Last year, GWENT introduced some big changes to its visual design. A new VS Screen was added, and to give people more freedom to use the leader models that they liked (but not necessarily their ability), they have been decoupled from their abilities.
Those two changes, meant that the “leader cards” - the art that represented the leader, have become obsolete, and were therefore removed from the game.
But wait! They are still perfectly good arts! Additionally, we heard the voice of the community wishing for them to come back some day.
This day has come, and we’re happy to reintroduce part of them as 12 new cards, that will be joining GWENT with update 8.3
Let’s take an in depth look at each of the new cards
Human - Aristocrat
3 power, 9 provision
Deploy: Replace your leader ability with a base copy of your opponent's leader ability.
Anna is a trickster, who can use your opponent’s strength against them, which is a very Nilfgaard thing to do. Her ability to let you use a leader ability of a faction different than the one you’re playing opens space for some fun interactions, that in the right conditions can bring spectacular results on board.
Fun thing about this ability is that:
- You can use this after using your leader ability
- It works regardless of whether your opponent has used their leader ability
- May trigger assimilate (ie Dana, Arnjolf, etc)
- It's not predictable with its usage (each game may have different outcomes based on the leader played by your opponent).
Emhyr Var Emreis
Human - Aristocrat
7 power, 11 provisions
Deploy: Draw a card, then move a card from your hand to the bottom of your deck.
Whenever your opponent plays a unit, give it Spying.
Devotion: At the end of your turn, Seize a random 1-power Spying unit.
The emperor has always prided himself on how well his spying network is working. In fact, he’s so persuasive in his recruitment, he gives all of the units your opponent is playing a spying status. As the emperor values loyalty, he’ll grant you an additional ability to seize small units if you meet the devotion requirements. He’s going to feel at home in decks that care a lot about statuses, or conspiracy.
- Devotion is very much a keyword we want to keep playing with
- Proactive play as he will help conspiracy cards find more value
- Will work with cards like Thirsty Dames nicely.
His deploy is good for:
- Fixing your deck a bit against clog
- Synergy with Snowdrop
- Generally helping with lack of cards like Oneiromancy
- Definitely cool passive that lets you take back all those 1 power spying agents you’ll likely play
Human - Warrior
3 power - 11 provisions
Deploy, Bloodthirst 2: Draw a card, then Discard a card.
Whenever you Discard a Skellige unit during your turn, Summon it from your graveyard to this row.
Devotion: Also works whenever a Skellige unit enters your graveyard during your turn.
Eist makes sure that his cohorts are “back for more”, delivering great support for Skellige discard decks. His devotion ability can not only help you keep more points on the battlefield, but also can let you effectively reuse some of the abilities of your units, opening up ways for inventive plays.
Fun facts about Eist:
- If run in devotion, and you “accidentally” destroy one of your own units, like Blueboy, he will come back for more punishment
- The counter means that this effect can only be triggered twice (even under devotion)
- This adds yet another card that cares about bloodthirst before getting its full effect
Crach An Craite
Human - Pirate
7 Power - 10 Provision
Deploy: Give 2 Armor to 3 Pirates or Ships in your hand.
Whenever you play a Pirate or Ship next to Crach, damage it and the lowest power enemy unit by each other's power.
Crach was always happy to do some raiding, and he finds himself right at home in pirate decks. Providing some protection to his mates, just before sending them to...well crash into the enemy. If they manage to survive, Skellige has many ways of finishing them off, or profiting from the damage with bloodlust.
- His deploy sets up for potentially nice trades, protecting upcoming pirates and ships from his passive
- Can be used to trigger exposed on units like Terror Crew Axe-Wielder and Armored Drakkar
6 power, 11 provisions
Deploy: Gain 1 Armor for every Dwarf in your hand.
Barricade: At the end of your turn, boost all Dwarves with Armor on this row by 1.
Dwarves and armor are a well paired combination. Brouver rewards your sturdy armored units each turn if you meet the barricade requirement. Being a very strongly tribal card, he provides a solid payoff to builds that are based on dwarves.
Dwarves have fallen behind the other tribes for quite some time now and we have been slowly trying to give a boost over the last few updates. But perhaps they were simply waiting for Brouvers return.
6 power, 10 provisions
Deploy: Transform all your face-up Traps into Elven Deadeyes.
Devotion: Also transform your other artifacts.
Eldain was always fond of traps, and his affection was kept in the design of his ability. This card is a powerful addition to decks running traps, converting them into points no matter if they hit or miss.
Veterans will definitely remember this as the old Deadeye ambush leader ability. We feel like this works better as a card than it did as a leader ability due to reduced flexibility, though the devotion can sure be tempting.
7 power, 12 provisions
The first time a bronze unit on your side of the board is boosted each turn, Spawn a base copy of it at the bottom of your deck.
Devotion: Also boost the Spawned copy by 1.
Foltest can grow his army every turn. Just run a couple of units that can summon their copies from the deck, and things can get crowded pretty quickly. If you will be able to make a devotion deck, you can also try to run a secondary theme of boosts, profiting from Foltest’s second ability.
- Cards are added to the bottom of the deck meaning they shouldn’t affect future draws
- Commandos madness, Dun banners, Cintrian Knights
- More targets for Juicy Erland finisher
7 Power, 2 Armor, 10 provision
Inspired: At the end of your turn, lower the Counter by 1.
When the Counter reaches 0, boost all allied units by 1.
Meve was always keen on carefully planning her moves, and she’ll make you do the same. She can provide a significant boost in swarm based decks, but how much that will be, will depend on your timing and sequencing of plays. 2 Armor helps Meve to stay on the battlefield, until she can finally unleash her effect.
Dettlaff van der Eretein
6 Power, 10 Provisions
Deploy: Spawn Blood Moon on an enemy row for 1 turn. Increase the duration by 1 for every adjacent Vampire.
Order: Damage an enemy unit with Bleeding by 1.
Deathblow: Spawn an Ekimmara on this row.
Dettlaff was always keen on leading vampire hordes. Time didn’t change his mind in this regard, so his new incarnation will spawn the vampire boosting Blood Moon, which can last longer if you play him between some blood sucking friends. Dettlaff can also boost your numbers, with his ability to spawn Ekimmaras on deathblow. Just make sure to have ways to set up some bleeding on the opponent units, to give him nice targets to bite.
- The spawning of Blood Moon doesn’t automatically create Ekimmaras like the Crimson Curse card
- The max # of turns of Blood Moon this can create is 3
- Make sure to use his order to finish off bleeding units for the extra 3 points Ekimmara
5 Power, 12 Provisions
Deploy: Give Bleeding (4) to an enemy unit.
At the end of your turn, give Bleeding (2) to a random enemy unit without Bleeding.
Devotion: Bleeding on enemy units also triggers at the end of your turn.
Unseen Elder is going to swiftly do what he’s best at: bleeding units. Additionally, if you meet his devotion requirement, he’s going to double down on the damage dealt by bleeding, by triggering all of the bleeding statuses on your enemies additional time at the end of each round. He’ll be a great addition to a vampire deck, working especially well with Dettlaff van der Eretein, helping to set up some targets for his ability.
- The more units that bleed enemies the merrier, as Elder’s ability triggers bleeding also given by other sources that himself
Dwarf - Crownsplitters
1 Power, 2 Armor, 11 Provisions
Deploy: Spawn and play Shakedown.
Increase this card's Intimidate by 1 for every adjacent Crownsplitter.
Fee 4: Spawn Cleaver's Muscle on this row.
Cleaver was always more imposing in the company of his fellow gang members, which is reflected in his intimidate boost if he’s played next to, or between Crownsplitter units. Even if he seems to be alone on the battlefield, his Fee ability can quickly summon some friends in the form of Cleaver’s Muscle units. Cleaver is keen to be a part of Crownsplitter centered decks, but also will be a nice addition to Crime decks, thanks to his deploy ability spawning Shakedown.
Human - Cutups
5 Power, 10 provisions
Deploy: Damage a boosted enemy unit by 6. Gain a Coin for every point of excess damage dealt.
Devotion: Also gain Insanity.
Fee 3: Destroy an enemy unit with 3 power or less.
Whoreson Junior stays true to his nature. Beat up some people - get some coin, in whichever order. This time it seems that he’s looking to be challenged, as his ability can target only boosted enemy units. But if any of the small folk would be a problem, he can snuff them out with his Fee ability. He’ll be happy in any Syndicate deck that can use some flexible removal, and with enough coin, can keep opponent’s swarms under control.
- If you manage to make a Devotion deck, you can use his fee ability for a bit even without coins, as it will gain Insanity