Preview Image

By Gravekper, July 24, 2020

Game Icon

In this article, Gravekper introduces the first part of his new guide to arena. He goes over some cards and strategies in this part, explaining in depth strategies and synergies that exist in the system.

Gravekper's Guide to Arena Part One: Cards

I'm Gravekper, Korean Arena Player from Team Gaunter. I've been maintaining 'Gravekper's Arena Tier List' until the Novigrad expansion while waiting for an arena rework. You can watch me streaming arena on I usually stream in Korean, but you can feel free to talk to me in English.


It's been more than half a year since I said "the arena tier list will be updated once the arena rework has been applied" on my tier list. Now, we still don't know when the rework will come, however, all of my arena documents are more than outdated.

By recent change, we get round rewards in arena. This change brought me back to arena. We can get enough reward points for season tree by playing only arena.

Since the biggest problem with rewards has been resolved, I think it is a good time to recommend arena to others, especially beginners. However, there are not many recent guides about arena. So, I decided to make some guides on arena.

Arena Reward Sheet

We should talk about arena rewards. The rewards themselves are unchanged, but now we get round rewards.

Arena rewards, daily quests and GG rewards were only gold sources while we couldn't get round rewards. Before we got round rewards, honestly, I couldn't recommend playing arena to new players. You needed to get 6+ wins constantly to keep playing arena. But as we now have round rewards, we can expect one or more reward point every run. You can use reward points for ores, and it lowers the average wins to keep playing arena.

Now we get regular rewards in arena. This is too late, but late is better than never. Now arena rewards are much better and it gives not bad rewards for below average runs. I think it is just the right time to revise my arena guides.

Thanks to

Thanks to Team Aretuza for hosting and editing my article. As my mother language is not English, I needed help on proofreading. It was great to work with the team. If I write a new one, I'd love to talk to TA about article again.

Thanks to teddybee_r for help on gathering card data. His card database, was very helpful on writing.

The arena reward sheet is made by goal. He loves to help new players about picks and tactics on arena. You can meet him on #arena-channel of official discord.

As another arena enthusiast, goal made an Arena Reward sheet by gathering arena result of a number of players. I think this will be helpful for new players starting arena. Thanks to goal and arena players who shared their reward data.


Recent topics in Arena

Leader First

The card pick strategy has changed a lot as we choose leaders first. The leader is a card you always take when you start the game, so you can build a deck around the leader. For example, Imperial Formation is a great way to protect your engine. So it's good to build around it.

Tactical Advantage

Remember, cadets! He who first draws his blade has the disadvantage over their foe!

The only stratagem you can use in arena is Tactical Advantage, so the second player can easily abuse boost value from TA. There are many tools to deal with boosted engine cards with 8 to 10 strength. In many games, Tactical Advantage does not give the first player enough of an advantage.

Tourney Shaelmaar

The ranged row ability of Tourney Shaelmaar is a bit confusing. "Different faction" means "Non-Nilfgaard". Nothing related to your leader, and does not count Neutral units. So, it counts "Every non- (NG or Neutral)" units on your board.

If someone ask me "What is the best card in arena?", I say it depends on your deck. But in many cases, Tourney Shaelmaar can be the one best card in your arena deck. This card is too powerful. Arena decks are made of cards from all six factions, so you can easily get 12 or more points by just putting it on your ranged row last turn. If your leader spawns units, all those count as two additional points.

Geralt of Rivia, Leo Bonhart

Abilities that kill a 9+ power unit are still strong even after being nerfed once. (They killed 8+ power before nerf.) Comparing to the base set environment, the draft pool got way bigger in size. So, you are less likely to see them.

But this does not mean boosting your first engine with Tactical Advantage is a safe decision. There are still tons of threats. Like good old Carlo Varese (Cleaver), and new ones like Morkvarg: Heart of Terror.

Defender and Purify

Defenders are just as powerful as in constructed. There is no one good way to deal with them. Purify is one of good solutions, but you don’t always have them.

In arena, defenders can make advantages on what you never expected. For example, it could reduce number of Manticore Venom targets. Sometimes you can see opponent playing an eight damage leader ability on your scarab to remove it.

Purify has lots of uses. Defenders are prime targets. Removing locks from one-shot order unit is also great.

Yoana and Insanity

Playing an insanity unit next to Yoana is a game-winning combo. Yoana can instantly heal units with insanity. Whoreson's Freak Show and Bloody Good Friends are best with Yoana. Because of this combo, Yoana is a serious threat in arena, you just need to wait a turn to use the order ability of Yoana. Defenders can help you ensure that your Yoana sticks on the board.

The Tier List

Scoring Factors

These are major factors on scoring leaders:

  • Power: How many points can be gained using the ability?
  • Threat: Can it be used to create or remove an engine or big threat?
  • Synergy: How easy it is to find good synergy cards?
  • Consistency: Can a situation happen that that leader ability does not work out?

If you want a short table explaining which leaders fall into which tier, click here.

About Tiers
  • Tier O: Outstanding

These leaders are clearly stronger than the other leaders below.

  • Tier S: Superb

These leaders are good, and are especially consistent.

  • Tier A: Average

You get 3 choices of leaders, so these are likely the average leaders to be picked.

Leaders in Tier A and below usually have major weak point. Sometimes you can't get enough points using these leaders.

  • Tier B: Below Average

These leaders are generally a bit weak, and they need to take advantage of synergy to get their value. Up to Tier B, if used well, it can be used above average.

  • Tier C: Crap

You will feel "losing because of leader" if you get leader Tier C or below. They are generally weak and usually need many synergy cards.

  • Tier D: Dead

Choosing this leader is already a tragedy. Some of these leaders can be better than average if you're quite lucky, but those leaders will become bricks if you aren't.

  • Tier Shame

The CDPR should be ashamed that these leaders are still appearing as options in arena.




JoshWitcher760 JoshWitcher760 is Aretuza Member

Joshua Witcher was first introduced to the world of CCGs with YuGiOh when he was around 6 or 7, though after a few years the interest fell off for quite some time. When he just started college, he discovered the world of the Witcher 3, which had originally drawn his interest because of his last name. Immediately after playing the game, he was smitten with every aspect of it and its world. It was only a matter of time before his interest in CCGs was piqued by Gwent. In 2019 he launched the game for the very first time and has been playing consistently ever since. Josh has also started on a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication, which he hopes to finish in 2023.

You Might Also Like