The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a game that is full of challenges. Bandits roam the countryside, Wyverns hunt in the skies, and deadly creatures guard the deep, dark caverns that populate the world. But, no challenge is as daunting as that of Gwent. What is Gwent, you ask? Is it some savage beast that waits for a lone Witcher to pass by before brutally eviscerating him in the middle of the deserted woods? No, it’s actually a trading card game that will prove to be the toughest element of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
This guide will help get you into the game and winning after a few minor tweaks to how you approach Gwent. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of strategies and other intricacies of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s new card craze, the first tip is commitment. Gwent is not an easy game, nor is it something that can be mastered passively. Players will have to put in time, and tons of hours in order to truly show and prove that they are a Gwent champion.
Commitment means completely foregoing the saving of lives and the search for Ciri. You must eat, breathe, and sleep Gwent. It’s a path that is definitely not for the faint-of-heart, and can only be walked by the most determined of card masters.
Play Every Single Person in the World
Seriously, play everyone. When given the opportunity, every single conversation should end with Geralt challenging the person he’s speaking with to a game of Gwent. You’d be surprised how many peasants, merchants, bar-goers, and nobles are just itching to try out their brand new decks on a scrub like Geralt. Might as well make their day and sit down for a quick match.
Not only is this excellent practice, but winning a match earns you another card that can be used to customize your deck. In fact, some cards can only be obtained by playing, and winning, matches. No matter how many cards you buy, you will stand absolutely no chance of progressing in the Gwent circuit without eliminating some of the players scattered around the world.
Don’t be afraid to constantly challenge the same individual until you win. It’s actually the best course of action when learning the game, and it will help you develop your strategies as you move onward. Each game requires a bet of at least one Crown so keep the bet at only one. That way, you can play to your heart’s content. If you’re short on gold in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you can also save before each match and just reload the game if you happen to be defeated (and don’t mind the load times).
Buy the Cards
Before you can build a world-class deck, you’re going to have to have some cards to build with. As already mentioned, you will need to challenge everyone in order to earn some of the Gwent cards available in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. But, there are also many cards that must be bought from the merchants scattered around the different towns and cities.
Some of the best cards, such as leader cards (we’ll cover those soon), can only be found in marketplaces. The good thing is that the cards usually aren’t very expensive. Twenty Crowns may seems like a lot, especially with the paltry fees that quests in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt tends to offer to Geralt, but we have a handy guide that will help to fatten up your coin purse. With a bit of extra coin to spare, players will be able to build a dream deck sooner than they imagined.
Choose and Build Your Deck
In the very beginning of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you will pretty much only have access to a Northern Realms deck since those are the most common cards to come across. After some time (and some wins), you’ll start to amass a nice collection of cards which will allow you to build pretty much any deck you want. Choosing what to build will not only determine your access to certain cards, but also specific faction bonuses.
Depending on which faction is chosen as your focus, you will have one of the following abilities during a game of Gwent:
- Nilfgaard: Wins any round that ends in a draw.
- Northern Realms: Grants an extra card after every victorious round.
- Monsters: Decides who takes the first turn in battle.
- Scoia’tael: Keeps a random Unit Card on the battlefield after each round.
Each one has its own benefit to the player, and choosing the one that best suits your style of play is crucial. For example, Scoia’tael allows you to keep a card after a round which can change the tide of a battle since there is no drawing cards between rounds. On the other hand, if you find yourself ending in a draw often, perhaps a Nilfgaard leader is best to guarantee you that much needed victory (why die together when you can watch your opponent fall?).
In order to play a game of Gwent in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, players will need at least 22 cards in their deck. From these 22, 10 will be drawn with a chance to swap out two of them. Once you have your 10 cards, that’s all you’ve have for the match (with the exception of the Northern Realms bonus) so you’re going to want to make sure the 22 cards are comprised of selections you wouldn’t mind using no matter what. Stack your deck to your play style. You don’t like weather cards? Then don’t put any in your deck so that there is zero chance of you getting one.
Always keep in mind what you’re putting into your deck. Unlike other trading card games, there isn’t any requirement to playing a card. Yes, some bonuses are only activated when certain card combinations are in effect, but you can put any card down on your turn as long as you have it in your hand. So pick your favorites and start on the road to becoming The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s greatest Gwent player in existence.
Understand Special Cards and Other Card Abilities
Gwent has a surprising amount of depth when it comes to deck building. On top of understanding the basic rules, there are plenty of cards and card abilities to be mindful of. Understanding the benefits of each of these will make the difference between ruling the board and watching your championship dreams crumble.
Bond – Bond Cards have the ability to double the power of cards they are bonded with. This is an effect that stacks, which means you can seriously up your power with just a couple of cards forcing your opponent to scramble. These are perfect for putting the pressure on and maybe even luring out your opponent’s special cards.
Medic – Medic cards do exactly what you’d expect them to be able to do. They are used to pull a card out of your discard pile, making them perfect for reusing powerful cards. It must be noted though that Medic cards do not work on Hero cards or Special cards (Scorch, Decoy, Commander’s Horn, Weather).
Spy – These cards are placed on your opponent’s battlefield. Once played, you draw two cards. Sure, this should seem like an obvious ploy, but the AI isn’t always very bright, allowing you to really take advantage of this method.
Agile – Cards with the Agile ability can be placed in either the Close Combat or Ranged Row. This allows you to fine tune your approach while also being able to avoid any specific weather cards that may have been placed.
Muster – This ability can be deadly. Playing a card with the Muster ability allows you to pull out any card from your deck with the same name. This means that you can potentially go well beyond your initial 10 card hand in Gwent.
Morale Boost – A card with this ability raises the strength of every card in its row by one.
Scorch– The Scorch card is probably one of the most powerful cards you can have in a game of Gwent when used properly. It has the ability to remove all of the most powerful cards in play from the board and into their respective owners’ discard pile. If the highest power rating active is a 5, for example, every card with that rating (even if it’s by way of Bond) will be removed from play. Keep in mind that it will remove your cards from the board as well if they meet the criteria.
Decoy – Decoys allow you to swap a card on your battlefield with this straw stand-in. Perfect for luring in opponents with good cards and then swapping out to kill their hand.
Commander’s Horn – Doubles the strength of every card in the row where this card is played. It cannot be stacked since there is a limit of one Commander’s Horn per row in a game of Gwent.
Weather Cards – Biting Frost, Impenetrable Frost, and Torrential Rain lower the strength of all cards played in the Close Combat, Ranged Combat, and Siege Combat rows to one, respectively. Clear Weather removes the effect of all active Weather Cards.
Know When to Fold
One of the most useful strategies while playing Gwent in The Witcher 3: Wild Huntis knowing when to pass a round. This often means losing a round on purpose, but when done the right way, it will set you up for an easy victory. Of course, this doesn’t just happen by luck, it will take a quite a bit of trickery and clever card selection to make this work in a way that is completely beneficial to you.
Before passing a round and setting up your sweet win, you’ll want to somehow convince your opponent to place as many of their good cards as possible. Using cards such as those with the Muster ability is a good way to goad them into playing powerful cards at a low cost to your card count. Once you have them where you want them, Decoys are a way to get those powerful Muster cards back into your hand, while they sit and watch their strongest cards die for nothing.
Medic cards are also perfect for the strategy of folding early, to just clinch a win later. Lure out your opponents with powerful cards then revive your best ones in the next round as they sit and twiddle their thumbs. Also, keep a Clear Weather or two in order to remove weather effects, eliminating an easy round for them. When you feel that you’ve pulled out a lot of their big guns, fold and let them win the round. It’s the last they will get since most of their cards are now being flushed into the discard pile.
Use Special Cards Intelligently and Practice Strategies
Other than mastering the art of passing rounds in Gwent, all that you need to do is learn when to use your special cards and card abilities. The moment when you use a Special card, or a card with a special ability is just as important as the ability itself. Just having good cards is not enough, especially if you’re just going to place them down all willy-nilly.
Medic cards should be saved for the second (and if necessary, third) round or else they are pretty much a waste. You want to get the upper-hand later on, rather than bring a card back in the first round only to end up losing it again once the round ends. Scorch cards should be used to take out as many cards as possible, rather than just waiting for the strongest card to appear.
Remember, you don’t always have to be powerful, you just have to ensure that your opponents wastes his/her power quickly. Keep this in mind while building your deck and playing cards. If you want to go at your fellow Gwent players with an onslaught of strength, then go ahead and do so. Want to trick them and laugh at their foolishness, make it happen. Just make sure to practice and don’t pigeon hole yourself. Gwent provides you with all of the tools you need, so be sure to explore multiple avenues and find what is the absolute best for you. In no time, you’ll be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s Gwent champion.
How are you enjoying Gwent? Is it proving to be more difficult than you anticipated? Do you welcome the challenge? Let us know in the comments below. For more guides, tips, tricks, and information regarding The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt be sure to check out our constantly expanding wiki.