The Guide is constantly updated with the latest changes in Gwent Open Beta
And don’t miss these additional Gwent Beginner Friendly Guides:
- GWENT Kegs: How to get them, Are they worth it, Pricing Models
- GWENT Guide to All Keywords on the Cards introduced in Open Beta
- GWENT Guide to InGame Currenci
This article will help you learn the basics of the stand-alone card game GWENT. If you have some experience with the mini game that was included in the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, here you will learn about the innovations. CD Projekt Red introduces interesting new gameplay mechanics, tons of new cards and even a few new features that alter the core gameplay.
Here I will explain the most basic and core rules of the game. Check out the Table of Contents to find what you are looking for if you are not a new to GWENT player.
- 1 ABOUT THE GAME
- 2 HOW TO PLAY GWENT
- 3 GWENT FACTIONS
- 4 DECK BUILDING
- 5 GETTING NEW CARDS
- 6 LEVELING AND RANKED PLAY
- 7 KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS
- 8 BEGINNER TIPS
- 9 VIDEO TUTORIALS
ABOUT THE GAME
GWENT is an online card game. It is a successor to the mini game that was integrated into The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. Both are designed by the polish studio CD Projekt Red. It is a game of tactics and careful planing ahead. Playing smart and luring your opponent into traps is likely your best chance to succeed. The full version of the GWENT stand-alone game will feature a full and detailed InGame tutorial (which you can watch in the video, shared at the bottom of this article), single player story campaign with comics styled story in between the games and a full player vs player mode, including friendly matches and tournament matches.
There are 5 factions available to play with: Skellige, Northern Kingdoms, Scoia’tael, Monsters and Nilfgaard. All of them offer different playing styles, which you can adjust to your personal liking and preferences.
HOW TO PLAY GWENT
First of all, you will need internet connection to download and access the game and all of its features. GWENT The Witcher Card Game is completely Free to Play and features InGame purchases (more on those later)
To win a game of GWENT you need to beat your opponent.In the beginning of each game, both players have the chance to “mulligan” (or replace) up to 3 from the randomly drawn 10 cards and begin the match with them. A match win is registered when one of the 2 sides has won 2 out of 3 available rounds. A round is won by accumulating more strength points than your opponent. The round ends when one of the 2 players runs out of cards or decides to skip a turn. Then the 2nd player has a chance to play more cards or skip too. Whoever of the 2 has higher score, wins the round. Strength is generated by playing unit cards on the board. It is the single most important stat and value, that determines the outcome of the round. There are 3 tiers of cards – Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Various combos can bring you lots of success. If you don’t play your cards smart, you will soon be doomed. Because of the small total amount of cards per match, each one of them is very important in the game of GWENT.
The board is the battlefield where yours and your opponent’s armies face each other. It is divided with a horizontal line in the middle. The upper half is your opponent’s area, the lower half is yours. To make explaining easy, I will only talk about the bottom half in this section of the guide.
The very bottom of the screen is where your cards are located. In the beginning of the game each player has 10 cards and 1 leader. One of the major changes, compared to the mini game in The Witcher 3, here at the start of each round, more cards are randomly drawn from your deck. In the beginning of the 2nd round, 2 cards are added to your hand and in the beginning of the final round, 1 more card is added to your hand.
The battlefield itself is separated into 3 zones – melee, ranged and siege. All unit cards (the ones directly rising up your strength stat) can only be played on the row they are designed to be played on. For example you can play a Ballista card only on the Siege row. There are special cards that alter the score value of other cards on the board, depending on where they are placed.
In the bottom right corner you have the discarded and destroyed/removed cards, placed in your graveyard. Next to it is the deck of cards that you draw from before and during the game.
According to their type, the cards are split into 3 categories:
- Bronze – has a bronze border, minimum of 15 are required to be included in any deck, while up to 3 copies of each card are allowed. A basic target value for a Bronze is ~8 Power.
- Silver – has a silver border, maximum 6 are allowed to be in any deck, only one copy of each silver card can be present. A basic target value for a Silver is ~10 Power.
- Gold – has a gold border, maximum of 4 are allowed to be in any deck, only one copy of each gold card can be present. A basic target value for a Gold is ~12 Power
According to their rarity, the cards are split into 4 categories:
- Common – marked with white color, cheapest and most common to drop from Kegs.
- Rare – marked with blue color
- Epic – marked with purple color
- Legendary – marked with gold color. All Gold Cards are Legendary tier
If you wish to learn more about pricing for crafting, transmuting and milling the different types of cards, check GWENT In-Game Currencies Guide: How to get them.
There are currently 5 available factions in Gwent Open 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 power’s benefits, Nilfgaardians target the strongest enemy units, crippling them or eliminating them altogether.
The world of The Witcher is infested with unspeakable horrors, most of which are gathered in the fearsome Monsters faction. Foul weather does not hinder these beasts—in fact, they thrive in harsh conditions. They attack in vast numbers that grow into hordes with the Breed ability, and when brute strength is needed instead, they consume their kin and absorb their strength.
Skelligers embrace death’s glory, knowing their priestesses and medics can summon departed heroes from the Graveyard to fight another day. A Skellige player sends units to the Graveyard on purpose… only to bring them back later, stronger than ever. Skelligers also turn wounds to their favor by inciting their bloodied warriors to attack with redoubled strength.
The Northern Realms seek to gain control of the battlefield by reinforcing their numbers. Their valiant commanders march in the front lines to inspire their units and boost their strength. Their troops can be immunized against attacks and weather spells through promotion to Gold status, while Medics can return fallen soldiers to fighting form.
The Scoia’tael are supremely agile, able to outmaneuver their foes with units able to deploy to any row. As befits guerilla fighters, they often set ambushes: cards played face down which reveal themselves only when the trap has already sprung. To bolster their numbers, the Scoia’tael quickly raise new Commandos, zealous neophytes that take the opponent by surprise.
For more detailed information on Gwent factions as well as some guides and analysis on starting decks and deck archetypes, check out this post: GWENT Factions: Introduction and Basic Overview (Open Beta)
Check out my Overview and Analysis of the Starter Decks.
This is also a new feature compared to the original GWENT game from the Witcher 3. You will start with basic starter decks, designed by the developers. Each deck has 1 leader only, but more can be obtained later in the game.
A deck consists of 25 to 40 cards. The more cards you have in your deck, the smaller your chance is to draw the best cards into your hand. You are only allowed to have up to 4 Gold Cards and up to 6 Silver Cards. You can only select to bring 1 copy of each Silver Card and up to 3 Bronze cards of the same type into your deck. Most of the cards in the game are divided and sorted according the faction they belong to. Some are neutral. Once you have gained some experience and a few new cards, you can start creating your own custom decks.
GETTING NEW CARDS
There are 3 ways of earning new cards – through random events and leveling, via kegs or by crafting them yourself. I will explain in a bit more detail the InGame purchasing and crafting below.
InGame purchases or as they are also popular lately – microtransactions, have been around for many years now and we are all used to that. In the GWENT stand-alone game players can purchase “Kegs”. A nice and cute troll will help you bash the keg open once you have purchased it and you will receive 5 cards in total out of it. Kegs can also be purchased with the InGame currency called “Ore”. You gain ore from playing, winning and leveling up. The contents of the Kegs is generated in the moment of opening, not when you purchase them.
As you play the game, you obtain not just “Ore”, but also “Scraps” and “Meteorite Powder”. The ability to craft cards becomes available when you reach lvl 3. Using the scraps you can make more copies of cards you already know or craft brand new ones. The better the card is, the more expensive it is to craft. If you don’t need some cards, you can deconstruct (mill) them and get back a small amount of scraps. The ratio of deconstructing a card and making a new one is very high in favor of crafting the new one, so don’t rush to remove half the cards from your collection.
Take a look at my GWENT Guide to InGame Currencies to learn how to earn and use them.
To stay up to date with the latest cards released by CD Projekt Red, keep an eye on the Developer Stream Overviews section.
LEVELING AND RANKED PLAY
As you play games and win rounds, you also gain levels. The reward system in Gwent is mostly based on winning rounds in a game, not whole games. This allows beginner players, who start off with the Basic Decks, to be able to progress quicker.
At level 10 you will unlock Ranked Mode. I highly encourage you to play Ranked, even if you have a only 1 relatively decent deck in the very beginning. At the very early ranks most of the players are still using basic decks and the rewards you earn as you rank up are very good.
Check the GWENT Leveling Up and Ranked Rewards Lists (Updated for Open Beta) for full details on rewards per level, per rank and also what you will receive at the end of each Ranked Season, based on your achievements.
For a detailed overview of the Gwent Masters series of tournaments, visit this guide: GWENT Masters Tournaments Guide: Everything You Need To Know
There are a number of default keyboard shortcut combinations that can make your Gwent gameplay much smoother and easier. Take a look at the picture below and try to memorize as many as possible.
- I strongly recommend you go through the InGame tutorial or watch the video I have attached at the bottom of this guide. It will help you learn almost everything you need to know before you begin your adventure. The rest comes with practice and experience. Speaking of practice, take your time and play a few games against the AI. Don’t rush to jump and play against real players. The system will always try to match players with similar decks, but it’s still better to prepare yourself.
- As you play more games, you will learn what other cards can do and how to design special combos with your own ones to use the synergy beetwen them. Many of the cards in GWENT have extra buffs or abilities that alter the score on the board when they are played.
- Focus on one faction and learn its strong and weak sides, then move on to the next one. If you jump from faction to faction and deck to deck all the time, it might take you longer time to learn and remember the differences between them.
- In most cases it is wiser to keep the total number of cards in your deck to 25 or as low as possible.
- During different times CD Projekt Red is tweaking the AI to different levels. In some patches it was very weak and silly, other times it seemed unbeatable with a beginner’s starter default deck. Don’t be discouraged if you keep losing to the AI. The real measurement is when you are paired with real players. The match making system works quite well and is more likely to pair you with another beginner than with an experienced veteran, using a much more advanced deck of cards.
- Give a GG to your opponent.
- Before you craft an expensive card, check for an upcoming patch and possible news on this card’s future. You don’t want to spend a ton of scraps on a card that is known to be changed soon and it wont fit into your deck any more.
- Consider crafting Neutral Silver and Gold Cards first. They can fit in decks from different factions and thus speed your deck building.
- Oh, did I mention? DO NOT mill spare decks! You never know when you might want to play a faction you’ve never touched before. Crafting cards is expensive!
- Try your skills in Ranked as sooon as you unlock it at level 10. The rewards are unbelievably high and at low ranks your rating can easily be fixed. Losing in a Ranked match in Gwent can still yield you a huge reward.
- Remember, every round counts! Even if you find yourself in a no-win situation, strive to take at least one round. The daily quests are based on rounds won, plus in the end of the game you will likely receive a “GG” reward from your opponent as well..
The following videos will help you get the basics about the game. If you need some more info on each of the available factions, check out my Basic overview of all 5 GWENT factions too!