Gwent Patch 11.3 – Breakdown, Review And Predictions


(this part has been written one hour before patch release)

When it comes to balance between factions, Gwent is in very good state in Masters 5 and 2023 so far (as a proof I had 6x 2600+ fMMR in January and in February it would have been achievable too by any top player willing to commit to it). There emerged Melitele issue late in the January Season, but was fixed in 11.2. Nevertheless, meta starts to feel pretty stale with best decks figured out in Jan already and matchups repeatable at high mmr. Some breathe of fresh air is needed.

Troublesome features in the current meta in my opinion:

  • Unicorn + Chironex combo is dominant in the meta and comes with classical drawing variance. The player drawing combo earlier than opponent simply wins the current round, possibly on even cards if playing from red coin. The game became more draw dependent than in Jan, and as a strong pointslam Unicorns are borderline autoinclude in every Nekker deck.
  • Traheaern / Ihuarraquax are highly annoying cards, sometimes autowinning the game with no possible counterplay for 15+ points of carryover
  • As I have written in the Sacred and Profane review, new powerful cards: Dana, Tyr, Dagon are very binary. Especially Dana 1st form case is very vivid as its first form skillchecks opponent’s answers more intensively. Watching opponent getting +9/+8/+7… handbuffs and autowinning the game is no fun.
  • In spite of 1 power nerf after release, Deranged Corsair still feels strong for its provision cost.
  • Cultists deserve some reworks focused on making their ceiling points lower and Scenario less oppressive.
  • Blood Money +1 provision buff was undeserved. Nekker Bounty is a meta deck and other Bounty variants also do decently. Nekker Bounty feels a bit like midrange deck with Ignatius and strong leader ability trumps, which perhaps wasn’t intended in design.

Bandits Reworks + Plumard

Angoulême – Provision cost changed from 10 to 11.

Ability changed to:

Deploy: Create and play an artifact from your opponent’s starting deck. If your opponent has no artifact in their starting deck, boost self by 6 instead.

Comment: +6 improvement of floor would not change the destiny of this card, which is risky tech in metas with strong artifacts.


Free Company – Armor changed from 1 to 0.

Provision cost changed from 8 to 10.

Ability changed to:

Order: Choose an allied Bonded unit, then play its top copy from your deck.

Cooldown: 3

Comment: Free Company requires strong bonded effect and safe target (for example many copies on board as in Reavers deck, otherwise removal of first bonded unit gets additional like ~8 points). Then it plays on power vs provision curve if order goes through. Moreover, with cooldown effect Free Company is also a strong engine in decks playing multiple bonded units, possibly worth more than +2 per turn, while safe from basic removal cards at 6 power and 1 armor.

Okay card, but wouldn’t be played due to its designated archetype being inferior.


Gascon – Power changed from 1 to 2.

Ability changed to:

When in hand, deck, or on the battlefield, whenever you play the second copy of a Bonded unit this match, boost self by 3.


The effect could be understood various ways, so let’s underline how Gascon exactly works. Gascon counts unique Bonded units only and only playing exactly the second one, not 3rd, 4th and so on, neither setting up pair of units on board. This second one doesn’t have to come from starting deck, could be spawned as well with tools like Reinforcements. Finally, Bonded doesn’t even have to be triggered – it is possible to play Bonded unit of one kind in two rounds. (Jean explanation in update vod)

Therefore Gascon wouldn’t find place in decks like classical Reavers, as he does get proced by unit of one kind only once.
Gascon costs 8 provision. 4 triggers would be enough to make him play on power vs provision curve: 2+4*3 = 14 points. It would require running 4 different bonded bronze units in the deck. Is the payoff worth it? I doubt it because the cost is really high. Deck running Gascon would have to have good synergy between various bonded units and also those units as a plan of R2/R3 gameplan. It has to be greatly consistent at spawning pairs in R1; there is only sth like ¼ chance to draw a pair and obviously commiting tutors for it would be too expensive. Old Bonded units but for few exceptions (Illusionists…) weren’t amazing, or carrying round control. Without round control, Gascon gets easily countered on last say, as deck running him wouldn’t probably go tall. In such case, the payoff is zero.

Meme card.


Gimpy Gerwin – Power changed from 3 to 5.

Armor changed from 0 to 1.

Provision cost changed from 7 to 9.

Ability changed to:

Whenever you play another unit, damage all enemy units with the same provision cost by 1.

Comment: At 9 provision cost, this card would heavily depend on meta. Combined with 0 provision leader spawn abilities (Force of Nature, Particidal Fury,…), could be used to instantly kill 1 power tokens.


One-Eyed Betsy – Power changed from 4 to 7.

Provision cost changed from 10 to 8.

Ability changed to:

Deploy: Draw up to 2 Bonded units, then shuffle the same number of cards back into your deck.

Order: Replay an allied Bonded unit.

Comment: Decent card – a tutor which could play above power vs provision curve thanks to order ability. It requires strong bonded targets not going tall. The tricky part is round management and deck design, so that replacing units in hand with bonded ones brings real value. Also it doesn’t spawn base copy, so could refresh only 2p Reaver, not 1p.


Bomb Heaver – Provision cost changed from 5 to 4.

Comment: After buff Bomb Heaver may see play in some Precision Strike Madoc decks. Welcomed buff comparing this card for example with Renegade Mage in Off the Books.


Cutthroat – Power changed from 3 to 5.

Provision cost changed from 4 to 5.

Ability changed to:

Deploy: Destroy an enemy unit with 2 or less power.

Bonded: Destroy an enemy with 4 or less power instead.

Comment: Cutthroat is potentially efficient control tool, especially for R1 skirmish vs low power engines. Would greatly benefit from damage leaders like Onslaught to make first play worth it. Also companion of other damaging units would be useful.


Highwaymen – Power changed from 4 to 1.

Provision cost changed from 4 to 5.

Ability changed to:

When you play a Bonded unit that you already control a copy of, Summon self from your deck to your Melee row.

Exposed: Move self to the top of your deck.

Comment: Weak thinning card with additional effect which most likely would be a drawback. Don’t see application for this card right now.


Iron Falcon Infantry – Power changed from 4 to 3.

Ability changed to:

At the end of your turn, boost self by 1 if this is the only card on its row.

Bonded: At the end of your turn, boost self by 1 instead.

Comment: Weak engine even for 4p; compare with Squire or Viper Witcher Adept. Also…


Iron Falcon Knife Juggler – Power changed from 2 to 4.

Provision cost changed from 4 to 5.

Ability changed to:

Zeal. Order: Damage an enemy unit by 1.

Bonded: Also give it Bleeding (1).

Whenever you play a Bonded unit, refresh the Order.

Comment: With 4 power, 1 armor and 5 provision cost, this card is not jawsdropping, but not bad either. Could work well with other damage tools and stomp opponents playing low control decks reliant on engines/board setup.


Iron Falcon Troubadour – Ability changed to:

Deploy: Spawn a 1-power Locked copy of a Bonded unit from your starting deck on this row.

Comment: Okay bronze for R1, effectively worth about 7 points thanks to rocketed bonded effect + more with additional synergies. Good card.

Sapper – Bandit tag changed to Soldier.

Power changed from 5 to 2.

Armor changed from 0 to 2.

Provision cost changed from 5 to 6.

Ability changed to:

Deploy: Play a Bomb from your hand, then draw a card.

Barricade: Whenever you play a Bomb, damage a random enemy unit by 1.

Comment: Thinning + 3 points + engine value. Decent card. Interesting for copying with Slave Driver in Double Madoc NG.


Scout – Power changed from 5 to 4.

Ability changed to:

Deploy: Move a unit to the other row.

Comment: Just getting old Strays of Spalla ability at -1 provision. Unplayable but for niche Keltullis / tech applications.


Strays of Spalla – Provision cost changed from 5 to 4.

Ability changed to:

Deploy: Shuffle a gold card from your hand to your deck, then draw a bronze card and boost self by 4.

Bonded: Boost self by 4 instead.


Good tempo, shuffle-in drawback would depend on particular deck; very consistent decks sometimes even want to get rid of golds in R1 or R2 (for example Hyperthin wants to keep payoff golds in the deck for R3). Also Knickers/Roach are gold cards and Strays could immediately unbrick those. Good, interesting card.


Wagon – Power changed from 4 to 5.

Armor changed from 0 to 3.

Provision cost changed from 4 to 6.

Ability changed to:

Deploy: Banish the bronze unit to the right, then gain Resilience.

Order: Transform self into a base copy of the Banished unit.

Exposed: Purify self.

Comment: A card with a complex ability. The idea is to carry over useful bronze to the next round while sheltered in wagon. The tempo of such play is very low though. Perhaps one of the best targets would be offered by newly reworked Iron Falcon Troubadour: 1 power locked bonded unit. In such case Wagon plays as 4 tempo.

Playing Wagon means weaker round control, which implies it would be played mostly in explosive R1 decks to balance tempo from blue, or abuse R2 push with carryover plays.

It could also help to develop two threats at the same time, for example overload opponent with double Reavers by clicking Wagon at the proper moment. In the same round, or via carryover in the next one.

Plumard – Ability changed to:

Deploy: Give an enemy unit Bleeding (2).

Bonded: Give an enemy unit Bleeding equal to its base power instead.

Comment: Bonded effect gets much higher ceiling. Some feed for funky memes with gigantic Fleders and Protofleders and value buff for normal Mushy Truffle builds (it was already playable with old effect, not really worse than other non-Renfri Vamps). Good change for fun.  

Faction => Non-neutrals

In 11.3 all card abilities got changed from ‘own faction’ to ‘non-neutral’, which gives more flexibility, especially in Draft. This change is a hidden buff to Nilfgaard and Assimilate, which could now effectively make use of cards like AA tutoring non-neutral (NG) cards or Dana Méadbh 1st form boosting non-neutral (NG) cards in hand.


Full patchnotes could be found here. This patch is something surprising and completely different to what everyone expected.

With Bandits and faction => non-neutral reworks, the patch is not really small for current standards, but completely not addressing raised issues and feedback, while providing new content instead. Unless there is some hidden abuse, reworked cards are not outstanding and would not cast a fresh breeze to competitive meta.

Amongst current meta decks, Assimilate got perhaps most meaningful buffs with faction => non-neutrals change. As Assimilate plays opponent’s bonded units better than them, this archetype would be Tier 1 if players adept bandit path.

Other notable changes are buffs to control with reworked Cutthroats – this card could trade up really well against engines if having support of leader/other cards. Mushy Truffle location becomes way more interesting now; for example spawning a Cutthroat could be worth 11 points + 4p removal!