Ciri: Nova / Witchers Trio (Beta)
There were some broken cards in Beta Gwent. Representatively, Ciri: Nova and 3 Witchers were 22 and 15 tempo each, which seem overpowered even in the current meta.
This infamous sword is probably the card that got nerfed the most times in history. At its best times, average unit power was much lower than now, so it was pretty easy to trigger deathblow. The worst thing about Sihil was that there was no 13 units limit – Sihil decks could go the full unitless strategy easily. Do you still think Sihil was not that OP because it doesn’t have Resilience and can use only in 1 round? Well, Caretaker at that time had the ability “play an artifact from your graveyard”. Yep, unitless round 1 and round 3, a fun game of Gwent.
Tyrggvi Tuirseach (2020)
It looks worse than the current version because of one more provision, but actually, it was the best tall punish card in the game. Rupture at that time damaged a unit by ‘CURRENT POWER’, not base power. So it was a tall removal with a 7 power body, which never bricks like Geralt. The dominance of SK warriors and Tyrggvi made everyone tech purify.
Harald the Cripple (2020)
Which is the strongest Gwent deck of all time? This question is not difficult to answer, because Second Wind Warriors in July 2020 is the easy answer – even after a huge hotfix during that season. They had broken low-end bronze cards, Greatswords without upper limit, and efficient tall punishes including Tyrggvi. However, if we have to choose only one key card of the deck, it should be Harald the Cripple. His random ping ignored armor(which is super good against cards like larvae), and 6 power was very hard to remove at that time while Harald’s long round value is almost impossible to handle with other decks. Even if you somehow remove him, the SK player can just resurrect him with the Second Wind leader.
In March 2021, CDPR introduced some new leader cards for each faction. One of the strongest among them was Cleaver. But that was not the real reason why Lined Pocket dominated the meta for an entire year. It was just one 7p card, which goes Brrrr, that destroyed not only the opponent’s board but also the game balance. Drill in 2021 didn’t need Sigi+Collusion Combo – you just needed to place him between two Crownsplitters, which is an extremely easy condition with Cleaver and Novigradian Justice.
Blightmaker&Mage Assassin (2021)
They had the same abilities as of now but with 1 fewer provision each, which means a total of 4 fewer provisions. When Blightmaker was first released, 5 provisions 4 power thinning package was not yet powercrept. So it is needless to say that this NG package, with 1 less provision and 3 more points than usual thinning 5ps, was just not fair. When NG draws both Blightmakers on red coin, winning on even was not a difficult task. With this broken bronze package and the bug with DMT (Dead Man’s Tongue) – it showed your deck in order – was more than enough to take NG to tier 1.
Sunset Wanderers (2021)
When SW was revealed on WitcherCon, everyone was hyped with this card’s unique ability. But it didn’t take long to change those hypes to complaints and cries. All of the factions except SY and NR auto included Sunset Wanderers which played for 15 extra tempo with only 11 provisions. The August season in 2021 was the only season when Ivar Evil-Eye was decent before a recent push to NG knights because everyone was playing SW which unbricks him.
King of Beggars (Dec 2021~Jan 2022)
The SY decks are difficult to pilot and not recommended for newbies, right? Well, that’s not true for Jackpot leader in the second half of 2021. The reworked leader ability made the SY deck super easy and strong, and thus got several deserved provision nerfs. But even after those nerfs, Jackpot became more dominant than ever after World Masters 2021 due to only one card, KoB. He was a 4 base power spender for 10 provisions, and was extremely easy to pull out since his counter was only 9 – Savolla alone was enough to use all those counters. The SY deck at that time had only 2 lose conditions. (1) draw KoB in R3, or (2) miss Savolla. Otherwise, no other deck can beat the value of the most broken combo in the history of Gwent.
Traveling Priestess (2022)
It turned out that Meditating Mage was not the last 4p NR card that destroys the ladder. This girl was released in the same season with Golden Nekker and Priestess NR was far stronger than any other deck. In spite of the presence of the GN in meta, Traveling Priestess should be the choice over kekker if we have to choose one single broken card. It had unconditional zeal at release, and 30 charges finisher with Tridam Infantry was simply impossible to deal with.
Yeah, here comes Renfri. After that nerf in 10.8 patch, probably the biggest nerf in a single patch, she is still one of the best high-end cards in Gwent. When she was first released, she had 2 more base power and 1 less provision. Curses and Blessings were also a lot better than now, which you can see below:
But Renfri had one good aspect at least – she made deckbuiling so much easier. Wanna build Pirates SK list? Just put Renfri, Gangs, and 22 units. Need Handbuff list? Same. Feel like playing Vampires? You know the answer.