In Arena Mode, we are still playing Gwent, but to secure wins we need to shift our mindset for deck building.

I'll explain what changes in comparison to constructed play, what mechanics we need to focus on, provide you with a ranking of leaders to pick from and I'll suggest some cards, on which you should be on the lookout while drafting.

If you are more the visual type, then scroll straight down to the end of the article, where you can find this guide in video form!

 

Changes from Constructed Play

In Constructed you have all the cards in your collection available for deck building.

This means you can build your deck around certain synergies or card mechanics and add only cards, which support that mechanic.

In Arena Mode, this luxury is gone, so if you focus on a specific strategy, there is a decent chance that you won't be able to pull it off because you draft the wrong cards.

So instead of focusing on crafting a deck around a single mechanic, you could create a deck which gives you options to react to any situation possible.

 

Gameplay Mechanics you should focus on

Points, points, points

The best cards in Arena Mode are cards, which don't require any setup and have a high body.

This happens due to the fact that the average value of a card sinks drastically because cards that rely on a certain mechanic won't be able to reach their full potential unless you get lucky in drafting. (nekkers, brigades, etc.).

Cards with high bodies don't need any card to support them, you just drop them onto the board and generate points, which makes them your number 1 choice in draft mode.

Proactive play and immediate tempo are key here!

 

Damage & Removal

Like high body cards, removal is able to generate solid points without the need to synergize with another card.

You can remove enemy engines before they get out of hand (like Hawker Smuggler, Vrihedd Dragoon, etc.), so the power of Damage Removal entirely depends on what you use it on.

 

Carryover

There is only one spy per faction, so it is very unlikely that you or your enemy will draft it.

So carryover paired with a sweet red coin can easily secure you card advantage, which is even more powerful than in Constructed because it's all about points.

 

Locks

Locks are pretty good in constructed, but often enemies are able to play around them because they built their whole deck around a special mechanic and have a Plan B.

In Arena Mode there often is no plan B. Your enemy was lucky enough to draw a card, which was worth locking, how lucky would he be to draft a second one like that?

This is why locking can really mess with the power of an enemy's deck.

 

Create

Create is made for drafting because it gives you exactly what you need: options!

You can't generate perfect synergies anyway, so better be able to have a choice of decent cards, than a card which is good in only 1 situation.

Also remember the lower average power level of cards, which makes created cards even better in comparison.

 

Archetypes

Some Archetypes are easier to pull off than others.

For example: adding Machines to a deck is still not bad pointwise and maybe you draft a crewman, which makes it even better, but you won't lose if you don't draw one.

Discard on the other hand requires a lot of cards in combination, before it becomes viable.

So if you're drafting and you think of adding cards of a certain Archetype, ask yourself those questions:

  • Is it solid on its own?
  • How difficult is it to set up synergies?
  • How many cards of this Archetype do I need to draft to make it viable?

Depending on the answers, you then want to include the card or not.

 

Combine Archetypes that fit

Some archetypes are not strong on their own, so we need to think out of the box.

Don't go for perfect values within an archetype, go for the maximum of options.

For example:

Deathwish and Consume are both not powerful on their own since Consume needs a lot of cards and Deathwish has a hard time to trigger.

Combining those archetypes helps you to get value from both.

 

Leader Ranking

In the Arena, Leaders are picked last, so depending on the drafted deck your leader may be better or worse.

But just thinking of the implications of Arena Mode in general, we’ve come up with the following ranking and commented it, so you can trace our trail of thought!

Here the Link to Leader Rating Table

If you are unsure, which leader to pick, then consult the table and hopefully, it helps you to make your choice!

 

Faction Cards

In Arena, you are not limited by factions, but it makes sense to know which cards you should focus on drafting.

Here are some cards we think are good picks:

 

Scoia’tael

Scoia’tael has a lot of high power cards, which don’t require any synergies or have conditions, which are very easy to fulfil.

Cards you want to look out for:

  • Hawker Smuggler
  • Half-Elf Hunter
  • Farseer
  • Vrihedd Neophyte
  • Elven Scout
  • Dwarven Skirmisher
  • Saskia
  • Aglaïs
  • Isengrim: Outlaw

 

Skellige

Skellige is the second faction with high power cards, even though they already have a bit more synergy.

The good thing is, that the synergy often involves Damage, so you should be able to pull it off.

Cards you want to look out for:

  • Dimun Light Longship
  • Berserker Marauder
  • Tuirseach Bearmaster
  • An Craite Whaler
  • An Craite Warrior
  • Pirates
  • Djenge Frett
  • Jutta an Dimun
  • Hjalmar an Craite
  • Ornamental Sword
  • Hym

 

Nilfgaard

With Nilfgaard things start to get a bit trickier.
They have some powerful bodies, but often synergies are required.

Cards you want to look out for:

  • Stefan Skellen
  • Vilgefortz
  • Vreemde
  • Xarthisius
  • Joachim de Wett
  • Nilfgaardian Knight
  • Slave Driver
  • Vicovaro Medic

 

Northern Realms

The Northern Realms have some trouble because except for Armor the chances for synergies within the faction is quite low.
They have solid cards at 8, but if the enemy is just playing more points, you might be in trouble.

Cards you want to look out for:

  • Reinforced Trebuchet
  • Tridam Infantry
  • Ban Ard Tutor
  • Battering Ram
  • Kaedweni Sergeant
  • Redanian Elite
  • Siege Tower
  • Winch
  • Ronvid the Incessant
  • Ves
  • Prince Stennis

 

Monsters

Monsters have cards with high point potentials, but most of them require some kind of synergy.
Deathwish, Consume, Weather, etc.

If you manage to trigger the synergies you’re good, but that will require some luck in drafting the cards.

Cards you want to look out for:

  • Caretaker
  • Ge'els
  • Ozzrel
  • Toad Prince
  • Fiend
  • Monster Nest
  • Archgriffin
  • Cyclops
  • Barbegazi

 

In addition to all above, we suggest also going for Mages like (Gremist, Ida, etc.) and Runestones!

Summary

I’m looking forward to Arena Mode since it will be a nice change of pace in comparison to the normal laddering thanks to the different rules.

If we keep in mind the different priorities in deckbuilding, we should be able to take the gamble and beat Gaunter on his own playing field!

 

Here is the guide in video format, for all of those who just scrolled down or want to recap with moving pictures!