Here we finally have an English guide on Gwent budget decks for new players! The decks that we are going to show you are budget, which means they require relatively few scraps to be crafted, and are specifically suitable for all the new players who recently arrived on Gwent.
Our Academy designed and studied ad hoc, for each faction, 4 versions of each deck, from the least expensive to the most complete.
Each version has in fact an increasing number of scraps used to craft new cards, which are shown every time. Thanks to this you can literally adapt your “budget” to any deck you wanna to try!
The less expensive versions make the starting base decks, the ones who are already in the game, more effective by adding elements that will help you expand your knowledge of the game itself, training you to become more familiar with the most basic mechanics.
Getting to create the most complete version of each faction’s deck will allow you to climb the ladder faster.
Regarding the climb, thanks to these decks you will easily reach the rank 9-10, after which you will have earned enough resources (more than 9000 scraps) to craft a meta deck, like the ones we analyze every month in our Gwent Meta Snapshots.
Don’t worry about any future updates or changes to the cards during the various Seasons, these decks are specifically designed to learn how to play with the classic Gwent archetypes in the first place.
In this guide you will therefore find a deck for all the factions present on Gwent, except for Syndicate. The reason for this choice is the lack of cards belonging to the base set of the Syndicate faction, so any deck from this faction will be very expensive in terms of scraps for a new player. Although once you will have enough resources, you could also start playing Syndicate with the help of this guide (Soon TM).
Choose the faction you like the most to invest your resources and start climbing!
N.B. The costs shown for each step refer to the cards added to craft for each version, you can find the total cost of the deck on the relative link and if you import it, you will see how many scraps you are missing or you are asked to use to craft the cards you need to complete it.
Golyat (200 Scraps): extremely strong tempo play capable of activating the Thrive ability even of units with already fairly high strength, an extra target to be consumed with Ozzrel. Beware of his Deathwish ability.
2x Endrega Larva (160 Scraps): according to many, among the strongest bronze cards in the game. Fundamental engine for almost all Monster decks, it is generally the opening play of the round with the Nekkers.
2x Noonwraith (60 Scraps): useful for Thrive.
Endrega Warrior (80 Scraps): another unit capable of consuming Harpy Egg and thus activating Deathwish, also useful for denying poisoning and other negative statuses on our units.
Total Scraps: 500
Tactic:deck completely based on Thrive mechanics. In the very first ranks it offers excellent solidity and versatility, making it effective in both long and short rounds. Very simple to use since the player’s only concern consist in playing first units with Thrive (Nekker/Endrega Larva/Token generated by the Leader) and then units with increasing strength (Golyat/Ice Giant/Noonwraith etc.) to exploit at best the Thrives.
Weak point: poor interaction with the enemy board.
Yghern (800 Scraps): strong tempo play, very useful for pushing the opponent in round 2, it often helps us to win round 1 on even cards if we had the red coin, the best target for Ozzrel.The only contraindication is its ability, we will have to try to play it with a fair number of cards in hand (7-8) to ensure that it is not destroyed very easily.
The Beast (200 Scraps): exceptional engine, it boosts by 2 at the end of the round if it is not the strongest unit on the field and we play several units with really high strength.
The Apiarian Phantom (200 Scraps): useful both as an engine and as a tempo play, with Order it shoots 3 damage, if you don’t use Order it boosts by 1 at the end of the turn.
Foglet x2 (160 Scraps): units with Deathwish useful to thin (reduce the number of cards in the deck).
Endrega Warrior (80 Scraps): we add the second one to consume the Foglets.
Total Scraps: 1440
Celaeno Harpy 2x
Tactic:similar to the previous list with the addition of another very strong tempo play with Yghern and some engines capable of providing even more points in long rounds.
Oneiromancy (800 Scraps): it allows you to play any card from your deck and with the Echo ability it can also be used in the next round.
Korathi Heatwave (800 Scraps): allows you to remove any card from the enemy board (unit or an artifact).
Total Scraps: 1600
Dorregaray of Vole
Tactic:still similar to the previous ones with the addition of cards such as Korathi Heatwave to have more control over the enemy board and a generic tutor such as Oneiromancy to have more solidity in the draws.
Old Speartip (800 Scraps): yet another huge tempo play, yet another target for Ozzrel, this time with no contraindications.
Koshchey (800 Scraps): card on which the entire deck is based, described in the “Tactic” section.
Caranthir (800 Scraps): very versatile card capable of copying and creating a monster unit from the hand with force 1, although the preferred target is Koschey, in some cases it may be useful to copy The Beast, The apiarian Phantom or in the worst case an Endrega Larva
Bruxa 2x (160 Scraps): other units with Thrive.
Total Scraps: 2560
Old Speartip: asleep
2x Ice Giant
Tactic:change the leader, change the tactic. Although the base of the deck is the same, the introduction of synergistic cards with this archetype such as Koshchey and Caranthir, require a change of leader to make the most of their potential.
Round management may seem slow in the engine placement phase (units with Thrive), but the points generated increase exponentially with each turn. However this deck offers the best in short to medium length rounds (4-6 cards) as they allow the two Koshcheys (the first generated by Caranthir and the second in hand) to enter almost immediately in Adrenaline 4 creating an Endrega Larva every time which activates thrive, aided by the ability of the leader that allows you to activate them both in one turn.
Tips: the slot occupied by Geralt of Rivia is quite variable, it can be replaced with Geralt: Igni or with Geralt: Yrden by downgrading a 5 provisions card with a 4 provisions card. The choice varies according to the evolution of the meta, it is however recommended to insert a card that provides a minimum of control over the enemy board to partially fill this gap.
Toruviel: is a very solid card which punishes decks that tend to put many units on the same row (especially on the Ranged Row), but in case of a short round or with few enemy units on the field it can still be live up to its provision cost (if positioned on the Front Row).
A very important addition is the Movement package which allows you to score many points by using the synergy of these 3 bronze cards (therefore usable in double copy).
Dryad Matron: In order to activate its effect every turn, it does not have to be the rightmost unit on its row, so when you are gonna place a unit it must be placed to its right so it can move.
Cat Witcherinstead moves by itself, dealing 1 damage to a random enemy unit on the opposite row based on which row the card landed, gaining greater value when the Adrenaline 3 ability is activated (it’s a bonus that doubles the damage when you have a maximum of 3 cards in hand), and when it moves furthest to the right in the Dol Blathanna Sentry’s row, this card allows us (if positioned in the Ranged Row) to boost the 2 cards previously mentioned at each movement, therefore more Movement units will mean more points scored by this card.
The Front Row effect can be useful when the number of the Movement units of the enemy are greater than the allied ones.
An important side of the cards in this Movement Package is that their effects are passive (which means that the player does not have to manually activate them every turn but they are activated automatically); however, it must be taken into consideration that these units can only move if a row that is not already full (each row can contain a maximum of 9 cards).
In a case in which the Cat Witcher cannot move it will still damage the enemy’s units in the opposite row, unlike the Dryad Matron who necessarily needs to move.
To best way to optimize the synergy of these 3 cards is to place the Dryad Matron in the Ranged Row so that it automatically activates each time that the Cat Witcher moves from the Front Row to the Ranged Row.
It is normal that this mechanic is not too easy to understand but the positioning of these cards is very important and if optimized can generate a huge amount of points.
The Elven archetype focuses on controlling a large number of units without any of them having too many boosts, making the locks less stronger, but at the same time has the weaknesses, it is punished by cards such as Lacerate.
That’s the explanation of why we chose this leader: Deadeye Ambush that allows us to summon 3 Elves with 3 of strength; it is preferable not to use it in round 1 and to keep as many charges as possible for the decisive round but they can be useful at any time if necessary.
Feign Death allows us to really make the Elves archetype shine, activating it when we play an Elf unit twice.
Vernossielis a very versatile card that in a short round can be a strong 11-point tempo play (divided into 3 units, if placed in the Ranged Row), while when combined with Feign Death and the leader’s charges it can act as a finisher massively damaging the enemy’s board (if positioned in Front Row).
Gezras of Leyda has a devastating potential in a long round because it can generate many points each round and it synergizes with both the elf archetype and the Movement package; however, it must be taken into consideration that in a short round develops very few points if in the absence of the leader’s charges so it is always preferable to have a decisive round of at least 6 cards.
Aelirenn is a card that you never want to have in your hand as its strength is to move into the board from the deck once you control at least 5 Elves units, this allows you to optimize the draws and also gives an important help in case of a push in round 2, by yourself or by the opponent.
It is therefore not recommended to let Aelirenn out in round 1 except in extreme cases (such as, for example, the risk of losing on even).
Elven Swordmaster is very useful as it can damage enemy units of your choice optimized every time we play an elven unit.
Dol Blathanna Bowman allows you to damage enemy units and combined with other allied cards that damage enemy cards (such as, for example, Cat Witcher, Elven Swordmaster or the second chapter of Feign Death) can also remove them.
Oneiromancy (if drawn in round 1) is the most excellent card in terms of draws solidity as it allows you to draw a card of your choice from the deck in two different turns, therefore allowing you to always have your key cards available.
Korathi Heatwave allows you to remove any enemy card, very strong against units that generate lots of points or on scenarios.
Isengrim Faoiltiarna makes the most out of the elven archetype in a long round (but is weak in a short round like Leyda of Gezras).
Yaevinn, especially when it is combined with the leader charges or with Feign Death, allows you to remove an enemy unit with lots of points (maximum of 9); It is important to know that Yaevinn himself counts in the total amount of elves in the row.
Ciaran aep Easnillen is mainly useful for locking an enemy unit but it can also be useful for moving a unit with an ability depending on the row in which it is located (alternative to Vrihedd Dragoon).
Vrihedd Sappers are mainly useful for purifying enemies Defender (you must, however, already be in control of an Elf unit to be able to purify enemy units; so if the opponent plays a Defender unit as his first card, in order to purify it you need to use a leader’s charge) but it can also purify allied units (such as, for example, locked or poisoned units).
Vernossiel’s Commando is a valid engine at a cost of 4 provisions that if left undisputed can generate a good amount of points.
Last change you can make (last but not least) is to insert Crystal Skullin place of Tactical Advantage as it allows you to protect better the engines in round 1.
You will lose a point but being able to give Veil to a unit prevents it to be either locked or poisoned making it less difficult to set the combo of the Movement package.
Heymaey protector: good engines with a lot of points in combo with Dimun ships.
Raiding fleet: this is a good tutor and allows us to take one of our ships, very annoying for the opponent, allow us to get Bloodthirst, and to score points, the dimun in particular go in combo with the Heymaey Protector.
An Craite Greatsword: cards that allow you to take advantage of all the damage in the deck and benefit from it.
An Craite Raiders: another card that damages and plays for 8 in round 3, allows us to close a 7 kill with a Alzur’s Thunder.
Drummond Berserker: card that alone plays for 8 and also synergizes with the Heymaey Protector.
Hemdall: the first legendary card that we insert, very powerful finisher and allows us to combine it with the leader to make a full leader of 11 points + the value given by Hemdall.
War of Clans: this card allows us to exploit Devotion and be able to reuse our small engines as Brokvar Hunter, or Heymaey Protector.
An Craite Raiders: let’s also put the second copy, because it is a good bronze and is good in double copy.
Champion’s Charge: we finally have something that synergizes with our leader, besides Svanrige Tuirseach, a universal removal for all units when we have Bloodthirst 3, too much needed card in this deck.
Skjordal: we have removed every neutral card from the deck, and exploiting Devotion only with War of Clans would not have been enough to justify it, so we put this very strong card that allows us to remove many engines and also scores points in its own right, however, the Veteran tag means that its maximum value is expressed only in round 3.
Stunning Blow: a 5 power removal, universally good card regardless of the archetype, we will keep the monocopy of this card even in the future.
Brokvar Hunter: engines that allow us to value over time and close many kills, targets for War of Clans.
Gutting Slash: having removed Alzur’s Thunder to exploit Devotion, we put these 4 power shots that with a double Bloodthirst allow us to shoot at 6.
We add two of the currently strongest cards of skellige namely Harald an Craite and Blood Eagle.
Harald an Craite: the graveyard setup in round 1 becomes even more important, so it is advisable to pay particular attention to using units with the bronze Warrior tag to be placed in the graveyard as possible targets for both War of Clan and Harald.
Blood Eagle: a very important tutor for this deck, unfortunately we still can’t take it consistently given the absence of Vabjorn, which we will put in the next step, allows us to close the kills/recall units to close them and possibly take some gold cards that we did not have caught in round 3.
An Craite Marauder: this card will be removed in the next step, so if you don’t want to spend these 80 scraps you can replace it with Heymaey Herbalist.
This card allows us some nice plays: for example we can play Blood Eagle and calling this card to close a kill of 5, or more if we started first and we have for example an An Craite Raiders on board.
It is also another target for War of Clans.
With these latest changes we have replaced the remaining neutral cards to take advantage of the Devotion abilities of Usurper and Fergus van Emreis.
Masquerade Ball: the strongest card of this faction, if not removed, guarantees a huge amount of points in both a long and a shorter round, plus using the combo with Roderick calling us Joachim, we will complete all the chapters of Scenario in a single turn, not giving our opponent a chance to respond to our Poisons, thus creating one of the most devastating plays of the entire game.
Usurper: a remarkable tempo play, which from the second round guarantees us 12 immediate points, in addition to synergize both with the Thirsty Dame and with the Impera Enforcers thanks to the disloyal state of the Operatives summoned by Usurper himself.
Fergus van Emreis: perfect when on the field we have already deployed our Impera Enforcers, adding 3 charges to each of them, as well as being an Aristocrat to carry on the Scenario and give a nice +3 on our Thirsty Dame.
Impera Enforcers: main target for our Ramon. With the large number of unfair units that we will create or play in the opponent’s field, the more Enforcers we can deploy, the greater the amount of points obtained.
Braathens: another tempo play that against certain archetypes (such as Northern Realms or Scoia’tael) will also prove to be an excellent engine, in addition to its Assimilate ability that we will activate many times during the game.
Coup de grace: another very versatile card, mainly we would like to use it to play Joachim a second time, or even Roderick if we were not able to draw one of our fundamental gold, but thanks to its Echo ability we could also use it in 2 different rounds by finding other spots on cards made disloyal by Fergus, Court informant or by exploiting the Coup de grace ability.
Court informant: added mainly to be able to use Braathens’ ability, but as mentioned above, against certain archetypes using it a second time never hurts, indeed.
Moorlehem Hunter: we add other Aristocrats as well as two other Locks, a typic mechanic of the Nilfgaard that allows us to cancel the opponent’s strategies.
Lyrian Schyteman: another deck finisher (along with Lacerate and Geralt of Rivia), most of the times it must be played immediately after using your leader.
Dun Banner: card used to thin the deck, when it’s possible you can activate its effect by placing it next to a Temerian Drummer.
Radovid’s Royal Guards: a very important card that allows you to protect the most important engines such as Anna Strenger, Temerian Drummer or Kerack Frigate. It can also be an activator for Dun Banner.
Kerack City Guard: it’s an engine that starts doing points as soon as it is deployed without needing any other cards. It offers a good response to the annoying Skellige ships or the Siege Engines of other Northern Realms’ decks.
Boiling Oil: a Warfare card that replaces the Alzur’s Thunder, its purification effect is not important, but we need it because in the final version of the deck we will only use faction cards, also it will be supported by Jan Natalis.
Kerack Frigate: key engine that allows you to get 2 additional points each turn, but requires soldier units positioned next to it. This card must be protected using the tactical advantage, the order of a Radovid’s Royal Guard, or with a charge of Thunderbolt artifact previously placed on the board.
Tips: it is recommended that you open Northern Realms faction kegs to look for some of the rares you need. It is also worth taking a peek at the next versions of this deck when you find a legendary from the kegs, so you can choose the right one.
Kerack City Guard: second copy to increase the deck’s solidity.
Prince Anséis: very solid card that allows us to remove an enemy unit and at the same time enable us to put some points on the board; if you place a Thunderbolt on the board before playing Prince Anséis, you can greatly increase its value.
Amphibious Assault: core card with Echo. It allows us to take the right Northern Realms card from the deck at the right time; it can bring an important engine into the board by boosting it and thus protecting it, or you can go and take out a Lyrian Schyteman from from the deck as a finisher.
Kerack Marine: since we are now playing a Devotion version, this card could not be missing, the strongest with 4 provisions card in Northern Realms. He may be an emergency target for Viraxas’s order.
Egmund: flexible card, as well as being an engine, it can help us to destroy an enemy unit.
Bloody Baron: wonderful unit that allows us to reset the enemy unit that has received lots of boosts.
Viraxas Prince: key card of the deck, it gives us the possibility to use again the order of a unit, the main targets are Prince Anséis and Bloody Baron. When it arrives at the third stage it also becomes an engine.
We moved on to the leader that we will use in the final version of this deck, Shieldwall. This leader gives us 3 charges and at the moment the main targets of these charges are Anna Stranger and Prince Anséis, the third charge can be used according to the situation on one of these cards: Kerack Marine; Dun Banner; Temerian Drummer; Kerack Frigate.
Siege Support: unit that we use to give fervor to the order of Seltkirk of Gulet, it also allows us to give Zeal to the units with Formation that we deploy on the Ranged row.
Griffin Witcher: small engine that is very strong in the first round, can be an alternative target to the Kerack Frigate for Amphibious Assault.
John Natalis: unit that allows you to tutor war cards, Amphibious Assault in particular.
Seltkirk of Gulet: new target for a leader charge, has the same functionality as Prince Anséis but requires more setting.
Donimir of Troy: card that allows us to defend the most important engines that we place in its row.
Queen Adalia: very important unit that allows you to play an additional copy of a bronze engine and to protect it with a shield.
Crystal Skull: this Stratagem helps us protect an engine from the enemy’s Locks when we start as first, it’s also very strong when used alongside the Griffin Witcher.
Falibor -> Queen Adalia;
Kerack Frigate -> Egmund;
Vysogota of Corvo -> John Natalis.
Thanks to TeamLeviathanGaming for the idea of their budget decks upgrade-based, a significant boost for new players who want to better manage their resources and at the same time try as many decks as possible and experience all that Gwent has to offer.
For any doubt or question the ESC Card Gaming team is always at your disposal, so do not hesitate to contact us in the channel you prefer. You will find all the links below!