7th Gwent Balance Council – Buffs & Nerfs Ideas Bank

Introduction

With the April Season 2024 halfway through and after Top8 Gwent Community Open Qualifier (Reddit), I’d like to present a list of 10 demo changes for the incoming Balance Council. Each change would be accompanied by a short comment.

While especially ‘nerfs’ bracket may require small updates towards the end of the season, this article is meant as a guideline and point of reference for influential voting groups before they publish final picks to follow. I wouldn’t post here any BC printscreen to copy, neither ideas are ordered by priority.

But for few exceptions, the list tends to avoid reverts of buffs from preceeding council.

Nerfs

+1 Provision

  1. Novigrad – card is still top tier, played in Off the Books Vice and Pirate’s Cove netdecks and distinctively abusable for carryover. Novigrad impacts gameplay to high extent, making it impossible for most decks to pass above 5 cards in Round 1 and in Round 2 often forcing huge tempo push, hard to execute without good draws.
  2. Simlas – Simlas is a high end win condition card, used mostly with Vanadain into Waylays or 2x Spring Equinox. This nerf is necessary sooner or later.
  3. Slave Driver – Soldiers do not feel so strong in meta right now (also because of weak Enslave matchup), but Slave Driver is too efficient and versatile at 5 cost compared with most other cards.
  4. Spring Equinox – good tempo, easy to play in Nature’s Gift; nerf meant to incentivize more complex decks and buffs to other Symbiosis cards in the future.
  5. False Ciri – backbone not only for classical Hospitality builds, but also many other decks running package of FC+Milton+Sangreal for pure points. Very high ceiling for very low cost, deserves a provision nerf.
  6. Dimun Smuggler – going in line with Slave Driver and Equinox nerfs – Dimun Smuggler is 10 for 5 + removal support proven a ship is present on the board. Moreover it enables Freya’s Blessing for the same points.
  7. King Of Beggars – KoB helps to polarize Syndicate decks, make them better short round and having consistent access to spender. “~13 points Roach” with utility, inviting Tribute cards even in decks where they do not perfectly fit otherwise.
  8. Kaer Trolde – leaving more space for ‘red’ Self-Wound decks
  9. King Demavend – compare power of this card in NR Zeal with Oneiromancy for justification.
  10. Overwhelming Hunger – just for more variety after Deathwish netdeck lost a couple of points in the preceding balance councils and became seldom on ladder

-1 Power

  1. Sove – weakening pointslam high-end, incentivizing Warriors builds other than Patricidal Fury
  2. Torres Var Emreis – removing another point from unhealthy high Torres 1st form reach
  3. Svalblod – same justification as Kaer Trolde plus making Svalblod more prone to removal. Would also impact Svalblod resurrected with Sigdrifa and played from Compass.
  4. Brewess:Ritual – a little mitigation to Deathwish tempo abuse with Urn of Shadows from blue coin.
  5. Corrupted Flaminica – 2 points nerf in the context of replay with Fucusya; Flaminica is outstanding payoff for Beast decks and deserves slight nerf to make buffs to Beasts less constraint in the future
  6. Artorius Vigo – 12 points instant value on Nauzicaa Sargeant is a bit too much for an Assimilate engine
  7. Fallen Knight  Radovid – very good carryover card, which furthermore is coupled with Radovid:Iron Judgement and autoinclude with leaders like Stockpile. This change should make it harder to get carryover through, probably incentivizing use of zeal givers. Moreover abuse with Decoy in decks like Melitele would become harder.
  8. Rainfarn Of Attre – still unplayed in mainstream enemy boost decks. But for conditional short round, Rainfarn is already a very strong long round card if having a little support. Probably the last buff to make on this card.
  9. Milton de Peyrac-Peyran – very strong and hard to remove card in Enemy Boost decks; for example if combined with Sangreal and enemy boost converted 1:1 to own points, then Milton plays for 24 points!
  10. Travelling Priestess – this nerf has to be done at some point. Provision nerf instead would simply make TP netdeck include Musicians of Blaviken.

Buffs

-1 Provision

  1. Grand Inquisitor Helveed – inviting Golden Nekker Firesworn with Sacred Flame as artifact
  2. Cerys: Fearless – inviting more play with red Self-wound and also Golden Nekker builds.
  3. Hjalmar: Seawolf – overcosted
  4. Serrit – the one from NG trio who deserves buff most
  5. Living Armor – inviting Golden Nekker Forge and slightly buffing constructs package in general
  6. Olaf – another support for red Self-wound and Golden Nekker
  7. Drummond Shieldmaiden – overcosted thinning card; if too good with Cerys An Craite, then Cerys may be nerfed (but I think it wouldn’t be necessary)
  8. Doadrick Leumaerts – buff to consistency in NG (or maybe even SY?!) as well as Hyperthin shenanigans
  9. Land of Thousand Fables, Avallach: Sage – buffs to promote consistency, also in Golden Nekker decks
  10. Yennefer of Vengerberg – unplayed, would incentivize more experiments with Swarm and also Enemy Boost with Cahir&Standard Bearer.

+1 Power

  1. Vicovaro Novice – doesn’t catch up in power to current baseline; support for Hyperthin
  2. Lyrian Scytheman – incentive for NR Swarm; at 4 power this card felt underwhelming in practice in spite of good 12 points ceiling. Also a buff to Uprising.
  3. Back Alley Chemist – in spite of Wretched Addict having +2 scaling for zero provision cost or Mutant possibly being +4 per self-poison played engine, Salamandra themed SY sees no play, because only Gellert could conveniently setup these cards. BAC at 5 power would make it easier – worth testing out.
  4. Boatbuilders – at 5 power this card is just too slow. To see it clearly, compare this card with Dwarven Chariot before 3=>2 power nerf – lower tempo, easier to remove, archetype with less straightforward payoff.
  5. Sapper – no brainer, Sappers deserve immediate revert after Double Madoc nerfs.
  6. Lieutenant Von Herst – this card is conditional and shines mostly in Round 1 (in R3 typical Firesworn would overcrowd the board with Herst), where helps to prepare Fallen Knights.
  7. Albrich – very needed buff to Albrich Hyperthin; power buff improves it more than Renfri Midrange Tactical Decision with Albrich.
  8. Saesenthessis: Blaze – underpowered finisher in Dragons package; probably deserves to be 3 or 4 power. 
  9. Artis – this card supports a unique strategy and deserves to be more staple and harder to remove.
  10. Harpy Egg – buff to non-Succubus Deathwish, indirectly to Maerloorn and Necromancer’s Tome

Closure

  • To not overwhelm the reader I highlighted 10 changes per bracket. I listed and commented more possibly interesting changes, especially buffs, in the source (google doc).
  • Finding nerf targets, especially in -1 power bracket is hard right now. At some point not outstanding, but simply good units have to catch nerfs. Then it would be important to distribute nerfs uniformly between factions.

Hope you had an inspiring read. Feel free to comment and discuss highlighted changes!