Neutral cards are factionless cards, meaning that they can be added to any deck, regardless of faction. With the Master Mirror update, CD Projekt Red introduced many new mechanics. These included the “devotion” mechanic, which enhances the subject card when your deck has no neutrals. Luckily, this “anti-neutral” move wasn’t left unanswered, as the expansion also featured some of the best neutral cards the game has seen.
For insight on how to get neutral cards and getting better at Gwent, check out my beginner’s guide. For more great cards on other games, see 5 of the Best Charge Cards in Hearthstone as well as The 12 Best Cards in the New Legends of Runeterra Expansion. To end my digression, next is a list of the very best neutral cards to compliment any deck.
Taking the title of “The Goodest Boy” in Gwent, Knickers is among my favorite cards in the game. This card’s best trait is its fun-factor, as Knickers can randomly show up at any point in the game to give you a small 3-point boost during the round.
Although he is considered a “meme card” by most, Knickers does pull his weight during a match. Firstly, the 3 points are nearly guaranteed, since most players will avoid targeting a cad with armor and no abilities. Nonetheless, Knickers’ real power comes in a less obvious way: consistency, as contradictory as it may sound. Having this randomly appearing card show up in the earlier rounds means that there will be less cards left in your deck when re-drawing later. This increases the consistency of good draws in your final mulligans.
9. Marching Orders & Alzur’s Double-Cross
As I wrote this, I felt like I was cheating because I was including two separate cards in a single spot of the list. Even so, doing this was inevitable, since these two have extremely similar abilities. Essentially, they improve your ability to manage your cards mid-match. Both can be used to single out an individual card, improving the chances of it being played within a game. For example, “Marching Orders,” which automatically plays the lowest card in your deck, works great with “Geralt: Yrden” (shown below), which is extremely useful despite its 2-point body. If you don’t draw one card, you’re almost guaranteed to have drawn the other.
Additionally, using the card during one of the first two rounds thins your deck. Consequently, your later mulligans become more consistent, much like with Knickers.
Geralt’s trustee mare has an ability very similar to that of Knickers. Admittedly, I almost placed them both in a single spot on the list as well. However, there is a reason it costs 10 provisions to have Roach in your deck as opposed to Knickers’ 9. The reason: control. Since Roach depends on you having played a gold card, it becomes immensely more dependable as a point boost. Is round one looking hopeless? Then you can save roach for later!
Fun fact: horses eat an average of 15 to 20 pounds (6.8 to 9 kg) of hay per day. When compared to a Shiba inu, which Knickers resembles, it makes sense that roach would take up more provisions.
7. Master Mirror
The “demon” archetype is a fitting one for Master Mirror. When played, it brings unpredictability and psychological torture to your opponents. Despite taking up 9 provisions, this card can earn you a number of points much higher than that. The ability to transform expendable bronze cards into gold ones could be invaluable, especially when you draw a poor hand. Additionally, with a 6-point body and the “Veil” status, it can prove to be a huge annoyance for your opponent when played. They can’t lock it, poison it, apply bleeding, or quickly remove it with an “Alzur’s Thunder” card. To get rid of it, they’ll have to do better than that.
Playing this card does have its drawbacks though, for it can prove to be very case-specific. For example, if you happen to draw all of the “good cards” on the left , Master Mirror’s ability becomes obsolete. Additionally, the psychological effects of this card can be a double edged sword. If you shift your focus to transforming cards with Master Mirror, you can ruin your own pre-planned strategy. If nothing else though, it makes great bait, clearing the path for your engines.
6. Matta Hu’uri
This card probably drew its inspiration from WWI’s Mata Hari, an exotic dancer who was executed under the accusation of being a German spy. Hence it being labeled as “Agent.” If it wasn’t for Gwent, I likely would have never become aware of this little fraction of history. Turns out, video games really are educational.
The benefits of this card are fairly easy to understand. You get 6 points on the board and draw your best card, while your opponent draws their cheapest. Better yet, the condition for this ability to trigger is practically non-existent. Like every other card so far, Matta Hu’uri also provides the benefit of thinning your deck, increasing the consistency of your future draws if played early in the game.
Cool idea: Opening with Stregobor, which has each player draw a unit after 2 allied turns, and following up with Matta Hu’uri on the next turn can get you a card advantage.
5. Dandelion: Poet
Everyone’s favorite bard also makes the cut as one of the best neutral cards in the game. This card has the second highest provision cost of this list, and with good reason. On its original release, it had a 5-point body. Now, this number has been reduced to 4, and the card’s value has suffered very little. Dandelion remains a great card to add to any deck, and an absolute beast if drawn in the arena.
This card works similarly to Matta Hu’uri (above), but it has an effect similar to Roach’s. Essentially, playing Dandelion: Poet gives you 4 free points on top of whatever card you play alongside him. Of course, the deck thinning couldn’t be absent. The only drawback of this card is its 12 provision cost, which might get in the way of your potential overall strategy. Nonetheless, if you have the resources to spare, tossing a coin to your bard could really pay off.
4. Korathi Heatwave
The Korathi Heatwave card is absolutely disgusting. It is one of those cards which provides a player with immense, irrefutable results without requiring even the smallest semblance of a strategy. Got a masquerade ball on the board with a couple aristocrats ready to see it progressed? Or nearly 100 points on Aglaïs? Actually, you don’t, not if your opponent plays Korathi Heatwave.
As much as I might despise it though, there’s no denying this card’s usefulness. Heatwave has made many appearances in the competitive scene, and is simple enough for a beginner to use effectively. It can be used as a preemptive measure, stopping your opponents from building up power or destroying your cards. Additionally, Heatwave can be used after your opponent has accumulated many points on an individual card, destroying their spirits along with any evidence of their hard work.
3. Geralt: Yrden
At last, we arrive to the top 3 spots. Unlike any other card on this list, Geralt: Yrden is what is known as a finisher. Resetting, when compared to Heatwave’s banishing, has its own disadvantages and advantages. The card’s limitations revolve around artifacts, since it can only target units. Additionally, there is no guarantee that a round will result in a scenario favorable for Geralt: Yrden’s ability.
Nonetheless, Geralt: Yrden proves to be better than Heatwave due to its dynamicity, as it can be used defensibly as well as offensively. The obvious usage is offensive; if your opponent has many highly boosted cards, Yrden easily takes care of that. On the other hand, this card can also prove to be useful when playing against an opponent who ignores boosts in favor of attacks. After all, there’s no rules against resetting your own damaged units. Against this, many Skelligean finishers can be completely bricked.
2. Royal Decree
Of the other cards on this deck, Royal Decree most closely resembles Marching Orders and Alzur’s Double-Cross. However, unlike these, Royal Decree allow players to choose a specific unit to play from their deck, allowing for invaluable flexibility. This card is especially great for decks containing cards which require specific conditions to get good value out of them. Royal Decree allows players to keep every unit handy, while eliminating the risk of them being bricked.
For example, the power of this card becomes evident in the event that a round ends with lots of damaged units in your opponent’s side and lots of boosted units on yours. In this case, keeping Geralt: Yrden in your hand would’ve been detrimental, while doing so with Royal Decree would allow you to play an alternative. As the “cherry on top,” playing royal decree within the first 2 rounds also thins your deck.
What happens when you get Royal Decree, give it anabolic steroids, and multiply it by two? You get Oneiromancy! Setting your deck back a total of 13 provisions, this card can prove to be ridiculously powerful. Like Royal Decree, this card allows you to choose a card from your deck at any time. Unlike Royal Decree, it is not limited to unit cards. In other words, this card essentially guarantees that you will see your combos through exactly as planned. Additionally, with the “Echo” ability, using Oneiromancy within the first 2 rounds guarantees that you’ll be able to use it twice.
Since this card goes back to your deck after usage, it doesn’t technically thin it. Even so, having the ability to select any card from your deck all but eliminates the need for good mulligans.