Up 1-0 with a fully stacked hand. Feels good, man. I’m finally getting into Gwent and, to no one’s surprise, I really like it. I do wish my AI opponents were more clever, however. If you play Gwent in The Witcher 3, what kind of deck do you play and where can I find an opponent who’ll actually put up a fight?

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If you play Gwent in The Witcher 3, what kind of deck do you play and where can I find an opponent who’ll actually put up a fight?

For both of my 100-ish hour playthroughs, Gwent proceeded in the same way for me. Start with Northern Realms, get used to that as my deck of choice, opt for Foltest the Siegemaster (Commander’s Horn on your siege units), keep a stock of Trebuchet, Ballista and Catapult. End up replacing lower tier cards one by one for Hero cards as I advance until only Blue Stripes Commando, Dragon Hunter and Catapult are left for the bond bonus.

I usually play Northern Realms because of familiarity and aesthetic reasons, past the point where I end up with more Nilfgaard cards, which is objectively the best pool. They have the most Medics. They have the most Spies. They have the strongest single value cards (Black Infantry Archer x2 and Heavy Zerrikanian Fire Scorpion). They have the strongest leader, Emhyr var Emreis the Relentless, which lets you draw a card from your opponent’s discard to your hand. Usually that means you get one of your own spies back, but it can lead to a good steal of Villentretenmerth or something like that.

Playing Nilfgaard near the end of the game means I usually end up drawing almost all of my 28 cards, ending with 4-0 cards left and I completely control the board.

The difficulty of individual Gwent players really depends on when you expect to face them, and how diligent you’ve been in tracking down spies and Hero cards. Both of my playthroughs I end up doing quests in Novigrad and Skellige way underlevelled simply because I want to get access to better cards faster.

That being said, the most difficult player I faced in Gwent was in Oreton. Not the boatbuilder who awards you the Letho of Gulet Hero card either. A random trader’s nearby who has a deck filled with Hero cards you probably won’t have in Velen, along with spies and decoys. Really surprisingly difficult.

Anyway, besides the surprise traders who are difficult, the Gwent: High Stakes tournament might be somewhat challenging (especially if you’re underlevelled and try to do the damn fistfight).

There’s also Gwent: To Everything – Turn, Turn, Tournament in Blood and Wine where you have to champion the new Skellige deck against 4 consecutive opponents and win. Not only are you probably unfamiliar with the deck, you get access to less medics and no spies, with Muster mechanics that leave you vulnerable to Scorch (which is what makes Monsters such a bad deck*). So it can be difficult.

*When I first played the game and was just learning Gwent, Monsters seemed the most powerful, and not the worst deck like it is. “Whoa!” I thought to myself, “with a single card he can get over 20 attack on the board!” Besides opening yourself up to Scorch or Biting Frost (or both), the AI handles it poorly by playing a Muster card that will deplete their hand. This means they have less to play and will pass earlier, which is terrible. Basically you always want to bait your opponent into overextending to try and win a round, so their total value is depleted for the next round and you win more easily. Monsters, and to a lesser extent Scoia’tael and Skellige, does that to itself.

If you want to win a round, you don’t want to waste any more cards on it than necessary, or get a higher value than necessary. Beating your opponent by one point in a round is ideal.