Getting Grandmaster

Hello everyone! For those of you that don’t know me, I’m GlutenSnake, a Gwent streamer and aspiring pro player (cue the requisite haHAA here). I find that over the months of the beta where we’ve seen Gwent continue to grow, I’ve been fascinated by its complex mechanics and the skillset required to play - and the rewards that you can reap for putting in time and effort. Even without much of a card game background other than YuGiOh years ago, I managed to break Grandmaster in my very first season of the game, season 1 Open Beta - while still being F2P. So I’m here to say If I can do it, so can you (trust me, so can you!).

I am not here today to present you with a 90% winrate decklist that smacks all of the big decks in the meta at the highest levels. If you have that decklist, please either send it to me or play with it yourself and win every tournament. Preferably send it to me. I am not here today to present you with a card counting trick, physical training programme or anything of the sort either. I am here to teach you simply how to unlock your full potential. But I need several things from you.

First, I need you to clarify in your head what your goal is. Is your goal to get Grandmaster? Is it to enjoy the game to its fullest? Is it to try new decks every day? Is it to play that Gaunter Xarthisius Combo? They are not mutually exclusive (well, perhaps Gaunter), but let me tell you what the goal of Grandmaster requires:

  • A win rate of about 60% from 4k MMR.

  • A good card collection, allowing you to do tech switches as necessary.

  • Time for the grind.

  • Updates on the meta. New decks must be on your radar.

These are not firm requirements, except maybe the first one. You will probably encounter the need for these however. Getting GM is no easy chore. Are you ready? Great.

The deck

I promised you no decklists, and nor shall I provide a specific one. For the purposes of this article, any good deck will do. Luckily, the Gwentlemen Meta Snapshot provides us with current decklists from many archetypes. Go there, see what you fancy. Try a couple. Decide on one, anyone as long as it is at least low tier 2. You are aiming for a deck that has good matchups rather than something with an almost certain win in some matchups and certain losses in others. All factions have at least one deck like this. These are some suggestions on what in my opinion are good archetypes right now:

  • NG Spies

  • NG Reveal

  • SK Discard

  • SK Berserker

  • SK Veteran

  • SK Axemen

  • MO Nekker Swarm

  • MO Eredin Frost

  • MO Dagon Swarm and variants

  • MO UE Hybrid consume

  • NR Machine Crewmen

  • NR Swarm

  • NR Reaver

  • NR Armor

  • ST Spella’tael (Ale focus or Farseer focus)

  • ST HandBuff

  • ST Movement

  • ST Dorf

These are all solid viable decks. Did you pick a deck? Good. You’re sticking to this deck. I have not mentioned Mill in this list. I do believe it is a genuinely functional - and dangerous - deck, but unlike most of the decks in this list, it is truly matchup dependent. Do not try to ladder with it if you intend to play only that, because one meta shift will send your winrate plummeting. After all, there is no solution if your opponent is not thinning as much, you can’t just tech for that. The same logic applies to other decks whose winrates come from their opponents choices rather than their choices. Are those decks good? Yeah. Are those decks the decks to get grandmaster? Probably not.


Once upon a time there was this dude. He was a good player, no doubt. He wanted to get GM. What he would do is find a decklist, play it a couple of times, then start losing, and rinse and repeat. That is something a lot of people do, not just this dude. They feel that a series of losses means that their luck is over, time to switch. This means crafting more cards, learning new decks and like Sisyphus, be stuck in this loop until you get very lucky or more likely very tired of the current meta.

So Lesson Number 1:


Learn your deck

By promising to stand by your deck, now you can do a couple of things. Learn your combos. See what orders work best. See different versions, don’t be afraid to netdeck. You are sticking to your deck, but only to the core, the thing that makes your deck that type of deck. One less Freya, one more Infiltrator: once you learn your deck, you will learn the advantages of having or not having a card or not.

Part 2 is learning the matchups. Can you do a long round? Short round? Can you out-tempo spies or block their synergy? How much does weather affect you? How’s your carryover? How dependent are you on the coinflip? You’ll start noticing subtle relationships between the cards, synergies, timings. You’ll drop that Morenn not just highrolling for a card with 5 or less points, but because you know what to expect and block. You’ll understand Cerys timings. You will know when to go 2 cards down or lose on equal.

Become your deck

Part 3 is perfecting what you know. What is each card supposed to do and target? Is it worth wasting enforcer damage on the nekkers? This will lead to the most important part of it all, what makes you a great player: card choices. You will understand why that Peter is better than the Guardian or the other way around. You’ll know if you need Dethmold or not depending on whether the meta shifts. You are going to be a steadfast rock, moving with the waves and not screaming in anguish when you feel like you are beginning to drown. Once you know your deck so well that you can make these changes without waiting for a top player to submit his version, once you understand what each card’s interaction is and whether you need a card or not, you are ready.

Do not eat your deck

Assuming there are no balance patches, you should be able to learn your deck in the way that I have detailed. There will be times however when you’ll tilt. You’ll lose 5 in a row. You’ll blame it on the coinflip. You’ll blame it on the tech choices of your opponent. You’ll blame it on the matchup. Don’t. They are all valid reasons, but you need to learn from your mistakes:

  • If you lose 3 in a row, stop. Drink water, watch the newest Gwent meme video, check your email, go for a walk. Take a small break.

  • Record your games. Play them back and look for mistakes. They are there. Ask a better player if you cannot find them yourself. Streamers tend to be glad to help. The r/gwent discord is a cornucopia of resources and pros on each race.

  • Watch a streamer/pro gamer who plays the same type of deck. Even if the tech choices are different, the core is the same. Watch for how they use their resources. I did that a lot along the way, so should you.

  • Don’t give up. I have faith in you.

The result, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the deck.

Congratulations, after a bit of grinding, some bumps in the road, a meta shift or two, and a lot more grinding - you are now a Grandmaster! You have access to the Pro Ladder, and that cool purple border. Hell, you can even make bombastic balance claims on reddit and add that for credibility. You are now a master of a deck. You know a lot of decks as well, you have seen them being played. However, adapting to more factions can be hard at this point. My first season in the Pro Ladder was realizing that there were decks other than Hybrid Consume and NG Dash. I messed up, but I learned a lot. I now know how these decks feel. You will too. The same method can be extended to these new decks, and it will feel much more natural.

My dear reader, this article has come to an end. I hope I’ll see you around. Feel free to message me on Discord if you have questions: GlutenSnake#4097. You can also hit me up in my stream here.

Good luck, have fun!


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