If you're just starting out with Gwent, you might feel a little lost about building or improving your first deck. What to craft, and which cards to replace. And while there are always a ton of good decks on GwentDB, they will often be out of reach for a new player with a limited amount of Scraps. So here's a short guide on how to gradually improve the Monsters starter deck with just a few replacements and limited Scrap cost!
The Monsters starter deck is one of the more focused, providing a solid start to a Wild Hunt-centered strategy. The faction has a variety of other deck options, including the infamous 'Consume' archetype, but those all require a bunch of bronze cards which you're not given at the start (but don't worry, you'll be swimming in those bronzes after a couple of weeks!).
For now though, let's focus on the Wild Hunt archetype. There's a TL;DR at the bottom of the post!
The Monsters Faction
You're given two of each of the rares you'll need (Wild Hunt Hound and Wild Hunt Navigator), making completing those playsets quite simple. After that, you'll only need 5 commons - a Wild Hunt Warrior, a Biting Frost and three Wild Hunt Riders to get a good bronze core (running 3 each of the aforementioned cards).
To make room for all of these, you should take out the Archgriffin, Chorts, Alzur's Thunder and First Light, ending up at 15 bronzes. These are all good cards, but they just don't synergize well with the rest of your deck.
Alternatively, you can run Ice Giants instead of the Warriors or Riders. In this case, drop a Wild Hunt Navigator (which now has less targets) for an Alzur's Thunder or a First Light. And after you've grasped the basics of this deck, feel free to experiment with different bronze inclusions - deckbuilding is half the fun of Gwent!
Now that we've built a very solid bronze core, let's touch on the silvers. Unfortunately the neutral ones that you're provided with at the very start don't fit this deck too well, so they'll need to be replaced!
Here's what's in your deck:
- Nithral is a perfect inclusion with your frosts. If only you had even more frosts! (more on that below)
- Cleaver is a very versatile control card, but is outclassed by the faction-specific locking units, such as the Fiend.
- Scorch's value fluctuates depending on your opponent's strategy, and can vary quite dramatically. This deck also doesn't do that much to set up a scorch on multiple units, and can sometimes block it with Ice Giants (if you run them)
- Commander's Horn will find it hard to grab more than 12 points of value (which it requires to justify its spot), given the spread of units across multiple rows, and the lack of token production in this deck.
- Dudu is usually just a worse scorch, as this deck doesn't have high power units to disable the latter, and scorch can sometimes have the upside of hitting for double, while Dudu doesn't.
- Decoy's best case scenario in this deck is reusing a Wild Hunt Navigator, and that is equivalent to a bronze card. You want your silvers to be quite a bit better than that.
Here's how to improve them with better cards:
- White Frost and Aeromancy: 3 frosts is not really quite enough, you often want to put a couple down in a round, and even more if your opponent used First Light. White Frost provides a two for one deal, and Aeromancy can help you find it or reuse it.
- Jotunn is actually very similar to White Frost, in the sense that he combines two rows on your opponent's side and allows them to be affected by a single frost effect. And let's not forget that he regularly provides 12 value as a silver.
If you happen to open one of these, stick it in your deck over a bad or replaceable card, but don't actively seek these out for this deck.
- Monster: The Crones, Fire Elemental, Fiend, Water Hag, Frightener
- Neutral: Marching Orders, The Last Wish, Merigold's Hailstorm, Skellige Storm, Ocvist, Roach, Myrgtabrakke
Here's what's in your deck:
- Imlerith does have a little bit of anti-synergy with destroying units that the frost was already slowly taking out of this world, but don't let that stop you from running him!
- Triss Merigold may look like an Imlerith without the frost-synergistic upside, but dealing 5 damage instead of 4 allows her to kill lots of pesky siege weapons, like Mangonel, and Reinforced Trebuchet.
- Geralt is an ok, very consistent gold that will get outclassed as you open more kegs. But he’s fine for now.
- Royal Decree is decent, and while it can fetch your best gold, that also disallows you from drawing it later. Its goal is supposed to be to provide consistency, to fetch that one key Gold that makes your deck tick (like a Vattier De Rideaux). It does gain a lot of value once you get your hands on a super powerful gold that you want to draw every game, like Caranthir or Caretaker.
Your first Gold craft
Wild Hunt Archetype
- Caranthir throws all of your opponent's units into his cold harsh winter, and forces your opponent to trade his First Light cards one for one with your frosts (losing out on those exchanges, as the frosts has already triggered).
- Caretaker is almost, if not as good as Caranthir in this deck, as it can often grab your opponent's best silver and provide 4 points on top of that. In addition, he is also great for any other monster deck!
- If you can commit a lot of your resources in order to win a round, Ciri can help you get some of that back through card advantage.
Replace: Royal Decree.
Craft these cards: