At 31st of October 2023, the first, long awaited community-driven Gwentfinity balance patch got released. The power and provision +1/-1 changes to cards were established through democratic voting, using new in-game Balance Council feature. If you haven’t yet I invite you to checkout my article dedicated to state of the game, predictions and thoughts before first Balance Council.
In this article we would look into 61 changes provided by the 1st Community Patch, discuss and analyze them.
1st Balance Council - Results
(This visual report could be found in-game via ‘What’s New’ bell-shaped icon => ‘The Results Are In!’; it took me a while)
This graphical representiation is the only form in which patch notes are released. In order to show how changes are distributed between factions I’ve made a spreadsheet.
Changes Vs Reason
Nonsense => Bare Knuckle Brawler, Eternal Eclipse (Cultists are meme after Affan rework), Thirsty Dame, Reavers Hunters (couldn’t be clicked at 1 power, very funny), Alba Armored Cavalry, Eternal Eclipse Deacon => 6 total
Misjudged => Braathens, Admiral Rompally, Novigrad, Artorius Vigo, Vilgefortz, Nauzicaa Sergeant, Philippe van Moorlehem => 7 total
About 15% of the changes is driven by pure emotion rather than reasoning, about 25% in total are clearly wrong balance takes.
Changes by faction
- Vereena -1c, Endrega Larva -1c, Ruehin +1p, Unseen Elder +1p, Viy +1p => 5 buffs
- Larva is very strong at 5p, especially with Nekker possibilities and Sir Scratch-A-Lot.
- Viy +1 power could make this archetype viable, but only in very specific metas.
- Vereena -1 provision will boost GN Vampires, which however still would be lacking
- Unseen Elder +1 power – wouldn’t improve Devo Vamps (tested them, they are very sub par, missing pointslam not going tall, control and any flexibility – don’t try to boost Devo Vamps by force, or the cards would just make it to midrange decks rather than support archetype), but maybe becomes more of a consideration in Renfri Vamps or Kelly-like engine overloads.
- Ruehin +1 power – likely wouldn’t matter yet without other buffs to consume Deathwish, but a step in right direction. Best Ruehin setup is with Necromancer’s Tome now, in Brewess:Ritual or Golden Nekker deck.
- Soldiers got butchered, just as I predicted – avalanche of overnerfs to bronzes in the same time.
- Aristocrats got unjustified nerfs on Thirsty Dame, Philippe and Admiral Rompally but maybe will still hold in a different form.
- Enslave netdeck got nerfed with Vilgefortz, Calveit, Stefan, Torres and Marines – deck has to be rebuild.
- At the same time, Assimilate got a buff; Artaud (luckily) evaded community sword, Torres -1 power nerf hurts less than +1 provision, while Braathens and Artorius Vigo got +1 power for no apparent reason (they were meta cards from Enslave netdeck)
- Northern Realms
- Uprising buff irrelevant in short term
- But for Reaver Hunters clown delict NR changes seems reasonable.
- Kaedweni Revenant boost to 4 power would likely make this card an autoinclude in 4-pool; if able to setup target every turn, Revenant has +5 per turn potential. It is zero cost, huge reward.
- Reaver Scout returns to 5-provision Mutagenerator range – Golden Nekker Cintrian Royal Guards are back in the menu.
- Magic Compass 9 cost – enabled for Golden Nekkers decks again, would likely kill anything else in Skellige. In addition to this, Roach got buffed to 9 provision, making tempo abuse in GN more severe again.
- Meta Patricidal Fury Self-wound takes 5 nerfs and gets kicked off the meta.
- Huge nerfs to Elves – not to be played in competitive.
- Small buff to Harmony with Saskia:Commander +1 power, Gezras +1 power wouldn’t matter for movement competitiveness with no other support.
- The Flying Redanian is very strong now; +12 points coming from the deck for 5 excess provision cost.
- With Sesames +1c, Acherontia/Ixora/Brawler nerfs, Vice gets out of meta because of lack of consistent powerplay.
- Novigrad got undeserved buff; this card found early is very abusive for carryover.
- Pulling the Strings buff would be the point of interest – has to be monitored and reverted immediately if too abusive.
- Nilfgaard took 17 nerfs and 2 buffs in 61 balance changes. My fear from Vote Council guide article proven truth – Soldiers NG and Aristocrats got hammered by nerfs to all cards at the same time; almost every card mentioned in the sarcastic ‘casual player overview’ in the NG section got nerfed.
- Roach, Magic Compass and Pulling The Strings are the most influential changes. Artorius, Braathens and Novigrad are good cards, which would just be better. Endrega Larva and Kaedweni Revenant are low cost high reward cards – close to autoinclude in the bronze package.
- In my opinion some changes in this patch need to be immediately reversed:
- All Soldiers cards nerfs but for Imperial Marine.
- Roach to 10 prov – buffing tempo abuse aspect of Golden Nekker was unnecessary
- Magic Compass back to 10 prov – I’ve put it in Vote Council article as most impactful, ‘controversial’ 10=>9 prov change. Now it becomes clear the buff decision was rushed and indeed Compass GN overshadows everything else in SK.
- Reaver Hunters – back to 2 power.
- While one could invent many ways to improve the voting system, according to devs only tuning the Maximum Number Of Changes per bracket (one number) would be easy to get through.
- How big was the impact of Shinmiri’s Voting Coalition? Check out ‘COALITION CHECKOUT’ tab in the spreadsheet. My conclusions are as follows: the impact is small, but visible, especially when focusing power buffs. Kaedweni Revenant or Cleaver’s Muscle are unobvious picks for casual player and likely stem from community influence. On the other hand, in ‘Provision Decrease’ category, only 2/15 suggestions have been catched up. Top spot suggestions like Viraxas, Sacred Flame and Leo weren’t as popular as Kaedweni Revenant and Cleaver’s Muscle in the community discussion and didn’t make it to balance patch. Coalition with 5-split is not capable to push through any change alone unless unassociated community catches the idea up. Filavandrel, Vereena, Calveit and Imperial Marine got changed in a different category than suggested – a proof that Coalition is often not able to focus general community sentiment into particular type of change.
- As a consequence of the above, we cannot blame only Coaltion for lowering Magic Compass provision – it is just a small stream in the big community river.
- In the spreadsheet you could also find out the Top5 most voted changes leaked by devs. It is interesting that 3/5 changes in Provision nerfs are done to leader abilities. Such votes probably come from players losing to a particular deck, but unsure on what to exactly nerf amongst cards. Then nerfing leader ability as a whole is a safe approach. Philippe as the 4th most voted -1 power card must stem from a strong Aristocrats PTSD and is a bit frightening regarding brain vs emotion struggle. I haven’t seen Philippe in any nerfs recommendations.
- I’m very happy to note Vesemir amongst power buffs! The mission to buff trio in Gwentfinity seemed harsh, but we managed to align enough votes!
- Reaver Hunters nerf to 1 power was very disrespectful by a part of the community. Now Reaver players have to think of a revenge. If Hunters get buffed back to 2 power, there is a chance the same vile part of community nerfs them again. So how about a sneaky silent step of -1 provision first instead of going for immediate revert?… (evil laugh)
Since my Gwentfinity Vote Council guide article got published, I came across new sources of cool ideas for buffs. Truzky’s post on Reddit provides many good ideas along with comments. World Masters champion Pajabol’s thread on Twitter is also worth attention.
Also from time perspective, some ideas from my article shouldn’t even have been mentioned – I can only hope for your common sense in this regard. For example Fallen Knight at 5 power probably would be okay in the current standards taken alone, but with Cyrus Hemmelfart able to transform each token back to 5 power FK… not really.
Hope you enjoyed this short review of the first Gwentfinity balance patch! The next one in two weeks would be even more interesting and harder to predict in my opinion; hopefully things will go straight, as that patch would be World Masters one!