• published the article Midwinter Hunt Standard and Expert Walkthrough

    With the new update also came a new holiday event! Midwinter Hunt once again rewards you with a new themed avatar and title after beating both Standard and Expert mode!

    This one is quite a bit easier than the previous event, but here's a walkthrough just in case you get stuck along the way or just want to get it over with as quick as possible!

    Quote from CD Projekt Red

    The night of the winter solstice – Midinváerne, in the language of the elves – is a time when the borders between worlds blur and the air shimmers with wild magic. Folk spend this evening together, exchanging presents… while witchers roll up their sleeves and get to work.

    Join Geralt of Rivia on his Midwinter Hunt and test your skills in three brand new challenges on two levels of difficulty – for your efforts you will be rewarded with a themed avatar, frame and title!

    The event lasts from December 19th until January 9th.


    Treacherous Passage

    This puzzle’s not too treacherous at all, play your cards, and laugh as the rocks fall.


    • Clan Greatsword (melee) x 3
    • Archer (targeting Greatsword, Ice Troll, Ice Troll)
    • Geralt: Igni (melee) (target melee)
    • Archer (ranged) (targeting the 3 remaining opposing units)
    • Djenge (ranged) (target the 3 opposing units)


    • Clan Greatsword (melee) x 2
    • Geralt: Igni (melee) (target melee)
    • Swallow (Igni)
    • Clan Archer (melee) (target 3 opposing units)
    • Sercher)
    • Djenge (melee) (target 3 opposing units)

    Fire and Ice

    In the icy mountains, fire falls to ice. This puzzle’s all maths, no RNG, no dice.


    • Northern Wind
    • Hunter
    • Hunter
    • Decoy
    • Djenge


    • Frost (Phoenix)
    • DISCARD Clan Marauder x 3 (drag it to graveyard)
    • Priestess (Marauder) x 2
    • Decoy Priestess (Marauder)
    • Djenge

    Unexpected Ally

    Make sure the phoenix forever will burn. Geralt is ready, and it is your turn!

    Standard & Expert

    • Geralt (Yrden)
    • Swallow (the Phoenix)
    • Geralt (Aard)
    • Swallow
    • Geralt (Aard)
    • Swallow
    • Geralt (Aard)
    • Mandrake (strengthen the Phoenix)
    • Geralt (Aard)

    Posted in: Midwinter Hunt Standard and Expert Walkthrough
  • published the article Midwinter Previews: Discovering Spawn

    In what promises to be the biggest update since the launch of the open beta, the Midwinter patch will introduce over 100 new cards, coming out in… mid-late december-ish (Burza was explicitly told to not use the word soon, but managed to remain as vague as possible). You can find all 60 reveal cards here, here and here. In this article I’d like to discuss some of the highlights.

    Note: Point values are subject to change, so I’ll mostly focus on card effects for the time being.

    Spawn: A New Discovery

    The RNG is upon us! CDPR keyworded spawn in order to avoid using the word random! Fill a row with pitchfork-armed Peasant Militia!

    Don’t worry, this is most definitely not the beginning of the end for Gwent. In fact, the game has always had a significant amount of randomness involved. However, the amount of control players have over the randomness transforms Gwent from a game of chance, to a battle of skill. It is possible to pull a lowly Blue Stripes Commando with Prince Stennis, unless of course, you thin them out of your deck beforehand or choose to deckbuild differently. The spawn mechanic is no different, for the most part. It balances out randomness by giving you a choice out of 3. Most of the ‘Spawn’ cards shown draw from a very limited card pool, allowing you to engineer game states that maximize their effectiveness by minimizing variance.


    This contraption gives you the choice of 3 different bronze Machines, out of: Ballista, Battering Ram, Catapult, Reinforced Ballista, Reinforced Siege Tower, Reinforced Trebuchet and (non-reinforced) Trebuchet. The great philosopher Swim once said: “If only we could figure out why Catapult is here, maybe then we can figure out why we are here”. Well, if Catapult was 2 points stronger, we’d know - it’s here on important Tempo business. The options that Winch gives you are never terrible - at worst you have to settle with the 5th best machine (+2). And you can often engineer a board position to maximise the value from cards like Battering Ram and Trebuchet. The fact that you are given a choice of 3 machines further offsets the randomness, as you can often choose one that suits a specific situation (not all matchups have easy Battering Ram targets). Another interesting interaction is with Henselt, as Winch will sometimes allow you to pull 3 machines out of your deck instead of just two. In that specific scenario RNG might rear its ugly head.

    Isengrim: Outlaw & Hym

    Both of these unwelcome guests have a vitally strict constraint on their spawn effect. Isengrim is a little concerning, as his effect will grow in variance with the size of the cardpool. Nevertheless, for now he seems, dare I say it, quite consistent (as long as you engineer a slightly favourable boardstate/deck for his effect). I am slightly worried that these cards give players the chance to grab an additional spy, like Yaevinn (“Coinflip losers hate Hym!”), but this is somewhat offset by the fact that spies are quite situational, and these spies are never guaranteed.

    Uma's Curse

    Perhaps the most RNGevil spawn effect is veiled behind the cutest card art. By the time the update releases there will probably be around 100 different gold cards in the game, which is a huge number to draw from, so consistency is pretty much thrown out the window. Now, at present, this card is quite underpowered, as the expected value of the best of three golds is inferior to including a real card in your deck and playing it how and when you need it. And yet… I am worried. If this card (or a card like it) ends up being powerful enough to see play despite the drawbacks of randomness it will hinder Gwent from remaining a game of skill. (In CDPR’s defense, as it stands right now, this is a fun casual card, and nothing more, like our good friend Avallac'h: The Sage

    Adda & Whispering Hillock

    The new leaders are… interesting. Previously, leader cards almost always increased a deck’s consistency, providing players with a powerful effect they can build around. That is not the case with these, and they showcase some of the problems with the spawn mechanic. They give players access to cards from other classes, which is fun, but not necessarily balanced, especially as more and more cards are introduced. Also, drawing from a pool of both bronzes and silvers exacerbates the variance of these random effects. Don't get me wrong, I am still a fan of spawn, but some of her revealed cards might be taking it a step too far.

    Yennefer: TremorsBeastmaster

    I really hope they come up with a new name for the various ‘versions’ of spawn…

    Glimpses of What is to Come

    • New game mode?

      Luigi hinted that Isengrim: Outlaw and other spawn cards are made with the new game mode in mind, which I think suggests that draft might be coming (as spawn would fit it splendidly).

    • Agility for all?

      The agilipocalypse may be finally upon us, for there are no row indicators on the new cards!

    • Row length limits?

      Peasant Militia fills a row with peasants. So it either crashes the game (which sounds a little too powerful for a bronze card), or there is some kind of limit on the effect. Boulder pretty much confirms that some kind of hard cap is coming, the size of which we can only guess (for now).

    • Deckbuilding restrictions or challenges

      Viper School Witcher and Ciri: Nova care about cards in your initial deck. I’m looking forward to more of this type of effect!

    • Feeling like stealing

      The ability to play with your opponent’s cards brings a lot of interactivity to Gwent. I am glad that CDPR is making more cards that allow you to do just that, with Shilard, Portcullis and Slave Hunter.

    Cause for Concern

    Mirror-match madness

    Striga and Vincent vary in power depending on what factions and archetypes you face. These types of cards have always existed in Gwent (Geralt: Igni for example), but factions have never been explicitly called out, like on Striga. Let’s hope CDPR releases these cards in moderation, rather than moving the game towards more polarising matchups.

    Perplexing Poisons

    With Expired Ale being introduced last patch, and now Cadaverine Venom, I am concerned that wordiness and somewhat confusing abilities might increase Gwent’s barrier to entry. Attracting new players is extremely vital to the health of the game (in order to offset, or better yet, exceed, natural attrition), and thus CDPR must be careful to not add too much comprehension complexity to Gwent.

    Too Powerful, Too Conditional

    How many times have you looked at Alzur’s Thunder in your hand and wished it dealt a little more damage? Well Spear has been given the all clear, and instilled fear into the mind of many an (un-Quenned) Farseer. The problem with a card like this is that it exacerbates the the randomness inherent in Gwent’s draws by being very powerful if found in the opening hand and sometimes useless when drawn later. Cards that are powerful, yet doubly conditional (Spear requires a high power card in hand and are target) are the biggest culprits of this.

    SeltkirkCallbacks to other card games continue as Seltkirk dictates that it’s time to D-D-D-D-D-Duel!Viper School WitcherHas alchemy gone too far?Come sisters I will teach you how to spell TEMPO


    December’s shaping up to be a very exciting month for Gwent, with more previews, the second Challenger, and a new patch all very much on the horizon. See you next livestream!

    About the author


    Aych discovered his love of card games at the ripe old age of 11, as his Bulbasaurs were brutally massacred in the brilliant Pokemon TCG. The original Witcher was his gateway into the wonderfully time-consuming world of RPGs. And then... his two passions converged with the creation of Gwent! You can find him on Twitter at @AychGwent.
    Posted in: Midwinter Previews: Discovering Spawn
  • published the article Gwent Concepts: Round 2 Strategies

    A few weeks ago we proposed that in order to win a match of Gwent you usually need to win round 3. In order to do that, you need to maximize the resources you have available to you including card advantage, card quality and carryover.

    Last time we discussed the disadvantages of going first, and how it can make your plays less effective. We left off on a very important question: How valuable is it to win round 1?

    In order to understand how good a particular round 1 outcome is, we must consider what it will allow you to do in round 2. If you’ve won round 1, you’re in the driver’s seat, can decide when to pass, and how long round 3 will be. If you’ve lost, your fate is in your opponent’s hands.

    Round 1 Outcomes

    For now, suppose that carryover does not exist. How would you rank the outcomes of round 1? Would you prefer to lose 1 card up or win one card down? For most situations, the ranking of common outcomes (from best to worst) is as follows:

    • Win at equal cards
    • Lose 2 cards up
    • Win 1 card down
    • Lose 1 card up
    • Win 2 cards down
    • Lose at equal cards

    This ranking suggests that the difference between winning and losing round 1 is valued at between 2 and 3 cards, which seems rather drastic. But this is because winning round 1 gives you the option of…

    The Round 2 Dry Pass

    Passing immediately at the start of round 2 (after winning round 1), which forces your opponent to play exactly one card in order to win the round.

    After winning round 1 one card down, you can dry pass, which will leave you at card parity and going second in round 3. If you lose round 1 one card up, your opponent can dry pass and leave you at card parity but going first in round 3. As we have established, going second is almost always better than going first. That's why winning round 1 a card down is generally thought of as being better than losing 1 card up. Additionally, if you win round 1 you are not obliged to dry pass if you can concoct a better outcome, and can control the length of rounds 2 and 3 by choosing when to pass. Your opponent can almost never pass in round 2 without risking you overcoming their point values and winning the match 2:0.

    Dry passing guarantees getting one card over your opponent, which is usually the best result you can achieve in terms of card advantage for that round. However, in some circumstances you are incentivised to do something different:

    The Round 2 Bleed

    Playing out the round in such a way as to maximise your card quality for round 3 relative to your opponent’s. More simply - playing cards that are worse than your opponent’s in round 2.

    Generally, while bleeding, your goal is not to win the round, but rather to ditch your worst cards. Your opponent will follow suit, playing the worst card that allows them to stay ahead (and not lose card advantage). As long as playing your worst card is worse than your opponent’s worst card, bleeding is probably a good strategy.

    Some other reasons for bleeding instead of dry passing include:

    Your opponent’s cards scale with round length

    By dry passing, you're allowing for the longest possible round 3. This can be a problem if your opponent has a lot of cards that scale with round length (like Drought, Merigold's Hailstorm, Kaedweni Siege Support). If your opponent has a lot more of those cards than you do, it can be beneficial to shorten the last round's length, even if this comes at the expense of card advantage

    You have access to other ways to gain card advantage

    Playing a spy (if your opponent doesn't have a counter spy) in round 2 after a round 1 win allows for the same benefits as dry passing (your opponent using 1 card more than you this round), but also allows you to bleed, if you believe that the worst cards in your hand are worse than your opponent's. This allows you to improve your card quality for the final round. Of course, if you can play the spy at little cost in round 3 (for instance by killing it with Menno Coehoorn), it is probably better to dry pass instead.

    You need to set up for round 3

    This can include establishing carryover with cards like Combat Engineer, increasing the strength of round 3 plays using Hawker Support, or making sure that your Priestess of Freyas have enough targets.

    Your opponent has more carryover into round 2

    Your opponent having carryover does a very good job of preventing the dry pass - if you pass, your opponent can also pass, and win the round, thus not giving away any card advantage. In fact, your opponent having more carryover alters our entire 'Round 1 Outcomes' ranking, possibly making it more beneficial for you to lose round 1 up a card rather than win it down a card!

    The Round 2 Tempo

    Playing some high point cards and passing while in the lead.

    In some matchups, particularly when your deck requires a lot less setup than your opponent’s, it can be correct to play a sequence of powerful high point cards before passing, leaving your opponent at a deficit that requires multiple cards to overcome. This can also be a good strategy if your opponent’s plays at the start of round 2 are particularly low tempo, as they attempt to establish carryover (with Nekker) or card advantage (with Frightener) instead of focusing their resources on winning the round. By playing high tempo you are essentially trading card quality for (potential) card advantage, which can be a very good deal for decks that have last-play reliant finishers (like Succubus).

    In the event of your opponent having more carryover into round 2, high tempo plays can sometimes allow you to gain card advantage (which passing immediately won’t), if your opponent can not keep up. Bear in mind that your plays will have to overcome the difference in carryover, as well as the cards your opponent responds with in order for card advantage to be gained.


    The Round 2 2:0

    Knocking out your opponent in the first two rounds, instead of waiting for the third.

    In rare circumstances, it can be correct to push for a 2:0 knockout rather than taking the game to round 3. This requires very specific conditions, such as not having any cards in deck, or having cards that are awkward to use in a short round, combined with the carryover to make them work this round (for instance, if you have 4 lesser golems on the board, a Commander's Horn in hand and not enough units to make it useful next round). Another reason to 2:0 is if you suspect your opponent has a suboptimal hand (if they drew something they don’t want to play, like Udalryk or Clan an Craite Raider

    However, the threat of 2:0 can force your opponent to play suboptimally and overextend into the round, particularly if their cards are heavily synergistic. Further, a bleed or tempo strategy can often transition into a 2:0 if your opponent spends too much establishing carryover rather than committing points into the round, or if they fail to answer threats like Impera Brigade and Drought. In some respects, the 2:0 strategy is quite similar to the tempo strategy.

    Strategy TL;DR

    • After winning round 1, your round 2 objective is: to maximise your chances to win in round 3. You do this by making sure you have more resources (card advantage, card quality, etc…) than your opponent.
    • Dry Pass when it provides you with card advantage and if you want a long round 3.
    • Bleed when you want to shorten round 3 or believe that your worst cards are worse than your opponent’s.
    • Tempo your opponent out if they can’t keep up, and/or if you value card advantage over card quality.
    • Go for a 2:0 only in rare circumstances.
    • Transition between strategies as needed. The optimal strategy may change depending on what your opponent does. It is always better to revert to a superior strategy than to see a mistake through to its bitter end.

    A Tale of Incomplete Information

    These strategies seem quite simple on the surface - just choose the one that allows you to maximise your own resources while minimising your opponent’s! However, it’s not really as easy as that, as your opponent’s primary resource (the cards in their hand), as well as both players’ draws and mulligans in round 3 are not open information (reveal shenanigans aside). How can you tell what you should do when any given strategy you choose might also be good for your opponent?

    Optimize your draws/mulligans

    Setting up round 3 involves optimising your deck too. Example: if you have drawn a Clan an Craite Raider and need to mulligan it away in round 3, it is often beneficial to either play it (when bleeding) or get rid of any other cards that you would be obliged to mulligan from your deck (such as other Raiders).

    Understand what your opponent could have in round 3

    It is often the case that players save some of their best cards for last, especially if a bleeding strategy is employed. In a settled metagame, you will often know what those cards are - usually silver or gold finishers that provide a lot of points without relying much on setup or round length. Examples include: Joachim de Wett, Woodland Spirit, Dol Blathanna Protector, Dijkstra. Using a deck tracker can help in this endeavour, as it will give you a summary of how many high quality cards your opponent has played, and thus what they could still be holding on to.

    Watch their plays

    Every play your opponent makes can imply something about the rest of their hand. If you are bleeding your opponent out, and they play one of their powerful gold cards, it could imply that the rest of their hand is filled with even better cards, or they need to set up a round 3 Renew, or a number of other things, depending on the exact situation. This is hard to master (and perhaps deserves its own article), and you’re never going to get your reads to the point where they’re 100% correct, but it is nevertheless worth thinking about.

    Round and Round

    So, now that you know what winning round 1 allows you to do, you should have a pretty good idea about how valuable it is to win round 1, in any particular matchup. How much does your deck gain from being able to choose the length of rounds 2 and 3? How well can it employ, or deal with, the strategies described above? There is only one way to answer these questions - go play some Gwent!


    Past installments in our Gwent Concepts series:


    I love feedback almost as much as I love Gwent. Please leave your comments or suggestions below or send me a message on twitter at @AychGwent!

    Next time on Gwent Concepts: “What are my options when I lose round 1?” you might ask. You might ask, and I shalt answer!

    About the author


    Aych discovered his love of card games at the ripe old age of 11, as his Bulbasaurs were brutally massacred in the brilliant Pokemon TCG. The original Witcher was his gateway into the wonderfully time-consuming world of RPGs. And then... his two passions converged with the creation of Gwent! You can find him on Twitter at @AychGwent.
    Posted in: Gwent Concepts: Round 2 Strategies
  • published the article Saovine: Holiday of the Dead Expert Guide

    Saovine: Holiday of the Dead is the second limited holiday event introduced in Gwent, available free for everyone and offering unique rewards for completing the three different challenges on both Standard and Expert mode.

    Players will be rewarded with a unique Avatar as well as some Ore and Experience for completing the challenges on Standard mode. Beating Expert mode will grant Meteorite Powder, Experience and a unique Border and Title!

    If you need a little help beating the Expert mode, check out our guide to all three challenges below!

    Quote from CD Projekt Red

    Elven tradition holds on Saovine's eve the dead crawl out of their graves and demand food. The Toussaintais do not believe in such superstitions - yet this year, they were about to see the legends contain a grain of truth…

    Join us in Toussaint, on the eve of Saovine and survive the night when fear and horror come out to play! Once again we have prepared three challenges and puzzles on two difficulty levels. For completing them you will be able to earn a unique player avatar, frame and title, and claim additional Ore and Meteorite Powder.

    The event lasts from October 31st until November 21st. We sure hope, you’re not afraid of vampires!



    The alliterative follow up to the Battle of the Bards is a fun puzzle that requires to maximize the limited resources you have on hand. If you don’t succeed the first time, try, try again!


    • Don’t let your minions die to katakan
    • Try to amass a critical amount of Scythemen to finish the Palisade in one round
    • In the final 'round' (after you play Germain), you should have 4 Scythemen and 2 Archers in hand and your opponent should have 2 vampires on the board

    Full solution:

    • Archer (Katakan)
    • Scytheman
    • Scytheman
    • Germain
    • Archer (Ekimmara)
    • Archer (Katakan, Ekimmara)
    • Archer (All 3)
    • Germain
    • Archer (Ekimmara)
    • Archer (Katakan, Ekimmara)
    • Scytheman
    • Scytheman
    • Scytheman
    • Scytheman


    This may appear like a race against the clock, but the old witcher Vesemir will help you take your time. Like in any good RTS, deal with those pesky enemies before going for the main objective!


    • Your opponent always plays: Queen of the Night, 4 Sets of Ekimmaras, 4 Katakans, 2 Garkains
    • Your primary goal is to stem the bleeding: make sure you lose as few units (ideally zero) as possible to Ekimmaras, and make sure the Katakans don’t kill your ram
    • Your secondary goal is to prolong the round as much as possible with the help of Vesemir
    • Speaking of Vesemir, setting him up to destroy multiple units is one of the keys to victory

    Full solution:

    • Germain (all melee)
    • Vesemir (siege)
    • Mass Levy (all melee)
    • Mass Levy (all ranged, kill Ekimmaras on ranged)
    • Yeoman Archer (ranged, push back two Ekimmaras from ranged, and Ballista the one remaining there)
    • Vesemir (ranged)
    • Combat Tinkerer (ranged, heal Ram, ballista Katakan)
    • Beauclair Bovine (Germain)
    • Vesemir (ranged)
    • Combat Tinkerer (melee, heal Ram)
    • Germain (melee; all further units on melee)
    • Vesemir
    • Yeoman Archer
    • Yeoman Archer
    • Combat Tinkerer (if needed)
    • Vesemir (if needed)

    Note: If your Ram gets damaged by one of the RNG effects, you might need to restart the battle.


    This challenge is perhaps easier than the rest, and it’s bound to leave you thirsting for more (as long as the CD Projekt runs red)!

    Hints / solution:

    • Mulligan
      • Bovines, (you want at most 1 bovine in round 2)
    • Round 1
      • Pass Immediately
    • Round 2
      • Play your Farmhands, Bovines (if any) for your first two cards
      • The third card your opponent plays this round will steal one of your units, so don’t play your Crossbowmen/Militia into it
      • After this point your goal is to get your opponent to pass. This can be done by getting far ahead of them with high tempo plays (Late Harvest’s second mode, Potion, even Germain fits the bill). The AI has been passing on me when I was ~15 points ahead, but I am not aware of the exact threshold (the AI might also always want to play 3 ravens before passing). You want a long last round
      • Play around Condemnation, which sets one of your units to 1 strength
      • Save your engine cards for round 3, it should be a long round
    • Round 3
      • Play around Katakan as much as you can by not having units at 3 strength or less.
      • Make sure to maximise the value of your engine cards (Crossbowmen, Peasant Militia, Germain if you saved him)

    Posted in: Saovine: Holiday of the Dead Expert Guide
  • published the article Gwent Concepts: Going First

    Last time, we proposed that in order to win most games of Gwent, you need to win round 3, and that its outcome depends on the following factors:

    • Who has card advantage (Covered in our previous article)
    • Who is playing first (This article’s focus)
    • Who has better card quality (Future articles)
    • Round length
    • Anything carried over from previous rounds (most often through resilience).
    • The outcome of random effects
    • Sequencing
    • Mistakes - most notably what you choose to play into or around.

    This article will explore how good it is to go first (spoilers: not very), and why that is the case.

    Who goes first?

    • Round 1: Randomly determined by the infamous coinflip
    • Round 2: The winner of round 1
    • Round 3: The winner of round 2
    • In the case of a round 1 tie, the player who went second in round 1 goes first.

    So in order to go second in round 3, you just need to win round 1! While this may sound easy (we’ve all won a few round 1s in our life), winning usually involves committing more resources in round 1 than your opponent, a disadvantage that you may struggle to reverse in round 2. This can ultimately lead to you playing at a card disadvantage and/or with inferior card quality in round 3.

    But, why is it a disadvantage to go first?

    In other card games, going first is usually an advantage, allowing you to start developing your plays and interacting earlier in the game. It can be such a great advantage that the player going second is given an extra card and/or other bonuses to compensate. However, in Gwent, going first is almost always detrimental.

    Going first does have a few situational advantages. It can be beneficial to go first if:

    • Your deck requires setup which can help eliminate your opponent's setup.
      Example: You might want to go first in a King Bran or Morvran Voorhis mirror match so that you can develop warships and mangonels earlier than your opponent, and threaten to kill their developments using yours.
    • You are fighting over a common resource
      Example: You want to resurrect your Prince Stennis before your opponent can Caretaker it.
    • You need to make a play before your opponent has a chance to act
      Example: Decoying the Combat Engineer'ed Avallac'h before your opponent can Assassination it.

    As you can see, these are all quite niche and are usually outweighed by a combination of the following disadvantages:

    • Less reactivity
      Going first decreases the value of your reactive plays. On your first turn there is nothing for you to damage with Alzur's Thunder or Impera Enforcers and no obvious row to apply weather to. By your second turn your opponent has only played one thing to interact with, whilst by their second turn you've played two.
    • Less information
      Going first gives you less information about your opponent's strategy (for instance: should you play your units into weather or risk giving your opponent Drowner value?).
    • No opportunity for last play (when on equal cards)
      If both players have the same number of cards in round 3, going second gives you last play, which allows you to make better reactive plays, or play a card that your opponent cannot react to (for more about the importance of last play see last week's article)

    Going first in round 2 is a disadvantage, however this scenario is always coupled with the fact that you won round 1 (which has a lot of advantages). Finally, the additional disadvantages of going first in round 1 deserve their own section:

    The Flipping Coin

    When one of the players passes in round 1, the number of cards in players’ hands at that point is determined by the initial coinflip. Without the meddling of card advantage spies, or Ocvist the following can occur:

    Going First

    • If you are the first to pass, you will have the same amount of cards in hand as your opponent (at that point).
    • If you are at any point unable (or unwilling) to overcome your opponent’s points, their pass will force you to play an additional card, allowing you to win the round, but at the cost of being 2 cards down. However, this can be somewhat difficult to accomplish for your opponent, as it means that (for example) their first 5 cards were stronger than your 6 (or 9 stronger than 10).
    • It is possible that your opponent will focus their efforts on beating your score, giving you little to no opportunity to pass while ahead, and forcing you to lose the round on even cards if you do.

    Going Second

    • If you are the first to pass, you will have one more card in hand than your opponent (at that point).
    • You have the option of passing first and losing the round 1 card down, which the player who went first does not always have. That is, of course, unless your opponent passes earlier than you anticipated.
    • If the round continues until the very last card, you have the advantage of last play (or the option to pass instead of playing perhaps your most valuable card).
    • Overall, you have a lot more room for error, and a little more control over the length of round 1 than the player going first.

    Even if you use a spy to ‘reverse’ the coinflip after going first, you would generally end up worse off than if you went second (under the same conditions).

    Quantifying the value of going second (in round 3)

    We attempt to answer this question by looking at two extremes.

    Typical ‘worst case’

    Going second gives you no advantage if both players are playing cards that do not interact with their opponent in any way. Admittedly this is a very rare scenario, but can occur in (for instance) consume mirror matches. In this case there is pretty much no value in going second (compared to going first). Theoretically, there can be situations where going first is an advantage (such as when fighting over a common resource), and there are no drawbacks to going first. But that possibility is just so unlikely that we can safely ignore it, and say that the value of going second is at worst 0 points in non-extraordinary circumstances.

    Typical ‘best case’

    How much can going second be worth, in terms of card advantage?

    Let’s consider the following thought experiment. Player F and Player S go into the third round with 5 cards in hand (which have about the same total power/value), but with player F going first. Player S has some level of advantage x because of the benefits of going second. Now suppose we give player F an extra, 0 point card (for example, a Renew that has no way to find a target). Player F can play that card first, and after doing so, both players will have 5 cards in hand, but it would be player S’s turn, and now Player F will have the advantage (x). Thus, an extra card, no matter how bad, will at worst reverse the advantage (at worst, because player F is not obliged to play it first). Thus, the advantage of going second is worth half a card at the very most. So don’t trade away card advantage solely for the ability to go second in round 3.

    How much can going second be worth, in terms of card quality (points)?

    This is a little bit harder to quantify. So let’s look at some (egregious) examples:

    • Example: Suppose both players have a hand full of (equal numbers of) Iorveths. Each Iorveth except the very first will kill an opposing Iorveth, and the player going second will win by 7 points (no matter the amount of Iorveths).
    • Example: Suppose your finisher is Zoltan Chivay into Merigold's Hailstorm. By going second you can often move an extra unit with Zoltan Chivay and damage it with Merigold's Hailstorm. This is worth slightly more than half a card worth of points (if you get to combo an additional 17 strength Spotter, you will get 10 extra points of value). However this card might not be your opponent’s best.
    • Example: You get to Scorch an extra Dol Blathanna Protector.
    • Example: Your opponent has no way to gain card advantage, and you have Frightener and Succubus, allowing you to guarantee a steal.

    As you can see, this can vary quite wildly. In some match-ups, you’re willing to give up only a little card quality to go second. However, when going second is instrumental to disrupting your opponent’s win condition, or accomplishing your own, you may be willing to spend many of your silvers and golds to guarantee going second.

    Important Note: I have deliberately avoided analysing the value of going first in round 1. Firstly, you have no control over it, so talking about tradeoffs is somewhat pointless. Secondly, the devs have acknowledged that the coinflip is an issue (but not as much as we think), and are working hard on finding a good way to balance it. And when they do, I will definitely cover it!

    How valuable is it to win round 1?

    If you win round 1, you are guaranteed to go second in round 3, which has a number of benefits, as we have learned. But perhaps more importantly, you get to choose when to pass in round 2 and dictate the length of round 3. This gives rise to a plethora of strategies, including the immediate dry pass (forcing opponent to play one card if they don’t have carryover) and bleeding (ridding your hand of low value plays).

    Generally, the difference between winning and losing round 1 is worth around 2 cards, and I would rank the common round one outcomes as follows:

    • Win at parity OR Lose 2 cards up (Good)
    • Win 1 card down OR Lose 1 card up (Neutral)
    • Win 2 cards down OR Lose at parity (Bad)

    The outcome in which you win is usually slightly better out of each of those pairs (though that can vary between match-ups and board states). But in order to understand how you want round 1 to end (in a specific match-up, game, situation), we will need to dig deep into what you can do in round 2 after either winning or losing. And that will happen next time, in Gwent Concepts: Round 2 Strategies!


    Past installments in our Gwent Concepts series:


    I love feedback almost as much as I love Gwent. Please leave your comments or suggestions below or send me a message on twitter at @AychGwent!

    About the author


    Aych discovered his love of card games at the ripe old age of 11, as his Bulbasaurs were brutally massacred in the brilliant Pokemon TCG. The original Witcher was his gateway into the wonderfully time-consuming world of RPGs. And then... his two passions converged with the creation of Gwent! You can find him on Twitter and YouTube.
    Posted in: Gwent Concepts: Going First
  • published the article Gwent Concepts: Card Advantage

    Generally, in a game of Gwent, one player wins the first round, the other player wins the second round, and the outcome of a match is decided in the third round. The only variations to this occur when the first round's winner decides to go for a 2:0, or if there is a tie somewhere in the mix, and both are quite rare. Regardless, we will discuss those cases later - for now let's focus on the standard three round framework.

    Round 3: The only round that matters?

    In round 3, you're in it to win it. You're going to play all your cards (with few exceptions), and the things that will determine the victor are:

    • Who has card advantage
    • Who is playing first
    • Who has better card quality
    • Anything carried over from previous rounds (most often through resilience)
    • Round length
    • The outcome of random effects
    • Sequencing
    • Mistakes - most notably what you choose to play into or around

    All of these are partially determined by your opponent, and partially by fate too. But you can swing these in your favour almost every game. What is important however, is that the majority of the factors that decide who wins or loses in round 3 are determined before it starts. In most cases, if players revealed their hands at the start of round 3 an inquisitive observer would be able to predict the winner of the game with very reasonable accuracy.

    The factors you can affect during round 3 - making less mistakes and having better sequencing can only really improve with experience (as you learn about your deck, the meta, what to play around, etc…). Thus, the focus of the next few ‘Gwent Concepts’ articles will be about how you can maximise the other factors over the first two rounds in order to emerge victorious in the final round. And we begin with one of the most important Gwent Concepts…

    Card Advantage

    What is card advantage?

    Card advantage refers to the difference between the number of cards in your hand and your opponent's hand. Unlike some other card games, we don't take the number of units on the board and things like 'two-for-ones' into account. Assassination might kill two of your opponent's units, but it is not a card that usually provides you with card advantage (although it can give you a lot of tempo, which you can later convert into card advantage - more on that later). Similarly, a 10 power unit is very similar to two 5 power units. We say that a player with more cards in hand has card advantage.

    Why is it important?

    More cards = More points

    Generally, the more cards you have (compared to your opponent), the more points you'll be able to put out on the board, and the more likely you are to win. This can vary (sometimes, quite wildly) due to round length (for instance, weather is worse in short rounds), card quality and carryover. But, all other things being equal, you'd always rather have more cards in hand than less.

    Importance of Last Play

    Perhaps more importantly, the combination of card advantage and who plays first determines who will have the last play of the round (sometimes multiple last plays in a row, if the card advantage is large). The importance of this varies from deck to deck and from match-up to match-up. Some examples of cards that care about this are:

    • Succubus - The later you play this, the less likely it is that your opponent has an answer. More importantly, if you have double last play, she cannot be responded to and is guaranteed to steal a unit.
    • Merigold's Hailstorm - Playing this as the last play can allow you to hit more units.
    • Kambi - Nullifies any points either player has accumulated so far. The outcome of the round will depend on how many cards players have remaining (and the quality of those cards)
    • John Natalis, Queensguard, Joachim de Wett, etc… - High point plays such as these become better if your opponent doesn't get the chance to respond to them (with something like a Merigold's Hailstorm or Geralt: Igni)

    Note: both of these are usually only important in round 3, as it is quite rare that players play all the cards in their hands during one of the prior rounds. However, keep in mind that your card advantage in round 3 is determined almost entirely by what you do in earlier rounds.

    How do you gain card advantage?

    If you want to gain something in Gwent, there is always a tradeoff. To gain card advantage you often need to sacrifice card quality, points, or another valuable resource.

    Card Advantage Spies (and their friends Summoning Circle and Decoy)

    A negative 11 or 12 point play might not seem good on the surface, but the key with these spies is that they draw you a card. Because Gwent restricts people to playing one card a turn, this allows you to gain card advantage, as your opponent's hand size decreased while yours did not (on the turn you played the spy). Spies are especially good when you can minimise the impact of the points they provide to your opponent. This can be done by playing them into weather, lining them up for a Merigold's Hailstorm or Geralt: Igni, or using them during a round you're planning to lose.

    Ocvist and Ciri

    Instead of the spies' drawback of negative points, Ocvist and Ciri grant you card advantage at the expense of being quite conditional. Both require you to keep them on the board without getting killed or locked, and return to the hand when the condition (4 rounds passing or losing the round) is fulfilled. While these give you an extra card in your hand, that card's quality is quite subpar, and you would usually want to get rid of it somehow before the final round. This can be done through playing it in a round where points don't matter (when you're far behind or ahead) such that the low point play wouldn't change the outcome of the round, or affect card advantage for future rounds. Alternatively, you can just discard or mulligan these away. Finally, because card advantage is very powerful, Ocvist and Ciri can act as a lightning rod for your opponent's spells.

    Passing when ahead (or at parity)

    If you pass while you have more points on the board in round 1, your opponent has two options. They can pass, allowing you to win the round - this is usually a very good outcome for you, as that means they had essentially thrown away a card last turn (they could've passed instead, which would've resulted in the same outcome, but they would get to keep an extra card in hand). More often, they choose to play one or more cards in order to overcome your score, which would improve your card advantage. In round 2, the former is not an option if you had won the first round, so your opponent is obliged to play more cards. Situations where this might gain you card advantage include:

    • Making higher point plays than your opponent (because they are setting up their engine e.g. weather) and passing quite early in the round.
    • The 'dry pass'. Passing in round 2 after winning in round 1, forcing your opponent to play a cards (provided they don't have carryover, or more precisely, more carryover than you).

    However, there are a couple of caveats with this strategy. Allowing your opponent to win round 1 is a huge cost (especially because winning one card down is usually better than losing one card up). And, you are usually required to play very high tempo in order to squeeze more than 1 card's worth of advantage out of your opponent. If you choose to do so, you might be sacrificing more in card quality than the card advantage allows you to recuperate.

    Card advantage isn't everything?

    Card advantage almost always comes at a cost - whether that be having to use better cards than your opponent before round 3 or not achieving other important objectives, such as thinning or winning the round. It is important to not get carried away and spend too many resources in the pursuit of card advantage, as that might lead you to not having enough firepower to win the match.


    That was a rather brief introduction to the nuanced concept of card advantage. I’m sure we’ll encounter more of it further in this series, because it is so integral to a game of Gwent. Next time, on Gwent Concepts: We examine the drawbacks of going first!

    Past installments in our Gwent Concepts series:


    I love feedback almost as much as I love Gwent. Please leave your comments or suggestions below or send me a message on twitter at @AychGwent!

    About the author


    Aych discovered his love of card games at the ripe old age of 11, as his Bulbasaurs were brutally massacred in the brilliant Pokemon TCG. The original Witcher was his gateway into the wonderfully time-consuming world of RPGs. And then... his two passions converged with the creation of Gwent! You can find him on Twitter and YouTube.
    Posted in: Gwent Concepts: Card Advantage
  • published the article Guide to the Mahakam Ale Festival!

    The Mahakam Ale festival is the first holiday event introduced in Gwent, available free for all and offering unique rewards for completing the three different challenges on both Standard and Expert mode!

    Players will be rewarded with a unique avatar as well as some Ore and Experience for completing the challenges on Standard mode. Beating Expert mode will grant Meteorite Powder, Experience and a unique Border and Title!

    We've included a guide written by Aych to completing the three challenges on Expert mode below the official announcement from CD Projekt Red.

    Let us know what you think about content like the Mahakam Ale Festival and what other type of holiday event you would love to see in Gwent!

    Quote from CD Projekt Red

    Mahakam Ale Festival has begun!

    All have heard of Mahakam, but few have beheld the dwarves' famed stronghold from within. Elder-in-Chief Brouver Hoog has no trust for travelers and opens his gates to them only with the greatest reluctance… unless, that is, they come to attend the great Mahakam Ale Festival.

    Come by and join us in the celebrations! During the Mahakam Ale Festival you will be able to play three brand-new challenges on two levels of difficulty, and claim a unique player avatar, frame and title in the process.

    The event lasts from September 29th until the ale eventually runs out (that’s October 12th, in case you’re wondering).

    See you in Mahakam!


    Here's a short guide to the three challenges on Expert mode! Here be spoilers, so If you rather figure it out by yourself then stop here!

    Trial of the Glasses

    The first expert puzzle is quite fair, and can be beaten without too much trickery. Play through it a couple of times, familiarise yourself with the resources that both you and your opponent have available. Think of it like a typical game of Gwent, just with weird cards added in.


    • Zoltan Chivay can be a very proactive advocate against Drunken Sailors
    • Another good way to deal with Drunken Sailors is to pass early in round 2 after winning round 1
    • Use Dwarven Mercenaries to move Foul Ale to rows where it can hit at most 1 unit
    • There's very little your opponent can do about Yarpen Zigrin - so buff him!
    • Make sure to get your ales going early. The spawning effect can be even more important than the buff.

    One possible solution

    Round 1

    • Yarpen
    • Zoltan Chivay (front row, target Yarpen and opponent’s Drunken Sailors)
    • Mahakam Ale (between Yarpen and Zoltan)
    • Mahakam Guard (Front row, Yarpen)
    • Foul Ale (opponent will usually respond with one of his own)
    • Dwarven Mercenary (Move Foul Ale Away from Yarpen)
    • Mahakam Guard (Next to Foul Ale, target Yarpen)
    • Dwarven Mercenary (Yarpen, not onto foul ale row)
    • Brouver
    • OPPONENT PASS (Sometimes your opponent won’t pass here - if he doesn’t, I recommend restarting the challenge, since it is RNG)

    Round 2

    • Mahakam Defender
    • Mahakam Ale (such that it buffs the resilient unit)
    • Gabor (such that it buffs the most units)
    • PASS

    Round 3

    • Sheldon (next to defender)
    • Mahakam Ale (between Sheldon and defender)

    Disclaimer - I’ve tried this out a few times, and it works, but I’m sure there will be a few rare cases of RNG when it doesn’t - I can only recommend to restart and try again!

    Battle of the Bards

    The second challenge is a fun little puzzle that requires a bit of thinking (and reading the cards carefully) to reach the solution. It's fun to figure it out yourself, but here are some hints, and the full solution behind the spoiler.


    • You need to play for 6 turns in order to win
    • You need to play Priscilla in round 1 or 2 for no value
    • You need to set up a situation in which Draig-Bon-Dhu takes from your row
    • You need to use Bardic Power Chords to steal a unit from your opponent's melee row

    Full Solution

    1. Priscilla
    2. Rhapsodic Melody (first two steps can be swapped)
    3. Rhapsodic Melody
    4. Priscilla (targeting an opponent's melee unit)
    5. Chords (targeting an opponent's melee unit)
    6. Priscilla

    Enter the Tippler

    The key to this challenge is to minimise the value gained from She-Troll's Consumes. It is a very powerful ability, and if not played around will render you unable to keep up in points. In order to do that you will need to know some important information:

    Your draws in rounds 2 and 3 are always:

    • Sigrdrifa, Clan Tordarroch-Shieldsmith
    • Priestess of Freya

    Trollololo's cards are:

    • Trollololo (Trollololo bring friends)
    • She-Troll of Vergen (consumes your lowest unit every 3 turns)
    • Crone: Whispess (pulling out her bretheren, of course)
    • Full Moon Potion x3
    • Champion of Champions (damaging all your units by 2)
    • Shupe (transforms a card into your hand into a 1 strength Pertydoll)
    • Thirsty Troll x3
    • Celaeno Harpy x3


    • You don't have a lot of low power units in hand, so the She-Troll will become quite large. That is, unless you are somehow able to find some low strength units for her to consume…
    • Such as by passing early in round 1, perhaps (but be careful to time it well, or She-Troll might consume your carryover.
    • Play Odrin and Mahakam Guard in round 1, followed by a pass, and see how you go!
    • Warcrier is your most important card in round 2, play it as late as possible! You might also need to start over if Shupe takes it.

    One Possible Solution

    Solution relies on Shupe not consuming your Warcrier. Particularly important moves are bolded.

    Round 1

    • Odrin
    • Mahakam Guard (gets consumed)
    • PASS

    Round 2

    • Sigrdrifa your Mahakam Guard (Sig gets consumed)
    • Mahakam Defender and Dwarven Skirmisher (at this point or on the turn before, Shupe will consume something from your hand. Let's assume it is a Warrior, in the following explanation replace whatever got consumed with a warrior)
    • Partydoll (gets consumed)
    • Shieldsmith and Thunderbolt (order doesn't matter too much, try to get value out of the potion and hit odrin with it. Also make sure not to thunderbolt your Odrin before it gets hit by champion of champions)
    • Shieldsmith (something gets consumed)
    • Warrior and Thunderbolt
    • Zoltan (something gets consumed)
    • Warcrier your Odrin and another big unit
    • PASS (at this point both players are out of cards)

    Round 3

    • Priestess of Freya something large

    Some notes on the solution

    • I'm sure this is not the only way to do it, but I've tested it out (thrice) and it seems to work consistently, as long as Warcrier is not consumed
    • Make sure you buff potential consume targets with Odrin/Thunderbolts as little as possible
    • Optimal positioning will be slightly different from game to game (because there is some randomness involved),
    • I’ll leave that for you to figure out. Your goal in round 2 is to maximize points - if you follow this guide, round 3 should be a cakewalk.


    Posted in: Guide to the Mahakam Ale Festival!
  • published the article Gwent Concepts: The Mulligan 'Bug'

    Note: This is an advanced Gwent Concepts article. You don’t necessarily need to know about Blacklist Bias to play Gwent, or even to be good at it! Nevertheless, I hope it is both interesting and informative.

    This article follows on from Gwent Concepts: Mulligan and Blacklisting, so check that out if you haven't already done so!


    Last time we looked at the mulligan, blacklisting, and how those mechanics impact a game of Gwent. Today we delve deeper, and consider how the mulligan algorithm affects the deck. It turns out that blacklisted cards (including those mulliganed away) tend to be closer to the top of the deck than one would expect. This blacklist bias is not some kind of 'mulligan bug', but rather a conscious design decision. Let's find out why it exists, and how you can use it to your advantage.

    The Gwent Deck

    Gwent is a game of few shuffle effects. "Shuffling" a card into your Gwent deck usually places it in a random position among the other cards, the order of which remains unchanged. Actions that would normally prompt you to shuffle in a physical card game (for example, after looking through your deck or performing a mulligan) do not randomise the order of your Gwent deck. In this article, we will consider how the mulligan alters the deck’s order. Because of the scarcity of shuffling (available only through Stefan Skellen, King Bran and Dandelion), this alteration usually impacts the entire game of Gwent.

    The Mulligan Algorithm (Revisited)

    • Choose a card in your hand.
    • This card is blacklisted, meaning a card with the same name cannot be drawn for the remainder of this particular mulligan phase
    • The chosen card is placed in a random position in your deck. As far as we know, any position, including the top or bottom of your deck, is equally likely. The order of the other cards remains the same.
    • Draw the top non-blacklisted card of your deck
    • Repeat the process until all of your available mulligans are completed or you decide to end the mulligan.

    In Depth: Sequencing Theory and Blacklist Bias

    Steps 3 and 4 of the mulligan algorithm dictate that a blacklisted card is more likely to end up close to the top of your deck than a non-blacklisted one. This occurs because blacklisted cards are not taken out of your deck during the mulligan process. Instead, they remain in the deck, but are unable to be drawn. This causes them to rise up as cards are drawn from above them, or remain on top (without being drawn) if they started off there, making them more likely to be higher up in your deck. But, it's easier to understand this by looking at a simple example:

    Example: Horsing Around

    Suppose you have 9 cards left in your deck, and mulligan a single Roach. The Roach has 10 equally likely positions in your deck where it could end up.

    • If Roach lands on top of your deck, you will draw the second card in your deck to replace it (as Roach is blacklisted)
    • If Roach lands second from the top, then you will draw the top card to replace it, and Roach will once again be on top of your deck
    • If Roach lands anywhere else, it can not end up at the top of your deck after just one mulligan.

    Thus, there is a 20% chance that Roach will be on top of your deck (compared with 10% chance for any of the remaining 8 cards to be on top).

    Mulliganing more than one card at a time compounds the effect:

    Example: A Base Case

    Suppose you are playing a deck of 25 unique cards, and you mulligan 3 cards (say Geralt, Roach and Triss Merigold, in that order) at the start of the game. What is the probability that each of those cards will be on top of your deck after the mulligan?

    To compare, the probability of drawing Geralt, Roach or Triss Merigold from the top of a shuffled deck is a combined 20%. Furthermore, suppose, like in the ‘Horsing Around’ example above, only Geralt was mulliganed. Then the probability of him being at the top of your deck would be 2/16=12.5%. So mulliganing more cards after him actually increased the chance of Geralt rising to the top.

    Importantly, this is a lower bound. If we relax the assumption that mulliganed cards are unique, then the probability of drawing a copy of a mulliganed card would be even higher. Thus, if you are playing a 25 card deck and mulligan 3 cards at the start of the game the probability of one of them being on top of is always at least 46.7%.

    The Math

    • 20.6%.
      • Geralt is the top card if he is mulliganed into position 1,2,3 or 4 in your deck (before the replacement card is drawn), AND after that neither Roach nor Triss are placed above Geralt in the deck. If this occurs, all cards above Geralt will be drawn during the mulligan process and he will end up being the top card.
      • The probability that Geralt is mulliganed into position 1/2/3/4 is 1/16=0.0625 for every position.
      • For each of the above positions, calculate the probability that neither Roach nor Triss are ever mulliganed above geralt. This is 0.88/0.88/0.82/0.71. Or rather:
        • 1-1/16-1*15/16^2=0.88
        • 1-1/16-1*15/16^2=0.88
        • 1-2/16-1*14/16^2=0.82
        • 1-3/16-2*13/16^2=0.71
      • Multiply the first probability by the second, and sum over all possible positions.
    • 15.4%
      • Roach is the top card of your deck if he is mulliganed into position 1,2 or 3 (before replacement) AND Geralt was not already in a position above it AND Triss is not placed in a position above it.
      • (1/16 * 1 * 15/16) + (1/16 * 14/16 * 15/16) + (1/16 * 13/16 * 14/16) = 0.154
    • 10.7%
      • Triss is the top card of your deck if she is mulliganed into position 1 or 2 (before replacement) AND Neither Geralt nor Roach were already in a position above her
      • (1/16 * 1) + (1/16 * [1-3/16-13/16 * 2/16]) = 0.107


    Example: Foglet Fiasco

    Suppose you are playing a deck that runs 3 Foglets, you draw one in your opening hand, get rid of it first and then mulligan two other cards (which I will assume to be unique, or rather, not blacklisting any cards other than themselves, for the purposes of this example). The probability that there is now a Foglet on top of your deck is 50.6%.

    A more detailed explanation follows, but this probability is almost equivalent to the chance that there is at least one Foglet in the top 4 cards of your deck after the first Foglet is mulliganed, but before the replacement card is drawn. At this point there are 16 cards in your deck, and thus this probability equals to 60.7%. The top 3 non-blacklisted cards of your deck are drawn into your hand during the mulligan process, which in the situation described would push the Foglet to the top, unless one of the other mulliganed cards is placed on top of it (this is accounted for by the ~10% difference between the numbers).

    As a point of comparison: the probability that one of 3 specific cards is on top of a shuffled deck of 15 is 20%, so the impact of the lack of shuffling at the end of the mulligan algorithm is rather significant.

    It is worth noting that relaxing the assumption that the cards mulliganed second and third do not add any other cards in your deck to the blacklist would make the probability of a Foglet being on top slightly lower, depending on how many cards are blacklisted during those mulligans. In the ‘worst case’ scenario (your last two mulligans blacklist 3 cards each), the probability of a Foglet being on top drops by around 5%.

    The Math

    • 60.7%:
      • This probability that there are no Foglets in the top 4 cards of a randomised 16 card deck is: 12C3/16C3 = 11/28. Thus, the probability that there is at least one Foglet in the top 4 cards is 1-11/28=17/28.
    • 50.6%:
      • A Foglet ends up being the top card of your deck if the topmost Foglet of your deck is in position 1,2,3 or 4 in your deck (after the first mulligan, but before the replacement card is drawn) AND Your second and third mulliganed cards are not placed above the Foglet.
      • The probability that the topmost Foglet in your deck is in position 1/2/3/4 is 0.1875/0.1625/0.1393/0.1179. (Calculated by considering the number of ways to arrange cards in your deck to satisfy the conditions outlined, divided by the total number of arrangements).
      • For each of those positions, the probability that your second or third mulligan lands above the topmost Foglet is exactly the same as with Geralt in the previous example, 0.88/0.88/0.82/0.71.
      • Multiply and sum to obtain the result.

    To Summarise:

    • Blacklist Bias: Mulliganed cards are more likely to end up higher in your deck. This also applies to copies of mulliganed cards that started off in your deck.
    • Generally, the more mulligans are performed in a given sitting, the more likely it is that one of the blacklisted cards ends up on top of your deck.

    Using This Information

    It is even more important to conduct your thinning as early as possible, so that the quality of your draws at the start of rounds 2 and 3 is maximised. Likewise, draw effects are not as good as you would expect, as they are more likely to draw you cards that you have mulliganed away, which are usually the worst cards in your deck. This is another reason why draw effects should be combined with plentiful thinning in order to be effective. On the other hand, offensive draw effects, like Avallac'h and Albrich, are quite likely to undo your opponent's hopes, dreams and mulligans if they are running a lot of undesirable cards like Foglets and Crones.

    Effects that “shuffle” (in reality, they “randomly place”) cards back into your deck, like Emissary and Thaler, can help clear up the blacklist blockage. It is important to note, however, that they are very much impacted by it too (i.e. an Emissary giving you the option between two bronzes you mulliganed). Complete deck shuffling (with Stefan Skellen, King Bran or Dandelion) is even better for this.

    As we saw in the second example, the earlier you mulligan a card in the initial mulligan, the more likely it is to end up higher in your deck. This means:

    • Mulligan earlier: Cards that won’t affect your future draws, usually because you’re planning to thin them from your deck early. Examples: Foglet, Imperial Golem, Roach. However, as discussed in the previous article, it is also important to blacklist early.
    • Mulligan later: Cards that you want to draw least, such as ones that are ineffective in a specific matchup. Examples: Mardroeme, Lacerate, Blue Stripes Scout

    The Mulligan 'Bug'!?

    I’d like to reassure you that there is no mulligan bug. As far as we know, everything is working exactly as intended and any reports of always drawing back mulliganed cards are likely to be confirmation bias. As we saw, you are more likely to draw back blacklisted cards, but it is by no means a certainty. Of course, while each step in the mulligan algorithm makes reasonable sense, the resulting deck order at the end of it can seem rather unintuitive. But that is the way CDPR has decided to make it function, and the approach has its pros. The most important of these is that the mulligan algorithm allows for the cards that remain in your deck during the mulligan to sustain the same relative order, whilst simultaneously enabling the valuable blacklisting mechanics.


    As always, questions, comments and feedback are always welcome! In particular, I would love to know your thoughts on the more math-heavy approach, and what other quantitative results you might be interested in. Also, I would like to give a shoutout to reddit user G_Helpmann who did a whole lot of science, discovered and proved sequencing theory, and made an awesome infographic about it!

    About the author


    Aych discovered his love of card games at the ripe old age of 11, as his Bulbasaurs were brutally massacred in the brilliant Pokemon TCG. The original Witcher was his gateway into the wonderfully time-consuming world of RPGs. And then... his two passions converged with the creation of Gwent! You can find him on Twitter and YouTube.
    Posted in: Gwent Concepts: The Mulligan 'Bug'
  • published the article Gwent Concepts: Mulligan and Blacklisting

    Each game of Gwent begins with a mulligan phase, which allows both players to replace any given card in their hand with a card from their deck up to three times. This happens again at the start of rounds 2 and 3, but this time only one card is replaced. There are also cards in the Scoia'tael faction that allow you to mulligan cards during a round, but they're a relatively minor component of the Gwent game, so this article will not focus on those (but the concepts outlined here apply to them too).

    Understanding the exact mechanics behind how cards are shuffled back in and drawn from the deck is integral to making correct decisions and taking calculated risks in any given game of Gwent.

    The Mulligan Algorithm

    • Choose a card in your hand
    • This card is blacklisted, meaning a card with the same name cannot be drawn for the remainder of this particular mulligan phase
    • The chosen card is placed in a random position in your deck. As far as we know, any position, including the top or bottom of your deck, is equally likely. The order of the other cards remains the same.
    • Draw the top non-blacklisted card of your deck*
    • Repeat the process until all of your available mulligans are completed or you decide to end the mulligan.


    * Suppose there is a Foglet on top of your deck, and you mulligan another Foglet that gets randomly placed second. Then you would draw the third card from the top.

    This process has not been directly confirmed by anyone from CD Projekt Red, but it is generally accepted, and some community members have conducted tests to confirm it. Notably, there is no shuffling anywhere in the mulligan process, and actually very few shuffling effects in Gwent, so the order of your deck remains mostly the same as cards are placed into it or taken out.

    Why Mulligan?

    The primary purpose of the mulligan is to get rid of cards that you don't want to have in your hand. In the initial mulligan, these could be:

    Contrastingly, the mulligans at the start of rounds 2 and 3 should mostly focus on improving your average card quality, and are thus relatively straightforward.

    In Depth: Blacklisting

    The blacklisting mechanic ensures that after you mulligan a specific card, you will not draw any cards with the same name during this mulligan phase. Quite importantly, in your initial mulligan (and when using Francesca's ability), the blacklist is shared between all 3 of the mulligans, making sequencing very important - you want to blacklist undesirable cards as early as possible.


    Suppose you're playing a monster deck, and the only undesirable cards you are running are 3 Foglets and The Crones. Your opening hand contains 2 of each. Your mulligan order should be:

    • Foglet, blacklisting 2 cards: itself, and the Foglet that's still in your deck
    • a Crone, blacklisting only itself.
      • The Crones do not have the same names, and thus do not blacklist other Crones. In the scenario where you draw your third Crone in one of the first two mulligans, mulliganing a Crone second gives you the option of whether you want a useless Crone or a dead Foglet in hand
    • Foglet, blacklisting only itself (the other Foglets are already blacklisted)

    Crone: Brewess

    This example is fairly straightforward, as Crones and Foglets are both so undesirable that we would rarely need to consider other mulligan pathways in the scenario outlined. However, sometimes mulligan decisions can depend on the availability of combos, or ways to mitigate the drawbacks of undesirable cards. So…


    Suppose you are playing a discard Skellige deck, the undesirable cards are:

    So, having too many of any of the above in hand, while not desirable, is by no means catastrophic.

    Suppose your opening hand is:

    Mardroeme, 2 Clan an Craite Raiders, Clan Dimun Pirate Captain, 2 Clan Dimun Pirates, 2 War Longships, Johnny and Ermion.

    This hand is somewhat flooded with undesirable cards and lacks the flexibility, removal and power provided by your other silvers and golds. However, it contains an Ermion, which will help you draw into them after you thin effectively. Here, my mulligan order would be:

    Clan Dimun Pirate CaptainClan Dimun PirateClan an Craite Raider

    Mulliganing the Captain first provides a lot of blacklisting value, and only gives you a 2/13 chance of drawing another Pirate or Raider, which is an ok risk to take with this hand, as having one or two Raiders at the end of the ordeal is not actually terrible because of Ermion's presence.

    But, what if the Ermion was swapped out for a Coral? In this scenario, my mulligan order would be:

    Clan Dimun PirateClan an Craite RaiderClan an Craite Raider

    Here, I would want to maximise the tools I have in order to win the first round (the Pirates and King Bran, in combination with War Longships) and hopefully draw some better cards later. This is aided by the presence of Coral, who is likely to seal a victory if my opponent decides to take the round long. But, if an Ermion or Svanrige is drawn along the way I might want to amend my plan.

    These are just two examples of the mulligan procedure, but they illustrate the importance of ordering your mulligans correctly in order to craft a good hand. We pause our discussion of mulligan mechanics here and move onto some of their implications.

    Food for Thought

    • Bear in mind that different players will have different mulligan preferences, and what I've explained above isn't necessarily the only good way to do it.
    • Think about the sequencing of your mulligans before starting them. What are the main problems with your hand, and how can they be most effectively solved?
    • If you have a good starting hand, you are not obliged to go through with all 3 mulligans. It can often be unwise to perform a third mulligan if your deck still contains undesirable cards that have not been blacklisted, unless it is a risk you're willing to take
    • It is not necessary for you to have all of your good cards in your opening hand, as it can occasionally lead to over-killing your opponent in round 1 and running out of steam later in the game. This is especially true if you can thin effectively enough to have a reasonable shot at grabbing your good cards later
    • Mulligan decisions can be heavily dependent on the matchup. For instance, some cards (like Mardroeme) may become undesirable, or you may choose to blacklist more aggressively to look for tech cards
    • The mulligan is as much an art as it is a science, especially given the limited time given to analyse any given hand. The more you play a specific deck, the more you'll understand about its goals and mulligan strategy


    When Disaster Strikes

    Some hands are so suboptimal that they can't be saved, even with all the mulligan magic one can muster. However, there are several ways to mitigate the impact of undesirable cards.

    There are several ways to minimise the impact of mulligan mayhem during a match. Most notably, the mulligans at the start of rounds 2 and 3 give you another opportunity to remove undesirable cards. To prepare for this, it is even more important to get as many other undesirable cards out of your deck, so that you don’t end up drawing them. Another option is to bleed your opponent out in round 2 (after winning in round 1), by playing these suboptimal cards for little value. (Bleeding refers to a situation where you’re in a position to decide round length, and can play your worst cards out and save the best ones for a later round. This is only a good idea if the cards you play are worse than your opponent’s, and they have no way to capitalise on this bleeding to gain card advantage.)

    Furthermore, if you believe that it will often have suboptimal hands, it can be useful to include some safety valves in your deck. A perfect example of this would be running a Toad Prince in a Monster deck to eat an extra Crone or Nekker if it happens to find its way into your hand in a situation where you can’t mulligan it away (such as in round 3). Discard and Mulligan mechanics also allow you to get rid of undesirable cards. These are available to all factions in the forms of Sarah and Johnny (though both have their own drawbacks).

    Don't Mulligan This Article

    So, whilst the concept of a mulligan is rather straightforward, Gwent's limitless deckbuilding potential leads to all manner of quirky mulligan puzzles. I hope the examples provided have illustrated the technicalities behind blacklisting, and will help you think about how to mulligan in your own decks. After all, every victory is built on a foundation of a good hand, or knowing how to mitigate the drawbacks of a bad one. So I suggest you keep this article in your starting hand, and it will not disappoint.


    The concept of thinning is heavily intertwined with the mulligan. Check out our previous Gwent Concepts article about it: Gwent Concepts: Thinning.

    Next time, on Gwent Concepts:

    We continue with a discussion of sequencing theory, talking about how the mulligan affects the order of your deck. Turns out that blacklisted cards tend to be closer to the top of your deck than you would expect. See you soon in "Gwent Concepts: The Mulligan 'Bug'"!

    About the author


    Aych discovered his love of card games at the ripe old age of 11, as his Bulbasaurs were brutally massacred in the brilliant Pokemon TCG. The original Witcher was his gateway into the wonderfully time-consuming world of RPGs. And then... his two passions converged with the creation of Gwent! You can find him on Twitter and YouTube.
    Posted in: Gwent Concepts: Mulligan and Blacklisting
  • published the article Gwent Concepts: Thinning

    In Gwent, it is almost always correct to play decks of the smallest possible size - 25 cards. There are a plethora of reasons for this, but they all revolve around improving the consistency of your deck, allowing for your game plan to be executed more reliably. This is ever more important in Gwent (compared to other CCGs) because of the limits placed on the amount of Gold and Silver cards that can be included in any deck. Having a larger deck size would result in seeing these more powerful cards less frequently, and would decrease the average value of cards you play.

    Increasing your deck's consistency through thinning

    The concept of thinning encompasses cards that remove other cards from the deck in some way and thus decrease the remaining deck size. Thinning can take all manner of forms, from units that pull out copies of themselves (known as 'mustering'), to units that allow you to play a specific card from your deck, to units with the words 'draw a card' imprinted upon them.

    The most important component of thinning is the removal of bronzes from the deck. This helps optimise your draws at the start of rounds 2 and 3, maximising the chances to grab your powerful silvers and golds, and making your deck more consistent. Overall, Nilfgaard and Northern Realms are the factions with the most thinning options, but there are plenty in every faction (as well as among neutral cards), so pretty much any deck can be built to thin as effectively as is required for your game plan.

    Clan Drummond Shieldmaiden

    A note on thinning and sequencing

    It is desirable to increase the average card quality and power of the cards you’re playing by thinning as many bronzes out of your deck as you can before using draw effects like Avallac'h, or effects that allow you to play one of the top cards of your deck, like The Last Wish.

    For the same reason, it is also better to thin early in the game, in order to make your later round draws and mulligans better. It is also vital to limit the impact of randomness by making sure that every card you can get from a random effect would be useful. For example, you want to have a resurrect target in your graveyard before using First Light’s rally option to potentially pull a Priestess of Freya. But all of this depends on what else is happening in the game, which makes sequencing a very complex topic that perhaps deserves an article of its own.

    The costs of thinning

    Since thinning is generally seen as a benefit, cards that thin have one or more drawbacks to balance that out. These include:

    Restricted mulligan options

    Examples: Clan Drummond Shieldmaiden, Blue Mountain Commando, Foglet, Roach.

    You are often obliged to mulligan these cards away, which constrains your ability to freely optimise your hand and blacklist. Furthermore, too many of these effects in a single deck can lead to hands that cannot be fully optimised with 3 mulligans, which decreases both the power and the thinning provided by these cards considerably.

    Decreased power or randomness

    Examples: Emissary, Elven Mercenary, First Light, Barclay Els.

    There are definitely ways to mitigate both of these drawbacks, for instance by playing multiple Impera Brigades with your Emissary cards or making sure that every bronze unit in your deck will provide good value in the event that it gets pulled by Rally.

    The opportunity cost of using silver and gold slots for thinning

    Examples: Nature's Gift, Royal Decree, Alzur's Double–Cross, Ge'els, The Crones.

    This drawback is somewhat counteracted by the fact that these cards provide another benefit in addition to thinning your deck - either adding power to the cards they pull (like Alzur's Double–Cross) or giving you a good deal of choice (like Nature's Gift).

    Lack of Flexibility

    Examples: Reaver Scout, Imperial Golem, Clan Dimun Pirate, Eredin.

    Some thinning cards, such as Reaver Scout are conditional on what cards you have on the board, or in your deck. Other cards, such as Clan Dimun Pirates and many of the muster units, often oblige you to play them in round 1, or risk drawing extra copies in later rounds.

    The perils of thinning too much

    While the previous section considered the costs associated with individual thinning cards (or card sets), there are also drawbacks to running too many of these cards in a single deck.


    Everyone starts a game of Gwent with 10 cards, and draws 3 more over its duration. Thus, in a typical 25 card deck (which is what you'll be running under most circumstances), it is imperative that you include 12 or less sources of thinning, otherwise you'll simply run out of cards! (there are some interesting exceptions to this - discussed in the next section)

    Diminishing Returns

    There are definitely diminishing returns to thinning, exacerbated by the mulligans at the start of rounds 2 and 3. Thinning 10-12 cards decreases the value of your round 2 and 3 mulligans and thus also reduces the value of situational cards like Dimeritium Bomb and Mardroeme. If you thin the full 12 you are obliged to play every card in your deck, no matter how bad it might be in any given matchup. You might also occasionally run out of targets for targets in your deck for cards like Aretuza Adept, though this problem is lessened by the ability to mulligan them back in if the need arises, so it's rarely a huge issue.

    Offensive Thinning

    Another knock against excessive thinning is that there are a number of cards in the game that allow your opponent to thin your deck, which can potentially leave you with no cards to draw. A perfect example is Tibor Eggebracht, a common sight in modern Nilfgaard decks. You really want to have a bronze left in your deck when he stampedes onto the battlefield, otherwise your opponent is getting away with playing a drawback-less 23 point gold! When meta decks start to thin a bit too much, players may look to punish this by running more of these types of cards. A full on 'mill' Nilfgaard deck is also a real thing, the main goal of which is to run it’s opponent out of cards using cards like Avallac'h, Sweers and Albrich.

    Using thinning to your advantage

    Despite all the pitfalls of excessive thinning, there are several ways to benefit from it, or at least mitigate the problems outlined above.


    Conditional Thinning

    This refers to cards that can thin your deck, but don't have to, and are still powerful if you don't. There's only a few examples of these, most notably Vicovaro Novice choosing to copy the ability of an Ambassador rather than an Emissary. But if you're in a position where you're bleeding your opponent out (usually in round 2 after winning round 1), you can stop several more of your cards from thinning your deck - for instance, using clear skies instead of rally from your First Light.

    Including more than 25 cards

    The more cards you run, the fewer silvers and golds will find their way into your opening hand. Ordinarily there are other drawbacks too, such as decreased consistency and having to pay a cost for including more bronze thinning, so this is almost never correct. Unless, of course, the thinning effects you can run are so good that the (marginal) benefit of adding another one to your deck outweighs the costs outlined above without considering the benefit of thinning (since by adding an extra card to your deck, most of that benefit is actually lost). This doesn't happen often, but Nilfgaard decks can sometimes justify running more than 25 cards to utilise Imperial Golem, Emissary and Vicovaro Novice to their full potential.

    Thinning in reverse

    And finally, there's a few cards in Gwent that allow you to increase your deck size by putting cards back into your deck. The most notable examples are Ciri: Dash, Assire var Anahid and Nenneke, and these can be used to enable excessive thinning and/or to provide a payoff for it. For example, you can shuffle back a roach and/or other powerful silvers with Assire to add even more power to your final round gold and increase the card quality for your round 3 draw + mulligan.

    All good thins must come to an end

    So there you have it - thinning is a vital tool that will help you succeed, and comes with a plethora of benefits and drawbacks. But thinning is just one piece of the Gwent puzzle, rather than an ultimate end goal. So thin well, but thin wisely - Gwent isn’t always a thinning game, but it is always a thinking one!


    This is a pilot for a potential series about Gwent concepts. Let me know whether you like the format and content as well as what other topics you'd like to see covered! You can find me in the comments below or on reddit.

    About the author


    Aych discovered his love of card games at the ripe old age of 11, as his Bulbasaurs were brutally massacred in the brilliant Pokemon TCG. The original Witcher was his gateway into the wonderfully time-consuming world of RPGs. And then... his two passions converged with the creation of Gwent! You can find him on Twitter and YouTube.
    Posted in: Gwent Concepts: Thinning
  • published the article How to Improve Your Nilfgaard Starter Deck!
    For players just starting out with Gwent, here are some tips on how to improve your Nilfgaard starter deck!
    Posted in: How to Improve Your Nilfgaard Starter Deck!
  • published the article How to Improve Your Monsters Starter Deck!
    For players just starting out with Gwent, here are some tips on how to improve your Monsters starter deck!
    Posted in: How to Improve Your Monsters Starter Deck!
  • published the article Trump Shares His Thoughts on Gwent and How He Experienced the Challenger Tournament
    Photo by Thomas Tischio © Tempo Storm

    I recently had the pleasure to talk to one of my favorite gaming personalities - the illustrious Trump! He had a lot of interesting thoughts about the past, present and future of Gwent and also talked about his experience at the Gwent Challenger.

    Hi Trump! For those who don't know as much about you, could you talk a little bit about your background and experience with card games?

    I've played Magic: The Gathering since invasion, starting in high school and ramping it up with MTGO… I started playing Hearthstone right from the closed beta, so it's been over 3 years now. Altogether I probably have almost a decade of card game experience, across a lot of different games.

    So you're definitely a veteran and you've recently started dabbling in Gwent, playing quite a bit over the past two weeks. So the first thing I want to know is, overall, what do you think about the game... Do you love it?

    Yeah, I really like the game... Taking two weeks off to play Gwent and participate in the Challenger was a lot of fun, and very challenging. It really spurred my competitive spirit and made me put on my thinking hat.

    Trump's thinking hat

    I heard you also took part in some early alpha testing, before the game was even announced, and asked by CD Projekt Red to provide your feedback on the game. What was the game like at that time and do you feel like your feedback has had an impact on the game’s evolution?

    I do think that my feedback had a lot of impact. The great thing about CD Projekt is that they encouraged us to give as pointed feedback as we could - and, certainly, we did. The game at its alpha release was very similar to Gwent from The Witcher 3, and was horrifically imbalanced as a result. We're talking about one power spies, bronze decoys, etc.

    The game has come a long way since then. And not just that, but also a lot of the cards have become a lot more interesting. There were originally a lot more vanilla cards, and cards that did similar things. Now, every faction seems to have its own identity and with the changes announced for open beta I feel like it's only going to get better.

    When we talk about Gwent, the comparison with Hearthstone, the market leader in online CCGs, is inevitable. What do you think are the most important differences between the two games?

    Well, it's really hard to talk about that, because the games are completely different. I think the most important difference is that Gwent has made a lot of headway in being generous with their pack giving - you can essentially get 2-3 kegs a day through just playing the game. The move to make the last card you open a choice between three is also very good. And it's been announced that in the open beta they're going to have around 5 hours of individual content in order to unlock all the leaders - that should be a lot of fun and will help people get started off faster.

    On the other hand, what Hearthstone has going for it is the strength of the IP - there are a lot of Blizzard fans out there. It was also the first in the market, and it's a very streamable game because of its artwork and animations.

    A lot of players argue that one of the main draws of Gwent is the relative lack of randomness. Would you agree with this sentiment?

    Gwent does a very good job of not including many cards that have random effects. Yet it is still a random game - sometimes you draw the better hand and sometimes you draw the worse hand.

    "There are two extremes - in Hearthstone people complain that there's too much randomness, but with Gwent... you have to make sure not to go too far in the opposite direction, because then matches would become too similar"

    The power levels of the cards do differ because of the bronze, silver and gold system. That said though, Gwent's making some efforts to remedy that. One of the big things that CD Projekt has pointed to is that in round 3 a lot of matches come down to the card you draw. However, the addition of a mulligan at the start of rounds 2 and 3 is going to help out quite a bit.

    And… I understand that Hearthstone has introduced a lot of random components, but that doesn't necessarily make the game more or less random. A lot of the game is still based on the order you draw your cards in. I think Gwent does a very good job in appeasing people who don't want a random game while still making every game very different. There are two extremes - in Hearthstone people complain that there's too much randomness, but with Gwent… you have to make sure not to go too far in the opposite direction, because then matches would become too similar. In most Gwent games right now you draw around 80% of the cards in your deck and it does become a little bit same-ish.

    You were one of the pro gamers selected by CD Projekt to go up against four qualified players in the Gwent Challenger tournament recently - a grueling best-of-5 single elimination tournament. And you started preparing less than two weeks before it started! You began, naturally, with the top rated deck on the front page of GwentDB - JJPasak's hidden roach. How did that work out for you?

    [Laughs] Man, that was a good time, I had previously looked at the meta snapshot and noticed that this hidden roach deck was nowhere on it. And I was taking it easy at the beginning, wanted to put on a good show and jumped straight into a very tricky deck… and boy did that backfire.

    You quickly improved and started taking the game - and the tournament, very seriously. Can you talk me through how the rest of your twitch-chat fueled preparation went?

    While Francesca excels at hiding a horse under her dress, green snakes are another matter...

    Like any Gwent player, I made a lot of very basic blunders, publicly on stream. Learned a bunch of decks - over twenty archetypes, either by playing them directly or by playing against them. It was really fun to just have another learning experience - I really love the initial part of the game where you get better quickly. Unbeknownst to people I did manage to hit rank 15, peaking at around 4000 MMR. I could've gotten higher, but I was practicing decks that I would play in a meta where I would always ban Scoia'tael.

    Let’s talk a little bit about the Challenger itself. I believe it’s fair to say that you exceeded everyone’s, and your own expectations, managing to get two wins out of Fion56 before ultimately losing the match 3 to 2. You put up a fierce fight in every single game. How did you feel about your performance overall?

    I know that on paper it seems pretty good that I even managed to take 2 wins off of Fion. I'm really proud of my fellow pros, and very surprised that all of them managed to beat the Challengers. That actually brings a bit more shame to me on not being able to defeat Fion and I know that if I had even more preparation and if I was more familiar with the game I would have won. Which highlights the skill cap of Gwent. There are a lot of plays from both the Challengers and the Pros that could have been better. Even during the tournament, a lot of the pros were talking about 'man I could've done this differently…'. Sometimes the game is about who makes fewer mistakes.

    I think it was an amazing result, considering you had only really started playing Gwent two weeks prior. From behind the screen, the tournament looked awesome and I found myself on the edge of my seat during most of it. As someone who got to experience all of that in the flesh, did you think they organised a good tournament?

    Oh yeah, that was one of the best kickoff tournaments I've ever seen. Clearly, they have taken a lot of notes on best practices in the past, since their first tournament is pretty much on par with Hearthstone's tournaments 2-3 years into the scene.

    Favourite card in the game?


    Most fun deck you've tried?

    [Laughs] I actually really like the hidden roach deck

    Most inherently overpowered mechanic in Gwent right now?

    Being able to keep a 50 power monster

    Which card do you think the Gwent community currently underrates?

    From watching Lifecoach with his Poor Infantry, I feel like that's a card that almost everyone overlooked

    Team Triss or Team Yen?

    Definitely Yennefer, I value sophistication over wildness

    After your preparation period, meeting lots of Gwenters at the Challenger and your acquaintance with the devs, what do you think of the Gwent community?

    Well, I'm a frequent visitor of reddit, so that's where I'm most familiar with communities. And comparing the Hearthstone and Gwent communities, I've got to say that the Gwent one seems to really excel at giving off a positive vibe. Whereas, about 3 months ago, right before the most recent expansion, Hearthstone had a very negative community. Even now, as the game of Hearthstone is in one of the best spots it has ever been in (in terms of metas) people still find things to complain about. And when I was streaming Gwent I got a lot of support from many of the people who played Gwent; they encouraged me and gave me suggestions. I even ended up with a practice group of Gwent players for the Challenger. So… I really like the Gwent community.

    I know overtaking Hearthstone is a herculean task, but do you think Gwent has a place as a strong number 2 in the online CCG market?

    Sure. I actually think that on the current trajectory Gwent will be a strong number 2. From talking with a lot of the guys at CD Projekt Red I know that they understand that they're not necessarily here to topple Hearthstone. There can be two very strong card game showings. If LoL and DotA can coexist, why not Hearthstone and Gwent?

    What can Gwent still learn learn from other CCGs?

    I think they're doing a very good job of learning ‘best practice’ in games, but it will take time to implement that into Gwent. What I really respect about the creation of Gwent is CD Projekt's continued insistence that they're looking to release a good game rather than release a game that is 'on time'. It’s already past when people expected the Gwent release date to be, and there's still a lot of things that the devs are looking to implement. I really look forward to the single player, that's going to draw in a lot of people. CD Projekt Red is known for their excellent work in having decisions matter, and Gwent is probably going to be one of the first card games where there will be a major story component in the campaign.

    "What I really respect about the creation of Gwent is CD Projekt's continued insistence that they're looking to release a good game rather than release a game that is 'on time'."

    Are you planning to keep following Gwent, streaming it, participating in future tournaments?

    When open beta rolls around and the new changes come out I am definitely going to be trying out a bunch of stuff. I will be creating a series of Gwent videos in order to ease people into the game, with one video on each of the faction basics, and just one overall 'Welcome to Gwent, this is how the game goes' video.

    Definitely looking forward to those! Finally, any shoutouts?

    I wanted to shout out my Gwent practice crew after I won the first match, I had them all memorized… Unfortunately I didn't win so I'll just mention them here instead. I'd like to thank everyone who helped me prepare: Delta65, ImpetuousPanda, Aych, Crokeyz and Garrett_023.


    Trump can be found on YouTube and Twitter, and of course his stream on Twitch!

    About the author


    Aych discovered his love of card games at the ripe old age of 11, as his Bulbasaurs were brutally massacred in the brilliant Pokemon TCG. The original Witcher was his gateway into the wonderfully time-consuming world of RPGs. And then... his two passions converged with the creation of Gwent! You can find him on Twitter and YouTube.
    Posted in: Trump Shares His Thoughts on Gwent and How He Experienced the Challenger Tournament
  • published the article The Update That Will Make Gwent Future-proof
    Aych goes over five of the upcoming changes to Gwent that will ensure it's longevity and make it ready for the big leagues!
    Posted in: The Update That Will Make Gwent Future-proof
  • published the article Player Spotlight: Fion56, Gwent Challenger Finalist
    We talked to Russian player Fion56, one of four players coming out of the Gwent Challenger qualifiers who we'll be seeing in the live Finals two weeks from now.
    Posted in: Player Spotlight: Fion56, Gwent Challenger Finalist