So, I finally (and really) quit Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire (good riddance) and have been playing this (amazing) card game for a few weeks.
As you know, I am a bit of a (video) card game addict and have played (a long, long time ago) Yu-Gi-Oh The Eternal Duelist Soul as well as the series' Ultimate Masters World Champion Tournament 2006 (still have to beat that!); my all-time favourite the Marvel Trading Card Game; and Uncharted: Fight for Fortune (the only game I've ever plat-ed LOL). So when a card game based on The Witcher universe was released on Android, I was, like, Wow.
The Witcher 3 - Wild Hunt, of course, has its own in-game card game called Gwent, which is fun but the one released for consoles (though PlayStation no longer carries it), mobile phones and now on Steam, definitely has more depth and, well, more challenging.
The version (latest patch was released end of April) I am playing now is the result of several upgrades already (think the beta version came out some years ago) and some long-time players say it is for the better, others for the worse. Well, I can't really judge or compare but it did take me a week or two just to get the hang of the basics.
And you need to really understand not only your own deck but that of your opponent to win. So here are some basics about Gwent: the Witcher Card Game. There are six factions to choose from: Nilfgaard, Skellige, Scoia'tael, Northern Realms, Monsters and Syndicate. So far I have ONLY played Northern Realms simply because it has all my fav characters from the Witcher games :-)
This faction is also, I think, less straightforward to play and it offers many deck variations that players can experiment with. I find Scoia'tael, for instance, quite straightforward and its "Harmony" deck is, apparently, the best (Meta) desk out there now.
While playing against the AI is available (which was improved significantly in the April patch), you really wanna play with a human opponent as you basically wanna climb the rank ladder to be a "Pro". Well, I ain't that ambitious but I guess it is more fun playing against a real opponent. But that also puts the pressure on as, well, humans are (in most cases) more fun players than AI ...You start at Rank 30 and you slowly work your way up to Rank 0. Though once you reached a rank you never get de-ranked but it can be quite frustrating to be stuck in the same rank for too long. I was, for instance, stuck in 20 for a long time cos (ironically) the patched version for Android just kept crashing *argh*
I started off with a boost NR deck and that worked quite nicely from Ranks 30 to around 24/23 ... then the opponents start to look more threatening and I had to start getting new cards (which the game mechanics helps you to do) that give me a better chance of winning.
Watching other (Pro) players play online (I've become a lot more active on Discord and Twitch as a result) is a MUST. Only then you learn what cards are good -- you don't necessarily have to have the same deck as them (well, you won't be able to do if you are still climbing the rank ladder unless you pay, I guess) and you will have your own play style but other players' strategies can be very good reference.
I now have an "Inferno Deck" because, at one point, I was using the two Sabrina cards, which are for removal -- and I just loved the apocalyptic-style animation of Sabrina's Inferno ;-) Alas, these two cards are not as good as I'd hoped and by the time I reached Rank 20 I think I was being out-played by Many opponents.
So now I've settled with a semi-swarm deck that still has a few removal cards such as Boiling Oil and Alzur's Thurder as well as Draug and Revenant (latter is great for spawning) and have been on a winning streak lately. But it is a difficult (and IMHO more fun) deck to play because there are many ways to deal with opponents who like stealing and locking cards (I'm looking at you, NG players!) or swarming and boosting with Harmony.
Now let's see if this deck will be able to carry me through to Rank 10 ... ...