If you're already a huge fan of Gwent like myself, then you have most likely collected every card in the game already. If you're new to it all however, then I am going to tell you where and how to find 10 very powerful cards that are essential when building your decks.
If you haven't been interested in Gwent before, now might be a good time to get into it, considering that the new DLC, 'Blood and Wine', is getting ever closer to release.
Of course you will want to eventually collect all the cards, heroes included, to complete your collection. This will take a lot of hard work and many wins. However, this list also contains a number of strong but easily obtainable cards to get you on your way. Many of them are available early in the game.
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With her ranged attack power of 7, the sorceress Yennefer is probably one of the first strong cards you'll come across in the game. As a neutral, the card can be used with any of the four factions. She has the added bonus of being both a hero AND a medic. This means that when summoned, you can bring back a non-hero unit from the discard pile and she will remain immune to special cards and card effects when on the battlefield.
You can obtain Yennefer by beating Stjepan, the innkeeper of Alchemy Inn in Oxenfurt. This can be done very early in the game after leaving White Orchard.
Villentretenmerth is another neutral card that can work with all Gwent factions. It has a melee attack rating of 7, which is excellent for a non-hero card. It also has a bonus 'Scorch' effect, which will destroy the strongest enemy melee unit(s), if the total enemy melee score is over 10. If combined correctly with decoys or medics, this card can be used over and over again to maintain battlefield superiority.
The good news about acquiring Villentretenmerth is that it can be obtained from any non-quest related Gwent player in the world. That means any innkeeper, merchant, blacksmith or armorer that plays Gwent could give you this card randomly after you defeat them. It is down to chance though, so you'll most likely need a good few wins before getting the card.
If you're keen to build a strong Monster deck then Imlerith is an essential addition. He has a melee attack rating of 10, making him the strongest card of his faction. His hero status renders card effects futile against him.
Monster decks are all about power, flooding the field with many creatures and buffing their attack power to overwhelm your opponent. Imlerith is perfect for this strategy, even though as a hero he can't be buffed. Not to mention, he looks so friggin' cool!
Considering how powerful he is, you may be surprised to hear that this card is also obtained at random, after defeating Gwent NPCs throughout the land. Keep churning out those victories and eventually Imlerith will be yours.
Another sorceress hero, this time exclusive to the Northern Realms, Phillipa is most certainly a must-have if you're keen on playing with this faction. As with most of the strongest heroes, she has an attack value of 10, and can be used in conjunction with the North's powerful siege weapons to help boost your attacking power.
She is also won randomly by defeating NPCs, and could possibly be the very first card you unlock. Just another incentive to keep grinding out those victories against helpless innkeepers and merchants!
This is where things start to get a bit tougher. The following cards can only be acquired by completing Gwent-specific quests, which means you will have to defeat much tougher opponents with stronger decks.
Tibor Eggebracht is one of Nilfgaard's famous heroes, and has a ranged attack value of 10. He will be the first hero card you obtain for this powerful faction and will basically be a wolf among sheep compared to your other cards this early in your Gwent career.
Eggebracht can be won very early on. You win him from Olivier in the Kingfisher Inn in Novigrad, as part of the Gwent: Playing Innkeepers questline. Unfortunately, you will have to collect more standard cards for Nilfgaard before you can actually utilize him, but for anyone playing this faction, he is an obvious inclusion.
Menno Coehoorn is another Nilfgaardian hero, but an especially powerful one. Not only does he have a melee attack rating of 10 but he -- like Yennefer -- is a medic who can bring a card back from the discard pile when summoned. This can really be the difference between winning and losing in particularly close games.
To add Coehoorn to your collection, you must defeat the last innkeeper in the Gwent: Playing Innkeepers quest. You can find him at the Crossroads Inn in Velen.
So far I have rather neglected the Scoia'tael faction, but that changes now. After progressing through the main game and following Ciri's tracks to Novigrad, you will eventually have the opportunity to acquire three rare cards for an old friend, which he lets you keep. Isengrim Faolitarna is one of these -- a tough melee character with 10 attack points. He also has a special 'Morale' ability, which raises the attack of all allied melee cards by 1, further bolstering your attack strength.
Isengrim can be found inside Zed's home in Novigrad during the Dangerous Game quest, but is only obtainable if you opt to take the cards at the end.
Avallac'h is an exceedingly powerful character in the main game, but is equally effective on the tabletop. He is a spy card that gives your opponent added attack points, but allows you to draw 2 cards in exchange.
As a spy, he is basically perfect, because he does not give your opponent any extra attack. He is also a hero card, which means he cannot be stolen and used against you. Lastly, he is neutral and available to any faction. This is especially useful for Scoia'tael and Monster decks, which have no spies of their own -- compared to Nilfgaard and the Northern Realms, which have 3 each.
Avallac'h won't be available to you until you reach the Skellige Isles. It is won by defeating Gremist in Gedyneith, on Ard Skellig. By this point, you will have leveled up sufficiently and your card collection will be extensive, so you will have no issues obtaining this card.
Utilizing spies is one of the strongest tactics in the game. For more information on how to do this, follow this link and scroll down to the spy section.
This is what you've been waiting for -- the two best cards in the game! We'll start with none other than wonder girl Ciri.
Ciri is tied for the highest attack rating in all of Gwent, with a staggering 15 melee points. She is a neutral card, so even the monsters can get their hands on her.
She adds a huge amount of strength to any deck. Her sheer power can change the course of a match and tip the balance when you are struggling against a good opposing draw. Don't forget -- as a hero, she remains unaffected by special effects, so once she's summoned she is guaranteed to deliver 15 points to your total score.
You can obtain Ciri by beating the Scoia’tael Trader, located at a camp in Novigrad Forest, at the end of the Gwent: Big City Players quest. In theory, you could do this quite early on if you concentrate on collecting good cards and progress quickly through the main storyline.
Last, but certainly not least, is the main character himself. Like Ciri, Geralt also has an insane melee attack rating of 15. He's neutral as well, so he can be played by any faction, and he is unaffected by special cards due to his hero status.
What some players would get out of two, three, or even four attack cards, you get out of one badass Witcher who can guarantee victory on rounds he takes part in. I also have to mention that he has one of the coolest card pictures out of all the Gwent characters, which would make me want one even if it was a bad card!
Geralt is only accessible after progressing through the Novigrad story arc and completing the Deadly Plot quest. After this, play Thaler immediately or find him in the Seven Cats Inn to play and win the most sought-after card in the game.