Gwent: Rogue Mage Beginner Guide

Gwent: Rogue Mage Beginner Guide

Gwent: Rogue Mage Beginner Guide – In this Gwent: Rogue Mage Beginner Guide, we are going to dive into the new Roguelite Deckbuilding card game, which made its surprise debut last July 7, 2022. Together with the gameplay mechanics, I will provide tips and tricks to survive and thrive in combat. If you are looking for a comprehensive explanation of how things work in Gwent: Rogue Mage, especially if you are entirely new to Gwent, then this guide is for you!

Gwent: Rogue Mage Beginner Guide

Gwent: Rogue Mage features similar mechanics to its standalone Gwent counterpart in that the cards’ descriptions and techniques work pretty much the same way. For example, you will be able to trigger abilities on the fly with Deploy but in some cases, you will have to wait for the next turn before activating them using Order. The matches also look and feel like Gwent except that the rounds have been limited to just 1, similar to Slay the Spire. This is not a bad thing per se even if your moves are no longer spread out across all 3 rounds since you are left to adapt quicker in combat.

Gwent Rogue Mage Beginner Guide

Since Gwent: Rogue Mage is a Roguelite Deckbuilder you will have to choose specific routes in the overworld map of The Continent depending on what you need. For instance, if you require additional Energy (or Mana to use Spells), then you need to pass by any Place of Power. I will explain these more in detail in the succeeding sections. But first, let us start with the basics of Gwent: Rogue Mage!

Gwent: Rogue Mage Beginner Guide – How Cards Work

In Gwent: Rogue Mage, the ultimate goal is to accumulate 3 mutagens by defeating various bosses at the end of the map to progress in the story. This means that you will have to participate in at least 3 runs to do so. Now, these runs do not necessarily have to be done in succession so you can kill the first boss, for example, die in the second run, and then begin a new one to try and fight the next boss. To win a match, you must outmaneuver your opponent by accumulating more points than them in terms of the power each of your units collectively has.

Gwent Rogue Mage Beginner Guide - The Lab Liquid Tank

Before starting a run, you will be able to select a deck (in total there are 4 to choose from, 3 of which you eventually unlock as you progress), a Hero or Key Card, 3 Spells, and a Potion. At the very beginning of the game, you only have access to the Bulwark Deck. Let us use this as an example to understand how cards function in Gwent: Rogue Mage.

Although card descriptions are defined, may seem confusing for new players. These include the following:

  • Deploy & Deploy (Melee or Ranged) – This lets you immediately trigger whatever the card’s action is when you play it from your hand. So in Reynard Odo’s case, putting him in between 2 units will boost their lives or powers by 1 each, and every time you play a unit, they automatically get boosted as well. Variations of this ability are Deploy (Melee) and Deploy (Ranged). In the game, you also have to consider the placement of some of your cards with rows divided into Melee or the one that is closest to the center of the board, and Ranged, just behind it. For example, if you place Prince Stennis in the Melee row, he can boost a single unit by 4 but if you put him in the Ranged row, he will instead boost several units by 1 each.

Gwent Rogue Mage Beginner Guide Prince Stennis Deploy (Melee or Ranged)

  • Order – Contrary to Deploy cards, you will need to wait for 1 turn before using the abilities of Order cards. For example, if you put the Aedirnian Mauler on either the Melee or Ranged row, he cannot damage an enemy right from the get-go. This will only be valid in your next turn. However, there is a catch if the card also has Zeal.
  • Zeal – When you gain Vysogota of Corvo, you will notice that although he has the Order ability, he also has Zeal. Zeal allows you to instantly use up the abilities corresponding to the Order without doing anything special – they just have the capability to. In Vysogota’s case, the moment you put him on the board, you will be able to boost an ally.
  • Formation – In connection with Zeal, there is Formation that is row-dependent. Take the Lyrian Landsknecht for example. If you place him on the Melee row, you gain Zeal, allowing you to instantly damage an enemy, but if you put him on the Ranged row, you can boost him instead.
  • Inspired – The Bulwark Deck specializes in boosting units as much as possible. In this state, they are essentially Inspired since their base power has increased. Using the Lyrian Landsknecht again when he is Inspired, he will instead deal 3 damage rather than just 1.
  • Charges – This action determines how many times an Order ability can be triggered. In Nenneke’s case, she has a total of 4 Charges, each of these lets her boost another unit by 1.

Gwent Rogue Mage Beginner Guide Nenneke Charges

  • Armor & Shield – You will notice that some cards have an Armor value, which is located at the top right, or a Shield, which is located at the bottom left side corner. Both of these will protect the unit from taking damage, thereby lowering their power, however, they function quite differently. The Armor diminishes in value whereas the Shield does not so the enemy can keep depleting the former to eventually deal damage against a unit. Meanwhile, the Shield is a one-time thing unless it has been reactivated. The supposed damage the opponent deals to a shielded character will not impact that character’s power in any way so they essentially block whatever attack it may be. These are both useful in maintaining the power you have to collect a lot of points at the end of the match.
  • Spawn – With Ramon Tyrconnel, you can Spawn another unit the moment he is played due to his Deploy ability. Spawn lets you add another card on the board so, in Ramon’s case, you can summon a duplicate copy of a unit provided that it is a bronze card, not the one with a gold border.
  • Vitality – This allows you to heal or boost a unit over time. Its counterpart is Bleeding, which diminishes the affected unit’s power periodically as well.
  • Veil – This is a powerful ability that protects the unit from taking any status effect whether it involves Locking them from performing actions or receiving Bleeding.
  • No Abilities – Some cards do not feature the actions or abilities we have talked about like the Temerian Drummer. When they are played, they will continuously execute their respective descriptions. With the Temerian Drummer, every time the player’s turn ends, he can boost the unit to his right by 1. This happens up until he is either eliminated or Locked from performing his duty.

Gwent Rogue Mage Beginner Guide Temerian Drummer No Abilities

Last but not least, remember that you cannot change the units of any deck before the start of a run, meaning, it is only the Key Card, Spells, and Potions, which can be swapped. However, you can add or remove cards when you travel across the Continent.

Gwent: Rogue Mage Beginner Guide – Gameplay Mechanics

The Continent

After selecting your starter deck, the Continent’s map will be visible to you. At which point, you will see different nodes corresponding to different types of Battles (regular, Elite, and Boss), Treasure Chests, Places of Power, and Events similar to Slay the Spire. Battles involve combat of varying difficulties depending on their type, Treasure Chests grant Treasure Cards to improve your chances of winning, and Places of Power provide you with options to either boost your Energy or duplicate a card.

Gwent Rogue Mage Yellow Place of Power

The latter is based on the color of the Place of Power you go to so if it is yellow, then you can transform 1 card into a random but better version of it. And finally, there are Events that are random anecdotes, which lets you upgrade cards with them or even give them up depending on the scenario. With these in mind, it is essential to plan your routes accordingly. Rather than going for several regular Battles, you can choose to go to Places of Power to enhance your deck. Additionally, do not be afraid to try out all of these nodes, especially when you are learning in order to get ideas regarding the encounters you will face.


When it comes to combat, regardless of the type of Battle you participate in, the mechanics remain the same. At the beginning of every encounter, Treasure Cards with the goblet icon will automatically be placed on the board. You then have 2 redraws to change any of the 5 cards in your hand to try to get the ones you want to start with. Alternatively, you can opt to click “Finish Redrawing” if you are content with them.

Gwent Rogue Mage Redraw

In this turn-based game, you always draw a card (for a total of 5 times) and then make the first move. Every turn can be comprised of multiple actions depending on the abilities available to you. At the very least, you have to play 1 card from your hand. If you need assistance to trigger Spells, simply click on Alzur and then select the appropriate card. Note that Alzur only has a cooldown of 1 so you can technically use his cards in each turn. However, you have to be mindful since Spells cost Energy.

Gwent Rogue Mage Combat

You will then have to wait for your opponent’s turn to end before continuing with yours. The entire Battle only takes place for 1 round, and at the end of it, whoever has the most power points, wins. Now, remember to take your time. Understanding how your opponent’s cards interact with yours is of utmost importance. This is not like the standalone Gwent where you only have 90 seconds to think of your next move because you have all the time in the world to strategize.

If you are still learning the mechanics, it is best to practice in a series of regular Battles rather than rushing to reach the first boss. This is due to the difficulty spike, which significantly increases in the next story arc right after the prologue.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Next, let us look into additional tips and tricks to come out victorious in Gwent: Rogue Mage. In the first few hours of the game, you will probably have access to the Bulwark and Savage Fury Decks. The strategy with the Bulwark Deck is to continuously boost your units, specifically the Aedirnian Mauler to deal massive damage, and the Tridam Infantry, which lets you dish out 1 damage every turn.

Gwent Rogue Mage Bulwark Deck in Combat

Meanwhile, the cards that will boost them include the Temerian Drummer, Recruit, Zoltan Chivay, Prince Stennis, and the Key Card Reynard Odo. Usually, what I would do at the start is play my Ramon Tyrconnel so I can duplicate any of the bronze boost cards. Last but not least is the One-Eyed Betsy that deals damage. This card should be substituted for something better such as Morkvarg: Heart of Terror to greatly damage a boosted unit or Bloody Baron to reset their power. You can also go with the bronze card, Witch Apprentice, whose power will continuously rise per turn as long as your cards’ total power is at least 25.

Gwent Rogue Mage Morkvarg Heart of Terror

Comparatively, the technique for the Savage Fury Deck is to dish out as much damage as you can, even damaging yourself along the way. The cards that do so include the An Craite Greatsword, which also Heals himself when an enemy gets damaged, as well as the Drummond Berserker. Other cards deal damage over time by inflicting Bleeding like the Panther and Protofleder, or Spawning Rain such as the Melusine Cultist. If you are faced with a highly boosted unit, then you should play the Ulfhedinn to cut their power in half.

Gwent Rogue Mage Savage Fury Deck in Combat

Next, remember to thin your deck effectively, meaning you should only maintain a card count of around 10 cards, 5 in your hand and 5 that you can draw, otherwise, it will be hard to wait for the ones you need. You can remove cards by visiting Red Places of Power or via the Manage Reinforcements section after you succeed in combat. Although remember that you can also add better cards here as needed.

Gwent Rogue Mage Manage Reinforcements

When it comes to Treasure Cards, the ones you should prioritize taking are the Prism Pendant, Raven’s Armor, and Magnifying Spyglass. The Prism Pendant cuts the cost of all of your Spells by half, allowing you to save Energy and preserve it for difficult Battles while Raven’s Armor instantly grants 2 extra Armor to all units in the deck. And finally, the Magnifying Spyglass lets you influence the cards you draw since you can move them at the top of your deck.

Gwent Rogue Mage Magnifying Spyglass

For Spells, it is important to use them early on to gain an advantage at the start of the match even if you spend a couple of Energy. Otherwise, if you use it towards the end, you might not be able to catch up in terms of the points you need to accumulate.

When you are roaming the Continent, a good tip to remember is to temporarily avoid Elite Battles, especially if you are entirely new to Gwent since you do not need to necessarily evolve your Key Cards to win in Boss Battles. Elite Battles are very difficult so if you do not have a strong grasp of the mechanics yet, it is best to avoid them in the meantime.

Gwent Rogue Mage Boss Battle

Speaking of Boss Battles, when you are ready to confront them, be sure to preserve about 35 Energy since Spells can make or break these matches. To do this, target Places of Power to gain 25 Energy each and equip the Archmage’s Flask before starting your run to increase this resource by 25. Note that you do not gain Energy naturally so it is important to actively enhance and replenish them from time to time.

What is your experience like in this Roguelike Deckbuilder? Have you progressed far into it? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this Gwent: Rogue Mage Beginner Guide, be sure to check our Gwent: Rogue Mage Review to know our thoughts on the game! Be sure to check out our other recent articles Baldur’s Gate 3 Builds: Bard Class Guide and Baldur’s Gate 3 Update 8 Patch Notes – New Bard Class, Gnome Race, Gameplay Improvements, And More!


Writer at Fextralife. I enjoy playing RPGs, narrative-driven games, and platformers. Outside of gaming, I like watching meaningful movies and reading sci-fi and dystopian books.

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