Improvement

Deck Guide: Vysogota on STEROIDS!!!

briberyplayer deckguide #2

This article has been edited by Babyjosus and Weevil89

Intro

Hello wonderful people! Looking for a horrible deck that will make your opponent break their keyboard? Look no further! Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the most irritating Northern Realms deck of all time – Vysogota on STEROIDS!!!

''OMG OMG OMG! tell me more...''
definitelynotbriberyplayer
A random fan

Basics of the Deck

Well, first of all let’s explain why this is such an irritating deck to play against – the heart of the deck consists of two units: Vysogota of Corvo and Ciri: Dash. Ciri is there to ensure winning the first round in order to get that sweet round control. What do you do with round control once you got it? You pass (most of the time). Simple enough, right? After that yo-

''Hah! ''eNsUrE''?! winning round 1 is easier said than done mate, what if they kill Ciri? Also, Vysogota is so risky man... Unconvincing so far, Bribery.''
definitelynotbriberyplayer
A random fan

Don’t interrupt me please. Where was I…Oh yes! As I was saying, Ciri makes the job of winning round 1 much easier most of the time. If you go second and therefore don’t have the luxury of veiling Ciri with the stratagem, you can always use a leader charge to protect her. If the opponent plays a control heavy deck, you might even consider defending Ciri with Donimir of Troy, and this is where it gets interesting…

Renew – This deck runs Renew. Why? Well, Ciri is only good if she sticks, so you might need to play defender in round 1. Vysogota’s also only good if he sticks. If only we could play Defender in 2 different roun… Oh wait! This is where Renew comes in… 

Consistency

I’ve got you covered, mate. There are a couple of tutors in this deck that will make it much easier for you to find what you need:

The Deck

John Natalis – This dude is good because he can get you the even better thing right below.

Amphibious Assault – No explanation needed.

Geralt: Quen – He can get you Ciri, Keldar, Berengar, or some bronze witcher. A must in this list.

Also, to put the icing on the cake, I added Yrden too just because I can.

Summary

On a shorter, more serious note:

The idea of making this deck came from a previous idea of making a strong deck with Ciri: Dash that isn’t Kelly. I thought she’d be very hard to remove with Shieldwall charges and to make it even harder I added defender and since I had defender, I obviously added Vysogota. The original deck contained Madoc instead of Renew and a few bombs here and there, but the current version just makes much more sense, since there are so many good renewable targets.

Pros:

  1. Easy to win round 1 with Ciri: Dash and most times you’ll win it on even (regardless of the coin). You have plenty of ways to protect Ciri and it’s also fairly easy to get her on the battlefield, as well.
  2. Unbeatable in a long round 3 against a control-lacking deck and still very much favored even against a control heavy deck (in a scenario where you play Donimir, Vysogota, and Keldar, your opponent might be able to deal with one or two things, but almost never with all of them. Unlike your average Vysogota deck, this one doesn’t suffer as much from him dying because your opponent will still need to deal with other threats.) 
  3. Griffin Witcher Adept + Keldar + King Roegner combo is a monument of points

Cons: 

  1. Awful matchups against Super-Duper-Mega Control lists (thankfully they aren’t too popular at the moment)
  2. Not having access to Ciri in round 1.
  3. NOT. HAVING. ACCESS. TO. CIRI. IN. ROUND. ONE!!!
  4. Ciri dying in round 1.
  5. Ciri being locked in round 1.
  6. Ciri being dealt with in any way, shape or form in round 1.
  7. I can’t stress myself enough to tell you just how important it is to protect Ciri in round 1. WHY? because:
  8. If your opponent wins round 1 and bleeds round 2, you’re fucked 😀


Final words
 

There you have it, boys! (and girls) I hope this deck will serve you well (unless you’re facing me) and just a friendly reminder – please consider upvoting if you like it. Bye!

My Road to 10k

Written by TheOneChristo and edited by annaellieee.

After reading Sawyer’s stellar article about the mindset of pro players I decided it was my turn to dive into my psyche regarding my latest climb in Gwent, Season of Mahakam, and why I decided to do it.

I’ve always been a particularly competitive person, whether that’s been sports, video games, school or otherwise. I used to play paper card games at a highly competitive level but lost some of that interest when Collectible Card Games went digital. That was when I picked up Hearthstone. The game was immense, the tournament scene complicated and grinding up the ladder was good enough for me.

To give you a bit more context, I started streaming with Hearthstone and played that for a couple months before my friend Flake convinced me to dust off my closed beta collection of Gwent and give the game a shot again. I relearned the game on stream, chat was amazing in coaching me through my first run to pro and beyond.

IMG-20200826-WA0000

 

Herein lies the problem, what developed in my mind was that I was the “new Gwent streamer/player” and that mindset bled into my gameplay. I acted in a way where I did not have confidence in myself or my ability to play the game. A lot of the time I would start a game, play my way, have chat suggest a different line and take their advice, simply because I wasn’t sure of myself. The problem? I end up playing half the game my way and half the game chats way with disastrous results.

I came up with the excuse that maybe I wouldn’t be competitive. If people wanted to see high level play, they could go somewhere else and I would hit pro rank, meme around (Triple Commandos!?) and just have fun.

"I acted in a way where I did not have confidence in myself
or my ability to play the game"

However, my mindset started to change at the end of Season of the Cat (October 2020), in the most roundabout of ways. I was actually visiting Flake at the time and was trying to collect all the Halloween rewards towards the end of the season. Time was running out and I went to grinding with the deck I had the most success with, Devotion Monsters, and actually ended up running that up to 2500 MMR, something I had never accomplished before. That brought me to a new all-time high MMR, 9868, (ground breaking, I know), with the most games I’d played in any one season, 247, and putting me in the top 900 players.

To give you an idea of where my head was at, other than hitting 2500 with Monsters, I didn’t notice any of that. It was actually the manager of the BG pro team, Ian, who brought it up to me. I thought to myself, if I can accomplish that grinding in the last 3 days of the season, what can I do if I actually work at my score all season long?

Cue into the Season of the Mahakam and I was ready to go with old faithful, PF Warriors (yes, I know, how original), to make my mark on the season. Things went well, minus a co-op with Beefox who tanked my MMR a solid 50 points (thanks buddy) and I cracked 2500 with the deck not too long into the season. I toyed around with a few other decks, some of Avades NG lockdown and a ST Symbiosis deck we built on stream, both of which hit 2450 and then I went back to my Devotion Monsters list to finish my placements, coming in around 2500.

The most important thing was that I was building confidence! I finally felt good about my ability to play, even though it was all just a number and I hadn’t even cracked 10k yet.

Then something interesting happened. 

"None of it had to do with my skill level, all of it had to do with the confidence I carried into those games"

I started a stream, loaded up my Devotion Monsters deck hoping to continue to push with it (and to shut people up who kept saying Devo OH isn’t good). To my surprise, almost the entire BG pro team showed up that day, enerGiiX and sonneillon among others. These are two players I look up to and are consistently on top of the leaderboard. My old mindset would have let them run the board via chat. Today, however, I didn’t allow that to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I let them give their 2 cents and I definitely took their advice on more than one occasion, but that is entirely different than staring at chat waiting for them to dictate my next play. I ended up cracking 2565 with Monsters and finally breaking 10k. It was huge and a lot had changed in the days leading up to that stream. The way I looked at the game and the way I played were both completely different. None of it had to do with my skill level, all of it had to do with the confidence I carried into those games, believing in my ability to see the board, make optimal plays and get the results I wanted.

I ended up using Condor’s Devotion PS to push my ST over 2500 as well, and wrapped things up by passing Nilfgaard with Ian’s Northern Realms deck , coming in just shy of 2500 with it. This is where the next change happened.

As I watched time tick down on the season clock I started to panic. I wanted to get NR over 2500, I wanted to catch up with Flake (spoiler: I didn’t, but I love the guy so it’s ok) and I wanted to really blow this season out of the water. You know what that is? A recipe for a tilted disaster. Everything I learned went out the window. I would stop thinking about my plays and started smashing cards trying to rush through games to build my MMR, and I nearly brought it all down. The result? Exhaustion and burnout. I didn’t even pass 400 games, and I took 4 days off from the game. The interesting part about this is that it didn’t just affect my gameplay but actually started to affect my life outside of the game. I was frustrated, I was down on myself, I was angry. It really wasn’t a good look, since it all came down to a number in a video game…the cherry on top, the season doesn’t even matter.

I have an infinite amount of respect for streamers like Spyro who play nearly 1000 games at a very high level and I can totally understand when they have a momentary outburst of frustration with the game.

"The interesting part about this is that it didn't just affect my gameplay but actually started to affect my life outside of the game"

This is how I finished:

I was really hoping to get all 4 factions over 2500 and was hoping to crack top 200 but 227 and 10073 ain’t half bad for somebody whose previous best result was a couple hundred points below that.

For most people who don’t play at a competitive level, the game isn’t only about skill, but also about will. Get in enough reps and you’ll learn the game, the optimal plays, and will win more than you lose. I think anybody can break the 10k barrier, as long as they take the time, have the confidence, and are in the right headspace to do so. Taking a break from the game to get your head on straight can actually be the best tool of all.

"If you believe in yourself and with a tiny pinch of magic,
all your dreams can come true"

-A Sponge

You can find TheOneChristo on Twitter, YouTube and Twitch.

Favoritism in the Gwent Partners Program during Reveal Seasons

Introduction

A reader unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the Gwent community might falsely assume that they might have discovered the only gaming community fascinated with vegetables, well leeks to be more exact, and presumably healthy lifestyle. Have all the news segments and articles about obesity and junk food among this sedentary subculture been fabricated out of thin air? Well, that’s unfortunately not what this article aims to delve into, but allow me nonetheless to place this topic question on the window sill of my article, for any crafty passing-trough writer to steal.

The legendary Gwent “Leek Season” describes a period of approximately a month before the release of an expansion for the game, during which content creators that have entered the official Gwent Partners Program as well as CDPR themselves and other affiliated individuals such as artists, or popular personalities from the Gwent community reveal cards that will be coming to the game in the upcoming expansion. Seems pretty cut and dried, not? Well, it might be, but not in the sense you might think at first perhaps.

The aim of this article is to analyze the process of card reveals with a focus on the peculiarities of what precedes the revelation itself, that is the selection of the limited number of Gwent partners that will get reveals, and to provide partial insight into how the distribution of card reveals is made among the partners. Ultimately, the article seeks to provide an alternative to the established system through the means of constructive criticism as well as arguments for the change.

 

The Case

I think I should introduce the body of my article by stating that I am a Gwent partner and I have experienced two expansions with their two respective leek seasons (Master Mirror and Way of the Witcher) and I have not had a reveal before. Before I started working on this article, it was rather difficult for me to find a position where I could dodge any bias and judge the situation fairly and objectively considering I am a cog in the machine that I aim to rewire, if not to dismantle, by my words, nonetheless, I believe that thanks to the method that I have chosen to use and a few rules that I made for myself, the article should be as fair and as objective as possible.

What was my methodology then and the reasons for it? In short, my suspicion for a very long time was that some partners are prioritized in the selection over others, therefore I have gone through every single season of card reveals and noted who got a reveal before, nonetheless due to the fact that there were numerous variables in play in each and every season, be it the number of reveals, preceding expansions, cards revealed by CDPR, etc. I have decided to only focus on the state of the latest expansion, Way of the Witcher. The potential article covering the whole entirety of Gwent expansions reveals therefore rests for now right next to one about the healthy lifestyle of the Gwent community.

Alongside individuals that have had a reveal before, I have also naturally noted the ones who haven’t and finally made a special category for CDPR’s official reveals and affiliated individuals (tournament casters, faction ambassadors, etc.) as well as anomalous cases (e.g. card artists). More than three categories could be made, but considering how small the selection pool of one expansion is, I decided to not divide the numbers any further for clarity as well as to minimize the impact of abnormalities.

 

The Gwent Faction Ambassadors have been proudly bearing their banners for almost two years now, one of their privileges being regular card reveals of cards from their chosen factions. 

Finally, to take emotions out of the equation, as I will be technically speaking (or writing) about some of the most beloved members of the Gwent community, I have decided to not mention who I have placed into which category, in fact, the analysis will stay completely anonymous, each individual being represented just as a numerical fraction. Thanks to the fact that all of the card reveal threads have been archived on Reddit, I can and will share all of the sources that were used for making this article at the very end for anyone that would like to verify my data.

Mentioning verification, I do believe that some individuals could be placed in two categories based upon how you judge their involvement with CDPR. A perfect example of this would be chat moderators for CDPR’s Twitch account, which I have personally decided to not include among CDPR and misc. but one could place them there, therefore the approach that I have chosen to go with does not evade statistical flaws completely, which would disappear if a larger pool of compared reveals could be used and more categories to be made, but for the aforementioned reasons, this isn’t an option in my opinion. Furthermore, there was also a case of an individual who got a reveal before, albeit not for their personal channel, but for a project with another creator. This case I have counted as a repeated reveal, especially considering the other co-creator also had numerous reveals before. Also, one case of a Gwent team getting a reveal appeared, this one was counted as the first reveal, despite the fact that multiple members of the said team had been given reveals before.

Ultimately, a very limited amount of reveals from previous expansions had no traceable link to whoever revealed them and therefore the sources are not perfectly clear either, paradoxically though, two out of the three categories would not get reduced, even if the links were there and I believe that this imperfection in fact only emboldens the argument that I want to make. That being the fact that some partners are prioritized over others as the only outcome possible from the uncharted reveals could possibly be an increase in size for the “had a reveal before category” in the latest and future reveal seasons.

 

The Data

Finally, let us take a look at the data itself. The reveal campaign for the Way of the Witcher expansion has brought us exactly 71 card reveals. In spite of that, there can be found 75 cards on the WotW reveal page, but 4 of these cards are tokens that were not given a reveal of their own, these being Red, Blue, and Green mutagen and Saber-Tooth Tiger: Stealth. Interestingly enough, there was in fact another token that was given a reveal, that being Witcher Student, which will be naturally counted among the normal card reveals.

If we break down the 71 cards into the aforementioned categories, the largest group becomes what I decided to dub “Regular Reveals” (CDPR, Faction Ambassadors, Casters, Community hubs’ representatives) with 30 reveals that add up to 42.25% of the entire card reveals’ pool. The numbers are much closer with the remaining two categories that I have named “First Partner reveals,” for, surprisingly, partners that had their first times with this expansion, and “Recurring Partner Reveals,” for partners that have had at least one reveal before, but some of them in fact have had even up to 4, potentially even more if we count in cooperative projects! These two categories split the pie (And there is a lot of pie analogies and metaphors in this article, isn’t it?) by getting 22 reveals (30.99%) and 19 reveals (26.76%) respectively.

For even closer comparison we can omit Regular Reveals which leaves us with 41 and sets the numbers to 53.66% for First Partner Reveals and 46.34% for Recurring Partner Reveals.

Taking into account all the statistical factors that I’ve mentioned before, that is among others a rather small card reveal pool, individuals with ambiguous categorization, forced simplification, and more, we cannot make any final statement that would unequivocally prove anything, nonetheless, we can observe that a very high number of partners is getting their second, third, or maybe even fourth reveals, such high amount of them in fact, that they almost even out with first-timers.

 

The Questioning

Now you might be asking yourself, does it even matter? Surely some content creators deserved getting more reveals, right? And I wouldn’t disagree completely, though I would like to present an opposing view to such mentality. Yes, some people have been making their name in the Gwent community, uploading, writing, streaming, or competing for years, nonetheless, while it makes sense in their individual cases, what sense does it make in the greater scope of things? What sense does it make for a brand new content creator that is wondering whether they should or shouldn’t apply for the Gwent Partners program? Is it even worth it to enter a group of fellow creators, provided that those who win win more and those who don’t win are either ignored or pushed to the sidelines?

Now, to be fair, the Gwent Partners program isn’t only about card reveals, in fact, it is very generous towards those who enter it, nonetheless there is so little coming from it on the basis of involvement and cooperation from your side that in the end, the reveals is all that it can boil down to in the case of your active participation unless you enjoy providing regular feedback (which you can also on the CDPR forums or community hubs) or participate in the very sparse Partners tournaments.

Furthermore, it can be so impactful and beneficial for a new or a smaller content creator to be able to shout: “Hey, I exist! I’m revealing a card for the game that I love and while you’re at it, feel free to check out my channel and help me out.” Creativity has no bounds and small steps like this, if done correctly, can jumpstart a new channel, bring a bunch of new followers, gain some public awareness. For instance, I have never before heard of Xioniz, but thanks to his very clever card reveal I have visited both his Youtube and Twitch channels and had a good time there, despite him making content predominantly in Polish, simply because of the card reveal, of the way I could be introduced to him as someone that cares about what they do and they do it with passion. On the other hand, I dare to argue that for larger content creators with established viewer bases that already are in the public eye and have ties to other individuals that they can cooperate with and mutually expand their viewer bases (which is exclusively what the Recurring Partner Reveals category consists of), it is almost negligible whether they get a handful of new followers or not from getting a bit more attention thanks to the card reveal, in the end, it is more of a fun and exciting opportunity to get a sneak peek for what is to come.

If CDPR wants to stay on good terms with the most successful of Gwent content creators, why not engage with them in some way that goes beyond the Partners program? Add easter eggs to the flavor texts of the new cards, allow them to participate in PTR’s, make card arts with something that is connected to them, or even use their resemblance and their personalities to give life to completely new characters, I could see it already… But I’m digressing here! The topic of shortcomings of the Gwent Partners Program has been also brought up before by my fellow teammate, Babyjosus. 

Back to the topic, I simply do not know why are “those who already won” prioritized over those who are only starting their climb to the top, presumably because the prior are considered to be reliable long-term participants in the program or literal “partners” and CDPR wants to stay on good terms with them. That being said, while I do not want to take away anything from them and I think they deserve what they were given, at the same time I would like to give what they have to the small, fragile, and growing partners, that might actually find a great use for the spotlight. For as long as this “VIP reveal club” is a thing and the selection is done purely on the personal choice of whoever is in command, a strong aftertaste of favoritism will be left in the mouths of those who hoped to get a chance for a card reveal but were not chosen over someone who had 3 reveals before.

This is especially painful as this expansion was one of the first where the selection was done purely by CDPR. To explain this, in the previous expansions Partners were asked to let the person in charge know whether they want a reveal or not in a dedicated text channel which usually resulted in an avalanche of requests and demands on what type of card would people want and how their viewers would be excited by it, etc. In short, convince us that you’re more worth it than the guy next to you. I personally have been very disappointed by this approach as it brings the worst in people in my opinion. Individuals who haven’t been active on their respective platforms reappeared magically, people who had had a reveal or two before presented their preferences for what they’d like to get this time, and worst of all some of them were actually selected because why not. I think I cannot judge anyone, in fact, I’d be guilty too because we all want a card of our own, but for as long as this is meant to be a program without any hierarchy, where all are given equal opportunities to participate and cooperate, such approach just feels flawed and corruptive. In fact, the influence of “asking and potentially getting” has been so strong that many requests were made in the respective channel this year even in spite of the fact that they supposedly shouldn’t have affected much and while I cannot show messages of other people without their approval, many of the ones who asked were given reveals and at least one of them was given the exact type of card they asked for, that being a meme card.

I have asked for a reveal before once, not really expecting anything. This reveal season I didn’t do so both because I have grown critical of the system and because I wanted to stay as unbiased as possible.

 

The Proposal

So, what would be the solution? Before I present my take on what would make the system fairer in my eyes, let me mention that it’s completely up to CDPR to do whatever they want with the Partners Program, it is purely their initiative and in fact, there is no legal involvement of the individual partners, no closure on how many reveals they have to get or anything like that, so nobody is bound to do anything, everything is based upon goodwill. Furthermore, I can see pros and cons for both the established system and for the one that I would like to propose, therefore, one could object to mine just as critically as I have been trying to throughout this article to the current system and that is completely fair and a correct thing to do.

I personally believe that in order to make anything as fair as possible you need to take the human factor out of the equation. Without anyone deciding who deserves it more than anyone else, who would fill a certain category well and how to make it so, so that nobody would feel offended, but also without anyone trying to not to mix their personal preferences and opinions in the selection process, without any person being tasked with a burden like this, it would be much easier to find a state of balance, perhaps seemingly unfair sometimes, but unfair in a “fair” way. How to achieve that you might ask and what does it mean in the first place? Well, there are multiple ways with their respective nuances, but I’d personally argue for just making a list of all the Gwent Partners, alphabetical, randomized, it wouldn’t matter as much in my eyes for as long as there would be one criterion followed and that is: “Those who have had a reveal before go to the bottom of the list. The more reveals you have had, the further down you go.” When a new expansion arrives, you could go from the top down taking only Partners that haven’t had a reveal before, and once the reveal campaign would end, you would just take those who got a reveal before and placed them on the bottom. Next expansion the process would repeat. When new partners join the program, you either shuffle them among those who haven’t had a reveal before or put them on the top. Once you’d have no partners without first reveals, you’d move on to second reveals. Over time, as new partners regularly join the ranks of grizzled veterans, a healthy mix of first-timers and recurrent partners could be achieved in every expansion.

The arguments for this system:

  1. Treats all partners equally.
  2. Is very beneficial for new partners.
  3. Simplifies the selection process.
  4. Introduces more creators to the community.
  5. The chances of each partner getting at least one reveal are higher.

The arguments against this system:

  1. While the selection process is simpler, making and updating a list of partners is required.
  2. It isn’t as beneficial for old partners (especially those who have had reveals before).
  3. Prevents CDPR from highlighting certain individuals.
  4. The chances of getting your second or more reveals are lower.
  5. Introduces new creators that might not be seen as reliable (might leave Gwent for something else).

 

Conclusion

In reality, I could easily see the current system stay unchanged, all that is need for a more fair environment to be achieved is to reduce the amount of recurring partner reveals. You can still highlight anyone that deserved it in that period of the year, but the numbers shouldn’t be almost 50:50 in my honest opinion. If we take into account how many partners there are (This list is obsolete, by the way, there are many, many more!) and that some people were given a reveal almost every single expansion season despite being on the same level as anyone else, participating in a system like this may feel very, very underwhelming and might even discourage people from ever asking for a reveal in the future, it certainly discouraged me.

Whatever the situation will be when the future expansions come out, I hope that as many new partners as possible will get a chance to cooperate and show proudly what they have achieved. Not only what they build on their channels, blogs, and ladder reports, but also where has that all lead them, that they became the official Gwent Partners and can cooperate with those who made a game that means so much to them. Merry Christmas and thank you for reading this article everyone!


Sources

Inside the minds of Gwent’s Elite – About Pro Players Mentality

Written by Sawyer1888 

Introduction

The time has come, as our dear friend Hemdall would say. Although it’s the Gwent Masters of Season 2, this week from December 5th – 6th we will see the first ever played World Masters. Over a duration of 9 seasons, we’ve seen dozens of Qualifiers and 4 Opens which decided who will take part in this tournament. Now there will be a Clash of the best 8 current Gwent players:
Demarcation, wangid1, Tailbot, Pajabol, kams134, Saber97, Gravesh and kolemoen.

During this impressive journey I asked myself the question what it takes to be a professional Gwent Player and what it takes to compete constantly on such a high level? Probably it’s the same question many of you asked, no matter on which level your abilities in this game currently are. Fighting to get into Pro Rank, grinding the ladder to stay top 500, pushing through to top 200, claiming a spot in a Qualifiers event or even winning a tournament.

In order to do so I gathered thoughts and impressions from some of the best players in Gwent, including almost every team, while also getting in contact with experienced casters and people close to the development section.

Additional Information

(For people in a hurry I wrote a short abstract or summary of this article, which you can find at the end, above the note of thanks, but I would appreciate you to value the work I and all the guys put into this! As I am only human, maybe some of you feel left out, because I couldn’t manage to talk to everyone. For this I am sorry, but if so, make sure to contact me on Discord to be part of the next one! Also some of the people I talked to might not even be quoted, but I am deeply thankful for every insight I got and you will see yourself mentioned in the note of thanks at the end of the article! There will be a list of everyone who helped me creating this article and where you can also find the links of their Twitch and Twitter accounts, while also being able to visit every Teams homepage.)

So the goal of my survey and this article was to find out, not only what it might take to be a professional, but also what kind of mindset you need to keep your game on a high standard over such a long time. Therefore, I contacted top players, casters and people involved in the competitive scene via Discord, while giving everyone the same question to answer me, to make it comparable. The question or task I gave them was kinda vague, to give them full freedom of speech:

”Describe in one or two sentences what it takes to be a Pro Player in terms of motivation and mentality, while pointing out like 3 key aspects.”

And I was overwhelmed with the huge amount of responses I got from people who might never heard of me before. Again, a huge thank you, just another sign of what a great community the Gwent scene is.

Key Aspects For A Professional Player

Enjoy yourself and what you do

First of all you have some basic aspects you need to follow to get up your game and be competitive. These factors might count for every esports game, but also for every sport in general. One of them is to have fun at what you do and to actually enjoy the game you are competing in.” (Kolemoen) It is important for almost everything in Life I guess, but especially if this takes a huge part and a huge amount of time in your Life, at least on a certain period. To enjoy the things you do and also have a positive attitude or good sportsmanship is key to stay calm, if you walk into an intense situation”. (ceely) By this I don’t mean to only enjoy the game, Gwent in particular, but also yourself while playing the game. The grind can be pretty hard and often exhausting, so being able to make the best of it is very important. (beefox3) For some people the progress on the other hand is way more important than just the simple joy, so they even force themselves to play, but that’s kinda just part of the grind.” (pajabol)
We can see, that a positive attitude towards yourself, the game and your opponent is a main factor for just getting in the mood to even think about being competitive, while fun helps you to not take everything to hard. But in some moments the urge to be successful becomes stronger and the progress, winning itself can even be a greater motivation. (Tailbot)

A supportive but also competitive environment

In addition to this, the environment is also another main aspect of being a professional Player. Not only a Team, where you have the ability to talk about stuff, scrim, get feedback or help in personal matters (Avades, Sonneillon, Kolemoen), but also a competitive scene, where you can push your limits against the best players possible. That’s why some players, like Neverhoodl, find it more interesting to play in tournaments vs. other top Players, instead of just grinding the ladder. So on the one hand you need your own Team to get support and even to be able to get closer into the game (MyaMon). On the other hand you also want to have strong opponents, which also keep you hungry in general. It’s always nice in every sport to beat a well known opponent. Creating this kind of environment also needs a large community to take part in. In this case it’s the Gwent Community, which feels like a big family for some and might even be the reason to keep in touch with the game for so long (TheaBeasty). It makes things like Streaming possible and gives people the opportunity to even play for titles. The Gwent Community is probably one of the best communities that I’ve ever known and I totally agree with Poisound from Team Nova, it is.

Time and dedication

We discussed two aspects so far, which can easily be valid for any other Esports. The third one will also be a more general factor: Time.
Many people underestimate the amount of time you need to put into practicing, grinding, improving and also failing. It takes time and dedication, the player has to be somewhat passionate about the game to spend so much time says Sikamouk from Team Bandit Gang, while also there’s a difference between time in playing and time trying to improve.” (Avades) Everyone watching the Opens or the upcoming Masters will see a few hours of top level gameplay. Small mistakes will be noticed and smart plays will be praised. For some it will be all over after round 1, maybe even after only 3 games played. But it took them thousands of games to get to this point, just for one chance to stay on top of all other players. Even if some of them sometimes stream their games, you won’t be able to follow the whole journey these players took over the last months and how many hours were spent grinding alone, dealing with defeats while also not being able to enjoy a victory. The next game is already waiting, so no time to lose while grinding for MMR. Making this possible sometimes takes a certain routine, a schedule, to maximize your efficiency. (Demarcation) It could be just 2 hours in a day but with total concentration.” (IgniFriend)

What It Takes To Be A Gwent Champion

So, what does it take to be competitive and professional? Apparently these 3 aspects are key: Passion for the things you do and being able to enjoy yourself. A community where it all can take part, including a supportive team and also a healthy rivalry between competitive teams. And also time, a lot of time, efficiently spent with dedication and full concentration.

But all of these aspects sound kinda universal, like fundamental basics for every sport. The question is now, what does it mean to be a professional Gwent Player? Is it only to draw your Golds? Do I just need matchups in my favor, the right coin for my deck and a bit of RNG luck? Well, lets find out. 

Deckbuilding and game knowledge

Assuming that almost every reader of this article is kinda familiar with the ruleset of Gwent, I won’t explain certain terms. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section. As we all know, you need to have a certain understanding of the game. This includes knowledge about decks and deckbuilding itself, the current META and also the ability to read matchups. (Kwild) You need to be able to take advantage of this knowledge. These things can be acquired by grinding the ladder, watching streams, talking to your teammates and staying in touch with current meta snapshots. But that’s only a small part for what it takes to be a Champion. You also need an understanding of lineup dynamics and the tournament format says Redrame. The difference between open decklists in tournaments and maybe the surprise value of itchy cards on ladder is huge. You always have to be critical of your own plays and deck choices (Saber97_), so you can get an advantage over your opponent. A win can be decided in the deckbuilder by making the right choices, putting in the right tech-cards and reflect on matchups which can be in your favour, to maximize your odds. On ladder you can optimize your playstyle with a certain meta deck, but when you lose don’t blame the meta, create it! (TheaBeasty) To figure out a unique playstyle for yourself and improving your deckbuilding skills helps a lot, says magpie131, who often gave an Open a bit of spice with his creative decks.

The will to improve yourself

After hearing that someone could say alright cool, I copy the decks from the metasnapshot, adjust them a bit by putting in an Igni, Yrden or whatever and I’m good to go right? Well, not quite. The most important aspect for almost everyone I asked was the will to improve yourself and learn from your mistakes. The measure of a pro player is not by how they win, but how they lose”. (Synergygod3773) So you kinda need to have the ability to be impartial to yourself (iluxa228) to actually figure out what you might could have done better and what might be out of control. It’s important to focus on the parts of the game which you can control (Saber97_) which means, that you can’t just blame bad luck, bad RNG, bad draws, bad matchups or the wrong coinflip. Of course, all of these things can be tough obstacles to overcome, but it takes no skill to forfeit every game you missed some Gold Cards, didn’t manage to win a certain round in a certain matchup or to just go into the game while thinking you already lost this when seeing the opponents leader. There’s a cognitive bias towards negative outcomes, so it’s easy to say I just got unlucky without evaluating the situation and play the exact same way the next time.” (Redrame) Identify your mistakes in each game, evaluate your plays, think about possible outcomes and then just learn from your mistakes and never repeat them”. (raduAndrada) Therefore it is a good habit to briefly analyze your match trying to understand matchups you’ve just played”. (pawloex)

The Champions Mentality

To achieve this it takes two things: A lot of practice and to fully immerse yourself in this Esport discipline”. (Dobermann) This means on the one hand to constantly stay hungry for self-improvement at the expense of comfort (Damorquis), while you also have to play a lot of ladder games; and sometimes it will feel like a bit of chore, which you have to power through.” (Shaggyccg) On the other hand tho it’s about to have the right mindset, the Pro Player Mentality, to be capable of doing all these things. Here is what some of the people I asked said about this:

Sonneillon

All it takes for motivation and mentality is the confidence of being able to compete at the highest level.

shinmiri2

Always be looking to improve yourself and yearn to be the best player you can be. […] Make the most out of the time given to you to look and plan ahead.”

molegion

If you want to be the best, then your goal should be always to become better rather than simply win.”

Poisound

Perseverance, never give up, being there and try to improve to be the best.”

pajabol

I would say that the most important thing is not giving up even in tough moments.”

Movius

The most important aspect of being a Pro Player is to have the perfect balance between believing in yourself and in your abilities, while still remain open minded to the suggestions and critics that can come from other players.”

RyanGodric

I believe that in order to become a successful pro player, you need to have an open mind about the game and not be swayed too much by public opinion.”

So, summarizing all of these statements you can see how important it is to have the right attitude and mindset not only in general, but also particular as a Gwent Player. Card games always have a certain RNG factor in it and also Gwent is a card game where you can’t win without a good and timely fortune,” (Dobermann), but you can always maximize your chances by minimizing your mistakes.

Dealing with tilt

Unfortunately, this won’t work all the time. You have to realize that the effort does not necessarily have to pay off. Since only a small percentage of pro players achieve real success.” (Gnomberserk) But realizing this can often result in feeling unlucky, feeling salty and at the end becoming tilted. Tilt can and will ruin even the best players if it isn’t managed properly Saber97_ says, and many people I talked to told me something about the way how you deal with tilt, how you prevent it or what to do when you know you became tilted anyway. There is no universal recipe for how to deal with Tilt, but what we can all agree with is: you play like hot ass when you’re tilted.” (bushr)
We all have to find our own way and strategy on how we want to handle bad feelings, especially when it’s just a card game in the end. Remember the first main aspect we discussed: You have to enjoy what you do and Gwent is always more fun when you’ve got your friends to talk about the games you played.” (raduAndrada)

Conclusion

The question behind this article was to get a deeper insight into a Pro Players Mind, while also hoping to get to know, what it takes to be a Professional Gwent Player and what kind of a mentality you need to have. Main factors in general are having fun, being in a supportive and also competitive environment and also having enough time to play, practice and improve. Especially in Gwent, where grinding take a lot of time, you have to stay determined and motivate enough to achieve your goals.

 I believe that every person is capable of excellence if they are determined and motivated enough to achieve it. “Where there is a will there is a way” mentality is what really gives people who truly want something the edge to achieve whatever it is that they set their mind to.” (Spyro_ZA)

Staying hungry, trying to improve, learning from mistakes and setting up their mind into a Champions Mentality are the key aspects to what it takes to become a Professional Gwent Player. All other obstacles will become redundant in the long way, because one missed card might decide a game, but not your whole season. One loss might hurt and be frustrating, but it’s up to you how you want to come back after this defeat and what you take from it. To draw your golds and win is easy, but to manage to squeeze an almost impossible win with an awkward hand distinguishes a rather Casual Player from a Champion.

I bet you all can do it and push forward, and if not, it’s only a game. But the urge to improve yourself, not letting yourself down and believing in your ability to climb out from whatever position you might be in life, that’s a valuable lesson I learned over the last month and I’m pretty sure that Gwent and its community helped me with it. So, as we now know what it takes to be a Champion and also a Top Player, let’s see who will overcome his opponents on this weekend and be crowned as the World Gwent Master!

Summary

This article is based on a small survey where professional players, casters and people involved in the competitive scene of gwent were asked about their opinion what it takes to be a Pro and to compete on such a high level for a long period of time. The main aspects that were mentioned about competing in general were:
– Enjoyment, so the ability to enjoy yourself, the game and what you do.
– A supportive Team, while also being involved in a competitive environment, including the larger community in which everything takes place.
– Time to play the game, practice and improve. 

These fundamentals help the players to actually get into a competetitive mindset. For gwent in particular there where four key factors:
– Deckbuilding skills and knowledge about the game, which means being flexible between tournament and ladder setups. 
– The will to improve yourself, learning from your mistakes and the ability to distinguish between bad luck and bad judgement. 
– A certain mentality, I call the Champions Mentality, to stay focused, motivated and be able to push further. 
– Being able to prevent or to deal with tilt, with defeats and losing streaks. 

All of these aspects were important to not only be able to compete on such a high level for a longer period, but also always finding the thrive and motivation to become a champion in the end.

Thank you!

I really want to thank all the guys and girls talking to me and helping me to write this article, I really appreciate it! It was just a fantastic experience for me to talk to so many people from different nations, while everyone was so supportive and helpful. I really hope that this Article will do you justice and I tried my best to make room for each and everyone of you!

Team Bandit Gang:
enerGiix, JSN991, Sikamouk, Sonneillon, SuperSpock9000 and SynergyGod3773

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Team Swallow:
Demarcation

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And also: 
magpie131molegion and RyanGodric

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Guilt Over Tilt

This article has been written by Babyjosus in collaboration with Mercernn and edited by Weevil89.

What is tilt?

Tilt originated as a poker term describing a state of mind characterized by temporary emotional or mental tension that prevents the player from evaluating the state of the game as well as their chances properly. This usually occurs when hard work doesn’t result in the success that you crave so desperately. In short, the more attempts you make without immediate positive feedback, the more tilted you can become. The reason why being tilted causes you to fail more is that oftentimes you adopt a less than optimal strategy or just have bad luck, usually resulting in you becoming overly aggressive – especially when it results in a loss. Some people handle these moments better than others. Are you one of the people that do not handle it very well? Do you feel guilt over tilt at times? Don’t worry, we got you covered and explain throughout the article how one gets tilted in Gwent and how to deal with it.

How does one get tilted in Gwent?

While originally being a term used solely in poker, the phenomenon of tilt has found its way into the lexicon of numerous other competitive card games, Gwent included. There are numerous causes or triggers of tilt: one day you could get tilted by game design, the other by your misplays, or it could also be a technical issue or social determinism which pushes you to your limit. Let’s delve into some of these examples a little further. 

Let’s start with game design. There are many things regarding game design that could make you tilted in Gwent. A very common one, for example, is RNG or random number generator, which is basically a tool that determines what you create, what cards you draw or who will go first in round one. In this particular context, we are talking of RNG that has a higher ceiling than it should have, meaning it is either too powerful or unreasonably reliable given its inherent risk. Think of a card like Bribery. The more good gold cards get added to the game, the more powerful Bribery gets. And the more powerful bribery is, the higher the chance you can get tilted by it. Imagine your opponent playing double Bribery with Stefan Skellen and getting your Madame Luiza and Savolla that wins your opponent the game. Perhaps, one could ask, what is it exactly that makes this seem unfair, unfun or undeserved? Well, if we were to play the psychologist here, we might deduce that people don’t like losing to something that they have no control over, or to something that is way too easy to use despite being very powerful and therefore can be exploited by virtually anyone regardless of their experience. Both of these cases ultimately suppress or even negate the involvement of the player on the receiving end which can lead to frustration. 

To follow up, let’s talk about misplays. A misplay like when you mulligan aggressively and brick your tutor could make you feel like it’s the end of the world. Think about playing a tutor like Naglfar. If you have all your gold cards in hand then Naglfar plays for zero value which means you are basically playing with one card disadvantage. You might despise yourself for being so greedy and it can really disrupt you from playing the game as you want to. There are many other misplays that can get you tilted in Gwent. A simple misplay like accidently shuffling a card back into your deck that you wanted to keep in hand could already make you punch your computer screen.

The third one that we want to further explain is technical issues. We all know that with every patch there will always be new technical issues added by CDPR to the game after fixing some of the old ones. Some people claim CDPR does this on purpose so people can feel important about themselves after sending in a support ticket. One of the main technical issues that gets you tilted is when you are losing your connection when you were 100% sure about winning that match. Or do you remember when Syndicate got released and spenders were able to still spend coins even when they were locked? This made lots of people furious and even caused people to uninstall the game. This resulted in people calling Gwent a “dead game” around that time.

And the last one that we briefly wanted to mention is social determinism. What we mean by this is for example when your opponent is roping every turn or is roping when there is only one card left in the hand. This happens even when the card doesn’t require any usage of the brain. Like, playing a Golyat. Another example of social determinism that can tilt you is whenever your opponent keeps using emotes. Now, of course you can mute your opponent to stop this. But, that means that you are already feeling annoyed and slightly distracted by it, which could result in a misplay, or even roping yourself because you couldn’t find the mute button.

How can you deal with tilt?

As with most problems or conditions, oftentimes the best solution can be found in efficient prevention. If you want to find a way to keep your inner tilt-demons on a short leash, the first necessary step needed will be to realize what is actually happening to you when tilt occurs. Keeping your head cool in such a rush of emotions can be more than tricky, however, try to search for patterns of behavior, particular misplays, emotions, feelings and whatever you can experience to identify the tilt and prevent any future occurrences before they can affect your gameplay. 

Tilt does not exist purely in the vacuum of the game, though, but in the mind of the player. It is an extension of how the player perceives the game, but is rarely (if ever) a reflection of how it actually is. You are the one who can intervene in your attempts to command and conquer, with the style and slyness of an a-tier Temerian general! By rule, you should attempt to prevent these two worlds from mixing and just leave all the luggage that you’re carrying with you the whole day at the checkout before you move on to the fun time place of the game itself. Whether it is a long day at school, work, or a family reunion with several slideshows of holiday pics that your aunt Anna has to provide a sadistically detailed commentary for, all of these issues can (unfortunately) wait for you once you’re done with the game, so do not let them spoil the fun and your chances to win while they last, well, unless you actually enjoy going through 300 pictures of seashells and sand – then you should be fine. 

Mentioning traumatizing events, it would be the right time now to just briefly cover a phenomenon that is partly related to how tilting can affect your playthrough and that is “ladder anxiety”. This term describes (surprisingly) a feeling of anxiety or stress that you experience on (even more surprisingly) the ladder. In this very case it would be either the standard ranked ladder, as well as the pro ladder, but theoretically also the Arena. In its very core, ladder anxiety is characterized by the fear of losing a certain amount of progression that you’ve achieved whether it is a particular rank, MMR, or a mosaic piece, that ultimately puts more pressure on you by catalyzing the amount of tilt that you’re already experiencing. 

Dealing with ladder anxiety can be just as difficult as dealing with tilt, but the easiest solution (at least on paper) is to just stop caring about whatever it is that is haunting you. Lost games, progression, prestige, or just your own skill, can all change with passing time and, therefore, just try washing any worries related to them from your mind, well actually rather from your sweaty hands, as well as your keyboard, mouse, or phone. 

This “player hygiene” has many further applications. If you’re serious about being as efficient as possible, perhaps experimenting with as many variable factors could be the easiest way of suppressing your “tiltorments”. Try listening to music, your favorite podcast or TV show to reduce the stress coming from the competitive nature of the game. Playing with a friend or even letting your friend play while you’re only giving them advice can help too as your perception changes. If you can, try to change the time of day when you play, or the place where you play. Perhaps if it hurts to breathe, just opening the windows could ease your tension. The options are limitless. 

But what if nothing helps? Well, then a more serious case of tilt could be what’s harming your efforts to be the best around and nothing’s gonna take you down, because that’s quite possibly where you already are, right down on the ground, immobilized and about to give up. If this were your case, the best you can do is to just take a short break from the game, immediately and unconditionally. If you need five minutes to cool down, take five minutes, if you need an hour, then an hour off is what you should go for, but turn off the game immediately, otherwise you could be tempted to continue and regain what you have lost. Take a shower, wash the dishes, watch an episode of your favorite TV show, it doesn’t matter – just leave the game and the mindset of a monkey trying to climb as high as possible to reach the sweetest bananas behind and regain your balance and strengths. 

Still tilted even after the break? Then you might consider removing Gwenty cards from your schedule for even a longer period of time. Sometimes depriving oneself of something is the best way of realizing how much we love it. 

There is still a decent chance, though, that your tiltorturer will get resilience and you’ll (un)happily reunite with this old friend of yours in your next play session. If that were the case, acceptance and patience are perhaps the only options you’ve got left. The more time you spend in the game, the more you grow accustomed to any of its imperfections, any tilt-inducing elements included. Therefore, what the arguably best and most efficient solution to tilt is, even though it takes most time, is to just let go, step by step. Don’t let any of the imperfections of the game or yourself discourage you as there is nothing wrong or dishonorable about losing. In fact, the more you lose the more you learn, so one could even be encouraged to lose more! Then again, there are such individuals for whom “losing more” is virtually impossible. *Cough* *cough* definitely not Mercernn *cough* *cough*. In any case, just try again, learn from your mistakes and maybe you’ll win next time. And hey, if you don’t, who cares? Perhaps it’s just a bad day (but not a bad life), so don’t be so harsh on yourself. Take pride in what you do and continue on your path to improvement. 

Final words from us

Dear reader, if there is anything we would like to close this article with, then it would be that you should never feel ashamed for getting tilted, regardless of what the reason for it was. It happens to all of us sometimes. Unfortunately, though, while getting tilted is completely normal and natural, it is by no means useful or productive. We all have to deal with it to not harm ourselves, or our surroundings, and therefore we sincerely hope that the few bits and pieces of advice we’ve managed to put together in this article will help you with finding the proper direction. We wish you the best of luck in your future Gwent matches as well as strong nerves and a lot of patience!