Coming into Gwent can be a daunting experience. The various leaders and factions are not truly covered by the tutorial, making it hard to discern which factions you should spend your scraps on and how to build your first deck.
This guide will give you some pointers on what cards are worth crafting. Our Meta Report can be used as a reference to the best decks in the meta, something you should aim towards with your crafts. If you are on a tighter budget of around 1200 scraps, check out our Budget Decks.
Last update: March 23, Patch 5.2.9
We evaluate the crafting priority using the following legend: Essential > High > Medium > Low.
While a low priority card might seem a bit discouraging for a craft, the rating should always be viewed in a wider context. Each card comes with a brief explanation. Some recommended cards aren't featured in any meta decks (i.e. Carlo Varese). We are including cards that are primarily geared towards helping new players achieve success.
Thus, there is an emphasis on Midrange cards or mildly synergistic cards that provide you with decent value on their own. Be it in terms of the actual points or consistency and versatility they offer. As a newcomer, meta decks are relatively far off. Besides, the meta changes monthly. Our priority is giving new players a good foundation of functional cards.
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1x Pellar (80 scraps)
Crafting priority: Medium
Arguably one of the most boring cards you can craft, but sadly also one that will save you a lot of trouble when facing decks relying on status effects, most notably Poison. You'll never want to craft two copies, but as a 1-off, Pellar can be beneficial in any deck that goes tall. Some factions will have their own (and better) Purifies, e. g. Vrihedd Sappers for ST or Imperial Diviner for NG. However, for several other factions such as MO and NR, this card can find good use. Pellar will deal with any negative Status on your side of the board and he can also answer the opposing Defender if necessary.
1x Bomb Heaver (80 scraps)
Crafting priority: Low
Another 1-off and another controversial card. Bomb Heaver will either play as a measly 4 for 5 provisions, or it will win you the round by removing a high-provision Scenario. Easily the most binary card to be currently found in Gwent, yet it will never feel good to craft or use. A necessary evil, craft him if you face decks that rely on a Scenario.
Northern Realms (NR) took a massive hit in the last couple of patches. Unfortunately, as it stands, the only remotely viable option for NR is the Blue Stripes package coupled with the good old Inspired Zeal ability. -Minuano
Cintrian Enchantress plays as a decent 6 for 4 on her own, protecting an ally. The second copy, if played in the same round, can play for up to 8 points (or more with the likes of Tridam Infantry) which is incredible for just 4 provisions.
Nilfgaard (NG) tends to gravitate towards control-oriented game plans that circumvent the faction's inherent inferiority in terms of raw power. While that may sound unattractive, NG is a powerful faction due to its mixture of control options and Midrange value cards. We recommend focusing on one of the first three abilities, as the rest of them are either very niche or outright unviable. -Nimraphel
Magne Division (30 scraps)
Crafting priority: High
A 4-provision engine that demands an answer, lest it achieves value far beyond its provisions? Yes please. The only downside is that the card is technically row-locked, in a sense that you can't play other cards in its row. Moreover, the opponent can always move the Magne or other cards into Magne's row, effectively disabling its ability.
This card is an improved Pellar and you should always include at least one Diviner in your NG decks. The Assimilate tag will squeeze in extra value with your Create cards. Similar to Pellar, you can use Diviner to either get rid of a negative status on your side of the board, or to bypass the opposing Defender.
While 5 points for 4 provision might seem mediocre, Van Moorlehem Hunter's versatility lies in providing a Lock, which is what makes it an attractive card for most NG decks. It's hard to find more flexibility in a 4 provision card than this.
Syndicate (SY) doesn't have a starter deck and is designed to be a more advanced faction. As such, it requires a higher scrap investment than usual. On the upside, you can focus solely on Novigrad kegs if SY appeals to you. The faction has proven to be dominant since its release and the coin mechanic is unique and powerful. Understanding it is the key to becoming a good SY player. You need to find the optimal balance between coin generation and spenders. -Wusubi
2x Sea Jackal (60 scraps)
Crafting priority: Essential
Sea Jackal is the perfect bronze spender. Not having any Profit makes him useful when your bank is full and you need to spend coins. His Hoard ability turns 2 coins into 3 points, which is great for a bronze.
Street Urchins are a very functional alternative to Sea Jackal. While you usually play Jackal when you need to spend coins, Urchins are played when you're in need of some Profit. Other than potentially enabling some of your Hoard cards and helping with thinning out The Flying Redanian, Urchins also have the Blindeye tag and thus synergize with Passiflora.
The Poison package (380 scraps)
Having an efficient Poison package in its bronze core is what makes SY such a strong faction. The package allows you to control the opposing side of the board, while also serving as coin generation. Fisstech Trafficker's ability to Poison your own unit and gain 3 coins can come in handy in a lot of scenarios and shouldn't be underestimated. Mutated Hounds are also flexible, with the option of playing as a humble 5 for 4 in the Melee row.
Scoia'tael (ST) has ranked amongst the top factions for months now, despite several rounds of nerfs. The faction seems to be resilient and has a good foundational design, making it very attractive for newcomers.
In terms of abilities, Precision Strike is arguably the best when starting out, though by no means the only viable ability. Mystic Echo and Deadeye Ambush are incredibly potent, and depending on the current meta, even Call of Harmony or Guerilla Tactics can have some validity. Just don't play Invigorate. -Nimraphel
For only 30 scraps, this card is worth running particularly in Elf decks, but can also find room in a generic Harmony deck. By no means essential or flashy, it nonetheless provides decent value for 6 provisions. The two Elf bodies can help pull out Aelirenn, while synergizing with the likes of Isengrim, Yaevinn or The Great Oak. In a dedicated Elf deck, run 2 copies of this card.
Hawker Smuggler will mostly find value in dedicated Harmony decks by providing the Human tag. However, it also poses interesting questions to the opponent by being one of the few cards that can provide carry-over by buffing cards in your hand for future rounds. Thus, Hawker Smuggler will either draw crucial removal from the opponent, or act as a runaway engine, generating carry-over.
The days of Skellige's (SK) reign over the game have passed, but the faction still has some tricks up its sleeve. The newly redesigned Wild Boar is a weapon of mass destruction when paired with other ships, while Gedyneith offers unrivaled tempo in a short round. On the whole, SK is one of the most beautifully designed and thematic factions, hence we can only recommend new players to try and wrestle with it, as it feels very rewarding to master. -Hippo
At 4 provisions, Savage Bear is an absolute bargain. The first copy plays for decent points, while also providing carry-over, making the second copy a strong card in later rounds. Savage Bear with 2 charges can compete with gold cards.
2x Stunning Blow (60 scraps)
Crafting priority: High
Although they both have their niche uses, Stunning Blow is in most cases an upgrade to starter deck's Gutting Slash. It allows you to trade-up with high-value armored targets like Percival or Yghern, which can be the decider between winning and losing the round.
While Corsair can seem underwhelming with his 3 power body and vulnerability to movement, he can be a serious threat if he sticks. Since SK usually has a number of scary bronze engines, Corsair combined with Ships and Greatsword often allows you to win Round 1 with your bronze package.
Greatsword poses a massive threat to the opponent, because if this card goes unchecked, it allows you to double-dip on your damage. Try to develop GS after the opponent has row-stacked a bit, using a ping from Dimun Light Longship, boosting the GS to 5 power.
After spending one too many seasons in the dumpster, Monsters (MO) are starting to see an increasing amount of play. The faction possesses a couple of the most efficient tempo plays with cards like Yghern and Ozzrel. The two prominent MO leader abilities at the moment are Arachas Swarm and Blood Scent, which are both decent choices for newcomers. Fruits of Ysgith and Deaths Shadow can also be fun and strong, so don't be too quick to rule them out. -Minuano
2x Endrega Larva (160 scraps)
Crafting priority: Essential
Arguably the best bronze in Gwent at the moment. This powerhouse of a card is precious to the point where it can rival gold cards in terms of raw points. Larva has quickly become a staple in all MO decks, providing two annoying Thrive engines that demand a quite cumbersome answer, otherwise they accrue value far above their very humble provision cost.
2x Drowner (60 scraps)
Crafting priority: High
Movement has proven to be very valuable in the last couple of seasons. Disabling a row-locked engine while dealing 2 damage already makes Drowner a pretty good card to have. Moreover, its Thrive tag and 2 power makes it an excellent follow-up play to Larva.
2x Noonwraith (60 scraps)
Crafting priority: Low
Since its drawback is usually negligible, Noonwraith plays as a decent 6 for 4. The strength of this card lies in the fact that it can proc your Thrive engines and generate extra value while being very cheap.
Writing: Nimraphel, Minuano, Hippo
Consulting: Atrsharpe, DevilDriven, Jaggerous, Thekeyer