How to play gwent in The Witcher 3

It doesn’t matter if the successful premiere of the second season of The Witcher on Netflix or the traditional January lull is to blame – the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt , which has already become a golden classic of the genre, is confidently holding its own in the top online on Steam (at the time of writing the guide, the final CD Projekt Red story about Geralt from Rivia held an honorable 17th place). Therefore, it’s time to uncover not only both swords, but also your decks, and at the same time learn how to finally play gwent, if you still couldn’t figure it out. 

The basic rules of gwent in The Witcher 3

So, let’s start with the basic principles of the game:
  1. The order in which the players play is determined by a coin toss (unless someone is playing as an elf, in which case the player with the green back deck goes first).
  2. The game consists of two or three rounds. The winner is the one who wins in two rounds.
  3. At the start of the game, each player draws 10 random cards from their deck. After that, any two cards can be discarded and replaced with others.
  4. You can put one card on the table per turn (but this is not necessary at all!). Each of these cards has a strength indicator that adds up.
  5. The round continues until all the cards have been used or until the moment when one of the players unequivocally dominates the other (that is, has a much more powerful army).

Types of cards in gwent and how to play them

Before moving on to strategy and other tricks, you first need to understand the types of cards. There are five in total. Let’s talk about all of them:
  1. Troop cards . There are three types – archers, melee fighters and siege weapons. Each of these cards has an attack value, which is indicated by a number enclosed in a circle in the upper left corner of the card. Be sure to read the description of each such card, because it is good combinations of these that help to win.
  2. Leader cards. This is a special card with a powerful ability. Each deck can only have one of these, and they can only be used once per match (not per round!). In fact, this is a kind of “ult”, and therefore the main trump card should be pulled out of the sleeve wisely. An exception to the rule is a combination with a Nilfgaard card, which allows you to use the skill again.
  3. Special cards. These are cards that apply effects to both you and your opponent. In other words, they affect the entire gaming table. The most common such cards are weather cards: frost will weaken all melee units, fog will interfere with archers, and rain will damage siege weapons. Your task is to pick up such cards that will cause minimal harm to your troops.
  4. Hero cards. The only cards not affected by special card effects. They work in the same way as troop cards, only they can additionally strengthen other cards. In addition, hero cards are neutral, meaning they can be used with any of the faction decks. The best hero cards are  Yennefer, Ciri and Geralt .

Fractions – decks of cards in gwent

Each card belongs to one of the five factions that act as decks. Each faction has its own style of play, so it makes sense to collect any specific one that suits you the most. At the same time, you definitely shouldn’t get carried away – none of these decks is universal, and therefore it is better to play against some opponents with strictly defined factions. 


The simplest deck of cards, which is ideal for beginners and those who do not want to deal much with tactics, complex mechanics and other mathematics. The effects of these cards are as simple and straight forward as possible, allowing the player to win by sheer combat power.
Pros:  the deck is very easy to learn, the mechanics of symbiosis, absorption and will are intuitive.
Cons: Overly straightforward gameplay that won’t help on higher difficulty levels.
Best Cards: Spirit of the Forest, Queen of the Eyes, Detlaff van der Eretain, Huge Eyes.


Another “straightforward” deck with simple mechanics. Suitable for those who act exclusively ahead, but at the same time do not want to play for monsters.
Pros: very simple deck, allows you to always go first.
Cons: few tools to play against more cunning opponents.
Best Cards: Eldain, Francesca Findabair Daisy of the Valleys, Havencar Healer.


The golden mean for those who find the first two decks too simple, and Nilfgaard and the Kingdoms of the North too tricky. They allow you to deal good damage from the very beginning of the round, and the abilities encourage aggressive tactics as much as possible.
Pros: Playing Skellige is much more dynamic than Nilfgaard and the Kingdoms of the North, but not as boring as Behemoths and Scoia’tael. In addition, the unique ability of the faction gives the opportunity to win back in the third round, which is very useful if you have already pulled all the powerful cards from the enemy.
Cons: Requires good knowledge of enemy card abilities.
Best Cards: Harald the Lame, King Bran, Mousetrap, Cerys, Drake Bon-Dhu.


The Nilfgaard deck is considered the most powerful in the game. It’s hard to argue with that, but only for beginners, the cards of this faction are not suitable – they are aimed at a subtle tactical game. No wonder the faction’s unique ability allows you to count your victory in the event of a draw.
Pros: spy maps, scrolling, the ability to create a huge army of infantry.
Cons: only suitable for experienced players.
Best cards: Usurper, Emhyr var Emreis Lord of the South, Menno Koehoorn, Impera Brigade, Vattier de Rideau, Stefan Skellen, Shilard Fitz-Shooted.

Kingdoms of the North

Another powerful deck only for experienced players. The thing is that it is suitable only for patient players who will scrupulously add up the necessary combinations, because many faction cards themselves are rather weak. But if you do everything right, you will be unstoppable.
Pros: Spy cards, scrolling and charges that allow you to perform bonus actions.
Cons: Suitable only for those who immerse themselves in strategy.
Best cards: “Queen Calanthe”, “Princess Adda”, “Foltest son of Medella”, “Prince Stennis”, “Blue Stripes Fighter”.

Game Tips – How to Win at Gwent

Finally, the basics are covered, and you can finally move on to the main tricks that will help you win.
  1. The main secret of a good game is a balanced deck . This means that you should have in your pocket not just the most powerful cards or cards of any one faction, but cards that can be effectively combined. Be sure to take the following:
    • “Scarecrow” and “Commander’s Horn”;
    • cards with the Strong Bond ability.
  2. It is not in vain that you are offered to change two cards at the start of the game – the victory depends on how balanced your hand is. Try to have troops of all three types and do not neglect cards with power-ups.
  3. Pay attention to the faction of the enemy and even study the properties of the cards of those decks that you are not going to play. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each faction, as well as their unique ability, will help you build the right strategy.
  4. We already said at the very beginning of the guide that it is not at all necessary to lay out cards every turn. The ability to pass and resist the temptation to put all the troops on the table at once can serve you well. In general, try to win not with an overwhelming, but with a minimal advantage, so that in which case there is always a “plan B” in your hand. Well, a not too smart opponent will have time to play all the “trump cards” by this moment.
  5. Destroy duplicates. You definitely don’t need too many identical cards, even if you collect exclusively the Nilfgaard deck. Moreover, for the destruction of duplicates and weak cards, you will receive scrap. In fact, the fewer cards you have in your deck, the better, because then the chance that you will have the right ones in your hand at the beginning of the match is higher. The optimal number of cards for each faction is 24-28.
  6. Don’t forget to upgrade your deck. Regardless of the faction, what was a great build for fighting regular opponents can be downright trash when faced with sophisticated players.

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