Rogues gallery is a weekly column on some of the strongest, most interesting or meta defining cards in the game. Each week Gravez takes a closer look at a single card; its strengths, weaknesses, applications and its place in the Witcher Universe.

DISCLAIMER: The article contains minor spoilers of Witcher novels and games.

DISCLAIMER: The article is written on patch 0.8.72, some information might be outdated 

The Witcher universe is full of dark and tragic stories. Tales of horrible men and women alike committing despicable and gruesome acts. These horrifying tales can’t help but touch you in some way. There are tales of monsters: wraiths, curses and other creepies and crawlies. Yet, there are some… for the lack of a better word, let’s call them twats (and trust me, I am not a man to use that word lightly), that you can’t help but develop a personal grudge against. Cyprian Wiley Junior, also known as Whoreson Junior (unlike our beautiful red-feathered friends at the CDPR, I do not have to keep my ramblings PG-13), is one of them.

I mean, there are werewolves tearing those they love into unrecognizable pieces, and there are the wild spirits praying on everyone that dares cross into their lands, but that is their nature, their being. Hell, even Eredin, an asshole that literally built a world upon corpses of an entire civilization, is just kinda evil, so you take him as he is. Our twaty little friend, with a deceitfully cheery name on the other hand, tells a different story. Wiley inherited his criminal empire from his father, Whoreson not-so-Junior. Illegal casinos, fighting rings, and brothels are what the Whoresons have turned into a family business. King Radovid, who is arguably an even bigger twat than Whoreson, hired our beloved sociopath to start a gang war between the criminal big-leagues of Novigrad by having their leaders assassinated, plunging the city into chaos and conquering it with ease. Our ever-so-handsome protagonist spends quite some time investigating and hunting Wiley until he finally catches him and finds out just what a major “willy” the guy really is. Delighting in torturing and murdering captive woman was one of Whoreson’s prime leisure activities that CDPR managed to present to the player in a lot more impactful way than my silly little article can hope to. Regardless, Geralt lets Whoreson go, knowing that letting him live will be a much worse punishment than death.

In Gwent, Cyprian Wiley is a neutral silver, 7 strength siege row unit, with the ability to remove 3 base strength from an opposing unit when it enters the battlefield.

The Streets of Gwentsglow: Episode III

Cyprian Wiley, the notorious killer for hire… If one said he wasn’t born a sadistic, twisted little toddler, one would lie. Since he’s learnt to walk Cyprian has spread nothing but violence grief and misery amongst everyone around him. Born into a wealthy family, young Cyprian spent most of his youth on his uncle’s ranch, where he developed a special liking for killing horses and torturing other children. When he was 16, he was suspected in the disappearing of his nanny, but charges were never filed against him. At the age of 18, Wiley conscripted into the army and was dishonorably discharged after he was found torturing enemy prisoners of war. After serving six years as a mercenary in the Foreign Legion, he took all his savings on a ship to the New World and headed straight for Gwentsglow.

Before the five families, Gwentsglow was a whole different city. Every street was run by a different thug group, people were turning up dead on the streets with their throats slit, and no matter who you had paid for protection to, there was always someone else who broke into your little bakery and broke everything in sight. Wiley loved that city. Within a month he ran a street. Within a year a district. He had the money to pay the toughest thugs to guard his assets, and his reputation sent shivers down the spines of anyone who has heard stories about him. Wiley ran most of the brothels in Gwentsglow, using his Madame’s black books to keep the Yard and the politicians under control. Cyprian’s biggest source of income were the backroom casinos and dog fighting rings he started running as a hobby. Once Gwent caught on, he was able to basically print his own money by printing out rare versions of various cards and running the black market with them. He bred his own dogs, long generations of his strongest hounds bred with the biggest, strongest beasts he could find. Some even claim his oldest dog, Morkvarg, is nothing short of a werewolf, and that Wiley fed him nothing but those that crossed him.

Everything changed when the Cosa Monstra first rode into town. His thugs were no match for the Kayran’s wise guys, mostly war veterans and mercenaries who fell out of grace once the war was over. Cosa Monstra overtook the Gwent Casino business and forbade the dog fights, making an example of any man who was found to practice it. Once his whorehouses were shut down by the Nilfgaardians, under the Whoreson disappeared. A couple years after, the newly instated commissioner Geralt stumbled back on Wiley’s trail, during the investigation of several disappearances of young women in the Lower Whorelam. During a raid on an alleged drug dealer, he stumbled upon a hidden room, filled with possessions of the disappeared women and Nekker gang memorabilia. From the fingerprints found in the room, they’ve concluded Wiley has been behind the abductions and murders, but only a single body of one Jay Nekker was ever found in the vicinity. Based on the bite wounds on the victim and the gigantic cage found in the hidden room, Geralt has concluded it was one of Wiley’s dogs, most likely Morkvarg behind the missing people. In the following months, several gigantic paw prints were found close to the areas where victims disappeared, but no conclusive evidence of Wiley’s whereabouts was ever found.

What will the next week bring to Gwentsglow? Will Geralt finally track down the infamous Whoreson? Will the families welcome the political reform rumored to hit Gwentsglow next week? Can the old bosses whether the storm? Find all this and more, next week on The Streets of Gwentsglow.


Cyprian Willy is no less sadistic in Gwent than he is in Witcher. As most neutral cards, he is an excellent tech choice, arguably a hate card. His ability to remove 3 base strength from a unit has several applications. The most common one and the one most people run it in the current metagame for, is to prevent a deathwish effect from occurring on Nekker units, as units with 0 base strength get banished instead of sent to the graveyard. As such, Cyprian Willey has quickly been adopted to combat the high frequency of Consume Monster decks on the ladder.

Wiley’s second most common target is Roach. As she’s a common inclusion in Scoia’Tael and Northern Realms deck, Wiley is highly unlikely to end up without a target. He is also great at preventing Northern Realms and Skellige from resurrecting certain high-value low-strength units such as Priscilla.

Cyprian is a very safe tech choice as it’s unlikely to ever provide less than ten points of value. When hitting Roach, Nekker or Priscilla however, he can prevent upwards of 20 strength plays for your opponent, making him incredibly easy to include in almost any deck.


The third, and perhaps final card we’ve looked into before we move on into the open beta, is also our first tech card – one that has heavily influenced the decks in the sunset of the closed beta. I sincerely hope Willey doesn’t see any large changes, as he is a very balanced and (at least as far as removal goes) fairly interesting card.

Rogues gallery is a weekly column on some of the strongest, most interesting or meta defining cards in the game. Each week Gravez takes a closer look at a single card; its strengths, weaknesses, applications and its place in the Witcher Universe.

DISCLAIMER: The article contains minor spoilers of Witcher novels.

DISCLAIMER: The article is written on patch 0.8.72, some information might be outdated

The second and third cards I want to take a closer look at are the notorious Nekkers. These primitive, social ogroids, are the bane of the forest villagers in the Witcher world. They are short, agile and compensate for their relative weakness with the numbers they provide. They are usually led by their chieftains, warriors, somewhat larger Nekkers, who yell (or skitter, growl… fuck if I know) out commands to their brethren. You can recognize them by their larger stature and their clay marked bodies.

Nekkers can be found all around the Witcher universe. They tend to build their nests burrowed underground, close to the roads and prey on the travelers, merchants or even caravans passing by. When threatened, Nekkers will call for aid, so it’s essential you finish them off for good when engaging, and make sure you are not swarmed by their nigh endless numbers.

In Gwent, Nekkers are a melee row, 3 strength bronze units that gain 1 strength whenever your unit consumes another, regardless of the Nekker’s location (hand, board or deck). When killed, the nekker will summon another nekker from the deck.

Nekker Warriors on the other hand, are a melee row 5 strength bronze unit, that creates two copies of a chosen unit on the board and puts it at the bottom of your deck.

The Streets of Gwentsglow: Episode II

The tale of the Nekker boys is as tragic as it’s inspiring. Before the war broke up between the families, Nekkers were young boys living in Orianna’s Orphanage down in the Lower Whorelam. The little delinquents always had the neck for trouble, and they got kicked out before they even hit puberty when they were caught stealing Orianna’s jewelry. The kids ended up on the streets of Gwentsglow. The three older ones began recruiting more homeless kids into their gang, while the younger ones spent their days stealing and pickpocketing where they could. Their lives weren’t easy. They were scrawny, weak and small, as they often went to sleep hungry. Most of them developed goiter due to malnourishment. They did learn how to protect themselves though. Most of them barely reaching 3 feet (about 90cm) in height, they were an easy pick, so they started walking around in groups of three. As soon as one got into trouble, the other two jumped out and helped.

The things changed rapidly when the war broke out. The Cosa Monstra boss, Tito Kayran, took notice of the lil thugs and took them under his wing. Nekkers ran the streets for him, and in return, he took care of them. Whenever he or one of his capos or soldiers scored, the Nekkers got a cut, and some of them grew to be as big as the wise guys themselves. Nevertheless, Nekkers remain true to their roots. They live out on the streets, taking care of each other, with one of them always waiting to fill his fallen brother’s place. The older, experienced Nekkers keep an eye out for like-minded kids to bring them into their ranks, slowly train them while their older siblings put their lives on the line for the Don.

Nekkers are ruthless, vicious and cunning. They cause disarray amongst the supporters of the other families, especially paired with the Cosa Monstra’s time-tested skills that allow their goons to remain in battle even long after the enemy has retreated and recovered for the next fight. It has gotten so bad the other families resorted to special tactics just to deal with the gang. They’ve begun recruiting retired detectives such as Cleaver to find and lock up the gang members, breaking the chain of command. Some began contaminating the streets with Mardroeme gas, or even bring in trained assassins the likes of Whoreson to murder the key members of the gang. Moorvran’s family has even gone as far as to bring in Sweers, notorious assassin that makes entire families disappear from the face of the earth.

Even Projekt Yard has decided to take Nekkers under closer look, after an influential Gwentsglow citizen, Jacque James Tapon suffered a nervous breakdown when confronted by the gang during one of his evening strolls.

What does the future hold for Gwentsglow city? Are the city’s finest under the lead of Commissioner Geralt ready to take on the families? Is president Rethazski calling in the national guard? Is Mr. Tapon ever going to be the same? Find all this and more next week on The Streets of Gwentsglow.


Nekkers are a force to be reckoned with, there is no doubt about it. Back at the start of the open beta, our goitered little Ogroids were a simple muster unit, not much more than a melee Arachas. They barely saw any play, so the CDPR changed them and turned them into one of the most fun, interesting and powerful bronze units in the game.

As a typical consume deck packs upwards of 10 consume units, they quite quickly grow beyond the bounds of a normal bronze units, provide a carryover strength as they replace themselves on the board, and are often used as a scorch shield for the rest of the Monster player’s deck. When properly managed using the Nekker Warrior and proper positioning Nekkers can single-handedly carry the entire deck. In correlation with the incredible Monster faction passive ability and Ekkimaras/Vran Warriors, It is exceptionally easy to carry over upwards of 30 strength through the rounds, making it very hard for certain factions to compete.

That said, Nekkers are not impossible to deal with. Units with lock toggle can be used to prevent the Nekker on the board to summon another one when the round ends. Cards that can banish units, such as Cyprian Walley and Letho can work in a similar way. Sweers has a unique way of dealing with nekkers, as he pulls all the copies of them from the deck and puts them straight into their graveyard/ Even so, Nekkers and their synergy with the faction passive ability are without a doubt one of the main reasons the Monster decks have been in the top tier of the metagame ever since their change.


Not unlike Aglais, Nekkers along with Nekker Warriors are some of the cards that have defined the last patch’s metagame. They are definitely one of the cards on my watch list as we’re moving towards the end of the closed beta, and I can’t wait to see if the little buggers are going to remain as obnoxiously adorable, or are they going to see changes as well.

Rogues gallery is a weekly column on some of the strongest, most interesting or meta defining cards in the game. Each week Gravez takes a closer look at a single card; its strengths, weaknesses, applications and its place in the Witcher Universe.

DISCLAIMER: The article contains minor spoilers of Witcher novels.

DISCLAIMER: The article is written on patch 0.8.72, some information might be outdated

The first on the list of Gwentlemen’s most wanted is Aglais, the infamous Aed Woedbeanna ~ dryad of Brokilon Forest. Not much is known about dryads in the Witcher world written by Sapkwoski. They are exclusively female, terribly racist, excellent shots, they don’t eat dinner and for some reason, they would have us believe drinking Scorch is good for us.

Aglais is a fairly minor character in the novels. She is the healer of Brokilon Dryads, and she is only mentioned as the Aed Woedbeanna that healed Geralt after an unwise clash with Vilgefortz left him with a broken leg, ribs and severally bruised ego. Aglais uses the sacred Brokilon water in her healing process.

Aglais is a siege row, loyal, 5 strength unit available to Scoia’Tael. While her strength is nothing to lose words on, her ability is arguably one of the most interesting and powerful ones in the game. As she enters the battlefield, the player gets to choose a single special card in his graveyard and re-use it.

The Streets of Gwentsglow:

It hasn’t always been that way. Aglais (then a 7 strength golden unit that could pick a special from any graveyard) started her criminal journey back when the game had just begun its closed beta. For the first few months, Scoia’Tael have been rather underrepresented as a faction, their decks were costly to craft, they took quite some skill to properly track what specials remain in the deck and how to use them correctly, and ultimately, that led to the faction being underplayed and under tested.

But that all changed when Eithne, Aglais and Francessca decided to enter the scene. Donned in finely crafted green tuxedos and strapped with triple Decoys, double scorches and their goon Roach hopped up on illegal hallucinogens, they’ve turned the ladder on its head. Don Foltest and Harald began cowering in their villas, while the new gang ran the streets they used to love and adore. Aglais herself stayed one, two, sometimes even three steps ahead of their foes, making it nearly impossible to squeeze out even a minor victory.

In early winter 2017, things became even more turbulent. A new family drove into town, trying to get their own piece of the pie. Herr Moorvran brought in highly disciplined mercenaries and spies that brought hope of downfall of the elven tyranny. Nilfgaardians, well connected with the authorities in the Projekt Yard performed an assassination attempt on Aglais. Whilst the hit didn’t put her in the ground, she hasn’t been the same since. She lost two of her fingers in the hit, and some of the finest goods she used to deal just keep getting removed by the Yard’s new fleeting import policy. Aglais also lost some of the confidence and bravado she used to have, so she prefers to stay around the block, rarely entering the opponent’s territory in search of the goods.

All that left the Scoi’Tael family weakened but far from defeated, mostly due to the help from their newly made woman, Saskia, who took the armies out on the streets and fought back the advancing rival families. Hell bent on revenge, Scoia’Tael resorted to high priority hits, using incineration as their modus operandi. Although some cries have been heard about a crazy new pyromaniac, Schirru (who is rumored to do so many things it’s nearly impossible to count), most of the work remains in the hands of Saskia and the infuriated Aglais. On the rare occasion they find themselves outnumbered and burning the strongest enemy’s goon just won’t do the trick, Aglais will rally her troops behind her and bring further mayhem to the streets of Gwentsglow.


Aglais is one of the cards that have seen the most  nerfs since her first iteration, be it through direct  or indirect changes. Her strength has been  lowered, the ability to pick spells from either  graveyard has been limited to the owner’s, and  most importantly, several of her favorite spells  have been tagged as fleeting (Decoy, Nature’s Gift,  First Light, Aeromancy…) or changed altogether.  Her Agility has been replaced and she’s been  placed into the siege row.

Following all the hits it has taken, Aglais’s ability might seem like nothing special (pun not intended), as there are quite a few drawbacks to it. She requires you to have drawn, played and kept the special card you wish to cast in the graveyard, her 5 strength body is mediocre in a top deck round 3 and finally, some of the strongest special cards in the game are fleeting.

That said, Scoia’Tael is the faction with some of the best thinning in the game and their Elven Mercenaries, Brouver Hoog and other special thinners and tutors guarantee Aglais will almost always re-use the exact special ability you want her to. The 5 strength body is usually a-plenty when it’s attached to a multiple choice card (the choice being your entire graveyard), the tempo swing she provides is scarcely anything but above average.

At 66.3% pick ratio above 4k MMR, Aglais is the most picked Scoia’Tael golden card, sporting a 52% win ratio. It will come to no one’s surprise, the two spells players cast with her most commonly are Rally and Scorch as the most and second most picked spells respectively.

That hardly comes as a surprise, as Rally is one of the most played, and arguably strongest bronzes for the Scoia’Tael, while Scorch is one of the few spells that provide hard and sometimes even mass removal. The ability to run a 4th or 2nd copy of spell such as those gives Scoi’Tael a much-needed consistency, strength and first-most a toolbox of choices that are ever so important in card games.

Aglais is one of the cards with a relatively low skill floor, but a surprisingly high ceiling, as choosing when to play her and what to recast with her is not always as obvious as it might seem.


In the following weeks, as we’re all preparing for the arrival of the open beta, one of the cards to keep a closer eye on is definitely Aglais. Her ability undoubtedly limits design space of special cards to some extent, and I believe it’s fair to assume she might see some changes in the process. Is she going to keep her staple status? Is there going to be a new card taking her place? Or are the bloody streets of Gwentsglow claim another soul and Aglais will find her eternal peace in the annals of history.

I’d like to thank Mule for the help he provided with the Aglais’s background lore and the GwentUp team for providing the statistical data used in the article.

Article Schedule:

• 26th May: Introduction and Strongest Cards of the Closed Beta

• 2nd June : Most powerful and meta defining decks in the Closed Beta

• 9th June : Recap and foresight

Author: Ironmonik

Starting off the first part, this article will focus on showcasing some of the most powerful cards in the closed beta, this will be a Top 5 list of the most powerful Bronze, Silver and Goldcards, with an extra section for all spells of all colours. The criterias for making this list, are playrates over the different patches, as well as impact on the meta, and strength. Next week, the series will continue by highlighting some of the most powerful and meta defining decks, their creators, and why they were that impactful in the game. In 2 weeks there will be another article that’s drawing a conclusion of the beta, and gives some foresights on what to expect, where we see Gwent in a year, and more…


• Aglais

• Shani / Bloody Baron

• Ciri

• Caretaker

• Geralt:Igni

  1. Aglais: The fact, that Aglais was still an autoinclude card into every single Scoia’tel deck despite her being nerfed in almost every single patch indicates quite well the powerlevel Aglais used to have. At the start of the beta, Aglais was a 7 strength, agile, non relentless (this tag did not exist back then) gold unit, which was able to replay a spell, either out of your own, or out of your opponent’s graveyard, including aeromancy with a weather of your choice, firstlight with either the rally, or the clear skies effect, or even the old decoy, that will be mentioned later in the spells section. For most cards in this toplist it is necessary to highlight a version of them for a very specific patch – that’s not the case for Aglais, as she was one of the best gold cards through every single patch we had so far. In the Open Beta she will be working different, and is pushed more into the direction of being a great tech choice in certain metas, but for the time of the closed beta, she’s definitetly up there. Aglais ability will live on through Eithne´s leaderability though.

  2. Shani / Bloody Baron: Shani and Bloody Baron take the second place in the ranking of the most powerful gold cards. Both of these cards were played in most Northern Realms decks throughout all patches. For the newer players among us: Baron’s Botchling used to work a lot differently and basically had the same effect as Nenneke, so before the “permadeath” tag was introduced to the game, there was a lot of insane medic chaining. People demoted the Bloody Baron with a Kaedweni Seargent to resurrect him later with Shani. But not only the Botchling was powerful, before promoted gold status expired at the start of each round you could buff the Botchling up and promote him, to make up a serious thread for the opponent, that was quite difficult to deal with in the next round.

  3. Ciri: Ciri as a card, with her effect survived pretty much from the start of the beta. The only thing that ever changed was a nerf to her strength (8 -> 6), people never stopped playing her, as card advantage or the possibility to force an opponent out of a round 1 by playing her, have always been extremely powerful tools. This made her one of the most solid gold choices among all factions, and definetly the deserved number 3 in this toplist.

  4. Caretaker: Caretaker was not only an extremely hard bossfight in the first expansion of The Witcher 3, but is in fact a gold card, which despite that he is extremely strong, and it’s hard to imagine a monster deck without him, was never nerfed, except for the passive nerf by making medics permadeath. Stealing cards from your opponent, can open up opportunities and plays a faction never had without them, and deny factions that rely on units in their graveyard (Northern Realms, Skellige) certain plays.

  5. Geralt:Igni: Number 5 on the toplist of goldcards in the closed beta is the neutral golden Geralt:Igni. His impact is gigantic, even when you don’t expect your opponent to play him in his deck you would always rather play around him if you can. If you don’t he’s able to punish this extremely hard. He kind of resembles the first card after the classic scorch you have to learn to play around and weaken his effect as much as possible. Even on the top levels of play, and after his nerfs (Strength 6 -> 4, Minimum Row Strength to trigger the effect 15->20) he still sees play whenever the meta starts becoming greedy, and big units are played.


• King of Beggers

• Nenneke / Sigdrifa

• Morkvark / Olgierd

• Ocvist

• Roach



King of Beggers: The champion of the silver cards in the closed beta is the King of Beggers. He was not in the game at the start of the beta, but was introduced a bit later with the first wave of new cards, and ever since then his playrates have been insanely high. Every faction excluding Nilfgaard played him in the last patch throughout various archetypes and with different goals playing him.

Nenneke / Sigdrifa: Resurrecting of units, and silver cards especially has always been an extremely strong effect, because you basicially get the effect of card of your choice a second time, and some extra strength attached to it. Both Nenneke for the Northern Realms and Sigdrifa for the Skellige faction, have been autoinclude into every single deck of their actual faction since the start of the beta.

•** Morkvarg / Olgierd**: Being able to carry over strength through rounds is a very strong mechanic was discovered already very on in the beta. Morkvarg and especially Olgierd saw extreme amounts of play and popularity and had whole decks built around making them untouchable through stuff like the old promote mechanic in Northern Realms, which locked buffed strength into base strength, while even staying golden. Later on Olgierd saw play again in the Scoia-tel Ciri Dash deck, which used madroemes to buff his basestrength.

Similarily Morkvarg is used in Skellige using their Shieldsmiths to buff his base-strength as much as possible. Shieldsmith were able to buff 4 early on in the beta.

Ocvist: It took the players some time, to really figure out how much power Ocvist had, but when they did he was absolutely insane. The “old” Octvist was not only able to trigger the effect once as the current version of the card does. He was able to do it multiple times in a game. Before the nerf to him everyone was pretty much forced to have an answer to him (Alzurs Thunder) in his deck, otherwise the player facing Octvist was quickly multiple cards down. To this day he is continuing to be a really good card, but the weakening of having the last play makes him not as important as he used to.

Roach: Geralt’s horse was a part of a lot of decks in the closed beta, as she makes every single gold better by 3, or even more if you play Skellige. Roach also thins your deck, which has always been an important tool, and has some actual synergies with cards like Milva (revert coinflip in r1), or Vilgefortz (immediate target for him).

Early on in the beta, It was not unusual to see a 50 +strength golden roach in Northern Realms and potnetially even higher, due to mechanics being much different back then.

Roach will have her ability drastically changed though and will probably see less play then throughout all of the closed beta.


• Elven Mercenary

• Field Medic

• Priestess of Freya

• Nekker

• Mahakam Defender / Hawker Healer

  1. Elven Mercenary: Scoia’tel does not have any muster units, so they always relied on mercenaries and Rally effects, to thin their decks effectively. This bronze card definetely provide a lot more than the average value of a bronze card, which is 8, and whenever you wanted to build a serious Scoia’tel list in the closed beta you could pretty much start by putting 3 Elven Mercenaries into it. Elven Mercenary faced some nerfs during the closed beta, the most memorable one was the addition of the “relentless” tag, which stopped Blue Mountain Commandos from replaying them for another spell.

  2. Priestess of Freya: Probablz the most played unit in the Skellige faction, not onlz due to her remarkable voice/line. Priestess of Freya allows you to resurrect whatever bronze unit in your graveyard. As mentioned multiple times resurrecting stuff is always powerful, but even more in Skellige, as the units got an additional base strength every round. Priestess of Freya also has some great synergy with King of Beggers, because with her being a 1 strength unit he can draw her from your deck, so it was possible to do a medic chains (Sigdrifa -> KoB -> Priestess of Freya), even after the introduction of the Permadeath Tag.

  3. Field Medic: And yet another medic in the toplist. Even though Field Medics, are random, that’s usually not even an issue, because all possible targets are good in usual Northern Realms decks. Resurecting reaver scouts can result into huge chains, even after the addition of the Permadeath tag.

  4. Nekker: Nekker used to be a pretty basic vanilla card at the start of the beta. After some time it got reworked to it’s current state, except for the breedable tag, and single-handedly established an entire archetype, we nowadays call Consume Monsters. Nekkers synergies quite well with a variety of devourers, as well as Nekker warriors, and allow you to get even more carry over value, and additional tempo by consuming them whenever you need it.

  5. Mahakam Defender / Hawker Healer: Even though Mahakam Defender and Hawker Healer, don’t have much in common, and have entirely different effects, it still makes sense to mention them both, because they enabled swim_’s legendary Melee stacking “Dorf” deck, and they have quite some natural synergie. Before the changes of the last closed beta patch Mahakam Defender was a 4 strength unit, who gained resilience after each round. So played in round 1 he had an overall value of 12, which is already fairly good for a bronze card. But given the fact, that you could heavily stack the melee row, and Hawker Healers buff applied to the entire row, this was actually an insanely powerful combo, and is definetly worth being mentioned in this list.


• Scorch

• Dimeritium Bomb

• Decoy

• Commanders Horn

• First Light

  1. Scorch: Even though Scorch has never been part of every single meta deck at any point of the Beta, it’s still an extremely important one, because you will always play around it if possible, and, because it was included in the standard set, every new player has we all learn to be aware of its effect really quickly – and scorch ourselves a few times, before we learn how it really works.

  2. Dimeritium Bomb: Dimeritium Bomb comes second in this list, as a card that used to be even more powerful in its first version. It used to reset all units on the board to base strength, and was mainly used in Skellige to make up really high last card swings. In later stages it was a always a good counter to aggressive metas using high green buffs, such as “Dorfs”.

  3. Decoy: While making thoughts about this list, I was 100% certain that Decoy would be the #1 of spells for quite some time. The effect of the old version of decoy was “return a card on your side of the battlefield to your hand”, so it basically worked like a cardadvantage spy, that doesn’t give any strength to your opponent. In fact it was extremely strong, and a must have card for every single deck, and every game had a certain stage where both players were just bouncing spies back and forth.

  4. Commanders Horn: Our #4 is Commanders Horn, with a quite similar reasoning as Scorch. It’s included in the starter cards and viable until the top levels of play. In comparision to Scorch it was actually nerfed a few times, the first change was that it did not double the strength of all units in a row anymore, but only added 4 to all of them. The second came with the positioning update last patch and caused it to only buff up to 5 adjancent targets. Nonetheless it is still played a lot.

  5. First Light: First Light comes in as #5, and is actually one out of few cards in that list that got buffed during the Closed Beta. At the very first build it used to only remove weathers, and did not have the rally effect to choose from. With the addition of the rally effect, it became an extremely versatile card, that basically still is a tech, but with almost no drawback at all.

Honorable Mentions:

Milva / Cahir

Borkh / Villentretenmerth


Lugos / Insengrim

These are some more cards worth mentioning: Milva and Cahir were exceptionally mean and almost toxic to the opposing player if you are up a card and your opponent already had to pass, which was easy to enable in their archetypes. Lugos, Isengrim were quite similar, but last plays you could do, even when down in cards, and that were extremely swingy. To clarify old Lugos used to gain strength for each discarded unit and the very first Isengrim used to spawn a Neophyte for each spell played in the game. Latter was changed very quickly though. Madroeme basicially enabled the PFI Foltest archetype, and was extremely oppressive for one patch, but was quite mediocre afterwards. Villentrethenmerth always had the same effect, but his strength used to be higher (9 -> 7 -> 4), if your deck can handle him he’s always a decent choice, and can make high swings happen, only issue is that he has a lot of counterplay, and can backfire, which caused him to not be on the toplist. Netherless he saw a lot of play in top Ranks in mostly Northern Realms control or Scoia´tel Eithne control list. A Threat, which especially Skellige had a hard time dealing with, taking them completely out of the meta.

While this is a subjective list, we certainly hope you can agree to our list and some of you might get throwbacks to the last 7 months in closed beta of Gwent. Next part will be dealing with strongest decks in closed beta.

More than any other GWENT faction, Nilfgaard relies on diplomacy and subterfuge to disrupt enemy strategies and enact its own. The empire plants spies behind enemy lines to perform sabotage and reveal cards in the opponent’s hand. Well-aware of the benefits of power, Nilfgaardians target the strongest enemy units, crippling them or eliminating them altogether.
-Official Gwent homepage

The Empire of Nilfgaard

This week we will look into a very strong and domineering faction: Nilfgaard or “the black ones” as some people would call them due to their black, shiny armor.

Nilfgaard is a cunning and dangerous faction. They are not afraid to use controversial methods to get what they want. Order, discipline, dignity,diplomacy and strategy are the themes, which might describe “the black ones” the best.

The Nilfgaardian Empire is the largest and most powerful state located to the south of the Northern Kingdoms. The Nilfgaardians seek to conquer lands and spread their superior culture and civilization. The exact scale of the empire is never shown, but from clues within the Witcher lore it is safe to assume that it is by far the largest of the civilizations. The Nilfgardian are proud of their culture and demonstrate their superiority, power and knowledge whenever they can. To a Nilfgaardian all outsiders are barbarians, especially Skelligers.

Despite thinking very highly of themselves and being cruel in both their decisions and behaviour, Nilfgaardians are not as racist as the kingdoms in the Northern Realms. They acknowledge and even respect elves, dwarves, and witchers for the most part. Because of their domination and most of their power coming from conquered lands they are very commonly compared to the Rome empire from our time. Conquered lands are turned into “provinces”, usually ruled by locals as long as they submit themselves to the Emperor. People from these subjugated lands still see themselves as outsiders; only those born inside the boundaries of the motherland are true Nilfgardians. Nilfgaard is an absolute Monarchy led by an emperor. Emperors are also religious figureheads for Nilfgaard. They represent “the great sun” as high priest, which is where the sun symbol you can see on their armor, clothes and banner comes from. Since Nilfgaard in Gwent is also led by their emperors, we will have a closer look at their emperors and Gwent-Leaders Emhyr, Jan Calveit and Moovran.

Emhyr Van Emreis: 1257 — 1290

Few names in the Continent’s history arouse as much terror and respect as that of Emhyr var Emreis, Deithwen Addan yn Carn aep Morvudd – the White Flame Dancing on the Graves of his Foes. Emperor of Nilfgaard, lord of Metinna, Ebbing and Gemmera, sovereign of Nazair and Vicovaro, he was ruler of half the civilized world and aspiring conqueror of the other half. He was a personage whose deeds and decisions shaped the fates of whole kingdoms and populations.

What then could he possible want of a simple witcher?
The emperor clearly and succinctly laid out what he wanted. His daughter and Geralt’s ward, Cirilla, was in great danger, for the Wild Hunt was on her trail. Geralt, a superb tracker linked to Emhyr’s daughter by the iron bonds of Destiny, stood a better chance of finding her than anyone else in the world.
-From Witcher 3 Journal Entry

Not only father to our dear Ciri, but also married to her. Well… not really her, just a mere fake Ciri. Emhyr found her in his search for his real daughter Ciri and after first abandoning her, ultimatively decided to marry her for political and unethetical reasons. From what we know of Nilfgaards emperors,Emhyr himself is a smart, ruthless, and brilliant leader. Within his time of ruling two separate wars broke out against the Northern Realms. In Gwent he is now able to take a card back into his hand and command a new card to be played from hand. His new implemented ability stands for him being a strong commander and tactical superiority.

**Morvran Voorhis: 1290-1301 **

Initially Joachim de Wett and others (Steffan Skellen for example) were planning to overthrow Emhyr as leader and place Morvran on the throne. Hint: This is also why Joachim De Wett, despite having been a commander for Emhyr is executed and displayed as disloyal card in Gwent.

Morvran himself is a man who thinks very highly and with dignity of himself. He would call himself a true Nilfgardian. He is also an expert when it comes to horses and is watching horse races regularly; in the Witcher 3 you are even able to ride against him. He has also been the commander of the Alba Division and had high impact on the third Northern War.

Jan Calveit: 1301 –>

Not much is known about Jan Calveit. He is mentioned in the books only in passing.

From Gwent presentation of him, we can speculate that he is a powerful and influencial leader and is more forgiving than Emhyr was in his aera (“I shall not repeat Emhyrs mistakes” ;- “I forgive you this time”)

Themes of Nilfgaard

Much like Skellige, Nilfgaard is a theme-driven faction. As mentioned earlier, order, discipline, dignity,diplomacy, infiltration and strategy are the key identities of Nilfgaard. Nilfgaard has a very efficient and proven way of winning their fights. Sending agents-> infiltrating and gaining information behind the enemy lines ->using gained information to their advantage for the next battle – conquering their foes.

In Gwent this is translated into mechanics like reveal, which is unique to Nilfgaard. This keyword shows a card in a players hand and is seen on many of the faction specific cards, including the leader ability of Morvran Voorhis. This mechanic synergizes with other cards getting stronger or dealing damage for each revealed card. While certainly a good transition from flavor to game concept, the mechanic is hard to evaluate in terms of how much value you really gain for revealing cards in your opponents hand. Rather unique to Nilfgard is also their way of gaining advantages by playing around their leaders and controlling the battlefield not just by pure damage or strength, but also by knowledge and structured units. The latter is displayed by Jon Calveit as their leader and cards like Skellen, Cantarella and Xarthesius, who are able to manipulate the order of your own and even your opponents deck. Knowledge is also gained by their spies infiltrating within the enemy lines. Nilfgaard has the highest amount of spies among any faction, even including bronze-spies. Another layer of Nilfgaards identity is their dignity and pride, which is displayed in the visuals of many cards. We can see many of their characters posing with their finely polished black armor or charging into battle and holding their banner high, showing their pride. In the visuals of Nilfgaard and especially their troops (bronze-cards) the conquering-theme is also very well represented with vastly different backgrounds for a lot of units, making it clear that they are representing a big area.

  • Schedule…*

Faction-Identity #1: Introduction and explanation~ 02.05

Faction-Identity #2: Skellige ~ 09.05

Faction-Identity #3: Nilfgaard ~ 23.05

Faction-Identity #4:Northern Realms ~ 30.05

Faction-Identity #5: Scoia´tel ~06.05

Faction-Identity #6: Monster ~ 13.06