Gwent, for those that don't know, was first introduced as a mini-game inside The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and it was addictive. I myself, who's a sucker for online card games, couldn't resist playing every single match available in the game. It was unique, strategic, and one of the biggest highlights of Witcher 3. Apparently, I wasn't alone with that thought, and developers CD Projekt RED took notice.
With the sudden rise of Hearthstone, the announcement of a standalone Gwent game sounded perfect. It is now in its Public Beta and can be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC for free. I've been playing Gwent on PlayStation 4 and on PC extensively since the Public Beta announcement broke, playing the game without spending a cent (purchasing kegs/packs with real money is available if you wish to invest).
So let's assume that you'd like to progress through your life as a Gwent player with no plans of spending just yet. With that in mind, here's a few things to consider when you start playing the game.
Go Through The Introduction, Play Through The Challenges
The best thing about Gwent is that its tutorial is friendly to new players that are unfamiliar with the game mechanics. For those that have played The Witcher 3's Gwent - forget all that you know, this is a whole new game with mechanics working differently now.
Once you get a hang of how the game plays, go through the Challenges found in the Single Player tab. These challenges not only earn you ore (which are used to spend on Kegs, the packs in the game that costs 100 Ore) but they also give you an idea of the different themes for each faction. There are five factions in the game with each having their own style of play.
Also, completing a challenge tier in a faction unlocks a new leader card, which gives you more options on what kind of deck you want to make with the cards available.
Play The Game Daily
Why? Because there are dailies of course. Just like most games nowadays, there's a reason to log in every day, but Gwent does things differently with their rewards system. When a new day starts, you'll go through the first tier of rewards, which only requires you to win 6 rounds. Again, you only have to win rounds, not the whole match. For each 2 rounds, you win will earn you either 15 Ore, 15 Meteorite Dust, or a random card. On the 6th win, you earn 100 Ore, enough to buy yourself one Keg, which will contain Five new cards with one guaranteed rare.
If you find yourself playing more matches, winning your 18th round grants you 75 Ore, and if you keep going, you will earn 50 more Ore once you've won forty-two rounds. The small rewards mentioned above will still come with every 2 rounds won, but once you hit your 22nd win, it will come every 4 round wins.
Even if you find yourself losing the overall match but winning at least one round, you are still progressing in the daily rewards.
Focus On One Faction
By now, the challenges should have given you an idea of what decks are possible in each faction, but head over to GwentDB to have more understanding on which cards synergize well with each other. Abuse the fact that you have more control of the cards you score compared to other card games. There are two ways to earn cards: Kegs(packs) and crafting. Each of these options gives you some form of control on what you will earn.
The interesting thing about Gwent's pack opening is that you have three options to choose from to be the fifth card in your keg(packs here are called Kegs, just go with it). You are guaranteed a rare card in each keg and this is usually the fifth card. This is where you can steer on what faction or deck you'd like to focus on. The fifth card has a chance to be an epic card or even a gold card, and when you get that, I suggest you have a clear plan in mind once this happens.
Then we have crafting which uses a different currency called Scraps that are earned through daily rewards and scrapping cards you already own. You can then use these Scraps to craft new cards.
Steer the fifth card of every keg you earn and use all your starting scraps on one faction. You will soon notice you are building a rather strong starter deck in one faction that's capable of securing your wins. With Gwent having five factions, it's going to be difficult to have a consistent deck if you spread your new cards on different factions at the beginning. At least this way, all your new cards will be used and you have better chances of earning more rewards faster every day.
Spend Your First Batch Of Scraps For New Gold Cards
That's what I did, at least for my first 1,600 Scraps(each gold card costs 800 scraps in order to craft).
There's a reason why Gwent only limits four gold cards per deck. They are powerful cards that the deck usually revolves around. They are the table turners when things get dire, and will be the card that can secure you the round. Every player in Gwent during the Public Beta is given four gold cards to start with: Triss Merigold, Geralt, one faction specific gold, and Royal Decree. They are quite strong but I highly recommend you replace them as soon as you can, especially Geralt. You can keep the faction you are focusing on in mind but don't forget that there are also gold cards that can be used in any faction. Once you replace the starting gold cards, you will soon find your deck performing better.
That's just a few things to remember when starting Gwent. Hopefully, this makes things easier for those starting out and are still not willing to spend real money for kegs. Rewards are plenty in this game. Each level you gain earns you rewards, and at level 10 Ranked Play is unlocked, which has another set of rewards you can earn as you climb the ladder.
Gwent is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Gwent is currently on its Public Beta phase.