The Essential Guide to Every Word You Need in Gwent

Trained Hawk, illustrated by: Karol Bem

Newcomers to Gwent are often overwhelmed by the vocabulary of guides and instructions. Nobody reads glossaries, and for that reason we have curated terms and concepts with added details that will put you on the level in no time. Mastering these concepts will easily see you to pro rank and beyond. Links have been placed so if one encounters an unfamiliar term, one can easily refer to it lower down the guide, or find an explanation of it in a detailed article. Happy learning!

Note: This page is a fluid piece of work and will be updated to the best of our ability.  

Basic Gwent Terms

Artifact: A card that stays on the battlefield but does not have a strength value. This is the least common type of card. 

Bronze/Gold Cards: Gold cards usually play for more points and cost more provisions than bronze cards. You can add up to 2 copies of the same bronze card to a deck, but golds are limited to one copy. You can distinguish gold cards from bronzes by their golden border.

Provision Cost: In Gwent, every card is assigned a provision cost, roughly meaning how much of your deck’s total resources need to be used to put this card in your deck. It also represents the expected number of points a card will be worth in a game. Provision cost is roughly equal to the expected points a card will play for, with a small percentage on top.  For example, 4 provision cost cards usually play for 4-7 points, and 5 provision cost cards play for 6-8 points.

Red-coin/Blue-coin: Blue-coin means going first in the match, Red-coin means going second. These terms are not included in the game, but are well known among players in the community. See Coin Advantage for the implications of this. 

Special Card: A card that does not have a strength value, and is sent to the graveyard immediately after being played.

Summon: Summoned cards simply appear on the board without being played. Note that this does not trigger Deploy abilities. 

Tempo: The number of points played in a turn. A card is said to be “high tempo” if it puts a large number of points (roughly 8 or more) on the board in a single turn. For example, Old Speartip is high tempo, playing for 12 points in a single turn. Low tempo cards take time to output potential points.  For example, Engines and Scenario cards play for initially low points, and output more as they are procced over following turns. 

Unit: A card that has a strength value and stays on the battlefield. This is the most common type of card.

Card Functions

Brick: When a card plays for less than its intended value. For example, Geralt of Rivia is said to be bricked if your opponent doesn’t control a card with 9 or more strength and it cannot activate its ability.

Control: Cards designed to disrupt the opponent’s strategy, usually through damage or locks e.g. Alzur’s Thunder. Damages a unit by 5 and can remove an engine from the board. Most greedy cards start with 5 or less strength, so standard removals reliably control them.

Engine: Cards that potentially play for more points the longer they stay on the battlefield. Some engines are more threatening than others. In general, if an engine puts out more than 1 point per turn, it is considered threatening. Nekkers are engines, since they are boosted by 1 point every time you play a unit with higher strength.

Finisher: A type of pointslam that plays for more or less points depending on the board state, and is most effective when played at the end of a round. For example, Geralt of Rivia is often used as a finisher, since at the end of the round the opponent is most likely to have a high-strength unit.

Greed: A card (or strategy) is considered greedy if it can play for many points, provided the opponent does not answer it with control cards. Engines are generally considered greedy cards, though they can also function as control if they deal damage over time. The Beast is a popular greedy card from the Monsters faction, while Assimilate is generally a greedy strategy/archetype

Pointslam: Cards that play for a high number of points with minimal risk. For example, Old Speartip is a pointslam card since it plays for 12 points with no downside.

Pre-Condition: Cards that help fulfil other cards’ conditions. For instance, Impera Brigade requires that a Soldier card be on your side of the board to trigger its deploy ability. Thus, a Soldier on your side of the board serves as its pre-condition. 

Tutor: Cards that plays/draws cards from your deck. Tutors can be units, special cards, or artifacts. For example, Oneiromancy is a special card that plays any card from your deck. Tutors often have limitations on the types of card that they can be played. Thus, they brick if there is no card of the required type in the deck.

Key Gameplay Concepts

Bleed: Players who win round control may choose to play deeply into round two to force their opponent to play good cards at sub-optimal times. This process is called bleeding. Not to be confused with the status that damages a unit by 1 at the end of its turn. Click here for a guide on this key practice. 

Blue Coin Abuse: Less common than Red Coin Abuse, this refers to the advantageous use of Stratagems in particular decks in combination with certain cards. For instance, Crystal Skull on Griffin Witcher (in NR Witchers) and Ciri: Dash (in Keltullis decks) are known for this type of abuse.

Card Advantage: If one player has more cards than the other at the start of round 3, they are said to have gained card advantage. Card advantage also guarantees last say, and usually results in winning the game.

Carryover: Some cards can be played in one round and generate points in another round, generating what’s known as carryover. There are several forms of carryover, including handbuff (Circle of Life), deck buff (Allgod, Erland of Larvik), resilience (Ciri: Nova), graveyard setup (Derran), and deck manipulation (Maxii Van Dekkar).

Coin Advantage: Blue coin is considered a disadvantage because if you pass while behind in score, your opponent will almost always gain card advantage. Conversely, a player with Red coin has the option to play extremely low tempo cards and focus on generating carryover. Stratagems help reduce the advantage afforded by Red coin, giving a small point boost to the blue coin player. Click here for a reminder on what coins mean. 

Devotion: A deck fulfils the Devotion requirement when it contains no neutral cards. Certain cards are stronger when their Devotion requirement is met, such as Viraxas. Others, for example, are unusable without it, such as Aen Elle Conqueror, who destroys himself if the condition is not met. Devotion decks tend to have powerful abilities but often lack consistency and/or control.  Note that (non)-devotion status of a deck can often give away its composition. 

Disloyal: Disloyal cards can only be played on the opponent’s side of the board and have “Spying” status. While the unit plays for negative points, these cards usually have Deploy effects that offset their negative initial value. Currently, most Disloyal cards belong to the Nilfgaard faction.

Last Say: Whoever plays the last card of the match is said to have last say. This is important as it allows you to play a tall card without worrying about whether the opponent has a tall punish, or play your own tall punish without worrying that your opponent will play a taller unit. 

Proactivity: Proactive cards are able to play for full or almost full value even when there are no other cards on the board. For example, Svalblod Totem is a proactive card common in Skellige decks. When deckbuilding, always make sure to include some proactive cards to avoid awkward situations when one is starting first in a round, especially when Blue coin. 

Reach: Reach is the number of points you can play in a single turn. Reach is most important to keep track of in round 1 on Red coin. This ensures that should Blue coin pass first, you can win with equal cards left and hence card advantage as they must play a card to win round 2. Similarly, if you are being bled in round 2, catching up in one card will maintain card parity. Reach is roughly equal to the highest tempo card playable, plus your leader ability. Do account for your own and your opponent’s engines. Ideally, one achieves reach without using your leader ability.

Reactivity: Some cards interact with other cards,  playing for no value on an empty board. These cards are reactive. For example, Alzur’s Thunder is a reactive card. Having too many reactive cards in your deck can cause you to struggle when making the first few moves of a round.

Red Coin Abuse: Red coin abuse is a tactic employed by some decks where only reactive damage cards are played, making it difficult for the opponent to develop their board while also forcing the opponent to use up proactive cards. Another form of Red coin abuse involves out-tempoing the opponent in round 1, usually allowing the player to pass while out of reach, gaining card advantage in the process. This tactic is often used by Lippy Gudmund decks in conjunction with Cerys an Craite.

Risk: A card’s risk is roughly its immediate strength contribution minus its provision cost, excluding its (conditonal) effects. E.g.  Geralt of Rivia is strength 3, provision cost of 10. This card is quite risky as the difference in minimum points value and provision cost is high. Conversely, Aen Elle Conqueror is very low risk, with 7 strength and 4 provision cost. Generally, a mixture of high and low risk cards prevents control-heavy opponents from preventing your cards from playing for their value. If you take too little risk, you may lose to greedy opponents who play riskier cards and manage to fulfil their conditions. Almost all decks have some control. Thus, it is best to play riskier cards when your opponent runs out of control options.

Round Control: Whoever wins round 1 gains round control as it grants them the option to play as long or short a round 2 as they wish. This may be to lengthen round 3 if one has many engines, or shorten it if one has higher tempo cards, and/or to bleed the opponent of their more useful cards.

Row Punish: As the name suggests, these are cards that punish the opponent for placing too many units on the same row. Lacerate, for instance, damages all units on a row by 2. To avoid getting hit by row punish, spread your units on different rows as necessary.

Standard removal: Because most engines in the game start at 4 or 5 power, standard removal is defined as any card that damages within this range. If an engine is boosted to 6 or more strength, it is said to be out of standard removal range. There are, of course, exceptions to this, such as Whoreson Junior.

Tall Punish: Cards that gain value by targeting a single enemy unit with high power. Geralt of Rivia is an example of tall punish. Avoid tall punish by distributing boosts evenly among units, bleeding the opponent, using a Defender, and putting less high base power units in your deck to begin with.

Tempo Pass: Tempo passing is a technique where a player commits a large number of points quickly in round 1 and passes, exceeding their opponent’s reach. This forces the opponent to play multiple cards to catch up, preventing them from bleeding in round 2. A tempo pass forces a long round 3, and may also force your opponent to use their leader to maintain even cards.

Thinning: In general, you want to have access to your high-end gold cards by the end of the game. Thinning cards remove cards from your deck, improving the chance of drawing your gold cards in round 3. Thinning is provided by tutors as well as cards that can be summoned from the deck, such as Wild Hunt Riders. In general, all tutors provide thinning, but not all thinning comes from tutors. Check out an analysis of this here

Trading Up/Trading down: This refers to the situation where after an exchange of two cards, one player has more (or less) resultant points. This manifests in two ways:

In the points themselves:

For example, if a Northern Realms player plays Temerian Drummer (Which boosts the unit to the right by 1 at the end of its turn) and then their opponent destroys it with Alzur’s Thunder, the Northern Realms player would have traded up by 1 point, as the Drummer has a 1 point boost still on the board.

Note: One should consider potential points when trading removal for engines. 

In the provision cost of the cards

This type of trading occurs when a higher provision cost card is used to negate a lower provision one, or vice-versa. For instance, if Korathi Heatwave at 10 provisions was used to banish a threatening engine like Anna Strenger worth 7 provisions, or if Spores at 4 provisions resets a 9 provision Ozzrel to 1 power. In these cases, it is about how many points you are denying from your opponent, rather than the single-turn provision to provision trade.

Bad Cards

In Gwent, some cards are considered bad cards. These are cards that struggle to play for as many points as one would expect based on their provision cost. A general rule for finding bad cards is to consider the following when designing a deck:

  1. How does the card fit into my strategy? Will it function as an engine, control, or point-slam?
  2. What is the risk associated with the card?
  3. How easily can the card’s value match its provision cost?
  4. Are there similar cards that play for more value?
  5. What is the chance that the card will brick?

Gwent Slang

Archetypes: A set of cards and leader combinations that execute particular concepts or strategies. Check out our Archetype Guide for analysis. 

Elder Bears: High cost cards that are easily shutdown and therefore play for as much points as an Elder Bear, a relatively poor 6 provision 6 power card.  For example, Stefan Skellen and Vysogota of Corvo

Meta: The most common decks one will face. The meta (or meta decks) refers to the most powerful and popular decks. While powerful and popular are not necessarily equivalent, they are generally related. 

Package: A set of cards within a deck that may complement each other and work independently. For example, Nilfgaard has: Spy, Assimilate, and Aristocrat-Ball packages that can be swapped in and out of decks. Low-unit decks often make use of the Madoc package, which consists of Madoc and 4-5 Bomb cards.

Meme: Meme decks are generally (significantly) weaker than meta-decks and can mean several different things along a spectrum of strength/weakness. Our series on memes gives the full low-down and see the best options in our Bandit Gang Meme Snapshot

Pro: Contextually indicates reaching Pro rank (Rank 0), or Professional, referring to players who regularly fit for spots and compete in official tournaments. 

Shortforms: Gwent, like any game, has many shortform terms for its cards. Examples include: Blood Eagle = beagle, Alzur’s Double Cross = ADC, Amphibious Assault = AA. 

Smurf: Refers to returning/veteran players with new accounts or old accounts at a low rank who thus play far better than their true rank and have better cards than their peers. It can also refer to when an individual finds a particularly effective deck and climbs the ladder quickly with it. 

Gwent Beginner’s Guide for the Non-Beginner

Hey guys! Zedi here.

I’ve played a lot of card games in my time. From Pokemon TCG in the playground to a varsity push in collegiate Hearthstone tourneys, it’s fair to say I’ve made my way around the block when it comes to CCGs. None of them however have grabbed and enticed me the way Gwent has. Within my first month of playing, I hit pro rank using a homebrew Elf list for Scoia’tael. I learned a lot during those thirty days, and it’s fair to credit the speed at which I learned to my years of experience playing other card games. That being said, I had a lot of help on my climb, and despite my pre-existing knowledge of sequencing strategies, deck-building and card-tracking, it was important for me to ask questions, learn from more experienced players, and engage with the game at a very personal level before I was able to find success on the ranked ladder.

If you’re an ex-Legend Hearthstone player, a Magic: The Gathering enthusiast, or a Lulu-abusing Runeterra player looking to break into the Gwent competitive scene, then consider this guide your ‘one-stop-shop’ introduction to Gwent. In this guide, we’ll introduce some of the key differences between Gwent and other competitive CCGs, and discuss the ways you can best translate your previous experiences to success on the Gwent ranked ladder.


Gwent’s round-based gameplay makes it totally unique from other card games. While experienced players may be familiar with many basic concepts, such as tempo and  “playing to your outs”, some of the more advanced strategies of the game may feel foreign to even the most well-versed card gamers out there.

The first thing you’ll notice when you load into the game is the layout of the board. One of Gwent’s pivotal mechanics is the ability to play your cards to one of two rows: melee or ranged. Since the game’s initial launch as a side-event in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, row placement has been a critical piece of Gwent’s strategy. Though the starter decks you have been provided for each faction (except Syndicate) are fairly uninteractive with your opponent’s side of the board, rest assured that the upper echelons of the ladder are filled with row-punishing techs, unit isolation mechanics, and disruption through row movement. We’ll cover these concepts more in-depth in a later section.

The next thing you’ll likely notice is that none of the cards in your hand have mana costs. “But Zedi,” you might ask, “how can this game be balanced then? Can’t I just throw all my best cards down and win the game outright?” Not so, I’m afraid. In fact, playing your best cards in the first round can be a risky endeavour that may lead you to a swift and inescapable defeat.

In Gwent, the name of the game is resource management. Each card you play comes with a cost. Since your deck should only pack a total of (25) cards and only one copy of each gold card, every time you play a card you’re committing a resource that, generally speaking, won’t be accessible to you in a later round.

At this moment, you may find yourself furiously navigating to the deckbuilder in an attempt to pack as many OP golds as you can into your deck… But wait. There’s something there…

The provision limit! That’s right. You need food to feed your army, and your big, beefy gold cards have quite the appetite for your provision space. In order to make space in your list for those greedy gold cards, you’ll need to pack more than a couple bronze cards to keep your provisions open. The best deck-crafters in the game are able to find strong synergies between their gold and bronze cards and squeeze as many points out of their bronze package as they can.

By this point, you’re probably eager to get deckbuilding and hop into your first match. Before you do, let’s take a look at the various factions in Gwent so that we can find the perfect fit for you.

Faction Overview

For this section, we’ll take a look at each of Gwent’s factions including the elusive Syndicate faction, review some of their core cards and mechanics, and draw some comparisons to other familiar archetypes from your ‘used-to-be favourite’ card games.


Our first faction is an absolute graveyard smash to play. Monsters are widely considered to be the easiest faction to learn since their mechanics are fairly straightforward and they have a lot of high-tempo cards that can give you just the right amount of reach in a short round. A typical Monsters game plan revolves around using your Thrive cards to help you generate a point advantage early on so that you can end the game with your big finishers like Golyat and Ozzrel.

If you’re a fan of tall units, graveyard mechanics, and just generally being spooky, then Monsters is the faction for you.

Similar to… Warlock (HS), Golgari (MTG), Shadow Isles/Freljord (LoR)

Eredin Bréacc Glas by Lorenzo Mastroianni

Affan Hillergrand by Oleksandr Kozachenko


The imperial forces of Nilfgaard are cunning, deceitful and dashingly handsome. Nilfgaard is the strongest Control faction in Gwent, armed with a myriad of tools to take its opponents down. While Nilfgaard struggles to put its own points on the board, it excels at carefully dismantling an opponent’s strategy, locking and seizing enemy engines, poisoning tall units, and taunt spamming as your opponent’s point score crumbles to pieces. Common strategies for the faction include using Ramon Tyrconnel to lead an army of soldiers into battle while you bide your time for your ‘piece de resistance’, Masquerade Ball.

Nilfgaard is the perfect faction for players who enjoy playing reactively, responding to your opponent’s every move with malice and forethought. Lovers of mashed potatoes with thick gravy preferred.

Similar to… Mage/Rogue (HS), Azorius/Dimir (MTG), Ionia/Demacia (LoR)

Northern Realms:

King Foltest’s pride and glory know no bounds, and neither do his point totals. The Northern Realms faction is chock-full of boosts and engines. It excels at generating large amounts of points over the course of a round. If left unattended, the armies of Rivia will quickly grow out of control, and your opponents will find themselves scrambling to catch up. Nordlings aren’t merely content with being the biggest, baddest boys in the land. They want everyone to know it as well. Prince Anseis and the Bloody Baron will be quick to handle any unruly peasant-folk that get out of line.

Northern Realms is perfect for players who enjoy growing their units to massive strength, and then massacring their foes as they eat from the finest grapes across the land.

Similar to… Paladin/Priest (HS), Selesnya/Simic (MTG), Freljord/Demacia (LoR)

Queen Adalia by Diego de Almeida

Aelirenn by Lorenzo Mastroianni


The outcasts, the undesirables, the rebellious… The Scoia’tael are awfully resentful of their human counterparts, and will drive the ape-man into the sea with their sharp wit, clever traps, and teamwork! Scoia’tael’s unique Harmony mechanic makes your units stronger when you mix-and-match unit tags in your decklists. Your elves, dwarves, dryads and tree-folk work together in perfect “harmony” to elevate their point scores while simultaneously cutting their opponents down. If unit-based strategies aren’t your fancy, Scoia’tael also hosts a number of viable spell-based archetypes, proving once again that the non-humans are the most diverse faction around.

Scoia’tael is perfect for players that like to play a little bit of everything. With strong engine pieces, control tools, and massive finishing cards like the Great Oak and Harald Gord, you’ll have your opponents begging for mercy in both short and long rounds.

Similar to… Hunter/Druid/Shaman (HS), Simic/Izzet (MTG), Bilgewater/P&Z (LoR)


While the Nordlings and the Nilfgaardians continue their endless conquest for supreme domination, the Raiders of Skellige are happy to loot and pillage as they please. These bloodthirsty bastards have no shame in decimating your point score, even if it kills them. Self-damage mechanics, unit-punish, and deadly alchemical solutions will befall the enemies of An Craite and Svalblod. The warriors of Skellige will always get the last say (literally) and will dominate your board with big finishing plays like Morkvarg: Heart of Terror and Wild Boar of the Sea.

If you like lootin’, pillagin’, piratin’ and the like, Skellige and Cintra will stand ever together by your side as you hack and slash your way to victory.

Similar to… Warrior/Warlock (HS), Rakdos (MTG), Noxus/Shadow Isles (LoR)

Cerys an Craite by Grafit Studio

Adriano the Mink by Daniel Valaisis


Last but not least, the Syndicate represents a band of villains and thieves from across the land of Novigrad. The Syndicate play by their own rules, using points as well as coins to turn the tides of battle. Each Syndicate deck uses their coins in different ways to generate large amounts of points. It is the most complicated faction to learn, but it can be very difficult to deal with if piloted correctly. Cards like Saul de Navarette and Philippa Eilhart can represent massive point swings in the right situation.

If you like clicking lots of buttons, making big brain plays and earning quick cash FAST, then Syndicate is the faction for you.

Similar to… Nothing! The Syndicate are different in their own special way :]

Leader Abilities

Each faction has seven leader abilities for you to choose from when building a deck. Your leader ability provides additional utility to your deck. In many cases, decks are built around their leader abilities for maximum synergy.

A good example of this would be Scoia’tael’s Deadeye Ambush. This leader ability gives you (3) charges to spawn an Elven Deadeye into an allied row. If used in ‘just any’ Scoia’tael deck, this ability represents a total of (9) points. However, if we were to include cards such as Yaevinn, Vernossiel and Isengrim in our deck, those Deadeye tokens could represent significantly more value to our point total.

In other situations, it may be more valuable to consider the provision space offered by your chosen leader ability. Nilfgaard’s Lockdown for example is a highly effective control tool against decks that are reliant on their leader abilities. However, Lockdown only adds (10) provisions to your deck’s provision total, while most leader abilities add around (15). This means that you will likely have to squeeze in a few suboptimal bronzes into your deck to meet the provision limit. 

I encourage you to explore all of the leader abilities and get familiar with them. Some abilities, such as Monsters’ Force of Nature and Scoia’tael’s Invigorate are very easy to use and synergize with your starter package quite well. While you won’t see these abilities being used much higher up on the ranked ladder, they’re a decent place to start while you work on developing your card collection.

Gameplay Fundamentals

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about gameplay.

Unlike most CCGs, the objective of Gwent is to score more points than your opponent in a Best-of-3-rounds scenario. As you play your units, spells and artifacts, they will contribute points to your point total shown on the right side of the board. Players continue to alternate turns, playing one card at a time each, until both players either pass or run out of cards.

In order to close out the game, players will look to preserve their best cards for the final round, and sequence them as efficiently as possible for maximum value. The player that wins the first round typically has an advantage here, since they will have the opportunity to exhaust their opponents resources in the second round, or pass early and preserve their strongest cards for a longer third round. Different deck archetypes perform better in short or long rounds. For example, engine-based decks generate points each turn, and thus gain more points in a (10) card round than they would in a (4) card round.

The other advantage of winning the first round is the ability to secure “last say”. This term describes the ability to play the final card in the game, meaning that your opponent will be unable to respond to it. Decks that typically seek to gain “last say” are decks that have strong unit finishers, such as Harald Gord and Ozzrel.

When the game starts, each player will draw (10) cards and have the opportunity to mulligan away individual cards. At the beginning of each round thereafter, players will draw up to (3) cards to a maximum of (10) total cards. For example, if you only play two cards in the first round before deciding to pass, you will only draw (2) cards at the beginning of the second round. Since you do not draw at the beginning of each turn, the length of the final round is determined by how many cards each player commits in the rounds prior. It is common to see players passing in the first round at either (7) or (4) cards, since they will easily be able to regain a full hand of cards as they move into the final round.

Your ability to gain round control may often be influenced by the coin toss. At the beginning of the game, a coin is flipped to determine who goes first. Unlike other CCGs, going first is a disadvantage in Gwent, since the second player (red) will always have the ability to pass without conceding card advantage. The first player (blue) will receive an additional mulligan and the ability to use their deck’s stratagem (ie. Tactical Advantage). This card will appear in the center of the melee row and can be activated on any turn during the first round.

On your turn, you may choose to play your cards on either the melee or ranged row. There are many factors that may influence your decision. Certain cards have abilities that are locked to a particular row, such as Pavko Gale or An Craite Longship. In other situations, your opponent may have a particular response in their deck that affects your unit placement and sequencing. Nilfgaard, for example, has the ability to play Assassination which does increased damage to isolated units. If you suspect your opponent is using Assassination in their deck list, you may choose to stack your units onto the same row to prevent them from being easily removed.

Lastly, your leader ability can be activated from the left-side of the screen at any time during your turn. Be warned that using your leader ability, like all other Order abilities (see entry in Glossary) does not consume your turn, meaning that you will have to play a card from your hand as well. If your leader ability has multiple charges, such as Rage of the Sea, you are able to use all (3) charges in the same turn, should you so choose.

The objective of the game is fairly straight-forward. At the end of the final round, the player with the highest point total wins. It is up to you however to give yourself the best possible chances of achieving this. Learn your deck’s win condition and plan your strategy accordingly. Each match-up requires a different approach, and each game, a different play. Do your best to learn these skills early on, and your climb up the ranked ladder will be smooth and steady.

Gwent Glossary

By now, you should have a decent understanding of Gwent’s unique features and factions. As you play, you’ll encounter new cards and mechanics. You’ll likely adapt to these mechanics as you go, and if you’re ever stuck wondering how you just lost your whole board of Elves to Geralt:Igni, you’ll always be able to review the play history on the left-side of your screen (you can also right-click cards while they’re on the board to get a detailed view with keyword descriptions).

That being said, if you’re interested in getting a headstart learning some of these mechanics, I’ve included a number of examples below for your perusal.














I hope you enjoyed reading this transition guide to Gwent. The concepts and  techniques introduced in this article will have you well on your way to pro rank. If you’re interested in learning more about Gwent, be sure to check out the many other awesome articles and deck guides on the Bandit Gang website. Now, go forth and conquer!

The Etiquette of Gwent – How to Duel Like a True Gwentleman

This article was written by Mercernn and edited by Weevil89

Chivalry, pride or honour are oftentimes the first casualties of any battle, but what about a game representing a battle of two armies? Does it apply there as well? Can you use any means necessary to best your opponent? Are there any repercussions for doing so? What are the unspoken rules of playing Gwent?

The chances are that you’ve been asking yourself some of these questions before, unless you main Nilfgaard, that is… Well, regardless, perhaps at least a sparkle of conscience made your black matter consider the concept of a fair and noble fight being a possibility, so let’s not give up yet.

So, where do you find the answers to your questions regarding Gwent manners? Well, just like in the case of real life manners, there is no ultimate, omniscient rulebook that would clearly state what is or isn’t required of you in every single situation, although some pretend to be. Most of the rules are unspoken and are learned by simply playing the game and communicating with other players. For those of you, our dear Gwenty players, who would be completely new to the game or just preferred staying in their comfort zone of a nice wall to hug, for you we’ve got a short summary of Gwent’s Etiquette in 9 easy steps.

1) Sending GGs

GGs, standing for Good Game, can be sent by clicking a button found in your final score screen at the very end of your match. By clicking it, you essentially let your opponent know that you’ve enjoyed the game and send them a bit of resources in return. Sounds simple enough? Well, so is potato salad and yet your mother will always argue with your aunt whether you should add celery or not in it… The problem with GGs is that each and every person experiences their sending and receiving differently. Some people think that you should send them always – it’s just a game after all, kinda like you should always eat your potato salad regardless of celery infestation as it’s food after all… food is perhaps a strong word, but let’s say it won’t poison you. Other people send GGs only when they actually enjoy the game, and then there are such people who never send them. What is the proper way of using them, then? It depends solely on you and there are virtually no repercussions for not sending anything. Nevertheless, we can recommend doing so if not for keeping the spirit of the game, then for an in-game contract called ‘United We Stand!’ that can reward you with up to 15 reward points simply for clicking a button. Well, clicking a button 5000 times, but still…

2) Roping

No, it is not a BDSM technique, nor a rodeo term. Roping, coming from the metaphorical “burning rope”, indicating how much time you have left for making your turn or shuffling your cards, describes a situation in which either you or your opponent take more time than necessary to take your turn. This makes the game significantly longer and arguably less enjoyable, though the connoisseurs among you who look forward to traffic jams, just so that they could feel the time being wasted, might actually like this… For the rest of us, roping means wasted time. But on the other hand, making hasty plays just so that you would evade roping isn’t correct either. Take your time if you need to think about your play, there’s nothing wrong about that, just try avoid doing so every turn as that can be very infuriating for your opponent.

3) Emote Spam

At least one of your friends is like that: whatever happens, whether it is a ground-breaking piece of news or just some trivial information, they have to react to it as if it were the discovery of the Americas. Furthermore, as you’ve surely noticed, a small speech bubble next to your leader model allows you to communicate with your opponent through a series of about half a dozen of voice lines that are unique to each and every leader. I guess you can see where I’m heading with this. Some opponents will be more keen than others to use their emotes beyond their intended meaning. This can get annoying very fast, especially with the limited emote selection you’ve got at your disposal. Although, you can actually mute your opponent by clicking a speech bubble next to their leader model, it is still considered a rather rude behavior. Once again, the emotes are there for a reason, so please do not be afraid to use them, perhaps just limit your usage of them to no more than 5 emotes per match – unless you genuinely feel the need to click “Well Played” when your opponent plays well. Sounds strange, I know.

4) Quitting and Passing

This is a fairly simple one. In short, you’ve got two ways of ending your matches: either by holding the pass button situated on the coin in the right side of the screen that is also used by ending your turns, or by using the Esc key. Using the pass button is virtually always better, because both players get more resources or progression as a reward as by rule the shorter the game is, the less gracious the algorithm that decides what kind of reward you get becomes. Using the escape key, however, is a big no no in this rule book. If you were very annoyed with your opponent, though, your game got glitched, or you had to step away from your PC very fast, do not hesitate to use the Esc button, since there is a reason it is in the game – just don’t end every game with it, as you’re depriving both yourself and your opponent of additional resources. It’s more like an emergency exit.

5) “Overplaying”

Speaking of ending matches, a very common (yet also a very controversial) sight that you’ll encounter is that sometimes, your opponent will still keep on playing even though they have already won the match mathematically. This not only makes the game last longer, but you’re also forced to watch your opponent beat you (while likely taunting you several times in the process). Just imagine a chess player winning a game in 2 turns (which is possible, by the way) and then proceeding to play the rest of the game while their opponent has to watch. Besides this type who enjoys rubbing salt in the wound, a special case of overplaying would be when you’re trying to fulfil a certain achievement, contract or quest, e.g. by playing 20 fee units in one match, which is usually quite obvious to spot in casual play or seasonal mode.

6) Netdecking

Netdecking describes a process in which one person, oftentimes either a pro player or a popular content creator, builds a deck that is then shared with the public either via a screenshot or a linked decklist on sites such as playgwent.com, the official Gwent website, or sites of Gwent gaming teams that regularly make meta reports. These decks are then downloaded by numerous users and can completely change the gaming experience for other players. This can negatively impact the so-called metagame for many reasons. Firstly, it saturates the meta with a particular deck, the effect usually lasting for a couple of days. Secondly, it makes it difficult for new players to cope since the meta is changing constantly. On the other hand, though, it normally doesn’t last very long because of how quickly experienced players will move to counter it. While they can be fairly troublesome, there is nothing wrong with using netdecks, perhaps just the fact that it might discourage you from experimenting on your own, which can be a lot of fun, too. Not everyone will hold such a stance, though, so every now and then someone might not GG you, send you an angry message or complain about you on Reddit. But at the end of the day, you’re not breaking any rules and if you actually enjoy the game this way, there is nothing stopping you. The fact is, master deckbuilders often underestimate the knowledge and awareness needed to build competitively viable decks efficiently, so for many players (especially new ones) netdecks provide a nice alternative.

7) Streamsniping

Streamsniping describes a very despicable tactic which is present not just in Gwent but in many other games as well. In this case, it refers to identifying your opponent as a streamer (perhaps one you know already) by their username, deck, playstyle, leader model, etc., opening up their stream and basically peeking into their hand to gain an unfair advantage. There is probably no need for us to explain how unfair and disgraceful such behavior is, but perhaps just a cherry on the top is the fact that more often than not your sniped prey will find out where the shots came from. Truly, playing with the knowledge of what your opponent is holding in their hand makes you play your own cards in such an unusual way that it’s very easy for your opponent to see through your tricks, so we strongly advise you not to roll the dice – especially if you actually enjoyed watching the stream before this!

8) Smurfing

Yes, we know that the word ‘smurf’ can be used for literally anything in the popular kids show, and no, we’re not smurfing about smurfing your smurfing uncle Billy-Bob in this smurfing article you smurfing donkey! Jokes aside, Smurfing or playing with a smurf account describes a situation in which an already experienced player makes a secondary account on which (s)he, of course, has to climb from the very bottom of the ladder back to the top. While there is nothing wrong with this, you also have to keep in mind that less experienced players will not be able to spot this at first. The experienced player will also have a lot of in-game knowledge, allowing them to prioritize cards to craft for deck-building, among other things. This makes the game very unenjoyable for the rows of greenhorn players that they’ll stampede over on their way to pro rank. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this from happening, though there are a few ways of minimizing the impact it can have on the new players, such as not playing with the strongest Meta decks out there to give them at least a bit of chance, or even letting them win if you can see they struggle even with the basic rules of the game, though this is completely up to you of course. If you are a new player and you feel like you were summarily stomped by Mystic Echo several times in a row, it is possible that you have found one of these players and you are well within your right to “forget” to GG them.

9) Just follow your heart

Often times all that is needed is to imagine being in your opponent’s shoes. No need to read lengthy forum posts and articles, as after all, there is a human just like you behind that Gaunter O’Dimm or blobulous Svalblod leader model.

And this is where our journey ends, dear readers! We hope that this article will help you with answering any questions about what is or isn’t rude in Gwent and that you’ll not have to worry about making any faux pas in the future. Thank you for stopping by and please accept our personal GG for making it to the very end!

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!