The goal of this guide is to provide the Gwent newcomers with cheap decks. Each deck was built with a budget of around 1200 scraps in mind, showing examples of how our Crafting Guide can be utilized to improve the starting decks. You can check out our Meta Report to see the best and most expensive decks in the current meta.
Writing: Hippo and Wusubi
Last update: March 23, Patch 5.2.9
We also included the lucrative upgrade section, ultimately tailoring each deck towards the meta standard. In each spoiler, you will find the faction's budget deck, the exact crafting cost and the changes we made to starting decks, along with our reasoning behind them. If you have any questions, you can always join our Discord server.
Imperial Formation is a very fine jumping-off point. You won't take advantage of the ability to place a Soldier to the top of your deck, but having flexible 8 points across all three rounds is incredibly useful.
Crafting cost: 1060 scraps
Nilfgaard likes to focus on disrupting their opponents with Locks and removal. Carlo Varese helps you with round control, especially when he punishes people for using Tactical Advantage at the start of Round 1. Ocvist finds a lot of value in long rounds, making him a threatening finisher. Imperial Formation allows you to boost him to 7 strength.
Roach synergizes with Assire, granting you tempo and thinning in Round 1 and a great proactive play in later rounds. Geralt works better than usual thanks to Nilfgaardian Knight's Deploy ability. We also included the Poison package with Fangs of the Empire and Cupbearer. The cook has a secondary ability to Purify, which will often come in handy.
Crafting cost: 1120 scraps
Carlo offers the key removal, as you really want to win Round 1. To support him in his effort to shut down the opposing engines, Adda: Striga offers 4 damage and procs your Thrives. Endrega Larva is a great bronze card. While playing for low tempo, it grows fast and the armor makes it hard to remove.
Griffins serve as both Ghoul and Ozzrel food while synergizing with the deck. Pugo is a similar card, making Ozzrel even better. The Beast is a powerhouse. Play it whenever there's a unit with at least 5 power on the board, making it grow to 6 power immediately.
Crafting cost: 1260 scraps
Royal Inspiration works great with the boost-centric shell of the starter deck. You enable cards such as Anna, Trebuchet or Tridam. We also threw in some cards that benefit from boosting. Nathaniel can create a plenty of pressure, while Vissegerd is your finisher.
If boosted, Black Rayla is a 2 point-per-turn engine. Redanian Archer is a good bronze engine that can be difficult to remove when buffed up to 3-4 strength with 2 armor. Carlo offers decent removal, whereas Ocvist packs quite a punch in longer rounds. Vincent is used as either tall punish or to weaken an engine and finish it off with Black Rayla or Archer.
Upgrade #1 (800 scraps)
Upgrade #2 (800 scraps)
Prince Anséis is a more flexible removal option, especially in a shorter round. Similarly to Baron, he works well with Royal Inspiration, allowing you to play him in Melee row and boost him up for the Duel.
Crafting cost: 1320 scraps
The ships and Greatswords are the bread and butter of this deck. They're a bit slow to get going, but can run away with the game if left to their own devices. Raiding Fleet tutors out one of your ships while setting up Bloodthirst.
Gigascorpion Decoction is a potent removal tool that you can double-dip on with Greatsword. Hammond is versatile and can be used to disable an engine, or to make your Lacerate better. Carlo is an effective removal tool.
Upgrade #1 (800 scraps)
Upgrade #2 (1000 scraps)
Crafting cost: 1410 scraps
Carlo Varese is a powerful removal option and most importantly a Neutral card, making him an ideal addition to budget decks. Barnabas can provide you with amazing value if you distribute a sufficient amount of the required categories. Weeping Willow offers the Harmony tag and synergizes with Ranger, making the Poison package very reliable.
Percival is one of the best Harmony pay-off cards and thanks to his armor, he is likely to stick around. Treant Boar offers another tag as well as the synergy with Dryads and Dragoon. Smuggler provides the Human tag and carry-over.
Crafting cost: 3640 scraps
Adriano can spawn a Seductress at an affordable price. Dire Mutated Hound is a great proactive play. With a plethora of tall punishment in the deck, Moreelse will often play for 4 damage, killing an engine. Savolla on his own is an efficient coin sink, but he becomes absolutely nutty when you cheat out his Frightener with the help of the fabulous Madame Luiza.
No Syndicate deck is complete without spenders. Here we have a couple of the usual suspects: Sea Jackal, Street Urchins and the Borsodi brothers. Managing the spenders is the crucial aspect of winning games. Having a sack full of Coin and nothing to spend it on can outright lose you the game.
Syndicate isn't recommended for newcomers until they get comfortable with the basics of Gwent. Those who master it will find it to be a powerful faction that can deal with most things thrown its way.