3rd Gwent Balance Council December 2023 – Buffs & Nerfs Ideas

Ladder Meta Brief

If we look at Top16, then the picture is even more clear: NR winrate is ~76%wr, next faction is ST ~69% followed by NG 66% (look at the grand table in the ‘ladder’ tab).

From my ladder experience, playing against Northern Realms often felt unfair. Cards like Mutagenerator, Temple of Melitele, Demavend, Onagers or even Kaedweni Revenants (and the list could go on…) have absurd high ceiling when compared with same provision cost cards from other factions. 

In Scoia’tael the combo of Simlas into 2x Armorer’s Workshop with Dennis Cranmer was played in almost every midrange deck and also felt overpowered and uninteractive. Dennis was always a very good card – huge ceiling for just 7 provision cost and still a decent floor. Introduction of Mahakam Pass and Workshop rework made this card even stronger and faster to setup. 

Check out Shinmiri’s Balance Council Suggestions on Reddit for more introduction and context.

In this article I’d present a bank of nerfs and buffs ideas. These would mostly include impactful changes; there are lots of cards deserving buffs to be brought to meta level and I’d just highlight ones which came to my mind in the context of new deckbuilding opportunities.


-1 power

  • Radovid: Judgement – +11 power addition to leader ability is too much and games against Devotion NR often feel unfair when lost to pointslam even after best possible line was taken. Card wasn’t played at 6p/10c, but at 10p/10c still would be.
  • Simlas – main unconditional pointslam card for Scoia’atel high-end. -1 power would make ST look more for other strategies
  • Dennis Cranmer – after Mahakam Pass release and Armorer’s Workshop rework, Dennis regularly plays above power vs provision curve. 2x Workshop already sets up 17p for 7c Dennis.
  • Travelling Priestess – -1 power is more convenient than provision nerf, which may put TP in Mutagenerator range and enable Musicians of Blaviken.
  • Regis: Bloodlust – reach abuse card, too strong in combo with Ozzrel (20 for 10 + 21 for 8).
  • Artorius Vigo & Braathens
  • Madam Marquise Serenity – while already power nerfed, this card still feels abusive, especially after The Flying Redanian buff. Tempo pass from blue coin with Madam is too effective against sub-meta decks – I often had to go down to 3 cards to catch up.
  • Sove – this card is coupled with Patrcidal Fury, which is a leader ability supporting many interesting archetypes. Nerfing Sove leads the way to put PF back at 165 provision. 
  • Dana Meadbh – Harmony is not on the top of meta, but Dana Meadbh ‘answer or lose’ opener is not healthy for the game. Nerf to base power worked okay for similar cards: Angus Bri Cri and Vanadain replayed with Heist, while Elves still made it to World Masters 5. Nerf wouldn’t impact 2nd form Dana.
  • Musicians Of Blaviken – very strong payoff card for decks having good 5 cost bronzes. In theory it should encourage building new decks, in practice limited number of archetypes support Musicians and they feel very strong in them (Zeal Nekker, Rain Nekker, Mahakam Forge Constructs/Alzur)
  • Rainfarn Of Attre – everytime…
  • Traheaern Var Vdyffir – everytime…

Okay nerf, but personally wouldn’t hurry:

  • Frenzied D’ao – the strongest of constructs. Objectively too good (15 for 9 with efficient control), but at the same time necessary to keep greed in check. 
  • Oxenfurt Scholar – this bronze unit often becomes a safe 8p for 4c pick whenever a deck runs 4 or more 11+ cost cards. -1 power would make it more exclusive for specific, highly polarised decks. On the other hand, OS bridges gold-to-bronze gap.

+1 provision

  • Mutagenerator – I called 8 prov a ‘sweetspot’, but soon changed my view after ladder experience. Win-condition card deserves a win-condition provision cost.
  • Temple Of Meltiele – this card is still mainstream at 13 provision cost and isn’t healthy gameplay wise (carryover abuse, RNG)
  • King Demavend – A universal tutor in Inspired Zeal with +7 points added and ‘answer or lose’ threat at the same time. Deserves a provision nerf rather than power, so that still plays into tall removal (Geralt, Leo Bonhart).
  • Onager – at 4p/6c Onager probably would be too weak objectively, but as it currently feels annoyingly high ceiling, nerf is definitely worth trying.
  • Novigrad – carryover abuse of this card is digusting (9 coins + bronze unit)
  • Jackpot
  • Patricidal Fury 
  • Reckless Flurry
  • Pirate’s Cove
  • Hidden Cache
  • Imprisonment
  • Uprising
  • Battle Trance

Okay nerf, but personally wouldn’t hurry:

  • Svalblod Totem – very strong card; location order has huge impact, possibly +2 per turn engine
  • Witches’ Sabbath – invites binary, degenerate deckbuilding


+1 power

  • Drummond Queensguard – at 5 power DQ would be an interesting engine to consider for Self-wound archetype – finally it wouldn’t go only tall, but also wide. Berserk:3 may be instantly triggered with Totem. PLEASE DON’T GO TO 3 POWER DIRECTION WHICH I HAVE SEEN AND IS ABSOLUTE NONSENSE. Queensguard would also have synergy with interesting underplayed cards like Heulyn and Flaminica.
  • Mutant – never seen play, but at 4 power would be powerful engine to support self-Poison. Worth a try.
  • Lambert
  • Eskel
  • Triss: Butterflies – played as a tutor in R3 Triss:Butterflies brings only 7 raw points, which is a bit below bronze level and often loses the game. Buff to this card would make Renfri decks consider going for less greed and also improve Handbuff.
  • Hawker Smuggler – underwhelming 6 cost engine compared with other factions. It acts in carryover space, which is tricky, but 6 cost still would make us think twice before including this card.
  • Kerack Frigate – support for Uprising swarm; this card traded too badly to locks/removal.
  • Boatbuilders – armor-oriented Skellige struggles and +1 power buff to Boatbuilders is very useful to improve the tempo of this card. Also additional value for Dimun Warship summoning this card back. 
  • Poor Fucking Infantry – Uprising swarm support; Poor Fucking Infantry could also be spawned by Mushy Truffle
  • Back-Alley Chemist – +1 power makes it easier to hoard order for card like Wretched Addict.
  • Harpy Egg – invites more classical Deathwish play with Necromancer’s Tome and Maerloorn
  • Blue Stripes Commando – the only way to bring Blue Stripes back to playable state; may follow up with nerfs in the next balance councils if needed
  • Zoltan: Scoundrel – a buff for swarm decks and Dwarves
  • Holger Blackhand – improving Pirates high-end
  • Blueboy Lugos – more body on this card would make this engine longer usable plus more synergy with healing/Restore.
  • Saesenthessis: Blaze – underpowered Dragon, which has synergy with many archetypes
  • Hemdall – Ulula + Dagur + Hemdall finisher one day ?! This card is clearly underpowered compared with recently buffed The Great Oak.
  • Yennefer: Illusionist – underplayed card; not reliable enough. +1 power would make this engine harder to remove and encourage new decks (combo with Cleaver ?!)

Okay buff, but personally wouldn’t hurry:

  • Kerack Marine – compensation for possibly bringing Radovid Judgement back to human friendly stats
  • Zoltan Chivay
  • Joachim de Wett – back to 4 power for flavor
  • Saber-Tooth Tiger

-1 provision

  • Thinning pairs, especially Drummond Shieldmaiden, which is essentially 7p for 6c, easy to setup only with Ursine Ritual 
  • Grand Inquisitor Helveed – The backbone Firesworn card was often omitted in meta builds. Fresh air for Golden Nekker Syndicate.
  • Cerys: Fearless – Cerys is unplayed in main Self-wound versions. Also buff to 9 provision would make her playable in Golden Nekker Ursine Ritual, which lacks good combo wounding units outside Knut. 
  • Sacred Flame – a boost to pure Firesworn archetype 
  • Ulrich – underplayed, support for Crimes and Firesworn
  • Olaf – support for ‘red power’ and Golden Nekker Self-wound.
  • Germain Piquant – Uprising Nekker?!
  • Hjalmar: Seawolf – overcosted card
  • Geralt:Quen – great support for all Golden Nekker Witchers decks
  • Geralt: Axii – overcosted
  • Serrit – overcosted
  • Selective Mutation – overcosted, could go to 4 provision, okay raw points only in NR Witchers in combo with Adept, otherwise cute consistency card.
  • Knighthood – unplayed in even in Knights, but a cool card
  • Geralt: Aard – efficient offensive movement card would be useful
  • Yennefer of Vengerberg – boost for Nekkers and Swarms overall

Okay buff, but personally wouldn’t hurry:

  • Sandor de Baccala
  • Aglais

My Votes

(Simlas power nerf would also be good for meta; I assume Eskel and Lambert power buffs would go through anyway).


That’s a short showcase of ideas I liked to share. Don’t feel obliged to follow these recommendations; also it is likely that I missed some interesting changes – let me know if so.

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates! Hopefully new year in Gwent would be fun thanks to smart Balance Councils!