Taking the Gwent card game from The Witcher 3 and making a standalone, spin-off game of it, developer CD Projekt RED have thrown a variety of twists and turns into the previously established formula of the card game that demanded attention back in 2015. This Gwent guide hub will act as a central bank of knowledge for the game, containing a variety of tactics and strategy guides, as well as the best decks to use in Gwent.
Gwent is a purely tactical game, with two players going head-to-head in an attempt to outlast one another over the course of two, or three rounds. The goal is to deplete both of your opponents lives before they deplete yours, through having the highest accumulative card score at the end of the round. We'll fully explain the rules of Gwent just below, along with a strategy guide to best any opponent.
For all you need to know about Gwent, including how to sign up to the Gwent beta, head over to our Everything You Need to Know About Gwent article.
How to Play Gwent - A Step-by-Step Guide
Only two players can partake in a game of Gwent, and both these players start with two lives. Both players will then pick one faction, out of the Northern Realms, Nilfgaardian Empire, Monsters, and Scoia'tael factions, and will stick with this faction, and their selected Leader from within that faction, for the whole game.
- Step One - Players draw ten cards from the top of their own deck to form a hand, and also select a single Leader card from their faction.
- Step Two - Each player takes turns placing down one card at a time on their side of the board, with the aim of having the larger overall score total. The round ends when both players have passed, or have no cards left in their hands to put down on the battlefield.
- Step Three - At the end of a round the numerical values of every card on each side of the battlefield are all added up, and whichever player has a greater total wins the round.
Whoever has the lower total loses a life, and the first player to lose both lives through this manner loses this game of Gwent. The rules stated above are obviously subject to any special abilities that cards may have, for example a card may allow you to draw additional cards from your deck into your hand, or play another card from your deck onto the battlefield.
Playing a Weather or Leader card takes up the turn of the player, and these cards have no numerical value, instead affecting cards already on the board. For example, a Biting Frost Weather card can reduce all Close Quarters units to having a value of just 1, while the Brouver Hoog Leader card can be used to summon Silver cards from your deck. These cards should be used strategically, to impact the maximum number of your opponents cards.
It should also be noted that a player can pass whenever they wish, but the opposing player doesn't have to also pass, meaning they can continue placing down cards onto the battlefield unhindered by the other player who has passed. It may seem like a lot to get your head around, but we've laid out all the basic rules of Gwent for you here, and you should now be able to test yourself in a game.
General Gwent Tips and Tricks, How to Win at Gwent
Learning When to Pass:
- You can pass at any time in any round in Gwent, but the trick is knowing when to pass.
- The player can pass to forfeit the round and conserve their cards for later, or when they feel like they have a large enough lead on their opponent.
- Passing is mainly used for conserving cards for later, and should be used either for this purpose or when you have a large score lead in a round.
How to Unlock Cards:
- Back in The Witcher 3, additional Gwent cards were unlocked by beating characters that you found throughout the world.
- In Gwent, this system is replaced by either unlocking randomised cards through purchasing Card Kegs, or by collecting enough Scraps to unlock a single card.
We've also assembled a handy guide listing the most powerful Gwent cards in the game. This guide runs down the best cards to unlock with your Scrap for each faction, regardless of your play style.
How to Earn Scraps:
- Scraps are earned through Milling (destroying) cards you already own.
- Different cards produce different quantities of Scraps, and it's a good idea to sacrifice duplicates of cards, since you can only hold three of the same card in your deck.
- Building up Scraps to unlock cards is the only way to obtain cards outside of spending money on Card Kegs.
- CD Projekt RED introduced a change to Gwent during the closed beta phase, improving the amount of resources you gained from winning a match, encouraging players to up their game.
Gwent Lasts for Multiple Rounds:
- Remember that a game of Gwent always lasts for at least two rounds, and most of the time can go on to three full rounds.
- It's often a good idea to keep your strongest cards in your hand for as long as possible, as the winner in Gwent is often whoever has the strongest cards in the third, final round.
Pick One Gwent Faction:
- When you're first starting out playing Gwent, it's a good idea to choose one faction, and stick to that faction for the time being.
- Practice with this faction to make sure you understand the different powers the variety of cards have.
- Try out different Leader cards within this faction, for example see how Henselt plays instead of Foltest.
Beyond the aforementioned tips and tricks we've given you, it's a good idea to dive headfirst into a game of Gwent, even if this does mean you spend the first few hours getting beaten over and over. You'll always increase your knowledge of Gwent with every game you play, as you'll come across new cards and tactics that you won't have seen before. Keep playing, as the resulting knowledge of the game will be invaluable to you.
We've also assembled a guide to the very best Gwent decks for you to put together, collecting Scraps and grinding your way towards brand new cards.
Now that we've gone through the basics of how to play a Gwent game, as well as what to look for while you're in the heat of battle, you should have no problem diving into a game with any opponent.