How To Pick the Best Card in the Keg

With the new update to Gwent, many of the games fundamental mechanics have dramatically changed. I recently wrote a guide on The Slightly Better Way to Open Kegs which is now completed outdated, so I thought I’d take a look at writing a new one. Due to playing the beta a fair bit, I had unlocked enough achievements to buy around 100 kegs straight out of the gates, which allowed me to do a fair bit of experimentation so that you don’t have to. If you’ve felt anxious about making the wrong choice when picking that fifth card, read this guide and hopefully it will help you make those decisions a little easier.

Note that if you played the beta and have hundreds of thousands of scraps lying around, this guide doesn’t really apply to you – just buy any cards you want and save your ore for a special event.

 

So first things first: everything’s different. There are no more silver cards, just bronze and gold. You can have as many gold cards as you want in a deck (so long as you have at least 25 cards total and the rest of your cards fit within the capacity limit), and you can only have two bronze duplicates in your starting deck at any one time.
Why does this matter? Because it changes which cards are a priority, and informs how many of each card to get.

Let’s talk about the mechanics of kegs. Here’s an example of one I opened recently:

GWENT: The Witcher Card Game_20181205123558

See the brown and green indicators underneath the cards? Those refer to the number of standard (non-animated) and premium (animated) cards I already possess in my collection respectively. So in this case, including the cards I’ve just received I now have 3 standard Temerian Drummers, 2 premium Brokvar Hunters, 3 standard and 1 animated Trebuchets, and 3 standard Venedal Elites.

Here’s the all important next screen: picking the 5th card.

GWENT: The Witcher Card Game_20181205123603

You can see the same indicators underneath. The green diamond with the “!” indicates it’s a card I don’t yet have in my collection.

So which card do you prioritise? Here’s what I’d recommend.

 

1. Any premium card.

Surprisingly, the answer is not to immediately choose the card you don’t have yet. Premium cards are worth way more when you mill them than standard cards, so if your long term goal is to be able to access extra meteorite powder and scraps to craft your perfect deck I would pick the premium cards first. Note that unlike the beta, you can’t tell if any of the cards are animated until you move the cursor over them, so make sure to manually check each one before making your decision.

2. Cards that belong to the faction that you’re currently focusing on.

The new Gwent is absolutely huge; there are half a dozen viable strategies for any given faction. To minimise brain overload, I recommend picking one faction and focusing on building one working deck at a time. If you’ve only got one copy of a bronze card in your preferred faction (including neutral), go ahead and snatch up that duplicate.

3. Cards that you don’t have yet.

Assuming that one day you might want to have a large enough collection to build several decks from different factions, having every card in the game is not a bad starting point. Even if a card doesn’t seem like anything special on face value, maybe in combination with other cards it might just lead to some mindblowing strategies that no one else has thought of. I like to think that every card is useful in the right situation. And besides, if a card really is useless, there’s a good chance the devs will alter it in future updates to make it more viable.

4. The standard version of a premium card.

If you’ve got one premium version of a card, grab its standard counterpart. That way you’ll have one of each, and will be able to add two cards to your deck if you want to use them both as part of your strategy.

5. Cards you only have one copy of.

Snap up those bronze duplicates. You can have a maximum of two premium and two standard copies of each bronze card in your collection, or one of each for gold (though to be clear, you can still only USE two copies of a bronze card or one copy of a gold card in a deck).

6. Any other card.

Anything else is just going to get milled anyway, so don’t worry about what you pick. Rest assured that when you’re being shown three cards, they’re all equally valuable (rare or higher) so you can’t really make a wrong choice.

 

And that’s it! Doubtless they’ll release some major update in a few months that will make all of this outdated, but for the moment these are my best tips for making the smartest selections. May goodest cards you get, ‘uman deserve it!

Homecoming

Welp, it’s the end of an era. In about 24 hours, the Gwent beta as I know it will be ending, and all of the cards will be completely reworked and the gameplay mechanics majorly adjusted. I’ve played Gwent somewhat regularly over the past year or so, often playing every day between 30-60 minutes, and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge what this game has meant to me. It’s been both an important coping mechanism, and a source of immense frustration as I’ve yoyo’d between winning and losing. As I’ve often told my wife, “The highs are highs and the lows are low.” I’m feeling bitter sweet about the new update that will change everything that I love about the game currently.

 

Overall, I didn’t do too badly on the competitive scene even though I would describe my dedication as “somewhere between casual and passionate”. I was never exceptional, but in those months where I was playing regularly, I ranked as highly as #281 in Oceania and Australia.

GWENT: The Witcher Card Game_20180830231139

 

From the very beginning, I decided that I would only play Scoiatael decks, and for the most part I kept to that – about 95% of my games have been from the one faction. I actively avoided following the META, and I put huge amounts of thought into the composition of decks with unique strategies. More importantly though, I created meaningful names for every deck I ever made, and I remember each of them fondly. There were the Sons of Earth, the River of Gold and Aen Seidhe. During my brief stint playing as Skellige, I called upon The Undying. When I went through my Monster phase, my decks were named Winter Knights, Champion, and Om Nommy Nomface.

In practice though, I only really used three decks.

There was Ambuscade, that focussed almost exclusively on ambush cards, traps and keeping my opponent guessing. I would lay down two or three cards face-down, and they would never know which of them would flip over and put them at a disadvantage.

Then there was the Commando deck, constantly moving units from row to row, never being where the opponent expected and punishing them for both staying where they were or trying to escape.

Among them, my prized deck was called Use the Boost to Get Through. I would layer several rows with Golden Frothed ale, and my Mahakam Marauders would drink it all. Due to some strategic wizardry, I could get up to nine Marauders on the board at once, each worth 40+ points while my Farseers laughed and laughed. I once won a game with a final score of over 400 points in the third round.

GWENT_ The Witcher Card Game_20181202171100.jpg

 

Over the time I’ve played, I’ve gotten almost all of the cards in the game. This was knowledge hard-won, involving much trial and error as I learned the best way to open Kegs. I’d opened hundreds of them over time and was curious to see how many cards I had in total, so I manually counted them all, not distinguishing between premium and standard (animated or still). The final tallies were:
Bronze – 200/200
Silver – 133/150
Gold – 104/131

Even though I was missing more than I’d expected, I’m pretty proud of that effort! I’ve already got about 10000 scraps from previous mills, so when Homecoming launches and all of my current cards are converted to scrap I think I’ll have enough to buy the maximum playable number of every card in the game (thanks to all those duplicates). I wonder what kind of strategies I’ll create next.

 

I’ll miss the old Gwent, but I’m excited for Thronebreaker and the Homecoming rework. I’ve avoided learning anything about Homecoming because I want to experience it fresh, poring over each new card and putting together my ultimate deck without being influenced by other people’s ideas of what works. December 4th has been a long time coming.

The Slightly Smarter Way to Open Kegs in Gwent

I’ve been enjoying Gwent since the Beta went public. Apart from the $7.55 starter special, I haven’t spent any money on kegs, and I usually only play it once or twice a week. Yet despite my casual approach, I’ve collected the maximum amount of nearly every card. How? These hard-won lessons, which I freely share.

1. Don’t open kegs or spend ore until there’s a Premium Card Weekend

39834946_1879563508791574_7749337869298171904_n.png

Every couple of months CD Projekt Red has some kind of special event where for a few days only every keg will contain a Rare (uncommon bronze), Premium (animated) or Epic (silver) card. At first I found it hard to resist the temptation to open my kegs as soon as I got them (especially after a Season End), but unlike many other games, the contents of the kegs are not determined when they’re awarded to you, but when they’re opened. This weekend is the Epic Card Week, meaning every keg contains at least one silver card, and you better believe I just cashed in all my ore to open 50 kegs in a row.

2. Stop playing once you’ve won six rounds per day

P6JlRir.jpg

Winning six rounds every day is the most efficient way to earn those sweet, sweet glitter rocks that Shupe loves so much (read: ore to buy kegs). Curiously, CD Projekt Red doesn’t reward people for playing longer; 6 rounds nets 100 ore, but an additional 12 rounds (18 in total) rewards only 75 more. Personally I think that the rewards should exponentially increase the more you win to encourage you to keep playing, but hey, I’m not a dev. The daily rewards reset at 2am CEST (if that means anything to anyone), so unless you’re really enjoying long stretches of the game I’d say stopping at six per day is the most efficient use of your time.

3. Ever wondered what those numbers mean when you’re opening the 5th card in the keg?

To be honest, this is the real reason I’m writing this. I scoured the internet and couldn’t find an answer to this question until I figured it out tonight. Behold.

20180822_201101

Sorry for the blurry picture, but it will suffice for this example.

Here I was choosing between three standard (non-animated) cards.

For numbers without a fraction, that shows how many of that exact copy of the card you have. In this case, I had 3 standard copies of White Frost.
For fractions, the number on top shows how many copies of that exact card you have, and the number on the bottom shows how many copies of that card you have in total. In this example, because the card being offered is non-animated, I have 1 standard copy of Braenn, and 2 copies in total (the inference meaning that I have 1 premium copy of her as well). For Morkvarg, I have 0 standard copies of the card, and 1 in total (meaning I have 1 premium copy already).

If these cards offered were all premium, it would mean I have 3x premium copies of White Frost and x0 standard copies, 1x premium copy of Braenn and 1x standard copy, and 0x premium copies of Morkvarg and 1x standard copy.

Also note that these numbers reflect your current number of cards, and will change once you make a selection. Because I already had standard copies of White Frost and Braenn, I chose Morkvarg. This would have updated the fraction to say x1/x2. (One standard copy of the card, two copies in total.)

4. When choosing between cards, pick the animated cards first!

Unless there’s an incredibly useful standard card you don’t have yet and can’t afford to buy, pick the premium (animated) card every time. Premium cards are WAY more expensive if you’re considering purchase them with scrap. And if you choose to mill them, not only do you get the standard amount of scrap, you also get meteorite powder (which can be used to transmute cards from their standard to animated forms)!

Incidentally if you’re looking at milling premium cards, this is how much meteor powder you’ll get depending on the rarity:
20 for Common (bronze)
50 for Rare (uncommon bronze)
80 for Epic (silver)
120 for Legendary (gold)

5. Don’t mill your cards unless you need the scraps!

Much to my regret, I only just learned this one mere minutes after milling 30 Epic cards.

Unless you need the scraps to build a new deck that you want to play with right away, try not to buy cards in general. If you open enough kegs, you’ll get the cards you want, as well as a hefty pile of duplicates too. Apparently it’s useful to hang onto these, because according to this reddit post the next major update (Homecoming) will completely reset everyone’s collections and refund their full card values. This means if you’ve got three copies of White Frost like I did, hanging onto them will be worth 200 scraps each (rather than 200+50+50 like I’ll get because I just milled my duplicates like the fool of a Took I am).


And that’s it! Hopefully these tips help you make more informed decisions about what cards you want to choose. Now that you know how to open kegs like a pro, I hope you rake in those legendaries!