Categories & Keywords

Contributors: Writing: lordgort & SwanDive; Review: Easha Dustfeather.



Gwent cards can refer to categories or contain keywords. Together, they make Gwent gameplay complex and rewarding. This lesson is an introduction to categories and keywords.


Categories & Tags

Categories are the tags that appear below a card's name in mouseovers or on full viewing, such as "Human" or "Bandit." Card abilities can refer to one or more categories.

For a list of all tags currently in the game, see our Aretuza Glossary entry for "Tag".


Special categories

There are nine main categories that appear on special cards: Alchemy, Bomb, Crime, Nature, Organic, Raid, Spell, Tactic, and Warfare.

Gwent cards can reference one of these categories instead of all specials, like Ermion playing an Alchemy card from your deck or Menno Coehoorn doing the same for a Tactic card.

When a special card has no categories, it's for balancing reasons! Gwent's makers think the card shouldn't be played from the deck because doing so would be overpowered or not fun. Korathi Heatwave and row effects such as Impenetrable Fog are examples.


Unit categories

There are many more unit categories than special categories. The Monsters faction alone has the following categories: Beast, Crone, Cursed, Demon, Dragon, Insectoid, Mage, Necrophage, Ogroid, Plant, Relict, Vampire, Warrior, and Wild Hunt. That's quite a list!

A unit can have multiple categories or refer to others. For example, Siege Master is a Human Soldier. (Note: A card's "race" is always mentioned first.) As a Human, it is affected by Draug. As a Soldier, it synergizes with Ronvid the Incessant

Some unit categories also go "tribal", so to say, meaning that the more you play of that unit category, the more synergy you can create. Elves and Dwarves in Scoia’tael often trigger additional effects, when another one of their unit category enters the board, enabling you to quickly overrun the enemy, if you get enough units of that category on the board. For example, take a look at Dwarven Mercenary and Isengrim Faoiltiarna.


Artifact categories

Artifacts do not have a tag or category, but the Scoia'tael faction has an important exception: Traps. Cards such as Iorveth and Elven Scout refer to Traps, and all Traps have the Ambush keyword on them, meaning they are played face down and trigger on a certain condition.



A keyword is shorthand for a longer piece of rules text, which at the same time represents a specific game mechanic, that can be referenced by other cards.

An example ability would be: “Destroy an enemy unit with Order”.

For a list of all keywords currently in the game, see our Aretuza Glossary entry for "Keywords".


Faction-specific keywords

A handful of keywords are specific to one faction. Ambush is specific to Scoia'tael, Thrive appears only on Monsters cards, and Bloodthirst is exclusive to Skellige. 

Other keywords are heavily concentrated in a single faction. Out of twenty cards with Deathwish, a full seventeen can appear only in Monsters decks, while Nilfgaard has the majority of Spying cards.


Order and related keywords

Order is strategically the most complex keyword in Gwent, and Aretuza Academy has created an entire lesson about Order and its related keywords Zeal, Charge, and Cooldown, because of that complexity.



  • Categories appear below card names on mouseover
  • Other cards can refer to categories, creating interactions in a deck
  • Units can have multiple categories
  • Keywords are shorthand for a longer line of game text
  • Some keywords are faction-specific, while others are universal


Which statement is FALSE about card categories?

What is not a keyword?