The latest expansion for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is out, and it brings with more than 80 new cards to the online CCG. Iron Judgment introduces a variety of new mechanics such as Defender, Barricade, and Exposed, as well as bringing back old favorites from the open beta - in particular, the return of Armor, which protects units from damage.
While some of the new cards are shaping up to be quite powerful in the new metagame, others have proven to be a bit lackluster. Let's now take a look at five of the best new cards from Iron Judgment - and five of the worst.
10 Worst: Knickers
Knickers was a card first introduced in the standalone Thronebreaker game, a Gwent/Witcher spinoff that followed Queen Meve as she fought to reclaim her land. While the adorable little dog is certainly a welcome addition, his ability leaves a bit to be desired.
Knickers is a three point unit that summons itself to the battlefield from your deck, seemingly at random. While there may be some sort of pattern to his behavior, players have yet to determine it, which makes this card just too unpredictable to include in most decks.
9 Best: Morkvarg: Heart Of Terror
Morkvarg already exists as a card in Gwent, but his new incarnation in Morkvarg: Heart of Terror is arguably the more powerful of the two. Here, he's a five-point unit that damages an enemy by one when played. He continues this damage until the enemy is damaged - that is, its power is less than its base power.
This is a potent ability, acting as something of a more dangerous reset for boosted units, and eating through any armor a card may have. When played with the Skellige faction's other units that grow stronger when enemies are damaged, Heart of Terror can be a powerful finishing play.
8 Worst: Cave Troll
The Cave Troll is one of six Defenders introduced in the Iron Judgment expansion. These powerful cards protect the other units on their row from being targeted, making them useful for defending engines and other valuable cards.
Of the six, the Cave Troll is definitely the weakest. It has a respectable seven power and five armor, but that's about it. While the Northern Realms Defender boasts a shield and the Scoia'tael Defender spawns dwarves to its row, the Cave Troll is a relatively boring card when compared to its fellows.
7 Best: Glynnis Aep Loernach
Assimilate was a mechanic introduced in the Crimson Curse expansion. Units with Assimilate boost themselves by one whenever their controller plays a card that didn't originate from their starting deck. While the mechanic was largely sidelined in the previous meta, the introduction of Glynnis aep Loernach shakes things up.
Glynnis has Assimilate 2 which, quite simply, means that her Assimilate triggers boost her by two instead of one. This makes her a potent threat, especially when followed up by cards that create new units or that steal cards from your opponent's deck.
6 Worst: Salamandra Assassin
The Syndicate faction was introduced in the previous expansion, Novigrad. One of the more powerful statuses accompanying the new faction was the Bounty effect, which gives Syndicate players coins for destroying a unit with a Bounty.
The Salamandra Assassin attempts to synergize with this mechanic, damaging a unity with Bounty by two. However, there are just other, better ways to deal with Bounties, such as Witch Hunter Executioners or Ewald Borsodi. This means that while an interesting thought, Salamandra Assassin may not be quite the Bounty synergy it wants to be.
5 Best: Zoltan: Warrior
Zoltan: Warrior is a potent new unit that fits perfectly into the Dwarf based archetype rising in Scoia'tael. When played on the Melee row, he spawns two Rowdy Dwarves, each with two power and one armor. When played on the Ranged row, however, he boosts all your Rowdy Dwarves by two.
This makes Zoltan: Warrior a very versatile card. In a pinch, he can serve to put three dwarves onto your board, giving valuable synergy with your other cards. But if played with cards like the Dwarven Chariot or Zoltan's Company - both of which spawn Rowdy Dwarves - he can become a powerful finisher for a dwarf deck.
4 Worst: Terror Of The Seas
Gwent has been trying for some time to create synergy between Pirates and Ships in the Skellige faction. The options in the previous expansion were limited as the focus was on the Syndicate, but Iron Judgment provided another opportunity to develop this archetype with the Terror of the Seas.
Unfortunately, Terror doesn't quite perform as well as one would hope. It has an order ability where it loses all its Armor to damage an enemy by that amount, and then also gains an Armor when you play a Pirate. While this seems on the surface to be an interesting idea, it ultimately winds up being rather clunky and difficult to set up properly.
3 Best: Azar Javed
We've covered the worst Defender from the expansion - now let's take a look at the best. Azar Javed is a Syndicate card that, when his Profit and Tribute abilities are used, can spawn two Scarabs with Defender on his row. These Scarabs have one power, two armor, and when they die, you gain two Coins.
There's a lot to love with Azar Javed's abilities. He gives you two Defenders at once and forces your opponents to give you Coins if they want to target your cards, giving the Scarabs value even if they're removed, making him by far the best Defender in Iron Judgment.
2 Worst: Voymir
Voymir is a card that feels like he belongs in a different version of the meta than currently exists. He's clearly meant to synergize with cards like Kaedweni Revenant, Draug, and Blue Stripes Commando, and while those cards can still form a potent threat, they're not the most prevalent deck at the moment.
With more focus being paid to an engine heavy deck using the Pincer Maneuver ability, the swarming strategy of past Northern Realms decks is fading a bit. While Voymir can still be a powerful card in his own right, it doesn't seem at the moment like he really belongs in the current meta game.
1 Best: Living Armor
Finally, our pick for the best new card in the game is Living Armor, a unit whose power is always equal to its Armor total. This opens up a plethora of possibilities for use with the other new cards from Iron Judgment.
You could play cards that give units in your hand Armor, effectively boosting Living Armor. Armor giving engines on the battlefield become point giving engines. Caranthir can be tricked into playing a 10 point card. Endrega Queen can Consume it for 10 Armor. The ways to abuse this card's ability are absolutely endless, making it our choice for the best new card from Iron Judgment.