The goal of this guide is to provide the Gwent newcomers with cheap decks. Each deck was built with a budget of around 1000 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.
Last update: 28th of October, Patch 4.1
If you own Thronebreaker, we included decks with the Thronebreaker cards for Northern Realms, Scoia'tael and Monsters. Furthermore, we added our suggestions for lucrative upgrades, 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.
Calanthe is the current reigning queen of Northern Realms, as her Pincer Maneuver ability is unmatched by the other contenders to the throne. Unfortunately, you don't have an effective way of utilizing its potential until you expand your collection. We recommend playing Royal Inspiration for the time being.
Crafting cost: 1120 scraps
Inclusions: Portal, Carlo Varese, Botchling, Vissegerd, Nathaniel Pastodi,
2x Redanian Archer and 2x Redanian Knight
Royal Inspiration works great in the boost-centric shell of the starting deck. It enables cards such as Anna, Trebuchet, Tridam Infantry etc. We threw in epic cards that benefit from boosting. Nathaniel creates plenty of pressure, especially when placed next to Anna or Drummer. Vissegerd is the finisher.
Botchling is cheap and versatile. Portal and Carlo Varese are the neutral inclusions that can be played in each faction. Don't forget to always play Portal in the Ranged row, it can pull Redanian Knights. Redanian Archer presents another powerful bronze engine and is very difficult to remove.
Lucrative upgrades: Geralt of Rivia → Bloody Baron (800 scraps)
While Geralt can be unreliable, Bloody Baron will always find decent value. Fulfilling a similar role, he synergizes with Royal Inspiration.
Thunderbolt, Dorregaray and Lacerate → Ronvid The Incessant, Philippa: Blind Fury and Vincent Meis (1000 scraps)
As you will advance through the ranks, removal will become more valuable. Philippa's ability to kill multiple engines in one turn can often tip the scales in your favor. Vincent Meis is a cheap answer to tall units.
Carlo Varese → Prince Anséis (800 scraps)
Prince Anséis is a more flexible removal option, especially in shorter rounds. Similarly to Baron, he synergizes with Royal Inspiration, allowing you to play him in Melee row with Zeal and boosting him.
Luckily for Meve, the Northern Realms cards you get for free if you own Thronebreaker make her deck even better. It's very easy to keep Black Rayla boosted and she can win the round on her own if left unanswered. Reynard Odo will boost each unit you play, offering great synergy with Meve and units that have the Inspired tag. You can easily accomodate both cards by cutting Geralt and Lacerate, see the import link below.
While the starting deck is geared more towards Invigorate, we suggest opting for Guerilla Tactics. This allows you to activate and/or protect your engines, or use it offensively, granting you more value with Lacerate. You can also move (and thus disable) row-locked enemy engines.
Crafting cost: 1120 scraps
Inclusions: Carlo Varese, Ocvist, Dennis Cranmer, Treant Boar, Half-Elf Hunter, 2x Hawker Smuggler and 2x Vrihedd Brigade
Carlo Varese is a powerful removal option and most importantly a Neutral card, making him an ideal addition to budget decks. Dennis Cranmer can boost the entire Ranged row in a longer round, or just activate your Mahakam Defenders. Ocvist is a wonderful long round card, especially with Guerilla Tactics protection.
Treant Boar is a sturdy engine that can be moved around with Vrihedd Dragoon and Guerilla Tactics for additional damage. Vrihedd Brigades fulfill a similar role, but are usually used as a finisher. Hawker Smugglers compensate for Invigorate. They generate carry-over, potentially hand-buffing Defender.
Lucrative upgrades: Geralt of Rivia and Thunderbolt → The Great Oak and Dwarven Chariot (880 scraps)
The Great Oak is the best gold card Scoia'tael has to offer. The more you stack one row the better, so it synergizes with Guerilla Tactics.
Dorregaray and Dragoon → Figgis Merlunzo and 2nd Skirmisher (800 scraps)
Getting rid of the last neutral unit empowers Pavko. Figgis is the ideal card to protect your engines with, while making The Great Oak better.
Thunderbolt and Lacerate → Call of the Forest and 2nd Chariot (880 scraps)
With the addition of The Great Oak and Figgis Merlunzo, you have a plenty of threatening cards to tutor, which makes Call of the Forest an invaluable card.
Barnabas can provide you with impressive value if you distribute a sufficient amount of the required card categories. We started by adding Dryad Rangers and Fledglings to have more Dryads. Weeping Willow offers the Harmony tag and synergizes with Rangers, making the Poison package reliable. Percival is one of the best Harmony pay-off cards and thanks to his armor, he's likely to stick around.
Gabor Zigrin is an amazing card and can either be played for carry-over between rounds or as an Immune engine which boosts itself each time you play a Dwarf. The deck does play a few Dwarves and both options are functional, depending on the circumstances of the match. Click on the import link below to see the more Harmony-oriented version of the deck which includes both Thronebreaker cards.
In this version, you replace Geralt and Lacerate with The Great Oak and 2nd Marauder. Your goal is getting Fauve with Water of Brokilon (1600 scraps) and switching to the Mystic Echo ability, forming the ultimate Harmony deck. Call of the Forest is the natural replacement for Carlo Varese. Confer our Meta Report in order to see how a refined Harmony deck looks like.
The starter deck was changed recently and Death's Shadow has become a better leader ability than Fruits of Ysgith. You usually want to win Round 1 and then bleed your opponent in Round 2.
Crafting cost: 1220 scraps
Inclusions: Carlo Varese, Katakan, Protofleder, Golyat, Manticore,
2x Endrega Larva and 2x Endrega Egg
Carlo Varese offers the crucial removal and tempo, as this deck cares a lot about winning Round 1. Since you often have the highest unit on the board, Protofleder is a no-brainer. Not only does it kill engines, it also boosts itself to 7, procing your Thrive units. Katakan works very well in a Thrive deck, as it procs Thrive units with lower power, while getting Thrived by the giants.
Endrega Larva is an auto-include bronze. While playing for low tempo, it quickly ramps up and the added armor makes it difficult to remove. Golyat is added for Ozzrel consistency. His drawback can be mitigated by playing him late into the round when most of the removal has been used. Manticore and Endrega Eggs provide more Deathwishes.
Lucrative upgrades: Geralt + Lacerate → Miruna + Toad Prince (1000 scraps)
Miruna is a very powerful Deathwish, offering another target for Death's Shadow. Toad Prince is a nice and cheap tempo/removal play.
Ghoul, Elder Bear and Dorregaray → 2x Barbegazi and Caranthir Ar-Feiniel (960 scraps)
With the inclusion of Miruna, you can throw in consume cards and Caranthir to create another Deathwish. Your targets are Miruna, Manticore and all four Eggs.
Carlo Varese → Yghern (800 scraps) and Protofleder → Cave Troll (800 scraps)
Including another big boy empowers Ozzrel. Since we added Toad Prince earlier, Protofleder can be cut for Cave Troll, who will protect your engines and big boys.
Keltullis is a double-edged sword, immensely powerful when used correctly, but potentially game-losing when not. She can single-handedly stop swarm decks like Mystic Echo Dwarfs. Keltullis is a perfect answer to cards like Portal when going second, as she immediately destroys one of the units. However, if you swarmed the board yourself with Endrega Larvas and Eggs, you better play her in Ranged row, otherwise she will feast on your own side of the board.
With the advent of more armor and boosted cards, Onslaught (Crach) struggles to find the continuous value, as it becomes harder to reliably get Bloodthirst. Patricidal Fury instantly enables all your Bloodthirst cards in the round you play it in, while you can use Dimun Light Longships to get Bloodthirst in other rounds.
Crafting cost: 1220 scraps
Inclusions: Carlo Varese, Harald Houndsnout, Jutta an Dimun, Raiding Fleet, Gremist, 2x Svalblod Priest and 2x Heymaey Protector
As usual, Carlo is included as a cheap and potent removal option. Jutta is a great proactive card that can play for 12 points. You can achieve this by boosting one of your units to 13 strength with Thunderbolt or Tactical Advantage. Raiding Fleet is guaranteed to tutor Dimun Light Longship while enabling Bloodthirst. Gremist can bypass enemy Defender or Purify any negative statuses like Lock or Poison.
Despite the recent switch towards more armor-based decks, the self-wounding engine package of Svalblod Priest + Heymey Protector still works well. Protector should be placed next to a Longship or any unit that's being damaged by Priest. Harald's pals serve as Priest fodder and his Order ability can help finish off a low power engine with a lucky skull ping.
Lucrative upgrades: Geralt → Hjalmar an Craite (800 scraps)
The deck plays a good amount of 5-6 power bodies and Hjalmar only gets better with each tall body you add. Wonderful removal tool.
Carlo Varese → Morkvarg: Heart of Terror (800 scraps)
While Carlo offers good removal in Round 1, Morkvarg answers any boosted unit, which is amazing in every part of the ladder.
2x Thunderbolt and Dorregaray → Olaf, Knut the Callous and Tuirseach Veteran (1680 scraps)
Olaf and Knut combo is the bread and butter of the majority of Skellige decks, granting 4 removal and 18 points on your side of the board. Veteran has a lot of synergy within the deck, making him a great 1-off.
The buff to Imperial Formation finally makes it viable. You can't really take advantage of the ability to place a soldier to the top of your deck, but boosting engines out of removal range is not to be underestimated.
Crafting cost: 1160 scraps
Inclusions: Portal, Ocvist, Carlo, Roach and Assire, 2x Ard Feainn Crossbowman
The big upside of Portal is playing two engines in one turn, making it difficult for your opponent to answer both. With only two targets in the deck, you should be careful and avoid any risky mulligans. Roach synergizes with Assire, granting you extra tempo and thinning in Round 1 and a strong proactive play in later rounds.
Geralt works very well in this deck thanks to Nilfgaardian Knight's Deploy ability, making him a fairly reliable card. Crossbowman will get decent value due to the amount of Soldiers the deck has. Similarly to Guerilla Tactics, Imperial Formation can be used to protect Ocvist, ensuring that he packs quite the punch and plays above his provisions in a long round.
Lucrative crafts: Consider crafting the Tactics package (1480 scraps) and the Assimilate package (1000 scraps) then switch ability to Enslave. Both packages and other good cards to craft for Nilfgaard can be found in our Crafting Guide.
Writing: Hippotompotomus and Wusubi
Consulting: Nimraphel and Thekeyer