Witcher 3: It's time to d-d-d-d-duel

Card games. On motorcycles.

When I got my hands on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I was immediately gripped by it. The world, the characters, the presentation. Everything popped and stood out. Everything except this stupid little card game I played in a tavern right near the beginning of the game. A card game called Gwent.

The tutorial for it was simple enough, it's a game where each card has a number value and when you play that card, that number is applied to your points. Simply have more points than your opponent over 2 rounds and you will win.

But, I mean, I didn't care. It was such a huge game and the hype surrounding it was going off the charts, I didn't care about some stupid little card game. I just wanted to get in and stab some monsters with my sword.

And I did that. For what must have been over 100 hours. I avoided every instance of playing Gwent because that's not why I was there. I missed out on bonus objectives for quests, I missed out on rare exclusive cards from characters that would either go on to die or just leave all together.

In fact, there is a casino you go to for a quest that allows you, as far as I'm aware, to earn a ton of money by beating the patrons. But I decided to just get down to the nitty gritty and simply stab dudes with my sword.

The funniest thing about Gwent, easily the funniest thing about my entire 50000 hour long playthrough of Witcher 3, is that when I did finally sit down and try to get into Gwent, I fell in love. Like, 10-year-old-just-discovered-Yu-Gi-Oh love. And any former 10 year old out there can tell you, that's some intense shit.

The rules of Gwent are simple: At the start of the round you draw 10 cards, but then must redraw 2 cards by choosing which 2 cards get sent back to your deck. This can help you weed out the chuff and get better cards in your hand.

The round system is set to a "2 out of 3" win system, as you have two life gems. You lose a life gem(and the round) when your opponent has a higher number value than you do. Since can't draw more cards, the usage of "Spy" cards become invaluable.

Mysterious Elf, long-distance relative of Funky Student
Once summoned, spy cards are placed on the enemies side of the field, and then you draw two cards. The interesting thing about these cards is once placed on either side of the field, the cards will stay with that player until the game is over. You keep your cards, there's no risk of losing your stuff, but what I mean is, they stay in that players discard pile. So they can place a spy card on your side of the field, the round ends, then you can summon that card with the help of a medic card. So while the game may be as simple as "Have more points than your opponent" the strategies in which you can do is staggering.

Medic cards, for when dramatic entries are your specialty
Easily my favorite cards in the game, and that says a lot because I only have 2 of them, the medic cards! Once placed, you can summon a card from your discard pile. It's important to note that nothing works on Hero Cards, which means you can't lose your hero and then immediately summon them back again. But these cards work in a pinch when your opponent uses spy cards, which means next round you get to summon them and a bunch of other cards!

Hero cards, cards that are immune to any effects or other cards, and also are super beastly. Actually now that I think about it, these cards are being manufactured and sold somewhere in the world of The Witcher, so does Geralt have to license out his likeness to companies, and so does he get paid? Does the world of The Witcher have "copyright infringement"? Deep questions.
I would say that Hero Cards are the Bread N Butter for your deck, only because by this point I have, I think, all of them. But the reality is I have better more reliable cards. But the hero card, as depicted by Witcher 3's main cast of characters, and some important supporting characters, are the muscle. They are who you send in when you're down 15 points and have to make back the difference before you lose.

Other than the basics of the cards, you've also got a leader card that gives you a special perk. For example, my current leader card allows me to double the strength of my siege unit cards, which, considering how many siege cards I have, can, and usually is, the wining move.

Unfortunately, if I had to say anything bad about Gwent it's that the A.I. seems to let you win by making decisions that ultimately hurt them more than help them. One game I played with a guy who had a shit-ton of spy cards. He was winning, and I mean BOY was he kicking my ass, and then all of the sudden he started playing his spy cards. While yes, it was allowing him to keep drawing more cards, he gave me like 5 cards, making my score tower his, resulting in me winning. Another game, which is pretty similar to what happens in my above video, the person built an entire line of close combat cards. There had to be at least 10 of them. The line itself was imposing, but then he used a commanders horn which DOUBLES the strength of each card. But he used it on the ranged combat cards, of which there was only one. So the one card sitting there went from 5 to 10 points, whereas he could have very easily won if he had used the horn on his close combat cards.

It's funny to point all of his out, as it's just one small feature of a major game in both scale and scope. A game I spent a majillion hours in without even touching the card aspect. But when it comes to Gwent there is good and bad. Artificial difficulty that makes it impossible to win sometimes, and also once you get good cards, impossible to lose. Regardless of the issues found within the Gwent side of the game, or anywhere else, it's a solid addition to the game and one well worth digging hours into building your deck, living out the open world Yu-Gi-Oh game you never knew you wanted. Well, be damn sure of this: It's here.

Play Gwent. Love Gwent.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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