Gwent Beginner's Guide
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is a free-to-play collectible card game developed by CD Projekt Red, which relies on bluffing and complex strategies to win. Unlike many other CCG, Gwent does not utilize popular concepts like mana and health pools to dictate the flow of the game, but instead players will need to win two out of three rounds by playing cards that will gain them strength on the board. Gwent will be released on PC, Xbox One and PS4 later this year.
|Passive||At the start of Round 2 and 3, add +1 base strength to every non-Gold unit in your hand, deck and graveyard.|
|Archetypes||Wounding, Self-Wounding Warcry, Discard, Weather|
|Passive||Add 2 strength to each gold unit when it appears on your side.|
|Archetypes||Gilding, Unit Spam, Unit Buffing, Control|
|Passive||After drawing cards at the start of rounds 2 and 3, redraw up to 1.|
|Archetypes||Spy interaction, Reveal, Milling|
|Passive||At the end of each round, keep the last loyal non-Gold, non-Fleeting, non-Resilient Neutral or Monsters played from your hand to the battlefield.|
|Archetypes||Consume, Weather, Token Buffing|
|Passive||Choose who plays first one round per game.|
|Archetypes||Ambush, Control, Dwarf Buffing|
|Cards that do not belong to any of the other factions and can be used freely in any deck.|
Although most positioning is pretty straightforward, there are cases of semi-agile units(⅔ rows), passive agile units(units that move rows passively after every turn), and of course hybrids, like agile disloyal units or units that can be both loyal or disloyal.
After the recent patch introduced in the beta, you are now allowed to manually position units on the battlefield(board on which Gwent is played) in a specific spot on the row relative to your other units. This will slowly become a staple of Gwent and it’s important to take into account the placement of cards in relation cards that rely on unit positioning to be used, for example, Manticore’s Venom.
|Loyal||Units that are played on the player’s side of the board|
|Disloyal||Units that are played on the opponent’s side of the board|
|Agile||Units that can be played on any row|
|Melee||Units that can only be played on the front or Melee row|
|Ranged||Units that can only be played on the middle or Ranged row|
|Siege||Units that can only be played on the back or Siege Row|
|Bronze||Basic card vulnerable to all damage and effects. 3x limit per unique card in a deck. 40 limit in a deck. Average power value is 8|
|Silver||Cards with more intricate effects and abilities. 1x limit per unique card in a deck. 6 limit in a deck. Average power value is 10|
|Gold||Unique card immune to most effects. 1x limit per unique card in a deck. 4 limit in a deck. Average power value is 12|
Indicated by a small square in the lower right corner of the card’s border.
|White||Common, -30 scraps to craft, +5 after milling.|
|Blue||Rare, -80 scraps to craft, +10 after milling.|
|Purple||Epic, -200 scraps to craft, +50 after milling.|
|Gold||Legendary: -800 scraps to craft, +200 after milling.|
A select few cards have two separate variants, the standard variant and the premium variant, which is an extremely rare animated version of the card. These premium cards cost more scrap to craft, -200, -400, -800 and -1,600 for each rarity tier, but only return the standard amount of scraps after milling.
Classification / Tags
There are a great multitude of different classifications/tags that cards can have, and learning what these are and how they affect the game is vital to understanding Gwent. Without further ado, let’s delve into them.
|Deathwish||The unit’s removal from the battlefield will trigger an effect|
|Flame||A card whose effect will activate continously as long as the correct circumstances are met|
|Lock||Disable all the unit’s tags (weather, quen, resilience) and it’s ability.|
|Resilience||The unit stays on the battlefield for the next round|
|Shield/Quen||Protects the unit from one strength removing effect|
|Turn Counter||A card whose effect triggers after X amount of turns|
|Weather Immunity||The unit is unaffected by weather|
|Ambush||A Scoia’tael card that is played facedown|
|Breedable||Card which can be bred using “Monster Nest”|
|Dwarf||Unit card with class-specific bonuses|
|Elf||Unit card with class-specific bonuses|
|Fleeting||Card which can be played only once. Banished once removed|
|Machine||Unit card with class-specific bonuses|
|Mage||Unit card with class-specific bonuses|
|Medic||A card that has the resurrect ability|
|Permadeath||A card that cannot be resurrected under most circumstances|
|Relentless||A card which cannot be returned to the player’s hand|
|Shapeshifter||A card which transforms into another once it’s effect triggers|
|Spying||Disloyal unit (placed on the opponent's side of the board)|
|Weather||A card which spawns a specific weather effect|
|Witcher||Unit card with class-specific bonuses|
|Unit||A card with a body, not a spell/special card|
|Instance||An exact copy of a pre-existing card in the player’s hand or deck|
|Base Copy||A copy of a card with it’s original base strength|
|Base Strength||Original strength of a card, number appears in white|
|Buffed||A card with increased strength (appears in green)|
|Weakened||A card with reduced strength (appears in red)|
|Banished||A card that has been removed from play, can’t be resurrected|
|Destroyed||A card removed from the battlefield, can be found in Graveyard|
|Revealed||A card that appears face-up, on the battlefield or in hand|
|Muster||When a muster unit is played, all instances of the unit will be played if in the player’s deck|
|Spawned||Special or Unit card summoned by another card|
|Resurrect||The ability to resurrect a card from the graveyard back into play|
|Special||A card with an ability or effect, and no body|
|Potion||Specific class of special card, provides bonus strength or immunity|
Ore, Scraps, and Kegs
- Ore is a currency within Gwent that allows you to buy card kegs. A keg can be bought for 100 ore. You can gain ore in a multitude of ways, through level ups, rank ups, as a reward from an opponent giving you a “good game” nudge post game, or as part of the daily rewards system.
- Scraps is a currency within gwent that allows you to craft cards. The amount necessary for crafting cards has been covered in the “1.4: Rarity” section. You can gain scraps in a multitude of ways, through level ups, rank ups, as a reward from an opponent giving you a “good game” nudge post game, or as part of the daily rewards system.
Kegs contain 5 cards, one of which will be a guaranteed Rare, Epic or Legendary. You will be presented with four facedown cards which you can reveal, these cards will range from common to legendary, and will emit a faint glow of their respective color if they’re of a rare quality or higher(turqoise, violet, gold).
Once the four cards have been revealed, a second phase will start where you will be able to choose between three cards of the same rarity(Rare, Epic, Legendary), being able to keep only one. Although these cards will always be the same rarity, occasionally one or several of them might be premium cards. If you already own one or several of the cards, it’ll be indicated above the card with a x1(or 2,3,etc).
You can acquire kegs either by purchasing them one by one with Ore (100 for a Keg), buying them in packs with real life currency for a slightly cheaper price per keg depending on how many you buy(x2, x7, x15, x40, x60), or by earning them through level-up or rank-up rewards.
Crafting and Milling tips
When you first start out, your deck and card collection will probably pale in comparison to those of your opponents. Worry not, Gwent is an extremely rewarding game and by simply playing the game everyday, completing the daily rewards, and eventually playing in the ranked gamemode you'll be able to amass a large collection of cards in no time at all.
Regardless, you should keep in mind some vital tips in the early game.
- Do not craft the cards “Ciri” or “Decoy”. You are rewarded these cards upon getting level 18 and 20 respectively, so it would be a waste of scraps to craft them any earlier.
- Once you’ve selected a faction, browse through the card collection and look for impactful rares(80 scraps) or epics(200 scraps) you can craft. It’s best if they are neutral, this way if you decide to switch to a different faction you can still use them in your deck.
- Milling cards isn’t something I would recommend. Gwent is still in it’s beta phase, which means there will be multiple patches and updates which will change the metagame and how different cards work. A card that might seem useless to you in the current state of the game might get a huge buff in the next patch, and then you’ll wish you hadn’t milled it. Pressing the auto-mill spare cards button in the collection will mill all the extra cards you couldn’t possible play in a deck(4th+ bronze, 2nd silver, 2nd gold copies). There are some cards that have alternate art, which means instead of keeping 3 maximum, you might have a total of 9 copies of the same bronze unit which the auto mill button will not mill. If you’re in need, feel free to browse and manually mill cards with extra copies(Nekkers, Shieldmaden, Wild Hunt Riders, etc).
- Casual Matches in Gwent are friendly matches that will preferably pit you against an opponent of a similar skill level. They are the only option when you start the Beta, as you won’t be able to access ranked matches until you reach level 10.
- Ranked Matches are unlocked once you reach level 10, and they allow you to play competitive matches against players of a similar skill level, or MMR(Matchmaking Rating). As you play, you will gain or lose a set number of rank points that will vary from 1-99, depending on your mmr and your opponent’s mmr. There are cases in which there will be no change in mmr after a match, but for this to occur a sizeable difference in mmr between both players would be necessary. After reaching level 10 through Casual matches, you will be placed at a certain MMR range according to your performance, from which you can begin to climb the ladder.
Ranks and Rewards
There are currently a total of 15 ranks in the Gwent Beta, although a total of 21 have been speculated. After reaching level 10 through Casual matches, you will be placed at a certain MMR range according to your performance, from which you can begin to climb the ladder.
The leaderboards indicate your position relative to the rest of the playerbase, there are several regional options for sorting players:
- North America
- South America
- Australia and Oceania
To climb the ladder efficiently, it’s vital to understand the importance of extended queue. If you search for a match for more than 30 seconds and don’t find an opponent, the game will broaden the search and can match you with a player up with ±400 MMR points. Although this will allow you to find a match quicker, it is riskier, as losing to a player 400 MMR below you will result in a loss of a significant number of points(70-99), instead of the regular(10-55) you lose when playing a similarly rated opponent.
Because Gwent is a card game, which has some influence of luck(RNG, topdecks, starting hand, mulligan, etc), it is not all that unlikely for a higher rated player to lose to another player with a much lower rating. Because of this, slipping into extended queue is more often than not a bad idea, and most high rated ladder players will restart the search before the timer ticks past 30 seconds. By doing this, they assure they will always play a similarly rated opponent, and will have more favourable points awarded in victories and defeats.
Although the Gwent Beta currently does not have a singleplayer adventure mode, the developers have confirmed there will be a fully fleshed out adventure mode in the final game.
Beta Rewards / Open Beta Transition
The rewards for participating in the Beta are extremely generous, and you will obtain Kegs for the full game through various means:
- You will be given every keg you purchased with real life currency throughout the Beta
- You will obtain 2 Kegs for every 5 players levels, starting at level 5
- You will obtain 2 Kegs for every rank you achieve
- You will obtain all end-season rewards
- All gift items from CDPR (Premium Geralt card)
- Each player draws 10 random cards from their deck
- A player can draw multiple instances of their bronze units or spells
- Each player is allowed to redraw a maximum of three cards
- Players are allowed to opt out of the mulligan phase at any time
- Each card discarded is marked as blacklisted, hence not drawn again
- Blacklisting works simultaneously on all instances of the card
- If multiple instances of a card are drawn, they must be discarded seperately
- A coin toss will decide who will begin the round
- During their respective turns, players can take one of three actions:
- Play a card
- Use leader ability
- If a player exceeds the maximum turn time limit, a random card will be discarded from their hand
- At the start of Round 2, each player will draw two more cards to hand
- The player who won the first round will go first in Round 2
- If the player who won the first round wins the second, the game will end
- At the start of Round 3, each player will draw one card to hand if possible
- The player who won the second round will go first in Round 3
- The player with the most strength on board once both players are out of cards is declared victorious
Abbreviations & Glossary
|ADC||Alzur's Double Cross|
|BMC||Blue Mountain Commando|
|BTM||Bekker's Twisted Mirror|
|CoC||Champion of Champions|
|F2P||Free To Play|
|KoB||King of Beggars|
|P2P||Pay To Play|
|PFI||Poor Fucking Infantry|
|RNR||Ragh Nar Roog|
|Yencon||The Conjurer: Yennefer|
|Beta||Game Development Phase in which the game is prone to change, not the official version of the game.|
|Blacklisting||Eliminating all instances of a bronze card from the pool of of cards you can redraw by choosing it in the first or second Mulligan during the Mulligan phase.|
|Bleeding||To trade low value cards for the opponent’s higher value cards in a round you don’t expect to win|
|Bounce||To play a unit again with Decoy or Eithne|
|Buff||To increase the strength of a unit|
|Card Advantage||The amount of cards a player has in hand relative to their opponent|
|Card Chain/Combo||Playing several units/special cards using only one card from hand|
|Cheese||A strategy which revolves around a suprising, low probability scenario with little efficient countermeasures|
|Control||Playstyle that revolves around disrupting the opponent’s plan and win conditions|
|Counter||A card or strategy which directly answers to a the opponent’s play in an efficient manner|
|Cycling||To quickly go through the cards in your deck by creating card chains/combos|
|Deck thinning||To create cards chains that sift out the lower value cards from your deck, creating more valuable card draws in further rounds|
|F2P||A game that has no initial cost to play, free to play.|
|F2P Player||A player who chooses to play Gwent purchasing card kegs with real life currency|
|Hot fix||An urgent game update which attempts to resolve an issue quickly|
|Meta||The current state of the game, the strategy and decks being played at any given time|
|Milling||Cycling through your opponent’s deck, aiming to empty it before the match ends|
|Mirror Matchup||A matchup which pits two identical decks against each other|
|Mulligan||Initial phase in a game where you attempt to redraw more valuable cards|
|Nerf||A change that decreases the viability of a cards or faction|
|Netdeck||To copy a popular high rated deck card for card in hopes of repeating it’s success|
|P2P||A game that costs real life currency to purchase, either in a single payment or a monthly subscription, Pay to Play.|
|Patch||A pre-meditated game update which introduces an abundant number of changes to the game|
|Power||The total amount of points a player has on their board at any given time|
|Sequencing||The precise order in which a player plays his cards, so as to achieve a specific outcome|
|Sideboard||Limited number of cards a player can switch into his deck between rounds in a tournament setting|
|Spy||A disloyal unit played onto the opponent’s board which grants a card draw opportunity but gives the opponent a high power unit|
|Stagger||To purposely create a difference in strength between a player’s units, either by sequencing or self-wounding, to counter an opponent’s unit killing effect.|
|Synergy||The interaction between a number of cards that will produce a stronger effect than those cards played separately|
|Tempo||The pace at which strength is produced on the board by the player|
|Tempo Swing||The difference in power between players as a result of a single move|
|Topdeck||The action of drawing a card from the top of your deck after a new round starts or by playing a card which creates a card drawing opportunity|
|Value||The total impact a card has on both player’s scores when it is played|
Although the game is still in closed beta, a myriad of community hubs have been created to allow player to discuss and learn more about Gwent. There are also many third party tools which have been conceived to assist gwent players.
- Gwent Website - https://www.playgwent.com/en
- Gwent Support - https://www.playgwent.com/en/contact-support
- Gwent CDPR Twitch - https://www.twitch.tv/cdprojektred
- Gwent Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKS8WtM7U144j4fAU4xqiCw
- Gwent Twitter - https://twitter.com/PlayGwent
- Gwent Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/PlayGwent
- Gwent Database - http://www.gwentdb.com
- Gwent Subreddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/gwent/
- Gwent Discord Server - https://discordapp.com/invite/EETa9tm
- Gwint24 - Polish Gwent Fansite - http://gwint24.pl/
- Gwentlemen (Articles) - http://gwentlemen.com
- Commander’s Horn (Weekly Podcast) - http://commandershorn.com/