- 3Wild Hunt Rider3Immune to Frost. Play all Wild Hunt Riders from your deck.
- 5Wild Hunt Warrior3Immune to Frost. Remove 1 strength from an opposing non-Gold unit and gain 2 strength if that unit is destroyed.
- 6Ciri1Return to your hand if you lose the round.
- 7Ice Giant1Immune to Frost. Gain 7 strength while on a row affected by Frost.
- 8Caranthir1Immune to Frost. Spawn a Frost effect and 2 Wild Hunt Hounds.
- 1Foglet3Immune to Fog. Play from your deck or graveyard whenever Fog is spawned. Gain 1 strength whenever a Fog effect is applied. Destroy when moved outside of Fog or Fog is removed.
- 6Ancient Foglet3Immune to Fog. Gain 1 strength at the start of your turn if on a row affected by Fog.
- 7Woodland Spirit1Immune to Fog. Spawn a Fog effect and 3 Rabid Wolves.
- 3Sarah1Immune to Weather. Gain 3 strength each time a Weather effect appears.
- 5Giant Toad1If possible, discard a non-Gold unit, absorb its strength and draw a card.
- 6Gaunter O'Dimm1Spawn 3 Shadows.
- -Lacerate1Remove 3 strength from all non-Gold units on a row.
- -Ragh Nar Roog1Spawn Frost, Fog and Rain effects.
- -Scorch1Destroy the strongest non-Gold unit(s) on the battlefield.
- -Stammelford's Tremors2Remove 2 strength from all non-Gold units on both sides of the battlefield.
- -White Frost1Spawn Frost and Fog effects.
I recently got into the Gwent beta and have enjoyed playing the game. I have a lot of experience playing card games competitively (I’m on a professional esports team for Hearthstone/Hex, I used to do well at Hearthstone, and now I am one of the top Hex TCG players), so naturally my inclination was to build a highly competitive deck. I was initially drawn to the Monsters faction largely due to it seeming powerful and also having really cool art. Weather cards also seemed incredibly versatile in the Monster deck since they can be played for card advantage with Foglets.
Recently, I’ve been playing with the list above.
Let’s talk some specific cards and strategy.
Spawn Frost, Fog and Rain effects.
When I first started playing Gwent I was using Biting FrostSpawn a Frost effect on both Melee rows that sets the strength of all non-Gold units on or appearing there to 1. and Impenetrable FogSpawn a Fog effect on both Ranged rows that sets the strength of all non-Gold units on or appearing there to 1. for my weather effects. However, while weather can be incredibly powerful in this game, I found the bronze weather cards were often dead draws. Since Biting Frost has no effect other than to reduce the strength of troops in the front row, it is very poor against decks which don’t play front row troops or hands which don’t draw those troops. Attaching frost to a troop or fog effect lets me play frost effects while providing some value regardless of my opponent’s weakness to frost. I feel a split of 1x Ragh Nar RoogSpawn Frost, Fog and Rain effects., 1x White FrostSpawn Frost and Fog effects., 1x Woodland SpiritImmune to Fog. Spawn a Fog effect and 3 Rabid Wolves., and 1x CaranthirImmune to Frost. Spawn a Frost effect and 2 Wild Hunt Hounds. provides ample opportunities to induce weather while still providing card advantage. I would go so far as to say that Woodland Spirit and Caranthir are the linchpins of this deck. Each puts a massive amount of strength into play on their own while also potentially crippling our opponent’s units.
This card is amazing with the Monster faction passive. I’ve found that playing EredinPlay Eredin. round 1 and passing usually forces my opponent to commit 2-3 cards to win the round. This lets me have significant card advantage in future rounds as I get to keep my powerful gold unit while my opponent is out 2-3 cards. Ciri allows me to commit 18 strength to the board round 1, requiring a significant commitment of cards from my opponent. If I lose the round, I keep both units. If I win the round, it was only at the cost of 1 card.
Giant Toad is one of Monsters only options for card draw. Being able to eat a powerful troop, gain the majority of its benefits, AND draw a card seems huge (giant?). Alternatively, it can be used to eat a FogletImmune to Fog. Play from your deck or graveyard whenever Fog is spawned. Gain 1 strength whenever a Fog effect is applied. Destroy when moved outside of Fog or Fog is removed. to increase the efficacy of my hand.
I am not completely convinced Sarah is necessary in this deck, but it is an intuitive inclusion given our weather effects. Sarah is nothing more than a pile of strength, but sometimes that’s all you need to win. She works particularly well with Ragh Nar RoogSpawn Frost, Fog and Rain effects. and White FrostSpawn Frost and Fog effects. as they each add 12 and 8 strength to Sarah respectively. The downside is that she is exceptionally terrible if you draw no weather effects. I will likely experiment with other cards in this slot, but Sarah has been strong for me so far in testing.
FogletImmune to Fog. Play from your deck or graveyard whenever Fog is spawned. Gain 1 strength whenever a Fog effect is applied. Destroy when moved outside of Fog or Fog is removed./Wild Hunt RiderImmune to Frost. Play all Wild Hunt Riders from your deck.
Immune to Fog. Play from your deck or graveyard whenever Fog is spawned. Gain 1 strength whenever a Fog effect is applied. Destroy when moved outside of Fog or Fog is removed.
Foglet and Wild Hunt Rider are two of the cards which make deckbuilding interesting for Monsters. They are similar in that you’re usually searching them out of your deck rather than playing them from your hand. This thins your deck and increases the consistency of future draws. Unfortunately, this is often at odds with our strategy to concede round 1 and maximize our passive. Additionally, neither unit is one you’d like to keep off the passive. They are also poor draws themselves. Drawing any copies of Foglet or more than one copy of Wild Hunt Rider is as bad as having one less card in your hand. This is huge in a game which places significant emphasis on card advantage. All that said, I’ve had a hard time finding anything to replace them. Both are immune or benefit from our weather effects, meaning they play well with our most powerful cards. The Foglets also make your weather effects act as a unit in addition to their other benefits. As I mentioned previously, a card like Biting Frost may have absolutely no effect depending on the opponent I’m facing. However, White Frost will at a minimum put 6 strength worth of Foglets on board while also providing potentially game winning weather effects. Foglet is likely too critical to the deck’s success, but I will likely look to remove Wild Hunt Rider from the deck to reduce the number of dead draws in round 2 if I can find a suitable replacement.
A powerful unit base needs powerful removal to complement it. I am a huge fan of ScorchDestroy the strongest non-Gold unit(s) on the battlefield. as it is often a 2 for 1 and can deal with strategies which look to build a massive unit and give it Adrenaline RushKeep a non-Gold unit on the battlefield at the end of this round.. I settled on Stammelford's TremorsRemove 2 strength from all non-Gold units on both sides of the battlefield. as my primary removal since it will usually result in the highest reduction in opponents’ strength. Tremors also conveniently clears units inhibited by weather. I often hold Tremors until the very end of a round in order to maximize its impact. I’m currently playing a singleton Lacerate alongside two copies of Tremors in order to diversify my answers, but I may switch to the full 3 copies of Tremors if it continues to test well.
Let’s talk about a few cards I’m not playing.
OcvistAfter 4 turns, remove 1 strength from all opposing non-Gold units and return this card to your hand.
This is one of the cards I’m least sure about, but most excited to try at some point. What I like most about the card is that it gives me the ability to “pass” a turn after its effect triggers. Gwent is very much about being reactive and bluffing, so being able to play Ocvist on turn 1 of a round and then again on turn 6 allows me to keep the board status quo, forcing my opponent to commit more cards without sacrificing any advantage or information. The fact that it has powerful inevitability in affecting strength totals is icing on the cake.
Avallac'hDraw 2 cards. Your opponent draws 1 card./Geralt: IgniDestroy the strongest non-Gold unit(s) on the opposite row if that row totals 20 or more strength./ImlerithImmune to Frost. Remove 3 strength from an opposing unit and 1 strength from all other units on its row.
These all seem like great gold cards that I’d love to play, but I’m not sure any one of them is better than the current four gold cards I’ve chosen. Many will likely point to Ragh Nar Roog as weaker than most other gold cards, but I feel it is fairly integral to our deck’s strategy. If we were to cut it, we would play either Skellige StormSpawn Fog and Rain effects. or AeromancySpawn a Biting Frost, Impenetrable Fog or Torrential Rain card. and also cut SarahImmune to Weather. Gain 3 strength each time a Weather effect appears. or Giant ToadIf possible, discard a non-Gold unit, absorb its strength and draw a card..
I hope you enjoy the deck and I look forward to running into some of you in game!
Varranis is an analyst for professional gaming organization Fade 2 Karma. He has played countless TCGs over the last eighteen years and brings a unique lens to theory crafting and deck building based on his historical experience. Varranis has numerous tournament wins and top finishes to his name across several popular TCGs and has coached and supported players in world championship level events.