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Strategies To Beat Strong Gwent Decks – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Strategies To Beat Strong Gwent Decks



Gwent, a popular aspect of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, can be a bit overwhelming for beginners trying to win all the rewards with a basic deck. However, mastering Gwent is not as difficult as it seems. By employing a few strategies, even the weakest deck can achieve victory in almost every game of The Witcher 3.

It is important to note that although certain valuable cards, such as Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer, and Avallac’h Gold units, are available to all decks, they do not offer a significant advantage. Each deck has its own strengths and weaknesses that can be exploited, making untouchable cards less crucial.

Understanding and countering the opponent’s deck is key. Each deck is vulnerable to at least one other, particularly at the beginning when the player’s collection is limited. It is worth considering special units and abilities that can combat the opponent’s hand. For example, Scoia’tael is strongest against Scorch but weakest against Impenetrable Fog. Nilfgaard can be defeated by using its Spies against it with Decoy. Northern Realms’ siege advantage can be neutralized with Torrential Rain. Biting Frost and well-timed Scorch cards work well against Monster’s close combat units. Distinctive’s mighty berserker units are weak against Scorch, and Skellige Storm’s advantage can be countered with Gold units.

Choosing the right number of cards is crucial. It is recommended to stick to the middle range of 25-40 cards allowed by the rules. Having fewer cards increases the chances of drawing high-value cards. However, having too few cards can lead to sacrificing too much early on, while having too many dilutes the deck. Additionally, most decks only draw new cards at the beginning of round one.

The value of cards is not solely determined by their point totals. Spies, for example, increase the opponent’s points, so they should be used in a round that can be lost and sparingly in other rounds. Transforming units like Cow should be played at the end of a losing round.

Special cards should be used strategically and limited to a maximum of two of a kind. They should support the player’s chosen strategy rather than being the primary goal. Weather cards should only be kept if the opposing deck heavily relies on one row. Scorch cards should be used strategically to eliminate units of the same point value on the opponent’s side. Decoy cards can be used to strategically withdraw high-value units.

Choosing the right strategy involves utilizing the opponent’s deck strengths against them. For example, if facing Nilfgaard, their Spies can be used to the player’s advantage. It is also important to consider special abilities of each deck. Northern Realms, for instance, draws a new card if it won the last round.

The leader card should complement the player’s strongest hand. It is better to build the deck around the available options rather than choosing a useless leader. However, it is always a good move to make without passing, forcing the opponent to pass first.

Losing the first round strategically can lead to winning the game. This round is an ideal opportunity to force the opponent to waste cards or play high-value units for them to Scorch. Sacrificing Gold units can be a strategic move, as they cannot be touched and provide more value as cards.

Timing is crucial in Gwent. It is advisable to save the best cards for the last round. Units that strengthen each other, Gold cards, and rows that can be doubled with Commander’s Horn should be played in the third round or at the end of round two. Holding onto attack cards can help eliminate the opponent’s final cards.

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Counting cards is an important aspect of strategy. While having more cards usually leads to victory, it can also be a bluff. Observing the opponent’s number of cards can provide insights into their strategy. It is advantageous to hold onto three valuable cards until round three. Weak cards can be used to delay a pass or bluff the opponent.

The Northern Realms deck is the easiest to collect early on in The Witcher 3. It excels in siege units but also benefits from a mix of ranged and close combat units. Sacrificing high-value ranged and close combat units in early rounds can force the opponent to waste cards. The Foltest: The Siegemaster ability is best used in the last winnable round.

While luck plays a role in Gwent, employing these strategies can greatly increase the chances of success. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is available on various platforms, including PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

Gwent is one of the finest things about The Witcher 3: The Wild Huntbut winning all the rewards can seem a little daunting with a beginner’s deck. Luckily, Gwent isn’t difficult to master. With the help of a few strategies, even the weakest Gwent deck is capable of winning nearly every game in The Witcher 3.

RELATED: The Witcher: Most Common Mistakes People Make While Playing Gwent

It’s worth noting that some of the most valuable cards, such as the Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer, and Avallac’h Gold units, are available to all decks, so they only offer so much of an advantage. However, each deck has a major strength and a major weakness to exploit where untouchable cards like this will come in handy.

Matching The Opponent’s Deck

The Decoy, Geralt, weather, and Scorch Gwent cards from The Witcher 3

Each deck is particularly vulnerable to at least one other. While the player’s collection is still limited, it’s worth considering special units and abilities to combat the opponent’s hand.

  • Scoia’tael
    is strongest against Scorch and weakest against
    Impenetrable Fog
    . It’s also easily overwhelmed with points.

  • The best way to defeat
    Nilfgaard
    is to use its Spies against it with
    Decoy
    .

  • The siege advantage of
    Northern Realms
    can be flattened with
    Torrential Rain
    .

  • Monster
    relies heavily on
    close combat units
    , so
    Biting Frost
    and strategically played
    Scorch
    does well against it.

  • The mighty berserker units in
    Distinctive
    are weak against
    Scorch
    and the advantage Skellige Storm gives can be negated with
    Gold units
    .

Picking Out A Choice 30

Spy and other special ability Gwent cards from The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

It’s worth sticking to the middle of the 25-40 range allowed by the rules. Fewer cards will mean a higher chance of pulling high-value cards. Having too few cards can result in sacrificing too much too early, and too many will dilute the pack. It’s also worth remembering that most decks only draw new cards at the beginning of round one.

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Some of the most valuable cards don’t have the highest point totals. In the case of Spies, the player increases the opponent’s points, so they should be used in a round that can be lost and otherwise sparingly. Transforming units like Cow should be placed at the end of a losing round.

Deck Prep: Special Cards

The Decoy, Toad, and Villentretenmerth cards from the Monster Gwent deck from The Witcher 3

Sticking to a maximum of two special cards of a kind is enough to give the player an edge. Special cards shouldn’t be the goal to draw or play. They are tactical advantages that should be limited in overall number and should support the strategy the player wants to employ. A few more tips:

  • Weather cards:
    it’s only worth keeping a couple if the opposing deck relies heavily on one row

  • Scorch cards:
    a unit with the Scorch ability only affects the row where the unit goes on the opponent’s side, but the Scorch card will claim all units of the same point value on the board

  • Decoy cards:
    Decoys can also be used to strategically withdraw the player’s high-value units without passing

Deck Prep: Choosing The Strategy

A Decoy card taking a Spy card with the Nilfgaardian deck in Gwent from The Witcher 3

It’s a good idea to plan on using the opposing deck’s strength against it. For example, if Nilfgaard is the opponent, there will be Spies, and they can help the player as much as the opponent. It’s also worth keeping the following in mind:

  • Spies can be used and borrowed multiple times with Decoy and Medic cards

  • Ally summoning units can work for or against the player

  • Throwaway, low-value units can force the opponent to put down high-value cards

  • Every deck has a special ability to factor in, e.g. Northern Realms draws a new card if it won the last round

Deck Prep: The Leader

The five Francesca Findabair Scoia'tael faction leader Gwent card options from The Witcher 3

The leader card should support the player’s most devastating hand. It’s better to build around the available options than choose a useless leader, although at the very least it’s always a move to make without passing that forces the opponent to pass first.

RELATED: The Witcher: All Gwent Card Locations (Collect ‘Em All/Card Collector)

Leaders that double the strength of a row are particularly powerful, but they are easy to subvert if the deck playing against it is customized to attack that row. Conversely, if the player’s deck has strong cards in other rows, seeming to favor a single row can trick opponents into thinking that the player will play to their strength.

Losing The Battle To Win The War

A strong opening hand playing Monster deck in Gwent from The Witcher 3

There is a well-known strategy in Gwent to lose the first round to win the game, but that doesn’t mean the round should be a total loss. This round is an ideal time to force the opponent to waste cards by matching their numbers or by putting down high-value units for the opponent to Scorch.

Gold units can force the opponent to match point totals, which is a good strategy against decks that rely on overwhelming numbers, like Monster and Skellige. Putting down a lot of low-value units may force the opponent to pass early, making it easy to score the first victory, in which case the second round should be lost for maximum point totals.

The Golden Rules

The Gold units in the Nilfgaard deck in Gwent from The Witcher 3

Sacrificing Gold units can be quite strategic, as they are far more valuable as cards that cannot be touched rather than being worth a lot of points. If a weather card or Scorch is used by either player, a Gold unit can turn the tide or hold the line. A few more “Golden Rules”:

  • A single Gold unit is worth keeping until the end

  • One of two Gold units in the hand can be placed strategically early

  • With more than three Gold units in hand, any number can be kept in reserve for a surprise point boost

Doubling Strength At The Last Moment

Foltest The Siegemaster is played in a round of Gwent from The Witcher 3 and siege units are doubled

Usually, it’s a good tactic to save the best cards for last. Units that strengthen each other, Gold cards, and rows that can be doubled with Commander’s Horn should play out in the third round or at the end of round two.

RELATED: The Witcher: Tips And Common Beginner Mistakes

It’s a good idea to hang onto a few attack cards to eliminate the opponent’s final cards. Reaching the third round doesn’t guarantee victory, so keeping a Scorch or other attack card in hand can be useful against decks that can summon a lot of points like Monster or Scoia’tael.

Counting Cards

The strength of an opponent Northern Realms hand in a round of Gwent from The Witcher 3

Usually, the player with more cards wins. That being said, strategy enthusiasts will observe that it’s often a bluff. If the opponent has two or fewer cards, it’s a good bet they’re not worth playing in the third round.

It’s advantageous to hold onto three valuable cards until round three. If the player draws weak cards, they can be used to delay a pass in earlier rounds or kept to bluff the opponent.

Some Pointers On Winning With Northern Realms

A selection of Northern Realms Gwent cards from The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

The Northern Realms is the easiest deck to collect early on in The Witcher 3. Its strength is siege units, but it’s also worth keeping a selection of close combat and ranged units to get the most out of it. Other useful tips:

  • There need to be high-value cards in the deck that
    Spies
    can add to a hand

  • High-value
    ranged and close combat units
    can be sacrificed in early rounds to force the opponent to waste cards

  • With all
    win units
    in the deck, it’s worth sometimes strategically sacrificing one or two in early rounds to throw off the opponent

  • The best time to use the
    Foltest: The Siegemaster
    ability is at the end of the last winnable round

Needless to say, there is an element of luck in the alchemy that is a game of Gwent. That being said, even a bad hand can be turned around by keeping these strategies in mind.

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox Series X/S.

MORE: The Witcher: Things You Might Not Know About Gwent

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