GWENT Guide: Part 2 – Advanced Deck Building

Hey guys, Jason Slama with another episode of GWENT Guides! This video will focus on helping you build a kick-ass deck. In order to master deck building, it’s important to know how you expect your deck to perform over the rounds To do this, it’s crucial to understand how Round Strategies work in GWENT so if you haven’t watched that video, I highly recommend you start there. Building decks can be quite overwhelming especially if you are starting out and are not familiar with most cards and strategies. If you are feeling frustrated, try and take comfort in the fact that this is a skill you can learn over time. Fortunately, the starter decks provided to players serve as quite strong jumping points into deck building. They are in themselves quite good while having lots of room to grow as you do. I therefore highly recommend starting your deck building journey by modifying one of these starter decks instead of creating one from scratch. After we go through some techniques and terminology of deck building, I’ll take you through the process of taking the monster starter deck and making it stronger. For now, let’s review the basics. A deck consists of 25 or more cards. While you can technically add more than 25 cards, I don’t recommend doing this as this reduces the consistency of your deck. What I mean by this is that the more cards in your deck, the more likely you are not going to get your best cards in a match and this can be the difference between victory and defeat. A deck must also contain at least 13 unit cards. This limitation was added to prevent players from making unitless decks that were just too uninteractive to play against. Normally, you should not run into an issue here but it’s worth mentioning. Deck building in Gwent gets more complex with the last restriction is addressed: provisions. Each card has a provision cost, the lowest being 4. Generally speaking, lower provision cards are considered less powerful than higher provision cards, in a vacuum at least. Practically speaking, lower provision cards tend to be worth a matching value in provision with conditions allowing them to attain higher value. Higher provision cards tend to be less efficient with their provisions but are generally worth more points. Your deck has a limit of the number of provisions it can support – starting at 150 with leader abilities adding to this base limit. this is how those leader abilities are balanced relative to each other. The art of deck building in Gwent revolves around a balancing act of card provisions. For example, you can swap two 5 provision cards for a 4 and 6 provision card. Your provision value of one card is lower, but in exchange you can add a higher provision card. Cards often fall into one of several categories: Engine Cards Engine cards are cards that generate value over time. These are often best played earlier in a round to gain maximum effect and are often targets for your opponents attacks. It is also important to understand how your engines work to get their maximum value. For example, the Nauzicaa Sergeant will continue to grow in value as long as you play cards with deploy abilities. It’s therefore important to add plenty of cards with such deploy abilities to your deck to get the most value out of your Nauzicaa Sergeant otherwise it might be worth considering not adding them to your deck at all. Another good example is the Lyrian Arbalest who gains a charge whenever a card with an order ability is played it’s potential value over a long round is quite high, much over it provision limit. However, it requires your deck to have enough order cards to play. Removal Cards Removal cards focus in destroying enemy cards. Removal cards also tend to focus on higher damage so they are more capable of getting rid of most units, and they pay a premium in provisions for this ability. For example, Geralt Professional can be seen as a 3 power 3 damage card for 11 provisions. This card’s provision cost is higher due to its potential to deal significantly more damage and remove an opponent’s key card. Soft removal cards exist in the form of lock and movement cards. These disable your opponents engine by making their ability non-functional but in a way that can be undone. For locked units, a simple Purify ability will remove the lock status and when you move an engine that can only work on a specific row, they can always be moved back. When playing with your deck, knowing how many removal options you have and what targets to use them on is the key to victory. Removing an engine before it can grow can have long term impact on your opponents game plan. Thinning cards Thinning cards are cards that focus on taking cards out of your deck. These can be incredibly valuable if played properly and early as they increase the odds of you being able to use your strongest cards. Some are straightforward such as Impera Brigade, while others such as Aelirenn is more complex in their requirements. Some cards help thin cards for a specific category. For example, John Natalis lets you pull a warfare card from your deck. Make sure to try and always keep a warfare card when considering mulligans so you are capable of playing it with John Natalis. These kinds of thinning cards add an extra punch to your special cards while potentially giving you a choice of which one to play from your deck. However, you need to be careful with thinning cards as having both copies in your hand is a really unfortunate scenario. That is why it is best to try and play them in earlier rounds to remove the risk of this happening in later rounds. Mulligans can save you when you draw both copies in your opening hand. Remember you can also save this combo in earlier rounds with the goal to mulligan one back into your deck in later rounds. I highly recommend you always keep at least 1 or 2 ways to thin your deck. Tech / Utility Cards Tech and utility cards are usually low value in a vacuum but can make a critical difference when playing against specific decks. These are cards that tend to gain or lose value in your deck depending on the meta you are facing, meaning which deck your opponent plays. For example, Lambert: Swordmaster does 2 damage to a card and all its copies. In most scenarios he is at best an 8-10 point play for 9 provisions. Though not that bad, it will often not be the type of power play you expect from such a high provision card. However, if you are often stuck playing against decks that spawn many copies of a specific card, such as an Arachas Swarm or Congregate deck which spawn many cards, Lambert can be a devastating card that plays a key role in securing victory. Gremist is another example of a tech card that allows you to purify away negative status effects from your cards or positive effects such as defender from your opponents units. While on paper his value may seem low, his ability to disrupt your opponents strategy can be quite valuable in certain matchups. For example, if you are encountering many opponents applying Bounty status to your units, Gremist can easily remove bounty drying out a critical source of income from your opponent. Finisher Cards Finisher cards are cards capable of doing massive point shifts in your favor when played. Often you will want to save these cards as your Last Play to either maximize its effect or minimize the risk your opponent will counter its value. Regis is a good example and deals 1 damage to all enemies in a row, repeating this effect if any unit is destroyed. He is capable of doing crazy amounts of damage to your opponent and gains value the more cards your opponent places in a row. Thus he is often saved until the end of a long round after you have had a chance to damage your opponents units in such a way that Regis will do his ability several times. Glustyworp is another example that destroys all 1 power units and boosts himself by 2 for each unit destroyed. It’s important to note that this includes enemy units as well. Combined with Arachas Swarm, he can easily be worth 16 or more points that your opponent wasn’t ready for. However, he is incredibly vulnerable to cards designed to destroy high power units like Geralt of Rivia and that’s why he is often best use to say Last Say so your opponent cannot touch him. With understanding of these card categories, we can delve deeper into types of decks you can build. Engine Decks unsurprisingly are decks that contain almost exclusively Engine Cards or cards that help engines survive or grow faster. Control Decks often contain almost exclusively Removal Cards. These decks often have 1 or 2 strong Finisher cards and are vulnerable to not being able to generate many points themselves. Hybrid decks are often a healthy mix of both Engine and Removal cards and tend to be the most flexible. Regardless of which type of deck you are building, you should always consider saving a slot or two for Tech Cards that can help you deal with strategies that are often troubling you. It is important to also remember that Gwent is played over 3 rounds and thus saving only one Finisher card or combo in your deck is incredibly risky. You have to win 2 rounds after all. There is also the random nature of card games to consider. Relying only on one strong combo or finisher leaves you vulnerable to not having access to it at all during the match. Upgrading Monster Starter Deck Armed with this knowledge, let us try and modify the Monster Starter deck one card at a time to make it better. After playing the deck for a while, I got the feeling that Ozzrel was a nice finisher if I could play him of my Old Speartip: Asleep in the earlier rounds. Luckily the starter deck has extra unused provisions so for now it is very easy to look at the higher provision cards to add in. In my search, I quickly discover that there is another Old Speartip card worth 12 points, a juicy target for my Ozzrel indeed. I decide to add it and remove a Wild Hunt Navigator as I find them to be one of the weakest cards I have access to. Looking at my provision limit, I notice that I still have unused provisions in my deck and start searching for more higher provision cards to grow the power of my deck. Wanting a bit more removal in my deck, I find Imlerith and Imlerith’s Wrath, and consider all the high power unit’s in my deck, decide they are interesting choices to me. So I remove my remaining Wild Hunt Navigator and again, looking for my least favorable cards to choose from, I also remove the Archespore. So far I have only changed 3 cards but my matches already feel more powerful. I’m capable of removing more threats from my opponent while being able to get more points with my Ghouls and Ozzrel. I’m not super happy with my Archespore that I have left and notice I have 4 unused provisions. Knowing that I would likely choose my Archespore to remove before adding another card, I do the math and decide to look at 8 provision cards. It is always a good idea to use all available provisions when building a deck. I found a few interesting cards and depending on which cards I have already or what I can craft with scraps, I decided to find an upgrade for Archespore. Goylat looks like another interesting large card which helps trigger my other cards thrive abilities in addition to giving another option for my Ozzrel. Kayran on the other hand would help me get dominance by consuming up to three other units. It also serves as a nice way to consume the Harpy Egg’s in my deck which should I have them without a matching Harpy in my hand. Tatterwing serves a similar purpose as Kayran but allows me to get nice value of my units when they are damaged. This is because he consumes at base power instead of current power. Adda: Striga would add another powerful removal card option to me making the deck more removal oriented. Toad Prince seems like another valid removal option for smaller engines. All of these choices would improve my decks performance relative to when I had an Archespore in my deck. Provisions are a great tool in identifying such opportunities. In this case I chose Tatterwing to help improve my ability to not only consume eggs but to recoup lost power of damaged units like Old Speartip. Depending on what you get through kegs, or what you can afford to craft, the best option to start modifying a starter deck is to find some higher provision cards and swap out some of your cheaper bronzes out like I’ve done so far. In addition, as you play, you should keep an eye out for cards that feel like they fall short of what you want to accomplish in most matches Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking Golds are always better. The synergy between your cards and the engine potential of some bronzes can be key to building a competitive deck. Thunderbolt potion for example might easily feel underwhelming and as we highlighted before, here are a few nice 8 provision alternatives to choose from to replace this card. In this case I would replace it with Toad Prince which I got in kegs earlier at some point. In this example, I would also recommend switching your leader ability to Force of Nature thus allowing you to play even bigger Last Says or even protect your Imlerith before you play him, making him harder to destroy. There are still many ways to tweak this deck by swapping cards around, but already it’s much stronger than what we started with. For example of other ways to modify it, maybe you are finding your Harpy Eggs to be too unreliable or not enough points, and you want to experiment with something else. Be careful though, as sometimes removing a card can impact the playability of other cards in your deck. In this case, Abaya and Calaeno Harpy make much less sense in this deck as they lose their last remaining Deathwish target. However, removing these cards opens you to evolving your deck even more. For example, with them gone, you can now add Drowners which act as a soft removal for any engine cards that require to stay in a specific row. Kikimore Worker can be added to give more targets for your Ghouls in later rounds. Parasite can replace your Abaya to give you a new option to either remove a high unit or boost one of yours to help gain Dominance. This is but one of the directions you can slowly transform a starter deck. We could have embraced consumption and deathwishes more for example. In this scenario we have a deck with many ways to remove your opponent’s engines while being able to have large points in very few cards. Because of this, this deck should fight as long as possible to win round 1 so that it can bleed opponents in round 2. It really … thrives .. in a short long round. Lastly if you feel like you have found a cool deck that you are proud of, you can always share it using the export button. Conversely, if you are feeling lost or looking for some inspiration for a different type of deck, the Gwent Deck Library can be used to help find some new ideas.

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Reader Comments

  1. Saturn Ascension

    How to master deck building according to Gwent community:

    Step 1: Ignore all personal creativity, put in zero effort building your own

    Step 2: Visit the websites everyone links

    Step 3: Copy/paste

  2. Vikram

    Finally! Hope you make lots more like this. I really like that these guides focus on overarching philosophies and strategies instead of small minutiae.

  3. Bring back beta music

    Music now is really boring. We want to hear enjoyable music from beta while playing gwent. CDPR please add old music to this game.

  4. The

    Imlerith is much harder to remove at 8 power with a Shield rather than at 13 power though =)). I think in Ranked mode, Force of Nature is best used on Immune cards, so they are not as vulnerable to tall removals.

  5. João Henrique

    Bah the especial arena mode is fun but sometimes the animation have a lag when you chose a card and put in game, not to mention that the animation for commander ability eats 3 seconds before activate.

  6. Jan Betlej

    The Good Book says: there are three type of strategies: Engines, Control and Pointslam. Engines beat pointslam, pointslam beat control, control beat engines.

  7. Zauriel1000

    Hi, i have a question about the "bonded" ability.
    I played two cutup lackey with Portal, so if i play a crime card both cutup deal two dmg two random enemy. My opponent locked one cutup, so the other one, the unlocked deal only one dmg as i played a crime card. I don't understand why. Yeah one cutup is locked, but it is a copy of the unlocked card, it is the same card, so why the bonded ability dont work anymore?

  8. Alebeard

    if you skip the tutorial do you not get any of the starter decks?, I just got my friend into the game and when he skipped the tutorial due to him not knowing his joystick was plugged in and messing with the UI, he did not have any starter decks once so ever whereas I had a starter deck for each faction so he had to build one from scratch…

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