Pro Ladder Season 1 By-the-Numbers

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game has now seen several ranked seasons - but we have recently finished its very first of the Pro Ladder. OtakuMZ takes us through how it all went down.

The Pro Laddeer’s first season is in the books, and the Polish player Adzikov ended up on top. At the start of the the season, he amassed 400 games to quickly climb to the top, and most assumed he would fall as more players started to reach the 400 game mark. He proved them wrong, however, as he would remain on top for nearly all of the first season. There was a brief period at the end of the season when GwentSlam #2 champion, GameKingAT from Austria, had a brief stint in the top slot, but Adzikov came back one more time to win back first prize and 80 Crown Points. Rounding out the top 3 was TailBot, another Polish player who spent much of the season just behind fellow countryman Adzikov.

Though we have begun the second season, we should take a closer look at the first’s results. There is actually a lot to learn from the stats that are buried in the final leaderboard. If you are interested in an in-depth take and some serious number crunching, you have come to the right place! For all of you that find too many numbers and walls of text less interesting, there’s a tl;dr at the bottom of the article.

Before we begin, a big shoutout to VanitasCabal. He not only programmed the script to extract the data from the website, we both developed the idea of this article together. While I put together the text and tables, he edited and amended it to further improve it. Make sure to follow him on twitter @VanitasCabal. He is also a streamer under the same name on twitch and the producer of “The Summoning Circle Podcast” which you can find on the usual podcast platforms.

Player Nationalities - Home Advantage?

Gwent is developed by Polish studio CD Projekt Red, which is internationally renowned for their AAA series: “The Witcher”. So it’s no surprise that a Polish game by a Polish developer based on a Polish Fantasy novel series would have its Pro Ladder filled with Polish players. At all levels of the ladder they were a dominant force in Season 1, with the highest amount of players in top 1000, top 200, top 100 and top 25. After Poland, the next highest representation came from Russia and Germany. Comparing the #2 and #3 countries, Russia had more players in top 1000, the same number in the top 200, and just a bit less in the top 100 and top 25. The last two big nations with more that 50 top 1000 players are China, followed by the U.S.A. (see Table 1).

Table 1: Nationality distribution in different player groups.

Factions - The Empire Dominates

[Note: Faction abbreviations used: MN=Monsters, NG=Nilfgaard, NR=Northern Realms, ST=Scoia’tael, SK=Skellige]

It is in common agreement that the faction based MMR (fMMR) is a great system to improve variety on the Pro Ladder grind, which leads to a more interesting and diverse experience. As a byproduct of having the faction-specific data available, we can discover a lot about the relative strengths of the factions.

Nilfgaard was the strongest faction in nearly every measure. The faction scored the highest fMMR, 1546 by Polish player Addom34 which was 39 points higher than ST’s 1507 fMMR by Spanish player Nujwk. It also was also the strongest faction looking at the top 50 by the highest average fMMR. The empire did not dominate the top 100 to top 1000 as much, only being the second best faction by mean fMMR. This implies that while Nilfgaard may have been the strongest faction of Season 1, it certainly was by no means easy to play at the highest level.

Scoia’tael quality clocked in at middle-to-low tier outside of the top 5, where it was the second best. This indicates that a tiny minority players were playing the faction in a way that the masses - already the cream of Gwent’s crop - simply could not replicate. Surprisingly, Northern Realms had the second best mean fMMR in all but top 100, where it was best, and top 5/10, where it was middle tier. This was likely the effect of people grinding NR hard before the nerf, and then being overtaken at the top end. The top NR player was the well-known veteran player, MaggoGx from Russia.

Monsters was the worst faction at the top end but showed the best fMMR on the lower end of our statistics between top 200 and top 1000. The latter can be an effect of being one of the most played factions in this group, and beyond the top 500 players there are few players that finished all matches for all factions resulting in higher fMMR for the most played ones. TailBot secured his spot as best Monsters competitor.

Skellige, riding on the back of Restore, was the second to third best faction up to top 50 but had by far the worst fMMR if calculated for top 100, 500 and 1000. The top Skellige player was irohabit from China with an fMMR of 1490 (compare Table 2).

Table 2: Mean fMMR calculated for player groups (upper part) and number of players in top 200 that were equal or above a certain fMMR threshold.

The lower part of Table 2 which analized top 200 players showed again, shows us that NG was the strongest faction in top 200, followed by ST. Skellige was third best and Monsters were trash-tier after NR. This analysis is a good representation of the final tier evaluation of all factions as those players are the ones that compete in the qualifiers for Gwent Challenger.

Taking a look at only the fMMR of players that completed 100 games or more in the respective faction, the picture changes. Suddenly, SK is the strongest faction while NG is the worst. NR took second place, ST third, and MN fourth. The question here is why NG is ranked so badly? As this calculation takes into account even low ranked players in the top 1000 and NG Spies is a skill intensive deck, we can assume that this may be the deciding factor. NR and SK are assumed to be ranked the two best factions here as the prevalent archetypes - pre-nerf NR Armor and Restore Skellige - are rather easy to pilot compared to NG Spies and Spell ST. Monsters didn’t perform very well overall so no surprise for this faction.

Table 3: Average fMMR and lowest fMMR of competitors that completed at least 100 games.

Games Played - ALBAAAAAAA!

Again, Nilfgaard was dominant when calculating mean games among subgroups. NG was throughout all subgroups, let alone top 1000, the most-ground faction. Surprisingly, Monsters was the second most played faction throughout the top 500. The third most was ST followed, a bit to our surprise, by SK as the second least played faction despite its obvious power. NR was not played much after the armor nerf-hammer came down, and therefore ended up generally being the least played faction throughout every calculated subgroup.

Regarding individual players, my fellow German player Metranos ground NR hard with 802 games finished with that faction. This amount was a tiny bit more than F2K player JJPasak from the Czech Republic accumulated with NG (791 matches). Known Monsters player and top 6 finisher MaggoGx played the most games with that faction (501 matches). For Skellige, again Metranos was the one with the most matches played (490). Only in ST, Nujwk was able to achieve most matches played (484) and the highest fMMR for the faction onto one person.

Table 4: Mean matches played calculated for player groups (upper part) and number of players in top 200 that played equal or more games above a certain threshold.

Looking at the top 200 players again, the picture does not alter the whole. NG was played the most, followed by MN and ST. SK was the second least played class and NR came in last.


Top 5 Nations

  1. Poland

  2. Russia

  3. Germany

  4. China

  5. U.S.A.

Faction Performance Ranking

  1. NG

  2. ST

  3. SK

  4. NR

  5. MN

Most Played Faction Ranking

  1. NG

  2. MN

  3. ST

  4. SK

  5. NR

There’s a lot to take away from the first season of Pro Ladder - check back in the begining of 2018 for a thorough recap of the second season of Pro Ladder, and we’ll see how the balance of the ladder shifts!


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