using this same method. 

The Card

With the mini Gwent/real life lore blast concluded, let’s look at the crunch of the card: 1 power for 4 provisions with the deploy ability to boost itself by 4. Essentially a (relatively) uninteractive 5-for-4 pointslam with a weakness for resets.  That’s right you’re playing an NR card with a weakness to Yrden. Shocking, I know. 

This card has other problems however. Most obvious of these issues is its efficiency. The best 4 prov units outside of engines tend to find their value at 1.75 Power per Provision (PpP if you’re silly) usually with a condition attached: Aen Elle Conquerors require devotion while Tuirseach Invader only reaches that value by round 3 (worth noting that the latter plays on round 1 for the same value as PFI. Powercreep indeed.) PFI swings at a miserly 1.25 PpP. It’s a losing game vs most newer 4 prov cards.

Carrost is a Content Creator for Team Bandit Gang. He has quite the skill-set for when it comes to content creation. While he has been playing Gwent for over a year, he is relatively new to streaming on Twitch. His charisma and passion for memes is something that we liked about him. Not to forget to mention that he is a Voice Actor in his daily life and you can expect to hear his voice on a few projects that we have planned on the Bandit Gang YouTube channel. And at last, Carrost is a talented article writer as you have all been able to witness today yourself, so keep your eyes peeled on this man.

The Build

With that established, how do we make this ragtag group of conscripts work and what can we build them around?

Well I’m glad you asked dear reader. PFI instantly synergizes with Lyrian Scytheman. No setup needed. Vysogota, Anna Strenger? Never heard of them and neither have the PFI. Maybe because the PFI can’t read. Next up is “Smoke them out.” Again, the PFI serves as your ready-made boosted unit to provide the cheeky buff to your spawned volunteers. Maybe throw in Idarran for some extra spice. Continuing with the “stuff that does things when other things are boosted”: we have Temerian Infantry. “Damage an enemy unit by 1 for every boosted unit you control”. Well how about that? With PFI, boosted volunteers from “Smoke them out” and a Scytheman, we’re dropping a cool 27 points by turn 4 with 4 of those being removal value.

Not the best when I read it out like that but considering we did so by playing 3 4-provision cards and one 5-prov I’d call it a good trade. Is it totally mind blowing? Of course not. Is it pretty good for base set cards? Sure! Top it off with a sneaky Vissegerd at the second-to-last turn of the round and you’ve got a fair amount of cards synergizing with these plucky recruits.

The Good, the Bad or the Ugly

Now that we’ve tried to squeeze the juice out of the rind, as it were, let’s get down to the brass tacks. We’ll play a game that I like to call, “the good, the bad and the ugly”. The good are the cards just waiting for a shift in the meta or even a new card that allows for new synergies. The bad are the cards that have been victims of powercreep or are inefficient. The Ugly are the unsalvageable cards that won’t see play until they receive a complete rework.

With these criteria in mind I hereby consign PFI to “the bad”. PFI is a victim of powercreep plain and simple. Seeing its boost ability increased to 5 or even 6 instead of 4, turning the card into a mostly unconditional 6-7 for 4, would allow the card to better compete as a cheap, zero-setup pointslam option for NR. Do I think it would see play after that? Ehhhhhh, maybe, maybe not. You may see decks that take it as 4-prov filler and with more cards that combo with already buffed cards you may see this card really take flight alongside the likes of Redanian Elite and King Belohun. 

So that’s it for Poor Fucking Infantry. Did I do the card justice? Let me know in the comments below and drop a suggestion for the next card that we’ll dust off in next week’s “So you want to play!” This has been Carrost your friendly neighborhood jank-peddler, signing off.

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My brief love affair with Idr and the importance of playing bad cards and failing

When Idr was initially teased, I was excited. It was a monster card that did something out of the ordinary and lent itself (in my admittedly overeager estimation) well to the at the time beleaguered MO swarm archetype. Hindsight is a better teacher than the theorycrafting of one excited MO main. Deckbuild after deckbuild trying to make the plucky centipede work led me to the inevitable conclusion that the bug was bad, the worm had turned and the many-legged freak was, in fact, a flop. And there are players all over, many of whom are either new or experienced, who are going through the same experience with fever-dream deckbuilds that usually end up as discarded dreams at the bottom of the deckbuilder after a few crushing losses. Bear with me now as I explain how that’s a good thing.

I’m not saying you should go out and play all-in harpies but if you have fun playing a deck that is sub-optimal then I encourage you to do so! Find the fun where you can. My argument here is that playing bad decks and more importantly failing will make you a better and more knowledgeable player. The best players that inform the meta with their deck picks aren’t just shaking the deck builder until a good deck falls out. They are playing sub-optimal decks and, through often exhaustive trial and error, rebuilding them into behemoths you see and fear on the ladder today. The difference between the pros and the perma-low-pro players is in experience. Think of it as the opposite of Bruce Lee’s famous quote, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

I’m not afraid of a player that has only played thrive their whole career. I’m terrified of the player that has tried out every other combination in the game at least once.

Seriously, try it. The next time you match into the big-dog meta deck think about how well your cards interact with their deck and how easily you were able to execute your win-condition. Think: “do I have anything in my deck that can give me the advantage over their deck?”, or “could I have out-pointed them?”, or “what cards do I never seem to be able to use?”. Approach the deckbuilder with those questions in mind. Assuming you’re rank 1-3 or a high-MMR Pro Rank player, odds are you’ll be running into the same few decks that define the current meta and you’ll have a much easier time sculpting your deck to give you a leg up. Doing so will not only create a depth of knowledge about the cards and systems that you may initially overlook but it will also offer a fresh perspective on some of the better cards in the faction. Not to mention: once the monthly patch rolls around you’ll have that much more experience with the cards that are receiving some much needed attention. The players that will benefit the most from the inevitable archespore buff will be the players that have attempted to use archespore in the past.

In the end, you won’t learn how to ride a bike by using training wheels, and you can’t learn Gwent if you let someone build your deck for you. So I’ll be over here trying to make Idr work. Who knows, you may see my deck in a meta roundup one day.

Carrost is on a 1 month trial for Team Bandit Gang’s Content Team and has quite the skill-set for when it comes to content creation. While he has been playing Gwent for over a year, he is relatively new to streaming on Twitch. His charisma and passion for memes is something that we liked about him. Not to forget to mention that he is a Voice Actor in his daily life and you can expect to hear his voice on a few projects that we have planned on the Bandit Gang YouTube channel. And at last, Carrost is a talented article writer as you have all been able to witness today yourself, so keep your eyes peeled on this man.