The implementation of Homecoming changed the player landscape significantly. Which streamers emerged? Which content creators are standing behind the meta snapshots? Which players are dominating the community tournament scene nowadays? This article deals with these three questions, but even more importantly the “who.” 

Who are the people behind this Gwent content? I had the opportunity to interview some of the people who I really am thankful for in the community and I thought deserved a shoutout for their hard work and shared passion for the world of Gwent.

The article will be split in two parts. The first part will cover players from North America, and the second will follow soon with players from Europe and other continents. In my interviews, I focused specifically on the players who made their mark after Homecoming, so even though I have the highest respect and appreciation for a lot of other streamers like SirPumpkn, OceanMud, or shinmiri2, this article is about “newcomers,” not veterans. 

Something new in this article is that I asked the players to send me their favorite songs they feel connected to or like to listen to. If you are using Spotify, you can check out each player’s preferred music and get to know them on this level.

 


Lordbushwook

Why Gwent? What do you love about the game so much?

Like most people I was introduced to Gwent through The Witcher 3, but Gwent was not the first card game that I was drawn towards. That was actually The Elder Scrolls: Legends. The only reason that I didn't play it was because I didn't have a PC to play it at the time. So really the only reason that I'm playing Gwent right now is because I had a PC to play The Witcher 3 and later Gwent and I didn't when I could have been playing The Elder Scrolls: Legends, even though at this point Gwent is just a better game.

What is your favorite leader/faction? Least favorite?

I've loved Nilfgaard since I started playing Gwent which has been a little bit of a source of disappointment in Homecoming for me. But recently I've found, with the help of Pajabol, an Emhyr list that I really enjoy.  My favorite NG leader by far is Emhyr var Emreis. He offers so many potential lines of play that makes the games a lot of fun to play out.

What are you really missing in Gwent?

Honestly, it amazes me how this has not been released yet. Without a spectator client, it is nearly impossible to get community tournaments to have sponsors and its really slowing the progress of the best format of Gwent, competition-wise.

Is there another member of the community you look to for inspiration? 

I am definitely more of a streamer than a competitive player, so someone that I look up to in that aspect is definitely SirPumpkn.  He definitely serves as a motivator to allow me to stream for eight hours a day

What are you best known for in Gwent? What would you like to be best known for?

I am definitely best known for my content creation, whether my stream or my YouTube channel.  My competitive results are really not at all that impressive compared to my stream. I just enjoy joking around with chat much more than I do super-tryharding every game on ladder to be the best possible player, and I think that allows the content to be much more recognizable than competitive results.  Being known for my content creation is definitely what I want to be known for. Don't get me wrong, I would like to go to a Gwent Masters event, but that is definitely not a priority over my stream.

 

Redrame 

Why Gwent? What do you love about the game so much?

I definitely got into Gwent before getting into The Witcher, not the other way around.  I’ve enjoyed card games for a long time, but over time got more and more frustrated with them due to most mainstream card games emphasizing variability of gameplay over player control and strategy.  I really liked the concept of a game where you can just play cards with no cost to them other than the cards themselves, and the aggressive mulligan system adds a lot of consistency and room for smart play without making every game feel the same.  I really admire that. 

Who is your favorite Gwent Masters player and why?

I’m not up to date on the scene at all since I came back pretty recently, but back in the day it was definitely Shaggy.  I hung out with him a lot and he’s such a great guy. Tailbot gets an honorable mention for being the best at putting on a show. 

What are you really missing in Gwent?

More archetype support, particularly in Scoia’tael and Nilfgaard.  Right now, it feels like there are a lot of half-baked archetypes that have the potential to do cool things but lack the ability to be a cohesive deck, and as a result, some of the factions just end up being midrange piles.  A lot of times, decks end up feeling like they have a lot of fillers, rather than every single card in a deck helping out with a strategy in some way. 

Is there anything you haven't done yet that you really want to do for Gwent?

I really want to stream more.  I started a little over a month ago and have been completely blown away by the reception, and it’s really amazing to hang out with so many great folks.  Streaming the game definitely changed my view of the Gwent community for the better, as I tended to be a hermit that occasionally poked his head out to check some stupid Reddit banter or post a guide and be met with the same few stupid questions or people that would “fix” my decks.  The people who have stopped by are all incredibly friendly, and it really motivates me to want to move forward with the stream. 

What are you best known for in Gwent? What would you like to be best known for?

Whether I like it or not, I’m definitely still best known for the Wild Hunt chair incident.  Honestly, I’ve sort of grown to like that, since it’s definitely a more distinctive label than “good player” or “good deck-builder.”  I think people also know me as someone who’s willing to mess around, experiment, and have some fun with the game despite competing with the best of the best.  And that’s definitely something that I’m proud of.

 

JMJWilson23 

What is your favorite Witcher school and why? 

My favorite Witcher school is probably the School of the Griffin because they spent just as much energy acquiring knowledge as they did honing their abilities in combat.  As for which one I would like to join, it would be the School of the Wolf, of course, to travel with the likes of Geralt and Lambert.

Why Gwent? What do you love about the game so much?

The main thing that draws me to Gwent is really the uniqueness of it. There is no mana curve and no combat, which generates such a different pattern of gameplay from any other card game. Aside from the gameplay and the mechanics, the community is really what keeps me motivated to remain involved with the game so intimately.

Who is your favorite Gwent Masters player and why?

First of all, I have a ton of respect for all players who make the effort to jump into the world of competitive Gwent because of how turbulent and unforgiving it can be. If I had to name one, it would probably be kolemoen because of his attitude to approaching the game and constantly improving, as well as consistently excellent performances at all levels of the game.

What is your favorite leader/faction? Least favorite?

My favorite leader is Arachas Queen from my favorite faction, Monsters. In general my favorite leaders have passive abilities and Arachas Queen has the most impactful one from the perspective of both deck-building and gameplay. My least favorite at the moment is probably Nilfgaard because the card pool is a bit lacking in multiple dimensions, but I have hope that it will return someday.

Is there anything you haven't done yet that you really want to do for Gwent?

My role in Gwent and in Team Aretuza is very much dual-natured, splitting time as a part-time somewhat competitive player and as a content creator, and I believe I still have more to give in both. From the perspective of playing, I still do not feel as though my best performances have shown through.  As such, I would like to reach another level with stronger qualifier performances as well as ladder performances to illustrate that I do have the skills necessary to play among the elite. In terms of content creation, I would love to work on more individual projects that help others enjoy their own game experience to the fullest.

 

Trynet 

How did you come to Gwent?

Before Gwent, I played a ton of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering. Until running into Gwent in late 2017, if you had asked me what my favorite format of any card game, was I would've snapped off either "2005 Goat Format" or "2010 Edison Format." While Yu-Gi-Oh! has had some pretty horrendous formats over the years, the great formats are incredible. When I first got into Gwent, I saw a lot of similarities between the way that Gwent worked and the way older Yu-Gi-Oh! formats worked. While Magic takes a very heavy-handed approach to bottlenecking which and how many cards you can play in a turn with the mana system, Gwent and Yu-Gi-Oh! have a very different approach. Rather than mana restricting you from playing your best cards, the potential for opposing counterplay is what stops you from playing your best cards early.

What is your favorite leader/faction? Least favorite?

I really like Arachas Queen. I think the most interesting leaders are the ones that have an impact throughout the entire game and that you want to build your whole deck around. Crach an Craite, Queen Meve, King of Beggars, and a few others all do this to an extent too, but Arachas does it best, and I'd really like to see more leaders like her. My least favorite is probably Usurper, for the same sort of reason. In a game where everybody builds their plans around their leaders, Usurper is a pretty miserable leader to have around. Honorable mention for least favorite to all the one-shot leaders that just get used to make a bigger finisher.

Who is your favorite Gwent Masters player and why?

I was really impressed by wangid1 both at the last Gwent Open and on ladder. This changes with every event, though. I usually cheer for lineups rather than players.

Is there anything you haven't done yet that you really want to do for Gwent?

I'd like to get into casting at some point.

Is there another member of the community you look to for inspiration? 

I look to my Twitch chat every night, and am inspired to play Gwent. :)

 

Stellabrate 

What is your favorite Witcher school and why? 

I’d probably pick the School of the Wolf. I haven’t read the books and only have knowledge of the schools from the games. School of the Viper were degenerates who killed the innocent Northern Realms leaders. I’d want to be in the School of the Wolf, hanging out with my boys Geralt, Eskel, and Lambert. 

How did you come to Gwent?

Gwent is my first real CCG experience.  I tried playing Hearthstone a few times but could never get into it. I love The Witcher universe; the card art in this game is absolutely amazing and unmatched by any other CCG in my opinion. The game has a very high skill ceiling and there are always things you can do to get better. Winning is very satisfying and most of the time when you lose a game you can look back on it and analyze what you did wrong and find a way you could've played it better to perhaps win.

What is your favorite faction? Least favorite?

This is probably the easiest question of my life. The glorious Northern Realms is my favorite faction and scumatel is my least favorite. My mom raised me right.

Who is your favorite Gwent Masters player and why?

I have two favorite Gwent masters players. Tailgod and Damorquis.

What are you really missing in Gwent? What do you really like?

I think the game needs Daddy Raddy [King Radovid V] back. I’m planning a very special stream for when that happens. The game has improved immensely since the launch of Homecoming. It’s really nice to have Jason Slama as game director. My favorite Slama moment was when he was in a video talking about Sihil and he said “I fucking hate that card” or something along those lines. You could tell he was someone who played the game a lot and had a passion for it. My ultimate goal is to eventually play in a tournament. I probably need to stop clowning around for that to have a realistic chance of happening but sometimes I just can’t help myself.

Is there another member of the community you look to for inspiration? 

OceanMud was one of the streamers who inspired me to get started with the game and he has been streaming it for years now. Huge fan of him and he is a great guy.

 


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