Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is a very complex strategy game, which however comes down to a simple rule: player having more points win. There are raw points, almost independent on board state, and effective points – the real value provided by cards in a given meta / particular matchup.
In this short article we would focus on effective points (as used for example in the Power vs Provision Curve article on Reddit), but only to introduce a new lifehack, which helps to better interpret points themselves. We would introduce point baseline in analogy to conversion of provision system in 3 Awesome Deckbuilding Lifehacks Used By Gwent Pro Players.
Do Points Convey Pure Information?
Yes, and not. Obviously the number of points associated with each card played decides the final outcome of a game. If we look closely though, there is a burden accompanying points arithmetic.
Let’s say that each card plays for at least 6 points (baseline, arbitrary chosen). Then in a 10 cards long round, 60 points from both sides convey no information – they are irrelevant for the conquest.
Just as in the case of provision system, removing the baseline from cards value may provide additional insight and help to avoid misconceptions.
Let’s imagine that all cards in Gwent play for 6 unconditional points. Not too appealing kind of game, but we need it just to show how relative points matter.
Then there arises a single card expansion, with a 7 power card. How did it change the game? It appears that every deck running the new card wins against decks not running it (or draws in case of a miss).
Effective value of the new card is infinite, while if we were to compare raw numbers, then the new card is only 7/6 = 116.7% of old cards power.
Now if we subtract the baseline (6), we get 1/0 – the new card correctly becomes infinitely stronger than the old ones.
Nullfiying provision system is correct only when the number of cards is fixed; it is not convenient for variant deck size.
Similarily, changing the base in points system is not convenient when there is difference in number of cards in hands. Such situation arises often during gameplay (every R2 where R1 wasn’t won on even), but is niche at deckbuilding level; the number of cards in hand manipulation has been viewed as cancerous and is extremely rare in Gwent Homecoming.
- Look at 4 provision cards in your deck (or in meta as a whole as demonstrated in Power vs Provision Curve). What is the average effective value of used 4-cost cards? Round down this value and choose as the baseline for the new points system.
- Subtract baseline from the power of each card to see how much added value they bring to your deck.
- Combined with nullifying provision system you would get added value per used provision points. Use with care though – deck polarization still matters and investing provisions into no more than 16 best cards is a rule of thumb (Into The Deckbuilding Rule Of 16; Weight of Cards 1 & 2).
Examples (6 baseline)
- Blightmaker + Mage Assassin after release
At the release stage, Mage Assassin costed 4 provision and Blightmaker 5. By nullfiying provision system we learned that cost of this combo used to be simply 5 provision. The value was then just 11 for 5 provision. Assuming 6p baseline and going back to nullified system, we get 5p for 1 cost.
Now let’s compare this value with Griffin in a Fruits of Ysgith deck. Due to fruit destruction it plays as 8 for 5 in short term => 2p for 1 cost.
In the new system we see clearly that B+A combo was 2.5 times stronger than Griffin. No wonder that B+A dominated the meta at the time and got nerfed soon.
- Commander’s Horn after buff
In Gwent 11.2 Patch, Commander’s Horn got a massive buff. Right now it possess ceiling of 16 points in g|bgbgb|g (gold/bronze) configuration. In decks with consistent Horn setup it would barely ever play for less than 14 points in a long round. Let’s assume 14 as average Horn value for meta decks.
In the new system with 6p baseline, CH plays as 8 points for 3 provisions.
For comparison, Axel Three-Eyes is worth raw 11 points at the same cost, but less conditional and more proactive. Axel in the new system: 5p/3c.
Axel played melee is great utility in the current (Gwent 11.3) meta Golden Nekker Pirates deck, while good Commander’s Horn value could be a win condition at times.
- Damsel in Distress
Scenario cards are very expensive but often have formidable point ceiling. Damsel in Distress scenario played in Royal Inspiration Knights is one of the highest potential cards in the game.
Let’s say that the first spawned unit is Redanian Knight, who lives for whole round. Then assume grace effect would be triggered 8 times for full value. It combined makes for 44 points already. On top of that, Mad Charge spawned from the last chapter would add another 7 or more thanks to various synergies. Damsel in Distress is with no exaggeration 50 points card in a long round if undisturbed. In the new system the ceiling is then like: 44p/10c. Comparing this number with preceeding examples we could see how hard it is too catch up in points with main Gwent 11.3 powerplays and how impactful drawing a pack of crucial gold cards could be.
- Examples are very basic to keep article short and are supposed to just encourage you to experiment with numbers yourself and take out conclusions!
- One of the most important lessons we learn thanks to the new system is to value leader abilities more. After removing the baseline, the comparison of cards and leader powers is no longer biased. Using a leader charge worth 3 points could be compared with commiting a low-end gold card, especially in high baseline decks/metas.
- Each point matters. After removing baseline, the point difference between cards becomes very thin; 12 point card is not 4/3, but 2 times (or more with higher baseline) stronger than 9 point card.
Removing the baseline brings new insight and better feeling for relative value of Gwent: The Witcher Card Game cards. I could only invite you to apply the system yourself, maybe even apply higher baseline (7 is more real for Gwent 11.3) than safe 6 used in the article.
Have fun and good luck on your own deckbuilder detours!